Chapter 1:

Mmanuell-Khan: Hubris

Elementalist 44

"Mmanuell! Come down for breakfast"Bookmark here

"Mum! Please! It's already started! Come on, just lemme come down when the break starts!"Bookmark here

"No, come down for your food, now!"Bookmark here

"But Muuuuuu-"Bookmark here

"If you're not here in the next 30 seconds, No TV for the rest of the month!"Bookmark here

"Damn, she got me there. Well, I mean, not really because the month's over tomorrow, but whatever."Bookmark here

"Coming!Bookmark here

The footsteps of a small and energetic child—pattering as fast as they could take him, echoed throughout an equally small house in a cosy neighbourhood...but not without turning back around to turn the TV off first. Dad says it's always good to save energy.Bookmark here

Mmanuell sulked and poked at his cereal as he sat around the kitchen table with his parents.Bookmark here

"I'm gonna miss my show..."Bookmark here

The boy's Mother chimed in with a warm smile as she made sandwiches to go with his packed lunch.Bookmark here

"Well, if you eat your breakfast fast enough, you can get back to watching your Super Odd Silly City before we leave for school."Bookmark here

"I swear she does this on purpose. That's not the name of the show." Mmanuell angrily squinted at his mother and corrected her. "Its called Ultra Crazy Bizarre Town, mum."Bookmark here

There was an intimidatingly tall, beastly-looking man with dark tattoos sprawling across his body sat next to Mmanuell-Khan; he ruffled his newspaper and let out a dadly chuckle upon hearing his son get so worked up over a TV show—his voice made the table shake as he spoke.Bookmark here

"She knows what it's called, Mmanuell, she's just teasing you. Now that you bring it up, that's the only show you and Zephira watch nowadays. I mean, what happened to Neb 20? Or the New Soup Marlo Show?Bookmark here

"I don't like New Soup, and Neb 20 is rubbish too. Those have been around longer than you, and you're 134! They're old!"Bookmark here

"Don't say it like that son, you make being over 100 sound like a bad thing, kids nowadays just don't appreciate the classics."Bookmark here

"More like 'ancient relics', dad." Mmanuell rolled his eyes and started eating his cereal. "Ugh, mum and dad are annoying. Too bad I don't have any real siblings to annoy myself. It's just us here: me, mum, dad, and..."Bookmark here

Mmanuell turned behind him to look at the picture frame hung above the fireplace; it's a photo of his family and three other people: Two adults like Mum and Dad, and a girl who looks slightly older and taller than he is.Bookmark here

"Hey dad, how long did you say Zephira was gonna be in Tsunia again? She's always abroad, in another Region...never here in Cryotia, with us!"Bookmark here

"Hold on, lemme see." Dad groaned as he reached an arm from behind his paper and goes for the calendar laying beneath some magazines in the middle of the table and flicks through pages until he reaches April 2010. "..Uh, I'd give it another week, she'd have been outside of Cryotia for a month by then."Bookmark here

Mmanuell nearly choked on his cereal—that means he'd have to go to school for another five days without his best friend.Bookmark here

"A week!? That's like, 500 episodes of Ultra Crazy if you didn't sleep! And there are only 161 episodes so far! This is an outrage! Zeph's parents are stinky, why can't they just be nice to her? Then she wouldn't have to run away so often."Bookmark here

Mmanuell's father puts down his newspaper and looks in his son's general direction through thicker-than-they-need-to-be glasses lens. "Son, you know Zephira has a bad relationship with her parents. And she doesn't 'run away', no child is crossing an entire Region on their own; She's sent Tsunia to visit her grandfather and help out with his business-" Bookmark here

Mmanuell rolled his eyes at his father again and pouted—his mouth was full of Cheeeeeerios©, but a few escaped onto the table while he interrupted his father. "You mean they dump her in the middle of Arcerra so they don't have to deal with her."Bookmark here

"Be careful with your wording, Mmanuell...We will not discuss this f-"Bookmark here

"But still, I don't get it. She always gets told off really bad for everything she does, even if its a little thing, and they barely let her go outside when she's here, it's like they don't even-"Bookmark here

Mmanuell's father stands up from his chair and looks his son dead in the eyes, raising his voice only slightly; Mmanuell remembers the time he shattered a mug by yelling at it really loudly. Very pain for the ears.Bookmark here

"Mmanuell-Khan Matsuda we will not discuss this further! Understood?"Bookmark here

The young boy swallowed the food in his mouth so as to speak clearly.

