Age of Ember beta
As Landon, Sarah and Odrian arrived at the academy they found Victor waiting for them on the usual bench he was seated was often seated in. He slumped into the bench, head tilted with his arms over the top of his head. His eyes were shut. Without saying a word, Landon walked ahead, gesturing his right hand up signifying his departure. Amped up with energy, Sarah wanted to wake Victor up. With a mischievous grin Sarah looked at Odrian.
"Sarah, don’t do this," Odrian insisted as she snuck closer to Victor. He wanted to hold her back but she was out of reach rather quickly. She looked at Odrian one more time, putting her index finger on her lips.
"C’mon, Odrian, don’t ruin this moment," Sarah had always wanted to catch Victor off guard. The opportunity was ripe.
Once she stood in front of Victor, she extended her right hand, placing her index finger on her thumb. She slowly leaned forward, steadily moved her hand towards Victor’s forehead. Primed and ready to pluck his forehead, Victor quickly grabbed her hand. As swift as he was to act, she faded into a colorful mist. Within an instant, Sarah reappeared next to Odrian, chuckling from relative safety.
"Got ya again, Vicky."
He placed his left hand on his forehead letting out his first words of the morning:
"Could you stop calling me Vicky? Jeez Odrian, I don't know how you deal with her all day.”
Sarah puffed up her cheeks in a cute yet angered fashion, lowering her eye brows in disagreement.
"Hey, I'm not that bad."
"Actually, I don’t,” Odrian managed her quirks quite well throughout the day. “Her energy is always off the charts it seems and that’s for all times of the day."
"Yeah? Well, my energy isn't that high while I'm sleep" She stuck her tongue out like a child. There was no victory for her in this back and forth however.
“Uh-huh, right, whatever,” Victor easily dismissed her statement as he sat up in a leisurely pace. Odrian walked up to Victor, giving him a brotherly dap (Hands connect in a hand shake form, but only for a second.) “You guys are here early for once."
“Oh yeah, it looks like you slept out here the whole time.” Odrian shot back. “Guess you’d rather sleep here overnight than go home. Didn’t want to oversleep, huh?”
“Yeah, you’re wide awake today it seems, “ Victor remarked. “And actually you’re right, Odrian.”
“Oh?” Odrian was a little surprised that his offhand remark had any accuracy at all. Words weren’t exactly things that landed with Odrian.
"Yup…I couldn't sleep at all last night so I slept out here the whole time.”
Sarah was curious as to why but didn’t feel as though it was the time. Regarding the day before felt the need to throw hints at what happened. She spoke up:
"Hey Vic, you should come over later. Things are getting interesting."
"Hey, he'll find out soon," Odrian glared over at her. Sarah said nothing in regards to it after.
Victor was puzzled as to what was going on but couldn't refuse an invitation to something interesting, especially since Sabrina and Ziggy would likely be involved.
After being in class for a few minutes Deen arrived with a small stack of paper in his hand. He walked over to his desk in the middle of the class room and slammed them onto his desk.
"Mornin’ everyone,” Deen waved his hand quickly. “So, we'll skip the greetings and get right to the crux of today’s lesson. I'll be giving out your quest based on potential and a randomizing factor to any quest… friendship. Now, I’m sure you are wondering why make you quest with friends."
He paused for no reason, other than letting the concept slowly sink in. He then continued, gesturing his hands:
“Well these quest are dangerous and you could die! So, we hope that everyone will try a little harder knowing who your friends are because your life could be in their hands. No pressure!"
He placed white quest papers along the front board with a few inches in between each paper and bullet points under for names. Everyone quickly caught something strange. There were 18 students in the class but the groups weren't even. Group A and B had 4 bullet points, whereas Group C and D had 5 bullet points.
Realizing this no one wanted to raise their hand to question the methodology.
After Group A had received their quest, Deen began to call all students in Group B.
"So, we’ve got Victor, Sarah and Odrian... Now, I couldn't pick a suitable 4th for this team so if you'd like-"
The girl who had always sat in front of them stood up abruptly, interrupting Deen. She stood out with her almond skin, silky silver hair, deep blue eyes. She had 6 other purple eyes above her eye brows 3 on each side like a spider. As she stood tall you couldn't help but notice her slim waist and perfect figure. She was built like a model that should’ve been walking down a runway. Odrian couldn’t peel his eyes away from her.
