I have heard throughout my school career that third year was the most important. I never really believed that. I always thought every year mattered, and if I had to single out a year, the first was the most important. You had to give yourself a strong and secure foundation to build upon. I used this philosophy in all areas of my life and thus far, the results have substantiated my beliefs.
Mozley was quite a large school, truly a spectacle to behold even outside of academia. Upon entering the front entrance was a massive central field lined with large red maple and oak trees. The center of the large green field sported a large fountain. It wasn’t uncommon to see students relaxing in this area many dubbed as Eden. Blankets were always out, hammocks stretched between the large branches of the trees, and people ran around throwing footballs, Frisbees and kicking soccer balls. Opposite of the front entrance and across the field was a large multi-storied building that looked like a futuristic palace. This was the student center, where many of the clubs met, and a lot of activities took place such as concerts and plays. The college comprised of six other large buildings where classes took place. These were situated in a circle around the central garden and were separated largely by subject matter. The largest was the J.Farfan Building, where most of the underclassman took the bulk of their classes. It was called “The Pond” by students. The remaining five buildings were more specialized in areas of magic. The most popular fields in Conjuration, Enchantment, Evocation, and Divination occupied their own buildings. The final fields of magic of Abjuration, Illusion, and Transmutation shared the sixth building. There was a rumored seventh building that focused on one of the forbidden arts, Necromacy. Every year there were multiple competitions amongst the students to locate this mysterious building, every year yielding no results. Farther past the student center were the athletic facilities. To the right of the center of the campus were the administrative and admission buildings, to the left were the student residencies.
When a student enrolled at Mozley, they had the option after their first year to apply to enter one of the seven magical art schools. Most students that came to the school were born with some form of magic, so many just gravitated towards whatever powers they already possessed. It wasn’t uncommon, however, for some to try others areas. Like any school, there was certain hierarchy. Although Mozley was well balanced in all areas, the art they were most known for was Conjuration. The school had produced some of the best conjuring Upgraded in not only the sector, but the world. Mobias Mozley himself had the ability to summon ice monsters known as Frosthounds, giant, menacing wolf-like creatures the size of vans. Though they didn’t want to admit it, the faculty knew of the caste system at the college and were aware that certain areas of the school received more benefits than others. This was one thing I sought to change during my time at Mozley.
The power I held was pegged as “rare and unconventional” by much of the faculty when I fist came to the school, and really didn’t fit into a particular subject. I was. However, offered to join the A.Gilford School of Divination, the smaller of the four most popular subjects. Students of this study were largely looked as sidekick or defensive type Upgraded. Attacking power was championed at the school, so it didn’t matter if you could read minds and see things others couldn’t detect. We were second class. Some students tried to lump us with the lower three subjects that didn’t garner enough students to occupy their own building. I saw it as my duty to give us a voice. I think I was doing a pretty good job at it so far.
I made my way from the student center to the smallest of the five residence halls. Under normal circumstances this hall was reserved for students of the honor societies and seniors. However, I was lucky enough to snatch up my current room and with no roommate at that, which was a relief. I refused to have another roommate since the incident that happened last year. All but two of the residencies looked like nice hotels. The one I stayed at looked like one of those smaller, yet vintage hotels you’d see in the historic districts of cities. It was a mere two floors compared to the other ones. Tall willows lined the perimeter of the building, their lime green branches hanging over the windows. The walkway up the building was made of large, individual stones, ranging from light grays to black and some a more rustic brown. The grass wasn’t the emerald green that surrounded much of the campus. Instead it was a darker forest green, that still looked a little wild despite being maintained. Two large rose bushes sat on either side of the front door. Old Manor Hall was originally a popular little hotel prior to the school buying it out. The building had recently gone through renovations, however, it still maintained its elegant and antique look. This was my home.
My room was on the second floor. I had to hurry. The SSB meeting would be taking place soon and not long after would be the annual SSB Welcoming Party, an event held by the SSB and other clubs for the new students. Though I would give nothing more than to just fall asleep in my bed. Despite my earlier enthusiasm, I hadn’t gotten much sleep in the past several days. I had my father to thank for that.
I turned the corner to the hall my room was on. There was a girl staring at a bulletin board on the right side of the bathroom entrance. As I walked by, I could hear her muttering something to herself. She looked at the sheet of paper in her hand, back up to the board, and back to her sheet again. I was just about to open the door to my room, but I stopped as she repeated this motion. Was this girl lost or something?
“Hey,” I said from afar. She glanced over at me for all but a few seconds before returning to the board. Her eyes were cold, sort of a “don’t bother me” cold. That wouldn’t stop me though. It never did. “Umm, if you are lost I could help you ya know?”
“I don’t need your help,” she replied in a flat tone. I only got a side view of her, but from what I could gather she was rather attractive. She was shorter than I, by a few inches or so. Her skin was caramel, but I could only tell by her face and her hands, for she was wearing a purple hoodie. Strange considering how warm it was outside. She was also wearing some turquoise colored pajamas that had pandas on them. Her brown eyes hid behind a pair of purple rimmed glasses. Her hair was black, which hid in the hood of her jacket. The feature that struck me the most were her lips. Even though the rest of her body gave off a cold and unattached energy, her lips were warm, full, yet unassuming. It took me a while to speak again.
