As always please leave a comment and don't forget to rate. We hope you enjoy.
Placement and A Visitor in the Night
Daiya helped Richard sit down gently on a wooden bench in the waiting room under the arena, the noise of the crowd buzzing over them as they began to leave in confusion. Richard couldn't blame them for being confused though. They had been told that he had won the duel but then he declined the win saying that it was Daiya who had won instead. She had won though, his inability to walk on his own was proof of that. Hell, he could barely keep his eyes open as well.
'Are you alright?' the Dark Elf Princess asked and knelt down a foot in front of him, her eyes scanning over his body that was drenched in sweat. 'What happened?'
'You hit me with that fire whip thing, remember?' he chuckled gently but his voice was haggard.
'You shrugged that attack off... why is it effecting you now?'
Richard shrugged, bringing his hand up to his face where it had hit him. The heat that had been coming off his skin right after the attack had dissipated and most of the pain was starting to fade away. It must have been the protective spell protecting the arena because Richard was sure he should still be feeling something from that attack. Right now he mostly felt tired and dizzy, like he had run further than he was capable of and was paying for the activity.
Daiya continued to look at him thoughtfully for a few moments, a small crease forming between her thin eyebrows. Being as close as she was, Richard couldn't help but notice just how beautiful of a woman she was. Her skin was a very light golden brown like she was tanned from the sun, and her long brown hair seemed to even sparkle in the dim torchlight they sat under now. Her eyes held a lot more kindness than he had seen from her before and he could make out the faint smell of flowers coming from her body. Her body as well seemed to be perfectly developed and she had curves in all the right places that was capped off by a nice sized chest that was sure to make any man drool. Richard couldn't focus on that in his tired state though, which was probably a good thing.
'Why did you forfeit?' she asked him in a gentle voice and her eyes locked onto his.
'I'd like to know that myself!' a strong and regal voice boomed through the underground circular room. Turning their heads towards the main entrance both he and Daiya spied four people entering the room; Queen Lystia, Aura, Coni, and the Dark Elf King.
Richard had only seen the King from a distance when he had been on the arena floor and even from there he had looked imposing. Now that they were closer Richard noticed that he was even more so imposing with large muscles, tanned skin, a powerful jaw, long white hair pulled into a top knot, and a few battle scars on his rather large body.
'Yes, why did you Richard?' the Queen asked with a small smile and the group of imposing people came to a stop two feet away from him. 'King Dycoz, the headmaster and myself all voted in your favor.'
'I... I didn't win though,' he answered.
'Are you saying we were mistaken?' King Dycoz asked and his voice held a cold edge to it.
'Not at all, your Majesty,' he shook his head quickly and a wave of nausea shot through his stomach, 'I'm just telling you what I saw and felt in that duel. The Princess not only managed to avoid and protect against all my attacks, she also managed to get me pretty good on her last one. I think I may have lost consciousness for a second there.'
'My, is that true?' the Queen asked him and he nodded. Things were a little foggy in his memory but he was pretty sure that had been the case. 'You have quite an honest child, Aura.'
'I like to think so,' Aura smiled and nodded gently towards him, saying that she was proud he wasn't a liar.
'I see,' the Dark Elf King mused and a bemused smile came over his face for a moment. 'If that's the case then it seems that we had been mistaken in our decision.'
'No, father!' Daiya said loudly and stood up to face the large man that stood a full head over her. 'I do not believe you were mistaken father. Richard could have won the match but he went easy in it. While his second attack was extremely powerful it could have been so much more devastating if he had used the orb he held in his hand. Even at the distance we were standing apart I could feel how much magic was condensed in it. If he had thrown that at me and exploded it like his last attack I wouldn't have been able to continue.'
'You can't be serious, Daiya!' Coni said loudly. 'Richard has had no formal training and you are the Daughter of Fire. For you to lose to him would be unheard of!'
'True, he hasn't been trained and all of his attacks were wild and barely controlled, but that doesn't change the fact that the power he held was incredible. That orb was pure magic with no constraint. Why didn't you use it, Richard?'
Every eye in the room fell on him and he swallowed hard, feeling more pressure than he was used to being on him. 'I... I thought of using it but I didn't want to destroy the arena or accidentally hurt you. Like you said, my attacks were wild and I didn't know if I could control that much power.'
Silence fell on them and they all regarded him thoughtfully for a few moments. A second later a loud and booming laughter exploded through the large room and spooked Richard so bad he almost fell over backwards from the bench he was sitting on. Only with the help of Daiya was he able to stop from falling over.
'You weren't joking when you said this boy was interesting!' King Dycoz roared and reached out a massive hand to smack him painfully on the back. 'I'm looking forward to hearing more about you and I expect good things!'
'Your Majesty?' Richard winced and rubbed the spot he had been slapped.
'I expect you to meet my daughter in the Tournament this winter and I can't wait to see what a real duel between the two of you will be like! You might just be the one to take her title! Now come, Daiya, I wish to speak with you and the beautiful Queen Lystia for a while before I make my return home.'
All three royals nodded to those gathered and then took their leave. He, Coni, and Aura stood there for a few moments and watched them go, the muffled talking above their heads slowly dwindling until everyone had left the stadium as well. After a few minutes of silence Aura walked over and sat down on the bench right next to him, nudging him gently with a big smile on her face.
'Good work, Richard,' she said and patted him gently on the top of his head like he was a pet dog. 'I'm proud of you for doing what you did. From where we sat it was hard to see what was really happening down there and I had a feeling most of your attacks missed Daiya. The others didn't think so though and they awarded you the win based purely on your strength and the fact that you had almost no experience in that kind of situation.'
'I knew he hadn't won,' Coni snorted and her older sister threw her a baleful glance. 'What? I was right, wasn't I? Look, I'll admit that he did fairly well out there, but if that had been a real duel he wouldn't have stood a chance against them.'
'You're just jealous that King Dycoz thinks he has a better chance of beating his daughter than you do,' Aura pointed out with a smile and Coni scowled. 'You may just end up third this year instead of second.'
'No, she's probably right. I was caught completely off guard when she counter attacked so quickly in that last round,' Richard said with a sigh. 'I can see why she is called the Daughter of Fire. If that had been a real duel I would only been able to defend, and probably not for long. Being restricted to only one attack per round like that hampered her and I can tell just by what I saw that she wasn't able to really unload on me.'
