As the sun rose the next day, I watched my friends get into their respective coaches and I waved them goodbye. This marked the end of the first semester of school and I would need to pick my next set of elective classes. Thinking about this I stopped over at administration to get the schedule for new classes. Having leveled cooking and ranged combat: short bow to beginner, I felt that they were good enough for now.
I made advancements in Magical Augmentation but having seen William constrict his aura to just above his skin I knew I had a long way to go. I now knew that one could extend their aura outward, but it became thinner and the spells released would be weaker. The reverse of that of course is the closer to your body the stronger the spells but range is reduced. Touch and self-casting would be the extreme version of it. I could only reduce mine to five feet, twelve feet normally and twenty-four feet if I extended it. I was planning on taking the follow-up course for it.
My other classes ran all year long, so I only had to pick two new classes. I thought about my weaknesses and selected Magical Combat and Dance. While the guys were hyped-up about the dances that allowed you to attack better, there were also defensive type dances and one of those would be my pick. Deciding, I submitted my choices to the lone person manning the desk and headed out.
I wanted to pick my classes early since a few teachers had been fired for ignoring school rules. The excuse that a prince ordered them to ignore other students being harassed did not make a difference and they were let go to set an example. This also probably helped to appease and quiet the irate parents. Due to the slight decline of teachers, the number of classes offered for each subject were quite a bit less this semester.
I made my way over to the combat room. This was only my second time coming to this room. The first time was when it was explained to us. I was not surprised to see I was the only person here. Going to the black panels at the entrance, I placed my left hand on one and my student ID crystal on the other. A screen appeared to hover between them and looking over the options I selected “living” models and courtyard.
The onyx walls glowed and were slowly replaced with my options. The models were not really alive but gave off realistic feedback as if they were. Because my magic was Holy it only affected living things with the exception of a few. I needed this setting if I wanted my magic to work.
I opened the copy of the book I had saved on my ID crystal and looked at the spells. I had read and reread this Holy Magic book that specialized in combat magic multiple times and knew what I wanted to learn.
I began casting after selecting the spell I wanted. Shouting out “Holy Fire” at the end, and feeling stupid doing it, a small puff of smoke appeared next to one of my targets. That was it. I felt like I almost got it but that I was missing something. I tried a few more times and while my mana went down as if it was cast successfully, nothing happened other than tiny puffs of smoke.
Seeing I was not getting anywhere, I switched up my spell and selected ‘Tranquility’. This was a spell that would put a targeted person or creature into an immobile state until attacked. It was a lesser version of ‘Paralyze’ and ‘Stasis’ spells. I figured I would take a step back since the other spell failed.
I cast and shouted out the spell and one of the targets arms turned red indicating a partial success. My spirits lifted a little with that minor success and I cast over and over again until I was close to running out of mana. About ninety percent of the model would turn red with every cast by the time I stopped. Sadly, this was with zero resistance. I would come back tonight to try again. I wanted to master it so I could silently cast it. Mainly for the advantage but also because I did not want to appear like a silly middle schooler roleplaying in the backyard.
I could silently cast the spells I had gotten for free without practicing. When learning new spells I would need to gain a certain understanding before I could do that. It was monotonous work, but since it could save my life, I took the extra time to understand how to silently cast any spell I learned.
I turned and left after removing my crystal from the stand. The simulation dissolved as I walked out of the room. I made my way to the medical area of the school. I had been meeting Doctor Jake Stevenson every couple of days. He was that loony doctor with the stones that I met in the forest after we rescued the students. He turned out to be a nice old man that was just really focused on his version of healing.
Doctor Stevenson was actually a druid that specialized on runic carvings. He used rocks that he would first carve and then place in nature to absorb the essence that corresponded with the rune that had been placed upon it. He had posted on the job board requesting assistance. This allowed me to help out around the medical area and if I was not too busy, also charge up his healing rocks.
I learned a few things from him about the nature of magic. His perspective at least. His belief was there were particles that people could not see and that your body interacted with them. It sounded like molecules to me, but science was not my specialty and I was simply happy that it worked.
After the rescue, his once calm room was now filled with people. I walked around and pulled up the health windows of the people that were on the cots. The patients that displayed question marks were actually chained down. I knew from talking to the Doctor that he could not see these windows and had to rely on his stones to detect the corruption of their souls. I had learned that the less I could see the more corrupted they were.
