It was a blue sky and not a single cloud could be seen. Delias felt sore. He took a few steps and felt like dropping. But he knew better than to stay there. If he really did fall asleep in a park next to a school, then sooner or later someone was bound to find him; and then someone was going to start asking questions. It was best to get up now while it was still early.
Rubbing the rheum from his eyes, Delias stretched and then walked to the border of the school grounds. He dashed into the bushes, peered through, and what he saw was a bunch of averati children dressed in uniform. The boys wore a simple dark blue changshan and the girls wore a red embroidered dark blue cheongsam.
Delias crept through the bushes until he found the children that were drilling. Over and over they were thrusting spears. “Ha. Ha. Ha.” and being as loud as they could. Swept dripped down their foreheads and the white tunics and pants they wore rippled in the passing wind.
Man. I feel like one of those perverts. Why do I have to sneak around in a bush?
Delias crept back through the park and went around somewhere near the main gate. He was trying to figure a way to get in whilst not seeming suspicious. Someone in his wear would alert anybody.
It was then that a man in a long blue cloak, with his hood up, came around the corner mumbling something.
“Ugh, I can’t believe I have been subjected to this rotten city to overlook these rotten children’s rotten teachers. They are all trash. Everyone of them. They are of the lowest of the low. How can such brats ever grow up to be some use to a Second Class City, much less be fit to succeed in the army. They are just better shaped cannon fodder for the war. Agh! ‘Northern countries are starting to move’ They said. ‘we need more good soldiers,’ they said. Bah. Can’t do anything with these easterners.”
As Delias listened, a smile spread across his face. He’ll do.
Delias rushed out of the bushes. The cloaked man turned around, but what he saw was just a huge dirty rock aiming right at his face. The cloaked figure tried to dodge, but before he could do much of anything…
Bam! Delias ruthless smashed the rock down, cracking the side of his head, and knocking him unconscious. Delias was not worried that the cloaked figure was a strong expert. After running into at least four to six experts, he thought that he could pick them out. Furthermore, he had the element of surprise. Even if the guy was well-trained, it’s hard to do anything when a rock is only inches in front of your face. Though I have to admit, for such a short time period, that guy did manage to almost avoid the attack.
Delias took the cloak off. What was underneath was a handsome youth with blood running down the side of his head.
Delias licked his lips. The handsome youth did not only have a good cloak, but a nice dark blue tunic and a good pair of pants. Delias pulled the youth into the bushes. He stripped him naked, leaving him with just some white briefs on. He then stripped himself of his clothes, threw the raggedy linens on top of the youth and put on his newly retained clothes.
Ah. That feels nice. Brushing the dust off his cuff, Delias sauntered out of the bushes.
A boy a few paces away, watching him leave the bushes, looked at him with an eyebrow cocked.
Delias cocked his eyebrow in response and smiled. He wrapped the cloak around himself, put the hood up, and went around and through the front entrance of the school building.
It was different walking through the gate and observing the surroundings like this than it was from a bush.
The park was connected through to the courtyard. A wall closed the courtyard except for at the bushes which divided the school from the park. Since the park was closed off too, the school was not worried about intruders. Last night Delias had hopped the short wall to get into the park. He had no idea that the park was a private one, nor did he care at the time. He just wanted to find a place that was not too dirty to fall asleep.
In the school courtyard, there were not just children there, but a few teachers as well. As the bell rang, everyone started rushing in to their perspective classes in their perspective buildings. It was a large campus and there were many buildings. Those that were drilling at the side before, had now stopped and headed in as well.
In a matter of minutes, Delias was standing in the middle of the courtyard alone. He was unsure of himself.
Where do I go now?
“Hey. Hey, you!” Someone called out.
Delias looked to the side to see a tall averati female. She had silky black, short hair, and two pearl-like piercings in her earlobes. The tips of her ears scaled back into three red spikes. Her eyes were of a shimmering red, and she wore a black robe.
“Who are you? And what are you doing here? How could you have gone through the gate without permission. There is an array laid down. I have not heard of any visitors coming by. Answer me!” She yelled, panting.
Delias gawked. How can I answer you when you don’t even give yourself a chance to breathe?.. Hmm. There was an array at the gate and I didn’t get hurt? Lucky! I got to be more careful next time, though.
Delias disguised his voice, though he was sure he would not run into anyone from this place again, and spoke,
“I have been sent here to observe. If you are even so lucky, I can teach a thing or two.” He responded. He wanted to come of haughty, like he was an esteemed guest.
The female averati’s face scrunched up. “Observe? I see perverts have their tricks. I don’t know how you passed by the headmaster’s array, but I will make sure I do the job in its stead.”
And at that moment the air warped and became dry. The averati’s robe whipped about, and even Delias’s cloak rippled back as the a mighty aura billowed out.
