The Red Magic classroom had no desks.
There were only big seats grouped together on one side of the room, and the rest of the room was nothing but expansive open space. There were a few cushions scattered about the open space, but other than that, the whole room was nothing but a slab of black marble. There weren't any pictures or posters like the other professors had, and if it weren't for the other students around her, Rose would have thought she was in the wrong classroom.
There were floating candles scattered about, each blue with a white flame, and there was a package of unlit candles sitting on a small desk at the front. After a moment's hesitation, Rose sat down in one of the large hanging seats. She tucked her bag in her lap, uncertain of where else to put it. The other students looked equally hesitant—except Mortem, who laid back in his chair with an ease that made Rose envious—and quietly talked to one another until class started.
Again, Rose found that a few of the students kept looking her way. She noticed most of them were from the same kingdom with gold and silver colors, the Hero Kingdom. She wanted to approach the students and directly ask, but every time she looked at them, they abruptly turned away with pale faces.
It almost seems like they're afraid of me, Rose thought to herself. Why, though? I don't think I've done anything to warrant that. Chester, Keinan, and Mortem aren't afraid of me.
No, they couldn't be scared of her. It must be her imagination. She was the only member of the Warrior Kingdom, so maybe that's why they were looking at her? Maybe the gold and silver Hero kingdom was a rival to her own?
Professor Nigel didn't mention rivalries, but that didn't mean there weren't any. All kids liked to compete, after all.
Two minutes before class began, a tiny man stomped into the classroom. He looked no older than fifteen and couldn't be more than a few inches taller than Rose, but he had an air of undeniable authority about him that Rose immediately identified him as a professor.
He glanced at each of the students sitting before his nose crinkled and all the seats shot up to the ceiling. Rose let out a squeak of surprise as her feet now dangled in the air.
"Red Magic is not something to be messing about in," the boy—for his voice was like a child's—growled. "During demonstrations, you will sit above the barrier."
The professor pointed towards the floating candles. "Those sealing candles will keep any magic performed down here down here. Do not touch the candles. Do not be a smart-alec and try to blow them out. And do not perform any magic while above the barrier without my permission.
"Red Magic is the evocation of energy. Specifically, it is the transformation of raw magic into something new. Unlike Blue Magic that changes what is already present in the physical realm, we draw upon our magic and change our magic. It's one of the most dangerous kinds of magic both to the caster and those around, so I will have no horseplay in my classroom. Any sign of it will warrant an immediate detention," the professor snarled. "There will be no note-taking, no homework, no written tests. You will not be allowed such things in the real world, so there's no place for it here. You will remember what I teach, or you will join me in remedial classes for the summer."
Well that doesn't seem like fun, Rose thought. The little man seemed particularly angry, and Rose wondered if maybe he was naturally a ball of rage, or if Red Magic was that dangerous that it warranted a very strict teacher.
Probably both, Rose decided. The professor's nose crinkled again, and the seats lowered to the floor. Spheres came out of the black bag he carried over his shoulder and floated to each student. The professor said, "Practice drawing out your Red Magic. Whoever can draw it out by ten minutes will continue on with the lesson. Those that cannot will keep practicing until they can. Go."
Rose's sphere lit up immediately with a bright, vivid red. A bit of her was happy she was finally in a class that her magic apparently specialized in.
"Professor, you haven't introduced yourself yet," Mortem called out.
The professor's cheeks turned bright red. "Oh. Right. I'm Professor Luck. Do not call me Lucky or you will find yourself cleaning Doctor Basileus's cauldrons for the next month."
Rose looked down at her glowing red sphere, a pleased smile on her face. Mortem's was next to turn red, merely a second after her. She looked around at the others, watching each of them concentrate on the sphere in front of them.
Unfortunately, no one else was able to turn their sphere red.
"Right, then. Ten minutes is up, show me your work." Professor Luck's piercing red eyes roamed over each sphere. "Two this year, twice as much as last year, then."
His nose wiggled, and Mortem and Rose's chairs lowered to the floor. Professor Luck looked back up at the students above and said, "Practice for now. I'll be with you shortly."
