It was a nice day with the weather being slightly warm, but the cool winds kept people feeling cool. The sky was nearly clear, except for thee few clouds that lingered in random parts. Overall, it was a day that people were feeling comfortable with.
On this day, there was a spell event being held at a certain location called Astral Academy. It was the graduation ceremony being held to honour to finishing of its final year students. The education lasted two whole years and now, it was their time to say goodbye to their academy life.
All students, teachers and parents were attending this ceremony in a great hall. Chairs were laid out everywhere and people sat with the seating arrangements; the graduating students sat at the front while other students sat around them and parents sat behind the rest of them. Meanwhile, the teachers were sitting around at the outer edge of the hall and observed.
There was chatter and noise within the hall for some time as people talked about the ceremony. At that moment, they heard a loud voice begin speak and they took this as tier queue to become silent. The speaker was one of the teachers wearing a suit with a well fashioned tie.
“Hello to dear parents, students and teachers for attending today’s special event. This day, will mark the end of a two long year journey faced by the graduating students. During this time, they made spectacular process in their learning and made great friends along the way.”
When he finished speaking, there was a round of applause from everywhere that rang out. The sound was increased dramatically due to the enclosed space of the great hall. Once they settled down, the speak continued speaking more about Astral Academy’s greatness in teaching their students to be excellent in whichever fields they wanted to be in.
After talking for a while, he gestured towards the rows of chairs on the stage.
“Now, I would like for the principal to have a few words. Principal, please…”
There was the sound of clapping as the principle, Carmela Chaikin, rose to her feet. She was grinning in embarrassment and shook hands with the speaker. On the stage, there were several chairs with were seated by important people of the academy, but one of them was the Phoenix Emperor, Felix Phoron.
Felix was actually not meant to be there, but he had to fill in for the king of Floria Kingdom. Two years ago, after the death of their previous king, the people of Floria Kingdom chose a new ruler and it was none other than Venezuela Sargold. At first, Venezuela declined the offer, but from the constant protest from her followers and sympathizers, she decided to take the throne as the empress of Floria Kingdom.
Thus, she became one of the women to become crowned as the ruler of a kingdom in history. While she was the ruler, she was also a student and her studies took priority. That was when Felix took her place as a substitute and did most of the draining work while reporting her through a list of documents. At the same time, he did not completely do all of them as he made her do several work that only she must do.
Felix sat there while looking around and when he dropped his attention to the front, he caught the eye of Venezuela. She was looking at the principal speaking, but had turned to look at him out of curiosity. When they made eye contact, she smirked and winked at him, to which he simply shrugged his shoulders and made a small smile.
Carmila cleared her throat and said, “Now then, I greet everyone for coming today on this wonderful day! Today is a great day of celebration and an amazing day of realisation. It’s time for the graduation of these students that sit before me.
They spent these two years studying their hardest by learning, strengthening and refining their skills, but that is about to come to an end. Now, they will be entering society as fully realised magicians, highly trained swordsman and engineers of the future. They are the new
That is why I, as their principle, have had the most wonderful time having them here at Astral Academy. These past two years have been great and I know the students enjoyed them as well.”
All the graduating students were grinning broadly and while they did agree with her words, they also believed she was being a bit less formal. They were aware of how bad her skills were at when it came to the professional attitude, but they felt pride with the way she was praising them.
Carmila took a deep breath and dramatically said, “And thus…! As my last duty as their principal, I dismiss them for the final time! Students! I declare you that you all have graduated!”
With a triumphant roar, all the students jumped off their seats and chucked their hats into the air. Both boy and girl were wildly happy by the last pronouncement of their principle. As such, they eagerly shook ears other’s hands, hugged each other and bid each other a happy graduation before heading off to find their parents.
“Phew…!” as she struggled to make out of the crowded great hall. “That was something else…”
Just then, she heard a familiar voice shouting, “Emilia! Emilia!”
Emilia turned to look in the direction the voice was coming from and saw a girl waving at her. She smiled and rushed over to her quickly just when the people began spilling out of the great hall. Struggling through the crowd, she made it to the people she considered as family. Standing together with wide smiles on their faces were Ondine, Silvera, Cantia and Erza.
“You… You girls sure got out fast,” Emilia told them as she recovered her breath.
Ondine shrugged her shoulders and said, “I really had nothing to keep me stuck inside with that mob.”
“I already said goodbye to my classmates before they headed off to their parents,” Silvera said with a cheerful smile.
