23 Affinity Tes
After some time, Evangeline arrived in front of an old establishment named [The Bear Tavern]
"Remember, don't be aggressive and do not look disgusted by her appearance, alright?", Evangeline warned once again before opening the door.
Inside, there were five tables and many chairs, though there were no client whatsoever. After taking a closer look, Drake found out that there was someone. A 'woman', if she could be called so.
Her face was completely scarred with burns, and a giggle of insanity could be heard. As she realized that her friend Evangeline arrived, she ran and hugged her.
"Evangeline! You are the first person I've seen in this past month!", she said in a creepy and fragile voice.
Drake would have taken her for a disabled person if it weren't for her red robes. She was obviously a rank 2 acolyte, part of the elite of Helios.
"I brought you a few clients. He is the knight who beat me thoroughly in battle yet treated me and my subordinates with respect. In exchange, I have sworn to help him settle in Helios and vouch for him at the tower", she said without leaving a detail to her friend.
The woman started to stare at Drake, and started to scrutinize him. Anyone, especially a noble, would have felt wronged at her rudeness. However, she was a rank 2 acolyte, so Drake couldn't say much, not to mention that he was also scrutinizing her to gather some data for his biochip.
"Hi, I am Drake Moonlight, first heir of the Moonlight Household. I am a knight who recently awakened, hence my presence in Helios", Drake broke the ice, "These two spearmen are elite immaculate guards, Black Rat and White Rat, and this brute here is Lewis, my squire"
"Hi…I am Felicia Mayflies, a rank 2 acolyte. Since Evangeline vouched for you, I won't charge you for your first two months in Helios. Thereafter, you will have to pay one magic crystal per room."
"Thank you, Felicia", Drake answered in respect. She was doing him a favour after all.
After settling a few issues and catching the latest news, Evangeline then accompanied Drake to one of the twelve towers: The Tower of Grandmaster Kayle, a shut-in magus who spent most of his days concocting potions according to Evangeline.
Upon entering the tower, Drake could feel the density of mana in the air increase by a significant amount. It was truly…breath-taking experience.
After crossing the hall, the duo appeared in front of an old man.
Evangeline spoke: "I am Evangeline, rank 1 acolyte. I have come across a promising acolyte, Drake of the Moonlight Household. He has earned minor membership to the Magical Court through the King himself, and I've confirmed his awakening. He has the potential to become an acolyte. I will pay for the affinity test."
The old man, who looked like a mummy, took a look at Drake, and then smirked. He wore golden robes, meaning that he was a rank 3 acolyte, a true powerhouse. However, he also seemed bound to the tower, for Evangeline never mentioned him.
"Alright. It will be ten magic crystals."
The old man approached Drake with a orb radiating blue light.
[Beep! Insufficient data to appraise the item]
"Put your hand on the orb, and interact with the mana within it", he said in a low voice.
"How am I suppose to know how to interact with it?", Drake said, astonished at the old man.
Drake knew he had awakened his spirit, hence his presence in Helios. But, he had never used mana per se!
"You will know when you put your hand on it. Don't worry. Even grade 1 talent can do it, and if you're not even a grade 1 talent, you have nothing to do in the most prestigious Magus organization in the continent."
Drake nodded and listened to the flustered old man. He put his hand on the orb, and at first, Drake felt true fright. Nothing was happening. He could feel the mana within it…but interacting with it felt like an impossible task!
However, as the old man started frowning, Drake felt a force calling for him. Listening to his instincts, Drake managed to feel the mana, and more accurately, interact with the white magical particles within it.
Evangeline was looking at the orb, in awe. The orb was releasing air as if it was wind. It was…unconceivable.
'I remember when I did the test…it only brightened slightly as proof of my affinity with divination magic. For the orb to release such huge amount of air, he must be at least a grade 3 talent. Perhaps he is even a grade 4 talent!", Evangeline thought.
She had never witnessed an affinity test besides hers. Most of her time in Helios was spent either in meditation or missions. She had become an acolyte six years ago, when she was about Drake's age, after awakening. She had been tested with medium grade 2 talent, enough to qualify as above average within Helios. She was even pretty popular among acolytes, since her divinations were extraordinary insightful, even if she was just a rank 1 acolyte.