Rose's cheeks turned a faint red as she felt the stares of the students above her. She fiddled with the sphere in her hand until Professor Luck snapped at her and said, "Stand up, both of you. We'll start with drawing out raw power."
The spheres flew out of their hands and Rose immediately leapt up from her seat. She brushed down her skirt and rolled her sleeves up a bit more. She tried for a smile at the professor, wanting to ease the discomfort she felt from the attention she received overhead.
Professor Luck held out his hand, palm facing up. "Red Magic is powerful and intoxicating. If you ever feel you are about to lose control of the spell: immediately stop. If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable performing a spell, tell me and do not try to perform it."
A flame flickered in the palm of Professor Luck's hand. "Draw out your magic. Let me see what your magic naturally wants to do with Red."
Rose turned her palm up and a large, dark red—almost black—fire bloomed to life in her palm. Her eyes widened in disbelief as the fire gently curled around her hand, pulsating in tune with her heart. She watched, transfixed, as the flame stretched high and bowed, like a tree dancing in the wind.
"W-wow," Rose breathed.
"Mn. Unsurprising," Professor Luck muttered, placing his hand over the flame.
The flame wrapped around his own hand and Rose felt a small tug from within her. Professor Luck pulled the flame off her hand and held it in his palm for a minute, examining it with narrowed eyes. He tossed it aside and it faded away into smoke. "Scarlet fire. You have an elemental affinity with Red Magic, then."
"E-elemental?" Rose repeated.
"Correct. Red Magic covers a broad spectrum of abilities and spells. Elemental is one of those categories. You will be working closely with elemental for your first year, as that will be easiest for you."
Rose blinked as she thought over his words. She smiled brightly, excitement igniting inside of her. "So, I get to work with fire like a—like a proper dragon?"
Professor Luck's lips twitched, a brief look of amusement flickering across his face. "Yes. Now, Mortem, your turn."
Mortem's palm lit up with a black flame.
"Elemental, too." Professor Luck repeated with unhidden shock. "Your kind have always had more of an affinity for dark. What a surprise."
"Dark?" Rose inquired, scratching her right cheek.
"Like shadow manipulation," Mortem answered, glancing over at her briefly. "I suppose I'll be working with Miss Rose, then."
Luck made a 'hmm' sound at that, his eyes narrowing as he looked back and forth at each student. Then he shrugged and said, "Conjure your flames, both of you. Practice shaping the flames into circles. When you feel you have enough control over your fires, let me know."
"Okay," Rose said, looking at her palm and surprised to find the flame there again.
Professor Luck then wiggled his nose and floated up above the candles to the students who were still practicing. She stared intently at the flame, trying to make it form the shape of a circle.
Of course, it didn't. Rose still wasn't sure how she got the flame started. Her magic acted on its own, she couldn't even feel the magic inside her until it came out on its own.
The young dragon stared intently at her flames. They gently waved back and forth like a red flower in a breeze.
Rose took a deep breath, the flames in her hand flickering towards her as she did so. As she exhaled, she could suddenly feel the magic in her hands. For the briefest moment, Rose could manipulate her magic freely in the palm of her hands, molding it like warm, solid, clay. It was such a marvel to the girl that she immediately became engrossed in making the fire dance like a ballerina in the palm of her hands.
She had never been able to tangibly feel her magic before in such a way and make it do what she wanted. She couldn't resist grinning widely, looking up at Mortem with plain excitement in her eyes. "It's really doing what I want!"
"Of course. You have an affinity for Red," Mortem said. "That means you're much more sensitive to it, which makes it easier to feel and control."
Rose made the fire in her hands shape itself into a flower. Giddy glee bubbled inside the pit of her stomach, lifting her demeanor, the young dragon was elated at being able to properly perform magic.
"Miss Rose, circles only for now," Professor Luck called out from above, glaring down at her. "And try to calm yourself. If you get too excited, your fire may spiral out of control."
"O-oh!" Rose blushed, the fire in her hands dying down to a small circle. "S-sorry, Professor."
"Just do as you're told," Professor Luck said gruffly. "I'll eat a beehive first before I have to send any of my students to that smug snake this year."
Mortem choked, and Rose looked over at him curiously, but he waved her off. If she didn't know any better, she would have sworn he was grinning under that hood of his.