Adelcuth Hall became more and more crowded as dozens of young teenagers sauntered into the building. Some of them were accompanied by their parents or chaperones, who were all dressed in extravagant clothing that matched their status. Due to the exorbitant price needed to attended the school, commoners were of the minority, and a large portion of those accepted had a significant background within the Capital.
Rows of wooden chairs had been arranged for the freshmen to sit on while they waited for the opening ceremony to start. However, since there was still time, the students were all up and about, trying to socialise with their new classmates and forge new relationships. In Imperius Academy, there were no rotten apples. Each student in the hall had their own unique talents and had bright futures ahead of them. In fact, many up-and-coming merchants even hope to send their children to this very school, just to gain valuable connections. Yet, in this noisy crowd, three individuals were standing in one corner, unwilling to mingle with even a single soul.
“I hate crowds like this…” Ella scoffed at the superficial interactions that were occurring all around her.
“I agree… They all look so scary…” Emma, on the other hand, was overawed by the other students’ looks. It was the first time that she was surrounded by that many wealthy and influential individuals.
“Is that so?” Since Shin had been attending functions for High Society back at Chilyoja Waypoint, he was immune to the intimidating dress code that members of the upper-class wear. Instead of focusing on the parents of his classmates, Shin was focusing on the competition that he would be facing in the future.
Being a Rank 18 Spirit Apostle, Shin was confident that he had the highest cultivation level of any freshmen in the building. However, since he had switched paths, he still lacked to the other freshmen that specialised in the way of the fighter. Based on the loose mouth of Mychael, Shin found out that there was at least ten super genius entering the same cohort as he was.
A male descendant that bore the name of the most influential military family in the entire Empire, a prodigious daughter of one of the Capital’s wealthiest figures, and furthermore, rumour has it that a member of the Imperial Family was about to join as well. Each and every one of those talents would shake the foundations of any lesser academy and yet, they had all congregated in the same cohort as Shin and the twins.
‘I wonder who here is the Freak of the Dundlewoods.’ Shin thought of the one prominent boy that Mychael had praised endlessly during one of his drunken stupors.
The Freak of the Dundlewoods was a moniker given to a young boy that had caused an uproar a year ago when he took down five Spirit Core cultivators from the Kori Federation all by himself. At the age of fourteen, he had already reached the Rank 14 Spirit Apostle realm and his second spiritual ability was something that he had comprehended himself. Not to mention, his combat ability was top-notch, even among all the elite youths in the Empire.
‘Rumour has it that he’s not even 150 centimetres tall… Maybe I can spot him out…’ Scanning through the surroundings, Shin attempted to find the notorious teenager. Unfortunately, all he could see were an ocean of heads as the opening ceremony draws closer. ‘Whatever, I’ll probably meet him in the future…’
“Should we sit down as well?” Emma adorably titled her head and asked. It was currently ten minutes till the start of the opening ceremony, and the freshmen were already starting to find their seats.
“Perhaps… Maybe we should fi-… URGH!!!” Before Shin could complete his sentence, he felt a sharp pain piercing through his back, forcing him to bend over. Shocked that their companion and fallen, Ella and Emma hurriedly entered their battle positions and faced the cause of Shin’s pain.
“Hey, you fucking maggot! Why didn’t you tell me you knew that geezer?!”
‘Huh? This voice…’ Even though the black-haired youth felt an immense pain in his back, he was still fully conscious and could clearly recognise the ruffian voice that echoed behind him. Carefully turning his head over his shoulder, as expected, Shin was greeted by the tanned and lanky scoundrel that had been teaching him mana strengthening for the past four months.
“Mychael… What the fuck are you doing?!”
“What am I doing? What the fuck did YOU do?!” Mychael’s nostrils were flared, and his eyebrows were knit together. Naturally, having a tall, tanned man scream out at a poor youth drew the attention of everyone in the hall, many of whom were amused that such a commotion had occurred even before the opening ceremony began.
“There I was, minding my own business, spending some quality time with Mimi from Baishin Whorehouse. She would sing for me, touch me like no one ever could and do things that no harlot would even attempt. I was in eternal bliss.” Bringing his hands together, Mychael seemed to enter into a phase of worship, as he prayed to the hooker that he had hired as his goddess. However, in just a split second, his face that was filled with euphoria turned into one of resentment. “And then, that old bastard came barging into my bedroom, and knocked me out just when I was about to enter the garden of eternal bliss!!! Do you know how fucking disgusted I felt?! Getting cockblocked by my very own boss?!?!?!”
“The hell I would know!” Shin retorted in anger as he rubbed the injury he sustained from Mychael’s kick.
“And then, that old geezer said that I was being moved from teaching the fourth years to teaching the freshmen! Additionally, he deducted five gold from my salary just so that he could return it to you! Why the fuck must I suffer for something I did legally huh?! Fucking give me back my money! Give me back Mimi!” For some reason, Shin felt that Mychael didn’t care about the gold, but the fact that he was taken away from Baishin Whorehouse just before he got to enjoy himself to the fullest.
“That’s not my problem! You’re the one who went whoremongering.”
