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Shadow

Fire's Beginning

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The sun was high above the imperial city, and the city was already bustling about and working. Even in the poorest areas of the city, people were happy as they toiled away in the blissful fall weather. The Academy had been alive for hours as well, students at the Academy of Magics going about their classes and live to become soldiers, or spell crafters, and any other occupation they could land with high value to the war and counsel. 

Altruis, a man of 5'11 and dressed in his all white and blue outfit, had already finished his second and last presentation for classes at the request of the counsel, and was now sitting in the cafeteria watching people of all races go about their lunch time affairs while sipping his tea.

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He walked, a girl at each side and a couple following behind. He wore the school uniform, the white dress shirt with the black neat tie. A cute little smirk was on his lips and each girl seemed quite entranced by everything he said. Each move of flirtation they gave to him was kindly returned, but one could tell he was simply skillfully following the motions. The bell rang and every girl about him groaned, but he gave them each a reassuring smile. "It's not like I'm going to disappear. Go on to class, dears."

"Let us walk you to your class!" "Yes, it wouldn't be a bother!"

He gave a soft laugh. "I think I'll be skipping class today, actually. Thank you, though."

Each girl dispersed, rather disappointed, and the last one spun around and gave him a hug while the others' backs were turned to her.

The boy's eyes flashed a bright crimson color and his hand moved to her pocket, releasing something, then going back to his side., his eyes going back to a dark brown. He offered the girl a kind smile. "Go on to class, now. You'll be late." He whispered and she smiled brightly, giving a slight squeal and running off to class.

The boy walked up to the counter of the cafeteria and bought himself a coffee, taking a seat at a table not far from Altruis, taking a sip of the coffee before pulling out a pencil and piece of paper. As the cafeteria began to clear out fast from students going to classes, the more the boy wrote down. Once the area remained mostly empty save for Altruis and a few randomized people, the writing slowed, but the silent counting and slight pointing of his pencil took its place, seeming to be writing information about the room in general.

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Altruis noticed the boy enter the room in his mass of giggling girls, but had seen such a thing plenty of times. Playboys who have powerful magics that girls love, or deadly good looks, or a powerful family. It wasn't too common place, but he knew and ignored it until he noticed that same student skipping classes. Altruis took another sip then called over too him just loud enough. "It seems classes don't interest you very much do they?"

He took another sip then set his cup down on the tray as a girl came over, a smile on her face. "Would you like more tea sir?"

"No thank you, but it was good as always."

He held his hand over the table and summoned up a few coins from sub space storage to pay for it. the girl giggled slightly at his gentle smile to her, then she scurried off for him to finished the last of his tea. Altruis turned back to the boy taking notes still and added, "Though I'm sure you don't care either."

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The boy glanced at Altruis, a kind smile coming to his face. "Homework to catch up on." He said, indicating the notes he was writing. "Doesn't make me a very promising student, does it? I'm not the brightest." He gave an easy laugh and began writing once more. He took another sip of his coffee, not bothered by the heat though it had just been brewed. "Shit. That can't be right." He muttered under his breath, glancing around and slightly pointing his pencil again, silently counting, seeming to find his mistake, erasing and correcting.

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"Well, the homework holds little importance if you can't do the magic though," Altruis said carving magic symbols into the air.

"though I might ask, where are your books for studying? Surely you would need those if you don't already know the material," He added with slight suspicion.

Altruis had been through all the classes and ever book the academy had for the classes, and he knew how the system worked. The boy didn't seem to be studying anything classes related at all, and his odd pointing was giving him away.

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He looked at Altruis once again, slight irritation beginning to show. He paused only a few seconds, then let his easy smile fall back in place. "I don't know the material and I can't do magic. I only transferred here last week. I'm learning to know my surroundings, first. That is a key component, is it not? I haven't even been able to get my books, yet. I'm working on that, though. Now, if you don't mind, this is giving me a bit of trouble and I have somewhere to be soon. I really need to figure this out." His voice was kind and he returned to writing once more. Although it was true that knowing your surroundings was important, no one ever really went to the extent of writing down every single measurement perfectly, especially a new student without using any type of measuring tools.

