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87 Don“t Shoot Firs  - Arcanum

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"Ohhh and make sure you guys don't miss dinner at the great hall today. The housing ceremony is tonight." Ashley said to us.

"Housing ceremony??...." Daisy asked.

"Yeah.... in the school we have three houses, Phoenix, Kraken and Dragon." Ashley explained.

"Houses?..." Grace asked.

"Yup every student in the school get placed in houses…. Some trivial in school rivalry.

"What do you think where we would be placed???" Jay asked.

"Not sure really ..... You'll just have to wait for the ceremony." He replied.

"So.... what house are you in?....." Helen asked.

"Me??... I'm a dragon...." Jay smiled.

"How about Paul and Scarlet??..." Daisy asked.

Paul is also a Dragon and Scarlet is a Phoenix." he answered.

"I want to be Dragon then!!!" Daisy said hearing Ashley's reply.

"So… there is one S-Ranked per House they act as the House Head, Travis and Scarlet takes it pretty seriously, but Paul doesn't really care. The winning house at the end of the year get a free all expenses paid trip to the Golden Nebula Resort.

"No…way… that's one of the most expensive resorts….." Helen said.

"What's the Golden Nebula?.." I asked.

"It's a very expensive Establishment in Aspa… you can do almost anything you want there!" Helen said looking extremely excited.

"Yeah…. Only royals or extremely rich individuals can afford to go there." Grace added.

"How does your house win?" Jay asked.

"At the end of the school term each House is scored on Battle rank..... S class doesn't count.... 15 Points per prefect, 10points for each A..... 5 points for each B and 1 point for each C." Ashley answered.

"So Dragons have never won?.." Jay asked.

"Dragon did the few years Paul wasn't S-Rank and actually participated in things." Ashley answered.

"Does he not compete much anymore?...." Grace asked.

"He doesn't feel the need to…. he spends most his time either helping other people or doing bounties..." Ashley answered.

"Does he not need to attend classes?..." Helen asked.

"Ummmm he should… but most the teachers thinks he doesn't need to…. same with Scarlet." Ashley replied.

"How about you?..." Jay asked.

"I'm part of the science division… and since I do Artificing… I'm left to my own accord doing research and tests." Ashley replied. "So... Paul said he's out for this week... so I'm sure you guys can use our training room... I'll just permit you guys to freely enter and leave his room." Ashley said with a smile.

"By the way..... What is the room on the right of the training room?..." Grace asked.

"Ohhhhh that room is where Paul holds all his sacred artifacts don't try and enter there unless he's permitted you entry..... There are defensive runes for anyone trying to sneak in." He warned us.

"He must have such powerful items in there! If the Sun Bow didn't make it in there...." Helen said imagining what could possibly be housed in the room.

"Ummmm its pretty top secret so I can't tell you guys what's in it…..." Ashley replied.

"By the way where did Paul go?.. Is he on patrol again?" I asked.

"He went on a mission by himself... which is a bit weird because he normally always does stuff with me and Scarlet.... and then he said he's going to check up on his keep." Ashley answered.

Hearing his answer it suddenly hit me... I remembered a conversation between him and Scarlet talking about going to his keep to visit his children. A wave of depression immediately washed over me..... I've always wanted him to move on from me and live his life..... But some hearing him moving on still hurt life daggers through my heart....

"Woah... he has a keep?!!!" Helen said.

"Yup... it's kinda a shared keep... we'll take you sometimes." He smiled.

"How rich is he?.." Grace asked.

"We're pretty well off... various profitable business and we offer a premium protection service." Ashley answered. "Oh my God, How rude of me...." He said looking at the empty table. "FOOD AND DRINK PLEASE!" He shouted causing the sound of moving mechanisms and golems to whirl up again. Soon enough several golems came walking in with pitcher of water... glass plates and cutlery.

"Your... robots can cook?.." Jay asked in shock.

"Yeah... I programmed a few to cook... but it's not quite perfect... It doesn't really learn how to put the right amount of seasoning when cooking….. As you can tell it lacks taste buds." Ashley answered.

"That's pretty cool." Jay said smiling.

"So... anyone here interested in artificing??!" Jay said with a giant smile.

We all remained silent.... not really interested but not saying anything to avoid offending him and his speciality.

"Really?... no one?.... not even an ounce of interest.." He said looking a little depressed... "Coins that can store and refresh spells, Golems that can be you battle companion or helper... Totally uncool...." He said to himself after we still stayed silent.

"It's not that we don't like it.... we just feel it will be too hard to learn and master two things at the same time…." Helen nervously answered hoping not to offend him.

"I understand you all are stuck in the old ways." Ashley shrugged.

A few golems came with a magnificent roast and trimmings the smell of cooked food and spices wafting through our noses. "That smells absolutely amazing!" Daisy said looking eagerly at the roast set in front of her.

"Yeah it feels like it should be around lunch time right now..." Ashley replied as the robots began dishing out food for us and carving the chicken into slices... or what looked like chicken.

"Umm Ashley... I'm a vegetarian.." I said to him.