“So what?! Argghhh!!! I never should have taught you in the first place! Look at the shit that it had gotten me into!!!” Grabbing the crown of his head with his two hands, Mychael crouched down in indignation as if someone had just murdered his entire family. “Well, you fucker. I hope you’re happy, cause I’m now one of your combat class teachers!”
“WHAT?!” Shin hollered out in complete surprise. He had mixed feelings when it came to dealing with this tanned pervert that only cared about money. Even though he was grateful that Mychael had taught him faithfully over the six sessions, Shin didn’t want to deal with that deviant every week.
“Hehehe, since you made me suffer… I hope that you look forward to your coming year… I’ll make sure you go through the same hell as I did!”
‘No, that would be impossible…’ Shin shook his head as he watched the scoundrel leave the vicinity.
“Shin… THAT was the guy who taught you?” Ella raised her eyebrow in shock and questioned the black-haired youth that was still bending his back to alleviate the pain that he had.
“Unfortunately… Why did I even beg for him to teach me in the first place?” After this entire ordeal, Shin had begun to question how he makes his life decisions. “If the two of you ever meet him, immediately walk the other way! He’s not someone that you should stay around for long periods of time.”
“There’s no need for you to warn us! We already can tell!” Ella cringed at the thought of even coming close to that greasy scoundrel ever again.
“Anyway, we should really find our seats, the ceremony is about to begin…”
Ignoring the numerous stares that he had received from his surroundings, Shin led the twins to an empty area in one corner. Each student was allocated a seat number, and since they had a direct communication line with Principal Erudito, the three orphans were all positioned to sit next to one another.
“Hello!” Just as Shin and the twins were getting settled down, a nasal male voice sounded out from behind them.
Turning their heads, the orphans were greeted by a young boy, who looked no more than fifteen. His short silver hair that seemed to attract anyone’s attention glistened as the lights from the nearby lamps were reflected off it. Boasting porcelain white skin, the young boy seemed more feminine as his compassionate green eyes that resembled the endless fields of Valhalla stared down the three orphans, who were already awe-struck by his appearance.
The young boy was wearing the standard combat course uniform but based on his demeanour, Shin questioned if he was more suited for the less physically demanding auxiliary course. Lacking the proper muscles, the youth didn’t seem to be able to harm even a single fly.
“Hi?” Shin uttered the first response.
“Ermmm, the seat next to you is number 233 right?”
“Thank god! Nice to meet you, my name is Isadore!” Reaching out his hand, the androgynous boy offered a handshake as a greeting. Apparently, he was sitting next to Shin during the freshmen welcoming ceremony.
“Mine’s Shin. This here is Emma, and that is Ella.” Returning Isadore’s kind gesture, Shin introduced both himself and the twins that were sitting on his side.
“Nice to meet you too!” Taking his seat, Isadore flashed one of the brightest smiles that the orphans had ever seen. There was no question in their minds, that if the young teen before them were to take up modelling lessons, he would be in the upper echelons of the profession within weeks.
“Ermmm, Shin was it?”
“Yeah?” Shin tilted his head in confusion as he saw Isadore fidgeting uncomfortably.
“I know it’s rude to ask this since it’s the first time we had met, but what happened back there? Why did one of the teachers kick you in the back?” Isadore’s eyes sparkled in curiosity as he questioned Shin.
“Ah, you saw that?” Groaning in displeasure, Shin rolled his eyes. At the same time, he noticed that the students that sat around him were secretly moving their ears to eavesdrop on the topic as well.
“It’s nothing. We’re just acquaintances.” Shin didn’t bother to elaborate.
“Haha, right…” Understanding that continuing down this line of questioning was aimless, Isadore dropped his head like an abandoned puppy, causing Shin to feel as if a sharp needle had pierced through his heart. “Nevermind that then, I noticed that the three of you were together since the start, are you all acquaintances?”
Taken aback by Isadore’s sudden change of topic, Shin flinched a little. “No, we’re actually cousins.”
It was an excuse that the orphans had come up with earlier that day. In the event that someone questioned their origins, it would be more convenient for them to explain that they were second cousins. Well, it wasn’t that far from the truth, since they were once part of the same clan.
“Oh wow! To think that all three of you were accepted into Imperius Academy! You must be really talented!”
“Haha, it’s nothing…” Sending out a bitter laugh, Shin shook his head.
‘This boy is really nosy… Maybe I should probe a little about him as well?’ Shin thought.
“So Isadore, that’s enough about us, what about you? Where are you from?”
“Hic! Haha, that’s a secret!” Stunned at the initial question, Isadore visibly winced away. However, after a split second, he recovered and placed his finger on his lips, indicating that he didn’t want to share his origins.
‘What the hell?! You wanted to know about us, but we can’t know about you?!’ Shin cursed the young silver-haired boy that sat beside him. Yet, on the outside, his facial expressions were as placid as ever.
“The Freshmen Ceremony would be commencing in a few short moments, could all unseated students find their placings and settle down immediately? I repeat the Freshmen Ceremony would be commencing in a few short moments, could all unseated students find their placings and settle down immediately?” Before Shin had the opportunity to retort, Vice-Principal Hirda’s voice echoed through the hall, instructing the students to find their seating positions so that the ceremony could begin
‘Whatever, I’ll just ask him next time…’