Hope's Bright!

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Ray's a Natural Genius?!

“Good afternoon Le Alba. It’s the 11th of May and this is the two o’clock news,” the reporter on the TV announced. “A wide scale attack has occurred at Ludwick late yesterday afternoon. This has been the ninth attack in the past five months. Thought to be the work of terrorists, these attacks began in Aria in the Libra region. When the attacks made its way to Border Village, the only area in Aria that allows MLC or CSOG access, people began to question who was really behind it. It is still uncertain whether there were any casualties. However, remnants of weapons were found at the scene suggesting that these attackers are very well armed. Investigations will be made in forthcoming weeks.”

“Wow, this world is really messed up,” Ray said turning his attention away from the TV.

“More like scary! Why can’t we have one day without something weird going on!” Pennie complained.

“Well at least it’s never boring,” he shrugged returning his book, which he had been reading before he became distracted by the TV.

“Is it just me or have you been reading a lot lately?” Pennie asked, noticing that Ray had a different book almost every day for the past few months.

They were sitting at the tables at the Twilight Heart base like they always did in the afternoon. Usually they would engage in conversation or enjoy afternoon tea. However, Ray seemed the be more focused on his book than her. The particular book he was reading had a dark blue hard cover, with gold lining along the edges. It didn’t have any titles or descriptions written on the cover and it looked so old that it was falling apart at the top. She had seen him grab it from the Twilight Heart library earlier that day.

“I’ve been looking for more information on spells like Stellatrium and Toivoa,” Ray explained, before sighing and closing the book in disappointment. “With all the trouble we’ve had so far, I wanted to be ready for the next spell we face. I’ve already looked through all the books at home, so I thought maybe I’d have more luck looking through the library here. However, I’ve I’ve already read dozens of books and I can’t find anything that could potentially cause mass destruction.”

“You make it sound like that’s a bad thing…” Pennie said apprehensively.

“We need to be prepared,” Ray stated, chucking the book on the table. “We have such rotten luck that the next thing we know the Dark Oviri himself will jump out of the sky and attack us.”

“Please don’t say things like that,” Pennie said.

“No joke!” Lynx growled, snatching the book from in front of Ray. “You are like a serious bad luck magnet! Don’t go jinxing things for us!”

“Would you kindly give that back and I’m not some kind of jinx!” Ray snarled through his teeth.

“Really…?” Lynx began to tease before turning his attention to the book in his hands.

He tilted his head and turned it to the side, flipping through the pages with a confused look on his face.

“What the actual… How can you read this?! It’s in another language!” Lynx asked.

“What are you talking about?” Ray growled, getting to his feet and snatching his book away from Lynx, “This is the native Le Alban language!”

“If it were, I’d be able to read that book too! But I have no idea what it says!” Lynx yelled.

Pennie walked over to them and held out her hand. Ray looked at her and sighed. He did not hesitate to give her the book.

She turned it over and attempted to read the book. However, even she couldn’t manage to understand it.

“This is the traditional writing of Le Alba. That’s why we can’t read it,” she explained. “It stopped being used seventy years ago, near the end of the war.”

“Seriously? But I can read it just fine, it’s almost the same speaking wise. I thought everyone knew how to read it,” Ray stated taking back his book. “Personally, I find the newer version more difficult to understand.”

“So you find it easier to read the more difficult way?! There is seriously something wrong with your brain!” Lynx laughed.

“Really? Because I’m pretty sure that knowing it shows that I’m intelligent. Unlike you who didn’t even know this form of writing existed,” Ray stated harshly.

“Well, reading books is incredibly boring. I don’t understand how you could possible enjoy them,” Lynx said defensively. “If you want to find information about stuff just look it up on the internet.”

“No, the internet is unreliable. It can be full of fake information,” Ray claimed. “The information you find in books is so much more interesting anyway, especially really old ones because of how different their society was. Besides I don’t just do it to find out information, I happen to enjoy reading.”

“Well that’s just stupid,” Lynx sneered. “If you can’t accept the brilliance that the internet is than you must be a really boring person. You think you’re so smart reading all the time. But I know for a fact you only do it to hide how stupid you really are.”