"...Understood."Bookmark here

Sat back down and continuing with his daily paper, Mmanuell's towering unit of a Dad waves him away, muttering to himself while he does so.Bookmark here

"Good. You can finish your cereal upstairs...I wait one hundred and twenty-eight years to have a child and this is what I get in return? Attitude, backchat, talking with his mouth full, and disrespecting the neighbours. I would've stayed single if I knew it was gonna be like this."Bookmark here

"Really?! Aight then." Not really bothered by being reprimanded, especially since it meant he could now finish his favourite show while eating, Mmanuell-Khan took his cereal bowl overflowing with milk and carefully carried it upstairs to his bedroom.Bookmark here

                                                                            🍍🍕 🍍Bookmark here

"Oh my god, are you kidding me? It's already been half an hour? This is why we need a clock in the kitchen."Bookmark here

His disappointment is immeasurable and his day is ruined. Mmanuell missed this week's episode of Ultra Bizarre Crazy Town. He might as well just not go to school today, there won't be anything to talk about because all of his other friends watch this show too. He'll also have to make sure Zephira doesn't spoil any of it during their daily interregional phone call. Bookmark here

"Ugh, and what's this baloney?"Bookmark here

The intro for some kind of boring-looking thing just started playing on the television. He's heard of these 'documentary' things, but Mmanuell's never sat down and watched one before; animals are boring for the most part. Except for Snow Poffs, those are cute, little, fluffy mammals that look like balls of snow. Absolutely adorable. His parents won't let him buy one. Unfortunate. Well, everything else on TV at this time is rubbish, so he might as well see what all the fuss is about.Bookmark here

"The continent of Arcerra. A mystical island landmass, isolated from the rest of a planet that remains mostly undiscovered to this day. Yet despite this lonely solitude, Arcerra flourishes with all manner of life. Some are simple and ordinary, whose humble existence reminds us that life can be enjoyed by existing. Others, magnificent creatures of myth and legend that are awesome to behold.
But what never ceases to fascinate, captivate, terrify...are the grand beasts, some would even go so far as to call them Gods, of even grander proportions...
Bookmark here

The Region Tyrants.Bookmark here

Eight beings created from the purest of Magic, all of which formed completely out of one of the Eight Elements, respective to the Region they reside in.
These colossal beings are beyond anything else seen on the continent of Arcerra, even its history—They are said to have been living on this continent as long as humans have, recent historical evidence even points towards them predating us.
Bookmark here

There is a Tyrant occupying one of all the nine Regions in Arcerra, all except the centremost—Tsunia.
Thousand-year-old legends tell stories of how the Great Kings, two immensely powerful Mage brothers who singlehandedly turned mankind into an enlightened star-spanning civilisation, had slain the creature. Whether they had done so for glory, peace, or for sport, is lost information; nobody can say for sure.
Bookmark here

But what is certain, is that this vague myth will be the closest any living being will get to killing a Region Tyrant.
Nothing can harm a Region Tyrant. Physical or Magical, they are immune to all threats.
There are methods that are plausible in theory, but nobody has ever dared to attempt them for themselves, lest they incur their wrathBookmark here

Couple this with the fact that nobody has taken a direct hit from a Tyrant and lived, ever, and we have an octad of the most formidable predators on the continent, maybe...even the entire planet. Luckily for us, there's a lot less tyranny in the nature of the Region Tyrant than their title suggests. When awake, they are actually quite docile: They don't kill for sport, appear to be somewhat mindful of the wildlife around them, and never attack unless attacked themselves. They can also hibernate for upwards of two centuries at a time. None are currently awake, and none are predicted to awaken for another 200 years at most.Bookmark here

However, the grass only gets darker on the other side of the fence. Region Tyrants have a nigh insatiable hunger for Magic—Magic that, quite unfavourably, to say the least, is found in its highest concentrations in animals capable of using said Magic...Such as humans.
As grim as that sounds, a Region Tyrant feasting on the flesh of man has been unheard of centuries; sacrifices of livestock and crops rich in Flow are prepared months in advance before a Tyrants is due to awaken.
Bookmark here

But in the meantime, we look north-west towards the Sand Region of Neruma, and at one species of dragon that is able to thrive in one of Arcerra's harshest environments...Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

Mmanuell flicks his tv off. "Well, uh...thanks for the waste of time? That did kinda suck me in for a minute there, but none of that applies to me. I'll probably be long dead before any of the big magic titans wake up. I didn't even understand half of what he was saying."Bookmark here

