Nydia was intrigued by the next room that the Prime Minister had brought them to. The statues of the Council gods were just as well made and pleasing to look at as the ones she had seen upon entering Kerbones. She had almost missed the Reaver statue due to it's composition that played tricks on her eyes, but once she had noticed it she realized it reminded her of Gabriel's dream once again. The Reaver statue was missing then but here it was present, albeit difficult to look upon.
Shortly after the thought entered her mind, Gabriel approached and told her that this was indeed the place he saw in his dream. "I see... How intriguing..." Nydia muttered in reply, trying to make sense of this information. One question had been answered, but many more had taken it's place. "If this room is the reason why the Prime Minister brought us here, then perhaps what he has to say will give us more insight into your dream."
As she spoke, her attention shifted from the statues to the Prime Minister and his shadow. Given that he had encountered the spirit on his way to the Academy, it was unsurprising that he had a shadow of his own. Although the presence of others and their shadows was a bit of a surprise. Just how many others had encountered that spirit? What was the purpose of all these shadows?
Others had already asked for further explanation from the Prime Minister, so Nydia saw no point in adding her voice to theirs. Instead she waited for him to continue and would question him further if she found what he had to say unsatisfactory.
Alexander followed into the room and was immediately unsettled by what he both felt and saw. The gods were immaculate, and the statue of Reaver seemed at once to be there and to be entirely invisible. Once he saw the shadows however he snapped back to the reality of it all.
"I can sense the power in this room, and the fact all of these shadows have appeared must be important. I will admit ignorance though, this is impressive but I have no idea what exactly it is you expect us to do. To bring us here and show us all of this it must be important, but why, what are we meant to do here?"
The Prime Minister seemed to be enjoying the odd glow of the room and the powers that seemed to echo through it before turning back to the mages. He regarded each of them carefully, seeming to weigh his options before ultimately speaking.
"My good mages, this room is as powerful as it is old. People died upon finding this temple, as it is very protective of itself, which is why I had it sealed away. However, not even the seal can please the gods now. We disturbed their place, and now they are using our old mistakes to take vengeance. That storm? It grows now. It has been growing ever since we found these ruins and disturbed them. Before, it was just a small suspicion, but now...it is a fact." The Prime Minister explained, stepping about the strange Reaver statue as he did so, his shadow image doing the same. The shadow image, now that he was circling the strange...statue, seemed to now have the wings that he seemed to lack.
"However, my priests inform me that there is a way to slow down or stop the approach. The trick is that it would require trained mages, and ones that are not....rogue, I think you call them? I had attempted their services, but they have yet to return so I would imagine my priests to be correct. Meaning that in order for this to work, I would need mages of an Academy to come over to ultimately venture where the solution can be found. That is why I have had you brought to my city, and why I have taken so many risks in bringing you all here. I imagine you having many more questions that I will likely not be able to answer. But, I will do so as best I can, over dinner or not. Or you can get a more proper rest for your journey. The rooms I have arranged are well prepared, and very comfortable for you and your....elemental preferences."
Finally, the reason this guy brought us here....is just to block off a door. Really? All this bullshit to be some magical lock-up team? This is ridiculous. All this shit they have, sprouting wings and shit, and they need us for this? Why?
Raven was still mulling the questions over in her mind, but was getting no where. When the Prime Minister put the offer of dinner out on the table, Raven just stopped thinking about it. A weak breakfast would do that to a girl. "I'd rather have some food to start. If you can conjure up something worth eating."
"You ignorant Humans have very nearly damned the world because your greed overpowered your good sense." Cold fury burned in Aden's heart. Given most other circumstances, he would have immolated the man on the spot, but he restrained his urge to kill...for now. "Imbeciles. For all your cunning and knowledge you have learned no wisdom." He paused for a few seconds, mulling over the man's words. A thought came to his mind. Liar.
"Your claims also do not make sense. It requires Academy mages to acquire the item required to recreate the seal here? This room was constructed before the Academy was even a glimmer in the hearts of Magekind. How could it require Mages of the Academy if it was constructed in a time before the Academy existed, Minister? Perhaps I should see these documents your Priests have studied and discern what they actually mean, not their incompetent interpretations."
