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8 mos ago
Current Have you tried NOT being a douche-canoe?
3 likes
3 yrs ago
After some soul searching, I've decided to let a lot of things go. It's just not worth it anymore. Let bygones be bygones, I'll carry on with my life and focus on me.
11 likes
3 yrs ago
Sometimes people become unrecognizable, doing things you never imagined they would and changing for the worse. It's a shame, but you can't help everyone.
9 likes
3 yrs ago
Whoever says "the customer is always right" has not worked with atual customers.
18 likes
3 yrs ago
"The flower that blooms in adversity. is the most rare and beautiful of them all." "Sir?" "You don't meet a girl like THAT every dynasty."
11 likes

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The kid was being really weird. Was helping others such a foreign thing? Was she just that bad at this?! Her thoughts were cut off as he suddenly leaned down. She wasn't exactly short by any means, but it was only just now that she realized just how tall he was. She didn't have to usually crane her neck like this--no, she was stepping back because he was suddenly invading her space. When she did, however, he seemed determined to close the space. It was unsettling at best, and problematic at worst. For one, any wandering eyes could get the wrong idea. For another, she wasn't doing too well standing her ground for some reason.

Still, Sakuya stared at Noriaki for a moment, slowly blinking as she tried to calm down--why did she need to calm down?!--and rationalize the situation. Did he not hear what she had just told him? 'That's it'? The reputation of the school was at stake! Then again, she supposed she really only cared because of her position, but she naively assumed having some school pride was more common among her peers. Was that really too optimistic? It was. And she definitely felt silly for thinking otherwise. She supposed his lack of a reaction about Ito Maki meant that he either had no opinion or just didn't care, either.

Taking another step back, Sakuya decided to oblige with his request. "That's all I was told. He said--he said that you might need help adjusting to the new area," She asked, quickly clearing her throat as her voice wavered unexpectedly. "I don't know what sort of school you were in before, but it's common here for the upperclassmen to look after everyone. Natsuhime-san always said it was our way of paying back our senpais before us, so it's not that weird."

Despite her initial thought, however, something did come to mind. Against her better judgment, she asked, "What else could he have said?"


Linda was more than pleased that Daigo seemed genuinely interested, happily following him. While she kept her distance, it was obvious that she was enthusiastic about his arrival. Kaito was mostly indifferent if only because he was lamenting his dish, though, at the mention of foreign food, he did perk up some.

"I personally like to challenge myself by learning foreign food," He ended up explaining. "Seeing what other countries do and comparing and contrasting it to our own is fun. We usually just pick something to try and see what we can do. Linda-senpai has an amazing palette, so she's also been teaching me on how to refine mine."

The senpai in question was practically gushing with quiet pride, pleased with her pupil. At the arrival of a fifth person, she had that same gleam in her eyes. Once she spun around and saw who it was, however, the girl froze in place, her expression more nervous than anything.

"Oh, Ueno-san...uh, Kaito-kun was just expressing his disappointment...his dish came out poorly," She explained hesitantly. "Are you here for the club's forms? Because I was hoping I could hand it in by the end of the week since...we're still trying to recruit people..."


Anzu looked like she was going to initially agree, but she hesitated. She tried not to frown too much, but she figured she should be as direct as possible. Placing down the stack of papers, she crossed her arms as she turned to Yori. "I think a united front would present a stronger case, so it's a good idea," She started off positively at first, at the very least to try not to discourage her entirely. "However, we have to be careful about how we approach things. For whatever reason, the council has more influence than it really should have. Therefore, when we go, we should make sure to reason with them."

Actually, this was probably a good lesson for the girl. Uncrossing her arms, Anzu patted the stack. "We have to keep an open mind."




'I came because I wanted to be a good senpai.'

Of course, Sakuya couldn't really say that without fear of getting laughed at. At the very least, he was catching onto her persistence. While this was definitely more trouble than it was worth, she'd be damned if she didn't give it a genuine effort before deciding it wasn't worth it. Even if her head was killing her, if she could accomplish this one task and sleep guilt-free. But how was she going to get him to agree when he was always so...hostile?

Sakuya let out a small sigh, placing her hand on her hip as she gave him a weary look. As she opened her mouth, however, she became aware of the staring. Well, he did mention that people would start talking if she came back, and she had made a show yesterday, so she was sure people were curious. The best thing to do was to move the conversation elsewhere, but she didn't really want to show up to the council room with him.

