____________________________________________

“Alice..” said the Princess, and she waves her hand and lights the rooms around us. With that, I could clearly see the woman inside that our princess was referring to as ‘Alice.’ This woman, she was laying down on her side and holding on closely to what seemed like a magic stone. Then I noticed her hair didn’t reflect any of the light in the room.

“An elv?” I muttered, and immediately place my hand to my mouth and Lilia glared at me. Alice is beautiful for an elv, mesmerizing in fact with her long black hair. Her dress, too, seemed as if it struggled to match the dark shade of her hair in a battle to be the definition of the color black.

“…” She didn’t respond at all to her Highness.

“I’ve received permission from mother,” said the young Princess. “We’re heading south and you’re coming with me to find the signal that my brother’s seeker stone made a while ago.” Alice suddenly gets up from the bed and looks directly to the Princess, holds the bars with her hands and gets closer and closer. At the same moment, Lilia and I are startled by the news to which Lilia is the first to respond.

“Ma’am,” said Lilia in all eagerness, “please, if possible, might I accompany you?”

“You may,” said Alice, and I looked at Lilia confused as to why she was asking the woman in the jail cell and not the Princess.

“You seem fine from the looks of it..” said the Princess.

“Not entirely,” responded Alice, and moves her hands to the Princess, and her Highness responds by getting closer. Alice pets the Princess’s head. “You’ve grown to be a fine young Princess.”

“Then we’re off to find Lee,” said the Princess, and Alice laughs faintly.

“You still call him that?”

“Liel Olivar Charles Windser is just too long a name…” said the Princess.

“Lee is a good nickname..” said Alice and she smiles.

“Lee,” I said. It does sound nice to say.

* * *

 

A few weeks later.

 

* * *

“Lee.”

“…”

“Master Lee.”

“I’m up–I’m up,” I said, still drowsy and waking up early in the morning, actually much earlier than usual per Aril’s request. Aril Islah, the person I was now in a blood contract with, sat on the side of the bed. It’s already been two weeks since that incident with the contract. Zeyl left a few days afterwards and I’ve had to make do with living in a different Inn that is much closer to the Mirahn college of Magic. It costs about three hundred and fifty copper a week, or three and a half silver. A fair offer for the size of the room with two beds and free meals, among other things.

“Does it still hurt?” asked Aril, talking about the marking made from the incident. Though I am more concerned with her, since not only was my full name added from her arm down, but also my family crest that practically peeled the skin on the back of her hand.

“It stopped hurting the first day,” I said, and frowned, “yet yours keeps going even till now.”

“Well, that’s because you are Talician,” she said, and reminds me once again why it wasn’t bad on my side and that’s because those born of Talica have a great affinity with fire… no, to be correct, only those with royal blood have the affinity. “The pain I feel will go away eventually. It’s natural for a blood contract so please don’t ponder on it for long.”

“…Alright,” I said, and sighed. I sat myself up straight. I didn’t notice until now but Kahl and Sophie weren’t on their bed, and neither was Selsie laying around anywhere. Aril noticed my concern as I looked around.

“They are eating breakfast,” she said. I look at the clock and it’s six in the morning and in turn I lay down on the bed again and pull the covers over my head.

“No use,” I said, ‘It’s still too early~” I closed my eyes and tried going back to sleep, but the silence in the room, with the lack of crowds now gone, was almost deafening. I pull the covers off and looked to Aril, she didn’t say a word and simply waited on me. I found myself staring at her hand and could see my family crest.  “Okay, I’m up this time.” She smiles.

I went to join Kahl and Sophie to eat breakfast with them in the dining room. There were many other empty tables except for one or two people we didn’t know around the room and ignored them, just as they did us. Selsie was looking after the two brother and sister and began to wag her tail when she saw me coming inside the room.

