Chapter 1:

Dreaming Awake (Arc 1 Start!)

How am I supposed to save this world with no power?

"Congratulations! Lera! Lita!"
The neighbors walked right by the front gate and dropped off a loaf of bread early in the morning before he headed to the market, "This is on me! Who would have thought the little girl playing next door would have made it to the Pinnacle Research Institute!"

"Thank you." Lera smiled, reaching over to the front gate and picking up the loaf of bread wrapped in the paper, "Have a good day!"

Growing up as a girl with short black hair and a handful of occasional white strands mixed up in her hair, Lita, Lera's mother, attributed those whites to her late-night studies and Cast-wielding practices, but Lera always insisted that those are in fact silver, not white, as they joked about potential bloodlines from a royalty in another kingdom.

However, the most brilliant features of Lera are her beautiful grey eyes. The local prophets and priests had sought after her multiple times, claiming that her eyes are the ones that will see a great change in this world. To which, Lera often joked that she will be happy enough if she can change the balance sheets of her family.

When the letter of acceptance from the Pinnacle Research Institute came over from the mail yesterday, Lera was practicing her own Book Casts in her backyard, trying to create yet another support cast to help out with the housework. When her mother's joyous screams rang through the front door, she dropped everything she's doing at the moment and ran to her.

The two hugged tightly, and that's when Lera realized how slender and slim her mother's body truly is. For the past five years, she had lived for her dream, tunnel visioning just so she could improve her techniques with her Book Casting skills, and it had finally paid off at this moment.

She may be humble and quiet in many aspects of life, but if there is something that she truly takes pride in, it's in her skills with Book Casts. In the world of Olympus Prime, all of the beings are capable of sensing this supernatural source of energy known as the Wave. Book Casts are merely one of the many methods to manipulate such supernatural energy. It is also one of the easiest and most common ways to do so.

A brand new future now awaited her, and her mother unveiled a small bottle of alcoholic drink that she's been saving ever since her marriage countless years prior.

"Your dad would have been so proud..." Lita said, trying to hold back her tears, "My baby girl.....You can achieve whatever you wanted in life. You know that, and now, the entire world will know it too."
"Aw. Thanks, mom." Lera smiled and kissed her mother on the cheeks, "Don't worry. I am still your Lera no matter where I am."
"I am not worried!" Lita laughed, "I can take care of myself! You go out there and explore the world!"

The mail yesterday also came in with a small one-page Identity Cast which serves to be her access card into the research institute, and she's to come into her position as an apprentice at the earliest possible time.

Naturally, Lita helped Lera packed up all through the night, and she sent her off on her merry way early the next day, stuffing the loaf of bread into the top of her backpack so she wouldn't get too hungry during her journey.

Her humble home is located just to the outskirts of the capital, and it shouldn't be that difficult for Lera to come home during the weekends once in a while.

Attaching the Identity Cast to her Book of Casts, she then put her book to the usual small strap at the sides of her body while carrying her comically massive backpack filled to the brim with things that Lita insisted she bring along with her.

Thankfully, with her Lightening Cast, she's able to reduce the weight of her backpack. She isn't unfit per se, but arriving at the Pinnacle Research Institute without being fully drenched in sweat will do wonders for giving a strong first impression.

That's what her mother says anyway. Lera does not care for such formalities, but any chance she gets to use one of her casts, she will take it.

Walking through the gates into the city center of Sonne, Lera takes a deep breath in and smelled the freshly baked goods from one of the most popular local bakeries. Crowds of people wearing a variety of clothes, ranging from workers' uniforms to fancy and shiny clothes worn by the royalties, are already lining up to get the latest order.

Lera's stomach growls, and she takes a bite out of the fresh loaf. How handy.

The building architecture of Sonne has a renaissance flair to it, with statues of founding fathers of the Kingdom of Varous, carvings, and paintings of the War of the Third Millennium on various sidewalls and building sides. Growing up in a small household that's barely making ends meet with Lita's sewing business, Lera had only gone into the city for the selection exams at the Pinnacle Institute.

