Arc. 1 Chapter. 1

It seems Man has always been obsessed with what is not there. Spirits, gods, magic, sorcery, summoning, channeling, witchcraft, and so much more. It has been shrouded in confusion, mystery, admiration, abomination, and celebration. Magic, having the ability to do incredible things, acts that people of the past believe only the Gods could achieve. My my, what an exciting time we live in right now!

The large black screen in front of the auditorium changed. Now, standing in front of the institution was a young, smiling man.

“Hello newcomers! My name is Alex Cristoph, and this is my home and my pride. Welcome to Mozley Institute of Magical Arts!” The man in the video stood to the side as the camera paned around into an aerial view of the school. Electronic music played in the background, as images of students, faculty, sports, and more flashed onto the screen. The young man came back into view, walking around the campus. “Congratulations, my young friends, you have the opportunity to study at one of the finest magical institutions this sector has to offer. Here you will gain the skills and knowledge to pursue whatever it is that you desire. We feature a top notch staff that will help guide you on your way to enhancing and fortifying your magical skills! We are a great community, featuring over one hundred clubs for you to join and meet new friends, and not to mention some of the best food you will have ever taste in your life. Yes, I know food is important to you guys!”

The host of new students in the auditorium, as well as the attending professors laughed.

“Come out on Saturdays for Blitzball and support our championship winning team, the Mozley Manticores! Or support our Lazershot Team, the Lady Cores! Really, any of our wonderfully run sports teams will provide you with winning entertainment!” The scene changed again, with him speaking with professors and other students, his voice providing the overlay. “Many of the students that go on and graduate from Mozley land jobs with some of the top companies and even leagues in the sector. As a matter of fact, prior to this guy attending here, the college had a different name,” he said pointing to a statue in the middle of a large atrium. “I’m sure all of you know who Mobias Mozley is. One of the premier Upgraded our sector has ever seen has walked the halls you will soon walk. He’s chanted the slogans you will soon chant. He has left his mark on this great school. And now it is your turn. Once again, welcome to Mozley Institute of Magical Arts! May you summon greatness into your lives!”

The video was followed by an eruption of applause by the new students. Today was Orientation day, where all the new students got a feel for their new home. It was always a very festive and busy event that spanned three days. The large auditorium was filled with anxious and excited young magic users, ready to put their skills to the test. Mozley was consistently considered one of the top universities to attend in the sixth sector, or the North American Sector. An older, though elegantly statured woman walked across the stage to the center. The energy about her felt of great importance, which she was. This lady was head of the Spirit Familiar Department. Her voice was surprisingly young and sweet.

“My my my, look at all my tadpoles here. You sure seem like an excited bunch!” The students responded with an echoing roar. “Well, I won’t be long, because I know who you really want. Let me just say congratulations on getting in and welcome to our university. I hope that you all do well in your courses and push through. It may become difficult, but always persevere. That is what it means to be a Manticore. I know I will see you all graduate from here! And without further ado, The Vice President of the S.S. Brigade, Mr. Alexander Cristoph.

As if she had announced the leader of the sector himself, all of the students erupted into cheer. Almost all of them were on their feet now. Females were screaming like they would for a rock star. Males were chanting. Even some of the professors were ecstatic. Not too long after , Alexander walked across the stage, waving at the students. He assumed his position at front center, grabbing the microphone. By all means, Alexander Cristoph was a good looking, young man. He stood a slightly above average height, with a semi-muscular build. It was obvious that this guy, though not of body-building status, frequented the gym. His hair was dark, mahogany and short, his bangs cutting to the right, and longer in the back. His eyes were a dark green, his skin slightly pale. He wasn’t overly dressed, however, taking the liberty of wearing a black sports jacket over a solid green shirt, and some dark jeans. He also wore a large black a green bandana around his neck. His signature accessory, he was rarely seen without it.

“Wow, you know that never gets old. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years, and you guys are the loudest by far. Give yourself a round of applause!” he said into microphone. The crowd cheered as he took it off the pole and began to walk around. The second he brought his lips closer to the microphone, silence filled the room. He was powerful.

“Let me just first start off by saying welcome to Mozley. I’m not going to be very long up here, for much of what I would have said was already stated in the opening video. However, what I am going to do is ask you all a question. Why is it exactly that you are here?” The room was an awkward collection of murmurs and sneezes. No one spoke out loud, so Alex continued his speech. “Hmm, not one of you knows huh? Well, I’ll tell you why I am here and we’ll see if it somewhat aligns with your reason. I am here, because I want to be. Simple yes? Well, allow me to elaborate. I am here, because I want to achieve greatness. Granted, you could do this wherever you go doing whatever you want right?” Once again the room was overcome with low voices.

