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Chapter 26 - Choices



Emery woke up to a cool, gray ceiling. He tried to move and then his whole body suddenly issued a stinging pain everywhere. He grunted.

"You're awake," a sweet melodic voice said on his side.

He looked over and saw Klea sitting next to his bed. Her usual spunk seemed non-existent and instead, her big beady eyes reflected the rain hitting his window on the opposite side of her.

His three friends were also there, Julian sitting next to Klea, Thrax on the ground and Chumo leaning beside the door. The room was bright, but the outside was dark. It was evening when he had woken up.

Emery tried to sit up, his hand on his throbbing head, trying to recall what the last thing he could remember. Why were they all here? He first recalled defeating the wooden puppets until level three and being hit by the axe, after that however, almost everything was a blur except the part where he was standing on the end of the course.

Half a day had already passed. Emery sighed, he couldn't help but think he had wasted almost a day's worth of training. Tomorrow was their fifth day here and there would only be two days left once the next day arrived.

[Emery Ambrose, 15 years old]

[Battle power: 11]

[Spirit power: 24]

Emery's eyes widened. He knew how the battle power had increased but what about the spirit power? What was its cause? Confused, he asked the three boys but they shook their heads. Of course, he was happy that both battle and spirit power had increased but to stay in this magus academy, what he really needed was at least 30 spirit power and be accepted in any institutions. If he couldn't do that, then it would be time to say goodbye. Not to mention, three of his friends had reached acolyte rank two while Klea reached rank three. He was the only one among them that stayed on rank one, probably even the whole academy.

Julian, as if he had known Emery's thoughts, said, "Consider yourself fortunate you know or else…"

Chumo made a gesture of slashing his neck.

Julian nodded. "Right… Dead. While you were out, we've heard that three people had attempted the gauntlet and were split in half after their protectors had been used. What were you thinking? Risking your life like that."


Emery stayed silent. He didn't know either.

Julian sighed. "Anyway, one of the healers said you pushed yourself too hard and asked us to tell you to rest for the night."

"Right… Thank you," Emery said, his voice hoarse.

"You must be famished. Here, eat some fruit. The lady from the cafeteria gave them to me." Klea offered some weird orange looking fruit after she had peeled them. Emery slightly bowed as Klea fed him.

Julian stood from his seat and walked over to the window. He commented, "Sometimes, I forget all of these are real. Everything about this world is just unbelievable. The only explanation I can come up with is that Mars has taken favor in us."

"You meant to say Ares, the God of War. You pigs really love stealing and twisting things," Thrax retorted.

Julian ignored Thrax and faced Emery. "So what's your plan now? How far away are you from spirit power thirty?"

Chumo seemed to have opened his mouth but no words came out. He made several gestures but Emery didn't notice Chumo's actions.

Emery stared on his palm before answering, "I don't really know. I felt like I was about to break through last time but…"

His voice trailed off.

Julian had his arms crossed, looking to be in deep thought.

Klea said, "You should come with me tomorrow to the institute of water. The guiding magus favors me, and I think she'll give us some advice if I ask her. Come with me this time, okay?"


"I think he should continue training with me at the institute of rock. He's close to comprehending the basic stage, you're not going to make him start all over again, are you?" Julian said.

"It should be fine. I'm sure it'll be more fruitful if he spends time with me," Klea said, not even looking at Julian while feeding Emery another piece of the strange fruit.

"Ahh, you're wasting Emery's time." Julian shrugged.

Chumo was waving again, trying to get anyone's attention but no one seemed to notice him. Thrax, on the other hand, stayed still on the ground with his eyes closed.

"Wasting his time? He's been with you for over three days now, and he's nowhere close to achieving spirit power thirty. You're coming with me right, Emery?" Klea asked, staring sternly at Emery's eyes.

"No, you'll be with me right, Emery?" Julian asked as well.

"I… think… I'll go with Klea this time. Maybe it'll be beneficial if I learned the other elements," Emery said.

Julian snorted as he muttered to himself, "Hoes before bros."

Emery wanted to explain further but Julian had already exited the room while Klea jumped in joy, her eyes beaming as she clapped to herself.

Klea then started talking to herself, seemingly thinking out loud and writing on her palm. "Alright, tomorrow we'll start by…"

Emery was already regretting his choice. He heard the things Klea said and some of those things made his spine shiver. Was she really going to help or had something else in her mind? But he couldn't take back the words he said, could he? He shook away that thought, after all, his father had taught that 'A man's bond is his words'.

It was late in the evening when Klea, Chumo and Thrax had left his room. He was alone again in the unfamiliar room, droplets hitting his window, reflecting on his decisions. He remembered when he had first arrived at the institute of rock, there was that origin of stone that gave him one spirit power in just half a day. There must be a similar object at the institute of water and as Klea mentioned, she would ask the guiding magus to give him some advice. Since he had four elemental affinities, that meant if the other institutes were the same, he could get at least an increase of three spirit power in-a-day-and-a-half, at the very least. That would bring him closer to the required spirit power.

Emery turned away from the window and stared at his door. It was decided then, he would go to the institute of water tomorrow, then the plant and lastly darkness institute.

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