Kill them all and find the answers yourself. People this stupid, reckless, and thoughtless have no place in a sunlit world.
While initially the Prime Minister nodded when Raven noted some food, he turned to look upon Aden with half of a grin.
"Greed? I think you mistake it for curiosity. Understand, Pyromancer Aden, that we did not come upon this because we were hoping to find expansive treasures. In case you haven't noticed, the entire city is built into this mountain, and we were expanding. I do not know about where you built your Academy, but I imagine if you went onward to expand it and suddenly came upon something that you never knew it was there, you would not simply stop doing what you were doing and fear that the gods would punish you for it." The Prime Minister said, seeming to state each off as a hard fact.
"And I cannot claim to know quite what lies beyond this particular...gateway. Or what could be used to stop it. What I do know is that the few rogue mages I hired that returned had failed miserably. What I can tell you about what is beyond this gateway is meant for mages, and seeing as how untrained, unremarkable skills in their elements, and somewhat dependent on their weapons and wills failed miserably, I would think that a variety of mages would fare much better. I would think that you would understand that we are walking this line as blindly as when we created our airships, and our weapons, and this remarkable city. Demanding me to show you more information is like demanding me to show you more about the storms that now grow. I know that they are growing, and it coincides with our discovery of this place. I can only assume that they link with one another. Unless you think I have time to test that out too, Pyromancer." The Prime Minister added the last part wryly, seeming to amplify the fact that understanding took time.
Seth listened quietly, trying to catch everything he could from the conversations. While he could agree with Raven that he was indeed hungry, this little back and forth interested him a bit more. He had caught Aden's first point of not knowing of the Academy rather quickly, and then upon hearing the response, and reasoned out something of his own.
.....its a measured risk. He didn't take all the best and brightest from the Academy because that probably wouldn't fly with the Academy Masters, and he isn't even sure if this will work. He chose....randomly? No, there was a method to this. Be damned if I figure it out though.
Looking about, he realized that Fei had gone....dreadfully silent. But then again, Seth figured that even she could feel the power in this place, and it was something to look at for sure. Loriot was indeed impressive for himself to look at, with her features and even the flames sculpted around her to perfection. And the power...gods, the power flowing from these statues probably wasn't felt by those without elemental affinity, but he sure could feel it.
"The need for Academy-trained mages makes sense... I think. Perhaps we are more disciplined than the rogues the Prime Minister had requisitioned before coming to us," Gabriel mused. A small part of him thought it was a little foolish to use a mage who hadn't had any Academy training... unless the Prime Minister had anticipated this and used the rogues as a way to gather information on the temple.
"How is this temple protective of itself? Does it have some kind of protection or warding in place? Is it something we should be concerned about? Also... You mentioned this place is some kind of portal or gateway. How long have you known this? Where does it lead? And do you intend for us to pass through it?"
The questions spilled from Gabriel in a bit of a rush. This was why they were here, this could be why he had been picked in particular. Though he doubted the latter. He wasn't talented, in a magical sense at least. Still, he wanted to learn as much as he could about the place before they were sent through the... well, the gateway. There weren't many other names that could be applied to the temple without more information on it.
Nydia stayed silent for quite some time as she looked around the room and thought on what the Prime Minister had said. It was rather hard to believe that the Council Gods were expanding that foul storm as some sort of punishment, but the Prime Minister likely wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of bringing them here if he weren't certain. And she could certainly feel the power in this place which would explain why the Gods wanted it to be undisturbed.
What didn't make sense was what Nydia was here for. Her magical prowess and knowledge were a step above that of her peers thanks to all her hard work, but exploring dangerous ancient ruins seemed a bit out of her league. The fact that the fate of the entire world may be at stake if the storm continued to expand didn't help her confidence either. With a situation this dire though.... I suppose I don't have much choice. We'll have to at least try it seemed.
