Linjos was very tired, his face seemed even longer than usual, with dark circles around the eyes caused by the worries and the lack of sleep.
When he heard what had happened, he only sighed, turning to watch at the forest below.
I really envy magical beasts.
Things are so simple for them, taking only what they need, without caring for petty things like gold or grudges.
Then he turned back again, looking at Yurial in the eyes.
I\'m really sorry for what has happened to you, partly is my fault.
And what makes me feel even worse, is that despite all my brave talk and efforts, you are not the first victim, and likely not the last either.
The most basic move to get rid of a Headmaster, is to make the environment toxic through violence and intimidation.
Academy\'s life is already very hard and demanding, it doesn\'t take much to make it unbearable.
When that happens, the number of graduates plummets, the academy\'s reputation rapidly declines and a new Headmaster gets chosen.
Usually, it happens during the last trimester.
The timing of the events suggests someone really wants to get rid of me.
I guess they didn\'t like me taking cheating off the table.
You have no idea how many noble slackers have failed right off the bat. He sighed, again, taking no pleasure from their misfortune.
As for the Ballots, I can\'t.
There is none left.
Is it because Lukart and his goons Did they take them all Yurial was worried, remembering his father\'s words.
Actually, no. Linjos replied with a smirk.
After what happened between Lith and Lady Hestia became the talk of the academy, a lot of first- and second-year students came for the Ballots.
The ones I gave you two young ladies were among the last ones.
There were just about twenty to begin with, so I already ordered a new batch.
The problem is that since their power source is the castle itself, the crafting method is quite complex.
It will take some time.
Phloria swallowed a lump of saliva, regretting not having got one before.
You have three Ballots and only five people. Linjos shrugged.
You will manage somehow.
In the meantime, I\'ll do everything I can to ensure everyone\'s safety.
But remember, each floor is really big, and I have only Professors at my disposal, not an army of watchmen, so be careful.
Back in Quylla\'s room, Yurial, Friya and Phloria felt dejected and stupid.
The world as they knew it had collapsed under their feet, the peace that they had taken for granted seemed to be about to end.
All the dreams and expectations they had cultivated during all those years in the academy seemed so stupid and insignificant, compared to the idea of a civil war that could kill everyone they loved.
And then there was the feeling of being cast aside.
Even if they did it out of love, their families hadn\'t trusted them enough to tell the truth.
Friya\'s case was the worst, since she now knew to be considered nothing more than a tool to an end.
Yurial was so shocked that even the earlier aggression\'s memory was already fading in the background.
I can\'t believe I have been so stupid! Warden and Healer are just useless specializations.
What my father, my family need is a warrior, a leader.
If only he had been honest with me, I would have chosen wisely.
Lith kept silent, letting him vent off his frustration.
He knew by experience that when something that big happened, the words of a stranger would sound empty.
Yurial needed time to accept the change.
I\'m sorry guys, I don\'t feel like doing anything right now. Phloria said.
I need some time to think.
Most importantly, I need to make sure that my brothers are okay. Despite not having a Ballot, she darted out of the room before anyone could offer to escort her.
Yurial followed her so fast that he didn\'t need to hold the door open.
He walked in long strides, inwardly hoping for someone to attack him again.
He really needed a way to vent all the pent-up frustrations.
As for Friya, she felt enraged for her mother\'s condescending tone, but at the same time she was deeply scared.
Too much to remain alone, she had no one to turn to for comfort, except the two that still remained in the room.
- Dammit, this is the story of my life! Lith inwardly cursed.
Everything that can go wrong, always does.
Be it on Earth or here, nothing has changed.
As soon as I fix a problem and try to get some peace, another one pops up.
At this point, these kids are just a burden.
They have too much to lose, but I can\'t afford the luxury of being depressed.
I need to gather as much as I can, in case sooner or later I\'ll be forced to leave this Country full of idiots. –
If you need some time alone, I completely understand. He said to the two girls, while hiding his clenched fists behind his back.
