The young man leads me through the halls of the academy, which are somewhat barren. Although there are the occasional students and teacher that pass by, most of the classrooms are not in use. Nobody that is here seems to be focusing on magic or their studies either, they are simply talking to their friends. Did I arrive on an off day or something?
“Here we are… please don’t say or do anything until I give you the signal. She can be… irritable to say the least.” The young man cautiously advises as we stand at the door
After thinking for a few short moments, I give a simple nod.
I don’t like that he dragged me to meet this person, and then told me to follow strict rules while doing so, but this might be my best chance of getting the skill I need to beat Afeuro. If I have to swallow my pride a bit, then that is just what I will do.
“Come in already!” I hear an irritated voice yell out following the boys cautious knocking
“Headmaster! I’ve brought you someone incredible! She has the greatest mana refinement I’ve ever seen!” The boy gushes as he barges into the room, pulling me along after him
As he does a whirling and wild fireball flies towards him, and only passes overhead by a small margin.
“Hm?!” I let out in surprise
“I said come in, not act like you own the place! and for the last time, I don’t care about every time a student manages to set a new record in something minor so stop dragging them into my office!” The voice from before angrily bickers
I almost don’t believe my eyes in regards to the source of the voice, however, as the only other person in this room is a dark-skinned young girl. If I didn’t know any better I would say she was no older than 8. She does not have the demeanor of a young child, however.
Are children mages common or something? All of the students seemed to be of a reasonable age though. I mean even if this academy had a thing for hiring young teachers, one this young just seems a bit excessive.
“You’ve got it all wrong! She isn’t even a student yet, and the other student wouldn’t even come even close! She is even better than y-”
Another fireball comes flying at his face, but this time there is no attempt to miss and the young boy takes it directly.
A look of worry flashes across my face as I watch the boys head ingulf in flames for a moment.
“Tei-la-war! Create water!” The boy says at an incredible speed as he manifests a ball of water over his head which promptly drops and puts out the flames
Is that faster than usual chant do to the “speed casting” skill he seemed to have? It cut down on the casting time by nearly half I would say… a chant that short would be a pretty significant advantage. I might start looking around for that skill if the one I am looking for isn’t here.
“You better watch your mouth boy. Speaking without thinking is the fastest way to get yourself toasted in my office.” The young girl says in a genuinely intimidating fashion
Her head snaps to me after she finishes scolding the boy, and she appears to be sizing me up.
I can’t act carelessly here. I’m almost certain she has the skill that I am looking for now… but my gut is telling me I need to be wary of this woman. I have to wait for the right moment.
“You. Cast something. I don’t care what.” She snarls in a demanding tone
Wait, what?! She wants me to cast something in here?! Is she testing me? We are inside her office though! Just about anything I could cast at full power would destroy something… maybe that barrier spell I just learned?
“Tei-Va-Proct Barrier” I say calmly as I attempt to put my full power into it this time
Much to my surprise, I can hardly see the barrier this time around, though the sudden quiet all around me assures me it is just as thick as it was before. Why did adding in more mana make the barrier more clear? I wonder how tough it is? If it doesn’t hinder my vision to use it at full strength then perhaps I can use this in my fight with Afuero.
As if thinking the same thing as me, the young girl on the other side of the barrier starts to tap on it lightly. She then steps back and holds out her hand towards me as if readying a spell.
Oh? Is she going to test its strength? Since we are indoors her spell choice must be limited though? I really wish we had done this outside instead so I could see-
FWOOOOOOOOSH! SHUWA SHU!
Mid-thought a stream of fire engulfs the entirety of the barrier. The silence left by it before has been replaced by the loud sounds of the roaring flames, a sound only comparable to a jet engine. The world around me has become pure fire, and although the barrier seems to be holding up, the heat inside of it is rising rapidly. The heat quickly becomes so much that I can’t stay on my feet anymore, and I slump over as the hot air fills my lungs, making it harder to breathe.
Again, how hot are these flames exactly?! My fire resistance should be helping me way more than they seem to be here?!
After what feels like an eternity the flames stop, and I drop the barrier in desperation as I gasp for air.
There is no ventilation in the barrier it seems, and at this moment I am both grateful and cursing that fact as I would have certainly been scorched if there were any gaps at all in it, but having none also means I have to drop my barrier in the face of this monster.
Screw the skill, it’s not worth it!
“You really are interesting. Not only do you actually have better mana refinement than myself, but you also managed to survive being cooked alive in your overly perfect barrier…” The girl says as she looks down at my gasping for air with a curious look on her face
She was actually trying to kill me.
The girl walks back to her desk and begins to root through some papers while I continue to catch my breath.
It is at this point that I notice that the room seems to be undamaged by the jet of flames she just produced. Neither the ground nor the walls around me have the faintest hint of scorch marks, and even the papers on her desk seem undisturbed.
“Fantastic. We have been needing someone like you. If you want we can hire you on as an instructor with a limited contract. If you want to enroll as a student, however, I am willing to wave the first year’s fee’s so long as you help in some ‘extra curricular activities’ for the sake of the school.” The girl begins to explain as she becomes far more serious and organizes some papers on the desk
“You… you’re insane you know that?” I say as I stand and clear my dry throat
“You didn’t? That boy really does skip over details when he gets excited doesn’t he?” The girl asks in a mocking tone
“Ya, I suppose I could have prepared you a bit more, Grandma can be a bit much for people sometimes.” The boy says in an apologetic tone with a smile on his face
A bit?! Wait… did he just say ‘grandma’?
“How many times do I have to tell you to call me ‘Headmaster’! Impertinent brat!” The girl yells out as she lobs another fireball at the boys head
Is that just a normal interaction between them?
“… I am wanting to enroll as a student. Before that, however, can I make a request?” I asks attempting to move the conversation along
The sooner our deal is struck, the sooner I can get away from this maniac.
“You want more? We are hurting on resources at the moment because of the student deficit, so please understand that we don’t have much to offer.” The girl says with a noticeably irritated tone
“Oh, no, it’s nothing like that. Today I realized the heights magic can reach because of you. More than anything I want to know just how strong you are. May I please use ‘status‘ on you?” I ask
In case my request is denied, I sneakily activate status while I ask. As far as I know, it shouldn’t be easily distinguished. Several menus pop up, including gained skills, but I quickly close them to not seem too distracted. I will need to check if I got the correct skill later.
“If you want to know how strong I am I will be sure to drill it into you after you start your studies. Now I grow impatient. Sign, leave, or keep making stupid request, your call.” The girl says with genuine fury
Although I activated it in case my request was denied, I didn’t think it would be denied with such anger? The status skill is rather useless outside of learning the general strength of monsters for most, isn’t it? Is there any reason for her to get so angry?
“…In that case, I will gratefully accept. Although I won’t be able to begin my studies until the tournament is over with.” I explain
“You are a contestant?… The tournament has gone rather downhill, hasn’t it? Whatever, just sign here then.” The girl says as she pushes forward one of the papers and points to a line towards the bottom
I follow her instructions and sign my name.
She gives it a sharp look as I write it in what must surely be unfamiliar text, but after a moment she shrugs and tucks the paper away.
“Now get out of my office. I was working before this little interruption and I would like to get back to it.” The girl says as she shuffles us away
Almost as soon as the door closes behind us the boy burst out happily.
“Wow! Grandma must really like you! She only tried to kill you once that whole time!” He happily cheers turning to me
Although I want nothing more than to rebut that ridiculous statement, I have priorities before that. I quickly skim my skill list, looking for anything new frantically.
… I got it.