Chapter 3: Magic!

“Where do we go now?” Kason asked, looking towards Ashton, who had turned to glare at the trees again.

“Well, we need to get you a ring and a place to stay, so I suppose I should take you to the Registry office.” Ashton gave a last fierce glare at the trees and stomped off down the only path leading away from the monument’s plaza.

“What do you think’s got him so worked up?” Harper whispered to Kason as they followed behind Ashton.

“No Idea.” Kason replied, equally confused.

They traipsed along, smelling the pungent smell of sap in the air and exclaiming at the myriad different colours of trees that they passed. When they broke out of the forested area that surrounded the monument’s plaza, Ashton began to point out buildings as they passed them, even though most of them could only be partially seen, being illuminated by moon crystals.

“That’s the senior’s Coliseum, that pathway there leads to the Medicine Garden, that’s out of bounds for everyone most of the time. That’s an old building no one uses anymore, that’s the senior’s dining area, over that hill is the senior’s practice field, don’t go there until you know how to either run away really fast or create a really powerful shield.” The names continued to spew from his mouth and Kason, at least, couldn’t remember even half of them.

They eventually arrived at a cross-road with a signpost illuminated by moon crystals which indicated that the senior’s dorm area was to the left and main college buildings were in front. There was a right-hand path but there was no sign saying where it went and when Kason tried to see what was down there, he was only greeted with a long path bathed in light by moon crystals and another forest, this one more normal looking.

“I live in the senior dorms over there,” Ashton said, gesturing with his hand towards the building on the left. Kason peered through the darkness at it, trying to get a better look, but all he could see was the area around the doors which was illuminated by a different kind of moon crystal that emitted a warmer, golden light than the usual ones. The walls looked to be made from a grey stone and the double doors that stood in the entryway were made of some wood that glimmered very slightly in the light. There were also steps that led up to the doors, made of the same materials as the walls that, combined with the hulking mass of darkness the building looked to be in the night, gave Kason the feeling that he was looking at a grand manor instead of a dorm for students.

“The Registry office is down with the main buildings, so that’s where we’ll be going next,” Ashton said and began to walk down the front facing pathway. He had only gone a couple of paces though before a muffled boom rang out from in the direction of the senior dorms. Following this, fire began to pour out of some of the windows on the third floor which had been broken by whatever had made the noise. The scarlet inferno lit up the whole eastern face of the building, spilling out in great columns which rose a couple of meters in the air before petering out.

Following this intimidating display of power, the stone that made up the building’s walls began to ripple and develop a bluish sheen that Kason assumed was some kind of defence mechanism. Even this defence mechanism couldn’t stop what happened next, however. Within moments of the fire being extinguished, another boom, this one clearer to hear, echoed out. The wall, which had just been coated in blazing flames, began to bulge outwards slightly. Not even a few seconds later, the wall gave way under the strain and exploded outwards violently sending chunks of stone flying into the night.

Out of the newly created hole in the side of the building, emerging like some beast from its cave, a canopy of electric blue leaves sprouted, illuminated by an unlucky tree next to the building that had been set ablaze earlier. They grew from within the hole on an enormous branch that extended from inside the third floor of the building, it seemed that it was that which had made the booming noises, presumably as it forced its way through any obstructions.

While all these events were happening, Kason and Harper stood gaping at the miraculous scene, while Ashton stood stock still, frozen by shock. After everything quietened once again, Ashton began to shake violently and gave a strangled cry of despair.

“My room was near there you bastards!” He screamed and, thrusting his hand into his pocket, he vanished.

Kason and Harper stayed where they were, still gaping at the marvellous scene over at the senior dorms.

“That…” Harper said after a while. He cleared his throat and tried again, “That was amazing!”

He turned to look at Kason, his eyes shining with excitement, “Do you think we’ll be able to do stuff like that when we’re in the senior division? Imagine that! Shooting fire and making trees grow through walls. I’d like to shoot lightning from my fingers!” He made a pose like he was striking some invisible enemy, pointing his finger dramatically and doing a bad imitation of sizzling electricity with his mouth.

Kason was also thrilled and replied excitedly, “Yeah I want…” But his voice petered out and his face became gloomy “Do you think Ashton will come back?”

“What? Oh him.” Harper stopped and looked thoughtful, “Probably not.” He concluded.

“How are we going to get to that registry office place then?” Asked Kason nervously.

“Well, he did say that it was down that way with the main buildings.”

Harper pointed at the sign pointing down the road Ashton had begun to walk down before he disappeared, “I think we could probably find our way there.”

“Let’s wait a bit and see if he comes back.” Kason said, unwilling to risk getting lost in this unfamiliar place.

Harper nodded and so they waited, talking enthusiastically about what magic they would use if they could. After around ten minutes, Ashton had still not returned and Harper began to complain about his hunger. Kason was also feeling hunger gnawing at his stomach and so, even though he was still somewhat reluctant to wander around without direction, he agreed to Harper’s requests to try to find the registry office.

They began to walk down the path that led towards the main buildings, Harper still babbling on about magic, occasionally intersecting his monologue with comments about the empty state of his stomach. After walking down the path for a couple of minutes, and passing through another forest, this one of ordinary oaks, they reached the main buildings.

The first building they saw looked like a mix between a manor house and a cathedral. Its walls were made of stone, like the senior dorms, but were ornately carved with symbols and other such designs. Above and on either side of the double oaken doors at the entrance, there were two massive circular windows of various coloured glass, each depicting a different creature, looking sort of like eyes on the building’s front face. Windows were inlaid at regular intervals to each side of the door, looking square and solid, giving the impression that they were soldiers standing guard. The cries of various exotic birds and other strange sounds coming from the forest they had just left added to the place’s grand yet mysterious atmosphere. All in all, Kason couldn’t help thinking that it felt like just the place to learn magical arts.

