Early in the morning, a single light was lit in the Golden Palace's library. At the desk that the light sat on, was Harral. He was asleep on top of some documents with a quill in one hand, and a chalice of water dumped over the other. The library was silent, all except for some footsteps approaching.
Zephyz - "Harral...?"
Harral shifted, but remained asleep. Zephyz nudged him. He shifted, and fell out of his chair. He woke up the moment he hit the ground. He rubbed his head, and rubbed his eyes before he realized Zephyz was holding out her hand to him. He grabbed it and she pulled him up.
Harral - "Thanks."
Zephyz - "Woah, did I just hear you say 'thanks'?"
Harral - "Do you want me to insult you, or something?"
Zephyz - "No, no. Anyways... What are you doing?"
Harral - "I was doing some research."
Zephyz - "On?"
Harral - "I wanna learn some more Magic. So, I was planning to go to the Colony of Magic down on Zeterra."
Zephyz - "Really?"
Harral - "That, and I wanna one-up Enigma. But, he's got the same idea."
Zephyz - Mind if I go with you guys?"
Harral - "Go ahead. I suppose since we're Gods, we should learn more Magic, even outside of our element."
The duo walked into the main hall, still talking.
Zephyz - "The Colony of the Basics is in the Royal City, so I suppose we should start there."
Harral - "You'd better not hold me back."
Zephyz - "Harral, we need to think about this. What elements do you already know? I've already got Earth, Water and Air."
Harral - "All I have is Fire..."
Zephyz - "Don't worry about it. I doubt Enigma has any of the basics."
Harral - "You're probably right. Let's get goin', girly."
The two warped out, and into the Janni Camp, feet from the entrance. The Gods looked at each other, sighed, and entered. They approached the receptionist desk, where the receptionist was in awe.
Harral - "Greetings. This is the Mage's Colony, correct, ma'am?"
Receptionist - "Y-yes, sir."
Harral - "No need to be so rigid. We're here on business. My friend here, Zephyz, and I would like to sign up for classes."
Receptionist - "I only deal with mortals, I'll bring you to the Headmaster. She deals with godly affairs."
Harral - "Understood. Lead the way."
The receptionist lead them to the Headmaster's office. The receptionist knocked.
Aviri - "Come in."
Receptionist - "Tok-Harral and Tok-Zephyz, m'lady."
The two Gods sat in the seats in front of the Headmaster's desk.
Aviri - "I assume you want to enroll in one of our programs."
Zephyz - "Yes, ma'am. We weren't sure of any of the details involving enrolling, so we came to you."
Aviri - "As Gods, you don't need to pay, if you don't want to. Also, You're allowed to set up private tutoring sessions, and the staff will pay for it. Most of the perks are simply fee exemptions."
Harral - "Sweet!"
Zephyz - "Harral! ... Headmaster Aviri, while the offer is kind of you, we'll still pay. What kind of payment would you like?"
Aviri - "Anything legal and relatively worth about 1500 coins per class."
Zephyz - "How about a Nova Gem?"
Aviri - "That'll work. Now, which classes do you want?"
Harral - "I need Water, Earth and Air. She needs Fire."
Aviri - "You can only take one class at a time, so, Tok-Harral, please choose one of those three."
Harral - "I choose Water."
Aviri - "Alright. Tok-Zephyz, here's your papers. Tok-Harral, yours. Classes start at 7 in the morning, going until 11. No attacking other students, unless it's a formal and supervised duel. Even though you're powerful, treat your teachers as your elders. If you have any other questions, please ask."
Zephyz - "Thank you so much. So, classes are in an hour?"
Aviri - "Yes, m'lady. If you want, I could introduce you to your teachers."
Zephyz - "Sure."
The group began down the hall. Other early birds were wandering the halls.
Aviri - "This is the classroom of Fire. The teacher of this class is Master Adrix. Tok-Zephyz, you may wait here for Master Adrix. Tok-Harral, your class is in the opposite wing."
Aviri leads him to the opposite wing, to Master Aemis' classroom.
Aviri - "This is Master Aemis' room, the Water instructor. Be careful around her. She's a major alcoholic."
Harral nodded, and opened the door to find Master Aemis going through some paperwork on her desk. He chose a seat in the far end of the classroom.
Aemis - "Harral, come here for a moment."
He groaned, and walked to her desk.
Aemis - "Take these."
She handed him some blue robes.
Aemis - "Your current attire will make the others nervous. Please, change in those robes."
He nodded, cloaked himself in darkness, and changed into the robes.
Aemis - "Please take a seat at the front of the class. I expect you to perform better than the other students."
