There are no schools for witchcraft and wizardry in this alternate universe where humans and the Mythic–(fae, gods, and monsters)–coexist…or at least, exist adjacent to each other.
You could go study for a human-Mythic relations degree, if you don’t mind that entry on your LinkedIn profile–that stain on your reputation. Just because the two adjacent worlds are aware of each other doesn’t mean that any trust exists. And any humans who stray too close to their Odd Neighbors often get swallowed up by that world completely.
Still, even if you go for a more practical degree in college–one that could land you a steady job, a sensible life–you’re still gonna have to pay those tuition fees somehow. And for some foolhardy, heroic, reckless, and/or desperate high school graduates, there does exist a magical alternative to the exorbitant rates of the usual student loans.
There is the Footrace.
A grand old tradition that started out as something cruel and…at the very least tweaked its appearance some in the centuries since.
There are times in the winter where the full moon gets stuck in the sky. Day and night, it hangs there like a beacon, summoning the nearly-grown children of the human world past the “no trespassing” signs that giants painted onto the hills. Past the gates guarded by all manner of nightmare and daydream creatures. Down an elevator that weighs so heavy it takes all year to draw it back up again (some say there’s a line strung between it and the moon itself).
Deep in the dwarven mines far below the earth’s surface, there are caverns and caverns of fairy gold. If you load your pockets, you’ll be set for life. Even after school. After grad school. After any pursuit you can imagine paying for. You might as well skip school entirely and bask for the rest of your days…
As long as you can ascend through the Mythics’ domain and leave the mountain before the moon finally sets.
You might have days. You might have months. One very cruel year, a certain graduating class only had two hours, and they say there are alumni from that time who still never quite recovered.
Some years, there are kids who never come up at all.
The only certain thing is that if the moon falls, and its light hasn’t touched your fairy gold, it will all disintegrate into snowflakes. Melt away between your fingers.
Even if you get your gold, and keep it, you may come out of this strange.
But it would be worth it…right?
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