Salis' Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium


Helnion was not originally part of the story I had planned out but she came out naturally as I wrote. I personally think she is the best addition that I made.

Chapter 4 (v.1) - Girl of Nature, Helnion

Submitted: August 24, 2019

Reads: 13

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Submitted: August 24, 2019

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I awoke to a knock on the door. It took me a moment to realize what had happened but when I heard a second knock I remembered that someone was supposed to wake me up in the mornings where they would be recording anything about medicine that I could remember. Arty was still sleeping.

When I had gotten dressed I opened the door and saw a man holding a glowing crystal, waiting for me. In the light I saw that the man was old. His hair was grey, his back was hunched over, and his skin was pretty wrinkled. He had to be one of the oldest men I had seen on Calorin.

"Good morning child. " He said with a shaky voice. "I am Quana Candrar Flae. I look forward to hearing some knowledge from Terra."

He turned and started walking. When I started following him I realized that a man had come into the girls' dorm. I actually didn't care about the fact that he was here and was more interested in how the other girls would react. We were the only ones in the hallway at the moment so he was safe, but if he was going to be doing this everyday it was only a matter of time.

Outside I found that it was still quite dark out. It was also slightly cold, but still warmer than the nights would be in Porra-kel if I was still there. I also noted that there was nobody outside either, but I could see lights in some of the rooms in the dorms. I wondered when the other priests and servants woke up.

I followed the man, whom I had decided to call Iguana, into the Temple of Knowledge. We then went up two flights of stairs. Iguana was old so it took a bit longer that usual.

Upon reaching the third floor I immediately saw what looked to be a large room. It was still dark inside so I could not see what was inside but the old man headed into the room and turned on a light just like the one in my room and the one he was holding.

"Let me get my things child and then we can start." Iguana headed to a door off to the side and entered.

Having nothing better to do I looked at the room. It was indeed a library. I was actually impressed at how many books and scrolls they had on the shelves considering the printing press had not been introduced on Calorin.

I also noticed that the room had many windows. They also all had glass. As far as I knew glass was pretty expensive and considering how much they had at the school it must have cost a lot. None of the building in Porra-kel had had glass but here even the window in my room had had glass in it. None of the classrooms I had been in had any though.

Iguana came back. "Are you ready child?"

Iguana and I sat at a table close to the light. He picked up a small pointed rod made of glass or crystal and instead of paper he had a piece of thin leather. When I saw him use the rod I was surprised. The tip had lit up and when he wrote it burned the leather as he wrote, leaving surprisingly neat black lines. I just couldn't get over the smell.

For the next hour he questioned me. I had decided that the first thing I wanted to talk about was Germ Theory. Iguana was extremely interested and by the time we heard the wake up bell's faint ringing my mouth was dry from too much explaining. To be honest I was actually so surprised at how much I had remembered and how much I had taken it for granted.

"If all you have said is true child, it will change our view on sickness forever. I do not think that all of the money in Flaern would be enough to compensate you for something this revolutionary. If it is true that is."

Without a microscope there was no way I could prove it visually. Once I gave them the techniques to avoid treating and spreading disease they would simply see that they worked, for the most part, and the money they would give to me would be well spent.

"You better hurry back to your room and eat your meal. I will be reviewing the notes I have taken with the other priests and we will decide how much to pay you."

I left the library. I was glad to be done talking. I couldn't remember how long it had been since I had talked that much. I would have guessed that I had talked more in that hour than I had in the last few days. I needed a good drink of water.

When I entered the girl's dorm I saw that a few lights were on in the hallway, with a few maids and one or two girls going about. They all looked at me. They all stopped and stared. When I made it to my door I looked at the girls and women in the hallway and before entering my room I wiggled my butt at them. That would give them something to talk about.

Inside I found Arty already dressed and well into her morning meal. When she saw me she simply smiled. I guess she had already figured out that I didn't like talking and had decided not to push her luck. She also had seemed a little shy and might have even welcomed and quiet room mate.

When Arty had turned back to her meal I noticed that she had placed mine on my desk. I immediately grabbed the cup of milk and downed it. I had been hoping for water but I liked milk so I didn't mind too much. The rest of the meal was nothing special but was still better than what I was used to eating in Porra-kel.

***

The wait until the bell signalling the start of lessons was uneventful. I actually had not been very tired despite my early morning and had headed to the field early to hopefully avoid a visit by Ferret to my room. As this was going to be my first real lesson with whatever I was going to be taught to fight with I decided to pass the time by doing some easy warm up exercises.

