10: Stupid Freshmen

 

Raymone Miller of the Golem Stone Sect,  sat at his makeshift desk, with a water bottle filled with something just a little stronger than water at his side.


He sat with a binder and clipboard, staring out at the screaming crowd and the lines of fidgeting, anxious youngsters.

Common folk and their common children, all of them hoping that today was the day that their family was pulled up from amongst the rest.

In truth, he wished them all best even as he scorned them, for being naïve and for being common.

At the very least they were for most part, much less arrogant and annoying than the noble children and their families were, when it came time for recruiting new students from the upper crust.

And Raymone would admit that the first time he’d come out here as an examiner his heart had swelled with pride as he saw how wild the people went when they saw their resident levellers.

He’d remember how he’d stood with his chest puffing out just a little. Bolstered by the knowledge that people from the all the nearest cities, town and villages had come just to see him. Just to join his union, just to join his sect..

He’d remember sharing in their excitement and fanaticism as he watched them cheer. Pleased to see them applaud the super powered protectors who kept their lands safe from monsters, spirits and other creatures of the outer-dark.

However seventy-two cities times sixty-one years later, and the glamour of it all had long worn out.

Now it was just a job, one that he couldn’t wait to get over with.

Sitting up here as a senior-examiner was irritating even if it wasn’t exactly labor intensive. The chairs the commoners provided were always too deep and too stiff backed at the same time. An unpleasant mixture of hard and soft.

Speaking of unpleasant mixtures of hard and soft, Raymone dissatisfaction with the position had only deepened as his cultivation did. As his level rose so did the overall integrity of his constitution. Which was a fine thing to have if one were going into battle, but was a troublesome thing to have for “other” activities.

There were reasons beyond lifespan and lifestyle for the general lack of marriages between levellers and non-levellers.


Ultimately it was just more proof that playing the part of an examiner, was a young man’s game. That Raymone could no longer safely indulge in the occasional romp with a star struck town-girl, or one of the older, more desperate examinees was just a sign that it was time for him to hang up his lanyard and stamp.

Even if the schools did need a few Seniors to be in charge of the recruitment process, it didn’t necessarily need to be him.  

Thinking of it, he actually up his mind right then and there. After this last tour he’d go and speak to his Sect Elder, his direct superior.  Or maybe he’d have his grandfather, the honorable and immortal Jerald Miller speak to the Elder.


Raymone’s talents were better spent, watching over one of the sect’s ancillary schools. Magnanimously guiding their energetic, ardent and often oh-so-bendy young talents.

And if “that” job turned out just as boring as this one was, then at least Raymone could be bored in comfort and suitable inebriation, just as he prefered.


He appraised one examinee and gave them a pass. He appraised another examinee and gave them a fail. He appraised a third examinee, one well-apportioned for her age and gave her a wink and a maybe.

She frowned, half confused, half-disgusted and flounced off, but Raymone was willing to bet that she might actually come by once things quieted down. And who knows maybe he wouldn’t break this one.

If she lived and she pleased him well, he had enough integrity in him that he would indeed change the results as agreed and recommend her to either the clear waters school, or Saint Undine’s.


Finally there came a fourth student, skinny, dark skinned, red eyed, pink hair. The hair and eyes hinting at some kind of rare bloodline if they were real and not just more the cosmetic magics that was getting increasingly popular these days.

He sat, looking like a little bureaucrat in his pressed shirt and tie, his air just slightly too calm, bordering on self-assured.

It made for an odd enough impression that old Raymone actually bothered to take a second look at the names that he had recorded on his clipboard.

“*Ahem*…And you’re known as “Samhain” are you?” said Raymone.


The boy had the grace to blush, his dark skin growing even duskier.


“Er…yes, sir.” said the boy.

“How’d you like the trials?” said Raymone.


“Um…they were fine…um a bit hard maybe.”

Raymone glanced at the boys results from the prior testing. Slightly more than average mana levels, slightly more than average mana flexibility. He’d slipped up with the literacy and mathematics, by scoring above the expected mean though.

As for the tests for magical affinity, the first more obvious test for affinity only showed an affinity for fire and light. While the second test, the maze-crystal test for leveller potential showed a high aptitude for using all the elements and a high chance that the boy might end up being an immortal, though he’d have to “die” or at least go through the baptism of light, after his hundredth level, for that to be confirmed.

“Hard huh….so you don’t think you did well?” said Raymone.

“Um…no…I uh, I “think” I probably might have done okay. I just meant it was kind of hard.” said the examinee

Raymone looked at the examinee with a look of amusement, wondering exactly what rock this little princeling had crawled out of.

Purposefully scoring low during the trials. Purposefully hiding his potential. Using an obvious alias. And then there was the smile, that cocky, self-important, self-assured, smirk.

It was obvious that the boy was either a lazy member of current nobility who didn’t want to shine too much or a member of some fallen clan that been told to lay low.

If that was the case, then Raymone would help the brat, kindly downgrading his results without even bothering to give the boy a proper appraisal.


If Raymone was right, then the boy would likely climb up the ranks of whatever sect or school he’d gotten into regardless of the old man’s meddling. If he was wrong then…fuck it…neither of the boy’s top school choices was the Golem Soul Sect and besides that, “luck” was also a type of strength.

“Well good news kiddo, you’ve passed.” chuckled Raymone.


“Um…thank you, sir.” said the boy.

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