Creation: The Path of a God
A warm breeze flowed by, carrying the smell of the surrounding tall grass and the few scattered trees. The sky was a bright light blue with a few whispy clouds lazily drifting in the air in no hurry. An atmosphere of anticipation permeated throughout, the magical sense one felt when a new adventure was going to begin, along with the joy of encountering unique experiences and individuals.
Han took a casual deep breath in front of the carriage as he felt alive even after the long trip to Illumin. Slowly turning his head, he took in the sight and was eager about what types of events he could trigger in a new environment such as the Academy. Ahead was a dense forest of tents in front of the titanic walls of Illumin. Seeing the city's popularity, he couldn't help but smile. Though he hadn't been in Eletran for long, the events that had transpired made him pleased that he had chosen the fantasy world as the first place he'd travel to with his powers.
As he slowly raised his gaze to see what could be mistaken as the side of a canyon, the rough craggy walls didn't disappoint to provide the sense that he was in some kind of fantastical story, similar to the ones he had read as a child. He couldn't help but slowly gaze at it and think of the uneven surface that didn't appear to have any spacing like cement blocks would have. With how it didn't seem to have any layers, it could have grown out of the ground like some mountain towering over the exterior area as it captured the light of the sun. He could imagine that the shadow cast would be as if the sun had disappeared at certain times of the day. What made the impression greater was the dimension of the city and how the wall had to shroud all of it. The magnitude of the giant walls prevented any chance of catching sight of the city's interior. Just looking at the exterior of the city gave off an arcane texture deserving of such a famous location inside the Kingdom. The site could easily house countless secret societies, the kind found in well-known universities where members later became influential members after graduating and affected government policies.
"There are a lot of prospective students already waiting to be accepted into the Academy," He casually said as he noticed how diverse the crowd was.
The first thing he glimpsed was that not all of them were humans, many being non-humans of a diverse group. Most were humanoid, but a few had bodies that aligned more with what type of non-human they were, similar to Anacolis and Aracia, where half of their bodies were non-human animals. There were mammalian, avian, reptilian, insectoid, and other unknown beast people. But something in common between humans and non-humans was how nearly all of them were with their families. Just like the humans, the older beast people appeared to try and keep the spirits of their children raised so that they wouldn't become discouraged about the outcome and unhealthily focus on whether they would be students of the Academy and live in Illumin. The cloud of anxiety slowly moved throughout the camp as emotions slowly rose and fell like the tide on a sandy beach. The only people that appeared less concerned were those dressed in significantly superior outfits and staying in larger tents with guards keeping an eye out for threats.
"I see that there is a difference in treatment with those trying to attend this Academy...," Helania sniffed with contempt as she joined her Master outside the carriage. "I can imagine what the reality inside this place is like for those who get accepted if they do not originate from families with influence." She smoothly brushed back her black hair and rolled her eyes.
"Master, with how hot it is, please accept this drink." Brittany carried a silver platter, a glass cup filled with water, and cut-up fruits inside, resting on the polished metal. The exterior of the cup glistened with condensation.
Taking the glass, Han took a sip of the cooled drink, feeling refreshed even if the heat didn't affect him. He placed the cup back on the platter and smiled, "Thank you, Brittany. You do such a wonderful job of caring for me." He placed a hand on her back and gently caressed it, enjoying her curved figure and how it lightly trembled in excitement from his touch.
Queen was the last to exit the carriage, the air slightly cooling. Her eyes stared coldly at all in front of her, "I do not know what you can expect of them, Helania." She snorted. "These people are barely civilized, not knowing how to take care of their own. They would be better off just aligning themselves with our Master."
While his creations talked about the prospective students and how their life was different due to their station in life, he couldn't help but notice people in uniforms walking amongst those who didn't appear to have a basic level of clothing and handing them what appeared to be supplies, a few of the items being clothes. Seeing that clothes were being handed out by people wearing uniforms with black and brown colors while others had colors with blue and gold, made him think the Academy had different departments going around and supporting those that were impoverished relative to the nobles. Seeing such behavior made a corner of his mouth lift.
"Master?" Helania asked.
