The date, February 9th, and yes, it’s a school day. Waking up at 5 am isn’t my idea of fun. They say every journey starts with one step; well every morning is a new journey. The only problem is taking that first step out of my bed. I’m so comfy, why can’t school come to my house? In any case, I flip back the blankets; climb out of my silk sheeted bed, and onto the floor. Even with carpet, it’s cold. After doing some stretching, I grab my toiletries and head to the bathroom. Damn it all, mine has been broken for a couple days now but Father says “Until we can get someone from town to come up and fix it you will have to share the hallway bathroom.” Damn, that meant it’s a battle for the bathroom every morning with Avatar. I head out of my room and down the hallway in a sleep-filled haze. I continue to look over my shoulder, waiting for Avatar to swoop.
Red carpet, dark paneling and plush drapery make up what I wake up to. This is what I was born into. Royalty isn’t so bad, but sometimes I wish that people would just treat me normally. However, I learned a long time ago that this is a life that takes some getting used to. As I continued down the hallway I came to a large purple door. Well it’s large to me anyway, it’s actually the same size as any other door, and this is Avatars room. I sneak by as quietly as possible so not to wake her up, I want the bathroom first. Halfway there now, I continue down the hallway looking at the paintings of my ancestors. Like every morning I stop before my grandfather, the only man who tapped into 50% of the Darkness bloodline limit. The man who taught me everything I knew. After standing there which seemed like 10 minutes, I turned and finished my walk to the bathroom. My hand touched the doorknob and I turned around to see nothing but the blackness of the hallway. When I started to turn the doorknob I felt a sudden, searing, pain fly through my right arm.
I turned to look and see Avatar; she had bitten my shoulder. I shrugged her off and leaned up against the door.
“C’mon Avatar, please, not today, let me go first,” I said as I awaited her response.
“Ya’ know John….” she started as I zoned off.
Avatar Phoenix, we grew up together, her past is a sketchy one. It seems she was a child of the streets, abandoned by her parents and the local magistrate placed her with us. At least that was t he story my parents told me. She didn’t want to live with us to begin with but shortly after living on her own for two days she moved in and we became friends. Actually more then friends, we became family.
“Further more, Mr. Demon…” she continued as I watched her.
I love this girl to death, like a sister, but oh my god she gets on my nerves sometimes, “Hey.” she is sometimes mean, “Hey.” Aggressive, “Hey.” Extremely Intelligent, “HEY!” and bites people at inappropriate times. I felt the sharp pain of something against my ribcage.
“Ouch!” I screamed as Avatar bit me again.
“No, No, No!” said Avatar jumping back and pointing her finger at me with arm extended. “You are not going space cadet on me again!” she said almost yelling at me.
“I’m sorry,” I said half asleep on my feet, “does that mean I can go first?” I said as she gave me a death look.
“If you go in there and jump in that shower before me, John I will make sure every sink and every toilet is flushed in this castle, then when you bitch that it’s too cold I’ll send a fireball straight up your ass!” She said producing a fireball in her hand.
I sighed knowing there was no arguing with her about this. “Fine, fine,” I said as moved away from the door. Avatar is actually a creepy young girl, as soon as I said that and moved, she smiled like nothing had happened and said
“Thank you!” Shortly thereafter, she danced into the bathroom leaving me standing outside falling asleep against the wall. Welcome, to my world.
I awoke once again to the poking of a big toe to my neck, it was cold and wet.
“I think he’s dead.” said Avatar standing in nothing but a towel poking at my neck with her foot.
“Stop please….” I said as I got up.
“Well in any case the bathroom is yours now, don’t be late,” said Avatar walking to her room which seemed more like dancing. I smiled seeing her act like a child but knowing how mature she really is.
The shower was just like any other morning; amazing. The hot water soaking down my back was like a massage, for a long time I just stood there allowing the water to soak me and wake me up completely. After I finished, I dried off and went to get dressed. Damn school clothes; I hate them. Even more so now that they enforced Academy Uniforms. A waste of time to say the least but what can I do, it was the school boards idea, and my Father said he didn’t care. I wrapped a towel around myself and walked out of the steam filled bathroom, and headed straight down the hallway. The smell of Avatars perfume started to fill the hallway and her door was still shut, she tends to overdo it. She tells me; “Beauty takes talent and work; it took me forever to look like this and I’m going to smell as good as I look damn it. You don’t like it, stop breathing.” I grow tired of arguing with her, she always says I’m wrong because I have a penis.
