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[←Chapter 62] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 64→]
The students were quickly dismissed by the Mentor after Efrain declared a winner, who was desperate to do damage control.
“Okay, okay,” he said, brushing down his coat and coughing, “I see that we have failed to meet your standards. On behalf of the entire academy, I apologize immensely.”
Efrain, now that his temper had cooled, and upon realizing that he actually found the situation quite funny, put his hand on the man’s shoulder.
“No, no,” he laughed, “it was all merely an overreaction. Nicolo loved practical jokes. But, for all that, I doubt he would’ve continued teaching at this academy for years if he had no investment beyond it pranking me.”
And just like that, the man’s hope was restored.
“Yes, yes of course,” he said, “although I suggest you not tell what the inscription says to the other faculty. Some have spent… years on it.”
“No wonder, it’s a personal language we made up when we were youths. It’s a ramshackle, cobbled together thing, nigh-impossible to figure out, unless one was inflicted by the insight of drunken insanity.”
The man laughed, Efrain laughed, and he looked around at the academy’s towers and bridges.
“Well, he did fine for himself, clearly,” Efrain said, “even married an Eisen. Its good to know he spared some thought for me, even if it was to pull one over in death. Now I can’t even get revenge now. Clever bastard.”
“Yes, quite,” said the man, coughing, “now, I would be happy to show you to your office. It’s one of our finest.”
The whole situation wasn’t merely funny, he decided, it was hilarious. Unfortunately for Nicolo, Efrain still remembered some of his more embarrassing exploits. He wondered if the man had a biography that was taught - perhaps it needed some correction by a primary source.
“Well, lead on,” he said to the Mentor.
They proceeded from one of the lower bridges to the largest of the four connected towers. The panelled walls were both old and expensive, indicating that the school was indeed more than a joke Students of multiple ages and stripes went this way and that, some carrying books, others merely chatting among friends. Several more hallways and a staircase or two later, the mentor stood before a tall door.
“And here it is,” he said, puffing out his chest with pride, “one of our best.”
“That’s the second time,” Efrain noted, and the man self-consciously pushed open the door, revealing a narrow room.
It was comfortable, with a large desk taking up most of the space, a small bed and stove tucked into the corner. The wall behind the desk was mostly of modest bookshelves, stocked with tomes, some familiar, others not so much. A single, large window, open shutters flung outward, looked out toward the center of the city. The mentor looked around, and then at Efrain, clearly anxious to please.
“Wonderful,” Efrain said, “I hope I’m not depriving anyone of their space for my short stay.”
“No, no, not at all,” the mentor said, “in fact, your timing was fortuitous. One of the professors has elected to retire.”
“Ah,” Efrain said, sitting in the large chair behind the desk.
“You must be exhausted,” said the Mentor, hovering by the door, “I suppose I’ll just come and check on you in the morning. Supposedly your group is to attend the Festival as honoured guests.”
“News to me,” Efrain said, leaning back as he looked out the open window.
“Would you like a change of clothes, a meal, water to bathe in?” said the man.
“No, thank you,” Efrain said, “in fact, I wouldn’t mind a brief tour, actually.”
The man’s face lit up in response to the casual suggestion - clearly he took pride in the institution.
“Yes, yes, why of course, I would be happy to,” he said, “when would you like to begin?”
“Now,” Efrain said, getting up from his chair and moving past the man.
“Actually, now that I think of it, the last of the evening classes should be just starting,” said the Mentor, “would you like to sit in on one. It uses your books.”
A couple minutes, and Efrain was sitting in the back of a small room, dozens of fresh-faced students looking back between him and a professor at a lectern.
“So, as we discussed in the last class,” said the old man with a beard hanging over his considerable stomach, “actually, who would dare to tell me what is the ultimate goal of magic.”
Efrain was busy rifling through the provided textbook on the matter, his apprehension growing with every page that he passed. He’d forgotten just how bad some of his earliest work had been, and now was reliving his mistakes with vivid horror. Several hands rose, and a young girl who couldn’t be more than twelve was selected.
“Magic is a purest expression of the human,” she said, clearly reciting what she’d learned by heart, “it is an attempt to get away from the base naturalness of ourselves and transcend into something greater.”
Efrain stifled a groan as he heard his early and more poetic pondering on magics parroted back at him.
The class continued on until Efrain couldn’t stand it any longer. The professor was in the middle of explaining how magic could be derived from the environment, which was correct, but that was inferior in all cases to simply deriving it from oneself, which wasn’t. Efrain snapped the booklet shut as loud as he could, drawing the gaze of everyone in the class.
