Reinstatement (1/3)

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(( ”Twelfth?? ”)) Margaret stared at the rectangle, her eyes scanning the information rapidly, going through it over and over again, as if rereading would change the words on the image before her. (( ”Thats impossible. Isn there only supposed to be eleven?! ”))

Elemental Rookies were rare. Almost rare enough to be counted on three hands.

Despite how simple becoming a Rookie sounded on paper, very few individuals in the world could pass the Trials before the age of 13. In order to pass, one must successfully complete 2 out of 3 Trials, testing ones magical abilities, physical abilities, and combat ability. Very few could even pass the requirements for the first two at the age of 14, let alone any time before that. Those that DID manage to surpass the average could only do so at 13, when their physical capabilities and combat prowess had been substantially heightened. It was almost impossible to become a Rookie without possessing monstrous talent and training, of which the vast majority of individuals lacked, regardless of race or gender.

Every decade, there were a select few who would always pass the Trials with flying colors and take their place as Elemental Rookies. Without exception, these people would either go on to make peerless achievements that rocked the worlds or would die young.

In the current decade, there were only supposed to be 11 who had made it. At least, thats what Margaret had believed up until that particular moment.

”Hmmmm. Looks like they marked you as dead, ” Mako remarked, interrupting Margarets train of thought. He had his finger under his chin, a thoughtful look on his face as he stared at the information on the screen before his cloaked companion. ”Pretty interesting if you ask me. Whatcha think? ”

”Not much to say. ” The hooded figure shrugged. ”I left without telling the WGC shortly after that incident. Its reasonable to think that I didn make it out alive. ”

”Yeah. I guess you have a point, ” Mako said, in complete agreement with Jaks take. ”Suppose it doesn truly matter. ”

Swiping downwards on the rectangle, Jak closed the hologram, shutting the orb down. Without another word, the young teen reached into the folds of his cloak and pulled out the katana Margaret had noticed when they first walked up. The sheath was pitch black with veins of fiery crimson running down the length of it, a red so bright that it almost appeared to glow. The hilt was completely black while the guard was a mixture of the two colors, half black and half red. On the bottom of the sheath, a small symbol rested in the center.

Jak pulled the sword slightly out of the sheath for a brief moment, allowing the violet eyed receptionist to see the pure red, orange, and yellow mixed blade, a color that churned and swirled, as if it were a living flame. The next moment, he was handing it over to Mako, who wrapped it carefully in a blanket before taking it. It wasn until the moment Jak was walking towards the Examinees that she snapped out of the trance she had been in.

”Wait. What about the rules? And the reg- ”

”Don bother Marg. ”

The purple haired woman stopped mid-sentence, her gaze shifting from the boys receding back to the blonde haired receptionist from before. It seemed that she had managed to finish calming everyone down and silencing the unruly individuals, hence why no one was continuing to chat in anything above a whisper. Everyone, including Margaret herself, possessed a deep-rooted fear for Flora, and those that didn quickly learned why everyone else did.

”He won stop for you, ” Flora continued, light brown eyes staring at Jaks cloak. ”Theres no point in even trying to. ”

”Thats entirely correct, ” Mako muttered as he walked up to Flora, eyes also on the retreating figure. ”Jak only seems to have one gear at the moment. Forward. ”

”He hasn changed too much has he? ” Flora asked, glancing at Mako. ”Its been a while since THAT happened. ”

”No….Hes changed. ” Mako looked at the bundled up katana in his hands. A sort of ominous silence fell over him as he stared at it, red eyes gazing at the symbol near the bottom. ”Hes definitely changed. ”

”Wait, Flora. ” Margaret tilted her head. ”Are you saying you know him? How? When? Can I get the details? ”

Flora smiled. ”Don you have a job to do? ” She pointed towards the line of impatient looking people, of whom had only stayed silent due to Floras presence.

”Oh right. ” Margaret cleared her throat. ”Can the next one please step forward? ”

Flora turned to Mako. ”You be sure to take care of those things okay? Ill see you after the Trials are over. Well do some catching up then. ”

Mako nodded. ”Sure. Id be honored. ”


The WGC was shaped like a giant sideways rectangle, and the majority of it could be summed up with two boxes. The left box contained the entryway, the receptionists counter which was blocked off by thick glass that magically moved whenever needed, and the quest board, where guildless adventurers went to collect potential job opportunities. On the right box, a waiting area rested on the same side as the entryway complete with tables and cushioned chairs, and at the other side was a large empty space, where others would wait next to the doors that would take them into the Trials for the Adventurers Exam.

The crowd for the current Exam had already formed and was very near its completion, around 40+ individuals milling about, chatting, and trying to pass the time until the Exam started. Of course, the topic on hand was about the cloaked newcomer, and the majority of them didn have very nice things to say about him.

As Jak made his way into the crowd of people, the gossip and chit chat grew louder, ensuring that the hooded figure could hear every single word.

