***PLEASE READ THE AUTHORS NOTE AT THE END!!! IT'S VERY IMPORTANT AND I DON'T LIKE HAVING TO REPEAT MYSELF OVER AND OVER AGAIN :)***
You have no idea how difficult it was for me to write this. I’ve re-written this letter over and over again and yet here I sit still unsure on how to phrase how I feel about what you asked of me last night.
Let me start with how I feel...
Scared. Anxious. Terrified of what everyone will think... but the feeling that stands out above everything is love. You have no idea how the world seemed to have stopped when you said those three little words to me last night. I can assure you that if I wrote everything it would take up all the paper I own!
Last night you asked for an answer to the question I never thought I’d be asked. I asked for time to think about it. I asked for space. But I think I already knew the answer as soon as you asked me...
So to put it simply, my dear Brad, my answer is yes!
Yes, I will run away with you to one of the Stinger hideouts. I don’t care which one and I don’t care how far, there are plenty to choose from and we have all the time in the world together. My mother and father would never understand the feelings we share and as much as I would miss them, I would miss you more.
You have my heart, Brad.
I will meet you outside the Stinger lounge at midnight tonight. You told me once that you were the only one who used it and it was beneath a large portrait of a man with a thick moustache. If I’m wrong... well, I’ll be waiting there for you anyway.
All my love,
I jerked awake and realised I was still clutching my mom’s love letter to my chest. I’d re-read the letter over and over, so many times, that even in my sleep the words would play in my head. There was a bittersweetness to reading the letter. I didn’t know much of my parent’s lives while they were studying in university, except that dad and all the other Stingers were shunned and mom was a ‘study-holic’ according to Serena.
But to know that they were so desperately in love that they ran away together filled me with happiness. It also explained why my father’s notebooks were on the table and the letter still in between the pages. I kissed both my parents’ names and continued to trace over my mom’s handwriting. My finger paused over a particular paragraph that didn’t really make sense to me.
Yes, I will run away with you to one of the Stinger hideouts. I don’t care which one and I don’t care how far, there are plenty to choose from and we have all the time in the world together.
Suddenly I had a moment of clarity and it all made sense!
I scrambled off my bed and ran into the lounge, unsurprised to see that no one was around. It was pitch black outside as the dark clouds hid the moon and I had no idea what time it was at the moment. I rushed over to the maps that were still lying on the table and stared at the burn marks.
Yes, I will run away with you to one of the Stinger hideouts.
I don’t care how far.
There are plenty to choose from.
It was all here...!
My eyes darted from the enlarged map to the larger map and realised every single burn was indicating a Stinger hide out! “Oh crap” I whispered.
“What do you mean Stinger hideouts?” Cameron asked confused.
I sighed heavily and started explaining to everyone again what I figured out last night. I pointed to the burn marks as I spoke, “Each pin, which is now a burnt hole, marked a Stinger hideout. That’s where the majority of the Stingers fled to when The Stinger Eradication took place” I explained, mentally thanking my History textbook for reminding me the details of the most famous war in Abled history. “From what I understand, the majority of them were destroyed or collapsed during the Eradication. Maybe we could research or even ask Mr Obsidian which ones because, and this is the important part, I believe Malum took the other Elementals to one of the hideouts out west”
“West...?” Sophia echoed me.
“West” I repeated with a nod.
Derrek was leaning over the maps and realisation seemed to have dawned over him. He brought the enlarged map to the centre of the table and pointed to a certain mark, “Crane’s Hollow” he murmured. “There was a Stinger hideout in Crane’s Hollow”
Everyone gasped. It really was falling into place now. Helena’s eyes grew wide as she began to understand as well. “But they didn’t stay there? The teenagers we spoke to said they-“
“Headed west...” I finished for her.
Another round of gasps filled the lounge as understanding filled them. I looked outside and wondered what the hell Malum was doing and, if I was correct, which hideout he was currently holed up in. It was a beautiful day outside. The winds blew the clouds across the bright, blue sky and the sun would shine and then dim as the clouds danced in front of it.
I blinked hard, feeling exhausted after not being able to fall back to sleep after realising what the pin marks were. I’d gone straight to my History textbook and re-read every line of The Stinger Eradication and even skimmed through my father’s notebooks as well.
