Crossing over through the door, we arrived out from the building’s side next to the town square. I couldn’t help but cover my eyes from the obnoxious bright light. I welcome the escape of near death.
My bones were creaking, compacting, and even squeezing the muscles together like squash. I could feel myself growing back to my original size. Waiting for my sight to adjust, I could hear the loud bustling sound of the people.
“Who is that?” A walking pedestrian looked over curiously at us. More and more people stared, wondering what was going on.
“Where did they appear from?”
“Are we under attack?”
The voices of concerned town folks stared at us in the distance, not a single one took the initiative to step forward. For the aura around us was quite intimidating for the ordinary people. Coco and Phil coldly looked out towards the crowds, telling them not to approach even if they wanted too.
“Young mistress, we are back,” Coco spoke with delight, her coldness melting away when she started to talk with me. “I cannot help but be happy that we are away from that awful polluted air and that monstrous creature.”
“We’re home.” The word ‘home’ struck a clear ring in my heart. My eyes finally adjusted in the bright light, and I could see the change in the town. The whole ordeal of running away from the Titan was truly a nerve-wracking experience. I really didn’t want to meet the original Titan in this world at all.
I know this was selfish, but I was immensely glad that the Titan wasn’t our problem anymore.
Though I noticed that more people were hustling and bustling busily in the streets. Large buildings that reached up fairly high in the sky were a lot more present than before. In nine days that we have been away, did so much change? I was confused.
“Coco, how long have we been gone?” I asked her, hoping that I didn’t just see things.
“Since the last time I was here, it has been twenty-three years, but I think it might be twenty-five by now.”
“T-twenty-five?” My voice gave out an exasperated gasp. How did a time skip so quickly? “Nine days on earth equal to twenty-five years?” I couldn’t believe such a significant gap in time could happen in such a short amount of time.
“What?” Don’s eyes bulged from surprise. “That would make sense on how all these buildings have just sprung out like weeds. I could already see the twenty-floor condo, the academy, the marketplace, and the bazaar that I know for sure would’ve taken about five years to complete.”
“Yes, young mistress. Inside the castle, time does not pass without you in it. Only when we step outside do time flow.”
This was a huge piece of information that I didn’t know about until now. For Coco to not even age a single bit was something that I didn’t expect. Now it made sense why Coco still looked the same. She didn’t age one bit.
Everywhere I looked, the town was more modernized. Even the carriages here were floating without any wheels. The only thing that was pulling the wagons were the horses. Even the clothing style had changed to a more crisper look that shouted a new era for the younger generation.
Not only that, but I could also sense that the number of people that lived in this town quadrupled in size, making me wonder where all these people had come from. Many things have changed that I couldn’t help but wonder what had really happened in the past twenty-five years.
“Young mistress awoooooo!” The howling sound of Tart’s voice echoed throughout the town. A large wolf ran through the crowds like lightning. He leaped forward towards me, startling me in surprise. I unconsciously took a couple steps back Coco twirled around and did a perfect dropkick in the air, slamming Tart into the ground.
“Gah!” Tart yelled in pain as he crashed down with a sudden vicious thud.
“Don’t touch, young mistress pup!” Coco glared and scolded him. She fluffed up her maid outfit and stood up straight and pristine.
Tart groaned. Glaring at Coco, he shook himself and growled under his breath. His throat rumble was deep with anger. “I can touch young mistress. However, I want!”
“How vulgar.” Coco hissed. “Keep your dirty paws to yourself.”
Tart barked and spat, showing his gleaming white teeth. “Coco, this is the last time I am going to allow you to boss me around. I’m not a kid anymore.”
“You’re always a pup in my eyes. Your kind is still considered a child at this age. You’re not even a man yet!”
Tart lunged forward with gaping jaws, he snapped towards her face with spit. Coco dodged his attack flawlessly, bouncing around as if they were doing their own tango.
I couldn’t help but gaze at them with jealousy. Their skill and techniques had grown exponentially since the last time I saw them.
“You guys.” I coughed, trying to get their attention. It made me wonder how long Coco, Tart, and Moca lived. “If Tart was still considered a budding teen, then does that mean that he can live for a long time?”
“Yes, young mistress. All three of us can live up to a thousand years.” Tart stopped and wagged his tail.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at how adorable he looked. He reminded me of a giant dog instead of a wolf. Shifting into his human form, Tart gently bowed.
Everything about Tart had changed. He was no more the young boy but a handsome young man. His sharp angular face and eyes, graceful demeanor, and golden hair were slicked back with gel. His posture was noble and healthy, the only thing I could think up of was his elegant gait that would put any royalty to shame. I stare gaping like a fish. What is with this world and good looking guys? Are all shape-shifting monsters handsome or beautiful? If they were, for sure, all of humanity would fall under their spells.
“I’m glad to see you again, Tart. You have grown up well.” I cleared my throat, trying not to stare too long.
“Thank you, young mistress. It’s been so long since your return.” Tart had tears in his eyes that made me gulp. It looked just too beautiful even when he was crying. “I wanted to come along with Coco, but I couldn’t. Next time, please take us with you.”
I felt a tremendous guilt in leaving behind my friends for so long. It made me realize that the movement between worlds would blast through their lives like water if I was not careful. I, for sure, would bring them along with me the next time if I visit Earth.
“How many years has it been since we left?”
“Twenty-five years young mistress. So many things happened that it might take a whole day to explain.”
“Please go on ahead while we head back to the castle.”