Dropping her hand, Sakuya looked towards the end of the hallway. "You have somewhere to be. So we can walk and talk," She said.

Once Hoshino walked with her, the two passed by a semi-interesting scene; Yamamoto was speaking with the Vice Principal, the former with his head bowed. He looked apologetic, though Sakuya thought he was just sucking up again. Maybe the rumors had finally gotten to the faculty.

"I wonder if he's apologizing for harassing that second year," She mused out loud, though she didn't linger.

Sakuya waited until they were on the first floor to speak again. "I was told to keep an eye on you. Most transfer students tend to lose their way easily, and with the rise in delinquency, I guess the Vice Principal wanted to make sure you didn't end up like Ito Maki," She shook her head. "I heard she was a talented artist, but now she's more into graffiti and spreading malicious rumors."

Once the pair reached the shoe lockers, they would split temporarily. Sakuya didn't take too long putting on her shoes, only pausing once her phone beeped. Taking a peek at the message, she rolled her eyes and stuffed her phone back into her pocket. She joined Hoshino once again, shrugging.

"So...that is that," She finished lamely, unsure of what to say. "If you have a genuine issue with it, I'd rather you just tell me now. I can't guarantee I'll leave you alone completely, but at the very least I can make myself sparse."


"Kaito-kun would do so well in Drama, I told him this!" Linda agreed completely with Daigo's words, meeting him and Genki at the entrance of the classroom. Kaito did throw a glare at her back, though he put himself to work by disposing of the ruined pastry. Her face lit up at Genki's words, though if one looked closely, there was something resembling a glimmer of mischief in her eyes.

"We actually are in need of just one more," She confirmed Genki's words, deciding to both answer him and sway the newbie. "As you can see, we don't just deal with Japanese cuisine, we like to get adventurous and try things from all over the world! So long as we have a recipe and the right ingredients, it's always good to at least give it a go, right?"

She nodded at her own words, placing a hand on her chest. "I'm Mizuame Rin, but you can call me Linda! That's Maeda Kaito, my faithful pupil, and this is Mori Genki--though you two seem to already know each other."


Anzu gave Yori a small smile, returning her greeting with a wave. "Good afternoon, Sasaki," She was still in her uniform and she stood next to a desk with a small stack of papers on it. Taking them in hand, she made sure she was steady before addressing her.

"Practice is still happening, but before I instruct anyone, I need to drop these off at the Student Council room," She explained, determined. "I revisited our budgets. If they went with some alternatives that are good but cheaper, then we won't have to cut people." She seemed proud of herself.




God, why did everything with this guy feel like pulling teeth? Sakuya supposed she could give him the bare amount of credit for not just walking away or ignoring her, but if he wasn't interested in talking, then why did he bother replying? No, why was she bothering when she expected exactly this?

Letting out a sigh, Sakuya rubbed her temple. No, she was much too stubborn to just walk away. She could do this. Establishing a kohai-senpai relationship wasn't that hard. She just needed to be friendly and upbeat, just like Natsuhime-san was. Although she had no idea how the girl had the energy to be so positive every single moment of every single day. Still, it wouldn't kill Sakuya to be a little friendly.

With that in mind, Sakuya dropped her hand, frowning at Noriaki. "I apologize for the inconvenience. I felt that we started off on the wrong foot yesterday, and hoped to rectify it," She humbled herself first and foremost, wanting to show her sincerity. "If you don't have the time, that's fine. I can always try again tomorrow."


The amount of tension in the Cooking Club was suffocating the second Genki crossed the border into the room. While there were only Kaito and Linda inside, it was obvious that the source of said tension was the oven in front of them. Neither one acknowledged Genki's words, instead, their entire focus was on Kaito. With trembling hands, he cautiously lifted up a tray of what looked like tiny cups, placing them down gingerly onto the nearby table. He quickly removed his gloves and tossed them over his shoulder, kneeling down to inspect them.

Linda opened her mouth, though Kaito raised his hand. Whipping out a fork, he nervously poked the pastry. Time seemed to stop for just a moment, though he let out a small sigh of relief. However, said relief was premature, as the pastry deflated and collapsed into itself. The two were completely silent, the fork falling from Kaito's hand and onto the floor.

Kaito fell to his knees, both hands gripping his head. "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" He screeched dramatically.