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Altruis couldn't help but intercede now. The boy wasn't working on school work by any means, and if he couldn't use magic, he would not have been accepted into the academy. He showed this saying he had somewhere to be, while he should be in class for a few hours still. Altruis had practically rewritten a large number of the class standards. He lifted himself from the table he sat at and walked casually over to the boy, taking the only other seat there. "So let me help you. I'm not busy until a little later myself," Altruis said.

He used his finger to trace an emblem on the reinforced glass table top and when it was complete he looked at the boy with a smile.

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Being closer, it could be seen the 'boy' was more that of a 'man', looking about the age of 20. He pulled his papers closer to him, sheltering them and making them unseen using his shadow and his arm. "I'm fine, thank you. I need to figure this stuff out on my own. If I can't do that, then how will I ever learn it, hm?" He gave a reassuring smile, putting everything in his lap once Altruis used magic on the table. "Thanks for the offer, though. I politely decline."

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"Well, i'm not sure you have to much of a choice," Altruis stated, placing his palm into the emblem.

The magic resonated and glowed yellow as it activated, casting a dome that coated everything in the room as it passed over it until stopping on the walls and all entrances. "I'm sure if you made it in here as a student, you would be able to recognize this spell," he said standing and leaving the spell active and glowing, etching into the glass while he put distance between himself and the "boy", who wasn't a boy at all. The occupants, what few there were, now stared in awe and slight fear, despite all being trained or used to magic. "Now you can tell me what you really want here."

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He looked around the room, seeing all the dimensions and measurements he'd made now distorted and different. He cursed inwardly. I'm not doing too well, here. He stood, folding his papers and putting them in his pocket, facing Altruis. He seemed otherwise unfazed by his new situation. His voice was calm and factual. "You're using a barrier spell mixed with an illusion so I can't finish my homework. I have two methods of breaking this spell. One would be to break the table that holds the emblem you drew, but since it is within the barrier, which this one protects all within it from harm, I cannot do that. My other method would include me using a counter-spell, a nullification spell to be precise, but I cannot do that because I cannot use magic, yet." He sighed, putting his hands in his pockets. "There. I proved to you that I'm studying here. Can't you leave me in peace? Or are you really going to allow problems to arise from you, the top master who practically made this Academy rise, messing with a transfer student instead of making him feel welcome?" He glanced down to the floor, judging the time by the light from the sun's rays coming in from the windows and being slightly distorted by the spell. "I really need to be going. Somewhere from important to be." A soft beeping sound began to go off. "For fuck sake." He hissed and his eyes once again flashed crimson, the room changing from the yellow shade to a now gray shade, the sound immediately disappearing but his eyes not changing back. No emblem drawing. No speaking of spells. No movement. The room just changed.

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Altruis's eyes narrowed. "I'm not under any kind of rules by the academy. I'm just here as a guest, however, I deal with spies quite often."

Altruis couldn't stop whatever it was the man had planned, but he was using an illusion to hid something else as well. Altruis had studied all magics he'd come across, and this wouldn't be anything new. "So you aren't really a mage at all. You're indeed the enemy."

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"Trust me, I'm not a spy. Now, come on. What are you going to do to a student of your own school? I have somewhere to be. And so do the rest of the people in your dome. Let us go." He hissed, his eyes narrowing and his tone changing from nice to impatient.

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He had a valid point. Altruis had no actual proof against the man, and to hold him here would soon cause trouble. Even if he knew there was something wrong with the intruder. instead of continue a fruitless interrogation, he walked to the emblem and with and intentional slow movement, began wiping the spell from the table. It hissed a moment, and a subtle sound resonated around him. monomagic, then the emblem was swept away, along with the magic that it brought.

Altruis smiled at his work, then looked to the man. "Feel free to leave at any point."

Before he could leave, Altruis turned with a flourish and strode briskly from the room, taking a stair case to the immediate right and bounding up them.

