Part III: Housing Situation
We arrived at the school and it didn’t look like much, beyond the gate I could see mundane brick buildings, not quite what I had expected, it all felt rather primitive compared to the imperial academies of Resh.
One of the human’s costumed people came to greet us but I did not have a clue as to who it was. Someone important by the looks of the others.
We were divided in five groups and I found myself among seventeen others, all human except for one, who was somewhat similar to some of the Earth dogs I had encountered. Not that the others were normal; one of them, a female, had wings while another had horns and a tail. Much to my surprise and pleasure, Erik from the bus had been assigned to my own group.
“It is good to see you again Erik.” I said, nodding to him.
“Same, be good to have a friendly face around,” he replied, glancing over his shoulder at the person who had sat next to him on the bus. They were busy looking at the winged girl.
“Do you know them?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. Their name is Ike. We were childhood friends…”
“I see. Quite the coincidence for both of you to be here and in the same group.”
“Yeah. Gonna be weird,” he laughs. “Last time we spoke things ended badly,” he added, the humour leaving his face.
“Then perhaps this is a chance for reconciliation.” I said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“I hope so,” he said, smiling at me.
We were guided across the academy’s terrain to a house on the periphery of the outer wall, told it was ours to share and we were responsible for it. We all went inside and split in our own directions, Erik included. First I opted to scout the location for myself.
Like most human housing it was quite spacious and furnished, we Tzaries were more frugal in our lifestyle. There were not one but two living rooms, a large kitchen and dining room, a study, eight rooms. After exploring the area I went back downstairs and saw some people had began congregating around pizza boxes in the kitchen.
“I love this place already.” A human male in a thick baggy hoodie said.
The dark skinned female across the counter from him did not answer, simply putting pizza into her mouth. A little further was another female very similar to her except for the wings coming out of her back.
I put my things down and grabbed a slice myself. “Hello.” I said, looking at the male.
His eyes went up and down examining me. “Hey.” He smiled. “I’m Luke.”
“I am Nalar, son of neetarin, of clan Vinek, of the Qurhal.” I returned his smile. “But Nalar is just fine.”
“Cool.” He put some more pizza in his mouth and chewed on it.
“I’m Freyja.” Was all the dark skinned female said.
Another human male came in, he was short with blonde hair, he sort of stared at Freyja whom I noticed was pregnant, was called on it and he then quickly escaped some pizza in hand. Then I noticed the winged female was gone too, she hadn’t introduced herself.
“It is a pleasure to meet you.” I said once that odd little diversion was over. I took out the bottle of Ralgth Vol from my jacket took and took a sip. “To the coming year.”
I offered the bottle to the male who took a sip before gagging. “What. Is. That.”
“Booze, kid.” Freyja said.
“I’ve had booze.” Luke said, pointing at my flask. “This is death.”
“Ralgth Vol, its doesn’t have an exact translation.” I explained, taking a moment to word it in English. “Fire to wake the the ancestors, would be the closest.”
Another male walked in, wearing very little clothing, dark tattoos covering every bit of his exposed skin except for his head. “Booze?”
I turned my head toward him. “We were partaking in an ritual of toasting the coming year.”
“For a second I didn’t think I’d live to see the coming year.” Luke proclaimed. Freyja took the bottle from him, took a swig before muttering something in her language.
“Huh, cool.” The newcomer said. “Never thought I would see a Tzari here…” He took some food while putting a hand on Luke’s shoulder.
Freyja offered him the bottle, he sniffed it but returned it to her. “Me and drinks don’t work well together… Unless you want a shredded kitchen.”
I took my bottle back and finished the little ritual. “To the coming year, may the honored ancestors watch over us.”
Luke went to the fridge and came back with a can of liquid. “Why’s that?” he asked the newcomer when he came back. “If you don’t mind me asking.”
The newcomer extended a hand and I saw the tattoos were design schematics of weapons. One of which vanished only for a real version of it to appear floating above his hand.
“Whoa.” Luke muttered.
