G2A Many GEOs
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Chapter 31

Magus_Anon Mar 1st, 2020 676 Never
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  1.  “Anon, get up. Time for breakfast.” Said Choerteris.
  2.  
  3. You grunted and rolled out of bed.
  4.  
  5. Choerteris handed you a bowl of stew and sat down across from you at the crude dining table.
  6. You had been living with her in her isolated cabin for about a month now. It was cramped and drafty, but at least it was safe. At least when Choerteris was here. The walls were filled with dozens of weapons and artifacts collected during her years of adventuring and archeological expeditions. Allegedly, she was a master of every weapon in the cabin, though you doubted she really took the time to learn how to even swing most of them since she spent so much time on the road.
  7.  
  8. “I got a potential lead on a place where you can stay.” Said Choerteris between spoonful’s of stew. “But before I tell you about that, I have to ask: what do you want to do with your magic?”
  9.  
  10. “Anything really. It’s all interesting to me.” You replied.
  11.  
  12. “How about combat magic?” asked Choerteris.
  13.  
  14. “I thought that was banned?”
  15.  
  16. “In Admaz, yes. Not forbidden per se, but frowned upon. Especially for men. An educational institution has no need for spells focusing on destruction.”
  17.  
  18. “What’s wrong with men learning combat magic?” you asked.
  19.  
  20. “Makes it harder to rape them.”
  21.  
  22. You watched as Choerteris drained the rest of her stew and set the bowl down. Apparently she wasn’t joking.
  23.  
  24. “Oh…”
  25.  
  26. “Hey, it’s not like mamono have much use for it either. Most monsters don’t fight with each other that much, and men hardly put up a fight. Why bother conjuring a boulder to throw at a guy when you can just bearhug him?”
  27.  
  28. “That makes sense.” Even Morala probably could have pinned you if she felt like it. “So who is this person? Some monk? An old warrior?”
  29.  
  30. “No, it’s an adventuring school.” Said Choerteris.
  31.  
  32. “Adventuring school?”
  33.  
  34. “Yep. My alma mater, actually. Gets monsters ready to delve into dungeons and human territories.”
  35.  
  36. “Another school, huh?” you said.
  37.  
  38. “I know you feel like Admaz sold you out by handing you over to Emballandae but try to see it from their perspective. You were going to get taken one way or another, best to minimize casualties and try to keep you from getting hurt or raped in the chaos. Do you really think that some of the mamono would pass up a chance to ‘secure’ you in the heat of battle?”
  39.  
  40. You grunted.
  41.  
  42. Choerteris watched you with concern. “Are you sure you don’t want to go back? I’m sure they’d love to have you. Everyone you know is there after all.”
  43.  
  44. “I can meet new people. People who will have my back when I need it.” You said.
  45.  
  46. Choerteris snorted in annoyance. “Personally, I think you should just go back to Admaz. If you want to learn magic, that’s the place to be. But if you insist on finding somewhere else, the Valisias Academy said that they would take you.”
  47.  
  48. “Works for me. Is it just less magic oriented than the College?” you asked.
  49.  
  50. Choerteris fidgeted. “Not exactly. It’s a lot of practical techniques. Field exercises. The academic portion is mostly pertaining to history or survival techniques. And well…”
  51.  
  52. “What’s wrong?”
  53.  
  54. Choerteris looked at you sternly. “Men are rather uncommon. The ones that go to Valisias go to learn how to support mamono when they go on adventures. Healing, cartography, history, that kind of thing.”
  55.  
  56. “There weren’t that many guys at Admaz either. I’m used to it.” You replied.
  57.  
  58. “That’s not the point. The mamono at Valisias have a very… ‘conservative’ idea of what a man should be doing. Namely getting fucked. Adventuring is tough work, and it attracts tough monsters. You’ve had a VERY sheltered view of mamono culture so far. The monsters at the academy won’t have any qualms with taking you if even if you say no.” said Choerteris.
  59.  
  60. “You’re saying that it’s full of chauvinists?” you said.
  61.  
  62. “Full of strong and sadistic chauvinists. Within the first week, the strongest monsters claim every bachelor in the school. They’re used to men who’ll lie down and get fucked, or break. To them, a man is something to be protected. Trying to learn combat magic will be… an uncomfortable notion to many of them.”
  63.  
  64. “So, I’ll get [flak] for not falling into gender norms?”
  65.  
  66. “Yes. I think so. You really need to stop relying on that amulet so much.”
  67.  
  68. You ran your hand over the amulet of articulation. She was right. Every time you felt like you were starting to learn the language, something awful would happen and you’d atrophy. It wasn’t as if you couldn’t get by without it, but it was so much more convenient to wear it. And it was your only chance to have a conversation in English.
  69.  
  70. “Yeah, yeah. Anyways, you’ve been to Valisias. What are the odds that I get out without a surprise wedding?” you asked.
  71.  
  72. “Low.” Answered Choerteris without hesitation. “Some monsters might restrain themselves so that you don’t get mana poisoning, but there are absolutely some that will take you even if it means you’d be hurt in the process.”
  73.  
  74. “Then why would you even suggest this place?” you asked.
  75.  
  76. “Your magic is your saving grace. Most of the monsters at Valisias don’t have magic; they’d be somewhere else if they did. I’ve seen what you can do first hand; blasting away a vampire is no easy feat even for a mamono. The monsters will think twice about trying to rape you after getting tossed like a ragdoll.”
  77.  
  78. “But it isn’t that simple, is it?”
  79.  
  80. “It isn’t. You’d still have to watch out for poison, sneak attacks, nighttime raids, and monsters working as a team to rape you.” Said Choerteris.
  81.  
  82. “Again, I feel as though you’re trying to keep me AWAY from this place.” You said.
