A/N: I finally finished editing this, sorry it took so long. Suggestions would be helpful, as I think the whole “in school and homework” stuff is really boring…do you guys know how to skip like, a year or so ahead without making the story seem like it’s going too fast? Please comment if you find any mistakes, I think a little present tense slipped in every here and there. Personally, I like this version more than what I originially had. I was just saying, actually, I might just stick with this version and not go with the other one after all…what do you think?
Six years ago
“Mommy! Mommy! Look at me!” I yelled through the open window. My mom came out of the house and gasped.
“Skyra, get down from that tree right this instant!” She shouted back.
My mom has never used that tone with me. I began to cry, and wiped my tears with both hands. Suddenly, I fell. Being twenty or thirty feet high in the tree, that fall should have seriously injured or killed me. Strangely, I slowed down, and landed on my feet at the base of the tree, right in front of my half scared, half angry mom.
“What were you thinking?! Climbing that high in a tree?! You scared me to death when you fell! You know what I’ve told you, Skyra. You could have broken a bone, or worse, been killed! You must never, ever, do that again. Understand?”
“Yes, Mommy. But that was fun!”
“What was fun?”
“Falling from the tree was fun?!”
“Yeah! Because I slowed down and landed on my feet in the fall!” I turned my head and saw a man watching us. He was dressed in black and had sunglasses on.
A year ago
I raised my hands in the air, a broad smile on my face. I had just won the School Running Championship, ahead of everyone else in my grade! The weird thing was though, while I ran, a strange wind came and pushed me faster. I never knew I could run so fast. Turning, I received the trophy and said thanks to the man who handed it to me. Wait a second. It feels like I should know this man. Oh well. I mentally shrugged and thought, what does it matter if I know him?
On the way home, my mom said, “Skyra, how did you run so fast? I’ve never seen you run so fast in your entire life!”
I replied, “I don’t know, but at least I won!”
These memories and others rushed through my mind as I processed what the strangely familiar man in front of me just said. That I have the power to bend air to my will? Hold on. I know who he is. He was there, in all of my memories with me demonstrating some way of having the power to control and distort air. But still!
“That’s not true.” I said out loud.
“Oh, but it is. So I ask you again, will you join us? After all, you don’t usually see people with the air element power walking down the street.”
“Oh yeah? And why should I ‘join’ you?”
“I teach a school, where kids with all sorts of elemental powers come to learn.”
“Right…” I said sarcastically. There was something secretive about this guy, something I didn’t trust.
“Look, just come join us and learn, okay?” I could tell this guy was losing his patience.
“And what if I say no?”
“Then I will force you to come!” And before I could do anything, he grabbed my wrists and slapped a hand over my mouth. I struggled and tried to scream, but the noise was muffled and no one was around. He dragged me to a van, gagged me and tied my wrists and ankles together, then threw me in the back. I hit my head on something hard, and the world slowly spun into black.
I woke up, and thought for a moment, who am I? Then I remembered. I sat up and groaned. My head throbbed where I hit it. Looking around, I saw that I was in a prison cell-like dormitory. I noticed a girl with two long braids down her back staring at me from the other side of the room. Trying for friendliness, I said, “Hi.”
She continued to stare.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“Academy for Kids with Elemental Powers,” said a voice from the doorway.
I turned to see who said that. A guy was standing in the doorway. He looked about fifteen, and he ignored me when I asked, “What’s your name?”
Continuing, he said, “So anyway, this place has been around for who knows how long, we all have elemental powers, everybody has either the water, fire, air, or earth power, but you can go on and learn the advanced arts, like if you have the fire power, you can learn to create and control lightning, if you have the air power, you can learn to control Ice, you can learn plant when you have the water power, and you can control metal when you have the earth power.”
He smiled at us then left, leaving me alone with the girl again.
“So, ummm…what’s your name?”
“I am not obligated to speak with such a lowly being like you.”
“Oh. Okay then.”
She turned her head sharply to the right and stared at the wall, which was a very nice olive color. Oh yeah, that’s sarcasm.
I passed the time by examining every inch of the room, and looked for a way to escape. When that guy came in, he opened the door. That seemed impossible. After three hours of search, I gave up. This room cannot be broken out of.
That girl. She was so stupid. Like, seriously, she thought she could talk to me. Me! I mean, she was a beginner, and I, was about to be asked into the Challenge class. I have no idea why Karamu came in and answered her question, but judging from his expression, I think he was going to tell me something. That girl – I don’t know her name – was looking around the room, as if there was a way to escape! Huh! Everybody knows you can’t escape from here.
Oh yeah, but she didn’t know that. Too bad. It’s not like I was going to tell her. She even asked me what my name was! The nerve! Hmph.
Eventually I got bored and grabbed my favorite book. Reading always calmed me down. I got lost in the pages, until the click of the door opening jerked me out of the book. I walked out of the door, and that girl took the opposite hallway.
Turning around, I smirked as she got zapped by either ice, water, or lightning.
“I am not obligated to speak with you, lowly being, but I must say you are heading in the wrong direction. The meal hall is this way. Whenever you feel a – wait, what element are you?”
“I am not obligated to answer questions from such a high and proper being as you,” she said, copying my tone. Unbelievable! “But I am an air elementalist.”
How dare she! I try to help and she mimics me!