Kahl greets me, and Sophie, as usual, doesn’t say a word. She doesn’t say much. Thankfully, the two know how to read at a decent level, so I’ve been teaching them whatever I could. Math, science, and whatever could prove useful to them in the future. And realistically, anything to make progress with Sophie. When I finished my meal, I go over the list of math problems I want them to try while I’m in class. I’d like them to join me in school, but I have to save whatever gold I have since Freyer warned me that I would not receive any more money until the stone is sold.

“Master Lee,” said Aril as she came inside the room, now wearing a complete maid’s uniform, which included long sleeves and white gloves on boths hands, one of which hides the emblem on her hand. “Could I take a moment of your time?”

“..?”

“Back in the room,” she said.

“Okay,” I said, but before that, I looked to Kahl and Sophie. I told them to finish the first set of problems and take a break after they finish. I then follow behind Aril and we make it back to our room. We take a seat by the table that is quite small in size.

“I was thinking…” she said.

“What?”

“I know that Miranh offers one semester for free,” she said.

“Are you interested in going to college?” I asked, meaning that.. “Wait, so you can use magic?”

“No, and yes,” she said. “I’m not interested in going, and I do know how to use magic. So.. I was hoping you could teach me… after all, it would be much better than spending money on a uniform and books for me.”

“…” Well, if she’s interested, “I don’t see why not?”

“Plus,” she continued, “I think you’d make a great teacher.” She also brings up a good point.. not that I’d make a good teacher, but that I could perhaps teach her my methods of using magic. I haven’t taught Kahl or Sophie about atoms yet, nor do I know if either can use magic in the first place.

I place my hand on the table and conjure a small bit of water and freeze it to form an icicle. Water is the easiest element to use. Speeding up its atoms or slowing them down greatly affects what happens to it.

“Can you evaporate this for me?” I asked. There is only a little, so it should be safe.

Aril places her hand over the frozen stick of water. It started melting, but it does so very slowly to the point that I am not exactly sure if it’s because of the room temperature or because Aril is actually doing so. After a moment, it began to gradually melt more and more . Normal students can barely do this, so I impressed. The water then started to glow brightly and I look at Aril’s arm shaking slightly. This brings me back to a class a while ago where a student added too much magic and the pool of water exploded in all directions. It was boiling water, too.

It grew brighter and I immediately place my hand toward it but it explodes just as quickly. Some of it floats close to my eyes and evaporates entirely as I stopped it before it could hit me.

“Ah–I’m so sorry!” said Aril. I made sure none of it got on her either.

“It’s fine,” I said, “before we try again, I want Neean to take a look at you and see what your limit is. I’ll take the others as well.” I’m curios to know if they can use magic or not.

* * *

Like professor Krum had recommended, I was placed in an intermediate class of offensive magic. We learned more about manipulating and moving water and air, all without using our hands too much and this proved quite difficult.. fore everyone everyone else. Professor Krum taught a lot of different classes, and so an intermediate placement landed me with him again.

I was practicing what was essential a game of catch. Instead of a ball, we used either fire or water. Of course, most students opted to using water because it is easy to use. Our uniforms protected us from this level of magic regardless, so we won’t get harmed if we used fire should we desire it. Lo was opposite to me, just a few yards away and was my partner in this game of catch. Thankfully, I didn’t have to use much magic because I did not have to force the atoms around us to become an element. We were simply changing the directions of the balls of water thrown and changing its direction one hundred and eighty degrees to the other person.

That, however, was not what our instructor wanted us to learn. The next step is to guide the spell to its target and hit them. Lo and I needed to manipulate the water and successfully avoid the spell when it comes toward us, and also make contact with our target when throwing it back.

This is why droplets of water kept falling from Lo’s uniform. She’s drenched from four spells of water having completely hit her, while I was dry as can be. She was was angry, I could feel it. After the fourth hit I was inevitably tired and exhausted most of my magic reserves since the spells we used were more or less consecutive. Lo formed another ball of water from the main pool all the students were borrowing from and she threw it directly at me without haste.