  83.  
  84. Choerteris shook her head. “I think that it’s just the kind of experience you need. You haven’t told me what type of monster you’re interested in, but chances are you’ll have to fight your way to her eventually. If you don’t learn how to defend yourself now, you might never get the chance to learn later.”
  85.  
  86. She was right. Even in Admaz mamono were starting to get a little to assertive.
  87.  
  88. “With all that being said, I don’t think you’ll be in too much danger.” Said Choerteris.
  89.  
  90. You cocked your head. “Huh? You spent all that time trying to convince me how dangerous it is there, and then dismiss all those claims?”
  91.  
  92. “True, you’ll be fighting for your pelvis most days. But so will everyone else.”
  93.  
  94. “That doesn’t make me feel any safer…”
  95.  
  96. “You haven’t seen what the Academy is like. The students fight over everything, men especially. What do you think will happen when you show up?”
  97.  
  98. “A riot?” you said sarcastically.
  99.  
  100. Choerteris laughed. “Not quite. Even though those meatheads don’t understand consent, they DO understand hierarchy. The strongest monsters will all be clamoring to get your attention, tearing each other apart in the process. The weaker ones wouldn’t dare and try to steal you away from someone who can tear their arms off.”
  101.  
  102. “Ah. So instead of a whole school of monsters, I only have to deal with a handful of incredibly powerful monsters. How comforting.”
  103.  
  104. “There’s always Admaz…” said Choerteris.
  105.  
  106. “No, it’s high time that I learn how to defend myself. I’m tired of relying on other people to keep me alive.” You said.
  107.  
  108. Combat experience would also be indispensable if you had to fight through other monsters to get to your desired girl. Whoever that turned out to be. You had been making a list of pros and cons for each monster species that you were considering. It was a slow process considering how many species there were to consider. You had also taken it upon yourself to do some extra research regarding monsters you were skeptical about. It would be foolish to marry a girl based on a paragraph of information in an encyclopedia after all.
  109.  
  110. “If you say so. I think you can do it, but there’s always the chance that things may backfire. I’ll contact the Academy and tell them you’re coming.” Said Choerteris.
  111.  
  112. “Does that mean you’re leaving again?”
  113.  
  114. “Yep.”
  115.  
  116. “How long this time?”
  117.  
  118. “A few days.”
  119.  
  120. Not too bad, but it meant you had to cook for yourself. How you could make something so rancid and unpalatable from simple ingredients was baffling. After your second failed stew, you had decided to just eat raw vegetables and roasted meat until Choerteris returned.
  121. “Be safe and-“ started Choerteris as she walked out the door.
  122.  
  123. “Don’t let anyone in. I know. I can handle myself.” You assured her.
  124.  
  125. She smiled. “See you in a few days!”
  126.  
  127. ~~~~~
  128.  
  129. “Anon! I’m back! They said the-“ Choerteris paused when she saw you eating a baked potato. Not really baked, but you had heated it on a stick over the fire before eating it raw. The inside was still cold.
  130.  
  131. “Maybe putting you in the Academy isn’t such a good idea after all…” she muttered.
  132.  
  133. “Hey! It’s food. It doesn’t have to be tasty, just nourishing. You said they accepted me?” you asked.
  134.  
  135. “Of course they did. We’ll be heading there tomorrow.” Said Choerteris.
  136.  
  137. “Wow, that fast huh?”
  138.  
  139. “Yep. Pack your things tonight, we leave when it’s light out.”
  140.  
  141. Choerteris began preparing herself, throwing odds and ends into her pack.
  142.  
  143. “Think we’ll have any trouble getting there?” you asked, watching her slip a knife into her belt.
  144.  
  145. “With you? I’d guarantee it.” Chuckled the dhampir.
  146.  
  147. You snorted and finished the last of your potato. “Who’s the boss of the Academy?”
  148.  
  149. “A dark valkyrie named Maranth. Well-traveled, and well respected. She’s seen a lot of combat over the years.” Said Choerteris.
  150.  
  151. “I’d imagine. What do you think she’ll make of this whole situation?”
  152.  
  153. “She probably won’t care. Between administrative work and loving her husband, she doesn’t spend much time doing anything else. If you were getting raped in front of she would probably just walk around you.”
  154.  
  155. “Huh. Doesn’t sound like someone you’d want in charge of an institution…” you mused.
  156.  
  157. “The other instructors make up for it. Some of them anyways. When I went there, I swear my salamander sword-master did half the paperwork in the school.” She laughed. “Not all the mamono there are as… barbaric as others. Valisias churns out plenty of respectable and ‘chivalrous knight’ types too.”
  158.  
  159. “But mostly rapists.” You said.
  160.  
  161. “Yes, mostly rapists.” She sighed. “Oh, and that reminds me. I know that slavery is a big taboo in your society, but here? It’s just another aspect of life. A necessity in some places. Plenty of monsters get their husband from a market if there are no men in the surrounding regions.” She set her backpack down. “Some of the mamono are there to learn how to catch men. Promise me you won’t try and do anything heroic.” Said Choerteris.
  162.  
  163. “I won’t. But if they come after me, I’m smacking them extra hard.” You said.
  164.  
  165. She grinned. “I suspected as much. Now come on, get packed for tomorrow. I want to go to bed early.”
  166.  
  167. You nodded and collected what few possessions you had. Twisting one of the limiter rings on your finger, you silently prayed that Choerteris was right about your magic. If she was wrong on even one account, it would be a VERY short semester.
  168.  
  169. ~~~~~~
  170.  
  171. “There it is!” said Choerteris.
  172.  
  173. You pushed aside the underbrush and drank in the view. Valisias sprawled out before you amidst the grassy plains below. Farms and barns speckled the land outside the city, as wheat blew in the shade of massive windmills. Forested hills rolled off to the east, one of which you now stood on.
