TESSIA ERALITH’S POV:
Arriving at my room, I jumped into bed, my hands covering my burning face.
I couldn’t help but let out soft shrieks of delight as I rolled back and forth across my sheets.
“Hehehehehe…” Oh no. I was laughing like a pervert.
But…but Art finally kissed me. He kissed me!
“Heehee…” Not being able to calm down, I wrapped myself in my blanket as I rolled around. The image of him leaning forward to kiss me filled my head, forcing my lips to curve up. It felt different from when I’d kissed him. I couldn’t quite explain it but it was definitely a better feeling.
“I could get used to this…” I accidentally muttered aloud as I softly rubbed my lips. I rolled across my bed again in embarrassment as I recalled the event again.
I began to imagine what our marriage would be like. I wanted it to be super pretty. I wondered how our kids would look? Arthur was good-looking and I wasn’t ugly either. It should be fine, right? But in order to get kids, we needed to…
I could almost feel steam coming out my ears as I imagined it. I mean, I learned about how babies were born from my home tutor but…
Nonononono it’s too early! And besides… Arthur wanted me to give him some time. I wondered what he meant by that? Did he mean we were going to act like tonight never happened?
I didn’t want that!
But was I allowed to get mad at him for that? Was I being too hard on him? I knew he had my best interest at heart but I couldn’t be so wishy-washy about this, right?
What if another girl really did end up liking him too and he chose her? I was just a violent, spoiled girl after all; why would he choose me?
The more I thought about it, the more disheartened I became. It’s, okay Tess. We’re both still really young. Even if it does take time, I’m sure it’ll work out eventually, right?
Gah! Stop discouraging yourself and let’s just sleep, Tess!
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
I’d been getting used to having Sylvie wake me up. Usually a loud mental shout was enough to wake me up but today, I was woken up by a sharp bite on my nose.
I groaned as I woke up, rubbing my throbbing nose as Sylvie went back to sleep after doing her job. Sylvie seemed to be a lot more active at night as she took frequent naps throughout the day.
After washing up, I watched Elijah, still breathing loudly in his sleep while I had to wake up this early. We couldn’t have that now, could we?
“Good morning!” I slapped my sleeping roommate on his behind.
“Ah! What? Huh?! What’s going on?” Apparently, the sudden impact made him panic, because he got into a defensive position with his right hand straight out, ready to fire at his attacker.
“Nothing! Just saying good morning.” I shrugged, strapping on the knife to my disciplinary committee uniform.
“Ugh… I have another two hours before class starts. You woke me up just to say good morning?” Elijah groaned as he wrapped himself with his blanket into a makeshift cocoon.
“Yup! I’m off to my first disciplinary committee meeting!” I took one last look to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything when Elijah popped his head out from underneath his blanket.
“Did something good happen? You’re a little bit too happy. It’s unsettling.” Whether it was because he was studying me or just trying to focus his vision on me since he wasn’t wearing his glasses, Elijah squinted his slightly puffy eyes.
“You’re just imagining things, Elijah,” I said with a light chuckle, quickly lacing my boots before heading towards the door.
“Suspicious…” he mumbled before succumbing to his body’s demands to go back to sleep.
Making sure no one was around, I jumped off the building and used wind augmentation to cushion my landing. Sylvie just floated down, which looked really silly to me with her oversized ears flopping against the wind.
Landing on top of my head with a soft plop, I took some time to test my body out with some stretches. I couldn’t say I was in great condition, but the improvement since yesterday made me nod in satisfaction. It was times like these that I really felt the effects of going through the assimilation of Sylvia’s dragon will.
Which reminded me…I’d have to help Tess with her assimilation. How was I supposed to act around her anyways? I couldn’t believe I kissed her yesterday.
Thinking back, I realized that even in my past life, I’d never gone past the point of kissing and it was always the other party that initiated. I’d never had an interest in falling in love. Rather, I feared love. I even avoided the aspect of unattached sexual relationships because I feared that the start of a physical relationship could lead to emotional attachments. I secluded myself in training aside from public appearances and fights, making sure I didn’t have anyone I held in importance, anyone that could be used as a tool against me.
What I’d learned most from this world wasn’t the magic or the fighting. No, what I’d realized was that this life has forced me to open up my calloused heart and allow people to hold significance to me. What this also meant was that I had to be stronger than my past self since I had people to protect this time.
Lost in my thoughts, I almost passed by the Disciplinary Committee Room. The DC had access to one of the bigger rooms in the academy so that it could double as a training room as well. I was a bit late since I woke up a little later than expected but it wasn’t too loud so I hoped I wasn’t the last one there.
