Tuesday, September 4th 2063
After spending the previous day touring the academy and installing everything he would need in the future, Tatsu Jin woke up a bit tired. Despite this situation, he still followed his morning ritual, which included a four-kilometer jog, a few key muscular exercises, and of course a long session of Ether meditation. He needed to remain in shape for the case of a possible business.
He could have avoided running and doing muscular exercises this time around but decided otherwise. After coming back, the transfer student took shower and put on fresh clothes before tackling the main part of his morning routine. He needed to improve his synchronization with the Ether. The main reason is that he didn’t know if he would be able to master Arcane Magic in his current state. So, Tatsu Jin sat down on the floor cross-legged before focusing all his energy to meditate effectively.
After letting the Ether run free throughout his body for around forty-five minutes, his GLASS rang up, alerting him that it was time for his first day of class. It was Tuesday, so he had Magic Theory classes for both the morning and afternoon. He would have to face the burden of introducing himself to his classmates, which was actually not a simple task.
(I need to act as a regular student as much as possible, to avoid any suspicion.
Playing the shy, timid card might be the good play here…)
Even with a plan in mind, he dreaded that moment on his way to the classroom. It was not the first time he had to put on a disguise, both figuratively and literally. However, he needed to play the long game in this particular situation; which he really was not used to. He already knew that playing a role for three whole years was going to be tiring and difficult.
With mixed emotions, Tatsu Jin opened the door to his supposed classroom and found it empty. He was the first one to arrive, which fit his personality well. After all, he functioned as a clock. He hated to be late and have his time wasted. He would rather come in advance and have time to plan alone while waiting for the events to unfold.
Many desks already had carved names on them, meaning they were already taken. A few desks on the last row were free, so he took the one closest to the window. He dropped his bag on the floor and took his seat before turning on the holographic GLASS on his left. The almost transparent blue window appeared, notifying its user of a tutorial to use the device, which the transfer student skipped within a heartbeat.
It was 9:40 am and the class wouldn’t start for another twenty minutes.
Tatsu Jin took out the leaflet he picked from the building’s lobby a few minutes ago. Even though he has read many things on the Elite Magic Academy’s website, he was still eager to learn more about this institution. One section of information attracted his attention.
Every students’ file, both the paper and digitalized version, are taken care of by the Magic Counselor. Being secured by multiple video surveillance cameras, many magic detectors, and an inviolable lock, students’ privacy is taken very seriously by the Elite Magic Academy.
A group of students entered the area, disturbing his reading session. When they saw him, they could not prevent themselves from shooting not-so discrete glances at him. The transfer student thought this was completely normal. After all, in almost thirty years of existence, this establishment only accepted two transfer students. In their eyes, he was nothing more than an anomaly.
The Elite Magic Academy was one if not the best place to learn magic in the continent, and maybe on the whole planet. It was extremely selective, so even visiting the academy’s grounds was an achievement. Only those who passed the extremely difficult entrance exam would be allowed in. For one student to relinquish their place, he or she had to go through a terrible injury. That was the only possible explanation in the students’ eyes.
A couple of minutes were enough for the classroom to fill. It was only the second day of the semester but Tatsu Jin already saw the roots of a few social cliques inside his class. If he really wanted to participate socially, it would have been extremely difficult to achieve it. He felt like an outsider, which was pretty accurate at the moment. Nonetheless, the transfer student really could not care less about the attention he garnered.
Something prevented him from getting back to his leaflet before he was able to do so. The Magic Theory teacher arrived with a pile of documents in her hands and took her place at the front desk. She had dark eyes and brown hair that contrasted well with her impeccably white lab coat. From her attitude to her clothes, everything betrayed that she was a researcher. Her gaze was focused, and her body language painted the portrait of a logical personality.
– Hello everyone, my name is Aoi Fujita. This year, I’m going to teach you Magic Theory. But first…
She took out a note from her bag and read it quickly.
– We have a transfer student, Tatsu Jin-san. Can you come to the board and introduce yourself, please?
