Chapter 63: Field Trip
For the past several weeks, nothing noteworthy happened, yet I was kept busy enough to not have time to visit my family. Disciplinary Committee duties took up all of the time that I had remaining aside from school and training.
The class that I taught had a harder time than I expected when it came to divergent training, which I named it. The whole aspect of focusing mana into a single point proved to be difficult for all of the Augmenters in the class while reabsorbing a conjured spell was even more arduous of a task for the Conjurers.
So far, out of the Augmenters, only a student named Benson managed to do anything remotely close to what I had in mind. As for the Conjurers, only Kathyln succeeded in reabsorbing her spell and enhancing her body. Even then, she only succeeded in “augmenting” her hand. Feyrith was a close second as he was the only other student on the brink of success.
My Deviant Magic Theory class has been moving along quite slowly as our Professor explicitly explained that she will cover new material after we finish our mid-semester tests. Since a semester is 16 weeks long and we’ve only gone through 4 weeks of school, it’ll take another 4 weeks until she’ll start going over what I want know.
“Are you excited for the excursion trip we’re going to have this weekend?” Tess leans in closer as she asks.
The two of us, along with Sylvie, were inside the training room during lunch. I had just finished helping her with assimilation. By my estimation, Tess needs about one or two more weeks to fully assimilate, which worries me because, until then, she is very limited in how much magic she can use.
“Hmm? Eh, we’re only exploring the first three floors, right? I doubt we’ll find anything worth getting excited over.” I just shrug.
This Saturday, we were to have a one-night trip to the outskirts of the Beast Glades with our Team-Fighting Mechanics class. Professor Glory received permission from Director Goodsky on the condition that we were not allowed to go past the third floor of the dungeon we planned on exploring.
The dungeon was a minor one and a popular site for new Adventurers since the mana beasts in the upper levels were only E class so Professor Glory thought it would be a great way to have the class get in some real life team-fighting mechanics practice.
“Pshhh… You’re no fun. I bet you’re actually really nervous that we’ll be in the Beast Glades. I heard about it a lot from Grandpa. He says that it’s filled with a lot of mysteries and wonders but also dangers. Grandpa said to never truly trust any source of information about the Beast Glades because it always changes.” Tess gets lost in her thoughts about how exciting our short trip was going to be.
“We’re going to be fighting against real mana beasts! Can you believe it? I mean, I’ve fought against a couple in Elshire Forest while I was training with Grandpa but I heard Mana Beats are different in the Beast Glades, you know, more vicious. We’re going to be sleeping in the dungeon too! That’s so exciting!” Her eyes begin to sparkle as she imagines camping underground, surrounded by mana beasts.
Giving her a soft flick to her forehead, I wake Tess up from dreamland. “Just remember, you’re probably not even at half your strength right now and the assimilation isn’t going to be in time for the class expedition. Don’t get full of yourself.”
“Oww… I know I know! Sheesh, you don’t have to baby me so much.” She pouts while rubbing her forehead.
“Do you remember when we slept together in the same tent?” My face turns into an evil grin as Tess’ face turns red immediately.
“Kyu?” Sylvie tilts her head in curiosity since she wasn’t born when this happened.
“What did you say again? Ahh!” Putting on a frightened face, I look at my blushing childhood friend.
“A-Arthur? W-well! You see… beasts will more likely appear if they notice you because they will see that you are a child. Therefore, I propose that for our s-safety that it would be better for you to c-come inside the tent.” I say in a high-pitched voice, mocking Tess.
“Uuu! You asked for it!” She jumps on top of me and starts poking me hard as I continue laughing.
“Owowowow! Hahaha~ okay! I’m sorry I give, I give! Tess… hahaha… I’ll stop!” Tears form in my eyes as I continue laughing and crying in pain.
“Kyuu!” ‘Me too, I want to play too!’ Sylvie hops around us.
Eventually, she comes to a stop as I lay panting on the ground, catching my breath with Tess sitting on top of me. Looking at my childhood friend, I notice that her face was still red. Realizing almost immediately after what sort of position we were in, I couldn’t help but get hot as well, as Tess lowers her head closer to mine.
“Hoho~ I see you two are getting along well. Virion will surely be happy.” The voice catches the both of us by surprise and Tess immediately gets off me while we distance ourselves from each other in embarrassment.
Director Goodsky walks up to us with an amused look on her face. How she got in without either of us noticing is beyond me but I couldn’t hide the awkwardness in my face as she looked at me.
“Fufu~ how is the assimilation going?” Saving us some face, Director Goodsky changes the topic.
