Rogue

Rogue

A Chapter by TCTCSA
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The People of Time Part 0 Chapter 2 Rogue

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-Chapter Two-

Rogue

 

Tread close,

Tread softly.

Tread not into the sight of the wolf.

For when you gaze into the abyss,

The abyss gazes more into you.



            What do I want to do with my life?

I was surprised to find next morning that the girl I met at the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence›› was actually a classmate at Professor Claire’s ‹‹Comparative Elemancy››. She looked almost the same as yesterday, with that serene, inviting presence, the only difference being that her hair was now tied into two long ponytails, giving her a rather more childish look than necessary. As to whether I should feel relieved or distraught at the sight of her, I haven’t necessarily made up my mind yet.

            She was heaven as I was to earth, day as to night, {{Pharaoh}} to a measly {{Scarab}}, a model student in every possible way. I couldn't find a more perfect student even if I sprouted my own [[Wings]] and searched Millia upside down. From punctuality down to intelligence, there was none in my class par with her. As her official seatmate, I solemnly testify by the name of the ‹‹Oracles›› that it didn't even take her three minutes finishing the essay portion.

            I also swear that I wasn't trying to copy her work and just happened to glance at her paper by coincidence.

            One thing that grabbed my attention though is that she doesn't seem to be too fond of raising her hand during class. It's highly unlikely that she doesn't know the answer. From what I can tell, I think she's trying not to stand out too much, as I can't stress enough that ‹‹Chords›› are rarely found in the land of ‹‹Time››. With that performance though, I doubt she’d be able to keep at it for long.

            Sure enough, no sooner had I convinced Mom to stop giving me ‹‹Parmesan Fruits›› than Professor Claire asked an unsuspecting Heather why reduction into elemental duality is possible, but not in trinity. She stared blankly at first, but quickly composed herself and promptly answered that multiple passive elements would tend to overrule the active element disproportionately and the Hypergeometric Worldline Shadow cannot trace a sinusoidal fluctuation as a two dimensional one would cast a solenoid.

            Or was it the other way around. Anyway, she easily seated herself once she was finished, but not before getting an astounded second impression from the Trainer, as well as a few astonished looks from the people around.

            And though she’s not the type to busy herself chatting with other students while the Trainer’s explaining, that doesn't mean we’re completely devoid of communication.

            “Ssst,” I heard the person to my right whisper as a small piece of crumpled paper hit me square on the head. Obviously it came from Heather, but when I turned to look at her she has resumed so natural a poise that for a second, I almost believed it couldn't possibly be her, even though the glare through the side of her eye told me enough with all heart and soul that I’d better not start falling asleep again.

            Sleep. Easier said than not done. The thing about ‹‹Comparative Elemancy›› is that no matter how hard I tried to understand the concepts just made even less and less sense, and the fact that I’m sitting next to an intellectual power house wasn't helping very much either. I wish she’d let me sleep. And I wish very much she’d let me copy her homework after that, but this is one of the things I dared not even ask. Like I said, she was an ideal student. You'd agree a stand against cheating is already a given. 

            “The Radial Flow between ‹‹Time›› and ‹‹Entropy›› exhibits a Harmony of Relevance but only during the Tributary State, in which case ‹‹Entropy›› is characterized simultaneously by both Quintessential Timeline Disarray and Terminal Congruence,” Heather read out from Elemental Webs: The Modern Theories of Interaction as we made our way out of Professor Claire’s on the Friday morning of January 6th. ”The text merely implies ‹‹Entropy›› in a state of both order and disorder at the same time”.

            “Okay, that doesn't make any sense. How can something be in order and disorder at the same time?”

            “For the Differential Timelines converge at one point,” she replied in that always carefree way, oblivious of other people's hardships. “It matters not what the Quantadynamic Path that lead to the outcome was, as long as the end results are the same. This argument proves valid for all transpositions involving any number of Entropic Dissipation Phases.”

            “You know what, forget this,” I said in resign. I couldn't take it anymore. My head felt like it was about to burst from the paradox, a feat that only my mom has had record of accomplishment every once in a while.

            “I believe such would do you only more harm than good. Need I add, ‘tis bound to appear  in the coming tests.”