After she finished the class was quiet for a while, until the first students arrived. Slowly, more trickled in, filling in the rest of the seats. The massive bell outside tolled seven times.
Aemis - "Good morning class. Today, we'll find out if you can handle this class."
She pulled a rope next to her desk. A curtain opened to reveal a tank of water.
Aemis - "In this tank is incredibly cold water. If you can withstand more than 20 seconds, I'll allow you to continue my class. Herald, would you please demonstrate for the class?"
Harral - "Of course, Master."
Harral stood up, approached the tank, walked up the steps, took a deep breath and jumped in. Immediately, Harral felt the cold practically seeping into him. After 15 seconds, the students all saw the pained expression on his face. His skin started turning, and that's when he got out.
Aemis - "27 seconds. Well done."
She pulled all of the cold water off his body, and slowly heated the water in his body. As she did that, she inquired:
Aemis - "Who's next?"
??? - "I'll go next."
Aemis - "Very well."
After about an hour, a large amount of the class had left, as they couldn't handle the freezing water test. Only seven of the original 36 remained.
Aemis - "Clearly, you're the elite. But, are you the elite of the elite? That's what this class will bring to light. Now that the first test has passed, the second trial is at hand. Can you even use and manipulate water? Let's find out."
Aemis took out some pots and filled them with water. She lined them up on her desk.
Aemis - To my right is a pot of freezing water. To my left is a pot of boiling water. In the middle is a pot of regular water. This middle pot is used to acclimate yourself after using the other two. You must hold your hand in each pot for as long as possible. Do not damage yourself in the process. You may begin."
Harral was the first in line for the cold water. He put his hand in, and the cold shot up his arm, making him flinch. He closed his eyes, trying to ignore the cold. After a while...
Aemis - "Herald, that's long enough."
He pulled his hand out.
Harral - "How long was I going?"
Aemis - "Minute and 23 seconds."
Harral smirked and stepped aside to acclimate his hand. Once he was done, he put his hand in the boiling water. This was far easier for him, and it caused no discomfort.
Aemis - Herald, enough. Minute and 27 seconds. You've performed excellently, you're ready for the first lesson. However, we'll be waiting until everyone is able to go for at least 30 seconds. Most people lasted, on average, 40 seconds, and only three people performed under 30 seconds."
Harral - "That's good, I guess. So, what'll we do while the others are catching up?"
Aemis - "Next class, while the others are catching up, try to experiment without my guidance. Once everyone's caught up, I'll be guiding the class."
Harral - "Sounds good."
Aemis - "Class, work on your endurance on your own until next class. You'll be re-evaluated next time. Dismissed."
The rest of the students left, and Harral stayed behind.
Harral - "Aemis, could you tutor me a bit? I want an edge on the others."
Aemis - "I can do that. We'll begin in a moment."
Aemis organizes a few papers on her desk, signs a few of them, opens a drawer, puts them in and stands up.
Aemis - "We'll be practicing in the courtyard. Let's go."
They walk out into the courtyard in silence. They approach the fountain.
Aemis - "You already know Magic. So, this concept should be easy for you."
Harral - "Yeah, I know. Let's get to it, already."
Harral closed his eyes.
Aemis - "Imagine the graceful power of a river. Feel it in your soul. Feel the roar of a great waterfall..."
Harral pulled at the water, it whipped out of the fountain and spiraled around him. After a few seconds, he lost focus and it dropped to the ground.
Aemis - "Well done. Keep working at that until holding it is second nature."
Aemis - "I'm heading back to the class. If you need me, you know where to find me."
Harral - "Yes, ma'am."
Harral kept trying to further his focus, but it just wouldn't work. His anger finally started to boil over.
Harral - "DO AS I COMMAND, DAMNIT!"
The water flew out of the fountain at Harral, who prepared himself to dodge, but found that the water stopped inches in front of him. It simply sat there, as if waiting.
Harral - "That's better."
He motioned his hand to the right, and the water trailed it. Aemis, who was watching from her classroom's window, smirked.
Aemis - "He got it."
After a few minutes of playing with the water that now followed his beck and call, Aemis arrived at the fountain.
Aemis - "Well done. However, it's only water-"
Aemis slapped the water, which then splashed everywhere.
Aemis - "-Which is still weak, and easy to manipulate. Your assignment is to make it less easy to manipulate, in any way you choose. I will then test it. You should go home and practice. You can't stay here all day."
Harral bowed, and warped out. When he arrived in the Palace, Enigma was boasting, Zephyz was yelling at him and Raptoris was between them, holding them apart. Harral saw this as the perfect opportunity to mess with Enigma. He pulled water from all of the nearby fountains, forced it into a tightly packed ball and hurled it at Enigma as hard as he could. It hit him in the face, bounced off and hit Medasz, who was sitting down, eating dinner.
