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i accidentally boomed samakama

sorry 'bout taking over a week to reply

Huzzah! I only took a little under a week!

Alberta recommended a tea to cure Sanhan’s sleepiness back on the first day. Now their positions just so happen to be reversed…

also stop berta bulli, boys

She’s a nice girl at heart. Probably

Lineage and class. To display such things so openly via hair was… it was a foreign concept. Were there patterns proscribed from use except for members of certain classes?

There were plenty of peers and patricians or the progeny thereof enrolled and employed in Avalice. It scarcely affected anything, but Misaiya idly wondered if Sanhan was of aristocratic heritage as well. Discord was not uncommon in such households, or at least so the stereotype goes. Hopefully he hadn’t struck on something sensitive. But she thankfully seemed quite unperturbed.

As for her question… “My magic? Isn’t it obvious? It’s quite simple, and it’s not that subtle, after all—“

Ah, Nyx was calling. The last stragglers had arrived as well — Alberta, dragging along her (some would say ‘misfortunate’) room-mate Kress. Gates open: it was boarding time.

Sanhan looked a bit uncomfortable as she stepped up and into the cabin. As Misaiya followed behind her, carefully manhandling his bicycle around and about all the obnoxiously ostentatious opulence. The staff almost seemed to stare, twitching whenever its wheels came too close to something or another. Surely it couldn’t have been so strange to bring a secondary vehicle into another vehicle… though putting it that way did, admittedly, sound a bit odd. Well, there‘s always time for firsts.

That’s right. Sanhan was from a rural area, wasn’t she? This was probably her first time taking a train. Misaiya parked and secured his bicycle to a handle on the cabin wall, then sat on the vacant bench across the steppe girl, with his bag beside. He still hadn’t given her a proper answer yet, and it would simply be unfair not to.

“I don’t have any magic. Sensing and manipulating my mana is the best I can do. I haven’t got any natural aptitude for it anyhow, and besides, most people fare just fine without.” A little caveat was probably needed there, since most people didn’t attend a notoriously selective adventurer school.

“In my mother tongue, trains are called ‘fire carriages’ because they burn coal.” He gestured all around to the surrounding train cabin. “Although, now there are some places with ones that run on electricity alone.” His hometown was one such place. Their introduction saved many lungs from the noxious smoke of steam engines.

“Tonnes upon tonnes of cargo and thousands upon thousands of people are moved across continents by rail every day. All that, powered by nothing but boiling water.” A contented smile crept onto Misaiya’s face. “You could say that this is a kind of ‘magic’. A magic wielded by no one individual, but born of a collective, collaborative effort.”

Misaiya let out a single laugh. It sounded almost more like a cough, and would have looked like one too, had he not accompanied it with a grin.

“Which is all to say - I can’t use magic, so I turned to science and engineering. Haven’t given up on trying yet, though!”

It did, however, seem that Alberta had given up on staying awake. All sense of dignity went out the window as she plopped beside Sanhan, glanced at her with hazy confusion, and eventually just… gave up. Misaiya was no physician, but after a decade of school, he had learned how to diagnose sleep deprivation with remarkable accuracy. Either this was Alberta’s first time staying up late, or she had substituted a siesta in place of solid sleep.

It was a shame that Mandi either did not notice this, or did not care.

He kept silent for a while. Mandi had overstepped by no small degree, but - perhaps it ought to be called naïveté - Misaiya was still of the belief that the mischievous boy had not done so out of malice. As such, he would rather avoid offending Mandi or alienating him, while still telling him off sternly enough that Alberta would be spared the untimely ribbing. Coming off as a no-fun authoritarian would be counterproductive, after all.

Mandi was more the teasing type, and he did that to pretty much everyone, albeit with a focus on the girls. The sheer prolificness of the boy’s juvenile humour had slowly come to annoy Misaiya, even if only slightly. And to think that Mandi was a year his senior! The only person in the class who was remotely as raunchy as him would be Eris, who also chased skirts (poor Kiara, she had it the worst) and seemed to outright disdain boys. Truly a twisted tag team for the ages.