I mentally noted that I’d have to re-read the chapter about which areas were destroyed, although there was comfort in knowing that west of Crane’s Hollow was a good start to finding out where Malum was. I quickly found a pencil and drew a line down the map from Crane’s Hollow. “We need to find out what happened to the hideouts west of this line”
“Val, there are a lot of hideouts west from Crane’s Hollow” Bree looked doubtful. “And what use is this anyway?”
“Look, I know this seems like a long shot. But whether or not The Control take you away, what’s important is that Malum and the other Elementals are found so that the actual threat is known and they might realise that you five are not a threat. You could even help us!” I urged. “You all know them better than anyone else and we need you. You guys are the key to this”
“That’s a little melodramatic... but I understand” she replied softly.
Helena glanced over at the clock and sighed. “This will all have to wait, we have to get to class”
The thought of going to class after finding all of this information out was like finding out you won the lotto, but then being told not to touch it. It was devastating and felt wrong but we had no choice. I groaned as I stood up and quickly grabbed a notebook before following everyone else out to the elevator.
“I’ll see you all later” Val called out as we all headed to our Skills classes. Her bright, blue eyes caught mine but she was quick to look away.
I sighed but kept my face the same as I continued to walk down to my Skills class. We’d stayed platonic; polite to each other as though we’d never dated. I hated feeling as though I was the weak one in whatever sort of relationship or friendship this was now. I would prefer to either go one way or the other; either be together like how we should be or not friends at all just to make it easier.
That was a lie.
Being friends with Val was better than nothing at all and deep down I knew that. I just didn’t want to acknowledge that fact. We were both ridiculously stubborn and waiting for the other to concede or apologise. I wasn’t going to give in... I wasn’t the one in the wrong here. I shouldered my way through the other Fire-ableds and stood by myself in the back corner of the usual Fire Skills class. It looked slightly similar to an old chamber of a castle with its stone walls and torches with bright orange flames flickering side to side as the wind hit it from the open windows.
Right on cue the teacher stalks in. He was tall and slim but nowhere near lanky. He gave off the aura of a strict and angry librarian but as he readjusted his oval glasses everyone knew he meant business. I never found out his name because, quite frankly, I couldn’t care less. If ever I was called on I simply called him ‘Sir’ and it seemed to suffice.
“Quiet!” He shouted and the chatter died down instantly. “We have limited time in class and today will test how much strength of mind you all have. Everyone stand by a torch. As you may have realised every young Abled controls their ability with a motion of their hand. It is how we control and ignite our fire, however, today I will be teaching you how to use your mind to do this. It’s all about control”
“I bet that’s all he knows” the boy standing in front of me whispered to his neighbour, “It always looks like he has a stick up his as- AH!”
His whispering was cut short when flames burst up on the sleeves of his arms and began to eat up towards his shoulders. His reaction had been pure surprise because he quickly patted the flames and they disappeared with only the burnt cotton as evidence. “Would you like to share something with the class? Or, would you like to know how I was able to ignite fire solely with my mind?!” The teacher barked.
The boy was right though... the teacher did seem like he always had a stick up his rear end.
“Uh... the second option” he boy blushed. The teacher narrowed his eyes once more but got back to teaching us.
“Derrek Calor!” the teacher shouted. “Why, yet again, is Mr Calor the only student who is Fire-abled enough to use his mind correctly and fully in this lesson?!”
I rolled my eyes, ‘Sir’ needed to relax. In every lesson he found a way to belittle the other students by praising my honed ability and no one found it entertaining. Including me. In the past forty-five minutes I was the only one who was able to properly use my mind to ignite fire from thin air and control it with my thoughts. Everyone else had burn marks or burnt clothing and it took almost everything I had not to burst out laughing at them.
“Mr Calor, you may leave early seeing as you are the only one intelligent enough to do so” The teacher called to me. It was nothing out of the ordinary. Most classes I was let out early because I found it too easy or got the hang of it quickly. Plenty of Fire-ableds took that kind of treatment as a way to strive better and by the time Combat rolled around most of the class was able to do whatever we learnt perfectly.
I had a feeling it was a technique the teacher used; and it worked very well.