        “Then I'll worry about it when I get there. After all, that's why I have you right?” I may have said this a little too casually, as Heather gave me that fugitive “I-don't-know-why-you're-doing-this-but-I'm-not-even-gonna-bother” look again.


            “So be it. I only hope I won’t find you weeping over my shoulder when the wrongs of your actions finally dawn upon you.”

            “Don't worry. I won't.”

            Well there’s a little bit of truth to what she said, but on the other hand, I think worrying this early on is a huge exaggeration. Heather just happened to be Equipped with an exceptional brain and that’s why she can’t realize that more than half of the class are in exactly the same position as I am, probably even worse.

            One by one, faces would once more turn towards me across the hallway, but fortunately not as much as yesterday or the other day. Have they perhaps gotten tired of me? I guess even as a subject of rumors I wasn't that much of an attraction. They were probably more interested in if Heather was in the right mind, hanging out with me and all. I bet it'd get a lot worse once they find out she’s a ‹‹Chord››. I put the thought aside.

            I don't know why, but the few rays of sunlight falling down the hall had an unexpected warmth to it that you wouldn't feel on a normal day.  A gentle gale was sweeping over the unknowing crowd. Even though school work is slowly starting to pile up, I can't help but feel warm and content inside. I’ve never understood the value of having someone to talk to until now. Just the thought was enough to put me at ease.

            “Guess I'll be seeing you at ‹‹Basic Elemental Manipulation››,” I said as we rounded a corner bustling with other students. Other than ‹‹Comparative Elemancy››, we were also scheduled to be classmates at ‹‹Basic Elemental Manipulation››, a subject that, unlike everything else, was taken once a week on Fridays. Hence, this was supposed to be our first session.

            “And you as well,” she waved back before heading out into the emptiness of the hall. I felt a familiar feeling crept inside me seeing her go. Even so, I kept watching her, the gentle flow of her silky hair resonating with every step, until she disappeared through a corner, and the place was empty again. It made me feel hollow.

            I heaved myself around and proceeded in the other direction. My schedule wasn't particularly tight on Fridays. Aside from ‹‹Comparative Elemancy›› and ‹‹Basic Elemental Manipulation››, the only other class I have to go to is double ‹‹Differential Timelines›› courtesy of Professor 171-16.9.2015.

            He told us he was from the land of ‹‹Gravity››, a ‹‹Fallen››. That's all we know about him. Other than that he just kept criticizing how “primitive” the land of ‹‹Time›› is and all the simple changes that would radically improve the system if the ‹‹Council of Twelve›› would only approve.

            “That’s why I’ll never understand Elder Laine,” he dabbled in his usual, self-possessed tone. “If I was a ‹‹Rainmaker›› myself, I won’t just sit here doing nothing. I’d run for the Wave Room, even if it’s against her.”

            Once you go over the name part there’s really nothing unusual about Professor 171-16.9.2015, unless you count the fact that his right eye was a rotating ball of metals and wires and flickering colored lights. They looked like tiny fireflies nesting inside a robot and always gave you a piercing sensation, as though you're being x-rayed whenever he looks at you, and I mean whenever he looks at you. Whether you’re looking back or not doesn't help in any way. That's why his classes are often filled with tension. It's like he can always see how horribly you’re doing with your exam paper ten feet away.

            After three grueling hours of structuring the Histogram Matrix, I have a good long break ahead of me, which of course I only used waiting outside the front lawn for the last class. Alone. I really didn't have anything else to do.

Watching the clouds drift by, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of things are taught at ‹‹Basic Elemental Manipulation››. I hope it's something easy for a change. I don't need to add one more into the mounting pile of unbelievably hard subjects. Then again, if it does turn out to be a lot more difficult than I expected, I can always ask Heather for help. Then I realized thinking of Heather only made me feel more alone.

            I tore open my lunch box to find... ‹‹Parmesan Fruits›› yet again. After thoughtlessly stuffing myself, afternoon finally came and before I knew it, it was five minutes before the first session. I stood up from the stone bench. My back ached and my legs yawned from not being able to do anything the whole day. I've been sitting for so long even walking feels strange.

            I went on my way to the classroom, past the knight armors and the arched columns that lined the hallway. I thought this was just going to be another ordinary class with an ordinary Trainer, someone like Professor 171-16.9.2015 at most. I couldn't be more wrong. It was only after I walked past the last standing armor that I noticed the first of many peculiar things. The rooms only ended at 1:20.