Plus, there was more than just one boy in Camellia who had made it a hobby to bother the flower- and tea-lover. Ty and Caelum ended up in shouting matches with Alberta on a semi-regular basis, and they shot demeaning nicknames and insults at her (and vice versa) every time they met. Admittedly, she was the one initiating confrontations a disproportionate amount of the time, but still — 3 on 1 hardly seemed fair. Sekhandur didn’t get nearly as much flak for behaviour at least as egregious. Plus, Kress seemed to have a more positive opinion of her, though even a devil in human form would receive no worse an appraisal, so perhaps he wasn’t the best source…

Either way, Misaiya didn’t want a fight breaking out so soon after setting off, and right when he and Sanhan were having a perfectly peaceful conversation, too. Mandi had to go.

“Hold the ribald comments, Mandi, cease your bawdy tease.
If you have any empathy, then let her rest in peace.”

…that double meaning had not been intentional. At all. Whoops? Hopefully Alberta wouldn’t take it poorly. Why was he saying this in iambic meter?

“Whence you came, our friends await; they long for you again.
Go back and entertain them three: Sophiel, Ty, Yvaine.”

The four of them did seem to get along well, and Misaiya could sincerely testify that Yvaine was a most pleasant person to be around. It wasn’t like he was attacking anyone, right?

“Such baits and barbs are tiresome — note, briars have hearts too.
The circumstances bid us part, so we bid you adieu.”

That was probably enough. He couldn’t come up with another rhyming couplet anyway. And so, as if Mandi had already vanished from his sight, Misaiya waved over one of the train staff. “Excuse me!” A steward came over at once, with a practiced gait.

“A pillow, please. Make that three, actually. And a pot of tea.” Misaiya turned to the two across the table. “Have you eaten? The school is paying for food onboard.” It was too late for another breakfast, and still far too early for lunch. Fruits it was, then. “Duri— no, that’s out of season. I’ll have a pineapple.”

Slog, sweat, shower, stretch, sleep. Rinse and repeat; a regular routine.

The past fortnight had been two weeks of non-stop PT. Well, there were plenty of lectures and mana exercises too, but… If Misaiya had thought the first day had left him sore enough, all the running and jumping and lifting so far hadn’t yet rendered him bedridden only by virtue of copious amounts of willpower, adrenaline, and analgesic balms. The first obstacle course had been a tough but interesting challenge. The fifth had just been suffering.

Fact is, Misaiya wasn’t particularly fit. The other four might-classified Camellians - Ankaa, Sophiel, Caelum, and Ty - were doing at least somewhat better. Physically, they all outperformed him by a decent margin. As for the meditation training — Sophiel had trouble with magic too, but her mana could still effect some sort of change, albeit uncontrolled. He had rather more extensive issues.

Manipulating his mana wasn’t that difficult. He could move it around just fine, even shape it into simple patterns. Turning raw ‘mana’ into actual ‘magic’ was where he ran into a real wall. Misaiya had never so much as attempted to practise using magic, and he could only draw a little mana from an already tiny pool. It was like drinking from a tea cup with a spoon, convex side up. Spells would unfortunately still be a long ways away.

Camellia was a pretty supportive class, though. Or, a decent number of his classmates were at least. Misaiya was trying his best to do his part and pay it forward whenever he could. This admittedly wasn’t often, struggling as he was.

He stretched his limbs and neck and sides and back, a good half a minute each. Was that creaking and popping normal? Either way, by the end of it he felt better-prepared to face the day’s mission.

It was late in the morning, but he still had a good hour or so before the appointed reporting time at noon. A quick rinse later, he was packing the ‘bare essentials’, as Nyx had instructed. Misaiya had emptied out his rucksack, leaving only his equipment, a few sets of clothes, and a whole lot of air inside. Even at his most leisurely pace, it only took a few minutes before he was all set to head on out.

Misaiya would have gladly taken a passenger had any of his classmates wanted a ride — if it weren’t for the fact that his bicycle was a single-seater, and while there was a load carrier on the rear wheel… one, that was more a romantic couple thing, and secondly, it was pretty unsafe and he’d seen his fair share of cracked craniums because of people horsing around. The road is like a tiger’s mouth, after all. Better play it safe.

Helmet, on. Bells, check. He was ready to roll.

This was Misaiya’s first time leaving the campus since his arrival, and his first proper look at Genelogia in the daytime. The city was a metropolis in the truest sense, positively bustling and brimming with life in a way he hadn’t been able to appreciate trudging through the streets in the dead of night. Cycling all around campus had helped him in getting used to the bumpiness of cobblestone, too. He was still essentially a commuter at the moment, though, so he cut back on the sightseeing after a while.

