Chapter 2:

Erudio and the Calastor Project

Lonely Savior: Curse of the Forgotten One

After walking for several hours, Sotis took a break by a river. Sitting by the water, he brought his two hands together, and splashed water into his face, refreshing himself in preparation to continue his journey. The water was crystal clear, making it easy for Sotis to observe the fish swimming in direction of the current. The sun was shining strong, with its light reflected by the water. Across the river was a huge grass plain, with only a handful of tress alongside the river. Far from him, Sotis could see a couple of people next to some sort of strange shape. However, being far away from them, he could barely guess what it was.Bookmark here

Looking to his right, he saw a young man in a large white gown. He had short brown hair, and was rather small in stature. Looking at his youthful face, Sotis imagined him to be in his teenage years. His brown eyes had all of their focus on the river, whom the teenager had his hand in. Wondering what could possibly demand so much attention, Sotis calmly approached him.Bookmark here

"Hi, what are you doing?" asked Sotis, gently tapping his shouder.Bookmark here

"AAAAAAHHHHH!"Bookmark here

The gowned boy screamed, frightened after his focus so suddenly broken.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you," said Sotis, apologetically, "I was just curious about what you were doing."Bookmark here

"Ah, n-no it's al-alright," said the teenage boy, "I-I'm just wor-working on my pr-pr-project."Bookmark here

"Ooh, what project is it? Of course, if you don't mind me asking."Bookmark here

"Um, it's, it's som-som-something related to th-this."Bookmark here

The teenager shyly brought his hand out, showing a strange wood object Sotis had never seen before. It was similar to a carriage wheel, only without the rim surrounding the pieces of wood that were all connected together.Bookmark here

"Um, this is m-my invention. I c-call it a tur-turbine."Bookmark here

"I see. And what does it do?"Bookmark here

"Uh, by ro-rotating, it could pro-produce energy similar to an i-item blessed with a ma-magical spirit."Bookmark here

Having piqued his curiosity, Sotis was intensely looking at the boy's invention, leading to a few seconds of silence. Unable to handle the silence, the gowned boy panicked.Bookmark here

"Gah! I'm so sorry for making you listen to me! This must be a terrible idea, right!? My professor already said it was. I knew I should have listened to him! Everything I do always ends in failure! Maybe I should just give up everything—"Bookmark here

"No, don't!" said Sotis, interrupting the gowned teenager, "I think it's an amazing idea!"Bookmark here

"You. You really think so?" he asked, shocked at what he had just heard.Bookmark here

"Of course! Items with magical spirit are incredibly rare and valuable. If you were to create something that could replicate their use, it would no doubt help thousands of people all around the world!"Bookmark here

"Rea-really?"Bookmark here

"Really."Bookmark here

It was the first time he had ever received someone's approval. He had tried many times to impress others, to no avail. This stranger he had just met gave him a feeling he did not know he could experience. A feeling created with sincerity and honesty. A feeling of warmth, of acceptance. A feeling that could make him believe he could do anything, no matter what others said. This feeling brought him joy, and all it took was a short conversation with someone he had yet to know the name of.Bookmark here

"Oh, by the way, my name is Sotis. I probably should have said that first, huh," he said, with a smile on his face.Bookmark here

Once again, the teenager felt warm inside. Sotis's smile gave him the optimism he had always needed. He had found someone who he could trust, and was ready to share everything he had with him, as if he was an old childhood friend.Bookmark here

"Um, my name is Xavier. I'm a student at Erudio."Bookmark here

"Oh, so the school you're attending is Erudio?"Bookmark here

"Uhh, not quite," Xavier nervously answered, "Erudio itself is both a city and a school. The entire city is essentially one big school. Travelers are often surprised when they hear about this."Bookmark here

"Well, I'm a traveler, and I'm certainly surprised," said Sotis, still with a smile.Bookmark here

"Um, so... How exactly do you know about magical spirits? Most people tend to be aware of their existence, but very few actually know much about them," shyly asked Xavier.Bookmark here

"Oh, that's because I own one myself."Bookmark here

Sotis reached to his left, pulling out his dagger from his scabbard. He passed it to Xavier's hands, who examined it carefully.Bookmark here

"Uhh... Sorry, I can't really tell the difference between an item blessed with a magical spirit and one that isn't," said Xavier, carefully handing the dagger back to Sotis.Bookmark here

"That's alright. Most people tend to be unable to sense magical spirits," responded Sotis, while putting his dagger safely back in his scabbard, "In fact, most people I've met were unable to sense these unless the magical spirit itself is large."Bookmark here