Mmanuell's mother calls for him from down the staircase, waiting for him at the front door with packed lunch box bursting at the seams, as per his request. "Mmanuell! School starts in ten! Let's get going!" Bookmark here

"Well, forget all that. It's showtime." Mmanuell-Khan picks up his school bag, heaves it above his head, and carefully tries to bring it downstairs to the front door...the key word there being 'tries' because his "Bag" is a metal crate twice his size made out of Pallobalt, a metal that's really light and has basically no ductility. Found practically everywhere in Arcerra, and can also absorb Magic. Useful material all-around.Bookmark here

It won't fit down the staircase.Bookmark here

"MUUUUUM!" Bookmark here

"Whaaat?! This is the fifth time I've called you to come downstairs and- where did you get that from?" Starting to get frustrated, Mum shouts back while walking up the stairs to see what her son wants, only to realise that her son's up to the same tomfoolery and scheming he always is.Bookmark here

The box's corners got stuck between the walls of the house's skinny hallway, suspending it in the air without Mmanuell's help. He crawls underneath it to the other side and explains the situation. "Box Stuck."Bookmark here

Bewildered and, honestly quite fed up with her son's antics, Mum pinches her eyes and groans. "I can see that. And that's meant to be?Bookmark here

"My schoolbag."Bookmark here

"You're not taking that to school, you could poke an eye out with it."Bookmark here

"But I'm not gonna(!) Come on please, just look at it! I need it, just for today at least."Bookmark here

Mum's heard that come out of Mmanuell's mouth before and it didn't end well. "Another one of your stupid plans that get you in trouble at school?"Bookmark here

"Not stupid, it's only when I get caught, and yes."Bookmark here

"...Go on then, but I don't want a call from your teacher at the end of the day—you already have a yellow report card from when you took all the bookshelves apart and sold the screws because they were made out of gold."Bookmark here

"Wow, I expected that to be harder. My parents are really supportive of my life choices." Mmanuell practically jumps for joy at his mum's approval for his greatest scheme yet. He hugs her leg, because she's really tall, and he's eight. "Thanks, mum."

"Yes, I love you too Mk, now go on, get downstairs and get your shoes on while I get this thing out of the wall."Bookmark here

"Yes, Mum!" Mmanuell jumps on the bannister and slides down to the bottom with an elevated mood as his Mum yanks the crate out of the walls with a little too much force, ripping straight through the wall's floral wallpaper, exposing the plaster and brickwork underneath.Bookmark here

"Oh, shit. Mmanuell, let's hurry this up! You don't wanna be late now, do we? " Bookmark here

"I'm ready, Mum, I'm ready! Dad? Dad!"Bookmark here

He fell asleep at the table, his arms folded and the newspaper he was reading laid across his face. Mmanuell goes into the kitchen and tapped his dad on the face a few times to wake him up, and sure enough, he awoke in a startle, hitting his legs against the table as his paper slid off his face.Bookmark here

"Ah! Fu- uh, ahem. *cough* Yes, son?"Bookmark here

"I'm going now."Bookmark here

"*Visible frustration* ...Ok, Mmanuell. See you at home time."Bookmark here

"Ok dad, Bye!" The boy runs back to the front door, takes his school bag from his mother and leaps out the front door into the front garden.Bookmark here

Mum kisses her husband on the forehead before slowly backing away towards the front door. "See you later, dear."Bookmark here

He heard her, but he's not awake enough to actually listen, so he just said something that works as a universal response. "Make sure Mmanuell doesn't get into any more trouble at school." Bookmark here

"Sure thing. Oh, and Ttala, dear?" Bookmark here

"Teegan?"Bookmark here

"We're gonna need more wall paste."Bookmark here

"Yeah, we're gonna need more wall paste- hold on, why are we gonna need more wall paste?"Bookmark here

He's answered by having the door slammed in his face—Ttala can see Teegan ushering Mmanuell to walk faster...and promptly puts his newspaper back on his face and goes back to sleep.Bookmark here

                                                                            🍍🍕🍍Bookmark here

The scenery never normally changes where Mmanuell-Khan lives: Clear, sunny skies, a small breeze every now and then to complement the heat...and snow. Lots and lots of constant snowfall. There's rarely a day in the city of Hosendale where you won't be knee-deep in snow and struggling to see three feet in front of you, despite the fact 20C is the average temperature; Mmaunell knows Ice and Snow don't melt in Cryotia (The Ice Region, where Hosendale is), but doesn't snow come from clouds? He hasn't seen a cloud in his entire life. Maybe it's because he lives in the Ice Region? Who knows, but at least school is called off really often because of massive snow pile-ups, or the doors freeze shut, or the boiler malfunctions, or there's a Wyern loose in the dining wasn't one of those days. Unfortunate. But you know what is one of those days? Bookmark here

