Episode 132 – Change

Author Note:

  1. I changed the name of Blue/Red/Black/White Quarters to Sapphire/Ruby/ Onyx/Diamond Quarters because it sounds more sophisticated and because this way the building names of all 6 buildings start on a different letter so on timetables, signs, and doors instead of writing something like “Sapphire Quarters Classroom 203”, one can just write S203.
  2. I changed the name of array making and arrayist/array maker profession to inscription and inscriber respectively. The basis of this profession is in a special type of ink which has a high mana density which allows one to create enchantments by writing with it. Mages of this profession usually carve markings on their target object and fill them with ink so calling the entire process inscription is more accurate and easier to understand than a vague term as an array making. The reason why I initially wanted to call the profession array making is because this inscribed variety of enchantments are named arrays and are different from regular enchantments. Those enchantments will still be named as magical arrays, but the profession and people making them will now be called inscription and inscriber.

Previously:

Elaru meets up with Kiel after finishing her practical exam in which she subdued a familiar crew of ex-pirates. Kiel asks her about her background and this time Elaru does respond. She reveals that her father and her had spent the last 18 years searching for something. She says that she is specifically interested in topics concerning the gods, the soul and Aetherneal magic. Kiel offers to help her search for he is interested in information about Aetherneal bond. Kiel reveals his past to Elaru.

“And if I reach the top, the credentials of being a top quest seeker might be enough for me to be accepted into the Purge.”

Kiel’s face turned cold. “But my father and grandfather thought that as a Rroda I should be managing quest seekers, not being one. That would be quite unbefitting of my status. Father intended for my aunt to bring me into the business of managing the quest lodge.”

Episode 132 – Change

Kiel’s face scrunched up. “Naturally, I refused. I don’t want to spend my life pent up in an office reading about adventures and achievements of other people.”

Elaru nodded her head in complete understanding. Such a life would be rather miserable. At least on this point, they could wholeheartedly agree with each other.

“Father thought that after a few days of doing manual labor I would learn my lesson so he had them issue me the lowest quest seeker rank in the Beyd’s quest lodge.” Kiel snorted. “I bet he is currently waiting for me to send him a letter begging him to let me come to Ashar and work in quest lodge administration.”

Elaru grinned wide, showing her pearly white teeth. “I’d love to see his face when you show up wearing a Muni student uniform.”

Kiel’s mouth couldn’t help but twitch upwards at the thought. The facial expression of his grandfather would be even more amusing. He should pay the Rroda mansion a visit as soon as the enrollment procedure is done. After all, he should pick up his luggage that should have already arrived at the mainhouse several days ago.

Saturday. He concluded. I’d pay them a visit on Saturday.

“What about now? Now that you are no longer a non-mage, I mean. What do you intend to do with your new abundance of mana?” Elaru’s curious voice interrupted his thoughts.

Kiel paused. He hadn’t thought about it. It had been less than a week since he stopped being a non-mage. And since then Muni exams had occupied all his thoughts.

Only now that he was certain he would pass did he stop to think about the future.

What courses should he choose in Muni? What path should he pursue?

While watching arena matches and fighting was something Kiel enjoyed, he doubted that a life consisting of nothing but combat would sit well with him. He wanted to have some kind of purpose, a sense of achievement. He wanted to contribute something meaningful, to become a person people would respect and remember. He didn’t pursue power for the sake of power. To him battling prowess was just a means to an end. Therefore, he could cross off becoming a Warlock and fighting for the sake of entertainment.

Catching criminals no longer interested him as much as when his heart was still pure and filled with thoughts of justice, which it hadn’t been since his mother died. But solving mystery murder cases, while not impacting the magic society on a large scale, was still a meaningful contribution. Besides, the process involved in the matter might be quite exhilarating, so he shouldn’t hastily write off the possibility of becoming a Peacekeeper.

The only problem with becoming a Peacekeeper was that nobles usually didn’t respect and appreciate Peacekeepers. They saw them as servants of the people, with no poise, social status or money. Not much different from how they viewed quest seekers or priests. And thus, his grandfather and father wouldn’t really like the idea of him becoming a Peacekeeper.

As for becoming a Purger? The thought of exploring an uncharted land and looking for lost treasure did make his heart beat faster. Who wouldn’t be interested in doing that?

But becoming a Purger was extraordinarily difficult with an exceedingly small number of elites managing to make it into the ranks of the Purge. And even if one made it in, that wouldn’t mean they would automatically become treasure hunters. The vast majority of Purgers didn’t explore the forbidden zone, but rather, looked for the Tainted in the vicinity of the Shield for the purpose of purging the Ink.

Their method of purging consisted of getting rid of everything that had been tainted. Luckily, the Ink could only taint living things, so even if it seeped into the land, without living things to taint, it would eventually disappear. Or at least, that’s what the experts on Ink claimed. Though none of them had actually seen it disappear, supposedly it took a very long time for it to dissipate.

Other than joining the ranks of the Purge, he could become a researcher of Aetherneal magic, divine artifacts, and gods. It sounded like a fascinating topic, and if he became a prominent figure in the field, all noble families would be fighting to let him join their exploratory expeditions into the forbidden zone.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t find much on that topic in the books that had been available to him, so he was a complete novice to the field. But perhaps if he widened his knowledge about it in Muni he would be able to tell with certainty if it was the subject he wanted to pursue with the remainder of his life.

“I don’t know. I’ll just pick courses that interest me.” Kiel concluded. He’d probably pick a colorful mix of courses in his first semester to find out what he truly likes. And spend a large amount of time in the library investigating Aetherneal magic. He did tell Elaru he’d help her look for whatever she was searching for.

And maybe, just maybe, his future mentor would be able to help him in figuring out what path was the right one for him to pursue.

