The scent of ozone tickled Lilith’s nose, and her fingers tingled from the nonexistent cold. It was as if she was both present and a spectator on the bright platform Looking to the left, she saw large expanses of clouds with islands dispersed across a sea of mist.
So otherworldly. The world Lilith found herself in was bright and foreign. It was void of civilization, building and life if one didn’t count the grass where she stood. It’s too lonely, Lilith thought.
“Is this heaven?” Lilith mumbled, a finger to her chin in thought.
Surveying the cloudy landscape, her eyes landed on a white gate off in the distance. Next to the gate, she saw a tall silhouette. Without much thought, Lilith turned and hurried towards the dark figure. Perhaps they could tell her where she was?
As she got closer to the figure, Lilith realized that, no, the dark coloration of the silhouette wasn’t just because of the blinding light behind them. Skidding to a stop, Lilith studied the back of the individual before her.
Contrary to the depictions of bright angels and sweet-as-sugar cherubs at the church, this man was dark and his deposition seemed bitter. Jagged armor and sharp spikes adorned his body, an imposing figure that stood out in sharp contrast to the ethereal surroundings. Either the church lied, or this was definitely not an angel.
Lilith sucked in a breath. “Am I in Hell?”
The man whipped his head around and stared in her direction. Lilith’s gaze met the empty eye sockets of a skull mask, and she brought a hand to cover her mouth as she looked him up and down. “My… how unfortunate.”
Suddenly a chime-like voice broke the silence that filled the scene. “Oh, you’re not supposed to be here! You should go back; somebody’s trying to wake you up after all.”
The moment after the disembodied voice finished speaking, Lilith woke with a gasp. No longer surrounded by a scenic view of clouds and floating islands, but instead she saw only the usual view of her bedroom ceiling.
The maid beside her bed pulled back, placing a hand to her chest and sighing in relief. The maid grasped Lilith’s hand and ushered the drowsy princess out of bed and to the chair that sat proudly in front of the vanity.
The morning was a blur as Lilith struggled to make every yawn her last. Maids and servants cycled in and out of the room in an effort to both clean and prepare their lady for the day ahead.
With a comb brushing through her hair, the head maid asked, “Are you ready, Milady?”
“Ready for what?” Lilith yawned, bringing a hand up to cover her mouth.
“School! It’s Milady’s first day at the Holy Academy of Ilgma! Isn’t it exciting? You’ll be able to make so many friends. Everyone will be sure to respect you for your accomplishments and research!” The maid pulled back, balling her hands into fists with excitement. “And, and and… you already have the advantage of knowing the school even though this is your first official term of taking classes!”
The princess laughed, turning her eyes slowly from the mirror to the maid. “That’s true! I just got word from the faculty that they would still allow me to use the lab, even though my research period is over.”
The maid made one final adjustment to Lilith’s hair, and pulled back, nodding to herself in satisfaction. “That should be all for your hair, Milady!”
The head maid turned to the incoming maid, who handed her an outfit. “Would you like me to help you put on your school uniform?”
Lilith chuckled and shook her head, “No.”
The morning of being tugged and yanked in preparation for the first day of school went by in a blur and soon enough, she was in the carriage on her way to school.
As the carriage pulled up to the front of the school gates, Lilith saw crowds of students in uniform. There were nobles that she recognized, collecting in small groups, gossiping about each student that passed by. Also scattered throughout the front were students who didn’t seem to know where to go, looking from the paper in their hands to the school that loomed over them.
Judging by their posture and how they carried themselves, Lilith could only guess that the majority of the lonesome students were commoners. While the majority of the students at the academy were nobles, there had been more commoners attending the school in recent years. With an increasing literacy rate nationwide, more commoners had access to the education to pass the exams that qualified them for the academy.
The Holy Academy of Ilgma was well known throughout the continent for its studies on magic, and was known as the most prestigious school in the kingdom of Ilgma.