“Oh is that so? Well the way I see it is that you wouldn’t understand literature if it hit you across the head,” Ray said crossing his arms and looking at Lynx. “I’m smarter than what you give me credit for, so stop trying to make me out to be just as brainless as you.”

“What did you just say?” Lynx growled at him.

“Stop fighting!” Kaela yelled, walking towards them with her hands on her hips. “You do realise you are going to be late.”

“Late for what?” Lynx asked, “Can’t you see we’re busy here?”

Kaela grabbed onto Lynx’s arm and snarled. “What makes you think you can take that tone with me.”

Lynx blinked and jumped away from Kaela in fear. “Alright, Alright I’ll stop.”

“Sorry Kaela, what is it that we are late for?” Pennie asked.

“Did you lose your brain as well?” Kaela sighed with annoyance. “Do you remember the new rule that has been put into place?”

“It’s that time already huh?” Ray sighed.

Pennie sighed as she sat back in her desk chair. The only part of being in Twilight Heart that she found tedious, was the fact that she had to take lessons. Since Nanna Kaden joined the guild, she added a rule that any member under the age of twenty-one had to undergo classes to replace the absence of school. According to her, it was to prepare the younger members for the future if they decide to give up the life of a Shadow Warrior and get a regular job. Pennie had been home-schooled most of her life, so taking any kind of lessons with other people was something new for her. Pennie wasn’t practically good at any of the classes; she just managed to be average. She looked at the test Mrs Kaden had given her in class. It wasn’t a bad score, but she had been hoping for better. Pennie just was not good at math. She guessed she should be thankful that they only had to take two-hour classes twice a week. According to Lynx, who had attended a normal school in Mizu before moving to Luminea, typical school lasted for six hours a day and five days a week. Pennie couldn’t believe it was physically possible for someone to sit around listening to boring lectures and complete tasks that couldn’t possibly be helpful for the future.

“I don’t see how any of this shit is at all useful,” Lynx complained, as he usually did at the end of each class.

“I think it’s good to know this kind of stuff; it could give us an advantage in battle when we least expect it,” Cianna stated picking up her books.

“Perhaps for someone like you who provides support from the sidelines, but I prefer to fight with the head on approach,” Lynx growled. “I mean I have no plans doing anything else with my life, so there really is no point to all of this.”

“You wouldn’t be saying that if you got a decent score,” Kaela pointed out.

Although she was twenty-two, Kaela decided to help out as an assistant teacher. She once told Pennie that if her circumstances were different, she would have become a teacher.

Pennie noticed that every person fell into a particular personality type. The kind of stereotypes that came out of a cheesy teen movie. Lynx always seemed to pick a fight with everyone, he always had a short temper and often verbally abused anyone who annoyed him and was quite lazy. Cianna was the good student with good grades and Dimetrios, of course, was the person who barely ever showed up and when he did, he always disturbed the class with crude comments. There were others of course who also attended their class, but Pennie couldn’t remember most of their names, they were just the kind of common background characters that don’t particularly have any significance. Pennie’s eyes darted towards Ray. Unlike everyone else who began to depart or engage in some kind of discussion, Ray had picked up his book and continued reading from where he left off.

“How am I supposed to do well when you put the most difficult questions on these tests?!” Lynx barked, still causing a commotion. “It’s impossible for anyone to do well on it!”

Pennie sighed again. Originally when she met Lynx and Ray, she assumed that Ray was the one who often misbehaved and caused trouble for everyone. However, after knowing them for a few months, Pennie realised that Ray was a lot more mature than Lynx. Sure, Ray would often have sudden outbursts, do some foolish things and go overboard with almost everything he did but Lynx was extremely immature. In fact, Pennie noticed that majority of the fights between Ray and Lynx, it was Lynx was the one who had started it.

“How did you do Pennie?” Lynx called out to her.

“Sixty-eight,” Pennie claimed honestly, not wanting to be on the receiving end of Lynx’s tantrum.

“See even Pennie didn’t do well! She is probably the smartest one her,” Lynx shouted.

“But she didn’t only get twelve out of one hundred. And for your information she got the third highest grade in the class,” Kaela snarled. “Perhaps if you tried a little harder, you’d get a passing grade.”

“Whatever, at least I would have gotten higher than that idiot,” Lynx shrugged as he glared at Ray.