            Where the door to Room 1:21 should’ve been there was only solid brick wall, and I can't go any further along the corridor as it was a dead end. I tried to feel some sort of hidden hinge or knob on the wall, but it was flat as ever. It tried kicking it. It hurt. Since I now have as much chance of opening a door as getting a candy for acing all my tests, I decided to just sit on the floor and wait for someone else to come. I was a bit early after all. There's bound to be someone else somewhere in the school heading straight for this class right now.

            Minutes passed. This wing seemed to be secluded, seeing as barely anyone passed by, although that was usually a plus in my case. It was a desolate looking hallway with just doors and walls and empty knight armors, while on the other side, only equally spaced doric pillars blocked the view of the lawn. I was starting to doubt whether I really had the right place when a glum looking girl passed by. I couldn't see her face since it was hidden deep behind the hood of her jet black robe.

            She walked past without sparing me a glance, scanned the rows of bricks and after finding the one she was looking for, tapped three times with her finger. Suddenly, two wooden doors, a dull shade of gray with carvings that looked like white skeletons appeared out of nowhere. They swung open to let her in, then closed and vanished as quickly as they appeared.

            Good thing I was watching carefully and not just sporting a mesmerized look on my face. After I had time to shut my jaw in place, I stood up and walked over to the wall. The brick she used was a very worn-looking one, seven rows up between one with a crack and another that had “Clayton sucks” scribbled in it.

            It looked just like any other block of stone, but when I gently tapped on it three times like she did, the surface of the wall rippled, like water, like air. Just then, two similar gray doors swam into view, with carvings of two dragons winding through each other on the left and right slammers. One was completely black, as though its very scales were made of coal, while the other was a bodiless white skeleton, its wings spread out like white long fingers across a gray blanket.

            They swung open without the slightest creak, as though the doors weren't doors at all. This was security enchantment of the highest grade. I gulped. Inside was a wide, spacious, but oddly dark and cold room, made purely of what looked like shiny black marble. I slowly walked inside. Looking at my reflection on the wall, the darkness made my face seem even more disfigured than ever, almost like I had a big hole messily sawed off the cheek, my right eye blankly floating on its own accord. I shrugged off the idea and looked away.

            The only light in the room came from a few torches on the walls. It was so dark my eyes hurt just looking at them. I continued looking around, until something horrifying turned my legs into jelly. High up on the ceiling hung various white skulls, their empty eyes overlooking me like prey. The threads holding them were so thin they were almost as good as floating. I could've sworn one of them was almost smiling.

 

 

I fought against cold sweat. Honestly, it looked closer to an abandoned house rather than a classroom, not to mention there was barely anyone in yet. Over the dimness of everything I could hear faint shouts of someone who seems to be in an argument.

            “Never,” said a voice that maintained a characteristic smoothness in its taunting. “Not even in a million years. Not with your people anyway.”

            It came from an older student, who appeared to be relaxing with his legs raised at the teacher's desk . He wore a cream white suit, with matching pants and shoes that contrasted with the darkness of the walls around him.

            He was oddly well-dressed, as though he had prepared for a party instead of class, and his bright , shoulder-length orange hair, with little shades of red at the tips, was groomed well beyond perfection. He didn’t seem like a teacher, but he definitely wasn’t an ordinary student either. Just then, two pristine hands slammed themselves against the table, just a few inches from where his bone white shoes rested.

            “I would weave my words carefully if I were in your place.”

            It was a girl, her back turned to me, with familiar golden hair and a voice that resounds far back into the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence››. My mouth immediately fell open.

            “Hmmm? Are you going to prove me wrong then, ‹‹Chord››?”

            The cerulean flute Heather used back in the ‹‹Forest of Reminiscence›› suddenly materialized in her hand. White simply smiled at this. He stood up from his chair and gently backed into the nearby chalkboard, not bothering to take out both hands from his pockets. They stared fixedly at each other for a few moments.

            “Should we really just let them fight?” I heard a wavering voice say weakly from behind me. I turned around. It seems there was another person who arrived before me and the cloaked girl.

            It came from a short plump boy with a round face, carrying over his shoulder a sledgehammer lage enough to tear a hole in the wall. Added to the blue jumper he wore over his red clothes, he looked like a young technician in training. “I mean- s- shouldn't we stop them?” he stuttered to the two of us.

