It was dawn; Deveon was in a carriage dragged by two creatures; they were shaped like salamanders with legs lengthened as that of a horse with a range of motion as that of a human arm. They had black scales with red stripes running across their backs, with sharp claws adaptable to crawling. The beast was dragging the carriage at an extremely high speed, far faster than any animal Deveon had seen before. Despite how fast the carriage was going it wasn’t rocking. The man taking Deveon to his academy refused to speak with him so Deveon spent most of the ride attempting to figure out why the ride was so smooth. Eventually Deveon gave up on finding the answer alone.
“Mr what are those animals dragging this carriage and how come the ride is so stable?” Deveon was talking to a man who was directing the two creatures dragging the carriage.
“The animals you are referring to are called drednog. They are native to the sameran desert in the center of Vahil and shatter stones are used to stabilize the carriage”
“It must’ve been expensive to attain animals that live so far from here.” Deveon said as he glanced at the man while slumping back into his seat .
“They are indeed very expensive due to how versatile they are and how hard it is to catch one alive.”
Deveon perked up again. “What makes them so versatile and difficult to capture alive?”
“Drednogs are far better for dragging carriages across long distances compared to
Horses. Drednogs strength, speed, and intelligence outstrip those of horses by a large margin. Not only that they can climb and traverse unstable land drednogs also have a keen sense of smell, they are good fighters making bandits a lot easier to deal with, and mature drednogs can use mana. All of these facts and their independent nature coupled together makes them extremely difficult to catch and even more difficult to tame.” The man suddenly got into a chatty mood. Deveon was smirking as the man droned on about the prowess of drednogs.
“Does that mean these ones can use spells?”
“No, these two are only a few years old. They’ve yet to reach the age in which they are capable of using mana to its full extent. These two definitely have potential, and with my training they will become fearsome when they reach adulthood.” The man driving the cart puffed his chest as he spoke with increasing pride. The man went on about his drednogs and the effort he put into training them.
“To be able to train and raise two drednogs on your own, unbelievable. You must be more than just a mere servant in the nightenwing family.” Deveon feigned admiration. “Then you must know a lot of personal things about Saul.”
Deveon’s statement snapped the man back into reality. His face suddenly straightened. “I will not divulge any information regarding the Nightenwings to you. In all honesty I do not understand the young lord's decision. I regard you as a threat but if he wants to train you so be it.” The man returned to silence.
Deveon lazily fell back into his seat and pouted. “What a fail. Using his interest to get him to open up won’t work again. The rest of this ride will be boring.”
The two have set up camp in an open field. After hours of non-stop traveling, night finally came. The flame burning in the center illuminated the surrounding area; the crackling of the flame was the only sound filling the air.
“The drednogs aren’t tired despite the non-stop running. Looks like Mr isn’t all talk.”
Deveon suddenly broke the silence “How much stronger are adult drednogs? If I kill one can I get the recognition I need to get into Uriel?”
The man glanced at Deveon then returned to taking care of his drednogs. “If a boy your age is able to kill a drednog and have definite proof that he was the one who did it, he’s guaranteed admission into Uriel, less a high ranking noble interferes.”
Deveons face lit up after hearing the man's response.
“But” the man continued, “It would be wise for you to rid yourself of such thoughts. An adolescent drednog is capable of wiping out a whole squad of average soldiers on its own. You are nowhere near the strength of taking down the two drednogs I own at your current strength, much less an adolescent one, and a full grown drednog is nothing but a pipe dream for you.”
Deveons face became glum.
“Your well being is of no concern to me but since the young master deems you to be a valuable asset I will tell you this. Don’t rush your advancements to Uriel; It will just lead to your death. It seems you have experience in hunting beasts but make no mistake, animals capable of using mana are nothing like the ones you’ve been dealing with. Drednogs are powerful animals but even weak animals capable of using mana will prove to be difficult for you to handle once you learn to use mana. You’re only twelve, take your time to build your foundation and understand your strength before aiming for Uriel.”