“Yes! I will get things ready for you, especially your favorite apple pie!”
“Thank you, Tart.”
“Wait.” Phil cut in on our conversation. Tart froze from dashing forward back to the castle. “Where is Duke Hon’s and Grandma Mary?”
Both Coco and Tart went silent and solemn.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t inform you sooner, but both of them had passed away five years ago.” Coco spoke.
“They’re dead?” Phil was in shock. “How? Where? Why?”
“Both of them died in their sleep. Their age finally caught up to them.”
“Where are they buried?” Phil’s voice was so low that we barely caught it.
“I can take you to them.” Coco began to head towards the hills. Phil followed closely behind with a stone-cold face.
We arrived on top of the hills where a large number of stone graves were placed. A large tree canopy over the tombstones. Three figures were present on the hill when we got up towards it.
An elderly man that closely resembled Duke Hon stood over a tombstone. Next to him was a lady and a young man in his teens.
“Uncle Jeremy?” Phil called out.
The elderly man turned around and stared at Phil in shock. “Phil? Is that you?”
Phil ran up towards them and stopped. “You’ve gotten so old. I could barely recognize you.”
“It is Phil.” Uncle Jeremy gave him a soft smile and hugged him. “We were worried about what had happened to you.”
“I’m sorry, Uncle Jeremy. I-I didn’t know it would take this long to come back. I was too late.” Streams of tears fell on Phil’s face. This was the first time I ever saw Phil cry. I couldn’t help but stifle back my own tears. I only knew Grandma Mary and Duke Hon’s in a brief moment; even still, they were wonderful people that I could never forget.
“When you stated that you were taking Berry far away to get healed, Duke Hons and Mary were worried sick about both of you. They kept you in their prayers for your safe return.”
“We didn’t know. We couldn’t possibly know.” Phil reel back the pain in his heart and steel himself.
“I know.” Uncle Jeremy patted him on the shoulder. “I’m just glad that you are back.”
The silence between them was heavy until Uncle Jeremy broke it with a slight smile. “Where are my manners. I need to tell you that our family has increased by two.”
Phil pulled back, confused.
“This is my wife, Christina, and my son Blaze.”
“Your son?” Phil stood back and noticed the young man and the mother. Christina was dressed in brown and green. Her slender body and perfect skin made her look a lot younger than she seemed. Her pretty brown hair and large eyes resembled a doe. Next to her was Blaze, who had a similar appearance as Uncle Jeremy. He was pretty good looking with buff muscles, complete opposite of Phil.
Christina gave him a brilliant smile while Blaze just nodded in acknowledgment.
“Yes, my biological son.”
“Congratulations, uncle!” Phil was surprised and delighted. “This truly is a blessing!”
Uncle Jeremy nodded. “It is, though I have to wonder, how is it that all of you still look the same? It’s like not a single one of you have aged.”He stared at us in confusion.
“Where we went had a different flow of time. To us, it has only been nine days, but it seems when we came back, the time had flown by in a blink of an eye.”
“Different flow of time? I heard something like that with the Divine beings.” Uncle Jeremy thought it over for a moment. “You should come and have lunch with us.”
“I will be glad too.”
Uncle Jeremy turned towards the rest of us. “You should come as well. It would be like old times.”
“Thank you,” I spoke.
Phil walked past Uncle Jeremy and stopped in front of the tombstone. “I’m back, Grandma. Grandpa. I am sorry it took so long.” Tears dripped down Phil’s face. “I promised I’ll watch over what you have started as well as Uncle Jeremy.”
Phil stood silently for a while and turned back around. We left the hill and went back into the town. Moving through the buildings, we arrived at a large modern looking house. The house was a two-story building that one would see in a modern middle-class society, but here in Torren it was a luxurious building.
“Wow, I didn’t think that you guys would put some interesting flair to your home,” Don spoke.
“I have never seen this architecture before.”
“It is our proud Draconian style. We used the floor plan that you have left behind and tweaked the exterior of the building. The foundation is still the same.”
“Wait, dad, you’re saying he was the one that drew those plans?” Blaze spoke up. “He doesn’t look much older than me.”
“They are similar to a group of Adventurers that brings with them new knowledge wherever they go.”
“You don’t mean those first five Adventurers, right?” I asked.
“Yes, though they are not only five anymore.”
“There are more?”
“A total of one hundred Adventurers from the distant land. All of them have made this their home here. Honestly, this place is more of a city than a town. Our population has risen up to fifty thousand in the past years. The majority of them are refugees. We named it the City of Dreams.”
“O-one hundred?” I gasped. Where the heck did all these people just randomly come from? I turned towards Coco for an explanation.
“They have been summoned by a young mistress. Every single one of them had come from the garden and now lives in this city. No one lives in the castle, young mistress. There is a strange magic that turns the new Adventurers from entering back in when they leave the castle.”
“The famous ones are the Five Stars,” said Uncle Jeremy.
“Yes, the hero David, Anna, Hiroto, Sun, and Sara. They had made quite a name for themselves. They had slain the infamous Necromancer, the man-eating Manticore, and even the three sister Harpies. Not only that, but they also helped out with the transformation of this city and even helped contribute to improving our cities transportation.”
I couldn’t help but be shocked at what Uncle Jeremy was saying. In the past twenty-five years, the five annoying Adventurers that I had met had changed into someone different.
Entering into Uncle Jeremy’s house, we headed towards the dining table. A small number of maids appeared taking the coat and bags.