Delias was shocked. He had not had that feeling he did with the other experts he had seen. I was too presumptuous. Why am I always the one running into these strong freaks? Damn it! Am I going to die?
The warped air around the averati began to crack and red lighting sparked around her. It was if she created her own space, her own domain, tailored to her whim.
The pressure on Delias was excruciating. He felt like he was suffocating. It bombarded down on his shoulders, pushing him down, but even so, he refused for it to put him on his knees. The feeling reminded him of what happened back then, on that terrible battlefield. It reminded him of how he first got injured. The pain; the horror. It reminded him of the scene of when his friends and allies were ripped apart while he could do nothing.
And the voice of the man who went by his ear and spoke. “I want you to watch.” It reminded him of the smile on that man’s face.
“No!” He roared. His voice was quickly drowned out by the crackling lightning, but his tenacity, his hatred would not be suppressed. He would not falter here.
And then it was silent. The aura dissipated as quickly as it had been sent out. Those images, that past time was gone. Delias’s hood was still up, even though the aura pushed him back. He glared under the hood at the averati, but she was not looking his way, but elsewhere.
“What are you doing?!” A voice came from the side.
Delias did not shift his eyes from the averati female. A hatred built up inside of him; a hatred for making him relive that terrible moment; to relive a life he wanted to never of happened.
A tall male averati walked into view. He stood near the female and glared. “Why are you making such a fuss? The children are staring.” And he pointed up to the closer buildings.
It was then that Delias shifted his gaze and looked up. All around, from the stone brick buildings were students poking their tiny heads through windows and gawking.
“The capital has sent you, didn’t they? I’ve heard rumors about you. Only someone such as yourself could so easily bypass the array the headmaster laid down and not ring any alarms. Hmph. Follow me.” And the male walked off.
As he did, he voiced back, “And Talia, the headmaster would want to speak to you later.”
Delias hesitated for a moment before following after the male averati. On his way, he past the one named Talia.
Talia’s face was ugly in frustration. She did not think that the one she called pervert would have come from the capital, much less seamlessly withstood her aura. She reigned it in so that it could affect the intruder, but if she had let it loose, it alone would have caused many of the children to not even be able to breathe. Children who each have been given powerful talismans to protect them from such an aura in case there were kidnappers. This made her fidgety around Delias. She wondered just how strong he was.
Delias did not feel strong. His knees felt weak. He felt like he would drop, but in front of the woman whom he now severely disliked, he was not going to show weakness. He took slow steps. They soon became firm, but inside, Delias was shaken. The aura had left him queasy.
The male averati was in a grey robe. He had red hair and tattoos similar to the ones the skunk had painted on Delias. When Delias saw this, it made him a bit nervous. When the skunk had said he made him rare, he was expecting it to be that he was the only one that looked the way he did. Apparently that was not the case. If the grey-robed man saw his features and started asking questions that Delias knew he would not be able to answer, then his cover was definitely going to be blown.
Delias pulled his hood lower.
As they grew deeper into the campus, they came across another gate. The grey-robed man went in, and Delias followed. When Delias passed through the gate, the grey-robed man stopped and looked over. Shock was apparent on his face. He seemed to gulp, and then he said, “My name is Undapa. It is a pleasure to meet senior. He bowed with his hands clasped, and then lead Delias further in.
Delias was a bit confused on why the sudden change in attitude. Don’t tell me there was another, and much stronger array. Was this guy playing with my life? Damn him… but if so, then how am I getting past them so easily? Delias wondered, but he did not put much stock into figuring it out. So he put the thought in the back of his mind.
He grunted in reply to Undapa’s introduction. But Undapa did not seem to mind. If he thinks me strong, then I will act all mighty.
Past the gate, it was breathtaking. It was a much narrow courtyard. The buildings on either side had rows of large arches, opening up to show there was a hall, with doors at the other end, leading to rooms. Stone beige steps led up to each building. There were also steps that went down in the middle, leading to a long rectangular pond below. Different fish swam, their scales glimmering against the sunlight.
After the pond, the place opened up to an open grass field. A large stone tower, was there. A circular stone walkway cut through the grass and circled the stone tower, but never lead to it. The tower was nothing compared to the one at the center of Olato city, but it was taller than any building around. Though it was tall, it sat in a valley, so it there was a reason why Delias did not notice it from before, since the buildings blocked the view.
“The headmaster is not in there. He is in his side office.” Undapa lead up the stone steps and into the right side building. They walked down the hall, Delias watching the courtyard through the large arches as they passed by.
After a few minutes, the Undapa stopped by a door and knocked.
“Come in.” Someone called from behind the door. The voice was a bit muffled.
Undapa opened the door.