I had not been the first to arrive. I saw the children looking at me but I ingnored them as usual. Surprisingly there were no instructors here yet. The building with all of the practice weapons appeared to still be locked and a few of the children had gathered in front of the door, waiting for it to be opened.

As time went on and more children came I saw that most of them were my "age" except a few that had gathered near the archery range. I hoped this meant that the older children were practicing with swords and whatever at a different time than the younger children. And it had sounded like Ferret didn't do archery anymore so there was a good chance that I would not be seeing her here this morning.

When the sun had started peeking over the horizon the first instructor came to the field, quickly followed by four more. Only one of them was one of the instructors I had seen the day before. It was Medic. Bench had not arrived by the time I heard the bells that signaled us to leave for class. He did come just before the next chime of bells. By this time I also noticed that the number of children had become huge. I would bet that almost half of the school was here, but I didn't know how many children were at the school so it was just a guess.

It was then that it occured to me. How was the school keeping such precise time? I had yet to see a clock of any kind on Calorin. Originally I had thought they were going by the position of the sun but the morning bell had been before dawn. I could only wonder if it was some sort of magical device. If it had been a mechanical clock of some sort I probably would have seen one by now.

"Good morning Salis." Bench said, taking me out of my thoughts. "Thinking about something important?"

"Nothing important."

"I see you are more willing to talk today."

I shrugged.

He laughed. "It looks like I need to avoid talking about you talking to keep you talking." He laughed again. "Now that was a mouthfull."

"Avoid talking about me talking to keep me talking." I said, actually finding it amusing.

"It looks like talking about avoiding you not talking will make you keep talking." He laughed.

I started walking away. I didn't want to see how far he was going to take that joke.

"I am sorry. I just had to do that… You do not have to leave." He said.

Why had he even started talking to me in the first place?

When I stopped he said, "Before we start your training I just wanted to ask you to not distance yourself from the other children. Your training will go much more smoothly if you get along well with them. I have seen how children like you in the past have been treated and I do not want that to happen to any of my students and the fact that you are a Terran might even make it worse."

"I don't care."

Bench looked sad. "Did something happen to you? I cannot imagine why you are acting like this. Do you not get lonely?"

"People make my head hurt."

"Why? You have not given anyone a chance to make a good impression on you. It even seems as if you automatically have bad impressions of people before you even meet them."

I didn't care enough to explain my reasons for disliking people so I changed the subject.

"Shouldn't you start class?"

Bench sighed. "I will talk to you later."

Bench walked to the other instructors, who had already gathered all of the children into a group. I payed him and the other instructors no mind until one of the unfamiliar, older instructors left the group of instructors and stood in front of the group of children.

"Greetings children, I am Head Instructor Gart Sorris Flae. I welcome back the older returning children from the long break over summer. I also welcome those of you new, younger children that proved able enough to participate in the military arts and continue the tradition passed down from the brave men and women who freed our great country from the Old Toa Mirr Empire…"

The man talked for long enough that I had begun to lose track of time, and from the bored looks on the children they too had lost interest. I had to bet that most of them had heard the things the man was saying many times. Even I had heard most of what he said and I lived with a poor family in some run down mining town in the middle of the mountains.

Since this wasn't history class I didn't understand why he was telling about an old war of liberation when we would probably just go inside after these sword lessons and hear it again.

Despite saying this the story of Flaern's liberation was quite remarkable. About five hundred years ago Flaern and Koaflaer to the north of the mountains had been part of a large empire called Toa Mirr.

Dissatisfied with the harsh laws and the long war they had been made to fight against Amirr to the west the people had decided they had had enough. At first, as was the norm for pretty much everywhere, only the men fought. For a decade they had managed to hold their own against the empire but as the lands were ravaged they began to become short on food, despite receiving support from Amirr. As the armies weakened from hunger they began to get pushed back.

Seeing defeat the wives and daughters had begun to take training from men that saw their worth and soon filled the ranks of the faltering armies. At first the men told the women they would only be a hinderence but as the women fought their first battles they proved their worth. The women had proven that they could overcome their differences in size and strength, even using them to their advantage. Toa Mirr, unable to cope with the sudden surge in the size of Flaern's armies, was pushed back to their ancient borders thanks to this.

While Koaflaer gradually lost its reliance on women in the military Flaern remembered that they were just as capable as men at fighting and accepted any that were willing to train. Unfortunately this meant that only the nobility and the wealthy were the ones that had access to any significant training. This meant that the poorer women would not know how to compensate for their lower strength and were more likely to die in battle than the men if they chose to fight.