"It's not snowing. That's weird. It was yesterday, and the day before then, and the day before then, and the day before then...actually, this might be the first time it hasn't snowed this year! Oooh, Zephira's gonna be so jealous when I tell her when she gets back next Friday."Bookmark here

Mmanuell starts thinking about where Zephira is now, Tsuina, and it's lush, dense forestry that blankets its citizens from the ever bright sun, it's marvellous technology that makes every other Region jealous, it's eccentric culture centred around fashion and entertainment...and how it always takes his best friend from him when he's lonely or bored...arghhh, it makes him so angry! But then again, Dad said that he'll get to go with her the next time she goes, which will be in the summer holiday. He'll ask him about that after school, speaking of which...Bookmark here

St. Balwart's. A great, big, building that Dad says has been around longer him (truly, a relic of the past). The walls are always covered beneath mounds of snow, and there's an insanely thick sheet of ice covering the main entrance; it won't melt but the janitor carved stairs into it so now people get in through the giant window above it.Bookmark here

Mum gives Mmanuell his Bag and waves him goodbye as he carefully climbs up the slippery staircase that'd lead to his iNeViTaBLE DoOm if he fell off. "Be good, learn lots, and don't get in trouble!"Bookmark here

"I won't! I will! I can't get in trouble if I don't get caught♪ Bye Mum!" Mmanuell waves back, which made it pretty hard to hold on to his Bag, as he heaved it through the window-door and makes his way to his classroom.Bookmark here

                                                                              🍍🍕 🍍Bookmark here

It's pretty standard for primary school classroom: A large room with a very high ceiling and bright yellow walls that'd blind you if you looked at them for too long, decorated with papercraft and poems stuck on them with blu-tack. The radiators have all been painted over with pretty patterns and doodles of trees and animals. Two corners of the room have been sectioned off; one for the bookshelves, the other to hang up coats and school bags. About 20 or so children sat around the six tables that take up most the room turn their heads towards Mmanuell in astonishment as he stumbles into the room with a metal crate that could easily fit seven of them in there. Most of them turn away slightly scared for their wellbeing. Seems like any other day.Bookmark here

"Hi, guys! Has Miss already done the reg-"Bookmark here

"Mmanuell-Khan, why have you brought a metal box with you to school?" He's cut off by the hiss of his Teacher's voice, Ms Komodia; everyone just calls her "Miss", though. She's glaring at the class trouble-maker with beady, prying eyes like she thinks staring at him hard enough will let her figure out what he's planning today. Nope! Today's operation has been in the works for months. It's Completely foolproof! Victory is 100% guaranteed.Bookmark here

Mmanuell flashes an arguably fake smile at his teacher as he obediently answers. "It's my schoolbag."Bookmark here

A few of the other kids start giving Mmanuell that "Wow. Really, you're being that extra?" face, as Miss Komodia tilts her head a bit to get a better look at the bullshit coming out of this boy's mouth."...And what, exactly, was wrong with your previous schoolbag, Mmanuell?"Bookmark here

He dismissively shrugs off a question that was obviously asked to start backing him into a corner and rebuts with something Miss cannot argue with. "Nothing, but my Mum said I can have this one."Bookmark here

Just as Mmanuell expected, Miss bites her lip and looks away in defeat after hearing the words 'Mum' come out of his mouth. "Oh...that's fine then, but I'll be talking to her about this, so put your stuff away and come and sit down while I take the register."Bookmark here

Mmanuell answers with a cheerful "Yes, Miss!" as Miss watches him puts his coat and bag away with beady eyes, but the moment he turns away from her, the grin that comes with the day's first victory emerges from his mouth. "Honestly, does she think I'm an adult? Thinking I can't just use my parents and the fact that 'I'm Baby' as an excuse for everything?"Bookmark here

As Mmanuell began taking his stuff out of his "bag", a small brown-skinned girl with radiant, frizzy black hair and star-shaped tattoos across her face shot her hand up to get Miss' attention. "Miss! I forgot my pencil case in my bag, can I go and get it?"Bookmark here