Putting her doubts aside for the moment, Nydia continued to think and realized that there was one thing she had been quite curious about lately that hadn't been brought up yet. "These shadows.... Where do they fit into all this? We all have one and you and your priests seem to have them as well. I find it hard to believe that they have nothing to do with all this." She asked, hoping the Prime Minister could tell her more about the shadows. He seemed to be much more well informed than they were on many aspects of this situation after all.
The Prime Minister stood for a small while, looking over the mages, seeing plenty of skepticism, as well as more questions and disbelief coming his way. With a heavy sigh, he began walking back out of the room, with the mages largely in tow.
"To answer your first question, Hydromancer Gabriel, is that this temple defended itself through happenstance, which is mostly how we ended up in this situation. Explosives going off at the wrong time due to sparks, or collapsing tunnels, or men who went too long without drink or water. It was only after we finally came into this place that we came to realize our errors that so much could go wrong coincidentally." The Prime Minister explained while the large metal doors from before cycled, with one opening and then the next opening after the first had closed.
"However, the Shadows.....are the true wildcard here. Apologies if you don't play cards, but that means that they could be something of great assistance, or of great harm. The most interesting part is that you have shadows that stay....as you can now see, away from the room means my shadow goes away....Though, I think it might be best if we sat down to eat, and then proceeded with your questions. It has gone by quite quickly through the day, as the room tends to.....bend time? A few of my inventors have ideas about it, but for the moment, it is getting later, and I imagine you hungry and have questions."
And sure enough, it seemed that many inventors had gone away from their stations, sealing off inventions and bottles and everything. Torches and other odd lights seemed to be keeping the area largely bright now, with the sun starting to go down from the day. While the elevator ascended again, the Prime Minister continued.
"The portal....well, it was largely just testing at that point. For some reason the Reaver takes those who step through him to another temple. While information is largely sketchy, as my own people have not returned, and the mages I hired either did not return, or were horribly vague in what was really there. Largely how I figured that humans were not supposed to enter....whatever it is planned over there."
As the doors opened, the Minister proceeded once again down the hallway. Again, the halls and skies seemed much quieter now that the day was winding down, with fewer people being about. However, the smell of cooked food was wafting through the air nearby as the Minister pushed open some doors to show a larger sized table with all manners of foods, snacks, and desserts present. Nodding approvingly, he turned to the mages.
"Please, have a seat and take what you will. I imagine there being many questions, and I have a few hours before I must go retire for the evening. Then you can venture to your own quarters, which are just down the hall from here, each with its own....theme to your elements. While I couldn't tell you exactly which one, I imagine you being able to see which is which."
With that, the Prime Minister sat with a loud sigh, and took some of the steak, some potatoes, and then some bits of bread to enjoy for himself.
As they approached the large dining room, Raven could smell the offerings wafting through the hallway. At least the food smells a hell of a lot better than what they were serving at the Academy.
Everything was laid out in front of the group as they entered, and there was no line whatsoever. This pleased Raven. She felt like she hadn't eaten in months. Not waiting for proper decorum, she grabbed a plate and went right at the buffet. Chicken parmesan, fettuccine alfredo, a meagre serving of vegetables all landed on her plate before she grabbed an open table and started to dig in like she never had before.
Fei followed Seth like his shadow, so there were now, in fact, 3 things following him, only one of which was flesh and bone anyways. She smelt the food as they walked towards the kitchen. It didn't interest her, and even though her stomach rumbled, she wasn't paying any attention. What was in that place? She was more than a little scared now, but a lot interested. When were they going to go all the way inside? What would they find? She felt sick. What if they found something scary? What if they couldn't come back? What if they disappeared like the other people?
Cale nodded silently to the Prime Minister's words but he understood very well for the dangers that lay inside the ruins but he felt good that he wasn't going at it alone. The real test of their powers lay ahead of them and it was now a matter if they were truly worth the Prime Minister's pick.
The food laid out before them looked very much appetizing but the matter of the ruins took away his appetite. Cale sat himself down but his mind was racing, forcing him to take a few bites instead of his gorging. Cale hoped that he could talk to Nydia about the entire matter as she always had something intelligent to say.
