Chapter 1:

Chapter 01 Suzuka and Antonio

Content of The Magic Box

The teacher placed the history book on the desk, scanned the classroom, and clapped her hands a couple of times to grab the attention of her students.

 She then said in a firm voice, "Listen up kids, now I am going to check if you paid attention during class. So, what was Melwyn trying to accomplish?" 

The students shifted in their seats, trying to recall the information from the lesson. Some raised their hands tentatively, eager to provide an answer, while others looked around nervously, hoping to find the answer from their classmates. The teacher waited patiently, allowing them the opportunity to think and respond.

The teacher looked around the class and started to glance at the kids one by one. Soon she noticed Suzuka sleeping in class, again. With an angry expression, the teacher turned her attention to Suzuka and started to shout at her. "Suzuka! Is my history class so boring that you decide to get some sleep?"

She heard her name called, while still a bit drowsy Suzuka quickly raised her head and looked at the teacher. "I wasn't sleeping, I was only having a catnap."

 The teacher's expression softened a bit as she listened to Suzuka's defense but she was still not convinced. Her gaze fell on Suzuka because she was dozing off at her desk, as usual. The kids in the class started to giggle and whisper to each other upon seeing this. 

The teacher's expression changed from anger to a smile and with a calm voice she said, " So, you say you didn't sleep in my class just now? Could you be so kind as to tell me what's the difference between sleep and catnap?"

Suzuka put a finger against her chin and think for a second, "Hmmm, it's a tough question, just the way I like them. If a have to say, they are both almost the same it's just that when I take a catnap I can still hear everything that the teacher tells me. But when I sleep I can't hear anything around me. So basically, I sleep at home and take catnaps at school."

With a surprised expression, the teacher leaned back in her chair, picked up her history book which she was reading to class earlier, and flipped through the pages.

"Okay, let's put what you just say to the test, so if you paid attention to what I said in today's class, I think it's not a big deal for you to answer a couple of questions, isn't it?"

"Yes, I can, please ask away."

"Don't mind if I do then. For my first question, I would like to know what is the real name of Melwyn."

Suzuka looks down for a couple of seconds while deep in thought, looked back up, and answered, "Oh! This is a trick question, just how I like them. Unfortunately, nobody mentions Melwyn's real name in history, everyone started to know his mage name from the time when he created MIS."

The teacher, with a pleasant smile, turns a couple of pages further and says, "That is correct! But it was an easy question, don't expect to have these easy questions in your final exams." After a short pause, the teacher continued, "As for the next question, I would like to know, what kind of crystal was used in the ritual of life energy extraction?"

Looks like this question for Suzuka was very easy because she answered right away without even a thought. "Okay! Easy one, It was hardness seven quartz is also known as 'Phantom quartz crystal'."

"Good!" The teacher rejoiced, "That is correct again."

The teacher gently closed the book, returned it to the desk, and stood up from her chair. She made her way over to Suzuka with a calm and steady gait. "Okay, as for my final question, I would like to know the meaning of 'The Great Explosion'."

The question wasn't difficult for Suzuka; she knew the correct answer. However, it took her a bit of time to articulate it. Nevertheless, she was able to express it before the teacher asked again.

"As history states, a great explosion reset year counting and we are counting years from the day Melwyn Farvind almost wiped out all monsters from the earth's surface, and 924 years passed since that day."

The teacher nodded her head in agreement and asked, "Okay, what else can you tell me about it? Or this is all you can tell us?"

"So as I was about to say, because of that, every human can use magic now, even if it's little things. Also, Magic corruption spread a lot, and that affected nature. We still have problems with magic beasts and monsters but we are managing because of the magic boxes that appeared after the 'Great Explosion'."

"Great! Very good!" The teacher rejoiced yet again, "The answer I was waiting for! Okay, you can sit down, it looks like you were listening after all. I hope you're going to answer questions in the final exam, tomorrow, just as well as today."

"I'll try my best, after all, this is my last year in school."

As the teacher turned to walk back to her desk, she overheard Suzuka's comment. But instead of scolding her, the teacher paused and turned back around, a small smile playing at the corner of her lips.

"I certainly hope so," she replied gently. "I'd hate to have to keep waking you up in my class for another year."

As the final bell of the day rang out, the students began to gather their things and shuffle out of the classroom. Suzuka took her time, packing her bag and mulling over what to do with the rest of her evening.

