Episode 35 – Special Handshake
What was one of the requirements that mages needed to fulfill before they could become A-ranked mages? It was to be able to cast level 9 spells!
Yet Elaru treated a level 9 spell as if it was only right for her to be able to cast it. As if there was nothing strange going on.
Kiel decided not to question her about it at this moment and concentrate on the problem at hand: she was clinging onto him a bit too tightly. Her whole body pressed against his own. It made his stomach do flip flops making him uncomfortable.
Kiel concentrated hard on the Rroda men as they passed right next to them. However, none of them even turned their heads in their direction.
Even so, Kiel didn’t relax in the slightest as they flew into the foyer. Luckily it had a very large ceiling so it presented no problem to fly above everyone’s head.
Only when they entered deeper into the foyer, where they were completely shielded from view of the Rroda men, did Kiel let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
As they approached the exit, they noticed there was a barrier erected preventing unauthorized people from going through it into the university.
Elaru didn’t hesitate at all and accelerated right into the barrier.
When they signed up for the entrance exams, they received badges with a number. Those badges also acted as their exam pass which allowed them to enter the university.
What greeted them as they passed through the barrier was another large courtyard. From all sides, many large structures could be seen in the distance, towering over them as if they were bugs.
The courtyard looked like a beautiful garden or a park with grass meadows and wide paved roads. It was prettily decorated with many different trees and flowers. There were even fountains, tables, and benches. It was a glorious sight.
Kiel could already tell that he would be spending a lot of his time relaxing in this park. It would be a perfect place to sit below a tree and read a book. Or even have a picnic.
Many different men and women could be seen passing through the courtyard, directed towards the exam rooms via guideposts.
Kiel and Elaru finally landed. Elaru released the invisibility barrier and unwrapped her Mind. They were safe. Rroda men couldn’t follow them inside without an exam pass.
They shared a relieved look, with a bit of gloating. For a moment it seemed as if their emotions had synchronized. It felt good to have a partner in crime, someone to have your back. Kiel felt a warmth spreading in his chest, which was suppressed by the cold he felt when Elaru’s body separated from his.
There was no more need for her to be pressed against him.
It’s good that she remembered to let me go. Kiel approved. It is tiring to have to constantly remind her to keep her distance.
They walked close to each other, following the guideposts towards a large ivory building that had many windows with red curtains. The building was named as “the Red Quarters”.
Why it was named that way and what it was used for was something Kiel and Elaru didn’t know at this point.
When they walked through the doors of the building, they entered into a well-lit hall which contained several tables and chairs. The ceiling of the hall was so high it reached the roof, on top of which was a glass dome. The bright sunlight entered through the glass and illuminated the entire main hall and the hallways of upper floors spread around the hall. The upper floors were separated from the main hall by a railing, so not only could the people walking down the corridors of the upper floors see down below to the main hall (and vice versa), but they could also skip taking the stairs and instead fly.
The entire building seemed to have the color red as its theme. The velvet chairs were red, carpets were red, even banners on the walls were red.
Elaru looked at the tables and chairs nodding approvingly. “Let’s meet up here after the exam.” Kiel let out a quiet hum that was supposed to be an affirmative answer.
The two didn’t dally around the main hall, but instead went straight to the closest staircase and climbed it to the second floor. No one else was flying so they (mostly Kiel) didn’t want to attract attention and took the stairs like everyone else.
Elaru’s exam was on this floor, while Kiel’s was on the fourth floor. It was finally time for them to go their separate ways.
Elaru looked back at Kiel, pouting, her eyes glazed over as if they were on the verge of tears. Yet her aura showed no sadness. Kiel barely restrained himself from smacking her on the back of her head.
“Stop with the pitiful act. We’ll see each other in a few hours. No need to be dramatic.”
In response, she extended her fist towards him. Kiel looked at her blankly. What? Do you want me to give you a fist bump?
Seeing Kiel’s confused look, instead of explaining herself verbally, Elaru chose to send him a memory.
The surroundings disappeared, and the first thing his eyes landed on was an elibu boy that looked no older than 10. His beautiful facial features were spread into a wide grin. The breeze ruffled his blonde and black hair left and right, tickling his tanned skin. His lime green eyes glittered mischievously as he extended his fist towards him…or rather, towards Elaru, since it was her memory.
Elaru didn’t reciprocate his own confused look, rather, she knew exactly what she was supposed to do. Her face spread into a wide grin, mirroring the same look on the boy’s face as she extended her own fist towards his.
The two did a strange, but cool, gesture which was a combination of fist bumping, high-five and a handshake.