“Ungrateful wench. Lowly being, I am only trying to help. When you feel a slight shock, you will know that you are going in the wrong direction.”
“Ok. But how am I supposed to get out of this place?”
“Just because I helped you this once doesn’t mean we’re friends, you idiot!” I snapped at her. Gosh, she thought she could ask anything and I would answer. Can’t believe I have to share a room with her.
I turned and walked toward the totally awesome meal hall where I eat, but that girl turned and followed me, so I asked, “Why are you following me, lowly being?”
She replied, “Well, I don’t know where the meal hall is, so I thought I’d follow you to see where it is.”
“I get to dine with the other high members of the school. You,” I said with disgust, “get to dine with other lowly beings just as stupid as you.”
“Well, can you take me there?” she asked.
“ME?!?!?!? Take you THERE?!?!?!?!? If I get caught heading there, the teachers will think I WANT to sit in there, and then I will have to sit in there. For a WEEK!!! Do you know HOW SHAMEFUL that is?!?!?!?!?!?” I screamed.
“Well, no, I don’t know how shameful that is, but I do need you to take me there.” she admitted.
“Why you little-”
“Girls! What are you doing?!” said a familiar voice from down the hall.
I said, “Mademoiselle Foodle, I was just taking this lo- I-I mean new girl to the meal hall.”
“Oh really? Then explain WHY I heard YELLING from down the hall?”
“I see…no reason to explain why?”
“No, it’s just that, well, I saw Kalani and Melina having, err, an argument. And, umm, they were yelling at each other.”
I hoped she would believe it. Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking practically.
“Mmhm. Right…” she said in a tone dripping with sarcasm. “And where did they go? This hallway has no turns or side passages for quite a while. I expect you want me to believe they flew through the ceiling?”
“Oh, well, umm…”
“Lying, were you?”
“Yes you were. From the first day you came here I expected you to be able to remember that silence is needed in these halls. Clearly, I was wrong. Your punishment will be…sitting at the newbies’ table. FOR A WEEK!”
“The newbies table?! But-but it’s so-so-so-” I stammered.
“So what? Full of newbies? At least you’ll be with your new friend.”
“FRIEND?!?!?!?!?! Friends with this-this- lowly being?!?!?! The idea itself horrifies me!”
“That is your punishment. Or would you like it changed to a month instead?”
Dropping my gaze, I settled for clenching my fists and glared at the girl who got me into this mess in the first place.
“Stupid lowly being,” I muttered under my breath as I stalked off toward the newbies’ meal hall.
When Mademoiselle Foodle said, “And YOU!” I slowed my pace because I wanted to listen.
.“As for you, because you are new, I will let you off the hook. Just this once. After all, I have a thousand students who I must attend to, and they all MUST be punished!” she finished, fully aware that I was listening.
I ground my teeth in frustration. The walk to the meal hall gave me plenty of time to think, and I came up with an idea, to lure the girl into a fight that she had no hopes of winning. Cyndra was going to do a great job of it, I was sure.
It may have been a coincidence that Cyndra was punished and sent to the meal hall, even if it was just for a day.
Walking over to her table, I said “Hey Cyndra. I have to tell you something.”
She made a “hold on” gesture with her fingers, then pointed at her mouth.
I tapped my foot impatiently. Finally, she swallowed.
“Ok Emberana, what?”
“There’s going to be-”
“Whoa, hold on. I feel a long conversation coming. Go get some food, then we’ll talk.”
I sighed, then got myself a tray and loaded it with food. When I got back, I told Cyndra my plan.
“So okay, you want me to stand up and say ‘hey newbie’ when she comes in?”
“Ok then. Simple enough. What do I do then?”
“Make it up as you go. You’re good at that.”
“That’s it? And I have to somehow work a duel into there?”
“Yes. That’s all.”
Just then, that girl walked in, and the meal hall fell silent. I signaled at Cyndra, and she stands up.
“Hey, newbie.” she said.
Everyone laughed, and the girl flushed with embarrassment. Then – I can’t believe her – she just shrugged.
The laughter stopped abruptly.
I knew Cyndra wouldn’t handle it well. Her face became a mask of rage as she asked, “Are you challenging me to a fight?”
She shrugged again.
“Would that be a yes? I am extremely powerful you know. Actually, the best fire elementalist out of everybody here in this cafeteria, and everybody in the advanced class.”
I knew that wasn’t true, I am equal to her, but she had to say that or else she’d look weak.
“I don’t know. Do you want to fight?” that other girl asked.
“Hmmm…if you’re not afraid to.”
I looked around and saw Coronalia shaking her head at that new girl. What was she doing? Trying to warn her? About what? No way could she have found out about our plan…but…she’s trying to be that other girl’s friend.
Hmph. Let the newbies be together for all I care. Wait a second…a new idea was forming in my brain. While I was busy watching Coronalia, the argument had kept going, so I missed some of it.
The girl said, “I am not a coward!” Yes! I cheered silently. Cyndra was good at finding peoples’ weaknesses.
“Then prove it by showing you’re not afraid to fight me!” Cyndra countered.
A shadow of worry crossed the girl’s face.
“Losing your nerve?” Cyndra asked teasingly.
“I will fight you.” The girl said.
“How about…tomorrow at midnight. The Rosetta Room.”
