Mages and Dragons in a New Land? They Obviously Haven't Seen a Modern War Man
As soon as he reached the room, Hugo half-walked half-ran towards his table. He noticed his phoenix was not planning to give up. It was alarmed and looked at Hugo with menacing eyes. It tried to lunge at him but realised its predicament.
"The attack must've alarmed you." said Hugo "I mean no harm. Just here to help. I will demonstrate my strength. Maybe then you will stop."
Hugo's main weakness was healing. He had an older sister who excelled at Dark Magic and Healing Magic as well. He wanted to be as strong as her. So he came to Yanine. After he met Nobaru, he declared him his rival as he felt that Nobaru was striving to be strong and he could learn a few things by competing with him.
Being strong by joining the strong. That's what he would do.
Thinking this, he steeled himself. He would overcome his weakness and thrive over it. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He had been studying different spells to improve himself. He then found a powerful healing spell, a spell at the pinnacle of healing magic, Intermediate healing magic.
Mana rushed into him. He felt free and refreshed. He was able to think clearly. Hugo controlled it and felt it on his fingertips.
He then chanted,
May Deum tuum, ut cicatrices ostendere ablue
Sit pura et erit vobis sanus
Ut longo vivas tempore vobiscum
The phoenix was enveloped in a blue coloured flame. It was struggling inside, alarmed highly. The flame grew larger and larger until it was as large as a beach towel. The phoenix settled down as it was healing. A gold light shone from it as well. It was healing unusually fast.
"Why is there a gold light on it," he asked himself.
"You performed Life Flare?" asked Yuichi.
Hugo was startled, he didn't notice Yuichi's presence. "Yes..." he replied.
"Amazing!" said Yuichi "How long did it take you to make it reach such a high degree?"
"I've been practising this every day for the past few weeks. It was hard but it was a success in the end. But why the gold light?"
"The spell must've strengthened its abilities as well. This spell does that on rare occasions. But only for those who mastered it. These are the phoenix's healing abilities. You have unleashed it. This is the gold light."
"I see.." said Hugo. He was happy but the sense of "pride" was gone. He was calm. He was happy but not proud in a sense. He understood that he had a long way to go to catch up to both of them.
'This year is very promising' thought Yuichi.
On her table, Kaeda saw the phoenix. It was depressed, hopeless. It didn't move. Kaeda saw the look of powerlessness in its eyes. It reminded her of herself in the past; weak, scared. When you think about it, this makes an easy mark for bullies.
"Don't worry.." she said as she stroked its head "I'll heal you real quick."
The phoenix didn't look at her. It still looked all depressed.
She closed her eyes and focused. She slowly cleared her mind. The spell she was about to cast required a mind without worries and thoughts. In other words, a calm disposition. She controlled her mana swiftly, gracefully, slowly increasing power. And when it reached the perfect time, she uttered the words
'Chantless spells again.' thought Yuichi 'And at the Advanced level. This year is going to be worth teaching.'
The bird's wounds healed. It was in a green dome, the one similar to Eri's spell. It made a moderately fast recovery. As the dome opened for the phoenix to fly, it nuzzled Kaeda's face one last time.
'It was moderately fast.' thought Yuichi 'She has to work on her mana control more. But since she could do chantless spells...'
It took a while for every one of the applicants to complete the test. In the end, Yuichi smiled and said "You all have done well...Personally speaking, I have seen many who need work and other promising ones who would do great in their respective futures. So now this concludes all the tests." Yuichi snapped his fingers and a piece of paper appeared on everyone's hands. "These are your results."
Nobaru looked at the paper in his hand. It was brown coloured and thick. He looked towards his friends and saw their faces filled with anticipation. They looked at him, smiling.
Nobaru was nervous at that moment. He had been ever since the fainting incident. He wasn't as sure of himself as before. He then suddenly recalled the vision about this war.
'Chaos will befall the world...'
'What's that gotta do with me?' he thought 'Why should I be that one? I want to do it. But the voice made it sound like I am the only one who can do it....'
He was so lost in thought he didn't notice Kaeda, Hugo and Eri coming towards him with concerned faces.
"Nobaru," called Kaeda.
Nobaru was startled and came out from his thoughts.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Nothing!" he replied, with a forced smile.
"You are nervous," stated Eri, with a concerned face.
"N-No I'm not!" he objected.