  174.  
  175. You were exhausted. Being on the road with Choerteris made you realize just how much of a gap there was in your stamina and speed. She had been able to make the journey to and from the city in a few days. It had taken just as long to arrive with you in tow.
  176.  
  177. “Great.” You wheezed.
  178.  
  179. “There’s the Academy. See the big building on the other side of the city?” said Choerteris.
  180.  
  181. You nodded. Unlike the gothic-esque style of Admaz, this building looked like it had been built without aesthetics in mind. A plain, grey stone cube attached to what might pass as an office building. Even from here, you could see the half a dozen training fields and what looked like a small colosseum.
  182.  
  183. “Come on, you’re almost there. If you think this is bad, just wait until basic training.” Said Choerteris.
  184.  
  185. “Training?” you said weakly.
  186.  
  187. Choerteris slid down the incline, riding a wave of dirt as she slid down what some would consider to be a cliff. You groaned and tried to follow her, sliding down on all fours.
  188.  
  189. ~~~~~
  190.  
  191. “Hey, do you know if Maranth told anyone I was coming?” you asked.
  192.  
  193. “No, why?” said Choerteris.
  194.  
  195. “Just trying to get an idea of how much of a ‘welcoming party’ will be waiting for us.”
  196.  
  197. The two of you were almost in the city now. Unlike many other towns you had been too, there was no wall surrounding Valsias. Such a defensive structure was probably extraneous when the town was home to a perennial army of battle-hungry monsters.
  198.  
  199. “She must have told people; if they agreed to accept you then they have to make preparations.” Said Choerteris.
  200.  
  201. “That’s what I was afraid of… Let’s try and stay out of crowded areas. And stay close to me.” You said. Pulling your hood over yourself, you hid your hands inside a pair of thin gloves. Everything you could to make yourself seem like a normal human.
  202.  
  203. “Yeah. We’ll stay in the outskirts of town and circle around the city.”
  204.  
  205. Following your dhampir guide through the alleyways and houses, you began to see the first denizens of Valisias. Surprisingly, the composition of species didn’t seem that different from Admaz. Succubi, demons, harpies, lamias… all went about their business as you watched them from the shadows.
  206.  
  207. “Ooh… What's that succulent smell?”
  208.  
  209. The sinister voice snaps you out of your people watching. Monster watching. Whatever it was.
  210.  
  211. An arachne crawled over the eve of the roof above you and smiled. “Well well! What are you doing here little guy?~”
  212.  
  213. “He’s with me.” Said Choerteris brusquely. She hooked her arm around yours and dragged you away.
  214.  
  215. “Hey! He isn’t claimed yet, right? How about we share him? I can tie him up nice and tight, and we can take turns.” Said the arachne.
  216. Choerteris ignored her. You noticed her free hand move to the hilt of her rapier.
  217.  
  218. “Hey you bitch! I’m talking to you!”
  219.  
  220. Choerteris shoved you into a wall, leaping away as a spray of webbing splattered against the ground where you two had been standing. By the time you were on your feet, Choerteris was already on the roof swinging at the spider. Taking aim at the spider woman, you prepared to blast her.
  221.  
  222. “NO!” shouted Choerteris, seeing your hand raised.
  223.  
  224. She lunged at the spider, using her sword to swat away her flailing hands and thrust into the arachne’s torso. The arachne moaned and collapsed, sliding off the roof and landing in heap of legs and leaking web. Rushing over, you breathed a sigh of relief as you saw she was still breathing.
  225.  
  226. “Come on. We have to go. Other mamono heard that.” Said Choerteris.
  227.  
  228. “Just let me know if I need to give you some backup.” You said summoning a spark of blue fire in your hand.
  229.  
  230. “I said no! If you use magic now, it’ll be a beacon to every monster in the city.”
  231.  
  232. The two of you ran on, Choerteris peaking around corners and you panting beside her.
  233.  
  234. “Almost there, we’ll go to the wall and skirt around it until we reach the entrance.”
  235.  
  236. Now that you were getting deeper into the city, it had become clear that Valisias was a more feral place than Admaz. The closer you got to the Academy, the more warriors you saw. There was an overt gradient of muscle and height from the outskirts to the center of town. Apparently street fights were an accepted form of public entertainment too. More than once you caught a glimpse of a crowd thronging around a pair of monsters slugging it out.
  237.  
  238. “Okay. Here we are.” Said Choerteris with a sigh of relief. “Last chance. Once you’re inside, there’s no guarantee you’re coming out without a wife.”
  239.  
  240. You felt a rush of magic circulate your body as adrenaline began to pump through you. “I’m ready.”
  241.  
  242. Choerteris tried to smile. Clearly she thought you were surrendering your bachelor rights.
  243.  
  244. “Just… don’t get killed, alright? Lussazan told me that you were adapting well to demonic energy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to get fucked by a lilim. If you do get jumped, make sure she takes it slow.” Said Choerteris.
  245.  
  246. “I’ll try.” You said. Not that you thought a rapist would listen to her partner’s requests…
  247.  
  248. “Alright then. Let’s go meet Maranth.”
  249.  
  250. Choerteris sidled around the side of the wall and approached the front gate. You followed close behind.
  251.  
  252. Valisias Academy really was a savage place. The second you entered the courtyard, you realized that it was less of a school and more of a bootcamp. A few choked weeds huddled against the sides of the buildings were all that grew in the dusty ground. Monsters sauntered around with weapons and armor. As you got closer, you could smell the pungent scent of sweat saturating the air. None of the students batted an eye as a werewolf tackled a grizzly to the ground and began beating her.
  253.  