“Please, get lunch ready.” Uncle Jeremy spoke. The maids nodded and went to start cooking.
“They have taken over the guild that Mary has established. It has already become something big. Young recruits seem to flock to it every day in the hopes of gaining fame and honor.”
Everyone brought to the dining room, and we all sat down except for Coco and Tart. They disappeared to help out the maids in the house.
“Grandma Mary allows them to run it?” I asked.
“Yes, they have proven their worth countless times over the years. Not only that, they have formed families of their own here.”
“Formed families.” The words stuck to my lips like glue. All this new information was making my head dizzy.
“Sun and Anna had married and had a couple of children. Hiroto and Sara are another pair with one child. David married a female Beast-kin. The older generation of Adventurers had settled down, while the newer generation had been making a name for themselves.”
“What’s the Beast-kin’s name?” Don interrupted the conversation.
“Siva. Why are you interested in Beast-kin too?” Uncle Jeremy joked and chuckled.
Don was downcast when he heard Siva’s name.
It then hit me that Don had a thing for Siva, though twenty-five years had passed. I wouldn’t be surprised that Siva had fallen in love during the twenty-five years.
“How is Siva and Seth doing?”
“They are actually doing well in keeping the Wonder Shop going. Siva had personally made your shop into a popular brand that sells Potions. So far, there has been an imitation of the Red and Blue Potions, but no one could come close to what Siva sells. Seth had made quite a name for himself as the leader of the Beast-kin Mercenary group. Their name is well known through the Beast-kin kingdom. Siva even has a couple of children of her own.” Uncle Jeremy chuckled.
“I’m glad that they are doing very well. I knew they could do it.”
“It seems you have found a wise partner for yourself, Phil.”
“She’s just a friend’s uncle.”
“He’s completely right,” I replied.
“Really? I must’ve seen something different.” Uncle Jeremy scratched his chin.
Coco, Tart, and the other maids brought in the delicious food from the kitchen, and they started to hand out the food.
“If you don’t mind, can Coco and Tart eat with us?” I look towards Uncle Jeremy. The words that I had said startled him.
“Young Mistress. Please, you don’t have to do this.” Coco retorted. She was embarrassed at what I just stated.
“Young Mistress.” Sniffles could be heard from Tart.
“I wouldn’t mind at all. They are guests. Honestly, I was surprised that they would be going back to help the maids.”
“I-I wouldn’t dare,” stuttered Coco. She held up her hands to her chest and clenched it.
“Don’t worry. Don’t worry. You, Tart, and Moca kept this city safe and helped us all out so that we could not see you as a maid. Berry, you have very great friends who have been taking care of the city while you were healing.”
“Thank you, I completely understand what you mean.” I examined both of them with pride.
“Thank you, Duke Jeremy.” Both Coco and Tart bowed. They went over and pulled the chairs backward.
“Duke Jeremy? Ah, I wouldn’t be surprised that you would.” Phil nodded his head. “I’m glad that you got the title than me, Uncle.”
“Why is that?”
“I never wanted such a title in the beginning anyway. I like my life not tied down to nobles.
“I expected as much, but the title will still be given to you.”
“No. Please just keep it. I’m going to run away if you do that.” Phil chuckled.
Uncle Jeremy gave him a frown and shook his head. “If I knew you would have so much disdain towards it, I wouldn’t have brought you back.”
“What are you saying? It was grandpa’s orders. Plus, to see him for a while is a blessing in itself.” An awkward smile could be seen on Phil’s face, which gave it a sense of loneliness.
Uncle Jeremy didn’t say anything else and kept silent.
“The city is not associated with the Kingdom anymore, correct?”
“That is correct, we are a land completely devoid from the Kingdom’s rule. They dare not come waltzing through the front gates of the forest.” A smirk plastered on Uncle Jeremy’s face. “You should’ve seen how the monsters seem to prey on the Kingdom’s messenger.”
“That’s quite a dark thing to say.” I forked the meat and took a bite.
“Those vile rats can stay out of the city for all I care. They have never helped us once and will continue to never will. All they see is greed in their eyes.”
“How is it that you have been able to stay safe for the past twenty-five years?” Don asked. He was twirling around his fork and placed it down. Reaching over, he took a drink.
“That is a mystery in itself. It seems that this city welcomes people running away from different
kingdoms, but when it comes to the Kingdom’s messenger, the walls devour them. Not one had so far successfully stepped foot in the city. I am proud to say that we are quite a multi-diverse community. Even though our population is heavily human, twenty percent of them are Beast-kin, and the remaining 5% are Dwarves. I think I have seen a couple of elves and a Divine. We welcome all races here.”
“What’s the change of heart, Uncle?”
“When you grow older, you will understand.”
“I think I already do.”
“No matter, the sighting of the Black Gryphon had been silent for over twenty-five years. It’s
been quite a strain for our everyday life. We worry when the next rampage will start for the
I didn’t expect to hear the Black Gryphon to be so quiet even until now. I honestly didn’t know if I killed the Legendary Creature, but instead remembered it went down with me in the fight. Like a flash of lightning, the whole ordeal replayed over in my head. I shuddered at the mortifying fight, making my stomach twist from the pain.
“That is why the other Kingdoms haven’t been moving around much. They fear that war will bring the Black Gryphon’s calling, though lately, I begin to wonder if they are planning on making a move again. I heard some obscure words coming from our new resident that there is going to be a war coming right around the corner. The beast-kin and the human king had been disgruntled with one another. How I wish the Black Gryphon would just come flying through the sky and wipe out the wretched human king’s existence.” Uncle Jeremy snorted.
