The teacher’s hand waltzed with the chalk on the board. The class was devoid of any sound, save for the tapping of the chalk. The teacher, a young woman perhaps in her mid-twenties, wore a white shirt and dark brown dress of simple design, almost a matching set to her neck-length brown hair. Her glasses gleamed from the sunbeam, which caused a student to think that she failed to notice his doodling in his book. Of course, that is what he thought.
“Alright, can anyone explain to me how we use magic?”
The teacher tapped the chalk in her hand on the desk to catch the students’ attention. Her intention to catch the attention did not fail, but her intention to receive an answer failed. Seeing that the students had no idea what she wanted from them, the teacher spoke again.
“… Well, I guess I’ll change the question. What are the three fundamental factors in casting magic?”
The teacher’s green eyes followed a student’s hand rise up.
“The mind, the medium, and mana.”
The teacher pointed at the student who answered her question.
“That’s correct, but do you know what they mean?”
“Well… the mind is the user’s imagination that controls the magic’s form. The mana is our spiritual energy that fuels that magic. Lastly the medium combines the mana and mind to give magic its form.”
“That’s very good. You’ve been spending some time going ahead, haven’t you Alfred?”
Alfred, the student, smiled shyly and sat back down. The teacher put the book on her left hand on the desk and faced the board again.
“As Alfred explained, magic consists of the mind, the medium and mana. And…”
The teacher glanced back at the book, but sighed and shook her head as half her students were not paying attention.
“You know what? Words are boring, so let me show you how it’s done.”
The students clapped and cheered. The teacher snickered as she was reminded again that practical learning is always better than old-fashioned books-and-notes teaching. The teacher removed something from her belt and held it out to her students.
“This is the medium. You probably know this as a ‘Dream Catcher’, but that’s the name of the design. There are mediums of other designs, but this is most commonly used because of its simplicity and, well, good design. Anyhow, you don’t necessarily have to hold this in your hand to cast magic.”
She put the medium back on her belt.
“Now, watch closely.”
The teacher held out her hands facing upwards. She closed her eyes, and the red crystal in the center of her medium started to shine in crimson color. Then small droplets of water began to appear above her hands. As they continued to form, some of them began to converge in the center and form a larger orb, like how a snowball gathered shards of frost.
When the teacher ceased her magic and opened her eyes, an orb of water the size of an apple rested above her hands. She held out her right hand with the orb of water.
“So, what I did was basically imagine the water droplets forming and merging on my hand. My mind, the imagination, is given form by my medium, which is fueled by the mana, or the energy that manifests within a human soul. In the case when a person has not enough mana, then the energy is replaced by the physical energy. So know that overusing magic can lead to shortening of life, or even death.”
She then grabbed a white vase on her desk and released the stagnant water into it. A student raised her hand to ask a question.
“What about Binding?”
Immediately some students shook their head or closed their ears, thinking ‘Here we go again’.
“Ah, yes. Binding is a form of magic, but it uses different mediums to be performed. Binding has many uses, from mana storage to capture and study of the Nemesis. And Binding of the Nemesis-”
As soon as she spoke the word ‘Nemesis’, her expression began to change, turning excited, almost fanatic. Her usually-calm eyes started to glimmer and lose focus. The student who asked the question, who was apparently a transfer student, now understood why her fellows acted in such a way.
Thankfully, the students’ despair was short-lived. The bells of the school began to ring, and both the students and the teacher sighed, the first in relief and the second in disappointment.
“That’s too bad, I guess I’ll have to continue next time. Enjoy your holiday folks, and I’ll see you in two weeks!”
The student began packing the belongings and began to vanish from the class like rats trying to escape from a capricious cat. The teacher also began to gather her own belongings.
Then a man who hardly looked like a teacher, and even less like a student, entered the classroom. He was wearing garments that seemed to belong to a traveler, save for the scarf that seemed a bit old and ragged compared to the other clothings he was wearing.
“Fel! Hey, Fel!”
“Oh, hello, Hyacinth. How was your trip to Spada?”