"Hmm, I see. Let me write this down."Bookmark here

Xavier pulled out from his pocket a short notebook and a pen, and started writing the new knowledge he had just gathered.Bookmark here

Sotis chuckled, "I see you are quite the diligent student."Bookmark here

"Ah! Not at all!" responded Xavier, bashfully, "I'm not that great of a student. I'm at the bottom of my class, and everybody else are simply so much better than me."Bookmark here

"I don't think that's true at all," responded Sotis with a warm smile, "Granted, I haven't met any of your classmates, but just meeting you, I already know you have a lot of potential within you."Bookmark here

Once again, Xavier felt incredibly touched by Sotis's words. It had given him the confidence to finally ask this traveler a question he had been itching to ask.Bookmark here

"Um, I'm sorry for asking, but do you think it would be possible if I could show you a bit more of my project? I'd love it if you could give me feedback on my plans. Oh, but of course, that's only if you're willing to! I don't want to force you to do anything. Actually, never mind, you're probably busy, and have other things to—"Bookmark here

"Sure, I don't mind checking them out," said Sotis, interrupting the teenager.Bookmark here

"Oh, great!" exclaimed Xavier, "I'll show the way towards Erudio."Bookmark here

The pair started following the road which lead to their destination. On their way, Sotis noticed multiple other students who were each doing their own research and experiments outside of the city. All of them wore the same gown Xavier had, with the only difference being the colors of it.Bookmark here

"I see that everyone from Erudio seems to wear similar garments," said Sotis, wishing to learn more about Erudio before arriving, "Is there any signification in the colors of the gown?"Bookmark here

"Yep, there is!" responded Xavier, "Each color represents the student's ranking, which are based on their exam results, individual projects, and their overall contributions to Erudio. The lowest rank is white, followed by red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and finally, black. Uh, so as you can see, I'm in the lowest rank."Bookmark here

"But with your current project, you'll no doubt go up in the rankings!" said Sotis, in an attempt to give Xavier a boost of confidence.Bookmark here

"Um, yeah, maybe..." responded Xavier, unconvincingly.Bookmark here

The two had arrived at the entrance of Erudio. The city was surrounded by tall stone walls, creating a sense of security for all the students within. As Sotis and Xavier passed through the gate, multiple other students were coming in-and-out of the city, each following their own plans and schedule. Inspecting his surroundings, Sotis noticed that each building was clearly identified: dorm, library, equipment shop, restaurant, and plenty of other useful facilities. According to Xavier, it was made so the student's life would be as efficient as possible, allowing them to reach their destination as easily as possible, without having to overly examine each building.Bookmark here

At the heart of the city was a tall circular tower, though still significantly shorter than the Ignis Tree. Upon enquiring about this conspicuous structure, Xavier explained that it was the core of Erudio, named Celenald. Celenald acted as both the headquarters for the teachers and the place where all of the classrooms were located. These teachers were the ones who ensured that everything in the city ran smoothly, making it possible for the students to successfully complete their studies and grow as people.Bookmark here

The two were headed to that very tower, with Xavier having left the documentation for his project inside his teacher's classroom. After several minutes of walking, they had finally reached a massive light gray door, the only thing between them and the inside of Celenald. Despite the huge size of the door and Xavier's scrawniness, the teenager opened it with some ease, revealing the inside of Celenald to Sotis. The entrance hall was circular, with marble stairs spiralling up to the top of the tower. Sotis looked upwards, counting at least 12 floors that made up the building. The entire floor had a black and white checkered pattern. To both Sotis's right and his left were long corridors with several doorways leading to other rooms, presumably classrooms.Bookmark here

Sotis and Xavier climbed up the stairs, going to the second floor of Celenald. The first thing that caught Sotis's attention was a sign attached to the wall, which read 'White,' clearly showing that the floor was for the students of the lowest rank. The two stopped at a large white door, after passing by several other ones. Xavier opened it, revealing the inside of the classroom. There were dozens of wooden chairs, all placed in a circle which surrounded the center of the class, occupied by small stone platform. This platform was where teachers would stand when they would give lectures, clearly making them the center of attention. In addition, each chair had a small wooden surface attached to these, permitting students to easily take notes during a lecture.Bookmark here

Having found his documents on one of these wooden surfaces, Xavier started to explain his project to Sotis. Xavier had discovered that the rotating motion of the wheel-like structure had the potential to harness a new type of energy never seen before. He further repeated how this new energy could replicate what items blessed with a magical spirit could do, such as potentially be able to create sources of light or speed up the growth process of a plant. The possibilities were limitless, and all that had to done to accomplish this was for Xavier to complete his project.Bookmark here

