The Black Isotta School of Sorcerers was located on the western coast of the Sorcerer Continent, and its west was cut off by Chains Mountain, the one that provided the gateway to the school. Beyond the Chains Mountain was the Gem Sea. Miles eastwards from the school was the famous Holy Tower of Seven Rings, but to get there, one had to go through the Bramble Forest.
It had been fifteen days since Glenn was admitted to the school, and he had grown familiar with the school's layout. All the school buildings centered on the over-a-hundred-tiered Black Tower, the lowest seven floors of which were accessible to students and novices while the higher storeys were reserved only for sorcerers. And the three major public places for the sorcery-learners were lecture halls, a library and a common house.
It was the first day of the new term today and also the day on which all sorcery schools' new term on the Sorcerer Continent commenced. The Black Isotta School of Sorcerers enrolled new students only once in a decade. Theoretically, each school had their own sphere of influence and would select students within their boundaries. Apparently, the Black Isotta school had breached limits and ransacked Kyrie and Bionna.
Heralded by the second-year students, novices from the human world poured into a grand square. They were all admiring the architectures and facilities around them and some had been inspired to declare that they would be the greatest sorcerer in sorcerers' history.
The members of the Death Sail League were among them and they behaved much reserved, because it seemed that they had grown too mature to care about such vague and insubstantial things.
In about ten minutes, nearly two thousand kids had been lined up on the smooth granite floor. In front of them, a dozen sorcerers were sitting before a long board. The pupils had to hold their head high to look at them, because the long board was placed on a trestle that rose high into air. The sorcerers wore loose robes and were invariably staring at the board as if it held a huge secret.
There were barely any formalities to go through or etiquettes to follow.
The pupils, which included both students and novices, listened intently as the twelve sorcerers introduced the school rules, the challenges in the pursuit of knowledge and a three-year span of preferential treatment.
During the preferential treatment period, pupils would receive two magical stones as a monthly allowance and would have no compulsory missions for the first three years. After that, the First-Years Sorcery Test would be held, in which a great deal of students and novices would die or be knocked out of school.
As for the exact use of magical stones, Glenn had learned from Chris and Nina that they were sorcery money. And according to the talking sorcerers, the magical stones were needed to borrow books or even take a lecture. It would cost one stone for borrowing a book for a week from the library and half a stone for a lecture given by a sorcerer! The sum of stones that all sorts of experimental materials would cost varied significantly. With enough stones, you could even purchase Magical Tools, like the one Lafite had been using to conjure up the vine. Stones were also required by pupils if they wanted to ask questions to a sorcerer.
The last speech-giving sorcerer on the trestle was talking eloquently, and he concluded his statement with a positive note:
"But there is good news for you. You each will be given a crystal ball and seven lectures on sorcery for free, a reward from the Holy Tower of Seven Rings."
Everyone broke into a rapture, although most of them had no idea what the Holy Tower of Seven Rings represented.
Three days had passed. It was the first official school day.
Glenn, Chris, Nina and Robinson had settled themselves in a front row of Lecture Hall nine. The hall was packed, but they scrambled and scored the seats.
"Let me tell you a little secret. I bet you must have well observed the owls that whiz around the school. They are actually spies working for the LET. I overheard it from a senior," Robinson who was sitting behind Glenn chattered.
Robinson wasn't on Glenn's team back on the ship, because he had made some new friends and ganged with them. But, he had been hanging around with Glenn ever since they set foot into the school.
"And it's said that there are two places you are strongly advised not to go. One of them is the "Wildness Yard". It is a duel arena where LET regularly come to collect the dead bodies of the losers." Robinson licked his lips in a proud air.
"The other one is a place I bet you would never go. It is the water tower in the furthest south of the school. Weird things happen in there. If you go there by yourself at night, you might be lucky to catch sight of one." Robinson enticed Glenn by giving him a nudge.
Glenn pouted disapprovingly, contemplating that the weird things in Robinson's eyes might just be tricks of sorcery.
About a quarter of an hour later, the Hall had been crammed to the walls, and no unoccupied seats could be found. Robinson was still gossiping about school news when someone grumbled in a piercing voice:
"Not a single seat left! Why did you tarry on the way here?"
The one who came into view was a bang-haired brown girl who was wearing a black dress, in stark contrast to her white skin. She walked into the hall in a dignified manner. A circlet of pearls on her hair was gleaming after reflecting the lights, adding to her graciously tender figure.
The boy who was being berated became embarrassed for he had miscalculated the availability of seats. However, he did not have any intention of displaying weakness in front of the girl he fancied. Instead, he turned to Chris and Nina, who were in the front row, and yelled at them to give up their seats, and in the meantime, he gestured to several pupils in the back rows to come for help.
As the helpers were forcing their way to Chris and Nina, Lafite who was in the row behind Chris', pounded the table in her wrath and rose up abruptly.
"You sure you are talking to us?"
At the time, Glenn also stood up to pitch in for a stronger lineup. After a month of life or death battles together, the group had developed some sort of unbroken bond of friendship. But, one couldn't rule out the probability that Glenn did that solely for Lafite. And Chris himself bickered back.
The student who was sitting next to Chris scooched two seats away from him as if to draw a line between Chris and him. A girl in the forefront, who had turned back to relish in a quarrel, suddenly covered her mouth with her hand in a panic, when she saw Lafite acting defiantly against the notorious seat-seeker.
The girl's eyes were nervously dilated as if to say "Lafite is a goner now."
The seat-seeker quickly noticed that the group were all dressed in a manner that was setting off a vibe of "peasants" except for Lafite who was, in his opinion, less lousy.
"Yes, I am asking you b*tch to take a roll! Now get out of the way, or I swear you will die in less than half a year," the boy threatened as he overlooked Lafite.
"Trust me. I will definitely ask a senior boy to teach me sorcery and I will then get them!" the boy said triumphantly to one of the pupils who had squeezed their way before him.
"Hah? Less than half a year! Then I will wait and see who survives whom." Lafite's anger not abated, she pounded the table again and watched the boy provocatively.
"You wanna play with fire. Let's-"
The tough words didn't have the time to burst out before the boy was slapped hard on the face by somebody that no one in the hall could have expected as the perpetrator.
It was one of the seat-seeker's men who had slapped him.
"What were you doing?!" He raged so much that the veins in the front of his neck could be seen swelling.
"No, I-I didn't mean it! I didn't k-know. I was controlled by something," the slapper stammered.
"What are you talking about?" The seat-seeker's face was twisted in pain.
"Haha! He is talking about hypnotization and mental control. I am the Mind Caster. The Death Sail League is establishing its turf."