Himmel Empire. The Capital. Imperius Academy. Auxiliary Department Head’s Office.
“Hargh?! Why should I supervise that troublemaker Mychael as he teaches one student?! Isn’t that absurd?!” A crazed cry echoed through the building forcing the numerous staff members outside to close their ears in frustration. “Erudito, I’m swamped with work! I can’t just go around babysitting others!”
“I know, I know. But this is for the greater good! Imagine a world where Mychael can manage his own students well? Won’t there be fewer reports for you to access?” The bronzed-face man argued.
“Erudito… You better give me a good reason why I should listen to that ludicrous request, else I would shove your head up this bookshelf!”
“Okay, okay! Don’t say such jokes with a straight face! It’s scary!”
“I never meant it as a joke…”
Madam Warulee Leylesron was a Rank 66 Spirit King that was most possibly, the third most important figure in the academy after Principal Erudito and Vice-Principal Hirda. Being the head of an entire course, the bespectacled scholar had her hands in nearly every region of the campus. From designing curriculums to managing student affairs, there was no shortage of instances where Madam Warulee’s expertise was required.
“Recently, a student had broken through to Rank 19, and soon, he would be preparing to learn his third spiritual skill. Coincidentally, he wants to learn a Spiritual Body Enhancement ability, and Mychael is undoubtedly the best man for the job.”
“Hoho, was it that moron that advanced in the middle of the night?” Recalling the incident where the atmosphere changed a little due to Shin’s breakthrough, Madam Warulee cocked her head in annoyance. “Anyway, what does that have to do with me? I’m not responsible for anyone in the combat course. Furthermore, if he’s learning about Spiritual Body Enhancements, I’m the wrong person to ask!”
“Yeah, but I can’t trust Mychael to efficiently guide Shin through Rank 19!!! He needs to have an external supervisor to guide him as well!!!”
“And you picked me? Of all the members of the faculty?”
“Exactly! So would you do it?” Finally seeing a glimmer of hope, Principal Erudito hoped to convince the aged scholar.
“Shut it, Erudito. I have heaps of documents to read. Go find yourself a professional babysitter instead.” Ignoring her superior’s pleas, the bespectacled woman waved her hands and asked Principal Erudito to leave while returning back to the piles of papers on her desk.
‘Urgh, I really didn’t want to say this…’ Realising that it was impossible to convince the head of the auxiliary department now, Principal Erudito had to rely on the card that he didn’t want to pull. “What if I told you that he’s background his special?”
“We at Imperius Academy don’t care about our students’ status. No matter if they are a commoner or an aristocrat, we will treat them the same.” Madam Warulee replied while penning word on her daily ledger.
“I’m not talking about his status, but his talents. Our meritocratic system values the best students, and I’m certain that Shin would one day write his name in our history books! More so than Kanari!”
“… You have my attention.” Slapping her documents shut, the middle-aged woman adjusted her glasses and carefully observed the bronzed-face man in front of her. “Tell me how this boy would surpass Kanari, who is most possibly the most talented student that our academy has ever had.”
“Hah… First of all, like Kanari, he’s a freshman. However, unlike her, he wasn’t bathed in resources. Secondly, his comprehension ability is perhaps the best of anyone that I had ever seen. And…” Principal Erudito was about to tell the disturbing tale of him losing to Shin in a one-on-one battle but decided not to so that he could save a little of his image.
“What if I told you that he’s the youngest healer in history?”
“WHAT?!” Madam Warulee was a teacher that specialised in the healing arts. At Imperius Academy, there were many junior apprentices in the auxiliary course that were training hard to become healers. In fact, the majority of the students that were training to be healers could only learn ‘Heal’ after they left the academy. Yet, Shin had already mastered the healing arts even before he entered the school.
“He learnt ‘Heal’ when he was just thirteen. Furthermore, he had comprehended it in his own manner, making the ability unique to him.” Principal Erudito promptly explained. “He’s also a registered healer with the Healer’s Association and has the skills of an Intermediate Healer.”
“Then why the hell is he in the combat course?! If he joined the auxiliary course, the boy would undoubtedly become the valedictorian!!!” Madam Warulee was absolutely stunned, and rightfully so.
The healing path was arguably one of the hardest track that a Spirit User could tread on. Not only must the Spirit User have the right elements for the path, but their cultivations and comprehension ability also had to be top-notch. The majority of healers learnt the illustrious ‘Heal’ ability when they were entering the Spirit Adept realm, and only the most talented apprentices could learn it when they formed their Spirit Core. Lady Seph was one such example. Therefore, for a Spirit Apostle to learn ‘Heal’ was entirely unheard of.
“He has his reasons… My point is, the boy’s comprehension and cultivation talents are on par with Kanari’s, in fact, it may even surpass hers. If we develop him the right way, he would be an unstoppable force of nature! I’m sure that he would be able to become a Spirit Venerate or a Spirit Saint easily! But we need to help him build a good foundation when he’s still young!!!”
“…” A moment of silence descended upon the two as Madam Warulee started to fall deep into thought. “I understand. I’ll help him. But I want you to tell me everything! His history, his Spirit… Who taught him the healing arts? Why did he abandon the craft altogether, and finally… I want you to allow me to poach him to my course.”
Madam Warulee was no idiot. A talent like Shin would only come around once in a lifetime. If she could get the boy under her tutelage, she was sure that she could develop him into a major power that would be able to walk the continent unhindered.
“That’s not up for you to decide. Shin is adamant about staying on the path of the fighter.”
“I can be very convincing.”