The Pinnacle Research Institute is located in the middle of the Sonne, the capital of the Kingdom of Varous on the Eastern Major Continent on the little planet known as Olympus Prime. Being so closely tied to the founders of this country, the Pinnacle Research Institute is in charge of performing the most advanced forms of Wave research.

After walking up dozens of flights of stairs, she finally finds herself standing in front of the place of dreams ever since she was little. Tapping her foot excitedly, she moves forward when suddenly, a hand is shoved in front of her.

"Apologies, young lady." The security guard stopped her, "Are you lost?"
"No, I am not." Lera was just about to pull out her Identity Cast when the guard suddenly transitioned to a quick salute and moves aside. Lera appeared confused before she turned around to see a familiar middle-aged man with a long white beard and a massive smile stop right next to her, "Oh! Professor!"
"Good morning, Lera." the professor laughed before handing over a piece of freshly baked sweet bread from the bakery that she walked past earlier. The hot steam of the bread was still rising through the bag when Lera wrapped her fingers around it, and she felt her entire body warmed up by it, "I would recommend you remember the face of Lera here since she's one of the up and coming apprentices this year."
"Yes sir.'am." The security guard nodded his head and moved aside, his eyes locking onto the pair of grey eyes that Lera has and carving her features into his memories.

"Now." The professor said, waddling ahead, "I shall take you to your room."

Unlike the other students that were accepted into the Pinnacle Research Institute, Lera had very few ideas of what her actual life would be like within the institution, not that she cared that much. Dropping her bags off in her designated bedroom that overlooks the entire cityscape of Sonne, she then changed into her uniform and walked out to meet the Professor that's been waiting outside for her.

That's Professor Richard. One of the most prominent and accomplished Wave Research Scholars in the entire Eastern Continent, specializing in world history. Though when asked the source of his success, he always attributed it to being able to access the wealth of resources at the Pinnacle Research Institute.

Namely, the Tower of Constellation.

"I am sure you have heard all about this place." Professor Richard said, scratching his beard as the two of them walked alongside the pebbled road that winded through the residential areas towards the main building of not only the entire Institute but arguably the entire Kingdom.
"Yes! The Tower of Constellation, and the fountain of knowledge, metaphorically of course!" Lera said excitedly, her head tilted up as she looked closely at the tower right in front of her.

It is a tower entirely made of identical-looking stones that are stacked one on top of another. If a modern human engineer is to look at this, he/she will have fainted at the sight of such a flimsy work of architecture, though with the help of a Structure Cast, which is a version of static Wave manipulation, fantastical structures like this can stand for centuries.

In some sense, this looks more like a chimney than a library, but as the sun passes overhead, the individual stones start to reflect different colors before parts of the tower became fully transparent, revealing the layers of shelves and books inside.

The base of the tower is around a hundred meters in diameter, and its staggering size is at last truly appreciated by the time Lera arrived at the entrance. With her Identity Cast charged with energy from the Wave, the bell attached to the door lets out a pleasant chime before allowing her in.

"WOOOOOOW!" No longer hiding her excitement, she let out a cheer before hopping through the double doors towards the interiors of the Tower of Constellation.

This is where all of the magic happens. Literally. Professor Richard watched on at the light footsteps of Lera, and he smiled too. Years ago, he had the same look on his face when he first stepped through the doors of the tower.

It had truly been a long time coming. Despite his best efforts, he wasn't able to get the stubborn Institution heads to accept female students until this year. Thankfully, Lera showed far more potential than he would have expected, and with time, she could even become one of the best Guardian candidates.

Are all of this part of the grand plans of destiny? Professor Richard wondered as he continued to show the collections of ancient casts and the spiraling staircase that run along the inner walls of the Tower.

Holding onto the railings of the stairs, Lera took a big sniff of air, filling her nostril with the light leafy aroma of the old books before a sprawling structure at the bottom of the spiraling staircase caught her glance.

"Is that......what I think it is?" She asked, and Professor Richard leaned against the railing and looked at her, waiting for her answer, "The Portal of Through Space and Time......?"