Spirit Containment Team 1201
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"Greetings once again, my dear students of Ivoria! It is I, your Headmistress, Allicity Lachlan! I'd like to welcome you all to another year here at the Japan Branch of Ivoria Academy! This is our school's twentieth anniversary, as well as my twentieth year as Headmistress! When I was selected for this position, I could barely hold in my excitement."
The P.A. loudspeaker blared out the woman's words throughout the entirety of the grounds. Many of the older students smiled, their hearts filled with the familiar warmth of their Headmistress's jovial ranting. Some of the younger students cringed, the sheer volume of the P.A. system overwhelming their senses. None missed the message being broadcasted.
"In the twenty proud years since our school's inception, we've produced more than twenty-two thousand professional Spirit Hunters, most of whom graduated at B-Rank or higher! We don't hold anyone back here at this branch, if you're an A-Rank, you will be ranked as such, and given missions according to your ability, we won't baby you, you will be challenged."
The P.A. cut out, then back on again as Allicity continued.
"It is my hope that all students here at Ivoria will do their utmost to improve their skills as Spirit Hunters, so that we may make the world of the Ungifted easier, for if we don't, who will? Well... with that in mind, please do everything you can to be the best you that you can be."
The P.A. crackled, signalling the end of the broadcast.
Atop the roof of the enormous ivory school building, a young man, clad in the purple uniform that came standard for Year 3 men, rocked softly against the stone wall of the rooftop doorway. His soft, rhythmic breathing the only sound emanating from the empty rooftop now that the broadcast had ceased.
The soft breeze present at the rooftop blew lazily through his messy brown hair, sending a strand into the path of his nose. After a few breaths, he unconsciously forced out a heavy breath, pushing the strand of hair back onto his head.
Suddenly, the sound of the door opening forced him awake, his amber colored eyes darting to the now open door. The woman who leered through had the same brown hair as him, as well as dusky, amber eyes.
"Drake... I guess I can't claim to be too surprised to find you here... I swear, you're so laid back I'm surprised you haven't fallen over because you think STANDING is boring..." She said, her chastisement ending in a sigh.
"How... how is my little brother this lazy? You do realize that Rejuvenation Trials are today, right? You got placed in B-Rank in your first year... but don't think that I've ignored the fact that you've only been just working hard enough to not drop down a rank." She scolded.
He sighed, yawning lazily, as if to spite his sister.
"You know... I didn't enroll in this school because I thought it'd be a good idea, sis. I only did it because there wasn't another option... Dahlia." He said with a smirk.
"My name... is Ari." She snarled.
"Nope, your name is Dahlia... Ari... Greymoor." He laughed.
His sister's face twisted in anger, but the intended set of expletives that she had prepared was cut short by a slight cough whose source was located behind her, on the staircase.
The diminutive woman whose voice had silenced Ari poked her head around the corner, looking to Drake rather than his sister.
The curls of her bluish-silver hair bounced as she swayed from side to side, her shorter stature only further cementing the youthful look that seemed ever present about her. Despite her age, her looks ensured that you would never be able to pin down how many years her existence had graced the world.
"Hey there, Drake, good to see you as always... sorry about little Ari here, you know she only gives you a hard time because she cares about you." The woman giggled.
"Headmistress!" Was the only response Ari could muster.
Drake stood fully, twisting an arm behind his back and giving a rather graceful bow.
"Greetings Headmistress... to what do I owe the pleasure?" He asked.
"Well... we got some news today that I though you might be interested in." She said.
"Is that so? I'm listening." He said.
"Okay... so, remember how you told us your reasoning for not trying during class is that you aren't getting paid?" She asked.
"Well... yeah. Why work hard if I'm not gaining anything from it?" He replied.
"So... would you change your tune if you were getting paid?" She asked.
His eyebrows arched in consideration, then he nodded.
"I don't see why not, a nice paycheck always serves to make work a little easier." He said with a smile.
"Good, good... then I have a proposition for you, but first, I'd like you to come to my office, I think it'd be more appropriate to discuss this there." She said.
Drake agreed, and their trek through the ornate halls of the fifth floor of the school building came to an abrupt end as they reached the door to Allicity's office. It was as ridiculously stylized as the rest of the school, dark gray walls, red carpet, and dark mahogany flooring.
The place was a glorified Medieval Festival ground, but none of the students seemed to notice, let alone truly care. They were here for one thing, to grow as Hunters, everything else was irrelevant... well, to everyone but Drake, anyway.
The three of them took their respective places, Allicity behind her large desk, Ari right by her side, and Drake in a rather lofty armchair in front of the desk. He lounged casually in the chair with little to no regard for its apparent value or antiquity, something that seemed to frustrate Ari, although she made no comment on it.
Allicity didn't seem to mind, and set about collecting a number of documents that had been scattered on the floor and her desk. She stacked them together, pushing them against the desk until they were symmetrical. Sliding them into a clipboard, she passed them over the desk to Drake.
Drake's eyes scanned the documents quickly, flipping the pages as he attempted to make sense of the information on them.
"It's... an application?" He asked.
"Yep... one of our Third Years who was supposed to instruct a First Year Team had to cancel on us, got recruited into an official Containment Unit... despite your sister's opposition, I think you'd be a good candidate to step in for them." She said.
"O-kay... what do I have to do?" He asked.
"Well... it's pretty simple, you'll be taking a look at the incoming First Year class, whichever prelim Rank you like, and selecting four students that will work under you on missions. I've even decided to be nice and give you the first pick of the new blood." She said, rocking back and forth in her chair.
"Oh? You're really willing to put that much on my shoulders?" He asked.
"Of course... you are a prodigy that we've already staked so much on." She said. "I'd like to get some use out of you." She finished.
"So... what's this about a paycheck, though?" He asked.
"Well... if you do accept this position, you'll be receiving the usual stipend, completely dependent on your Rank, of course... there are some caveats though." She said.
"Such as...?" He prompted.
"You need to be in at least A-Rank, as of the end of today's Rejuvenation Trials. You'll get a bonus if you make it to S-Rank on the Stagnation." She said.
"That's all?" He asked. His voice was laced with a drop of suspicion. This wouldn't be the first deal he's made with Allicity, and he knew exactly how she operated.
"Not quite... don't worry, I'm not trying to rope you into anything you aren't willing to do... so I'll give you all the facts. There's only one more stipulation anyway. The team that you decide to train can only be a single Rank behind you. If you're an A-Rank, they have to be a B-Rank. If you're an S, they have to be A. That kind of thing."
"So... does that mean I can only choose from C-Rank and up?" He asked.
"Nope, I don't care if all four of them are F-Rank, as long as they get to B before the end of the year." She said.
He snatched a pen from her desk, and set about reading each dotted line carefully, being sure to check for any secret fine print. After proving to himself that there was nothing to fear, he signed each line.
"Great... do you have any idea which class you're interested in shadowing for their Rejuvenation Trial?" Allicity asked.
"Yeah... tell me where I can find the First Years in E-Class."