“Who can tell me three things that came of the Great Cracking?” Miss Manus asked, “And citing the portal does not count,” She saw one of her students raise a hand, “Neither do demi-humans and the races of man coming through said portal,” She announced, and the teenager’s hand shot back down. Her eyes wandered from student to student, ”How was the world changed?” Miss Manus slowly paced back and forth at the front of the room with her teacher’s version of their Magic History textbook floating in front of her. A cup of tea and a half eaten blueberry muffin were held in one hand each. The white board behind her magically wrote a one, two, and three with telekinetically controlled markers. “Uh,” One student raised their hand, “Magic?” Miss Manus nodded as magic was written next to the one, “Yes. The Great Crack in the earth was formed due to the absence of mana. It was wrenched deep from the earth and spread all around our planet. Some say this took a toll on the earth’s lifespan, but this is unconfirmed.” Another student raised their arm, “The changing of alchemical formula? Like combustion not working?” “Yes. It is theorized that mana is snuffing out combustion. Though this does not seem to hold up due to fires, candles, and matches all still working as intended. This will be something to consider learning transmutation if you want to make your own discoveries,” The witch explained as she wrote ‘Combustion’ next to the two, “Another?” The room was quiet until a boy in a thick coat in the back raised his hand, “Yes?” “The Sundered Lands?” Miss Manus nodded and wrote it on the board again, “Correct. The massive gash put in the earth from where the portal was created is a Sundered Land, usually called the Great Crack. This Sundered Land is quite mundane and people even live on the walls of the one to three mile deep valley walls. Entire cities are constructed here. Does anyone know of any other Sundered Lands?” “Didn’t Yellowstone park turn into one?” Another student asked. “Ah, Yellowstone. Mana was blown out of the geysers, most of it hanging thick in the air. Orbs of water and mounds of stone float eerily in the air. You should see a picture of it on page three-hundred sixty-four. Unlike the Great Crack, Yellowstone is dangerous. Lightning, fire, poison and even spontaneous explosions can be easily brought out of the area’s mana if you step wrong or touch something you should not. A tree could shoot lightning at you, a pool of water could ignite, and the very air could… sunder you. We call this being Sundered should you perish to this. That’s nothing to say for the Yellowstone Caldera, which is the most dangerous and unstable part of Yellowstone. These are dangerous places and most are restricted zones, and some can even take you to places unimaginable on Earth.” “L-like the fey lands?” One half-elven boy whimpered. “Some have reported that they can, though some also say that many have disappeared, never to be seen again.” The fey-witch answered. “The Military, International Mages Assembly and local police forces work together to keep looters, criminals, and regular citizens from entering.” “Why would people want to enter such dangerous places?” A gnomish boy looked a little shaken from what Miss Manus was talking about. The fey witch’s icey eyes turned, “Some believe there are arcane artifacts to be found. There is no evidence of this. However, mana does take a raw, physical form here due to how condensed it is in the air. Raw mana in a physical form is something highly sought after. Huge untapped quantities of aether and mana all sit in the Sundered Lands.” “ARE there riches there!?” A dwarven woman demanded to know as she rose to her feet as if she was going to dash off to the nearest one. “Some will tell you there are, but consider the following,” Miss Manus calmly replied, “The health hazard due to the possibility of being Sundered, having to get past security, and attempting to safely handle the raw mana you find make it quite difficult to get rich. You also have to worry about other Mana Seekers if you do find any. Some say there are gangs who will gut anyone and take everything they have. I would say it is not worth it.” The dwarf sighed, “Aye. I get it.” “If you wish to see a Sundered Land, there is one in the crater of Mount Saint Helens that is quite mundane. Rocks and snow float in the air along with mounds of ash. Mana-filled smoke continues to billow from it as well, and there is a low chance of Sundering if you go with a knowledgeable guide.” The students began to chatter amongst themselves, whisperings of trying to find concentrated mana