Adrien smiled politely, but felt something tighten within his stomach at the turn the conversation was taking. He didn't want to think about university, about his past failures, and about other things that he didn't even want to start remembering. He breathed out quietly, reminding himself that this all was behind him; that he had decided to take a different path, that things had worked out for him in the end, that he was doing well as a sorcerer's apprentice... and that, come next September, his studies would be finished, and his time with Val would be over.
"Oh, and Katia is graduating too", Hala said with a tilt of her head.
"Uh, mom, that's -- not really the same", Katia interjected, one eyebrow raised. "I'm only graduating from middle school...".
"That is still an important achievement", Val smiled.
"Yeah, that's such a milestone", Adrien chimed in, smiling to put Katia - and himself - more at ease.
Val turned to Adrien. "How was it like for you?", he said.
"Me?", Adrien said, wide-eyed. He stumbled for a moment; then he chuckled to himself as he remembered. "Well, uh -- the day before I graduated from middle school, I stepped on a viperfish...".