Now, while the man talking to the students hadn't gone into that great of detail, he seemed to think it important enough to not wait until class. I normally wouldn't have cared about an unnessesary history lesson but he also had to go over some too long explanations about his and the teacher's expectations and hopes about our training which I did hate.

When the man finally stopped speaking we were split into our separate groups. All of the older children headed towards the archery range with two of the six teachers, which included Medic. The other four teachers each took a group of the younger children, which included me.

I was with Bench. He had said I was going to be in his group yesterday so it was what I had been expection.

"Congratulations on making it to this school's version of Menein." Bench said to my group. Menein is where murderers are sent according to Calorin belief, by the way. "You were selected because we believe you are capable of learning much faster than the other children. I will be driving you much harder than normal and if a day goes by without any bleeding of any kind then that means it was an easy day."

Wait… Isn't that a bit harsh for children?

"By the end of the year if no one has broken anything then you will have gotten off easy. I also expect you to be so much better than the other children that in the mock battle at the end of the year you will be fighting two groups at the same time instead of one on one."

I had expected the children in my group to be looking scared at this point but they, mostly boys, all looked excited. In fact most of them already looked big and mean for their ages. If I hadn't been built more tough than Calorins I would probably have been very worried about sparring against them. The other two girls in this group were going to have a tough time, though the bigger of the two looked like she welcomed the challenge.

Somewhat anti-climatically Bench made us do endurance exercises for the rest of out training time.

***

When it was time to wrap up our training I found myself near the water barrel. I had worked up a nice sweat so I took a drink and then washed myself off.

Unsurprisingly the other children were unsure of what to do with me, and the few that had tried to talk to me I had pushed away. Because of this I was alone by the barrel as the children that had been there had shyed away from me. I actually hoped it would stay that way all year. That way I wouldn't have to wait in line to get to the barrel.

When the maids with the bells came, signalling it was time to go to lessons, I headed straight for my destination. Since it was the third day of the week I would be going to the Temple of Knowledge and my class with Vanilla. I actually didn't really want to go to her lessons but if I wanted to stay at this school I would have to. I wished that I didn't have to wait for my magic class tomorrow.

It did not take me long to find Vanilla's room. Inside I found that a few other children had made it there before I had as well as a single, graying woman. The room itself was much like the room I had been in yesterday, with the stadium seating on one side and a raised platform on the other where a woman was standing. When the woman, probably Vanilla, saw me she noticably took an interest in me but did not approach.

I also saw nine people sitting on chairs next to the far wall. One was wearing a robe like the priests in Sorris' temple. I also noticed one had taken a much greater interest in me than the others. He looked as if he had not bathed in ages and his dirty, mismatched clothes looked as if they were an afterthough.

I decided to ignore the people for now and hurried over the wooden benches where the other children were sitting. I had wanted the seat closest to the door but it was already taken so I sat two rows behind that. Not only did I want an easier path to the exit, sitting on the end meant no one would be able to sit on that side of me.

A few minutes passed and the room steadily filled with children. A few of the children had approached me and asked me some questions about the way I looked but I ignored them. Sadly my unfriendly attitude did not prevent a child, a boy, from sitting next to me. He stared at me curiously and even tried touching me a few times. When I kept pushing his hands away he stopped.

"Settle down children." The woman, presumably Vanilla, said loudly. When the children quieted she continued. "I am Nila Candrar Fis and I will be teaching all of you in the knowledge bestowed upon us by the Deity, our forefathers, and those hailing from Terra." She glanced at me at me. "I expect you all to do your best in learning what I have to teach. Poor behavior will not be tolerated." She glanced at me again which made me think that she must have heard about my deeds.

"For the next few days we will be starting with something all those born in Calorin are taught from birth, the Deity and how our world came to be. This is why I have invited these esteemed guests from the local Temples so we can hear first hand from those who know their Deity best, but before I introduce them I would like to quickly go over the time before Deity, when our world was created."

As I looked around the room I saw that many of the children were beginning to get bored or distracted. When it got too bad I imagined that Vanilla would keep the children in line by using fear and punishment rather than teaching in a way children would enjoy. I actually would have been surprised if they did use teaching methods ment to engage children and let them have fun or whatever. Unfortunately for children all around this world we were probably stuck with boring lessons.

Vanilla had begun to speak about Ellosier. Ellosier was the god of creation and was in fact the only god in Calorin mythology. In the time I had been on Calorin I had found out that not much is know about him. It is said that he created all the stars in the sky, the realms of the Deity, and Calorin. He is also said to have been the one to create all of the people on Calorin and all of the other living things.

