Monday, September 29, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 1 - Zinnia Academy

"Headmistress! Look! There are people sleeping here!" The ever cheerful little girl beside me points at the three bodies laying at the edge of the forest.

A battle? Out here?

"Slow down child, let me take a look first." I told her as I slowly approach the bodies. One can never be too careful, especially now that Immortals started to appear frequently over the last six years.

Using my staff, I start to check out those bodies. "«Arcane Hold»! «Analyze»!"

*fuwa fuwa*

Their vital information enters my head as my magic completes its task. I can't believe what I'm seeing before me.

I was expecting just 1 level 0 immortals, but 3? Was the [Vision] wrong?

"What's matter headmistress?" The bubbly girl next to me look at me with a concern expression. I guess I must look pretty distraught.

"It's nothing dear, let's bring these people back."

"Oooh~, they might catch a cold out here."

"That too child, let's bring these friends back okay? But if they don't wake up, we can always do a dissection."


I slowly bring the three floating bodies behind me back home.

* * * * *

"Ahhh!!! Why isn't this thing dying?!" A scream with a tinge of desperation pierces the air.

"«Bash!» «Bash!» «Bash!»...«&Backslide!raquo;" A youth with dashing blonde hair repeatedly use his offensive skill with a wooden sword on the [Huntsman Rabbit] while desperately dodging away when it tries to strike back.

"«Bash!»" In the adjacent field, a tall woman with red hair circles another [Huntsman Rabbit] slowly and counters at the last second with same skill as the blonde youth when it jumps in to attack. The rabbit flies back 2 meters, but suffering no damage, looking confused.

Same skill used completely differently, as expected of these immortals. But why can't they do any damage?

Taking my eyes off of them, I turn toward the plain looking one in the field behind me.

A man with short, black hair holds a medium length tree branch with his left hand in the lead while holding the wooden sword on the right. The branch is covered in scratches, but other than that, he looks perfectly fine. The rabbit on the other hand is bruised all over, with a large swelling that's obscuring its right eye.

He only used bash once, then stopped when it didn't have an effect. He had been relying on regular strikes since, yet the rabbit looks like it's about done. This one has some quick judgement.

The man walks slowly toward the rabbit, neither rushing not complacent. As soon as it makes a dash toward him, he swing the tree branch outward, taking the rabbit's strike with it. Right after, a fast overhand slash made with the wooden sword land squarely on its head.


I can barely hear that soft, clean crack of the rabbit's skull. The man picks up the rabbit by the ears. "Wish hunting rabbit was actually this easy," such a strange comment accompanies his sigh. He walks up and drop the rabbit carcass next to me before backing away slowly. It appears Till-chan told them about my offhanded joke.

"Guys! Don't use skills! It appears we can't do any damage with them at level 0!"

Ah, that would explain it. And I didn't say they can't help each other, just not interfere.

I turn back to watching the two remaining fighters with expectation,

"What?! Bloody thing! JUST DIE ALREADY!" The rabbit froze, even I was taken aback by that woman's roar. She, who have been using counters almost exclusively, runs up to the rabbit with a heavy two handed slash. The rabbit snaps out of its daze and blocks with its oversized claws. I look on eagerly and isn't disappointed.

Tossing the wooden sword aside on the follow through to her left side, she brings her long leg out from the right and kicks the rabbit right in the head. It floats upward a bit before she execute a beautiful scissor kick, sending it in the air. Retrieving the sword next to her, she readies herself in a jodan stance.


She roars again.

Is she really an immortal and not a demihuman?


The sword was brought down with the rabbit, leaving a loud impact. Even the other children turns to look in curiousity. The rabbit's corpse scatters into speckles of lights, leaving a very damaged pelt behind.

"OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH~~~!" Till was excitedly watching the scene, I didn't even noticed when she logged in. I don't understand why the immortals use such weird terms, but as long as the meaning gets through, it's all the same.

As though awaken by the roar, the blonde youth began his assault. Throwing small pieces of rocks that he likely got while running around, he throws them at the rabbit as soon it attacks. I don't think it would do any damage, but no doubt the rabbit is angry now.

"Ha! «Backslide»! Hm!" The youth jumps in with a slash then dodge backward right away, with a smooth moment, he threw a rock at the rabbit before it can counter attack.

