Fighting God Chapter 6: Deceived
It had only been a few hours since Aldred and the group of children were accepted by Nightingale Institute of Combat Magic. The children had followed the school representative a few kilometers north of Sola City. Since it was getting dark, the group decided to set up camp. Currently, the group of children were huddled next to a large campfire. The school representative left saying he was going out to hunt for some food and will be back shortly.
Aldred looked around and judging from the surroundings and his limited knowledge of geography, he assumed that they were somewhere in the Shimmering Savannah – a place where many silver glowbugs became active at night…giving the place a shimmering feel. He looked towards his would-be classmates and observed each one of them. Most of them were short and skinny save a few stronger looking kids. Overall, it seems the majority only applied to the school after being rejected elsewhere and saw the sign as their only ray of hope. Well, what can he do? Can’t complain since he too was drawn in by the sign. Suddenly, a stir caught his attention. Aldred looked up to see a small skinny boy with brown eyes and silver curls stand up.
“Hi, my name is Kory Silverbrush. What’s your names?” The boy greeted.
There were some murmurs, but nobody answered. They all just stared at the boy, causing him to fidget with awkwardness.
“Come on guys, the least you can do is answer. It took me a lot of courage just to introduce myself. We’re gonna be classmates soon. Might as well get acquainted now than later, am I right?”
A few yes and a few stares but at least answers were given. There were two Jennys, a Kris, a Manny, an Audrey, and a Luke. There were five others who didn’t introduce themselves…including Aldred. Kory looked at them expectantly, hoping someone would break the silence. Luckily, Aldred gave in to his pleading looks. “I’m Aldred Blackehearth. Don’t think those four will be saying anything. So anyone of you ever heard of this Nightingale Institute?”
“Not really, but they say it’s a 3rd rank school.” Luke replied.
“Yea, I don’t think any of us had ever heard of this school. I only joined because I saw the sign haha.” The blond hair Jenny laughed in a cute way with her tongue sticking out. She had a tomboy kind of personality and an easygoing attitude.
“So no one knows about this school…doesn’t this strike you as suspicious? I hope we’re not falling for a trap or a kidnapping.” Aldred mused.
“I don’t think so…after all recruiters have to go through heavy scanning in order for them to be able to enter the city. So it is a guarantee that this school is legitimate.” Kory assured.
“Is that so?…Okay. I guess there isn’t anything to worry about. I was probably just too paranoid or something haha.” Aldred chuckled as he scratched his head. Everyone else laughed a bit as well at his self-deprecation.
“So, what are your thoughts about the combat part of our studies?” Kris asked.
“I don’t know, I’m not really good at fighting. I only joined because Jenny was going to be here.” Audrey replied as she nodded towards the blond haired girl.
“I’m actually interested.” Aldred chipped in, “I aim to be a strong warrior like my dad.”
“Wow really? You must be strong.” The green haired Jenny exclaimed as she grabbed onto Aldred’s arm, “Wow, I can feel your muscles. Can you fight?”
“I..uh…I trained with a sword and shield for half a year.” Aldred blushed as the cute girl started feeling his arms.
Luckily, Luke saved him from further embarrassment by pulling him aside. “Big Bro! No, Master! Teach me the ways to be strong.”
“Shucks Luke, you’re embarrassing Aldred.” Manny retorted.
“Haha.” The group all shared a laugh. At this moment, the representative arrived back from his hunt. He was followed by two burly looking men. One of the men looked to be in his mid-forties and had a Leviathan tattoo coiled around his right arm. The other guy had a shaved head with a big pulsating scar traveling from the middle of his forehead down diagonally through his right eye and ending at his right ear. They were carrying two deer and a few rabbits as well as some vegetables.
“Senior Brother, who are they?” Kory asked as the others stared at the newcomers cautiously.
“Oh…uh, they’re your fellow Senior Brothers. The tattooed guy is Senior Brother Gano and the shaved head is Senior Brother Nial. They’ve come to help escort us back to the school. See how strong looking they are? You guys will get to be as strong as them once you start learning.”
“Oooohh!” The boys of the group echoed. It is natural for boys to want to be strong and seeing the two powerful looking men standing in front of them, they couldn’t help but sigh with envy and anticipation…maybe one day they too will become like that.
“Anyways, we’ll start preparing and cooking. You guys go set the tables.” The senior brother replied as he and the other two men began dismantling the deer and rabbits.
After an hour, the tables are set, plates are out, and a big pot of deer stew as well as a few pots of stir-fry rabbits and vegetables laid in the center of a table. The senior brother motioned to the children, signaling them that it was time to eat. As Aldred and his newfound friends and classmates got up and prepared to line up for food, four swooshes could be heard from behind them. Four figures rushed past them and approached the serving pot first – it was the four kids who did not join them in their socializing.
Some of the children commented on how rude those four were, but they didn’t do anything and just lined up behind them. When the four got their food, they immediately wolfed them down. Before the others were served, one of them chirped about how tasteless the foods were. Embarrassed, the senior brother laughed it off. He reached into his belt and pulled out a small container. Looking at the curious kids, he told them it was salt. Then, he proceeded to dump a good amount into the pot of deer stew and some in the stir-fry.
“Alright, I’m sure this will taste much better. Here, have some.” The senior brother beamed as he continued serving the food.
When everyone received a portion, they began eating. Jokes were made, stories were told, idle chatter and light gossip filled the warm atmosphere. In fact, it was so peaceful that many of the children started feeling sleepy as if tired from an exciting day. Most of them dozed off, some even while eating. Kids…using too much energy to *yawn* get overly excited with even the *yawn* tiniest things…wow, even I’m *yawn*…feeling…sleepy…. Aldred’s inner alarm went off as he felt that this sudden lethargy was a bit strange. In fact, how come the four anti-social kids weren’t falling asleep? Don’t tell me…the food….
“Are they all asleep?” The senior brother asked one of the burly men – the tattooed guy Gano.
“Yes, why? You don’t trust the power of my drugs?” Gano smirked.
“No, no. I dare not. Well, anyways, here are the group of children. Should you be paying me now?” The crafty senior brother said as he rubbed his fingers.
“Haha, naturally we always pay. Us slavers don’t want to lose the trust of such a valued and frequent supplier.” Nial said as he threw a pouch towards the young man.
“You sure you should be revealing this secret to those four over there?” Gano asked as he nudged his head over to the four kids who sat their watching the interaction taking place.
“No worries, they knew what was going to happen when they first applied…and not to the Nightingale Institute. After all, Nightingale Institute of Combat Magic is only a paper school. Our real school is called the Toroh Academy of Demon Magic.”
“Haha. Devious as always. Well, it’s nice working with you. I’ll take my leave first.” Gano chuckled as he snapped his fingers.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, eight shadowy figures stepped into the clearing. They walked towards the sleeping children and picked them up. Then, they Gano and Nial as they departed from the camp.
“Alright you four. Go get some sleep. We have to arrive at the academy by nightfall of tomorrow.” The senior brother clapped as he ordered the four kids to bed. He looked at the pouch of gold coins in his hand and grinned.