Chapter 1:

How to Join the 'Go Home' Club

Club Recruit if you can't Go Home

The teacher prattled on, trying to teach us something about the usage of mana in magic. However, nobody paid any attention. Some students used wind magic to talk to their friends. Others slept, using a recorder pen to take notes. There were hundreds of books lining the walls of the classroom, but nobody here ever read them. We already knew how to control and use our mana, so everything about this class was pointless. The time just slowly ticked on.

I couldn’t wait for school to end. I was already packed and ready to bolt out the door. It wasn’t because I had something to do. I just had no interest in staying longer than I needed to.

My grades were above average, so my parents didn’t care what I did with my time. Even if they tried to confine me in my room to study, all of our locks used mana. My skills were heavily geared towards one particular spell: disenchant. All it did was remove mana cast on an object, but in a mana-rich world, that was extremely useful. A door with a mana lock was just a regular door to me. As long as I could escape, there was no way I could be caught.

“And that’ll be all for the day.” Those words from the teacher snapped me out of my inattention. It seemed like school would end early today. Some of the kids were already ready to fly out of the room. I stood up, and–

Click. The door opened.

A little orb, containing a loudspeaker on each of its four sides, floated into the room. The school used it whenever it was about to make an announcement, so that was probably why class ended a bit early. However, there was something unusual this time around. A box attached with some thin flexible wire hung off the orb. There was something inside the box, but I couldn’t see what it was.

A young girl’s voice came over the loudspeaker. “Tap, tap. Testing, testing. Hello first year students! This is your student council president speaking. I hope you’ve enjoyed your first week at Tona Academy! Even though you may already know the material, it never hurts to review the basics before you start learning everything our academy has to offer.

“Now, I have an announcement to make. Clubs will be officially allowed to recruit new members starting today for the rest of the week. Our academy has many clubs to choose from. There are the normal clubs like the Book Club or Dodgeball Team. There are also clubs more geared towards magic like the Potions Club or Mana Engineering Club. Whatever you may choose to pursue, there is likely a club here for you.”

Well, I have no interest in those. I’ll be a part of the ‘Go Home’ club, thank you very much.

“However, many of our students are not interested in joining clubs. As such, all clubs are allowed to coerce students to join during this time period, provided they can capture you.”

…huh? What? She can’t be serious.

As I was thinking that, the objects within the box floated over to every student, including me. I reached out my hands absentmindedly, grabbing it before it could land on my desk. It looked like a broach with a clear crystal sphere in the center. However, the broach took some of my mana, making the clear crystal sphere turn a light gray.

The student council president began once again. “Once a student has been considered captured by a club, their broach will turn the registered color of a club. You must have your broach on you at all times; otherwise, you will be punished by the student body. Of course, if there’s a specific club you want to join, you best not get caught by any other club!”

She’s…actually serious about this. We’re going to be forced to join a club?!? I just want to go home and do nothing. Is that too much to ask???

I could feel myself slowly start to despair. But, of course, the student council president, seemingly able to hear my inner thoughts, spoke once more.

“Of course, there may be some students who do not wish to join any clubs. Since we take pride in giving our high achieving students freedom, those who make it off the school grounds without getting caught will not have to join a club. I will warn you though. Only one student has been able to escape joining a club since the academy’s opening.

“So, if you decide to try, good luck!” the student council president giggled.

I was thoroughly annoyed. The student council president had the nerve to laugh at me? Sure, I knew it wasn’t specifically directed at me, but it still pissed me off. Regardless, she gave me an opportunity to go home, and there was no way I wasn’t going to take it.

Luckily, our classroom was rather close to the exit. I just needed to go down one flight of stairs, run out the front door, and get past the gate. It would be nice if I could use other kinds of magic, but I was only skilled with the disenchant spell. I had a sneaking suspicion it wouldn’t work out even if I could use other magic effectively. That was fine, I could make do with what I had.

The loud speaker started broadcasting again. However, this time, a mechanical voice spoke. “Club recruitment will begin in 5 seconds.”

All of the other students began to panic.

Refract the light around me [Invisibility]!” Some of the students were able to cast an invisibility spell. They were most likely planning to hide and sneak out while the rest of us were being captured.

“4 seconds.”

The other students equipped their wands or other mana-conductive items, aiming them towards either the doors or windows. The door made sense, but the windows were kind of pointless. They were reinforced to withstand almost any kind of magic, so I doubt any student would be breaking in through there.

“3 seconds.”

The students who didn’t use mana directly equipped other weapons, like swords or spears. They were the ones who mainly used magic that enhanced their bodies or weapon skills. I wasn’t sure how useful they would be, but they could at least buy me a few seconds.

“2 seconds.”

The tension in the air was palpable. However, I wasn’t worried in the slightest.

“1 second.”

Now bring it on. I’ll beat you all so I can go home!
Bzzz!” An annoying buzzer sound came over the loudspeaker.

And all the books came flying off the shelves.

Yimje Lee
Lucid Levia
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