Aura moved closer to him, pushing her shoulder up against his and wrapping an arm around him gently, like a mother consoling an upset child. 'You just need some training and you'll be able to get that here at the academy. The winter tournament is in three months time and I am sure that by then you will be able to control your raw power a whole lot better. Your father would be proud!'
'Father?' Richard asked but realized she meant the man she had met when she was his age. Coni didn't know that he wasn't really her son still. 'Right. Thanks.... mom.'
'Ugh, I still can't believe you're a mother,' Coni groaned at Aura but they both ignored her.
'I should probably go lie down for a bit,' Richard said and stood shakily to his feet, the room spinning around him slightly.
'Wait a moment,' Aura said and quickly stood up to help steady the teetering teenager. 'I need to tell you what's been decided by the headmaster. The duel originally was meant to be a placement test.'
'Right... I forgot about that.'
'The three judges who scored your match, King Dycoz, Lystia, and the headmaster were the ones to decide which classes you will be placed in. Starting tomorrow afternoon you will head to the fourth year class tower and attend Advanced Arcane and Advanced Magical Theory.'
'Seriously?!' he cried. Aura nodded with a happy smile while Coni just groaned again.
'Yes, seriously. All students above first year are required to take three magical courses, Arcane, Magical Theory, and whatever element they can control. Since your element is so rare there is no professor on the continent that is qualified to teach it, so you will only have to take two courses and get the last period of the day free to practice your Light Magic. And if you're worried about not fitting in with the older students or think you will be a burden because of your lack of experience, don't. I teach advanced Arcane and Coni is also in the class. A good friend of mine teaches Advanced Magical Theory and I am sure she will take good care of you.'
'That's not what I'm worried about! I've never used Arcane magic before. What if I can't cast it?'
'Everyone who can use magic can cast arcane spells,' Coni answered and her voice was surprisingly even. 'Every mage can cast two forms of magic, their element and arcane. Arcane is basically the life blood of spells and is required to cast elemental magic. Since you can perform Light Magic that means you can cast Arcane Magic as well. I just think you should be in Beginner Arcane instead.'
'Huh, how about that. We actually agree on something,' he said with a smirk and then added, 'anyways I'm gonna go lie down for a bit.'
'Have a good rest,' Aura said as he walked away and he raised a hand in thanks.
When Richard had gotten back to his room after the duel it had only been mid afternoon, but he had been so tired that he fell asleep almost instantly and slept soundly through the night. He didn't stir once and when he finally woke up the next morning he felt refreshed and ready to go for his first full day of classes. He still wasn't keen on math or his magical classes but history would probably hold his interest. For the small amount of time he had been in that class he had learned that this worlds history was a lot more interesting than Earths and that Aura was a really good professor who mixed lectures with class participation to keep everyone interested. He actually couldn't wait to learn more in her class.
Richard rolled over in his rather large bed and felt a few warm rays of sun fall over his rejuvenated body. Unlike most mornings when he woke up he was feeling really warm right then and he relished it. Sleeping in a drafty marble room all the time would probably make him sick but he was glad that the staff kept his fire going all night so he could keep some warmth in it. This morning though he quickly began to realize that the warmth of his bed was greater than it should be and there was also the sweet smell of flowers attacking his nose as he breathed in deeply.
Sitting up in bed to see what had caused the change he noticed something that definitely shouldn't be there; a long tuft of silky brown hair half covered by the thick blankets. Ripping the covers of the small sleeping form he nearly fell out of bed in shock at who he found there; The Crown Princess, Reiea.
'WHAT THE HELL!' he shouted at the top of his lungs and jumped out of bed, backing away from it five feet before he felt safe once again. The girl shifted in her sleep and mumbled in a cute way, dressed in a long white nightgown that had ridden up her legs a bit and was displaying two smooth milky white thighs. 'Reiea! Wake up!!'
The Princess shifted on the bed once more and rolled over so she was facing him, her eyes opening slightly as the sun hit her full on the face. She lifted herself onto her elbows and then looked around the room, as if trying to figure out where she was as sleep still clung to her and she was momentarily disoriented.
'W... what's wrong?' she asked and pierced him with her bleary eyes.
'What are you doing here?! In my bed!'
'Sleeping,' she answered and sat up fully now, her legs swigging over the edge of the bed as she rubbed her eyes for a moment.
'But why in my room? I thought you would have returned to the palace last night with your mother!'
'She and King Dycoz spoke with each other late into the night and we decided to stay here until it was light out again. All this talk about getting you married was too much for me so I just left and found my way here where I ended up falling asleep while watching you.'
'That's a little creepy,' he mumbled under his breath but then got back to the problem at hand. 'Do you even realize what it would look like if we were caught in the same bed? God forbid it was your mother or my mother who found us!'
'Of course I know what it would look like,' the girl sighed and he realized he had hit a nerve. He just had no idea which nerve that was. 'I'm not a child, Richard! Besides, nothing actually happened so I don't see what the problem is! I just wanted a little company while I slept.'
Richard buried his face in his hands and let loose a groan of exasperation. For some reason he highly doubted Reiea thought about the implications of her crawling into bed with him and he was only glad they hadn't been caught. This would give Coni ample reason to kill him and he really didn't want that happening.
'I think you should probably leave, before anyone comes up here and finds you. I just... I can't deal with all of this right now,' he breathed and Reiea's eyes dropped a little and her lips began to pout. They stood there in silence for a few moments but then she got up off the bed and walked to the door, looking back at him in a sad manner one last time before leaving.
Sighing, Richard leaned up against the wall near the window and gathered his thoughts. It still appeared to be early in the morning and he half thought about going back to bed, but this late in the game he would probably end up over sleeping and missing his math class. With the teacher of that class being Alyssa he wasn't sure he wanted to give her any reason to punish him, because he was sure the punishment really wouldn't be punishment at all.