“Jeremy! That is not something you should say in front of our guest.” Christina chastised him.
“I’m so sorry you have to hear my husband spout such words. If he’s not careful enough, he might get his head chopped off by the king.”
“Ha. The king.” Uncle Jeremy waved his hands in front of him, not caring what he had to say. “The king can go jump into the river and drown himself. He is not welcome into this city, and I will make sure he never is allowed to come in.”
I could tell that’s quite a substantial amount of resentment towards them. “How is the trade with the other cities?” I asked.
“We only go out once a year. We know that the technology that we have is sought out with jealousy. Your teachings have been a safe, guarded secret. No one will want to leave this city when they come to live here. We make sure that people are well taken care of, so they don’t think about leaving. Especially, the people who have learned the traded secrets of the Magic Stones. We don’t allow them to leave at all. They are our pride and joy of this city. This rule had been established the moment the new residents entered twenty years ago.”
“What happened twenty years ago for something to change so much?” I asked.
“The king tried to force his way in. He sent us a message stating that if we don’t open up the gates, we will be branded as traitors and all our family killed. Honestly, the gates wouldn’t open at all even if we wanted too.” Uncle Jeremy’s lips curled into a snarl. “When he heard that the magic lights were created here, he made every effort possible to infiltrate our cities. For any people who wish to leave this city, we made it a requirement that they are not allowed to take a single magic stone with them.”
“I didn’t expect the walls to be so strong.”
“We didn’t know as well, and we are glad that the walls have still been holding up. Every day we make an effort to keep this place safe.”
“So, I am assuming the King has not succeeded in breaching the walls.”
“So far, no. Not a single enemy had reached even the borders of the Forgotten Forest.”
“That is quite something. I thought my teachings would spread far and wide.”
“We understand your ideal Berry, but we can not give our enemies an upper hand in our technology that we produce. Do you know how terrible it would be if we were to be ruled by the Dragon Kingdom? Our people will be enslaved by them, and our knowledge is stolen. No more would be able to live in peace. Our families are on the line.”
“I didn’t mean no disrespect. I didn’t know how bad this could turn out.”
“No. No. It’s alright. I shouldn’t have raised my voice.”
Uncle Jeremy continued to eat and talk.
“I’m glad that you are doing well with the city. It truly has grown so much that I almost couldn’t tell if I came to the right place.”
“Yes, it did change a lot. I can not thank Don here for the blueprints of the city. You are quite a genius in the layout of the foundation.” Uncle Jeremy glanced towards Don. “Without his blueprints, we never thought it was possible to build such buildings called skyscrapers. You don’t understand how valuable your knowledge and blueprints have been. Thank you.”
“N-no problem at all.” Don was awe at the formality that Uncle Jeremy was giving him. “I’m quite surprised that you have built everything that I have planned out for five years.”
“It took fifteen years to complete a couple of them. Without your guidance, deciphering it was left to the people who understood what you have written. The Academy was one of them. Now it has become our pride and joy.”
“You have found masters to teach while we are gone?” I spoke up.
“Yes, though the twin’s Sam and Sal have become the headmaster of the Academy. Their teachings have enlightened all the younger generations. Not only that, Mages from all over the world seem to flock to our city to learn the magic that you have left behind.”
“I for sure need to go talk with Sal and Sam when I’m finished.” I felt a sudden thrill and happiness in what my teachings were doing for the people. Everyone’s lives have drastically improved overtimes to the point where it became unrecognizable.
“Your magic has paved waves in creating many new technological advances. From our floating carriages to new sources of magical items, and even affecting our everyday lives.”
“Dad, are you saying the one who founded the teaching is actually her?” Blaze stares with gaping jaws. “This is the Grand Magician Berry? She looks about my age.”
“I wouldn’t say I am the same age as you.” I coughed. It felt weird being stared at.
“Grand Magician?” Everyone turned their gaze towards me.
“Who gave me that title?” My face was already burning red.
“Sal and Sam.” Uncle Jeremy spoke. He was having a hard time not bursting out laughing.
“Those idiots,” I growled.
With the food done, I got up. “Thank you for the delicious meal. I want to go check on those two rascals.” The rest of the crew finished and followed as well.
“No, it’s my pleasure to see you doing well. It is truly an honor to have you visited my house.”
“I really didn’t do much for you to be saying that.”
“You are wrong. If it was not for the both of you, we wouldn’t have come this far. Thank you.”
“Y-your welcome.” I was having a difficult time swallowing what he had said. It felt a bit too much, making me wonder if my Magic Stones really did change so many people’s lives. With a bow, we left the house.
“Coco, lead us the way to the Academy, please.”
“Yes, young mistress. It would be my pleasure.” Coco walked ahead of us, and we continued on our next destination. The Academy that this city was so proud of.
We trekked through the clean streets and eventually came upon a large gated community. A large sign with the words Academy of Six Elements in elegant letters was written on a metal board.
The gates magically open, allowing us through.
The whole school was lush and beautiful. Every single building was exotic and unique that I couldn’t stop staring with awe. Students in matching clothes busily walked around. They curiously started, wondering who we were. The majority of the girls were looking at Phil and Tart, giggling in excitement. Their handsomeness was eye-catching, and Coco’s elegant and beautiful demeanor made it a picturesque.
“You left quite an achievement,” I spoke to Don. Pleased with his design. It was awe-inspiring and amazingly beautiful that even I couldn’t help but be proud of its majestic grandeur.
