At dawn, we were ready in our gleaming white uniforms, waiting inside the main hall as the sun rose higher in the sky.
An hour later, Sir Liam, with a wide smile, came as he threw his hands out towards us in a sweeping gesture and said, “Today! Today is a good day for you students. Because from today, you get to study!”
Gulping back our words as we looked at his cheerful face that sent shivers down our spine in alarm, we nodded and followed behind him down a familiar path.
To the breakfast hall where we were greeted by fresh faced newbies who stood there unsure, and yet with determination in their eyes as they stood behind the chairs.
Chairs in which we seated ourselves with a sense of deja vu running strongly in our minds.
Running back to the events of the last four months, it felt unreal, and it felt even more unreal when we were served food that was actual, real, delicious food!
Biting into the first mouthful hesitantly, we were soon lost in the rapturous pleasure that the breakfast brought us.
Almost enough that we forgot that after breakfast; we would be studying the twisted topics that the Academy deemed necessary for us.
But one thing we didn’t forget?
That our conjectures had proven to be correct, and as I exchanged glances with Apollo and Sia… I knew that our plan was going to work.
But there was still an element of uncertainty to it, but that was for later.
Right now, it was only food and the occasional feelings of pity that erupted inside us for the new students that occupied us.
But mostly food.
An hour later, we were done, and filing out of the breakfast hall; we were greeted by Sir Liam who asked us to return to our clearing.
Confused, we looked at the man, who impatiently rolled his eyes and said, “Your community. Go on. I have students to torm-teach”
Eyes bulging, we looked at the man who was definitely saying ‘Torment’ as he whistled and went with a spring in his step into the breakfast hall again.
Mentally recalling our experiences, we knew that the newbies would be having the bugs right about now.
Or even worse.
Shuddering in sympathy for them; we quickly went to our community.
Only to stop in stupefaction, as we saw many crates stacked neatly against the entrance of our main hall.
Standing in front of the crates was a line of 6 men and women. None of whom we recognized, and that was why we were stupefied.
Till now, apart from Sir Liam and the people we had served in the beginning of the Academy term; we had not seen any other ‘teacher’, so to speak.
And now there were 6 of them in front of us.
Or at least we assumed they were teachers.
Hesitantly walking forward, Sia greeted the teachers, only to have one of the individuals on the left of the line testily say, “Didn’t they teach you any manners at all? Bow! Bow when you greet your teachers.”
Hastily, Sia sank into a bow and behind her, all of us bowed too to the teachers, who looked back impassively.
Continuing on, the individual on the left said, “We are assigned to you lot for the foreseeable future to teach you essential subjects.”
Nodding, he scanned each of us as he repeated, “Essential subjects indeed.”
Then, stepping forward, he pointed to himself and said, “I am your etiquette and oratory teacher. You do not need to know my name.”
The next person in line stepped forward, and she said, “I am your arts teacher. You do not need to know my name either.”
Like this, each of the 6 stepped forward and introduced themselves.
The next one was a portly lady who beamed at us as she said, “I am your teacher in charge of teaching you about the world. As the others said, you do not need to know my name.”
Then her expression hardened as she said, “But if you forget anything that I taught you, then you’re in for a world of pain.”
Nodding rapidly at her words as her aura bore down on us, we mentally wondered what in tarnation was ‘Teaching us about the world’ and why did it need such a fierce teacher?
Beside her, the fourth person, a man, strode forward as he touched his forehead and said, “Don’t mind her. She’s just a little passionate about her subject. As for me, I’ll be teaching you Herbology and Potioneering. Delicate subjects, those, and I wouldn’t have to punish you for not paying attention. Because you’ll be testing the potions you create on yourself.”
Nodding happily, he blinked innocently at us as our backs chilled and we made a mental note to pay attention to his class, whatever happens.
The fifth man, a big brutish looking specimen, walked forward and then with a refined voice said, “I will be teaching you the language of commerce and the stars.”
Nodding along, we stood utterly puzzled as to what he meant, but apparently he didn’t want to say anything because he stood there silently.
Then it was the turn of the final teacher, a slim, beautiful lady who smiled gently at us and said, “Beastology. Tame or kill. Or be killed.”
Wide eyed, we stared at her as she smiled at us even more gently.
Snorting impatiently, the first teacher, our etiquette and oratory teacher, strode toward the crates and, patting them, he said, “These are your textbooks. Damage even a single one of them, and I’ll have your hides to repair them.”
Then, turning back to us, he continued, “You will construct three buildings that will serve as classrooms in the next three days. You will also be tested up to chapter six of each of your textbooks on the fourth day.”
Looking around at us, he asked testily, “Any questions?”
Silence met his words until Sia raised her hand and asked, “Sir, will we have to address you as a teacher?”
Rolling his eyes, the etiquette teacher said, “No. Sir or Madam will suffice. Any other questions?”
Shaking our heads, we stood there before the six nodded and strode off, disappearing into the distance.
And we were left with our thoughts and the crates in front of us, along with looming deadlines.
With a look at each other, we rolled up our sleeves, and we got to work.
To meet those deadlines.