Alex laughed, “You know, I’m not a very good salesman, because I just talked up this school and then said you could do whatever you want wherever you want. What sort of promotion is that?” A few people laughed. “Ok, I’ll go a step further. I am here because I want to achieve greatness and have access to great resources. You, anyone of you could do whatever it is that you want. I’m sure you’ve heard this from a lot of people from your parents to your elementary school teachers, etc. But you know who won’t tell you is the world. And you want to know why, because the world doesn’t give a shit about telling you. It could care less about what you want!”

This omission sparked a bit of an uproar, not completely angry, but more so one of confusion. Who the hell was this stranger, regardless of his status, to tell a bunch of freshman that the world didn’t care about what they wanted? One minute he’s uplifting them and the next he was unraveling the charm. Some students became angered. One even stood up.

“Hey man, I thought you were supposed to be telling us good things about the school, not insulting us!” a taller man in the middle section shouted out. A few of his presumed buddies backed him up with a unison “yea”.

“I didn’t insult you man, you didn’t even allow me to finish. I just said the world doesn’t give a shit about you,”

“And how is that not an insult? What, do you think you’re some sort of hotshot on campus telling us we won’t amount to nothing?”

“I never said that. What is your name?” Alex said. The burly man shot him a look. “You’re name?” he repeated.

“Why the hell would I give you my name?” the aggravated student asked.

“His name is Conroy,” a lady a few rows up from him chimed up.

“Thank you very much miss,” Alex winked at her. She flushed pink as several of the female students next to her began to giggle. “Everybody, Conroy has volunteered to be my assistant for this demonstration,” he said loudly into the mic.

“I didn’t volunteer for anything!” he said angrily. He was out of his seat and halfway to the stage at this point. Alex was able to receive a full body view of this guy. He stood an easy half foot taller than him. His blue polo showed visible creases due to his bulging muscles. His hair was short and black, his hands looked like they could pop a basketball. Unlike Alex, this guy looked like a bodybuilder, one that had the expression of an angry, charging rhino. Alex smiled.

“Throw some magic at me, Conroy,” he demanded.

“What?” the towering male student asked. He was on the stage now and stood maybe twenty feet from Alex. His hands were clenched. Many of the students had looks of concerned, some were pestering the surrounding teachers to take action. None of them budged. They shared the same smiling expression that Alex had, almost like they were expecting this to happen.

“Come on man. I can sense you use some magic of some sort. Everyone here does. Let’s see what you got,”

“Do you think I’m stupid? Are you trying to get me in trouble already?” Conroy replied, still visibly pestered. Alex shrugged and raised his hands to behind his neck. Bringing his bandana up, he tied it around to shield his mouth. He then reached into the left inside pocket of his coat and pulled out a black glove, slipping in onto his right hand. He held his hand out and took a few step forwards, bending both of his knees with one foot forward and the other one back, as if to brace for in impact.

“Seriously, come at me. Or are you afraid? Show me I’m wrong when I say the world doesn’t give a shit about you,” he taunted, his voice slightly muffled. He continue taunting as the crowd started chanting Conroy’s name to act. Alex could sense the culmination of the chants and his taunts boiling over. “Attack me!”

In that instant, Conroy began to charge with his fist clenched. Several rings of light appeared around his wrists as he began to punch forward. Streams of light flew from his knuckles like sails as he brought his fist into the palm of Alex’s gloved hand. The resulting shock reverberated throughout the hall as, Alex’s body flew back several feet in the air, his body flipping over, landing with his knees on the ground. Seemingly unscathed, he rose to his feet and simply nodded his head. “Interesting,”

Conroy resumed his charge, however, this time Alex stood straight up, his arms at his side. Many of the students were urging him to dodge or to at least brace for the second hit. Nearly half the room jumped as Conroy’s second attack was mere feet from his face. With lightning fast reflexes, Alex halted this flying fist with two fingers. The didn’t bend backwards at all. The room gasped as Conroy sent a barrage of desperate punches, however, Alex easily dispelled all of them. He was now pushing Conroy back, as the burly student continued his helpless assault. After resting for a few seconds, Conroy attempted one more right swing, however, his fist stopped far short of Alex’s fast and plummeted to the floor of the stage, carrying the rest of his body with it. It was as if a one hundred pound weight was suddenly tied to his hand. Many of the students laughed and all of the teachers clapped. The rest of the auditorium followed suit. A flustered Conroy rose to his feet, his hand still pinned to the floor.