As I opened the door, Curtis flew and crashed into the wall next to me with a thud!
“Still too weak!” I saw Theodore Maxwell’s disappointed face, his right fist raised.
“Ah, Arthur! You’re here!” Claire Bladeheart, who was spectating the duel from the side, waved her hands.
“Ugh… I can’t believe I still can’t land even a single hit on you, Theodore. Oh, hey Arthur.” Curtis turned his head towards me while rubbing his back.
“Do you need help?” I put my hand out while Sylvie wagged her tail but Curtis just shook his head.
“No, I’m okay. Besides, the duel isn’t over yet.” Curtis grimaced as he got back to his feet and picked up his sword.
Taking a seat next Claire on one of the couches, I watched as the duel between Curtis and Theodore resumed.
“HAH!” Curtis charged forward after augmenting his sword in a blazing fire but just as he was about to get into Theodore’s range, Curtis sidestepped instantly, leaving a charred footstep behind before appearing to Theodore’s right.
Theodore’s reaction was almost immediate as he lifted his brawny right arm at an uncanny speed.
“Fall!” Curtis’ assault failed as he crumbled to his knees, his sword landing heavily on the ground in front of Theodore.
Theodore had a smirk on his face but it soon turned serious as he realized Curtis’ plan.
“Explode!” Curtis shouted in a strained voice.
The sword that wasn’t burning but glowing a dim red shined brighter until flames exploded in all directions.
Claire focused on the smoke, assuming both the sword and Theodore was covered inside, but I tapped her shoulder and gestured for her to look up.
Theodore was in the air with his arms a bit burned and steaming but otherwise unharmed. Using gravity magic on himself, Theodore slowly floated down as he concentrated on his next spell.
Curtis was back to his feet with his sword in hand, already preparing another spell. I noticed Grawder restlessly swinging his tail from the other side of the room.
“All right! I think it’s time to stop!” Claire stood up and clapped her hand but it didn’t seem like either one of them heard her even speak. She sighed exasperatedly. “Kai, care to help me?” Claire glanced back at the narrow-eyed, smiling man.
“Got it, Boss.” Kai’s sleeves covered his arms so I didn’t know what he had hidden but with a swing of his arms, thin metal strings shot out towards Theodore and Curtis, forming a makeshift metal fence between them.
Even after augmenting my eyes, I couldn’t make out any specific elemental attribute in his skill, making me wonder exactly what he could do.
Both Curtis and Theodore stopped their spells and turned their heads towards Kai in confusion.
“Boss’ orders. Let’s stop the duel now, shall we gentlemen?” Kai’s smiling face remained unchanged as he retracted the numerous strings back into his sleeves.
“What did Kai do just there?” I asked Claire who was shaking her head at Curtis and Theodore.
“No one really knows. He keeps it a secret and from what I can tell, there isn’t any specific elemental attribute in his mana whenever he uses his skills,” she responded while shrugging.
“Have you taken an interest in me, Arthur?” Kai came behind me, leaning his head forward past my shoulder so his smiling face was right next to mine.
“Hardly. Just a bit curious as to what you just did there. It didn’t seem like you were manipulating metal, or using sound to control the metal strings,” I responded while pushing his face away from mine.
“So cold. I’d tell you but unfortunately, if I did, I’d have to kill you,” he replied nonchalantly, making me lift a brow.
“Oh? Is that a threat?” I challenged.
Noticing that the conversation was taking a turn for the worse, Claire butted in.
“Looks like we’re still missing quite a few people! Feyrith, Kathyln and Doradrea still aren’t here—ah, there they are!” she said as she pushed the both of us towards the door.
Feyrith was having a little quarrel with Doradrea about something while Kathyln came in behind them. I raised my hand to wave at Kathyln but as soon as our eyes made contact, she immediately turned her head away before walking off in another direction.
“Ah Arthur, my rival! Have you healed? I believe we still need to duel but I think it would be better to hold that off until after I finish working on a spell I’ve been practicing! It’s not because I’m scared to lose to you or anything. Just giving you more time to recover.” Feyrith came up beside me, putting his arm on my shoulder as he let out a hearty laugh.
“Now that everyone is here, I’d like you all to come sit down so we can start the meeting.” Claire ushered us towards the round table on the second floor.
The room consisted of two levels. The lower level was just a wide area with all sorts of equipment and also an arena for practice matches. To the side next to the equipment, a flight of stairs led to a second floor balcony that overlooked the lower level. The second floor was furnished with a chalkboard, some cabinets, and a big, oval table with exactly eight seats.
