Chapter 1 – ‘A Piece of History’
There were seven waist high statues of animals placed in a circle towards the center of the domed room. Along the stone walls were bookshelves filled with thick, spined books that held an ominous air about them. The room was dimly lit by small, floating balls of blue fire. Upon closer inspection, one could find that the shadows from the statues and bookshelves were perfectly still from the small flames that were randomly spread through the air.
“Hah… Hah…” The man sat up and breathed weakly, his voice shaking with each gasp. “At last, I’ve fulfilled my oath to her…” A single tear fell from his right eye, traveling down his face before being caught by his unkempt beard.
At that, his eyes lost their light and his struggled breathing stopped. His heart had beat its last and he collapsed face up on the ground—
—in the center of an incredibly intricate magic formation.
The moment his body touched the floor the blue flames dissolved into particles, leaving the room in darkness, and they rushed towards the man. As though each piece knew where to go, they covered the man for an instant before spreading out along the formation. His body had vanished, leaving behind the room with just the bookshelves, statues, and the formation that now glowed with the color deep sapphire.
Although none were left to perceive it, hair thin cracks began to appear on the surface of the statues. Bit by bit, the fractures spread. From one of the statues, a low whimper could be heard.
Fourteen years later.
“Yo, Aden! Did you hear about it?” The brown haired youth called out, holding up what looked like one of those fliers that get posted on noticeboards.
Aden looked up from the book on his desk with a questioning look. Even though their class had an exam coming today, he was midway into a book on logic puzzles.
“Come on, you still have your face in that book? You’re probably going to ace this class anyways. Here, here, check this out!” He walked over to Aden and closed the book, placing the flier on top of it. “See here!? An idol is going to host an event nearby and our academy’s students get in for free! It’s definitely a sign from the gods, the date is just after exams!” He pumped his fist up and down, striking a victory pose.
“David, I thought the only person you had eyes for was Kimi, that pink one?”
“That was last week! Starting from now on, I am devoted to Ariel! She is my goddess!” He clapped his two hands together and pretended to pray in a loud voice.
Looking at the scene develop, Aden smiled wryly at these two friends of his. He noticed their teacher, Miss Bells, walk in and he tried to quiet David down. However, she had already set her sights on him.
“David. I trust you know this school’s policy on eccentric behaviors during examinations?” Like a pinprick to the back of his neck, David abandoned the subject and bolted to his seat nearby Aden.
Miss Bells wore square framed glasses and a standard office outfit. She wore her blonde hair in a bun and carried a refined aura. Although rumor had it she was getting on in her years, her face betrayed no signs of age. She held her students to a high standard of etiquette when she gave her exam, but was otherwise relatively forgiving during the rest of the school year.
Their school, the Haven Academy, was one of the best in the region. Primarily known for its advanced architecture and state of the art equipment, its curriculum was multiple steps above others in all fields, leading to its students being well above others their age. Haven Academy enrolled children from a young age and raised them through to the graduate level of education, even hiring its more promising graduates on as researchers. The academy held annual examinations at the end of each school year, taking a week in total, in order to keep up its standard of learning.
“Sorry, Miss Bells!” He held up a hand in apology. David knew very well the repercussions of upsetting her during exam week. He had to wash the boys’ locker rooms for a month last time; not something he particularly wanted to do again.
“Alright then, class,” she addressed everyone present to settle the rest down. “As you all know, today is the first day of exam week. First will be mathematics, so all that should be on your desks is a piece of scratch paper and a pencil.”
All of the students complied. When Aden leaned over to open his satchel and put away his book in order to take out the items, his body suddenly numbed for an instant. The book fell out of his hand and fell into the opening, and there was a small cracking noise. Putting aside the numbness as a side effect of lack of sleep, Aden reached into his satchel to find his pencil and expected the worst. It had snapped cleanly in two. He sighed inwardly, “Maybe two hours of sleep was pushing it… huh.”
From birth, Aden was placed in an orphanage for abandoned children. He was left at the doorstep to the building naked and asleep. As he grew he came to love books and the knowledge they possessed, viewing them as windows to the outside world and the minds of others. He loved many different types, from things such as scientific studies, to lengthy fantasy novels, to famous poems. Even though fiction was not based on facts, he found they could still give insights into the world, and so valued them highly.
As a side effect of being so absorbed in reading, he would often isolate himself from the world and lose track of time. Days like this weren’t too uncommon for him.
He sat upright to ask David for an extra, but froze with a start.
“… W, what?” A small voice leaked from his mouth.
Everyone was frozen mid-action. The world colored in nothing but black and white. On the desk in front of him sat a small fox with two tails that swayed back and forth, staring at him intently.
“‘What’, you say? I’ve waited for so many years, and that’s the first thing you say after Awakening?”