“Sure. If you can even find your way there!” Cyndra said, and everybody laughed.
Suddenly, the girl asked, “Hey, aren’t you a newbie too?”
“Uh…well, actually, umm…”
“Well, are you? Oh wait, don’t tell me. If you’re not a newbie, you must have been punished and sent here to eat for…how long? A week? A month?”
“No. Just today. But too bad for you, you have to sit here for quite a while!”
That girl unbelievably laughed! She said, “Really, being a newbie is better than being punished and having to sit here for even a day.”
“You-you-you little-” Cyndra absolutely hated being made fun of. “You little- you little- you little- you-you aren’t even fit to eat out of trash cans!”
“Really? Then what am I eating right here?” she said, and pointed to her food. Since when did she get that?
“Hmph! You don’t deserve the meal in front of you.”
Great. Time to put my plan into action. I walked up to Cyndra, not missing the look of rage in that girl’s eyes, and whispered my ideas into her ear. She looked surprised at first, but then a wicked smile spread across her face.
“I change the rules. It’s two on two. Emberana and I will be a pair. I bet nobody will pair up with you!”
I looked around nervously. Finding the nice girl, I sent her a silent message: Will you do it?
For a few seconds, she looked hesitant. Then she slowly stood up and said, “I will be on a team with…”
Again, she got my silent message.
“I will be on a team with Skyra.”
“You?” screeched Emberana.
“Yeah.” She calmly replied.
“Fine. Be on the losing team.” Emberana said.
The girl who volunteered to be on my side walks over to me and introduced herself.
“Hi. I’m Coronalia. They’re both fire type elements, so since I’m a water elementalist, we should have a slight advantage.”
“Nice to meet you. Thanks for sticking up for me back there. You know I’m Skyra, and from my name, you can probably tell that I am an air element person.”
“I guessed from the second I saw you. You don’t look solid enough for an earth person, but you aren’t much like me, so you couldn’t be water. Oh yeah, you didn’t look proud and all ‘high and mighty’ like most fire people, but you looked pretty nice, tall, and, well, you have the grace of an air elementalist.”
“Oh. So you tell people apart like that?”
“I have to tell you something.” I said hesitantly.
“What?” Coronalia asked.
“Well, I…don’t know how to use my power.”
“Oh well, I can give you a crash course. Here, are you done?” she asked, taking my tray.
“Yeah, I’m full.”
“Ok then. Wait right here.” She took the tray and dumped it. Then she put it on a revolving tray rack, which slowly turns and takes the trays to whoever cleans them, I guess.
When Coronalia came back, she took me to an empty classroom. We practiced.
“So first, close your eyes and relax.”
I did that, and felt energy flowing through my body.
“Now, breathe in deeply.”
“Ok, now reach into your soul and imagine yourself as light as air, as graceful as the wind, and, well…just like whatever else air is like.”
Hmm…strange tingling sensation. It started from my toes and spread up my body, slowly, until my head filled with energy.
“You did it!” Coronalia said excitedly.
“Wha???” I said, opening my eyes and looking at myself. “Whoa, is this still me?”
I was wearing a sparkling silver jacket on top of a gray shirt and pants that feel as light as air. If somebody told me to put this on, I would say, “no,” because I’d think it’d look horrible! Surprisingly, it actually looked good on me. I mean, I’m not trying to brag, but still.
“Ok, now attack me.” Coronalia instructed. She was wearing blue pants and a blue shirt, but they shimmered like water every time she moved.
“What?” I said.
“You heard me. Attack!”
“But what if I hurt you?”
“Not likely.” she said.
“Fine.” I delved into my soul and found a barrier. Driving my mind against it, it broke and I was allowed access to a store of magic. Summoning an air ball, I threw it against Coronalia. She lifted her hand, used water power, and deflected it. It is sent right back at me, and somehow, I absorbed it.
“Not bad, for a start. But it will have to be more powerful if you want to beat those two.”
I dived in deeper and found a stronger blast to throw at her. This time, she deflected it again, but it’s harder because it’s stronger. Again, I absorbed it.
“Ok, that’s enough practice for now.” Coronalia said.
She was panting, and I asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” She replied. “If you make it even stronger, they won’t have a chance!”
“It’s midnight.” I said to Emberana.
“I know!” she snapped at me.
We walked to the Rosetta Room. When I went inside, I see a huge room with walls that were bare. There was nothing in this room. Suddenly, a swishing noise came and the other girl walked out with Coronalia.
“Ok, we’re all here,” she said.
“Yeah. You two,” said Emberana, pointing at us, “Stand over there. Cyndra and I will stand over here.”
We walked over as they walked to their places.
Cyndra shouted, “Ready, set, START!”
The duel had begun.
I turned into my water form and created a thin stream, which I shot at Cyndra. She tried to counter with fire, so I increased the power of my water, and it overpowered the fire and hit her. I made it freezing cold, and when it hit her, she was drenched. It also must have burned, because she was a fire elementalist, so she screamed.
Sending a fire blast at me, she quickly created a fireball and made it hover around her body. I used a water shield to deflect the hits, and looked over my shoulder to see how Skyra was doing.