I arrived at my room a lot faster then it took me to get to the bathroom, funny what being tired can do to a man. After getting to my bedroom and locking the door, I turned on the news, and started dressing. The standard uniform at the academy is black dress pants, black dress shirt, and black boots. All honor and award pins must be worn on your jacket at all times. Myself I hold a lot of them as well as Avatar, but the most important pins are, Pin of the Master Strategist, Marksmanship Level 2, and Commendation of the Dean. Avatar has almost the same badges that I do, except she has her Sniper badge and doesn’t have the Master Strategist badge. She says its equal exchange, I say its skill. That’s when she hurts me.
“Negotiations are breaking down in the country of Vesper, and experts say that if…” the TV in my mind trailed off thinking that another war might break out. The last one ended only 2 years ago and Pyroten hasn’t fully recovered yet. I switched off the TV, and grabbed my school bag. After leaving my room like always, Avatar was waiting for me staring at me from across the hallway. I turned and started walking down the hall with her at my side.
“Did you hear John?” said Avatar “there might be another war, it’s so scary especially since were so close to graduation.” She said a little worry in her eyes.
“It’s okay, I heard the Aggressor Squad was dealing with Negotiations, they won’t break down and even if they do, they’re the best.” I said with confidence.
After the maze of long corridors and down the large staircase at the front of the house we found the front door. Like always a note on the door saying “Have a good day at school kids, dinner at 6 PM, don’t be late.” I sigh and pull the note down and crumble it up.
“For once why can’t they come to the door and say goodbye like normal parents?” I say throwing the note to the ground. Avatar was already at the key cabinet.
“Oh quit you’re bitchin’.” Avatar said grabbing the keys to the Lamborghini, her car, the one my family gave her on her 18th birthday.
“They’re trying to show you’re responsible if you don’t like it go back to wearing diapers. In the meantime,” she said jingling the keys, “I’m driving!” she said running out the door,
“Oh god, Avatar, please, not again, remember last time! AVATAR!” I said running behind her just barely getting into the passenger seat before she burned out of the driveway and down the hill to the gate.
“License and registration please, Ma’am.” said the officer looking at Avatar with a cynical eye. I leaned over and whispered in Avatars ear; “I told you.”
“Registration right?” said Avatar leaning across my lap to the glove box and in turn biting me hard on my thigh harder than usual. It took everything I could not to scream and act normal.
“Crap, Officer I’m sorry, we left it at the house. If it’s okay we can go back and get it, we live right there” said Avatar pointing to the Adien Mansion.
“You kids live there?” said the officer looking at me, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes officer, I’m Joseph’s son, John.” I said with a smile.
“Oh I’m sorry, Sir; please get going I didn’t realize it was you.” said the officer leaving in great haste.
“Ya’ see John, the blood in your veins, makes a difference.” She said, slamming the car in gear, burning out and speeding to school.
If you would have asked me yesterday which was scarier; Avatars driving, or her parking I would say her driving. But god, today she felt it necessary to slide sideways into a parking stall.
“Why must you always show off?!” I said annoyed.
“Because, when you drive, you drive like an old lady. I got to protect our names somehow!” she said, venom in her voice. With that being said we both exited the car and started to the door. Many students whose names I don’t bother getting to know passed us. That’s when I heard a familiar voice behind me.
“Laurance.” I said as he came up and shook my hand.
“Dude, I got some awesome news,” said Laurance extremely excited.
“Yo, Borg what’s up?” said Avatar throwing an arm over his shoulders.
“Take a look guys. I got a perfect score on my entrance exam. I got a phone call from the Ninja Squadron last night, they want to pull me from the Academy early and put me into service immediately!” he explained.
“Dude that’s awesome,” I said.
“Congratulations!” said Avatar.
“Thanks. So…this Friday will be my last day guys, and I want to tell you-” Laurance trailed off as the PA system called.
“Laurance Adel, please report to the Dean’s office immediately.”
We stood there for a moment then Laurance smiled, “I guess I got to go then, we’ll talk later guys, see ya!” he said as he ran off. A tall man whom many believed to be decedents of Elves walked up to us. His long hair and pointed ears; I could tell where people thought such things. This man was to be feared, respected, and obeyed. He was the Great Anavel Souske, Leader of the Aggressors, and second to the Dean of the Academy.
“You two get to class now or you will be late,” said Aggressor Souske.
Avatar and I gave a quick salute and said “Yes Sir!” and ran inside to class. Avatar and I have the same first class, Strategy and War. Currently, I hold the Master Strategist Badge in this class, and Avatar can’t stand it.
“Oh Johnny boy!” screamed a voice only a mother could love.
“Oh Lord here we go.” said Avatar stepping back and Alice out of nowhere body slams me. I hit the wall as she hugs me.