in one or fighting those mana bandits for whatever haul they have. Miss Manus looked at a clock on the wall, there was only five minutes left. With the flicking on her hand, a small packet of homework was distributed to each student, “Before you is a short assignment. You have until Tuesday to complete it. Please review this week's portion for the answers. Have a wonderful weekend, class,” She gave them a small smile as they put away their things and hurried from the room. Miss Manus sighed as she slowly finished her tea. Her mouth was dry from all the talking she had done. She placed the textbook in her bag and finished her muffin next. With a stretch, she left the room to find Galahad waiting for her, just like he did most Thursdays, “I caught the end of that lecture,” He commented as the two started down the hall, “When the heck was Saint Helens reclassified as safe? I still remember the footage of that scientist getting turned to ash,” A shiver went down the duelist’s spine. “Quite recently. Two years or so,” Miss Manus replied, “I am still somewhat skeptical, but I have been assured it is safe.” “By who?” “Headmaster Jasper Crixx went with some of the other faculty as soon as it was clear for them to go. Many academics did,” She explained as they headed down the stairs and out the building. Galahad nodded, “I see,” The two stepped out into the cloudy sunshine of the chilly day, “Oh, speaking of Crixx; how was your meeting with her today?” He pulled his cloak around him as a brisk wind blew across campus. The fey witch rubbed her temples with one set of big, fluffy hands, “I am on track for graduating and moving on to my mastery exam.” “Hey, that’s good to hear,” Galahad gave her a big smile, “Or is there something else?” “Well…” A few arms poked out of the witch’s fluffy cloak, “I need to join one or two school clubs for extracurricular credits.” “That’s necessary to graduate?” The duelist scoffed as they made their way to the lunch hall, “I better get that out of the way then.” “Mhm,” Manus was nearly silent as she looked to see what was available for lunch today. Two food carts were outside, one for pho and the other was a fried chicken and burger cart. With a sigh, she went to the halfling restaurant that was situated inside and ordered a shepherd's pie. Galahad ordered the same and followed her to a small table, the two sitting in silence for a few moments before Manus cleared her throat, “Galahad, what kind of clubs would you join?” With a frown, the first year looked out the window, “I really don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know a lot about them. What about you?” “I am unsure what is available. I doubt I will find one related to my interests,” The fey-witch rapped her fingers on the table, “Perhaps I should try to convince Headmaster Crixx to allow some kind of alternative credit I could do.” “No, no, no. We both need to find a club, I can help you look,” Galahad offered with a confident hand on his chest before adjusting his other arm’s sling, “If we can find a club schedule, I’m sure we can find one agreeable to both of us if we go look. We’ll skip tutoring for the day. I’ll help you since you’ve been helping me so much. It’s the least I could do.” “I find your urge to help even in your condition admirable, if not a little entertaining,” Miss Manus smirked, “Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated. As you know, I am not much of a social butterfly.” Galahad shrugged, “You seem to do more than fine when I see you delegating with your fellow council members and when teaching.” “That is different than conversing socially with strangers,” She noted, “I can speak professionally but flounder outside of it.” “I’ll take your word for it. Food’s done, it seems. Lemme go get it for you.” Miss Manus glanced over her shoulder as she watched the duelist collect two plates of food, putting one in his injured hand and grabbing the other with his good one. It seemed nothing could slow him down, completely surprising Manus. Miss Manus read through her latest book of ancient mythology, this one covered the Egyptian mythos. Tombs, curses, mummies, and gods were all described within. Her final class had ended, and now she rested for a short while in the main room of the Karak-Albrac tower. Most students in her house were tending to their evening studies or lab work. As Miss Manus’s mind began to think about dinner, the door of the tower opened, “I found it,” Galahad panted as he approached the fey-witch. “Some form of club ledger?” Manus clarified quickly as she stashed her book under her cloak. The duelist nodded