"Well, that's unfortunate," Linda giggled, and the tension in the room evaporated. She looked back at Genki, flashing a smile. "We've seen better days."

"I did everything to perfection," Kaito muttered, ratting his hair. "It was those egg whites, wasn't it...?!"

Linda patted his head sympathetically. "Determination tempers the sword of your character, my student," She told him cheerfully as he broke into tears. "And hey, soufflé is hard to make! This was a good first try!"










Lysander was speechless as he watched Imogen pick up the fallen head. Euphemia let out a shaky laugh, clapping her hands loudly. "Let's, uh...try not to destroy the targets, please. Those are given to us by the Knights of Seiros, so..." She trailed off as she noticed Lysander's shock.

"We'll be requesting payment for that," He told Imogen outright, shaking his head. "Please see me after class."

Euphemia decided to leave him to it, looking at the trio of archers. She hadn't expected Kellen, nor did his own teammate, judging by Auberon's comment. There wasn't much enthusiasm there, either. Lysander did mention that the poor thing hadn't reacted much to his questioning, so maybe it wasn't that surprising. Still, if he wanted to change his weapon, there was nothing wrong with that.

With that in mind, Euphemia approached him, flashing a smile. "It's okay if you want to try something new today. Though you'll want to raise your elbows up more," She suggested kindly, pretending she was drawing back a bow of her own. "Remember, arrows don't shoot in a straight line, they go in an arch."

Veronica raised an eyebrow at the blonde's consolation but chose not to comment. Instead, she looked at Jorah's dummy. She'd admit she was impressed, though she wasn't about to let herself look less by comparison. Raising her arms, she turned her aim over at Jorah's dummy, mimicking his shots. Her arrows sank into the same spots, pushing Jorah's arrows as they hit their target. Satisfied, she flipped her hair over her shoulders and lowered her bow.

"That would certainly provide more of a challenge," She said, giving Jorah a side-eye glance.

Tomai largely ignored the commotion, more focused on the magic users. Clarissa and Rudolf had a good handle on their spells, the former likely in need of fine-tuning while the latter just needed to put more mana into his spell. Both of them had passed with flying colors compared to Lienna, however. The icicles very much mirrored the ones back in Luin, albeit they weren't nearly as numerous. There was still a lot of power in the spell, but there wasn't any sense of control in there. If he didn't know any better, he would say that she had very little basic education.

"I really don't understand this kid," He ended up muttering out loud.

"She's talented," Kaira replied quietly.

"About as talented as a raging bull," He couldn't help but retort, though he raised his voice. "Remember your basics, Lienna. Don't let the spell dawdle, just send it away. Rudolf, I want you to try once again with more power into it," He said, stopping as he looked at Kaira. "I think by all principles, Clarissa was fine. Anything to add?"

Kaira took a second to think. "Hmm...I think it was well executed. If I have any suggestion, it'll be to go to the next step of speeding up the spell itself," She offered to Clarissa. "I agree with Professor Malathice in everything else."

Meanwhile, Michail's eyes followed the others, frowning to himself. There was a lot of talent there, but he'd be lying if he said he didn't notice that they were definitely in need of some polish. He did end up approaching Auberon, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"It's fine," He supported Euphemia in letting Kellen do as he would for now--he'd make sure to have a word with Kellen later. "Your technique is good, though make sure to trust the ax's weight to help your swings along. We want to use everything from momentum to gravity to help our attacks out."

With that in mind, he looked over at Kayden. "Your swings need more substance, Highness. Enemies aren't necessarily dazzled easily, make sure you slit their throat before they get to yours," He suggested.

He turned to Derec, who had been waiting for his attention. The lance moved the same way it did at the village, albeit the last thrust stopped before the dummy--he was definitely making sure he didn't end up in the same boat as his other classmate. There was no way he could afford to replace any equipment, let alone something belonging to the Church.

"Keep your weapon closer to you and watch your grip," Michail suggested, taking on a stance with an imaginary weapon. "Your strikes won't let anyone close, but if they do, they'll make sure to knock your weapon out of your hands." He made sure to give actual advice, their conversation still fresh on his mind. Derec also appreciated the advice as he took a stance again, adjusting his grip.

Michail nodded in approval, though when he got to the last student, he was a little surprised to see Isolde just standing there. "Your turn, Isolde," He spoke, making sure she heard him.

Isolde looked from the dummy to Michail, shaking her head. "I...can't do anything like that..." She replied quietly, motioning towards Imogen.

