Surprisingly things went rather swimmingly for me since that evening. The whole incident was handled delicately since it was a complex situation, given the individuals involved. Between the Love Potion plots, the attempted murder, and trolls, things had to be hushed up quite a bit to avoid the bad press.
Alice got off with detention for the next two months for endangering herself, since I told them that I had asked Alice to retrieve the moss. Magister Atra probably knew it was a lie, but she didn’t comment on it. Instead she merely stated that she hoped that the weight of her lies nearly costing us all our lives was engraved upon her so she did not do such a thing again.
Then there was the matter of Vancipe. The fact that he claimed to try and use a love potion made things dubious, given that politics of the magus families could lead to more complications. While it could be passed as merely an accusation on my end, they would keep an eye on him and the girl and act accordingly if there was any change in her nature.
As for him attempting to kill me, while it was my word against his, my half-cloak did show that he at least used a spell he wasn’t supposed to. His claim about seeing me leave and trying to stop me from breaking the rules fell hollow since rather than alert a magister or enforcer he confronted me and broke the rules himself. However, since his parents donated to the place he got off light himself, although I didn’t pity him in the long run once the news reached his family again.
Then there was me.
There was no getting around that I broke the rules and stabbed another student, justified as it were in my opinion. While it could have been argued that I had been under emotional stress and he did try to kill me so it was self-defense, there was still the matter of an alchemist trampling over a magus and how it would leave his family with a bad image. To tie up the loose ends and allow Vancipe to save some face, I was ‘convinced’ to withdraw from the academy in order to maintain their positive image and not have charges pressed.
I still gained my credentials like I needed, mainly because Magisters Astat and Chelde examined the effects of the project that I had given Alice. Everything worked as it should, so that meant it had to have been made properly for the field test to have been successful. It took a bit longer from the other two, but they were done as well.
The troll bodies were salvaged. I kept a few things, like their teeth and nails, since they could be grounded into a decent powder. The hides were mostly sold for a heavy profit to shops that specialized in converting the materials into armor, shields, and clothing, offering a bit of protection from spells. Alice and I would be receiving two articles for good measure.
I took the official exam a month later to be recognized. As expected I only met the qualification for a Wind-Contracted, Chemeia Alchemist due to having a sole element contract and specializing in chemicals. The other licenses took a bit longer to procure, but I did get them as Magister Chelde suggested later on.
With the profits made from the trolls and the academy boutique, as well as a start-up loan from my parents, I bought out the former apothecary place available in the town near the academy, Trikryss. Things were in place and I already had things ready to be sold. There was only one problem…
I didn’t know how to sell anything personally. Honestly, bookkeeping, overseeing the assets, managing everything, it was a far cry from how simple I thought it would be. Perhaps if I had more time before I withdrew I could have planned things out more thoroughly. If anything I really wished I asked Alice for some help, since she was groomed to take over her parent’s shop before she started shooting fire everywhere.
Speaking of which, I hadn’t seen her since I withdrew. We exchanged letters and such, but the distance from when I was at home and the academy allowed for nothing more. Now that I was set up here though, that would probably change. I didn’t know how soon it would until the bell on the counter told me someone entered the shop and I came face-to-face with Alice that instant.
She was dressed casually rather than her school uniform. It was also a tad more revealing and drew my attention rather easily. Upon seeing that, she spun around and winked at me. “See something ya like?”
Abashed, I could only rub the back of my head in a bit of shame. But just being around her made me smile in contentment somewhat. Her very presence was a relief. “It has been some time since we’ve seen one another. You look good…”
“Good to know,” she said teasingly, leaning on the sales counter with one hand supporting her head. “It’s been lonely without ya at school with me. So, how’s business been treating ya?”
“About as well as one could expect,” I stated. “I haven’t really sold anything before directly, so I’m kind of lost. Since we’re just opening it isn’t a problem, but the learning curve will be quite steep given the narrow timeframe. Since you start your next year in a month or so, it wouldn’t have been right to ask you…”
Alice took it upon herself to jump over the counter and brushed her hair out of her face so that I could see both of her eyes. “Well, I talked it over with Magister Atra. I can work here part-time and go to school part-time. All I need to do is talk to my parents about leaving the dorms and we’re set.”
“And exactly how comfortable do you think they’ll be with us sharing a place alone?” I asked. Even if ill-defined, we were in a relationship of sorts and it really wouldn’t be proper at our ages to live alone. As good of terms as she was with her parents, there were some things even they would not approve of. Let alone mine, who would never learn of any of this if I had a say on it.
She merely moved in, placing her arms on my shoulders, until we were face-to-face. “As long as we don’t do anything improper, I’m sure it’ll be fine. Now, I believe this was a long time coming.”
With that said, her lips stole mine a second time and held them there for what seemed like hours. I didn’t resist until Aeria woke up and started being herself. Then we got to work in setting things up, thus beginning our tale that was one of wands and vials.
Book 1 – End