Is he a one trick-pony?

Unexpectedly, he throws a handful of rocks at the rabbit this time around. "HA! «Backslide»! HHAAA!" It looks like he over jumped his slash, but it was used to get behind the rabbit as it recovers from hitting the rocks away. It was followed by a *dosun* when he used the recoil from the backslide to swing his sword into the back of the rabbit's head.

* * * * *

"So, we are clear to go if we beat this?" The tall woman towering over me asks.

"Yes child, you are free to go once you do this one last test." I have all the data already from all the various tests before. This is just extra training for them. "De'muel, prepare the others." I move toward the edge of the field while De'muel gives a long whistle.

"WHAT THE HELL?!" The blonde one seems particular excitable.

"Don't worry, Rick, just run around and throw rock when appropriate, especially if you see them attacking one of us. Bell and I will try to hold their attention and try to get an opening. If one of them is vulnerable, attack it at once if you can."

The two other nods.

Quite a tactician we have here.

The three of them stands back to back as the 6 [Huntsman Rabbit] approach them.

"RAA!" "«Backslide»!" "Hm!"

The black-haired man and the tall woman makes wide horizontal sweeps with their swords while the blonde youth slides back before running off.

One of the rabbits tries to chase after him but it leaps backward when a swinging tree branch intercepts its path. It is now 6 vs 2, the rabbits are small, so there isn't really any major disadvantage. They stand still for a moment, sizing up each other. Unexpectedly, the shorthair man starts shaking and starts running away. The rabbits, seeing their chance, jumps at the woman at once.


One of the jumping rabbit flies sideways mid-jump. The other rabbits turns to look at the stone that suddenly appeared from nowhere.


Another flies in the air from the woman's sudden strike. She moves back quickly to avoid the rest of slashing claws aimed at her. The rabbits turn their attention back toward her, slowly spreads out after landing, trying to surround her.

*dosun dosun dosun dosun*

The blackhaired man that ran away actually ran a few steps, then turned immediately, using the tall woman as a screen, and ran to her left. He is now standing over two dead rabbit that were stunned from the thrown stone and sword strike.

I look to the woman's right to check on the blonde youth. He's in an odd stance, at least a stance I've never seen before. Holding a stone with both hands, he has one of his shoulders point squarely at the rabbits. He's looking over that shoulder attentively, suddenly, he lifts his leading leg up and then throws the stone with all his might.

Ah, it's a throwing stance.

Following the stone, I see another rabbit get taken out. The short-haired man, who had joined the woman at some point when I was looking at the youth, rushes toward the remaining rabbits while the woman goes after the stunned rabbit with a *zushin*.

*bushari bushari*

The man actually managed to kill two of the rabbit alone.

"Watch out!" The 3rd rabbit had ignored the man and is in mid-strike against the woman's exposed back. The blonde youth threw another stone along with his warning.

"«BASH»!" The woman roars and quickly do a full swing with her sword. The rabbit have its eyes wide open at the unexpected speed of the swing and brings its claws up to block it. The sword swing meets the rabbit as the stone was coming right behind it.


Rabbit and stone, both are now sailing through the air.

"Were you aiming for me you dumbass?"
"It's not my fault you are the size of a barn!"


The two bickers as I look at the still flying masses.

Just how far are they going to go?

* * * * *

"Bye, Headmistress! I will be back soon!" Till waves happily as she leaves with the three immortals.

I need to get everything ready.


I cover my mouth with a cloth as I cough, red blood slowly seep through.

I don't have much time.

"De'muel, Mak'ra, Isnic, you three come with me. The rest of you, supervise the kids."

"Yes ma'am!"

* * * * *
The 3 children are crying in front of me.

"There's nothing to be sad about, everything that is born must die, everything that die, will give birth to something else."

"Now go prepare everything, there isn't much time."

The three left the room with tears in their eyes. I'm fortunate to have such fine sons and daughters.

The three of them were my first three children, to be exact, I adopted them when I found them in the forest.

25 years ago, I was a part of the Pent Kingdom as a [Court Magician], technically, I was more of an [Arcanist]. We were under attack by the larger surrounding kingdoms. They claimed that we were heretics for harbouring demihumans and for going against their so called god. What kind of god discriminate against living, thinking people? It's more likely their excuse for trying to rob us of our [Artifact]s. To prevent our demise, the 7 of us employed «Mass Teleportation» to send as many of the royalties, secrets and citizens to a safe location in the distant Zrewheig continent oversea.

