Remember this is an original novel written by Addis of ExR. This is not a translation.
Standing on a podium, in front of the thousands of applicants was Cian, his golden hair sparkling in the sunlight. He glanced over all of the people and gave a cold smile.
A loud bell rung throughout the area a, causing all those in the stands as well as the applicants to straighten.
“As usual,” Cian’s voice echoed throughout the arena, neither too loud or too soft,”there are over three thousand of you here to take the aptitude test. However, this year we decided to try something a little different. We are going to carry out a simple exercise to whittle down the number by at least half.” Murmurs erupted from the hopeful students. This was not good thing for those who were unsure of being able to pass normally. But to add a new test into the mix, wasn’t that being too harsh? “There is nothing too complicated about it, so we will begin in five minutes.”
Five minutes later, the thousands of young hopefuls stood still, unsure of what to do. Then, all of a sudden, a large pressure pushed down on them, crushing their Elements, trying to reign over them.
Kai noticed it first, at the podium, six people were staring down at the group with stoic faces. Every single one of them was using their Elements to push down the applicants. All six had control over a different Element so no one within the crowd was able to escape the pressure by defending with their own Elements.
Soon young hopefuls began to kneel and fall over, not able to withstand it any longer. Kai wondered how many would be left after this. He could barely feel the pressure on him, instead, the Elements within his core seemed to push back as if annoyed by flies.
At the podium, Cian stood with his arms crossed over his chest. His eyes wandered until they landed on that boy he had met in the forest months ago. Kai was standing tall, his gem like eyes scanning around him as if focusing on things others couldn’t see. Knowing that Kai would easily pass this trial, the corner of Cian’s lip curled before he moved his gaze away.
Cursing echoed around the arena as, one by one, the young hopefuls failed to stand the pressure. Within five minutes the thousands of applicants turned into less than five hundred. Standing in front of everyone, Cian clapped his hands then cleared his throat.
“All those that are no longer standing, please leave. You may try again next year.” While he was polite, there was no warmth in his voice, it left a faint chill on those who had failed. Slowly, with depressed faces, those that could not stand up to the pressure slowly withdrew.
In the end, around 489 hopefuls were left within the arena.
With more standing room, Kai edged closer to Cian, hoping to be able to say at least one more word of thanks to the man. But before he could even get close, Cian’s voice echoed out once again.
“Those of you who are left, we will be conducting individual aptitude tests.” From behind him, the six people took a step forward, their white cloaks billowing around them. Two others landed softly behind Cian, their own cloaks white with golden threads. Kai recognized one of the later arrivals, it was Lord SItross. “These teachers of the Academy will split you into groups to take you to your testing rooms. Good luck to everyone, we will see those who pass in a few hours.”
With that last cryptic remark, Cian barely smiled before turning away, letting the teachers of the Academy step forward to direct the groups to the rooms. Each group consisted of sixty-eight to sixty-nine potential students. Although Kai wanted to be in the group Sitross was presiding over, he ended up following the other man whose robes were adorned with gold. He was in his middle years, with his golden hair just beginning to turn grey. When he saw Kai looking at him, he winked and gave a brilliant smile.
The other sixty-seven people within Kai’s group ranged in age, but all of them were quite young, wanting to enter the Academy before they got too old to learn. The man in gold led the group to one of the rooms beneath the arena. The room was sparse and was able to fit all of them quite easily. At the far end of the room sat a large crystal around ten feet high and five feet wide. It’s surface was so clear, it almost looked like glass.
The middle aged man smiled at the group. “Please line up in an orderly fashion and we will begin testing. Most of you know that this is a Scrying Crystal. This one however, is way more powerful than any you have used. In order to pass this round, you will need to get at least five rings. You will be grouped into sections according to how many rings you receive.” From the door behind the man, five more people stepped out. These people wore light blue cloaks, they all looked to be in their twenties, indicating they were still students.
The man in gold continued, “Those who receive five rings will go with Ayana,” he pointed to the small red headed girl on the farthest end. She bowed slightly toward the children. “Those with six rings will join Baxel,” a bald man nodded. “Seven rings will be with Nida,” a tall green haired woman sneered at the group. “Those with eight rings and above with go with Logan,” a tall, robust man scowled at the student. “And last, but not least, those who do not get five rings will be escorted out by Edina,” the smallest girl, who looked to be no more than fourteen blushed when her name was called. “That concludes introductions. Who I am is not important, so please, form a line and we will begin.”