“Are you a freshman?” I asked.
“What does it matter to you?” she questioned without turning her head.
“Well,” I began. “My name is Alex Cristoph, the vice president of the Student Service Brigade and it’s my job to assist students in whatever they may need.” She remained silent. I continued. “Why weren’t you at orientation?”
“What does it matter to you?” she repeated. This time she moved closer to the board, but I could tell she wasn’t really reading anything on it. Especially since the only announcements on it were from the previous semester. She just didn’t want me talking to her. I wasn’t going to let her win though.
“I see what’s going on here,” I said. This caught her attention, as she finally turned towards me. I could see now her eyes were equally as heavy as mine. Did her father cause her to lose sleep too.
“I’m lost,” she finally admitted.
“I know. This is Old Manor Hall. Only seniors and honor society students dorm here. You’re looking for the Mozley Park Hall, the really big on in the back. It’s the newest one where most if not all the freshman stay at,”
She crumbled up the sheet with her right hand and stared out the window. “Damn. Someone told me this is where I was supposed to come to,”
“Really? Hmm, probably just some stupid upperclassman playing a prank. Allow me to apologize on their behalf,”
“That makes no sense,” her voice monotone. “You don’t even know them.”
“I might if you tell me what they look like. I know a lot of people,”
“It’s not necessary,” she simply said. We stood their in silence for a moment. She seemed like she was fighting with herself to not look embarrassed. This causes her cheeks to pink slightly, which just brought out her lips more. I spoke to break my concentration.
“The reason you weren’t at the orientation wasn’t because you didn’t want to. You didn’t go because you woke up late. You were rushing and asked someone where you should go and they said for you to come here,”
“People wear pajamas around campuses all the time. No way you could have figured that out just off that observation,” she replied.
“True, perhaps it was just a lucky guess. I’m sorry your morning hasn’t gone to your liking.” There was another pause. I was getting nowhere with her. I wasn’t even sure where I was trying to go. I already told her she was in the wrong place. However, something told me to keep going. I made another observation.
“Are you going to tryout for the Lady Cores Lazershot team?” I inquired.
“How did you-
“Your carrying case,” I cut her off. Sure enough, next to a large black suitcase was another long, and flat silver case. “Let me guess, a Peregrine F5?”
“With a trap detecting attachment,” she finished my sentence. “How in the hell did you know that?”
I smiled, “Let’s just say that’s my thing,”
“You play Lazershot?” she questioned. Her voice softened a bit, her body seemed more relaxed and not as cold. She was still putting up a barrier though.
“Well, that’s not exactly what I meant, but yea, I play leisurely every now and then and I enjoy going to the games. Maybe we could play some time?” This received a chuckle from her that was marked by cynicism.
“I would probably wipe the floor with your sorry ass, no offense!” She smiled, her eyes cocky. I could see a hint of fire in them. This girl had some spunk to her after all, probably came out when she was shooting. Her natural side gave me a sneak preview and I had to admit, I liked it.
“Well, I doubt that, but we’ll see,”
“Hmph,” she grunted, her voice became cold again. “I guess,” She picked up the large suitcase and her carrying case and began making her away to northern stairwell.
“I would be faster if you went through the back entrance,” I suggested pointing the the southern stairwell. Without responding, she changed directions and walked past me to the stairs. She wasn’t seriously about to haul all of that luggage by herself was she? Then again, she did it before I had arrived there.
“Umm, do you need some-
“I got it,” she interrupted. The large suitcase made a loud bang with every subsequent step. I could hear her struggling, and despite my wanting to help her, I decided not to. The thuds grew fainter and fainter before I finally ran to the top of the stairs and called out to her.
“Wait,” I shouted just as she was about to turn the corner. She disappeared from sight, causing one more thud before stopping. “I told you my name,”
“Just call me Beserker,” she said bluntly as she continued her descent. Berserker? That was a strange nickname if I ever heard one. I wonder what the story behind it was. Shrugging, I returned to the front of my room. The distraction made me almost forget my earlier enthusiasm for my new package, or toy as Mohamed had dubbed. It was a toy. Just as I opened the door, a couple of upperclassmen walked up from the northern stairwell. Two of them moaned loudly as the one in the middle called out to me.
“Hey you! Did you by any chance see a cute girl here. She was wearing a purple hoodie and some pajama pants. Had a big suitcase and a smaller silver one?”
I didn’t respond immediately. “Not here no” I lied. “But I think I saw someone matching that description in the admissions building.” They nodded and disappeared from sight. Shutting the door behind me, I had to wonder what they wanted with Berserker. I had pointed them in the complete opposite direction of her, so at least that would trip them up. I couldn’t warn her about them, but then again, she looked like one who could take care of herself. Especially with a nickname like hers. Nevertheless, though I was a person who thirsted for information, Ishifted my attention to the brown box on top of my bed. Time to play.