The courtyard was abuzz with noise and conversation, as the student body of the Mahoutokoro Institute of Spirits and Magic filled the seats of the numerous tables that had been conjured up for the occasion. In keeping with the feeling of unity that the school had long espoused, the student tables were not divided by House nor by Year; friends across years and mons sat with each other, chatting across the surfaces from each other and including the various yokai, or school ghosts, in their conversations. Several half-visible kami wisped their way through the gathering, the congregation of so many magic users making it easier for them to manifest; others were in Makimono bodies fashioned by Nakajima-sensei and Kikuchi-shokanji, and were being doted on by both younger students and serious summoners. Headmaster Ogami Toshiyuki looked out over the semi-chaotic throng with a pleased look and a contented heart. Such joyful exercise was a true reward for the delightful school year that was just being finished out.
Once he was certain that all students were in attendance, he stood up from his seat on the staff platform. "Silence, please," Ogami held up a hand, and the children all ceased their chatter immediately, looking up at him. "We gather now at this feast to thank one another for another academic year together. I look across all of your faces and cannot help but express my pride at your performances throughout our time here. Once again you have all brought honour to Mahoutokoro and all those who attend, and have attended in the past. None more so than the graduates who are sitting among you for the last time, and I wish us all to applaud their achievements. Mahoutokoro Class of 2001, rise and be recognised by your School." Witches, wizards, and yokai alike cheered and applauded loudly as those who had completed their seventh year stood, some blushing, some bowing, and some grandstanding. Ogami chuckled at this, and then signalled that they should sit again.
"Furthermore, we celebrate those students who have undertaken the Seishin no Mezame. I am now happy to report to you all the names of those students who have passed the test and will be officially recognised as First Rank students when they return this fall."
"Quyền Linh Hyunh Nghia
," he intoned. "Rise and be recognised by your House. You are now a student of the first rank, a genbu
(black tortoise)." He applauded again with the rest of the faculty and students, and then found his second target.
, rise and be recognised by your House. You are now a student of the first rank, a byakko
(white tiger)." As more applause filled the courtyard, he nodded at a helpful yokai who was already pointing and hovering behind the Mizuchi he was looking for.
, rise and be recongised by your House. You are now a student of the first rank, a seiryu
(water dragon)." Many continued to clap, and Ogami let it go on until their hands were sore before proceeding with the final bit of business.
"New first ranks, you will meet me in the Shinseina Pagoda at 11:30 tonight," Ogami went on. He would not say anything else to the assembled student body, though nearly all but the youngest and newest students knew that the selected students would be undergoing a special ritual that would change their uniforms from the light pink of second ranks to the gold of first ranks.
"Now that the exciting news is out of the way, I invite you all to participate in the traditional sharing of food as we celebrate the ascension of these students and the completion of another year at Mahoutokoro. Otsukare sama deshita
(Thank you for your hard work)," he spread his arms wide, along with all the faculty, as they conjured the food from the kitchens onto the tables in front of the students. He took his seat again and began pondering what he would like to eat first, confident that all the souls around him would soon be doing the same.