Suddenly, I heard a whooshing noise, and looked back just in time to see a huge fireball, bigger than my shield, coming toward me. Quickly I sent a thin stream of water down the middle and the entire fireball came apart. Creating a water flow, I launch it at Cyndra, and it hit her. She screamed again, and the force of the water becomes even more powerful until she manages to block it with some lightning. Uh oh. I had a weakness against lightning. Unfortunately, Cyndra knew it.
She shot a blast of lightning at me, and I tried to dodge, but it grazed my side, and I gasped with pain. Clutching the wound with one hand and attacking with the other, I manage to hit her a few times, but it’s not very effective, as she is in her lightning form. I haven’t learned to control plants yet so I couldn’t exactly tangle her up with some vines, though that would be nice.
She fired more lightning, and I stumbled backward – right into Emberana. She looked surprised, but recovered faster and pinned my arms to my sides.
“No one’s gonna save you now, filth.” she taunted. “Your little friend over there is unconscious. Looks like she bit off more than she could chew.” And they both laugh.
“Cyndra, go ahead and fry her. I couldn’t care less who gets to zap this insolent brat.”
I saw Cyndra preparing a lightning blast and closed my eyes, bracing myself for the pain that never came. After a few seconds, I hear a whoosh and accidentally whimpered. Then a boom noise came and I was released. Opening my eyes, all I saw was dust everywhere, and then, Skyra, shaky but still steady.
“I’m not defeated. Yet.” she said. Sudden movement caught my eyes and I turned to see Emberana and Cyndra climbing out of the rubble, groaning. They stopped when they saw Skyra and me, and immediately clambered to their feet.
“How- what- I totally blasted you with fire!” stuttered Emberana.
“Actually, I made an air shield around myself, so your fire just went right around me.”
“Hmph! That’s not going to happen again.” Right when she was done talking, she blasted fire at both of us. Skyra quickly made her shield, and I just used some water and destroyed the blast. Cyndra didn’t hesitate before shooting lightning at me. I jumped, and it blasted a smoking crater underneath my feet. Suddenly, I felt a searing punch on my temple, and the world started to blur. I thought I saw Cyndra preparing some lightning, but I made a water shield. However, I wasn’t thinking clearly, and the lightning hit the water, making electricity sizzle through it. I knew I had no chance of letting go of my water without touching me, so I carefully redirected it and shot it as fast as a bullet toward Cyndra. She couldn’t dodge, and she screamed as the electricity zapped her.
I winced. That looked and sounded painful. Suddenly, even before she stopped screaming, she shot lightning at me. I was totally unprepared, and the pain was probably five times worse because of the extra water in my body; electricity jumped up and down my body as fast as it travels through water. I screamed, and my stomach felt as if it were being burned alive.
The last thing I remember before passing out is Skyra screaming, “No!”
The first thing I registered when I woke up was that I was alive.
The second was that I had a burning pain in my stomach.
The third was Skyra was hissing my name. I turned to face her; a hiss of pain escaped my lips as my stomach objected to the rough treatment it was getting.
“I have a few questions.” she said when I got myself into a more comfortable position.
“Okay. Ask.” I said.
“Well, will we have…scars, assuming the wounds heal at all?”
I laughed, and immediately regretted it. My face twisted in pain as my stomach sent another wave up my body. When the pain left, I answered Skyra’s question. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fully healed in a few hours. Don’t worry,” I said hastily when Skyra opened her mouth again. “There won’t be any scars.”
“I wasn’t going to ask that.” she said quietly. “I was going to ask about how much trouble we are going to be in when-” here she gulped audibly. “Mademoiselle Foodle finds out.”
I just stared at her until she said, “What?”
“Nothing. I guess you haven’t really seen Mademoiselle Foodle yet.”
“What do you mean? I didn’t think that Mademoiselle Foodle was actually nice.”
“Huh? You already met her?”
“Yeah, on my way to the dining hall with Emberana. She got in trouble for yelling.”
“Ohh…that explains it. Mademoiselle Foodle is actually really nice to the kids who aren’t all ‘I’m a god, now bow down and worship me.’ You know?”
“Yeah. My first impression of her was sorta…well…she just didn’t seem like the nicest person.”
Just then, Mademoiselle Foodle walked in.
“Hello girls. I knew you’d be in here.”
“Someone tell you?” I asked.
“Yes. Someone you should not have messed with in the first place.” and she gestured toward a different part of the infirmary. I assumed she meant either Emberana or Cyndra.
“Sorry,” I said. “But they started the whole thing.”
“Yes, I know that. On a brighter note, welcome to your new school Skyra! I’m sorry your first day went like that, but well, not all first days are the best.”
For some reason, Skyra looked mad. “And just how long am I going to be staying here?”
“Oh, umm…about three or fours years probably.”
“WHAT?! You expect me to stay here away from my mom, my dad, my little brother and my little sister for FOUR frickin’ YEARS?!?!?!”
“Yes. Now we need to debate the issue of your class.”
I spoke up. “I think she should be in the Medium class.”
“You really think so?”
“Yeah. After all, she did manage to make a shield, and she reached her magic first try. All I taught her to do was get to the magic, and throw a hit. She also has really good aim, like Cyndra was about to fry me with lightning, and she just deflected it!”
“Hmm…I think we’ll consider it. Skyra, I’ll be back in a few hours to see how well you can fight with a sword. Until then, consider yourself as a student in the Medium class.”
I just gaped, my mouth hanging open.
Coronalia said, “Well, we’re in the same class!”