  254. But it was the height that you found most intimidating. In Admaz, most monsters were about your height. Here? Here you were painfully below average. Most of the girls here looked at least six foot eight.
  255.  
  256. And all of them were the type who wouldn’t have any qualms with rape. Amazons, ocelomeh, ogres, minotaurs, orcs, werewolves, manticores, redcaps… If it raped, it was here.
  257.  
  258. “Keep moving. And keep your head down.” Hissed Choerteris, taking your hand.
  259.  
  260. You realized that you had been staring at the monsters around you. Some of them were starting to stare back. Several of the small packs of mamono had turned their attention to you, murmering amongst themselves. A few of them pointed or scowled.
  261.  
  262. “Hey, you there.”
  263.  
  264. This time, you didn’t bother looking back. Choerteris picked up her pace and you matched it without missing a beat.
  265.  
  266. “Hey, human! I said stop.”
  267.  
  268. The voice was closer now. You didn’t dare turn around, but you could feel whatever monster was hailing you approaching. The ground vibrated with every step she took.
  269.  
  270. “Ignore me, huh? Who’s that? You’re wife?”
  271.  
  272. Choerteris pulled you forwards and twisted around in one fluid movement, positioning herself between you and your aggressor. An ogre stood over Choerteris, looking down at her.
  273.  
  274. “We’re on our way to meet Maranth. You wouldn’t want to delay us, would you?” asked Choerteris.
  275. The ogre grimaced at the mention of Maranth’s name. She snorted. As she turned away, she caught a glimpse of your face.
  276. “What the hell…?”
  277. Uh oh.
  278. “Hey! What’s the deal with him? He looks funny!” said the ogre.
  279.  
  280. “You sure know how to woo a man Gora! How do you not have a husband when you have such a way with words?” called a monster from the crowd. The other mamono chuckled.
  281.  
  282. The ogre blushed. “Who said that?!”
  283.  
  284. “I did, you permavirgin!”
  285.  
  286. You couldn’t see who exactly was antagonizing the massive woman but you were thankful for the distraction.
  287.  
  288. “Come here!” roared the ogre. She shoved her way through the crowd and a moment later you heard a loud thud and cheer as a fight broke out.
  289.  
  290. You felt a hand reaching through the barrier protecting your back. Choerteris had insisted that you put up a weak ward protecting your back at all times, just incase something tired to stab you in the back. Twisting around, you readied your hands to blast away whoever was trying to grab you.
  291.  
  292. “Izzis him?”
  293.  
  294. A blue-skinned woman with black wings bent down to get a better look at you under your hood. She had a hand rolled cigarette hanging out of her mouth, blowing fragrant smoke at you as she looked you over. It smelled like mint and sage. Through the wide gaps in her armor, you could see a litany of tiny scars covering her body. You reflexively raised your barrier as she reached her hands out to your face. She raised an eyebrow as her hand caught on your ward. Her fingers flashed as a small arc of magic shattered your ward. Grabbing your chin, she forced your head upward.
  295.  
  296. “Yep.” she said with a puff of smoke.
  297.  
  298. “Maranth!” said Choerteris.
  299.  
  300. “Oh! There you are.” Said Maranth. The dark valkyrie abruptly backhanded Choerteris with an armored gauntlet.
  301.  
  302. Choerteris yelped.
  303.  
  304. “That’s for bringing a man through the front gate. I trained you better than that; stuff him through a window. Come on, let’s go get his paperwork signed.” Said Maranth.
  305.  
  306. You looked between your guide and the Valkyrie. Choerteris gave you an apologetic smile as she held her cheek. “Welcome to the Academy.”
  307.  
  308. Noticing the hoard of mamono in the courtyard were beginning to form a semicircle around you, you hurried after the headmistress with your dhampir in tow.
  309.  
  310. ~~~~~~
  311.  
  312. You sat patiently as Maranth looked over a small pile of paperwork. Her office was a mess. Papers littered every surface including the floor. Crumpled sheets jutted out from filing cabinets stuffed far beyond capacity. From the scent of sex in the air, you suspected that Maranth did more fucking than filing.
  313.  
  314. She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose.
  315.  
  316. “So let me get this straight, Anon. You want to enroll in an academy of violent rapists to learn how defend yourself from violent rapists, because if you’re violently raped you’ll die?”
  317.  
  318. “…Yes.”
  319.  
  320. “Because you can’t defend yourself against violent rapists.” Said Maranth flatly.
  321.  
  322. “I can, but I’d like to get better at it.” You said.
  323.  
  324. “Anon, how much did Choerteris tell you about this place?” asked Maranth.
  325.  
  326. “She said that it was brutal; that there’s a good chance that I’ll be claimed.” You said.
  327.  
  328. “Mmhmm. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Do you understand why I’m apprehensive to let you in?” said Maranth.
  329.  
  330. “Headmistress, I know he doesn’t seem like much…”
  331.  
  332. Hey!
  333.  
  334. “…But he has potential. I’ve seen it. He may not be especially strong or smart, but he makes up for it in other ways.
  335.  
  336. Hey!!
  337.  
  338. “Mmm yes…” Maranth flipped through a few pages. “You say he helped you fight through a legion of guards and your mother to earn his freedom. Tell me Anon, do you have any OTHER combat experience?”
  339.  
  340. “You mean like the time I thrashed my way through an army of undead? Or the time I stopped an amazon raid on an elf village?” you replied smugly.
  341.  
  342. “Ahh yes… the undead army that was under orders not to hurt you. And the amazon raid, were you on the front lines?”
  343.  
  344. “Yeah! I mean, it became the front lines by the end of the fight.” You said.
  345.  
  346. Maranth stared at you. “Right. Well, I’m sorry Anon but I can’t allow you to enroll here.”
  347.  
