Damien and Sylph both ordered a hearty breakfast and sped through it in record time. The food did wonders for replenishing Damien’s strength, although he still felt slightly dizzy. He was so hungry that he ordered a second meal, this time eating it more slowly to savor the taste.
Once they’d finished eating, the two of them wandered around the campus for a few hours, pausing to buy some basic supplies in the general store. After that, the two returned to their room where they found two notes written on dirty brown paper waiting for them before their beds.
Unsurprisingly, they contained instructions to find Delph’s class, which was in the arena as it always tended to be. There was only a little over half an hour before the class started, so the two students wasted no time in making their way through the portals.
By the time Damien and Sylph got to the sandy arena floor, several of the other students from the class were already waiting for them. Mark and the Gray siblings sat in the sand, and Lucille stood a short distance away from them together with the other students whose names Damien couldn’t recall.
“Good job on the tournament,” Nolan told them as they arrived. “That was a clever strategy.Buying time for Sylph since you knew you couldn’t beat Mark yourself… ha. I’d rather have taken the quarterfinal win myself, but I think you earned it with that insane play of yours.”
“You damn near killed both yourself and Nolan,” Reena said crossly, pressing her lips together. “It was stupid. It’s a tournament, not a life and death battle.”
“That’s exactly why I did it,” Damien replied, shrugging. “There were incredibly powerful healers with us that were focused on making sure we didn’t kill ourselves or each other. They would have stopped the spell if they thought it was going to kill anyone. If this was a real fight, I never would have done something that dangerous. Not if I could have helped it, anyways.”
Reena grunted, but she didn’t look particularly convinced.
“Excuse Reena,” Nolan said. “She’s a little overly protective, and she’s not too happy I placed higher than she did.”
“Shut up,” Reena said, sulking. A smile cracked Nolan’s serious expression and he ruffled her hair.
“You’ve still got four years to outperform me, Reena. You’ll get more chances later.”
“That goes for all of us,” Mark said, cocking his head to the side like a wolf as he examined Sylph. His gaze flicked to Damien for a moment before a half smile appeared on his lips. “But I don’t think any of us can argue that Damien and Sylph didn’t earn their victory. They followed the rules and realized that there were ways to exploit them. Next time, we’ll be ready.”
“You’d best be,” Delph said, his voice emerging from the empty air before them.
A grey whirlwind bloomed in the air, expanding outwards and transforming into Delph within moments. The man’s lips were curled upwards and his eyes were more relaxed than Damien had ever seen them. “But you all did very well. It’s important to remember that all of you had different starting spots. The ranking battles are important, but there will be more in the future. For those of you that didn’t place as high as you’d like - you’ll have many more shots to claim your rightful spot.”
Everyone scrambled to their feet as Delph paced in a line before them.
“However, I must say that I’m incredibly pleased with everyone’s results. Everyone won at least one fight, and we claimed three out of the four top spots. On top of that, several students reached the quarterfinals as well. So… I believe a reward is in order.”
Everyone watched the professor eagerly. He chuckled and scratched at his beard. “But, before we get to that, there’s some information that the school has mandated I say.”
A few groans rose up. Delph waited until they passed before he started to speak again.
“First, you are now all eligible to go on quests. I will hand out a slip of paper at the end of class that classifies the difficulty of quest that you are allowed to take on. Your team may only take on quests at the lowest rank between the two of you. However, it is permitted to take on quests alone, if and only if they are more than two ranks lower than your current rank. So, if you’re given a B rank, you can take an E rank quest alone. I will say that this is heavily discouraged. Mages work in teams to compliment each others strength, and you are more powerful together than you are alone.”
“When can we do the quests?” Damien asked. “We’re all in school. If we leave to do a quest, it could take weeks. Won’t we miss a lot of information?”
“Good question,” Delph said. “There will be weeks throughout the year designated to either training or questing. You’re welcome to do whichever you prefer. Some quests are also short and close enough that you can get them finished over the weekends. Does that clear things up?”
“Good. Now, the next piece of information. As I’m sure you all expected, there are more classes than just combat. Blackmist teaches a multitude of things ranging from magic theory to rune drawing. You’ve all been placed in classes that I will inform you of shortly. They have been optimized to the talents you’ve shown so far in my class and during the ranking battles. And, that actually brings us to your reward.”
Delph looked around the eager students, a grin stretching across his lips. “I was assigned to teach all of your classes. Apparently, the school has a shortage of teachers. But, since you all put in such hard work, I called a few favors to get some other teachers to take over several of the subjects. That means I won’t have to see you little goblins constantly, and you’ll get to learn from someone other than me. Of course, we’ll still be having combat classes five times a week, but that was a given. Pretty good reward, eh?”
Nobody said anything, but Damien knew they were all thinking the same thing: that was a pretty good reward.