“Well, I wouldn’t say I did it. The foundation was drawn by me, but the people were the one that completed it.
“Still, I didn’t know it would come out this awesome. You made this possible, you know. Give yourself some credit.” I patted him on the shoulders.
“Thanks.” I could hear Don’s voice lowering from embarrassment.
We continued through the front entrance and went through the largest building that was established. Entering into the Academy, I couldn’t help but gasp. Even the interior of the building was just as grand and beautiful. Bright sunlight entered from the top, showcasing the marble statues that were lined on the wall. Sweeping royal purple rugs were laid out on the ground, and colored glass windows with interesting patterns were placed on the sides.
We walked towards the principal office, and Coco walked up to knock on the door.
“Principal Sal and Sam, you have an important guest.”
“I’m busy right now.” Sal’s deep voice spoke out.
“It is Phil, Don, and a young mistress that had come to visit.”
The sound of rustling papers and even objects falling onto the ground could be heard. Running footsteps ran towards the door, and Sam was the one who opened the door.
“Is it true? They have come-” Sal stopped short and held back in a gasp.
Sal had grown into a middle-aged man. No more was the young man that I have remembered, but instead a sturdy man with a beard. Both the twins look vastly alike, but the only difference was their clothes.
“You still look the same since I last saw you. How is this possible?”
“Things happened. Where we went had a whole different time fluctuation, and when we arrived back, we didn’t know how much time had passed.”
“Ah, that makes sense. You must have gone to the Divine Race to get Grand Magician Berry healed.” Sal gave me a wink.
I couldn’t help but shake my head. “It was you who started the Grand Magician crap, didn’t you?”
Sam came over with a stupid smile on his face and barked out laughing. “No, it was me.”
“Seriously, did you have to give me such a title? Now people are going to think I’m someone amazing.”
“You are,” Sam reassured her. “The knowledge that you have taught us has truly helped us in developing this city. Did you know every year new students from around the world actually come to study here? They even wish to live in this city, because of the high technological advancement that we had made.”
“You know that sounds a bit.…. I don’t know anything fantastical.”
“I’m not joking. Out of all the human kingdoms out there, we are the most advanced city in the country.”
“That’s quite an achievement.”
Sal and Sam both put their elbows on each other’s shoulders. He let us through and closed the door behind us.
“How has your studying been going?”
“Quite well, though we have been having quite a bit of roadblock in our information. We just can’t seem to get past a level C Common Magic Stones. Anything higher causes a deadly reaction that almost wiped out a building. We don’t know why, but it’s an impossible hurdle that we can not overcome.”
“I’m guessing you don’t have the magic energy to supply it, do you?”
“How did you know?”
“Because that’s what happens to me when I make multiple Level C Common Magic Stones. I only have been able to successfully make one Common Level B Stone.”
“What did you do?” Both twins shouted in alarm.
“This is truly a groundbreaking breakthrough. We had dreamed of diving into the Level B Magic Stones. How were you able too?”
“Sal, she’s the creator of the Magic Stone magic anyways. Everything that she does is considered a miracle in itself.”
“What nonsense are you guys spouting. I have failed quite a lot thank you very much.”
“We don’t see a single failure in our eyes.” Sal and Sam chuckled. “When it comes to you, nobody can keep an eye off of you without surprising us any moment.”
“What are you talking about? I don’t do anything like that.”
“If only she knew.” Phil shook his head, understanding what the two twins were saying.
“You need to give us a lecture at school. We’ve been dying to hear one of your sermons for over twenty-five years.”
“W-what? Did you guys have already mastered the language?”
“Hardly, how you make it sound like it’s some kind of easy thing to learn. Both of us haven’t even learned a tenth of what you know.”
“Exactly,” Sam nodded his head and crossed his arms.
“How is the Academy split up anyway? I saw so many buildings that I had to wonder if every single one is a classroom.” Don asked. “I know I left the blueprints behind, but I could not see through to it to the end.”
“Ah, about that. We have one main building that is situated in the center and six other large buildings surrounding it. The six buildings are split into the Six primary elements where students are divided into their respective elements. This Academy is for ages thirteen to eighteen.”
“You went with my suggestion on making this into a high school.”
Sal nodded his head. “We set up smaller schools for primary and middle school around the city like you have asked too. When the students graduate middle school, they come to the Academy to be tested and to see if they are qualified to learn your teachings. The basics are hammered in when they are children, and when they are ready, they are brought into the school. We also provide a dorm for the students, so they don’t have to worry about moving back and forth. Not only that, but we also have the finest magic teachers that have traveled far and wide to come here.”
“Aren’t you worried that the Dragon Kingdom will look upon this with disfavor?” Phil asked.
“As if. They can not even go past the Forgotten Forest, we even have the walls that protected us so far. Not only that, but we have also established a large number of magic stones around the city for any magical attacks. We both worked hard in creating a strong defense for such an attack.”
“Impressive.” I whistled.
“This school is protected by magic that we thought was never possible. Not only that, we are strict on our policy. The brightest minds and the people who strive to work hard are allowed in.
Even still, only the main building teaches the students who have the aptitude to use Coding.
These people are not allowed to leave the city without a permit and protection. We can not let such valuable people go. Sadly, there aren’t many people who can, sadly, though we have teachers that teach other varieties of normal magic.”
I couldn’t help but be interested in what the six elemental building teachers had to teach. ”You don’t mind me taking a few classes?” My eyes sparkled with interest. The thought of learning something new awakened my lust for knowledge.