as he caught his breath, “I, uh, learned it was online and I got Blud to help me print it,” He presented the spreadsheet he carried, five pages all stapled together listing each club and their scheduled meeting times. With a highlighter, Miss Manus marked which ones were meeting that Thursday night as they may have time to see them, “Wonderful. Shall we?” As she rose to her feet, she looked the first year up and down, “Were you running across campus?” “Uh, a little. I felt like I was taking forever,” He admitted sheepishly. Miss Manus shook her head, “You are going to hurt yourself, Mister Loxley. But it is not my place to scold you. Come. I have devised an efficient route for us to see the few we can tonight. We shall start at the arena,” She concluded. Galahad nodded and followed her from their house out to the ring of other towers. It was around five-o-clock and numerous students were out in the evening sunset’s dimming light. They headed to the mess hall, the gym, or elsewhere on campus. The duo got a few looks as they went. The fey-witch easily ignored it, but the faces were starting to get to Galahad. He could only wonder if people still thought of him and Manus as a couple due to that newspaper article from weeks ago or if they thought bad of him due to his victory against Harold. He wondered what the Babarian prince was up to now, he hadn’t seen him at all since the duels. Now that he thought of it, he hadn’t seen or heard mention of him from Miss Manus either. Galahad looked to his fey-president, “Have you seen or heard from Harold at all?” “I have not. The presidential elections are coming up soon, so as such I assume he is campaigning to maintain his seat on the council. Most students care not for politics, so we are still unsure whether he will be contested or not.” “Let’s hope he stays quiet for a while,” Galahad grumbled to himself, “I didn’t expect to be back here so soon,” He nodded as he looked up at the tall walls of the arena before holding the door open for Manus. The two stepped down the near empty halls as the sounds of shoes screeching on the court reverberated down the hallway. The two looked into the arena, seeing that the dueling arena had been magically changed to four tennis courts. There were about twelve men and women playing tennis in doubles and singles, a few sitting out and waiting their turn, “Uh,” Galahad stopped peeking into the court, “Are you into sports?” Miss Manus pulled back from the door and adjusted her hat, “I never was much of a fan. I used to watch soccer when I first joined Karak-Albrac, but you would be surprised to learn that these hands and feet do not have the coordination for it.” “Makes two of us,” The duelist sighed, “I assume your physicality is incredibly tuned for casting. If you’re like me, the casting and light cardio developed most of your musculature at a young age. It's a very different set of hand-eye coordination skills. It would almost feel unnatural for the two of us to attempt to play soccer or tennis, even despite me knowing swordplay.” “I– yes. You are correct,” Manus was shocked how much Galahad knew about the topic, “An unfortunate side effect of being trained and tuned for magic since birth. You and I should focus on other endeavors club-wise.” “Agreed. You’d probably enjoy something more… cognitive anyways. Where to next?” Miss Manus scratched a few clubs off her list, “Tennis, soccer, basketball, and every weight lifting related club is out. Next, let us head to the cafeteria.” “For dinner?” “To see more clubs, Galahad,” The fey-witch gave him a bemused look, “Or are you that starved?” “Well, I could eat,” He chuckled. The two headed west across campus, passing north of the ring of house towers, the massive, magic infused oak, and the professor’s offices at the very top of campus. Students were pouring into the cafeteria, along with Manus and Galahad. The two of them walked past the restaurants and tables into a back hallway and up a set of stairs, “I had no idea this was here,” The duelist noted as they arrived in a hallway with a few doors on either side. “You would have no reason to come here. I doubt you will take a class here in your time at Fairgarland. Mostly home economics classes are here,” The fey-witch explained, “Though you have surprised me before… I suppose we should observe this class first first,” She mused aloud as she pushed a door open. The smells of baked breads, gooey cheeses with spicy peppers, and sweet creams and frosted cakes filled the air. Various students toiled away as they worked on their baking. Muffins of all kinds, cheesy rolls, cupcakes that