After following the Prime Minister out of the chamber, Nydia was quite surprised to find the sun beginning to set. The room did indeed seem to bend time and it was quite unsettling, though not as unsettling as the thought that many had lost their lives due to that room being discovered. And now we've been brought here to succeed where the others failed...
Nydia remained silent for the rest of the walk to the dining room. Food was the last thing on her mind, but it would be unacceptable to skip meals and the food that had been prepared did look quite good. Nydia simply went with a salad and some bread due to her lack of appetite. Upon seeing that there was also wine available, she poured a cup of that as well. It wasn't something she normally indulged in, but when she had she found it quite enjoyable in moderation.
Food and drink in hand, she took a look around for a good place to sit and spotted Cale looking in her direction. She smiled slightly and made her way over to him, bowing slightly before setting her meal down and taking a seat next to him. "Good af- Er.... Good evening Cale!" She said, stumbling over her greeting once she recalled that it was later in the day than she was expecting. The distortion that room had caused was quite disorienting. Afterwards, she took a moment to sample the salad and wine she had picked out before continuing. "Things have taken quite the turn for the interesting, wouldn't you say?" It wasn't much but all the new information she had to process had her at a bit of a loss for words.
Alexander took a seat near the others and began to make a plate out of the various foods on the table. He tried not to think over everything that had been revealed, but a part of him couldn't help but dwell on it.
'What will we find if all of us even agree to go through with it? How are we supposed to set things right? There is so little information about what we are even supposed to begin to do. guess all we can do is play things by ear, much as I hate that.' Alexander thought. He then noticed the lack of any conversation at the table and figured he may as well try and break the silence.
"It has been a long and strange day to be sure, but we are in a new land with new people. There is no reason to be so quiet, we should be celebrating the fact we have been chosen for something so important. That we were given the chance to see something new and exciting, whether we feel that our presence here is positive or negative. No reason not to celebrate for any number of reasons. Whether it be acknowledgment of our ability and intelligence, or the chance to simply be here." He said to the table at large.
Drew sat down near Alexander with a sigh. He was still trying to process what he had seen and what he had heard. "Look... I still can't quite believe what we just saw back there..." the place had left him silent, a rarity to those who knew him. "I just... look, I know this is going to sound nuts, but I'm not really sure why we're here. Or at least why I'M here. And I sure as hell am wondering what good my sister would do."
He hoped Fei wouldn't take offense to that last remark, but he leaned back in his chair, grabbing a fork and stuffing a bit of food in his mouth, speaking when he swallowed about half of what he was chewing. "But even more importantly... what about what happens next? What's the battle plan, o wise leader?" Despite his sarcasm, Drew was more than willing to listen.
"I'm not saying I have all the answers, or any answers for that matter. I just don't see a reason we should all get trapped in our heads, it won't get us anywhere. So I'm instead going to focus on the multitude of reasons I'm glad I'm here and doing this. I don't know what everyone else is going to do here, but I've been presented an opportunity to show what I know and meet an entirely new culture I've never seen before. Not to mention we're about to explore a place no academy mage has ever explored and possibly help people and mages alike everywhere. So I don't know what you all are going to do or should do, but I for one am going to enjoy this night and then go into that portal as soon as I can." Alexander replied.
"I said a while ago that I wanted to prove to humans that mages are capable of more than destruction, well this is the first step in proving it."
He didn't pretend that he knew more than anyone else in the room, but he knew what he was going to do. Hopefully it would inspire at least Fei to start talking again. He hadn't known her long but even he knew it was weird that she was so quiet.
Having collected a decently-sized meal for himself - a bed of pasta to serve as a base, accompanied by a good helping of assorted vegetables and a few pieces of pan-fried fish - Gabriel took a seat at the table and began to eat, paying attention to the conversations going on around him as the flavours hit his tongue. It seemed that people had a lot of different ideas about the portal ahead of them.
