Chapter 58: First Day At The Job
“Easy… take it slow. There you go.” Elijah supported me back up. It’s been exactly one week since I’ve gotten injured and also the last time since I’ve walked. Even with mana circulating throughout my body, strengthening my limbs, I still felt weak.
“Kyu…” Sylvie looked at me with as close of a concerned face she could have for a fox-like mana beast. She was walking besides me instead of curling up on top of my head, afraid that I won’t be able to hold her up.
Elijah came over to my hospital room as soon as first period was over. I would be starting off my day as a Professor in the Practical Mana Manipulation class and I wasn’t so eager in my current state. With my legs giving out every couple of steps and my back and sides burning, I barely had the strength to get to class, let alone teach it.
After slowly getting used to walking, I stopped leaning towards Elijah for support and used Dawn’s Ballad as my walking stick. I couldn’t help but chuckle because of the ill-humored irony. I remember how I thought that this sword was nothing more than a walking stick instead of priceless sword. I shake my head at the fact that my assumption back then was actually foreshadowing my current situation.
Elijah wrapped the handle and sheathe in a white bandage both for comfort and for safety from suspicious eyes. Here I was, a twelve-year-old, already using a cane to support myself from falling.
“Are you going to be okay by yourself? Maybe I should at least help you out in between classes for today?” Elijah had a concerned look on his face as he stuck close by me, ready to catch me if I stumble.
“I’ll be okay.” I don’t have the confidence to say that I won’t fall, but I didn’t want to make Elijah constantly be by my side.
As we arrived in front of the classroom, Elijah still had his brows furrowed underneath his glasses and I knew he was hesitant to let me go by myself.
“Arthur. Let me help you.”
I turn my head around to see Princess Kathyln run toward me, away from her group of friends. Without giving me a chance to respond, she places her arm around my waist as her other wraps around the hand that I wasn’t holding my walking sti…sword with.
“Uhh… okay. Thank you.” I shrug at Elijah, whose body was frozen, and carefully make my way inside my room.
“I heard our new Professor was finally coming today!”
“Oh really? I liked Professor Glory though.”
“Anyone should be better than Professor Geist, right?”
“You never know, we might get an even more dangerous weirdo this time.”
“Hey, isn’t that the Disciplinary Committee officer that beat Geist?”
“He looks hurt…”
The various discussions that the students were having all changed to murmurs about me as soon as I walked in.
“I’ll be fine now, Princess Kathyln. Thank you.” I ease my arm out of her soft hold.
“You need help up the stairs…” Her expressionless face didn’t match the concern in her voice. I just shake my head and motion her to go on first.
Sylvie followed close behind as I walked to the middle of the room as she took small hops towards the moveable podium that was placed in the center of the small stadium.
“Whew…” I let out a deep breath in relief as I put all of my weight on the podium that was a little too high for me.
I look up to see Feyrith in one of the desks with a curious expression on his face. As soon as Kathyln reached her desk, I spotted her looking back, trying to find me. She also gave me a confused look when she realized that I never went up the stairs behind her and instead came to the middle of the room.
By this time, the conversations amongst the classmates that centered around me diminished as more and more of the young mages began wondering what I was doing leaning against the professor’s podium.
“I’m not sure how many of you know my name, but I believe that most know at least who I am. My name is Arthur Leywin, a Disciplinary Committee member, the only son of two wonderful mages, a doting brother, and your new professor. Let’s get along.”
I counted down in my head in prediction of when the class would erupt. Almost exactly in sync, the noble brats that filled the classroom stood up in disbelief and some in anger as they shouted to stop kidding around and get back up to my seat.
“You expect us to believe that a brat like you is our new professor?” One of the second years that is either retaking this class or is taking this class for the first time exclaimed.
“Stop fucking around and get back up here! Who do you think you are?!” One short first year barked.
Wow… such vulgar language coming out from a twelve-year-old.
“Sigh…” If I could teach this class while lying down, I’d honestly do it at this point. I’m too tired and hurt for this.
This would be a lot easier if Professor Glory or Director Goodsky let the class know that I would be teaching beforehand. She should have at least given me an official document to prove that I was the Professor. I wonder if Director Goodsky did this on purpose.
This seems like something she would do.