Then one day it is said Ellosier became troubled and entered a great depression. It was in this depression that he shed his powers and placed them on the ten eldest of the ancient Calorin to take care of his creations before vanishing.

Vanilla finished her explanation about Ellosier and then began introducing the priests in the order they were sitting, in the order that they appeard on the Calorin calender, aside from Ellosier, which was the first month. They were from Vellis, Attish, Usui, Candrar, Dugin, Kel, Torrel, Sorris, and Melche. There was no one there representing Lolorai, Who represented the last month.

When Vanilla finished introducing each priest she motioned for the priest of Vellis to stand. The priest representing Vellis was a thin wiry man and smiled brightly at the students when he took his place in front of us. If he hadn't been sitting with the other priests I wouldn't have thought him to be one as he wore everyday clothes that one would see the average citizen wearing. This was typical, or so was said, of the priests of the Deity of Dreams. In fact, Vellis does not have any temples and those considered priests are trevelling entertainers that move from city to city, living off of what people give them.

Since ancient times when children are born they are examined by a priest from any Deity who "divines" which Deity they are linked to. People born under Vellis are generally the loud, fun seeking, musical, artistic, etc. type of people. . My personal opinion is that they are all annoying. Ferra fit in very well here.

Vellis is the only Deity that does not have a color representing him

When the priest of Vellis finished the priest of Attish, a stout woman wearing yellow robes, spoke. Attish is the Deity of Justice. As would be expected, people born under him are typically good and upstanding. From what I have heard the Calorin justice system is practically run by these people. There are also many that delve into politics.

My opinion is that, while potentially good people, they also can get fairly annoying with how strictly they often follow the rules and make those around them do the same. This strictness is so strong that when followers believe that their country has strayed so far from justice many will abandon that country if possible. According to the book on history Pali gave me this happened in Toa Mirr long before the uprising took place and to this day there are no temples dedicated to Attish there.

Attish's color is yellow as shown by the woman's robe.

The dirty and probably very smelly man was the next to speak. Unsurprisingly he was Usui's representative. For some reason he had been staring at me the whole time. He even smiled at me whenever I looked at him. To be honest I wasn't surprised at his behavior. Usui, the Deity of Nature, IS known to prize natural beauty and other unique things.

Those born under him are often aloof, sometimes wild and unpredictable, but can be helpful and caring at times. They also had a weird sense of beauty just like Usui himself. This was probably why I was being stared at, but since those born under Usui had generally left me alone they were not among my least favorite people.

What bothered me was that there were plenty of rumors of Usui and his followers kidnapping women, and children of notable beauty, though they only seemed to go after those with no family. As a Terran I was definitely unique, but I didn't know if I would be considered beautiful as I had not seen myself in a mirror in a while. Ferret certainly seemed to think I was cute so I was going to have to get me some Usui repellant just to be safe.

As for what Usui does as a Deity… His followers claim that he was responsible for the planting of all the great forests and many of the natural wonders. Pretty much everyone else believe that Ellosier was the one responsible and that Usui is only a caretaker and indeed he is caretaker. His followers have claimed most of the major forests as his temples and often kill those that enter. This was why wood is not widely used for construction in many parts of Calorin. In fact, there was one of these forests a few hundred kilometers to the south called Usui's Playground by his followers for some reason. Everyone else calls it the Howling Forest because of the many wolves that call it home.

Usui's color is brown.

The next priest to speak, an average looking man wearing grey clothes, was representing Candrar. I had actually seen this man the day before and was pretty sure he was a teacher here. Considering this school was run by followers of Candrar as well as Melche it was not surprising that Vanilla simply grabbed one of her collegues.

As for Candrar it is said that she is responsible for giving the people's of Calorin much of the knowledge that they have today, aside from what the Terrans brought over that is. Aside from this she generally stays out of the affairs of those on Calorin.

Those born under Candrar are what we call nerds on Earth. They love learning, are extremely curious, calm, and wise. I would bet my left kidney that the boy sitting next to me was a Candrar. I should also mention that one the first king Flaern had, after its liberation from Toa Mirr was a Candrar. This was why Flaern put more effort into education than many other countries did.

Candrar's color is grey.

The next priest, a shifty looking man wearing a dark blue cloak, was from Dugin, Ferret's favorite Deity. Despite her being the Deity of the Heavens her reputation isn't known to be kind or “heavenly.” This was because Dugin claimed that if she was responsible for the heavens then she should be in charge of all of it.

From what I have heard, when Ellosier fell each Deity claimed a “star.” I didn't know exactly what Dugin's responsibilities were in the heavens but it was enough for her to claim everything up there. Because of this she is often rumored to be fighting the other Deities.

