97 Just a Warning
After the end of the lesson, the group went to lunch, finding Phloria waiting for them at their usual table.
– “I seriously think I have overestimated myself, thinking to be able keeping my nice guy façade for two whole years. If it wasn’t for my big brother instinct, I don’t know how many times I would have snapped already.
I really don’t get these guys at all. To make things worse, no matter how much I force myself, I keep feeling I don’t belong with them.” – Lith inwardly sighed.
Solus had no idea what to say to make him feel better. Returning to the academy, right after spending some time with the people he loved, had made Lith depressed.
“Hey guys, how was your lesson?” Phloria asked.
“Same old, same old.” Yurial shrugged. “Vastor keeps pushing forward those who are good, and spreads salt on the wounds of those who aren’t. And while the class struggles with each task, these two monsters keep running circles around us mortals.”
“How did your morning go?” Lith tried changing topic. Ever since his encounter with the Scorpicore, every time someone called him monster, he could not help but shudder.
He had realized that calling what happened to him ‘reincarnation’, was far from correct. He was more like an evil spirit from a horror movie, possessing the bodies of the recently deceased.
“Depressingly so. After Professor Rudd’s speech, I was eager to check if his subject is really as hard as he says. Well, he lied. It’s much worse than that. I spent the last two hours trying the ‘parlour trick’ we are supposed to perform tomorrow.
I read his book over and over, but I didn’t succeed, not even once.” She sighed.
“Are you serious?” Friya asked. “We have passed the first part of Professor Nalear’s course. Could it be that the spell requires something she has yet to cover in her lessons?”
Everyone at the table turned gloomy. Two hours were the regular duration of a class, Phloria failing so badly was unprecedented, not to mention a bad omen. If she wasn’t able to, it was unlikely that any of them could succeed.
Even Lith was on the same boat. Without true magic or Invigoration as crutches, he wasn’t much better than them.
– “Solus, what is the average time for succeeding in the pebble trick?”
“More bad news.” She replied. “The school records are not helping this time. The only thing reported is the number of lessons for opening a Gate.”
“Lessons, not hours? This is worse than I thought. How many for geniuses, and how many for regular students?”
“Geniuses usually need around three lessons, the others around twenty.” –
Lith almost chocked himself on bread when he heard that piece of news.
“Normally, I’d propose to gobble our lunch fast and go practice dimensional magic, to not let that old coot embarrass us.” Friya said.
“But Phloria and I have yet to take our Mage Knight class for today.”
“Same, I have Forgemastering later.”
“What about we meet at Quylla’s place after the end of the lessons?” Yurial proposed. “I bet that with her learning speed, by the time we get there, she will be able to teach us the basics.”
That afternoon, much to Lith disappointment, Professor Wanemyre went back to theory lessons. In the first trimester, they had learned how to infuse a single enchantment in an object.
The topic of the new lesson was how to mix two enchantments together, introducing a new set of runes and magic circles whose complexity was on all another level. He was eager to get back in the lab and put them to test.
Because of Soluspedia, when it wasn’t involved fine mana control or a particular timing in manipulating volatile energies, such lessons were just redundant for him.
He already knew every rune and circle, so he spent most of the lesson practicing how to draw them perfectly, instead of listening. The second forgemastering tome was a gold mine of inspiration for Lith.
Meanwhile, Yurial was diligently taking notes about the arrays Professor Tinnam was introducing. A Warden had a supportive role, he couldn’t cast random spells like most mages.
It was important to understand in what circumstances a magic formation would do more good than harm. Since the Griffon Kingdom was at peace, Yurial had chosen such specialization hoping to help the development of his family’s fief.
His wish was to become able to build dams, bridges and roads almost by himself, saving the money to hire more healers and teachers. One of his great-grandmother teachings, was that without its people, a Country was just a piece of land.
The new arrays were even more difficult to perform and hard to control than those of the first trimester, but at least the casting speed was the same. The biggest flaw of a Warden, was the long time necessary for a single spell.
After the lesson, he was about to leave, when he was approached by an old acquaintance. It was Lyam Lukart, the military looking guy that Lith humiliated during Trasque’s second lesson.
Yurial knew him because he was the son of archmage Lukart. They had started the academy together, three years prior, but had quickly parted ways. The Lukart family was one of the oldest magician bloodlines, and were pretty stuck up about that.
Despite their fathers held the same status, Lyam had never treated Yurial as a peer, let alone as a friend. Following his family’s teachings, he considered the Deirus household a branch family at best.