Medasz and Enigma - "DAMNIT, HARRAL!"
Harral ran down a hallway with the other two not far behind? Zephyz sighed.
Raptoris - "What'd you learn today?"
Zephyz immediately perked up.
Zephyz - "I learned how to create fire, and manipulate it!"
Raptoris - "Care to demonstrate?"
Zephyz struck the index and middles fingers on each of her hands against each other, which sparked. She blew on it slightly and a flame formed in her hands.
Raptoris - "Can you do anything with it?"
She coated her fingers with the flame and started hacking and stabbing at the air with her hands. She jumped back, cupped her hands, spun them about and shot a bolt of fire at the floor next to Raptoris.
Raptoris - "Nice. I know a little Fire Magic, if you want me to teach you some tricks I've learned."
Zephyz nodded excitedly.
Raptoris - "First off, most Magic can be 'purified', as we call it. When you cast nearly any Magic spell, there's almost always one flaw. The air in between the Mana. When you purify Magic, it condenses it into an extremely small space. Purified spells are exponentially more powerful. Here, let me demonstrate."
Raptoris stepped back, closed his eyes and summoned a fireball in front of him. He drew it towards his hands, where he began to crush it. The fire became smaller and brighter every second. Finally, it reached a critical point, where it became the size of an apple. Raptoris directed it slightly above his hands, where he dipped his fingertips into the blaze. He absorbed it, and his entire body ignited. He let loose a flurry of punches, jump kicks, aerial swipes and finished with a leg sweep evolving into high kick. Every time he moved, a wave of flame erupted from his legs, feet, hands, or whatever he was attacking with. He extinguished the flames.
Raptoris - "Using the purity style in any Magic is a great feat. You should strive to achieve that level of power. Keep in mind, there are a few Magics where the purity style reaches even higher extremes, namely Sky, Dragon, Nova and Fire."
Zephyz - "Wow. Takous never taught us that..."
Raptoris - "It's a highly advanced technique. Usually, only Gods who were once monks or priests would learn it. However, a bratty and overexcited young Mage like yourself could learn it."
Zephyz - "...Wow."
Raptoris laughed as Zephyz walked away. She walked down to her room, opened the door and found Reyial sitting on her bed.
Zephyz - "Reyial, what're you doing in here?"
Reyial - "...I wanted to apologize for the other day."
He stood up and walked towards her.
Zephyz - "It's fine, Reyial. Don't-"
Reyial hugged her tightly.
Reyial - "It's inexcusable, Zephyz. I should've done something."
Zephyz - "You were sleeping. More peacefully than usual. I didn't want to disturb you."
Reyial shook his head and squeezed her tighter.
Zephyz - "How about you join me at the Coloney, tomorrow?"
Reyial - "Why?"
Zephyz - "I think you should learn how to use combat Magic. Plus, it's a great learning experience."
Reyial - "I guess I could check it out."
Zephyz - "I'll introduce you to the headmaster, tomorrow. For now, let's get some rest."
Reyial hugged her one last time and left. Zephyz flopped onto her bed, and her arm hit something hard. She pulled away the covers to find a small box. Inside it was a shimmering leaf. Half confused, Zephyz closed the box and put it on her dresser. She laid down, and quickly fell asleep. A few hours later, Zephyz woke to the sound of a knock on her door. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, got up and opened it to find Dramae.
Zephyz - "Dramae...?"
Dramae - "Mind if I come in for a little while, Zephyz?"
Zephyz - "What's wrong?"
Dramae - "Nightmare."
Zephyz grabbed his hand and had him sit on the bed with her.
Zephyz - "Feel like telling me about it...?"
Dramae - "I don't wanna think about it..."
Zephyz pulled him close. He rested his head on her shoulder and they both closed their eyes. Both of them woke up to the sound of footsteps in the hallway. Dramae was still half asleep with his head in an unnatural position against the wall, while Zephyz went to crack the door. Through the crack, she saw Harral and Enigma run down the hall to Harral's room. She turned to Dramae.
Zephyz - "I'll be just a minute."
She walked down to Harral's room, knocked twice, and kicked the door down. She stared at Harral, who was doing a horrible job at hiding his guilt. She locked them both in place with vines, and just as she was about to destroy them, a hand touched her shoulder. She swung around, expecting another accomplice, but found Dramae.
Dramae - "I'll take care of it."
She left, disheartened. Dramae turned to the two Gods, recovering from the binding. He walked up to Engima, put his hand to Engima's forehead, and blasted backwards into the wall. He walked up to Harral, and shook his head.