Tatsu Jin could feel the gaze of every student shifting to him. He shoved his hands into his pockets and casually walked up in front of the professor’s desk. With just one hand, he wrote the name he had been given on the tactile holographic board. He then turned to his classmates, bowed slightly and introduced himself politely.
– My name is Tatsu Jin. Happy to make your acquaintances…
Silence took over the classroom because he didn’t wish to say more than what was needed. But, without any regard for what Tatsu Jin wanted, one of his classmates couldn’t control her curiosity and asked him a troubling question.
– For a transfer student to be directly assigned to Class B, you must be quite powerful. Are you?
– I’m afraid not. I’m pretty sure I can hold my own on Magic Theory, but I’ll be outclassed by you all in Offensive Magic. They just probably chose me to fill an empty void. It would be pointless to look at other explanations. Still, I was quite happy to be called among all of you.
His attitude did not change as he spoke. He appeared as a laid-back but normal student without anything flashy to report to his classmates for now. It was his priority to calm down the surprise effect that came with his unique situation of being a transfer student.
Before his intervention, all his classmates were expecting him to be someone incredibly powerful. After his intervention, the majority of them already put him under the “normal student” category. Nonetheless, one student who was a bit smarter than the others voiced his concern.
– If, as you say, you are not so good, why didn’t the administration directly assign you to Class D and then start a chain of promotions in lower classes to keep the balance of skill?
If he was really underpowered, the Elite Magic Academy probably would have done that. Faced with a dilemma, the best move that Tatsu Jin could make was to agree with him.
– I don’t know. Maybe it looked like an administration nightmare… they didn’t want to answer me either.
By placing himself on the same team as the skeptical students, Tatsu Jin managed to lower their suspicions. Still, a few students felt that something was amiss. To avoid being interrogated, the transfer student quickly returned to his seat without any warnings. The only thing that could shift the students’ attention to something else was Magic Theory.
Fortunately for him, there were no other announcements and the class started.
After making sure that Aoi Fujita wasn’t saying anything interesting, Tatsu Jin finally dove into his thoughts.
(I did not give any personal information for this supposed “student file.” So… what could be in it?
Hypothesis one: Aside from my name and maybe a photo, it’s completely empty.
Hypothesis two: The Elder gave some bullshit data to fill out my file.
Either way, I can’t allow anyone to see this file. In the case of hypothesis number one, they would directly know that something is shady about me and that I’m different from the other students. In hypothesis number two, asking me a single question would make them understand that this information is nothing but a web of lies.
I have to steal it.)
The Magic Theory teacher shifted her gaze to the new student and understood that he was not focusing at all on her current speech. She was angry because Jin just arrived in the class and already started showing signs of laziness. To punish him, Aoi Fujita decided to trap him and asked him a question that her class did not yet cover.
– Tatsu Jin, could you spell out the six different grades of magic for your comrades?
– Basic-Class, Medium-Class, Advanced-Class, Expert-Class, Master-Class, and Country-Class.
She was surprised but still decided to bring her A-Game.
– And what is the deciding factor that decides in which class does a certain Magic spell?
– The percentage of pure Ether in it.
– Correct. Can you elaborate?
– Magic requires an absurd concentration to be used, from the gathering of Ether onto a particular part of the body which is casting the spell to the imagination pattern. Spells that are more powerful require a purer Ether and a more difficult imagination pattern. But as it is impossible to relevantly quantify imagination patterns, scientists decided to scale Magic spells depending on the percentage of pure Ether in them.
The Magic Theory teacher was flabbergasted. This lesson was supposed to be taught months from now. What made her come out of this mental state was the memory of Tatsu Jin stating that he was good at Magic Theory. Understanding how he was feeling, the teacher let him off the hook. After all, she suffered a similar experience in a not-so-distant path, feeling bored because she had to listen to classes that were well under her level.