"Ohhh don't worry Paul already programmed one with vegetarian recipes..... It should rustle something up that should fit your dietary requirements." He replied.

Soon enough a robot came beside me taking away the plate in front of me and placing a plate of food in front of me, a beautiful small pie with a decoration on top with roasted greens, mash drizzled with onion gravy. "Blood hell.... that's better than anything I can cook..." I said looking at it.

"Yah sadly I need to program these things.... they can't really learn on their own...." He said.

"Ohhhh you defiantly don't want them to learn on their own accord..." I said to Ashley.

"Paul told me that as well...." Ashley replied.

"Why not?...." Everyone else asked.

"In movies I've seen, it's always a bad idea... to give Robot sentience." I replied.

"Moive?.." Everyone buy Ashley asked.

"Ohhh it's a Consecratus thing.... they have these shows.... like Theatre... but SO MUCH MORE BELIEVABLE they look extremely realistic!!!" Ashely said full of excitment.

"Really??!!" they all replied.

"Omg... you must come to our movie nights! on Middas!!!!" He said inviting them with a giant smile filled with excitement.

"What's a movie night?.." They asked, for some reason getting hyped with Ashley.

"Ohhh you have to see it to believe it.... Paul brought back something called.... 'A Projector?'..... It's like a box that makes illusions... I managed to modify it so it uses Visium power cells.... We have popcorn... Hot dog.... movies drinks..... It's an amazing night." He said filled with excitement.

"..... I'm not a fan of eating dog..." Jay and Helen replied looking a disgusted at the thought.

"Me neither no idea why they call it that... but it isn't dog....its pig meat." Ashley replied.

"Yeah.... he's right... it's called a Hot dog.. But it isn't dog.." I added.

"Thank goodness.... only savages would eat a Dog..." Helen replied.

"So... about.... the Training room... let me first confirm with Scarlet on the times it will be free for you all to use... then I'll let you all know." He smiled.

"Okay..." we all replied.

"Don't worry I have faith you guys will come out victorious in your upcoming matches." He smiled.

"I've been following Paul's training diligently for years!!!! I'll defiantly destroy my opponent." Daisy said with a giant smile.

"Didn't Paul teach you never to be over confident and never underestimate your opponent???" Ashley grinned.

"Ohhh yeah..... He did....."Daisy replied looking down a little ashamed.

"Don't worry guys with Paul's room you'll have three times as much time as any other student has so you'll all grow quickly." Ashley said.

Thank you!" we all thanked him.

"Also as an added bonus I can get some recordings of previous duels so we can analysis their fighting styles one night." Ashley suggested.

"If you could do that it would be amazing!!" Helen asked with a giant smile.

"Yeah I'll free up some spare time to help you guys." he smiled.

"So what happened to your arm, if you don't mine me asking??..." Jay asked.

Ashley's smile instantaneously dropped and he began starring into the distance. "It's not a good story.... maybe I'll tell you guys another time...." he smiled scratching his head trying to play off his sudden change in mood.

"I'm sorry.... my childhood wasn't great either..." Jay apologised to him as if he understood Ashley's pain.

"Yeah.... Paul tells me..... What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." Ashley said.

"Paul.... is so wise....." Grace replied, causing me to chuckle.... since he got that phrase from a famous rapper back home.

"So.... what we're you guys doing in that cave yesterday???.." Ashley asked.

"Ohhh no… we were so caught up with what happened after the battle we totally forgot to look for Tolum" Helen gasped.

"Ohhh me and Paul went back to the site..... Anna said they met a gnome called Tolum he was alive and made his way back home on his own." I replied to Helen.

"Yayyyy that's our first successful mission." Daisy said with a giant smile.

"By the way...Ashley what was you doing at the console in the cave??..." I asked.

"Well it's an illegal warp gate... so I was trying to find information on who was using it, who made it, the other warp gates connected to it and stuff." He explained.

"I see....." I replied.

"Did I kill that guy...?...." I asked remembering the person I savagely launched firebolts, his smouldering remains lying beside Ashley.

"You almost did.... when we arrived he was on the edge..... But we stopped him from dying..... Don't worry he will be spending a long time in jail." Ashley replied.

"Thank God.... " I whispered under my breathe.

"Yeah.... as freshman please refrain from jumping into fights..... As well as killing people..... it's against school rules.....We have a don't shoot first policy... and.... killing people isn't... good for the heart." Ashley warned.

"What do you mean??..." Daisy asked.

"..... Don't be so quick to end someone's life..... Everyone deserves a second chance... killing someone is easy but living with the consequences is hard....." Ashley said.

"I think you're right...." Helen said contemplating on what Ashley said.

"..... Have you killed anyone Ashley???..." I asked.

"A few.... but in self-defence....." he answered.

"How about Scarlet and Paul???..." Grace asked.

"We all try non-lethal courses of action.... unless we're ordered to use lethal force or the situation calls for it." He answered.

"He seemed pretty scary when you guys arrived...." Jay said.

"Yeah..... Although he seems calm, calculated and friendly..... His emotions get the better of him when the people he care about are in danger." Ashley said.

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