Chapter 124 – Acceptance & Rejection (Part 2)
That melodious voice sounded in their ears again. “Make your decisions as to whom in your group has passed and then you may allow those who wish to wait for any of their friends to wait here. Those that did not meet the standard will be returned.”
Crimson and Lydia glanced at each other and then began conversing between one another. This was a serious matter, and although Lydia and Crimson could be said to have been close. Crimson would not have had nearly any say in who was accepted previously. Despite his status, it held little sway within the Academy. Most of the professors were prideful of their positions and arrogant of their own abilities. Regardless of whether it was someone they acknowledged to have some ability, if they weren’t already part of their own inner circle there was no way they’d willingly give them any additional say. This would be the first time that Crimson got to really have a say in who was accepted into the academy but even then he didn’t have much to say. He didn’t even have to glance back at the group or hear much of what Lydia had to say to know who she would want to pass. It wasn’t a matter of who she wanted to pass but rather everybody else to him. They’d all performed well considering the circumstances. In Crimson’s eyes they’d shown valor and courage by not abandoning their companions, they’d faced some seriously dangerous enemies and merely surviving and maintaining their composure afterwards was already more than enough proof to him that they could succeed (with varying levels of success) if only given the opportunity.
It only took him a few seconds before he made up his mind and he made his case to Lydia, that given the circumstances they should just recommend everybody in their group.
Lydia didn’t pay his words too much attention. If it had been anyone else with the difference in their positions added on to the tradition of being extremely exclusive, they would have most likely turned down the request with a sneer. Lydia on the other hand merely nodded in agreement without so much as a second thought to the matter. While most of the participants hadn’t stood out in any significant way to her, they all had enough potential to become at least guardsmen and while that was never the goal. That was merely the lowest position a student of the academy could achieve it was nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone had worked hard and survived. Lydia’s thoughts were focused on the loses of staff they’d suffered. ‘If we lost this many staff members it would be impossible for the number of participant loses to not be similar.’
After a few seconds they focused their attention on the other professors as Lydia spoke up “I am recommending all of the surviving participants in my group be given admission. They all showed they have the aptitude and necessary traits to survive and succeed within our academy. Now with that said, there are 4 candidates I believe should receive some special attention who exceeded within this group of qualified candidates who I am certain will more than succeed but excel given the resources and guidance we can provide.”
There was a short silence following her words before the melodious voice mirrored back “Approved.” Followed by the same word from the voices of the others.
Crimson and Lydia turned around and left. The conversation was over and they knew they hand to tend to their children. They were no longer participants but students of Lumea, after this conversation their entire statuses had changed.
Lydia and Crimson made their way back as Daichi was still focusing on his surroundings. Everyone else quickly focused their attentions on their two professors as their heartbeats began to beat uncontrollably.
The two of them arrived in front of them as everyone waited in baited breath for one of them to give them news. The anxiety was palpable as everyone had their own reasons for their near impatience.
Lydia addressed everyone as she took a step forward and stood right in front of Crimson. “You’ve all had a long journey, but I regret to inform you…”
Everyone’s minds reeled. Their breath caught in their throats as they inhaled. Some of them imagined the worst possibility, which to them could only be failure.
“…That it has only just begun.”
Only after those words left Lydia’s mouths did some of them finally exhale. While others had befuddled expressions unable to grasp the meaning behind her words.
“Everyone from this group has now successfully passed the entrance examination into Lumea Academy.”
Lydia paused after saying as much so the weight of her words could sink in. It took a moment for everybody to finally release the pent up stress that had them tied in knots. They knew from this moment forward their destinies had a fixed path, regardless of how they did, they would lead a better life than they’d previously had.
Those that feared death above all, had either already turned around and quit or died miserably in some crucial moment of cowardice. Those that remained in the group were all brave and courageous for their age, and their worst fear was failure. Whether it was due to a fear of living a mundane life, not living up to the expectations of others or perhaps merely not being to accomplish the dreams and goals they’d already set out for themselves.