“Oof!” was the sound I made when it hit my face and slammed me back and was now laying on my back. Lo laughed and showed her true colors. She’s extremely competitive, but if she ever made a mistake, she would sincerely apologies and turn into the shy Lo I first met.

I have to thank her, however, for the way she treats me without remorse. I’m sure the other students felt uncomfortable with a younger student joining their class the first few days I came here. I could hear other students laughing at me, but also at each other because everyone was being hit with water, and I’m sure no one in the room was excluded from getting wet at some point during the training.

When class finished, I began drying myself, or really, just removing most of the water molecules from the my clothing and robe. Though the robe itself is more like a trench coat.

I’ve also been learning from Mr. Coll, but the progress in his class is rather slow because we only learn about theories while we wait for a collection of very cheap stones to be delivered to us and we can use them to practice our magic with. We are, apparently, not at the level where we should be pouring magic into other items. Mr. Coll once told us of a past student that did so on a pair of his own clothing and then wore it only to burn the skin completely off and died the following day. We all heeded his warning.

Lastly, there was a class on creating potions that was a requirement for new students. It’s interesting, regardless, since out in the field we don’t know what will happen if we run out of magic and only have nature around us to help. The only problem for me was that I could not recognize over eighty percent of the plants and materials used in mixing and brewing a potion.

Students that were part of the military, wherein their tuition is paid for by Aria, had to stay longer in class and attend military training aside form that. Lo was a part of that group and so we met up during lunch hours since I didn’t know anyone else. She was my tutor until it was decided I was going to be fine on my own, but she still decided to go ahead with it because we could learn from each other.

“I’ll see ya next time,” I said to Lo since we I had finished eating lunch. She stayed behind and waved goodbye. I walked to school entrance and saw them waiting. Aril, Kahl, Sophie, and even our overwhelmingly large pet wolf, Selsie. We headed for Neean’s office and had her check on the three to see if they could use magic or not.

“Aril, you have an unnaturally large vein,” said Neean. “You can definitely use magic, but I would suggest you learn to control it first before using a spell.” A reminder of this morning’s incident.

“Thank you,” said Aril and she gets up from the seat and lets Sophie have a turn.

“Sophie, that’s a wonderful name,” said Neean, trying to comfort the ever so scared of strangers, Sophie. Neean has her lay down with her neck out and begins analyzing it.

“…” I felt nervous for some reason, perhaps because this could determine what Sophie and Kahl do for the rest of their lives.

“She can use magic,” said Neean, and I couldn’t help but smile. Next up was Kahl and I couldn’t calm down now that I knew Sophie could use magic. Neean begins analyzing his neck and searchers for the vein that grows inside a large portion of the population. No one knows why some people can’t use magic and others can, but it doesn’t bother either side. Meaning that there isn’t any discrimination between those who can and can’t use magic.

Some time passed and Neean was still searching. From what I learned, the vein can be found on our necks. Sometimes it would glow and become only just barely visible to the human eye when in the act of using magic.

“I’m sorry,” said Neean. “Kahl cannot use magic.”I froze in place when she said this.

“It’s okay,” said Kahl. “I was actually hoping for this, and sort of knew I couldn’t use it anyway.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. We left after that and thanked Neean for the help.

* * *

“Let’s go on a vacation,” I said, now at the Inn. I haven’t left the city gates ever since I arrived and I think we could use a change of pace. “Know anywhere good, Aril?”

“We could always go to Crater Lake,” she said.

“Is it far?”

“About a day away,” she said.

“Then we’ll go there.”

I say vacation, but there are things I want to try out while we’re there.

“We’ll head out in a few days,” I said. “Are you two fine with that?” I looked to Kahl and Sophie, and both nod. Selsie, on the other hand, was wagging her tail like crazy, enough so that I could feel a mini gust of wind hitting us.

 

End.

 

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