"Well, I don't want you to do anything like Imogen. I want you to do it the way Isolde does it," He grinned. "Come on, show me what you got!"

The blonde looked at the other melee fighters, realizing she was the last one to go. Hanging her head, she took in a deep breath as she approached the dummy, raising her knuckles to eye level. She clearly had had training, and her demonstration proved as much--whoever taught her had also shown her how to use her smaller stature, her strikes speedy and numerous.

Once done, Michail gave her a short clap. "See? That was great!" He was glad to see it again, though he noted that he was going to have to come up with something to encourage both her and Kellen. Oh boy. Was there such a thing as confidence workshops? "With you, we'll work on getting more power in your strikes."

Michail took some steps away from the group, approaching the weapon rack and taking a wooden spear in hand before turning back. "I'm glad to see Luin wasn't a fluke--and the rest of you are fine additions as well," He spoke to the rest of the class, stopping only as Tomai literally stomped on one of Lienna's icicles, dispelling the remains. "Lots of raw talent. Now, with that in mind, this doesn't mean that we can just take it easy. If anything, it means we have to work harder to set a good example for the rest of the student body."

Veronica exhaled, unamused. "Shouldn't the rest catch up to us before we further ourselves?" She ended up asking out loud.

"That's the mindset of the lazy, and that simply won't do for someone of your station, my lady," Michail disagreed. "We'll be going over some drills now, so I suggest bracing yourselves. We'll be here for a few hours. In that time, I suggest you pay attention to your classmates--I'll be quizzing you on how your housemates are doing shortly."

The sun and clouds did little to offer support to the students, though they did as they were told--some begrudgingly, others willingly. Fortunately, the time that passed was used solely on refining their techniques and improvements for those that had the basics down pat. Michail ensured everyone was doing something at all times, whether it was testing their knowledge or challenging them further. He was, as expected, ruthless; for him, this was just another day in the life of a knight, and he wasn't about to ease up just because they were students.

At the sound of the eleventh bell, Michail finally let them take a well-deserved break. Or at least, a break from their physical work, as rather than dismissing them, he had everyone put away their weapons and follow him out of the arena. They wouldn't have to walk very far, convening in the empty Black Eagles Classroom. Once they arrived, he instructed them to split up once again and organize themselves by house.

Once everyone was seated, a few servants filed in with trays of refreshments and snacks set aside just for them. They left as quickly as they came and wordlessly at that, clearly experienced in serving the nobility. Michail positioned himself by the Blue Lions, though he made sure everyone was looking at him before he would reveal what they were doing next.

"Now that the fun is over, onto the quiz," He grinned. "Being both a leader and part of a team means knowing exactly what your allies are capable of, and providing feedback is crucial to their growth. So right now, I want everyone to give out what you think your teammates' strengths and weaknesses are, as well as what you think they should do to improve. While the three house professors will be observing, all of us will make sure to listen in closely. Once you're all finished, then we'll see how you did."

Taking a seat at the Blue Lions' table, he grabbed a croissant, immediately stuffing it into his mouth and looking around at his lions. Euphemia was less than pleased, though she sat with the Golden Deer as well. Tomai opted to remain standing.


Sakuya had absolutely no idea where the sudden questioning came from, but she found herself caring less and less. She understood them, truly she did, but going out of their way to question someone wasn't going to lead them anywhere. No, questioning Yamamoto was probably going to make things worse, and she wasn't about to have anyone jump to conclusions or cause trouble.

"I will handle it, then," She stated sharply. "None of you are to approach him until I give the go-ahead. For now, go home."

She glanced at her watch, letting out a sigh. "I have to inform the teachers about something regarding Ito, that will be taken care of tomorrow," She stated. "We'll talk more about this tomorrow."




The Shadow's mask cracked under the pressure of the attacks, limbs flailing madly as it was attacked over and over. Eventually, its limbs stop moving altogether, the only sounding being heard was the crumbling on its mask. Slowly, its limbs retreated into itself and retreated into the well. Mira forced herself to stand, hurrying to the well, though when she reached it, the surface was perhaps a few inches from the top. Touching it, the surface was as hard as stone, its presence gone.

"Nicely done!" She congratulated the four. "I don't think it'll be coming back anytime soon. For now, we should probably head back. The adrenaline's pumping, but I'm sure once you really stop you'll notice how tired you are."