He had to agree with Drew, though, that he had little idea as to why he was with the mages instead of back at the Academy. The old theory that he had been picked because of his ideals, rather than his magic, resurfaced... but there hadn't been any real need for him to demonstrate his willingness to co-operate with non-magical humans, short of agreeing to accompany the Prime Minister on this bizarre journey.
Gabe looked across to Alexander as he outlined his intent to enter the portal as soon as possible. The thought scared him; he thought the older mages was being a bit reckless about the idea. "Um... are you sure you want to just take a blind leap? We don't know what lies beyond that temple... I'm not even sure we know enough about the temple itself, let alone anywhere else. I myself would rather learn a bit more about the place before letting it take us who knows where," he explained.
"I suppose you can do that... I'm just saying, I'd rather not end up dead or vanished. Still, you have a point: no point in staying negative." He finished eating the food in his mouth, chugging down his beverage.
Once he was done, he turned to Gabriel, who he vaguely remembered him from the ship. "The guys in charge will probably have a little more information. Or at least they better..." He got up to get some more to drink "One would think after all the failed attempts they at least know something. Like what sort of things will happen if something goes wrong." he gave a devilish grin as he walked by Gabriel.
As Seth sat down with the others, he grabbed a few bits of bread. His appetite had vanished with all that had been going on. While he was probably more hungry than he was willing to admit, it had come a long way since...well, whenever they had gotten in there. It didn't feel like it had been that long, but the day said otherwise. As he partially listened to the conversation that was going on around them, he caught a few bits and pieces, deciding that perhaps he should just force himself to eat while they were here.
"Well, the way I see it...I think Alexander is right. We should be eating, dammit. We made it this far, farther than just about everyone else so far, and we are about to do something that no one else at the Academy or....anyone else has probably ever done. And I think we've done a damn good job while doing it." Seth said after finishing another bit of bread.
"And that temple is probably better to be played by ear. Whatever the other guys knew didn't help them all that much. So maybe instead we go in there and do what we do and...things work out. Damned if I know how." As Seth finished, he took a quick drink of the water that was nearby. While there appeared to be wines and other beverages lingering about, he wasn't feeling particularly creative this evening. Largely because he didn't know how strong the stuff could be.
"Seth has a good point, and hopefully mine gets through to at least a few more of us. Going silent and dwelling on the negatives isn't going to get us anywhere. I mean none of us probably hadn't even thought of a plan until now because we all focused on all the questions, doom, and gloom." Alexander replied with a laugh as he finished filling his plate and sat down to eat.
"So prime minister, what is the history of your people anyway? You've told us of the room and a little, but I at least would like to know something about your history and culture so I can at least try and fit in a bit."
As the Prime Minister had sat back, he didn't appear to really be paying attention until Alexander actually specifically called for him to explain his people. Finishing up the small bit of food he had, he gave a small grin.
"Well, that would largely depend on what exactly you want to know about. History is extensive, with ancient history, after the war, developing, and somewhat more current being those topics....and then as for culture, it would largely depend on what sections of the city you wanted to visit, as each has its own culture in itself. Even some of them have different ways of speaking and going about their tasks. So, would it be possible for you to narrow that down a bit? I would rather not be up all night trying to explain the city myself."
As Seth nodded with Alexander with the laugh, he sat back for a moment, realizing that Fei had gone oddly...quiet while all this was going on. He knew Fei better than that to realize that she was obviously thinking about a lot of things. Perhaps things that shouldn't be thought about, though he figured she could not help it just like the rest of them couldn't help but wonder about the tasks they seemed to have been presented. Moving somewhat closer, he gave Fei a small nudge, hoping to get her awake at least.
"Hey Fei....you OK? Whats on your mind? I've not seen you so disinterested in sweets and foods before. Anything you need help with?" Seth quietly asked, not wanting to be interrupting the Prime Minister in his little...teaching lesson, or whatever it was.
Phebe took a plate and started piling food on it. She wasn't picky and tried to get a little bit of everything, before she sat down among the other mages. The food on her plate didn't look that appetizing now that it was mostly just a large pile of random assortments. She had remembered to take a bottle of wine as well, which she opened and started drinking from. It tasted alright, even if she wasn't that fond of alcohol.
