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The door opened smoothly and silently. Inside the large and spacious room, was a desk.
The room seemed barren. It was not homey at all, only a few amount of furnishing.There was a black rug, with bright an inch of red sewed at the edges; vivid designs of fish eating fish were in the center of the rug; and there were two portraits on the wall, one of the emperor and the other of a duke from the east. And other than that, there was a leather seat with a male averati seated in it behind the desk.
This male averati was the headmaster of the primary school in Olato City.
“Ah. Its nice to finally meet you, fellow from the capital.”
Delias did not put on any airs. He clasped his hands and gave a slight bow. Nothing too subservient, indicating that the two of them were on equal footing, and yet not too arrogant to say he was of a higher station.
The headmaster did not seem bothered by it, nor was Undapa.
Delias was a bit surprised. He wanted to come off as not arrogant, but still someone who would be of high note. He figured that the person he impersonated was some random official from the capital, and should not have the status to go up against the headmaster who was obviously far stronger than that Talia person. And thinking of how easily he knocked the youth in the cloak out, and comparing that to Talia, Delias knew the youth definitely did not have the status in concern to strength. Was the guy born with high status. That should not be right. Then why would he be in Olato City? In any case, Delias figured the headmaster would frown at least. Maybe the averati do not care for such matters.
“It’s a pleasure to meet the headmaster. Though I have to say that your welcoming in the courtyard was a bit… unique.” Delias said. He was still a little angry at that Talia person, but he could not do anything to her as she was stronger than him, but if he showed his displeasure to the headmaster, who viewed him as a guest, it might make things harder on her. Yes, I am indeed wicked. Sue me. Delias smiled inwardly.
“Yes. Yes. Unique welcome indeed. If young brother here disliked it, I apologize on my staff’s behalf.”
The headmaster laughed. “Though you keep your hood up, I can hear the youth in your voice. No matter how you try to disguise it, for someone of my capabilities, finding out that you are young is easy. That… and I was told you would be young.” The headmaster laughed again.
“Yes well though it might seem a bit rude, I have my reasons as to why I must keep my face shrouded. Shall we get down to the matter at hand?”
“Yes. Yes. You have come to teach the students, right?”
“I have come to observe, yes. I will observe first. After that, whether I teach them anything will be after I decide on if it would be worth the trouble.” Delias was now making things up. He just mixed a few things from what he heard from the averati he knocked out as he mumbled.
Delias had already put on the air as either a mighty expert or someone of high position. He wanted to use that as best as he could. He had no wish to teach the kids anything as he doubted he knew anything other than a few common martial arts they taught him when he was in human school.
What he really wanted to do was observe the classes, and if there was a library, go snooping in there. He could learn a lot from that.
The headmaster laughed out again. “I am sure you will find my students extraordinary. Please have a look.”
“Before that, I want to settle things for my stay. I am sure you have prepared a place for me to stay the night?”
The headmaster’s face still had the same smile, but his eyes shifted from Delias to Undapa. “Yes. We have prepared a room for you, I am sure you would want to relax.”
Behind Delias, Undapa slipped out.
“I do, but I would put that off for later. I will observe now and rest up later.” From the way the headmaster’s eyes shifted, Delias figured that there was no room prepared for him. He did not want to catch the headmaster’s people completely unawares and then get a shabbily put together room, or come off as imposing.
Undapa slipped back in the room. Delias heard him, but did not take a look.
“But I was sure that you would be staying outside the campus. Was my information wrong?”
“Staying on campus may produce better results.” Delias did not want to admit to anything. For all he knew, the headmaster could have doubts to his identity, so he just made a statement that did not directly answer the question.
“So headmaster, shall we begin?”
“Yes. Yes. Begin. Undapa, please escort our guest teacher to class 104 to observe.” The headmaster said with a smile.
Delias said goodbye to the headmaster and walked out with Undapa.
When Delias was long gone, a shadow spread from the walls and a figure grew from the shadow. The figure was in all black with a sheathes sword in a black scabbard with a black hilt. The darkness dripped off him like he was just dipped in tar, and yet it dissipated as it dripped back into the shadow.
“What do you think,” asked the headmaster. The headmaster did not turn his head. He did not need to as he knew who was there.
“Tricky. My contacts in the capital said that this one is a fool, but his recent actions have proven to the contrary. Even though we were given somewhat of a description, as long as he keeps his hood up and cannot see his face, we cannot confirm who he is. If we enact the plan now, only to find out that he used a double, things would become problematic. Not to mention that he did not even struggle against Talia’s aura…
“Was that your plan. Talia, I mean.”
“I had not put Talia up to this. That was purely a coincidence. But the boy’s ability to go through the arrays are what startled me.The array I put down at the school gate was one thing, but the array that my senior brother in the south put up at the entrance to this courtyard is another.”
“It is not too startling. He must have a powerful talisman on him. That could also explain his resistance to Talia’s aura. I doubt he is was strong enough to do so on his own. The nation has all as well as given up on the eastern side.We are a hair’s breath from seceding from Barko. This boy can be the key for carrying it out.”
“Obtaining a high level talisman is a form of strength. Does he have a high level master? Was he hiding his abilities all along? If any of those two are true then this could be a problem. Or if he hired someone to be in his place, someone who can change his face to trick us is also on the table. If so, then maybe someone has noticed our movements. I doubt someone deemed a food would be able to…
“Maybe instead of alienating his family with this plan, we can bring them into the fold. Marry the boy to Talia.”