Kason and Harper looked at the moonlit building, “Do you think this is the place?” Kason asked hopefully.

“It doesn’t have a sign or anything so I suppose we just try the door?” Harper suggested. He walked forward and up the stone steps to the doors. “There isn’t a handle!” He exclaimed, “Oh wait, but there are some sort of grooves here, I’ll give them a go.” He inserted a hand into each groove and pulled. Nothing happened. He pulled again, this time harder, but still, they didn’t move.

“Looks like this isn’t the place,” Kason called to him.

“Yeah.” Harper replied, panting slightly, “Probably not.”

Kason walked back up the path they came down and looked towards the building, looking to see if there was any indication as to what it’s purpose was. He found nothing but did see two paths leading off in opposite directions around each side of the building.

He called out to Harper who was walking towards him and pointed towards each of the two paths in turn, “Shall we go down one of those paths? They might lead to the right place.”

“Sounds good, let’s go right,” Harper replied.

“Why right?”

“Cuz right is right!” Harper chuckled and began to walk towards the right-hand path. Kason followed behind him inwardly thinking that Harper’s sense of humour wasn’t the best.

They followed the path which led them around the side of the building and down towards another one. Trees lined the stone paved pathway in ordered rows and moon crystals floated, as usual, above the centre of the path. As they approached the new building, they suddenly felt a strange sensation as if a massive invisible hand was pushing against them as they walked, trying to prevent them from going any further. After walking a few more meters they found it impossible to go any further and so, feeling rather confused, they retreated back the way they had come.

They walked back to the front of the main building with its stubbornly closed doors. They stood listlessly and stared at them in frustration.

“What are we supposed to do!” Kason said, not really asking a question but just venting his annoyance.

Harper, who had turned away from the doors to look up the path that led back towards the senior dorms, suddenly let out a cry and pointed, “Look, there’re people coming down here, maybe they’re more new students like us!”

Kason turned around to look in the direction Harper was pointing and saw four people walking down the path from the forest. The one in front was taller than the other three, making Kason agree with Harper’s assumption that they were indeed new students with their guide.

“Do you think their guide will be able to take us to that Registry office or whatever?” Harper asked his expression calm.

“I don’t know,” Kason replied, “what if they think we’re trespassers or something because we aren’t with our guide?”

“It’s not our fault Ashton ran away and besides, we’ve still got those token things. Ashton used those to check if we were students so this guide should be able to do the same.” Harper said this confidently but Kason couldn’t help but notice that his expression betrayed a hint of nervousness.

They found a spot of dry ground off to the side of the path and waited for the figures on the path to approach. As they got closer, they were able to see them more clearly in the light provided by the moon crystals floating above the path.

The guide in front seemed to be quite old, he had a bushy beard of greying straw blond hair which matched the colour of the many strands that fell off his head to a length almost as long as Harper’s. Although he seemed to be old, his build was still lean and muscular, and he carried himself in an upright position that gave his presence a kind of majesty one might expect from a ruler. He wore a rather torn and dirty green cloak about his shoulders which covered a similarly coloured, tightly fitting top and trousers.

Behind him were three children, two girls and a boy, they were chatting away idly as they walked, obviously feeling quite comfortable in their guide’s presence. The two girls were both of average height for their age, one had mid-length, tawny coloured hair that hung freely down her head and brown eyes that shone with a glint of playfulness as she laughed with the other girl. She had auburn hair about the same length except that hers was tied into a ponytail that swung as she walked, her eyes were a pale blue, almost grey, which matched her equally pale skin. The boy who walked beside them, was much more muscled than any other Kason had seen his age, he had short hair that stuck up messily on his head and startlingly green eyes that were in stark contrast to his clothes and hair, which were both black.

As they approached, Harper motioned for Kason to get up and they nervously walked onto the path where Harper called out to the guide.

“Excuse me.”

The guide turned to look at them, he didn’t seem surprised which made Kason guess that he had probably already noticed them before Harper even called out. “What are you two children doing wandering around this place at night?” He asked in a rather slow, yet steady drawl.

“Sir, we’re new students but we got separated from our guide.” Harper proceeded to tell the guide about the incident at the senior dorms.

“Mmmm…” the guide looked at them silently for a moment, in which Kason and Harper looked anxiously up at him. Then he sighed and said, “Well I’ll take you along and the people in Registry can decide what to do with you.” He shrugged and carried on walking down the path, gesturing for the children to follow him.

They walked down the path towards the main building whose doors they had tried to open earlier, the children who were walking behind the guide originally, occasionally glancing at Kason and Harper and whispering to each other as they walked in front of them down the path.

When the guide reached the door, he pulled something from under his cloak and reached for one of the grooves in the door that Harper had used to try and open it. Kason and Harper both craned their necks and shuffled to the side, trying to see what the guide did, but they couldn’t, the guide’s frame blocked all his actions from view.

Whatever he did must have been correct, however, because a few moments after he stepped away from the door, a slight creaking was heard and the doors swung open, letting golden light spill out onto the steps. The guide then walked forward without looking back at them, beckoning the children to follow him inside. The boy walked in first, followed by the two girls. Harper looked excitedly at Kason and then together they walked boldly forward, over the threshold.

Third chapter is here! As always if you spot any mistakes or have any ideas, feel free to leave a comment.



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