After dressing slowly and putting his writing materials back into his bag a maid brought up his meal from the kitchen. The staff was still under orders by Aura to bring his meals to his room and he wasn't sure how much longer that was going to last. He didn't have a problem with going down to the dining hall on the ground floor to eat with the rest of the students, in fact he kind of welcomed it. With no television, radio, or MP3 Player he found that meals on his own were a pretty boring affair and even the sound of other students talking excitedly actually sounded like a pretty good distraction to him. Besides, since he showed that he could cast magic most of the students didn't seem to treat him like a piece of trash anymore. In fact most smiled when he walked past, and even a few bowed their heads; but that was probably because of his fake title.
After finishing his delicious and hot breakfast he left his room and headed to the first year course tower, going up to the second to last floor and finding the door to his class. Walking in he found most of the students were already in their desks and Alyssa was writing a problem on the blackboard. Not sure if he should go and find a seat on his own he decided to stand there and wait for the Professor to notice him, which didn't take very long.
'Ah, welcome Richard,' the redhead beamed and beckoned him closer as the last few students filed in and took their seats. 'I'm glad you could make it today. After seeing you almost collapse in the arena yesterday I feared I wouldn't get the pleasure of having you in class this morning.'
'I was just a little tired,' he replied with a slight smile and rubbed the back of his head nervously, 'a good night's sleep and I'm good to go. Should I just take a seat anywhere?'
'Not just yet dear, I need to see how knowledgeable you are in this subject first. I wouldn't want to begin teaching something that you didn't understand.' Alyssa turned back to the rest of the class and clapped her hands twice to get their attention. 'We'll begin momentarily everyone, just bear with me for a few more minutes while I sort some things out first. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves quietly.'
The class smiled at their teacher and began to talk to one another, their voices hushed but there was still an almost excited vibe. He noticed once again that he was the only male in the class so they were probably just intrigued to see a man in the class. He just hoped things didn't get too out of hand because he was there.
'Alright Richard,' Alyssa said and turned back towards him, 'I've written out three math problems on the board that I want you to answer to the best of your ability. If you don't understand one just move to the next one.'
Turning to the massive chalkboard he found the three problems she had mentioned. He quickly picked up the chalk she held out to him and with only looking at the first problem for a few seconds he quickly answered it. Moving onto the next one he did the same with no problems and even corrected a small mistake in the third question. When he was finished he stood back and Alyssa took a step until she was right at his side, her eyes going over each answer.
'Impressive,' she admitted with a wide smile and placed a hand on his shoulder, 'You even found the trick I put in the last question. These problems were ones the class hadn't even tackled yet.'
'Why would you make me answer them if they wouldn't know them?' he asked and she tilted her head so she was looking at him.
'I wanted to test you. I had a feeling you were fairly smart but I didn't expect you to answer them so quickly. What's the most advanced equation you know?'
'Hmm, let's see,' he said softly and moved back to the board. He held out the chalk for a moment and then decided to write down what he knew.
'Interesting, but what is it?' the professor asked and he couldn't repress a smile.
'In physics, especially special and normal relativity, this equation is known as the Mass-Energy Equivalence wherein energy equals mass times the speed of light in a vacuum squared,' he explained and was actually happy that he had mistakenly taken physics last year in high school. He didn't actually understand everything he was saying but he had learned enough that he could make it sound like he was smart, including memorizing a few of these kinds of equations in case his old teacher tried to test him in the hopes of getting a laugh.
'I see...' Alyssa spoke and he could tell by the sound of her voice that she hadn't followed anything he had just said. A few of the students had seen what he had written on the board and were now leaning forward in their chairs to hear what he and their professor were talking about. 'I'm not sure I follow though. Can you give an example.'
Sighing a little in exasperation, Richard moved back to the blackboard and began to write out the only example he could remember from last year, hoping that it was enough to end this. Considering this was something one of the smartest men in history figured out during the modern age he guessed his chances of doing that was impossible. This world seemed to be still stuck in the dark ages or something so he didn't see how they would understand anything of what he is writing.
E2 = (m c2)2 = (m0c2)2 + (pc)2
'What?' Alyssa breathed and moved closer to the board, 'This just looks like a bunch of letters.'
'It's a complete relativistic relation. E equals total energy, M equals relativistic mass, M0 equals rest mass, and PC equals momentum in energy units. It's uh... well...'
'It's beautiful,' Alyssa whispered and then waved her hand over the blackboard causing everything he had just written to disappear. 'I think I have some things to discuss with your mother later. For now though, why don't you take a seat in the front row.'
Richard nodded slowly as he realized he did something he probably shouldn't have. If anyone, and that included Alyssa, started asking questions about him there would no good answers. He only hoped she forgot about it before she had a chance to speak with Aura or he was sure to hear about this tonight. He turned and walked to an open seat next to a rather round girl sitting in the front row, her slick black locks pulled into pigtails and a giddy smile on her face.
'Alright class, as I'm sure you've all heard and noticed by now, we have a new student. Lord Proud will be joining our class from this day on and I expect you to treat him with respect. He is the son of Professor Proud and you know how she can get. Richard probably shouldn't be in this class as it seems he has more knowledge in this field than other students at this school, but let's not tell the other teachers about that. I'd like to keep my dear here if possible. Feel free to ask him any questions if you are stuck and I am unavailable as I am sure he can help you out with no problems,' Alyssa announced to the class and Richard sighed.
He was already regretting his actions and knew he probably should have just phoned it in. It was one thing that he could have just blown his cover, another entirely to be the center of attention in the class. All the girls were eyeing him hungrily and he only hoped he survived to make it to his second period. The rate things were going at though he would probably be swarmed by the students or eaten by Alyssa as she had pretty much just announced her interest in him to the entire class.
Thankfully the class was pretty subdued, most people seeming to be too shy to approach him and ask for any help. The girl next to him took advantage of their closeness and he mostly helped her out while Alyssa went from student to student and explained the problems to them in great detail. When the class was released he avoided getting close to the professor in fear she would try to use her position as his teacher to get him alone for a while and quickly rushed off to his next class.
When he arrived he found he was the first one there so he quickly sat down at his seat and pulled out his parchment and quill. With the thirty minute break between classes that were in the same building most students went out to the courtyard to get a quick cup of tea before their next obligation. Richard thought about heading out there himself but decided not to as he was bound to run into some kind of trouble. Even if he wasn't treated like a second class citizen anymore it didn't stop him from drawing the wrong kind of attention. He just wanted to spend his days going to class peacefully and not worry about being followed by a pack of first year girls or accidentally pissing off some fourth year who thought they were better than him.