“It-it’s going well! Art helped me a lot these past couple of weeks and I feel a lot better! I haven’t been feeling any pains from the rejection lately and as long as I don’t use magic too much, I think I’ll be okay!” The flustered Tess scrambles her words as she flails her arms to hide her embarrassment.
“She should be fully assimilated with her beast will in about a week or two.” I clarify after calming myself.
“Hmmm…” Director Goodsky nods at me before she kneels down in front of the still red Tess. Gently placing her hand above Tess’ stomach, Director Goodsky closes her eyes to sense Tess’ mana core.
After a brief moment, she retracts her hand and nods, satisfied. “Good, good. I’m glad that there were no troubles along the way. I knew I could trust you, Arthur.” She says to me before getting back up.
“Where have you been these past couple of weeks though, Director? You were always in contact from what I heard, but I noticed you haven’t been inside the Academy for a while now. Did you just get back?” I say, tilting my head. My eyes couldn’t help focusing on the small cut she had on her other hand.
“Ah yes. I’ve been away for some personal reasons. I am back now though, so come to my office if you need anything.” Director Goodsky quickly covers her hand and gives me a soft, grandmotherly smile.
“I better get going now, though. I have a lot of work to catch up on. Be sure not to overexert yourself, little one. Be especially careful while you are inside the dungeons. One should never underestimate even the lowest level mana beasts.” Director Goodsky gently pats Tess’ hair before disappearing with a wisp.
“S-so what are your plans after this?” Tessia says, trying to break the awkward silence that the Director left us in.
“After classes, there’s an emergency meeting for the Disciplinary Committee since Curtis, Claire and I are going to be away from campus over the weekend. We’ll have to work on some of the details in case an emergency arises while the three of us aren’t here. After that, I’ll probably go back home for the first time and sleep there. I’ll get back to campus by tomorrow morning in time to head out for the excursion. What about you?” I say while leaning back.
“Well, Professor Glory said there won’t be any class today since she wanted us to rest for the excursion tomorrow so I’m free until the Student Council meeting. We have to go over a couple of things on the agenda since both Clive and I won’t be there either.” Tess responds a lot more calmly now. I had to admit she was pretty cute while she was playing with Sylvie’s paws.
After spending a bit more time talking to Tess, I eventually had to leave to go to my remaining classes. Even though we didn’t have our Team-Fighting Mechanics class, my other two classes seemed to drag on forever as we already started reviewing for our mid-semester exams.
“That will be it for today, class. Remember to keep up with your studying instead of procrastinating and cramming it all on the night before. I know you all love doing that.” Professor Mayner says sarcastically as he hands out some review sheets on basic spell formations. After my last class was over I trudged on towards the Disciplinary Committee room with Sylvie weighing down particularly heavily on my head tonight.
“I trust that you guys will be able to handle keeping the Academy in check while the three of us are out. We’ve been through a couple of the emergency procedures these past two weeks so I’m confident that everything will be fine. As you all know, Kai is in command while I am out. Remember that Director Goodsky is back and on campus so if things go for the worse, don’t hesitate to have her help, although, unless it’s serious, I doubt there will be a need to. Dismissed!” Claire claps her hands as the rest of us get up.
“Twer…I mean Arthur. I want another practice match with you.” Theo places a hand on my shoulder as I head down the stairs.
“No! It’s my turn. You lost to him last time so I get to try now!” Doradrea squeezes in between us and looks up at me with her masculine face.
“Grr… That didn’t count! It was a lucky break that he just had, that’s all.” Theo refuted, his face red from both anger and embarrassment.
“No can do, Theo, Doradrea. I’m going home to my family tonight. My driver is already waiting for me outside of the Academy.” I shrug, hopping down the stairs without giving them the time to convince me to stay.
“You have the protection ring that Father gave you, right? Use it immediately if you feel like you’re in trouble. Promise me that, okay?” I hear Curtis worriedly nag at his younger sister. We’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning so tonight was probably the last time he’d be able to see her until we get back Sunday night.
Kathyln just responds with a silent nod, her face expressionless as always. She catches me looking at the both of them and quickly turns her head away. Curtis leaves his sister and walks towards me.
“I’ll see you tomorrow morning then, Arthur. I heard Professor Glory was thinking of assigning teams. Let’s join the same team if we can.” Giving me a fist bump to my arm.
“Yeah, sounds good.” Giving him a friendly nod, I walk out after giving everyone a wave.
It was already pretty dark outside with the only source of light coming from the soft glow of the floating orbs. The campus grounds gave off a very mystical feeling at night, totally different from how the world was in my previous life.