Backed by nobility and the royal family, the school boasted a variety of resources to further studies on magic. This allowed the school to offer every student a chance to do research for two semesters without having to attend classes, but it wasn’t mandatory. Many students opted to conduct research between their third and fourth year, but the chance to research was available to any student of any year.
Lilith herself decided to take the two semesters to research before her first year at school, which landed her in the strange position she was in now, whereby she knew the general layout of the school and the professors, but didn’t know any content of the classes. But in her opinion, it was the best of both worlds. After all, she was essentially a first year student, but with some extra knowledge to back her up.
Lilith smiled, eying the school as she stepped out of her carriage. The troves of students that were bustling before her, came to a halt as their eyes landed on her, their watchful gazes accompanied by quiet whispers.
She walked past the other students on the main path towards the school, two servants in tow. Her peers made way for her when she got close, allowing her to get a familiar view of the grand entrance. Before she could take another step forward, a frantic voice called out from her right.
“OUTTA THE WAY, OUTTA THE WAY! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!”
Just as that sentence finished, Lilith turned and a red blur plowed into her, knocking them both to the ground.
Her servants cried out, “Princess!”
Lilith grumbled and rubbed her side, “Why don’t you walk?”
The boy who ran into her huffed and crossed his arms. From his red skin and the horns jutting from his head, she could tell that he was an oni. From his behavior, Lilith could tell that he was just another commoner.
“Why don’t ya’ walk faster an’ stop hoggin’ the walkin’ space?” he spat.
Lilith could feel the veins in her head begin to bulge in frustration. Her? Walk? When this brat was the one who ran into her? She laughed, standing and brushing off the dirt from her uniform.
“Oh? I suppose I need to teach you some manners then.” Lilith said as she cracked her knuckles.Her two servants backed away with serene looks on their faces, as if challenging someone to a brawl wasn’t out of the ordinary.
The oni made a face. “Hah?! An uptight noble challenging me to a fight? What next? Are you going to crown me as the next emperor?” The oni began to pick himself up from the ground, but Lilith raised a fist and brought it down upon his head.
The surrounding students crowded around to watch, and loudly whispered among themselves, “50 gold says that the princess wins.”
“Ow, ow, ow… Alright, you asked fer it!” The oni lunged forward, headbutting Lilith in the chin. Even though his horns weren’t sharp, the sudden impact caused her skin to break and she could feel blood flowing from her chin.
Lilith saw red, and reached out to grab the boy’s horns. She then brought her knee forward and kneed him in the stomach. In response, the boy grabbed her hair and yanked. Together, they lost their balance and fell, still kicking and punching each other.
The crowd of students on one end broke away, and fell silent save for the yelps and curses from the two on the ground.
“AHEM!” a voice boomed out. Lilith and the oni stopped, just before the princess was about to kick the oni once more and the oni was poised to bite her arm. They both turned towards the voice with dread.
Through a part in the crowd of students was a woman several heads taller than the rest.. Behind glasses, her eyes narrowed at the two students on the ground. Her lips pulled into a snarl, and her bottom two canines gleamed in the sunlight.
The woman who barged in was Madame Rocher, the Dean of Discipline at the school
“Now WHAT kind of RUCKUS are you two starting up?” the woman shouted. Students near her clasped their hands over their ears and winced.
Lilith could feel a cold sweat starting to form. Almost immediately she shouted out, “He started it!”
At the same time, the boy responded, “She started it!”
Appalled, Lilith whipped her head towards the boy and raised a fist. “Do you want me to hit you again?”
The boy gritted his teeth and began to lunge at Lilith, but before he could reach her, Madame Rocher took the oni’s collar in her hand and grabbed hold of him like he were a hissing cat.
Madame Rocher inhaled deeply, and let out a huff. She grit her teeth and a vein was visible on the side of her head. The surrounding students looked on in fear as the Dean’s anger surged. A static-like yellow aura surrounded her, compelling everyone to take a step back.
Her voice cut through the tense silence, causing a nearby crow to fall out of a tree and onto a student’s head. “BOY! I CARE NOT FOR WHO BEGAN THE DISTURBANCE. THOSE INVOLVED WILL FACE PUNISHMENT!”
