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Charle Ceres was a man of few weaknesses.

  He was knowledgeable, adept in arcane magic, a wise tactician, and a discerning scholar as he was an educator. He had a nice face and soothing voice, light and lustrous hair, and a gentle - yet stern - personality. He had many who trusted him, many who admired him, and many who respected him.

  If Morris had to name a weakness, it wouldn’t be the man’s clumsiness; nor would it be his forgetfulness or trauma-inducing cooking. It wouldn’t be his unimpressive stamina, and neither would it be his tendency to worry for others. Rather, it would be the very virtues he lived by..

  Whether it be Life Magic or Applied Magic, he had high hopes for both in equal measure; whether it be teacher or student, he respected and trusted in their abilities where they were due; and whether he liked or disliked someone, he would spare his time to hear them out all the same. Charle Ceres thought that that was what being “ fair ” and “ just ” meant.

  While it earned him the grace of the masses, it pushed away the people who should have really mattered.

   Barbara Balzac , one of his students who transferred over to Morris’ field of expertise due to changing interests; the younger professor often thought she would have easily stayed, if only her former teacher had insisted on her stay just a little more. While the girl was diligent under his supervision, Morris would have to have been blind to not notice her gaze shift distractedly over to the Applied Magic juniors playing with their little projects outside the lab.

   Gotthold Illaure , another student of Charle’s whom the man claimed to bear plenty of potential contrary to Morris’ own skeptical views of the boy. True to his word, the blond proved to have exemplary finesse when it came to application of runes in Arcane Magic - not that Morris got to admit it. Perhaps it was his fault this time that they lost Gotthold, although it was evident that the boy did not feel nearly as loved by Charle as Clovis did by Morris himself.

  Singing praises for someone needed not only be preserved for when they are put down by others; it only feels like pity otherwise.

  Then, there was yours truly, Morris Dietrich . During the three years after his student’s death, Charle had seemed relatively normal until the last two months of that period. He had been skipping classes, throwing the other professors into a panic to both find a substitute and to locate Professor Ceres himself. Morris recalled opting himself to take over classes from time to time, if only to keep himself secondarily updated on Charle’s wellbeing.

  That was to say, it was far from good.

  If Charle was not in class, he was hiding out someplace - drowning his sorrows in books, perhaps. His students were keeping up as per normal, but the number of students who started approaching Morris with questions had started to increase not even through the first month. When inquired, the students who grew to trust the raven spoke up to reveal that Charle had been evading their questions with the excuse that he had urgent business to attend to - and they both knew that was a goddamn lie.

  Morris had initially intended to give the man space to grieve, but it was getting ridiculous at that point so the raven approached Charle in the library - because that was obviously where he would be if not his own lab. It was the same thing every time; Charle would be in a different corner of the library - supposedly to shake off people who searched for him regularly - burying his head in books of Life and Applied Magic alike. Only heavens knew what was going on there.

  Just as Morris had been ready to thoroughly snap, Charle was no longer hanging around the library, and the Headmaster was finally starting to question the man’s negligence towards teaching his classes. Give him another week and the raven had easily located the hermit moving stuff into an old storage room he had holed himself up in. Turned out all that reading was in preparation for some personal project that was sitting on the far end of the old, musty room.

  At first, Morris had acted out of interest for the project. However, it became more obvious to himself that his interests did not lie solely on the runic Guardian’s development. He saw an opportunity for greatness, that was true; and he still knew it to be, but then he saw another opportunity.

  Against all other rational thought, he took it .

  Thinking back, if Morris truly wanted the project to proceed more efficiently, he would have had his most trusted apprentice at his side. The newly appointed professor may have had his own schedule, but it was no secret to either of them that he would come running as soon as the raven sent word.

  When Morris found Charle had brought Clovis along to help out, he had a realisation.

  What he truly wanted out of this project was the thorough trust and affection of Charle Ceres. Even though he knew what kind of man he was; even though he knew he could be benefitting way more if he had just went along accepting his apprentice’s help, he accepted the revelation with gritted teeth as he dismissed Clovis from the project conversation altogether.

  Subconsciously, Morris had been trying to monopolise Charle’s time to himself. After realising this, he decided to push a little harder despite all odds. No matter what, he hoped to teach Charle Ceres how to treasure someone. It was truly a shame it all backfired.

   Eventually, Charle had lost Morris, too ; and he wasn’t sure if he could ever treasure someone again.