Staring at their befuddled expressions Lydia finally revealed a warm smile. This was one of the few moments she was certain that every one of these kids would remember for their lifetimes. It was only until her gaze caught sight of Daichi that her mood returned to normal. ‘This little brat isn’t even paying attention? Perhaps I was too lenient earlier…’
Suddenly Lydia felt as if perhaps it would be a good thing if she could knock Daichi down a peg or two. ‘Regardless of how talented he might be, if he remains arrogant it’ll hurt him in the long run… I should help him out with that after I take him to meet the vice-principle…’
That same warm smile turned a little sinister as she gleefully thought of teaching her future student a thing or two about the world.
Turning her attention back to the the group, she continued “I have quite a few things to explain. There is a lot to get through but I will only cover what needs to be said, you can find out the rest from the introductory book that is given to all new students regarding the rules, customs and everything else that needs to be known by a student of Lumea Academy.”
Taking a moment to catch her breath she continued not giving anyone a chance to interrupt, “You are all officially students. You will be given a badge that will signify your status, and a uniform you must all wear within the academy. Although you are all now students, that means very little.
Everyone who comes to this academy wants more out of life than your average person, but it takes a special kind of talent and drive to get accepted.
Each and everyone of you has been deemed to have the minimum qualifications. Minimum!
Each student within Lumea Academy is allowed entrance into the first level of the Lumea Library which is what has made it the greatest academy, and pillar of this city. This city was built around and maintained by us, but that is only because of the knowledge and opportunities this library provides.
Within that first level you will be able to find general knowledge. A little about everything, but not enough to quench your thirst.
If you want to enter the deeper levels of the library, you’ll need to provide merits to the academy in some form or another or raise your status. Student, disciple, legacy. These are the positions within lumea for those that are not staff. A student is merely the most basic position. A disciple has been recognized by a professor and taken in as a personal student. They not only gain the access and wisdom to confer with this professor, but access to the second floor of the library due to their professor. Lastly, there is the legacy position. This position is only available for the head professors, vice principle and principle to provide to one student within their lifetime. It is a coveted position and it entails more knowledge than you can otherwise find. Prove yourselves, prove your merit, stand out from the crowd and make us want to give you this honor.”
Such simple words had already inspired a litany of reactions from the group. A few (due to their backgrounds) were filled with joy at merely becoming a student, their lives had already changed in a way that was so monumental they hadn’t recovered enough to focus on the fire being lit within their hearts. The others felt a slight annoyance at realizing that even after entering, their task of proving themselves was not only not over but merely beginning. Their competitive spirits quickly pushed these thoughts aside as they focused on Lydia and assured themselves that they would rise to the peak.
“…There is one more way to gain more from the library than previously stated…” Lydia watched each and every one of them as her left eye twitched as her gaze swept past Daichi again who was still zoning out and seemingly not paying attention to her words.
“What I am about to tell you is something that no one else outside of the academy is allowed to know. Should any of you betray any information that is for the academy only, your status will be stripped and lives forfeit. I tell you this now, because our secrets are our power. As students your loyalty to the academy must never be questioned.”
Everyone nodded back in unison.
“Aside from the conventional ways mentioned before… There is one more way to gain knowledge from the library, to given admittance into deeper floors with more knowledge, abilities, diaries and information that will make your path towards whatever you desire simply that much smoother.
That is the Lumea Tower.”
Immediately following her words she turned to look at the pagoda that was well within their line of sight. The sheer height and design of the pagoda made it noticeable from anywhere within and outside of Lumea for anyone to see.
Everyone turned their sights to the tower as they marveled at its beauty for only a moment as Lydia continued.
“This tower is just as important as the library. Many would guess as much based on a hunch alone, but few would accurately as to why.
This tower is a testing sight, unfortunately only a limited few are allowed to enter. The tower itself is the only means to entering deeper than the first three floors of the library.
If any of you wish to enter the tower to prove yourselves, you must first prove you deserve to do so more than your fellow students. We hold a tournament every year. The top 8 are allowed to enter. We also reserve 17 spots for those who during the tournament catch our eye based on skill, technique, insight, power, age, talent and various other factors. Therefore either you prove yourself with your strength or if you lack raw fighting strength, then find a way to prove that you have the talent enough for us to give you a chance to enter the tower.”