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Surprise hit the man's crimson eyes. "Well, that went better than expected." He listened, the only one able to hear the beeping now, and quickly pulled out his pencil and paper, writing down just a few more numbers. He then finished the sketch he had, matching all measurements to a smaller scale. He smirked. "Perfect." Stuffing the paper back in his pocket. He smiled to himself. The cafeteria is on the main floor and in the center of the entire building. That means the main focus point of the structure is located here. So, with my calculations, and if I can save myself a little time thanks to my delay, by taking out this area at its busiest time and taking out one side wall of the Academy, then my job is as good as done. Easy. My only problem is making sure that guy is in here when it happens. And thanks to his meddling... I'm no longer guaranteed that. With a sigh, he focused on the main clocks of the building. Each one's hour hand spun to two hours ahead and the bell rang. With a moment of silence, all the classroom doors opened and students began excitedly leaving their classes, his group of girls filing down the staircase eagerly. He put on his smile and caught up with them, wrapping his arm around the girl who had hugged him earlier, slipping his hand once more into her pocket and retrieving what he had left there. He covered the flashing red button with his thumb and, once he removed it, the light had gone off. He put it in his own pocket, pulling away from the girl and waving at each one. Each of the girls were enthusiastically chatting about the early release and confusion of the clocks.

"Storm, do you know anything about what happened?"

He shrugged. "I knew you all had had a rough day and I've been practicing my magic a little. Consider this early day our little secret, alright?" He winked and gave a wave. "I'll see you all tomorrow, okay? I've got some things to do real fast." He smiled and turned away, running up the stairs to the third floor and over to class 325. He walked in the now-empty classroom and went over to the chalkboard, reaching behind it and retrieving another small device, also blinking with a red light, repeating his method of turning it off and putting it in his pocket. Now, one more to get and then maybe I could try NOT screwing this up tomorrow. I don't have time to waste for this.

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Altruis lucked out as he waited, hoping that the man hadn't done anything yet. His tracing spell worked out perfectly though. As the man moved away, Altruis followed the movements, keeping a safe distance until he was alone in the classroom. Altruis placed his left hand on the wall and cast another barrier spell, this time without any illusion tricks yet. monomagic

The room tinged yellow under the magic protection and Altruis stood just in the door way outside the spell. "Being of a high status within the academy, it is my duty to handle situations as well. you've now become my situation," he said watching Storm from the outside, curious how to actually handle this better than before.

Storm couldn't use magic as it seemed, so the spell would hold against anything that wasn't too powerful. This magic was also under different laws than what most mages used. It was his own creation. 

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Storm hissed. He was running out of time and this whole thing was about to seriously ruined for both parties. "So, what? You're going to keep me trapped in here? Safe and sound? That sounds like a fantastic plan. Nice job." He smirked, knowing he was right, keeping his voice calm as ever despite the panic and stress inside.

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"Oh, don't think that I can't come in there either. I just thought maybe you'd like it better without me there," Altruis mocked and then he stepped through the barrier to demonstrate the ease. 

"Feel free to start talking though. I can literally sit here all day. And If there is truly and misunderstanding, feel free to give me proof," He said taking a seat in a desk and drawing on it with his finger idly.

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Storm remained standing, too much adrenaline and unease rushing for him to calmly sit. "If I haven't done anything, then how am I to prove my innocence?"

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"Well, you could start by emptying your pockets. As well as showing me your school ID," Altruis said with a bit of a smile.

He would weed this problem out and return to his life as soon as possible. These things were only so fun when lives were at stake.

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Storm hissed, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out his school ID, showing he had enrolled last week, as he'd said before. He pulled out some cash from his pockets and nothing else. "Let me go."

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"What about that other thing? You know, the one that was back there," Altruis said pointing casually to the board.

"I've been tailing you for a bit after all."

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Storm narrowed his eyes. "I have no idea of what you're talking about. I thought I saw something back there. Couldn't reach it. Don't have it."

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"You seem to be quite clever. So why don't you show me and be on your marry way? After all, you're innocent right?"

Altruis's last statement was punctuated by the subtle casting of magic yet again. monomagic.

A sanguine emblem appeared beneath Storm, large enough to fit ten people, but it remained stable and inactive for the moment.

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Storm saw the emblem and focused on keeping his breathing steady. "Fine." He said, walking back over to the board, pointing in the hole behind it. "Look for yourself." His eyes glowed crimson softly and a shiny piece of metal seemed to be sticking out, but far too far for anyone to reach. "Can I go now?"

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"It's all right. Magic can work wonders. And what about your other pockets? You've still not shown them."

Altruis couldn't break him and was becoming impatient, but didn't show it as he relaxed in the desk chair. Even if he hated it, he had to keep things under control when he could.

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