Time passed. Glenn had been in the Black Isotta School of Sorcerers for two years. The First-Years Sorcery Test was only one year away. Being jested as the Gory Test, it was actually a killing machine for the novices. Even for the students or those who had learned at least three sorceries, only one out of ten of them could make it out alive.
That was the reason why Glenn had been moping around these days. For the two years he had been in school, the only sorcery he had gained mastery in was the "Canine Olfactory Enhancement", which, ironically, he had studied before he came to the school. However, he had been obsessed with the "with enough knowledge and a fulcrum on which to place it, and you shall move the world" principle. Instead of following the more common course of action of pursuing practical skills, as most of the other pupils had done, he had been devoted to seeking the ultimate truth behind the Canine Olfactory Enhancement. But it had proved to be a mere waste of time.
Actually, Glenn had every reason to make advancements on his way of becoming more powerful. For one thing, he was talented and had no scarcity of magic stones, which would surely get him many of the materials needed to gain new sorceries. As for the sufficiency of stones, he was doing a part-time job as a cleaner in the library, which, surprisingly, was much sought-out, thanks to the connections of the Death Sail League. This job guaranteed him two magic stones each month plus the two stones from the monthly allowance.
And he had comprehended one particular issue about the Canine Olfactory Enhancement: The Olfactory Enhancement did not fall into the domains of Hematology Sorcery.
"Am I wrong for digging deeply into it? The Canine Olfactory Enhancement and Odor Mapping used to be my advantage, but now there is nothing to be proud of!" Glenn couldn't stop blaming himself.
However, his thought was suddenly interrupted by a miserable screaming: "No..."
Glenn tracked the screaming and rushed to the spot, only to find that a girl was rolling on the ground in severe pain, and there were several bystanders who were watching.
Taking a further look, Glenn recognized that the girl rolling on the ground was Linzi, who had gained her fame because she was one of the first ones that had been accepted as a "student", after ranking up from being a novice.
It could be estimated by the way of her writhing that she might have been cursed - a manner of killing that had obtained its popularity because of the ease of eluding the investigation from the LET.
Cursing someone had two essential prerequisites. First, the person being targeted had not raised a Symbiotic Insect prior to being cursed. Despite the disturbance that might be caused by infesting insects on your body, Symbiotic Insects could serve to protect their host from being cursed or from being controlled through other mental manipulations.
The Symbiotic Insect was said to be the preliminary application of soul energy. Part of the host's soul energy would be transferred to the insects the person raised, and therefore, the "energized" insects were able to perform a defensive function, including reinforcing the host's resistance to being controlled mentally by the attacker.
The second thing for a curse to take effect was the access to the target's personal information, which included a drop of hisher blood, a nail or a hair and in certain cases, the things that the victims had touched would do if the curse-caster had been extremely good.
And the victim would die in various ways. Once, a novice was suddenly overrun by a swarm of unknown insects which fed on human flesh and was nibbled away. In another, it was rumored that a novice was suffocated to death over dinner because her blood had suddenly stopped flowing. And once, there was this novice who kept shrinking as he was losing all of his body fluids, and he was shriveled into a mummy.
It seemed to Glenn that curses could not be lifted and he, along with other watchers, was wondering how Linzi would die. They had witnessed too many cases of people being cursed and the tragic and usually odd deaths had rarely been rendered as a conversation topic.
That was when Linzi's crying became more dreadful and a smell of charred meat was sniffed.
"Wow, it is the Spontaneous Combustion Curse. That's a capital one!" a boy from the watchers exclaimed.
Linzi was then burnt to cinders in a few minutes.
At that night, the Death Sail League called an assembly. It should be noted that the Five Spell Casters no longer ruled the league due to the accidental deaths of the Fireball Caster Aaron and the Puppet Caster. Instead, there were now the meritocracy-based Twelve Superiors who held the highest positions, including the three remaining Five Spell Casters.