Having centuries of mystic legacy, a household with only three generations of mages was too young to be considered a real magical bloodline. Lyam demanded blind respect and loyalty from those he deemed inferior.
The Deirus household, instead, didn’t give a damn about traditions, respecting only talent and achievements. Yurial couldn’t bear Lyam’s groundless arrogance, so after a while, he had politely but firmly put a distance between them.
“Deirus, do you have a minute?” Lyam asked.
Yurial put up his best smile, trying to cut that conversation short. Calling Yurial by his last name, was a polite way to underline their difference in status. Whatever Lyam wanted, he wasn’t willing to give.
“Not really, Lyam. Dimensional magic seems really hard. I’m in a hurry to practice for tomorrow’s lesson.” Refusing his request was usually enough. For someone like Lyam, having to ask twice was akin to begging.
“Then let me accompany you for a while, I promise it will not take long.”
Yurial was so flabbergasted, that for a second he lost his composure, but was quick to recover. He nodded, prompting the other to continue.
“You have been here as long as I have. What do you think of all the changes Linjos introduced?” The question was odd, but Yurial had no reason to lie or refuse to answer.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to think. No finals, that terrifying mock exam, the new Professors and their scoring system. It’s too soon to judge his performance, but I must admit that so far things have become more interesting.”
That clearly wasn’t the answer Lyam hoped to hear. His upper lip curled up in an expression of disgust, without even trying to hide his feelings.
“I get your point.” He sighed.
“Tradition has value only for those who contributed crafting it, and live by it. But, you see, many people feel differently about what’s happening. First the seed of a bad apple got accepted to one of the six big academies.
Then, an outstanding member of the magical society, like Headmistress Linnea, has lost everything in the name of diversity, just to quench the thirst for revenge of social climbers that got too close to the Queen’s ear.
And now the prestigious White Griffon gets rid of its history, treating it as garbage, abolishing finals in favour of this farce of a grading system?” Lyam spat on the floor, uncaring of the disgusted looks people threw at him.
Yet his voice was calm and collected, Yurial doubted that anyone beside him could hear anything.
“Many people, both at the Court at the Mage Association, are not pleased with the course of these events. They would like the Queen to reconsider her decisions, taking her time to properly reflect before doing something this… drastic.”
Yurial knew there was little if no trust between them, and how Lyam was being subtle, making no names.
“What all this have to do with me?”
“Well, some think that all magical bloodlines should stick together and try to correct this situation. People like Linjos need to be put back in their place. And for that, I’d like your help.”
“I’m not going to hurt my friends!” Yurial angrily retorted. “Nor I am going to let anyone harm them!” His hostility only met an amused laughter.
“Your friends? It’s what you think this is all about? No one cares who do you pick as boot boy, or what kind of wench you prefer for warming your bed, to each his own. Everyone has his eccentricities.
No one will touch your servants, there is no need to. What we want is to get rid of Linjos. To prove that all these so called ‘changes’ do nothing but let weeds proliferate, while real talents get smothered in the crib.
I came to you today, because I need you to persuade your father to join our cause.”
“Good luck with that.” Yurial managed to say. “Do whatever you want, but leave me out of this. Be it the old or the new system, is none of my business.” He didn’t know if to report everything to the Headmaster, but he wasn’t stupid enough to reveal his intentions.
Keeping a neutral stand while deciding what to do was the best course of action.
“That’s unfortunate.” Lyam clicked his tongue.
“I really hoped you would come to your senses. Picking the wrong path in life can have terrible consequences.”
Yurial looked around, noticing that the corridor was empty. No one was around anymore, only the two of them remained.
Before he could demand for an explanation, Lyam punched him in the stomach, following with a hook to the chin that sent Yurial to the ground.
Suddenly, several people joined the beating, carefully avoiding to hit his face or vitals. While trying to protect himself, Yurial recognized some of them, all heirs of powerful nobles or ancient magical bloodlines.
“The good thing about stupidity, is that up to a certain degree it can be beaten out. Even dumb dogs learn their lessons with the proper training.” Lyam kneeled, using a powerful tier three healing spell on Yurial to leave no trace of the brutal aggression.
The pain, though, was still there. Yurial needed all of his willpower to not give them the satisfaction of begging to stop or screaming in agony. He hadn’t made a sound the whole time.
“Tell your father that this was just a warning. We can’t wait to have a proper talk with him too.”