The students finally arrived and before most of them had even taken their seats Aura entered the room and pulled out a large tome. She gathered everyone's attention easily and then began her lecture, asking random students for answers and awarding them points to their grades. Richard made a mental note to ask her for the tome she was reading from because he wanted to study it that night and catch up with everyone else. It also didn't hurt that he enjoyed the subject so much. He was just having trouble following it because everything was so foreign to him.
Lisbeth seemed to notice that he was having trouble paying attention and she asked him in a whisper; 'Is everything alright? Looks like you've got something on your mind.'
'Yeah, sorta I guess,' he answered in a whisper as well. She wasn't far from the truth and now that she had said something everything came crashing down on him; his strange ability to cast magic, being a fake lord, being from a different world and not knowing when he could go home again, and being an idiot in math class and showing Alyssa an equation this world might never discover. To say he had something on his mind was a bit of an understatement.
'Does it have to do with the rumor going around?' she asked him and he looked at her in confusion.
'Wh... what rumor?' he asked and hoped it wasn't something that would get him and the rest of his 'family' in trouble. Or maybe someone had seen Reiea leaving his room that morning, which he hoped not because that was more trouble than he could avoid.
'That more than one hundred students have already had their families make a formal request for your marriage rights?'
'WHAT?!' he yelled and was suddenly on his feet, every eye on the class on him.
'Is there a problem, Richard?' Aura asked him in a hard tone for disturbing the class; her eyes were worried though.
'It seems like there is, so what is it?' she pressed and he knew she was curious at what had just caused his outburst. It wasn't exactly something he could just say out loud though.
'It's nothing that needs to be talked about right now... in front of so many people,' he said through a tight throat and the beautiful woman's eyes narrowed. She motioned for him to come down to the lower level and then pointed him to the door. Both of them left the class while she told her students to read quietly until they returned.
'What's going on?' she asked him and there was real emotion in her voice now that they were away from the class. 'Has something happened?'
'No, not really,' he answered lamely, 'it's just something Lisbeth told me, about a rumor.'
Visibly sighing, Aura leaned against the closed door and took a deep breath as her features relaxed. He had no idea he had spooked her that bad and he felt like an idiot. 'You shouldn't worry about rumors, Richard. This is a school dominated by girls so there are bound to be some floating around.'
'So, one hundred of them haven't asked you for my marriage rights?' he asked and he noticed her eyes twitch at the question. 'Tell me it's not true.'
'Well, the number isn't correct,' she answered sheepishly and for a moment he figured the students had grossly exaggerated the real number, 'Since last night I have received three hundred from students at this academy and another two hundred from students at other academies on the continent and other women and their families.'
After receiving that kind of information Richard had no idea what to say or how to react. It was just too baffling to even make sense. It's not like he was extremely attractive and he himself had already admitted that his magic was raw and uncontained, so when he did develop some skill that raw power would probably be a lot smaller than it was now. So why were so many women trying to become his fiancé?
'Just don't worry about it right now, okay? In fact you don't have to worry about it at all. Lystia and myself will deal with all the work involved so all you have to do is just sit back and relax. Besides, that number will only go down as we go through each name and toss them away.'
'Has anyone stopped to think what will happen after I go back to my own home? What's the woman going to be told? That I abandoned her or something? It's not very nice!'
'You're right, that wouldn't be very nice, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. You are seen as my son though, and with that comes responsibilities. Add the fact that you are an extremely powerful male mage and there's nothing we can do about it. We have to go through the normal actions or things will look suspicious. Just please understand that.'
Richard nodded with a grunt, not looking Aura in the eyes. He still thought what they were doing was horrible but it was obvious there wasn't anything else they could do. Whatever the Queen was thinking was beyond him. She could have come up with a better lie about him then the long lost son of a royal. With any luck he would be out of there before a woman was chosen for him and it wouldn't matter anymore.
'We should get back to class. Oh, just one more thing. Try to act like you're enjoying the idea of that many eligible women after you. You are a man after all.'
When they walked back into the classroom the other students gave them curious looks but Richard ignored them and took his seat next to Lisbeth once more. It looked like she was dying to ask him something but her acute shyness overrode her desire and she remained quiet, feeding him the odd answer to a question like she had on the first day of class.
Richard spent his lunch sitting alone in his room, now in possession of the history book Aura had been reading from, and dreading his next class; Advanced Arcane Magic. He only knew how to cast Light Magic and his mastery over that was trembling at best, so how did anyone expect him to walk into an advanced class and accomplish anything? He would be lucky to make it through the rest of the day without being laughed at and only hoped Aura didn't pay any special attention to him as she was the teacher.
When the time finally came he made a slow walk towards the fourth year tower and found his way to his classroom while older students looked at him like he didn't belong. If they only knew how right they were. The room he found himself in was an exact copy of the ones in the first year tower and most of the seats had already been filled. In fact all the seats had been filled by the overwhelming female population that actually had two men mixed in. Just by looking at the men Richard knew they wouldn't get along though. Their noses were pointed up and they had nasty sneers on their faces, like they felt they were entitled to everything and no one was better than them.
The door by the chalkboard opened and Aura came into the room, waving Richard over before setting her leather bag down on the desk that sat on the lowest level. He wanted to ask her what his role in this class was going to be and what he would actually have to do, but she turned to the class instead and gathered everyone's attention in her normal fashion.
'Alright everyone, calm down!' she called out and all talking stopped. 'A new student will be joining us today. Lord Proud is a first year at the academy but has been deemed strong enough to join in with the number one arcane class. Everyone please say hello to Richard.'
'Hello!' most of the students called out in unison. A few remained quiet however and Richard noticed that both the men, Coni, and Agnes (who appeared to be in the class as well) had remained quiet and even glared at him.
'Richard,' she said and turned to him, 'magical classes are seated differently than the normal classes and everything goes by your rank.'
'Umm, there aren't any seats open though,' he pointed out and Aura looked out over her class and seemed to finally notice the same thing.
'We'll just have to squeeze you in then. Now, since this is your first year and the winter tournament hasn't occurred yet you would normally be seated at the very front of the class as the lowest ranked student. However, your ranking is not last among the other students.'