Glenn and his little fellas were at the assembly. But Glenn was rather frustrated because his friends, gifted or not, had all been making great progress in acquiring sorceries. Even Nina, who was still miserable due to her injured eye, had managed three sorceries, which were essentially auxiliary, giving rise to the fact that she and Chris now made a strong team that even matched a senior student in a fight.
"Hey, Glenn, would you like to come with us to the Bramble Forest tomorrow? You'll surely get some magic stones as a reward like we did last time!" Chris whispered.
"No, I'd better not. I will hold the group back!" Glenn pretended that he had made peace with the fact that he was a liability. With a glance at Chris, he continued, "Now even your little sister is better than me."
Looking rather concerned, Lafite cut in:
"Glenn, stop that nonsense! You are good. It's just that you need to get back on track. What you need for now are two more sorceries, not more rumination on that olfactory book."
"She's right, Glenn. Sorceries are more urgently needed!" Nina added in a low voice.
"Emm..." Glenn was about to respond when he was suddenly cut in by a boy with a bushy beard named Armida. Armida was one of the Twelve Superiors and was a big pursuer of Lafite.
"Can't you guys give him a break! " Armida threw a look at Chris and Nina and fixed his eyes on Lafite. Afterwards, he turned to Glenn.
"There, there. Everything is under control. You are a friend of Lafite, and that means you are a friend of mine. I can assure you that."
Glenn felt a twinge of pain on hearing these kind yet overbearing words. The magnanimity and generosity of their friends were in some way a charity to him. In his eyes, Glenn felt as if he was being treated as a loser, and they were doing it just for the qualms of their conscience.
One of the Twelve Superiors was presiding over the assembly. He was giving a speech with a passionate strenuousness.
"The Death Sail League has grown into a big one. We now boasts 217 members in the league, and the volume has helped us rank 5th among all of the leagues in the Black Isotta School. I am proud to say that a whopping 205 of the total members have been accepted as "students" and, amazingly, 17 have been recognized by sorcerers because of their potential or ability and thus have even been admitted as mentees of the sorcerers."
Glenn's heart broke into pieces, and although the Superior was rambling on, he couldn't hear a word at all.
"Once, I was gifted. Now what? A loser? One of the worst 12 novices who can't get three sorceries?"
After the assembly ended, Glenn was on his way back to dorm, his eyes downcast. Robinson was with him at the time, who, surprisingly, kept silent along the way.
As they drew near to the dorm, Robinson erupted:
"Who does that stupid Armida think he is? He's such a shameless guy! How dare he talk to you like that? I just wanted to give him a good beating. Oh, there's definitely no way that he would think you and Lafite are just friends, right? He knows nothing about what you two have been through together! That dumbass! "
Glenn looked at Robinson, whom Glenn had thought of as an incurable headache because of his garrulousness. Glenn felt that his "wind bag" property and his "betrayal" were rendered inconsequential because of his understanding of Glenn's heart at the time. As a result, Glenn was so deeply moved that he almost couldn't hold back his tears.
"Robinson, thanks. But I want to be alone for a while. Please!" Glenn turned around to hide his tears, which had made their way out.
Without uttering a word, Robinson patted Glenn on the shoulder and left.
Glenn then wandered off in the school, reflecting the two-year life here, until he found himself already at the entrance of the tunnel which led out of the school. The stone tablet was still standing there and the words "With my knowledge, give me a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world!" caught Glenn's eyes again.
"It used to be so inspiring. But now, it is just so discouraging! Who on earth would give me such abundant knowledge?"
Soaked in sorrow, Glenn stood motionlessly for quite a while. Then suddenly, like a man who had been jerked awake from his nightmare, Glenn regained his faith and thought to himself.
'I was determined to be a sorcerer before, then why should I quit just because of a small setback? What a boring life it would have been if I had followed the paths trodden by others. I need to be unique and I will be, even if it would go against all odds!'
: "Wind bag" refers to someone who is too talkative.
: "Betrayal" refers to the fact that Robinson deserted Glenn's group back on the ship.