During that whole interaction, the other students did not dare to interrupt. Witnessing the transfer student holding his own against an Elite Magic Academy teacher was thrilling to them. They immediately understood that he was serious about Magic Theory and that he did not lie earlier.
Being let off the hook by the teacher proved to be useful to the transfer student as he had a lot to think about.
(So, the first thing to do is to gather information.)
He went through the leaflet again with this particular intention and discovered three useful pieces of intel and a fun fact.
All the Elite Magic Academy staff members and students are provided with devices operating under the GLASS Operating System by its official sponsor, FutuR.
The “inviolable lock” mentioned on page 13 is a new technology combining both mechanics and Ether-infused parts that is considered inviolable in the industry. Only the Elite Magic Academy’s private quarters are equipped with this innovation.
The main building is automatically locked between 11 pm and 8 am.
The final thing he learned is that the marketing department of the academy was doing good business. This brochure was a good way for the Elite Magic Academy to receive additional funding via brand and product placement. In the end, Tatsu Jin wasn’t too angry about being used to generate money because at least, it profited him in some way.
With these new pieces of intelligence in his possession, the most important thing he needed was a floor plan of the main building. There was always a plan of the building at the entrance of any room in the fire-prevention notice. However, to get it, he would have to disturb the whole class, which he wasn’t planning on doing.
Because he didn’t know how much time he would need to craft a well-thought-out plan, he had to move fast. So, he contacted one of his informants with his own GLASS device to leave no traces and tasked him with finding a detailed plan of the main building. After twenty minutes and a heavy wire transfer, he received what he was looking for attached to a message.
Dissecting the plan, he finally found out the precise location of the Magic Counselor’s office. It was at the end of a long corridor on the second floor.
Now, what he needed to do was to choose a strategic place to enter the building at night. After looking at the map for two whole minutes, a smile rose onto his lips while he gazed at the location of a particular storage room on the map’s first floor. There were other storage rooms inside this building, but this was the only one with a window.
Some sort of plan started to form in his mind.
The transfer student was impatient to move on to the next phase of this intelligence gathering. However, as he needed some freedom to do so, Tatsu Jin waited until lunch hour to act. Unfortunately, there was something he didn’t account for.
After standing his ground against the teacher a couple of minutes ago, many of his classmates were very curious about him. He had to resist with all his might in order to make them go away. The clock was slowly ticking, and he couldn’t afford to miss out on this opportunity.
With his GLASS in hand, he wandered around the building while taking discrete notes on the security cameras and Magic Detectors’ locations. It took him around twenty minutes to do so because of their quantity and placement. With this mission being a success, he also took two pictures using the advanced zoom feature of his GLASS. On these shots were the names of both models.
Visiting the storage room was optional but he still decided it would be best. He couldn’t prevent himself from smiling again after taking a long glance at the messy room.
(Damn… the security guy didn’t make any other mistakes.)
There were no blind spots available in the front of the Magic Counselor’s office door.
(I really don’t want to… but I’ll have to use some powerful stealth spells.)
Managing this heist without using resources out of first-year students’ reach was impossible, so he came to reason.
Now that every little detail has been revealed, he used the afternoon class to plan his exact move. Choosing a seat in the last row ended up being a success since no one diverted their attention to what he was doing. Everything was now ready, so he decided to act out on it this evening.
After turning down multiple invitations for training from his classmates, he cleaned up his desk and moved to the first floor of the building. He then entered the storage room and closed the door behind him. The next step was to lock the door from the inside, allowing no entry whatsoever to this room to someone without a key card. Tatsu Jin hoped that this measure would prevent anyone from shutting the window that he just opened.
A few key steps were enough for him to reach a position that couldn’t be tracked and launched Concealment Magic first.
The Concealment Magic spell is a unique and rare magic that blurred out the magic imprint of every spell used by its caster. All magic detectors could still detect the residue left by this magic, but its data would be unusable. Tatsu Jin was absolutely certain that no one was aware of it, which made such a plan doable. After all, the Master of All Magic got rid of this spell’s creator, who used it for his own gain at the expense of others, after learning it.