I saw Bella’s sister strapped down and made my way over to her. I had been coming here mostly for her. My magic seemed to help fix their souls, but I could only do a little at a time so progress was slow. I could see her window now displayed more letters than question marks. I figured that in one or two more days she would be ok, at least health wise. We were lucky. Her soul might have been damaged but at least it was still there. The last stage was a blank health window indicating that their soul was destroyed or to put it bluntly, dead even if their bodies still moved about.
“How are you feeling today?” I made my voice soft. She had gone through hell and while I could fix her body, I could do nothing for her psyche. Bella had gone to beg her parents to not pull Victoria out of school and lock her up. I got the feeling that she would never see society again if she went back now. Having lost her “purity” they viewed her as damaged goods. The stupidity of that backward thinking frustrated me so I was more than happy to lend her as much support as I could.
She was not the worst one off in this mess, there were several girls that had ended up pregnant. The boys that had willingly used charm magic on them were all rounded up, questioned, and then executed. They used a couple of mages that specialized in truth detection to confirm and no amount of begging or bribery seemed to buy them a reprieve. Those that wished to watch could and by the end there were fifty less students in the school, counting the girls that had to go home.
“I am ok,” Victoria said in a gloom filled voice. It was better than yesterday’s response of ‘Fine’ and I took it as a victory. I began to just chitchat with her. Ok I just talked while she laid there but because I had no idea about how to help her I just rambled on about my day, what classes I picked and how my classes had gone so far. Basically, anything to fill the room with some noise. Bella just left reluctantly to go talk with her family.
I did not think it would do her any good to just lay here and think about all the horrible things that happened to her and her friends. I tried to get her to talk about it in the beginning because I vaguely remembered that it was supposed to help but either I remembered wrong or there were more steps to it than ‘Tell me what happened’.
I spent over an hour talking and healing those I could. All the while, wishing Bella was here to cheer Victoria up because I was not good at it. Saying my goodbyes and promising I would be back tomorrow, I left and headed toward the obstacle courses. I was planning on torturing myself until I got a few more skills that would help me stay alive and then hit the library to research more potions. I learned that while you got a few “free” choices upon leveling a crafting skill it did not cover even a fraction of what was out there. By researching and learning new techniques, I could add them to the list inside the interface.
I thought about which course to choose as I walked. Surprisingly there were a few students there. I was happy to see them. This campus was pretty big and being alone in it just made my horror movie filled mind come up with all kinds of perverse ways I would be stalked and killed.
I put on a friendly smile and headed over to the toughness course. The theory was that you could toughen yourself up by being pummeled by random things. There were levels of difficulty and each one would give you a skill if you managed to make it to the end. Sadly, from what I have heard, not all the skills were good ones. Things like ‘Lover of Pain’ and ‘Hit Me Again I Dare You’ would make you stronger as you took damage but did not reduce it. As far as I could tell it was how you completed the course and your inner motivation that triggered what you got. Other than that, there was no more information to be had.
When I got there a group of girls were cheering on their guys as they made their way through their respective courses. The guys would steal glances at the girls from time to time and I figured this run was to try and win the girls’ favor instead of getting a skill. Much to the girls dislike, one of the more muscled guys noticed me as I walked closer and instead of a quick glace he just stopped. What quickly followed was like a train wreck. As the log slammed into him, he went flying, bounced off the wall and got hit by some type of arm that literally came out of nowhere, which propelled him upward. He smacked into the ceiling so hard that a mini crater formed then he fell limply to the floor and rolled a couple of times until the safety features kicked in.
I, for my part, did my best not to notice the tall brunette that was glaring at me as if she wanted my head on a pike and moved on to one of the open courses. I did not move to help the guy because there was staff there to do it. They were not the best but they could patch him up and perhaps this lesson on being distracted will keep him alive if he ever goes into a dungeon or battlefield. Plus, I did not want to get into a fight with a girl. They are meaner than men and they tend to bite… probably. I was not going to risk it.