”New guy looks stupid as hell. Can believe they
e letting this ignoramus into the group. ”

”I don know. The outfit looks pretty badass. I wouldn mind wearing it. ”

”Looks pretty weak more like. Can imagine him doing well in the Exams. At least, he won be doing better then me. Competition looks pretty poor all around. ”

”I heard that hes doing a Reinstatement Exam. Meaning hes already passed the Trials. Wonder why hes taking them again. ”

”Happens all the time. Some guy passes by chance, goes Rift Hunting and learns that he can keep up with actual skill. Poor fool probably quit before he even began life as an adventurer, bailing because it was far too tough. ”

”He came in with an Elemental Rookie though. Can be all bad. ”

”Hanging out with genuine talent and skill doesn equate to HAVING talent and skill. If I was friends with the Rift King, does that mean Im just as strong? Who you hang around doesn truly mean anything without the results to back yourself. ”

”Plus hes wearing that Cloak, as if he has something to hide. Does he really think hes impressing anyone with it? ”

”Doesn it look familiar though? ”

Jak ignored their words as he made his way to the center of the pack, easily maneuvering through outstretched legs and elbow jabs meant to push him off balance. It was almost like no time had passed at all, as if he was still a ten year old kid trying out for the Exams. Nothing about the WGC had changed, from the workers to the attitude of the adventurers, it was exactly how it had been four years ago, when he had stepped up to the plate, a green youth setting his sights on the biggest dreams.

(( ”Still. These guys are annoying. ”)) Jak thought as he looked around, his hood still shielding his face with shadows. (( ”I think they
e even worse than the ones from back then. A bunch of people trying to boost their own confidence and egos by convincing themselves theres someone worse off. ”))

The cloaked individual chose to say nothing as people continued to mock him, never quite getting to the point where a regular person would snap but always getting very close. It seemed to Jak that they had done this kind of thing before as they always kept away from mentioning anything personal or things others would consider sensitive. It was hard to tell whether they were just decent individuals who were in need of a moral boost or arrogant snobs who knew their way around insults. Either way, Jak couldn have cared less as the time continued to pass, the minutes ticking by one after another at the pace of the slowest Fire Turtles.

Nevertheless, he waited.

Eventually, after some thirty minutes had come and gone, two ladies, one purple haired and one blonde, walked up to the front of the crowd with clipboards in hand. The chattering of the crowd immediately quieted back down upon seeing Flora, showing just how deep her reputation ran and how many people feared upsetting her. No one dared to speak up as the blonde woman cleared her throat.

”Attention everyone. If youll direct your attention over here, well begin explaining the procedures upon which well conduct the trials. ” Margaret seemed to be reciting something by heart, something she had to say regardless on whether or not everyone was already paying attention. ”Once again, please listen up. This will only be explained once so make sure that you
e able to hear us. If you can hear us or aren paying attention, youll have to gather the necessary information from those closest to you when its over. Failure to do so will end with you being summarily kicked from the Guild Hall. ”

(( ”Huh. How nostalgic. ”)) Jak muttered, closing his eyes.

”The Exam will be divided into three sections, of which are more commonly known as trials. In order to pass these trials, youll need to meet the requirements that have been set by the WGC. ” Floras voice carried an authority that Margaret lacked, an unwavering and commanding tone of voice that no doubt came from years of experience. It was one filled with authority, one that left no room for debate nor space for compromises. ”The three trials are as follows. First is the magical assessment, where well be using a Mangre crystal to measure the strength of your magic and then number it 1 to 3,000. ”

”The passing score for this test is 1,500, ” the purple haired receptionist chimed in. ”For those…

(( ”…under 13 however, youll need 1,800. ”)) Jak finished, eyes still closed. Images of a young elven woman flashed through his mind as the violet eyed receptionist continued. (( ”It hasn changed one bit. ”))

Flora tagged back into the conversation a half minute after Margaret had finished, clearly giving the newbies some time to process the information. ”The second trial is the physical assessment where we enact multiple tests in order to pinpoint your exact speed and strength, seeing where it stands and how it measures up to the weakest monsters within the Rifts. If you can even defeat the weakest link, youll be utterly useless, even as support. Just like the test before, this will also be given a numerical value. ”

”For this test, itll be out of 1000, ” Margaret continued. This time, Flora seemed to purposely pause midway in order to let the purple haired woman speak. ”In order to pass, youll need to score at least 500 points. For those below 13, youll need to score 700. If you
e able to channel magic to reinforce your strength, speed, and/or defense then youll be given bonus points and itll be added to your overall total. ”

(( ”And then the final Trial, ”)) Jak thought, his own mind wandering, flashes of his own trails running through his head. A wooden sword, a flurry of attacks, a sudden flash, and then darkness. (( ”The most difficult one. ”))

”The last trial is a combat assessment. For most adventurers, combat is essential and knowing how to hold your own and support your fellow adventurers and guild mates is vital. ” Flora scanned the group with analytical brown eyes, as if looking for weakness within the newbie ranks. ”For this test, youll spar against a pro Rift Hunter and hell be the one to decide if you pass that particular trial. If you pass 2 of 3 trials then youll be registered as an adventurer and have your name written in the books of every WGC around the various worlds. In this way, you can use any WGC building at your discretion. ”

(( ”Word for word. Amazing. ”)) Jak said, shaking his head.

”If you don pass then youll have the chance to try again after rescheduling, ” Margaret continued, readying herself to end the announcement. ”If you
e below 13 however, you won have the opportunity to try again until you reach the designated age. This will be your only chance. ”

”That concludes the opening introductory, ” Margaret said as she lowered her clipboard. ”We will now begin the trials. If youll follow us, well begin the magic assessment portion of the exam. ”

As the violet eyed receptionist finished up her sentence, the large oak doors behind her began to open, drifting apart as the room behind them slowly became visible. The group of newbies were completely silent as they made their way forward, quietly following Margaret and Flora as they lead the way into the adjoining space. The atmosphere got heavier with each step, the nervous looks and serious vibes coming off everyone only serving to add to the already thick ambience the proceeding trials provided.

(( ”Alright. ”)) Jak thought, opening his eyes, crimson hues greeting the world once again. (( ” Lets get this over with ”))


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