Many days quickly passes by, and Raine, who moved out of Fred's house, just a few hours prior, inspects his dormitory room with great curiosity. The said room is slightly smaller than the guest room he used during his stay at Fred's place. That said, Raine still think that the room is still too big for one person to use alone.
Yes, the aforementioned dormitory room is for Raine's own use alone---the result of getting good scores at the entrance examinations. Raine's received a letter indicating his admission to the academy, as well as his entrance examination ranking just a few days ago.
Thanks to his good performance, Raine manages to ger 4th place which surprises even him. After all, his performance in the magic category of the practical examination was above average at best. His performance on the written examination, and the physical combat category on the other hand were both excellent. Actually, he aced the aforementioned portions of the examinations---receiving perfect scores at both categories.
In other words, if not for magic category, he would have gotten first place in the entrance examination. Official letter from the academy aside, Raine also received a letter from his new acquaintance---the instructor, and magic researcher, Skalan. The letter explained why Raine received the above average rating in the magic category examination.
According to Skalan, Raine received the above average rating because his magic talent is simply at that level due to the lack of a horn which limit his growth in magic. Despite this limitation though, Raine's performance in his weakest field was still very impressive to the point that even the other teachers have nothing but praises for him.
Of course, if Skalan include his amazing casting speed, his result would have been much higher to the point that 1st place is not out of the question. But due to the agreement he made with the boy, Skalan could only swallow his dissatisfaction.
Raine didn't really mind that he didn't cinch 1st place that much. In his mind, receiving 1st place would gain him too much attention which he has no need of. Getting 4th place is good enough for him, heck, a much lower ranking would have been much better in his opinion.
"Low key, low key! I must stay low key," is what Raine would often say to himself which fully demonstrates his lack of self-awareness. And if the other examinee who did not received good rankings heard what the boy, they would, without a doubt, give the boy who seemed to be lacking self-awareness a beating.
Still, it is what it is, and Raine is already satisfied with his examination results.
Anyway, back to the issue of his dormitory room, Raine felt like he should make good use of the large room he was given since he would be using it for many years. He already have some ideas in mind but it would take some time before he could implement them, and it's not like he's in a hurry. For now he should use his time to prepare for the start of school which will start in two days. Before that though, he needed to to give his older sister's dormitory a visit.
Although, the female dormitory is usually off-limit to males, they could still go visit the place if they relatives living there, and if they make appointments ahead of time. Of course, they are not allowed to enter the dormitory itself but would instead use a separate building built specifically to receive guests.
It's a very troublesome but necessary process of which, Raine, thankfully did not have to go through thanks to his sister Cloudia who did all of the necessary preparations herself.
Making himself look presentable, Raine leaves the male dormitory and went to the direction where the female dormitory is located. The dormitory where his sister is staying is quite far from his own, and Raine needed to walk for about thirty minutes or so just to ge there. Not that he mind it or anything.
Raine took his time walking---observing, and memorizing every building he saw on the way. There are many people, mostly students (probably) doing their own things. Raine smiled at this peaceful scenery, but did not linger for too long.
Not long after, Raine stopped at a walled compound with a large metal gate (and two statues depicting an armored Valkyrie), and a sign that says 'Lilac'.
"This should be the right place," Raine murmured to himself.
Lilac is the name of female dormitory that his older sister is staying at. The female dormitories at the Royal Academy follow a certain trend for their names---the name of flowers. On the other hand, the male dormitories named their building after trees like Raine's dormitory 'willow'. Strangely enough, for reasons unknown to Raine, some plants in this world have the same name as the plants back in his old world. Not just the name but even their appearances are the same.
Raine doesn't know why it is like that, nonetheless, these plants give him a sense of nostalgia, and calmness every time he sees them.
Letting out a long sigh, Raine approached one of the 'Valkyrie' statues. The statues in front of the dormitory are not mere decorations---they're guards.
Yes, guards. It means, that these two statues can and will move if necessary. The statues' duty is to guard the entrance and would attack anyone deemed dangerous. Of course, these statues would only act upon the orders of its operator.
Also, despite their appearances, these 'statues' are not actually statue but golems. Or to be more precise, magic tools known as 'golems'.
Raine's own 'willow' dormitory also has golems in front of the entrance similar to this one but they're designed to look like knights instead of Valkyries. Actually, every important building inside the Royal Academy has similar magic tools serving as guards, and there appearance varies depending on the creator.
In other words, the Valkyrie shaped golem is simply because of its creator's taste.
"Good morning, my name is Raine. I'm here to visit a student, my older sister, Cloudia. I believe my name should be in the guest register?" Raine said to the statue, or, rather, the person in charge of monitoring using the statues.
Raine waited for the reply, and a few seconds later, a female voice can be heard.
"Undertood, please wait a moment, “the women replied.
Not long after the women spoke again, “yes, your name is in the registry. Please take out you 'card' for identification, and place on the palm of the left hand of golem," the woman instructed.
Raine took out a magic tool in a form of a metal card from his chest pocket and put it on the palm of the golem. The palm glowed slight before returning to normal.