"Of course, Kkele." Miss gives her a warm smile, as the little girl gets out of her chair and neatly tucks it under her table, which is the closest to Miss' desk. That's Kkele, the smartest child in Mmanuell's class (after him, of course) and the only student at St. Balwarts who was born with the ability to use Magic. As she walks past Mmanuell to get her pencil case, Kkele leans in towards him and whispers in his ear.Bookmark here

"You're going ahead with operation Get-Our-Stuff-Back today?"Bookmark here

"Damn right. Be ready."Bookmark here

They both walk back to their seats like nothing is happening, and Miss calls the names of children organised in orderly groups around their tables. Miss normally starts the day by doing the register, but sometimes she forgets. She gets in trouble for that. Bookmark here

"Jeffery!"Bookmark here

"Here, Miss."Bookmark here

"Kkele!"Bookmark here

"Here!"Bookmark here

"Mmanuell-Khan!"Bookmark here

"Here"Bookmark here

"Samuel"Bookmark here

"Here, Miss."Bookmark here

"Zephira!"Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

But no one answered. Miss demands an answer from Mmanuell.Bookmark here

"Mmanuell, is Zephira still not here?"Bookmark here

"Yep! Wait, I mean nope! Uh...'Yes', as in I'm agreeing- ...she isn't back yet."Bookmark here

"Ok, then class, that's the register done!" Miss picks a child to bring the filled out clipboard to the reception office downstairs as she writes down the children's Friday timetable on the whiteboard. But, having quickly grown bored of being in school, Mmanuell slowly starts to slide a paddle ball from out of his back pocket Miss isn't looking. He's "trying" not to get caught, occasionally darting his eyes across the entire room like a spooked animal, and starts playing with it underneath his table like nobody can see him.Bookmark here

Everybody can see him. Including Miss.Bookmark here

"-Mmanuell-Khan!" she interrupts herself from narrating the book everyone is meant to be reading as a class to reprimand Mmanuell. "How dare you.." Blah, blah, blah, nobody's actually listening. "...Give me that!" Miss made her way to the troublemaker's table at the other end of the room and extends her hand as a signal for Mmanuell to give up his item.Bookmark here

"But Miss, that's my bookmark." He replies, hugging his paddle ball closer to his chest.Bookmark here

Miss raises an eyebrow at this scoffs. "Using a paddle ball as a bookmark! That's pretty rich, even from you Mmanuell. You should-" Miss was about to tear into Mmanuell for using such a lame excuse, but as she gets a better look at his paddle ball, surely enough, there are little reminders from several different dates scribbled all over it in randomly coloured felt-tip pen about what books Mmanuell has been reading in class and what page he left off on. Bookmark here

"...You should know better than to use a toy as a bookmark, instead of an actual one." Miss lowers her voice and retracts her hand, before jutting it back out again and repeating herself. Bookmark here

"But Miss-"Bookmark here

"No 'buts', young man, you know the rules. The paddle ball, please."Bookmark here

'Sulking', Mmanuell handed over the decoy to his teacher as she walked back over to her desk. "That should do it. If I let her take it so easily she would've been suspicious. Really didn't want to have to give that up but it had to be done." Bookmark here

Too proud with her 'Victory' to see the macro game, Miss Komodia takes the key for the back room from her desk's drawer, opens it, then uses a key on her keychain to open the confiscation chest, before locking them both and putting the keys back where she got them; If Miss sees a child with a toy, she'll take it from them and put it in this large black chest with a marble and gold design, real nice; then she'll tell their parents and exaggerate to make them get in more trouble.Bookmark here

"I'll be talking to your mother about this as well, Mmanuell-Khan."Bookmark here

"Oooh, scary!" Mmanuell ignores her. Mum won't care. She condones this behaviour, but you know what Mmanuell doesn't condone? Not being allowed to play with toys in the middle of class...but that's okay! Why? Because after months of careful planning and blackmailing persuading his friends into helping him, the "Certified™ Intellectual© Genius®", Mmanuell-Khan Matsuda, has come up with a Scheme! A scheme to end all get all the confiscated items back, without Miss Komodia getting so much as a sliver of an idea what's going on right, beneath, her nose...Sometimes Mmanuell wonders if this is too easy, not that he's complaining.Bookmark here

He just needed to unlock the confiscation chest and 'liberate' everyone's toys, easy as! But, both it and the room it's kept in were locked; Mmannuell had an idea of where their respective keys are, but that was a risk, and a risk wasn't good he sacrificed his paddle ball, disguised as a weird bookmark, all in the name of figuring out where the keys were being kept...and now he does.Bookmark here