He heard his destination far before it came into sight, the shrill whistles of incoming trains and the low rumbling of rails serving as unmistakable identifying characteristics. To little surprise, it was a heavily-trafficked place. Navigating the crowds milling about the platform, even dismounted, as such proved to be quite a pain. Old ladies and little rascals alike, by the time Misaiya came across his classmates, he had narrowly avoided running over and bumping into a dozen people with his bicycle.

Ty’s eye-catching orange hair had captured Misaiya’s notice first. Soon he spotted the rest - half the class had arrived already, and he was still very early. For a student who had spent years dutifully chasing after stragglers and latecomers (putting aside the incident during the opening ceremony), it was a welcome change of pace.

Misaiya gave them a nod and a wave, plus a ‘ding’ of the handlebar bell in greeting. Excitement seemed to be the principal part of the present atmosphere, what with the guys all but bouncing around. Sanhan though was just standing aside, idly - well, she had always been, maybe not asocial per se, but quiet for sure. She never seemed to chat or small talk, nor had she ever initiated a conversation. Was it callous apathy, or peak zen?

No, it was probably just a cultural difference. Practical simplicity and plain speech were not unfamiliar concepts to Misaiya, so it was hardly a stretch to imagine that the girl from a faraway land was content to be left undisturbed.

And so he did not speak to her. Ah, Caelum was here. The swordsman had stayed up pretty late last night training, but had still been the first in C-D to leave. Yet there was not a hint of tiredness on his face. Amazing, and quite the contrast with Misaiya’s everlasting barely-suppressed aching.

In fact, that aching was making a resurgence right about now, with a side of lethargy. Combined with all the background noise, Misaiya didn’t really have the energy to hold a conversation. So he shifted out of the way, next to Sanhan, and leaned against his bicycle. A poster caught his eye.

Sice and Pictor. The twin burglars’ pictures were now posted all over. With their useless eye-only masks, they looked like some caricature of a phantom thief, or perhaps just a regular roguish robber, given their shabby clothes. Though, with scarves like that, ‘artist’ would have been his second guess.

If they use the elements, then they‘re probably earth mages. The rationale was simple; they had green hair.

A lot of magic users were like that, not just the elementalists. Nyx’s dark dress and arrogant airs were a good match for his shadowy spells. Kress was blue, and used water magic. And earth magic, and all the other elements, but that didn’t support his point. Kiara… well, ‘ice’ described her personality more so than her magic. If only she could swap with Mandi, whose bright yellow streak of hair brought to mind electricity, and not so much water. And as for Eris - ‘smoke and mirrors’. That had to be most befitting the oddball girl, with hair the colour of smoke (if the smoke had come from burning lavender) and mana that allegedly caused a bizarre sensation of recursive self-reflection. She was Misaiya’s roommate and all, but he still had a hard time grasping her character.

Was their affinity to certain colours innate, born of the same factors that shaped the characteristics of their mana? Or were they consciously or subconsciously imitating the element they used, spurred on by cultural expectations and stereotyping? It was a nature versus nurture argument of sorts.

…what a tangent of thought that had been. And to what end? Actually, speaking of hair, and looking at Sanhan beside him — Misaiya wondered what her natural hair colour was, for she had both white and black locks. And unlike Mandi, whose hair was obviously dyed yellow, Sanhan’s case was a bit ambiguous.

It was curious. He was curious. That was cause enough.

“Sanhan.” She was right beside Misaiya, so he didn’t need to speak very loudly. Just enough to be clearly audible. “If it’s nothing sensitive to ask — is your hair naturally black, or white?”

Welp, that’s not a lot of information to go off of. If the class stays in the village for more than a day — maybe not even that long — I expect the Lexicon to get stolen at some point.
How do you envision the Arcane Paints event going?

They should take a group photo painting at the end, that’s for sure. Maybe show off the hidden side of the club, see what eldritch horrors pop up when you combine magic paint with the avant-garde. Or the enterprising doujin artists trying to make their waifus real…

On another note, @Blu if we probe Nyx now, will he reveal more intel about the theft, the stolen artifact, and the alleged perpetrators?
@samakama Mind if I have Ankaa carry Misaiya to his bed?

Aw, that’s cute. Sounds good. He won’t wake up, or at least pretend not to.
Bullying will only fuel their resentment. We’ve got 52 villains in the making here.