She listened to the conversation going on around her. They were talking about the portal. Someone asked the prime minister about his people, which made Phebe think about the wings again.
"I have a more specific question, actually." She picked up the fork and stabbed it into her food, picking up some fish and meat. "Are you born with wings or can anyone get them?"
She started eating her food, after she had asked him what had been on her mind since she had first seen the woman with wings.
"I'm fine. I'm not hungry."
The only thing she had in front of her was a bowl of water, but it wasn't to drink. She just turned it round and round, in sort of a whirlpool. Then she spun it over and under, like the ocean, circling the water. What can I do? What if it's too scary and I run away? Then she held it still, so the surface was as smooth as glass. The surface began to smoke with water vapor, the smoke curling up into whirls and loops. It was a simple exercise for water mages, to exercise control and precision.
Condense the vapor back into a few drops of water, and you could watch each sphere hit the surface, making a small crown, then a small backjet, then ripples. "I'm actually kind of tired. Drew...? Drew...? Drew...?" she tugged on her brother's sleeve until he noticed her. "I'm tired. Can you take me to our room?"
Cale was glad that Nydia had arrived close by. He politely smiled at her and admired her pretty face as he tried to think of what to say but in truth, the quest laid out before them seemed daunting.
"Yes, they quite have. It's such a wonderful place here, you know?" Cale eat a piece of bread, finished it and returned to speaking. "About that quest to the ruins though, I should have known why they would ask of us to embark on such an adventure. It's as if we're the last resort to reclaiming whatever they need inside, don't you think? That's an awful lot to ask of a bunch of student mages."
"Ah alright, my mistake then. I guess I should know customs for the academy and market areas, if only so I can talk to academics and possibly buy things without offending anyone. Just basic ways of carrying onself and rules of etiquette really." Alexander replied to start off.
The Prime Minister chuckled at Phebe asking about the wings, as he seemed to have been half expecting it. He then heard Alexanders request, and paused to think a moment before speaking.
"Well, the wings are indeed being born with. You could get them from the magical artifact of the trials if you wished, but I wouldn't think you to be very interested in that. Especially since you could pass the trails and still be ruled unable to properly handle the wings. However, nearly all that you see who have wings tend to be born with them. There are very few exceptions, and they tend to not want to attract attention."
He then turned to Alexander, seeming to contemplate his next words carefully.
"Well, the Academy as you can be aware is already a somewhat more....odd place of the city. It would be hard to tell if you really offended someone or gave them an idea they will love to try. However, the market areas I am not sure you will visit much of due to their more...open nature. Unless you go the the higher tiered markets, which is perfectly fine. It will be mostly like other markets in your town, I believe. Be formal, speak clearly, thank the storekeeper for their wares and time....That is how you do things over there, correct? I must admit I did not exactly read up on how you deal with your merchants and other such things."
"Not hungry huh? Uh...huh." Seth said, not being entirely convinced that Fei was telling him the whole story. Regardless, she seemed to want to get some rest, which was probably a pretty good idea. She had a rough day, and probably a rough tomorrow ahead of her. Would be best if she was well rested for it all.
In the meantime, Seth took the time to look about and note how Raven was apparently starving as she had grabbed most things on the table to enjoy. He couldn't help but grin at her...persistence in eating. Course, maybe things like this just drifted over her easily. Seth had finished his small meal, and was just contentedly sitting still listening to the conversations around himself.
Magical artifact of the trials...?
Phebe raised her eyebrow and stopped chewing when he mentioned it. She hadn't heard him mentioning that before, maybe he had, but she hadn't been listening that intently to everything this man had said.
She quickly swallowed her food.
"What is the trials?"
The wings had been interesting on their own, but to actually get a chance to prove her worth in what she assumed was physical or mental tests, not magic ones, was appealing to her. An elemental could be more than tied down by the fate forced upon them. At least, she wanted to believe so.