Raising a hand, "I suspect this Academy will be more interesting than I thought. Seeing such a stark difference between the economic classes made me think of how it was similar to books I read about my world's history and fictional books where nobles and commoners were depicted. But seeing the Academy being proactive and supporting those without the same resources as the nobles made me think my preconceptions could be wrong." Even after sharing his thoughts, he struggled to imagine that he was entirely correct. He couldn't help but think that someone with compassion saw what was occurring and the difference in appearance, deciding to make a change.
Han began walking towards the Academy, his creations following closely behind him. Even with the vast prospective student population, a system of roads existed to help people navigate their way around. The road system naturally forming like how they do at festivals.
Entering the area, a few sitting next to their shelters turned their heads, widening their eyes in surprise to see Han and his entourage. A few parents, especially the beast people, pulled their children close to them as they bowed their heads. Though it appeared that they were being respectful, the slight shaking of their bodies exposed their fear of catching the attention of someone they didn't dare to offend. Seeing how they behaved wasn't surprising to him since it was seen in his world; people fearful that they would make a mistake and have their lives ruined by those with power.
Nearing decorated tents with flags on top that lightly flapped in the soft breeze, Han saw the guards in front of each tent wearing slightly different uniforms with various emblems based on which family they served. He couldn't help but smile slightly, causing a few guards to frown. It was amusing how the guards acted when his group approached them. Scanning the armor worn, he compared them to the Lady Knight he had talked to the night before. She may have been rash, but the equipment she wore and how she held herself showed that her training was superior to the guards with their hands close to their swords. He smiled at how they were trained enough to not be foolish and touch their weapons. With how a few of the guards behaved, it was easy to anticipate how his creations would react, seeing people taking such a threatening stance and directing such hostility in his direction. Tossing the thought around in his mind, he assumed that there could be some type of agreement with nobles and other families able to hire guards. Since they didn't rashly behave, there was a possibility that any kind of altercation could earn a quick dismissal before a prospective student was accepted.
As he walked on the main road and saw how the families were organized, it appeared that a type of border had been formed, dividing those with resources and those without. Even if it wasn't official, the people waiting to be accepted had already organized themselves as if it was natural. To his left were tents that belonged to nobles, with at least a few being merchant families. At the same time, the other side was an extreme difference, like comparing night and day. While there were people who had tents, there was a sizeable number of people that either only had a makeshift shelter using sticks and a blanket or were exposed to the elements. The people wearing uniforms, belonging to the Academy, were mainly seen on one side, interacting with the commoners and ensuring each family was cared for with basic necessities. Emotional words of gratitude were heard as parents accepted blankets and wrapped them around the numerous children close to them.
A few people wearing the Academy uniforms glanced in his direction before looking away, clearly thinking he was another noble applying to study at the Academy.
"Master, I believe that we should head over there." Queen pointed ahead of them.
Han looked to see where Queen indicated and noticed a long row of tents the length of several nobles' tents side-by-side. The tents looked to be the kind used at concerts and public events, with several long lines. He could see that the tents had queues in front. Just like with the ocean of families and how they organized themselves, there were lines used just for nobles, while the others were for commoners. Inside the tents were Academy workers sitting behind desks with tall mountains of papers, handing them to the prospective student before directing them to a new line.
"I do believe you are right, Queen." Han nodded.
"They appear to be collecting information for various criteria used to determine whether the applicant meets their requirements to attend," Helania suggested as she studied the lines.
"I agree," Queen nodded. She turned her head to look at the sea of tents, "With how many people here, I suspect the process has been taking several days."
"We should probably get in line." Han began heading toward the line of students. Looking at the one for commoners and the one for nobles, he then made his way toward the one for commoners.
"Master, do you think we should be lining up in the line for commoners?" Brittany tilted her head, unsure of the actions of her Master.
Han shrugged, "I am in no hurry and do not care to interact with nobles." He anticipated that someone would or already had noticed his presence, so someone from the Academy would soon be approaching him. With how much money he gave the Lady Knight, it was reasonable to predict they would be alert of when he would arrive. There was no need to bother about which line would be best since neither would fit his unique case.