Once she finished speaking, there was the sound of a very faint, distant voice. After a few seconds, it became clear that it was a melody being sung far away. It was familiar to the four there, something they had heard in their dreams, but once it was clear what was being heard, Mira's face paled considerably.

"She's coming," The words seemed to have gotten trapped in her throat, but she forced them out nonetheless as she backed away from the well, her hands searching her pockets. Bringing out what looked like a small, shiny crystal, she put herself close enough to everyone. "We're leaving right now." She informed them, raising her hand above her head and throwing the crystal onto the ground as hard as she could.

The crystal shattered, though instead of breaking into pieces, a bright light sparked out and thin lines formed a square around them. Once it was completed, the floor underneath them flashed, and the five of them fell through. The sensations and movement were very much the same as when they entered, though this time the four students were tossed carelessly back into the gym. The mirror shined brightly, a light popping out and shrinking down as it formed the same cat that had been with them. She let out a meow of disapproval, looking back as the mirror returned to normal.






Hinotori High School
Kyoto Prefecture
APRIL 11TH, 2018
CLOUDY DAY


The bell signaling the end of class sounded so far away that it wasn't until the students started shuffling that Sakuya realized they were done. She stared down at her empty notebook, holding back a sigh; what started as a headache ignored quickly developed into a throbbing migraine. It had been some time since she had one, but she supposed she was a little more stressed than she would like to admit. She would have liked nothing more than to go straight home and sleep the rest of the evening in hopes of making it go away.

Of course, she was going to do the complete opposite.

She put her notebook away in her bag, making a mental note to ask someone what they spoke about, and she left the classroom without a word. She was the one that invited Ito to the council room, but she wished she hadn't. Just thinking about interacting with anyone felt like a massive headache--well, her head was killing her already, actually, so she should have compared it to something else.

Taking in a deep breath, she decided she would go down to the vending machines before anything. An iced coffee would probably help things, and she could deal with the crash once she got home. As she walked down the stairs, she noticed a few girls whispering to each other. Right, the rumor that Yamamoto was bothering an underclassman spread like fire, almost everyone was talking about it. He was probably in the library sulking somewhere. Good, so long as it meant he wasn't bothering her or anyone else, he could sulk for the rest of the year.

Speaking of underclassmen, she supposed she could poke her head into Hoshino's classroom. Even if he ignored her, she could perform her due diligence just so no one could say she didn't. Ignoring the dread in her chest, she took a quick look inside just to confirm he was still there, though she did a double-take as she swore she saw a cat outside the window. Instead of going in, however, this time she decided to wait outside the classroom, lightly massaging her temples until she would see him walk out. Alright, this time, she would be a good senior. She could be nice. It wasn't that hard.

"Hoshino," She called out to him. "Do you have a minute?"








Seventh Bell, 13th of the Great Tree Moon
Taking in the fresh, crisp air of the morning, Michail let out a satisfied sigh. He flashed a grin over at Tomai, who looked at his pocket watch with boredom in his eyes, and then at Kaira, who stifled a yawn behind her hand. He shot a grin at Lysander, who offered him a thumbs up, and then finally looked at Euphemia, who was...dozing off. Lysander noticed, giving her a nudge to wake her.

“Ah--Sorry, I’m awake, I’m awake…” Euphemia apologized, rubbing her eye. “Did you really have to take the first slot, though?”

“There is nothing better to start off the day with than exercise!” Michail informed her brightly. “Isn’t that right, everyone?”

He was met with grumbles, quiet agreements, and a not-so-subtle mumble. Well, that was as good as it was going to get, so that was fine. More importantly, he had students to teach and they were going to learn his specialty today: how to eat a good old plate of ass-whooping.“Good morning!” Michail greeted the incoming students. “I hope you’re all ready to get your asses handed to you!”

Lysander looked at Michail, bewildered. “Michail!”

“Oh, right, language. I hope you’re all ready to get your butts handed to you!” He corrected himself, though he frowned. “You know, it doesn’t really have the same impact.”

Lysander tried to hold back his disappointment, instead choosing to continue. “Before we begin, I’ll go over training. Every Saturday morning, you have the option to visit the Arena and better hone your skills with someone of expertise. While the times may vary, you can always check the schedule posted over by the Armory. We’re generally pretty good at letting everyone know when we’re available, and sometimes the Knights of Seiros also volunteer their services. Lady Kalliope herself is known to be a frequent visitor, so you never know who will show up!”