I\'ll take my leave.
What about the dimensional magic practice Quylla asked.
I beg your pardon Those were the last words Lith expected to hear.
I\'m sorry for what happened to Yurial. Quylla was sitting on the bed, swinging her legs in a very childish manner, yet her cold eyes were nothing like those of a kid.
But honestly, all that happened today just proved what I said on the second day.
This academy sucks, or better, the whole Kingdom sucks.
All my life, I survived only thanks to my skills, and once I got here, nothing changed.
I don\'t care if this Country burns, it has never done anything good for me.
But you guys did.
You are the only ones that ever cared for me, and I don\'t want to risk losing you getting involved in this nonsense.
If everything goes south, dimensional magic is our best way out of this nightmarish place.
That was a feeling Lith could relate to.
That speech bordering treason was music to his ears.
At the moment, Quylla was the most important piece on his board, if someone could help him, that was her.
After Friya reluctantly agreed, they started practicing the Loop spell.
According to the book, unlike all the other tier four spell they had learned so far, generating a Gate required handling three magic pulses at once, one for each element.
Being an educational spell, Loop required from the student only to properly handle the different energies, while the two portals\' size, distance and duration were determined by hand signs and magic words.
After casting the spell for the first time, Lith generated three mana pulses of the same magnitude, one made only of earth, one of air, and the last of water magic.
Following the instructions, Lith made the first two energies merge, forming a yellow wisp of light between his hands.
That was the easy part.
The small energy core was highly unstable, hence the difficulty of the exercise consisted in giving it just enough water magic to quench the excess energy.
Lith tried to go slow and steady, resulting in the yellow wisp dissipating under the conflicting forces repulsing each other.
Damn if it\'s hard! Before he could start doubting about the moral integrity of Professor Rudd\'s ancestors, he noticed that Quylla was looking at him with admiration.
How did you do that
What are you talking about
Sure, there were supposed to be two small black dots instead of a single yellow one, but it\'s more than I achieved this whole afternoon.
Lith furrowed his brow in disbelief.
That was just the first step, and he didn\'t even manage to do it right.
Do you have the same problem
Yeah. Friya nodded.
Do you know how to triple cast, right He asked, receiving another affirmative response.
Then show me. If what they said was true, there was no possible explanation for their utter failure.
He needed to check.
Lith made them perform in turns a single chore magic spell, then they had to keep the first one active while generating a second and a third copy of the same spell.
The result was mediocre.
With each copy, the size and intensity of the magical energy dwindled.
That\'s not triple casting at all! It should be like this. With a wave of his hand, Lith generated three identical small flames, making them contract and expand at unison.
Soon it was clear that without solid foundations, they couldn\'t even attempt the first step of Loop.
Lith was really conflicted about teaching them how to multi cast, it had never been part of his plan.
But during the last Master Healer class, he had understood why his mana sensibility was so low.
It was because he had never practiced it.
Thanks to true magic and Invigoration, he didn\'t need to feel the energy flow, because he could see it.
His companions, instead, could only rely on their instinct, and that resulted in honing their magical senses over time.
Until that moment, he had been like a sighted man leading the blind.
But if his fears were correct, to learn dimensional magic Lith had to develop his mana sensibility.
Having no idea how to do it, he would need their help.
First of all, let\'s set aside Loop for the time being. He started explaining.
Multi casting will require for you to concentrate only on first magic.
The three key points are focus, willpower and visualization.
It\'s like picturing in your head different persons at the same time. He made appear three different flames.
If you focus too much on a single subject, the others will blur. One remained stable, while the other two started to change randomly in shape and size.
Forget normal magic, where you can do everything one step at a time, like reading a list.
You must be able to split your focus evenly, and that requires a strong willpower, and a clear visualization of the effects you want to create.
Contrary to his wishes, they spent the rest of the afternoon practicing first magic, while Lith could only assist and guide them at the best of his possibilities.