Eishirou huffed a tired sigh to remove an annoying strand of brown hair from his eyes. His eyes, normally a honey brown, were no doubt darken and possibly even bloodshot from staring at a bright computer screen for a few long hours.
He enjoyed his role as a Researcher and Chronicler. But staring at data for hours on end certainly got boring really quickly.
“Eishirou? You’re still here?”
Looking up from his work screen, Eishirou glanced over at his fellow Chronicler and friend.
Reddish brown hair and vivid emerald green eyes. Misaki. He was a good guy, friendly and considerate. Protective. He did have an intimidating glare of death, though. Guy knew how to scare the shit out of newbies, that was for sure. And some of the veterans, too.
“Yeah, but not for much longer, I hope,” Eishirou replied as he returned back to his work screen. “Someone was reported to have messed around with a few archives. I’m just making sure they didn’t actually mess with the data.”
Eishirou didn’t need to look over at Misaki to know that his usual friendly smile had turned into a deep frown. “Someone hacked the data? Do you know who?”
“Nope. Just that someone did.”
“I see,” Misaki murmured. “I will find out then.”
Eishirou wasn’t able to suppress an amused snort when he heard Misaki’s footsteps move away. He felt sorry for them, whoever they were. For a few seconds at least. Messing with the data was a bit no-no.
The information he was inspecting was basic, but needed to be preserved regardless. It was information he had seen all before. He knew it by heart, honestly. So, he would be able to get through it all quickly.
The prestigious Silverleaf Academy, a military university where students possessing mana-infused abilities came to train. It was located in Araluen, a Sanctuary City. Set in the middle of an island, surrounded by a large stone wall. And that was located ten miles from the shore of a vastly inhabitable continent. A continent that was reportedly to have once been as Australia. A place they now referred to as Main Land.
“Be sure to book now for the 1022nd Anniversary of the Bombardment!” the large plasma advertising board on the other side of the information centre robotically sounded, momentarily distracting Eishirou from his work.
Oh, was it that time of the year again?
The Bombardment was the name for an era in time, over a thousand years ago, where several asteroids impacted the earth within minutes of each other. Several large cities were wiped clean from the surface. Millions of lives where taken. Many more to follow in the apocalyptic aftermath. Life as those who knew it back then was irreversibly changed.
Of course, they didn’t have the exact time or date when the Bombardment had occurred. Information from that era was largely lost and destroyed. And the information they had uncovered mostly contradicted itself. It was difficult to tell between all the fake propaganda and the truth. Not to mention that ruins seemed to date back further than a thousand years. Ancient. No mentioning of them in any form of text or data.
The common consensus was that the Bombardment happened over a thousand years ago. And had brought modern civilisation to its knees.
It also brought the use and discovery of mana.
The scientific community all agreed on one thing; if humanity had not discovered mana and found a way to harness it, then humanity would have been destroyed, too.
By using mana and infusing it within their inventions, they were able to rebuild society. Restructured cities. Learn how to live off the land. Learning how to harness mana within the human body.
The mana itself was largely a mystery. It was a source of energy. Mostly invisible until it was condensed and concentrated, which would then be presented in a glowing light.
However, the scientific community was divided in regards to where said mana came from. The asteroids? Or were rich mana deposits hidden within the Earth the entire time and it took a cataclysmic impact to reveal them?
There were a lot of…discussions about that topic. And certain scientists would often times get violent and confrontational.
Eishirou didn’t have a preference either way. Far as he knew, both scenarios were likely. And did it really make that much of a difference where Mana came from a thousand years ago? It wasn’t going to affect your average Joe’s way of life.
Those born after the Bombardment were often referred as Indigo Children. They were born with the innate ability to use Mana. And they fell into two categories; Elites and Passives.
Some form of discrimination was still rife amongst the Indigo Children. Elites verses and Passives. Elites are those born with battling abilities. Creating swords or other miscellaneous weapons out of mana. They were the ones who fight against the creatures known simply as ShadowDwellers.
ShadowDwellers were, simply put, abominations. Deformed creatures that also possessed the ability to use Mana. Again, the scientific community was divided with where they came from. Again, the asteroids? Or deep within the Earth itself? Some even believed that they were once humans themselves, mutated by mana in some way.