“Damn, that’s awfully enthusiastic for seeing your brother after nearly two months.”
“You’re a merchant, it’s nothing unusual. And you haven’t answered to my question.”
The teacher trotted out of the classroom and the merchant quickly followed her down the hallway. The hallway was bustling with students overjoyed with the holiday just around the corner.
“You’ve heard about it, nothing new. But there’s something else you might be interested in.”
“And what could that be?”
The teacher raised her voice as the students in the hallway buried her words with their own.
“There’s a new Nemesis nearby.”
The teacher suddenly stopped and turned around.
“You… You’re not pulling my leg, are you?”
“No, I’m serious! Zune told me he saw a wolf Nemesis on the Talon hills.”
“A wolf! That’s so rare though!”
“Yeah. And I think as soon as the Vigils find out, then-”
“Wait, you mean the Vigils don’t know about it?”
“Duh. If they did, they would’ve locked down the village and made all the fuss in the world about it. But they haven’t. Yet.”
The teacher got lost in a thought for a moment, and then suddenly started running. The merchant quickly followed behind her.
“He-hey! Where are you going?!”
“If the Vigils don’t know about it, then now is my chance.”
“Chance to what? Oh, you can’t be-”
A door stood in her way. She made her bag throw up to find the key. With the key in her hand she did not even bother to grab the rest of her belongings that rolled on the floor.
“You know they don’t allow civilian Binders to act without permission. So I-”
The teacher almost broke into her lab-office. A rather dull place, save for several shelves full of books and Binding crystals. Some had Nemesis in it.
“-better do it when they don’t know about it.”
Her brother, the merchant, put a hand on his forehead. He felt headache emerge from the deeper parts of his brain as he realized that he, again, failed to fully grasp his sister’s obsession.
“I mean, when else will I be able to Bind a predator class Nemesis?”
“I-Fel, we’re not talking about some hatchling, it’s a predator! Even armed soldiers have hard time dealing with it!”
The merchant protested at his sister, but she heeded to it just as much as she would to an empty rambling. She headed behind a curtain and when she emerged from behind it she was wearing a leather vest on top of cloth shirt and knee-length pants. She also opened her closet, took out a cloak and put it around her shoulders.
“Come on, I can protect myself well enough. I can use magic, and I’ve been your sparring partner for years now. Speaking of which-”
She walked up to the merchant and pointed at his belt.
“Lend me that, will you?”
“M-my rapier? Are you nuts?!”
“No, that’s why I’m borrowing that. I don’t own a weapon, so I need to borrow yours.”
“Stop being ridiculous! You may have been my sparring partner, but you don’t even have an acknowledgement from a guild! And the only magic you can use in a fight is barrier magic!”
The teacher did not yield. As her eyes continued to gleam at him, the merchant sighed and made an offer.
“Fine. How about this, I’ll come with you.”
The merchant threw his arms into the air out of frustration.
“The hell is your problem?!”
“You do realize the Nemesis can actually sense humans, yes? Bringing you along will only make it that much more dangerous.”
The merchant slapped his face with his palm. Taking that chance, the teacher snatched his rapier from his belt.
“Don’t worry, I’ll bring it back one piece. Now, I’ve got my Binding ring, crystal, weapon… I guess that’s all.”
“Fel, just… think about it once more. It’s way too reckless. You might as well go after a dragon Nemesis!”
The teacher averted her gaze and sighed.
“I know, Hyacinth. And I know you’re worried about me. But this is what I’ve dreamed of for so long. I need this.”
She then tightened the scarf on her brother’s neck. He looked at his scarf, and back at his sister.
“I’ll be back safe. I promise.”
“… Just… don’t lose the sword. It’s tailor made.”
The teacher chuckled and quickly left her office. The merchant watched as she made a sharp turn around the corner and disappeared from sight. He trudged out of the office and, as he closed the door, saw the nameplate that read ‘Felicia Lilian Yujin’. He couldn’t help but let out a smile. His sister will never change.
“Be back safe, sis.”