After using this unique spell just in case, the transfer student planted one of his Teleportation Magic waypoints on the floor, in a position that couldn’t be detected by the magic detector in the corridor.
However, Teleportation Magic also had some drawbacks that the transfer student considered. For it to work at all, there was a need for a direct connection with air. Basically, no one could teleport in a completely shut room. Of course, this spell put a heavy toll on regular users in terms of Ether burned to activate it. In his case, he was anything but a normal user.
This is precisely why the window had such an important place in his plan. All he had to do is secure his entrance to guarantee that this window was open, even after closing hours.
After making sure that he was not in the magic detector’s radius, he used Teleportation Magic and instantly appeared in his room at the dormitory building. This was why he was the only student who always left a window slightly open before getting out of his apartment. A Teleportation Magic waypoint was there for him to go back in an instant.
He had finally planted the seeds for his entrance tonight.
Tatsu Jin put his stuff on the ground before jumping on his bed, worried about the staff figuring out everything he did. He knew that well-placed camera footage would not show Tatsu Jin leaving the class building via the regular doorway. If one looked at this camera feed, they would probably say that he just disappeared. In addition, even though he took some precautions, he was still caught by multiple cameras while wandering around the building to take notes.
He was planning to move around midnight, way after the closing hours to make sure no one would surprise him. Tatsu Jin also thought about teleporting sooner and staying there invisible to lessen the chance of someone shutting down his only access to the building. However, he decided otherwise.
Between a Magic Theory homework, meditating, eating and practicing his enchantment skills, midnight arrived fast. The one ready to do a mischievous deed replaced his uniform with masking clothes just in case something went wrong. Fingerprints probably weren’t going to be an issue, but he still decided to wear leather gloves. To copy the data, Tatsu Jin only needed his GLASS portable device.
Ready to act, he cast Concealment Magic, Silent Step Magic, and Teleportation Magic.
He was now inside the building, invisible and completely silent. Thanks to his strategy, both cameras and magic detectors were not difficult threats anymore.
He did not waste a single second and unlocked the door from the inside. The invisible student made sure to not touch anything and walked up to the second floor. Soon enough, he found himself in front of the Magic Counselor’s office door. He stared down at the locker that was supposed to be inviolable and smiled.
(Someday, I’ll manage to beat you, I promise… but for now…)
It was indeed an inviolable lock, but not an inviolable door.
A few years back, a noble hired an aspiring but famous young magician that was rumored to grant favors in exchange for magic secrets. That noble asked him to rescue a loved one in exchange for a unique magic spell. After the magician managed to get him his daughter back, one of the noble’s magicians taught him how to use Devil’s Shadow Magic.
This magic allows the user to completely blend with a shadow and move within it. The drawback of his magic is that on the shadows containing a magic caster can appear a few visual artifacts. The strength of Devil’s Shadow Magic grew stronger at noon, but shadows cast by the moonlight could also be used to cast the spell.
Tatsu Jin used the Devil’s Shadow Magic spell to travel through the door’s shadow, which was bathed in moonlight. He finally managed to reach the Magic Counselor’s office and realized with a hint of relief that there weren’t any other security measures. The proprietary of this office completely trusted the students’ privacy to the inviolable lock.
He wandered around the office for a short while before turning his attention to a drawer with a sticky note. Of course, the drawer wasn’t locked, so the invisible man dived into what was inside.
It didn’t take long for Tatsu Jin to find what he was looking for. His personal file was at the complete end of the drawer, which surprised him a bit. He cursed himself for guessing accurately what his folder contained. Nothing was in Tatsu Jin’s file except his name.
To avoid suspicions, it was also mandatory to steal a few other student files. It was at that time that the invisible man cracked the counselor’s sorting system. After dealing with the entrance exam to apply here, every possible student received a grade depending on how well they performed. It made Tatsu Jin’s life a lot easier as he wanted to know more about the most powerful student of his promotion.