“Alright,” he said, getting up, “we need to stop. Stop. All of this is a mistake.”
The professor, quite confused, looked towards the mentor for any sign that he should intervene. The mentor merely shook his head as Efrain stalked towards the lectern.
“My good man, take a seat for a little while,” Efrain said, “there are some errors of mine I have to correct.”
He gripped the edges of the lectern, trying to decide how best to approach this, and begun by clearing his throat.
“Is knowledge truth?” he said, prompting a rash of confused stares.
He departed from the lectern, and walked in front of the students.
“Again, is knowledge truth? Is knowledge automatically, by definition, true?”
“Well, yes,” said a young man slowly.
“Ah,” Efrain said, rounding on him, “so, if I were to stumble on half a conversation a noblewoman has about some innocent meeting she had with a young man, mistook it for an affair, and reported it to her husband, would I be lying?”
“Well, yes, kind of?” said the boy, his brows furrowing. Several of the other students blushed at the impropriety of the statement.
“But that was using the knowledge I possessed, and if knowledge is truth, then where is the lie?” Efrain said, sitting on the edge of the table, “all I did was relay my knowledge, hence, relay the truth to my friend, her husband.”
“I- I-,” said the boy, “then you were misinformed.”
“Precisely,” Efrain said, taking the book from before him and walking back to the front of the class to raise it before the children.
“The truth cannot lie, by definition, but knowledge can, implying that it is a distinct entity from the truth,” Efrain said, as he rounded the lectern.
“Perhaps it is not a matter of relaying the truth,” called the mentor from the back, “but inferring the truth only from half-knowledge.”
Efrain pointed the booklet towards him.
“And that is why he is a mentor and you are still students,” Efrain said, “but what is the point I hear you asking?”
A few genuinely seemed to think he could hear their thoughts and shrank back from this strange, belligerent man.
“The point is this - the books you’re reading are nonsense. Inferences made from a tiny amount of knowledge, by an overconfident idiot.”
The professor started forward at this sacrilege of the texts, but the mentor held him back.
“Now, if you’re intelligent, which I’m sure all of you are, you should be asking about now, ‘how could he possibly know? Who is he to come into our class and start making such claims?’ That’s good,” Efrain paused, and pointed to the cover.
“Would someone care to read me the title of this particular text?” he said.
One of the students, another boy, looked down and began to say in a high, weedly voice.
“Basic Principles of Magic: A Treatise,” he said, looking up to see if he’d somehow passed whatever test Efrain was given him.
“Keep going young man,” Efrain said, nodding him on.
“W-written by Nicolo Eisen, Efrain Belacore, and Avidius Armsted, compiled by Nicolo Eisen and Avidius Armsted.”
“Which is to say, ‘principally written by Efrain Belacore and Avidius Armsted, with footnotes of historical nature by Nicolo Eisen.’ He was always more interested in the history anyways,” Efrain said, slapping the book on the lectern.
The children all looked back and forth between each other, trying to see if any had an understanding better than themselves.
“To answer your question,” Efrain said, “the reason I both possibly know and get to come into your class and make such claims is that I am the middle name on your textbook.”
The explosion of curiosity and confusion was a delight to Efrain, who held up the book to the ceiling, pointing to it.
“To be clear, my name, young ones, is Efrain Belacore, and I’m here to tell you why half of my book is wrong, and the other half is incomplete.”
The class sat in dumbfounded silence, trying to gauge what the appropriate response to such information could possibly be.
“Let’s start with something simple, though, young lady,” Efrain pointed to the young girl who’d given the first definition to start the class.
“Restate your definition, if you’d be so kind,” he said, which she did word for word.
“I wrote that line when I was under the impression that magic was apart from the natural world,” Efrain said, “in the sense that it could be used to transform it, to add value to it, much like some artists will say that their paintings cut through to the soul of the subject, removing the mortal veil on top of it or some hogwash like that.”
Efrain walked in front of the class.
“We are all part of the natural world, even if we strive to rise above it, whatever that means,” Efrain said, “you get cut, you bleed, you do that enough you die, your body returns to the earth, and so on and so forth. Magic is an extension of all those natural processes, not something apart from it. So, young men and women, do not spurn the world in the pursuit of magic.”
Efrain spied a beautifully made pin, stuck in the hair of a young woman.
“Excuse me, could I borrow that for a moment?” he said, gesturing to the pin.
“Uh, y-yes, sure,” she said, hastily pulling out the pin and letting her hair fall around her shoulders as she presented it to him.