Dramae - "I expected more from you."
He put his hand to Harral's chest, and blasted him into the side of the bed. Harral slumped over in pain. Dramae kicked him so he fell over, and blasted his back, forcing him to become more aquainted with the floor. Dramae left and closed the door. There was a short silence before...
Harral - "OW! THAT HURT REEEEEAAAAALLY BAD!"
Engima - "Man up, Harral."
Harral - "EASY FOR YOU TO SAY! I GOT KICKED AND BLASTED! TWICE!"
Harral jumped up, and tackled Enigma. Again, there was a knock on the door.
Harral - "CRAP! THEY'RE BACK FOR ROUND TWO! HIDE!"
A voice spoke.
Raptoris - "It's me, Raptoris. Just letting you know: There's a meeting at 13 in the main hall. Also, it's a quarter past 7. Just thought you'd like to know."
Engima - "We're late for class! You idiot!"
Engima ran out of the room.
Harral - "Don't blame this on me! GET BACK HERE!"
A short while later, in the Colony...
Adrix - "AAAAAAAALRIGHT, CLASS! TODAY WE'RE LEARNING HOW TO MAKE YOUR SPELLS MORE POWERFUL, AND HOW TO USE FIRE AS A WEAPON OR ARMOR!"
Student - "WHOOOO!"
Adrix point to that student and yelled:
Adrix - "YEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAH!"
Adrix walked over to Zephyz' desk. He cleared his throat.
Adrix - "Miss Zarin, care to show the class what you've learned on the topic? I know you've been practicing a good bit."
Zephyz - "Sure."
She walked to the front of the class, took a deep breath, and began. She struck her fingers together, and created a ball of fire and started squeezing it. In her mind, she saw a raging volcano, which then exploded, destroying trees and wildlife and leveling the ground for hundreds of miles... She didn't realize it, but the fireball had become so small that it had turned white. The tiny fireball tried lashing out from her hands, but she commanded it to stay in place. She coated her hands in the searing heat. She began drawing a sword with the flame, which she grabbed and started swinging around. She swung it to her left, it exploded and covered her body with a white-hot flame mantle.
Adrix - "Bring it."
Zephyz rushed Adrix, forming a fireball in her right hand, and be prepared one in his left. The fireballs collided, causing a shockwave and a burst of heat. Both of their hands were blackened from the explosion.
Adrix - "Well done, Miss. You may sit."
She returned to her seat.
Adrix - "The rest of you, begin working on condensing fire. Once you all have it, we'll move on."
Adrix walked to the front of the class, and Zephyz followed. Adrix put on his glasses, which were missing a lense. He began looking at papers on his desk.
Adrix - "Zarin, do you need something?"
Zephyz - "I have a question I'm not sure you'll understand."
Adrix - "Ask away."
Zephyz - "When I was condensing the fireball, I couldn't stop thinking about the Astriloth Cataclysm."
Adrix - "Demons are naturals at using Fire Magic. It's normal. Try it again, I want to see how powerful you can make your Magic when you think about that."
She stepped back and started again. The scene flashed into her mind again. She felt her consciousness being carried away. The world around her melted away, and the only thing she could hear was a distorted voice.
??? - "Zephyz, it's time to wake up... You've been sleeping too long..."
Without realizing it, she began taking on her Demon form. The students were horrified and began yelling and screaming as they ran from the classroom.
Adrix - "Damn... I didn't know she knew that Magic... This is bad."
Moments later, a purple flash, and a figure stood between Adrix and Zephyz.
Reyial - "Go, Adrix, you won't be of much use. Make sure everyone stays safe."
Adrix - "Right."
Adrix was holding students back from looking into the class as the two Gods stared each other down.
Reyial - "Give her back to me, Demon."
Zephyz - "Why should I? She's so boring when she's in control. LET'S SPICE THINGS UP!"
Zephyz launched the fireball that she had made at Reyial. He took a low stance, outstretched his arms, put his fingertips together, and split the fireball in half. He gravitated it around himself and into his necklace.
Reyial - "Stop this. I don't want to hurt you. Either of you."
Zephyz - "You? Hurt me? PWAAAAAHAHAHAHAH! You don't even know offensive Magic! What're you gunna do? Overload my body?"
Reyial - "Zephyz... I'm so sorry..."
He closed his eyes, the air began to feel heavy. Zephyz' devious smile turned to an intense stare.
Reyial - "Shovos. Eidra Malak Shovos."