Still 'upset that he was bested by his teacher', Mmanuell began reading along with his own copy of the English book Miss was reading aloud to the class before she was interrupted. Three sharp flicks on the paperback cover signalled the beginning of the next phase. A classmate that Mmanuell "influenced" to join the plan with the prospect of him snitching informing Miss Komodia that they'd stolen all the Maltesers from the Candy Box (Reserved for birthdays and Fridays), nervously got up from his seat and goes up to his teacher's desk whilstshe's sitting there reading aloud to the class, awkwardly fumbling through assorted stationery items before finding the pen-sized bronze key. Miss probably wouldn't have even realised what was going on because kids are allowed to get a spare pencil/ruler/etc from her desk, it was only because she caught the glint of polished metal in the corner of her eye that Miss caught one of her better-behaved students slowly shuffling away with the back room key. Bookmark here

He's a shy, weak kid who's even quieter than Samuel (but at least Sam's fun to be around; this guy is just plain boring), who's always trying to force a friendship with the more 'popular' kids in class by doing silly things, so Miss is probably going to have a word with him about "standing up for himself", "being more confident", and "being unique". All that jazz. Oh well, not Mmanuell's problem. Now that Miss is occupied with something, he casually waltzes up to her desk, opens the drawer and takes the key, whistling and twirling it around as he does so. Mmanuell takes a seat at his table and slips the acquired item in his pocket.Bookmark here

Now for the box key. If it wasn't for Mmanuell's attempt at making a cast of it using stale play-dough last week, the Confiscation Chest's key would be in Miss' desk drawer with the other one. Mmanuell's lucky he has a sharp eye; unfortunately, he spotted it on Miss' keychain as she brings that one kid back to his seat. She wasn't giving Mmanuell any strange looks, so it's safe to assume he didn't snitch.Bookmark here

This could be bad, Mmanuell didn't think Miss would be careful enough to do something like that. He has to think of something quick, or he'd be stuck at a dead end...Bookmark here

"I really didn't want to have to improvise anything, but whatever it takes."Bookmark here

Mmanuell-Khan Matsuda isn't the type of child who'd hurt other people's feeling for his own sake, but this is for everyone's sake (just like all his schemes) and it's the only way he can think of to get that keychain off of Miss' neck at such short notice. Bookmark here

"Hey, Kkele! Won't mind if I borrow that super-rare limited-edition Ultra Crazy Bizarre Town pen of yours, will you?"Bookmark here

Kkele gasps in bewilderment and hugs her pencil case closer to her. "What? No way! You know I'm the only person who was lucky enough to get one." She sounds hurt that Mmanuell would even think of something so mean and selfish.Bookmark here

"Oh, ok then, guess there's only one thing to do about that." Mmanuell snatches the top student's pencil case from her with a shocking amount of force, empties it out onto the floor, picks up the super-rare pen Kkele holds so dearly...and snaps it.Bookmark here

The pen was pretty big, so it's only natural that Ink burst across the entire room: speckling the walls with glittering black spots, ruining the reading books the school just purchased, splattering across children's faces, and getting all over Miss Komodia's clothes; she was sitting right there, so that's her fault.Bookmark here

Every pair of eyes in the room kinda just stared at him for like, three seconds straight. Mmanuell-Khan puts his hand on Kkele's shoulder, looks at her dead in the eyes and laughs in her face, "Sorry buddy, that's how mafia works," and walks back to his table.Bookmark here

"Come on Kkele, get angry. For just once in your life, please, let something piss you off." He didn't want to do that, truly, but Mmanuell needed to provoke Kkele enough for her to act with her heart instead of her head. Oh, dear Silva! This might not even work, but Mmanuell didn't come this far to fail because of the consequences of a past test run.Bookmark here


Woah there, buddy! Miss practically erupted in anger at the ruination of her clothes. Mmanuell's gotta give it to her though, even for a twenty-something-year-old, Miss has a decent fashion sense. Pity that it's all been Inked, truly, but she couldn't even get another word out her mouth before a torrent of Water Magic shot right across the room and wrapped itself around Mmanuell's head, suffocating him and clouding his vision.Bookmark here

"WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!!! HOW COULD YOU BE SO MEAN?! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?" Kkele screamed at the top of her lungs with teary eyes; the bright turquoise aura of Flow seethed out of the markings on her face, which she transmuted into Water Magic and promptly shot at her incapacitated classmate; Mmanuell's on the floor, clawing at the orb of water in an attempt to get it off, but Kkele's adding more Water Magic to it than he can remove.Bookmark here

As far as on-the-spot improv schemes go, he's already regretting this.Bookmark here

"Okay....sorry..I'm...(!)...pens...n't...that bag! Stop...hitting....water...stings." Mmanuell tries to scream and beg for mercy, but that only allowed more Water Magic to rush into his lungs; if Mmanuell really wanted to he could breath it all in and absorb it, but being bed-ridden with Flow Overload for two days is something he'd rather not do. Guess he'll drown, then.Bookmark here

The other school children in the class take this as the signal to start phase three of the plan, which was to commence when Kkele uses "Magic" in any sense of the word, and proceed to start a full-on riot: screaming, laughing, throwing stuff around, scooping bits of water out of Kkele's vortex and chucking it at other kids; at this point it's out of Mmanuell's control (not a fan of that.) and the plan might fail tremendously (not a fan of that either.).Bookmark here

Miss Komodia, on the other hand, was dodging and ducking through various pieces of rogue stationery and water bombs as she bellowed for her class to stop at once, but it was too loud to even hear yourself think; who's listening to a teacher, this far into the madness?Bookmark here

She then tried to pick up Kkele and calm her down, but sneaking up on a Mage from behind tends to make them very angry and is widely regarded as a bad move. Instinctively, Kkele created a large explosion of cold Steam Magic that turned the entire classroom into a cloudy, sight-obstructing labyrinth and dropped the temperature by at least 5°C. That's at least three more than zero!Bookmark here

Foggy, soggy, and full of noisy children that don't want to listen, absolute chaos ensues...which leaves Miss Komodia with no other option. She rips her keychain from her neck, flings it onto the floor with no regards as to where, and overpowers Kkele's Mental Link with her own, taking over control of the swirling vortex of Water Magic and the Steam Magic filling the room, rendering her powerless.Bookmark here

It's a bunch of Magic stuff Mmanuell doesn't understand, but Miss concentrated really hard for a few seconds, then all the Magic in the room dissolved back into Flow. Everyone's vision cleared up and stuff that was soaking wet moments prior dried up instantly, including that orb of water that was this close to bringing Mmanuell to his iNeViTaBLE DoOm; all of it, just hissing and smoking with a bright turquoise aura, which quickly faded away and disappeared into the air.Bookmark here

The discord which plagued the room's orderliness died away. Every single child in the room stood petrified, in anticipation of their biggest collective telling-off since 'vember. We...we don't talk about 'vember. Those, those were dark days...dark days indeed...Bookmark here

Miss Komodia stood in the centre of the room: She wasn't glaring at anybody with her snake eyes, her face wasn't red like a plump ripe tomato, frick, she didn't even raise her voice. You wouldn't even have been able to tell she was angry, t'were it not for the air around her literally popping and squeaking with Explosion Magic, so unfortunately for everyone in the room that is not the case. Wait, hold on...isn't Explosion Magic just Lava Magic with extra steps..? Mmanuell doesn't remember. Anywho, there's a very high chance they broke Miss Komodia. Noice. Bookmark here

"Kkele." Sparks flew across the room as she turned to the girl and spoke her name. Bookmark here

The poor little thing was sniffling, her breath shaky from the shock of using so much Magic on impulse, which is a big no-no during school in case it wasn't already evident; she also rarely gets in trouble, so realising that she's going to get it worse than Mmanuell usually does probably isn't helping eitherBookmark here

"Y-yes...Miss?"Bookmark here

"Come with me to the first aid room. You might be dangerously low on Flow after using so much."Bookmark here

"Yes, Miss..."Bookmark here

She gently takes hold of her top student's hand and guides her to the classroom door, not before turning back towards him with what might be the calmest face he's seen on her all spring term.Bookmark here

"Mmanuell-Khan, stay in here. I'll take you up to the headmaster afterwards."Bookmark here

Shock and confusion overrode Mmanuell's calm demeanour as he struggled to comprehend what he just witnessed. A choked "Yeah, ok." escaped the boy's lips as he drifts off into thought.Bookmark here

"What the f-? Hold on a min-... Uhhh? I mean, I was joking when I said we broke her but I really didn't expect that! She's so mad she's not even mad...I guess some people just aren't cut out for the mental strain annoying children can put on them. I wonder if this is a good or bad thing in the long run? We'll see..."Bookmark here

