191 Pride Goeth Before a Fall
In his decades long career, Khavos Rudd had been forced to listen to ridiculous theories, stupid questions, and excuses to justify incompetence or failure so imaginative that they would put a bard to shame.
Yet never before he had ever heard something so blatantly preposterous.
“Unfair?” He echoed placing himself between the young Lukart and the bloodthirsty girl. Clearly one of them needed protection, but he was unsure about which one.
“Cheated?” His voice rose in intensity while astonishment was replaced by rage for his wounded pride.
“Are you telling me that it’s possible to cheat in the noble art of dimensional magic? During my class and in front of me? Are you calling me stupid, incompetent or both?”
Knowing how Professor Rudd loved and respected magical bloodlines, Lyam Lukart was taken aback by his vicious retort.
“No. I would never dare to say something like that.” Lyam swallowed a lump of saliva. Whenever a Professor took out his communication amulet it was never a good omen.
“I really hope so. Just like I’m dying to hear why do you think lady Ernas has cheated. If I don’t like your reply, prepare to say goodbye to one thousand points.” Rudd replied with his thumb already placed on the administration office’s rune.
Lyam started to panic. One thousand points were more than he had to spare. He was used to spending them as soon he had enough for a new magical trinket.
“Sir, she has clearly cheated. First of all, she comes from magicless family, hence it’s impossible for her to outclass a pureblood like me. Not to mention she received only a B+ in dimensional magic, while I got an A+.
How can someone with such a low evaluation be this good at dimensional magic? This is all the proof that I need!” He replied puffing his chest with pride.
In recent years, the ancient noble families had seen their privileges being slowly extended also to younger and more talented magical households.
With the Court’s new policies, their influence over the Kingdom was fading and their loyal servants that occupied key roles in every region were being replaced by new bureaucrats only loyal to the Crown.
Seeing someone of lesser upbringing perform better than him was more than a wound for his adolescent pride, it was like feeling everything that had been promised to him, his very birthright, slip through his fingers like a handful of sand.
“Really? A B+?” Professor Rudd became pensive, losing his edge and letting Lyam breathe a sigh of relief.
“How do you know it?” Professor Rudd’s ice-cold blue eyes were suddenly just a few centimetres from Lyam’s, burning with anger and mana.
“H-how do I know what?” Lyam stuttered at each word
“Her grades. They are secret, my secret to be precise. You two are not friend, hence I doubt she told you.” Friya shook her head to confirm his suspicions.
“I’ll ask you only once. How do you know?”
“A friend told me.”
“Then give me the name of this friend.” Rudd’s tone was becoming more menacing by the second.
“I don’t want to get him in trouble. He simply shared with me something that everyone knows. It’s not his fault.”
“Really? Everyone knows?” With a wave of Rudd’s hand, the training hall’s door closed shut.
“Then we have much to talk about, my students.”
Those present looked at Lyam with hatred and scorn, he had managed to get all of them involved in barely one sentence.
“Young man, you are in a lot of troubles. If you don’t give me the name of your friend, forget the points. I’ll get you expelled for breaching the academy’s network. After that, I’ll make sure no matter the academy, you’ll find only closed doors in front of you.”
Lyam knew that he had no way out of that situation. His father was a rich and powerful man, but Rudd had outlived countless Headmasters and even the Queen’s attempt to have him retire.
Khavos Rudd was an archmage with such knowledge, power, and connections that Lyam was certain that his words were far from being an empty threat. After Lyam gave Rudd his friend’s name it took barely a few minutes for the Professor to work up the pyramid discovering who was involved and how.
“Very well, you bunch of idiots, we’ll discuss your punishment later in the Headmaster’s office.
“As for you, young Lukart, let me give you a lesson of humility. You may not like a person, you may despise their family, but you always respect the talent once it’s slapped right in your face.”
Professor Rudd dragged Lyam in the middle of the training hall, in front of the cold gaze of his friends that couldn’t wait to watch him fail and share their misery.
“I may be old, but my memory works just fine. I remember clearly how you and mister Lith here were the first ones to get ahead with the loop spell. Let’s do something simple.”
Judging from his wolfish smile, what he was going to propose was anything but simple.
“Mister Lith, do you mind opening a Loop (*) for me? Do it very slowly, step by step please.”Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
Lith did as instructed, discovering how hard was to humor Rudd’s request. What once came natural to him during his previous failures, now required his utmost focus. His mind and body were so used letting the various elements flow that the task was akin to drive a car with the handbrake on.
Yet Lith managed to succeed. First appeared a single shining sphere, that Rudd made him keep for ten seconds, then he could finally split it into two black dots for another ten seconds and only the Rudd allowed him to complete the spell and open the small Gates.
Lith was sweating a bit and had a splitting headache. Dimensional magic was dynamic by nature, keeping it static was a mammoth task.