"Even without sensing your aura, I still would know by the tone of your voice." she said "You are so obvious. In many cases."
Nobaru understood the true meaning behind it and instantly turned red.
"Ok jokes aside." said Eri "What's wrong?"
"I'm nervous," replied Nobaru.
"Why though?" asked Hugo "You are strong. It would be foolish if they wouldn't place you into a great place!"
"After the fainting incident" started Nobaru "I don't think that I am as strong as everyone around me thinks I am."
"C'mon!" said Kaeda "Are you that-"
She took a deep breath and rethought what she was about to do. She then did it.
She slapped him. On the face. Hard.
Nobaru was shocked. She hadn't done this before. It hurt like hell but he didn't know how to react. The others who weren't paying attention to the four still didn't pay attention because they were busy flexing their results and whatnot.
Kaeda came close to him with an angry, scary face.
"You get this nervous because of this?" she said in a soft but intimidating angry voice "Just because you are strong doesn't mean you have to expect good results every time. Even strong people fail. But it is important to learn from those failures."
She took a deep breath then returned to her normal self.
"So what did you learn today?" she asked, with her normal smile.
"That I must not expect an amazing result every time. Based on the spell, it was very powerful and I wasn't strong enough to cast it without passing out. My mana control needs some work."
"Good." said Kaeda "Sorry for the slap though. Did that hurt?"
"Don't worry!" replied Nobaru "Even if it did I deserved it. Thanks!"
'Didn't expect that.' thought Kaeda.
"Sure!" she replied with a wide grin.
'Mental note: Do not piss her off.' thought Nobaru.
‘What did I do to him!?’ she thought. She hyperventilated for a few moments before continuing.
"Alright!" he said "We all open on three. One...Two...Three!"
The four of them unfolded the paper. At an instant, their faces filled with joy. The four of them looked at each other with smiles on their faces. Then they instantly shouted in unison.
The room was silent. Everyone looked at them with surprised faces.
"Advanced class..." as few murmurs could be heard "Did they just say Advanced Class..."
The four jumped with joy as Yuichi approached them.
"To reach such a place in an instant is a great achievement." said Yuichi "It takes months of training and hard work to get to this class. This just means that you four are that strong. Congrats!"
The four of them high fived themselves.
"It seems the four of us will be together on the same boat...huh?" said Nobaru
"Yes ." replied Hugo "A pleasure to be studying with you both."
"Likewise," said the other three in unison. Then the three just laughed it out. A kind of stress relief. Hugo was confused at first but then joined in on the laughter.
As Nobaru and his friends left the room, the phoenix that Nobaru healed pulled on his sleeve with its beak. It wouldn't let him go. Its face showed its loneliness.
"It seems to have grown attached to you," said Yuichi.
Nobaru was confused.
"But I just healed it. Nothing else."
"Did I forget to tell you? This one saw his family getting eaten by one of the monsters. Your caring nature must've made it like you. Why don't you keep her?"
"Her?" asked Nobaru. Then he remembered that phoenixes are female. "Really?"
"Well she has nowhere to go and I won't have time to look after her as a pet. Sending her back to the forest...that'd be a bad idea. Don't want her to get attacked again."
Nobaru was overjoyed! The others looked at him with happiness.
"From today," declared Nobaru, "You are my companion."
The phoenix flew up in joy and latched onto his shoulder.
'This looks cool too.' he thought.
And with this, the four-headed home, each walking beside one another. They have just taken their first steps to be great people. Oh in these peaceful times, they are yet to realise that soon, things would change.
Nobaru and Eri, after saying their goodbyes to their friends, went home. He opened the door and let Eri enter. As the door closed, they were surprised to find no one home.
"We're home!' they shouted.
"Is anyone here?" asked Nobaru.
The only thing that was heard was the sound of the breeze from outdoors.
"Guys?" said Nobaru, startled.
Suddenly the couple burst from the left yelling "SURPRISE!" Nobaru and Eri were surprised all right. Nobaru was about to fall.
"W-what's going on?" asked Eri.
"Welcome home you both!" said their parents in unison
"We are celebrating!" said Izanagi.
"Celebrating?" asked Nobaru, confused.
"Yes!" said Ren with a grin on her face "A celebration of the day you both made it to the Advanced class."