They waited for the next person to speak, though as no one spoke, they all looked to Euphemia. To her credit, she hadn’t fallen asleep, but it was clear she was out of it. Deciding to throw her a line, Kaira clapped her hands. “For today, we’ll be doing a proper assessment of your abilities, both offensive and defensive,” She announced, her voice light and airy. “There’s no need to push yourselves, we’ve seen what most of you can do, but we’d like to double check and offer corrections where needed.”

“Those defensive abilities include dodging both physical and magical attacks,” Tomai mentioned with a shrug. “...if you get caught, Kaira can probably heal you.”

The four professors looked at Tomai, who didn’t seem the least bit regretful. He just shrugged again, and at that point, Euphemia remembered that she was supposed to speak. “Oh, right. Uh, we’ll be testing everyone for everything. We’ll start with what you believe are your strengths, so everyone please pick up your preferred weapon, and we can split, uh…” She scratched her head, looking around. “...there aren’t any targets set up…”

Michail mimicked her, letting out a laugh. “Oops. Eh, we really only need one, so I’ll use myself as a target as penance,” He offered.

Tomai couldn’t hold back his sneaker, though Lysander, once again, looked horrified. “Michail, no,” He shook his head. “I’ll...go get the targets. For now, everyone split into your preferred weapon types, please.”

He jogged over to the armory to get a target as both Michail and Tomai put themselves into position. Michail smacked the closest training dummy, making sure it was sturdy enough. Once Lysander returned, they took a few minutes to organize everyone, and soon there were multiple dummies and targets. Each physical attacker was assigned a dummy, and the targets were divided between casters and archers.

Michail made sure he could see everyone, and once he deemed them ready, he made sure everyone could hear him “I’d like the fighters to execute a basic combo. Magical folks, Tomai and Kaira are watching you guys hit the targets. And archers...well, you get it by now. Ready?” He lifted an arm. “Go!”





The many attacks were appreciated in the ffort to free the captured catgirl--although she had to admit, she sincerely wondered if the others shared the Devil's disdain. The Awakenings were a welcome sight, of course, but the attacks afterwards were so close to hitting her that she was pretty sure she was going to end up roasted alive. Or shocked alive. Or fried alive, judging by that beam.

Fortunately, death had not come for her just yet, albeit her legs shook so much as she got to her feet that it took her longer than she would have liked to get a safe distance away. Eventually, she managed to trip over and fall a ways away, letting out a small, defeated whine. She was so sure she was going to die that she thought that she nearly forgot that the danger was very much there.

Still, their efforts were not in vain as the blob shifted and moved erratically. Its hands retreated into itself, with a single pillar rising. Peeling away the ooze, a blue and dull grey mask popped up, eyes empty with a crescent shaped smile plastered onto it.

"There!" Mira called out. "That spot is its weak point! This is our chance to finish it!"



Derec watched as several members of the clergy came this way and that, speaking to one another in hushed voices. Occasionally, a knight would stop to ask why he was waiting outside of Professor Michail's office, giving little more than a hum of approval once he explained himself. Now that he thought about it, the church got awfully busy once classes were dismissed. He heard some students make plans about visiting, but he wasn't too sure why.

As another knight stopped before him, he straightened up, though this time the guy wasn't there to ask him any questions. There were several knights lined up and saluting, the movement in the hallway ceasing until he saw the woman clad in white at the end of the hallway. Archbishop Ioannis walked with her, pensive, though he seemed to brighten up. She was clearly hanging on every word, her features gentle and otherwordly. He had no idea who she was, though she must have been someone important for the knights to act the way they were.

All except one knight dispersed, though he moved to join another at the door as Professor Michail and Professor Simeon came up the stairs. He couldn't tell what they were talking about, but they bid each other farewell and separated--she went into the same room as the Archbishop and his guest, and Michail stopped in front of him.

"Sorry for the wait, I had to slip in with Kaira just so I could get here," He said, chuckling as he unlocked his office. "This place goes crazy whenever Lady Arianthe visits."

"Lady Arianthe?" Derec asked, following Michail inside. "Lord Ascelipus' former assistant? I thought she was helping the Western Church."

"She was, and she'll probably head back once she finishes her business here," He said, looking around. "Hm. I should...tidy up for the future."