            “Frankly, I don't care,” replied the girl from earlier, not making eye contact with either of us. She’s barely noticeable in the darkness. Just as before, her face remained hidden beneath the hood of her cloak. The only thing I could see was the movement of her lips. “But, if they end up destroying this room, I guess I'll have no choice then…”

            I looked back at Technician, who gave me an equally puzzled and worried look. “So,” I said, gesturing to the guy white from head to foot. “Who's that?”

            “Probably a student assistant,” Cloak replied.

            It seems that the conversation on Heather's side had taken a toll for the worse. I was about to take a step forward when Heather put the tip of the flute to her lips and blew heavily. It was a high, shrill waving sound, so loud my ears kept ringing even after I had covered them. Suddenly, all the air in the entire room grew heavy and began to move, spiraling, spinning, like a wild beast slowly circling its prey.

            “I cast ((Tumult))!” she bellowed and in one fell swoop, all the wind dived towards White.

            However, just before they made contact with him, or at least that's as far as I can tell, thin web-like flaming lines appeared on the black floor where his feet stood, temporarily forming what looked like a mesh of fire. They dashed away in all directions, criss-crossing in various angles to form what looked like a giant web of fire. One of them snaked towards us and would've scorched my foot along if Cloak hadn't pushed me out of the way. I toppled a few feet away into the row of seats. 

            When I resumed, the thin lines crept up the walls and ceiling, weaving themselves in random directions, barely grazing the delicate threads that held the skulls. Their huge shadows danced hauntingly around us. The lines of fire eventually came together at the torches, where the flames ignited into a violent orange blaze before returning to its normal size.

            “Is that the best you can do?” White chuckled. “I know I'm neither ‹‹Elven›› nor ‹‹Lensmaker››, but we both know there are certain Spell intercepting dynamics between some elements, don't we? Or I guess some elements really are just better than others.”

            Heather was about to cast another Spell, but out of the pile of chairs I managed to call out her name. She stopped and turned to look at me with an expression of mingled surprise. I soon wished I hadn't. White quickly used this opportunity to launch another of those fiery streaks. It split into two and wound a circle around Heather.

            “Didn't anyone ever tell you it's impolite to turn your back from your opponent?” he said lazily. I felt my insides burn with anger.

            White took out his right hand and I saw, for a fleeting moment, a stick of match held snugly between his forefinger and thumb. With one swish, a ball of fire quickly shot out and zoomed straight for Heather.

            I was sure I was sure the spell would hit her, but just before they made contact, it swerved and changed course. As though an invisible magnetic force was pulling it away, it rose and curved a long arc high in the air, before diving into the cold stone floor, where it would have scorched a huge smoldering circle, if the floor wasn't made of black stone as well.

            I looked back at White, whose expression told me that was not what it was supposed to do. He wheeled around. Technician, who was moments before reluctant to disturb the fight, held his hammer up easily in one hand as though it weighed no more than a feather. However, the moment he noticed we were all looking, he quickly withdrew it and scrambled under the row of chairs.

            “A ‹‹Fallen››, eh,” White smirked. It made me even angrier even more that he was actually enjoying this. “Not exactly what I was expecting, but I guess this could also be interesting.”

            Without warning, Cloak walked over in front of Technician, where White could perfectly see her. He raised an eyebrow, but didn't speak. Somehow I had a really bad feeling about this.

            “I think this foolishness has gone on far too long,” she finally said.

            “And one is even up for theatrics. A ‹‹Spade››? No. Judging from that cloak of yours, perhaps, an ‹‹Elven››?”

            For a while she just stood there in silence, still as a statue. It was impossible to guess what she was thinking. I couldn't even tell if she was listening to White or not. The hood of her cloak blocked all expression from view. Then, without warning, she raised her hand forward and what she meant couldn't be clearer. It’s a Duel.


            “Stop!” I yelled before I could stop myself. I just realized I was already standing. “Why don't you pick on someone your own size?”