Lilith pouted and crossed her arms, looking the other way. She tensed when Madame Rocher sent a glare of daggers at her.
“YOU AS WELL. SEE ME AFTER CLASS TODAY.”
Madame Rocher then dropped the boy, and stomped away, a sea of students parting as she passed. The oni fell, landing on his feet and balanced himself with arms outstretched.
Lilith gave the oni boy the side eye, and stuck up a middle finger at him.
Lilith sped through the halls. Hot on her trail, was the boy from before that she had totally won a fight against. Soon enough, the boy caught up with her and rushed past, his arms stiffly stretched behind him. Oh no he didn’t.
Lilith whistled, and out of thin air popped a white and blue fox. It floated beside her as she ran, and she yelled out to it, “Juju, slow him down!”
At her command, Juju spat out a sticky ball of mana towards the oni’s legs before settling onto Lilith’s shoulders. The mana got larger and bound his legs together as he tried to run faster, before eventually toppling over.
Lilith attempted to jump over the boy, but he reached out and grabbed one of her legs, causing her to fall alongside him. The boy growled, “What is yer problem”
Lilith turned back to the boy, “My problem? You’re the one following me, kid!”
The oni looked even angrier, and shouted, “KID? I GOT A NAME YA KNOW! IT’S ADRIAN!”
Lilith stuck out her tongue. “Adrian, Andrew, Adam, I don’t care. Stop following me or I’ll have you arrested!”
“Following you? You’re following me! I’m just going to class!”
Lilith fell silent at the remarkand cleared her throat. She opened her mouth, then closed it, simply opting to pick herself back up and dust off her skirt. “Well then.” she waved a hand, and the mana disappeared from his legs.
Adrian narrowed his eyes at her, jaw agape. He picked himself up and brushed the dirt from his pants, stomping past Lilith towards the classroom that was right in front of them.
Lilith followed closely behind and the two entered the classroom. As soon as they entered, idle chatter from the students ceased before a quiet murmur replaced it.
“Aren’t those two…?”
“Yeah, the princess and the boy she fought.”
“The princess? Doesn’t she deal with dark magic and the unholy?”
“Shh! Don’t let her hear you! She might order the guards to kill you!”
Adrian’s eye twitched and he turned towards Lilith. “What’re they talkin’ ‘bout?”
Lilith pursed her mouth and glared at the whispering students, who looked away quickly as if nothing had happened. “Don’t mind them, it’s not important.”
The princess then moved to take one of the few empty seats at the front, and Adrian sat next to her. As they placed down their bags, the door slammed open once more.
At the doorway was a tall and shrivelled woman. Her cheekbones were sharp and she wore glasses that looked like they belonged to a librarian.
Lilith muttered under her breath and pulled Juju from her shoulder to cover her face, “Shit.”
Adrian looked at her with narrowed eyes and hissed. “What did you mess up now, yer highliness?”
Lilith leaned over and whispered, “First of all, it’s ‘your highness.’ Secondly, this teacher hates me.”
“Who doesn’t? Whatcha even do?”
“I… may or may not have blown up her previous classroom.”
“Wha-? Ya got too much tumbleweed in ya blood to settle down, dontcha?!”
Before Lilith could whisper anything back, the teacher chuckled. Her heels clacked on the floor as she made her way across the room, stopping in front of the wooden lectern at the front of the class. With a tap of her pointer stick on the lectern, the class straightened up and quieted.
The teacher gave Lilith a scathing glare and she withered under the intense look.
“Students. Troublemakers. I am Madame Bolch. I will be your magic theory and home room teacher for this year.”
“Our holy kingdom of Ilgma has a long history of magicians. As many of you know, there are essentially five types of magic: fire, water, wind, earth, and electric”
Lilith yawned as Madame Bolch droned on from the textbook nestled comfortably in her hand. The rhythmic tap of the chalk on the chalkboard lulled Lilith deeper into a daze. She nestled her face into the soft fur of her similarly dozing familiar. It wasn’t like she needed to pay attention anyways. The tutors that taught her while growing up had truly been the best at their jobs.