After a moment's thought, she brightened up. "I still have a few hours before dark," she murmured to herself. "Maybe I'll head to the library and do some studying. I have a feeling the history test is going to be a tough one, and I want to be prepared."

As she left the classroom and headed towards the library, she couldn't shake the thought from her mind. Once in the library, she picked out a few books she hadn't read yet and began to study. But after a few hours of reading dry history books, she fell asleep, face down in her books, thinking that there wasn't much left in the library that she hadn't read yet. 

As time passed and night fell, Suzuka remained asleep. In her sleep, she unconsciously moved her hand, knocking a history book off the table, and causing a loud noise that woke her up.

"Ahhh! What's with the noise?... Why it's so dark in here?... Wait!... What time it is?"

While asking herself these questions she slowly looked around, walked to the closest window, and realized its already night. After realizing that she was late, she grabbed her head and shouted, "No! No! No! Dad gonna kill me and mom gonna cook me for dinner, I better run fast."

In a hurry, she dashed out of the library and ran straight home. While running on the road, she caught up with two city guards who were patrolling. As Suzuka approached, one of the guards heard her footsteps and quickly turned around, shouting, "Who goes there? Identify yourself, now!"

Suzuka slowed down her pace and walked towards the guards, waving her hand as she approached them.

"Hey, Anton! No need to be so serious, it's just me, Suzuka!" she called out.

As a voice reached his ears, the city guard Antonio lowered his spear, and his serious expression softened into a smile. As Suzuka approached, however, his smile disappeared and he began to lecture her.

"By Melwyn's beard! How many times do I have to tell you to call me Antonio? But now never mind that. What I want to know is, what are you doing here at this time? You should be in bed by now."

Suzuka cracked a mischievous smile and made a silly face before responding, "I must confess, I fell asleep while reading a book in the library, and had a dream about you. Tehehe."

Anton quickly surveyed their surroundings, checking for any lurking threats before turning to his partner and instructing him to keep watch while he handles the situation with the young lady.

"Hey! Dave, keep a lookout while I deal with her."

"Sure man, have some time with your girlfriend, I got this."

"Come on Dave, how many times have I told you... ah, whatever."

Antonio turned back at Suzuka and said, "Don't te hehe me little girl, you're only 14 years old, can't you be more careful about time? Good thing you run into us. This may be a safe zone but we still get bandits and some goblins from time to time. It's dangerous out here at night."

Suzuka's head drooped as she stared at the ground, feigning a tear in her eye. Meanwhile, Antonio continued to drone on about the dangers of walking alone at night.

"But I'm turning 15 in just two months," she protested.

"Hey, don't interrupt me," he scolded, then suddenly seemed to remember something. "Oh, and your dad's shift ended three hours ago. He should have been home a while ago. You'd better run, we've already checked the path up to this point, it's safe. And don't mention that we ran into each other tonight. Your dad would kick my ass if he found out I didn't bring you home myself. You know how he can be sometimes."

Suzuka walked past the guards and turned to bid them goodnight. "Have a safe and pleasant night," she called over her shoulder. "I must run now, or I'll be even later. And don't worry, Anton, my dad won't find out that we met today."

Antonio rolled his eyes, correcting her. "It's Antonio," he sighed, but Suzuka was already gone.

As Dave approached, he couldn't resist stirring the pot. "So, did you and your girlfriend work things out?" he asked slyly.

Antonio bristled at the teasing. "You say that on purpose, don't you, Dave? Just to get a rise out of me?"

 "I'm just telling the truth, girl likes you, that's for sure. How about you?"

Antonio was taken aback by Dave's question, but he managed to stay composed and replied, "Really? Come on, Dave. She's just a 14-year-old kid who comes to the training hall to mess with me every week. We are nothing like that."

Dave pushed back, saying, "So what if she's 14? You're 18, man. She's almost 15. Just wait another three years, and you'll be a happy man!"

Antonio sighed, feeling frustrated with the conversation. "Alright, Dave. Enough with this nonsense. Let's finish our patrol."

Dave quickly backpedaled, realizing he may have hit a nerve. "Okay, okay, no need to shout. I'm just messing with you. It's all in good fun. No need to be so serious."