were quickly frosted and packaged up, and simple loafs of bread were all being worked on by around twenty students. Small groups of students worked in their own kitchenettes, mixing, baking, cutting, and eating their creations. “Suzie! Your president and her attack dog are here!” A student a ways further into the rectangular room called. “Attack dog?” Galahad scoffed, “Whatever,” Manus motioned for him to be at ease, while her other hands clasped together in waiting. Soon the gnome appeared before the duo. She had traded in her usual robes for a little light blue apron that said ‘Double, double, toil and trouble,’ on it, “What are you two doing here?” She wiped her hands on said apron, getting a white powder all over the front of it, “Come to taste test my latest creation? I’m trying to perfect a spicy and cheesy bagel!” Galahad’s stomach growled, “What kind of cream cheese would you put on that?” “One with chives and onions, I’d say,” The gnome guessed. “Regular cream cheese may do, but that does sound great,” Galahad sighed dreamily, his eyes almost sparkling as he looked at the food, “So you just bake sweets and eat it?” “Well, we sell most of it to fund the other things we bake. The baking is the fun part to us, not the eating,” She explained. The disappointment Galahad felt in his heart and soul was obvious on his face, “I’d eat you guys out of house and home.” “Suddenly you’re a foodie?” The gnome scoffed. “Really just for baked goods. A bit of a weakness, admittedly,” The duelist sheepishly explained as he hid his blushing cheeks behind his scarf. “Maybe Harold can beat you next time with confections,” Suzie giggled at her own joke. “Did you not observe how many rolls he consumed at our council dinner?” Miss Manus teased, “I am somewhat interested in baking. I will keep it in mind, though the introduction your classmate gave me was definitely off putting.” “Don’t mind Davis. That guy is just a butt-head. You know how devils can be,” The gnome turned and stuck her tongue out at a denim blue devil who returned the gesture before laughing, “Let me get you some cinnamon rolls slathered in maple syrup, Galahad. We’ve got some that never sold– but it's still good!” The gnome dashed away and dashed back with a plastic case with said sweets in it. “Thank you, Suzie. I can pay for it if you want me to,” Galahad gladly took it. “Don’t worry about it,” She quickly shook her head, “If you’re interested in joining, lemme know. I can get you two added to my pod.” “I shall keep it in mind, thank you. Good day, Suzie,” Miss Manus gave a small bow before taking her leave, “Those smell… almost sickly sweet,” She noted while observing her fellow council member salivate over his gifted sweets. “I want it so bad right now, but I’ll spoil dinner,” He whined as he slipped it into his bottomless bag, “Where to next?” “Right next door,” Miss Manus pushed open another door a little ways down the hall, “Sewing might interest me,” She noted as the two entered through a doorway. Three rows of sewing machines sat in the room with only roughly ten students working on them by Galahad’s count. Most were stationed near the door and almost all of them looked up when the two entered. They offered polite greetings before going back to work. “Hello, Manus,” One near the door, a tall, slender woman with a fluffy fox tail grinned, “Looking to get something mended by our club?” “Maybe she’s looking for Holmit,” The human woman next to her whispered, “She brought her duelist too.” “On guard duty, Mister Loxley?” The fox woman asked as her bright tangerine colored ears twitched atop her head. “Nay,” He chuckled, “We’re just looking at clubs.” “Oi, I made those leather straps ya wanted,” Holmit grumbled as he approached the front of the room. His robes had been doffed and he wore a plaid button up with slacks and a tool filled leather apron, “Manus?” He cocked his head and furrowed his thick eyebrows. “Hello, Holmit,” She smiled at her fellow council member, “You are not in trouble. We are simply observing clubs. What are you doing here?” “I am, as the younger dwarves call it, craft-maxing. I can forge, I can brew, now I can work with leather and cloth!” He proudly declared. The fox-woman giggled, “He still has a way to go, but has made great efforts thus far. Holmit is the first brave man to join our club in years. We cannot call ourselves the Seamstresses anymore because of him.” “Care to join, Miss President?” The dwarf asked. “I will list this as a possibility,” The fey-witch decided, “But we have much more to see.” “Suit yourself,” The dwarf smirked before returning to his work. Miss