“We don’t mind at all. Do you want us to introduce you to the teachers?”
“No.” I quickly cut him off. I didn’t want to be the center of attention. “Just give me regular school clothes. Just think of me as another student, will you?”
“That’s sacrilege. You are our teacher.”
“Just give up.” Phil sighed. “There is no point in arguing with her when she has her mindset on something that she wants.”
“Come on, I’m not that knowledgeable in magic as you say, you know. All I know is how to code. Give me a break, will you? You guys probably know more than me.”
“Give me a pair of uniforms as well,” Phil interjected. “I wouldn’t mind seeing what you have done to this school.”
“Me too. Me too.” Don excitedly stated. “I don’t know much about magic, but it will help me in my studies.”
“Please give one to Tart as well,” Coco spoke. “He needs to broaden his short, sighted mind.”
“What? Are you calling me dumb?” Tart growled.
“I am not.”
“Plus, you will be able to watch over young mistresses from danger.”
“I don’t need a bodyguard, Coco,” I spoke. Really, I didn’t like the idea of someone following me all around.
“No, young mistress. Have you already forgotten what had happened yesterday? Your life could’ve been forfeit!”
“That’s not quite-”
“Young mistress, please. This is to ease all of our minds. We don’t want to lose you.”
Her words stung, making me feel sad but, at the same time, happy that they cared.
“Fine, just Tart. Plus, Don and Phil will be there. It’s not going to be such a big problem, you know.”
“We don’t know that,” Phil spoke. “Even though we lost them doesn’t mean they won’t be other problems that we need to watch out for.”
Sal and Sam gave up in trying to convince me and look at both Phil and Don. They shrugged, giving him no answer to try to persuade me.
“Fine. We won’t tell the other teachers, but you have to give one lecture a week in the main building.”
“Deal. That doesn’t sound too hard.” I said.
“Wonderful.” Both brothers were elated. “We’ll send in your paper works for your transfer in. I’m not sure how long you want to study, but four years is the maximum number before graduating.”
“Just put us in as freshman class,” I said.
“That is a little.…”
“There is nowhere in the world right now who has what we have. It wouldn’t make any sense where new blood would come in.”
“No. It’s not that, it’s just we were thinking about putting you in as a senior. That is where all the advanced lectures will be.”
“Well, I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. I don’t know much about magic, you know. All I have learned is from Phil here.”
Both Sal and Sam stared with gaping jaws. They couldn’t believe that I only knew rudimentary magic and could do advanced level magic like Coding. It completely boggled their minds.
“This is such an unfair brother. We got geniuses left and right who want to enter as a freshman. Though it is kind of strange to see all three of you start with such young people. We can not approve, and instead, we will put you in a junior year. don’t worry, we will give you access to any class that you wish to enter to learn.”
“I’m fine with that.” I felt satisfied with their answer.
“So when do we start?”
“Great.” I excitedly stated. Tomorrow I would get to learn the basics of magic and be on my way to becoming stronger and finding a way to break this wretched hunger for gold.
“Just come here in the morning, and we will give you your student ID and schedule.”
Sal walked over and rummaged through a box. He brought out blue and white uniforms for us to wear.
I gladly took the uniform in hand and hugged it against my chest. I was already feeling excited about the idea of learning more about magic in this world.
“Well, then, I’ll see you tomorrow.” I turned to leave. “I’m glad to see you are doing well.”
“We are glad that you are back, Berry. We missed you.”
I couldn’t help but smile as I headed out the door.
Both brothers had an awkward grin plastered on their face. “This year is going to get interesting.”
“You can say that again.”
“Okay, everyone get into your seats.” A young lady spoke out loud, clapping her hands. “Class has started.”
The students rushed to their seating and sat quietly.
“We got four new students today.”
Don, Phil, Tart, and I stood in front of the classroom. I felt a bit nervous, staring into the large group of students starting at us. Already they were girls swooning at both Tart and Phil.
“Special circumstances had allowed them to transfer into this class. They are Don, Phil, Tart, and Berry. They are open seats in the back.” The teacher pointed.
I couldn’t help but excitedly go sit down. Passing by on my left, an enchanting beautiful girl with black hair stares out the window. On her right was a similar-looking male with black hair. I expected that both of them were twins.
For a brief moment, the young girl’s eyes locked with mine. I felt a sudden familiar shiver run down my spine. Stopping in front of her, I couldn’t help but stare at her with curiosity.
“Have we met before?” I couldn’t help but voice my opinion.
“No.” She spoke, not even turning towards me.
“Don’t worry. My sister is normally cold to strangers.” The twin brother leaned over. “I’m Crow, and her name is Raven.”
“Like birds?” Our eyes met, giving me a sudden familiar chill. I swear this was getting annoying with the chills, but I couldn’t put my hands on where this familiar feeling came from.
“Yes.” Crow gave me an enchanting smile.
“I’m Berry.” I walked past him and took the seat behind him.
“Glad to meet you, Berry. I had never seen you before, which part of the country did you come from?”
“Everyone get your books out. We’ll be starting on a new chapter today.” The teacher barked out. Crow winked towards me; he turned around and faced forward.
For the next couple of hours, I quietly paid attention to her lecture and tried my best to absorb the knowledge that she was teaching. I felt an exponential growth in understanding how fire magic worked. With class bell rung, the class was over, the students got up to go to their next class.
“So Berry, where are you heading to?” Crow turned around and once again tried to start a conversation.
