After half a year of chasing and hunting for the 19th section students, signs of fighting were everywhere across the Stigmata Valley. The objective to cull the 19th section was met.
As the war-supervising deans o the schools showed up and announced the victory by the 12th, all of the students in the valley would prepare to return to their respective schools and there they would continue cultivating for the tryout of the Holy Tower of Seven Rings. As a bonus, the 12th would be entitled to an allowance to exploit resources from the valley for the following century.
Lafite’s team were gloomy as Anna still looked lonely because of the loss of Chris. The hurt couldn’t be healed yet.
The journey back to their school was not smooth, both because of people’s greed to possess more of the badges and the settlement of the personal enmities forged during the fights. The fortunate thing was that Lafite and the others were with the Death Sail league, so nobody bothered to take them on.
In the Bramble forest, a group of students were in a scuffle with a herd of giant apes. Anna felt all the more lonely as she watched from one side. She excelled at auxiliary sorceries however, as Chris was gone, she couldn’t make use of them at all. She couldn’t even fit into the world.
Without Chris, she was certain to have been unable to survive the ship that was bound for Black Isotta.
The group of Death Sail league members were the first to come back to the Sorcery School of Black Isotta, and the many new faces were watching them with dark, watchful eyes. It seemed that life here in the school was not easy for the newly-enrolled students. It might have been even harsher than the life Glenn lived before he went to war.
Robinson said to Robin in a low voice. “These little brats reminds me of the younger us, but I don’t know if they are in bad or good luck.”
Good luck would refer to the fact that they were here after the war that just ended and that would break out centennially. Bad luck of course pointed to the fact that they didn’t have the chance to take part in the tryout of the Holy Tower.
Robin shook her head. “I guess it’s good luck. They would be the first batch to prepare for the next tryout after ours, which would give them the upper hand. If I were among them, I would feel lucky. That way, I might be strong enough to be eligible for the test.”
Lafite added in at that moment. “I wonder how the chosen three are doing.”
“Exactly, the three of them were the very reason why the Fake Faceless Nilmar stole us away from the Lilith’s and brought us here, because they’re rumored to be eligible for the Holy Tower tryout? It’s also said sorcerers who succeed in nurturing a Demon-Hunting student would be rewarded by the Holy Tower.” Glenn thought to himself.
What Lafite was referring to was of course Sam, Kyrie and Bionna.
Robinson scorned. “Oh, Lafite. You know Bionna won’t stand a chance given her level of strength. Kyrie and Sam were better, but it’s still subject to luck to contest for the Demon-Hunting sorcerer’s eligibility.”
Lafite signed. “If Bionna was indeed not that good to win over a qualification as Robinson suggested, then why should she? Despite all of her efforts, she was not even a match to Bionna.”
Suddenly, Lafite turned around and cast her eyes on Glenn. He had relapsed into his obscurity while keeping staying behind her. He spoke little other than thinking aloud the calculation of sorcery reactions like a robot every day before going to bed. People had almost forgotten his existence.
However, as Glenn’s girlfriend, she had a hunch that he had a shot.
She was not sure exactly how strong he was though. Except for a handful of badges he had collected, there were no rumors circulating that Glenn was one of those contributors to the wars nor that he was going to be a candidate to the top ten.
From the face of it, it appeared Glenn was indeed an ordinary student. One might wonder though. “Why did he round up so many badges, each of which equated to taking a life from the 19th?”
Glenn returned Lafite’s gaze, but his mind was still focused on the question of what sort of reward it would take to persuade a level two sorcerer to plunder a ship years ago.
Nina was silent in the group. She couldn’t help but sob as her hands touched the badges in her pockets. She then held in the tears that were forcing their way out. It had been over six months since Chris was gone; she had gotten better at controlling her feelings. She watched Glenn quietly with her gratitude and kept moving along with the group, her head downcast.
The timid little girl was growing up.
Two days later on the 79th floor of the Black Tower.
“Oh, you appear to have matured much. That ten-year-long school war sure has taught you something.” Garfield licked one of his paws as he saw Glenn come in, not showing too much of a surprised look and himself appearing senile.
It had been ten years since Glenn took part in that war and he was now a rather grown man at the age of a little more than 30.
Glenn handed over a bag of Marlin fish to Garfield, and he asked, with his nerves relaxed slightly. “Mr. Garfield, is our master here?”
Garfield took up the bag of Marlin fish and warned as he jumped onto the huge tank. “Don’t you try to bother him. Him and his wife are making out inside. They haven’t met in over a decade.” Garfield continued. “I am so lonely and I’m used to loneliness. My only partner that can understand my heart are these fish. “
Glenn retched. “They don’t understand your heart. It’s your stomach that the fish are familiar with.”
A day later.
Norris took a look at the badges laid in front of him and said cheerfully to Glenn who was sitting on Varro’s side. “The secret mirror of the Black Tower will be open in a month and by then the badges will come in handy. You can take a walk in the tower owner’s mirror for some time before you’re tossed out. Enough about that, let’s talk about the feelings you experienced these years.”