He decided to steal ten other student files, which of course contained the highest entrance exam grades. Now, it was time for him to deal with the digitalized version.
He powered on the desktop GLASS and was soon faced with a lock screen that demanded a password. So, Tatsu Jin reached out to his own mobile GLASS and placed it in the wireless connection port, directly connecting it to the desktop machine. He ran a program on his phone, managed to prevent himself from letting a faint laugh out.
(Little did the academy know, this was still possible. They can’t be blamed for this. After all, only the military knows. Heck, I wasn’t supposed to know either.)
Ten years ago, there was a scandal that almost made FutuR, the American company that produced GLASS devices, go bankrupt. It was the result of a really problematic bug in its operating system. Online forums found out that typing the wrong password over and over again still granted access to the device. At that time, the company lost the trust of all its shareholders and had to work hard to regain its place in the industry.
Of course, FutuR’s communication team made a statement saying that they fixed the issue not long after the scandal broke the news.
However, they didn’t completely get rid of the bug.
They were approached by the US military and its secret service agencies not long after what happened. It was obvious that this bug was way too useful for them. These institutions had used the bug to make huge advancements in many cases. After all, a huge chunk of people, including ones from other countries, were using GLASS devices. So, being able to break into any mobile device containing important data to solve crimes and spy on other countries was just too precious to lose.
Therefore, after moving their installations on the competitor’s hardware that was safer, the American secret services offered a deal to FutuR: leaving some form of the bug behind against a heavy pile of cash. The company added another part to the deal as it was known for years that they avoided some of the taxes they were supposed to pay. The discussions shortly shifted into an agreement.
So, the glitch remained there. It was just much harder to trigger.
Tatsu Jin happened to know of it because he had a contact in the military. At that time, that one officer exchanged this expensive information against a favor. Considering the situation that he was currently in, Tatsu Jin was completely satisfied to have accepted the offer at that time.
So, all he had to do was push a button on his modified GLASS.
WRONG PASSWORD. TRY AGAIN.
WRONG PASSWORD. TRY AGAI…
WRONG PASSWORD. TRY AGA…
WRONG PASSWORD. TRY AG…
WRONG PASSWORD. TRY A…
WRONG PASSWORD. TRY…
WRONG PASSWORD. TR…
WRONG PASSWORD. T…
It was as simple as that. Only a well-crafted program that fired inputs at an inhuman rate would be able to accomplish this feat and thus give him access to the desktop GLASS.
He didn’t invade the Magic Counselor’s privacy more than he had to. Tatsu Jin only copied the eleven files he was interested in before deleting them from the desktop GLASS and its server. The last thing he needed to do was delete every file in the event register. All of that was done to get rid of any trace regarding his manipulations. It was like he was never there.
The invisible man stood there for a moment, thinking about how the Magic Counselor would be dealing with this situation. The most normal thing to do would be to call FutuR’s customer service about files that deleted themselves. However, the physical copies’ disappearance would be hard to explain. He did not think about what would transpire the next day too hard as the human brain was designed to find creative ways to find gaps.
Now that his mission was a success, the only thing that he had to do was to go back the way he went in earlier. He made sure to not leave any details that would incriminate him and extended his Invisibility Magic to the files he was carrying.
He really didn’t want to leave other clues behind. He considered that what he did was clearly risky enough. The cameras already got footage of the storage room’s door opening itself and weird shenanigans happening with the shadows under the Magic Counselor’s door. In addition, when he used Devil’s Shadow Magic twice, the magic detectors had detected something, even though it was gibberish. Combining these facts with the disappearance of the files could lead someone to figure out his plans.
He wished he had more time to craft a more foolproof plan, but he was in a bit of a rush. Without anything else important happening, he reached the storage room and teleported away to his room.
After getting rid of his masking clothes, he locked the physical and digitalized student files away in his safe. He only had the courage to set up his alarm for the next day before jumping in his bed and falling asleep. The thief was tired, mainly from what happened in the morning with his classmates.
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