I set mine to the lowest setting and began my run. The course had swinging sandbags in the beginning. I was just going to dodge around them but then with a somewhat dejected look, they bounced me about like a Ping-Pong ball. I tried my best to roll with the hits and make my way forward. I was somewhat successful as I would gain two steps and only lose one. I was bruised all over by the time I made it to the other side. I touched the far wall and all the moving objects in the course stopped.
I ding sounded in my head and a notification screen popped up on my left reading:
* Skill Unlocked: Tough Enough – reduces blunt force damage by a 1/20th *
I smiled to myself and quickly cast a ‘Minor Healing’ on myself to rid myself of the bruises. I exited the course only to see the group of girls were now talking with the boys. The tall brunette still had an angry look on her face and once I came out, she shook off one of her friend’s hands and made her way toward me. ‘Well crap,’ I thought. This did not look good for me. I was out of magic having just used up what little I recovered and she was almost a foot taller than me. ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’
It did not take her a long time to get to me and I heard her friend calling, “Amy, stop! Don’t do this.” All the while trying to stop her physically. Not that she succeeded but at least she tried. The guys just watched the show that was unfolding. Seriously? When I was looking in their direction it must have raised her anger because I felt the slap before I saw it coming. “Stay away from my man you hussy!” followed that slap. I felt like there should be question marks above my head. Thousands of questions filled my brain like ‘Who was her guy?’, ‘Why did she think I was interested in him?’, ‘Is a slap considered blunt force?’ and ‘Should I smack her back?’ It was to the point I just stared dumbly at her for a second until my brain caught up with what was going on around me. I was expecting more pain.
She tried slapping me again, but my delicate looking hand clasped her wrist and held it in place. I was in no mood for this crap. “Look here, Amy is it? I have no interest in your Boyfriend nor do I even know who he is. That said if you attack me again, I am going to beat you into the ground.” I shoved her toward her friends that had followed her.
She stumbled and almost fell but was caught by one of the guys. Her face was cherry red at this point and she stammered, “You, You, you … BITCH! How dare you act innocent after you crippled him once he rejected you. I challenge you to a duel.”
Her whole rant confused the hell out of me. I knew there was a dueling area, but I honestly had never thought of stepping into it. ‘What are the rules and can I just refuse?’ was what came to mind. Also, I never crippled anybody much less made advances on anybody. But more importantly, this was completely throwing off my schedule.
I must have looked confused because the girl that tried to stop her chimed in, “You have to duel but because she is the challenger, you get to pick the time if it is reasonable. She then gets to place her condition and then you can place a condition of similar value. It is more about honor and prestige than money but people have asked for money before, so it is not unheard of.”
After I tried to explain myself for over five minutes I finally gave up. She just was not listening and being yelled at was seriously starting to aggravate me. “Fine three days from now at noon,” I wanted to say three years from now just because I thought of this as a waste of time and a distraction from my goals. I tried to put a positive spin on it but failed. I wondered what her problem was briefly than decided I did not care.
“Ok, my condition is that you have to leave this school. I do not want to see you ever again.” She smiled at the end of her demand.
“I will take a hundred gold as a counter to that,” was my follow up. Say what you will but honor and prestige will not fill my stomach. The look on all their faces was worth it as well. Shock and distain was apparent but also I saw her look apprehensive. I figured that she was not high nobility and was either a merchant’s daughter or some lesser noble. Either way a hundred gold was probably going to break her if I won. If I lost, well there are always other schools. They just are not as good. After a while and still not hearing any reply I asked, “Agreed?”
“Fine!” She appeared flustered when she agreed. I was kind of hoping she would back down. A hundred gold is a lot of money after all so the threat of losing it should have been a deterrent.
I left them there. That whole encounter seemed strange and forced to me. Why would I of all people be challenged? I kept to myself or at most a small group of people. Who was acting against me or was it really just a random crazy girl causing trouble? I made my way to the next course I wanted; ‘Range Shooting – Speed’ but even after an hour I failed to make progress. I could not focus and cursed myself for letting myself get distracted by this nonsense.
Well, I had three days to make a plan and get stronger and with that in mind I headed to the library. I needed to stay focused.
