Sophie groaned as the all too familiar pain of a needle sliced through her flesh and delivered another dose of poison into her body.
She glared angrily at Katarina who withdrew the needle and prepared another batch of toxins with no hesitation. This was a regular occurrence and Sophie was reluctantly used to it by now.
Many seemed to be under the impression that using the Poison Arts consisted of merely throwing vials at enemies during battle, but those moves were only done by amateurs.
One had to train for at least two years to build up required immunity before even thinking of manufacturing their first poison.
Releasing poison without having an immunity to it was no more than tossing out a suicide attack.
Katarina was a specialized poison cultivator, so her training methods were even more robust, and she refused to teach anything until Sophie's body had adapted to ten thousand different types of poisons.
Well if there was any bright spot. she no longer had to be strapped to the bed as the frequency of the injection had raised Sophie's tolerance for needles.
Now she merely gave a small grimace of pain when she saw one.
Cleo: [Two more days till the university entrance exams!!!!]
Cleo: [I hope we get placed on the same testing exoplanet :D <3]
Cleo: [ By the way, have you ranked the universities in order of preference yet?]
Sophie: [ II haven't decided yet...]
Cleo: [ I'll just pick whatever university you decide :)]
Sophie looked at her communicator and typed out a reply while a small smile of happiness flashed across her face.
She had messaged Cleo after her father had scared her to try to apologise but her new friend didn't seem to pay the matter any attention.
They actually ended up talking quite regularly and Sophie quietly enjoyed the flirty messages being sent her way.
Of course, right now training was the number one priority so she would usually only have chance to talk to her around bedtime for about an hour.
"So, who is the mysterious person milady has constantly been talking to on the communicator," Katarina teasingly spoke at the distracted young miss.
Sophie was startled and hurriedly tucked her small device in her pocket while blushing slightly. Katarina gave a knowing grin and just continued to sort through the various poison vials without bringing up the issue.
She found a purplish red vial that glow eerily in the light with a dangerous glint.
Katarina turned to Sophie who now had a bad feeling about the situation and spoke,
"Well if you have time to be distracted then I clearly need to increase the dosage!"
A few hours later.
There was only two days left until the transport for the university entrance exam arrived, so Sophie's father had brought her to his study to explain some more details about the Four Great Universities.
"DadDon't I have to just pick the human university?" Sophie asked.
"Who said so? Each University has a mixed population of all four races of the Federation and even a few exceptions from outside the galaxy," the duke responded in a puzzled tone.
"In fact, in order to promote cooperation between the four different races, each university is required to have a population of 65% native and 35% from the other three races," the duke continued.
"Each one of the four universities are at the top of the Federation, but they all have one particular area of specialisation."
Sophie listened with great attention as her father explained each merit of the different universities while giving his opinion on the suitability of each one.
Truthfully, she did not put much thought into which university to select as merely qualifying seemed like a far away dream just a few months ago.
She had just assumed that her father would want her to attend the human controlled Atlas University.
Atlas University had its main and side branches located in the Virgo Star Cl.u.s.ter and was known for its command and leadership training and boasted one of the most impressive collection of starsh.i.p.s for training recruits in the art of space combat.
All slots for humans were exclusively occupied by nobles who had qualified via the selection process and only when those spots were filled would the commoners be allowed entry.
Most of the Imperial officers in the army had been trained in this university including the duke himself.
"Sophieif you want to go this university then I can pull some strings once you pass the entrance exams," her father spoke hesitantly while watching her expression.
Sophie paused in contemplation for a moment before shaking her head and replying, "I think I want to hear about the other options."
She missed the relieved smile that surfaced briefly on the duke's face before he continued his explanation.
Zrudread University was located in the Hydra Star Cl.u.s.ter and was near the home planet of the Mendolesa race. The Mendolesa were fierce warriors so their university placed a strong emphasis on personal strength.
Mendolesa resembled more beast than man and were wolf like creatures who walked on two legs with razor sharp claws that could cut straight through steel.
New recruits were often sent onto battlefields and the corresponding fatality rate was the highest among all four universities.
Their university policy was baptism by fire and the warriors produced were some of the strongest among the Federation.
This option sounded dangerous, but Sophie did agree that it was probably the best option to rapidly increase her strength. She wanted to solve the mystery about what happened to her mother and figure out more details about the amulet she was given.
Mer University did not have any side branches and the main school was located on the aquamarine planet of Neptune in the Rx-J123 Star Cl.u.s.ter. It was controlled by the Servies race who were relatively peace loving and very friendly.
They were only two feet in height on average and looked like small fairies with beautiful faces and tiny wings giving them the ability to fly. This university was not very popular among the general population, but it had one advantage which was a magic department.
Servies had one of the most fearsome affinities to mana which was almost on par with humanity's talent for cultivation. Many of the most prominent warlocks and mages in the Federation had gone to this university.
Sophie wouldn't have mind going to this university as she thought that the Servies looked quite adorable but unfortunately her extremely low aptitude for mana would make her an undesirable prospect for recruiters.
The last university would be the Tantibus University whose main and side branches were located in the Centaurus Star Cl.u.s.ter. This university was run by the Quafes who were quite an interesting race.
Quafes were a shapeshifting race of sentient liquids who could mimic the appearance of any species. Gender and s.e.x had no meaning as members of the race could mate with others or self replicate.
The species they enjoyed mimicking the most was humans as they found their aesthetic to be highly attractive.
Tantibus University had no main specialisation per say but had solid departments in every aspect of cultivation and performed decently during University conferences.
This was a solid option, but the lack of a known specialisation was clearly a demerit.
"Well you don't have to decide now," the duke saw that his daughter was in a contemplative state and decided to give her some reassurance.
"You have the information about each one and no matter which you choose. I will support you unconditionally,"
Sophie smiled and thanked her father before returning to her room to practice some more cultivation.
These university choices meant nothing unless she could qualify for a candidate spot and defeat the other geniuses of the Federation!