Manus bid them farewell and returned to the hallway, “One more in this building. The… hat club.” “Hat club?” Galahad adjusted the red cone atop his head and the circlet underneath it, “I guess I’m ready.” Miss Manus nodded and slowly opened a door at the end of the hall. A grouping of seven students of all kinds sat in a circle with the tables pushed against the walls. Manus observed as one excitedly opened up a large hard case, “Behold,” The human woman declared. She pulled a magicked hat from her case and put it on. It was a raven black hat with sparkling stars. She adjusted the hat, turning it to reveal the sun, Mars, Earth, Saturn, and all the rest orbiting the sun in real time, “The Astrologer’s Keepsake, as I call it.” “Oh, I adore it!” A gnome cried, “I MUST have it! You so liked my aquarium hat from last week, yes?” He revealed a wide brimmed wizarding hat that was crystal clear, the inside of it was a fish tank full of water with brightly colored tropical fish, vibrant pebbles to line the bottom, and numerous plants. An orc rubbed her chin, “Hmm… I would trade my mood hat and the trucker hat for it,” The first hat she revealed had a small brim, was completely black with a bright yellow color starting to emanate from where she gripped the brim. The second had no brim, but the back of it was a breathable mesh and the front was blue and white with the words ‘My other truck is a flying carpet’ on it and a little brightly colored carpet embroidered above the words. The arguing and bartering for the astrologer’s hat continued. There was a hat shaped like a black duck that quacked when jostled too hard. A hat with a silvery brim and the cone part of it was translucent and filled with goop of blue, orange, and red colors that moved like a lava lamp. Last was a hat where the conical portion was covered with a winding, metal chandelier covered in ever burning candles and dripping wax that was caught in the metal brim. “Is this what this club is about?” Galahad wondered. The chatter suddenly stopped. All seven members gave Galahad incredulous looks, “A man without so much as a slightly fancy hat would not understand,” The gnome scoffed. “Where did you buy your hat? From a pre-Cracking lawn gnome?” The human woman joked, making the rest laugh in a snooty fashion. Galahad glared, “This hat happens to mean a lot to me. Not that sentimental value would matter to you folks.” All of them instantly disregarded Galahad and turned to Manus, “Such simple elegance,” One cooed as they stared at her fluffy hat. “Useful too. A warm hat for a cold-looking fey woman,” The second agreed with a nod. “I would love to have it. Would you take this astrology hat for it?” “No, no, she wants this!” A dwarf revealed a neon green hat with a blue brim and a white front with ‘#1’ embroidered on it in red. On either side of the hat was a holder for a canned beverage along with straws to bring it down to your lips. “Oh, nobody wants that,” Another snarked. “Umm,” Manus gripped the hem of her hat defensively. “How about this? You’re a bit short, this might help,” The orc grunted as she revealed a very tall– nearly two feet tall and colored black with a belt and buckle right above the brim on the cone of it. “Galahad,” The witch whispered, “Give me an out.” “On it,” He threw a handful of salt into the air, the dust lingered between them and the club members who were slowly getting up with more ridiculous hats in each of their hands. With the wave of his staff, the duelist summoned a semi-translucent barrier, locking the club in the room and letting the two escape, “It’ll vanish in fifteen minutes!” He called to the muffled protests of the club as the two briskly headed away. After getting a quick dinner, Galahad and Manus were back to looking at clubs. First, they headed south of the cafeteria to the library. As usual, the same elder witch manned the front desk, using her magical rod to move books back onto the shelves when left behind by careless students. Cups, remnants of food, and discarded pens all magically made their way to the trash bins, “Let us start from the bottom and work our way up,” Miss Manus headed to the back and down a set of stairs. The basement smelled musty and the air was stale. Old, outdated tomes lined rooms stacked thick with shelves. At the far end, lights and noises came from a dim room, “There is a computer club,” Manus explained. “Computers? I didn’t think you were interested in that kind of thing,” Galahad chuckled. “Well, I usually am not. But I am more than willing to experience new activities. Are you familiar with computers?” The fey-witch stopped