The room was wrecked. A delicate crystal laid at the center of the mess while a tall brunette stood next to it. Her face was livid with unconcealed wrath. “Tell your Madam that she knows. SHE FUCKING KNOWS! How can she know about us acting against her? She even knew about the exact amount of money you gave me to bribe the caretakers and yet she calmly accepted the challenge. The first plan failed because she did not leave the school. Now I have to risk getting caught by the school! No matter! I will avenge my betrothed for what she did to him after she failed to seduce him. I will make her pay but I am going to need my future mother-in-law’s help. I do not know how to win or even hurt her if she is prepared for it. I am no combatant.”
“I will report it and let you know. You should relax I am sure my Madam will figure out a way for you to win and remove the school’s protection so we can repay her.” A relaxed feminine voice came out of the clear crystal that sat on the floor.
“Fine, we have three days. Tell Madam Prescott that I will do my best but will need help.” Amy’s voice still held anger.
*** Updated Character Sheet ***
Profession – Angel of Mercy
Experience – 312 of 1500
Stats: Points unspent = 2
Health: 115 (Recovery 1 Per Day)
Mana: 730 (Recovery 1 Per Minute)
Dodge Skill: Beginner 65 / 500
Mace: Beginner 114 / 200
Pain Resistance Skill 95 / 200
Short Bow: Beginner 22 / 200
Sneaking Skill: Beginner 3 / 500
Camouflage Skill 10 / 200
Endurance Skill 160 / 200
Cooking: Beginner – 115 / 1000
First aid: Beginner 86 / 200
Alchemy: Journeyman 63 / 700
Herbalism: Journeyman 19 / 700
Enchanting: Talented 6 / 100,000
Cleaning – 28 / 100
Tailoring – 68 / 250
Embroidery – 27 / 250
Poetry – 5 / 150
Painting – 3 / 400
Knitting – 10 / 150
Aura Augmentation: spells increase or decrease in potency depending on size and understanding
Death is a Friend of Mine: The ability to pull somebody back from death itself
Multi-Cast – requirements not met
Power Amplification x3,
Small Target: Increased cover protection from projectiles
Tough Enough: reduces blunt force damage by a 1/20th
Angels gain following skills
Demonic Counter - Heal spells do damage to demons equal to healing value
Flight – Medium level flight
Holy Aura – A 12-foot aura that reduces pain and adds boost to all healing spells
Speak No Lie – People with angel blood are unable to tell lies
Pacifistic Blow – any attack against others will always fall short of killing them (monsters and demons excluded)
Vision of Diagnosis Improved – Ability to detect ailments, health and abilities being used at a glance
Aid – (Cost 9) – Temporarily increase another’s health
Blasphemer’s Detriment: Learning
Blessings of the Goddess – (Cost 3 / Upkeep 1 per minute) – makes it harder for others to hit the target of this spell (strength increases with level)
Blinding Flash – (Cost 3) – a quick bright flash of your aura (works better in darker environments)
Bone Setter – (Cost 6) – Fixes broken bones and puts them back into place
Coat of Arms – (Cost 25 / Upkeep 1 per minute) – Strengthens the target with what they hold dear to the hearts (strength increases with level)
Golden armor – (Cost 8 / Upkeep 1 per 3 minutes) – a thin protective barrier that refreshes every three minutes
Lesser Detoxification – (Cost 7 / Upkeep 1 per 10 minutes) – Removes lesser poisons
Minor Heal – (Cost 11) – a healing spell that will heal large cuts, scrapes and bruises
Minor Healing light – (Cost 11) – Creates images that float around targets that release pulses of healing energy
Purify – (Cost 8) – A magical filter that removes impurities the cast believes are foreign to item or person
Rejuvenate – (Cost 5) – Removes fatigue
Sense Minor Evil – (Cost 12 / Upkeep 3 per hour) – map will display creatures that have done evil within the last week; area of affect seven meters
Slow Poison – (Cost 7 / Upkeep 1 per 10 minutes) – Greatly reduces the onset of poisons
Tranquility – (Cost 15) puts a targeted person or creature into an immobile state until attacked or 3 minutes
Lightning – 4%
Wind – 5%
Earth – 2%
Charm – 23%
Ice – 3%
Darkness – 7%
Water – 3%
Corrosive – 1%
Holy – See bloodline
Calmness – Aura will release a calming affect that eases the mind from stress and worries. Small chance of pacifying aggressive, less intelligent creatures.