“Thank you very much,” he said, as he held up the pin.
“Right, do not spurn it in the pursuit of magic, rather, embrace it. Seek inspiration in it,” Efrain said, focusing on the butterfly motif.
Again, unbidden, the memories of exploding light and claps of sound.
Copies of the exact butterfly carven on the head of the pin streamed out, following trails of light to explode into pinwheels of light. The children shrieked, at first in fear than in delight as the show continued, and Efrain handed the pin back to its owner. She looked at the pin in what seemed like awe, checking it over for any alteration.
“The pin is intact,” Efrain said, “like I said - inspiration. I had no need to change it.”
The mentor was by his side, clapping at the show.
“I say, marvellously, marvellously done,” he said, “a finer display of magic I’ve never seen. You truly are a master.”
“If that passes for a ‘fine display’, mentor, you are easy to please,” Efrain chuckled, “now, I suggest we leave the poor professor to his work.”
“Oh, I don’t think so,” the Mentor said, “after all, you’ve just ruined the integrity of the text he taught from! Students, you are dismissed from your studies for the day. Emilio, take a break for tonight, me and master Efrain have some discussions to have.”
It crossed Efrain’s mind that he might’ve just signed up for some extensive work in the near future. This however, was his academic integrity, and he wasn’t about to let those notes be his legacy, if he was going to have one. They took up the conversation in the hallway, leaving the students filing out behind them.
“That was simply incredible,” the mentor said, “I’m shocked that you were able to do it off the cuff. Just like that.”
“It was nothing,” Efrain said, “and that’s not self-praise, mentor. If you’re not able to do simple illusions of light like, then ‘my’ books have led you astray.”
Efrain stopped to look out through a window, seeing the central pyramid and its rooftop garden. “Though that’s not entirely fair to Nicolo and Armsted. I’ve been travelling and studying for nigh-on two centuries since I left. I’ve learned much more than what they were left to work with.”
When Efrain turned back to the man, he found that he was bowing low.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh please, master Efrain,” said the man, “please, led us back to greatness.”
“You are truly, the most knowledgeable, the most revered, the most brilliant-”
“Stop that,” Efrain said, “I left my patience for flattery about a half-thousand miles west. Say what you mean, plainly.”
He tried to tell himself that was the truth, but he couldn’t deny it made his chest swell to hear such things, especially after so long on his own.
“We need you,” said the man, astonishing Efrain as he wiped tears from his eyes, “we are but children, stumbling around-”
“Do you do this with every guest?” Efrain said, trying to tamp down on the delight he felt.
“What? N-no. Be the mentor! I will gladly renounce it, if you are there to take the place. Lead our school, master Efrain!”
Efrain held his face as he considered what the man had just said.
“No,” he said, quashing the image of mentor Efrain squarely and firmly right there.
“B-but why?” the mentor blubbered, “anything you want, I’ll give it to you, anything! Name it and-”
“But I will rewrite those gods-damned books you have. Fill them with my current knowledge, which is far superior than that poetic dreck that I made back in the day,” Efrain said, “I would not be able to live with myself, if I left you with that swill.”
“Oh thank you! Thank you!” said the mentor, clasping his hands.
“Now, let’s get back to my office,” Efrain said, “I’m finding myself quite tired of this whole affair.”
“Yes, yes, of course,” said the man, straightening himself and gesturing the way.
“Tell me,” Efrain said, “your begging seems to indicate that the academy’s future is dire.”
“Oh, it’s bad,” sighed the man heavily, “we simply haven’t been able to produce things that are of much use. It is our shame, and as such, we’ve moved much of the studies to other, more practical subjects. Maths, history - magic is quickly becoming a pure pursuit of knowledge. The Eisen matriarch seems not to mind, but Poutash, and many of the established houses, well…”
Efrain nodded as he climbed the main stairs, shuffling by students. He tried to ignore the irrational guilt that plagued him. He’d just managed to put a lid on it as they reached the office, where within he sank into the chair. The mentor stood nervously by the door, almost like an attending student, not the director of a school. Efrain wondered how he got the position in the first place.
“Well, that was enlightening,” Efrain said, “I’ll retire now, I think.”
“Of course,” said Avencia, “yes, we shall leave you to it. I will have dinner sent up.”
“No need, we had some in the city,” Efrain said, “I don’t eat all that much anyways. Tell me, are there any particular teas you’d recommend? Local speciality or imported, I don’t care.”
The man thought for a few moments.
“I would have to ask someone else, but I will send up a set as soon as possible,” he said.
