"I PAAAAAAAASED!" I shouted in excitement. "With a B!"
"B+" Sage smiled.
"A" Tea and Azure smirked as they revealed their grades to us.
"A+" Rose smiled as she showed us a perfect score.
"So I got the smallest grade? Did you guys study behind my back?" I narrowed my eyes at them suspiciously, feeling a bit betrayed.
"No. We actually studied." Azure answered lowering her eyebrows.
"Spare me your lies. You girls probably did a secret studying group and didn't tell me about it." I assumed instantly.
"Right...Once you're done with all the conspiracy theories, we can continue talking again." She said.
"Fine, I'll stop." I looked away a bit ashamed.
"Well, to be honest, I did study on my own." Camilla walked up to us with a perfect score as well. "Group studying is a loss of time, because you have fun instead of actually studying."
"I knew it!" I pointed at her, reassured.
"Well, anyway, what now?" Tea asked. "We have month off right? How will you all spend it?"
"I'll go back and stay with my grandpa." Sage announced. "So I won't be around the academy."
"I'll go on a training trip with a friend from here." Camilla looked away. Was she really ashamed to admit something like that?
"I'll stay." Tea said.
"Me too." Rose added.
"Me three!" I said.
"I'll stay too." Azure said.
"Well, I'm not here to judge, so...Later!" Camilla said and left.
After saying goodbye, Sage left as well. We were probably going to meet again after a month.
Right now, my top priority was to get stronger. Strong enough to be able to win in the FSC. And there was only one person who could train me enough.
"You're leaving!?" I asked in surprise of learning these news.
"Yeah. I'm going to see my grandpa. Sorry, I cannot be of help." Sarila gave me a smile of grief.
"It's fine. I just don't know how I will get good training without proper guidance." I told her.
"Listen, every semester break some clubs stay open, including the Martial Arts and Weapon Fighting clubs. I heard they're welcoming new instructors. Why not check it out?" Sarila said as she finished packing. "Again sorry. I'll see you when I return."
"OK. Have a great month." I smiled and after a short goodbye I went to bed.
Hopefully, these clubs will be interesting.
"Edan, if they don't treat us any free cheese-cake I will kill you." Azure mentioned as she stood right next to me.
Along with me and Azure, there were two more members in the club meeting.
Tea and Rose had turned me down on my offer to come with me to the club meeting. Azure would had probably done the same, had I not brought up the free cheese-cake slice at the end of the meeting. Of course, it was all just a lie I came up with, to make her come, since I didn't want to be alone.
"O-of course there's free cheese-cake. I would never deceive you." Drops of sweat started running down my cheek in my unease. "In any case, I wonder who our instructor is going to be."
Right then, we heard some really loud footsteps which made the floor to tremble. We were expecting some kind of monster to come through the door, but instead, the wall smashed into pieces and once the smoke cleared, a large muscular figure appeared. Enormous in both height and muscle.
All of us had a shocked and surprised look in our faces as we were unable to move.
It was a woman with the body of a bodybuilder. She had blond hair in ponytails dressed like a ballerina for some reason. She also had brown eyes.
"Oooookay." Azure spoke after a long moment of silence. "I will be taking my leave now."
Azure tried to walk out but the instructor grabbed her by the her shirt and raised her up like she was picking up a flower.
"What the- Put me down!" Azure lashed out in rage.
"Nobody is permitted to leave unless the meeting is over." She said. Normally, I would be intimidated but her voice was a total soprano, making it tough to take her seriously. "Now sit back and let me introduce myself."
The woman let Azure down and she unwillingly joined the rest of us.
"My name is Cream Cherryberry. I'm 14 years old, third year student of the academy and a master Martial Artist." The woman introduced herself, even though by her discription, she was younger than me. And yet she seemed older and vastly experienced. Plus intimidating enough to make me obey her every command...And also have nightmares. "One of the most important factors that could decide a fight, is Soul Power." Cream started. "Before learning Martial Arts you should learn how to increase it. Without enough Soul Power you will lose after a few measly hits."
"How do we increase it?" I asked.
"I was getting to that. The first thing to do is activate it." She said.
"Activate it? How?" Azure raised an eyebrow.
"Like THIS!" She said and her body started to glow with an intense wave of energy around her body.
"What the!?" One of the other students was taken aback along with all of us.
"Th-this is the kind of energy I felt when we met those criminals." I heard Azure whisper.