Misaiya felt quite vulnerable getting singled out all of a sudden, first by a classmate, and then by Nyx himself. The guy who had name-dropped him (and who looked on the verge of joining the many who were already crying) was not that far off the mark, except he could actually manipulate his mana. Just… not particularly well, nor was he able to put it to any practical use.

He wasn’t sure what exactly to feel about Nyx’s appraisal.

Misaiya had wanted to say something to the expelled students, some word of comfort or empathy, though there was little that could be said to any useful effect in the heat of the moment - and then they were gone, transported away, with naught save tears and ruined dreams and shame. Was that really it? Was that the last the remainder of Camellia would see of their classmates? It was jarring; as if something had been missing, and now unease had taken its place.

Nyx's methods were surely heterodox, even amidst the sheer unorthodoxy that characterised Avalice. Even the upcoming Festival only intended to eliminate a fifth of the classes. Camellia now only had a fifth of its students remaining. This was by far the smallest class Misaiya had ever been in, and there was still no guarantee that their numbers would not be further whittled down.

And Nyx was either fearless, well-prepared, or too arrogant for his own good (or perhaps all three), considering how he had directed the expellees right to the principal. It would scarcely be a surprise if he had the administration's approval for all these antics, extreme as they seemed. But the teacher ironically also looked rather the rule-breaking, defiant type; if he was simply doing his own thing and giving everyone else the finger while he was at it, it would not be out of character in the least.

Either way, the school's office politics were none of his concern, or at least not for the time being. Right now, Misaiya just wanted a shower and some long-overdue rest.

Misaiya waved goodbye to Yvaine, who had been approached by what he presumed to be her room-mates — ah, wasn't that boy Ankaa's opponent? — and was apparently headed back to the dormitories. "Thanks for healing me, Yvaine. Do rest well, and see you in class tomorrow."

Which reminded him of his appointment with Kress and Ankaa. The late hour and the intensity of the day's activities meant that the visit to the paints club would be better off postponed. Maybe Nyx would even allow it during curriculum time as part of the 'opposition research' he so valued — but not today.

"Kress, Ankaa.” The adrenaline that had been keeping him going non-stop for the past thirty-six hours had already begun to fade, and the fatigue of a vigorous full day and a half was setting in fast. Misaiya’s speech was more straight-to-the-point now, and you didn’t need eyes to tell that he was in no state to go campus touring. ”Today's been tiring for everyone; sorry, but it looks like we'll have to go see the arcane painters another day. Have a good evening."

Misaiya mustered only a brief, tired smile before trudging off in the direction of the dorms, his pole tap-tapping as he leaned on it like a cane and went off. He could not deny that he was somewhat excited to meet his own room-mates, especially since…

Wait, what if his room-mates had all been expelled?

There had been around five and a half dozen Camellians at first. With three people to a room (and a room or two of four), there were twenty or so occupied rooms. Yvaine and her two room-mates had somehow all made it in, so that left ten remaining students and at least nineteen rooms. Of course, the rooming arrangements would surely be adjusted as needed, but the odds of his original room-mates having been kicked out were pretty high — assuming things were completely random. Now that he thought about it, Ankaa and the boy she had been paired up with had both survived. Everyone in the three-way had too. And while Misaiya couldn't say for sure, he was pretty certain that most, if not all of the remaining Camellians had been fighting each other earlier.

Don't tell me we're all in the same four rooms too.

Had his fate been predetermined before the spars had started, before he had even arrived at the school gates? Had Nyx been observing them for so long that he had already made arrangements far in advance? Or was it a happy coincidence?

The situation smelled fishy. But Misaiya smelled foul, and he would rather address that first. The entrance of the dorm was in sight now, his bicycle still parked against the wall and chained to a water pipe. The building was still unfamiliar to him, but he already felt a little relieved walking through its entrance.

Soon he was in front of his room. It was hard to miss, considering how he’d left all his luggage right outside. He opened the door, and—

‘Apartment’ seemed more accurate a descriptor than ‘room’. It did, after all, have multiple rooms, and either way, it was certainly far larger than he had expected. In objective terms, the place probably wasn’t very big. But opening the door to see a wide-open common room with a kitchen and even more doors leading to even more rooms — perhaps it didn’t make much sense, but Misaiya felt immensely content.

He would have let out a ‘wow’ or some otherwise astonished remark, had he not noticed someone fast asleep on the sofa. A room-mate, he assumed, and not some sort of burglar. Misaiya remembered seeing him earlier, but as for his name… Ah, there was something outside, wasn’t there?

