When Delias opened his eyes, it was almost dark. Damn it. Delias shot right up. He dashed to the window and peered out. Undapa was not there. He sighed. Must have waited for too long, leaving when I had not come out. At least he did not disturb me. Oh well, I won’t run into him tomorrow, so nothing to worry about.
Delias took a stroll around the house. He waited a half hour for the sun to disappear and night to fully take over. Night time was best for traveling when you wanted to go unnoticed.
Delias snuck out of the house through the back and circled around the normal walkways, keeping himself in the shadows. There were lampposts with fire crystals that lit the campus sidewalks at night. Delias did not wish to venture on those pathways as to keep his movements hidden. I won’t die if I am too careful. For all Delias knew, the headmaster could have had his staff keep an eye on him. He did not want any of his plans to go up in smoke. All it took was one failure, or one slip up and all his time would have been wasted. Tomorrow he was going to leave regardless. He had to. It was do or die at the moment.
Delias crept by the dorms. He ventured further in until he was by the class buildings. Some students were still on the walkways. Some have scheduled clean-up days so they stayed after classes to clear up, but the rest of those students actually lived on campus.
Delias saw a kid that he recognized from earlier, a child from Miss Caralee’s morning class. When child was alone, Delias came from the darkness. With the light hanging above his head, and his dark blue cloak and clothes shrouding most of his visage, he looked like a specter.
As soon as the kid saw him, he jumped, but did not scream.
Delias sighed with relief. He was aiming for that. If it were any other kid who did not recognize him from the morning and then saw such a person hop out in the middle of the night, their screams would wake the entire campus, may even the city. Ok. Maybe not the city.
“Uh. Mister?” The child stuttered out.
“You’re that kid from this morning?”
The kid nodded. Delias knew who the kid was, the one who spoke about the stages of power; but Delias had asked the child anyway so that he would feel a bit familiar, rekindling that memory that he was familiar with Undapa, a guest of the headmaster, and become a bit less wary.
“The library. Where is it?”
The child pointed north. “We share the library with the secondary students. Their campus is north of here, the library being in between the campuses.”
“A-about a ten minute walk.”
“Ok. Delias went into his cloak. He drew out a piece of candy. A child indeed. There were a few pieces of the stuff in a bowl at the house. Delias had stuffed as much as he could in his tunic. Don’t know when I might have a hankering on the road. He he he.
He threw the piece of candy, and the child caught it. The child smiled wryly, and Delias disappeared through the night.
Delias skirted around buildings in the dark for a while. It took him thirty minutes of what would take a ten minute walk, but he finally reached the library.
The library was a five-story building, and was a bit wide. There were lights on inside, and some students were coming in and out of the library, even at this time of night. Well it’s only about past six, maybe past seven. Delias did not see any primary students. The students looked between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Most of them were on the older side.
Delias was unsure of himself. Should I go in like this? with my hood on? I could disguise myself as a student. But my species is rare for an averati, I might be easily noticed as an outsider.
Delias shook his head. He would maintain his dark disguise. Whether the headmaster heard about his whereabouts or not, it would be after Delias had walked in and started snooping. By then it would be too late for the headmaster to bar or impede him without it being coming off as disrespectful.
What Delias was worried about was that the headmaster would have his staff come up with excuses as to whether he could be shown around certain areas of campus if he were to ask outright. The library being one.
But if he was already there, there was not much they could do. Furthermore by the time the headmaster realized what happened, Delias would have likely gotten his information. He did not want the headmaster, or anyone for that matter to know what he was researching into. It could bring about potential problems.
Delias climbed the steps. Some of the passing students jumped at the sight of him. Others skirted around as he climbed. He heard them whisper.
“Ah. It could be a pervert.”
“A hidden assassin? Why’s he so covered up. It’s not that cold.”
“Pervert. Pervert. Pervert!”
Delias chuckled. Damn kids. I’ll show you who’s a pervert! Delias was annoyed at their idiotic conclusions, but he reigned himself in. He opened the broad wooden doors. The doors were intricately carved, depicting demons and beasts. The handles were painted in gold, and as Delias pulled on them, opening up the library, what he saw was a large spacious area.
There was a large section of seats where a few students were seated here and there, reading or quietly conversing.
Tall racks and racks of shelves, filled with books, stood up on either side. At his immediate right, there was a counter. A female averati was behind it, with her reading glasses propped up, flipping through the contents of a book.
When Delias entered, more and more students began to whisper, which grew loud enough that it brought the attention of the averati behind the desk. She looked up, the glasses sliding down the bridge of her nose.