“I-I don’t really have anyone to say goodbye to since I’ve only known you girls for these two years,” Erza said while looking awkward.
“More than my friends, I wanted to get together with you!” Cantia said brightly and she flung her arms over their shoulders.
Hearing their reasons for being out so early, Emilia chuckled and said, “I didn’t exactly interact with anyone from school, so I wanted to get out before I became mushed by the large crowd.”
“Good thinking!” Cantia said and she gave him a thumps up with a wink, causing Emilia to laugh.
Erza looked uncomfortable as she said, “At least, everyone had someone to call a friend in this world, while I came to this world through unforeseen circumstances because the man I loved lives in this world.”
Looking depressed, she let out a sigh and her head dropped slightly. The other girls looked at each other before Cantia stepped forward to speak sense into her.
“Ah! Are you still on about that?” Cantia asked in exasperation. “You need to get over it and live in the present! It’s not the past that matters the most, but the present because that dictates the future!”
“What she’s saying is that you should focus on the here and now rather than thinking about the negativities so much,” Emilia said with a smile.
“Huh? That’s what I just said!” Cantia said indignantly.
Ondine raised an eyebrow and said, “No, you did not. What you said came out completely with a different meaning.”
“Ha?! Are you trying to pick a fight with me?!” Cantia exclaimed with a feline expression on her face.
Ondine looked ready to battle, but Silvera quickly got in between them and said, “Now, now…” Then, she turned to Erza and said, “You’re not alone, Erza. Until a hundred years ago, I don’t have any memories of my past, my behaviour and my past actions, although I was widely known as an instrument of destruction. Now, I am trying to live my life the way I want without being bothered by all that nonsense.”
“Yeah! Be happy because we’re here for you!” Ondine said with a grin on her face.
Erza looked at them smiling and nodded before saying, “Yes. You’re right. I’m sorry. I can’t always broad over what can’t be done.”
They smiled at each other and that was when Cantia suddenly began looking around curiously.
“By the way, where is Vena?” she asked them.
“I… I think she’s still inside with the other people, I think,” Emilia said uncertainly.
“I’m sure she does considering she’s the queen of a kingdom now,” Ondine said and sighed.
“Hey, now. You shouldn’t speak like that about the ruler of this kingdom,” Silvera told her sternly.
“Oh, come on. Once we marry Lakshman, we’ll all be mistresses,” Ondine said before widened her eyes in surprise at what she said. “Wait! That’s that mean that Lakshman will most likely end up being king or emperor?”
“Who knows,” Cantia said with a shrug of her shoulders before looking excited all of a sudden. “Hey, do you remember what we told Lucky two years ago before he left for his training up in the mountains? Remember it?”
Ondine looked curiously at her and asked, “Remember what? Did we promise something with him?”
Cantia’s jaw dropped in disbelief as she stared at Ondine. Then, she exclaimed, “What?! Are you telling me you forgot already, especially when you made that stupid prideful boast?!”
“What? What?” Ondine said while looking confused.
“Oh my beetles!” Cantia exclaimed unhappily. “Two years ago, you boasted that you’ll get the best marks out of the rest of us!”
Ondine blinked several times with an expressionless face. Then, she said, “Oh… Right… I did say that, didn’t I?”
“Yes, you did!” Cantia said firmly. “Now, according to the final results, Emilia came first, second was Vena, third was tied together with Erza and Silvera, while I came next and you ended up last.”
Ondine looked uncomfortable for a moment as she clenched and unclenched her fists. At the same time, Emilia looked embarrassed by being ranked first in the education score while Erza and Silvera appeared to be pleased with their scores.
“I… was just being boastful when I said that. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously!” she slowly said through gritted teeth.
“Oh…? I think Emilia and Vena took it fairly seriously from how furiously they buried themselves in the textbooks and notebooks!” Cantia said as she looked at Emilia.
Emilia became flustered and blushed a little as she said, “I… I… I wasn’t taking that boastful challenge that seriously. I just wanted to study hard, train well and get good marks. It’s all my effort that earned me my marks.”
“Oh, don’t be so modest, Emilia. Ondine here will feel superior if you act that way.”
“Hey! Your score was below the rest of them as well!” Ondine said in annoyance.
“At least, I beat yours!” Cantia retorted with a wide grin on her face, causing Ondine to feel as if she was pierced through her chest.
“Dammit…! I was careless…!” Ondine muttered unhappy while she pressed her chest tightly.