Sure enough, there was a small sign on the main door. Dorm C-D. Ankaa Liu, Caelum Tempesta, Eris Reinhardt, Misaiya. The last name had been hastily scribbled on some paper and stuck to the bottom of the sign.

Huh. Ankaa’s here too. That’s nice. And this— Misaiya glanced over at the sleeping boy, —must be Caelum. Odds are that Eris made it too, so all four of us are still here. A little smile unconsciously crept onto his face. That was good to see. It also fuelled his overactive imagination and left his mind screaming about statistics and probability and shuffling a deck of cards, though that would be a problem for some other time that wasn’t now.

That didn’t stop Misaiya from thinking about meaningless things, though. He still couldn’t match a face to the name ‘Eris Reinhardt’. It had to be a girl; yet even knowing that, there were still five whose names he did not know. The most chaotic-looking of them would probably be the white-haired one, but the surname did not match well. Next, by his reckoning, would be the girl with purplish hair who was little taller than Kress. It was difficult to articulate any particular reason why — she certainly appeared more like the cool, etiquette-trained type, though not even a draconian governess could truly stamp out a noble child’s secret hobbies and proclivities. whatever the case, Misaiya had convinced himself that that girl was the most probable Eris. This, in spite of the fact that he would find out the truth with absolute certainty by the end of the day.

And now it was time to step foot into the dormitory life, a life of…

A life of what?

Misaiya had no idea what to expect from dorm life. But he knew his room-mates (housemates?) would shape the experience a lot, for sure, so it was fortunate that at least Ankaa was trustworthy and good-natured. It wouldn’t do to demand much of others but offer little himself, so he began with showing a little courtesy to Caelum. Dragging his luggage in, as he had previously planned on doing, would have been easier and quicker. But in order to avoid rousing Caelum, he instead lifted his entire rucksack off the ground and gently hefted the whole thing — which was a little under a quarter his own body weight, mostly in light casual clothes meant for wear indoors and in the summertime — into an unobtrusive corner of the common room. It wasn’t exactly a herculean task, yet his limbs and his back felt sorer for it anyways.

Misaiya set down all the assorted items he had been lugging around the whole day. First were his formal robes, which went folded into a designated bag. Those might need to be washed by hand, though he had yet to find out about how laundry would be done in the dorms. Next was his equipment. Rifle, pole, and sheathed machete he laid on the ground against the wall, quietly noting that he would have to conduct maintenance on them soon, while the sling was simply draped over them, carelessly.

Toiletries and a change of clothes took only a minute to find, and before long, Misaiya was enjoying a refreshing shower. He let the warm water run from his scalp down to the tips of his uncut hair, drowning the dust and the dirt before flowing away into the drain. This had to be the cleanest he’d ever felt. Then again, the sheer amount of sweat and grime that was only now being rinsed off had left him the dirtiest he’d ever felt, too. Soap lather had never been so smooth and sweet-smelling before.

His early morning shower had left him energised for the upcoming day; now, perhaps it was the humidity, but he felt both an aching tension in his body and an unclear haziness in his mind. A dual-pronged exhaustion struck him even as he dried himself off and put on some clothes — another white shirt, and grey pants with socks.

Had the girls come back already? Was Caelum still on his sofa? Misaiya could probably see for himself, but his brain had decided to go on strike until it got some sleep. Now on autopilot, he emerged from the bathroom, bagged his dirty clothes, and stashed them into his rucksack, before remembering that he still had no clue which bed was his.

Ah, and I should do some stretches first or I’ll wake up sore…

Part of Misaiya’s mind was telling him ‘yes, you should’. The rest of it held the opposite opinion quite strongly, and his drowsy body was backing the latter. He slid down the wall onto the floor next to his rucksack, pushed his still-damp hair out of the way, and lay his head on bent knees. These pants are so soft and comfy. The weighty gravity of sleep encumbered his mind, and soon he had dozed off completely.

<Snipped quote by Blu>

So.... which side is Mandi on?

Yvaine’s side, duh. She and Sophiel already think that Mandi’s a girl anyway.

And I’m sure Eris has totally wholesome reasons for wanting a public bath. Looks like Ankaa will have a lot of skinship to look forward to, being in the same room as her. Eris is only one letter removed from Eros after all.

Wait a minute, the mythological Eris is sometimes said to be daughter of Nyx…
How far out can we bail before Nyx just disqualifies us? Thinking of stealing Kress’ special move.
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