Kason got up to his room and pushed open the door, his heart beating fast with anticipation, he grinned when he saw the neatly folded pile of clothes sitting on his pillow. He hurriedly walked over to them and found that there was also a small booklet lying on top of the pile with a short note that looked like it had been jotted down in a hurry and stuck on top of it.
It read, ‘I was supposed to give you this when you got your rings and pendants, but oh well. – Brent’
Kason frowned slightly, he was getting the impression that Brent was slightly irresponsible, and not quite suited to the admin job that he currently had. After dispelling his doubts, he placed the booklet to one side and began changing into the newly delivered robes.
They were exactly the right size for him, which he found slightly disturbing given that neither he or his mother had told the college anything about how tall he was, nor had the college had anyone come to measure him. After he had fully changed, he began to do a few light stretches to see how the uniform felt when he moved. The fabric stretched magnificently and felt as soft as if they were woven from clouds, he was extremely satisfied just wearing it and thought, half seriously, that he might never take it off.
He then took a moment to look down himself and examine how he looked, lamenting the fact that his room did not have a mirror. The uniform was composed of a robe that stretched down unbroken to his waist and then split off into two strips which reached down the outside of both his legs to the knees, as well as a pair of deep navy blue trousers.
The robe was a brilliant white, with a blue strip running straight down from the collar to the point where it split, and in the centre of the blue strip around the area of the heart, was the insignia of the scarlet rose and number four. The rose was also embroidered on the cuffs of both arms, differing from the one on the chest only slightly, with a number one sitting on the open petals instead of a four. Kason assumed that the number one represented his year.
Kason changed out of his uniform and carefully folded it and put it away, he did not want it to suffer any damage before the lessons had even begun. He whiled away the rest of the evening, reading the little booklet, which turned out to more or less be a simple rulebook, and trying to solve a puzzle which he had brought with him from home, which he couldn’t. He then ate dinner quickly before going straight to bed.
He had a hard time sleeping that night, the thought of lessons beginning the next morning kept him up until well past midnight so that when he woke up the next morning, his eyes had great bags under them making it seem like he hadn’t slept at all. He went down to breakfast yawning every couple of steps and rubbing his eyes constantly, he sat down at a table and chose an item randomly from the menu.
The food arrived a moment later and he ate it slowly, eyes half closed. He heard a thump from the other side of his table and looked up, Harper had arrived and sat himself down opposite him. Harper too had dark rings around his eyes and his head was listlessly drooping on his shoulders, Kason, seeing that his eyes were closed, reached over the table and gave him a poke.
Harper’s head jerked up and he looked around wildly, before noticing Kason sitting opposite him and realizing where he was. “I thought I was still in bed,” Harper said in a croaky voice, heading tilting forwards as he spoke, “I mean, I remember getting up but,” he gave an almighty yawn, “I don’t remember getting here.” His head then flopped down on the table with a thud and he began to snore.
Kason sighed and reached over to poke him again. Harper groaned under Kason barrage of pokes and peeled his face off the table. He then ordered his breakfast and Kason, who had finished his, stayed and chatted with him as he ate it. In the midst of eating, Harper looked around the dining hall, “There are definitely a lot more people than there were a couple of days ago,” he commented around a mouthful of food.
Kason lifted his head and looked around as well, he noticed that Kason was right. A couple of days ago, the dining hall had been more or less empty at this time, but now it was bustling with people. He nodded and then stopped as he thought of something, “How come we don’t see the older years in the junior division at meal times? I see them about the nexus quite often but never in here.”
Harper shrugged, “Dunno, perhaps they eat at different times?” He swallowed his mouthful and then pushed his now empty bowl to the side, where it disappeared back into the table. “Right, “He said, standing up so suddenly that the tiredness of a few moments ago seemed like just an illusion, “Lessons begin at nine so we’ve got about an hour to get ready, do you want to meet in the common room in about half an hour to go find our classrooms?”
Kason nodded and they returned to their separate rooms. Once inside his own, Kason immediately changed into his uniform and began to pace up and down his room restlessly. He could feel an uncomfortable sensation rising in his stomach from the nerves he was feeling and wished that he could have another vial of that medicine he had gotten from the healer yesterday. After a couple of rounds of pacing, he suddenly remembered that he still needed to get his equipment ready and began to frantically gather the relatively small number of necessary items he needed.
He then went back to pacing and after a couple of minutes, he went over to his door. He went to push it open, thinking that he would go and read a book from the small library in the common room while he waited but just before he pushed it open, he stopped suddenly; his face morphing into an expression of panic. He then turned and rushed back to the desk against the right wall of his room.
He sat down on the chair, which bobbed a little lower as he sat on it, and snatched the little rulebook off the table where he had left it. He then rapidly navigated to the section where it stated everything he needed to bring to classes and read through it thoroughly to make sure he wasn’t missing anything.
This same process happened several times before Kason finally managed to persuade his over-tired and excited self that he had not left out anything that he was supposed to bring. He then left his room for the common room, still feeling slightly fidgety and a tiny nagging thought circling around in his head telling him that he had forgotten something.
He reached the common room with around fifteen minutes to spare and picked a random book off the shelf of one of the few shelves in the small library section before sitting down on a chair by the fire, which as always, was crackling away merrily. Ten minutes went by in a flash, at which point Harper swaggered into the room, dressed in his own uniform, he spotted Kason in the chair and walked over to him.