"Verification now completed. You can now enter the premises but you could only enter the building intended for guest, the other buildings are off-limit."
Before opening the gate, the female operator instructed Raine what building he could and could not enter of which the boy agreed without questions.
Upon entering the compound, Raine followed the sign which points to the direction of the right building. And due to the size of the compound, Raine needed to walk for several minutes before he could see the said building.
Walking inside, Raine looked around, and saw his older sister waving at him at one of the tables with other female students that Raine believed to be Cloudia's classmates.
Raine waved back at her sister, and quickly walk towards the group.
"So you're Cloudia's younger brother. I've heard so much about you." A tall human girl that goes by the name of Serena started after Raine introduced himself.
The human girl Serena is the tallest girl that Raine has seen since his reincarnation. She is a head taller than Cloudia who is tall for a girl herself. According to Cloudia's introduction, Serena specializes at defense and plays the role of a defender whenever the group goes on a quest.
"That's right, you're older sister here talk about you so much that we're starting to get tired of it." A daemon girl with beautiful platinum-colored hair, and grey eyes, named Platina interjected. According to Cloudia's introduction, Platina plays the role of vanguard, and if needed, a second (or third if we include Cloudia) magician of the group. She seemed to be a very calm, and composed person, the total opposite of Cloudia's fiery personality.
Platina's words made Raine sweat cold sweats. He heard the same thing from the hunter's guild employee named Marin. And though he questioned his older sister about it, she always dodges the question, and changes the subject every time. Raine felt like he no longer have any secrets in front of her friend, or worse, the entire female dormitory....
"Ahahaha, you can say that again! But then again, what do you expect of someone with a huge brother complex?"
The one who've just spoken was a dwarf girl with very out-spoken and cheerful personality that goes by the name of Delphine. Her teasing made Cloudia pout though she did not deny it which proved that her teasing Cloudia about her brother complex is a common thing, maybe a daily occurrence even. Begrudgingly, Cloudia introduced her as another one of their group's defender though not as good as Serena in that regard. Despite this though, Delphine is vital member of the group as she's the one responsible for maintaining the group's weapons, and equipment.
Appearance-wise, Delphine looks like a little girl human girl with slighlty pointed ears despite being five years older than Raine. And unlike the female dwarves in popular pop culture back in Raine's old world, Delphine like the other female dwarves he had seen before in this world, does not have beards nor do they look like dwarven men.
Instead, Delphine looks like a cute little girl who would make older men with certain proclivities back in his previous world, cry tears of joy.
"Now, now. Don't tease our leader too much. Besides everyone at the dormitory already knew that so it's not like it’s a secret or anything."
The person who tries to intervene is Mora, a female beastkin that belonged to the fire cat tribe. Cloudia introduced her as the group's scout, who is proficient in the use of daggers, knives, and bows. In Raine's eyes, Mora is a very energetic girl but her words confirmed the boy's fear---pretty much everyone in the female dormitory have heard of him.
Raine look at his sister with blaming eyes, resulting in Cloudia awkwardly avoiding his gaze.
"Un, teasing is no good...." A small and quite voice agreed with Mora's words.
The voice of agreement came from an incredibly lovely young girl with long greenish black hair, and, long and pointed ears---a female elf named Leafa, and the group's magician, and healer.
"Wahh, as expected of my cute Leafa. You're always on my side unlike these meanies."
Cloudia cuddled the adorable elven girl sitting by her side happily. Although it looks like that Leafa was not bothered by the sudden gesture of affection, Raine noticed that the the elven girl is blushing, and smiling a little.
Seeing Cloudia, cuddling Leafa, the other girls turn rowdy, as they too, wanted to hug the adorable-looking elf girl. Raine smiled at this beautiful scene---glad that his sister has made close, and trustworthy scene.
After that short episode, the girls return their attention to Raine, asking questions left and right which somewhat overwhelmed the boy. But although a bit overwhelmed, Raine still tries his best to answer the girls' questions to the best of his ability.
After satisfying the girl's curiosity, the group ordered and ate a hearty lunch from the cafeteria. Once they're full, the girl showed Raine around the compound but due to the dormitory rules, they could only tour the compound grounds which Raine do not mind.
Once the tour was over, Raine bid his goodbyes to Cloudia and her friend but not before promising to accompany the girls for a tour around campus ground the next day.
The start of the school year finally arrived, and Raine can be seen walking towards his classroom, accompanied by two boys his age.
One of the boys is a beastkin from the demon bear tribe that goes by the name Galeon. The demon bear tribe is a tribe known for their physical prowess, and has the physique to match that strength. As someone from the demon bear tribe, Galeon is physically intimidating, towering over most children his age. Despite his intimidating physique though, Galeon is a very timid boy.
The other boy is a human boy named Cless, the 3rd son of a human noble who ruled a medium-sized fief to the west of the kingdom of Noreen. Being the 3rd son of a noble family, Cless could not inherit his family state but thanks to the daemon king's mandate that requires all children of the kingdom age ten and above to attend the Royal Academy, Cless can pursue any career he wanted.