“Mmm… would you guys believe me if I said that Director Goodsky appointed me to be the professor for this class for the remainder of the semester?”
Another round of protests resounded within the room as the students were growing rowdier.
Looking at Feyrith and Kathyln, I see Feyrith’s handsome face filled with a mixture of incredulity and doubt, while Kathyln’s face was also that of slight shock.
“Don’t get so c*cky just because you beat the old professor! Do you think you could’ve won if Princess Kathyln and Feyrith didn’t tire him out?” A different second year jumped down and landed on the stage with a loud thud.
He had a pretty big build, and judging from the poor circulation of mana in his body, he’s probably at the level of being able to augment only some of his body.
He took big strides towards me, preparing to carry me off the stage if he had to. Feyrith was preparing to jump off the stage as well to stop the big guy but I just shook my head at him.
“You shaking your head at me now? Who do you think you are?” I guess this buffoon thought that my head gesture was directed mockingly at him.
Half of the students were a bit nervous, not wanting to get caught up in another drama during class, while the other half was cheering Mr. Brute here, on.
The entire room vibrated slightly as I directly bombarded him with mana, making him fall back on his butt.
Hobbling over to the student that was sitting down confused and stunned on his ass, I felt like an old master of some sort, teaching a rebellious young disciple the true way.
“Don’t ask me why, but Director Goodsky didn’t bother giving me any special documents proving that I am your new professor. Taking a quick glance at all of you, though, with the few exceptions, I can’t see how any of you can even call yourself mages yet.”
I deliberately step over the still shaken Mr. Brute and make my way to the other side of the silent room.
“Do you think that, because you’ve formed your mana core, you can call yourself a mage? I can tell you right now that this cute little fox here, yeah, she can take on any of you.” I pick up Sylvie below her armpits and show the entire class.
“Any of you students that feel like they need proof or don’t even want to bother attending this class, go find Director Goodsky or lie down and make angels in the grass outside. For those of you who are even a tiny bit curious as to what I’ve got to teach all of you, feel free to stay.” I wait a couple of seconds, but whether it was because of my little trick with Mr. Brute or because they were too lazy, none of the students left.
“Now… If you’ll please go back to your seat, student, I’ll begin my lesson.” I gaze down at the second year that jumped down, eager to show off his limited ability.
“Uhh…” Quickly getting up, he made his way back to his seat, a look of embarrassment etched onto his face.
I walk back to the center of the stage as I lean on the podium that Sylvie was curled up on.
“Since this is a Practical Mana Manipulation class, I’ll ask a practical question. What is the best way to utilize mana in the surrounding atmosphere?” I look around and almost instantly, a nerdy-looking girl with ponytails shoots her hand up.
“Mana is best utilized by absorbing the mana naturally formed in the atmosphere into the mana core where it can be condensed and purified for use when spells or techniques are cast.” She gives me a satisfied look, as if she was proud of her own answer.
“Good. Now. As you all know, the difference between Augmenters and Conjurers lie in the fact that Augmenters use mostly the mana in their cores via their mana channels while Conjurers directly absorb mana from the surrounding atmosphere via their mana veins. So… Why do both types of mages have to meditate and absorb mana if only the Augmenters actually utilize the mana that they absorb into their core?” I quiz, not looking at anyone in particular.
“…” The nerdy girl’s confident hand shrinks down as she thinks about what it.
“While Augmenter’s incorporate mana into physical attacks, thus reducing the amount of mana used, Conjurers manipulate the space that the spell is casted in directly, consuming more mana. Because of that, Conjurers use the purified mana in their mana core as a reserve to avoid backlash.” Kathyln answers, her face unchanging as she remains seated.
“Correct! Then the last question of the day… Is the color of a Conjurer’s or even the Augmenter’s mana core a truly accurate way of measuring the level of the mage’s power?” I lean forward, shifting my weight from my left leg to my right.
“…” I hold in my chuckle as Kathyln’s usually composed and vacant face scrunches in deep thought. “That’ll be your homework for today! Everyone come down to the stage and line up! I want the Conjurers to my left and Augmenters to my right!”
After a few grumbles of complaints, eventually, everyone makes their way to one side of the stadium, all lined up side by side faced towards me.