as she poked her head in the door. “To be honest… not very. My family had a computer, but I was always busy studying,” Galahad looked into the room as well. There were desks situated against the walls, each one holding its own computer with a monitor or two. There were ten computers for five students. Four of them sat at the far side of the room, chatting and yelling at one another as the same game played on all four. Close to the door sat a familiar goblin who tapped away on his keyboard. He shuddered and looked at the two wizards staring at him before taking the yellow-tinted glasses off his nose and removing the earbuds that he was wearing, “Lox?” Blud looked surprised, “What’re you doin’ here? With your president too. Lookin’ for clubs, right?” “Hey,” Galahad finally stepped into the room, “Yeah, we are. What do you do here? Just, uh, computer stuff?” “Yup. Those guys are death matchin’ over there and I’m working on some code,” He pointed to his screen as he put his yellow glasses back on. He went to his second monitor and paused his music, elven screamo as Gahad saw it, “I’m workin’ on a game,” He pressed play on his code and Miss Manus watched in abject confusion as symbols and words appeared on the screen, “Ya gotta figure out the right codes– I based it on alchemy, before the time runs out so you can advance to the next level. It's pretty basic, but the idea is it gets more challenging, some modifiers get added, I add in some sneaky things to trip you up. I even made little alchemy graphics to help people learn," The goblin rapidly typed in the commands and executed them, playing through the alchemy game like it was second nature, "Like I said, basic but–” Blud stopped as he looked at his friends. Both Manus and Galahad had completely blank looks on their face and Manus’s eyes might have held a twinge of confusion, “I… cannot comprehend the formulae and magic behind these runes,” She mumbled. “It’s… just C sharp. I…” Blud scratched his big nose, “Ma–ybe this ain’t the club for the two of ya.” “I believe that I have to agree,” Manus nodded, “Such arcana eludes me and I am satisfied with that.” “Well, I wouldn’t call it magic,” Blud nervously tapped the table. Galahad shrugged, “It might as well be to us, Blud. We should probably go, those four are ogling you, Manus” “Ignore ‘em. Them death-matchers have never been this close to a woman,” The goblin joked, “Oh, Lox, would ya do me a solid? A friend of mine wants to meet you. In the arena.” The duelist sighed and shook his head in disbelief, “I’m not opposed to a friendly spar, I just hope they aren’t looking to prove something. We’ll be in touch about that, alright?” “Sweet! Thanks! I’ll catch ya later!” Miss Manus was quick to leave with Galahad right behind her. Back up the stairs and to the second floor they went, within one of the large meeting rooms where there was a small group of people playing games. A square table near the door had a large mat laid across it where four people gathered around. Silently Manus and Galahad entered, they stood at the edge of the table and watched as enchanted clockwork miniatures moved across the table with one player waving a specially made wand, “My elven sorcerer champion attacks your holy knight,” He pointed to the sorcerer and to the knight in question. A little green laser pointed between the two as the elven miniature took up a casting pose. “He has a two up save against magic,” The other man explained, a dwarf. He turned and looked at the two who had just appeared next to him, “M-Miss P-president!?” He wheezed, “W-what are you doing here?” “We are observing various clubs today,” She explained, “What are you playing? These clockwork pieces look quite intricate.” The other player, a half-elf with a blue arm band rolled some dice, “Looks like I miss… Well, I’ll move my abomination up,” He pointed at a large hulking monstrosity and a ring appeared around it. The player pointed to the edge and the beast crawled to the point marked out, “I pass my turn.” Galahad only saw dollar signs in his head as he watched the complex motions of the intricately painted creature, “Yeah, these do look great.” “It’s Forged in War. Over there they’re playing the card game,” The dwarf answered. He pointed to a table across the room. Six people played three games. Each card as it was played on an enchanted mat showed illusionary forms of the beasts and men they played. “It’s the latest and greatest in tabletop gaming!” One of the onlookers explained, “There’s even a pen and paper role-playing game in the same setting. What’s cool is that all three of these games are compatible