He said that those who weren't born with wings didn't want to attract attention to themselves. She wonderded why, but before she got a chance to ask he turned to another of the mages. She hoped he would tell her more about the trials though.
Drew's response to Gabriel's comments was a usable one. Perhaps speaking to someone in charge of observing or studying the temple was the next step before passing through its portal. As Gabe thought this over, continuing to eat, he picked up on another conversation... the topic of which was intriguing.
"Are you born with wings or can anyone get them?" Directed at the Prime Minister, this question came from one of the mages, to whom Gabe hadn't spoken. A woman clearly older than him, with darkish skin and blonde hair.
The Prime Minister's response explained both a lot and a little. Basic information on a variety of related topics. Gabriel was starting to form the impression that that was how the man worked as a general rule. Telling people the basics of what they needed to know, and not more. An interesting tactic for the one who ruled the city.
"Well, the wings are indeed being born with. You could get them from the magical artifact of the trials if you wished, but I wouldn't think you to be very interested in that. Especially since you could pass the trials and still be ruled unable to properly handle the wings. However, nearly all that you see who have wings tend to be born with them. There are very few exceptions, and they tend to not want to attract attention."
Interesting... Gabriel had wondered earlier about what it would be like to fly, or just to possess a pair of great pinions like the ones he had seen on many people in many different shapes and, well, designs, for lack of a better word. It was almost as if they were specially grown based on the individual. But the trials, though... that sounded like something that anyone could attempt. Though the unexplained nature of these challenges concerned him. He would ask for more information if the blonde woman's following question did not give him enough to go on.
"Alright, I just didn't want to offend anyone during my stay if it can be avoided. I would like to abide by the customs of the land that is hosting me rather than live in the way I'm used to and anger everybody." Alexander replied before eating the food on his plate.
He looked back at Fei. "Sleepy? Yeah, I think getting some rest would be a good idea." he took her hand, heading out of the hall. He waved to the others when he was at the door, not bothering to turn around. As the two walked down the hallway, he turned to Fei. "Fei... I know this is a lot. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. You want to talk about it?" he spoke softer to Fei than he did to anyone else. "I mean I never imagined we'd wake up one day and have to consider all this..." He sighed. This was as much to vent to her as it was to help her.
"I want wings. Do you think they'd let me do the trials?" she asked. "Maybe we can both get wings. Imagine mommy and daddy's faces when we come back with wings and tell them that we went and did dangerous things. Maybe they'll even give us a reward at the Academy! Can you ask?"
She thought about their predicament while she asked her question. "We're with a lot of other mages. And a lot of them are already smart. Like you, and the scary Weaver... and we have a few Adepts already. Don't you think we could take whatever's wrong? I mean, they sent people who weren't good with magic... I don't think he would let us come if he didn't think we could do it..."
It was often said amongst Nightshades that you never know who the best gathers of information were, because the best never let on that they were actually gathering. So while Raven was enjoying the food provided by the outsiders, she was listening intently. When the prospect of acquiring wings came up, that's what really got her attention.
So there is a method...interesting. The young girl who frightened so easily seemed particularly interested as well. If I were able to get those wings, I could truly impose my will on those who oppose me. Pretty hard to do anything when you're dangling at 1000 feet. Yes....this is definitely something to look into. She thought about what the Prime Minister said though, about not being interested in wings if rewarded after the trials. Hmmm, perhaps there are other methods of power he's referring to...maybe I can learn to break minds too. That would show that bastard. That would show all of them.
She maintained her speed as she finished off the food on her plate. Once emptied, she got up from her seat to get some more food. It had been a longer trip than she realized, and she was still hungry. It helped that the food tasted exquisite.
The Prime Minister paused for a moment at the question of what the trials were. After sitting for a moment in somewhat silent nature, he had apparently come to an answer that he considered suitable.