“How was your weekend John?” she said with a smile.
“It was fine; could you get off me now?” I said, pushing her back.
“Oh yea sure,” she said sounding disappointed. Avatar stood there with a look that would kill anybody. It’s understandable; Alice has been following Avatar around for a long time trying to emulate her. Just because she thinks I would love her if she would be more like her, but in essence, one person like my unofficial sister is enough. Having two around would literally kill me.
“Mr. Adien! Class started 3 minutes ago, how long are you going to stand there?” said the teacher. I came to my senses quickly and looked around to see everyone seated except me.
“Oh, I’m sorry Professor.” I said and quickly took my seat beside Avatar; she started doing a little dance while sitting and laughing at me. She started mouthing “You got in trouble.” Over and over again while pointing with both fingers.
“Miss Phoenix! Is there a problem?” The professor said, startling her.
“No Professor! I didn’t do it; I mean he made me do it! Um, I’m sorry, I’ll stop talking, and okay I’m done.” Said Avatar, so quick it was actually kind of funny. But I made sure to keep my mouth shut or she might hurt me. She might not do it right away but she has her ways, and she always remembers!
“With this act, forced the Aggressors to take action and this marked the turning point in the war. Shortly thereafter, the war ended, which brings me to my next point-” said the professor as the bell rang.
“We will pick things up tomorrow. Remember; Finals are next month and applications for squads are due this Friday!” said the professor as we left the room. Out in the hallway, I met up with Avatar who was ready to go home. It was Monday, which meant we only had one class. One, 5 hour class. But tomorrow will be easier, 4 classes, an hour each.
“Avatar, have you seen Laurance? He wasn’t in class,” I said.
“I don’t know, you would think he would come to Strategy, it’s his favorite,” said Avatar walking with me out to the parking lot. The parking lot was always busy, people with their own private cliques, and friends. I didn’t really enjoy hanging out in the parking lot; school was out, why would you stay there?
“Look, Avatar, his car is still there, he might just be taking an extra class,” I said pointing at his Cadillac.
“You’re looking for Laurance?” said a familiar voice and once again feeling arms wrapped around my neck from behind.
“Alice, please stop it,” I said trying to pull her off me. Avatar was staring daggers as she grabbed Alice and pulled her off me.
“Really Alice remember where you are, get a room!” said Avatar, which was a complete stupid thing to say because I could already see what was coming.
“Really?” said Alice her face lighting up and looking at me “Can we?!” she said with excitement in her voice. I sighed knowing she will never leave me alone.
“I’m going home.” I said turning away from them both and walked to the car.
“Great, look what you did now Alice, now I’ve got to deal with his grumpy mood, go crawl back under the rock you came from.” Avatar said running to catch up to me.
She caught up to me just as I got to the car. Too tired to bitch about driving, I climbed into the passenger seat quietly. I actually had so much on my mind I didn’t even care about Avatars erratic driving like I usually do. Today I learned something very important, don’t zone out in a car when Avatar is driving. When I finally came back around I noticed we were nowhere near my house.
“Avatar, where are we?” I said.
“Oh you’re alive are you?” she said with a smile looking at me as she pulled into the parking lot. I looked around still not sure exactly where I was, still a little disoriented from zoning out.
“Are you kidding me? John, we’re at Magicians Rest” she said with a smile.
“You brought me to the bar?” I said with a neutral look.
“Yea, you looked like you needed a drink, let’s go.” she said pulling me from the car and taking me inside.
It was around 5 when we finally left the bar, and Avatar was too intoxicated to drive, mind you she wasn’t drunk. Avatar can hold her alcohol like no person I have ever seen. The drive home was slow, but we made it to the front gate just as the sun started to set.
“Good evening Sir, I’ll open the gate. I hear tell dinner is Lasagna tonight. Your Mother and Father are expected to attend.”
My jaw dropped, “Mother and Father will be there tonight? Why? What’s wrong?” I said, asking the Gateman,
“I don’t know what their reasons are, but they have the house talking. Please hurry Sir it is almost 6pm.” I looked again and started up the driveway to the garage.
Once in the door I hung the keys up in the cabinet, and handed my school bag to the butler.
“I’m sorry to have you do this, but could you put this in my room?” I asked the butler.
“Sir it’s my job, it’s really no problem” said the butler as he hurried off up the stairs. Even know they are hired to serve us, I hate the idea of calling them my servants. They are really friends, especially Montgomery.
Having my parents at dinner tonight was really a surprise; I rarely see them at all. Father, in all his blazing glory, mother in her majesty, and myself; eating like a normal family. Oddly enough, Avatar was remaining quiet but it was relaxing, and the quietness of the moment was amazing.