It wasn't necessarily that the office was messy, but if Michail got rid of the armor and weapon display, it probably wouldn't feel so crowded. That said, the mountain of paperwork on one side of the desk didn't help things. Of course, there was a weird thought in the back of his head that Michail had set things up this way on purpose--some of those lances looked very, very intimidating, but judging by the professor not really giving them any attention, it was unfounded. Or at least, he hoped so.

Derec shook those thoughts out of his head, clearing his throat. "So...I was told that if I should encounter any trouble that I should go to you, but..." He trailed off for a second, thinking of the best way to say it, but ultimately deciding that he should get to it. "...I don't think you like me very much."

To his surprise, Michail outright laughed, crossing his arms. "I am the head of the Blue Lions," He said. "Though, I'm guessing you're referring to what Duke Charon told you."

Derec nodded. "Yes, he did. But...how can I turn to you if you don't really care for me?" He asked.

"I'm a professional, kid. If it's my job, then I'll give it my full effort," Michail stated. "So no, I won't look the other way if you're in danger, nor will I let any assassins get to you. I even went out of my way to get Theo to use his connections to make sure you're safe at all times."

That didn't do much to assure him, though Derec did notice he didn't address the other thing he said. "And you hate me because...of the claim?" He guessed.

"If I hated you, don't you think I would've exposed you from the start?" Michail replied with a question of his own. "With the exception of a handful of people, all that anyone knows is that you're here due to a sponsership from a noble. I couldn't do much about your unit assignment, but considering you have a Galatea, a Fraldarius, and a future Gautier, I think I made the right call. Or do you disagree?"

"As you said, you're a professional. You know how to separate your work from your personal feelings, even if you glare at me like I killed your father or something," Derec wasn't buying it. "I'd like to know. Is it the claim? Though I haven't heard of a House Kalonic taking any sides, unlike the other counts and dukes."

"Baron Eddard Kalonic is a minor lord in Charon territory. He isn't really anyone of importance, no--but Leon Charon is," Michail sighed. "I'm not really sure how much he's told you or what he did to get you on his side, but I recommend taking anything he says with a grain of salt."

"So your beef is with him, not me. But considering he's one of my biggest supporters...I didn't think you were so petty," Derec returned Michail's sigh with one of his own. "Here I thought it was something else. Still, whatever issues you have with him, they have nothing to do with me."

"Actually, it has less to do with pettiness and more concern for my country," Michail replied sharply.

Derec somehow stood his ground--though he wasn't sure why. "You're a Knight of Seiros, doesn't that mean you gave up whatever titles and the like back in Faerghus?" He frowned. "I don't understand."

Michail paused a moment to rub his temple. "...You know, I was under the assumption that Duke Charon had you under his thumb," He muttered. "Even though I've joined the church, that doesn't mean that I don't care about what happens to my country. You've uprooted the lives of the royal family, of all the lords--of the entire country. Do you really think making a claim wouldn't earn any resentment?"

For once, Derec was silent. Michail was actually right about that, actually--he really didn't think of how it would affect anyone. It was selfish, but at the time, nothing else really mattered. He had nowhere to go or anyone to turn to. It was sheer coincidence that Duke Charon had been visiting that small church and had bore witness to the reveal of his Crest. The rest happened so quickly that he never did stop to think of how his actions would impact anyone.

"...even so...I'm here," Derec said slowly. "I'm not going to apologize for existing, so...if it's at all possible, I'd like it if we could have a truce. Just until the end of this year. Then, after that, you can keep on hating me."

Michail tapped his fingers against his arm, staring at Derec. "It depends. What has Leon said to you about me?"

That was a weird question, but Derec didn't see the harm in saying it. "That despite being a knight, you're indebted to him, so you'd help me out if I ever needed it," He paused. Now that he thought about it, the duke never said why he was indebted. Maybe that's why he was so hostile? He wished he hadn't made the revelation right there and then, but it couldn't be helped. "...if that isn't the case, then that's fine."

Michail stared at Derec, though for once, his expression was blank. Derec couldn't tell if he said the right or wrong thing, and for a second he was a little worried. Okay, a lot worried. But as he uncrossed his arms, Derec noticed Michail looked warier than anything. Whatever Duke Charon had on him must have been bad.

"As I said, I'm a professional. You're safe with me, and I won't be turning my back on you anytime soon," Michail broke the silence. "That said, I recommend keeping your wits about you when it comes to him. He never sticks his neck out for anyone if it doesn't benefit him in some way. And all things considered, you have a lot to offer."

