Chapter 2:

Maiola Academy

Six


Each grain of sand fell slowly as Emyria stared at the hourglass on the teacher’s desk. She was tired of all the lectures, and work that she had to do. Can that sand fall any slower, Emyria wondered as she continued to look over the paper in front of her. The concepts continued to elude her as the teacher droned on about the topics Aystaria had tried to cover the previous night before. As she continued to watch the sand fall, Emyria could hear the teacher call her name.Bookmark here

“Miss Hyteria, care to grace us with your knowledge of our world’s history?”Bookmark here

Emyria stood to her feet as all eyes gazed upon her. The room was silent aside from the sound that only Emyria could hear—the increasingly steady beat of her heart.Bookmark here

“Well Miss Hyteria?”Bookmark here

“Uh, there was a war… some bad stuff happened, and then there was a pit.”Bookmark here

Everyone in the classroom snickered as the teacher slowly made her way over to Emyria. She towered over the room as the sound of her black leather boots were the only noise that rang out through the small room. Standing just over two meters tall, Emyria was forced to stare up at the enticing beauty—yet fearful—gaze of the her teacher, Miss Feldia Her eyes were cloaked in black rings as her red eye pierced deep into Emyria’s mind. She could feel the large soft crow feather brush against her skin as Miss Feldia spoke, her voice a dark chilling reminder that she did not like jokes—nor would tolerate them.Bookmark here

“Do I appear to be laughing, Miss Hyteria?”Bookmark here

“N-No, M-Miss Feldia.”Bookmark here

Emyria could feel her body shaking as she continued to stare into Miss Feldia’s eyes.Bookmark here

“Then tell me, what do you know of our world’s history? Think very carefully before you answer.”Bookmark here

Emyria was silent for a second.Bookmark here

“I-I don’t know… Miss Feldia.”Bookmark here

“You don’t know?”Bookmark here

“Looks like Emyria didn’t study. She’s going to get in trouble,” a girl’s voice mocked from across the classroom.Bookmark here

“Ah. Miss Faldur. Did you just blurt out while I was busy lecturing a student?” Miss Feldia asked as she turned her gaze upon Nolvet Faldur.Bookmark here

“I…”Bookmark here

Miss Feldia walked over to the desk where Nolvet was sitting.Bookmark here

“You should know by now there is nothing more I hate than being interrupted while educating young minds.”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, Miss Feldia. It won’t happen again.”Bookmark here

“Again. You notice that you say that word only for your previous statements to return false? I was going to be generous, and allow Miss Hyteria to sit back down. Then I could have explained the history of our world. Instead, I have to spend my time lecturing you. Now, stand up.”Bookmark here

“Please… Miss Feldia…”Bookmark here

“Front of the classroom.”Bookmark here

There was a sadness in Nolvet’s eyes as she made her way to the front of the classroom. Miss Feldia grabbed an odd wood-shape device that looked like a pair of sandals with a small bed of tiny needles covering the sole of the arch, and heel.Bookmark here

“Shoes, and socks, Miss Faldur.”Bookmark here

Emyria continued to remain standing as she watched Nolvet slowly slip off her shoes, followed soon after by her socks. With her feet bare, Nolvet placed her feet in the device, ensuring to stand on the tips of her toes to avoid the pain of the needles. The device had been shaped in a way that a student was unable to move their feet or rest them in any way. Each of the needles were positioned carefully that if a student were to break, the balls, arches, and heels of the feet would be pin pricked by the needles. It was equivalent to laying stepping on a bed of nails, or broken glass.Bookmark here

No one spoke a word as the sat in silence listening to Nolvet’s breathing as she tried to fight through the pain. Miss Feldia continued to peace back, and forth in front of the classroom as each step brought a traumatic fear into the ears of each of the students. The sounds of Nolvet’s breathing became louder as struggled to keep her knees, and legs from shaking. As the final grains of sand filled the bottom of the hourglass, Miss Feldia looked to the students.Bookmark here

“M-Miss Feldia? May we leave?” one of the students asked.Bookmark here

The cold deathly gaze of what appeared to be a flaming red eye struck terror into the heart of the girl that had asked.Bookmark here

“Would you like to join your friend up here dear?”Bookmark here

Shaking her head vigorously, the girl remained quiet as she waited for Miss Feldia to speak.Bookmark here