The two didn’t speak any words. They didn’t need words. The handshake conveyed the message quite clearly. It was meant to mean something along the lines of “Break a leg!”, “Good luck!” or “Kick their asses”. It could even be used as a farewell, saying “Godspeed.” or “See you soon.”
The memory faded away, leaving Kiel with a frown on his face.
The handshake looked…familiar. He couldn’t quite place it. He was sure he had seen it before, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember where.
And the handshake wasn’t the only thing about the memory that gave him a sense of déjà vu.
There was something about the boy that looked familiar. Yet, he was sure that this was the first time he had seen him. He would have remembered an elibu boy with two colored hair. It wasn’t every day you see an elibu change the color of their hair to resemble the hair of an argel.
So then, why did the boy give him such a strong sense of déjà vu?
“Who was that?” Kiel blurted out.
Elaru smiled a brilliant smile full of affection that made Kiel’s heart suddenly clutch inside his chest. “That was Wade.”
Kiel’s lip curled. “The same guy who likes to touch inappropriate places?”
Elaru giggled warmly. “Yep. That’s Wade.”
She still had her fist placed in front of her, and she looked at Kiel expectantly.
Looking at her fist, Kiel hesitated for a while. Usually, he would ignore her and not do the handshake thingy. But would it really be wrong to do it? It didn’t look silly, it looked like something a cool crowd would do. So saying that he didn’t want to do it because it looked stupid would be a lie.
His hesitation came from the fact that it felt too personal. Like something one would do only with people closest to them. A way to exchange feelings and wishes with your best mates.
The cute face of the blonde boy flashed in Kiel’s mind, and he pressed his lips tightly together. Why not?
And so Kiel and Elaru exchanged the first of many special handshakes. Passing on how they felt without a need for words, they left; each towards their designated classroom.
Kiel had been waiting in front of his designated classroom for a while now. He stood with his back straight and a cool expression. He was a definition of a dignified noble.
As he waited, more and more people were arriving in front of the same classroom. All of them, without exception, looked his way, their gazes remaining on him for a prolonged period of time.
He could feel some faint hostility from the males, while the females seemed to have their eyes glued to him.
Whenever he caught someone staring at him, he would give them his signature gentle smile. The males would quickly look away embarrassed for being caught. While females would do the same, albeit with a blush on their face.
There was a female among the group who had the intention of approaching him and starting a conversation. While she was hesitating, Kiel was cursing the examiners to hurry up and start the exam.
As if they had heard him, the doors to the classroom opened revealing a familiar face.
It was an elibu in his twenties with silver hair tied behind his head and dark green eyes. The same elibu that Kiel had met previously when he came to sign up for the exam.
If Kiel remembered correctly, his name was Rau Eryey.
Rau looked at everyone gathered in front of the classroom, his face emotionless. “I am Rau Eryey and I’ll be one of your examiners today.”
As he revealed his name, surprised gasps could be heard from the gathered people. Everyone caught the significance of his name.
He is a noble!
Everyone suddenly became more self-aware, straightening their backs and trying to leave a good impression. They felt extremely lucky and privileged to be able to meet a noble. Most of them would never in their entire lives have a chance to interact with a noble.
They hoped to leave as good of an impression as they could, hoping that the noble before them would remember them. Even if he didn’t, they would be able to brag to their peers how they met a noble of a high standing.
As everyone was trying to keep their excitement off their face, there was one person in the group that had no trouble keeping his face calm and emotionless – quite similar to the expression currently on Rau’s face.
As Rau’s gaze landed on Kiel’s collected expression, recognition flickered in his eyes. He nodded to him slightly, his face remaining emotionless. It wasn’t that his countenance was cold, rather it was professional – collected and calm.
Kiel smiled politely in return, his bearing just as dignified as Rau’s.
After glancing over the examinees, Rau continued talking, not seeming to care about their excitement at all. “The first test of the exam tests your magic casting speed.”
Rau paused and motioned towards the classroom. “Come in and I shall explain how you will be tested.”
As he said that, he walked into the room. Everyone standing in front of the classroom soon followed him in.
The classroom was large with many tables and chairs moved to the edges, leaving a big empty space in the middle of the room. There was a long teacher’s desk at the head of the room where sat a middle-aged argel woman with dark-gray wavy hair framing her face which had several white strands interwoven within. She was smiling warmly towards the examinees. Her eyes were squinted into a crescent shape, looking as if they too were smiling.
On top of her desk, there were several sheets of paper, a few pens, an hourglass and a stack of small glass orbs.