            I shouldn't have said that. I shouldn’t have done anything. I knew it wasn't right to just sit around and watch them go at each other's ‹‹Health Bar››. But I forgot. I can’t fight. I was weak, helpless. These guys were ‹‹Half-Bloods›› and wouldn't think twice of leaving my ‹‹Health Bar›› in the ‹‹Red Zone›› if ever it came down to a battle. I knew well I can’t fight, but for some reason my mouth just moved on its own. I really meant on its own. It’s almost as if I momentarily possessed a different personality. And now that I’m way past the point of no return, he’s probably going to burn me to a crisp.

            I prepared myself for the worst. However, just as I thought all was lost, White stared at me in unsound perplexity. It was hard maintaining eye contact, but I tried my best not to look away. He didn't seem like planning on attacking. Rather, he was eyeing me with great concentration.

            “I think I know you,” he said slowly as though beginning to recognize someone he had met not long ago. “Indeed, you do look like you’re from the land of ‹‹Darkness››,” he said astonished.

            I already knew where the conversation was going, but before I could even present a reply, White sent a Spell at me and beckoned, “Let’s see what you got then!”

            I braced myself. I was expecting heat any moment, expecting every inch of my skin to feel white hot knives, but it didn’t. I slowly opened my eyes. I was burning, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I wheeled around. My ‹‹Health Bar›› was slowly dropping at a rate of about 4 Hit Points per second.

            “Aren’t you going to get out?” Cloak asked calmly. Realizing she meant get out of the fire, I quickly stood up and walked out of the area that was burning. Oddly enough, my clothes were scorched in places, but my body was perfectly fine. I’ve lost more than half of my ‹‹Duel Health Bar›› though.

            “Isn’t that awfully nice of you, for a senior?” Cloak called out after White. He readied himself for another attack, but before I could say anything, long, pointed white objects quickly shot up from the ground. It was so fast none of us had any time to react. There were seven of them, arranged like a tall circular fence around White. The whole room went silent. I just had time to notice that those white things were bones, when a hoarse monotonous voice called out from behind.

“That's enough.”

            It was from a man dressed in a robe as dark as the locks of his hair. Although unlike Cloak his face wasn't covered by the hood, I kind of half wished it was. He had the deepest of black shoulder-length hair, though I could see some little, characteristic highlights of white. He was holding what looked like a mourning hair chain, containing a total of seven lockets. His lips were also as black as his cloak and his eyelids sagged heavily as if he hadn't slept for a week. His pale skin made the visible parts of him look like they were floating in the darkness. There was something about his cold steel gray eyes that shone ominously in the dark as he drew closer towards us.

            I caught the sound of dropping books followed by a small shriek as two girls watched open-mouthed by the entrance door. He, however, took no notice of this and strode towards me. In the darkness he looked more like a drifting ghost than human.

            “Hey! Let me out!” 

            He stared down at me through the corner of his eye. His very gaze sent chills down my spine.

       

“What are you still doing here?” he hissed. “Go to your seat.” And without sparing me a second glance, he glided towards the front row desk.

            “What did I say about pre-semester Duels?”

            “I can expla-”

            “Clean this place up,” he said half sternly and half tonelessly as the long, pointed teeth-like structures sank back to the ground, freeing the student assistant from his temporary prison. “And I already told you to stop dressing so light.”

            White looked like he had just been denied a pleasant treat. The matchstick in his fingers lit up into a sparkling crimson feather. With one lazy wave, he sent a jet of golden glitter across the room and instantly, the chairs rose and returned to their original positions.

            “Are you alright?” Heather panted as she came running towards us.

            “Yeah, I'm fine.”

            “I am deeply sorry,” she moaned, bowing her head so low that the length of her hair almost touched the floor. “This is all my fault.”

            “What?” I asked. “This isn’t-”

            ‹‹Flame Aura››,” the girl in black called out from under her cloak. “Think of it as the ‹‹Ember's›› equivalent primary Skill. Just as Chroniclers have ‹‹Astral Watch››, the Skill ‹‹Flame Aura›› is universal to all affiliates of ‹‹Fire››. Customary to its nature, it stirs up rage and anger from the people around through unconscious words.”

            “Unconscious?”

            “Meaning the caster is not aware,” Heather explained. “He will only utter the words you hold hurtful the most. It matters not whether they are false, or irrelevant, so long as they most aptly evoke the feeling of rage on the target.”

            “I see…”

I've also heard the highest Duel Score in Millia was from a ‹‹Fire›› affiliate who went challenging everybody into a Duel. Rumors say he has reached more than a thousand points. Could it be him?