After some time on the road, Suzuka finally arrived home. The neighborhood was dark and quiet, with no lights visible in any of the windows of the neighboring houses. As she approached her own home, she noticed that the windows were similarly dark. This could mean one of two things: either her parents were already asleep and she would be in trouble if she woke them, or they were not home and she could sneak in unnoticed.

Despite finding the doors locked, she was unfazed as she had a spare key. With ease, she entered the house and scanned the empty space. Her parents were not home yet. Making her way to her room, she carefully placed her bag on the bed, changed into her pajamas, and headed to the kitchen to grab a bite before settling in for the night.

After satisfying her hunger, she returned to her room and quickly drifted off to sleep. Later that night, the sound of the front door opening jolted Suzuka awake, and she eagerly rushed to greet her parents. It seemed that they had been out enjoying a drink at the bar.

Suzuka's surprise was evident in her voice as she exclaimed, "Wow! That's quite a surprise. What was the occasion that you two went out for a drink? I can't even remember the last time you went to a bar together."

Her father replied apologetically, "Oh, Suzu, did we wake you up? I'm sorry about that. It's your final day at school tomorrow and I'm sure you wanted to get a good rest."

Suzuka reassured him, saying, "No worries, Dad. I actually went to bed not too long ago."

"Studying hard, I see," her father commented proudly. "That's my girl. Well, I need a glass of water." With that, he headed to the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Suzuka's mother engaged her in conversation. "Yes dear, Mommy sorry too but today is our marriage's five years anniversary. We went to town for some fun and we would have brought you along too."

Dad reappeared from the kitchen, holding a glass of water, and interrupted their conversation before Mom could finish telling Suzuka everything.

"Hey there," he said, "we couldn't wait any longer, so we went ahead without you. But, what took you so long? Don't tell me you were with some boy. Antonio, maybe?"

Suzuka blushed and covered her face with her hands. "No, Dad," she said, "I was just studying for tomorrow's final exam. And Anton is just a friend."

Mom playfully punched Dad in the gut. "Come on, Steven," she said, "let's go to bed now."

"But, Megan," he protested, "we could..."

"Steven, we need to get some sleep," Mom insisted, cutting him off. "Let's go to bed, now."

With a stern expression, Mom seized Steeven's arm and dragged him forcefully into their room, leaving Suzuka to make her own way to hers. The night passed quickly, and soon the family was gathered around the breakfast table, devouring their meal.

As the others continued to eat, Dad wolfed down his food and rose from the table, hastily donning his city guard gear.

"Thanks for the grub, folks," he said with a grin. "Suzu, good luck with your final exams. But let's be real - you're a smart cookie. You'll ace them without even trying."

Suzuka smiled wryly in response. "Don't worry, Dad," she said. "I didn't spend the whole class snoozing. I'll be just fine."

Megan approached Steven with open arms, enveloping him in a warm embrace. "Dear, aren't you forgetting something?" she asked, her eyes twinkling.

Steven returned the hug, planting a tender kiss on Megan's lips. "Oh, how could I forget about my beautiful wife?" he teased, holding her tightly. "No, I'm just saving the best for last."

With that, Steven released Megan from his embrace and headed for the door. As he closed it behind him, Megan turned to her daughter Suzuka, who was packing her books into a bag.

"I'm off to school, Mom," Suzuka announced, her voice tinged with a hint of uncertainty. "I don't know how long I'll be today, it's my last day."

As Megan cleaned up the breakfast dishes, she turned to face her daughter. "Don't worry, dear. Take all the time you need and have fun with your friends," she encouraged. "After all, it's your last day of school."

"Thanks, Mom!" Suzuka grinned, slinging her bag over her shoulder. "I'm heading out now."

Suzuka dashed out of her house and headed straight to school. Along the way, she stumbled upon Antonio and a group of men who appear to be adventurers or hunters, who are having a heated conversation on the path. As Suzuka approached, she overheard their argument. Upon getting closer, she noticed that one of the men is wearing a badge of the Hunter's Guild and recognized him as a powerful mage who wields the power of a magic box. The man with the badge approached Antonio, getting close enough to him that his words were spoken in a loud voice.

"Hey, hey, Antonio! My friend, I thought we had a deal! I've dropped a lot of shiny ones your way... so what's with the hold-up, huh? Come on, Antonio, my man?"

Antonio instinctively raised both hands, as if anticipating a punch, and turned to face the man with the Hunter guild badge.