With that call, all the people within the room hurriedly scrambled to form a line. They couldn’t wait to show off and to become an official Academy student. While everyone hurried, Kai had stayed still, his eyes scrunched together as he looked at the robust man named Logan. The man gave off a weird feeling that Kai recognized, and because he was trying to pinpoint the feeling, before he knew it, he was last in line.
“Crap,” Kai muttered, hurrying to the end so that everyone could begin. The five students on the side stared at him with unforgiving eyes as if they were sizing him up, trying to guess exactly how many rings he would receive. Sighing, Kai stared at his feet, trying not to let their stares bother him.
From the front of the room, the first person grinned broadly when they injected their power into the Scrying stone. It immediately lit up with a bright yellow light and pulsated until it slowly landed on six rings. Nodding, the man in gold said, “Good job, please join Baxel. Next!”
And so, each person went forward to be tested. There were cheers from successful marks and sobbing when some did not meet the requirements. By the time thirty people had been tested, only fifteen had passed with eight having five rings, four having six, two having seven and the last two having eight. When the thirty first person walked forward almost everyone stopped what they were doing. Even Kai glanced at this young girl who seemed to be only nine years old.
She was a pretty child with bright blue eyes and long blonde hair. The most interesting thing about her were her ears that were pointed like an elves. The invisible pressure that pulsated off of her from her Elements made Kai intrigued. He could see the Elements happily dancing around her as if just being around her was somehow empowering them.
Slowly and shyly she moved forward and put her hand on the Scrying Crystal. Instantly the room was enveloped in a soft blue light. Gasps of astonishment rang out from the crowd when they saw how many rings were silently floating around her. She had miraculously achieved ten rings.
On the side, the man in gold couldn’t hold back his grin and personally went towards her. “Young one, you will be coming with me.”
“O…okay,” her quiet whisper sounded. She silently stood beside the proctor as the final half of the group wen through with their testing.
Thirty six people later, with Kai the only one left, only twenty five had passed the aptitude test. The highest rings had been given to that small elfen girl while the next was a boy cloaked in black who had gotten nine rings. All those left in the room stared at Kai, causing shivers to travel down his spine.
As he stepped forward, a voice sounded out, “Lord Sitross has informed me of you. I am looking forward to your results. The man in gold had a grin on his face, with his hands crossed over his chest. Although he looked lazy, there was a fierce glint in his eyes that caused Kai to swallow his saliva.
At the side, Logan clicked his tongue. “I bet this scrawny thing can’t get higher than six rings.” Those around him who had joined his group, all six of them gave a quiet chuckle.
Ignoring the whispers, Kai stepped forward. He was praying with all of his heart that he did not break this one like he had the other.
Even as he reached out his hand, a soft mantra like whisper flowed from his lips, “Please don’t break, please don’t break, please don’t break.”
The little elven girl heard his mutters and frowned, “Why would it break?” But her whisper was unheard.
The moment Kai touched the Scrying stone a fierce golden light exploded from the crystal, blinding every person within the room. Kai felt the cold stone beneath his fingers crumbling and started to pull his hand back, not wanting to break something so expensive. But a warm hand touched his and pushed it back onto the surface of the stone.
Astonished by the touch, Kai jumped and looked beside him. There stood Cian, his golden hair flickering in the golden light. He looked down at Kai and said, “Do not move, it will not break.” Then, he himself reached out and tapped the area that was beginning to crumble away.
As the light began to die down, no one could believe their eyes when they could finally see the rings that were swirling around Kai. Twelve bright crystal like rings had created their own world at the center of the Scrying Crystal. They rotated until, suddenly, they began to change form. Astonishingly, they turned into twelve small dragons that danced and played with each other, their silent roars echoing in the hearts of all those who laid eyes on them.
Those small dragons moved from the crystal and circle around Kai, nudging him with their noses and cooing at him to come play with them. Kai reached out to the small dragons and they flapped their wings excitedly before resting on both his shoulders and his arms. These little dragons had heartbeats that echoed Kai’s. They were one with him.
“Mythical manifestation,” someone within the room whispered and every single person within the room sucked in a breath, their gasps the only thing that sounded in the quiet room.
No one but the man in gold noticed Cian next to Kai. He had an unnatural look on his face as he glanced between the white haired boy and the golden haired man. As if forgetting himself, he gave a awkward formal bow before saying, “Veira greets Headmaster Cian.”