  348. “What?! Then why did you accept me in the first place?!” you said.
  349.  
  350. “The way Choerteris described you, I assumed you would be some sort of combat protégé. But seeing the way you meandered into a yard full of monsters who would grind your pelvis to dust without any regard to your safety or the situation around you… I realized you were a fluke.”
  351.  
  352. “A fluke?! You haven’t even seen what I can do yet!” you protested.
  353.  
  354. “What do you even want to learn here!? Just go back to Admaz! You human men are always so conceited. Since you can’t seem to wrap your head around this, let me put it simply: you are WEAK. If you enroll here, you WILL be raped. Normally, I wouldn’t hesitate to enroll someone like you; seeing pretty young men humbled under the hips of a monster happens to be a hobby of mine. But YOU might die. If a man died at the Academy, it would ruin the reputation. If YOU died here, we would have to close our doors.”
  355.  
  356. “Headmistress, please. At least put him through the training course before you reject him.” Said Choerteris.
  357.  
  358. “No, Choerteris. I’m surprised you of all people would be so willing to put a human in harm’s way. Look at this…”
  359.  
  360. Maranth pulled a sheet of paper out of the stack and spun it around to face you and Choerteris. It was some sort of graph. A line starting at the bottom snaked its way up towards dozens of horizontal lines. You recognized that some labels on the horizontal lines as species of mamono. Hooray for literacy!
  361.  
  362. “What’s this?” asked Choerteris, looking over the sheet.
  363.  
  364. “Something your friend Lussazan cooked up. A graph of his tolerance to demonic energy compared to the average demonic energy output for each species of mamono.” Said Maranth.
  365.  
  366. Holy shit. You were PAST some of those lines. Leaning over Choerteris’ arm, you tried to see which monsters you could fuck and survive to cuddle. You felt a twinge of disappointment; most of the mamono you could safely bed were ones you had no interest in. At least there were some options that you would be fine with. But you were after the best match possible. None of the species on your list were anywhere close to being safe.
  367.  
  368. “My advice? Just find him a cupid or unicorn that he can fuck and call it. The girls here are too far beyond his limits.”
  369.  
  370. “You don’t even know what my limits are!”
  371.  
  372. “He’s got a point, headmistress. If you were willing to accept my recommendation before seeing him, what’s the harm in letting him take the entrance exam?” said Choerteris.
  373.  
  374. Maranth sighed. “Fine. He can run the gauntlet. But only after he signs a statement saying that he takes full responsibility for whatever happens to him.”
  375.  
  376. “I can take whatever you throw at me.” You said confidently.
  377.  
  378. Choerteris squirmed.
  379.  
  380. “I highly doubt that…” chuckled Maranth.
  381.  
  382. ~~~~~
  383.  
  384. “So what exactly is this test?” you whispered to Choerteris.
  385.  
  386. “It’s a multiple part exam designed to weed out weak recruits and assess the skills of the ones who make the cut. I can’t tell you anything else…” said Choerteris.
  387.  
  388. You both followed Maranth through one of the buildings until you arrived at a classroom. Inside, dozens of mamono were hunched over their desks furiously scribbling away at a test.
  389.  
  390. “There’s a written portion?” you hissed.
  391.  
  392. Choerteris shrugged and motioned you inside.
  393.  
  394. Maranth nodded to the lizardman teacher and picked a test up off her desk. Handing it to you, she gave you a quill and directed you to a seat.
  395.  
  396. Shuffling through the rows of mamono, you plopped yourself into a seat at the back of the room and began looking over the test. That none of the mamono even bothered to look up at a man passing by them was not a good sign…
  397.  
  398. ~~~~~~~
  399.  
  400. “Congratulations, Anon.” said Maranth.
  401.  
  402. “Really?” you asked hopefully. Maybe by some miracle you had just barely passed by doing well on the multiple choice.
  403.  
  404. “Yes, you managed to figure out which end of the quill was used for writing. More than I expected of you.” Sneered Maranth. “That being said, you are well within the lowest intelligence bracket.”
  405.  
  406. Oh.
  407.  
  408. “Oh don’t worry. I’m sure you can recoup some of your grade on the physical exam.” Snickered Maranth.
  409.  
  410. She led you and Choerteris out of the hall towards a training field. This one had dozens of obstacles scattered throughout. Ladders, ropes, pits, walls, and drops all stood between you and the finish line.
  411.  
  412. Maranth directed you to a starting line where other mamono were queuing up to run the course. At regular intervals, the jinko instructor would send another candidate through the course.
  413.  
  414. “Can I use magic?” you asked Maranth.
  415.  
  416. “No.”
  417.  
  418. “What?! Why?”
  419.  
  420. “We have a separate exam for students with magical aptitude. Now go.”
  421.  
  422.     Keeping as much distance as possible from the lamia in front of you, you shuffled forward with the line. The jinko waved the snake woman on, and she slithered dexterously up and over the first wall. Turning her attention back to you, the tiger woman’s stoic demeanor cracked a bit when she saw you. She pursed her lips and looked you over. Her hesitation was warranted; you only came up to her chest. But you were going to show these monsters that you were more than just some scrawny human. With a sigh and a pitied look, she waved you on.
  423.  
  424.     Surging forward, you scrambled up over the first wall. Hoisting your legs over the other side, you flopped onto the ground beyond and continued. You attempted to leap across a pit, only to fall short and slam painfully into the far side. You could hear a few mamono laughing as you picked yourself up and clawed your way out of the hole. The next obstacle was simple: carry a ladder to a high wall, climb up, shift the ladder to the other side and climb down. You grabbed the ladder and lifted. Oh fuck, it was heavy! Whatever wood was used to construct this thing was supernaturally dense. Straining, you managed to pick it up a few inches off the ground and shuffle towards the wall.
