“Alright mom… I think it’s time to let me go, or I’ll be late.” Rui advised.
Lashara ignored him, hugging him tightly, swaying him in her arms. Rui had an awkward expression on his face, unsure of when he would be released from her smothering bear hug of motherly love.
She released him before patting his head, apparently satisfied, yet melancholic.
“Don’t push yourself too hard, okay? Make sure you get as much sleep and food needed to be healthy.” She advised. Rui nodded in response, her bidding was different from the others, who told him they were proud of him, and told him to work hard. Although Lashara was most certainly proud of him, at this moment her overprotectiveness was much more dominant. In her eyes, although Rui was very intelligent, he was still a tender thirteen-year-old with no experience, living by himself for the first time, being seperated from his family.
“Don’t worry mom, I’ll be fine.” He reassured. He glanced at all the people behind her, the adults and children of the Orphanage, bidding all of them goodbye, before heading towards the town of Hajin.
His nerves were angsty and on-edge. This was much more nerve-wracking than the Martial Entrance Exam. He inhaled deeply, exhaling slowly in order to calm his prickly racing heart.
The Orphanage was far from the core of the town, it was quite far away from the establishment and population of the town. Thus, the journey to the Martial Academy was close to two hours away, on foot.
Considering he was carrying luggage, travelling there on foot was not something he wanted to do. He instead opted to walk to the closest district while catching a rickshaw there to the Martial Academy. Although rickshaws were not unheard of in the region of the Orphanage, they were exceedingly rare. What was the point of offering transportation to people in a place with very few people? No rickshaw-puller was stupid enough to bother going away from the town’s heartland.
“Ah there we are.” Rui spotted the district. Even as he entered it, he already spotted a few rickshaws. He quickly boarded one, after haggling a price. It wasn’t cheap considering the distance, so he ended up shortening the trip a bit, resolving to walk the remaining distance.
Having boarded the rickshaw, he immersed himself in his thoughts, thinking about his course of action.
The information guide he received when at the Investiture Ceremony had already laid out instructions for freshmen in the Academy. Once he reached the Academy, he was to join the other freshmen in a designated hall. Once all the freshmen had gathered, the Academy would conduct the Evaluation Exam. Which would then serve as the basis upon which the individualized curriculum of the Foundation Stage.
Once that was concluded, the freshmen would be given the rest of the day off. They would be shown to their dorm rooms where they could spend the rest of the day as they wished. They could relax and recuperate or mingle with the other freshmen, they could even train, or visit the Academy Library. There was even a tour offered by the Academy that day for students who wanted to explore the Academy.
All in all, it was an extremely exciting day for Rui. Time passed as he grew absorbed in his day-dreams about what the Academy would be like, until the rickshaw finally stopped, having reached the destination. Rui broke out of his stupor, glancing around, realizing where he was.
“We’ve finally reached huh?” Rui asked, reaching for his coin pouch. He got off after paying the rickshaw-puller the agreed sum of ten copper coins. Before heading towards the Martial Academy. He glanced at his timepiece, thankfully, he wouldn’t be late. He would actually be quite early. He had left well before the Academic day began out of paranoia of being late.
This was the central district of the town of Hajin, it was also adjacent to the Martial Academy, which was its own huge district, basically. The Martial Academy was enormous, even its fort walls could be seen from kilometers away. All Rui had to do was walk in its direction.
The town of Hajin was far busier that than any other. The reason, of course, was without a doubt the opening of the Martial Academy and the commencement of a new academic year.
This was a national phenomenon annually. The Martial Academies were one of a kind. There were only sixteen of them, and all of them were owned by the Martial Union. It was simply impossible for any other private organization to set up even semi-decent learning institute of its own. The Martial Academies were bastions of the knowledge inherited from countless Martial Artists of the past and the present. How could anybody rival that?
The only entity that could perhaps rival that was Royal Family. As the rulers of the nation, they had access to wealth and resources surpassing even the mighty Martial Union. Yet there were no such Royal institutes, for reasons Rui was completely unaware of. Maybe creating an Academy was detrimental to their interests?
Rui shook his head, casting away pointless thoughts. He often would find himself drifting away into all of the supernatural things related to this world, especially things related to Martial Art. Just as he centered and focused himself, the gates of the Martial Academy had come into view.
The crowd and traffic in the vicinity of the Martial Academy was extremely dense and chaotic. This was not unexpected; the huge influx of applicants and their family/guardians would inevitably escalate the already densely populated area and district as a whole.
Rui pushed through the crowd reaching for the gates. The security seemed to be beefed up, with several more guards on patrol. He quickly procured his student ID provided to him in the Investiture Ceremony, he would not be able to enter the Academy without it. When the guards halted him as he approached them;
“Rui Quarrier.” He identified himself, holding his ID Card. “I’m a student of the Martial Academy.”