I asked, “You’re in the Medium class?”
“Yes. Do you want to know who teaches the classes?”
“Ok then. Mademoiselle Foodle is Headmistress, and she teaches the Challenge level elemental and sword classes. But the thing is, almost nobody are in those classes. Only the most talented and skilled go there. Actually, right now I can name the three people in the class. They are Desato, Karamu, and Illiria. Anyway, Emberana and Cyndra might actually make it to the Challenge class. They are in the Advanced group right now, but they’re really good. Well, the teacher of the Advanced group is Miss Catta. She’s fairly nice, but she loses her temper easily, and she has about this much patience,” Coronalia said, holding up two fingers a centimeter apart. “So I don’t want to think about being in her class. And for us, our teacher is Mr.…umm…well, he has a really long last name, and it’s something like this. Mr. Kaletinoytagooglogashlabonbonifferansim, blah, blah, blah, I forgot the rest, but well…he told us to just call him Bob, or Mr. K. Ok, so the early or Beginner class is taught by Ms. Melani. She is really nice, so I guess that’s why they chose her to put up with the kids who have no idea how to do things. Oh wait. The teachers all have assistant teachers, to help them teach the other kids they don’t get to, because the classes are fairly large groups, and one teacher can’t get them all. The assistant teachers take groups of kids to different classrooms. Well, those are all the teachers, and don’t forget that. You should rest now, so you can do sword stuff later.”
I was tired, and as she said that last sentence, I yawned and closed my eyes, drifting into sleep.
A few hours later, I woke up and found Mademoiselle Foodle standing over my bed.
“What do you want now?” I grumbled.
She let out an impatient sigh. “Skyra, I want to see how good your sword skills are.”
“Wha? Oh yeah.” I said.
Jumping out of bed, I hesitantly took a few steps, and when there wasn’t any pain, I said, “I can try the sword stuff now.”
“Ok then. Follow me.”
Mademoiselle Foodle led me to a room with weapons on the walls. I saw axes, swords, javelins, spears, knives, throwing knives, tridents, some bows with full sheaths of arrows, and so on.
“Where did you get all these weapons?” I asked.
“It’s been collected over the years. Now, we need to find you a suitable sword.” And with that, she took me through a door, where racks and racks were filled with nothing but weapons.
“Here you go,” said Mademoiselle Foodle. “You find something you like, and when you’re ready, call me.”
I walked around the racks, looking at weapons, occasionally picking up a spear, or maybe a javelin, but the balance wasn’t quite right. Finally I got to the sword rack, and there were about as many different swords here as there were all the other weapons combined!
I looked around, and was drawn to a pair of swords. Picking them up, they felt like extensions of my arms, and I carefully slid them out of the sheaths. One blade was different shades of sky blue, though occasionally gray. Looking at it, I was reminded of the sky. The other sword was as clear as glass, and when I looked through it, it was like seeing things through my own eyes. On both of the cruxes was a clear blue gem.
“Ok, so you choose this pair, eh?” A voice from behind me said.
I jumped and dropped the swords. Picking them up, I turned around. Standing behind me was an elderly old man, with battle scars all over his arms.
“W-what do you want?” I asked.
“Ok, nothing,” he replied. “Ok, Mademoiselle Foodle told me to see what kind of sword you got. I wasn’t expecting this.”
“Ok now, do you need somebody to practice sword fighting with?” he asked.
“Yes.” I replied.
“Ok then. Karamu, come here!” The guy who came into our room before came here, and I stared at him. He winked.
“Ok,” This old guy was starting to annoy me. “So ok then, you have to fight this girl and tell Mademoiselle Foodle how she did. Got it?”
“Yeah, whatever,” he said in a carefree tone. “Bet I’ll beat her.”
“Ok, Karamu, that’s not fair. You are in the Challenge class. She is a beginner. Ok?”
“I get it.” he repeated.
“Ok then, come here.” The old guy beckoned to us, and led us into a place for practice apparently. The room had dummies and experimental weapons, like target dummies for the archery, spear-throwing, and javelin-throwing people, dummies to beat up with swords, and a lot of other dummies for other things. Anyway, I went to a square on one side of the room, and Karamu went to a square on the opposite side.
“Ok, you can start now.” the old guy said, then backed out of the room.
Immediately, Karamu charged toward me and sliced downward with his sword. I clumsily blocked it, but it pushed me off balance and I fell. His sword came around and stopped an inch from my neck.
“Too easy,” he said, and offered me a hand to help me up. I didn’t take it and got up myself.
Just wait. I’ll show him.
Again, we got into position, and he charged again. I blocked it better this time, and tried to swing at his neck. He dodged it easily, and sliced his sword at my legs. The blade grazed my legs, and blood seeped out of the cut. Minor pain lanced through my body, but I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore it.
This time, I swung at his legs, and when he is busy blocking it, I tried to slice at his neck. His sword flashed up impossibly quick, but I cut his left leg. Then I swung crazily, blocking all of his attacks and slicing at him. Sometime during the battle, he got a second sword, and we were evenly matched.
Eventually though, I got tired, and he slowly forced me down until my swords laid on the ground, and his were pointing at my neck.
That girl, Skyra, was actually really good. It unnerved me. Before she came, no one could match my sword skills. Absolutely no one. And then a strange girl – beginner, in fact – just comes and matches my skills for a minute? Are you kidding? I mean, I did beat her, but still.