  425.  
  426.     The sound of feet moving through mud alerted you to the presence of something approaching you from behind. Setting the ladder down, you panted and raised your barriers. Surely the refs wouldn’t hold this against you. A mantis sprinted towards the pit you had fallen into and gracefully crossed it with a single bound. Without hesitation, she hooked her claws between the rungs of a second ladder and carried it to the wall. In a flash, she was at the top and hoisting the ladder to the other side. Shit. You were falling behind.
  427. After a minute of dragging and gasping, you finally sat at the foot of the wall. Positioning yourself under the end of the ladder, you pushed hard to move pit upwards. Erecting the ladder was easier than carrying it, now that you could make better use of your legs to push it. As your ladder tapped against the wall, a second one clattered up next to it. A kakuen hurried up and straddled the wall looking down at you.
  428.  
  429. “Better hurry cutie~”
  430.  
  431. You grumbled and hurried after her. Reaching the top of the wall, you did your best to lift the ladder. Nope. Not going to happen. You had trouble lifting this thing when it was on the ground. Not a chance you were getting it over a giant wall.
  432.  
  433. Maranth looked up at you from the ground. “Is there a problem, Anon?”
  434.  
  435. You glowered at her. Both of you knew that you were finished.
  436.  
  437. She sneered at you. “Don’t worry, I’m sure one of the other girls can help you out.” She motioned to a ghoul who was tearing her way through the course. “Get him down from there.”
  438.  
  439. You contemplated just falling off the wall, but knew that if you were seriously hurt it would not only ruin your chances of getting into the Academy, but also trigger predator instincts in half the girls around you. No telling what some of these girl’s ideas of ‘healing’ might entail.
  440.  
  441. The ghoul was more than happy to acquiesce. Hurrying to the top of her ladder, she scooted over to you.
  442.  
  443. “Heh heh… Come here boy.”
  444.  
  445. You were tempted to scoot away from her as she moved towards you, but there was nowhere to go. Lowering your barrier, she wrapped one of her arms under your arms and across your chest. Even with just one arm, she was strong enough to support your entire weight and get the ladder to the other side of the wall. You squirmed as her breasts pressed into your back. As she carried you down the ladder, the ghoul took the opportunity to take a deep whiff of your hair and flick your ear with her tongue. When you reached the ground, you tried to struggle free.
  446.  
  447. “Come find me later. A guy like you shouldn’t be walking around here unattended~” said the ghoul, giving you a squeeze.
  448.  
  449. You threw her arm off and she laughed before continuing through the course. Hanging your head, you approached Maranth at the side of the track. She just raised an eyebrow.
  450.  
  451. “You quittin’?”
  452.  
  453. “Huh?”
  454.  
  455. “Are you done? If you are then get off the track. Otherwise, clock’s still ticking.” Said Maranth.
  456.  
  457. “I’m not disqualified?”
  458.  
  459. “No. I can tell you right now that you’re failing, but you can still run the rest of the course if you like.”
  460.  
  461. You looked back at the obstacle course. You were less than a quarter of the way to the finish.
  462.  
  463. “Just hurry it up if you’re run it. I’d like to get home to my husband at a reasonable hour.” Said Maranth.
  464.  
  465. Best to finish what you started. Turning back to the course, you hurried to catch up with the other applicants.
  466.  
  467. ~~~~~~
  468.  
  469. “Aaaaannnd… Time.” Said Maranth. You collapsed at her feet.
  470.  
  471. Choerteris bent down to see if you were okay. You waved her away and tried to say that you were alright through your wheezing.
  472.  
  473. “Let’s see… Not only did you finish with a below average pace, even for a man, you couldn’t complete four of the obstacles.” Said the valk.
  474.  
  475. You threw an arm over your face. It was a humiliating showing, no matter how you looked at it. Now your muscles were on fire and your dick hurt from being groped by all the girls who had to help you through the course.
  476.  
  477. “Normally I would give you the boot at this point, but I think it’s pretty hilarious to see you get put in your place. I’m also curious to see just what kind of magic you’re packing. So you can take the magical aptitude test after dinner.” Said Maranth.
  478.  
  479. “Come on Anon, I’ll show you where the mess hall is.” Said Choerteris. She threw your arm over her shoulder and dragged you away.
  480.  
  481. Some of the monsters who had ‘helped’ you on the obstacle course jeered at you as you passed them.
  482.  
  483. “See you soon, handsome!”
  484.  
  485. “Hope you know how to heal, mage! You’re going to need to fix your hips once I’m done with you!”
  486.  
  487. “Shoulda stayed at home, slut! Now I’m gonna TAKE you home!”
  488.  
  489. You ignored them as you limped into the dining hall. You’ll show them. You’ll show them all!
  490.  
  491. ~~~~~~
  492.  
  493. Making friends looked like it was going to be your top priority. Unlike Admaz, there were no smaller tables to dine at. Just long benches packed shoulder to shoulder with mamono. Choerteris had found a spot at the end of a bench for you, ensuring that you wouldn’t have to sit next to a total stranger on your first night here. Even though she could protect your side by sitting next to you, the spot across from you was fair game for the rest of the students in the school. If they could be called students…
  494.  
  495. An amazon who had been following you through the food line sat down on the other side of the bench. You kept your attention on your food as she stared holes through you.
  496.  
  497. “Boy.”
  498.  
  499. Don’t react. Just ignore her.
  500.  
  501. “Look at me, boy.” Said the amazon, pounding the table.
  502.  
  503. Focus on the potatoes…
  504.  
  505. The amazon slammed her knife into the table in front of your plate. You recoiled and nearly fell out of your seat. Choerteris seized her hand. The whole room hushed as the mamono waited to see how this would unfold.
