An eye opener

The chirping of birds and insects and the sweet scent of fresh dew on grass roused korah from his slumber. He had spent the night in deep meditation, trying to be in tune with his powers. Before standing up, he rubbed his eyes lazily and just took out time to reminisce about his life so far. He was going to be fifteen years in two months time, he had tasted the good, the bad and the ugly in his almost fifteen years of existence. He thought back to when he was bullied, neglected and mocked, he thought of the kindness of the nuns, the principal and his new found friends. He was happy to have been given a second outlook of life due to his lucky encounter with the magic artifact in the cave without which he would still be a worthless orphan who knew nothing about magic.

After spending a little more time in bed, he stood up and started the day with breathing exercises, meditation and brushing up his magic skills.

Today, the principal was going to have a long session with all the students of the mage academy who where fourteen to fifteen years of age. He was going to expose them to the requirements of being a full fledged mage, and also the world outside Arindele. Before noon, everyone had gotten the information and a crowd was already building up in the hall where such large scale sessions were normally held.

As Korah entered the hall, he found that it was already packed with students from all different classes, eagerly waiting for the principal's address. Korah made his way over to the front, squeezing past other students who were jostling for a better view.As he waited for the principal to arrive, Korah caught snippets of excited chatter from the other students around him. Some were speculating about what kind of requirements the principal would discuss, while others were excitedly talking about what kind of places they would visit in the outside world.

Silence washed over all the students present immediately the principal stepped in. He looked at every single student present then he began to speak

"Arindele is a small city in maple state, alot of you have never been outside this city but there is an opportunity every 10 years for mages between fourteen to fifteen years of age, to compete with other mages all over the state. " he paused, adjusted his sleeves and continued

"This opportunity, is not for everyone. The first criteria for qualification is possessing at least two elements. The second and most important criteria is possessing good control over your elements and having a wide range of spells which can be used perfectly". The principal looked up again towards all the students present shook his head and continued. "Due to the very serious criteria to be met at this age range, the mage academy in Arindele has never been in top hundred of the competitions before but this time, we hope to break that record so as to benefit from the awesome rewards for both the mages and the academy". At this point, surprise and unease was written over the faces of all the students present. The never knew about some of the things the principal just spoke about especially for korah, who had struggled all through his life, he had never been concerned with the world outside Arindele or it's workings.

The principal gestured to a student who had her hand up to ask a question. The girl seemed shy and embarrassed, she had a huge blush on her cheek, and she struggled to look at the principal's face. After a moment of inner turmoil, she asked" How many cities are present in Maple state and how many students will be picked to represent each state?"

The principal smiled at the girl and answered her question. "There are fifty cities in Maple state and each city will be allowed to send ten mages to represent them in the competition. That means about five hundred mages in total will be selected to compete." After responding to few questions from some curious students, he got down to the business of the day.

" If you only have one element, move to the left" He thundered. This was met with a lot of sighs from students who fall in that category. After he separated them, he asked them to leave because they were not eligible to represent the academy due to the preset conditions This reduced the number of students in the hall to almost half of the original number. The principal then proceeded to explain the levels of magic which the students have never heard before.

"Magic control and proficiency is divided into levels" he stated. " The first level is Inception. This level is the starting point for all mages. Mages at this level have just discovered their magical abilities and are still learning how to control and harness their powers. this is the level most students in this academy are at right now". The principal paused for a while and continued " The second level is Amplification. At this level, mages have gained more control over their abilities and can amplify their powers to increase their potency. This level focuses on enhancing a mage's existing spells and abilities. This is the level any mage to represent this academy has to get to, in order to compete with other mages from other academies."

After a brief pause, a student looked straight at the principal, raised his hand and asked " what are the other levels?". The principal observed him for a while and told him to not be too concerned about that and just focus on getting to the next level. The boy seemed very dissatisfied but he was able to quell his curiosity within a few seconds. The principal continued by giving more words of encouragement after which he assigned the students to instructors in the academy, that would help them get to the level of amplification within the next few weeks. After all was said and done, the principal brought the session to a close and he immediately left the hall with Korah walking behind him. As they walked, Korah couldn't help but wonder about the levels the principal had mentioned. He was curious about what lay ahead and what it would take to reach those levels. He decided to ask the principal about it, and after a moment's hesitation, he spoke up.