“Now, Miss Faldur, I suggest you explain our world’s history before either everyone in class gets mad at you, or you end up in a bit of pain.”Bookmark here

“T-This hurts… Miss Feldia…”Bookmark here

It was clear by the tone in Nolvet’s voice that she was weak at the knees, and ready to drop. Moans of anguish continued to befall her speech pattern as she tried to maintain the equanimity of explaining the history of the world.Bookmark here

“The world was created by the two goddesses, Astra and Byfeira. One of light, and the other…”Bookmark here

Emyria watched as Nolvet stopped to catch her breath while her legs shook profusely.Bookmark here

“We don’t know with one hundred percent certainty but we believe that during our time on this world, darkness arose from the depths of the world, and tried to ensure humanity went extinct. Somehow during that time, we fought back the darkness… Miss Feldia… this hurts…”Bookmark here

“Continue, Miss Faldur.”Bookmark here

“Ow, ow, ow, ow…”Bookmark here

A sudden gasp left Nolvet’s mouth as she dropped for only a berif second. In that moment, a sharp pain shot up through the soles of her feet, forcing her to stand on the tips of her toes.Bookmark here

“After humanity drove back the darkness, a large wall was built around The Pit to keep the creatures of the night in the abyss below.”Bookmark here

“And who is it that keeps the darkness at bay?”Bookmark here

“The Light Bearers. They guard the wall, and keep the eight towers lit during the night. Miss Feldia, please! Make it stop.”Bookmark here

Emyria felt sorry for Nolvet as she watched Miss Feldia grab her with one hand by the shirt collar, and sat her down on top of the desk. A small drip of blood fell from Nolvet’s bare feet, and onto the wooden floor. Grabbing a small bottle of white liquid, Miss Feldia poured it onto Nolvet’s feet, and grabbed a single roll of bandages. After unrolling a fair amount, and ripping off a section, Miss Feldia wrapped the bandages around the ball of Nolvet’s foot tightly—slowly working up the arch, and up to the ankle before tying it off at the end. Once she was finished with the other one, Miss Feldia looked to the rest of the students.Bookmark here

“All of you are free to leave now.”Bookmark here

Emyria made her way for the exit as she tried not to stare into either Miss Feldia’s eyes or Nolvet’s eyes. She quickly made her way down the school hallway as she looked out of one of the nearby windows. The sun was just still out, and high above the city—looking down over it like the eye of a bird. Guess I should get home, last thing I need is that tutor on my case too, Emyria thought as she made her way out to the courtyard. Before she could even reach the main gate, the sound of Nolvet’s voice rang through her ears.Bookmark here

“Emyria!”Bookmark here

Turning around at the sound of shoes clacking against the paved stone, Emyria was caught off guard as she felt the sting of an open palm smack against her cheek. As she looked up to see Nolvet’s face, she could see that she was furious. Even though her legs looked like they were about to give way, Nolvet appeared determined to say what she had to say.Bookmark here

“You are so selfish!”Bookmark here

“Me?! Nolvet, you brought that on yourself.”Bookmark here

“You think you’re so much better than me, don’t you?”Bookmark here

“Nolvet—”Bookmark here

Another slap to the face forced Emyria to snap. Without taking the time to take another slap to the face, Emyria quickly used the full force of her fist to land into Nolvet’s left eye. In a flash, Emyria pounced on top of Nolvet, and continued to pound her bare knuckles into the cheek bones. With each punch Emyria continued until Nolvet had managed to grab her wrist, and flip her over. Emyria soon found herself catching a left hook to the eye that blindsided her for a moment. As Nolvet reeled back to swing another punch, with haste Emyria pushed Nolvet off of her, and onto the ground.Bookmark here

Before Emyria could follow up with a strike, the sound of a chilling voice stopped not only her, but even Nolvet where they were—almost as if they were frozen in time. Emyria turned to where the voice was, and feel the hair stand on the back of her neck from what she saw. Sitting calmly on a nearby bench was Miss Feldia, one left crossed over the other like noble. Her fingers were interlocked together as she rested her chain on the tops of her hands—smiling in a cheerful, but creepy way that would have given children nightmares.Bookmark here