Claire sat at the very end of the table with the chalkboard behind her while Kai and Theodore sat to her right and left. I didn’t really know if there was an assigned seating arrangement so I remained standing, waiting for everyone else to sit down first. On Kai’s side sat Curtis and Feyrith while on Theodore’s side sat Doradrea and Kathyln. The only seat available was directly opposite of Claire’s seat so I just settled there and waited for the meeting to commence, my drowsiness from being up so early slowly overtaking my body.
I glanced over at Sylvie who hopped off my head and began playing with Grawder until our leader began talking.
“This is the first meeting with everyone present, as well as the first day we will actively start duty,” Claire announced in a serious voice.
“Although this is the first year this committee has existed, I’ve been working with Director Goodsky and our student council president on how we should efficiently structure and run the disciplinary committee in order to create an environment that will not tolerate bullying, dissented duels, as well as intruders. For that, we decided to split the disciplinary committee into two teams. These two teams are separated by underclassmen and upperclassmen. The upperclassmen—Theodore, Curtis, Kai and myself—will split into pairs and watch over the campus in the morning since we don’t have classes. The underclassmen—Kathyln, Feyrith, Doradrea and Arthur—will also split into two teams and go around campus in the afternoon while the upperclassmen have classes.” Claire began writing all of our names on the board, divided into the teams she had already decided on.
Before I had the chance to raise my hand, Claire already knew what I was about to say and interjected.
“Since Arthur is taking both upper division and lower division classes, he will be waived from that duty. However, he is to be on standby at all times in case backup is needed. Also, I’ve gotten permission from Director Goodsky to allow you to be 10 minutes late to classes, so just take your time between classes and be on the lookout for any trouble.” She smiled in satisfaction as I put my arm back down.
“That being said, I’ve already discussed the matter of who will be scouting the campus alone between the underclassmen and Kathyln has volunteered to take on this task. Kathyln, remember that even though the upperclassmen are in class, we will still help you. You are a part of the disciplinary committee so if you’re caught in a situation where you’re not confident in being able to handle it yourself, call for help.” She turned her gaze to Kathyln while saying this. The princess simply nodded while Curtis wore a slight look of concern on his face.
Feyrith raised his hand. “How are we going to communicate with each other?” Feyrith raised his hand
“We haven’t told you guys yet but if you imagine any of the members in the disciplinary committee while placing your hand on the insignia on the sheath of your knife, the recipient’s knife will emit a bright light and a soft shock, notifying them who is in trouble. Each of the members’ knives has a distinct color so remember them well.” While Claire announced this, she began writing the different colors our DC knives would glow.
Claire – Pink
Kai – Silver
Theodore – Yellow
Feyrith – Green
Doradrea – Dark Red
Curtis – Red
Kathyln – Blue
Arthur – Black
I wondered how a black light would look. Everyone else’s colors were pretty self-explanatory and corresponded with their elements for the most part. It seemed like Feyrith got the green color because he was an elf.
“The last matter of business is surveillance at night. I know that this might be a bit too much for one person so we’ll be taking turns in pairs with this task.” Our leader looked around in case there were any disagreements.
“Can I volunteer to take over my sister’s shift as well? Call me overprotective but I’m not comfortable knowing Kathyln might be in danger while I’m fast asleep.” Curtis spoke up while scratching his head but looked at me specifically.
“Are you sure you can handle that, Curtis? It’s going to be tough doing two people’s shifts at night,” Claire asked.
I looked over at Kathyln, noticing that she wanted to interject but she kept her thoughts to herself.
“Kathyln is my partner for night duties, right? I can do it by myself,” I spoke up, knowing the real reason Curtis wanted to take over his shift. I could sort of understand from his perspective, being an older brother myself.
“You don’t have to…” Kathyln spoke as she stood up but I could tell she was conflicted and couldn’t find the words to say after.
“Hmm… well, since Kathyln is scouting by herself during the afternoon, I think this would be fair. Okay, I’ll allow it, but Arthur, Kathyln, I can already tell you two are the type to try and handle things on your own. However, I’m ordering you both as the leader to call for help immediately as soon as you think you need it.” She leaned forward on the table, stating her conditions in a firm voice.
“Got it,” I promised as Kathyln nodded.
“Okay, since all of the technical matters are settled, you guys are free to leave or stay here and practice until classes start. The room will always be open for DC members so think of this as a second house! I’ve already camped here for a couple of nights, haha!” Claire scratched the back of her head in embarrassment.