"Excuse me, sir," Korah said, "I am really curious about the levels after Amplification, and I would really appreciate it if you could briefly explain them to me." He continued. The principal stopped walking and turned to face Korah. He looked at him for a moment, as if considering his request, before finally speaking. "Korah," he said, "the other levels are not something that can be easily explained but I will try to put them in terms you can easily understand". The first and second levels, I have already explained to you so let me continue on from the third level which is Transmutation. Mages at this level, have learned how to change the properties of objects and materials. This level of magic involves transforming one substance into another, such as turning a stone into metal or turning water into ice or snow. korah nodded his head, seemingly deep thought, such power seemed so far away from were he was right now. The principal looked at him, as if guessing his thoughts and continued "The next level is Mystification. Mages at this level have mastered the ability to summon, create, or manipulate their chosen elements with ease. For instance they can use their elements to propel themselves in the air or to dive depths only imaginable" Korah's eyes widened with wonder at the thought of being able to control the elements. The principal took note of his expression and continued, "The fifth level is Awakening. This level of magic involves awakening a person's inner potential, granting them abilities beyond their natural limits. It's a rare level of magic and only a few mages ever reach this level. Those who do, however, are said to possess unimaginable power and potential." Korah nodded, feeling a sense of awe at the thought of such power. The principal smiled, seeing the wonder in his eyes, before continuing on with their walk.

Korah thought long and hard about all that the principal had exposed to him and he felt so small and insignificant at the thought that the world was bigger and much more complex than he had imagined. The principal, as if sensing his thoughts,

placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "Don't worry about the future too much, Korah," he said. "Focus on the present and improve yourself each day. The levels will come with time and practice." Korah nodded, taking the principal's words to heart. He realized that he needed to focus on his current level of magic and work towards improving himself as fast as humanly possible. After walking the principal back to his house, korah decided to visit the library to find out about the world outside Arindele.

Immediately he got to the Library, he took out his badge, which would grant him access to the library's extensive collection of books and other resources. As he walked through the aisles, he marveled at the sheer volume of knowledge that was available to him. He spent hours reading about the history and geography of the world, as well as about the different forms of magic and the various creatures that existed in the world.

He came to understand that Arindele could be described as a speck in the universe. He was shocked to find out that maple state, is one among the thirty States that make up the Reeves country. Armed with this knowledge, he immediately started planning his future beyond Arindele or even the Maple state. He quickly moved away from history, to understanding the types of magic. He was given a shock, when he found out that beyond the few common elements he knew, there existed much more complex and intriguing ones. He was familiar with water, fire, wind, lightning, earth, gravity and sound but he was new to light, sound, ice, darkness, metal, time space, blood and the possibility that much more could remain unknown to him until he stepped into the wider world outside Arindele.

He could barely sleep at night due to the excitement which his new knowledge had brought him. He could already visualize the endless possibilities that awaits him on his path to greatness.

Bright and early the next morning, korah and all the students who where approved by the principal to train towards the second level, rushed to the training Grounds to meet the instructors assigned to them for their training.

Two instructors walked into the hall as soon as the last student stepped in, a middle aged man and a younger looking lady. They observed the students present and took a head count. They discovered that they had fifty students they had to teach. As if they had a prior agreement, they both sat cross legged on the training mat, in a meditative stance. The middle aged man then began to speak " My name is instructor Warren and this here is instructor Belle. you all can sit down now. We will start you on the basics of magic cultivation today. The first step is not unfamiliar to you. follow our instructions and you will discover that breaking through to the Amplification level will not be impossible or too strenuous." he paused, observed the posture of all the students present, then he continued to speak.

" The first step is to feel your elements, be in tune with them and get used to summoning them with just a thought. This is usually easier for the mages with one element but we are going to make sure it's within reach for all of you". Every single student was seemingly lost within themselves except Korah who had been personally tutored by the principal. It seemed like a breeze to him. As if noticing this, instructor belle gestured for him to come closer to her. "There is something special about this kid" she thought. she felt an intense curiosity towards him for reasons she could not understand and eagerness to see just how far he

could walk on this dangerous road of cultivation.

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