"The trials are exactly that. Trials. They are not 'chosen', and there isn't a way to find out or cheat them until you have begun. The artifact will also sometimes exact vengeance on those who attempt to abuse its gift. And if you must know, there is a price to be paid for the trials, exacted and chosen by the artifact itself. You won't have a choice in the matter, and you WILL give it up to it, or you will walk away with nothing despite all you have done. Again, there is good reason why I wouldn't imagine you mages to be too interested in the trials, and would prefer it if you were to stay away from such ideas. While I won't necessarily try to stop you if you greatly persist, I am not responsible for anything that happens in those trials. I hope you understand that." The Prime Minister said rather firmly.
Taking a long drink and then setting it down with a sigh, the Prime Minister looked over the mages and grinned. He seemed rather well spirited despite most of the day slipping past himself. He turned and nodded to Alexander, noting the politeness that he was concerned about.
"Of course. It can be generally advised that politeness works with...most individuals. Just do not deal with most of the specialists, and you will be just fine in your etiquette." Standing up, he proceeded towards the doors to follow along slightly with Fei and Drew.
"I am going to go take care of some personal affairs. When you leave the guards can direct you to your rooms, and I am sure that you can find out which is meant for each of your....elemental preferences from there. A good evening to you all."
And with that, the Prime Minister stepped past Fei and Drew, calmly walking in the opposite direction and turning the corner to suddenly reach out and pick up Jade who was trying her best to stay hidden. As the he began walking, Drew and Fei distinctly heard the Prime Minister speak to his daughter.
"....and YOU should be sleeping, little missy. Shouldn't be eavesdropping like that on daddy and his guests."
As Seth watched Fei and Drew, and then suddenly the Prime Minister, he noted that suddenly it was only the mages who were in the room. He wasn't sure how to feel about that, but he now took the time to roll over the new information that they had all just heard.
Trials to get wings, but a steep price to be paid? Seth was sure it would be a steep price. These wings were the first he had ever seen on people before, and imagine that the trials to get them probably just as difficult and rare. Also, how he referred to them so strangely wasn't exactly assuring either. In fact, the whole situation made him uneasy. Seth figured he would be better off keeping his feet on the ground rather than trying to take to the skies. Hard enough to handle things on the ground in the first place anyways.
"Well then.....Thoughts? Ideas? Inspiration? Wings? Anyone else have any idea where we stand in this place? Cause I don't have a damn clue as to what I should be thinking about yet. Except this food, which is pretty damn delicious." Seth said out loud, largely because at this point he was just wondering where they all stood on this half thought journey.
....And where are the soldiers? I would expect there to be a barracks right here, this place being so paranoid.....but I have yet to see training places, no where to really test my blade skills....Of all things, I want to be able to defend myself without looking mage-like. Regardless....We'll see what the group holds now....
Raven finished piling more food on her plate sat down back down, closer to the group this time. "It seems too damn perfect here," she said in a low voice. "Like evil perfect. One big happy community, getting all these technological boosts and everything. I don't like it." And what's the point of having wings if I can't abuse the ability to fly? Rotten justice system.
It seemed that the trials were dangerous... that was the impression Gabriel got from the Prime Minister's words. Prices to be paid, challenges that one could not know about beforehand... it sounded like a lot had to be done in order to obtain the gift of taking to the air. Before he had a chance to properly reflect on it, though, Seth spoke up. He appeared to be lacking direction.
Taking a last mouthful of food, he spoke up after swallowing it, during which time one of the other mages spoke quietly. She sounded paranoid... Nightshade-ish behaviour. Gabriel elected not to comment, instead choosing to speak in response to Seth.
"I'm not too sure either... I think a priority should be to investigate the temple a bit more before we pass through it into the unknown. Maybe take some time to get used to being away from the Academy... that might just be me. And... well, I wanna find out a bit more about these trials. There's got to be something that someone can tell us, even if they can't be determined beforehand. I doubt they'll need to be solved through magic, since the people of Kerbones favour a technological approach... what if they need technology, though, which we might not have? And fighting? I don't know... I'm no good as a fighter. And what did the Prime Minister mean by prices? Does he mean a monetary cost... or something worse..."
Gabe realised he was rambling, and quickly stopped himself before he let his mouth run away further. Getting in over his head was not one of the best things to do, especially when talking to older, more skilled mages.