Mage of Shadows Chapter 23: Lich
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"Haha, I've got you now John." A little girl shouted as she jumped onto a larger boy's back, who had been hiding behind a stone pillar.
The little girl giggled and laughed as she continued to play hide and seek with her older brother, causing a ruckus throughout the household. Glees of joy could always be heard from within the royal palace of the Elven Kingdom.
A large forest surrounded the royal palace, which was built on the land in the kingdom which held the highest concentration of arcana. The area around the palace was filled with colourful plants and flowers, and a vibrant ecosystem was held her, with the elves living in unison with the land. It could be said that if the land wept, then so did the elves, they held a special connection with it.
"Gael, when do you think papa and mama will finally teach me magic?" Licht asked her older brother. She'd just recently turned four, and couldn't wait to be taught in the mystical arts. She had always seen her brother, who was ten, practising magic, for as long as she could remember. She'd been envious of the amount of attention her father gave to him, and he would always talk for what seemed like hours about 'My Gael is so talented' or 'Gael will make a good leader in the future'.
This, of course, didn't change the relationship she had with her brother. He was still her best friend, and the strongest person ever, as she would usually say when she bragged about him to the maids and waiting staff at the palace. The attention which she didn't get from her father acted as fuel to her for wanting to practice magic. There wasn't a day when she wouldn't ask Gael the same question "When will I learn magic?"
"Licht, you aren't strong enough to practice magic yet. Mum and Dad are just worried that you'll hurt yourself if you start practising now. Maybe in a few years, you'll learn some magic."
Licht never took well to being told that she wasn't yet allowed to learn magic, so she started to train in secret. She would mimic the physical exercise that Gael always did whenever nobody was around and memorized the chants that her brother used to cast magic, and the way he meditated in his free time.
Like this, 3 years passed. Licht had a slightly better physique than before, partially due to her natural growth and also because of the physical exercise she would do. She wasn't able to practice as much as she'd wanted, because she was still home-schooled for the majority of the day, learning about classical studies and other things deemed important for a member of the royal family to know.
On the day of Gael's 13th birthday, instead of joy and happiness that was usually circulating the royal palace, a certain hint of sadness was present. This atmosphere was mainly radiating from Licht, who was sad to see that her brother leave. He was now of age to be enrolled in the elven royal academy, where he would learn to become the future ruler of the kingdom. Licht sobbed and cried the whole evening, begging her parents to let her go to the academy with her brother, but to no avail. She was too young, and still wasn't taught any magic, so all they could do was try to calm her down.
News of Gael's studying would be brought back home frequently, and Licht would always light up whenever she could hear stories about his exploits. There was one time where Licht didn't stop laughing for a whole day because her brother had his eyebrows and hair burned off in an alchemy accident, and when he came home for the holidays, his bald head and face made him look like a big baby.
Gael would come home at the end of every semester, spending 9 months at the academy and 3 months at home. This continued on for the next few years, the bond between brother and sister as strong as ever. That was until Licht turned ten. Gael had suddenly gone missing off the planet. No tracking device could find him, not even the most expensive materials the King and Queen used were able to deduce what happened to their son. Experts were called from all over the continent, yet, still, his whereabouts were unknown.
Deep down, Licht felt that she would've been happier had she known for a fact that her brother died. It was the constant unease of not knowing what had happened to him that caused her to become struck with grief. The loss of her brother pained her, and all of the memories she had in the Elven Kingdom would constantly bring a flood of thoughts about Gael.
Licht was able to convince her parents to let her study outside the Elven Kingdom, as they both could see that the elven lands were depressing their daughter deeply. Had they not recently given birth to another boy, then they would not have let Licht leave the kingdom, in constant fear of the death of their only heir.
It was decided that Licht would study at the Dusk Academy, the Elven King had close ties to the headmaster of the academy, and trusted him to be able to keep his only daughter safe from harm. There was also no issue with sending members of different races to the magical academies as they worked independently of the kingdoms of the continent.
To this day, Licht would still think about her lost brother, hoping that one day she could solve the mystery of his disappearance. It fuelled her to train harder than ever and was the reason why she not only learned magic but also adamantly learned martial arts and swordplay. Despite her timid and cute appearance and her shy nature, she was extremely powerful in close range combat, wielding a sword in one hand and magic in the other.
Favian woke up from his slumber with a jolt, having woken up just before he impacted the ground in his dream.
'That was a... weird dream.' he thought, as he wiped away the sweat that had built on his brow. Favian got himself ready with a shower and quickly grabbed a bite of an apple for breakfast before he left his room to buy some supplies. He still had 250 contribution points left, and even when he tried to deplete them quicker, it seemed difficult to reduce the number by just eating food and buying materials that aided in meditation.
The first thing Favian did was buy some books that detailed all the different beast ranges on the continent. He would take this with him and study it along the way, as it was stated that every group would be randomly allocated to a different location on the continent. These beast ranges made up the most area of Ortu Solis, taking up almost 75% of all land. This meant that it was almost guaranteed that no two groups from the academy would encounter each other during this test.
Afterwards, Favian went to the blacksmith, where he had already ordered some leather armour previously to wear. He thought it was a lot more useful to wear light, flexible armour than to wear a mage's robe. Protection over flashiness was what he was going for.
Favian then went and bought a spacial pouch, which would let him store any items inside it, removing the weight of the items and allowing him to put almost an infinite number of items inside. This had cost a heft 100 contribution points, the most expensive item he had bought yet. In the spatial pouch, he placed all of his clothing, his newly bought book, some daggers, a lot of food and potions. The potions he bought were just a precaution, in case somebody took near fatal damage. At 10 contribution points each, it would be able to save the life of a person near death. He now had a total of 5 of these potions.
'Damn, I only have 30 contribution points left. At least I know that we can earn more contribution points if we do really well in this test.'
Finally, after Favian had gotten everything in order, he went to the assembly hall and met up with Licht and Dunkel. Today was the day they would be meeting their fourth party member. Favian was excited in some way, he hoped that he could make another friend if possible, but didn't put all of his hopes on it. More connections were always good, and he knew this from his previous life. Yet, Favian had always been bad at putting himself out there to create these new connections, networking wasn't his strong suit.
The trio walked up to Professor Mildred, who was to oversee their group work and assign them to their beast range. Mildred was a very old lady, her hair already grey, and a hunch visible on her back. Even for a magician, she was relatively old.
"Professor, we're here to find the last member of our group," Dunkel said, handing her the form which contained all of their information. Dunkel was currently wearing leather armour similarly to Favian, having opted for a stealthy and breathable armour. Licht, on the other hand, was now wearing some chainmail and plate armour.
Professor Mildred looked at the three and laughed. "You will go as a group of three," she said, her voice quiet rough, not at all what Favian had expected.
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