            “I thought it was an extinct Skill, as casting it often led to trouble,” the cloaked girl half said to us and half muttered to herself. “That aside, I'm going to take my seat now. The same goes for all of you.”


            She strode past Technician, who was quick at moving out of her way, and proceeded to seat herself at the far end of the room. We three stared at each other, unsure whether she wanted us to sit with her or at the front row twenty five feet away where she couldn't see us. In the end, Heather and I decided to follow her and unfortunately, I had to be the one who sits next to Cloak.

            We waited as the room slowly filled up one student after another. I don’t know, but I think we made a more traumatizing impression than necessary for the girl who entered earlier. She’s been constantly eyeing the Trainer and his student assistant, and us as well, as though we were terrorists sent to declare war on the land of ‹‹Time››. The man in the evening black robe, who I assume was the Trainer, took bare notice and kept rummaging through the files under his desk. I wondered if we’re in trouble, even though his assistant technically started everything.

            The hooded girl was still as quiet as ever. I was sitting with her the whole time, and I didn't even see her do so much as move or flinch. She just bowed her head, and either fiddled with her fingers, or wrote random things down on her notebook. I figured I should go talk to her.

            “What's your name?” I asked. She showed no reaction. I gathered she was pretending not to hear me, so I just looked away. After a while however,

            “Keith,” she said.

            “Oh, um… Hi.” I said, taken aback by this sudden change of mind. “I'm Synth.”


            She ended the conversation by writing something very long in her notebook. I decided to give up.

            “Hey, Heather.”

            “Yes?” she answered warily.

“When I got hit by that Spell earlier, I didn’t feel anything even though my whole body was burning. Why is that?”

“Eh?”

“He’s equipped a ‹‹Muffler››,” answered Cloak. “It dispels all pain from a user’s attacks, allowing two people to engage in combat with their fullest potential. That’s why, when it hit you, your ‹‹Health Bar›› only dropped but there was no corresponding pain. ‹‹Mufflers›› are common in professional Duels.”

“Then, does that mean-?”

“He has no intention of killing or hurting anyone, of course. He’s a student assistant. He’s just here to do his job. That goes without saying.”

I nodded silently. I find it hard to believe he did all that just on a whim, but I'm just glad the Trainer came and stopped them before anything worse happened.

            It wasn't long before more than half the seats were taken. Although most of the others tried to distance themselves from us, or in other words, me, as much as possible, I could tell we were of one mind in having the same thoughts and doubts about this eerie room. The very atmosphere reeked of something like aging acid. The room had an unusual tinge to it that made me feel as though we were in a completely isolated world.

            The Trainer shortly took out a long piece of parchment. All the unsettled whispers turned into hushes and then died at once. He began calling out names, which I found hardly believable considering how dark it was. Of course, I was fully convinced he wasn't just making up names when he got to Heather, at which I saw a small smile play across White’s face.

            It got worse when he got to my name. He stopped at it for a few seconds before finally calling out “Synth... Synth Elle”, and when I raised my hand he took a good, long (freezing) look at me. He didn't do that with any of the other students. I could see faces turning around to get a better look at me, but their gaze paled next to the Trainer’s. Even from that distance, his eyes felt like they'll suck me in.


            I'm not sure if I just wasn't paying enough attention, but I don't think I heard any “Keith” in the roll call. Did she give me a fake name? No way. Only mom does that. I’m beginning to think in the short while we spent together she already hates me. When the Trainer had finished calling the last name, he rolled up his list and placed it back inside the drawer. He then turned to face the class with his spine-chilling gaze.

            “Good afternoon,” he spoke in a fashion that was more like an audible hiss than anything. Even though it wasn't that loud, the walls seemed to reverberate every bit of his voice, making it ten times as eerie. “I will be your Trainer for ‹‹Basic Elemental Manipulation››, Professor Rogue. Before we begin, I’d like to first congratulate everyone here who has managed to find this room, and enter without my aid.” 

Awkward Silence. He seemed to be looking at the three of us. Well, I only managed to enter thanks to Cloak, so there’s not that much merit to that.

“Before we begin, I'd like to ask a question. Who among here believe in time travel?”