Surprisingly those born to Dugin aren't actually that violent, though they are often greedy and like to control things. Most like to get into politics or at least argue about politcs. They usually get pretty anoying about it too, which is why I don't like being around them.

Dugin's color is blue.

When a gloomy looking man in a dark green robe stepped forward I knew that everyone's "favorite" Deity had finally come up. I say this because most people were afraid of Kel and his followers, him being the Deity of death and all.

While Kel is not known to be violent his followers often are. Since Kel is in charge of “sorting” the spirits of the dead some of his most “devoted” find sending spirits to Kel personally a great privilege, the founding king of Toa Mirr being one of them. Even those that don't are often hostile and aggressive. This being said, all of those belonging to Kel that I have met weren't horrible people, just prone to anger, duels, bar fights, etc… Often fun to watch them drunk.

Kel's color is green.

The next priest representing Turrel, a muscular man wearing sturdy gold color work clothes, came next. Since Turrel was the Deity of Seasons most non-farming people associate Turrel with farming. While many of the temples of Turrel did indeed have large farms the priests tended to, most farmers are simply of the underclass and therefore generally have an equal number of people born under the other Deities, however; since those born under Turrel are often the most hardworking, I have heard that most labor intensive jobs are filled with Turrel born. I have also heard that women born under Turrel often run orphanages and such. I also find them the most boring people.

Turrel's color is gold.

A priest wearing a familiar red rob was representing Sorris, the Deity of Protection, came after Turrel.

Ah, the poor person's favorite Deity. If someone needs help or protection a temple of Sorris was definitely the place to go as I had seen first hand. While one would also expect a person born of Sorris to be more likely to enter the military than the others it wasn't true. The people of Sorris believe that while the military protects a country it can also be used to inflict harm on other countries so Temples of Sorris end up becoming a sort of militia to protect where the military fails to do so, in many places even providing a police force of sorts. This explains why their temple looks like a fortress.

Sorris' color is red.

The last priest came up, he was most likely a magic teacher from this school because he was representing Melche but I didn't recognize him.

As for Melche, the Deity of Magic, there wasn't much to say. In the early history of Calorin she gave the people magic and taught them how to use it. After this she dissapeared from history much as Candrar had. The only other thing worth noting is that Melche and Candrar tend to be closely related. Like the school I am in now, most of the temples dedicated to these two are built near each other.

Those born under Melche, while much fewer in number than those born under the other Deity, are the most feared and respected because of their greater ability to learn and use magic. Because of this they also tend to be proud and arrogant. Coming to this school was actually the first time I had been around anyone born under Melche since there had been none in Porra-kel.

Melche's color is silver

With the last priest finished all that was left was Lolorai, the Unkown Deity. So little is known about Lolorai that no one even knows his/her gender. In fact, Lolorai's name is the only thing known. No children are ever born under Lolorai either as far as I know. There are also very few temples dedicated to him/her.

With all of the Deity talk over, Vanilla excused the priests. When they left she began to talk about what we were going to be covering for history over the next year, which was going to be the history of Flaern and to a lesser extent the countries around it. Apparently the history of Calorin was being saved for those that chose to delve into the higher level classes. For about an hour Vanilla talked about history.

When she finished with history Vanilla moved on to etiquette. While I had thought that Flaern's history was boring it was nothing compared to etiquette. Surprisingly it was very similiar to etiquette on Earth. We were told that we were going to be able to speak properly and politely, good posture, and good eating habits.

Mercifully after about an hour and a half I heard bells ringing, signaling time for noon meal. With only having about a half hour to eat I hurried back to my room. I arrived to find a small meal placed on both my and Arty's desks. By the time Arty arrived I had eaten most of my meal. When the bells signalling to go back to class came Arty had barely finished.

Back in class I found the we were going to be working etiquette for another hour and I began to wonder if the reason I had been placed with Vanilla was because she spent a lot of time on it. The thing that annoyed me most was that apparently Vanilla had been told about my "butchering" of the Flaern language and had gone out of her way to hear it for herself. I managed to avoid any more annoyances by dropping my use of contractions and spoke normally.

When we finished with etiquette we moved on to science. In this hour I learned how little they actually knew. I don't know how many times I wanted to speak up and tell them something was wrong.

With science done we were taught grammar and reading skills for an hour. Apparently spelling wasn't that big of a deal because all of the words were spelled exactly how they sounded and didn't have any wierd rules like silent e's or letters that acted wierd.