The plan was to teleport as many people as possible, since we would be on the verge of death anyways, we planned on using «Self-Destruct» when the enemies manage to reach us. The guards and soldiers were willing to die so that their loved ones and the rest of the kingdom can live on, how can we do any less? Who knew that there was a traitor among us.

Everyone that can had already teleported. The artifacts were the last to be sent. That was when the last defense line was breached and the [Chief Magician] killed one of us with a «Fireball» spell. The remaining 6 of us used spells of our own to finish him off. But the enemy soldiers were seconds away from us. The [Royal Tutor] rushed out toward the soldiers immediately with a «Self-Destruct».

I didn't know what the others were doing at the time, but I was casting spells non-stop, I intended to bring as many enemies to accompany me on my trip to hell. I served this kingdom for over 200 years, my service is not so cheap that a few soldiers can bring me down. I was about to start using {Blood Magic} since my mana has depleted. Before I can start, the [Imperial Historian] shoved a crystal and elixir into my hands and kicked me into the portal. The unstable portal was affecting my mind due to the spatial rifts and fissure, I had my first [Vision] before I eventually blacked out.

When I came to, I was resting in a forest that I didn't recognize. I was sleeping on a roll of cloth and was blanketed with a cloak. This was when I first met Xin and Till, and the first time I learned that Immortals weren't just legends. Xin had thought I was injured and tried to use some [Potions] to help my wound, but they had little effect. It's no wonder, it needed all 7 of the top magicians in the kingdom to cast «Mass Teleportation» and we were still expected to die afterward. I was more amazed that I was alive.

Xin was apologizing since her daughter had searched my body and used the elixir she found on me to treat me. Little Till was probably around 6 to 7 years old at the time.
She only aged a little in the last 19 years. I thanked the two before trying to travel in search of my people.

Three days later, a similar scene happened. The same roll of cloth under my head, the same cloak covering me. My life was saved, but apparently I was too weak to travel. I started to think I'm the lone survivor of the kingdom. I had considered killing the two and killing myself just then, to bury everything so no one will know of my existence. For some reason, I relaxed when I realized the little girl from last time was sleeping next to me. The thought of killing them never returned since. I later found out that I couldn't have killed them anyways.

I slowly roamed the forest for a few weeks, hoping that I could travel soon. The two shared their little shelter with me, weeks turned into months, months turned into years. Xin appeared less and less, but Till still came to visit me quite often. I eventually gave up on travelling and decided to live here peacefully until my death.

I had a [Vision] during those quiet days. In the dreamlike scene, the [Quartermaster] was using his own life essence as mana to seal all the [Artifact]s inside a crystal with the largest [Spatial Storage]. The [Royal Physician] was refining his blood into an [Condensed Life] elixir. That's how I learned how I managed to live so long, and that the crystal contains the secrets of our kingdom. It seems the elixir forcefully compressed my lifespan to combat the side effect of the «Mass Teleportation» spell. There were consecutive explosions after kicking me into the portal, no doubts that they all used «Self-Destruct».

When we were out strolling and foraging one day, Till ran toward something. I eventually caught up to see her trying to calm a crying babe in her small arms. That was how I found De'muel, eventually Mak'ra, Isnic and many others. I expanded the little shelter into a cabin, a cabin into a house. I considered turning it into an orphanage. But how would the kids feel growing up as though they were unwanted in the first place? Instead, I ended up turning it into an Academy. A place where they will learn the needed skills to survive, a place where they will at least have a family.

About 6 years ago, rumours of the mass appearance of Immortals circulated and was later proven to be true. It was around this time that I started to have frequent [Vision]s, and especially the one concerning my own death. I started preparing various formations, leylines and security measures around the academy at this point, it didn't take long before others started calling this area the [Forest of Illusions]. If fully activated, the forest can probably withstand the assault of a full grown dragon. I hope it would never get to that...

Ah... what 19 years it has been.

Leaning on a table in the room, I place a crystal vase on the table with the storage crystal inside. With the last of my magic, I destroy the table's core without allowing it to fall.