My sword was pointing at her throat as I said, “Not bad. But you’ll have to work harder if you want to beat me!”
She blushed and said, “Hmph! At least I was evenly matched with you for a while.”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t very long.”
“Still…” she said.
Just then, Mademoiselle Foodle came in. “Ahh, there you are Skyra. I’ve been looking all over this place for you. Karamu, what are you doing in here?”
I lifted my sword away from her throat and offered her a hand. Again, she refused to take it.
“Karamu, I asked you what you were doing in here.”
“Wha- oh yeah. Swordsmaster told me to practice with her.”
“He told you to practice with Skyra?! She’s just started here!”
“I know that. She is really good for someone who’s just started.”
“What do you mean? How good did she do?”
“Well, she was evenly matched with me for a minute or so. Then I won.”
“WHAT?! That’s not possible!!”
“It’s true.” I said, and shrugged.
We got into position again and faced each other. I charged at her, and she just barely raised her sword to block it. I remember every detail with ice-cold clarity. She swung at my legs and I jumped. In the air, I turned and whipped the sword around, feinting to the right. She swung at it and I twisted it around, cutting her left arm. Thirty seconds later, we both had more cuts and Skyra was on the ground again, my sword at her neck.
Mademoiselle Foodle’s mouth just hung wide open. I could have counted all the silver teeth she had, but decided against it. After all, you don’t want to look in your Headmistress’s mouth. Especially if she’s not exactly in her early years of youth.
Eventually she regained her voice, but it was all stutter-y and the way you talk after you’ve received a huge shock. (Not the electric kind.)
“Skyra, what- how did you- I can’t- am I- Is this- did that just- that’s not possible- what did you- how- what- my grandfather’s socks- I- how- how did you do that?”
“I don’t know. Maybe it was jus luck?”
“You know, no one’s lucky enough to beat me twice.” I said.
“Really? Is anyone lucky enough to beat you once?” Skyra asked.
“No. In fact, no one is ever evenly matched with me for more than ten seconds.”
“Wow. I’m a first I guess.”
“Well Karamu, I want your honest answer. Which class should she be in?”
“I would say…the Medium. She needs to know all the basics, but her skill is worthy of being in the Challenge class. Did you have Illiria test her magic?”
Skyra laughed. “I got into a fight with Emberana and Cyndra.”
“Two on one? That’s not fair.”
“No, it was two on two.”
“Who fought with you?”
“Oh. She’s pretty.”
Skyra raised an eyebrow at what she must have thought was a complete sentence. I blushed and finished lamely, “Good.”
“Okay,” she said slowly, almost teasingly. “I get that.”
“Hey,” I said. “I can still beat you up.”
Her eyes widened in mock fear. “Oh please don’t! I don’t want to be beaten up! Please, have mercy!”
“Since when were you an actress?”
“Since when did you go around beating up people who tease you?”
Mademoiselle Foodle cleared her throat. “Ahem. If you’re done with your lively little conversation, may we continue?”
I blushed, and Skyra did too. We’d forgotten that Mademoiselle Foodle was still standing there.
“So, I think we have decided.” said Mademoiselle Foodle.
“I’m in the Medium class then?”
“Yes, you are. Congratulations. I remember only six other people who were talented enough to jump from starting here to the Medium class. Aquella was a water elementalist, and she was just like your friend Coronalia. Illiria- well, Illiria is really special. She can control every element there is, water, fire, earth, air, lightning, ice, plant, and metal, and as soon as she was taught how to control one element, she could control all of them. And she never learned the advanced elements. She just knew them. Coronalia and Karamu also jumped over the beginner class. The last one is Acriona, and she was an air elementalist, like you. I believe you and Karamu have met somewhere before, as you don’t look surprised to see each other here. Why don’t you take some time to introduce yourselves? I’m going to check on some other students. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
And with that, Mademoiselle Foodle left the practice place.
I turned to Skyra. “Well, I’m Karamu, but you already knew that. I can control earth. Watch.” I stopped talking for a few seconds and lifted some of the dirt to from a circle.
“You are an air elementalist.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
An awkward silence spread between the two of us. I decided to break the ice.
“Why don’t you try some of these stations here?”
She looked at me. “Ok.”
“Try throwing a spear.”
She picked it up and threw it. It missed the dummy by and inch and impaled itself in the wall. I showed her the correct way to hold it, and this time she killed the dummy’s ear.
“Not bad. Just try to be a bit more accurate.”
She turned and glared at me. “Let’s try something else.”
Oops. I should have realized holding a spear wasn’t that easy. I took several months before I actually hit the dummy.
We went to the archery place and she picked up a bow and shot an arrow. It hit the dummy’s stomach. Wow. She has brilliant aim.
“That wasn’t too bad, was it?” she asked me.
“That was great. Try to hit the head or the heart.”
Funny. This time the arrow went much faster than her last shot. Oh yeah, it’s probably because she is an air person, she can make the arrows and stuff go a lot faster.
Mademoiselle Foodle came in and said, “Skyra, maybe you should consider choosing a bow as your weapon of choice. Everyone gets to choose another weapon, but they all have to have a dagger or sword.”
Skyra looked surprised. “I thought you only got one weapon.”