'Professor!' one of the men called out loudly and stood up from his desk mid way to the top tier. His hair was blonde and he had a long beak like nose that only made him look more unfriendly. 'How is that even possible? He's a first year!'
'Settle down Dawkins,' Aura held up her hand and the man sat down again, 'Richard has already participated in two duels and defeated five people, one of whom happened to be your third ranked twin sister.'
The scowl Agnes had been wearing turned downright ugly as Aura mentioned her defeat and Richard feared that she was about to hurl a bolt of lightning at him, but thankfully she swallowed her anger and averted her gaze. Coni, who sat right next to her just rolled her eyes and snorted loud enough for everyone to hear and a chorus of soft giggles followed. That's when Richard noticed the woman sitting on the other side of Coni, the tall and beautiful Daiya who was smiling politely.
'Since Richard has defeated five of the top twenty strongest mages here and it is a new school year fresh off the reset and Chaos Week, he is currently sitting in a tie for second.'
'WHAT?!' Coni roared and now she was suddenly on her feet with flared nostrils.
'Calm down, calm down. It's just the way it is Coni, until the tournament at least. For now though you will have to just deal with it,' she explained but it did nothing to temper her younger sisters anger. 'Go take a seat next to your oh so nice aunt, Richard.'
The class laughed now and even a few pointed up at Coni as she finally sat down with a thud and pouted a lot like Reiea did sometimes. The class had just started and he was already regretting coming to it. To make matters worse he would be forced to sit next to Coni every single school day and he doubted her mood would improve. So, with a heavy sigh, he marched up the stairs to the fifth tier and walked along the rows until he was next to Coni.
'Which side should I sit on?' he asked quietly but she ignored him.
'Sit over on this side,' Daiya said suddenly and pulled over an empty chair next to where she sat, 'that way Coni doesn't have to keep sitting next to the one person she can't seem to beat.'
Coni growled once more, louder this time, and then shuffled her seat closer to Agnes who seemed to be just as pissed as she was. Sighing once more, Richard sat down a half a foot away from Daiya and pulled out his parchment and a quill, not even sure if he would need them. He was fairly certain he wouldn't understand anything that would be said in this class.
'How are you feeling today?' Daiya asked him and she seemed honestly curious.
'A lot better, thanks. I'd ask you the same thing but I didn't even scratch you yesterday.'
'You'll get there.'
Unlike the history class Aura taught, Advanced Arcane Magic is where she really seemed to shine. Reiea had said that she was the Daughter of Arcane and it was easy to see why. The little spells he had seen her cast on him back at the palace were nothing more than cheap tricks compared to what she explained and demonstrated to the class. Richard might not have understood even a fraction of what she was talking about but he was absolutely mesmerized by the things she cast. The most impressive thing he saw her do was somehow use her magic to make every person in the room believe the ground was crumbling beneath them into lava. Apparently this was using the arcane magic to distort light waves that weren't dense by nature into something else entirely.
It was apparently a pretty advanced spell that the class hadn't seen before and she said she only showed them that so they could get an idea about what they would be tackling in the next week. Each week she would hand out a task for each student to complete to the best of their abilities and then she would grade it before moving onto the next spell or incantation. Once she was done explaining how each word should be said and how the inflections should sound she let the class practice it on their own, as long as they kept it small.
Each of them was told to summon a small sphere of arcane power into their hands and use that as the basis of their projects; the goal being to bend or distort enough light to make a small image within the orb. This is where Richards day got even worse. While the other students could summon a small orb out of thin air in the blink of an eye he couldn't even do it after twenty minutes. Aura came to check up on him and explained that arcane power was mixed with his elemental magic and all he had to do was separate it; easier said than done. Even Daiya seemed interested in helping him but by the end of the class he could only manage to get a tiny flicker of purple power to grace his palm for a split second. The other top three students in the school, Daiya, Coni, and Agnes had all moved onto bigger spheres after getting their image to appear quickly.
On his way out of the class Aura told him she would stop by his room that night to give him some personal pointers and not to worry about it too much. His next class was with the exact same students as the previous one but the professor had changed to an elderly woman with long scraggly grey hair and almost grey eyes. He was seated next to Coni and Daiya once more once more and the outrage about it from earlier seemed to have died down as no one mentioned it, not even the professor.
This class was about the theories behind the flow of magic; how to properly control higher level spells and even what goes into creating your own. Richard tried his best to focus on this class in the hopes of learning something that would help him but he once again found himself lost three sentences into the lecture. All he could do was scratch down everything he heard verbatim with his quill, which didn't help because he was so used to ball point pens and the likes that his writing was near illegible. What he did learn though only reinforced what Aura had told him before, that his magic was extremely unusual in the sense that it wasn't constrained by power words in an incantation like the other forms were. The only thing that he could think that meant was that his magic was extremely unstable as it was these words of power that actually formed the magic into what you wanted.
Most of that class he had his head down with his quill scraping over the rough paper as he tried to keep up with what the old professor was saying. Eventually he got so far behind that he threw his quill down in frustration, splattering ink all over what he had just written and gave up. For the next forty minutes he busied himself with looking around the class, memorizing some of the faces he saw just in case he needed to remember them for anything.
As the sun began to cross by the window he noticed that something was shimmering next to him on the table. Looking over he saw something strange written on Daiya's hands in what appeared to be translucent gold paint or ink. The strange symbol looked at first to be two half circles with their curves touching one another, but upon closer inspection he saw that it was actually two C's put together to form a ƆC. It was barely noticeable against her skin and looking over he saw the same symbol on Agnes' hand as well. In fact, if he looked through the rest of the class and titled his head from side to side he could make out the symbol on almost every female present. The only people who didn't seem to have it were Coni and the two men.
He wanted to ask someone about it but the professor was still giving a long winded speech about the flow of magic through a focus and what kind of properties it produced. When the class was finally dismissed he wanted to ask Coni but she and every other person left the room quickly to either get a favorable spot in the courtyard or get ready for their next classes, which was about their elements.
Richards day had ended however. Aura had suggested he go off and practice his magic on his own to get a better feel for it, but he honestly didn't feel like it right now. All he wanted to do was get back to his room, kick off his shoes and relax while he read through the history book that was in his bag. He could practice his magic another time. Besides, the magic he really should be working on was arcane because he had been a complete idiot in class.
