Chapter 13:

Chapter 11. First Mission Assignment.

Another Story [Hiatus]

"Are you sure you're okay, Aura?" Mia asks while eating the cereals Jayde prepared for breakfast.Bookmark here

"Yeah, I am fine. It was just a bad dream." I wish it was just a dream. It wasn't. It was the truth presented to me in a horrid form. The power of remembering the past does not necessarily give relief. It sometimes leaves you in the unknown. "I hope I didn't bother you guys too much."Bookmark here

"No, no. It happens sometimes. The last time I had one was when I dreamed about my pet rabbit getting eaten by a big bad wolf!" Mia tells sadly as if it truly happened. "The wolf went like RAWR! and like this," she said, as she tries to imitate some monster. She continues to explain the dream, to which I don't care to listen any further.Bookmark here

In the meantime, Mimi is eating her cereal silently, then she suddenly and silently leaks, "I'm s. . ." towards my direction.Bookmark here

"What?" I don't quite hear what she said, so I try asking.Bookmark here

"I said I am sor. . ." She says, again in a low voice that seems quite muffled under the enthusiastic explanation of Mia about her childish nightmare.Bookmark here

"I can't hear!" I exclaim, clearly not hearing what she is trying to say.Bookmark here

"Forget it!" She yells. Did I just anger her again?Bookmark here

"Hey, Aura? Were you listening?" Mia asks, apparently done telling her story.Bookmark here

"Yeah. So, the wolf ate your rabbit?" I lie.Bookmark here

"Yeah yeah! I was so scared!" Mia went on, "I miss Baby Bunny. . ." She says, in a sobbing voice.Bookmark here

"Your rabbit's name is Baby Bunny?" Jayde asks. He has been eating in silence after giving us all a serving of cereal.Bookmark here

"Yeah! She is the baby of her mother called Bunny after all. They look alike and all, so why not?" She explains enthusiastically. Bookmark here

We sit there laughing at the originality of her naming. Today is gonna be the first briefing after the introduction day. It has been three days since the first day. We will have to go to the section room and have a briefing with Haila. I wonder what the lesson will be for today. If there is a lesson, that is. It seems that the school encourages self-study so much that briefing doesn't last that long. Surprisingly though, all the students seem to be very dedicated to their studies. It seems that since this has been the norm for many many years, it has become somewhat a responsibility of oneself to be dependent on their studies and score well.Bookmark here

Yesterday was nothing special as we just studied some material about flow manipulations as well as communication incantations that might be of help. The equipment Mimi bought was very helpful, I was able to create a Yttrancian Fluxion Wall around the box. A Fluxion Wall is a defensive wall that creates a series of branches in the Yttrancian flow. These branches will extend to the four flows of Gaia but do not touch them. This will make it very difficult to track the end of the labyrinth if not skilled enough. To crack this kind of defensive incantation, one needs to be able to know which branch to take and extend its Yttrancian flow into it. Bookmark here

After preparing ourselves for the lesson, we start walking through the winding walls of the school and see some familiar faces as we start to near the section room. The rest of my section mates seem to have gotten along during the past three days. As we enter the section room, we see Ono and Liliana already sitting down and talking to their respective division mates. They seem to be lively and nice as they both greeted us as we entered. Haila is still not present, this might be because the lesson hasn't started yet officially, or she is just plainly late. I do not know for sure when the lesson actually starts because Jayde just said earlier that we had to go. Nevertheless, it sometimes just bugs me how Haila seems to be very carefree. Despite that though, she appears to be very helpful and sincere. Maybe that is what made the school hire her. Bookmark here

After some time, we all sit down at our seats. It seems that everyone is sitting in groups that represent their division: the first two rows are that of the Fiara division. The second row is that of the Indixus, the third is that of Kraeka, and finally, because we arrived later than everyone else, the Yttrancia division.Bookmark here

"Hello, everyone!" Haila finally comes in greeting us from the door and starts to find her spot near the desk.Bookmark here

"Good afternoon, ma'am," everyone says, including me. This time is more successful as I managed to join in with everyone when they all stood up and greeted back. I sigh in relief afterward.Bookmark here

Sitting next to me this time is Jayde and I feel better this way to clear some possible misunderstandings that may have been made during the last section meeting. It seems, though, that no one cares.Bookmark here

"Alright, for today, there really isn't much. I am going to keep it straight for all of you.", Haila seems to have gotten more serious, "There has been a surge in bandits throughout the whole region," she explains further. This situation I know really well. I was a victim myself; my life and Olen's were literally on a needle waiting to drop, had it not been for May that came and saved us. "Due to this surge, it had been requested that we, The National Diryan School of Mana, escort the merchants and other travelers through their trade routes. Of course, we won't do this for free, the kingdom had set a budget for this operation. We have to make the surroundings safer and free of any crime."Bookmark here

I really like that the kingdom has taken drastic measures about the situation. It seems that they do not leave their citizens in danger. They seem to be responsible for the safety as well as the well-being of the merchants. It might only be natural, though. These merchants are the lifeline of the kingdom. Without them, the whole trade routes and supply line of the kingdom will come into a halt. Bandits are just an obstacle that must be broken down and eliminated. Since it has been appointed to the school, it must have become so serious that the royal guards cannot contain it themselves as well. Despite the power of the kingdom, sometimes it is necessary for the students at the school to help the kingdom. This is also part of the training of the citizens but also to contribute back to the kingdom. Two birds with one stone.Bookmark here

