The Beginning After The End - Chapter 80 - Meanwhile II
What the hell is going on? All I did was miss half a day of school; suddenly Denton gets hung up, butt-naked, and now a building’s on fire?
We had all just rushed out of the disciplinary committee room after hearing the explosion. Initially I thought that it was a spell gone wrong or something of that nature, but…
This looked more like a purposeful act of terrorism.
Who would do this? Why would someone do this? What was going on?
“Damn! It’s them again,” I overheard Theodore say, as if he’d predicted this.
The ‘them’ that Theodore was talking about—was he possibly referring to the same people that beat and humiliated Denton?
KATHYLN GLAYDER’S POV:
I remembered one time being lectured as a child by my home instructor. I had little memory of why I was chastised, but from what I was told, I had refused to participate in class with some of the other nobles’ children; apparently, my mother had thought it was a good idea for me to make friends while I was learning.
That hadn’t work out as smoothly as she had hoped it would because I ended up throwing a tantrum on the first day, saying that I didn’t want to make friends with them because they weren’t princesses like me.
Ignoring the kindly knitted words of discipline from the home instructor, I had barged into my room and slammed the door shut, refusing to come out.
Later that afternoon, after the other noble children and home instructor had left, my mother knocked on the door even though there was no lock.
She sat down next to me on my bed and ran her fingers gently through my hair; even though I couldn’t remember how I responded, what she had said to me left such a lasting impression that, even as a six-year-old, I can still almost recall her exact words:
“My little Kathyln, I know you think you did nothing wrong; everyone gets angry and fights for what they believe in. What I want you to know, my little baby, is that before you are a princess, you are a person. It doesn’t matter if it’s a king, a servant, a powerful mage, an elf or a dwarf. A person is a person.
“Everyone is different and that is what makes everyone special in their own ways. Don’t hate someone for something that they can’t change. What if people didn’t like you because you have round ears or because you have beautiful white skin? Or a perky little nose?”
She proceeded to tickle me in each of the parts she mentioned, leaving me in a fit of giggles.
My mother was sensible and smart but not in the least bit cold like her appearance sometimes implied. She cared for everyone as people, not as humans, elves, or dwarves. She disciplined my brother and me heavily when it came to any type of discrimination, whether it was by social classes or race.
At the sound of the explosions, all of us bolted up from our seats and immediately headed outside. I couldn’t help but cringe, tightening my fists in both frustration and disappointment upon seeing the disastrous scene laid out before us.
There was a thick cloud of smoke rising from the area near the center of the campus.
Behind me, I could hear Claire click her tongue as she continued to mutter a string of curses under her breath.
Half of the recently-constructed building was up in flames while the other half was crumbling down, collapsing beneath its own weight. There were students evacuating out of the building while some capable staff members and professors nearby were already going into the building to look for those stranded or stuck.
“I should’ve known they would aim for this building at some point,” Theodore swore aloud as he stomped his foot into the ground.
We hurriedly made our way to the site.
This building was named Tri-Union Hall. It served as both a museum and a monument for the alliance between the three races. My mother, who argued heavily to persuade the rest of the Council to erect this building was the happiest when it was first built.
She had explained to me that it had been built to be both a symbol as well as a place for the three races to learn about the differences in each other’s cultures.
For it to have been a target, my assumption could also only lean towards the same radical group that had been creating a mess these days.
I strained my eyes, holding my tears back.
Claire ordered Kai to alert the rest of the professors and staff. When she ordered Feyrith and I to help the mages who were already there to put out the fire before it brought down the whole building, I couldn’t help but notice his expression turning from angry to dejected.
I almost wanted to apologize, as if it was my fault. Doradrea didn’t seem to take this whole event to heart but I could tell Feyrith wasn’t as emotionally strong. I wanted him to know that not all humans thought like this but somehow the words got caught in my throat. I was never good at expressing my thoughts like my mother… or Arthur.
While supporting the professors that went inside the collapsing building, I spotted the Student Council, minus the president, making their way towards the scene as well.
Without even the time to exchange hellos, we all got to work. The water attribute mages helped put out the fire while earth and wind attribute mages kept the building from collapsing. A couple of other student mages were already chanting spells in harmony by the time we got there.
I haven’t used water attribute spells as frequently after becoming accustomed to using the more powerful ice attribute ones but I was still fairly familiar with the spells because of the affinity they had for each other.
“Everyone, step aside!” From behind, a couple of professors were rushing toward us, wands already unsheathed.