Seeing Han and his creations get in line meant for commoners, the people hoping to be accepted turned their heads to briefly check them out before their eyes widened in alarm and quickly looked away.
Han could hear some of them whisper amongst themselves, confused why people, clearly part of the nobility, were lining up in the same line. A few individuals argued whether they were in the right area as if they were the ones that had made a mistake. It wasn't strange for them to think such things considering how odd it was for nobles to willingly be close to those they viewed as beneath them.
Despite the fuss generated, Han thought it was fine. There was a small part of his mind that found their panic to be amusing but not enough to feel troubled by it.
As prospective students were slowly processed, the line unhurriedly moved at a snail's pace. Glancing over in the direction of the nobles, even for them, it wasn't much faster. However, none of them made a considerable fuss aside from the occasional complaint. There were servants coming and going, bringing cool refreshments to the nobles they served. One of the nobles could be heard complaining to his servant about his glass not being properly chilled.
Listening to the nobles as though he were watching a reality show, he held another glass of fruit-flavored water, appropriately cool in his hand with the occasional clinking sound as the ice melted and shifted into position.
A few commoners looked in his direction, licking their lips but quickly glancing away when they thought he noticed their actions. It was clear that they were thirsty, being under the hot sun for so long, but it was obvious that such experiences were not new to them. Compared to the nobles, there were some mothers that would walk up to the lines where their kids stood with a water bag in hand. Compared to the nobles and his glass, he expected the bag to be warmed by the sun. But with such weather, even slightly hot water would be welcomed. In addition to the mothers, a worker for the school was pulling a wagon with a large container. The sloshing that could be heard indicated the contents as the individual served water to the commoners.
But even with the water wagon slowly navigating up and down the lines, his presence was still unusual and distracting. Not just the cold glass of water in his hand but a few of the boys attempting to sneak a peak at his creations, their faces turning red due to the outfits.
Just like the guards at the village where they met Elis, Han didn't mind their glances, empathizing with them since even he knew how his creations appeared. Not just with their physical appearance but even their garments that flattered their figures. He remembered when he first saw what they wore that morning, his breath was taken away, admiring them and feeling blessed that he could be surrounded by such beauty. He wouldn't mind snuggling up to them, even with people around his group. Still, he found control over his lust, considering he and his creations were already a distraction. If it wasn't for the fact that he suspected that the nobles would be annoying and think it was fun to do things outside the norm, Han would have lined up with the other nobles and not cause undue nervousness for the commoners waiting to learn about their status.
"Master," Queen said.
Turning his head towards Queen, he soon heard frantic steps and huffing of someone quickly approaching them. He could see a young man attempting to maintain some level of composure while at the same time hurrying to complete his tasks. If Han hadn't anticipated that the Academy would send someone to meet him and his party and how the man was heading straight their way, it would be easy to not realize that the man was an employee of the Academy specifically for him. He smiled as the man slowed to a walk attempting to regain some of his lost dignity.
Just like all the other workers of the Academy, the man wore a light jacket and formal pants. But different from some of the workers, this individual's outfit was decorated with some kind of symbol that appeared to be a sun with a sword in front. The color that this person had was mainly black with white highlights. He was curious about what the colors meant and was determined to learn about them in the future as a student.
"My Lord," The man breathlessly greeted Han with a strained smile, drops of sweat forming on his forehead. "Forgive us for not greeting you sooner," He bowed.
A few commoners close to them shivered slightly as the air dropped several degrees. They looked around, confused by the sudden chill, but upon seeing something, they quickly faced forward, no longer concerned about the mystery.
"I see that this is how the Academy treats those that have contributed much," Queen hissed as she narrowed her eyes.
The Academy worker's face paled, not only from the accusation but also due to slight exposure to the murderous air hovering around Queen. His mouth opened and closed like a fish as he helplessly flailed for any words to convey his jumbled thoughts. "P-please forgive m-my disrespect. The A-Academy did not have any intentions of showing disrespect to My L-Lord or towards M-My Ladies." One of his hands grasped his chest, and his eyes were wide as if they would tumble out of their sockets in fear.