"Wow!" exclaimed Sotis, "This project will surely bring immense development in this world! I am truly confident that your rank will increase significantly once you present this idea!"Bookmark here

Xavier laughed nervously, "Ha ha... Um, I guess the only issue is that no teachers are willing to listen to it."Bookmark here

"Huh? Why so?" asked Sotis, surprised by this response.Bookmark here

"Let's just say that all of them already have their focus on a different project," shyly said Xavier with an awkward smile.Bookmark here

Suddenly, a tremor was felt all throughout Erudio. Everything shook momentarily, surprising Sotis. The chairs were rattling, and both the floor and the ceiling had the impression that they were going to break down. After a couple seconds, everything calmed down and came back to normal.Bookmark here

"Are there often earthquakes around these parts?" asked Sotis, surprised at Xavier's calmness during the tremors.Bookmark here

"Oh, that wasn't an earthquake," said Xavier, "It's probably the teachers working on the Calastor Project."Bookmark here

"The Calastor Project?" asked Sotis, unaware of this new term he had just heard.Bookmark here

"Oh, the Calastor Project is the project of Calastor, a black gown student," explained Xavier, "However, he passed away a couple decades ago before he was able to complete it. The teachers back then saw the huge potential in this project, so they are still trying to complete it to this day, despite no teachers from that time remaining now."Bookmark here

"I see. And what exactly does this project entail?" inquired Sotis.Bookmark here

"I don't have the full details, but they are trying to artificially create a magical spirit. And if they succeed, they'll most likely be able to create magical spirit in large amounts, thus bringing significant benefits to Erudio."Bookmark here

Sotis stood frozen, shook by what he had just heard. He was horrified, frightened. Suddenly, he grabbed Xavier by his shoulders.Bookmark here

"Where are they right now?!" he anxiously asked.Bookmark here

"Um, uh... They are on the highest floor of Celenald," quietly said Xavier, surprised at Sotis's reaction.Bookmark here

"All right, I'll be going there then," Sotis responded, immediately going out of the classroom.Bookmark here

Still taken by surprise by Sotis's reaction, Xavier was left alone in the classroom. He looked around, contemplating all the decisions he made up to this point. He pondered, for multiple seconds, wondering what he must do. Finally, he came to an answer. For many years, Xavier was considered as a coward by both his peers and teachers. He had never pushed himself to become someone great. However, meeting Sotis changed everything. He had gained self-confidence. Confidence that he too could do something great. Confidence that he would have never had gained had he not met Sotis. With that, he only had one thing he knew he had to do: follow Sotis, despite not knowing the current circumstances. Xavier could have avoided any troubles, and stand aside. However, he knew that this was the right choice. He realized that the event that was about to unfold would become a turning point in his life, created by a traveler he just met today. Putting all his trust into Sotis, Xavier took a deep breath. He lightly slapped his cheeks with his hands, and, with a strong and determined look he never once had, he ran to catch up to Sotis, ready to help him.Bookmark here

Xavier swiftly caught up to Sotis, who was quickly walking up the stairs going towards the fifth floor.Bookmark here

"Um, so, what exactly is the problem with the Calastor Project?" asked Xavier, still walking quickly alongside Sotis.Bookmark here

"First off, there is no feasible way to create a magical spirit from scratch," stated Sotis, "Although it has not been fully discovered yet how magical spirits appear onto this world, we already know that they are brought about through special circumstances. Each individual magical spirit was born from different events, but all of these events have been special in their own way. Magical spirits are simply a phenomenon that cannot be clearly explained. Trying to create the unexplainable is a recipe for disaster. If the Calastor Project were to be completed, the artificial magical spirit may destroy the entirety of Erudio, erasing the city from the map! And I know that all too well, and I refuse to let it happen again!"Bookmark here

Sotis's last few sentences piqued Xavier's curiosity, but he was already aware that this was not the appropriate time to question him about it. Nonetheless, Sotis's words only made his resolve stronger, and knew that this project had to be stopped.Bookmark here

The two had finally reached the highest floor of Celenald, and were immediately greeted with a large white door, larger than all the ones they had previously seen. It was the only element on the floor, making it the only possible destination for Sotis and Xavier. With no hesitation, Sotis pushed the door open, revealing the Calastor Project.Bookmark here