Erza and Silvera looked at each other and realised something bad will happen if they let Cantia continued talking. Her tendency to impulsively talk like that can create a problem, which left it up to the girls to clean up and make her apologise later. For this one, they decided to change the topic and draw the attention away from Ondine, who was very depressed by her failure.
“Anyway, it’s been well over a year, hasn’t it since he left for training?” Erza asked quickly.
Silvera nodded and said, “Yeah, it has! During this time, he hasn’t made any contact with us or anything, although Felix kept saying that Lakshman didn’t want to be interrupted.”
Emilia nodded and said, “Yeah, but his family took it pretty differently. Each time we visited them during the holidays, the twins kept asking where their ‘annayya’ was while Indra kept stating how gutless his son was for leaving his lovers alone while he trained to get stronger.”
“Yeah, but Lakshmi seems to be whole heartedly happy with her son’s decision to train while we studied. Stating about how he trained roughly up in the mountains while we smoothly spent out days studying and training,” Erza replied with a sigh. “Really… Feels like his family are quite different.”
Silvera chuckled and said, “Yes, but I like her sweets! They are pretty good!”
Erza nodded and said, “You’re right. Those sweets had quite the taste that I had never experienced before. It’s unfortunate we chose not to go visit their house after the first time due to how much the twins were pestering us about him. I wanted to try them out again when he returns.”
“Yes. I hope he returns soon…” Emilia said longingly.
“I miss him,” Erza said quietly.
“I want master to return as well!” Silvera said wishfully.
“Hey! You’re not the only one who wants to see him again!” Cantia said cheerfully.
“I want him to come back as well! I can’t take anymore of Cantia’s craziness!” Ondine said hopefully.
“What?!” Cantia exclaimed in shock before they all laughed.
Meanwhile, Venezuela finished her talking to the people and sighed in relief as she made her way out of the great hall. Felix had bid her goodbye a little while earlier, stating that he had unfinished business to return to. She apologised to him for making him do all that work, but he just smiled and said how it was his duty to fulfil his temporary position until she takes her official position as empress.
When she came out, the first thing she did was look for the girls. Finding them standing at the side while laughing heartily, she walked over with a smile on her face. She suspected the girls must be talking about something pleasant to be laughing so happily.
“What’s you lot talking about?” she asked them curiously when she reached them.
Silvera turned to her and said, “Oh…! We were just wishing that Lakshman would return to us quickly.”
“I was wishing he could come back soon so that Cantia’s craziness would no longer be a burden for me!” Ondine said heavily.
As Cantia glared at her fiercely, Venezuela chuckled heartily.
“So? Vena. Do you want to see him again after these two years of no contact?” Emilia asked her curiously.
Venezuela looked surprised by the question. Then, she smiled and nodded as she firmly said, “Yes. I want to see the man I love so much again!”
“That settles it! We all wish him to come back!” Cantia said and she punched her fist into the air triumphantly. Just then, her stomach growled and she suddenly looked embarrassedly at them.
Erza chuckled and said, “In the meantime, why don’t we eat? I could do with some delicious cooking.”
Venezuela nodded in agreement and said, “Let’s go and eat. The academy is specially providing the food for us in celebration of our graduation.”
“Awesome!” Cantia exclaimed happily and together, they headed over to the eating stall where everyone was.
At that moment, up in the mountains and deep within the forest, a ripple appeared on a solid rock. There was a path leading to it, but it would have looked ordinary to all ordinary mountaineers. Seeing that it was a dead end, they would turn away and follow the path back the way they came.
A ripple, like the one on water, appeared on the solid form of the mountain rock. The ripple continued and slowly increased as seconds went by, that was until a large ripple occurred and seemed to have created a hole in it. Out of that hole, a tall man stepped out wearing a shabby looking cloak that covered the most of his appearance. The only visible part of him were his firm black eyes and the waist length black hair.
The man breathed in deeply and said, “Finally… Breathing in the fresh air of nature makes me feel so free…!”
He looked around at the scenery of trees that covered most of the sunlight. Seeing the light, he looked up and quickly shaded his eyes to see the bright light through the leaves of the trees. This created a scenery effect that was calming and peaceful to all witnessing it.
“Ah… The power of the sun. Yes… I’m finally back…” Lakshman said with a small smile on his face.
I ended up with a stiff neck today as I wondered and planned for Arc 10. Well, here’s the start of it and I know it’s a bit short, but I can only manage this much with my stiff neck…
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