As Miss and Kkele leave the classroom, the door closes behind them with a click and a clunk that reverberated throughout the still-silent room and snapped Mmanuell out of his momentary daze, bringing him back to the task at hand.Bookmark here

"Anywho, forget all that. The biggest obstacle is finally out of the equation, now all that's left is to do is... Oh. Hold on a second, did we just win?"Bookmark here

...And that, you see that? That right there? That's why Mmanuell-Khan Matsuda is the one who does the things around here. That fancy rock that stops Miss from using Magic in school to ensure the safety of the children which she is only allowed to take off in case of an "emergency"? That "Magic Inhibition Hex"? Yeah, it's laid on the floor like a used toy. And you know why that's good?Bookmark here

The key he needed was attached to the keychain, and so was the Hex. Last time he checked, a kid who can't use Magic yet being attacked by one who can is an "emergency", one that would require Miss to take off the keychain holding the Hex and use her own Magic to gain control over the situation, which she did. And in doing so she'd also inadvertently relinquished her possession of the key. It went a bit overboard, but the distraction was large enough to shift the centre of attention from Mmanuell to someone else. You see? eh? Eh? EH? Genius.Bookmark here

"Winner winner, chicken dinner, my brain's big but my...on second thought, not a lot of things are bigger than my brain. Boy, that's just crazy." Mmanuell can barely contain his overflowing pride as he detaches the confiscation chest's key from its shackles and triumphantly holds it above his head for all to see. His classmates stare mouths ajar, as the kid who succeeded at where all others failed made an announcement to the entire room.Bookmark here

"Ladies and Gentlemen...we got 'em."Bookmark here

Applause. Cheers. Someone threw a pen at his head. All is well in the world, but not without sacrifice. A small price to pay for salvation...even so, now is not the time for victory, for there is one last part to this meticulously planned mission. Mmanuell approaches the back room door and unlocks it with the first key, the satisfying sound of metal locking into place with bolts and latches fills his ears as the dry, dusty air of the back room, forgotten to his kind (fifth graders) rushed across his face as the door opened.Bookmark here

Ah, yes. At long last, he can finally return to his classmates what is theirs. The second key fits in nicely. Two soft clicks and the seal is broken. The fresh light that seeped in breathed new life into items that have long since been neglected and abandoned, banishing the shadows that have long concealed the pandora's box of eight-year-olds...the confiscation chest. It was kinda nerve-wracking to be honest, opening the heavy lid and laying eyes on things that haven't been seen in months: Rubix cubes, those weird metal spinning tops, a couple of sour candies that aren't allowed in school anymore, even a damn mini-razer (not a flamethrower).Bookmark here

Mmanuell carefully steps into the box and totally buries himself in the cornucopia of Artefacts, soaking in their prestige and glory. It's hard to choose what to take as the first reward! Any one item is just as good as everything else, so maybe he'll ask the public. Mmanuell dips his head out of the sea of toys and calls out to his classmates with the same imperious, smug tone he takes when talking to people who aren't his parents. He was facing the back room's window rather than its door, but it was hard to turn around and they could probably hear him anyway.Bookmark here

"Hey guys, what do you think we should take first? I know it doesn't really matter because we're getting everything back anyways, but this is one of those moments, y' know? I'm eyeing that trophy with the mini-pinball game on the side of it; a symbol of our overwhelming victory. Oh, but then! The Toxic Waste candies, those'll be real fun to eat in class after how long." Bookmark here

...Bookmark here

Silence? Hmm, okay? He knows people aren't the most eager to talk to him for reasons he couldn't figure out for his life, but this isn't the sound of grateful classmates. Mmanuell dips his head out of the sea of toys and calls out to the ones that he's done so much for. "Hel-lo? Come on, after all I've done to help you get your stuff back you could at least answer me, guys."Bookmark here

Thank Silva, somebody finally spoke up. You'd think kids'd have a little more respect these days.Bookmark here

"Mmmanuell-Khan Matsuda..."Bookmark here

The voice of an adult woman. Oh. Oh no. No way. Mmanuell's heart climbs all the way up into his throat as he scampers out of the box onto the concrete floor, spilling a bunch of the Confiscation Chest's contents with him. Panicked and uncertain of his next move, the boy picked himself up and met eye-to-eye with the last thing he expected, or wanted, to see.Bookmark here

"...How bold of you."Bookmark here

An Affinity Graph

Elementalist 44

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