“No, you get two.” For the first time, I noticed the design on the blades that Skyra chose.
“Wait a minute…” I said slowly. They both turned toward me.
“What?” Skyra asked.
“You chose…Acriona’s blades.”
“Well…the last person who had them just disappeared one day, leaving no trace behind. All the owners of those blades disappear mysteriously.”
After we were done with our conversation about the blades, I went to the archery weapon section. This time, no particular bow drew my attention, so I wandered around and browsed. There was a small brown bow that I liked, but it was way too small. Another grass green bow caught my eye, but it felt too different.
Finally, I found a silver bow and a sheath of arrows. When I held them up, they glistened in the moonlight. I slung the sheath of arrows over my shoulder and went back to the practice area. To my horror, Emberana and another girl were practicing. The other girl was really pretty, with her multi-colored hair and light makeup. Her hair was ocean aqua, grass green, metal gray, earth brown, sky blue, electric yellow, fiery red, and ice white-blue. As soon as I walked in, Emberana gave me a look of pure hatred, so intense that I almost backed out of the room. Luckily, they were at the sword-fighting place, which left the archery station free.
Running over to it, I nocked a regular arrow, pulled back the bowstring, and released it. Suddenly I heard a whoosh, and saw a fireball coming to intercept the arrow. I used my air power and made the arrow go faster, avoiding the fireball, which soared past and exploded on a dummy.
I turned and glared at Emberana. The girl next to her looked surprised.
She asked, “Emberana, why’d you do that?”
Emberana replied, “Just trying to see if I have good aim.”
I knew that wasn’t true.
“You were not trying to see if you had good aim. You were trying to destroy my arrow and maybe injure me. I saw how that fireball exploded on impact,” I added, as she opened her mouth to object. “It would have definitely hit me, and you would have been happy. Besides, I’m sure there’s somewhere else for you to practice your magic.”
The other girl frowned. “What she’s saying makes sense, Emberana. If that fireball had hit her arrow, she would have been hurt. And there is a place for you to practice your magic skills, but it’s not here.”
Emberana shot another look of hatred at me. This time, I stared her down, until she blinked and looked away. “I don’t have to bother with such lowly being like you. Let’s go, Illiria.”
The girl who stood up for me was Illiria! I heard she was really good at all of her skills. And she had eight of them.
“No thanks. You can go on without me.”
Emberana’s eyes narrowed, but she stalked off without a word.
“So. My name is Illiria, and you must be that new student Karamu was talking about.”
“Um…yes, I am. My name is Skyra.” Suddenly, because I couldn’t stand it anymore, I asked, “How are you friends with Emberana?”
She laughed. “Do you…not like her or something?”
“Do I not like her? She nearly turned me into deep-fried Skyra!”
“What? How and why?”
“Well…” and I told Illiria everything. My kidnap, waking up, the teasing, the duel, Coronalia, Mademoiselle Foodle, and practicing here. Not necessarily in that order.
When I was done, she tilted her head and thought about it. “Wow…that’s a lot for a first day.”
“I thought so too.”
“Hmm…well, I’m Emberana friend because…umm…actually, I never really thought about it. But, when she teases people, I always make sure Mademoiselle Foodle knows. She can’t stand stuck-up brats. Well, sometimes I’m actually Emberana’s friend; sometimes I’m just a spy to see what the stuck-up people are like.”
“Oh. I never really thought it could be like that.”
“Interesting, isn’t it?”
After a while, I went back to the archery station and shot as many regular arrows as I could, until the bowstring felt more comfortable, not as tight. By then, I could nail the dummy in the heart every time. The circle representing the heart was completely filled with arrows. I went over and got them all, putting them back in the sheath.
Then I left, calling out, “Bye Illiria!”
The next day, I got out of bed and found Emberana glaring at me from her bed. She moved stiffly, as if she had a broken rib that just healed. I ignored her and looked for some clothes to change into. Strangely, a pair of my other clothes was waiting for me by the bed, as well as a belt, and I went into the bathroom to change into them.
When I got out, Emberana already left, but I found a note that said
‘This isn’t over, stupid.’
Well, what would you have expected from Miss Perfect?
Anyway, I went down to eat breakfast, and then found Coronalia. She took me to the Medium class and I sit down. Weird, they still had desks.
The teacher, Bob, or Mr.K, went to the front of the classroom and started teaching.
He began by introducing me.
“Now class, have any of you noticed that we have a new student?”
Great. All the heads in the classroom swiveled around to look at me. I watched the ground, embarrassed.
“Her name is Skyra, and I expect you all to treat her like you would anybody else.”
One of the kids said, “Bob, I never saw her in the Beginners’ group. Is she allowed to just skip like that?”
“Mademoiselle Foodle has assessed her and deemed her worthy of being in our class. Her magic and sword skills are great.”
Murmurs swept through the room.
Someone said, “Well, it’s not that surprising. I mean, Coronalia skipped, and Karamu and Illiria did too.”
Another kid stood up and asked, “Does she know anything about the elements and stuff?”
“She turned up just in time. We are reviewing today.”
All the kids groaned. I heard one whisper, “Maybe he said that just so she will know all this junk!”
“Class. Attention.” said Mr.K. “What is the first rule of being elemental?”
Hands shot up.
“You cannot attack innocent people.”