“Oh, and the books,” Efrain said, reclining back on the chair and looking out the window.
“Which books?” said the man excitedly.
“All of them. Any of them that bear my name,” Efrain said, “In fact, just send me all your core texts for magic. If I need any sort of historical references, I’ll make up a list while I’m reading them.”
The man practically stumbled over himself, thanking Efrain profusely and indicating that the entire curriculum would be sent up, as well as paper and ink. When the door shut, the quiet seemed almost unnatural to Efrain after the busy day he’d had. He picked up a book from the shelf, some piece of Karkosian history from a man he’d never heard of.
He sat back down in the chair, and curiously, he found his eyesight beginning to swim as he tried to parse the page. His body felt… heavy, exhausted even. He tried to resist it, tried to fight it as the book fell open on his lap, but his vision darkened, and soon Efrain had drifted off to sleep. [←Chapter 62] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 64→]
Tldr: 95 in my math class (4.0 GPA), ate lunch at a park alone (social anxiety plus a fear of people watching me eat), followed through with a job I was scared to start but it wasn't that bad, and freedommmmm
So I've made it though my 3rd term of school and this term I has my first math class in over 5 years because I dropped out of high school and got my GED. But even when I was in school I was failing with 60s due to my depression.... well this class I have a 95✨️ im even starting statistics in a few weeks for summer term. I actually love my school and I'm planning to keep my grades up enough because I kinda was to go to an ivy league just for fun and a challenge, not cuz I really care about those schools, but ideally MIT is the one I'm aiming for just since they're the hardest to get into. So wish me luck on that!
Then I spent 7 months unemployed and as a last resort to avoid homelessness I got a job at Amazon..this is my 3rd week and I still haven't quit lmao. I actually got approved for medical leave my second week because I was super stressed and told them I was too depressed to work. They didn't even fire me and working there isn't as bad as I thought it would be. It's pretty chill and some of the guys are cute which keeps my day interesting😌 plus they allow earphones at my location so I'm able to use that time to catch up on all my podcasts.
Today and yesterday was the first day I had school and work in one day. Yesterday I stopped at the city's rose garden and today I ate lunch at the park by the pond.(photos of both on my profile) Doesn't seem like much but for me doing that much in one day is normally super stressful and I'll forget to eat and end up sick which adds to the stress... but I actually ate and didn't come home depressed 😭 even though I moved across the country to escape my abuse, I still feel trapped in a way? Like I have a car, I have some money, i can do whatever i want whenever but i always find excuses not to do something. So im trying to break that habit. I'm a runner too and I've started just running whenever the hell I want. Like my legs work and sidewalks are infinite, so why keep running the same block everyday? I ran at the waterfront one day, and it was so nice to do something I like in a new location. Although only down side is I have shit lungs due to growing up in a hoarders house lmao. So after a certain point I end up running too far and have to walk back. It's so embarrassing to see 50 year olds running fastefarther than myself 😭😭
But yeah I think that's it. It's not much I still have no friends or boyfriend which sucks but atleast my life is kind of getting back on track.
End of rant/update
Can someone confirm if this is official for the show later, because this looks too good to be true...
Last night I watched Across the spiderverse and for those who don't know it mostly deals with some events that cannot be avoided no matter what we do. Though while watching I didn't related to my own life but my dream did. So it started with a party happening in my college and I went there late. To my suprise everyone is drunk which is not allowed by college. I don't know whom to approach as I don't have very close friends. Then I see a friend of mine N and ask her just tell me where food is served and she takes me to the kitchen place. And there I see all sober people. I feel safe there. I eat the food and ask her whereabouts of my crush S. She denies telling. After that there is a event which is similar to pubg where people will take guns and shoot each other with Nerf bullets. I take part in that but my dream is unclear and it feels like they are real guns. I try to shoot someone and it barely touched someone but till then I am almost 1% health. But somehow I survive and run away from there. Again I went back to N and ask if she has a gun. She says yes I will take you out don't worry. She takes me to the place where my crush is. I tried talking with her and she says that she is seeing someone. I feel sad but throughout the conversation she kept her arms over my shoulder and it gives assurance that everything would be fine. I ask her whether his crush more better than mine and she says such comparision are useless. Then I ask her that for you it's first relationship what if for him it's not first. She usually says past does matter but present matters more but this time she says that it would matter but I really love him so I won't care. And talk more like for 30 mins and later we leave. While leaving I directly get teleported back home as if whole thing was illusion. I usually had nightmares when my crush was involved in dream but this time I woke up happily. So here is my stupid dream which I had just now.