"I will talk to each division later for further details but in the bigger picture, the mission committee has set section three with the following lineup: Indixus manipulators are expected to escort merchants, Kraekan manipulators will help them as well. Fiaran manipulators are expected to help at the field hospital to treat the wounded merchants and other travelers. Lastly, Yttrancian manipulators, you have a different mission to take care of."Bookmark here

Her last statement throws me off. What mission are we doing? Why is it only us? This is weird, I thought that the bandit problem is the priority. I do not understand what this means, but I keep quiet. It seems that the rest of my group feels the same, they are also a bit confused. The rest of the class seem to have already started talking about their missions. They seem to be very focused. I start talking to Jayde next to me as I want to confirm that what I heard wasn't a misunderstanding.Bookmark here

"Hey Jayde, did I just hear that right? We are doing a different mission?" I ask.Bookmark here

"Apparently so, it's weird," he replies. I nod in agreement. "Hey Mimi, have you heard something about this? Do you know what mission this is?" He asked Mimi at the table behind us.Bookmark here

She seems to be equally surprised as she says: "No I don't, this is all new to me as well."Bookmark here

"I think it's a good thing, though. I don't like the sight of bandits; they are a scary bunch!" Says Mia.Bookmark here

After talking to the rest of the section about their mission, Haila starts to walk towards us to discuss our mission. I will finally get to hear what this 'special' mission is about. I have been thinking about what it could possibly be for the past twenty or thirty ticks or so from when she announced it. Nevertheless, it must be as important as the bandit problem. The school just doesn't appoint missions for useless matters, especially when there is a regional crisis for bandits. They would have sent us along with the others if it were not that important. Bookmark here

"Sorry, I have taken so long to come here." Haila apologizes for the time she took to discuss with the other divisions.Bookmark here

"It's fine, we are interested in knowing what our mission is though." Jayde initializes to which we nod in accordance. Bookmark here

"Before that, I would want to know what you guys have been doing the past three days. Anything special happened?" Haila also needs to know our division environment.Bookmark here

"Well, firstly, for the first day off, we all went to town and ate at Jayde's restaurant run by his family!" Mia says enthusiastically towards Haila. "Oh, weren't we supposed to say that we didn't study that day?" She then asks us in a normal tone to which we all shake our heads in her slow-wittedness. Bookmark here

"No no! We only enjoyed the first day, but we made sure to study the next day! I swear!" Jayde then takes over trying to cover up what Mia just messed up with. Bookmark here

It seems that Haila doesn't mind as she laughed at both of them, and said: "No no, it's fine. It has been encouraged that the first day off is spent on spending time with your division mates and getting to know each other. It seems that has worked, though. You guys seem to be getting along well." She ends with a smile. "How is food? Have you guys been eating well?"Bookmark here

Jayde laughs. "No worries there! I am the chef of the division! I present them all delicious food" he said proudly.Bookmark here

"Not going to lie, it is true." Mimi agrees.Bookmark here

"Yeah! I love what he has cooked so far!" Mia also agrees.Bookmark here

"I agree as well," I say.Bookmark here

"Well that's good, make sure to take care of your precious chef though. If he is gone, then you won't survive." Haila winks at Mia, Mimi, and I.Bookmark here

Mia giggles. "I do not know how to cook, so. . ."Bookmark here

"Anyhow, let's get to business!" Haila says finally. "Your mission is a special one. Although it might be unrelated to the bandit surge recently, this is also a case that has popped up only two days ago and it seems that it is still unresolved. The royal guards have not yet gotten to the bottom of the case, so they asked the school to help them solve it. You will be provided with the proper information later, don't worry," she says thoroughly, we all try to listen in a focused manner. "This is a classified matter, so don't tell anyone for now. Do you understand?" She asks. We all nod our heads. "So, the case involves a very strange case of an assault near the clocktower in the city. There have been three victims so far and it seems that it won't end there."Bookmark here

"Clocktower!" Mia blurts accidentally.Bookmark here

"Shh!" Haila hushes her voice down.Bookmark here

"Sorry. . ." Mia apologizes.Bookmark here

"Yes, clocktower. I want you all to go over there later to check it for yourself. It is a really weird case as the victims do not remember anything during the assault. It may have been some kind of memory-erasing incantation." Haila explains. Bookmark here

The last sentence hit home, a memory-erasing incantation? I have never read anything of such incantation to exist. I start to have an interest in this case. If such an incantation does exist, then maybe. . .Bookmark here

Maybe I could forget some things. . .Bookmark here

"That's basically it, for now, I will tell you more later before you all leave. I want you all to stop by the teachers' lounge to get the case files for all the information about the case." Haila goes on further. I seem to stop paying attention to her. The last statement is still bothering both my heart and mind. Bookmark here

"Haila, have you heard about May recently?" Surprisingly, no one reacts funny and Mimi seems to have not made any other weird remarks.Bookmark here

"May? Ah! She seems to be doing really well with Section one." Haila explains. Bookmark here

Section one? How could May be the maestro of section one? I do not understand at all what she truly is. Section one comprises the best students in the school after all.Bookmark here

"She has been very busy. I guess you haven't seen her. Don't take it personally though, she is just so busy. Okay?" Haila reassures me.Bookmark here

"Okay. . ." I reply with an understanding of the situation.Bookmark here

I guess I shall focus on the mission for now.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.