The figure in black laughed. “You want to marry your daughter to that boy? I doubt Talia is going to like that. Maybe the boy would want a frisky woman, but Talia would not want a good for nothing that is despised by his own family and by most of the populous in their City! They even sent him away to the capital. Instead of turning it around, in the entire year he has been there, he has done nothing with himself. It’s too shameful.”
“And in the end, if he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing? The boy’s home city, Linay City is only Second Class and yet has now become the pivotal point of what could be unity, peaceful secession, or civil war! We must make sure this ends up as less bloody as it can be”
The dark figure frowned. “Then what do you suggest?”
The headmaster smiled and his eyes narrowed. “After sundown, we will finish it!”
Undapa brought Delias out of the narrow courtyard into the general campus area. They entered one of the buildings and went up to the fourth floor. He brought Delias to a room door, but before he entered, Undapa brought his hand out in front of him
“You haven’t said your name.”
Deliance glanced at Undapa and brushed passed him. He opened the door and stalked in the room. Undapa followed. Delias never introduced himself because he did not know who the guy he knocked out was. A fatal part of his plan. He figured out even if the guy managed to wake up from the bushes, it would not be until the next day. By then, he would be gone.
The class was all sitting in their seats, their rapt attention was disturbed by Delias’s abrupt entrance.
Undapa came in moments later with a slight frown on his face.
“Miss Caralee, I am sorry to bother you, but we have a guest here who would be observing your class today. He will not be too much of a disturbance so please do not worry.
Delias sat himself down on an empty chair at the very back of the room. The children just stared at him.
“OK, children. Enough. Pay attention.”
Delias saw this Miss Caralee. Her hair was red with streaks of silver. She had brown tunic on with a furry silver-red belt. She wore tight black leggings under her tunic and she had a thick dark brown glove on her left hand.
Delias was smitten. Smitten from one glance. He had an urge to pull his hood down, put on a bright smile, and walk up to woo her. But he repressed the urge. She’s averati. You can never be.
Undapa had left and Miss Caralee began teaching again.
“So let’s go over the basics. What are the various levels of power?”
A child raised his hand.
“Yes.” The teacher said as she called upon the child.
“Though the world has many rankings of power, the more widely used early rankings deal with four stages. There are not many who have gone beyond those stages so I will not focus on that. For the first four stages, there are at least nine substages. Outside from a rare few, no one is born into the four stages. But they can cultivate their bodies or their minds and gather the essence of the world into their bodies. Once one is able to gather the essence and retain it, then they have reached the first stage as a martial novice. As the capacity the body has for the essence increases, the higher one’s level or reach within the stages will become.”
“That’s good.” Mis Caralee said and she tossed out a piece of candy. The boy caught it and popped it in his mouth with a smile.
Delias listened with interest. The teacher was beautiful, which was enough to cause him to go into a daze, but what they were teaching in the class, which might have been rudimentary in their world, was vital to Delias.
This was a school for cultivation! When he was young he was taught to fight. He was never in a program which put him on track for immortality. No he was a part of the mundane world.
But now that Delias was in a foreign land, and was now running into these powerful figures more often, he needed to know at least something about them. As for his condition, that had to wait until the night when he was able to sneak off to the library.
The class only had twenty minutes left when he had entered. So it was quickly over as the bell rang and the students switched to different classes pertaining to their schedule.
As the class was emptying, Delias got up. He walked up to Caralee. “Hello there.”
Miss Caralee was fixing some papers at her desk. She jumped as Delias spoke. She turned around and smiled taking a deep breath. “You scared me. I thought you left with the students.”
“No. No. I was really impressed with you, Caralee.”
Caralee laughed. “I’m sure you’re just saying that. I teach nothing but basics here. Nothing advanced.”
“But your delivery of it is. Maybe tonight we can talk further. Have a drink outside?” As soon as the words came out of Delias’s mouth he cursed himself. Idiot. Idiot! Idiot. You’re dirt bloke poor. You can’t even buy her water.
Caralee blushed. “Sir, I don’t even know your name… or your face by for that matter. It’s too soon. Furthermore, I have plans… with my boyfriend.”
Delias stiffened. “Ugh. Ehem. I apologize for my candor. I was so smitten by your beauty that it just burst out of me. Again I apologize.”
“It’s alright.” She said.
Whew. Though it’s regrettable that she has a boyfriend, I am glad that I don’t have to spend any money! Delias left the room. Undapa had appeared and was taking him to his room to settle down before the next class.
Undapa took Delias to past a section of buildings and to an open area. There were a few nice places near a lake and one of those places was a large one story house.
“This will be where you will be staying.” Undapa said.
Delias jaw dropped. It took everything in him to not drool right then and there. The place looked amazing. I am supposed to live here? I can live here forever! But Delias knew he could not stay there for long. The elder from Crawfield Academy will want his answer by late afternoon tomorrow. Delias did not doubt that a figure like that could sniff him out if he stayed within Olato City. So he had to leave the city early tomorrow. That meant he needed to obtain the necessary information by tonight! If he did not, he had to leave anyway
Forget that skunk. I will find everything out on my own and leave him behind. We were never friends or partners to begin with.
Delias went into the new place. The tiled floors, the brick steps in the nearby yard, the lake, the flowers, and the large wooden bed in his room, was all too amazing.
Delias jumped in his new bed. He was tired. And the soft sheets were way better than the hard cold ground. Undapa was supposed to come back and pick him up in a few minutes for the next class. But that was in a few minutes. Delias would take a nap.
He closed his eyes and fell asleep.