Watching the expression on his face, Pennie realised that Lynx must have remembered the earlier argument. He stormed up to Ray and slammed his fists on his desk.

“Show me your results, and we’ll prove once and for all that I’m smarter than you!” he claimed.

“Oh, are we still having that conversation?” Ray said, not drawing his attention away from his book. “I got over that a long time ago.”

Lynx snarled and grabbed the face down piece of paper that lay on Ray’s desk. Pennie waited for him to either burst into laughter or slam down the paper in frustration. However, Lynx just stood there in complete silence.

“Oy Brayden,” Lynx said after a while. “What kind of cheat did you use.”

“What are you talking about?” Ray’s eyes darted to Lynx.

Lynx slammed his hand on the desk again. The paper fell gently to the ground. Curious about what it said to get Lynx so riled up, Pennie got out of her seat and picked it up. When she turned it around, Pennie nearly shrieked in shock.

“O-one hundred…” she muttered. “No way.”

“There is no way someone like you can get a perfect score,” Lynx stated. “You must have cheated somehow.”

“You’re not going to be quiet unless we settle this, are you?” Ray closed his book and sighed. “I just answered all of the questions. That is all.”

“I guess you aren’t one to lie so boldly,” Lynx claimed, still sounding a little sceptic. “But if I recall it correctly, you answered all of the questions so quickly. I’d just assumed you had some trick up your sleeve.”

“If you can remember that you should be able to remember a simple multiplication sum,” Kaela said with disappointment.

“Oh I get it, you just happened to have great luck. You must have just guessed the answers to every question,” Lynx said with a laugh. “What a nuisance, you either have terrible luck that gets us into trouble or great luck that allows you do things like this.”

“There you go again,” Ray sighed. “I told you before, I’m not some kind of supernatural jinx. And no, I didn’t just guess all of the answers, I actually knew all the answers. It was quite easy to work them out.”

“I refuse to believe that!” Lynx shouted. “It’s either you cheated, or you just got lucky. There is no other way you could have pulled that off!”

“What is it going to take to make you shut up and stop treating me like an idiot all the time?!” Ray growled jumping out of his seat and slamming his book on the desk. “I’ve had enough of you being on my case all the time!”

“Then show me some proof, maybe then I’d believe you!” Lynx argued. “Until then your just another moron.”

“And just how am I supposed to provide that when you refuse to listen to a single thing I say?!” Ray shouted. “It’s not that I don’t deserve it sometimes, I know I can be annoying, rude and overly sarcastic which tends to get on everyone’s nerves. However, all you ever seem to do is make fun of me and put me down and I want to know why. What did I so to make you treat me so poorly in the first place?!”

“Because all you are is a nuisance,” Lynx stated, placing his right hand on his hip and smirked. “Sure, your quite handy in battle, but anyone could do the things that you do if they really tried. I think everyone is stupid for thinking you are actually useful, there’s nothing special about you at all. In fact, I think you are absolutely useless.”

“Oh yeah, and what makes you think that?” Ray asked with a growl.

“For one, you are annoyingly optimistic and naïve,” Lynx stated bluntly. “The other day you were in a terrible mood for no apparent reason. You went off to god knows where and came back all aggravated and moody.”

“That was…” Ray muttered. His eyes broke contact with Lynx in discomfort. Before Returning his gaze to Lynx, Ray clicked his tongue. “I don’t see how that’s any of your business. I had a bad day, what’s wrong with that.”

“And then there is this whole amnesia thing,” Lynx continued, ignoring Ray. “The fact that you have no memories to your name is laughable. I mean, just how pathetic can you get?! Either you’re lying about it and think that we are stupid enough to believe it or you really were stupid enough to lose your memories. Either way, having amnesia just makes you worthless and an idiot, and you know what? You probably deserved it too.”

“Lynx that’s taking it too far!” Pennie shouted.

Ray glared at Lynx coldly with a hint of shock in his eyes because of Lynx’s comment. He stood in complete silence as an evil grin appeared on Lynx’s face.

“Oh? Didn’t like that, did you?” Lynx laughed. “Perhaps now you’d drop the act and tell me exactly how you managed to pull off that perfect score?”

After closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Ray turned away from Lynx and returned to his desk. He grabbed his book and began to walk out of the room.