“You two know you shouldn’t be fighting on school grounds.”Bookmark here

Without thinking, both Emyria, and Nolvet rushed to their feet, and made a break for the main gate. Neither of them could speak as they continued run past the main gate, and down the block. Emyria continued to down the street until she realized that she had escape the clutches of Miss Feldia.Bookmark here

“She is way too scary,” Emyria said aloud as she tried to catch her breath.Bookmark here

After taking a second to compose herself, she realized that Nolvet was nowhere to be found. I guess she must have split off from me, Emyria thought as she looked around the location where she was at. Taking note of various shops, she knew exactly where she was thanks to the many hours she had spent just exploring the city. Once she had a clear understanding of her bearings, she made her way southeast. Moving down the streets, and through the various alleyways, she managed to make her way home as the sun was nearing the setting horizon west. As she entered into the foyer, Emyria stood frozen at the sight of what she was seeing before her eyes. Miss Feldia, along with Aystaria, Emyria’s parents, and Reina were all gathered in the anteroom. Their eyes all glared at Emyria which brought a chill down her spine.Bookmark here

“Miss Feldia, what are you doing here?”Bookmark here

“That’s an interesting question. What am I doing here?”Bookmark here

“Here to congratulate me for my contribution to the classroom?”Bookmark here

“Miss Feldia has informed us of what transpired today. You hit a student, and failed to do the responsible thing,” Emyria’s father said in an overbearing tone.Bookmark here

“But she attacked me!”Bookmark here

“Don’t talk back to your father. Even if she hit you first, as a Hyteria you are not to ordinate yourself to the level of a commoner. Reina!”Bookmark here

“Yes, Lady Hyteria?”Bookmark here

“Take our daughter to her room, and ensure she stays there.”Bookmark here

“Of course, Lady Hyteria.”Bookmark here

Emyria knew there was no auguring with her parents. Without putting up a fight, she followed Reina back to her room, and laid down on the bed.Bookmark here

“Would you care to vent, Lady Hyteria?” Reina asked as she sat down at the foot of the bed.Bookmark here

“This is just suffocating. One would think my parents would be proud that I decided to defend myself. If I was apart of a military family, they would be praising me for defending the family name.”Bookmark here

“Perhaps you can see it from their point of view.”Bookmark here

“What’s there to see? I was attacked first, and was right to defend myself.”Bookmark here

“Not everything is as black, and white in this world, even if all of us would like to believe that.”Bookmark here

“This isn’t something as complicated as mathematics though either something is right or it’s wrong.”Bookmark here

Reina sighed as she stood up.Bookmark here

“As you say, Lady Hyteria. I would advise you to stay in your room while I go, and handle cleaning the bathrooms.”Bookmark here

Without another word, Reina left the room as Emyria sighed. Maybe I should just run away, technically, I am old enough to join military, Emyria thought as she looked out the window. The sun was just starting to set below the horizon as the rays slowly faded into oblivion. Sitting up off the bed, Emyria decided to change into her usual causal clothes, and decided to make her way out of her room. The hallways felt like an errie darkness with the only lights at each of the intersecting junctures. Moving silently through the shadows like an assassin, Emyria made her way down the hallway until she started to hear the sounds of voices. As she moved in the direction of the voices, they became louder until she was able to make out the two voices that were conversing with each other.Bookmark here

The two voices were coming from Aystaria’s room. Why is Miss Feldia talking with Aystaria, Emyria wondered as she crept up to the slightly open doorway—taking note that a candle was lit within the room. Emyria carefully peered into the room, and noticed that both of them were sitting at a small wooden table with two small cups of tea.Bookmark here

“So, they don’t know?” Aystaria asked.Bookmark here

“No. The secret is still safe. Nothing more than a shadow, if I can speak ironically for a moment.”Bookmark here

Aystaria giggled as she set her cup down.Bookmark here

“I see. And what about… her?”Bookmark here

“She’s not ready. Best to wait.”Bookmark here

Miss Feldia placed her cup down on the plate.Bookmark here

“I do wish we could see who is stronger, you or me.”Bookmark here

Aystaria giggled as she smiled with confidence. There was a since of pride in her tone, but also respect.Bookmark here