  506.  
  507. The amazon wrenched her hand free. This time, you couldn’t avoid her stare.
  508.  
  509. “You don’t belong here.” she seethed.
  510.  
  511. “That isn’t for you to decide.” Said Choerteris.
  512.  
  513. “This isn’t a place for men. If he’s a healer, he should just marry and be done with it. Otherwise…” she narrowed her eyes. “He’s going to get exactly what he deserves.”
  514.  
  515. The warrior woman unseated herself and walked away, leaving the knife embedded in the table. You clenched your silverware and kept your head down to avoid the stares of the other monsters.
  516.  
  517. Now that the seat was empty, other monsters realized that it was their chance to acquaint themselves with you. A lithe demon sat herself down across from you.
  518.  
  519. “Don’t worry about her. Some of the monsters here can be mean sometimes. But if you stick close to me, I’ll make sure to protect you~ Your name's Anon, ri-“
  520.  
  521. Her flimsy pickup attempt was interrupted by a vicious hip-check from a high orc. The demon yelped and slid off the bench onto the floor.
  522.  
  523. “Out of the way, cunt. This one’s ours.” Said the high orc. The other orcs around her jeered in agreement.
  524.  
  525. With a snarl the demon kicked the orc in the gut, sending her reeling back. She bumped into a rough looking manticore, forcing the core’s chest into her plate.
  526.  
  527. “Oi!”
  528.  
  529. Turning around, the manticore threw the horc into the table in an impressive display of martial arts. Through the table actually.
  530.  
  531. Seeing the massive pig-woman held aloft, you managed one last bit of food before the table was turned to matchwood. The other mamono at the table were rightly outraged by the interruption to their dining experience and joined the ensuing brawl. Choerteris yanked your collar, hauling you away as cheers rang out from the dining hall.
  532.  
  533. “Some things never change…” she muttered.
  534.  
  535. ~~~~~~
  536.  
  537. “And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for.” Said Maranth.
  538.  
  539. The sun had set below the horizon. You were on a mostly empty training field filled with magical trials. A small crowd of monsters were watching from the sidelines. Choerteris stood next to her old teacher and a man whom you didn’t recognize.
  540.  
  541. “I hope you live up to the hype kid.” Said the valk.
  542.  
  543. “Dear…” muttered the man next to her.
  544.  
  545. “Oh relax. If he can’t handle banter, he doesn’t deserve to be here.” Said Maranth nuzzling his shoulder. “Anon, this is Osar.”
  546.  
  547. “Pleased to meet you, sir.” You said.
  548.  
  549. He chuckled. “Sir? Awfully formal of you. I don’t teach at the Academy, I just help Maranth with the paperwork and occasionally tutor students.”
  550.  
  551. You nodded and looked back at the training course.
  552.  
  553. “So Anon, before we begin we’re supposed to ask you a few questions about your magic.” Said Maranth looking at a clipboard. “What would you say are your strengths?”
  554.  
  555. “I’m good at blasting things.” You said confidently.
  556.  
  557. “Mmhmm… And what is your greatest weakness?” asked Maranth scribbling something.
  558.  
  559. “Fine control.” You said.
  560.  
  561. “I see. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, how broad would you say your repertoire is?”
  562.  
  563. “…Two…” you mumbled. It was embarrassing, but you hadn’t learned that many spells yet.
  564.  
  565. “No shame in that. Others have been using magic their whole lives.” Said Osar.
  566.  
  567. “Alright, I think that should do it.” Said Maranth. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
  568.  
  569. The first test was simple: thread a needle using magic. It took a few minutes of trying before you were able to fit the thread through. Next, moving a pile of rock from one location to the other. Lifting the rocks was a cinch. For the first time, Maranth gave you a small nod of approval as you finished the test. Moving on, you came across a succubus with a bandage wrapped around her arm. She licked her lips as you approached.
  570.  
  571. “Hey there little guy! You taking the test? I got hurt and could use some healing~” she said waving her arm at you.
  572.  
  573. “We’re skipping this one Anon, I don’t want you experimenting with healing magic without supervision.” Said Maranth.
  574.  
  575. “What?!” squawked the succubus. You moved on to the next area, a wooden training dummy.
  576.  
  577. “Alright Anon, I know you said you’re good at destroying things so this should be right up your alley. Just burn the dummy.” Said Maranth.
  578.  
  579. Burn? Your attacks always looked like they were hot, but you don’t recall actually burning anything. Channeling your magic, you did your best to envision a torrent of flames.
  580.  
  581. A gout of blue fire erupted from your palms. The dummy was knocked over as the magic collided with it, pushing it along the ground. Cutting off flow of energy, you were disappointed to see that the dummy wasn’t even seared.
  582.  
  583. “Next.”
  584.  
  585. Barrier test. A lizard man took a few swings at your wards, before letting a dark mage throw a few fireballs at you. The dark mage waggled her fingers at you and made a blowjob motion with her hand and tongue. She stopped when the lizard slapped her on the back of her head, almost knocking her hat off.
  586.  
  587. “Good work. You’ll need a strong defense if you want to survive here.” Said Maranth.
  588.  
  589. After a few more tests, Maranth grinned at you. “Now for the fun part. Normally we don’t require too much for the offensive magic portion of the exam, but I want you to show the girls what will happen to them if they try to lay a paw on you.”
  590.  
  591. She swept her arms out. “So, I’ll let you use the whole field for this one. Just pick a target and blast away.”
  592.  
  593. You looked around. “Any target?”
  594.  
  595. Maranth nodded.
  596.  
  597. Surveying the field, you spied a giant boulder sitting at the far side, near the crowd. Maranth must have surmised what you were thinking.
  598.  