“Montgomery,” said Mother with her soft and wonderful voice,
“Yes madam,” said Montgomery, moving closer to the table.
“Please convey to the cook that once again his food is exemplary,” she said with a smile.
“Yes madam, I will surely tell him,” he said with a slight bow and headed off to the kitchen. Father sat there quietly concentrating on his plate; it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him in his human form.
“Father,” I finally said breaking the unbearable silence. Everyone looked up from there plate, having the room staring at me didn’t bother me.
“Tell me, I know you both better than anybody and you don’t have dinner with us unless something has happened. I was wondering if you guys could just cut to the chase and tell us what’s going on.” I said meeting my Fathers yellow eyes.
A small smile crossed his face then dropped, “My son, you’re as clever as you are frank,” he said his voice booming and deep. “You are correct in your assumption that we have a problem.” My father had pulled my complete attention as I listened to him. “Son, it would seem that our country had a breech last weekend, and they say that out of 4 people one got away. It came to be that they were agents of Vesper, a clear violation of the treaty,” he said.
“So, does that mean were going to war?” I asked.
“No, son, I want to prevent a war at all costs, but this last agent worries me. I have notified the Aggressor Squadron and they said there was nothing to worry about.” I sat there and studied the words of my Father, mulling over what Vesper would be after.
“You choose squads this year don’t you,” asked mother changing the conversation, “which one are you going for?”
Avatar was quick off the mark and announced what we both decided.
“Judging by last year’s score, I want Games and Theory, but bone head here is determined to bring swordsmanship back to the Academy so he is going for Professorship,” said Avatar punching my arm.
“Well, you know if your scores are higher then what you ask for they will put you in the squad they believe would be the best asset to them,” said my father looking at us both.
“Father I know what you want of me, but if the scores say I can’t, I can’t,” I said looking at him knowing that he wants me to join the VAS. The Vampire Assassins Squad. I shouldn’t even know it exists but I do anyway. How could I not, there is a single documentation in the library that speaks of the VAS and its creator Joseph, my father. But the official story is it was disbanded years ago. The unofficial story is it is more powerful then the Pyroten Royal Guard.
“In any case, my son, eat and enjoy your meal. The applications are due this Friday and I’m sure you will make us proud when finals come around. Whether it is as a Professor or being a commander of the Squad.” she said returning to her plate. With the mention of food I looked over and saw Avatar hadn’t even touched her plate she just sat there nibbling on a piece of bread.
“Avatar,” I said looking at her as she jumped and looked at me.
“What do you want?” she said kind of harshly.
“You haven’t touched your food,” I said worried she might be sick.
“If I eat this, I’ll get fat,” she said standing up and pulling up her shirt to show off her flat stomach. “See,” she said grabbing a handful of skin, “I’m getting fat!” I looked at her obviously she was not getting fat; if it was any normal person I would say she was a very attractive young lady. Avatar always had a complex about her weight. When she was real little she was overweight and the doctors always told her she wasn’t skinny enough. It wasn’t until she began living at the Adien mansion did she find her reason to drop the weight. She loved sparring with my friends and me. Then one day Laurance came by the house and the second they met, it was over she trained and trained until she had the figure of a woman Laurance would drool over. But old habits die hard I’m afraid. Since she gained the figure she has, she is always saying she is getting fat or she is still fat. I assume it’s to keep her motivated, so she can keep the figure Laurance would find attractive, or the figure she finds most useful.
Just staring at her I can’t see how she could possibly be getting fat. I sighed, “Avatar, please, you have always had that hunk of skin you keep grabbing,”
I said going back to my plate. I suddenly felt eyes on me, I looked up to see Father and Mother stand, “Well son, on that note we are off to bed, goodnight, we love you and please don’t die.” They said standing and leaving quickly. I looked around the room as the servants gathered there plates as if they were being timed. I looked up at Avatar to find out what my parents meant about not dying. Avatars eyes were burning red, as if she produced Hells’ fire behind her irises. I stood quickly, at the same time she did.
“What’s wrong Avatar?” I asked knowing somehow I just pissed her off.
“Training hall, now John!” she said.
“But Avatar-” she cut me off.
“NOW!” she screamed as I jumped back and started off to the Training room.
We entered the training hall and the automatic lights kicked on. The room was vast and weather proof. Meaning we could train to use our magic without fear of burning the house down. I slowly turned
“Now will you tell-” I was cut off as I noticed a fireball slap me hard in the chest flying me to the ground.