“That’s right. It is against the elemental law to attack innocents. Can anyone tell me the next law?”
And so class went on. At lunch, Bob calls me over to his desk and hands me a little book.
“This contains everything you’ll need to know. It can also help you in the most difficult situations. Guard it well. If you lose it, the world will be in danger.”
I looked up and found that his eyes were purple. As I watched, they turned normal again.
“Go have a good lunch!” he said.
I quickly turned and ran out the door. Finding Coronalia, I told her about what just happened.
“Funny.” she said. “Let’s think about it later. Right now, I’m starving!”
“Me too!” I said, and we walked to the meal hall.
After lunch was a brief 15 minute recess. Some kids practiced their skills, some talked with their friends, some played on the jungle gym, and others just played kickball.
Class started again, and Bob put us in pairs.
“Let’s see now…Brianni, come over here and be partners with Skyra.” The tall, skinny girl who answered the question in class walked over.
“Today, we will practice sword skills. Everybody, get your swords!” I walked over to Bob.
“Mr.K, I don’t have my-”
“They’re on the rack.” he said and pointed. Sure enough, my swords were gleaming on the rack.
“Oh. Thanks!” I raced over and grabbed them.
After everybody had sword(s), Bob said, “Those of you who have two swords, choose one and set the other down!”
I looked at my swords and decided to keep the clear one. I held it in my right hand and got into position.
“Not yet!” Brianni hissed to me.
“Oh.” I said, sliding the sword back into the sheath. Noticing that there was a space on my belt for a sword, I put the sheath in there. On the other side, there was another place for a sword, but since we’re only using one, that space stayed empty.
Looking around, I saw that everybody had the same belt, and they all did what I did. Bob led us out of the classroom, but not before he chose a pair of students to stay.
We walked out of the classroom. This belt was really useful. If I hadn’t gotten it, the sword would have slowed me down. On the belt though, I walked normally, and the weight was like hardly anything.
Walking by various classrooms, Bob selected a pair of students at random and they went into the classroom to practice. Finally, we got chosen, and we walked inside the classroom.
Brianni and I walked to opposite sides of the room and stood there. Suddenly a cuckoo clock went off and I jumped. In that moment of distraction, Brianni charged. Turning, I quickly blocked it, and counterattacked with a slice. She blocked that, and I dodged a swing at my legs. Brianni went into a series of rapid attacks, and I blocked and dodged some, while counterattacking. This went on for about ten minutes, until we were both tired and out of breath.
Brianni wheezed, “I can see – pant, pant – why – pant – Mademoiselle Foodle – pant – put you in – pant – the Medium class.”
“Thanks.” I said. “Let’s take a breather for a few minutes.”
We sat down until the cuckoo clock read 3:20pm.
“Ok, let’s start again.” Brianni said.
We got into position again, and this time, I charged and swung. Slicing and dodging, we didn’t give each other any cuts, but lots of bruises from whacking each other with the flat of the sword. Suddenly, my attack speeds doubled, and I sliced furiously until my sword pointed at Brianni’s neck.
She went cross-eyed staring at it, and I quickly removed it.
“How did you do that?” she asked.
“I have no idea,” I replied.
Just then, Bob came and said, “It’s time to go back to the classroom. Come on.”
I glanced at the clock to check the time and saw a message written on it.
‘We will come for you, Skyra.’
Turning, I quickly caught up to Bob and the rest of the group, my heart racing. No one could have snuck in and written that message. So who left it? Just then, I noticed the group staring at me.
“What?” I asked.
They snickered. “Bob asked if you like your first day here.”
“Oh! Umm…yeah! Yeah, it was really fun!”
“Glad to hear that.” said Bob.
My mind wandered back to the message. It was written in a yellow that, if put it on the color wheel, would be the exact opposite of the shade of purple that Bob’s eyes turned when he gave me the book. I wonder…could they somehow be connected? I’ll have to talk to Coronalia about it when I get a chance.
When we got back to the classroom, most of the kids were already there. I went to my desk and sat down, and Bob asked, “How do you think your partner did?”
Hands shot up into the air and Bob called on one of them.
“Alexia did really good, like she blocked all my swings and…”
“Melli was great!”
“If Ondo was an enemy, I’d be dead by now…”
Then one voice rose above the others.
“Skyra beat me!” Everyone turned to look at Brianni. She said defensively, “Well, it’s true!”
Now all eyes looked at me and I shifted uncomfortably in my seat.
Someone piped up, “How, Brianni? How? You can beat everybody in a swordfight, you nearly even beat Soltaro.”
“I don’t know. One second she was doing average, and the next she doubled her speed and had her sword pointed at my neck!”
“WHOA.” said a random person.
“Totally.” said another.
“Yeah, no one’s ever beaten Brianni before.”
“When Bob paired them up, I thought Skyra was going to lose, big time!”
“Class. Attention. Homework is more important now. I want you all to write a short essay on how your partner did, what they could have done better, and if they did something new that could be a good way to swordfight. Tomorrow we’ll use your powers in a magic fight. After lunch we will practice fighting with two swords.”
The class immediately began packing up. Just then, a bell rang somewhere far away. I was unprepared for the rush of chaos as everyone ran out the door to their rooms.
Walking over to Coronalia’s desk, I said, “Let’s go on a walk. I have to tell you something.”