with one another.” “No wonder it is called the Forged in War club. This one with the mechanical pieces is all about strategy and moving your pieces, correct?” The fey-witch asked, “Perhaps Fredrik would enjoy this. He speaks of being a war mage, he could use the practice of being a general.” “I know Fredrik has expensive taste, but these look costly. The enchantments, the clockwork movements, and that detailed paint job,” The duelist rubbed his face. “Well, not exactly,” Someone shook their head, “You paint it yourself. The paint and stuff isn’t expensive. We all put a lot of effort into it.” “Ah. So it's still expensive, but not as expensive,” He chuckled. The dwarf pointed at one of his horse riding knights and to another piece. A counter appeared next to the illusionary line showing how many inches it was away, “Alright, my crossbowmen are within the commanders range so they get a bonus to hit and damage,” Another line was drawn between the crossbowmen cluster and the abomination. “He has the natural armor ability so that negates your buff,” The half-elf explained. “Nah, they’re crossbowmen so they get the penetrating attack ability. They trump your bonus,” The dwarf smugly explained. “Hmph,” The other one folded his arms as the dwarf rolled a handful of dice into an enchanted dice box. Each of the crossbowmen shot a little illusionary arrow at the beast. During this, a number appeared above the box, a five, and thus five of the arrows struck the beast who silently howled in pain. “Rollin’ damage,” He picked up five dice and rolled them again along with an extra black die. A twenty appeared in white and a six in black. “I got fifteen armor, but piercing attack removes two of it, so seven damage, the abomination’s right arm is out,” He sadly explained. “He’s down an attack with his best unit now,” An onlooker explained, “And that right arm attack is strong.” “I should be able to heal him. I’ve still got my druids!” The half-elf declared. “Eh, not anymore. My lancer knights charge on your druid and his assistants,” He pointed a line between the two and rolled a ten on two dice. The horse riders dashed into the fray. Galahad could see the gears turning in Miss Manus’s head, “Thinking you’ll try this club?” He asked quietly as the game continued. “Perhaps. Although exchanging my scholarship money for toys would not be wise, it does sound enticing,” She explained. Galahad wasn’t sure if that was a joke, “The hour grows late and our little trip nears its end. We should be off before I get any spendthrift ideas in my head.” “Agreed,” Galahad nodded, having the same frivolous ideas now running in his own mind. On the same floor in the smaller meeting rooms on the other side were where the literature clubs met. The duo approached that side where a cork board was strung up on the wall with details of each club. Galahad went for the door handle for one of the rooms that seemed to have some students in, “In here?” “Nay. Stay your hand. All the info I need is here,” She looked at the board, “Right now is… Literature in Comics club. They focus on comics, graphic novels, and… mang-gah?” She gave a confused look. “Probably foriegn,” The duelist guessed. “We have the romance and comedy club, some fantasy and sci-fi, action…” She frowned and shook her head, “I see none here that interest me particularly. Mayhaps I shall pick one at random and treat it like another class?” She continued to examine her options, seeing few that really sounded enticing. Galahad shook his head, his determination still obvious, “We should keep looking. I don’t want you to languish in something that’s supposed to be fun.” “Galahad. There are few we have left tonight.” “Then we can look tomorrow, this weekend even,” He insisted. “No. It will be more of the same. I am defeated,” She admitted, “If Headmaster Crixx will not allow me to substitute these credits, I will choose a literature club and suffer through it,” Miss Manus started down the stairs with Galahad right behind her. “Isn’t there another way?” Manus paused in thought as the two neared the cafe, “There may be one more. But starting my own club will most likely be off the table.” “Why’s that?” “I doubt I could find the support for it. One earl grey with lavender decaf tea, please,” She asked the barista before putting down a few coins on the counter and one in the tip jar. “What kind of club would you make? I’m sure we could scrape a few people together for it,” He insisted, “Uh, just some lemonade for me, please. Strawberry,” He handed over a few dollars and took a seat with the president at a small table, each one sipping their