“Feelings?” Varro and Glenn exchanged a glance.
Varro scratched his head. “There wasn’t much…I was positioned in the rear of the resource points and didn’t encounter many 19th section students during the war. It was boring. But I made a few friends and…I fell in love and fell out of it…”
Norris grimaced. The room became silent for a while. “Get out.” Norris yelled.
Varro knew what his answer would get him somehow, because he was well aware of his mentor’s temper and he went out as he stuck out his tongue once.
“Oh, feelings…There is one about Blast Sorcery. No…you meant the comparison between Bright and Black sorcerers, right?”
“You’re much better than that that brat!” Norris nodded.
Glenn learned from Varro and rolled out his tongue too. He was a little kid before this old, old man. He then continued in a low voice. “The two sort of sorcerers have their respective strengths. They’re accordingly divided by the Holy Tower of Seven Rings on purpose and serves a big purpose. The Black sorcerers would lose to Bright ones if the fight was on a large scale unless the Black ones could undergo quantitative change. If this recently ended war were bigger in size, I dare to speculate that it would have been the 12th that got routed.”
Norris cast a glance at Glenn in satisfaction. “This is not only the case for the Holy Tower of Seven Rings. The other Holy Towers are the same, and you’ll know the power of Bright sorcerers the minute you became a Demon-Hunter. They’re the main force of the sorcerers. Although we’re inclined toward developing Black ones, it’s necessary to cultivate Bright ones as the main force for explorations.” Glenn was illuminated, thoughtful.
Glenn knew that there were seven holy towers on the sorcerer continent, their names being the Holy Tower of One Ring, the Holy Tower of Two Rings, continuing up to the Holy Tower of Seven Rings. He also knew that there were holy towers in the underground world and on some major islands (they’re land as for the locals) called the Sky Holy Tower and the Holy Tower of Black Wild. He had no way of knowing if there were others.
However, Glenn guessed that there would be at most two more holy towers in this sorcerer world, because anything related to holy towers had much to do with a Necromancer, a level seven sorcerer! Even with the profound cultures of the sorcerer world, there wouldn’t be Necromancy in large numbers.
However, with only limited number of Necromancies, the sorcerer world was guaranteed to dominate over adjoining worlds and thus a civilization gave birth.
Truthfully, matters concerning the different holy towers were not what worried Glenn. What was urgent was the upcoming Seven Rings’ tryout, and he couldn’t help but ask his mentor about it.
There was a pause. “As far as the Holy Tower of Seven Rings is concerned, there are 28 jurisdictions and 226 sorcerer schools.” Norris went on. “To better the recruitment for potential sorcerers, the 28 areas are divided into five camps. Camp 1-5, 11-15 belong to camp of Black sorcerers. Camp 6-10, 16-20 are Bright ones and the rest are the Mix camp. 200 students per camp will be selected for the tryout.”
Glenn frowned. “The Mix camp!”
The Mix camp was a mix-up of both Bright and Black sorcerers where they were in constant wrestles and the regulations were harsher to better adapt to war conditions.
Norris continued lightly. “The students from the camp are generally the best and they represent the highest battle capacity of the Holy Tower. They could easily dominate over students from the rest of the camps. You don’t have to be worried though. The rewards are reserved respectively for the best student from each camp. You don’t have to compete with the Mix camp nor with the Bright camps to win the reward.”
The good thing was that Glenn had the Friendship Key of the Black Tower and could summon it up three times.
In Norris’ opinion, Glenn’s talent would allow him a slim chance to win that top award. As he was ignorant of Glenn’s current power, Norris held the belief that it was only “possible” for him to succeed.
Glenn didn’t ask further after having obtained an initial understanding of the tryout.
As Norris suggested, Glenn had to make it among the best 200 from the contestants from camp 11-15 to be eligible for the tryout.
“Oh, there is one more thing to remind you of. The tryout is not a screening of students and the participants can quit and thus have their life spared when in grave danger. Not all of the students aspire to become a Demon-Hunting sorcerer after all. Some would opt for the road of becoming an Ougi sorcerer to become stronger.”
Norris sighed as if recalling something. He then continued. “Get yourself prepared for the secret mirror first, and try to obtain something from it. After that, I’ll start teaching you the Endless Eye Regeneration sorcery, the three methods to become a real sorcerer, and the trump card I prepared for the tryout.”
Glenn nodded in excitement.
A long pause.
“Mentor, what would Ougi sorcerers’ students would get from the Holy Tower anyway?”
There was silence again.
Norris smiled. “Are you worried? Don’t be. I’m not in much demand of Sorcerer Essence. It’s on a whim that I decided to cultivate you.”
Glenn memorized the word by heart.
“Perhaps it is some sort of currency to buy special resources from the Holy Tower.”