A white curtained bed within a white painted room is placed next to an open window. Aiden, having finished his match, was assigned to a room within Pounamu Academy’s hospital ward for a proper examination. He isn’t there because he was injured during his battle. At most, he was burned a bit and slapped around. Nothing happened to get all of this…
While most students would be assigned to one of the many curtained beds within one of the long rooms, his circumstances warrant private room. Having survived an ascension ritual, various experts around the world are curious about his physiology. They would use any reason, no matter how small, to get a chance to examine him. As such, in order for a more in-depth analysis, he was segregated away from everyone else.
Not that any visitors are being deterred.
Aiden bookmarks his page in his astrophysics book and closes it. He then places it on the bedside table next to some other astrophysics books and a few texts on numerology. He glances towards the brunette closing his room’s door behind herself. Her braids have been getting more and more intricate. He says, “Long time no see, Camillia.”
Camillia sits on the chair next to the bed with a sheepish smile on her face. “How’ve you been?”
“Pretty good, didn’t you see? I’m totally dominating this year.”
Camillia glances at the zweihander leaning against the wall. Its silver, seven inch wide, blade takes a golden sheen under the afternoon sunlight. She then leans closer to Aiden with a curious grin on her face. A sense of mischief glints within her eyes as she says, “A lot of people were shocked to see you pull that out. How’d you summon it?”
Aiden grins back, and beckons her closer. He leans towards her and speaks into her ear. “With a summoning spell I’ve been working on.”
Camillia’s expression falls flat. Annoyance laces her voice as she pulls away. “That’s not what I’m asking about!”
Aiden chuckles but doesn’t reply.
“Aiden, what you did was impossible. The ascension ritual failed.”
He adopts an aloof tone and says, “What are you talking about?” He then pats a bicep emphasizes the following, “Your spell totally worked.”
“Come off it, Aiden! You know better than anyone that the whole point of the ritual was mana. It was your spell! You’re the one who-”
“Speak any louder and everyone will hear you.”
Camillia instantly shuts her mouth, but her scowl transforms into a glare. After a moment, she says, “Quit acting dumb. Your body shouldn’t be able to produce mana. People are going to want to analyze if the ascension ritual has a delayed effect if we don’t clear this up. Aren’t we friends?”
Aiden maintains his laid back tone. “Yeah, you’d definitely be expelled if it comes to that. But if you lose your place, then you lose your place.”
Horror and shock flashes across her face as she says, “Don’t you care!”
Aiden’s tone once more turns flat. “Camillia, just come out and say you’re here because I beat Harald, Eric’s baby brother.”
“That not tr-”
“You haven’t bothered to watch any of my matches. The only reason you came to this one was to cheer for Harald. You thought I’d lose here just like everyone else. But now that I won, you’re scared and wondering who I’ll beat next.”
Camillia grits her teeth and slams the bed with a palm. Scorn laces her tone as she gets up. “Why would I be scared of you?”
“Because I’m a first rate magician! I’m developing synthesis magic. I drafted an ascension ritual. I did all of this before turning 15. What’s going to happen now that I have mana to back me up? Your boyfriend is good. He has quick mana recovery and a fairly high mana output. Those are excellent traits for a combat magician like him. There’s just one problem. Now that I can use mana, I’m a complete dark horse. Your friends might not think too much of me, but you know better. Camillia, I’m going straight to the finals.”
“You’re not going to beat Eric.”
Aiden confronts Camillia’s glare with resolute eyes full of confidence. “Just wait and see.”
Camillia turns and storms out of the room. Aiden’s expression softens once the door slams shut and he drops back against his pillow. Less than two years ago, Camillia would have corrected him with “Cami” whenever he called her Camillia.
He recalls a conversation he overheard the other day. She still hates it when her friends call her anything but that.
“You were a good friend…”