Quylla stopped talking, laughing her as* off at the memory, while tears of joy rolled out her eyes.
He is quite fast for someone his size, you know. She said as soon as he managed to catch her breath.
He beat mercilessly the one that assaulted me and those that did nothing but watch as well.
He then made clear that if they attempted something funny again, he would get them expelled.
After that, my teammates and I reached an agreement.
I would help them, but only at the condition that I would not take watch at night and get the first choice about food.
We didn\'t last long, but I had the time of my life, ordering them around.
So, when I got back at the castle, the first thing I did was getting a Ballot!
Quylla took out the black sphere from her cuffs, slamming it on the table, drawing all the eyes on her.
The feeling of freedom is intoxicating, Friya, you should get one too.
I don\'t see why a smart girl like you has to endure morons all day long.
What about you, Lith
We lasted until the afternoon of the third day, everything went fine. Lith cut his report short, it was time to get something back from his investment.
During the exercise, I noticed that I cannot make full use of the potions without a weapon.
You brought potions along Yurial was incredulous.
Yes, I did.
I bought them as soon as I got some spare points.
I needed to get used to their effects, before using them in actual combat.
I tested how long they lasted, their potency and how strong I could hit or get hit before injuring myself.
Nothing special, it\'s just the same thing we all did with the academy\'s uniform.
Judging from their blank stares, they had no idea what he was talking about.
You do know that the uniform protects us, right
And you didn\'t feel the need to check how it works How much punishment it can take before ripping What kind of blows you can take head on and what to dodge
Silence befell again.
Well, between this and the potions, I\'d say you just got yourself some homework to do during the next days. Lith said smiling encouragingly to them.
Don\'t worry for the uniform, it can self-repair from small damages.
Thanks for your advice. Friya said.
What were you saying about a weapon
That even if I had it, I lack the proper training.
Friya, your second specialization is Mage Knight.
What weapon do you use
Wow, I mentioned it to you only once and you actually remembered.
I use a rapier.
It\'s a quick and nimble sword, that easily pierces through an armour\'s joints, but it\'s not good for blocking heavy hits or cutting the enemy.
According to my mentor, with my build it\'s the weapon that suits me the best.
Can you teach me the basics of swordsmanship Lith asked.
Having an enhanced strength is of limited use without a proper tool.
Right now, when enemies come too close, I can only resort to first magic.
I need more options.
Maybe I can help too. Everybody turned to the unexpected guest.
Mind if I join Phloria asked.
I didn\'t get the chance to thank you earlier.
- Not you again. - He inwardly sighed.
Not at all. Like a perfect gentleman, Lith stood up welcoming the newcomer.
For a split second, he had been struggling to keep his amiable façade.
Despite how tired and stressed he was, Lith could only play his part.
Guys, this is Phloria, my former team leader.
Phloria, these are my friends from the Healer specialization, Yurial, Friya and Quylla. It had taken him a lot of practice to say the word friends instead of the more accurate colleagues.
Back on Earth, when Carl visited his workplace, many had got slightly offended with him for introducing them as simply colleagues.
At that time, he didn\'t care, it was only a dead-end temporary job until his brother attained his master.
Now, though, personal relations were of the utmost importance.
- I never understood why people have such a loose definition of friendship.
A friend is someone that knows you.
From things like your passions and ambitions to trivial things like your favourite book or colour.
As I see it, they are not my friends.
They don\'t like me as a person, only my academic achievements.
They don\'t even know the names of my sisters.
Don\'t be so hard on them, they are just kids. Solus mind-shrugged.
They have met you in a though moment of their lives and you have become close.
You often spend time together, either in class or during the private lessons you gave them.
For most people, that\'s more than enough to call someone a friend.
Especially considering you are not really open with them. –
Thank him for what Yurial interest was piqued.
Lith was far from bad looking, especially since he had stopped with perpetual frown and the murderous glare.
Being both rising stars in the Light department, Yurial had tried multiple times to set a double date, but to no avail.
This was the first time that a girl that had come looking for him had not been dismissed with a polite excuse.
Considering that they had spent a few days together and seemed in a good relationship, Yurial was hoping to get some juicy gossip.
- He sure likes them tall. – He thought.
Didn\'t he tell you Phloria was honestly surprised.
Between her group\'s horrible start, and how they heavily depended on Lith the whole time, she had expected him to complain about them with his friends as soon as they met.
