CASeries #1: KNIGHT
Chapter Eighteen: Spoiled Lunch
PC class was advised by a rather intimidating teacher who knew no smile. She knew how to scare her students, resulting in an incurable silence inside the whole room. She demanded the full attention of everyone and did not tolerate a distracted eye from leaving her face.
“Although the teacher was super strict, at least I learned a lot,” she stated.
Valeriana learned that every Valemnian possessed a Power Control. This determined their ability to manipulate specific things in category around them. Elementals have the ability to manipulate objects that belonged to nature. These users partially exploit their aura to mix with the power pressure of Valemnia and control a compatible element. Aside from the term Elemental, they are called Indirect Control. Indirect Control is further divided into different types depending on the nature of the ability of a certain individual. The primary elements are fire, water, wind, and earth. Ice, lightning, electricity and all others are secondary.
The rarer counterpart of Indirect Control was Direct Control. Direct Controllers utilize their aura to manipulate another person’s aura by skin or eye contact. These users were much rarer than Indirect, as a child’s chances of becoming one ranged less than one percent.
In Valemnia, the aura was something that was connected to one’s inner self—the emotions and way of thinking, for example. Direct Control, divided into different sections, just like Elemental Control, had two main classifications—the Altruistics and the Manipulatives.
Their abilities were just as their names suggest. Altruistics can tap, manipulatives do the controlling. Like two sides of the same coin, the other does what the other cannot. In a sense, the relationship was much like the relationship of the colors black and white.
For example, the nature of the ability Empathy depended on the nature of the Direct Control. Under altruistics, their empathy dealt with the perception and the sensitivity to what a certain person was thinking and feeling. For manipulatives, their version of empathy was different. They dealt mostly with influencing those thoughts and emotions.
One cannot be both at the same time, Valeriana thought the concept was interesting.
When lunch break rolled in, things got even worse for Valeriana. The amount of attention she was getting began to feel unendurable. She knew it would take a while before the students in the academy get used to having her around. But right now, she seemed to be the center of attention.
Chavi allowed her to get settled in the dinner hall while she went to get their food from the buffet table. The dinner hall was a beautiful place. The chairs were cushioned and the tables were ornate, carved out of wood with great care. The surfaces were splashed with a creamy yellow cloth and the crimson fabric the table runner was made from had golden tassels dangling from their triangular ends.
Valeriana swallowed excitedly as a big platter was placed in front of her. Her stomach made hungry noises and she lifted her gaze to meet Chavi’s eyes with appreciation, flustered.
She dug in mindlessly and swallowed food to the point where her cheeks bulged. Chavi watched her with a smile and ate her meal as well.
“Are you enjoying?”
Valeriana’s eyes went from her food to the direction of the voice and saw Courtney. The panic quickly rose up to her throat, causing her to choke. She motioned for the water and Chavi, panicking, handed her the cup sitting on her tray. Valeriana immediately downed the whole cup.
The girl stood up from her seat, wiping her wet chin using the sleeve of her uniform. Her actions only made Courtney frown at her more.
“Don’t go disgracing the name of the fifth-ranker. I’ll be gone for a while, but that won’t be long. If I were you, I’ll enjoy my seat in the circle because, after that, I’ll be taking it back.”
Valeriana sighed. “You’re free to take it whenever you want.”
“I’ll be expecting nothing less than a worthy fight. I warn you. Do not take me lightly.” With that, she turned her back to Valeriana and walked away.
“Courtney,” she called after her.
Her former opponent turned.
“I’m sorry,” she began. “I just want you to know that I’ll try my best until you come and take your position back. Until then, I’ll be waiting.”
“Do what you want.” She waved her off and walked away.
After the little encounter, Valeriana ate all of her food in a rush. Chavi stated that if it was her, she would lose her appetite, but it was completely different for Valeriana. If there was one thing she couldn’t resist, it was perfectly good food.
They set off to their next class after that.
“My fourth class is Weapon’s Art,” she whispered, looking at the notes scribbled down on the piece of paper handed to her by Corvan.
“That’s good.” Chavi smiled, leaning over to check the contents of the notes. She then snatched it from her hands. “Ooh, a Gathering after classes. Well, it’s not like it’s very uncommon. Since you’re a member of the Celestial Circle, it’s not really new.”
“What’s a Gathering?”
“A Gathering is when all the members of the Celestial Circle congregate to discuss matters within their group,” she said. “I heard they do it a lot.”
“I see, like a meeting.”
“Wait, do you have the uniform with you? The one for our practicum?”
“Um . . .” She rubbed her chin. “I-I haven’t washed it yet,” she said, laughing.
“Seriously.” Chavi sighed. “I guess I can lend you mine . . . but I don’t think it will fit you. You’re a bit bigger than me.” She motioned to their difference in height.
Valeriana looked up while a loud gasp came from her new friend.
Eyes turned to her direction, and Chavi, who was previously trailing after Valeriana, visibly backed off when she saw who had appeared. Corvan emanated a strong presence that one could not possibly ignore, and with his position, he was obviously well-known within the entire school.
She took a step back, shocked by his sudden appearance. “Oh, hey,” she said. “I was just going.”
His eyes were hard and cold, but for some reason, it didn’t intimidate her one bit. “Idiot.”
She crossed her arms. “You came just to tell me that?”
“Partly,” he said. “But I have another agenda.”
He held out a bundle of clothes. “You’re scheduled to take your Weapon’s Art during the fourth period, am I correct?”
She nodded. “Yeah,” she gingerly took the clothes inside her arms.
“Lady Seraphina asked me to give them to you. Rather than using the ones you had worn a while ago.”
“Oh, thank you very much!” She beamed at him. “I was worrying about it just now.”
“Don’t forget to attend the Gathering. An hour after classes, do you hear?”
“Sure, no problem.”
“I’ll send someone for you.” He turned sharply, heading out. “Now then, I’ve already wasted a lot of my time. I’ll be late for my next class, so I’ll be taking my leave.”
“Thank you very much,” she muttered, watching the people around him make way as he passed by. “But saying you wasted a lot of time is . . .” Valeriana shook her head. “But really, thanks for bothering and everything. I’m starting to think you’re actually kind.”
Corvan paused, having heard what she said. “Don’t get the wrong idea,” he said in a cold tone.
Valeriana rolled her eyes. “I take back what I said. Demon.”
“Witch,” she heard him say.
Valeriana gasped. Before she could open her mouth to retort, a pair of hands grabbed her shoulders.
“You’re crazy, Val.” Chavi shivered. “Stop arguing with that person, he looks like he’ll kill you when he as the chance!”
“I mean, for the gods’ sake, that’s Lord Corvan,” she stated. “He’s the heir to the continent of fire. It’s best not to offend him, you know? You’re making your life harder.” She sighed. “You can go offending other nobles, but don’t go for the ones belonging to the high families! That’s basically offending the entire continent!”
“Well, your advice came too late,” she said. “I already offended him. I ended up hitting his head with a sheathed sword when I first came.”
“Are you godsdamned serious?! How attracted are you to trouble?” Chavi shrieked softly. “Why are you even still alive?”
Valeriana shook her head. “I’ll decide when I die or live. Why don’t we start moving? We’ll be late for class.”
“Val, you’ve got to tell me what happened . . .”