– “If this is what he considers ‘easy’, I must thank Linjos for removing written and practical test, otherwise I would never pass dimensional magic if Rudd demanded ‘hard’ tasks.” Lith thought. –
“Now it’s your turn, Lord Lukart.” Rudd’s voice was oozing sarcasm.
Lyam chanted the spell, opening the two Gates at once.
“I said slowly. Are you deaf, dumb or both? Again!”
Lyam tried over and over again, only managing to keep the single parts of the spell active for a second or two before it exploded in his face. Only the training hall’s security measures prevented him from being disfigured or worse.
“Do you know what’s the difference between the two of you?”
Lyam was going to say: “He is a commoner while I am an heir from a noble magical family.”, but Rudd anticipated his answer and didn’t give him the time to reply.
“It’s that despite his poor talent in dimensional magic, he has practiced hard. He has failed countless times before succeeding until every single step of the spell has been engraved in both his mind and body.
“You, instead, have been probably instructed by your father or one of his assistants, feeding you the answers you needed without even caring about understanding the importance of the underlying questions.
Let me show you how easy is distinguishing talent from hard work in my field. Lady Quylla Ernas, do you mind giving a demonstration to the class?”
Quylla performed as Lith, but without breaking a sweat.
“Outstanding talent.” Rudd said, managing for the first time to not make it sound like an insult.
“If it wasn’t for the incompetence of Professor Nalear in teaching multi casting, I’m sure she would be already able to switch. Only the talented ones understand the flow of mana and can move it according to their will.
Lady Friya, now it’s your turn.”
Friya succeeded too.
“Talent and hard work. A very rare combination.” Rudd bowed to her in a sign of respect.
“As for you, Lord Lukart, it’s time to learn that foolish actions and words have consequences.” He activated his communication amulet.
“Here is Professor Rudd. Subtract two thousand points from Lyam Lukart for insubordination, slander of a schoolmate and for divulging academy’s secrets. Also, change his dimensional magic evaluation to B- and raise Friya Ernas’ one to A+.”
At those words, Lyam turned pale as a ghost at first, then green and finally red due to a fit of rage. He rushed toward Friya, punching her in the face.
Rudd was about to intervene, but he noticed that her hands and lips were moving at great speed. He placed an invisible barrier around her and pretended to do nothing, studying her skill.
Her dimensional spell was still active, all Friya had to do was to complete the spell, placing the first gate in front of her and the other near Lyam’s nether region.
The result was the young Lukart giving himself a powerful straight in the nuts.
Rudd erupted into laughter, seeing Lyam sorry figure curled up on the ground. Soon more than half the class joined the Professor in his hilarity. The fall of a high and mighty noble was a rare sight, the commoners among those present savored every moment of it.
Tears streaked Lyam’s cheeks non stop. Even worse than the physical pain was the taste of failure in his mouth, being a laughingstock for the first time in his life.
“Very well executed and perfectly timed, Lady Ernas.” Rudd activated his communication amulet once again.
“Points assignation to the student Friya Ernas for displaying superb mastery of dimensional magic and completing the course three months early. Five hundred points.”
This time no one interrupted the group’s cheers and congratulations. Friya was so happy that she stopped frowning for the first time since the end of the second exam.
Seeing the group of youths so close despite being so different in social status, age, and magical legacy made Professor Rudd sighed of resignation.
– “I hate to admit it, but if Lyam Lukart is the best the old magical families have to offer, then it’s much better to wipe them out once and for all. I hate commoners, but I love magic too much to let a bunch of ungrateful spoiled brats disrespect it.
“Those who spare no effort in pursuit of magical knowledge are a hundred times better than someone that takes shortcuts, incapable to understand that magic is a competition with oneself, not with others.” –
“Lady Ernas, you are free to not attend dimensional magic classes anymore. I hope you will decide otherwise, though. It would be a pleasure and an honour for me to help you mastering Switch too and witness the birth of a true dimensional magician.”
The whole group was astonished. There was no trace of sarcasm in his voice. Rudd even gave her a deep bow. Where years of arguing and debates in the Mage Association had failed, Lyam Lukart had succeeded.
The harsh comparison between his blind arrogance and Friya silent efforts had managed to convince Khavos Rudd once and for all that he had been wrong his whole life.
Being a good magician wasn’t a matter of talent or bloodline, hard work and passion for magic were the only things to treasure and nurture.
“It would be my pleasure to be taught by the greatest dimensional magician of our times.” She replied with an even deeper bow.
Despite her resentment for Rudd’s previous conduct, Friya wasn’t so stupid to put grudge before education.
Rudd nodded, pleased by both her answer and her flattery.
“The class is dismissed early today. Lyam Lukart, get up and follow me to the Headmaster’s office. Let’s see if I can get you expelled. Your sight sickens me.”