Chapter 4:

It's getting harder for you to find new Sorting Trials. Not impossible; you still hear whispers from the other Unsorted about trials that they have done that you haven't, so there are still Trials to investigate. The flood of Trials you started with, however, has clearly slowed to a thin trickle. It feels just like when you graduated school—a sense of sadness that something is ending yet a sense of excitement for what's to come.

This time you are in a grassland—one just outside a small town that reminds you of your own home. You are sitting on the ground, soaking in the familiarity and the calm.

You still don't have a clear understanding of what group you will be sorted into—Marcana or Illuden—and, at this point, you don't even have a clear preference. The trials haven't given you a lot of feedback as to how they influence your sorting.

You just want to be a part of the magic, no matter what.


"Hey Hey you" You snap out of your thoughts. You see an Unsorted that you've passed by on certain occasions rushing excitedly towards you, hands waving about to get your attention.

"Hello," you greet the guy as he finally makes it to you. "Are you also here to do the Trial about those statues that suddenly appeared a couple of miles from here?" Having done some Trials with other Unsorted you happened to encounter, you know it'd nicer to work with someone—if only for having someone to talk to.

"I don't need to" He responds. "I just got Sorted."

Your heart drops a bit at those words.

Did I fail?

It's then that you spy a primitive looking medallion hanging around his neck—emblazoned with a symbol of the Marcana.

"Yeah, a lot of my other friends have just been Sorted too and—"

"More people are being Sorted?"

"Uh… yeah. It seems that way. I mean… we can't keep doing trials forever."

"I guess not." You frown, having not been approached yet.

"So… I'm guessing you haven't been Sorted yet?" The newly minted Marcana asks, sympathetically. You shake your head in response, unsure how to articulate some of your anxiety.

"Cheer up, buddy You may be a Marcana yet If not…" He looks away, slyly, before continuing. "Well… let's say it might be better if you stay Unsorted than become an Illudo."

Man, that prejudice starts early.

You have never fully understood the animosity between Illuden and Marcana. It seems to start off innocently enough, at the beginning—typical us versus them mentality. It seems to grow though, the longer a person is in either group.

"Haha … yeah." You really don't know how to take his words, but nevertheless, you try to stay friendly.

Just as you are about to say goodbye, you notice a new person join the fray—seemingly appearing out of thin air. Squinting, you notice that it's in fact Robert, the Marcana you camped with for a weekend waiting for a Trial to start.

"Aha Marcana indeed" the new Marcana says, following your gaze to find Robert. "Well I'll leave you to it." He winks at you and rushes away, nodding to the senior Marcana in acknowledgement while passing.

Is this it? Am I being Sorted right now?

You expected a bit more pomp and circumstance, but you suppose that's more of the Illuden way.

"Hi Robert," you greet as he approaches.

"Hey Up for some S'mores?" His tone is jovial, as seems to be his usual. He plops down beside you with a bag of marshmallows already in hand.

"Sounds good." You start to pull some kindling you keep attached to your bag—you never know what the Trials will demand—but you notice Robert simply conjuring fire in a clear spot on the ground.

Well… so much for that.

You still feel awe about the ease with which Robert manages to navigate the elements.

"Soooooo … you may be wondering why I'm here…" Robert leads, grabbing a piece of your kindling and piercing one end through five marshmallows.

"Not just for S'mores?" You joke, garnering a laugh from Robert. You follow his lead, though opting to only roast one marshmallow.

"I'm here for something much, much better."

This is it. I'm finally going to be Sorted. Excitement bubbles up within you. Just as Robert opens his mouth to continue, he is interrupted by the roar of an engine above you. Looking up, you see a motorcycle that appears to be hovering in the air, adorned with a series of connected colorful handkerchiefs. You barely catch a glimpse of a female figure in a top hat riding the magical motorcycle.

"…Those darn machines." You overhear an unhappy Robert mutter. You stand up as the motorcycle comes to an elegant "landing"—it appears to just continuously levitate above the ground. The rider appears to be none other than the Illudo, Alice, you met barely two weeks ago. She dismounts the hover bike with an intense look about her, staring directly at Robert.

"What are you doing here? Going to set fire to the whole grasslands?" She addresses Robert, seemingly unaware of your existence with him here.

"Well at least I'm not polluting the air or corrupting the magic stream."

"What convoluted nonsense is the magic strea—"

"You wouldn't get the purity of magic and even if you did—"

"Hello?" You try to butt in, disrupting their argument. It doesn't seem to work.

"Just because you can't do real magic—"

"My magic is just as good as your hippy dippy magic—"

"Hey guys?" You try again. Their volume just increases to drown you out.

"Hippy dippy? No wonder no one wants to be an Illudo, you're all stuffy and boring—"

"Boring? I'm sorry we care to do more with our minds than let them waste away in the sun—"

"STOP IT BOTH OF YOU" You feel a pulse of energy leave your body, like water rippling away after a pebble has been dropped in it. What was that? You feel out of breath though unsure if that was due to the argument or the pulse that seemed to radiate out from you.

Robert and Alice cross their arms, a seeming truce for you to state your case.

"What are you two doing here anyway?"

"You've been sorted into—" They both start.

"Marcana" Robert finishes.

"Illuden" Alice says concurrently.

"What?" You all three say at once.