“Perhaps another time, I’d hate to ruin this home.”Bookmark here

“Right then, shall we?”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

As if out of nowhere, Emyria felt someone push her into Aystaria’s bedroom, and onto the floor. Looking up at the two faces of staring at her, Emyria knew she was in trouble.Bookmark here

“Well, Miss Hyteria, seems you wondered into here by mistake,” Miss Feldia said with a bone chilling smile.Bookmark here

“So I have… I should probably just see myself out.”Bookmark here

“It’s no matter, I was just about to leave anyways,” Miss Feldia said as she stood to her feet.Bookmark here

“A pleasure speaking with you, Feldia.”Bookmark here

“Likewise.”Bookmark here

Miss Feldia made her way for the exit as she looked down at Emyria.Bookmark here

“See you in class tomorrow, Miss Hyteria.”Bookmark here

Emyria could feel her her heart stop for a second at the words that Miss Feldia spoke, as if she was going to be publicly humiliated in front of the whole class. Once Miss Feldia had left the room, Emyria turned to see Aystaria still calmly sipping her tea.Bookmark here

“Would you care for some tea, Emyria?”Bookmark here

“I would rather know why you, and my teacher are such good friends.”Bookmark here

“That should be obvious. As fellow educators, we have an understanding.”Bookmark here

Emyria sat down in the chair across from Aystaria. Most of the table plates were empty with only a few crumbs. After Aystaria placed her cup down on the plate, she smiled her usual cheerful smile that always took Emyria by surprise.Bookmark here

“I got something for you.”Bookmark here

“For me?”Bookmark here

Aystaria stood up, and made her way over to the nightstand, and grabbed the package on it. After placing it on the table, Aystaria sat back down as she stared at Emyria with a happy expression—like that of a child waiting for their mom to accept their gift. She bought me a gift, Emyria thought as she looked at the wrapped object in front of her. Pulling off the wrapping bow that held the paper in place, it all fell down perfectly revealing the treat before Emyria’s eyes.Bookmark here

A simple spherical solid block of bread covered in a rich chocolate sauce sat in front of Emyria. She bought me Schokoladenbrot. I love it, Emyria thought as she grabbed the knife nearby. Cutting into the bread at the mid-point, she cut the single piece into two. Taking one slice in hand, Emyria handed it to Aystaria.Bookmark here

“Thank you…”Bookmark here

“I bought it for you, go ahead, and eat it.”Bookmark here

“Fine, but you can’t say I didn’t try to offer you any.”Bookmark here

Aystaria simply smiled as she watched Emyria dig into the bread, finishing the slice after three full bites before moving onto the next slice. She is just like a child, Aystaria thought as she finished off the rest of her tea. Once Emyria had finished the last of her bread, she leaned back in the chair with a euphoric expression on her face.Bookmark here

“So, your teacher told me what happened.”Bookmark here

“I bet she just told you that I hit that girl.”Bookmark here

“Actually, she told me she saw everything. Now, while neither her, nor I can make a public statement regarding our personal opinions, we both agree that you did no wrong.”Bookmark here

“Wait, really? Miss Feldia doesn’t strike me as the kind of person that cares.”Bookmark here

“You would be surprised. She is quite benevolent.”Bookmark here

“Be— what?”Bookmark here

“Benevolent. It means kind or sympathetic.”Bookmark here

“Then why not just say that?”Bookmark here

A smug look fell across Aystaria’s face as she stood to her feet.Bookmark here

“The more information one has, the more powerful they are.”Bookmark here

“Pretty sure strength and power trump all the intelligence in the world.”Bookmark here

“Care for me to prove you wrong there?” Aystaria said with a cocky smile.Bookmark here

Emyria stood up as the two of them faced each other.Bookmark here

“Now, punch me.”Bookmark here

“Gladly.”Bookmark here

Reeling back her right arm, Emyria let her punch fly straight for Aystaria’s face. With little movement, and effort, Aystaria tilted her head to the left as she continued to maintain her cheerful smile.Bookmark here

“You see? Thinking you need to use power makes your attacks slower, and easy to predict.”Bookmark here

Aystaria placed one arm around Emyria’s waist, and one finger at a point on her neck.Bookmark here