respective drinks, “You like reading, right? What do you like to read, ancient myths, right?” The fey-witch stared into her cup and nodded, “Pre Cracking mythos and legends have always been interesting. I would love to find others who share that interest.” “There you go, will you start that club then?” “I would like a back up. I will have two weeks to attain at least five members after the start date– not including myself. Should I fail this, I will join another. But which…?” “Make two clubs. Make the second one something more general,” Galahad suggested quickly before loudly sipping on his lemonade. “I do not wish to bear the load of running two clubs, Galahad. I appreciate your enthusiasm, I truly do, but this is beyond even me.” “Then I’ll lead the second club. I’m sure I could handle it,” He offered. Miss Manus’s eyes lit up, “Truly? You would do this? Despite being a first year?” “I’m a lot older than the actual first years, Miss Manus.” “True, but what club would you start that could draw a crowd?” Galahad looked down in to the sour, strawberry-filled drink and mulled it over in his head. He had an answer, one that he wasn’t sure he would be happy with, “I’m sure if I started a duelists club they would flock to me. Remember what Blud said? His friend wanted to fight me. Whether to learn or prove themselves, I’m sure I can get enough.” “What would I do? I have to participate,” The fey-witch reminded him. “You could referee. Under your watchful eye you could call the points and make judgements. You’d also be there to make sure no one dies,” He shrugged, “I know you’re not an abjurationist nor a chirurgeon, but they should listen to you, at least.” Miss Manus finished her drink, “Very well. I will leave management to you for this duelists club. Friday afternoon should be a good time for you, the arena should be free. I will take the morning on the same day for my own club. Come, we must submit applications to the dean before the day is up. Thankfully for us, Dean Zucarius stays quite late compared to other staff members.” . . . . . A week later marked the end of the sixth week of the fall term. Friday morning had come and Miss Manus had made her way to the upper floor of the library alone, her thick cloak weighed on her shoulders and her heart pounded anxiously. Would anyone show? She wondered silently as she clutched one of her favorite books to her chest. She checked the cork board next to the meeting room, ‘Myths and Legends in History’ was the name she had decided on, deciding to expand the club to include other race’s myths eventually. She sighed and opened the door to the room. A gallon-sized jug of water had been placed in the middle of the table with ice cubes in it. A goblin set a little stack of disposable cups next to it before taking a seat. Miss Manus looked around at the faces who had already shown. Galahad had shown, as she expected, but Suzie and Rald as well. Suzie was showing Galahad how to find the book on his phone, “And people really read on their phone?” He gawked at his screen. “There are entire sites dedicated to reading on the internet, Galahad,” The gnome sighed, “Not even just books. Short stories, comics, textbooks.” “This is gonna hurt my eyes,” He grumbled as he took it back. “Good morning, President Manus!” Suzie called, “We got here early to set up.” “I see you already brought tea,” Rald sighed in defeat as she put away a little kettle and cups. “Thank you all for coming,” Manus smiled. Both Galahad and Suzie were surprised how big the smile was, “We–” The door opened again, “Is this the myths club?” A gnomish man with glasses and a head of white hair asked. There was a short griffonite man behind him as well. “Yes it is, please take a seat,” Miss Manus smiled, “Welcome. Please write your name down on this members list. Secondly, you will need to acquire a copy of our first book on your own time. We will be starting with The Iliad, a recount on the oft thought fictional Trojan War. It is amongst the oldest works of western literature along with our next book, The Odyssey,” She looked at her club mates, “How silly of me. We should have begun with introductions. Let us go around the table. I am The Multifold Manus of Alderia, president of House Karak-Albrac, and enjoyer of legends and myths.” Miss Manus was filled with glee as her fellow club members went around the table and introduced themselves. She had all the members she needed already and had nothing to worry about now. All that was left was to do her best to run the club. It should be no different than teaching, no? She told herself with a near silent chuckle.