After a few moments of mute chanting, one of the professors that taught an upper division magic warfare class, Professor Malkinheim, conjured a thick cloud of mist around the whole building.
The other professor, one that I didn’t recognize, supported Professor Malkinheim and used the moisture from the mist cloud, which now surrounded the building, to evoke multiple water streams. The size of these two spells from just two professors were more than three times that of the meticulously prepared spells conjured by over ten students.
Within ten minutes, the monstrous fire was out and other professors were rushing inside while chanting spells which raised support beams made of earth to hold up the crumbling portion of the building.
As expected of professors… they were on a different level.
This train of thought led me to be reminded of the time Arthur had completely overwhelmed Professor Geist before taking over his class. Just how strong was Arthur then? What would he do in this situation?
Shaking my head, I reprimanded myself for thinking of Arthur again. Why did he pop into my mind so often? I needed to stay strong for when he comes back.
He was going to come back, right?
I began chanting again when I spotted a group of students hastily making their way out of the scene. I thought nothing of it at first until I got a glimpse of the student within the group—it was Charles Ravenpor.
Even from this distance, I could tell he was nervously darting his eyes around as he made his escape from the scene. When his eyes met mine, he quickly whipped his head around and quickened his pace.
Before I had the chance to do something, Theodore, who had been helping an injured student, spotted him as well, and without even a word, augmented his body before furiously dashing towards Charles.
“Someone help!” Charles shrieked. Unexpectedly, the group surrounding him did nothing to aid Charles, as he was easily grabbed and picked up by the collar, almost choking; instead, they acted frightened and confused.
Keeping my wand at the ready, I followed behind my brother who was also rushing towards Theodore and Charles.
“We need to ask you a couple of questions. If you would so kindly cut the crap and come with us,” growled Theodore as he dragged the flailing Charles.
I usually didn’t condone Theodore’s rash behaviors, but this time—excuse me for these crude thoughts—I was hoping he would be a bit rougher with Charles. A small part of me, a very tiny part, wanted to stoop down to their level and use the same barbaric antics the radical group had to make a statement.
However, before Theodore had the chance to do anything else, a voice interrupted us.
“What’s the meaning of this?!” Professor Malkinheim barked as he blocked Theodore’s path.
Professor Malkinheim was of a scrawny build, with his main features being a balding head and a beak-like nose. You could tell the professor was rather conscious of his lack of hair by how he combed back the hairs growing on his side to try and cover up the bald spot on the crown of his head.
Professor Malkinheim wouldn’t physically be able to hold someone as thickly built as Theodore down, but he had his needle-thin wand pointed directly at Theodore.
“I should be asking you the same thing, Professor!” Theodore snarled back as Charles, who was helplessly lying on the floor, wore a pleading look on his face.
“I wasn’t aware that the prestigious disciplinary committee officers were mere thugs that would try to drag an innocent student away,” Professor Malkinheim reprimanded as his wand remained fixed on Theodore.
“Innocent? Ha! This brat has been seen multiple times with the radical group you’ve been having such a hard time capturing. It can hardly be anything short of guilt by association. What, are you protecting a criminal right now?” I could tell Theodore was at his last straw as the ground underneath him started crumbling from his gravity infused mana.
“S-Someone save me from this brute! I’m innocent! I s-swear!” Charles, who was still on the ground trapped in Theodore’s grasp, started whimpering as the ground underneath him started giving out as well.
“Theodore, I understand how you feel, but this isn’t the right way to do things. Taking in a student without any evidence besides your word will lead to repercussions from parents and maybe even the Council. Please, we can’t afford to be rash right now.” The voice came from another professor who’d helped extinguish the flames; she got in between Professor Malkinheim and Theodore, trying to quell the tension.
“Professor Genert is right. Theodore, we can’t go out of line right now. Too much is at stake to be reckless. Besides, there are more important things to do than this. We need to make sure that no one had been left inside that building,” Curtis said, his face a mixture of frustration and helplessness.
Wordlessly, Theodore threw the quivering Charles Ravenpor back toward his groupies and shot Professor Malkenheim one last threatening look before walking away. Professor Malkenheim just clicked his tongue in response and walked in the other direction after yelling at the students who were spectating to disperse.
I shifted my glance towards Charles Ravenpor, who was getting carried away by his friends. His disheveled bangs were covering most of his face but there was an unmistakable smirk plastered below his nose.