Kason arrived at the Range on the second day of the next week by himself. The others had all gone on ahead while he was sorting out some of his possessions which he had inadvertently knocked down from the shelves in his room while getting changed during the day. He charged through the gate at a half-run and jogged up the field to join the back of the group of which had Professor Kinora had seemingly just called together.
Luckily, it seemed that Professor Kinora was a bit preoccupied as he did not notice his late arrival, in fact, it was a few moments longer before he began talking. He sent them off to do their usual warmup exercises and Kason wondered whether or not he had forgotten about what he had told them at their last session. It seemed he hadn’t however, for after they finished, he gathered them together once again.
“Last week I said I would teach you magic,” he began, “that is, of course, dependent on the fact that your ether saturations are up to the required level. You should all have them memorised so I’ll have you tell me now.”
He pointed at Roan, signifying that he should start them off.
“I’m on about 135C, professor” Roan said in a boastful tone.
Professor Kinora cast him an annoyed glance, “I need specifics boy, not ‘roughly’s or ‘about’s!”
“I’m on 134.1C, sir,” Roan said again, the arrogance gone from his voice.
They went around the group starting from the front until they got to the back. Roan’s group had an average of about 128C with most of them being around that mark, except for Roan who had the highest. In Kaosn’s group of friends, Lexia still had the highest saturation with 144.2C with Alford not far behind at 139C. Next came Harper with 130.3C then Kason with 126.7C and lastly Kayla with 122.2C, just above the threshold Professor Kinora had mentioned to them at their last meeting.
After having heard their numbers, Professor Kinora split them up into pairs and told them to move so that each pair had a good deal of space around them. He then walked amongst them and began to talk as he made sure they were sufficiently spaced out.
“When it comes to combat magic, force spells are the most basic, and usually most effective spells one can use.” He paused as he directed Alford to move into a different place and then continued, “They function much like the telekinesis you have learnt. If you think of telekinesis as pulling something along, then force spells do the opposite; they push. They are, however, classified as LSP type spells and so cannot be taught until you reach the senior division. If you get there that is.” He paused and snorted to himself, “Although you cannot be taught them, their effects can be imitated in a rough manner by using air manipulation spells. It is that which I will attempt to teach you.”
He then explained the theory to them, of how they should use ether to direct the air around them to move as they wished, and then set them the task of using their magic to push their partner backwards.
Having already gotten used to using spells with two other elements, Kason found that this time, it was much easier to get the spell to work as he wished. Compared to the many hours that he had spent trying to get the fire spell to work, it took him a mere half an hour to conjure up a light breeze to blow against Kayla, who he had been partnered with.
This initial breeze didn’t do an awful lot, as Kayla commented whilst thanking him jokingly for cooling her down. She managed a similar feat a short while later and in that time, Kason managed come up with a way to increase the force his wind exerted. As Kayla sent her own gentle breezes his way, ruffling his hair and whistling softly in his ears, he considered how he might compress the wind under his sway into something more focussed, and ideally, more powerful.
By the end of that evening’s tutoring, Kason had managed to successfully compress the air under his control into something the size of his own head, which he had been quite proud of. This had not, however, been significantly more powerful given that it still travelled rather slowly – but it was a start, and Kason thought he could quite easily ramp up the speed with practice.
After a quick lecture by a disdainful sounding Professor Kinora about how they should surely have made more progress than they did, they all made their way back to the dorms. Harper walked along grumpily, his feet grinding into the path with each step as if he had some personal vendetta against it. He had been partnered up with Roan and, if his current attitude was anything to go by, he hadn’t had a pleasant time.
They took to talking as they walked, comparing results and observations, and Harper complained in sullen tones at the taunts and nasty comments which he had had to endure throughout the session.
“It’s not my fault that I’m not as good at magic as he is!” he raged to no one in particular, “And it’s not fair how he can just pick things up so easily.”
“Did he manage to cast the spell quite quickly then?” asked Lexia dryly.
