The week crept on by at an unbearably slow pace for Adam. His thoughts constantly drifted over the class that was to come and that strange medallion he always kept on him. It distracted him enough that he rarely joined the conversations of his friends. It had gotten to the point where they made fun of him ‘not really being there.’
As the week passed, Dallen and the others also left to continue their own livess. Just as Adam was trying to push forward in his, they were trying to push forward in theirs. Then, finally, the day for the class came! In the afternoon, Adam and Vivienne made to depart. Adam’s friends saw him off and wished him luck. Alfred exuberantly said: “Good luck! Oh, and don’t forget to bring Adam back this time!”
“That’s not funny!” The others laughed while Adam despaired. He has started to get tired of these jokes.
As they took the coach to SIH, what felt like a squirming mass of worms started to form in the pit of Adam’s stomach. He was anxious to finally get to class and figure out what his chances of becoming a Spiritualist really were, but he was also afraid. This was his last shot at seeing again. Also, he still didn’t like the idea of going to school again. Trying to calm his nerves, Adam began to hum while stroking the medallion with his thumbs. In a way, this cold piece of metal held his last hopes at seeing again inside it.
Adam and Vivienne exited at the coach station across from SIH. Just as they were going to cross the street, a man rushing by bumped into Adam, knocking the medallion from his hand onto the ground!
Seeming to finally pay attention, the man quickly bent to the ground and picked up the medallion. He quickly handed it to Adam while mumbling “Sorry.” Before taking off again at a swift pace.
Vivienne shook her head, muttering: “Some people.” She then turned to Adam: “Are you alright?”
Adam nodded his head, clenching tighter onto the medallion in his hands. ‘I definitely cannot lose this!’ He thought.
Without further delay, Vivienne quickly led Adam over to SIH before another person too busy in rushing to wherever they were going bumped into them.
Entering SIH’s oddly shaped building, Vivienne led Adam up to a reception desk that had an “Admission” sign hanging above it. A man greeted them: “Hello! My name is Erik. I imagine you are here for the introductory class?”
Adam nodded his head as Vivienne said: “Yes, we are. This is Amadeus Finch, and I am his mother, Vivienne.”
Adam piped up: “Call me Adam.”
Erik gave a concerned glance at Adam’s blindfold. He asked: “Do you have your admission medallion?”
Adam stretched out the hand holding the medallion. Erik looked with a frown. “This is a round piece of bronze.”
Adam’s mind blanked as a bolt of fear struck him in the heart. He tried to say something, but nothing came out.
Erik shook his head: “Did you misplace it at home, by chance?”
Vivienne suddenly thought of something: “The man that bumped into you Adam, did he take your medallion?”
Erik frowned: “That is a serious accusation. As SIH is supported by the king, this is akin to treason! If you are lying about this…”
Vivienne gave Erik a disgruntled look while Adam was thinking of something else. ‘Maybe the medallion is still close enough that I can…’
Adam concentrated on what he remembered of the medallion. How the cool metal felt in his hands and the engravings upon its front. He searched for that feeling that he got on the coach ride home the last time they were here. That feeling of just knowing where the medallion was! Adam scrunched up his face as he desperately searched for that feeling, then he felt it! A tiny little sing-song that seemed to tickle him with silent whispers that told him of its location. Pointing off behind him, Adam asked: “Is the man coming back, mom? The medallion is getting closer.”
Vivienne looked where Adam was pointing, confused. She only saw a family of three that was richly adorned. The mother and father were walking close together, lovingly watching their young son bounce around them with excitement. The man who bumped into Adam was nowhere to be seen.
Erik, on the other hand, gave Adam an interested look before looking at the incoming family. Recognition seemed to dawn upon his face. He turned back to Adam and Vivienne: “Could the two of you wait by the side for a moment. I will help you figure out your issue with the medallion in a moment.”
Vivienne couldn’t help turning resentful as she felt that Erik was choosing to serve rich folk first before helping who was first in line. On Adam’s part, he was disappointed that the feeling he had thought he found was apparently wrong. Together, they stepped to the side while the rich family came up. The father gave a condescending glance to them before speaking to Erik: “My son has come to attend your academy. He has a medallion.”
Erik merely smiled at the man: “Vincent, did your son manage to pass the test after all? I thought he didn’t test positive for Spirit Affinity.”
Vincent glowered darkly at Erik, curtly saying: “Dominick, show him your medallion.”
The boy stepped forward with the medallion in hand. Erik pointed to a dark metal plate on his desk: “Press the medallion onto the metal plate. Then concentrate on the medallion, much the same as you did when first imprinting it. The Spirit Formations will do the rest.”