"Jacob, Jacob, it's all good," he replied, his voice calm but slightly strained. "I'll deliver... all I'm asking for is one more day. I've got everything sorted out."

"Hey, Anton! What's going on? Are these guys causing trouble? Do you need some help?" Suzuka exclaimed as she ran towards him, surprising him.

Antonio's expression darkened slightly as Suzuka's sudden appearance startled him. "By Melwyn's beard! Where did you come from? And how many times do I have to tell you to call me Antonio?" he grumbled.

"What's the matter, Anton?" Suzuka asked with a playful grin. "Are you still upset about losing to me last week during our fight at the city guard training course? Ha! I even broke your record."

Antonio appeared to be in a tough spot, but he shifted his attention to Suzuka and spoke in a measured tone.

"Listen, young lady," he began. "Having some muscle on your bones doesn't automatically make you an adult. Everything is under control here, so why don't you do the mature thing and head off to school, alright?"

Suzuka glanced briefly at the strangers before turning her attention back to Antonio. With a wave, she began to stride purposefully toward the school.

"Okay, okay," she called over her shoulder. "No need to be a jerk about it. Bye, and good luck."

As she walked, Suzuka caught snippets of a conversation between Antonio and a man named Jacob.

"Hey, Antonio, my man!" Jacob was saying. "You've got a nice girl there. I like her already, ha ha!"

As Suzuka walked along, she suddenly heard a noise that made her turn her head. She spotted Antonio, who was staring at her with a pale face. Jacob slapped him on the back and chuckled.

"Anyway, you've got one day to deliver. We'll be counting on you. I'm looking forward to it!" he exclaimed.

Suzuka quickly checked her magic-powered wristwatch and realized there were only ten minutes left until class started.

"Oh no! I'm going to be late! I've only got ten minutes left and I'm only halfway to school. I'd better hurry or I'll have to repeat the year!" she exclaimed, starting to run.

Rushing to school, Suzuka arrived with just five minutes to spare before her first exam.

"Okay, let me just review my notes," she muttered to herself, feeling the weight of pressure on her shoulders.

As she pored over her notes, time seemed to slip away like sand through her fingers. Suddenly, the teacher appeared in the doorway and beckoned the students inside.

Taking their seats, the students found a sheet of paper waiting for them on their desks. Suzuka's heart began to race as she realized this was the basic skills test - history, math, and grammar - and it would take two hours to complete.

"Alright, everyone, we can begin," the teacher announced, her voice cutting through the tension in the room. "If there are no questions, let's get started."

The teacher begins the exam, noticing that no one is asking questions. It took Suzuka slightly over an hour to complete the exam, but she chooses to double-check her answers before submitting them. The teacher examines Suzuka's answers, she smiles and compliments Suzuka on her thoroughness.

"Well, well. Look who wasn't sleeping in my class after all, and here I thought I need to spend another year with you. Well done, you pass on all three parts but for a full score come back again tomorrow."

Suzuka cracked a smile upon hearing the teacher's praise. "As I said, I was just catnapping," she chuckled.

The teacher placed her paper on the table and turned to face Suzuka. "I hope you realize that catnapping and sleeping are essentially the same thing, don't you?" she asked.

Suzuka nodded confidently. "Of course, I know they're the same," she replied.

Without waiting for a response, she rushed out of the classroom and plopped down on a bench, lost in thought.

"I should probably go home," she mused to herself, "but Mom did say I could have fun all day if I wanted to. Hmm...what should I do?"

Suddenly, a bright idea struck her. "I know! I'll go check out some books on how to become an adventurer and register with the hunters guild. I'm turning 15 soon, so I can sign up for some low-level missions or even work as an assistant. This could be my chance to really start living!"

After class, Suzuka made her way to the library to conduct research on the subject. For hours, she immersed herself in the books, her focus unwavering as she absorbed the knowledge she sought.

 As she emerged from the library, she took a bite of her favorite apple, a crisp and juicy 'Melwyn gold', and began to make her way out of the school grounds. 

She strolled leisurely, taking her time as the sun began to dip below the horizon - it was never safe to be outside at night. In the distance, she could hear the eerie cries of magic beasts and wild animals affected by corrupted magic. Lost in thought, she was startled when a hand suddenly landed on her shoulder from behind.

Suzuka let out a bloodcurdling scream, jerking away from the touch and spinning around to confront her assailant.

"What? Who are you?" she gasped, eyes wide with fear.