“Yeah, it only took him around thirty minutes to get the spell working right. Then…” he began his tirade anew and only stopped when Lexia interrupted with a sarcastic comment of mock sympathy.
Harper glared at her, but she simply glared back. Eventually, Harper looked away with an irritated huff and continued walking in silence. it wasn’t until they reached the alleyway leading past the observatory to the dorms, that Harper spoke again.
“Lexia,” Harper said sounding thoughtful, and slightly accusatory “A while back, I thought you said that we could learn force spells in the third year? But, according to what Professor Kinora said earlier, that’s untrue.”
It was Lexia’s turn to huff this time. “I thought so, or at least, that’s how my dad does it,” she said sounding miffed, “Perhaps the colleges all have different systems? Or perhaps he only starts the theory in the third year? I don’t really know.”
The next day, they got a sudden surprise as Ms Luxford told them in class that morning that the entire faculty was having a meeting in the afternoon, so they could have that time off! This was highly unusual, given that there had never been meeting during lesson time before, but Kason felt enthused none the less, and if the atmosphere of the class was any indicator, so did everyone else. When lunch came, Ms Luxford dismissed them with a wave and they went off to eat.
After having eaten, Kason wondered whether they all might go together and practice the wind spell that Professor Kinora had taught them the evening before. He was eager to get back to it and carry on tinkering around with the spell to make it more powerful. This idea was quickly shot dead in the water by Lexia, however, who pointed out that if all the teachers were in a meeting, then they would hardly be likely to find anyone to oversee their practice.
They therefore all decided to go off and do their own things. Alford and Kayla went off to finish some work and Harper invited Kason to come along down to the coliseum to watch some duels. Kason readily agreed and Lexia, who had overheard their conversation, asked if she could come as well.
And so, a short while later, the three of them wandered down the path away from the main buildings, towards the coliseum. They passed by the senior dorms and stopped for a short while to watch as several of the older students pranced about on the roof of the dorms, throwing something that looked like it could have been some kind of animal around between them. The thing eventually exploded in the hands of one rather startled looking student, who was blasted off the roof of the building by the explosion. He fell a short way, eliciting a gasp from Lexia, before bringing himself to a halt and zooming back up to the roof, shaking his fist at the other students who were all doubled up with laughter.
They walked up past the path that Kason and Harper had gone down during their initial exploration of the college grounds, the place where Kason had picked up the black stone that now sat in his necklace. They then reached the coliseum and paused for a few moments outside the entrance.
“I wonder if the place Professor Kinora has arranged for us to use for the duel is anything like this?” Kason wondered aloud, looking up at the imposing grey walls.
Harper shrugged and Lexia said, “I think this coliseum is pretty irregular. I’ve been to a few – for the regional and national bouts – and the coliseum’s they are held in are pretty different to this.”
“Yeah,” Harper said, nodding, “They’re all sleek and new looking, whereas this one looks… Well, it looks a bit odd, doesn’t it?”
“Maybe it’s old,” Lexia said and led the way inside.
They ended up staying for a few hours, watching various people enter the arena and face off against their opponents. Originally they had meant to stay for a shorter amount of time, but as they were about to leave, Harper’s idol – Emelia Ashworth – had entered the arena and Harper had insisted they stay to see her matches.
When they eventually left, the sun was already beginning to set. Harper marched along in front of the other two as they exited the coliseum, regaling them with a more or less play by play recap of the last of Emelia’s match. He gushed enthusiastically about how she had defeated her opponent, reams of words flowing from his mouth, which Kason had long since decided not to listen to.
That was not to say that he had not found the fights interesting. He had cheered as much as the others as he watched Emelia and the other students duke it out in the arena, all the time under the protection of the pale blue shield the coliseum provided. It was just that after the initial thrill of the fight left him, the same cold feeling always clawed its way to the fore of his thoughts, reminding him that he would have to do something similar in less than four weeks time.