“I actually have to go to the main building for a couple of hours.”
“Really? We need to as well.” Crow excitedly stated. “I can show you the way.”
“That would be great-”
“Hey! Stay away from the young mistress!” Tart intervened. He slammed his hands against Crow’s desk catching his attention.
“Young mistress? Are you a noble?”
“Yes, she is!” Tart growled, puffing up his cheeks. “She has no time to speak with someone like you.”
“Woah, calm down, Tart. Don’t go spouting such nonsense.” Tart was becoming too aggressive. Was this because of puberty?
“But young mistress, you are better than these commoners.”
I sighed. Coco was right, Tart still needed an extensive training on manners. “I was born as a commoner as well. Don’t spout such nonsense without taking the time to learn who they are. They could be princes or princesses for all I know.”
“Even still, you are better than all of them combined.” Tart haughtily replied.
I couldn’t help but groan. This was going to take a lot more time then I thought.
Tart face fell. I swear, right now, I could probably see his ears flopping forward in sadness.
“Yes, young mistress.”
I ignored Tart and went back to conversing with Crow. “I wouldn’t mind. We actually might be in the same class.”
“Both my sister and I are in S Class.”
S class. Hmm…“I have a question why would it be called the S Class?”
“You don’ t know?” Crow was dumbfounded at my question
“I’ve been away for a long time.”
“Everyone in the city knows that the S class is considered the top-ranking class in the whole academy. The best students that can use the magic coding can even use level D magic Stone is allowed. Not only that, S class students are treated very well. My sister and I are the rare few that can code a level C magic stone.” He proudly stated.
“Young mistress can code something even high-” I raised my hands and stopped Tart from speaking any further. Why does he not just be quiet for a moment and instead of spilling out every little secret?
“Hm?” Crow tilted his head.
“Nothing. Nothing. Let’s go to the next class, shall we?” I glared at Tart and let him go. Standing up, I headed out the door.
“I’ll be going to look into the other classes,” said Don. “I’ll meet you guys up later.”
“I’m going with a young mistress.” Tart bounded forward.
“No. Go to your next class. You won’t understand the teachings where I am going.”
“No buts. This is an order.”
“Yes, young mistress.” Tart sighed and walked out the door, hunched over in sadness.
“He’s quite a handful.” Crow was beside me.
“Yea, he is.” I sighed in defeat.
Raven pushed past us and left first. Phil got up and came up beside me. He headed out next, and I followed after.
We left the Fire Element building and headed towards the Main building. Students from different races headed over towards the main building in a hurry. The bell rang its final call. We were just barely able to make it to the classroom.
The classroom in the main building was a lot larger than the classroom that we had come from. Instead, there were no chairs or tables present in the classroom, but small carpets were laid out with six magic stones embedded into the ground. A total of twenty students were present in the room. I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic when I taught the orphan kids in the past. I wondered how they were all doing.
Walking over towards one of the seats, I sat down. The door opened once again, and a stream of older men and women stepped into the classroom.
“What’s going on?”
The students were confused by the sudden intrusions of teachers that walked in the room. They all took a seat at the side of the room, each pulling out paper and pen.
“Is that Mrs. Kani?”
“Wait, why are all the top elemental masters coming to this room?”
“Is something special going on?”
Sal and Sam were the last ones in.
“The principal as well?”
Everyone was stunned at the sudden appearance of twin principals.
“Class will be different today.” Sal went up first. “We have a special guest that would be teaching our class today.” He looked towards me.
Ah, crap. It hit me. Sal was talking about me. I didn’t get the memo that I would be teaching a class today. It was a complete set up by Sal and Sam. I couldn’t help but hunch over getting smaller and smaller into a ball. Why? Why now of all days. I didn’t get a single lecture even prepared.
“We would like to introduce the master of coding. Grand Magician Berry.”
A loud round of applause could be heard from the teachers. All the students turned towards me, dumbstruck at what they had just heard.
“What does that mean? She’s too young to be considered the actual Master.”
“Wait, is she the Grand Magician Berry? That can’t be. That’s twenty-five years ago. She looked sixteen and cried out loud.
“Grand Magician Berry.” Sal motioned me forward.
I could feel sweat coming down my hands.
“Go on.” Phil motioned me forward with his head. He gazed at me, amused at the circumstances that were happening around us.
I gulped. Why was it now of all time to get stage frights? I have taught a young group before, but the thought of being stared down by everyone was truly uncomfortable. Not only that, I felt like I was tricked.
Getting up, I headed to the front. Sal moved out of the way and allowed me in his spot. He gave me a thumbs up giddily. I couldn’t help but give him a sad smile.
“Well, I was not expecting to be brought up to the front so soon. Nor did I think Sal and Sam would go out of there ways to put me on the spot.”
“Did she just say the president’s name like a friend?” The students were staring with a bemused expression, trying to understand what is happening before them.
“To clarify things, I am still the same age I was twenty-five years ago. I was injured and was sent to get healed. The place where I went had a different flow of time. When I came back, I didn’t know that twenty-five years have passed.”
A girl raised up her hands.
“Are you really the first one who has found the magic of coding?”
“Yes. I have also taught Sal, Sam, Phil, and even the orphans in my magic to better life in general.” Yep Phil, I’m dragging you in as well. I’m not the only one going down. He gave me a cold glare that told me that I was dead. I gulped and quickly looked away.
Everyone turned their gaze towards Phil momentarily and rested their eyes back on me.