Kiel shared a look with Elaru and a smirk couldn’t help but twitch into existence on their faces. Neither of them knew what courses to sign up for. What would other people say if they knew that the geniuses in their eyes were even more lost about their own future than regular people?

Neither of the two continued to speak, but the silence wasn’t awkward. On the contrary, it was tranquil and comfortable.

When she isn’t causing trouble, Elaru isn’t a bad person to be around at all, Kiel thought. For the first time ever, he actually felt comfortable in a presence of another person his age.

Not just that, Elaru was really pleasing to the eye when she was agreeable, not causing trouble. That radiant smile that could topple cities, those deep eyes that reflected the entire universe, and that warm, comforting and uplifting aura that left soft air kisses on one’s skin. It was quite remarkable if one thought about it, her presence alone could calm the mind and elevate the mood.

◈ Friday, 31st of August, 1449 A.W. ◈

(Tomorrow)

That Friday morning proceeded strangely identical as the morning before. The only difference being that there was no crowd gathered in front of Muni. There were not many who applied for the special exam, thus the remaining examinees would only appear here in the afternoon when the entrance exam results would be posted.

As Kiel and Elaru flew over the heads of everyone, invisible as always, Kiel paid attention to the people going in the same direction as them. Chances were high that these people would be their future classmates.

The most attention drawing among the students was a female duo of Arites – Kiel could tell they were Arites due to their eye and hair colors. But even if he was color blind, he wouldn’t be able to miss their origin. Their beauty alone was enough to draw attention wherever they went, coupled with their demeanor and powerful auras they left a long-lasting impression.

Kiel glanced towards Elaru briefly, whose long ponytail flapped behind them like a flag or rather, a long red ribbon, glittering in the bright sunlight. Her bright teal eyes with golden lights looked soul stirring as they surveyed the surroundings with expectation. They would be moving into the dorms this afternoon, making this place their home for the next three years. And since Elaru never had a home, the feeling must have been new and exciting to her.

When Kiel’s gaze returned to the two Arite girls, suddenly they didn’t look nearly as exceptional as before. A comparison could really drive people mad. He should stop comparing girls to Elaru, it was unfair towards them.

Other than the two Arite girls, there were several other people that caught Kiel’s attention such as a strange looking guy wearing rainbow-colored clothes and hair highlights, with a lollipop in his mouth, and a handsome dark haired elibu with teal eyes that reminded Kiel of Elaru’s own teal orbs.

Kiel looked back towards Elaru again, who was gently hugging his arm like she always did when they flew under the invisibility barrier. For some reason, it was easier for her to control their acceleration and the entire dome of spells if their arms were linked. He had attempted questioning her on this matter several times but she always avoided answering.

Still, since she never took advantage of this physical contact in any way, this form of skin ship had stopped bothering Kiel. In fact, it was far from bothering him. Other than when she poked him, he didn’t dislike her touch.

Her skin was smoother than silk and softer than cotton. When her warm arms were wrapped around his, they put a very comfortable pressure on it. Her puffy sleeves, the texture of which reminded him of spidersilk, occasionally tickled his skin so lightly it might as well have been a soft breeze. And sometimes, when she hugged his arm tighter, her soft chest would cushion his arm in an enticing embrace.

Of course, he didn’t have any inappropriate thoughts about it. He just found it rather comfortable. Warm and soft. Just like he felt when a soft, furry creature rubbed itself on him. He’d rather die than admit it but he quite liked soft, fluffy creatures.

The mentioned creature landed and dispelled the barriers once the two entered inside Muni where Rroda men couldn’t reach them. Kiel’s heart twitched uncomfortably when the warm pressure lifted from his arm. It was that same feeling as when he forced himself to stop petting a lunar, least people laughed at him, and then instantly missed the feeling of the silky fur.

Kiel’s eyebrow twitched and his mouth curled upwards. Elaru, with silky hair, large eyes and long animated ears, really reminded him of a pet lunar sometimes. She was also both playful, cunning and graceful, just like a lunar. Perhaps he should just think of her as such.

Kiel caught himself before his hand could involuntarily rub her head.

Maybe thinking of her as a fluffy creature wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Elaru’s and Kiel’s special exam was scheduled to take place in Sapphire Quarters, which wasn’t a surprise, for the building housed classrooms and laboratories for activities closely related to the Theory of Magic, such as enchanting, inscribing, spell breaking, spell replicating, and the like.

The practitioners of such professions had to have a deep understanding of Theory of Magic thus they had much in common, even if the end result of their work wasn’t the same. It was like how herbalists and alchemists both needed to have a deep knowledge of herbs and their medicinal properties. Though they did different things with the knowledge, it was still the basis of their profession.

Blue stones that Sapphire Quarters is made out of

Thus, their two exams were scheduled to take place in the same building. They were even coincidentally scheduled for the exact same time slot. Hence, the duo made their way towards the building, which as its name suggested, was made out of blue stone.

Unlike how the building was filled with examinees in the previous days, today it was almost completely empty. Even the main hall with its tables and chairs was vacant and silent.

The only person they could see at first glance was a guy who was pushing a cart filled with artifacts towards the elevator.

Kiel rejoiced at the feeling of privacy, a soft smile almost sneaking onto his face. Fewer people there were, the more relaxed he felt.

Unfortunately, the lack of people also made Elaru more unbridled.

Coming up in the next episode:

Kiel’s heart almost jumped out of his chest and he barely avoided choking on his own saliva.

Low blow!! You are too despicable!!

How good would it feel if one day she would look at him like that for real?

He should be a law abiding, perfectly cultured… ah, forget it… that perfectly mannered person was never him, to begin with.

As he saw it, in the future his fangirls might just camp near this infernal device waiting for him to use it so that they have an excuse for “accidentally” jumping into his arms.

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