Flame and Shadow

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Chapter 5

After Sherman opened the door, my jaw dropped in disbelief. That’s impossible. They must be tricking me. In the room before us, a man produced an electric spark between his hands, and fired the crackling bolt off at a target several feet away. An older man was pummeling a punching bag with swirling pulses of wind from around his forearms. There was a girl around my age, who launched a beam of pinkish force from her hands across the room. These people had some kind of power to generate elemental energy!

“How…how are they doing that?!” I inquired in wonder. “Is that even real?”

Sherman seemed to be enjoying my bafflement. “Well, that depends on how you define ‘real’. If ‘real’ means everything normal and follows natural laws, then no. The Ircabim can manifest the angelic power from across the dimensions as physical energy that resembles what we know as ‘real’. Basically, they are turning spiritual forces into natural forces. It’s our holy sanction.”

“I think I see…That’s amazing!”

The bishop began escorting us into the training center. “Everyone in Nahalore is of the descent of the angel, but only those with a high concentration of angelic blood have the capability to shape elements like this. Everyone who displays this ability is known as a ‘caller’. I’ll let Mahsa explain the details. She is our combat instructor.”

The dark-haired woman started walking faster to lead the small group. I had to hurry my pace to keep up with her.

“OK, maggot. Pay attention. I’m only going to say this once. If you have any questions, ask somebody else.”

I walked close beside her, trying not to miss a single word.

“Humans can only manifest one elemental type. These types are based on your own genetics and inheritance, there is no way to effect what element you will show. It’s in your nature.”

She pointed out several people training their powers to the right.

“Our uniforms are designed to resist our specific element, and are color-coded to show the nature of the wearer.”

I slowed down to look. My eyes spotted uniforms with stripes of green, pink, and different shades of blue, but I couldn’t dawdle for long. Our guide was plowing ahead. I hurried my steps to catch up to her.

“Another important aspect of our powers is the magnitude. Just because you are a wind-caller doesn’t mean that you can create gale-force winds. The most you can do might be only a small breeze. Again, it’s hereditary. The more angelic blood you have, usually means the stronger your power is. We have a score system, ranging from 1 to 9. A 9 is phenomenally powerful, and you could stand your own against an army of enemies. A 1…you might as well live with the civilians.”

“Wait, what are you?”

She ignored my question, and continued on. “The majority of our combat forces are beam-callers or wind-callers, but there is a place for everyone in our ranks. Among others, we have water, beam, electric, wind, ice-“

“What, no fairy-type?” I interrupted sarcastically.

Mahsa gave me a blank stare through half-closed eyes as if to say “Are you being serious right now?” She shook her head and continued the tour.

“This area is where we train in the use of our powers. Across there…” her hand pointed to a door off to the left. “is where we perform physical training. To most effectively use our gifts, it’s necessary to combine them with fighting skills.”

“Unless your powers are strong enough.” Doshi interrupted. “Then there’s no need for that waste of time.”

Mahsa ignored the intrusion, and the tour proceeded into a side room. Before we reached it, I had to ask a question.

“Excuse me, do we use guns or weapons like that here? I haven’t seen anything-“

Doshi jumped in. “To use mechanical weapons like that would be spitting in the face of God. He’s given us our gifts, and to not use them would be the ultimate form of rebellion and insult!”

Well, that was pretty straightforward. Our guide then opened the door to the side room, and we entered it. There were two boys that looked to be around my age already there.

“Wait here. I’m going to get Bethany.” She instructed.

Doshi, Sherman and I stood in awkward silence for a moment. I slowly started feeling hot again, like my insides were boiling. To try to stave off the immense uncomfortable feelings, I attempted to make conversation with the boys, who also looked like they felt awkward.

“Um…Hi. I was wondering…do you guys feel like moles living under ground all the time?”

What the heck was I thinking? I didn’t know them, and didn’t even give my name! My first dumb thought was to ask that ridiculous question!

One of them glared at me.

“No, you idiot. We’re not ‘moles’. We’re the holiest, most powerful beings on the planet. You’ll never understand what it’s like, you reject!”

I was taken aback by his response, and it only served to make me feel more out of place and uncomfortable. The other boy just reddened in the face and looked down.

Just then, Mahsa came back with a girl following behind. It was the same girl I had seen earlier firing the energy beam.

“OK, Sera. These are going to be your new classmates. You’re all roughly the same age, so we can train you at the same time.”

This garnered a negative reaction from the newcomer girl and the rude boy.

“What?! That’s not fair! We’re already slowed down enough by this pansy!” The boy said, pointing at his more silent companion.

“Yeah, now we’ll have two deadweights? She’s just a reject!”

I felt my cheeks get hot. It was getting harder to breathe. Maybe I didn’t belong here. I had this horrible feeling that something bad was going to happen. Even my vision started to get blurred and cloudy. It was as though my body was on fire, but I knew that couldn’t be. I had to do something…

Mahsa ignored them, and started speaking again. As she did, my body began to return to normal.

“I believe you’ve already met Reese and Kyle. Reese is an electric-caller, level 5. Kyle hasn’t expressed his ability yet.”

Reese was the jerk who had yelled at me. He had rather short, spiked blond hair. He wore his yellow-trimmed uniform jacket unzipped, and a pair of reflective dark blue sunglasses which obscured his eyes. Kyle was a shy boy, who didn’t make eye contact with me. He was blushing as he looked at the floor. His hair was light brown, neatly combed straight back.

“And this is Bethany. She’s a beam-caller, also level 5.”

The girl had long, dirty blonde hair underneath a dark-gray stocking cap. She tied her jacket around her waist, and wore a light gray tank top underneath. Her uniform had pink accents. In some way, her face and mannerisms betrayed a cruel and unkind personality.

“Get used to each other, because you’ll be spending a lot of time together from here on.”

Kyle started blushing even more, Reese crossed his arms and looked the other way, and Bethany glared at me with hateful dark green-brown eyes. This was my new family? For some reason, I didn’t really feel all that welcomed…

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