He spent the rest of the afternoon pouring through the thick pages of the textbook and hadn't been able to pry himself away from it. When there was a soft knock on the door announcing that his dinner was ready he was surprised to see that Aura had brought it up to him. She had changed from her teaching clothes and her long and shimmering blonde hair hung down her back in a loose pony tail.
'How were your other classes today?' she asked as she set the tray down on his large dining table in the center of the room.
'Well Magical Theory wasn't that great, I got so lost I'm not sure I'll ever be able to catch up. Math was the real disaster though.'
'Why? What did Alyssa do to you?' she asked him and automatically jumped to the conclusion that her best friend had tried raping him or something.
'She asked me to answer some questions to see where I was in the subject, which I did really easily. Then she asked me to show her the most advanced equation I knew. That's where it got bad. I showed her a really advanced physics equation from my world and she didn't seem to understand it. She said she needed to talk to you about it later.'
'I see,' the woman sighed and sat down in a chair at the table, motioning for Richard to come and eat. 'Well I guess I can just tell her you made it up on the spot or something, to pull a prank on her. No, that's not a good thing to do. She might think you're interested in her and playing in her little game.'
'Why not just say it's something I learned on the other continent?' he suggested and she smiled brightly at him.
'That's a good idea actually. She's never been there. Anyways, eat up quickly and we can get to your private lesson before it gets too late and I can't make a lesson plan for classes tomorrow.'
Richard quickly dug into his food and devoured it in record time, feeling a little excited to learn to use Arcane Magic. He couldn't ask for a better teacher either. Aura was considered the Daughter of Arcane and he was getting a private lesson from her. With any luck he might just be able to catch up with the others before the week was out. That was just a pipe dream of course. He still couldn't separate the arcane from the light and he only managed to sustain a flicker of power for less than ten seconds. He also found that he was exerting a lot of energy on this simple task and by the time Aura told him to take a break he felt like crawling into bed and sleeping the next two days away.
'Don't worry about it. Once you manage to do it once it becomes like second nature and you will be able to do it at will. It's different for you than for the others.'
'Different... how?' he panted and sat down at the table.
'The first form of magic people develop is arcane. After that, during a small little ceremony here at school, most of them find out their element years later. My first signs of being a mage were when I was four and I didn't learn what my element is until I was a first year here.'
'What is your element anyways?' he asked curiously. It was strange that she used arcane more than her element, even if her powers in arcane were so strong. From what he had seen, people seemed to prefer the Elemental Magic's instead.
'The same as Lythia's, earth. It's a pretty handy form of magic but I find most of my strength lies in arcane. That's not to say that I'm not powerful in Earth Magic. In fact that's how I won my third consecutive tournament.'
Richard sat back in his chair, his ass sliding on the seat until he was slouched badly. Even though he knew it wasn't good for his spine he didn't care; it felt too damn good on a sweaty and tired body. Aura cleared her throat loudly though and he sat up right once more, sighing inwardly at the bother. They were alone in his room so why did she still need to act like she was his mother?
'I have another question for you,' he said suddenly remembering what he had seen in his last class, 'what's with the weird see through writing on girls left hands and how come not all of them have it?'
'I'd been wondering when this would come up,' Aura smiled and winked at him knowingly, 'I just thought it would be sooner. It's a magic rune inscribed on their hands to prevent pregnancies. While that's on their skin there is no chance they will ever become pregnant. As for the reason why they have it, well that's because of you.'
'Me? How so?' he asked and was even more interested now.
'While the academy has a rule against students being married, there is no rule against relationships or sex. With every man at and coming into this academy already having a fiancé there is usually no need for the women to use the rune. However, once a single man enters the school it becomes mandatory for the female students to have it placed on their hand. So feel free to bed a few of them if you want, you will never have to worry about getting them pregnant.'
'Hang on a second! First of all, I'm not some big horn dog! And secondly, why didn't Coni have one?'
'She's supposed to be your aunt, remember? For her to have one would pique peoples interests and too many questions would be asked. Those questions might not involve your true identity, but they would still be just as bad. Incest is illegal here after all.'
'It's illegal where I come from too. I just want to make that clear!'
Aura chuckled at him and looked at him thoughtfully for a few moments before saying, 'There's actually a pretty interesting story behind the symbol used for the rune that dates back nearly two thousand years. The reason was never actually given as to why it was chosen and everything regarding it was covered up by the First King. It was Princess Celia's mark you see and that's something only the royals know.'
'Why are you guys the only one that know and why was it covered up?'
'Because it's a blemish on the Royal Family's name. Princess Celia didn't just up and disappear like the records say. Yes, she did go into exile by her own choice, but there was more to it than that. According to the First Kings personal journal she fell pregnant only a few weeks after the end of the Great War and she refused to tell her brother who the father was. So of course he assumed the worst and believed she had laid with a commoner, and for a Princess to sleep with a commoner is a grave offence. Especially since an unborn child was now part of it. It was for this reason that she ran from her duties and kingdom and was never heard from again.
'The First King was outraged as this horrible betrayal and when he began to build the first magical academy in his new kingdom, he made it a law that no students should become pregnant while attending and he created the rune that would help enforce that law. In his anger her used his sisters mark for it so those who knew the true story would always be reminded of what had happened.'
'Wow...' Richard breathed, 'I thought the First King was kind of cool but it sounds like he was more of an ass than anything else.'
'It was a hard time for him, Richard. He had just recently lost his father, his sister whom he loved deeply, and his best friend. A few years later he would also lose his cousin as she began to descend into madness, or so they say. Anyways, I need to get back to my residence and start writing up a lesson plan for classes tomorrow. I want you to practice trying to separate the arcane power from your element and then get some rest. Okay?'
'Sure thing,' he answered and she left the room, taking his tray back down to the kitchen for him.
Richard didn't need to be told twice to practice his arcane magic and he spent most of the night doing that or reading from the history book. By the time he had crawled into bed the moon had already been up for a few hours and the maids had come in to check on his fire twice. He hoped for a long and peaceful sleep after exerting himself so much and getting nothing in return, but that's not exactly what he got.