Lilith looked at the board with half-lidded eyes. What the teacher wrote was truly elementary to the nobles, but many of the commoners, including the oni that sat beside her were listening and taking notes intently.
Throughout the land, different kingdoms and nations that housed different races were scattered throughout. The largest kingdom was, of course, Ilgma. It boasted the largest economy and the greatest hub of magic. Aside from humans, different regions were home to the: Oni, Avians, Fae, Gorgons, Aquatics, various Demihumans, and smaller communities that coexisted within Ilgma, but the majority of the kingdom remained human.
Certain races were in tune with certain elements, such as Avians and wind magic, and Aquatics and water magic. Humans were the outlier in that they did not have any particular specialization in magic. This meant that the human population had the advantage of magical diversity.
Many magicians were from nobility due to the fact that they had the resources to train and learn, but in Ilgma, the nobility weren’t as powerful as in the past, but there was still one remaining faction that held great power.
The royal family and many nobles aligned themselves with the church, while the remaining families opted to abstain from religion. From the Great War, the church had always held great influence over the kingdom.
The noble families that were more fervent about religion tried to push their children to reach the highest level of attainment, which was to become an angel. It was common knowledge that angels needed a great amount of mana to fight off demons.
Mana… something that Lilith had been researching for the past year. It made up a person’s core being and was tied to their soul. After someone died, their mana dissipated and returned to the environment. From a person’s individual mana, they could tap into different elements, different types of magic. While everyone could use different types of magic, many chose to specialize and hone their magic in a single element.
From a person’s mana, they could create a familiar that would act as another source of mana that the user could pull from, as well as acting to catalyze certain spells. Experienced users did not need the help of their familiars in order to cast spells, but familiars could also be used to amplify the power of spells. In cases where people had familiars but were not magically inclined, their familiars could be used for working purposes, such as for travel and pulling carts.
“…but outside of that, it is improper and considered bad manners to have your familiar out. Isn’t that correct, your highness?”
Lilith snapped up, her arm snacking against Juju, who was sent flying toward Adrian’s face. Lilith could feel everyone’s eyes on her and she laughed, looking to the side. With a wave of her arm, Juju disappeared.
“Yes, Madame Bolch… Haha…”
“Ya know, yer surprisingly calm for bein’ embarrassed in fron’a the whole class like that.” Adrian whistled, his arms resting behind his head.
Lilith flushed. He didn’t need to point it out.
“Well, you don’t need to bring it up!” she hissed, shooting a glare at the boy next to her as they made their way to the outdoor fields. Students filled the lush green field in droves and split into three groups, with an Avian at the front of each and a sign with the teacher’s name next to them. The Avians were surely professors.
Lilith stared at the groups, and whispered to Adrian, “Which teacher do you have?”
Adrian pulled out the schedule from his pocket and whispered back, “Professor Bo… Bofa… Boph-”
Lilith perked up, “Professor Bophides?”
Adrian turned back, “Yeah, him. Ya excited that we got the same teacher?”
“No, I’m excited that I don’t have to be in the same class as you. I have Professor Nibelma.”
Adrian shot her a look, and stomped toward the middle group that had gathered in front of Professor Bophides. Lilith watched as he settled at the back of the group, and decided to head toward the group that gathered in front of Professor Nibelma.
Just as Lilith settled in the middle of her group, Professor Bophides’ voice rang out loud and clear from the center.
“Students! I am Professor Bophides. On your right is Professor Nibelma, and on your left, Professor Jergma. We will be your fighting instructors for this year.” He sent a withering glare at the students, but with his youthful appearance, it was akin to a puppy yipping angrily. Students snickered, and his eyebrows narrowed.
Professor Bophides crossed his arms and barked, “Any students who make will be the first generous volunteers for our sparring session today!”
Lilith scanned the crowd of students and honed in on Adrian. The oni also looked her way and she pointed to the lecturing Avian. He tilted his head, and Lilith mouthed, “Next sound.”