Silverleaf Academy had several Elite Squadrons that ensured the safety of students and residents alike.
Eishirou was a Passive Indigo Child. He didn’t fight in battles. Though, he could enter the battlefield if necessary. Only as a Medic, however. He possessed no fighting skills whatsoever. What skills he did possess was useful for research and archaeology.
He was a bit of an oddity, if one went by the Academy Hierarchy. He was a Chronicler, someone who dealt with gathering information and ensuring its safety for future generations. So, many Elites would refer to them as Paper-Pushers.
But he was also a Medic. And according to the Hierarchy, he was off-limits. No harm was to come to medics, no matter what. Anyone who dared to harm a medic deserved severe punishment.
So, Eishirou was both a nobody and someone of immunity.
In short, the Academy Hierarchy was stupid.
Chroniclers and Information Gatherers were important, however. The ‘modern’ civilisations from a thousand years ago seemed to have believed that they were the pinnacle of evolution. And they possessed all the information that there was to be known.
And yet, many of the ruins that have been discovered date back potentially millions of years. Civilisations deep underground and within the seas. Places and locations that were believed to have been impossible during ‘modern’ civilisation.
Either they were completely arrogant. Or completely ignorant.
A mixture of both, perhaps.
Scientists of today refuse to make the same mistake. They wish to document everything, no matter how controversial or ‘wrong’ that information appeared to be. Fact over fiction. Truth over lies.
Well, the document seemed perfectly intact. Done! He was a free man.
A buzzing sound from his communicator, however, stopped him dead in his tracks. Typical.
With a drawn-out groan, Eishirou slumped back into his chair and picked up his communicator. He didn’t need to see who was ringing him to know who it was. “Prof, you’re slipping. I didn’t even get my butt out of the chair this time.”
The hologram scene of Professor Chryses chortled. “I’ll try harder next time.”
As long as he didn’t catch him in the shower again. If he did, Eishirou was just going to ignore it. No matter how many times he rang.
“Let me guess; you got an assignment?” Eishirou asked.
The middle-aged man on the other side of the communicator nodded. With his dark sun-burned skin and deep wrinkles around his eyes, he was your typical off-the-grid researcher. The best at the Academy, to be completely frank. And he was Eishirou’s mentor.
“That’s right. And you’re coming with me.”
That surprised Eishirou. The only field research experience he had was helping in the restoration of relics and runestones that Jacob and his fellow researchers had discovered. He hadn’t been away from the city before.
“Really? Where to? Are we heading for Main Land?”
Jacob shook his head. “No. A small but tropically dense island thirty miles from here. It should be a rather short assignment. A damaged stone tablet was discovered.”
Ah, that was why he wanted him to join him. That, and he was old enough to start gaining some field experience. “And you need my expertise?”
“Correct,” Jacob smiled. “See you in an hour. Elite Team 3 will be meeting us at the Hanger 12.”
“Elites?” Eishirou repeated in a surprised tone.
“ShadowDwellers had been reported in the area,” Jacob explained simply.
Ah, that explained a lot. Though, there seemed to be an increase in ShadowDweller sightings and occurrences lately. He briefly wondered why that was.
“Right, see you in a bit,” Eishirou returned before he ended the call.
Well, no point dawdling now.
Eishirou grabbed his shoulder bag from the floor of his work desk and stood up. The small door which encapsulated him at his desk slid open noiselessly, allowing him to step out onto the stairs.
“You’re heading out again?” a feminine voice practically whined at him.
He turned to look over at another Chronicler. Long purple hair, dark pink eyes, quite fragile in appearance. Lyvia. She worked full-time within the Communication centre. Her frail body prevented her from joining field missions.
“The ol’ slave driver wants me to join him on an assignment,” Eishirou explained. “A short one, he claims. But we all know what that means.”
Lyvia’s pout quickly transformed into a smile and she nodded. “I heard Elites. Which team?”
“Oh!” her expression brightened unexpectedly. “I heard they got a new member. Ernesta practically forced him to join.”
That sounded like something Ernesta would do. She was very mild-mannered, peaceful in some ways. But she was terrifying when angry. Oooh, boy, Eishirou never wanted to get on her bad side.