  599. “You wanna zap that boulder?” she asked.
  600.  
  601. “Ahh, sorry Anon.” said Osar. “That’s training equipment. How abo-“
  602.  
  603. “It’s fine! It’s just a boulder, we can always find another one.” Said Maranth dismissively. “Now let’s head over.”
  604.  
  605. “Head over?” you asked.
  606.  
  607. “Hmm? Were you planning on shooting it from here?” asked Maranth. You saw Choerteris grin ever so slightly.
  608.  
  609. “I was, but we can go over if that’s how the exam works.” You said.
  610.  
  611. “Oh no, by all means, please continue.” Chuckled Maranth.
  612.  
  613. Planting your feet you took a deep breath and focused on the boulder. Some of the girls in the crowd were talking amongst themselves, trying to figure out what you were doing.
  614.  
  615. “Can you tell them to stand back?” you asked.
  616.  
  617. Maranth gave you a condescending grin. “Oh of course! HEY! MEAT HEADS! STEP BACK A BIT!” she called.
  618.  
  619. The mob was obviously dubious of your claim. Most only stepped back a few paces. A few stood firmly in place. Oh well, you warned them.
  620. “That far enough for you?” asked Maranth.
  621.  
  622. “Yeah.” You said.
  623.  
  624. Exhaling slowly, you began to channel energy in preparation for the pending strike. Wind began to swirl across the training ground.
  625.  
  626. “Mmm?” grunted Maranth.
  627.  
  628. The hair on your arms stood up as the feeling of static covered your body. A glowing maelstrom manifested over the offending rock, slowly spinning as you forced more power into it. Gritting your teeth, you discharged the energy downward onto the rock.
  629.  
  630. A blue beam shot down, pulverizing the boulder and the ground around it. The crowd lurched back with a cacophony of screams as the crackle of magic echoed across the field. Mamono who were too prideful to heed your warning were pelted with pebbles and dust.
  631.  
  632. “Oh ho ho!” Cheered Maranth. “Good stuff kid! Holy shit, maybe you really WILL be alright here!” she said, clapping you on the back.
  633.  
  634. “Told you he was worth it. He might be piss poor at everything but brute force, but I think he’ll flesh out his talents soon enough.”
  635. Said Choerteris.
  636.  
  637. Osar stared at the hole where the boulder was.
  638.  
  639. “Hot damn! You’re like one of those cannons that the Order has. Glad that monsters found you before humans did.” Said Maranth. “Personally I still think you're rape bait, but at least you aren't totally helpless. I’ll tell you what, as long as you sign a waiver abdicating my responsibility for your death, you can attend class here. But I hope you learn quick or sleep lightly; you won’t last long otherwise.”
  640.  
  641. “Deal.” You said.
  642.  
  643. Your body was already protesting its treatment. The combination of intense physical exertion and magical discharge had left you enervated.
  644.  
  645. “How ‘bout we find your room. You look like you could use a bed.” Snickered Maranth.
  646.  
  647. “Yeah. Bed sounds good.” You said.
  648.  
  649. Following the dark valkyrie to the dormitories, you glanced at the crowd of mamono. Others had joined them, curious as to what had caused all the noise. They didn’t even bother trying to hide the fact that they were talking about you; most stared or even pointed at you as they explained what had transpired.
  650.  
  651. “Looks like you’re already popular.” Mused Maranth. Choerteris glared at the mamono ogling you.
  652.  
  653. You stared back at the pack of monsters. It was clear that many were surprised by your display of force. The cocky grins and pitying looks you had taken all day were replaced with quiet respect. At least they would think twice before jumping you. Stepping into the dormitory, you let the heavy door shut behind you, blocking out the sounds of night on the plains.
  654.  
  655. ~~~~~~
  656.  
  657. “Well, that went better than I expected.” Said Choerteris. “Or worse, if you think about it. Now you’re really in the belly of the beast.”
  658.  
  659. She plopped down onto your rickety cot. The room you had been given looked more like a cell than a dorm room. Unpacking what little clothing you had and stuffed it into a small dresser. It was more like a footlocker. Thankfully, you had only escaped Tomb Haven with a few trinkets from your life on earth and an armful of spare clothing. All of it fit comfortably in the spartan storage space.
  660.  
  661. “Hey, be safe, okay? If you ever need anything, just send for me. I’ll come as soon as I can.” Said Choerteris. She fidgeted with the pommel of her sword.
  662.  
  663. “I might just take you up on that. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much; if anyone gets too ‘insistent’, I can probably just zap my way out of the city.” You said.
  664.  
  665. Choerteris smirked at you. “And what? Survive in the wilderness? I seem to recall you having trouble boiling vegetables while I was away.”
  666.  
  667. “I only have to pack enough provisions to last until you show up. I’ll even meet you halfway!”
  668.  
  669. “Goodluck finding that much edible food around here. I love this place, but the food was the worst part. Hope you’re not a picky eater.”
  670.  
  671. “I think the ever-present threat of rape and or death by rape will be a good incentive to keep my energy up.” You said.
  672.  
  673. Choerteris smiled weakly, clearly unnerved by your joke.
  674.  
  675. “Just make sure you survive. It’d be too humiliating to have to beg my sister to resurrect you.” Said Choerteris.
  676.  
  677. “Hey, a lotta monsters have tried so far, and I haven’t been taken yet.” You said.
  678.  
  679. The dhampir smiled. “I expect to see some new magic when I see you again. Oh! And if you do get a wife, make sure you introduce me to the missus.”
  680.  
  681. You said goodbye to her as she left you to your own devices. Carefully scrawling out the glyph Maranth had taught you for protection, you imbued it with a jolt of magic and flopped into bed. Exhaustion consumed you and you quickly fell into a deep sleep.
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