***

"Salis." Vanilla called once we were done with our last grammar exercise of the day. "It is time for you to go see Instructor Callic."

I nodded and left the room.

It was not far to Cowlick's room as it was just down the hall. Inside I saw that there were fewer children than the room I had just left but were all a few years older. Everyone looked up when I entered.

"Greetings child, I have looked forward to seeing you." He picked up a slate and wrote something on it. "First a test." He handed the slate and chalk to me.

It was a math equation and was about as hard as the hardest questions that had been in my evaluation yesterday. I easily did it and handed the slate back to him.

"Very good." He said, pleased. "I wonder what kinds of math Terra has that we have yet to dream of." A lot. This level of math is nothing.

"Salis, you must be wondering what you are doing in a math class when we have nothing to teach you. Headmaster Ury and I decided that we could use your skills to help. There are certain students that need more help than the others and if I spent all of my time with them it would take away from the other children."

"You want me to help them?" I answered hoping I was wrong.

"Yes! Yes! Child. I do not know how well they will take to someone as… unique as you are but Headmaster Ury hopes that it will help with your… peculiarities."

So I was going to tutor some of the dumber children in this class. On a positive note dumb people are generally easier to manipulate if you know what to look for.

"Dario! Helnion! Calren! Please come to the front of the room." Two boys quickly appeared in front of us. The younger of the two had black hair and grey eyes just like Arty. Was this the brother she had mentioned?

"You called us?" Answered the other boy, someone I had hoped to never meet again.

It was Ferret's boyfriend Dorito. He glanced at me but said nothing.

"Yes Dario I have something to tell you and Calren." Cowlick looked around the room. "Helnion!" He shouted at a girl staring out the rear most window in the room.

The girl blinked and looked around. When she saw Cowlick he motioned for her to come. She slowly stood up and walked to us.

"Typical Usui born…" I heard Dorito mutter to the other boy, whom I decided to call Caldren.

"Helnion, how many times must I call you?"

Helnion tilted her head as if thinking then shrugged.

"Sometimes I wonder what you are thinking, child."

"It is a nice day outside." Helnion said, if it was in answer to Cowlick's statement or just some random statement I had no idea.

Cowlick shook his head and turned back towards me and the two boys. "Dario, Calren, Helnion. It has been decided that Salis here will be tutoring you in math. I expect you to show her the same respect as you would I."

"Yes Instructor Callic!" Both boys said in unison. As for Helnion she was looking at me curiously.

Cowlick took a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to me. "For the next few days I want you to go over what I have written on this paper with them." He led us to a table and some chairs set off to the side, away from any windows. "This is where you will be studying."

I looked at my students. They looked at me.

"Alright." I said to Cowlick.

"If you have any problems let me know."

"I promise you will not hear anything bad from Calren and I." Dorito said to Cowlick.

"If you put all of that confidence into your math studies you would be in your last year by now, Dario."

"I will try harder this year Instructor."

"I hope so." Cowlick said and then left.

"I hate math…" Dorito mumbled.

"I know, I wish they would just let us only study magic. All this science and math is so boring." Caldren added.

I sat down at the table. The two boys did the same.

"So, Instructor Salis." Dorito said. "What are you going to teach us today?" It looked like he was going to say something else but he glance at Cowlick and said nothing else.

I opened the sheet of paper and looked at what was written on it. It was easy stuff like basic multiplication and division. I wondered how anyone would have a hard time learning this.

I picked up a slate, wrote a math problem on it, and handed it to Dorito. He looked at it for a moment. Caldren also looked at it.

"Division? The number is big but it is being divided by zero so it should not be too bad." Caldren said to Dorito.

"You think so?" Dorito said, sounding uncertain.

As I waited for the aftermath of them trying to divide by zero I noticed Helnion had moved next to me and was studying my hair closely.

"I wish I had hair like yours." She said. "I like how it slowly turns purple near the ends." She sighed. "If only it was not so tangled."

Helnion walked over to where she had been sitting when Cowlick had called her and returned with an expensive looking cloth bag. She pulled out an ivory comb and started brushing my hair.

"Don't do that." I told her. Not only did I not want her touching me her brushing hurt too. I guess that was what I got for never combing my hair.

Helnion didn't pay any attention to me. I didn't really care about tutoring any of these three but Cowlick was starting to give me some serious looks and I didn't feel like getting yelled at right now.

"I'll let you come my hair whenever you want if you do your math." I told her, hating the fact that I was sounding responsible. Being responsible was a necessary evil sometimes.

"Really?" She said, somehow sounding excited but not at the same time.