He opened his eyes, his irises expanded, covering his eyes with a solid purple color and shifted into a combat stance. Zephyz also shifted into a combat stance. Reyial ran at her, and she ran at him. Zephyz went to punch Reyial with her right arm and he responded by pushing her arm with his left hand, and landed a palm strike on her forehead. She flew backwards, crashing through the wall. A blue mist surrounded Reyial as he stood in the broken wall, staring down at her.
Zephyz - "What manner of power is this?!"
Reyial - "Force Magic. Millennia of training has made my body into a weapon. Now, give in, before I cause you AND Zephyz more pain."
Zephyz - "Not a chance."
Zephyz began preparing the Skril Scream.
Reyial - "Fine... Have it your way."
A single tear dropped from his eye as he kicked off the building, flying high into the air. As he dove down towards her, his right arm began leaving a white-blue trail.
Reyial - "Hiyeta DOMITRUS!"
He chopped her head, crashing her body into the ground. The strike sent a shockwave that shattered all of the windows nearby. The demonic features dissolved from her body.
Reyial - "Zephyz..."
Adrix jumped from the hole in the wall, and Harral and Enigma came from some nearby windows.
Harral and Adrix - "Is she alright?"
Enigma - "She's fine. I saw the whole fight. Reyial didn't hit as hard as he could have. Some rest will do her good. But, she might have a headache for a month or two."
Harral - "Nice one, Reyial. Didn't think you had it in you-"
Harral put his hand on his shoulder and a teardrop grazed his hand. Harral lifted his hand.
Harral - "I'll... See you at the palace, then?"
Reyial warped Zephyz and himself out. Headmaster Aviri approached the group.
Aviri - "I'm glad Reyial stopped her. None of us, save you and Enigma, would be alive."
The group heard a stomping sound approaching them. It was Master Kent, the Earth Teacher.
Kent - "DAMNIT ALL! I'M SUPPOSED TO BE THE MINDLESSLY DESTRUCTIVE ONE! GO BREAK STUFF SOMEWHERE ELSE!"
Adrix - "SHADDAP, KENNY, HE JUST SAVED US FROM THE SKRIL SCREAM, AND THIS IS HOW YOU REPAY HIM?!"
Ourus - "Now, boys. I think it's time to calm down."
Kent and Adrix - "SHADDAP, OURUS-"
Both of them dropped to the ground, sleeping. Aemis popped up from a pile of rubble with a sign that said "K.O."
Ourus and Aemis carried Kent and Adrix into the Colony, but Aviri remained.
Aviri - "Classes will be postponed for a while. We need to repair the Colony and make sure no one's hurt. We'll be able to have outdoor classes until the Colony is fixed. Also, no doubt your cover is blown. Oh, well. The deception could only go on for so long. You two may go home. I'll tend to the Colony."
Enigma - "Alright. Let's go, Harral."
Harral - "...Yeah."
The two warped back to the Palace, which was unusually quiet. Harral walked down to Zephyz' room, and Enigma followed after him. Dramae was sitting next to a sleeping Zephyz on her bed. Reyial was sitting against the wall, on the floor. Raptoris was talking to Ashura and Takous, and Medasz was sitting on the bed with Dramae.
Harral - "We late for the party?"
Enigma started goin through the papers on Zephyz' dresser.
Medasz - "Hey, leave that stuff alone!"
Enigma cocked his head to the side, picked up a note and read it quickly.
Enigma - "A note to herself... 'Ask Reyial what this leaf is'... Reyial? Care to explain?"
Reyial - "Before I arrived here in the Destiny System, I ran across Wintergreen-"
Dramae, Medasz and Harral - "WINTERGREEN!?"
Reyial - "Well, not the real Wintergreen. It was a copy made by a Time Devourer. I entered a village, although I can't place the name. There was this... Beautiful, shimmering tree. It was... Captivating. While I was there, I saw a little girl. I asked her what the tree was. She said it's the Marudoa Tree. An ancient tree with the ability to grant wishes, if the person's will is strong enough. The tree couldn't wither, even if its leaves were removed. Even a leaf from the tree could bring small wishes to life. So I asked her if I could take one, and she picked one of the ones she could reach and handed it to me. She smiled, and I smiled back at her. I broke a piece off of my necklace and she asked why. I gave it to her and I said so that she'll remember me. I left, and she waved as I walked into the distance..."
Raptoris - "That's quite the story. I know the girl you talked to. But, Takous knows her better."
Takous - "I know that village. I visited once. I met this young woman with a strange necklace. She said it was from a man with piercing purple eyes. He never gave his name, but she said he seemed like the kind of person that everyone would love to meet. That girl's name was Zephyz. My apprentice to be."
Harral - "Heh. Small world."
Dramae - "No kidding.