They walked along the path back towards the main buildings, Harper still speaking non-stop even after several minutes had passed. Kason was looking at the ground, letting Harper’s words wash over him and thinking of nothing in particular when he noticed that Harper had suddenly stopped his lecture. He looked up to see what had happened and saw Professor Kinora walking towards them from the direction of the main buildings.
Lexia hastily tugged him to the side of the path where she and Harper were standing, respectfully allowing Professor Kinora to pass. Kason hurriedly joined them and watched the professor walk past.
He paid them no mind as his feet carried his green cloaked form past them, not even seeming to notice their presence at all. Kason noticed that the hood of his cloak was lowered for a change, letting his white hair run freely down the back of the cloak and his face be illuminated by the rays of the dying sun.
Perhaps it was this that allowed Kason to notice the slight abnormalities in it, for he surely wouldn’t have normally. In the instant that the man passed, Kason noticed his mouth was slack compared to how it usually was and his eyes, which were never very expressive anyway, seemed glazed and glassy, as if he were looking without properly seeing his way.
Then the moment passed and Professor Kinora carried on his way, walking with what Kason now realised was a slight limp to his left leg. It was all very peculiar, and he said as much to Harper and Lexia after watching Profesor Kinora disappear down one of the turnings just before the coliseum into a small patch of woodland. Lexia nodded, having also thought he looked strange, but Harper was sceptical.
“Maybe he’s just tired from the meeting or something like that?” Harper suggested, “I’d image stuff like that can be plenty tiring.”
“What about the limp though?” Kason said, not totally convinced.
“Perhaps he had an accident while teaching this morning?”
Kason nodded uncertainly and looked at Lexia, who was looking off in the direction that Professor Kinora had disappeared into.
“How about…” she began, “we follow him?”
“What! Why?” Harper said.
“Well, he’s supposed to be tutoring us in a little while and yet he’s still wandering off like that. Isn’t that a bit odd?”
“Yeah,” Harper said, “But not enough for us to follow him to wherever he’s going surely?”
Harper and Lexia argued back and forth for a short while, as Kason remained silent and watched. Privately, he felt that although it would certainly be interesting to follow Professor Kinora, whatever he was doing was probably something personal and trivial that they need not poke their noses into.
Eventually, it was decided that they would just go back and meet up with the others before going to off to the Range for the tutoring session. Whatever Professor Kinora was doing was his business, not theirs, and they would surely regret being late to a tutoring session more than not following Professor Kinora at this instant.
However, Professor Kinora never turned up to the tutoring session that evening. They waited around, not wanting to go and then get told off for being absent if Professor Kinora arrived late, but he never arrived. After half an hour, Roan stomped off with his group of friends complaining loudly about how the wait had been a waste of time and a few minutes later, Kason’s group followed suit.
Kason went to bed that evening, thinking that the whole day had been rather a strange one. First of all, there was a staff meeting and then Professor Kinora missed his tutoring session. He thought, with a wry smile on his face as he lay in his bed, that perhaps they might have been better to follow Professor Kinora earlier on.
He awoke the next morning and went to the first lesson, still pondering the possible reasons for Professor Kinora’s mysterious disappearance. His train of thought, however, was disrupted by the content of Ms Luxford’s morning announcements, which were again surprising, though not in the way the previous day’s had been.
“Two days ago, on ivurday evening, there three break-ins by some unknown individual in Constantin,” Ms Luxford began grimly, “I say this just to warn you to take extra care if any of you go to the city any time soon.”
She then paused and an uneasy silence spread throughout the classroom. After a moment, Ms Luxford cleared her throat, “I’ve also been asked to tell you that some of the woodland sprites have been complaining about someone messing around in their homes. I know many of you might not even have met any woodland sprites yet, but that’s beside the point. If anyone’s been messing around in any of the wooded areas around the college, please stop. The sprites have been here longer than many of the teachers and it would be annoying if they started causing a ruckus.”
She gave the class another glance over and then began speaking again, “Well, no need to look so dismal. These things will be sorted out in no time. Anyway, onto today’s lesson…”
One thought on “Chapter 39: Unusual Events”
Oooh, things are happening! Very curious.