Adrian narrowed his eyes in confusion and whispered, “What?”
As Lilith was about to repeat what she said, Professor Bophides’ voice grew louder.
“Ahe!. Oni in the back. Princess. Thank you for being our first volunteers.” A large, devilish grin grew on his face.
Lilith’s jaw was agape. How did he manage to hear them? But then she realized: Avians have excellent hearing.
Adrian whipped his head toward Lilith. “Thanks a bunch!”
Lilith gasped, placing a hand against her chest. “Me? You responded!” She turned toward the professor. “Royalty doesn’t handle swords!”
Professor Bophides seemed to have a sunny disposition. The aura around him cleared up and he looked serene. “Then you may use a spear.”
Lilith paused, “A sword is fine…”
The class cleared the field and stood off to the side, as Adrian and Lilith grabbed their respective wooden swords in addition to the protective gear that the teachers provided. Lilith noted that they were surprisingly heavy. Was the material made of Crystillic Bark?
The two stood at a distance, stepping away from one another as if it were a western duel.
At the whistle, they both turned around and lunged, swords outstretched.
Adrian made the first move, jumping high in the air and swinging his sword down with the might of a thousand suns. As he was about to bring the sword down on Lilith’s head, she brought her own sword up to parry it.
Lilith scoffed, “Hah! How weak. Is this all you have?”
She then pushed back with her sword, and Adrian was forced to bounce back. Lilith lunged forward, sword pointed towards the spot in the armor where Adrian’s heart would be. The blow connected, and Adrian was sent flying back, leaving a path in his wake.
Lilith sprinted towards him, sword ready to finish him off. In a turn of events, Adrian blocked her blow and kicked forward, causing Lilith to stumble back.
He then picked himself up, and swung his sword once more. This time, Lilith was unable to block the blow, and she fell to the ground. As Adrian was about to swing his sword down once more, Lilith brought her own sword up to block it.
Lilith glared and felt heat rise up through her arm and into the sword. The magic that flowed from her to the sword then jumped to the oni, and gave him a large electric shock, frying him.
Lilith looked at her work in triumph as the whistle blew.
Professor Bophides cried out, “Miss Lilith! You are disqualified! Magic during sparring is not permitted!”
Lilith yelled back, “Why not?!”
Professor Bophides responded, “We are here to learn the basics of weaponry! The point is moot if you use magic!”
Lilith groaned, feeling an oncoming lecture, as Professor Bophides was known for his needlessly long ldiatribes.
She rolled her eyes. “Right, right. But isn’t integrating weaponry and magic a key part of The Tournament?”
At the mention of The Tournament, the students excitedly whispered amongst themselves.
The Tournament was an event that was known throughout the capitol, and many people wished to spectate. Students got to show off their magical and physical prowess, and if students placed high enough, they could be acknowledged by individuals of high prestige. Those who placed in the top ten were awarded prizes for use in school and outside of school, and the top prize was always a mystery. However, to make it fair, students had to fight with other students from the same year.
Many students spent their entire year preparing for this tournament, often forgoing grades in an effort to place highly on the leaderboards (although those who placed high on the leaderboards also tended to score well academically).
Another professor, Professor Nibelma, cleared her throat. Her soothing voice quickly quieted the students. “While that is true, we are focused on the basics of weaponry for now. Integration with magic will come later, once you have grasped a better hold of your weapons.”
Lilith sighed and picked herself up, brushing off the dirt and grass that had made its way onto her skirt. She approached Adrian.
“Well, I suppose you’re the winner.”
Adrian eyed Lilith’s hand, then her face. He spat in his hand, and took her hand in his own to pick himself up, sporting a toothy grin as Lilith looked at him in absolute disgust.
Lilith wiped her hand on her skirt and shook it, the phantom feeling of spit still clinging to her palm. She grimaced. How dare he? To her? Sure she stepped on his foot afterwards, but he had absolutely no manners.
She looked forward. The line in front of her was only marginally shorter than it was minutes before. It was customary for the school to evaluate the students’ innate mana levels, but this was ridiculous.
