Pram wore a light blue apron on top of his clothes, staring intently at Desir . Hot steam billowed out of the teacup he just placed on the table . Pram’s rosy cheeks accented his flush complexion as he explained . “It’s a new type of tea I brewed . ”
“Thanks, Pram,” Desir said absentmindedly .
“It’s nothing . Anyways, what were you thinking about?”
“Hm—what do you mean?”
“You’ve been staring off into space for a while now, without even a glance of your papers . ”
“Oh, was I?” Desir was tempted to say ‘I was thinking about you’, but he held his tongue .
As he prepared to give Pram a sloppy excuse, Romantica prattled “It’s obvious if you look at him . He was definitely thinking of something stupid . ”
“Mr . Desir doesn’t think of stupid things! He’s obviously thinking of something important! Really important! It’s probably something about our party, or incredibly serious!” Pram jumped up in defense of Desir .
‘Wait! Don’t defend me, Pram!’ He really was thinking of something stupid—and he could never, ever let anybody find out about it .
“I’m right, aren’t I?” Pram’s eyes, filled with expectation, stroke down at Desir’s heart as he wanted to avert his eyes . He couldn’t betray Pram’s expectations .
“I uh—that’s right . Something like that . ”
“See, Miss Romantica?” In Pram’s eyes, Desir was infallible . He could do no wrong .
Romantica was swayed by Pram’s response . “Mm . I suppose you’re right . ” She quietly affirmed his opinion and glanced elsewhere .
Desir, feeling guilty, sipped his tea and changed the topic . “This is delicious, Pram . ”
“Of course! I spent a lot of time brewing it—it’s my secret recipe!”
“Impressive . You should write it down for me later . ” Pram nodded in agreement and went looking for a sheet of paper to write down the tea recipe . In the meantime, Desir returned to the pile of documents piled in front of him . The vast majority of it was paperwork that came with his position of party leader . As he trudged through the papers, he recalled that it was about time for the Tower of Magic to announce their sponsorships .
Desir glanced at his fellow party members out of the corner of his eyes . After confirming they weren’t looking in his direction, he shifted the documents off to the side and peered onto a sheet of paper on the bottom . This sheet of paper was the reason for his carefully crafted stack of papers . It detailed a timeline of events so that he could better organize his future plans . A few of them were crossed out .
5 Points . Entrance Exam – March 1st
5 Points . Single Ranker Promotion Battle – May 1st
2 Points . Exchange Battle – May 10th-21st Check This
4 Points . Tower of Magic Sponsorship Announcement – July 5th
3 Points . Attack on Tower of Magic’s Aeurelli Branch – July 7th
1 Point . Explosion at Hebrion Academy’s Pharmacy Faculty . 0 Casualties . – Approx July 9th-14th
6 Points . Emergence of the Shadow World – July 20th
Points were assigned based on importance . The more impactful, the more vivid the memory was for Desir . This in turn made the dates clearer for him . On the flip side, there were a few events that had less of an impact, and it was difficult for Desir to recall those dates .
‘July 5th—the application date for the Tower of Magic sponsorship is due tomorrow . ’
Hebrion Academy, being famous as one of the greatest magic academies on the continent, became a breeding ground for countless corporations to advertise their names . Parties would get stronger through sponsorship, and use their newfound power to clear Shadow Worlds . As the party grew, their fame would bolster the reputation of the corporation, so they spared no expense to help foster these parties . The most illustrious of these corporations was the Tower of Magic .
The Tower of Magic .
An international conglomerate that pioneered magical engineering, spanning across multitudes of industries . From military equipment to household products, finances, and education, the Tower of Magic’s influence had no limits . The parties sponsored by the Tower of Magic had access to the most cutting-edge equipment on the market, giving them a significant advantage in clearing Shadow Worlds .
Countless applicants would be willing to pledge themselves to the Tower of Magic, but they were only looking for the best . The Tower of Magic was very peculiar with their sponsorship: they only sponsored one party each year . Any party selected by the Tower of Magic was publicly acknowledged to be filled with potential . With diligent growth, they would become the foundation for humanity’s war against the Shadow World .
‘The Tower of Magic…’
Desir’s thoughts brought him back to his previous life . He had deep ties with the Tower of Magic—the Head of the tower was his comrade in arms, Zod Exarion . Age 91, he was a mage who conquered the 6th circle and surpassed the limits of humanity .
Head of the Tower of Magic .
7th Circle Mage .
Great Sage .
Prodigium Magnum .
Leaden with dozens of titles, he stood at the forefront of all magic . And together with Desir, they fought in the Shadow Labyrinth together—the worst Shadow World of them all . The Expedition, a group of over 150 million people were sent in to clear it, with only 6 survivors making it to the end . The two of them both made it to the end, before the incident that sent him spiraling back into the past .