“You ready to go?” He asked, his eyes shining with anticipation as he looked down at Kason over the back of the chair. Kason smiled nervously and nodded. Kason got up and replaced his book in the place where he had found it, then followed Harper leading from the common room to the nexus.
“Do you know what classroom you’re in?” Harper asked as they entered the nexus.
“N- no I don’t, not yet…” Kason said, feeling a jolt of unease as he remembered what it was he had forgotten to do.
Harper rolled his eyes, “Man, you need to be more organized. I’m in 1b, you know how to check right?”
Kason pulled at the silver chain of his pendant, bringing it out from under his robe and holding it up, “Brent said to just look into this right?”
“Yeah, it’s a bit weird, but all you have to do is stare right into it and you’ll see the number and letter just sort of floating there.”
Kason looked and indeed saw something. There was a misty number ‘1’ followed by the letter ‘b’ hovering lazily in the centre of the sky blue jewel, “I think I’m in 1b as well!” Kason said joyfully.
“Nice!” Harper cried and tried to give Kason a high five, but missed. Kason laughed at his failure as they walked out of the doors into the courtyard and Harper pulled at the collar of his robe awkwardly, before rapidly changing the subject, “It’s amazing how they managed to fix this whole place in such a short time isn’t it?”
The courtyard was much busier than usual, even at this time, people hurrying all over the place and calling out to friends they saw as they did. Kason and Harper walked across the courtyard towards the building next to the Planetarium where all the classrooms were located in front of which was a crowd of people, all jostling to get through the doors.
Kason and Harper stood at the back of the crowd and let themselves be drawn slowly towards the entrance. They reached it after about five minutes of slow progress through the undulating crowd and found themselves in another circular nexus lighted by golden moon crystals, this one much larger than any of the others they had been in even though there weren’t as many doors.
There were only four doors, in fact, each one with a number above the door going from one to four along with the usual carpet, this one a dark green colour. Kason and Harper wormed their way through the loose crowd of people who were standing near the entrance and found a quieter spot near the centre of the room to take stock of their surroundings.
Kason had experienced quite a claustrophobic feeling in the crowd outside the doors, given his slightly small stature and the fact that he still wasn’t used to that many people all being in one place, he couldn’t help feeling a bit intimidated. He had let out a sigh of relief when they entered the nexus and he finally got some room to breathe.
Once they stopped at the centre of the room, Kason began to look curiously around at the other students in the nexus. The majority of them looked to be older students, probably in the third year upwards; he could not see the number on the cuffs of their robes though and so could not be sure.
Most of them were walking through the doors labelled with the three and four, so he suspected that the number signified what year group the classrooms beyond belonged to. He carried on watching people pass for a few moments until he was tapped on the shoulder by Harper, who had also been looking around.
“I think, we go through that one,” Harper said pointing to the door with a number one over it. Kason made a noise of agreement and they both stood there watching it, neither of them willing to take the first step for fear of ending up in the wrong place. They stood there for a minute, just watching people walk by, still staring at the door.
“Ok, this is stupid, let’s just…” Harper began, but all of a sudden a voice called out to them. They turned and saw the girl, Kayla, who had been caught up in the commotion with them yesterday walking towards them along with the girl whom she had been with when they had first arrived at the college.
She walked up to them, with her friend following a couple of paces behind her, and waved in greeting. Kason and Harper waved back and waited for her to reach them.
Once she reached their spot, Kayla began to ask something but was interrupted by a yawn, which came before she could. Kason noticed that she also had dark circles around her eyes, although not as pronounced as his or Harper’s. He glanced at her companion and found that she looked perfectly normal, it seemed that she had managed to get a full night’s sleep.
Kayla began her question again when her yawn subsided, “You two are in year one right? Why are you waiting out here?”
“We, err, we’re just, umm, calming, yeah, calming our nerves,” Harper replied and gave a small satisfied nod as if to emphasise his credibility.
Kayla eyed at him with a slightly confused look, mirroring the confused feeling that Kason was feeling, and his face flushed slightly under her gaze. “Whatever,” she said dismissively, “This is Lexia by the way. You should get going, or else you might be late.” She introduced her friend who gave them a slight smile.
The two of them then began to walk towards the door labelled with the number one, with Kason and Harper following a few steps behind them. “Why did you say that we were calming our nerves?” Harper whispered to Harper.
“I dunno,” whispered back Harper, a slightly agonised expression on his face, “I just felt it would be a little bit embarrassing to say we didn’t know where to go, so I improvised.”
Kason shrugged and stopped his enquiry, he didn’t understand why being unsure was particularly embarrassing, but it didn’t really matter so he just went with it. They entered the door and found themselves in a long brightly lit corridor, much like the one outside their rooms in the dorm, with windows lining one wall and doors spaced out on the other.
There were many students, all who looked to be around their age, strolling up and down the corridor, each gazing at something above the doors. Kason also looked, and saw that above the doors was a small plaque on which was emblazoned a number and a letter. The closest classroom to the entrance where they stood was one labelled as ‘1a’.
Harper, who stood beside Kason, let out a small sigh of relief upon seeing that they had reached the right place. “Let’s go find our room then,” He said to Kason with renewed excitement gleaming in his eyes. He walked off down the corridor, with Kason following just behind him, they passed by Kayla and Lexia who had stopped to talk with some other girls and past the room marked ‘1a’ to stand before the next one labelled as ‘1b’.
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