“Feel free to touch.” The newcomer said, giving Luke the weapon. “Nice weapon.” The newcomer then said nodding to Bardiche resting on my back
“Made him myself.” I explained. “Bardiche, say hello.”
“Yes, sir.” bardiche declared. “Greetings, humans.”
“Hey, little orb.” Luke said, now looking at Bardiche before looking back at the sword. “It’s lighter than I expected.”
The newcomer laughed. He took his weapon, let it float and it disappeared back into the schematic on his skin. He then walked closer to me and examine Bardiche. “Can you draw designs for these?” He asked me.
“I could definitely, although the chance of you replicating Bardiche are low, I had to scavenge particularly exotic components.”
“How exotic?” Luke asked.
“Replicating has never been a problem.” The newcomer said.
“Aldaar tech, also Bardiche’s core used to guide the light of Ranathos.”
“The light of Ranathos?” Luke said.
“It was a Tzari armory frigate, now at the bottom of the English Channel.” I explained.
“Oh yeah, what all can you guys do?” The newcomer asked, looking between Freyja and Luke. “I’m guessing our tzari friend is a warrior of some kind with that thing.”
It was a common misconception that all of us were warriors, as if an army did not require support. “No, I was an armorer.”
“I’m just a tag along for my sister.” Freyja said, shrugging.
The newcomer made a sound, then stopped himself, sighing. He then looked at Luke. “What about you?”
“Oh um. I uh. Freeze stuff. Among other coldish things.” Was Luke’s answer.
“Nice nice…” The newcomer said before launching into some rant about not taking armorers and tagalong and making us great. Which I ignored in favor of pizza. Freyja did not seem too keen on him either.
“Love the confidence.” Luke said.
“Confidence is the key to victory and success. If you don’t think you can, you never will be able to.”
“I’ll remember that.”
“Remember what?” Someone said, making my ears fold back toward them. I turned around and saw the canine-like humanoid from earlier. They came forward and stuffed pizza into their mouth.
“That confidence is important in a hero.” The older newcomer said.
“And some good old fashioned strength!” The canine one said.
“I like you! You seem to know what’s what!”
The two of them bumped their fists together and I just watched the scene.
“Oh yeah! I almost forgot. I’m Leopold Dean, Leo for short. What’s everyone’s names?” The tattooed male said.
Luke and Freyja reintroduced themselves and so did I. The canine person introduced themselves as Kayla.
“It is good to meet you all. I hope this is the start of a long and prosperous camaraderie. Let’s get along and aim for the top.” Leo said.
The conversation continued for some time and I let the others carry it. Kayla claimed to have transformed themselves into that canine form using her technological expertise, also she ate more food than I thought was possible, she did leave at some point. Leo on the other hand proudly showcased his over inflated ego and lack of sense.
Eventually I looked around and noticed the room arrangements. “It appears we shall share a room, Luke.”
“Cool.” He said, finishing his pizza. “It’s been a long day I should prob drop off my stuff soon.”
“Perhaps we should drop our things then.” I suggested.
“Yeah that sounds good. Night guys!” Luke said with a yawn.
We picked our things and made our way upstairs. We’d been assigned room five which contained little but two beds, two closets, two bedside table and two desks.
“I will leave the choice of bed to you, although I admit I am not used to sharing a room but not a bed.” I said.
“Actually I’ve never really shared a room either” Luke said, dropping his stuff on the left bed, so I took the right one.
“I see.” I put my own things down before deploying Bardiche. “Bardiche, scan.”
Bardiche came to life and altered itself. “Device mode, activated.” It scanned the room and broadcast information into my entoptic display. “I only detect two devices, one hidden within each of of your end table, sir.”
I opened the drawer and found a tablet like humans were fond of using inside. Luke did the same and he had one too.
“What exactly were u scanning for?” He asked thowing himself on his bed.
“You think we could be spied on here?”
“I suspect High Lord Kiorga approved me to keep an eye on me. I do not like being watched.”
“Well it seems like there’s no spies for now.”
“I’m gonna, uh, hit the sack. Get some sleep in before classes start tomorrow.”
I nodded. “Sleep well, Luke.”