These two boys stayed at the same dormitory as Raine which means that they too are high-ranking students, coincidentally; the boys’ rooms are just adjacent with one another. Not only that, these two boys are also in the same class as Raine which makes them classmates as well. Thanks to this coincidence, the boys quickly became friends.
"This should be the right room." Cless declared as he reads the sign on the wall.
"It should be. We should enter now," Raine nodded in agreement, as he urges his friend to enter the room.
"W, wait! Let me... let me calm myself first...." Galeon pleaded as he took deep breaths.
Cless crossed his arms as he stared at the nervous bear with amusement.
"Seriously, Galeon, you're such a big bear, and yet you're this timid? How are you supposed to survive campus life like that?" Cless teases.
"Now, now, Cless, don't be like that. Galeon here is just not use to seeing so many people. Besides, Galeon's dream is to make a hundred friends, so I'm sure he'll get over his it. Isn't that right, Galeon?"
Raine stopped Cless from teasing Galeon, and then proceed to encourage him while patting the boy's huge back.
"Yes, yes! I'll make a hundred friends!" Galeon responded while pumping his fists.
"Since that's the case we should enter now. You can't make a friends by just standing there, right?" Cless urges.
"O,of course! L,let us enter!"
After saying so, Galeon stiffly enters the room. The boy is no nervous, and stiff that his movements are similar to a robot. Raine, and Cless look at each other and shrugged their shoulders at the same time, and then quickly follows.
Upon entering the classroom, Galeon stood in front of the board, and nervously stared at the students already inside. And in a booming voice, introduces himself.
"I am Galeon. P,Pleased to meet you all!" Galeon said. I, I wanted to make lots of friends, and I hope that everyone here become my friends," he added.
Galeon's voice is so loud, and booming that his classmates were forced to cover their ears.
The students were so shocked that they could only stare at the boy. Galeon's size already made the boy stand out, and his action just now made him stand out more. The awkward silence only lasted for several seconds, and was quickly followed by raucous laughter that can heard outside of class.
Shy and timid as he is, Galeon could only cover his reddened-face in embarrassment as his classmates good-naturedly laugh at him. The once awkward and tense atmosphere that was often experience by new students attending school for the first time in the classroom vanishes thanks to the adorable action of a certain timid bear boy that only wanted to make friends
Not long after the teacher arrived, and peace and quiet returned to the classroom. And after some more routined introductions, class ensued normally.
After that eventful start of school, days of peaceful schooling continued with nothing major but some harmless hijinks here and there happening. With the children getting comfortable with each other friendship and groups formed naturally. Even Raine's group of three quickly increased to more than twenty as they made acquaintances and friends inside and outside of class.
Forming cliques, joining clubs, everything that could aid in a student’s mental and social growth; Raine and his friends experienced all of that. And before the students know it, a month passes by so quickly.
And when everyone started thinking that the peace would continue forever, an event that would rock the Royal Academy, a far away, and nameless frontier village, and the imperial city as a whole occured.
And Raine, who only wanted to study in peace became the center of that event for some reason or another.
"Haah~ Just how did this happened?"
Sitting inside a cage made with strong, flexible woods, Raine let out a long sigh of exasperation.
Yes, Raine, along with several of his terrified classmates are inside a big cage made of woods. There were three wooden cages that caged not only Raine, and his classmates but also two teachers that was supposed to supervised the students.
Why were they in such a situation, you asked?
Well, everything started with an announcement that requires the students to enter a certain forest that was half a day away (using carriages) from the imperial city.
Despite how it sounds, the aforementioned announcement was nothing but an announcement of a school activity that had been held countless times throughout the years. The said school activity was relatively harmless and safe, and the worst that had happened in the past were several students that went too deep into the forest thus losing their ways. Of course, those lost students were quickly found later on with but few bruises on their bodies and confidence.
It's just that, no one would have foreseen that a simple school activity would turn into something life changing for everyone involved. There were no signs, or, maybe there were it's just that no one notices them. Not Raine, not the higher up of the academy, not the teachers, and definitely not the students---no one.
After arriving at their destination, the teachers involved instructed the students on what they needed to do once they enter the forest. To make the activity easier and safer, the teacher separated the students into groups. Once that was done, they distributed whistles that the students could use if they found themselves in an emergency.
The activity itself was simple and straightforward. All the students needed to do was study the local flora and fauna, record them, and then return to the spot agreed beforehand. Every group was given three hours to complete the said school activity.
It was supposed to be a fun, and educational activity that would help the students familiarize themselves with the local plants and wildlife. Still, not every one of the students would find the activity novel or new. Kids like Raine, who grew near forests, were already used to them, as they've done similar things since they were younger.
Of course these children would still take the said school activity seriously since there ranks depend on it.
Anyway, the students entered the forest while the two teachers wait patiently outside, ready to act once they hear a whistle. One hour, two hours with nothing happening; the teachers waited patiently but as the third hour arrived, and without a single student returning, the teachers started worrying. Ten minutes later without a single soul in sight, the teachers finally decided to act, and began their search.
Not long after the teachers started their search for the missing students, the they too, suffered the same fate as their students---they were captured by a mysterious group.
The mysterious group that abducted the students and teachers were....