It was easy to tell none of us expected a question like that. After all, the concept of time is so abstract and transcendental that the power to leap through it is hard to imagine, even for a ‹‹Chronicler››. Some wavering hands rose into the cold air, including Technician's.

            “Why,” the Trainer said looking up to the ‹‹Fallen›› earlier.


“Uh, we- wel...” he stuttered. “There are certain Spells that we can think of as, a method of altering the time of inanimate objects... in a micro scale. And Creatures, too... And, well, from that, maybe it's possible to apply on a larger scale.”

“But that would violate the Lorentz Postulate and the Third Law of Entropy,” I heard Heather mutter under her breath. The Trainer, without the slightest change in expression, turned away from him as though he hadn't heard a single word.

“Optimistic as always, as long as it is anything that includes technological advancement. Typical of the ‹‹Fallen›› race, but I guess your father still hasn't taught you about the complexities of the Spacetime Continuum. Let me personally assure you,” he turned to the class, arms weighing down across opposite ends of his desk, “that time travel is not possible!”

“You might think that as ‹‹Chroniclers›› gifted with a certain level of control over the chronology of events, time itself is yours. Unfortunately that is far from the truth. Time belongs to nobody. It is not as simple as a path in the snow, where you can easily go back and forth whenever you feel like it. Nor is it a toy to play with at one’s own will.” He rose up, and began pacing around his desk.

“You are only able derive power in time because the ‹‹Oracle›› is generous enough to lend lower beings a taste of her power. Time flows. Time passes. That is the law, whether you like it or not, and anyone who dares defile this sacred order is no better than an {{Abomination}}.”

The whole class had turned rigid. He was speaking to us as though we might try inventing time travel any moment.

“Time bows to no one, yet at the same time, serves everyone. I do not want to hear anyone expecting a time loop anomaly or the like. History will continue no matter what happens, age after age, eternity after eternity, and as such, it is only your sacred duty to protect the flow of time.

“That said, do not take this subject lightly. ‹‹Basic Elemental Manipulation›› is the foundation of all the skills you will require to become an effective ‹‹Chronicler››, namely...”

The student assistant went over and held out his hand. It glowed a brilliant golden flash, temporarily blinding us all. After a while, the room went dark again and in his hand hovered the glimmering blood red feathered quill he used earlier.

“The ‹‹Grimoire››,” Professor Rogue continued. “It is the vessel through which ‹‹Quanta›› is channeled, as may already be known to some of you.” He cast a menacing look at the three of us again. “Spells, Creatures and Permanents, all of them require first a ‹‹Grimoire››, and the ‹‹Grimoire›› requires that its owner is in harmony with the given element.” He returned to his seat.

            “A ‹‹Grimoire›› takes on different forms, depending on the element in question. As you can see, the ‹‹Grimoire›› of a ‹‹Chronicler›› appears as a quill. I assume ‹‹Half-Bloods›› here would know this fact well enough.”

            I had a mental image of Heather's purple flute. Perhaps that's the ‹‹Grimoire›› of ‹‹Air››. I already know the ‹‹Grimoire›› of an ‹‹Ember›› is a matchstick. Though there are not that many ‹‹Embers›› in the land of ‹‹Time››, I've been to the land of ‹‹Fire›› once. That was when Mom took me to watch the Arena battles at the Cinderella Coliseum, a famous place where contenders fight to test their skill and earn prizes along the way. I've heard that in ancient times, it was the only way to ask for the hand in marriage of the Emperor's daughter.


Though Mom was more interested in the bettings rather than the actual battles or its cultural value, I remember most of the players I saw used matchsticks. We left immediately after Mom won a staggering 2000 ‹‹Electrum Coins›› in one go.

Anyway, Professor Rogue later had us concentrate and summon our own ‹‹Grimoire››. A lot of us weren't able to accomplish it, though there were some who easily got it the first time. Heather seemed to have trouble transforming her ‹‹Grimoire›› into a ‹‹Time››-based one, but she got the hang of it by the end of the lesson. Hers was a similar light blue feather quill with its distinct yellow markings from the flute version.

Technician appeared to be having even more trouble at the far end, while Keith just sat and took things easy. By that, I mean she ultimately didn't bother trying. I still couldn't conjure mine by the end of the lesson, mainly because something about the Trainer kept bugging me. There was nothing wrong with the way he taught, it's the way he always looked at me. Everytime I looked into his eyes, I feel something bad stirring inside me. I grew tired from the lesson and tried to sneak away a short nap, only everytime I tried to sleep, a cold chill always jolted my senses awake.