Instead he had welcomed her with one of his rare dimpled smiles, while the others clearly had no idea who she was.
Tell us about what
As much as it hurts my pride to admit it, he was the key member from start to finish.
Without Lith we would have never lasted more than one day, let alone rack fifty points per day. Phloria sat down, ordering her meal.
Friya whistled with admiration.
Thirty points each for three days is a great score, considering it was a surprise test.
How did you manage to do it
Sorry, I misspoke.
I meant we each earned fifty points per day.
One hundred and fifty points in just three days Yurial dropped his fork from the surprise.
So much for \'nothing special\'! Please, tell us all about it.
For some reason Lith has been quite evasive, to use and understatement.
They didn\'t have to ask twice.
Phloria told them how he single-handedly repelled the magical beast on the first day, how he found and built them a safe haven.
She put particular emphasis on the trick with the Clacker\'s venom and on how he taught them how to survive in the wild with first magic.
You wouldn\'t tell at first look, but shorty here is a monster! She said patting energetically his back.
The last word forced Lith to remember his encounter with the Scorpicore, sending a cold shiver down his spine.
He didn\'t like the idea of being somehow related to Abominations, even less how close he had got to die.
Luckily, his stiff expression blended perfectly with the others.
Everyone at the table was shorter or barely taller than Lith, despite being older.
If he had to be considered short, what were they supposed to be Gnomes
An artificial cave! How could I not think about it Yurial held his head between his hands in frustration.
Being a Warden, things like that were supposed to be his specialty.
Finding the hill was just a stroke of luck. Lith dismissed the whole thing with a wave of the hand.
I\'m sure you would have done the same if you had the chance.
Wow, I never pegged you for the humble type.
In your shoes, I would brag about the exercise for at least a month. Friya said, looking at him in a new light.
Phloria exaggerates things too much.
Yes, I did my part, but it was a team effort.
Visen actually made the cave stable and habitable, not to mention providing the outhouse and supporting us in battle with his arrays.
Phloria herself had a rocky start the first day, but she learned from her mistakes, and saved me from the Clackers.
She turned to be an excellent leader, and it\'s only thanks to her plan that we managed to survive the second day.
She is the one that managed to envenom the Ry, I just gave her the means to.
Belia, well, she clearly lacked Visen\'s confidence or our battle experience, but she rose up to the occasion and did her part splendidly.
I, on the other hand, am incapable of leadership, and proved to be short fused, often venting my stress on my teammates.
Lith resulted really convincing, mostly because he had been sincere.
He had underestimated too many dangers, and lost control of his emotions more than once.
It was hard to draw line where his mana core issues ended and his anti-social behaviour started.
He knew he had a problem, but no idea how to fix it.
Whatever. Quylla said.
Next time, I want to be in your group.
Things would be so much easier.
Dream on. Friya sighed.
There are only thirty-four healers for over two hundred and fifty students.
Hence at least sixteen groups had no healer during the exercise.
It\'s impossible for us to ever end up together.
Maybe, and maybe not. Yurial said.
After the first trimester, students can go to the forest during the weekends, to collect precious herbs and materials for themselves or exchange them for points.
Not to mention, it\'s all experience.
Lith felt that his plea for help had been lost in conversation, but the topic was quite interesting.
Is mandatory a group for the forest And will we be under surveillance again during our training He asked.
No, there is no need for groups, one could go alone or with twenty friends.
Although a five men group is highly recommended, especially for fourth years.
And no, there will be no surveillance, we would be on our own.
The only safety measure is a panic button, very similar to a Ballot, but with only one function: a distress signal to call for help in case something bad happens.
- Interesting. Lith pondered.
I could go alone to vent my stress, or with them as a shock therapy.
Two days are too little to make me snap, but more than enough to steel my feeble social skills. –
Isn\'t your team one member short It would be a pleasure and an honour to work together with the top students of the Light department. Phloria\'s request hit their egos in all the right spots.
How could we possibly say no to someone Lith holds in such high regard Friya stood up and shook her hand.
Since things were spiralling out of his hand, he decided to get the best of it, and ask Phloria\'s help too.
But that was the wrong moment, his companions were too happy from having found a kindred spirit, and he was too tired to bring them back to reality.
Lith decided to postpone his request for swordsmanship lesson after the four days break.
Because of the private lessons he had imparted them about first magic, he had never got the chance to get back home during the weekends.
It was time to correct that situation.