Every day, William spent an hour meditating. He wasn’t sure if it was helping, but it didn’t seem to be hurting him in any way. Actually, he was pretty sure it wasn’t helping, since his goal was no closer to being accomplished. Specifically, he was attempting to sense the mana around him. This was the most important part of being a wizard, but he could still not sense anything at all. Still, the meditation somewhat helped calm him, which was nice.
William also made sure to keep his body in shape, partly because he couldn’t do magic. However, even if he could do magic, he enjoyed being able to move as he wished, which he hadn’t been able to do near the end of his previous life. Plus, William could think of plenty of good reasons for wizards to keep fit. After all, sometimes you had to run away… and it wouldn’t do to be so tired from walking to, say, a dragon’s lair that one was unable to cast spells.
William also recommended exercise to Lila, but she didn’t do any besides running around while playing. Well, that was up to her. At least she was doing well at learning to read. William wouldn’t have called her an expert, but at least she could read most things, given time. That was pretty good, given she’d been learning for less than a year. Her spellcasting… didn’t need him to help. Even her chants were almost flawless, which was important for the upcoming examination.
Two professors stood in a room, conversing. One was a fairly new professor, and the other was an older, stern looking fellow.
“How are the students this year?” asked the older professor.
“Mostly average, Professor Farman, though with a couple exceptions. There was one girl… Lila, I believe. You’d have to be there to believe how powerful her magic was.”
“I think I might. She was the cause of that bolt of lightning in the east field?”
“Yes, that’s right. Aside from that… she was not superb at the theoretical test, but did well enough to pass. Still, book learning can be improved upon, but natural talent is something that can’t be made up for.”
“Indeed. Any others?”
“Well, nobody else was outstanding, at least not in the same way. Some who got zero points total… noble kids. Then, there was one… William. Some of the most accurate and steady chants we’ve ever seen, or so I hear. Yet… not a drop of magic. Not a spark, a jolt of electricity, or even a slight chill. The astonishing part is he still almost passed. Almost a perfect score on the theoretical side… everything but a single problem, perfect. It wasn’t even that hard of a question.”
“Oh? Show me which one it was.”
The younger professor brought over some papers. “It was this one here.”
Professor Farman looked at the papers. “Hmm, yes, I see. Well, it’s probably for the best. We don’t want any without magical talent getting in here. It’s bad enough with some of those who manage to pass…” the older professor paused. “These… are the answer key?”
“Yes, that’s correct. I filled it out myself.”
Professor Farman sighed. “I’m sure you know… I wish the best for this facility’s future. To that end, I seek fairness, and despise cheating. Getting a perfect score on the theoretical test, but with no ability to use magic… it’s unheard of. I suspect cheating.”
“Well, he didn’t get a perfect score. He missed one problem.”
“Did he? Bring his paper to me. Also, be prepared to go back over the others. Your answer was wrong. You fell for the trap of the simple but incorrect answer. As for this William… we’ll see. If he passes… he passes. If he was cheating somehow, I will find out, and he will be expelled. I have no tolerance for such.”
William waited nervously. Although he was confident in his answers, if he had missed even a single point, he knew he could not pass. At least this time, the professor grading the practical side was willing to judge him on his chants, even if there was no magical effect. Lila was also nervous, but William was confident she would pass. She should have a near perfect score on the practical side, and at least half of the points on the theoretical side. Even if she was a bit lower than William expected, it would be passing.
Eventually, someone came out with a list of passing names. As the names were called off one by one, the children who were now student wizards went to get their tokens, proving that they had entered the school. Technically adults could take the test as well, but by the time one was an adult, there was very little hope of a future as a wizard if one had not already been successful. The small exception would be those who had no exposure to magic, or no access to a proper school before coming to the capital.
Lila’s name was called. William cheered… quietly, since nobody else had been cheering. More time passed, and William knew that the list was nearing the end. Finally, the very last name that was called… “William Stevenson!”
After that was an emotional blur. William went to pick up his badge, and then he was crying tears of joy and hugging his parents and Lila and jumping around in excitement. He was a real wizard now! Ignoring the fact that he couldn’t use magic.
William and part of the other new students were taken on a tour of the wizard’s school by an older student. He seemed to be twelve years old, and introduced himself as Marius Cyril. William instantly liked him. He wasn’t acting arrogant like the other students leading tours, and he seemed quite knowledgeable. Hopefully, they could become friends. Well, there was the 5 year difference in age… but that wouldn’t be too much of an issue later.
Almost everything they actually got to see was pretty boring, since the laboratories were off limits. The library was very impressive though. They didn’t enter in far, but it was bigger than any libraries William had seen on Earth, and a majority of these books were about magic. William highly anticipated the future now. He would read all of the books! Well, maybe not, but he would certainly be spending a lot of time in the library.
When they finally arrived at William’s dormitory, it was also not particularly impressive, except for one feature of the central hall. There was a glass case in the center, in which was a staff that was about six feet tall. However, instead of being made of wood, it was made of a bluish crystal. William thought it might even have been a single crystal, since it was hexagonal, like it grew to that size on its own. Marius explained, “Not much is known about this staff, except that it is cursed. In theory, it is capable of amplifying magic greatly, but nobody has been able to wield it.” Marius lowered his voice to a whisper, “I hear it just hits anybody who tried to touch it in the face, but I’ve never tried. I heard that a broken nose or cracked skull was actually one of the least unpleasant of the injuries it’s inflicted upon people. Even those who managed to wrestle a hold on it for a short time had their spells backfire, so its magical amplification abilities are just a rumor. The glass isn’t there to keep people from the staff, but the other way around. Fortunately, the curse seems to have stabilized once it was placed here, and there haven’t been any incidents in a long time… as long as nobody tried to touch it.”
William smiled and nodded. Cursed, was it? That was a shame. William really wanted that staff. It was so cool looking! However, since he didn’t want to get hit, and also because he suspected the amplification of magical abilities was useless if the base was zero, he grudgingly tore his eyes away. Well, just one more look. If only he had that… and an awesome robe! He wasn’t sure about the hats, though. Maybe they were out of fashion.
Author’s Note: Finally! I’ve introduced the most important character of the series. Wait, isn’t William the main character, you say? Well, sure. I guess he probably wins that then. Still, this character is no less important. Which one was it? Well… it could be anybody. Even someone wandering around in the background. You’ll never find out! Until I tell you later. Darn, just lost my mystery. Oh well.