"Really, Really."

She sat down for the first time and watched me silently.

"So, what math do you know how to do?"

She thought for a while, but Dorito spoke up first.

"With how little she pays attention in class she probably does not know anything past addition."

He and Caldren snickered.

I grabbed the slate from them and handed it to Helnion.

She looked at the slate for a minute. "You can't divide by zero can you? I think Callic said that once."

"Nope, you can't."

"Wait!" Dorito said. "You gave us a question you knew we could not answer?"

"There's an answer, which is you can't."

"How long were you going to wait until you told us?"

I shrugged.

"Whatever. Let us move on to real math if we have to."

Caldren laughed. "Why are you getting so mad? We could have acted like we were working on it and avoiding doing anything else."

"You are right! You should have said something earlier."

"I did not think about it until now. I was too busy watching Helnion being Helnion."

Dorito laughed. "Yes, it is fun to watch her make the Instructors go crazy."

I slid the slate across the table and hit Dorito in the arm. I had written several math problems of varrying difficulty on it.

"Hey!" Dorito said, rubbing the elbow I had hit. "Be nice to me or I will hold it against you."

"You can solve those." I said pointing to the slate.

"Fine."

I grabbed two more slates and wrote math problems on them like I had with Dorito and handed one to Caldren and Helnion each. Thankfully this quieted them down other than the occasional disgruntaled whisper between the two boys.

Eventually Dorito put his slate down in disgust and was soon after followed by Caldren. Helnion actually managed to work on hers for the rest of class although I could see how hard of a time she had focusing on the board and would often look up. When she did this I held up the comb and she immediately went back to her math.

When I got a good look at the work the two boys had done I saw that Caldren had done better than Dorito, though not by much. Now that I had an idea of their math skills I dropped the harder math and gave them some about where I thought they were and a little above. This time I actually watched what they were doing and occasionally did the part of a teacher and helped walk them through some of the problems.

When the bells chimed for class to finally end Dorito and Caldren stood up happily.

"Oh, I hate math." Dorito said with the agreement of Caldren.

He looked at me. "You may be good at math but you really are bad with people." He walked off.

I walked over to Helnion, whom was still working on the original problems I had given her, and took her slate. She looked slightly startled when I took it but then smiled.

"I can stop now?"

I nodded.

She took the comb. "Can I?"

"Don't have time now."

Helnion frowned.

I had promised her, besides she might be a good way to escape from Ferret's likely raid on my room tonight.

"After I'm done with archery tonight."

When I mentioned archery I saw her cringe a little.

She smiled. "We can meet at the bath."

Wait, the school had a bath? I didn't really have any idea where it would be but it was probably near wherever they got their water. I just hoped it wasn't a public bath.

"I better hurry." I told her and walked towards the door. She followed me.

 

***

Helnion ended up following me all the way to the fields. Thankfully she didn't say a word and just watched whatever caught her interest, which changed often.

At the field I found Medic and waited.

"Greetings child." She said when she saw me. "Please wait over there." She pointed to a small group of children by the small building. I noticed she gave Helnion a curious look.

When I got to the group Helnion got almost as many strange looks as I did. It made sense considering she was a few years older than any of the other children gathered in this group as well as all of the other groups.

"Isn't this a surprise!" Bench said, coming from nowhere. Ferret was with him… "I never expected you to be here." He said to Helnion and not me surprisingly.

"How did you do it?" Ferret asked Helnion, grabbing her hands.

"Hmm?" Helnion said, confused.

"How did you get Salis to let you follow her?" So, she had seen Helnion and I walking together. "She always runs away from me."

"How?" Helnion said, still confused. "Oh." a look of comprehension appearing on her face. "We promised to…"

I tugged on Helnion's hand. I did not want Ferret to know where I was hiding from her tonight.

"Go to the bath together." Helnion continued, ignoring my tug.

"I see…" Ferret got a suspicious look on her face, made even more suspicious by her sudden departure.

I heard Bench laugh. "Leave it to the famous Helnion to do the impossible." He turned to me. "I hope you can keep up with Helnion." He left.

It was not long after Bench left that Helnion began to wander. Immediately she headed to a rack of bows that had been placed near the targets.

"Helnion!" Medic came running over to her. "How many times must I tell you these bows are only usable by those accepted into training?"

Helnion chewed on her lip as she looked between the bow and Medic. She put the bow back and then hid behind me, which was pretty hard considering she was a lot taller than me.

"It is alright for you to watch but I imagine there are many better ways to use your time." Medic sounded as if she knew what she was saying was going into deaf ears when she said this.