"Advanced class rank 10 to be exact." said Izanagi "You see, you both are rank 10, the lowest of the Advanced mage ranks. Each class has 10 ranks where 10 is the lowest rank and 1 is the highest. Good going, both of you!"
"Get changed guys." said Ren "We want to hear everything."
The two went up, excited to tell their waiting parents about the day. They quickly changed. After a nice, relaxing shower, they each went down and took a seat.
Together they took turns narrating the events of the day. It was good laughing around with each other. Nobaru felt like all the stress in his mind was gone. The tests and things stressed the hell out of him. He was happy when he could relax for once. And then came the phoenix.
"...And Mr Yuichi said I could keep it..." said Nobaru "So could I keep it here please? It has nowhere else to go and it's very very attached to me."
"You plan to do WHAT??" exclaimed his dad with an excited expression.
"Ummm..." Nobaru was hesitant. Eri was equally confused "I want to keep...the phoenix?"
"Show me!" exclaimed Izanami.
Nobaru was feeling nervous now. He didn't know what to expect. With a weary smile, he agreed to call it here.
'Now a name.' thought Nobaru 'Phoenixes...fire...hmm...'
Then he got it.
Instantly, in a wisp of flames, the phoenix appeared. It flew towards Nobaru and looked him dead in the eye. It then observed its surroundings and nervously placed itself on his shoulder before nuzzling his face.
"THIS IS AMAZINGH!" he shouted, somehow saying "amazing" wrong in the process. Nobaru tried to hide his laugh.
"Nobaru!" shouted Ren "Do you know how HARD it is to tame a majestic bird-like THE Phoenix? How did you do it???"
"It was after the healing test that the phoenix didn't let me go. And then the instructor made me realise that it was attached to me. So that's it."
"Can I pet it?" Izanami asked.
"Her?" Izanami had a confused face.
"Her. And sure...you are asking me?"
"A phoenix takes months to tame." said Ren "He is keeping that in mind and asking you."
"Yes." said Izanami, pouting "Since it's like that...maybe.." he sulked.
'What are you, a little girl??' thought Nobaru, trying to hide his smile.
"Just try it." said Nobaru, "I'll calm her down."
Izanami slowly reached out with his hand. He gently placed it on her head. Homura was struggling and had a bit of fear. She turned to Nobaru who urged her to stay with a warm smile. Homura understood that and let Izanami pet her. Moments later, she accepted it. Izanami had warm caring hands, just like Nobaru's. Homura liked it.
"See?" said Nobaru "No problems!"
Izanami smiled at him and ruffled his hair with his free hand.
"Its feathers are soft..." he said.
"Her. not "it."
"Her..." said Izanami.
Then followed a burst of laughter.
Ah, a perfect father-son bonding moment!
After the day of family time, Nobaru and Eri collapsed with tiredness on their beds.
The next day was his actual first day in the Advanced Class. Nobaru awoke with excitement and woke Eri, who was a heavy sleeper as usual. As he and Eri ate breakfast together, they were partially daydreaming about the things they would learn and the people they'd meet. After eating, they excitedly set off for the academy after bidding farewell to their parents.
They stopped at Kaeda's place so that they could go together.
"Good morning!" said Nobaru.
"Hey!" said Kaeda "Excited for today?"
"Yes I am!" said Eri.
"You know I am!" said Nobaru.
"Let's go then!" said Kaeda and took Nobaru's hand. Nobaru looked down and instantly his face turned red and Kaeda felt a sudden uncomfortable air around them.
"Alright I'm going to head out!" shouted Eri with a knowing smirk "See you both there."
"W-w-waaitt!" shouted Nobaru. But Eri just ignored him and ran towards the direction of the school.
Then came the silence.
"You don't like me holding your hand?" asked Kaeda, moments later, half-pouting.
"N-n-no!" shouted Nobaru "I-it's just that....it's embarrassing..."
His face turned redder.
"Oh...." Kaeda looked sad and let go. "I see..."
'Oh no' thought Nobaru.'I messed up! I didn't mean it like that!'
He then took her hand saying "I just said it's embarrassing, I didn't say I mind."
Kaeda smiled and nodded. "Let's go then!" she said.
As they walked, Nobaru fumbled over the possibility of his crush being two-sided.
Eri, who pretended to go to Yanine, overheard from a distance.
'Great job!' she thought to herself. And then she raced to the academy.