That was a fair enough statement. Derec nodded, scratching the back of his head. "I'd also like to go over the fight in Luin--if you don't mind," He added, realizing the conversation was impossible to gauge.

Michail motioned to the chair, walking around his desk. "Sit down, I'll see what I wrote so we can go through the details," He plopped down in his seat, taking a second to shift through the many, many papers. "...uh, actually, I remember most of it. We'll start with form--it seemed alright, but I got the impression you're self-taught. I'll make sure to take you back a step to make sure your grip and the like are better."



This one was on Eris, he really should have known Varis was never in a mood to humor him. The vampire's eyes would have glazed over at Varis' bitching, but considering he'd get reamed for 'not paying attention', he'd endure it without complaint. Still, he couldn't believe his smile didn't even get an eye roll! What the hell was that?! Was he slipping? He was going to have to practice just in case he was slipping. No, he was fine, Varis was just immune to anything that would make any ordinary person swoon.

"Must you always refute me so?" He sighed.

Unfortunately for him, there was no saving the conversation as a nuisance appeared. As fun as it was to mess with Old Benson, Eris enjoyed having his break Eve-free. But all good things had to come to an end, and it was a little entertaining to see the little Eve's choice in approaching Varis as if nothing happened. He was almost convincing! Still, at minimum, he had to give credit where it was due, especially as Benton chose the right approach.

Before he could comment on it, however, Varis ditched him. And left him with Benicio. Great. Wonderful. Awesome. The painted on smile he gave the other blond had barely any effort put into it, but his willingness to care had already been in the negatives. Fine, if he was going to have to put up with him, then he was going to make sure he was

"Looks like if you're gonna keep up the ass-kissing act, we're going to have to have that conversation. You'll be tested on this later, make sure to stick close to me," He threw him a wink, motioning for him to follow.

Once they entered the classroom, Eris chose a seat off to the side, making sure that the kid sat next to him. They had just gotten there and already he was depressed--robes. They were dressed in robes. What century was this?! He suppressed a groan, rubbing his temple as he leaned back in his seat. That much was a mistake, as he ended up having to straighten up a little just to hear the vampire speak. Great Anastasia, had he known he would've skipped, too.

Some of this Eris had known, though he wasn't entirely surprised by the things he didn't know. Inner-House conflict predated even before the violence, he assumed. The stronger the House, the more conflict--anyone that didn't want power was lying to themselves. Even in his own family his aunts and uncles, cousins, and even his own sister often did everything but claw each other's eyes out in an attempt to gain the favor of their grandmother. He used to be part of that, too, before he was successful, but he'd admit it was fun to watch them fight one another.

He leaned in towards Benson, making sure to keep his voice low. "I'm sure you're all too aware of inter-House issues, hm?" He asked. "Though being on the winning side must feel good after finding out that investigation into Dracul's death was dismissed. Your pops must be pleased."






Lilie rode on her happiness cloud until she stepped into the classroom. Her mistake was thinking that this class would be similar to the rest--after all, if she could handle her old Spell Theory teacher, then she felt like she could handle anything. Unfortunately, she was a naive, optimistic child, and she was very quickly proven wrong. Why was this lady so mean and just charging ahead?!

There was no time to text Aaron, greet Max or Maddie, or even get herself situated, really. Her hand was already skirting over the blank page as she jotted down the rules, though she found the whole absence thing weird. That almost made it seem like they had a choice in coming to these classes. Unless she means people faking sickness? Who would do that, anyway? And even if you faked it, where would you go that wouldn't get you in trouble? She guessed maybe some people would like to stay in their dorms, but otherwise, she couldn't wrap her head around it.

Still, she focused more on the lecture, making sure to write down everything she thought was important. Despite missing out on the other class she had to drop, she was glad she ended up with this one, especially after her element was mentioned. Distance, material, sensing--it sounded easy on the surface, but she hadn't considered all these factors.

Max finally spoke to her, though Lilie couldn't really blame him for his comment. "I think she has it out for you, too," She whispered, having definitely noticed the Professor glancing his way.

At the chance of questions, she felt like she should ask something, but what? It was honestly her inner goody-two-shoes that wanted to participate, but this professor scared her a little. Even with that in mind, she ended up raising her hand. "Um, when you mentioned magical awareness, does that mean that we will be able to sense our elements subconsciously? Or will it be something we're able to do at will?"


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