“Whatever. I don’t even care anymore,” Ray snarled before storming out and slamming the door behind him.

“Lynx, just what were you thinking?!” Pennie yelled. “How could you say something so harsh?”

“It’s his own fault for not telling the truth,” Lynx growled. “Even if he didn’t cheat, he still claimed to know the answers when it was clearly just sheer dumb luck.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Kaela stated. “If you had been quiet for just a moment longer you would have heard what I had to say. This isn’t the first time Brayden managed to pull off a score like that. In fact, Brayden receives high scores on every single test in almost every single subject.”

“No way, that can’t be right!” Lynx disagreed. “There’s no need to defend him, Kaela, being lucky is the only explanation!”

“When will you stop being so stubborn and listen for once?” Kaela sighed. “Except for history, Brayden almost always gets a near perfect score. Statistics don’t lie; no one is that lucky.”

“Amazing…” Pennie muttered, becoming speechless with surprise.

“Is Mr Ray really that smart?” Cianna asked.

“There’s no way! That’s completely impossible,” Lynx yelled, still refusing to accept reality.

“Lynx did you know that an IQ of an Oviri is very important?” Kaela claimed. “Especially for those selected to be a part of the Starlight Knights, it decides the rank of every warrior. Tell me, have you taken it yet?”

“Err no I haven’t…” Lynx replied.

“As you know I have been taking care of Twilight Hearts important documents and movements for a few months now by personal request of Master Isaac. Therefore, I know more about every member than anyone,” Kaela explained. “Though I’m still unsure of all of the details, it would seem that Brayden is only allowed to be a part of Twilight Heart if he takes yearly tests, including IQ tests. In fact, I think he was forced to take them a few days ago.”

“Why is that?” Pennie asked. The requirement seemed strange, as far as she knew regular tests were not a requirement the MLC often enforce.

“I assume in Brayden’s case it’s because he is a full Fire Elemental,” Kaela elucidated “The element of fire is the second strongest power known to Oviri, and there is rumoured to be only two who can use it. With such a powerful ability it is highly likely that they would want to use him as a soldier later in life so they would want to make sure his mind is as sharp as his strength. However, Brayden’s memory loss could also be seen as a danger to the MLC, if that is the case, they need to keep an eye on him at all costs. As I said before I really am not quite sure about every detail.”

“And what has this got to do with anything?” Lynx asked, becoming impatient.

“I’ll make it simple for you to understand,” Kaela stated. “Brayden has an IQ of 189. It’s the third highest score ever achieved in Oviri history, it is also the same number as Starlight Knight Rank One A.V.”

Lynx became speechless. He stared forward in shock, “N-no way…”

Kaela looked at their shocked faces and sighed. “A lot has gone on lately. Things have been taking a turn for the worse very quickly and as you’ve seen from the news reports they aren’t going to get any better. Everything we’ve been through, we’ve only made it because of Brayden.”

“And…?” Lynx snarled. “I don’t care how smart some test claims him to be. Any of us could have done all that if we had the chance to.”

“Lynx that is enough!” Kaela yelled, tired of Lynx’s arrogant behaviour. “You need to back off.”

“Oh yeah? And why’s that?”

“Do you remember what Visola said about the Phoenix Hunter? From what she has told us it’s fair to assume that she is not on our side.” Kaela explained.

“So? What’s that got to do with anything?” Lynx snarled.

Kaela sighed, “I wasn’t originally going to tell you this because I want to avoid Brayden finding this out for a long as possible, but since you won’t listen to reason I don’t think I really have a choice. Perhaps it is best that you guys know.”

“Know what?” Pennie asked.

“Before she was arrested, Visola told me the name of the Phoenix Hunter,” Kaela claimed, crossing her arms and looking away from them. “Azaliea…”

“Azaliea?” Pennie’s eyes went wide. “But isn’t that…?

“It is highly likely,” Kaela nodded, knowing what Pennie was going to say. “That’s why we need him on our side. The last thing we need right now is for Brayden, or worse, for the Phoenix Hunter to turn against us.”

“Fine, I get it...” he snarled with a sigh.

“I know you don’t like me saying this, but you be more careful with what you say,” Kaela stated. “With how bad things are right now, we can’t afford to lose any allies.”

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