The 7th circle mage was crucial to the Expedition’s quest to defeat the Shadow Labyrinth . His spells swept the landscape and tore down wave after wave of enemies . Their bodies wiped out of existence, without a trace to be found . That in itself was a monumental achievement, but Zod’s true skills lied in his mechanical prowess .
During their travels in the Shadow Labyrinth, Zod’s talents manifested and developed themselves out of necessity . His equipment had bolstered the ability of the Expedition by several fold . ‘If he weren’t there, we likely wouldn’t have even made it to the end . ’
Desir was deep in thought . ‘This is a chance . I was planning on contacting him anyways about “that” . Getting the Tower of Magic sponsorship is the best case scenario . ’ He would put the application in first before contacting Exarion . With that, Desir rose from his seat . He needed to collect the documentation to apply for the Tower of Magic sponsorship . ‘It is strange that the official documents and application forms still haven’t been sent when there is only a day left…’
Desir felt something tugging at him, but couldn’t place it . According to his memories, Professor Brigitte was the one who took the applications for the Tower of Magic sponsorship . With that in mind, he collected himself and proceeded to head to the Professor’s office .
As Desir arrived at the professor’s office, she appeared to be about to leave . “Ah, Desir,” said Brigitte with a smile on her face . Seeing him approach, she put her coat back on the hanger and welcomed her student . “Good to see you . I was just on my way to find you myself . ”
“That’s good to hear . I didn’t want to waste your time . ”
“Waste my time?” said Brigitte . She looked puzzled at Desir’s words .
“I’m here for the documentation to apply for the Tower of Magic sponsorship,” explained Desir .
Brigitte cocked her head in confusion . She frowned as she responded to Desir . “I think you’ve misunderstood something . I am not the one in charge of the Tower of Magic sponsorship applications . That would be Professor Nifleka . ”
She fixed her glasses . “In all honesty, I was planning on taking care of it all myself, but with him being a stubborn old fart, the headmaster passed on the responsibility to him .
Desir’s eyes opened wide at the news . “Haha—I see . I made a mistake . ” Desir laughed awkwardly . ‘The future has changed . ’ Desir always knew that his actions would cause ripples that would change the course of the future as well . ‘But why Nifleka…’ He started becoming anxious at the news, shaking his head to clear his thoughts . “That just means I have to get the papers from Professor Nifleka, correct?”
“That’s the reason I wanted to talk to you, Desir . ” Brigitte had a concerned look on her face . “The application period for the Tower of Magic sponsorship ended yesterday . ”
Desir coughed abruptly at the information . He felt like he had been hit on the back of the head .
Based on the shock in Desir’s face, Brigitte figured that something was wrong . “Desir, why didn’t you apply?”
“Hold on, professor . Wasn’t the application deadline July 5th?”
Brigitte raised her voice slightly . “It was July 3rd . Normally, it is the 5th, but we decided during the meeting to move it a few days forward due to the fact that Professor Nifleka had to go overseas . Whatever the case, we did announce that the deadline was July 3rd . I suppose you didn’t check the official announcements . ”
‘Wait—official announcements?’ Desir didn’t receive anything of the sort . “I may have a tower of papers, but I still read everything, professor . There wasn’t any announcement . That’s the reason I came looking for you . I thought it was strange we weren’t getting anything . ”
Professor Brigitte was speechless . “So you’re saying…” She closed her eyes, her face flush . She rubbed her forehead, as if nursing a headache . “You’re saying that only our party didn’t get the announcement that was supposed to go out to everybody . ”
“I searched through everything, I swear on it . I didn’t throw anything away, so you can see for yourself . ”
Brigitte trusted her student . “You wouldn’t lie about this . That means the problem was on the staff side…” Professor Nifleka was in charge . If Desir was telling the truth, he had deliberately skipped sending the announcement to their party . “That can’t be it . No matter how much you dislike each other, he wouldn’t take such drastic steps . ”
“I believe the same, professor . ”
Brigitte paused and pursed her lips . “Wait a moment . I have to check on something . ” She opened the door and left, pulling out her Pad to call somebody . In the office, there was an eerie silence setting in, like the calm before a storm .
“Excuse me!” Brigitte shouted . “Contact…not even… can’t… responsible… error? I… good… person… so… hurt… don’t hang up… don’t…”
‘Bad news . ’ He could tell from the tone of her voice . Brigitte clambered back in a moment later, breathing heavily . Her cheeks were flush .
“They said they weren’t able to deliver the announcement . An ‘administrative error’, he says . ”