“How strong are the students in Uriel?”
“Uriel is the most prestigious magus academy in Oris. Uriel students can easily dispose of both of my drednogs which even grown men would struggle with, a few of them can kill an adolescent on their own. Young master was a student of Uriel. If you want to get into Uriel, becoming the strongest at the academy you are about to attend isn't enough. You have to become stronger than most of the teachers there too.
The man paused. Then he asked, “Why are you so intent on getting into Uriel anyway?”
“Because Uriel can give me the power I need to kill Saul”. Deveon’s words were laced with malic and his eyes were burning with ambition.
Deveon suddenly felt pressure on him, he felt like his life was in the palm of someone else's hand and breathing suddenly became harder. “You have a rash mouth. You think I dare not get rid of you right here!!.”
“I’m certain Saul gave you instructions to not bring harm to me.”
The pressure around Deveon suddenly disappeared.
“Go to sleep. We’ll be at the academy more. Your immaturity will take care of you for me.”
Deveon was still stabilizing his breath. After a few seconds Deveon composed himself and said to the man, “I appreciate the information you gave me. It shed some light onto my path. Oh and in the future you don’t have to worry about me coming for you. My only goal is to avenge the Gestas. You had nothing to do with their death.”
Deveon went to bed after leaving that statement behind.
The two of them set off at dawn. After a few hours of traveling in silence they reached the magus academy. The academy had walls twenty-five feet tall erected around it. There were multiple large buildings made of wood, metals and decorated in gems. The tallest building was in the center and was four stories tall. The floors were paved with stone. The school was lively, students were leaving and entering buildings. Some were seated on the benches aligned on the road. Students could be heard in the distance practicing their skills and others were sitting in the grass reading.
Deveon stood in the front of the gate unable to move due to the pure shock he was currently feeling.
“School?! This place is a town!!”
Multiple students who walked by took note of Deveon and started chattering. Everyone was older than Deveon with the youngest student seeming to be the age of fourteen.
“I’ve brought you to your destination. I’m required to do nothing more than for you. I’m sure you can find your way to your instructor.”
“Wait.” The man was about to leave when Deveon suddenly stopped him.
Deveon walked up to him. “Thank you for bringing me here. Hope you’re able to train your precious drednogs into what you desire.” Deveon reached for the drednogs and caressed their heads.
“Their scales are really tough.”
An uproar suddenly bursted out. All the students in the area started making noise and all the attention was brought to Deveon and the crowd around the entrance got bigger. Shock flashed across the man's face for an instant.
“You’re on your own from this point onward.” Said coldly and suddenly left.
“Saul said he got me past the exam stage so I’m already enrolled here. I’m supposed to meet my instructor.” Deveon started scratching his head. “How exactly I’m I supposed to find him? Should I just ask around?”
“You look like a new student.”
A blonde girl who looked to be sixteen walked up to Deveon. Her figure had more maturity than a child but it didn’t have the grace of a grown noble yet. She had long hair and blue eyes. She was the average height for a sixteen year old girl but was taller than Deveon due to their age difference. When she spoke to Deveon all the commotion suddenly ceased.
“Ah, yes. How did you know?” Deveon responded with cautiousness.
“You’re not wearing our uniform and someone of your caliber surely passed the exam.” The female giggled. “You seemed to be lost. Do you require my assistance?” The female was being extremely polite with Deveon.
“Yes, I need to meet instructor Gale. I would appreciate it if you can guide me to her.” Deveon returned the female's politeness and breathed out a breath of relief.
The female covered her mouth with one hand and gasped. “What a coincidence. She’s my instructor too. She should be in her office right now. I can lead you there.”
“Thank you for the help. Much appreciated.” Deveon breathed out a sigh of relief.
The women started leading the way and Deveon followed. All the students who were in the area started to quietly talk amongst themselves as the two left the area, while some had worried looks in their eyes.