I recently went on vacation & was super excited to see a local toy store with a HUGE selection! At least huge in terms of what I normally find here in Canada lol. I finally picked up some sets I've been wanting to for years but didn't feel like purchasing through Amazon.
I also got the Persian Cat Triplets even though I already have them, because I plan on turning these ones into a pair of earrings + a keychain :-P
Any other collectors from Canada?
I guess I’ll get an answer to my questions on June 10. But anxiety/curiosity is eating me up and I just wanna hear about others experiences.
Context: -Hyundai dealership -In Canada if that matters. -Purchased a CPO (powertrain plan) 2019 Elantra GT N-Line. -Purchased Mar 31 2023 and have driven it 10,000 kms. -First tried AC sometime in Mid-May and it blew hot air. -CPO checklist states the AC system as “ok” and not “needs repairs”
Hello, I’m Johnny I’m a 36 year old single Caucasian male from Tennessee but open to meeting someone further away. Looking to see who’s out there. Hoping to meet the one. I’m shy but warm up quick. I’m a veteran and I work on improving myself everyday and making plans for a better future. I’ve been through a lot but I speak up for myself and aim to help others. I’m a fighter and never quit or back down. I can be stubborn and strong willed. But also real chill. My friends tell me that I’m a good person. I’m 6’1 big stocky guy with a beard. Red headed and red beard. But my hair on my head turned dark as I got older. I shave my head. I’d love to have someone to talk to and looking for something long term. I love all kinds of music like rock music, metal, rap, alternative rock and all kinds of music. I love watching action movies, going walking, I love the beach, going out to eat, going to the park and the movies. Love to go hiking. I love animals and dogs. I love target practice shooting for sport and fun only. I’m open to new things. Love hanging out with friends. I don’t drink much but don’t mind socially like on the weekend or going out sometimes. I consider myself spiritual/new age but not religious. I get into metaphysical stuff. I love to read spiritual books and self help books. I also love driving and would love to travel more and I love the outdoors and camping. I love swimming. Going to the rec center or the gym. I’ve always had a hard time dating because of my shyness and due to my anxiety and being high functioning autistic. But I’m not going to label and define myself. I try and do my best and that is what counts the most. I’m a real down to earth genuine man and love to find someone to love and take care of and treat them right.
Today I had a delivery where I had to park half a block down and around the corner, because it was trash day, and there were a bunch of cans filling all the free space next to the curbs. Also today, I had to circle around the block to find parking, because the customer lived near the site of a graduation ceremony.
Customers, before you order delivery, please poke your head out to see if there’s parking open near your location, or if there’s traffic in your area. I know it’s my job to deal with this stuff so that you don’t have to, but I still greatly appreciate it when customers are mindful of what I’ll be facing when I deliver to them. Also, the more difficult it is for me to reach you, the longer you have to wait to eat, and the longer that other customers after you have to wait to get their food.
Hi! I'm a grad student in Chicago looking to meet someone special to date and share in the fun. I love to laugh and make others laugh too. I enjoy chatting about nonsense, playing video games, and eating random food. My school semester has come to an end and I'm looking for someone to help me fight off loneliness and have some fun!
If you're near me (Chicagoland area) let's hang out and enjoy the city in the lovely spring and summer weather. We could grab takeout from one of the amazing food places in town, find a cozy spot in the park to eat, and admire the skyline. Or we could take a stroll by the lake, visit the zoo, or grab a drink at a jazz club. I'm busy with school, but I always make time for fun!
If you're not up for venturing outdoors, that's totally understandable. We can bond over online gaming (It takes two is a game I really want to play with someone), watch movies together, or have voice/video chats about anything. I enjoy learning movie trivia after watching a film and I'm currently binging the stupidly funny Netflix show Murderville.
I'm looking for someone who likes to joke around and share their quirky, nerdy knowledge or simply connect as fellow lonely nerds on the internet. Physically, I'm average height, slightly chubby, and have a cute smile (so I've been told). I exercise regularly (love to go on a daily jog/run), which has improved my physical and mental health.
I'm not going to lie - I'd also love to flirt and make each other feel wanted. We could do that too, instead of just nerdy talk! If you enjoy having conversations and appreciate someone who genuinely loves listening to stories, then I'm your guy. I consider myself a great hug giver and would love to share a hug during these challenging times.
If I've piqued your interest, send me a message with a bit about yourself and a song you really like (a song I currently really like is Dummy by Portugal the man). Let's see if we can bring each other a little happiness or maybe more! I'll be happy to share a picture so you can see what I look like.