“My name is Ms. Viola, and I will be the instructor for all Gold class history subjects. Welcome back to the current students and I hope you had a sufficient break. This is a new year and we have two new students joining us today. I’m sure most of you attended the interviews and saw the display of their Cereses.
“As you all were informed, the examinations are approaching quickly. I know the two of you,” she acknowledged Lucas and I before continuing, “have just joined, but three months is plenty time to prepare if you are diligent in your studies. And this year, the examinations will be administered differently. You will be tested in pairs.”
The response among the students sounded mixed. Some looked excited while others were clearly not happy with the idea.
“Does that mean we get to share our answers with each other?” a scrawny boy asked. His thick-rimmed glasses were as round as his strangely large nose.
“Yes, Fred, to a certain extent. However, this year the examinations will take a more hands-on approach. Each of you will be executing your Cereses more than last year,” she answered.
Shelly’s hand shot up. “Do we get to choose our own partners for the exams?” she sounded eager. I wondered whom she wanted to be paired up with. I couldn’t help but feel bad for the poor individual.
“No, you will not. The Wheel of Aster will take care of the pairing process. I will explain more once the pairings take place. As for right now, I would like to speak about the Columnaris program. This program is for elite Valkryns who want to further their Ceres skills.
“I am aware most of you may or may not already be a part of your own teams, but if you have lost members from graduation or would like to form a new team, then the deadline for that is a week after the examinations.
“Therefore, keep an eye out for your competition or potential team members that you may want to recruit. Lucas and Selena, please stay after class today so I can explain to you more in depth,” she finished speaking.
With that, she asked us to open our textbooks and began explaining the origins of Cereses and the role of the Founders. “The Ancient was known to be the first Valkryn to have ever existed. He was believed to have been bestowed the gift to bless Celestrians with a Ceres. He was a wise and noble Valkryn who only created Cereses that were necessary and passed them to deserving individuals.
“Over time, Cereses were passed down through the generations naturally. Valkryns who seem to come from a family with no history of a Ceres are theorized to be direct descendants of the Ancient.”
It wasn’t long before the bell rang. The students gathered their things and filed out of the classroom. Ms. Viola lingered by her desk, waiting for Lucas and me.
“You may be feeling a little behind, but that is normal for every new student. In a couple of days, you will become accustomed to the pace and structure of the curriculum here at Vanderwald,” she explained.
I nodded in acknowledgment. Lucas stood with his arms crossed, seemingly uninterested, as usual.
She continued, “You will attend two classes per day. For Mondays and Wednesdays, the schedule is 9 a.m. History of Ceres and 1 p.m. Phersu Origins. I am the instructor for both these subjects, which will be taught in this classroom.
“However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will meet at the practice domes, located behind the school. 9 a.m. for Power Advancement and 1 p.m. for Controlling your Ceres.
“Lastly, every Friday you will meet with your corresponding Ceres lineage at 10 a.m. There are seven practice domes and each one is dedicated to one of the lineages.”
The schedule wasn’t as intensive as I expected it to be, and everything sounded interesting. Lucas, on the other hand, was looking more and more bored by the minute.
“Lastly, I want to explain the Columnaris program. Most of the Gold class students take part and I encourage you to as well. To be eligible to participate in this program, you need to gather a team of seven Valkryns, one from each of the seven lineages—weapon, shield, wing, divination, portal, elemental, and dimensional. Once you find a team, you must all go to the Grandmaster. He will oversee the three competitions that are spread out throughout the school year.”
“Does the winner get anything?” Lucas asked.
Ms. Viola nodded once. “In addition to honor, the whole team gets to meet a propheseer.” Surprise flashed across his face—this was the first time I had seen a flicker of interest in his eyes.
Only five propheseers existed at one time—one propheseer for each region—and, they were highly coveted and heavily protected. Not just anyone could waltz in to meet them. Dad once told me they are able to answer questions about the past, present, or future. While most divination Valkryns were limited to specific questions, information, or times, a propheseer held answers to all things.
“Which propheseer would we get to meet?” I asked.
“The closest one to Vanderwald, which would be the one in Little Lithuana.”
My jaw dropped. Among the five region propheseers, the one located in Little Lithuana was said to be the most powerful. Nobody had ever seen him, but he was known to have never told a prophecy that had not come true. He was also rumored to have the gift of immortality.
Ms. Viola nodded. “Well, that is all for now. You two should go and eat before you have to return for class.” She walked out of the classroom before us.
“We should join this Columnaris program together.”
I turned around slowly, surprised by Lucas’ sudden suggestion. Did I hear that right? “You and me?”
He chuckled, rolling his eyes. “Do you see anyone else around?”
“Why?” I was genuinely curious as to what compelled him to ask me. Was it convenience?
“I’m the strongest weapon Valkryn here and your elemental Ceres combined with mine could be useful.”
His cockiness may be merited, given that I had never witnessed anyone who handled his or her Ceres with such ease, but I wasn’t sure if I could survive his personality. Pushy. Arrogant. Rude. Where does it end?
Though, if it got me a chance to meet the propheseer, then I wasn’t in much of a position to complain.
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