I slowly make my way to the rocking chair Dosnak made for me as a birthday present a year ago. I can only wait now. It is comforting to know that there will still be someone to take care of these children when I'm gone.

* * * * *

"Take good care of each other, okay? There's nothing to be sad about."
I give my darling little Till a little pat with my hand. I can no longer see anything nor feel anything anymore. But fate has been good to me. Even though I should be the last survivor of my kingdom, there's still a family there to mourn for me.

I wonder how he'd look when he finds out I tricked him...

* * * * *

The funeral was a simple affair. The headmistress body was laid to rest on the small hill behind the academy, just beyond the farming fields. A seed was planted by De'muel on Afina Defaye's chest before burying her remains. The children all had tears in their eyes, but it seems the older ones were given orders on how to keep the academy running in the short term. So everyone was back studying or working within a few days.
"What kind of game have such detailed scenarios...?"

* * * * *

The party of four gathers into the main conference room inside the academy, De'muel and Mak'ra were also present.

"That's the best I can get." Reaching into his tunic, Rick takes out a stack of [Pledges].
"The city of Feia can subsidize 750 gold a year, and asks us to allow their children to enroll."

"That's it? Didn't we get 600 gold just from that fur trader?" Bell looks at Rick doubtfully.

"I asked the same thing. Apparently, that red pelt was an [Elemental] crafting material. It is actually quite rare to find one of that quality, the fur trader made it big selling it in one of the major cities. For reference, Feia's annual budget is only about 8000 gold. So they are making quite the concession."

"How did your headmistress fund the academy before?" Kun asks the two boys. The two look at each other before looking back at Kun.

"There were these well-dressed people, some of them even wore crowns and tiaras, that comes by every now and then, they paid in gems for consultations."

"In stacks of gold when she inspects some items."

"She had nobles and royalties as customers? Damn." Kun heads to a chair and looks up at the ceiling.

"Some of the elders did say that they would be paying tuition if they send their kids here."

"How much is the tuition?"

"10 gold if it include food and board."

"25 brats... we can do that. What do you think, Kun?"

"I don't think there's that many elders in all of Feia, and we aren't that well known. What do we even teach?"

De'muel quickly opens one of the drawers and bring out a large stack of books.

"Headmistress said to use these if you guys need help with teaching."

"'Introduction to Magic', 'Art of Farming', 'Of Ploys and Deceits: A Short History of Zrewheig', 'Theory of Mana', hmm... we can probably do this." Kun swing himself into an upright position and goes through the books and manuals one by one.

"There are 2 more drawers full of these in storage, would you like me to take them out?"

"No, no, it's okay, we are just brainstorming right now." Rick reacts as though he's afraid more books will show up.

"Actually, I have an idea. I will see if it's feasible first."

"We will also need some sort of security and secure the funding for the first year first. We can probably pool our money for it." Bell sighs.

"Actually, the headmistress also left behind 500 gold, just in case." De'muel interjects.

"And we were taught on how to use the defensive formations within the forest." Mak'ra adds right after.

"Looks like we have three years to get everything running then."

"Two years, Rick-ni, two years." The quiet Till finally speaks up.

Rick's face flushes pink and change the subject. "Who would have thought we would be running an academy, high level players would already be happy with a guildhouse."

"Indeed, but if others finds out we are at such a low level, they will likely try and steal it from us. Easy come, easy goes, a treasure is only as good as your strength to keep it." Kun knows this all too well.

"We should thank Rick for his hard work, how many sausages did you have to touch by the way?"

Rick goes from pink to completely red while remaining silent.

"Thank you, Headmaster!" The two boy salutes while shouting.

Rick starts burying his head into the conference table.

"So what should we call the academy?" Bell looks around the room.

After a moment of silence, Till says in a clear voice. "Zinnia Academy, so that we will never forget the headmistress."

Everyone in the room nods in agreement, including the bright red Rick buried in his arms.

"Zinnia Academy it is."


  1. Royalty is the plural form as well when referring to those of noble lineage. Royalties refers to the payment that you would receive as a commission when something you made/wrote/etc is used by others. Like if a song you wrote is used by a company, that company would pay money to you. Or if your translation is made into a novel by a publisher, they would give you royalties (or at least they should if you can prove they used your translations).

  2. Other than that, good stuff. Looks like this will be another interesting LN about some kind of VRMMOs.


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