Instead of walking straight down to Combat I had a spur of the moment decision to check on how the Elementals were fairing with their class. While each Abled ability taught the same lessons during Skills class, the Elementals’ classes were chosen and taught at random. The halls were empty and I strolled down the stairs to their Skills class. The route there was so routine for me from whenever Val was unconscious or injured and I had to bring her to the infirmary that I was at the room before I realised it.
Just as I was about to peer into the room Bree came flying through the open door and her back crashed into the wall opposite it. She fell to the ground and I just stared at her with my eyes slightly widened and an eyebrow raised. What the hell?
“Ouuchhh” she groaned as she picked herself up and panted. She spotted me staring at her and she offered me a lopsided smile but winced. “Hey Derrek, what are you doing here?”
“Class ended early for me... what the hell are you doing?” I mean, she literally flew through the air and crashed into the wall. I was pretty curious.
“Ms Avia is trying to teach us to become Elementals Beings, like how you turn into a Fire-being” Bree explained, “It’s extremely difficult...”
My eyebrows flew up. This could be interesting. Not all the Elementals had an ability where they could become a ‘being’ so I nodded for her to enter the classroom first before following in after her. I leaned against the wall just on the inside of the room and watched, slightly impressed, at what I saw before me. Blake had become pure icy flames. He seemed to be almost transparent as the crystal blue flames followed his movements. He looked the exact opposite of any Fire-abled. As he walked around he left a trail of thin ice behind him and I was quite impressed at how well he was handling it, especially with such an odd ability. Not that I would ever tell him that.
Bree had begun to spin around, almost as though she was a ballerina, and as she spun faster her limbs began to disappear and a strong wind began to blow throughout the room. Soon she was spinning so fast she was nothing but a blur and all of a sudden she resembled a miniature tornado. The ‘tornado Bree’ slowed down and if I squinted I was able to see Bree’s outline as she flew around the room.
“Well damn... I had no idea she could fly” I mumbled to myself. She began to spin around once again but the ‘tornado Bree’ looked a little uncontrollable as it spun around in a lopsided shape. Suddenly Bree was back to her physical body and flying against another wall. I winced as she crashed into the wall and fell down on the table just below her.
“Well done Bree” Ms Avia applauded, “You almost had it that time. You are excellent at turning into a Wind-being, but uh... maybe work a little more on coming out of it okay?” Bree nodded painfully and took a deep breath as she tried to turn into a Wind-being again. I had to give props to her for her determination.
“So what do you think?”
I jumped in surprise when Cameron’s voice came from beside me but his body was nowhere to be seen. “Geez man, a little more notice would’ve been bloody appreciated” I mumbled.
Suddenly he appeared next to me, leaning against the wall as I was and watching the rest of the Elementals. “No can do. Ms Avia said I need to work on my finesse when I’m invisible. Apparently I might as well as visible all the time considering how loud I am and the traces I leave behind when I’m invisible” he rolled his eyes and smirked and looked over to me, “So basically I need to be more like a ninja”
I chuckled at the thought of Cameron trying to be anything short of loud and clumsy but I silently agreed with Ms Avia; he really needed to work on his finesse.
Sophia and Cara were sitting at the desks and I frowned before talking to Cameron again, “I can guess why Cara isn’t joining in but why isn’t Sophia training?”
Cameron shrugged shoulders, “She doesn’t need to... How much more of a ‘being’ can you be when you already shift into multiple animals, as well as talk to them?” I nodded but didn’t reply. He had a point.
“Well class, it looks like time is up. Cara I expect to see you this afternoon for your lessons” Ms Avia called out while Cara nodded.
“Well let’s get these lessons over and done with” I sighed as I led the group of towards Combat.
Welllll there are some answers to their questions!
Ok, so the reason as to why I’ve been uploading double chapters is because this story is closing in on its end. Maybe one more chapter... two if I need there to be...
BUT... and it’s a big BUT! (So I cannot lie)
There will be a third book!
A THIRD (3rd) BOOK!!!!
I don’t want people asking me if there will be another book because I’m stating it right here and right now that this is not the last book...
THERE WILL BE A THIRD BOOK!!!!
I will try to finish this book off as quick as I can but I will take a little breather between the end of this one and starting the next. I want to edit it and all that jazz to fix any mistakes and yada yada yada.
So with that in mind, stay tuned :)
Ps. My facebook page for early teasers and whatnot à http://www.facebook.com/WattpadVovNix