“I-I’ll… Join their group!” She said nervously. Deen was surprised by the motivation in her voice, albeit a hesitant one. He waved his hand in a motion that signaled her to have a seat.
“Alright,” Deen nodded as he looked over at Odrian’s direction. “There’s you’re randomizing factor there! Your last member will be Arachnia.”
Deen had finished announced the last two groups, then adding a surprise.
"And there’s one more thing I’d like to add before we all get gitty here. Team A and Team B, you will each be joined by a Second Year student."
The class room doors opened with the second years students arriving through one at a time.
"So, I'd like to introduce Group A's cooperative, Diamond," Deen introduced her. Diamond stood strong, leaning slightly forward to size up all the class. She spoke coldly without wasting anymore time:
"Let’s do our best to stay alive."
Something about how she said it felt off but this was typical in her personality. Deen continued on as usual:
"Group B, you will be getting someone your familiar with, Landon"
Landon said nothing. he felt no need to introduce himself to anyone but his group which all pretty much knew who he was. Deen looked over and added:
“Oh, he looks excited to see you guys.”
Deen handed out quest to all the groups and as he approached Odrian he walked over to Odrian, Victor and Sarah. He looked them all in the eyes with a strange glimmer in his eyes.
"Lucky you! You all have a special quest from the principal."
Placing their quest papers on their desk, they couldn't help but notice it was a B rank quest. No other group got anything over a C rank. All 4 of them looked at the paper, it was titled “Crystal Minotaurs.” As Deen made his way back to the front of the classroom, he explained how they would only have 3 months to complete their respective quests. Apparently, points would be taken off for any member that doesn't make it back.
The Academy did a few things different. In this instance, they didn't provide you with hints as to where the quest monsters would be or how to find them. They expected you to utilize all your resources to complete your quests.
Before leaving the class, everyone was given a phone-like device for communication. It was thin and sleek, almost diamond shaped at the top and bottom. It utilized a camera on the back. Deen explained its purpose:
"These devices will allow you to communicate with anyone the school within any Academy’s, or structures network. Oh, and the back camera… Once you’ve completed your quest take a picture for confirmation. By doing this a quest completion notification will be displayed on the screen. Oh, and since I know we are notorious for not giving hints, I felt generous as to allow it to beep once within your respective quest region. If no other questions, I shall see you in 3 months."
As Deen quickly left the class room. Eventually so did all the students after exchanging their appropriate contact information. Arachnia walked up to Odrian nervously with her hands behind her back gripping her new phone tightly unsure of how to approach him. Odrian was left rather confused by this impression she left on him.
"Can I have your contact information?" She was painfully timid.
Odrian thought she was incredibly beautiful and couldn't fathom the luck he had lately. Before he could reach out and place his information in her phone Sarah took Arachnia’s device.
"He's taken," after Sarah had snatched her device and added her information into Arachnia’s phone. Sarah was uneasy about Arachnia but couldn’t quite understand why as her reaction was visceral as opposed to intuitive.
“Uh, You realize we’re on the same team, right?” Odrian noted.
“And what the hell did I miss?” Victor was a little surprised by the offhand remark from Sarah. Arachnia fidgeted nervously about what to do next, somewhat intimidated by Sarah.
Odrian quickly grabbed the device out of Sarah’s hands and redirected his attention towards Arachnia. He input his information gladly and said:
"I look forward to questing with you."
Arachnia was confused and excited, all at the same time. This was someone whose attention she wanted since the entrance exam. She wasn't ready to let anything get in her way after being so close. Odrian was happy that he got some attention, so without hesitation he asked her:
"Would you like to meet up tomorrow to start preparing for the quest?"
Sarah immediately interjected.
"Yeah, we could all meet up and shop before we head out!"
Victor was lost in his silence of what was happening, so he simply observed.
"I’m down" He agreed, then thinking, Maybe I can get Sarah away from Odrian so those two can talk.
“Sure,” Arachnia gushed. She thought this would be similar to a date.
They all eventually left and made their way home. Victor tagged along with Odrian and Sarah while they explained everything that happened since yesterday. Victor was left quite surprised with what he had heard.