“I honestly didn’t expect to come up here today. I did promise both the principal to teach once a week, but not this soon…” My voice trailed off.
“So, is there anything you are going to teach us today? How do we know that you are the actual Grand Magician Berry?” One of the students spoke challenging my existence.
“I don’t need to prove who I am honestly. If my name would be hidden, all the better, but it seems our little two imps couldn’t contain their excitement and threw me under the bus.” I gave Sal and Sam a sharp glare. My hands were balled up into a fist. Why couldn’t I start my day as an average person? But it seems that was never going to happen.
“So, you don’t have anything to teach us?”
“Is not that I don’t have anything. I was not ready. So with that being said, I would like all of you to reinforce your barriers around you.”
“Reinforce it? Aren’t we already safe?” One of the students asked.
“No. Today we are going to do something a bit dangerous. If the teachers don’t mind handing out one set of level C Common Magic Stones, please.”
All the teachers hurriedly nodded and went around, handing a stone to each student.
“What we are going to write on this stone is a different pattern of words.” I went over to the
chalkboard on the wall. I begin to spell out the words of what each student must write. Already the teachers were writing their own.
“This is a special type of barrier. It uses your magic and the stone magic at a 95% only at the most dangerous time. The stone will siphon out your magic to reinforce the shield. I don’t recommend writing a 100% because it will damage your body. I am positive; the higher the level the stone is, the more dangerous the outcome will be.”
Everyone began to write the words on the stone, and they were shocked at the sudden swell of power the barriers siphon off of them. Now everyone was interested in what I would do next.
Pulling out my magic stone box, I took out a level B magic stone. The power emanating from the Level B Common Magic Stone didn’t compare to a level C. It was only recently that I was able to transcend my own power on Earth and create a level B Rule Stone.
Everyone gasped when they saw the level B Rule Stone. The power emitted by the stone was surging outwards and hitting against my barrier.
“A level B Rule Stone.”
The teachers begin to whisper in excitement.
I continued to take out the other lower-level Rule Stone, crystal Magic Stone, and a Monster Magic Stone and small piles of metals. Everyone was leaning over, trying to see what I would do next.
“A level B Rule Stone has always been the bare minimum that can deal with a low-grade Monster Magic Stone. Any lower will destroy the Rule Stone in a heartbeat.” Picking up the Crystal Magic Stone, I held it up for everyone to see. “Everyone knows that the magicians around the world use the Crystal Magic Stone to do magic, but they have a completely different use to it as well.”
I placed the magic stone on the floor and picked up the metal in hand. Concentrating on my magic metal manipulator, I thought of it forming into a gauntlet. The metal morphed and shifted into a single gauntlet. Three slots of magic stones were left open.
“The Rule stone is just a stone that binds the magic of Monster Magic Stone, I call Monster Magic stone M.M.S for short, and a Crystal magic Stone, a.k.a C.M.S. You can think of the M.M.S as the brain that sends out orders to the C.M.S that fuels that pumps the magic around.”
The first stone I placed in the bottom was the Rule stone. “I have already programmed it into the rule stone. The rules that it is allowed to do as well as the other two stones as well.”
Next, a Level B Monster Magic Stone was placed on the top. A rippling like effect of green energy washed out of the gauntlet. Then the final Crystal Magic Stone was picked up and brought close. An explosion of terrifying energy sparked outwards, breaking the first shield that was in place. Low-level barriers that were in place begin to shake, causing the students to scoot back in fear.
Until finally, the Crystal touched the gauntlet, and a wave of static like power erupted around me, destroying the level C barrier. My hands were busy pulling up the coding program and dived headfirst into the Stones. Words flew around me like butterflies, and I quickly drew in the basic patterns to bind the three stones together. A large amount of magic seeped out from my body and into the words. I felt a heavy drain of magical energy being depleted in seconds.
A final blast of energy ricochets outwards, breaking all level C barrier’s in the classroom. Till finally, I came back and noticed the small scale destruction that the stones had caused. If anyone stepped into the room, they would have thought someone threw a bomb.
“Ugh, what’s just happened?”
The students and teachers came back to sanity, looking around in disbelief. The area around me was seared black, but I was not unharmed.
“Did she fail?”
Voices of concern student and teacher’s gaze towards me with confusion.
“Well, this is my second magical item ever created.”
I willed a powerful source of fire magic out from the gauntlet, and a fireball formed in the palm of my hands. Out of breath, I couldn’t pull out any more magical power from my body. The fireball disappeared into a wisp of smoke. “I believe this should be as strong enough to compete with a rare weapon artifact.” Pulling off the gauntlet, I placed it onto my lap.
“Though I wouldn’t suggest anyone who can not even use a level B Magic Stone to even think about using it. It uses your own power to help give it an extra boost of energy, and it doubles the power of the gauntlet.”
Silence filled the room as they continued to listen.
“My hypothesis is that it could kill you. Safety features are put into place, but even still, it has not been tested completely for the full effect. Honestly, this is my second trial, and even I don’t know how far this weapon can go before breaking. Well, that’s it for today. People who have not even touched the realm of a B Class coder can not make this item or attempt to. The steps are more complex than one could imagine and takes ten times more energy.” Words were coming out a lot more sluggish than before.
Phil was already next to me, helping me up. The gauntlet fell onto the ground with a loud clatter.
“Class is dismissed,” Phil spoke out loud. He grabbed the gauntlet in hand and helped me walk outside. Sal hurriedly opened the door for us to leave.
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