7. A World Without Peace

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The auditorium fell to a hush as loud as it was silent, and, with all eyes on him, Keu swallowed and nodded. Giving Spring a thumbs up, the man made his way down the aisle toward the professor who waited for him with crossed arms. Spring watched as he stood before the professor, his fists clenched in anticipation for what would come from the man whose emotions could drastically change at the drop of a hat. His hat, that is- of which, he withdrew from his head and reached into to pull out a remote control. All students tensed.

"You certainly seem to be a strong guy, Mr. Crick," Professor Gillez greeted him. After muttering to himself inaudibly for a moment, he nodded. "Yes, I think you'll be just the right man for the job."

With that, the man pressed the remote, and a rumbling tremor coursed through the room. As the students gawked in disbelief, a large platform emerged from the floor where both the professor and Keu stood, lifting them on a stage that rose above many of the rows of the auditorium. It finished with a hard clang of metal, the dust clearing to reveal that now, instead of the students overlooking the floor, the floor peered down at the students. The silence still holding its claws over everyone's mouth remained in the aftermath of the spectacle- Mr. Gillez openly dispersed it.

"Enough of all the technicalities," he muttered, but his voice carried to the back of the room. "This is an applied class, is it not? If you want theory speak to Daley. No, here in my class, we act, something that has become quite scarce lately. To do is greater than to say, or so they say. So, let's get to doing, acting- applying." The man turned to Keu and sized him for a moment before glancing at the audience. "You, Little Boots. Come."

Autumn's brow twitched.

Little Boots. He needed no further utterance of an explanation to know exactly who the man was talking about. That was the name all of the teachers had given him as a child, since he'd grown up on the campus. The key words there, of course, were "as a child"; now that he was an adult and pursuing his fate as the reincarnation of the hero, that name had dried on their tongues. Except for Mr. Gillez, apparently. For a man that always managed to send a shiver down his spine, he sure held onto embarrassing nicknames.

Despite his frustration with his name being called out in such a public place, especially in front of Spring, Autumn sighed and stood from his seat toward the back of the rows, causing a low rumble of snickers to echo in the auditorium. He rubbed the back of his neck with a slight pink across his face. The last thing he wanted to do was embarrass himself in front of his peers or potentially hurt Spring's friend- although, perhaps the latter wasn't so bad- but he knew from others' experience that Professor Gillez was not someone to keep waiting, and so he quickly made his way to the stage.

When he climbed on top of the platform via the metal footholds on the sides, Mr. Gillez patted his back. Autumn shivered to himself. The man was smiling, to be sure, but he knew with someone like him the face was simply another illusion given by such a convoluted and manipulative mind. Guiding the raven-haired teen to the other side of the stage, feet away from his protector's roommate who stood glaring at him, the professor clapped his hands together and backed away from the spotlight to leave the two alone.

"Alright, seems like a good match. Now, first things first. Mr. Crick, you are a fire magician, and Little Boots is a light user. So, you two are neutral to each other. That means neither of you have a weakness to the other; because of this, the best strategy is..." Professor Gillez adjusted his tie. "Hit each other with your best shots."

Autumn turned to the professor and made to question what he meant, when the other man furrowed his brows and immediately came charging after him. The raven jolted back with the shift in the air from the oncoming kick, darting his arms out in front of him to block it from making impact before the other man withdrew and slammed a raging fist engulfed in flames down on him, and with the brief moment of a lower hand the instinct clicked in his head like a switch. Just as the brunette fire mage made to land another flame-fueled punch, Autumn caught his fist.

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