Dominick gave a worried glance back to his father, whose own eyebrow turned up quizzically. Still, he gave a nod for his son to continue. At this point, Vivienne suddenly recalled something. Seeing Erik and Vincent close together, she remembered the rich man yelling at the attendant last week. Vincent was the rich man and Erik had been the attendant! A small worry rose in her heart, unsure of what this meant.
Dominick placed the medallion on the plate and concentrated on it. A moment later, he suddenly yelped and let go of the medallion! “It hurts!”
“What did you do to my son!?” Vincent yelled as he aggressively stepped toward Erik.
With a hand gesture by Erik, guards suddenly appeared and quickly surrounded Vincent! “What’s the meaning of this!?” Vincent yelled, appearing a little unsettled.
Erik shook his head: “You really have no idea, do you? SIH is not some private academy, it’s a public institute that is only open to those who have the ability to become a Spiritualist. You cannot buy, bludgeon, or steal your way in. To try and do so, is the same as treason against the king who funds and support us! And you, you bloody idiot, have done just that!”
Vincent paled a little: “Watch who you are accusing of treason! I am Vincent Adronnel, head of the Adronnel Merchant Association! Do you have any proof that I have committed such an act!?”
Erik leisurely picked a piece of lint of his clothes. “Yes, yes, the third tier trading group that popped up a few years back. You obviously know a lot about trading, but nothing about SIH or Spiritualists. Adam, I believe this medallion is yours. Come, press it down on the metal plate while concentrating on it. If it gives off a white glow, instead of burning your hand, then it is clearly the one that was imprinted to you.”
Vincent’s eyes darted around, trying to find a way out of his current predicament. Emboldened by Erik’s words, Adam felt for the medallion again. Sure enough, he felt it just in front of him. Without anyone’s assistance, Adam stepped forward and placed his hand down upon the Medallion. After a moment, a soft white glow was given off by the medallion under his hand!
Erik gave a brief smile to Adam: “Welcome to The Spirit Institute of Heider.”
Erik then turned to the guard surrounding Vincent: “Take this man to the guard captain. His punishment will be decided by the nobles of Hessler.”
Vincent was utterly shocked by the direction things were going. In his shock, he offered no resistance to the guards as his wife started turning hysterical. Little Dominick just seemed scared and had no idea what was going on. Adam cast a worried look where he heard the wife sobbing. Vivienne did her best to try and pull Adam back in a way that would not draw attention to them. It would not be good for the Adronnels to mark them for revenge.
Erik pulled their attention by saying: “Don’t worry too much. Even though it is considered treason, Vincent didn’t commit high treason. It’s doubtful his life will be taken and measures will be put into place to make sure he doesn’t try to do anything against the two of you. Rather than worrying about all of that, let me lead the two of you to class!”
Erik led Adam and Vivienne up a luxurious set of stairs located behind the reception counters. The stairs were wide with a rich plush carpet running up its center. The wood railings were well polished and glistened in the light that entered through the many windows of the building. It took them a small while to get up as Adam had to carefully find the steps while Vivienne needed to haul her cast up each step. A few families passed them right on by, led by other receptionists.
Along the way, Erik spoke: “I’m impressed by you Adam, you may just have what it takes to become a Spiritualist!”
Adam was slightly surprised by this remark: “Really!?”
Vivienne didn’t like the idea of unnecessarily getting Adam’s hopes up. She asked: “Why do you say that?”
“Adam is currently blind, yes? I had heard rumors that he was enrolling today. Did you notice, though, that Adam knew exactly where his medallion was without even being able to see it!?”
Vivienne seriously thought about. Beyond her confusion and worry of what happened earlier, she finally noticed what Adam did. With a shocked expression she said: “You‘re right.”
Adam turned giddy in his heart: “I’ll be able to become a Spiritualist then!?”
Erik shook his head: “Nothing is ever certain. I myself have an affinity for Spirit Essence. However, I could never take that next step to becoming a Spiritualist. Even those who could feel out their medallion, like you can, have difficulty making it to the next step. And that is when they can actually see the study materials… You will have a difficult road ahead of you.”
Erik’s words dampened his spirit a little, but Adam felt renewed confidence. ‘Just wait, I’ll show everyone I can become a Spiritualist and then I will be able to see again!’
Finally, they made it to the second level of SIH. Here, a long hallway extended off the stairs. The walls of the hallway were convex, not straight. Along the length of the hall, there were doors that were curved to follow the contours of the walls. The other end of the hall seemed to open up into circular a library. Adding this to the way the outside of the building was made, it seemed that not a single straight line had been used in its construction!
Erik led them to one of the doors: “This is your class. Choose any open seat you wish and the Magister will be in shortly.”
“Thank you, Erik.” Vivienne said, before leading Adam in.
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