“Stop clapping! This isn’t funny!”

“Actually, it kind of is. Wasn’t expecting your hand to fall quite like that, it looked like something out of a cartoon!” Alex started off. Conroy began to swinging at him with his free hand, however, Alex rendered it useless as well. Now he looked like a gorilla. He sat on the floor, completely defeated, and almost looked on the verge of tears. “Everybody, please give my assistant a thunderous round of applause for his act today. I must say, he is one of the strongest I’ve faced doing these orientations!” Everybody stood their feet in applause. A bewildered Conroy just stared out into the crowd. He had no reason to why they were clapping for him. Was it some sort of sick joke that he wasn’t it on?

“Conroy, my friend,” Alex began as the crowd quieted. “I’m really sorry that I had to embarrass you like that. Granted, I’ve done this thing twice before and I think your reaction was the angriest. I remember the first year I did it, I had everyone fooled,”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Conroy demanded.

“Evidently, you don’t really know who I am, which is fine. It’s not like I’m an official Upgraded or anything. The type of magic I possess is one that allows me to read magical code upon contact. After I’ve read the code I can upgrade or downgrade said code to my choosing. So when you attacked the first time, I absorbed the code of your magic. That’s why the rest of your punches were useless,” Alex explained. Conroy still looked confused. Alex continued. “I represented the world in that act, Conroy. When I said the world doesn’t care about you, I’m not saying it hates you. What I’m saying is that the world is indifferent. It doesn’t really care who and what you are. It’s going to throw everything at you, holding back no punches,”

“I still don’t follow,” Conroy said. By now, Alex had released the magical bind on his hands, and he had risen to his feet. His arms were crossed however, his face flustered red. Alex turned his attention back to the crowd.

“Many of you may find my treatment of Conroy here to be harsh, but this is just what I want to let you all know. The great thing about an indifferent world is that we all have access to same opportunities. We all have access to same success, because it is abundant like drops of water in the ocean. We all can do whatever it is we want to do…if we really want to. This is why it is imperative of each of you, to truly utilize the institution. It is one thing to get in, but if you don’t really do anything and apply yourself, what would be the point? Please, use the great resource that you have. And don’t worry about what others may think of you, because even though we are all competitors and classmates simultaneously, no pair of any of us has the same exact dream. There’s plenty of room in this world for all of them. Believe me,”

Another round of applause concluded the bulk of Alex’s speech. The vice president of the SSB simply smiled, as Conroy walked up to him. Alex noticed him with his head down, and who could blame him. He was absolutely embarrassed by someone who was considerably smaller than him. “Conroy, my friend. Do you practice any martial arts?”

“No, I don’t. I wrestled in high school though,”

“I see. Well, we have a judo club here that I believe you will be perfect for. You don’t have to take my offer if you don’t want to, but I’m willing to put in a good word for you, and I’ll pay your start up fees in exchange for your participation today. How does that sound?”

Taken back, Conroy spoke into the microphone, “That sounds pretty cool actually,”

“Did ya’ll here that? He said is sounds pretty cool. It’s very cool my friend, as are all of the clubs here. So please, my classmates, go out and learn, thrive, live, and love your time here at Mozley. May you all summon greatness into your lives! Thank you very much,” Without so much as a second thought, Alex trotted of the stage as he made is exit, leaving behind the young and robust students behind. The hall itself was rather large, which in fact doubled as the stage for the theater department. It was complete with tall green curtains, and two upper lofts. Upon stepping into the back, Alex was stopped by one of the members of the SSB

“You always get so animated with these events,”

“Oh hey, Mohamed. Well, I have to you know. Gotta sell the school to these kids,” Alex replied.

“True. You are coming to the meeting later today right? I know you are a busy man but-

“I’ll be there don’t worry. Just gonna run to my dorm to pick up something really fast. I got a new toy today!” his face full of the sort of excitement you see from a kid receiving their first bike.

“You and your toys. Well, guess I’ll see you later. Good job out there,”

Alex, who was already running off in a hurry looked back and shouted, “Gotta love orientation!” and disappeared from sight.

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