She could not glimpse into the future as many thoughts, but she could get a general feeling of which place would be extraordinarily chaotic, like a battlefield, or an ambush. If her life was in danger or that of her friends, she would feel a bad omen. This is how she survived despite taking dangerous missions, and this is how she earned her magical artefact.
The old man's face made a 180° turn upon appraising the results. Grinning, he exclaimed: "Lower Grade 5 Talent in the wind element! Haha! How many years has it been since the last grade 5 talent appeared in Helios? Come with me, lad. Our lord Kayle will talk to you personally."
Everyone in the room was in awe. They all knew how discriminating talent was in Helios. Not only would highly talented people get treated with utmost care, their growth rate was also extraordinarily fast!
Talent meant higher growth rate, easier manipulation of mana, and thus faster casting speed. Usually, high talent also meant high comprehension of magic, but it really depended on the person.
Before he could say anything, the old man gripped his hands, and despite being a knight, he couldn't even resist as he was dragged in the sky.
A minute later, Drake was facing one of the strongest powerhouses in the whole continent: Grandmaster Kayle, a water-elemental magus who reached unparalleled mastery of alchemy, providing Helios with countless high-grade potions.
Drake was in his laboratory. Inside, he could see hundreds of vials filled with all kinds of greenish liquid and solutions. There were also plenty of transparent boxes filled with pills as well as herbs. It was shocking. Drake didn't know the individual value of these potions, but he knew that since a magus treated them with such care, they were probably invaluable.
The Magus seemed pleased with the news, as he was showing a rare smile, which rather surprised Drake who had heard the rumours of Magi being apathetic.
Grandmaster Kayle then began to speak: "Drake Moonlight, huh? I have heard of your House before, a few hundred years before. There was a Grand Knight leading the family at the time. Who would have thought that one of his descendants would show such talent in magic!"
"You praise me too much, my lord", Drake said while feeling the tremendous pressure of the man who was merely speaking to him. His mind was cloudy, as if a terrifying beast was preying on him.
"You can talk to me despite not even being a rank 1 acolyte? Oh…I see", Grandmaster Kayle muttered while appraising Drake, "And you're already a knight with so much vitality despite being so young. To surprise me twice in a day, you are quite something. I will not beat around the bush. I want you to sign a contract."
"What contract?", Drake said, while frowning in suspicions.
"Don't worry, it will not be harmful to you. In fact, by signing the contract, you will earn a scholarship of 100 magic crystals since you are a grade 5 talent. Furthermore, since you have earned my acknowledgement, I am even willing to grant you a wind-elemental spell I acquired not too long ago. It is of higher quality than what is usually found in markets, so grasp this opportunity. In exchange, you will become a treasured member of the Magical Court, bound by its principles and its laws", Grandmaster said while handing a scroll.
On it, a dozen laws were written down, but the man quickly reassured Drake: "Even though these laws are written in black ink, only one matters: strength. You might be talented, but the path of knowledge is very difficult. Luck and background plays a huge role in this."
Drake read everything carefully, and nodded upon seeing laws such as not killing fellow acolytes belonging to the Magical Court, or not killing innocents belonging to the Porfield Kingdom. If not for these laws, there would be a huge civil war nobles and acolytes.
However, there was one law that really bothered him: [Article 13: In case the acolyte fails to abide by these laws or betray the Magical Court, the Kingdom will use every means at its disposal to pursue and destroy him.]
It meant that if Drake betrayed the organization, it would get revenge by using all of the kingdom's means. His family might even be used as bait to force him to come out. Despite feeling uncomfortable with It, since the biochip didn't manifest any displeasure.
Furthermore, as a grade 5 talent, he had access to a special benefit: [Article 29: For grade 5 talents and above, upon reaching the peak of the rank 3 realm, acolytes may receive restricted knowledge and personal guidance from a magus to breakthrough. Furthermore, a special elixir called Volcano potion will be granted to increase the odds of breaking through in exchange for twenty years of service from the newly advanced magus.]
Drake nodded. Everything seemed fair, so he signed.
"Good! You are now officially a member of the Magical Court! Take this sigil. With it, you can have access to the lower levels of the magical library without having to pay a fee. Remember to always abide by the Magical Court Principles, and its motto: Knowledge is power. Good luck, and don't waste your talent. Let's meet again."
Drake then fainted, as the magus looked into his eyes.
"Take him to his friend and send him the things I promised. Hopefully, he won't disappoint me", he said to the old man.