Allen

“I don't like that guy,” I said straight out when the three of us were finally outside his room.

“I agree,” Heather said. “His mere presence puts me at unease, more so than the chamber itself. I do believe he is the only Trainer for the subject though, so our options are forced. What are your next classes?”

“I don't have any more,” I replied. “How about you?” 

‹‹Alchemy››.”


“Wow. You have a pretty loaded schedule.” 

“Indeed,” she said glancing at her watch. “My apologies, I cannot stay long. I have already run out of time.” And with that she sprinted down the length of the hallway, leaving only me to deal with her.

“Ummm,”

“I still have things to do,” Keith said, then strode off in the other direction without another word. What those things were, I had a feeling I'll never know. The last sight I had of her was the length of her dark brown cloak billowing behind her as she wrote feverishly into her notebook.

I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something felt off. It wasn't until I was walking down Analog Lane on the way home that I realized Professor Rogue’s room wasn’t like any place outside. There was a certain feel that just wasn’t in there, not just the academy but the whole land of ‹‹Time›› in general. I know it's absurd, but it almost felt like the room was inside a different country.

The sun was setting into the far mountains now. A dark shade of blue seeped through the sky overhead as two or three stars emerged out of the darkness. My head ached and my body felt heavier than lead.  With every step I took, my legs felt like they were being crushed, and by the time I reached the front door they were less than paper thin. For some reason, this day lasted a lot longer than it should.

Allen.

“Evening, Synth,” I heard Legalmier, my mother's boyfriend, greet jovially. He was at the dining table as usual. He usually visits around evening, but even so, I think he was particularly early today.


“I don't feel like talking right now,” I muttered as I dragged myself up the stairs.

“Hmmm? Did someone bully you?”

            I just pretended not to hear him and climbed each exhausting step. I barely had the energy to open my bedroom door. As I went inside, a white fox with nine long tails protruding from its back stretched out of my bed and went over to brush itself against my legs. I also didn't have the energy to pat her head anymore.

            “Sorry, Nine,” I mumbled. I wanted to lie down as quickly as possible. Just seeing my bed made me feel even weaker than I should. I walked over to it. And waited. Why was I feeling so weak today? Did Professor Rogue's room have something to do with it? It's true I felt perfectly fine until just this afternoon, but much as I wanted to blame it on him, it's nothing more than biased speculation.

I struggled with all my might as invisible hands tugged at me from below. My legs felt like they were going to melt any second. I forced myself to stand up, but my body was getting heavier and heavier by the second, until at last, my legs finally failed me. I slumped down my bed, and fell into the darkness beneath.

            Allen, wake up.

            I opened my eyes a little, which seemed a lot harder to do now than it had ever been. I couldn’t make anything out from the tiny slit of blinding light.

            “Brother, mom said breakfast is ready. You’re going to be late for school,” squeaked someone’s voice. Then I heard the sound of footsteps followed by the slam of my bedroom door. I opened my eyes a little wider. Warm morning sunlight was spilling from the electric blue curtains down the mantled floor and the blankets over me.

I heaved myself up, and felt, for some reason, my head unusually painful that morning.

            “Yeah, yeah. I’m going…”



© 2014 TCTCSA


Author's Note

TCTCSA
This is a novel based on the online game at www.elementsthegame.com

Spells are enclosed in (( ))
Creatures are enclosed in {{ }}
Permanents are enclosed in [[ ]]
Miscellaneous terms are enclosed in << >>

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This might be a bit too long (turns out it overshot past 7000 words last time I checked on the count) but atleast it included every important point here (though how effectively is down to the reader); mainly that Heather is practically the protagonist's only friend, that Rogue is an unusual teacher, that Keith is secretive and that Clayton is sh*t (well not exactly, but more on his characterization later)

Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on December 7, 2014
Last Updated on December 7, 2014
Tags: time, entropy, air, gravity, fire, water, elements, aether, earth, darkness, death, light, life, the people of time, people of time, synth, synesthesium, novel, elements the game, chronicler, chord


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TCTCSA
TCTCSA

Philippines



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