Upon reaching the main gate to the academy, a familiar driver was waiting for me. “Good evening Mr. Arthur. I take it that you have prepared everything?” He says while taking off his hat and giving me a slight bow.
“Yeah. The meeting ran a little late so let’s leave right away.” I get in the carriage after my driver opens the door for me.
I dozed off during the ride back home so it felt like the familiar Helstea mansion came into view a lot faster than I expected.
“We have arrived, Mr. Leywin. Have a great night.” Opening the door, the polite driver tips his hat once again as I step off the carriage. Walking up the stairs brought up nostalgic thoughts of when I came back from the Kingdom of Elenoir and when I came back from the Dire Tombs. This was probably the first time coming back home in a while without giving my parents a reason to worry for my life.
Before even having the chance to knock, the giant front door swings open and an Ellie missile shoots out at a speed that surprised me.
“BROTTTHERRR! Welcome hommeeeee!” Ellie wraps her arms around my waist as I muster up the strength to keep the both of us from toppling down the stairs.
“Kyu!” Sylvie hops off of my head and onto Ellie’s, licking her face.
“Haha~ that tickles, Sylvie.” My sister unwraps herself from me as she holds Sylvie and tickles her back.
“I was wondering what the noise was; you’re back a little late, Son!” My father leans against the front door and gives me a grin.
“The meeting ran a little late. It’s been a while, Dad.” I give my father a hug as my sister follows behind me, still cuddling with my bond.
“Ah! You’re back, Art. You must be so tired.” My mother, who was upstairs, runs down and kneels in front of me, giving me a long hug.
“Hey, Mom. Yeah, I’m back.” I smile, accepting the family love I cherished so much.
“How’s your body? Are you all better now?” My mother examines my body, lifting up my shirt and turning me around to make sure I didn’t have a wound left on me.
“Haha, I’m fine now. You’re worrying too much.” I give her a comforting smile but I can’t help remember the short conversation I had with my father about why Mother wasn’t able to heal me back then. I shake the thoughts out of my head though. I’m sure there was a reason and the only thing I could do was wait for her (to) tell me.
“Brother, how long are you staying?” Ellie is practically hopping around me as we all head towards the living room.
“I’m leaving early tomorrow morning.” I let out a sigh.
“Wha~at? Why?” My sister’s face visibly saddens, her shoulders slumping at my response.
“Yeah, why are you leaving so soon?” My father chimes in, taking a seat on the sofa.
“One of my classes has an excursion trip to the Beast Glades tomorrow for one night. We leave in the morning tomorrow so I’ll have to head out pretty early at dawn.” I was already tired at the thought of waking up that early.
“The Beast Glades?!” My mother’s face turns pale in concern. I wasn’t surprised since I almost died the last time I was in the Beast Glades. Even my father had a worried look on his face.
“Don’t worry. We’re only going to be in the outskirts and our Professor will be with us at all times. Besides, I still have the ring.” I pull out the ring that the Helstea family gave to us from my pocket. The ring used mana circulation to indicate to the other person whether I was still alive or not. I kept it off while I was at school since I didn’t really have a need for it but I brought it just in case.
“But still… is it mandatory for you to go?” My mother furrows her brows, as the concern doesn’t leave her face.
“We’ll be fine. It’s one of the lowest ranked dungeons and we’re not allowed to go below the third floor anyways.” I comfort my mother.
She still wasn’t entirely happy with the whole situation but she just keeps silent, giving me a hesitant nod. The four of us spent a few more hours just catching up while Sylvie fell asleep on Ellie’s lap. Ellie was apparently doing well in her ladies school while my father and mother both still looked very healthy and in love. It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve last seen them so there weren’t really any surprises. Asking where the Helstea family was, Father said that Vincent and Tabitha were both out for a couple of days on a business trip to a different city.
Eventually my parents ushered my sister and I into our rooms since it was pretty late. I almost fell asleep while taking a shower and after drying myself; I couldn’t help but let out a big sigh of relief after sinking into bed.
It was good to be back home.
I turn my head, too tired to get up and I see a small head peaking out from the other side of the door.
“C-can I sleep with you tonight, Brother?” Ellie walks in with her arms clinging onto a stuffed animal.
“Sure.” I smile, lifting the blanket next to me so she can get under.
“Hehe, yay.” Ellie jumps into the bed, making herself comfortable. The bed was more than big enough for the both of us but she scooted in close and faced me.
“Goodnight.” Patting my baby sister’s head, the both of us fall asleep to each other’s breathing.