“You might get to meet him,” Lyvia continued before she gave a telling giggle. “He’s supposedly cute.”
Eishirou rolled his eyes. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”
He bid his fellow Chroniclers farewell as he turned and walked up the pathway toward the exit. He walked past the main Observation Deck and out through the automatic sliding doors. He noted that the Observation Deck was empty. Which was usually a good thing. Nothing untoward was occurring throughout the Academy and city. Whenever the Communicator Commander was there, it meant trouble was about to go down.
Eishirou hadn’t had the pleasure of being on duty when Professor Jalen, or Communications Commander, started barking orders. He was a Chronicler, but he dealt more with the field work. Often aiding Professor Chryses. He only ever used his Chronicler privileges when he needed some classified information. Or just information in general.
He had the ability to access any information at any given time. It was easier within the Communication Centre, but anywhere he could get access to the internet, he could get the information he wanted.
The buzzing of his communicator pulled Eishirou from his thoughts once more. When he pulled it out of his pocket, he half expected to see that it was the Jacob again. Instead he was surprised to see it was his dorm superintendent.
“Katsuto, what’s up?” Eishirou asked as the hologram of a man with a stern expression flickered into view.
“Just informing you that you have a new roommate,” Katsuto stated in his usual brisk and stern manner.
He stopped dead in his tracks. Wait, roommate?
“What roommate?” Eishirou immediately asked. “No one said anything about me getting a roommate!”
Katsuto barely even blinked at his response. “You do now. He’s waiting for you. Play nice.”
“W-wait a minute-!” Eishirou spluttered. But it was useless. Katsuto finished the call on his end and Eishirou was left staring at the screen of his communicator.
He sighed loudly as his shoulders slumped forward in defeat. Asshole. Could have at least warned him a few days in advance. He knew he was to get a new roommate one day, after his old roommate had unfortunately taken ill and had to move to a dorm closer to the medical wing.
But that was beside the point. A bit of common courtesy from Katsuto wouldn’t have gone astray! And he didn’t even mention the guy’s name!
He uttered another sigh and kept walking. Well, there was nothing he could do about it now. He had an assignment to skip off to, anyway. He couldn’t play host for very long. Even so, he hoped the guy was easy to get along with.
After a few minutes of walking, he finally reached the door to his room. He took a minute to gather his composure before he used his key card to open the door. And he stepped inside.
His gaze immediately flickered over to the bed located on the left side of the room. And yup, there was someone there.
He appeared to have been going through his luggage. Tall guy, a couple of heads taller than Eishirou was. So…over six feet. With floppy dark blue hair. His eyes appeared purple. His skin was a light tan. Perhaps it was natural, or it meant that he had spent quite a lot of time outside.
“Ah, you’re my new roommate,” Eishirou greeted, gaining the new guy’s attention.
The guy turned in his direction and gave him a thankfully friendly looking smile. “That’s me. You must be Eishirou.”
The door slid closed behind him as Eishirou moved into the room. “And that’s me.”
“The name’s Zayne.”
As Eishirou shook the other guy’s hand in greeting, he noted that he had an Elite emblem on his jacket. He had to fight the urge to do a double-take. Wait, an Elite? Why would an Elite be rooming with a Passive? Especially as Passive like him?
Although, he was…kinda cute, he had to admit. He had the body of an Elite; subtle muscles, sleek form, straight back, and oozing with confidence. Hoped he retained that friendliness after learning that Eishirou was a paper-pusher.
“Sorry, can’t stay long to chat,” Zayne suddenly stated with a wry grin. “First day here and I’m already on an assignment.”
“Doesn’t take long, unfortunately,” Eishirou returned with an empathetic tone. Before he, too, grinned. “I have one, too. Where you headed?”
“Hanger 12 for now.”
“Ah, what Elite team, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Team 3,” Zayne answered quickly, completely unbothered that Eishirou knew he was an elite without asking.
So, he was the new guy on Elite Team 3? Eishirou wasn’t entirely sure what to feel about that. Some Elite’s don’t like the prospect of acting like bodyguards to Passives.
Well, one way to find out.
“Well…looks like you’re escorting me there,” Eishirou commented, earning himself a confused tilt of the head from Zayne. “I’m a Passive. And you’re going to be acting as a bodyguard for this assignment.”