“For this exercise, I want everyone to initiate the most basic spell of your affinity. Conjurers, no wand.” I state.
For Augmenters, the most basic spells that they’re taught all come in a very similar form. For fire affinity Augmenters, it would be Fire Fist, which was igniting a small ember covering their fist. For wind, it would be Whirlwind Fist. For water, it would be Aqua Fist, and for earth, Boulder Fist. After mages are able to manifest their elements, the Augmenters’ first step is learning to integrate their element into their hands, which are the limbs that they’re most accustomed to using.
The fact that these royal mages are even here is because, thanks to their lineage, they have high talent and usually have the ability to manifest their elements early on. It took my father more than twenty years in order for him to manifest an actual flame, but these 12-14 year olds can already do that. THAT was the difference in genes, something that even I found to be undeniable.
As for the Conjurers, the most basic spell involves gathering a specific elemental mana into a sphere and shooting it. For Fire specialists, that would be in the form of the spell, fireball. For wind, it would be wind bullet. For water, that would be water bullet and for earth, a stone bullet.
Conjurers had it easier since they didn’t have to directly form the element in their bodies, but just absorb the specific mana particles around them and use that to invoke the spell. Why Conjurers had specializations in different elements had to do with how well they were able to sense the specific elemental mana particles around them and utilize it.
I rest my head on my right hand as I watch both types of mages prepare for their spell.
The Augmenters in the class all begin concentrating with their dominant hand clenched into a fist. A few long seconds later, their spell became visible as the element they had their affinity in surrounded their fist. The time it took for the Augmenters varied but not by much.
The Conjurers in class all began softly chanting as the space in front of their palms began glowing different colors, depending on what element their spell was. Unsurprisingly, the time it took Feyrith and Kathyln to form the spell in front of his or her hand was much faster than everyone else’s.
The only difference between the Augmenters and Conjurers in their spell was that the element surrounded the Augmenter’s fist while the element was formed in front of the Conjurer’s palm.
“Now. Augmenters, I want you to try and shoot your spell in front of you, while Conjurers, I want you guys to try and absorb the spell you conjured into your hand.” I give them an innocent smile as they stare at me blankly.
“…” They realized that I wasn’t joking when I motioned for them to do it.
“HURGGH!” “HAH!” “Grrr…” “Urghhh” “Shoot!” “Fire!”
It was almost comical watching the Augmenters try and separate the element from their fists.
“Ouch!” “AHH!” “Kyaa!” “OUCH!” “FUCK!” “OWW!” “DAMMIT”
The Conjurers weren’t any better as all of them ended up getting cut, burned, wet or bruised. After about 15 minutes of struggling, most gave up and looked at me accusingly. Even Feyrith and Kathyln looked at me doubtfully.
“This is stupid. We all know that only high level Augmenters can cast long distance spells!” One of the Augmenter students cried.
“Yeah! And what’s the point in absorbing back a spell we prepared and conjured anyway?” The nerdy girl whined.
Leaving Sylvie on top of the podium, I hobble to the opposite side of the stage, away from the students.
Taking a brief moment to concentrate, I aim at the space between where the Augmenters were lined up and the Conjurers were lined up.
A stream of air shot out of my palm and bent the wall surrounding the stage into a small crater.
After getting over the initial surprise, one of the students just retorted. “Big deal… It’s strong, but most can do that once they’ve reached the orange stage.”
“True. Since it seems like no one figured out why what I did was special, let me explain.” I raise my other arm and will a gust to form around my hand. I shoot the newly invoked wind bullet, but this time, as the wind bullet goes across the room, by the time it reaches the wall, only a soft ‘fwoosh’ sound is heard.
“THAT’S what most are able to do once they’ve reached the orange stage.” I give a slight wink, leaving them confused.
“I can’t accurately demonstrate what would happen when Conjurers are able to absorb the spells that they invoked, but trust me, it’ll only help you.”
I stagger back to the podium and grab Sylvie. “That’s it for today. Try and come up with the answer to the question and practice what I just told you to do. See you tomorrow.”
They won’t be able to produce results on that level anytime soon. I wasn’t aiming for that anyways. My hope is that, through this, both types of mages alike will be able to at least overcome one of their major weaknesses right now, while their bodies are still undeveloped and malleable.