Sometime after passing out he found that he had woken up. He could immediately tell it was still pretty late out as his room was covered in darkness and it felt like he had only been asleep for a few minutes. He had been woken up when he had tried to roll over in his sleep and his brain found that it couldn't move his body anymore. He realized with shock that both his arms and legs and been tied down and he couldn't so much budge from where he lie in the middle of the bed.
'What the hell!' he groaned and the sleep that been hanging onto him was quickly shaken off as he saw that he was in danger. 'Is someone there?'
There was no answer, just the sound of soft feet moving across the smooth marble floor. Looking to his right he could make out a small shadow against the dwindling fire and saw that it was slowly moving towards him. Whoever was there was shrouded in darkness and he couldn't make out a face or any other distinguishing feature. The only thing he knew was that the person was small and he wondered if Reiea had snuck back to the school and was doing something they would both regret. While she was pretty clingy he didn't think that this type of thing was her style though.
'Who are you?' he demanded loudly and suddenly the shadow rushed at him, a soft and small hand clamping over his mouth a second later.
'D... don't talk, p... please,' he heard a familiar voice whisper and his eyes opened wide in shock as he realized who had snuck into his room; Lisbeth.
The bed shifted as she climbed on and she straightened up so she was sitting over him, her small warm body in very close proximity to his half naked one. She kept her hand firmly over his mouth and made sure he couldn't make any sounds expect for grunts and groans that would never alert anyone to what was happening. If his arms had been free he could have easily taken control of the situation but they were firmly tied above his head, one rope leading to each bed post where it had been fastened.
Lisbeth sat there completely motionless, her face obscured by shadow so he couldn't see what she looked like. Minutes ticked past and she still didn't move and Richard was beginning to wonder what was really going on here. Why would this shy girl tie him to the bed like this? She had never been anything but nice to him and for her to do something like this seemed nearly impossible. But she had done this, he could see that much for himself.
After what seemed like an eternity she finally began to move. Her actions were sluggish and very clumsy, almost like she was fighting against herself. Her free hand ran down his bare chest and over his crotch, touching him gently through his cotton bottoms. The moment her hand made contact against his privates he jerked in surprise and tried to shake her hand away, but he had been tied down so tightly he could barely lift his butt off the bed and all he succeeded in doing was rubbing her hand across him a few times.
He breathed heavily into her hand, trying to use his teeth to bite down into her flesh and get it away from him. She had cupped her hand in such a way that made it impossible for him to do anything about it and he found that he was completely helpless against this tiny girl currently attacking him.
'I... I'm sorry...' she breathed and suddenly he felt one of her fingers slip into the waist of his pants and begin to slowly pull them down.
The speed at which she was doing this was excruciatingly slow and it took nearly a minute until she had finally pulled it down far enough for some of his pubic hair to pop out and brush against her fingers. It was in this moment that she stopped what she was doing and her body went rigid. He could tell her head was down but he highly doubted that she was trying to look at him down there as it was too dark for her to see anything besides blackness. It was a few moments later that he felt something wet and cold fall onto his stomach and he realized she was crying.
She was quickly assaulted by wracking sobs and the finger she was using to pull his pants off moved away as she clamped her hand over her mouth to stifle the pitiful sounds coming from her throat. 'I... I can't do it!' she wailed and moved her hand from his mouth now. 'What am I even trying to do?'
'What... what's going on?' Richard asked in bewilderment but he never got an answer. A second after the words had left his mouth his door was kicked in and the room was suddenly full of lights as numerous people with torches rushed in, wands or other such focuses raised and pointed at the crying girl who crouched on his bed.
'Stop right now!' Aura's voice yelled out and Richard sighed in relief when he heard that sound. A moment later the binds around his wrists and legs were cut and he quickly jumped out of bed, moving away from the girl who had just tried to rape him who still sat on his bed and cried openly. 'Are you okay?'
'Yeah, I'm fine actually. Nothing happened,' he answered quickly and looked around to find that four professors, half the student council, and a few members from the disciplinary committee including Daiya had come to his rescue. 'Thanks.'
'It looks like we were just in time,' Alyssa heaved a sigh and lowered her wand.
'No,' Richard found himself saying, 'she had already stopped before you guys got here. She said she couldn't go through with it and then just started crying. How did you even know what was happening?'
Aura held up a note to his face and said, 'Her roommate woke up to find that she had gone and left this note behind, basically pleading for someone to stop her. She brought it to Coni who then notified everyone you see here. We thought we wouldn't make it here in time but I'm glad to see that I was wrong.'
'She left a note saying to stop her?' Richard asked curiously and Aura nodded. 'Why? That doesn't make any sense.'
'That's not the problem here,' Daiya interjected coldly and walked over to the bed were Lisbeth still sat. She grabbed her left hand and held it into the torch light, 'Her rune has been removed.'
Alyssa took a few steps closer to the bed and knelt down before the crying girl, 'So that's how it is. Tell me girl, have you spoken to your parents today?' she asked and Lisbeth nodded quickly in answer.
'What does this have to do with anything, Professor?' Daiya demanded but Aura flashed her a hard look.
'None of you need to be here anymore,' she said and looked at all of the students who had gathered. 'This is a matter for the faculty to deal with so all of you go back to your own rooms.'
'But nothing, Daiya! Both the disciplinary committee and the student council have been advised that any matters relating to Richard will be handled by the school since members from both of your organization are currently candidates for his marriage rights. Now do as I say and leave at once!'
A few of the students looked like they wanted to say something but one by one they left. Daiya looked pretty angry and honestly Richard couldn't blame her; she was the head of the disciplinary committee. It probably wasn't easy to just walk away when you see something illegal like that when you're used to being the one to dole out punishments. But she too left and the door closed behind them as Richard was now surrounded by teachers.
'So what's going on here?' he asked after no one spoke for a moment.
'This girl is the first mage produced from her family,' Aura explained and Richard already knew that, 'and I would venture to guess that one, if not both of her parents sent word to her about doing this.'
'Why though?' he asked and still felt confused beyond belief.
'Her name was on the list of people who submitted their candidacy for your marriage rights, but I already cut her from the list this afternoon. When her parents found out they probably pressured her to go after you regardless in the hopes that they could bolster their family's name. A child with you is a very big thing and would probably propel their family higher than it could ever go without it.'