Lilith could see the student at the front of the line on the other side of the room staring anxiously at the evaluating tablet. Her hands were balled up into fists and the bottom canine that was jutting past her lip rose up further as she scrunched her face.
Lilith covered her ears when the girl whooped loudly, jumping and stomping in joy, as her gills flared with excitement. She watched as the Aquatic practically skipped past the lines of students in joy out of the evaluation hall.
Lilith heard someone clear their throat behind her, and she realized that the line had moved in front of her. Lilith flushed, and quickly moved forward up in the line.
Most students hoped to meet the minimal requirements for their innate mana levels, otherwise they would need to take supplemental classes in order to increase their levels. Classes that could be replaced with ones that they needed to graduate. For most nobles, it wasn’t an issue, but for commoners, many couldn’t afford to stay at the school longer and pay even more for classes.
However, there was an option for the students with high innate mana levels to tutor those with low mana levels. With that option, the tutor would receive extra credit, and the tutee wouldn’t need to take supplemental classes as long as they met the requirements the next time they got evaluated.
It was finally her turn to be evaluated, and she stepped up to the table where the examiner was waiting. She placed her hand above the orb, and the magic tablet next to it sparked to life. The examiner studied the results for a moment and nodded.
“High mana levels with a proficiency for wind magic.” The examiner scribbled the results on a sheet of paper. “Here you are.”
Lilith gave the examiner a small nod and left the line. The students who finished their results were told to gather in the auditorium for an assembly and then classes would be over for the day.
As she approached the door, she also saw Adrian approach the door to exit with a troubled expression. She felt a grin crawl onto her face as she opened the door. Adrian followed.
“Hey, commoner. What did you score?”
Adrian furrowed his brows and glared at her, “Well I don’t getta practice unlike ya’ prissy nobles.”
Lilith felt the grin on her face grow larger. “Well… there is a tutor and tutee program… and I could use the extra credit”
Adrian stared at her, then her paper, and sighed. “Fine. BUT. Don’t try ta’ do anythin’ funny. I’ll kick yer arse if ya do.”
Lilith shrugged, and looked off to the side. “I wouldn’t call being an assistant ‘funny’…”
They found themselves in the main room of the church and the two took a seat on the benches. Students quickly filled in, trying to find friends to sit without a spot that would allow them to best hear the presenter.
Lilith watched as Adrian crossed his arms and leaned back. “Why ya’ clingin’ onta me? That’s as weird as a rattlesnake playin’ the fiddle.”
Lilith raised a brow. “What does that even…? Whatever… You remember when people said I was a witch, right?”
Lilith looked off to the side. “You remembered when people said I was a witch, right?”
Adrian jumped back. “You sayin’ they were right?”
“No! No! They’re not! I just like to study… more obscure subjects. So others tend to… stay away from me and my studies.”
Adrian gave her a deadpan look. “So ya want us ta be friends?”
Lilith waved her hands. “Goodness, no! A royal being friends with a commoner? How uncouth! No, I just don’t wish for an intimidating and frightening presence.”
“So you don’t wanna look like a loser and a loner.’ Gotchu.”
“What? You should be honored!”
It was then that the church choir started to sing and children’s voices reverberated throughout the room. If it weren’t for the fact that she was forced to hear the same song every week, she might have been able to appreciate their work.
The students gasped as a wave of wind and fire magic rolled over the room like a wave. Between the waves of light, Lilith could see intricate depictions of angels and various animals, as well as smaller sigils that allowed it to happen.
The magic faded as the choir’s song came to a close. It seemed that mostly everyone was present and the benches were completely filled.
The first year teachers gathered at the front, as well as the heads of the church, who also happened to be the heads of the school. Lilith spotted the one at the middle, who cut the most imposing figure out of the crowd, with his hat standing tall. He was the one who stood at the top of the church and school: the Headmaster.
The man cleared his throat, and his voice echoed throughout the room.
“Esteemed students. You are all here today because of your talent. You are all here because you have earned your place here. As the head of the Holy Academy of Ilgma, I welcome you all.”
