Shaar looked around curiously upon stepping into the Magician’s Association. Magicians were prestigious members of society in the empire, and this place was the core of the mainland magicians’ power. This was where administrative works were run, an impressive place indeed.
However, Shaar was greatly disappointed when he saw what was past the main door.
They arrived in a large circular hall with only stone floor tiles and white walls--no rare, peculiar array patterns at all! To Shaar, Calve Hill’s house that he visited on his first day here was way more impressive than this.
This… this was just a plain visitor’s foyer. About ten steps wide, there were steps in front and a long table horizontally before it. A white-haired old man sat at the table with a hand supporting his chin, falling asleep on the table. This man wore long grey robes without any magician’s badges on it.
When he saw--- hmm, more accurately, he ‘heard’ them--- Tatara and Shaar, the old man forced himself to look up sleepily, his eyes barely open as he mumbled, “Good afternoon magicians, may I ask what matters are you here for…”
As he spoke, he slurped and swallowed the drool on the corner of his mouth and wiped on his dirty sleeve. He finally looked up and eyed the two visitors from head to toe.
Both parties looked at each other. Shaar was obviously not dressed like a magician so the old man’s eyes fixed on Tatara.
“Greetings, respectable magician, I am Dohari, receptionist for the Magician’s Association. Please give me your name so I can register you, then state the reason for your visit…” When he spoke, Shaar realised most of his teeth were missing, his cheeks sunken. He struggled to stand up and bow to Tatara but his body shook and it took him a long time before he could stand up straight.
Tatara puffed his chest proudly. “My name is Tatara, it’s on the association’s name list.” There was a pause, then he looked at Shaar. “Uh… This… this is my partner.”
“My apologies.” The old man nodded at Tatara respectfully. “Since you’re a magician, you must know the rules here. Even your partner has to register his name.”
“Shaar.” The hillbilly stated his name nonchalantly. “Shaar Thunder.”
“Mm…” The old man picked up a goose feather quill with a shaky hand, then wrote on a form. Due to his frailness, his writing was crooked. He wrote and muttered to himself, “Mmm, visitor… the respectable Sir Tatara, mmm, and… the magician’s servant, Shaar Thunder… Mmm, what a strange name, can’t believe someone would have this name…”
When Shaar heard the old man call him Tatara’s servant, he immediately glared and wanted to stop him but Tatara gave Shaar a look, nodding and silently begging. Shaar then finally shut up.
“Alright… Sir Tatara, please state your reason for visit… I…”
“I would like to meet an administrative officer to discuss matters about my reputation. May I ask who the magician on duty is today?” replied Tatara cautiously.
The old man grunted but seemed to be a bit deaf because he asked the question again. After Tatara gave the same answer, he nodded, “Mm, please head upstairs, second door to the left. Magician Halls is on duty today, you may talk to him.”
Tatara heaved a sigh of relief and smiled apologetically at Shaar. “Please wait for a moment here. Mmm… Unless it is a special circumstance, outsiders cannot enter.”
Shaar looked around. They put such a crappy old man at the reception without any guards. Could this frail old man stop him if he wanted to barge in?
However, this was still the Magician’s Association after all, there must be some impressive defences here. Since he was not here looking for trouble and only here out of curiosity, he might as well just wait.
After watching Tatara head up the steps, he looked around the reception foyer. It was ridiculous that there were no chairs here and the old man was already back on his chair, nodding off once more.
Very bored, Shaar walked up to make small talk. “Sir, are you a member of the Magician’s Association?”
The old man seemed very annoyed, for he looked at Shaar with knitted brows and mumbled, air leaking out through the gaps in his teeth, “What nonsense… If I’m not a member, why would I be sitting here…” He shook his head and gave a patronising look.
“Oh? So… looking at your age, you must have been in the association for a long time now?” Shaar asked curiously.
“Mm…” The old man did his best to open his eyes and counted on his fingers. “It’s been… fifty… fifty-three years I think…”
Shaar perked up, “So you must be a magician too?”
The old man smiled awkwardly but glared and replied with an unfriendly tone, “You’re a rude one. If I were a magician, would I be sitting here? Mmm… I am just a magical disciple.”
Shaar looked at the old man. He must be at least in his seventies, if not eighties! He’s so old, but still a disciple?!