There were approximately thirty teachers, all wearing similar gowns as the students, only with a gold crest sewn onto their black gowns. They were all surrounding a strange black substance. It was placed in a large glass container. The substance was like some sort of viscous flame, and it emitted a faint black light. There were papers all across the floor, likely the plans to the Calastor Project.Bookmark here

Being suddenly interrupted by these two trespassers, all the teachers were perplexed, wondering what was happening. A tall muscular man walked towards Sotis and Xavier. His long brown hair was attached in a ponytail, and he gave a deadly stare to the pair's eyes.Bookmark here

"You two are not supposed to be here," he said, with a deep voice, "Please leave at once."Bookmark here

"No, I will not," passionately declared Sotis, "You must put a stop to the Calastor Project."Bookmark here

Irritated by this response, the tall teacher looked straight at Xavier.Bookmark here

"Who is this person you brought here, white gown?" he angrily asked.Bookmark here

Xavier took a few steps back, scared by this sudden interaction. Not knowing what to answer, he looked Sotis. Sotis looked straight back at him, nodding his head. That was all it took to give Xavier the courage he was looking for. Xavier stood tall, ready to respond to the teacher.Bookmark here

"First of all, my name is Xavier! " he proudly proclaimed, "This traveler is Sotis, and he is here to save Erudio!"Bookmark here

All the teachers looked at each other, confused. They did not know what this student was talking about, and were all ready to pass it as complete nonsense. Starting to realize that they weren't going to believe him, Xavier started to panic. However, Sotis gave him a slight tap on the back, reassuring him instantly. Sotis started walking forward, coming face to face with the tall man.Bookmark here

"So, what exactly is going to endanger Erudio?" he asked, looking down on Sotis.Bookmark here

"The Calastor Project." confidently stated Sotis.Bookmark here

The tall man chuckled, "The Calastor Project has been ongoing for many many years. It is engrained in the roots of this city, and it what is going to bring Erudio to further greatness! It must be completed to honor the soul of everyone that worked on it in the past!"Bookmark here

"I'm certain that the souls of the past would rather be honored by remembering them rather than creating something that will destroy the only memory of them."Bookmark here

The tall man did not know how to respond, having been taken by surprise by Sotis's response. Sotis walked past him, approaching closer and closer to what would create the potential downfall of Erudio. However, multiple teachers blocked his path, unwilling to abandon this project they had worked on for multiple years.Bookmark here

"Everyone, please stand aside," politely requested Sotis.Bookmark here

"No, we refuse to!" cried out one teacher.Bookmark here

"Even if it may bring us to our death, we shall complete the Calastor Project till the end!" screamed another teacher.Bookmark here

"Are all of you out of your mind!?"Bookmark here

The teachers were taken aback by Sotis's sudden scream. He looked straight at them, with a serious gaze. Sotis calmed himself, and proceeded to verbalize his thoughts.Bookmark here

"Are all of you really prepared to risk the lives of thousands of promising students, just for the possibility of progress? Progress may be great, but how much can you sacrifice to achieve it? Sometimes, we shouldn't always strive to advance forwards.  We all need to know our limits, because trying to exceed them will only lead to our doom. The Calastor Project is something beyond our limits, thus a project that should never be attempted to be complete."Bookmark here

"Wait, but why are you so sure that the project will end in disaster?" asked one of the teachers.Bookmark here

"I may be younger than all of you," said Sotis, "but I've experienced a lot. I know the dangers of messing with magical spirits."Bookmark here

His words stunned everyone, and left them speechless. They now were clueless on what to do next. Sotis's words were incredibly convincing, but the teachers were simply not ready to abandon such a long project so easily. They pondered for many seconds, until a small lady amongst them finally broke the silence.Bookmark here

"I understand," she said, "We'll dispose of the project accordingly."Bookmark here

Everyone turned to her. They all thought once more, and finally came to a mutual agreement that it would indeed be the best option. They all were frustrated that so many years of work went to waste, but they all understood the situation they were putting the entirety of Erudio in. Xavier, watching far away, breathed a sigh of relief. Everything had happened so quickly that it drained all the energy away from him.Bookmark here

With the Calastor Project now scrapped, there was a question looming over every teacher's head. The tall man who had previously stopped Xavier and Sotis did not hesitate, and proceeded to ask it.Bookmark here

"So now what? You may have prevented the potential destruction of Erudio, but you've also prevented potential advancements. How will we reach our desired goal now?"Bookmark here

"Well, there's someone I know who I think has an excellent project to propose," said Sotis with a grin.Bookmark here