‘Hmmm? If Warulee manages to bring Shin back to the healing path, wouldn’t Venerate Seraphim be thrilled?’ Principal Erudito hypothesised. If he was able to get into the good books of Lady Seph by bringing her disciple back to the path that he abandoned, wouldn’t it be beneficial for himself?
“Fine, you can try to persuade him, but don’t be too excessive. If he doesn’t want to join the auxiliary course, I don’t want you to force him.”
“Don’t worry, I always respect my student’s wishes! Now, spill everything that you know.”
“You do know that I’m still your superior right? What’s with that demanding tone?”
“Shut it! Quickly, tell me more about this youngest healer in history!!!”
“Fine…” Understanding that he had no power here, Principal Erudito sat the excited woman down and started to narrate everything that he knew. And yes, the fact that he lost to Shin in a challenge came out, giving Madam Warulee a good laugh and a reaffirmed will to bring the genius youth into her course.
A week after the upperclassmen demonstration matches, Shin had returned to his daily routine with the young teen doubling up on his cultivation. After he promoted, Mychael returned to his room once more to inform Shin that on the weekends, he would be receiving special classes with the tanned scoundrel all the way until he condensed his Spirit Core. Unfortunately, news of his advancement to Rank 19 somehow managed to spread, and soon the letters of challenge soon returned.
Initially, many people thought that Shin was just a lucky boy that managed to somehow reach Rank 18 before he entered the academy. However, now that he was only one step away from forming his Spirit Core, many people started to take him much more seriously. Even among the elites in the Star Class. Before, he was only bothered by Kanari and Shizen. Kanari wanted Shin’s talent as the youngest healer in history while Shizen disturbed Shin for the sole reason of wanting to drink the water he created. Funnily enough, since the two were the most antisocial boys in the entire class, they had formed a weird friendship, and during classes where they were together, the duo would always pair up.
Of course, now that Shin was now at Rank 19, the other elites started trying to figure out his existence. Suji and Danroy, who didn’t see the youth as much of a threat, started to pay attention to his every move. Although Shin’s martial arts skills were horrendous compared to their own, if the black-haired youth condensed his Spirit Core before year’s end, there was a good chance that he would retain his number two spot.
Navigating through all the troubles that he had, Shin somehow managed to make it to Saturday, where his first external lesson with Mychael would commence.
“Hoho, you’re already here?” In the hours before dawn, where the nocturnal creatures were still on the prowl, a young black-haired teen was already stretching and warming his body up.
“Of course. You told me to meet at six, but I know that you wouldn’t let me hear the end of it if I was even a second late. So I just came here early to stretch my muscles.” Shin explained.
“Well, you would need it… I’m going to drill you real hard unt-”
“Shut it, Mychael!” Before the tanned scoundrel could complete his sentence, an annoyed cry echoed from the other side of the hallway.
“Hmmm?” Turning his head, Shin noticed a middle-aged woman dressed in a pure white robe walking in his direction. Brushing her leathery fingers on the metal railings, the bespectacled lady wore a stern expression that would put even Face of Yama to shame.
“Waru… You’re really here.”
“Of course! I can’t have you mess up the boy’s training!” With an outraged cry, the middle-aged woman pulled the ear of Mychael and heavily chided him.
“Good morning, Madam Warulee.” Careful not to get on the wrong side of the strict course head, Shin gingerly greeted the woman.
“Good morning to you too, Shin Iofiel. I’ve heard of your talents from Principal Erudito, and I must say, I’m deeply impressed! To reach Rank 19 at such a tender age is really an incredible feat! Although I don’t like how Mychael is the one who is responsible for your class, I’ll do my best to reign him in. So you don’t have to worry.”
“Oh, but first things first, let me explain how the classes would go alright? Right now, we are in the faculty’s private training area. Typically, only staff members and authorised personnel are allowed into this facility, but since you are attending special lessons, an exception has been made for you.” Madam Warulee explained.
“Mychael would be in charge of teaching you, while I would be in charge of your welfare. The academy will provide a significant amount of resources so that you could advance into the Spirit Core realm with ease. Please keep in mind that this is a temporary thing. Once you condense your Spirit Core, we will not give you any of these resources anymore. Well, that is, unless you have gathered enough merit. After all, if we splurge this many resources on one student, the school would go bankrupt within a month.”
Bringing Shin to a nearby table, Madam Warulee started to introduce all of the benefits that Shin would be given. Rare food items that stored mana and boosted a Spirit Users strength. A weekly medicinal bath made with the best herbs that could improve one’s cultivation. A personalised cultivation chamber filled to the brim with water elements. Unlimited access to the restricted area of the library, which houses some of the most valuable manuals in the continent. And a plethora of other benefits was introduced to Shin, forcing the boy to drop his jaw in awe.
‘If I had all of these resources every day of the year, wouldn’t I already be a Spirit Immortal?!’ Shin joked in his mind. Imperius Academy was unquestionably the best educational institution in the Empire. With that many resources, it was no wonder that so many powerful individuals were an alumnus of this school.
“Could I ask something?”
“Please do.” With a gentle smile, Madam Warulee replied to the young boy.
“Does the valedictorian of each year have access to this many resources?”
“Haha, of course not! The valedictorian has much more resources given to them! That’s how a meritocratic system works! The best resources are reserved for the best individuals!” Madam Warulee rectified Shin’s misunderstanding.
“What?! The valedictorian gets much more?!”
“Of course! Otherwise, why is that seat so valued among all students?! Many things can be found in Imperius Academy that can’t be found elsewhere. So work hard child… If you want to reap the benefits of being a valedictorian, you must become the best in the cohort.”
“Thank you, Madam Warulee…” Taking her advice to heart, Shin fell deep into thought. ‘Looks like I really have to get the number one spot… That’s the only way that I could grow quickly!’