“With just my index finger I can bring you down.”Bookmark here

In that moment, Emyria felt her whole body collapse as Aystaria supported her with her arm. The pain was hard for Emyria to imagine, a feeling of something that was, but wasn’t there. She couldn’t feel anything in her body around her arms or legs. It was as if those targeted point were being shut off like a river of water being blocked. Emyria tried to open her mouth only to learn that she was unable to open speak at all.Bookmark here

“And that’s just one point on your body I hit with my index finger. Still think power, and strength are everything?”Bookmark here

Aystaria removed her finger, and placed Emyria gently on her bed.Bookmark here

“H… How did you do that?”Bookmark here

“Understanding the human body, math, science, and other things that others take for granted.”Bookmark here

“Can you teach me to fight like that?”Bookmark here

“Only if you promise to apply yourself in school.”Bookmark here

“I can agree to that.”Bookmark here

#Bookmark here

Aystaria lit a new candle as Lyis gathered up the plates, and cleaned off the small table. The sounds of the cups clacking against the plates was a soothing sound that Lyis had grown to enjoy as he grew up cleaning at the young age of six. Unlike most boys his age, Lyis had been born under the Hyteria household with her older sister, Reina. Unlike other boys his age, Lyis was always attracted to cute things. His parents, and even sister were unsure as to why he was in love with cute things but they didn’t stop him from wearing whatever he wanted. Before long, Lyis was the first male servant to become a maid under the Hyteria house.Bookmark here

He learned how to clean, and cook meals for Emyria as the two of them were close in age to each other—along with his older sister. Once they had both passed the age of sixteen, they were entrusted with the workload required of all maids. Cooking the meals for the Hyteria family, cleaning the various washrooms, maintaining the interior of the manor, and other daily whims of the noble family. Lyis quickly came to enjoy the life of a maid, as well as uniform that all of them wore.Bookmark here

Lyis loved his work, and enjoyed serving others, and while he enjoyed serving the Hyteria family, he felt even happier to serve Aystaria. While the Hyteria family did treat all their servants well—at least those that did work as instructed—some members knew exactly what would happen if they fail the duties that they were given. Even thought Lyis, and Reina had never been through or seen the punishments the lord, and lady of the manor had done, their parents constantly reminded them to do the best job that they could, and work extra hard to serve the Hyteria family.Bookmark here

As Lyis continued to clean up the table, Aystaira appeared beside him.Bookmark here

“Would you like some help?” Aystaria asked with a cheerful smile.Bookmark here

“T-Thank you, but I can’t let a guest clean up.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. I don’t mind, besides, I enjoy helping.”Bookmark here

Aystaria took some of the plates in hand, and placed them on one of the trays. Once all the plates, and cups were removed from the table, Aystaria took one of the plates in one hand, and grabbed a lantern with the other. After securing the lantern with a strap around her neck, she made her way for the door as Lyis followed behind with two plates in hand. As the two of them walked down the dim-lit hallways, Lyis couldn’t help, but wonder something about Aystaria that he had taken notice of.Bookmark here

“Aystaria, I’m sorry if this is too weird of a question, but… are you afraid of the dark?”Bookmark here

Aystaria didn’t speak as she rounded the corner, and reached the well-lit kitchen.Bookmark here

“Don’t be silly, Lyis. Only little kids are afraid of the dark,” Aystaria said as she smiled.Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah, you’re right.”Bookmark here

“Besides, I was using the latern for the both of us. Those hallways are rather dark. Wouldn’t want to trip with all these plates now, would we?”Bookmark here

“You’re right. Sorry for that odd question, Aystaria. Not that I’d judge you for anything. If I’m being honest, I have a hard time sleeping at night.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah?”Bookmark here

“Kids bullied me a lot, and I just…”Bookmark here

As Lyis struggled to spit the words out, Aystaria could visibly see his body shaking.Bookmark here

“It’s all right, there is no need to say anymore. Don’t live in the past, live for the future,” the cheerful smile of Aystaria’s face made Lyis blush heavily.Bookmark here

“Thank you… Aystaria.”Bookmark here

“Anyways, good night, Lyis.”Bookmark here

Aystaria made her way back to her room, and placed the lantern on her nightstand as she laid down on her bed. Tomorrow, I’ll teach Emyria the way of the blade. Yet, should I even past on this knowledge I have? No, I said I would, and I have to keep my word, Aystaria thought as she closed her eyes.Bookmark here

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