The headmaster continued. “Here, the staff and your fellow students are family. We will support you in your journey to becoming fantastic magic users, and more.”
“As many of you know, this school represents the very center of the resistance in our fight against the demonic forces of the past. As a result, two of our esteemed students have ascended into angelhood.”
The headmaster gestured towards the two giant porcelain statues that stood behind him. One was of a woman, and the other of a man with luscious hair and a hastily drawn on marker mustache.
Lilith looked towards Adrian when he snorted. “Nobody has hair that good.” She let out a humorous puff of air.
“You all have the potential to make great strides in magic, and you all have the potential to become angels. Stay with this school and our teachings. Do not stray from our path and the heavens will smile upon you.”
While the room was bright, an air of gloom fell over Adrian and Lilith.
Adrian whispered, “This feels like a cult.”
At the same time, Lilith whispered, “Again with the angel stuff…”
The headmaster continued his preaching, and Lilith slumped against the bench, sticking her tongue out as she counted the grooves on the ceiling.
Once the assembly ended, the students trickled out of the auditorium. Lilith and Adrian stepped out as well, both drained.
Adrian groaned, cracking his back. “That was longer than mah granny tellin’ us ‘bout one ofher childhood ventures.”
Lilith crossed her arms and shivered. “They say the exact same thing each year. It’s so creepy. It’s like the Headmaster’s voice is slithering up my spine whenever I hear it.”
The bell rang and Lilith cursed, squinting her eyes towards the clock to check the time. If they walked to the detention room, they would be late and if they were late…
Adrian tilted his head.
Lilith responded, “That would be the final bell.”
“Wouldn’t that be good news? Classes’re over.”
“Usually that would be good news… but we have, ugh, detention.”
Adrian shrugged, “Well we just need to go to the detention room then sit, right?”
“You wish. We need to hurry. Let’s-a-go.”
Lilith grabbed the shorter boy by the collar and dashed at breakneck speed. Adrian yelped.
“The hay?! What’s the big deal?”
Lilith shouted back, “If we’re late, we’ll be in even bigger trouble, dingbag!”
“It’s just detention!”
The two swerved through the crowd of students and down a long hallway. As Lilith ran, she turned to look at a clock on the wall. Phew. If they walked from here, they should still be able to make it right on time.
Lilith released Adrian, and he straightened out his clothes before yelling, “WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?”
Lilith continued to walk forward and responded, “You’re new, commoner, so it would make sense that you don’t know. At the academy, detention is done a little differently.”
Adrian huffed, but followed the princess. “Different how? They smack the kids?”
Lilith shot him a look, disgusted. “Child abuse much? No, it’s nothing illegal. It’s just that ‘detention’ here means expeditions and quests.”
Adrian’s scowl was immediately erased. He beamed. “Heck yeah! That means we get more experience?!”
Lilith laughed and rubbed the back of her head. “It means that we’re going to go look at city issues. Or even worse. Civilian complaints.”
“That’s still experience, right?”
“We don’t get paid.”
“THOSE SICK SONS OF…”
“And, we’re here.”
The two stood in front of the door, the air around it stifling and imposing. On the door was an engraving of a skull. Adrian elbowed Lilith lightly.
“Open the door.”
“No, you open it.”
“Rock, paper, scissors.”
The two brought their hands up and down. Adrian set paper and Lilith picked scissors. Lilith smiled triumphantly and smugly, then took a large step back as Adrian faced the door.
He gulped and placed a hand on the handle, pulling the heavy door open. Adrian stepped in first, followed by Lilith. The door clicked behind them as they stepped hesitantly into a large dark room, the only light coming from the windows.
On the opposite end of the room sat Madame Rocher, her glasses gleaming white. Her fingers intertwined with one another and her elbows rested on the desk, covering up the bottom half of her face. She said, “It is now time for your punishment.”
In response Adrian took out a piece of paper with “Will” scrawled on it and started sniffling. Lilith looked as if her soul had been sucked out of her body.