I let out a deep breath in relief. Looks like I could have a little less than an hour of sleep before my first class started. There were a couple of couches that looked perfect for a power nap on the lower floor.
Curtis gave me a meaningful pat on my back before he headed down but as I followed behind him, I felt a tugging on the waist of my pants from behind.
“Let’s spar for a bit, pretty boy! I’ve sparred with everyone else here but you.” Doradrea shot me an excited grin as she dragged me from behind onto the designated sparring arena.
“I’m still not fully healed, Doradrea. I don’t think this is the best idea,” I groaned as I was dragged helplessly.
“Stop being a baby! The best way to get rid of that soreness is to move around, don’t you know?” She let me go and walked over to the other side of the arena.
Claire walked towards us, giving me an apologetic look. She was about to stop the spar when Theodore walked past her and approached Doradrea as she was stretching.
“Move it,” he growled.
“Aww… no fair.” Doradrea grumbled as she slumped her shoulders, disappointed.
Great. A muscular male replaces my muscular female opponent.
Claire just sighed in defeat. “All right but Arthur is injured so this will only go on for a minute. Let me activate the barrier this time so we don’t have any more cracked walls.”
Sylvie, who was riding on top of Grawder, asked if I’d be okay so I just nodded in response.
I may be injured but I was excited since I’d wanted to duel against Theodore as well. I figured fighting against deviants might help me learn a thing or two from them.
“Anything you want to say before we start?” Theodore asked while he cracked his neck.
“Sure. Can I call you Theo if I win? It’s only fair for me to give you a nickname since you already gave me one, right?” I shot him a smirk while I stretched my still aching body.
I could literally see veins popping on his head, as everyone’s face twisted into a horrified expression.
“You sure are full of yourself, twerp. Fine, but if I win, you’re going to be my little minion for the rest of your school life.” He had a confident smile on his face as the rest of the DC members all got situated around the arena.
“Remember, this duel will last one minute or until someone lands the first hit. That’s final!” Claire barked as she unsheathed her sword and stabbed it in the ground.
The both of us nodded in consent before Claire signaled for the duel to begin.
Theodore immediately took off, charging at me like a frenzied bull. I augmented my body using wind attribute mana to skirt around the arena, keeping my distance. Theodore’s gravity magic wasn’t something to take lightly since his powers had simultaneous offensive and defensive powers.
While it usually took a bit longer to use earth magic while using wind magic, I was able to muster up shards of earth the size of my leg in time to kick them at Theodore. I shot out the shards of earth at different lengths to gauge how far he was able to use his gravity manipulation.
Theodore didn’t really get what I was doing as he kept charging at me, growing more and more frustrated from me running away and kicking rocks at him.
“Do you think I’ll let you keep running around?” he roared as the rocks that I kicked towards him all started floating.
Theodore thrust himself toward me during the short span that he decreased the gravity around him, increasing his speed tremendously.
Holding in a smile, I put my plan into play. Manipulating the earth around me one last time, I launched a boulder the size of my body as I jumped away from my opponent.
With the area of decreased gravity surrounding him, Theodore was able to easily smack the boulder over him, but during the brief moment where his vision was blocked by the rock, I dashed toward him.
Enveloping wind to condense below my feet, I shot toward him at a speed that caught Theodore by surprise.
Using the technique that I had thought up by drawing inspiration from the flicker step technique, I accelerated toward him with the help of the strong gale behind me.
Theodore’s initial expression of surprise turned into a cocky grin as he clenched his fist.
“Fall,” he snarled. The sudden change in gravity knocked the wind out of me as I had to fight to keep my body from slamming into the ground.
With a victorious grin on his wild, unshaven face, he took one last step to get in range for the final blow when I shot him a smirk and pointed upwards with my finger in response.
The boulder that Theodore knocked up fell directly on top of him from the abrupt change in gravity. The weight of the rock from the increased gravity flattened Theodore flat on his stomach in an almost comical position.
Claire got in between the two of us as she made sure Theodore, who already regained consciousness, was okay. By that time, Theodore had already shoved the rock off of him as he silently dusted his uniform. He would probably get a nasty bruise on his back but his mana-enhanced body allowed him to avoid any serious injury—the rock wasn’t too big after all.
“Good duel, Theo.” I walked up to him and patted my opponent on the shoulder before bouncing out of the room with Sylvie trotting behind me.
Let’s go find a bench to take a nap on, I sent to Sylvie.