He looked straight at Xavier, and immediately brought everyone's attention onto him. Once again, Xavier expected himself to start panicking, having never had so many eyes on him. However, that did not ended up being the case. He had experienced so much in this single day, that he was no longer the person he once was. With full of confidence, he started explaining everything about his project. His occasional stuttering did not once put himself off, and he continued talking with all his heart. He explained everything in detail for several minutes, not excluding a single piece of information about his project. After finally completing his description of his project, the teachers all looked at each other, seemingly communicating through eye contact. Without uttering a word, they had all come to the same conclusion. They looked at Xavier, who was anxiously waiting for their response. One of the teachers stepped out from the group, ready to give Xavier the answer he was waiting for.Bookmark here

"I sure hope that your actions will be as convincing as your words," he said, "There is plenty of potential in this. We are ready to give you our full support for your project."Bookmark here

A sense of relief and joy flowed through Xavier. His eyes were seemingly sparkling, accompanied by his huge smile on his face. If he had not been in front of the teachers, he would probably have started jumping around. Sotis silently watched the euphoria that was happening in Xavier, happy about all the progress this student had made.Bookmark here

"Oh, thank you so much!" Xavier happily said, "I will definitely not disappoint all of you!"Bookmark here

"We sure hope you don't," said another teacher, "You have the potential of changing Erudio forever. Now's your opportunity to make your mark in this city's history!"Bookmark here

With the Calastor Project officially over and with Xavier's potential now noticed by everyone, Sotis was ready to leave Erudio. While all the teachers were busy discussing the newfound Xavier Project, Sotis was starting to head out of Celenald, without saying a word. Having reached the bottom floor, he headed outdoors. However, he was suddenly felt a pull from his hood. Turning back, he saw Xavier, strongly gripping Sotis's clothes.Bookmark here

"Um, Sotis," shyly asked Xavier, "You've helped me so much in such a short time. I just wanted to say thank you."Bookmark here

"Don't think much of it," replied Sotis.Bookmark here

"Sotis, wouldn't you mind staying here? I would love it if you could stay and help on my project. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do without your aid. Here, look..."Bookmark here

Xavier pulled his notebook out, showing its pages to Sotis.Bookmark here

"You've already taught me so much in a single day. All of these pages of notes are everything you told me. I even have a whole page dedicated to you. That is how much you impacted me. So please, can you stay in Erudio?"Bookmark here

Flattered by his words, Sotis started patting Xavier's head. The student looked up, seeing Sotis's bittersweet smile.Bookmark here

"I don't think you will need my help. I'm just a simple traveler, and that is what I'll continue to be. I know that you will achieve great things, I have no doubts in that. Become the amazing person that you are destined to be. Make me and all of Erudio proud."Bookmark here

Having said what he wished, Sotis turned around, prepared to walk out of Erudio. With Sotis's back facing Xavier, tears starting flowing out of his eyes. The joy he had felt moments ago was quickly replaced by sadness. The person who he admired was about to leave, with no clue if he was ever going to see him again. Wishing to give Sotis a proper departure, Xavier frantically tried to wipe his tears off his face. With a heartfelt smile, he was ready to wish him farewell.Bookmark here

"Thank you so much Sotis! I shall never forget you for as long as I live!"Bookmark here

Sotis responded to him with a slight wave of the hand, not turning his back once. Sotis passed by multiple students on his way out of Erudio, who were completely oblivious of what had happened at the top of Celenald. He continued walking, until he finally arrived at the city's gate. He looked one last time at the city's tower, recalling what had just happened. Having changed the fate of the city, he walked out of Erudio, off to his next unknown destination.Bookmark here

Upon waking up the next morning, Xavier took a look at his notebook, confused at where he had learned all the information written from. He continued to flip through the pages, until he reached one which was completely shredded, making it illegible. This shredded page was caused by the Curse of the Forgotten One. In addition to erasing a person from everybody's memories, it also magically destroyed anything that mentions them, making it truly impossible for them to ever be remembered. With a long day ahead of him, Xavier did not bother to ponder too long on this shredded page, and prepared himself to start working on the new Xavier Project.Bookmark here

Many decades after the Calastor Project ended, the Xavier Project was put to a halt. The former black gown student Xavier had passed away. He unfortunately was unable to finish the project in his lifetime, just like Calastor before him. However, a few centuries later, his research would be uncovered by a new generation of students, and bring his project to fruition. Xavier was remembered in the history of Erudio as the one who brought forth the start of technology. His legacy carried on, becoming an icon of Erudio. However, with nobody knowing who put the Calastor Project to a stop, the new generation of students theorized for endless hours, never determining the true savior of that fateful day.Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
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