"This is Soul Power. It's most commonly known as Aura, though there are a few differences." Cream explained. "Soul Power is something all the Branded have the moment they awaken their Soul Beast. However, it is inactive and only used to prevent serious injuries. An active Soul Power will allow you to sustain large amounts of damage, increase your power, and grant you the ability to understand another's feelings."
"What does that mean?" Azure asked.
"Once you activate Soul Power it will be a lot easier for you but if I make my feelings strong enough..." Cream said and after she focused a bit, the mood in the room grew a lot more dangerous, it felt like the whole place became darker, and I had a constant fear for my life while all my instincts screamed to ran away from Cream as soon as possible because she wanted to kill me.
Cream opened her eyes and exhaled and the atmosphere turned back to normal. "Through my Soul Power I expressed deadly intent, but you only felt it because, I have strong Soul Power and I made my intent strong enough."
"Wow." My eyes grew wide in amazement.
"I know right?" She smiled at the compliment.
"Tell us how to activate it!" I pleaded with a bow.
"Heh, heh, in order to do it, you must follow my every command and intense training. Otherwise, you will never make it." Cream smiled.
"Question! If we activate our Soul Power, will we become as...Tall as you?" Azure asked.
"Insecure about your height, are you?" Cream grinned.
"That's not it." Azure yelled in annoyance.
"Sorry, but now. The only reason to get these muscles and height will be through intense and daily training." Cream said. "I'm sorry."
"I SAID, THAT'S NOT IT!" Azure argued again but it was pointless.
"In any case, for now I want you to focus on releasing the Soul Power in your hands. We'll move to the rest of the body once you master that. When you're good enough, we'll go to Brawl Mountain." Cream said and we then started training.
"Brawl Mountain?" Tea raised an eyebrow at the sound of that.
"It's an easy to climb mountain which has excellent places to fight, so, every year, they hold a competition between various Branded people where they fight in order to reach the top. The winner gets a lot of money and a rare magical item." Rose instantly explained.
"Magical item?" I asked.
"Items capable of extraordinary capabilities. There are Natural Magic Items, found in the outside world by Explorers who have managed to return, and Artificial Magic Items, which use Advanced Program Relocation in order to have the ability to wield exceptional powers." Rose explained once more, without taking her eyes off the book she was reading.
"Advanced Program Relocation?" Azure asked.
"Computer Programs which, through Advanced Program Relocation Crystals, or APR Crystals for short, are transferred into items in order to allow them to perform in set conditions and actions." Rose explained once more but continued on, since we stared at her blankly. "Those bells you bought for Azure..."
At that, Azure's eye twitched for a number of times. "C-C-Carry on."
"They are Artificial Magic Items. They have an APR Crystal attached to them which has Conditions and Actions. The Condition is a rule that has been placed on the item which has to be followed before it can be used. For the bells, the Condition is for someone to put them on. The Action is their ability to ring whenever someone moves." Rose kept on explaining. "These programs are created on normal computers after intense studying and are transferred through a natural resource, the APR Crystals which are excavated in mines."
"Wow, science is incredible!" I admitted.
"In any case, these crystals are so common, you can find Artificial Magic Items in a store in your neighborhood for reasonable prices." Rose continued. "Natural Magic Items, on the other hand, are super rare and sometimes dangerous and can only be found in underground auctions and black markets."
"Amazing. But anyway, will you guys join us on our training or not?" I asked.
"Hmf, fine, seeing as you are, this instructor must be really something." Tea said.
"What do you mean?" I asked until I realized I was on bed unable to move for some reason.
"You and Azure came out of the classroom and passed out instantly. The two of us found you and moved you to your rooms." Tea replied.
"I remember that much, but why can I not move? We all just stood there and tried to activate Soul Power around our hands." I complained.
"We asked your goril-ahem, instructor and she said that Soul Power training is exhausting and it will take all day to get back to your feet. She also said that, after you manage to maintain your Soul Power active around your whole body for an hour without passing out, only then you'll have a capable Soul Power. Once you manage that, you will move on to actual martial arts." Rose said.
"How is Azure?" I asked.
"She's still mad about that cheese-cake joke you made." Tea answered. "But in any case, you still have to rest. Miss Cherryberry said that she will hunt down all absentees and punch an honest excuse out of them."
With that warning the two of them left my room and I instantly fell asleep from exhaustion.
Tomorrow it would be another tiring day.
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