“May I help you?” The averati asked. She was a bit startled, but she inherently knew that no enemy of the school could ever so peacefully walk around. That person must be an esteemed guest of the school. I heard rumors that one was coming, but I had also heard that he was to visit the primary side first, let alone the library.
“I am here to look at books.”
“I got that. This is a library after all, but you need permission to have access. I can’t allow you to enter certain floors, even the first and most basic floor, without a degree of clearance.”
Delias said nothing. He just glared at the teacher from under his hood. Some students skirted around him as he was blocking half the entrance, and flashed a badge as they entered in. Some had different badges, and Delias recognized that those that did had immediately went to a different floor, either above, or down below.
“I need permission? Are you going to stop me if I don’t have it.” Delias said in the most scariest, grating voice he could muster.
The averati, and apparent librarian, just looked at Delias coolly. She did not flinch back or seemed flustered. “There are hidden arrays all around this building. Without a badge tailored to you, the arrays will go off, incinerating you from the inside out. My position is to mainly sit here and warn people like you who just want to barge in!”
Delias sneered. “An array? That can stop me?” But inwardly Delias was shaken. I have gotten past two arrays this morning without trouble. What’s a third? Apparently I am immune to setting them off. But even though those thoughts ran through Delias’s mind, he was averse to just crossing over the boundary. If there was any chance that whatever caused him to pass those other two arrays so easily does not do so now, he was sure as dead. This meant it was a huge risk for him to take. But one I have to take. I don’t have time to get permission and deal with all the shenanigans. And I can’t let my research known!
Delias stepped forward. The moment he fully passed the averati female behind the counter, was the moment he would officially be entering the library and could potentially set the array off. The children in the library were all staring at him, but when nothing happened, some sighed with apparent relief on their faces. They obviously did not want to get in the middle of mayhem. Others were disappointed, they were a bit bored and wanted to see a show.
The librarian snorted. “If you had a badge then don’t don’t bother with the theatrics.”
Delias did not have a badge, but he was not going to say anything to the contrary. It was best if things did not get too out of hand. “I need a catalog.”
The librarian tossed him a thin booklet off her counter. “Those are not disposable. Bring it back when you are leaving.” And at that she went back to flipping through her book.
Delias went to a corner and flipped through the catalog. He wanted information on contracts. He found it and went to the second floor. He searched the place, but the information he found was not what he was looking for. He wanted to know the contracts between cultivators. It became obvious to Delias that the two who did something to his body were indeed cultivators, and really powerful ones at that.
But even knowing what they were, when he did some research, all he found was books on martial arts and advancing through the stages. That was the third floor. There were a few students on this floor, and when some of them saw him, they had a bit of surprise on their faces. It was a bit more than the fact that he was covered in a cloak, but Delias could not figure out what that extra bit was.
Closing his eyes, Delias thought back to that time. The process was so long, and so terrifying, that just trying to remember brought him pain. A pain that he could never so easily forget.
Koplas! “That guy called them Koplas! Maybe I’ll find figure something out from looking into them.” Delias went through the catalog. The subjects about various species were back on the second floor in the back section, but Delias could not find anything on Koplas.
Damn it! It should be here. Have I wasted a trip? Have I wasted all this time; risked my life for nothing? It was then that it hit him. The lower floors! There was nothing in the catalog that mentioned those floors. It must be a high level area or has information that is only accessible to only certain parties.
Delias went back to the first floor. He went to the area which was the entrance to the lower floor and opened the door. As he did, students propped their heads from their books to look at him.
Delias descended. That caused a bit of a commotion. The librarian heard the commotion and was now wary. “This guy. How could he have access to even there? Something is not right.” The librarian got up from her chair, and went to a metal box that was imbedded in the wall. She took a key out, pushed it into the lock, and with a click, the box opened up. A black slip with silver spots was the only thing in there. She placed her finger on the slip and closed her eyes. The slip flashed once and then went back to its standard state.
The librarian closed the box and locked it. Her face had a deep scowl. “Let’s see who you really are.”
As Delias descended into the darkness, the room brightened up at the bottom. There were only two rows, each with eight shelves of books. Only about three hundred books. A lot for secrets, not a lot for diversified information.
Delias scanned each shelf until he saw a particular book. The title read: “Forbidden Creatures”. This book was thick, so thick it could probably be considered a tome. The outside of the book was black with silver symbols all over its surface.
Delias opened to the first page. As he did, the few fire crystals around the room dimmed. The room got cold. And the symbols on the book flashed.
On that page – that first page, was a single sentence.
Immortality is Death.