'I'm sorry!' Lisbeth wailed and turned to face him, her eyes puffy and filled with tears. 'I didn't want to do it but my father threatened me! He said if I didn't do it he would never see me as his daughter and I wouldn't be welcome at home! I'm so sorry, Richard!'
'Regardless,' an elderly professor said in a sleepy voice, 'you attempted to commit the crime.'
'What's going to happen to her?' Richard asked Aura.
'That's up to the headmaster. She'll review the facts and then pass down a judgment. With what we know now she will probably be expelled from the academy.'
'What if... what if I testify on her behalf?' he asked and everyone was looking at him now with confusion in their eyes.
'Dear?' Alyssa asked and was quickly elbowed in the ribs by Aura for her little pet name for him.
'It's like I said before, nothing bad actually happened because she stopped herself beforehand. Also, I haven't known her long but I know that she's not that kind of person. She wants to bridge the gap between commoners and mages, not push herself higher above them. If anyone deserves to be at this school it's her.'
Aura regarded him thoughtfully for a few moments and then nodded her head slowly, 'Alright, I'll tell the headmaster what you've just said. I'm not sure how it will affect her punishment but you never know.'
'Alright missy,' Alyssa said and turned back to Lisbeth, 'it's time to go. You have a pretty important meeting to attend right now.'
Lisbeth slowly got out of bed, her long white and plain looking night gown billowing around her small body. The two professors that Richard didn't recognize fell in beside her and then escorted her out of his room. As she passed him she whispered another tearful apology and then she was gone, the door being closed behind her. It was then that Aura turned to regard him and then look at her friend, Alyssa.
'What are you thinking?' Alyssa asked her.
'I'm wondering if we should post someone outside his room from now on to make sure this doesn't happen again,' she answered stiffly and looked like she was bristling.
'Well how about that, I didn't think you would be the concerned mother type,' her friend laughed but Aura just flashed her an angry glance. 'Don't worry Aura, I think this was a onetime thing. If worse comes to worse we'll just implement a school wide rune check before the students go to bed each night.'
'How is that going to do us any good? A first year student managed to remove the rune on her own so what's to say it won't happen a second time? Besides, Richard is an extremely powerful male mage and that is a very desirable commodity these days!'
'We can't very well post a guard outside his door all day every day, especially considering most of the professors are old. Were you planning on putting someone from the student council out there? Or have you forgotten that most of them are on the list for his marriage rights?'
'I've got a better idea,' Aura answered and there was something in her voice that told Richard he wasn't going to like what he was about to hear, 'I'll move Lythia into his room until a decision on who his fiancé will be has been made.'
'Anything but that!' Richard groaned loudly but no one laughed.
The next day Aura's plan at keeping him safe from being raped in his sleep was put into action and before he had even finished his breakfast a second bed had been added to the room, hidden behind a thick red curtain at the other end of the room. Lythia had been notified and she was not pleased, to say the least. She still treated him the same way she had when he had been nothing more than a servant and he doubted that would ever change. He actually looked forward to the time when he would be engaged because it meant his bitch of an aunt could leave his room. That was something he never thought he would feel.
Classes that day were fairly subdued compared to what they had been before and he was able to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, at least in his first two classes anyways. Math was pretty simple and he helped a few of the students out with their work while managing to finish his own fairly quickly. History, his favorite class at the academy, was an awkward affair for him as he now sat alone at the desk he had once shared with Lisbeth. According to Aura there hadn't been a decision made regarding her and when there was she promised to tell him as soon as she heard. He really hoped they went easy on her; nothing happened after all.
He decided against spending his lunch break in his room like he used to because he knew that Lythia would be up there having her meal. He really didn't feel like being cooped up in that room with her for any amount of time that wasn't necessary. So instead he took his meal down to the river and ate in peace to the soft gurgling sounds that surrounded him. After he was done eating he decided to practice some Arcane Magic before class and actually managed to conjure an orb the size of a pea and sustain it for a few minutes before it became too much and he had to release it.
When he arrived at class he took his usual seat between Daiya and Coni, keeping his books in his bag knowing that he wouldn't need them. When he sat down Coni flashed him a pleased smile and he knew she was poking fun at him for being stuck in the same room as Lythia and the only thing he could do was grumble. Daiya on the other hand still wore the hard look on her face she had the night before but she still managed to smile at him. It was obvious as the practical portion of the class came that neither of them could concentrate on what they were doing. He couldn't form that pea sized orb again and Daiya couldn't get any sort of image to appear in her apple sized one. It seemed to be weighing on her mind as after a while she all but gave up and began to toss it lazily back and forth from hand to hand.
'Let me see that for a second,' he said to her as an idea hit him. Daiya looked at him curiously for a moment but then held her orb out towards him
He reached out both of his hands and cupped the orb of purple energy in his hands for a minute, concentrating hard as some power flowed from his body, through the bracer and into the ball. When he pulled his hands back a moment later she could see that he used his Light Magic to etch a small smiley face into the orb and Daiya smiled.
'See, together we can do it no problem,' he smiled back.
'Yes we can,' the normally stuffy girl giggled, 'but I doubt your mother would be pleased with it. It looks like a toddler drew it.'
'Ouch,' he winced in a very fake way, 'you don't have to point out my horrible drawing skills right to my face.'
'But it's funnier that way.'
The good mood he had managed to create transferred into their next class and Daiya even shared her notes on the lecture with him. Sadly his school day came to a close earlier than the other students and he found himself heading back up to his room alone. He tossed his bag in and then headed back down to the river and decided to practice controlling and manipulating his Light Magic as best he could. He found he could do some pretty amazing things with it but he could still feel that it was controlling him more than he was controlling it.
For shits and giggles he even tried adding some incantations he had learned from his Arcane Magic class to see if it would affect the magic in any way; which it did. Instead of helping him get a better grasp on the power it actually caused it to back fire in a big way and toss him head first into the river, his cape disintegrating from his shoulders as the spell cast on it to protect him had been shattered in one go. It was definitely a lesson in what not to do, that was for sure. He returned to his room that night soaking wet and covered in bruises and small burns that caused Lythia to laugh hysterically until she couldn't breathe anymore.