"Salis, come here." Medic said.

I walked to her, leaving Helnion.

Medic leaned over and quietly told me. "I would appreciate it if you did not bring Helnion here from now on. She tends to get in the way. She has also almost gotten nearly shot a few times when she went to retrieve her arrows without looking to see if anyone was shooting at the other targets. I have yet to have a student die on me yet and that girl could easily end that. Do you understand?"

I nodded. I now knew how bad of a shot Helnion was with an arrow if she had to go into the line of fire of other targets to get her arrows.

Medic finished with, "Since she has taken a liking to you Salis, and since you are the one that brought her here I expect you to keep an eye on her and make sure she stays out of the way."

Medic stood back up and called attention to the group of children I was with.

"Congratulations are making it to this group. I will be holding all of you to the highest standards and expect you to behave as such. If you can keep the standards and hard work expected of you, your skills as an archer will well be on its way to being among the greats. If you cannot or do not want to I will be more than happy to move you to one of the other groups. I will be training you hard so do not expect this to be easy, especially in the upcoming days as you get used to the training, but it will be well worth it."

When Medic finished speaking she had us form lines and led us through several warm-ups. She then instructed us to each grab a bow and for the rest of the day we simply trained by either pulling the bow string and holding it for a set amount of time or simply practiced proper form when holding and drawing the bow. We didn't shoot a single arrow so Helnion was safe and I didn't have to watch her closely.

 

***

As soon as the Medic let us go, there being no bells at this time since we had stayed an hour longer, Helnion grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the girl's dorm. Inside she took me up to the second floor and down the hallway.

When she opened a door and took me inside I saw that Helnion was not from a poor family. Her room was filled with many expensive things. There was a large mirror, a large fluffy bed with equally fluffy pillows, a large set of drawers, a large desk with a lamp on it, and an expensive looking rug.

The mirror was not made of glass and looked as if it was highly polished metal, and while it gave a good reflection it was slightly warped. The bed and pillows had to be goose down or an equivelent, while the cotton material had to have been imported from Koa Flaer to the north where it was warm enough to grow it. The drawers were made of a heavy, expensive looking wood and had probably been crafted by a master carpenter considering how well the scenes depicting nature were carved. The desk was much the same as the drawers. The lamp on the desk was made of a high quality metal, though not gold, and held two pieces of crystal, the top round one resting inside the lower bowl shaped one.

Helnion walked to the lamp and touched the lower crystal. When she did this the round crystal inside it lit. I noticed that the round crystal was exactly the same as the ones located above the doors.

When Helnion had finished with the lamp she went to the drawers and opened two of them. From one drawer she pulled out some large pieces of cloth and a bar of soap. She then put them in her bag and pulled me out of the room.

Now back outside we headed to a small building just behind the girl's dorm. As we approached I noticed a few things. First was the large mean looking maid that sat by the door, occasionally feeding a fire set under the floor of the building. Second was that there was actually a small stream that had been dammed up and had partly been diverted into the building with the rest continuing past the boy's dorm and a similiar building. The last thing I noticed as we got closer was that there was actually steam coming out of the small windows.

"You came!" Squealed Ferret as soon as I entered the bathing room. "I have been wanting to introduce you to some of my friends and what better way than to have a small party!"

Indeed there were several girls in the room. There were also a few holding primitive looking instruments. Ferret was holding a small harp.

Helnion looked as if she did not know what to do about this situation. I could see her eyeing the instruments but I imagine she thought that this would take away from her time with my hair or whatever was going through her mind. All I knew was that my nice quiet evening was ruined.

The night ended up being horrible. Ferret and her friends had sang and danced until the maid kicked us out. I didn't have any chances to escape either, because once Helnion had gotten bored of the atmosphere she had practically held me down, washed, and then combed my hair. My hair had so many knots in it it had been quite painful and even Helnion had angrily commented on how bad it was. She had then braided my hair.

When I had finally escaped from Ferret and her friends and eventually Helnion I returned to my room to find that my meal was long gone and Arty was sitting half asleep at her desk. When she heard me enter she looked up. As soon as she saw me her face brightened.

"Who did your hair?" She asked.

"Helnion."

Arty thought for a moment. "I think she is in my brother's knowledge class. He said she is fun to watch when she gets in trouble. I think he has a crush on her too."

Arty's brother? If Caldren was Arty's brother… this meant I had some blackmail information.

"I tried to save your meal, but the maids say missing it is punishment." Arty yawned. "I better go to sleep."

Arty stripped into her undergarments and climbed into her bed. I followed suit.


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