“I’m fat, am I?!” She screamed producing a water ball. It had a glowing element behind it. A higher class spell.
“Avatar, calm down now.” I said producing bark in front of me as a shield.
“Oh don’t think you can hide behind that Mr. Demon!” she screamed as she completed her technique but poured more magic into it, her water freezing into ice. Oh Lord, an ‘A’ class spell, I have to block or it will kill me.
“Avatar don’t do it!” I screamed forcing my other 2 elements into the bark making it just strong enough in time as she finished her spell. Her words rang in my ears as she screamed it,
“Cold Inferno!” she yelled as I finished my defense spell,
“Bark of A Thousand Layers.” I said back. The two ‘A’ class spells slapped each other causing a huge explosion. I flew back against the wall, bouncing my head off the concrete. Disoriented, I opened my eyes to see Avatar standing over me.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I don’t know if she was scorned but damn it, she was pissed. I lay there staring at her unable to focus, as she sighed.
“I feel better now, anyway I’m off to bed John, goodnight!” she said with a smile and danced out of the room. I continued to lay there, pissed that she didn’t even have a scratch. I sighed and finally got up after I collected myself. After thinking there for awhile, I decided to train. I closed my eyes and placed my fingers in front of my face I began to focus my power. I could feel the power around me pulsating after opening my eyes; I could see the blue energy around me. The field around everyone is blue but when they use their bloodline limit it changes colors. After focusing more of my blue energy; it started to turn black.
“I call upon the Blood of my Ancestors, I call upon The Darkness” I chanted as I tapped into my bloodline and began testing my magic. Molding the Darkness with Fire, Earth, and Wind.
There was once a man, far back in my bloodline that could use 50% of the Darkness and he was the strongest of our bloodline. My father, who can use only 48% of the Darkness, is the strongest of my family that is still alive. My grandfather trained me and told me, “When you find something or someone who is important to you, you will find your true power.” I never did understand him, and I don’t know what’s important.
At this time I can use 40% of the Darkness and I grow in power the more I train. I believe it’s time to once again attempt the most powerful technique in my bloodline. After extending my arm I produced a fireball in my hand, and began to pour the Darkness into it. I could feel the power crawling around my arm and into my hand.
This is further then I’ve ever gotten, at least I could tell I was stronger. I could feel the technique taking shape as I extended my arm
“Dragon, of the Eternal-” I was suddenly cut off as someone grabbed my wrist and dispelling the technique.
“Such things should not be handled lightly my son.” said Father, appearing wings fully extended, eyes shining yellow.
I wanted to fall to one knee, “Father, I wanted to see if I could do it,” I said amazed at his speed.
“Son, your grandfather was barely able to do it and he could only control 50% of this power. The attempt nearly killed him, The Dragon cannot be controlled when released, your grandfather couldn’t do it, I can’t do it, and with your power and your age, I know you can’t do it. Even if you are considered a prodigy, it’s still too much for you the way you are now.” He said retracting his wings and his hand. His words seemed off but my determination was solid.
“But how will I know if I don’t try?” I said watching him go back to human form.
My father sighed, “If you must try it, let me show you this first,” he said lifting his sleeve. “This is the price for taking the Dragon lightly.” He said showing that his arm from his elbow down was completely cybernetic. “This is the price for ignorance, and underestimating the Dragon. When I tried to take His power, He took my arm.” He said placing a hand on my shoulder.
“Son, one day when you’re ready, we will attempt, but for now, you’re tired, your magic is weak from hours of training. Not to mention the beating you got from Avatar.” He said as kindly as possible. The shot at my pride hurt but he was right, Avatar has been getting stronger lately and my head hadn’t been in the game. Too many things are happening all at once and to be honest it’s quite boring.
“Son, I know you’re bored, but this weekend I want to teach you something,” said Joseph with a smile.
“Are you sure father? You’re a very busy man; I wouldn’t want to pull you away from the affairs of the country.” I said a little in shock that Father wanted to spend quality time together.
“I want to teach you and Avatar something that has been passed down between her bloodlines and ours for centuries. Most families do not teach it anymore because it’s so hard to learn, but if you do learn, it will give you guys a better edge. Also it will increase your power and compatibility with your individual bloodlines,” said Joseph placing his hand on my shoulder. “Only when you master this ability will I allow you to tempt the Dragon. Do we have a deal son?” he said awaiting my answer.
“Only Father, if you keep your promise and train me this weekend,” I said as he extended his glove covered hand and grasped mine.
“Deal son, now you have school tomorrow, off to bed with you.” He said slapping my back and pushing me to the door.
I made my way slowly to my bedroom with Montgomery in tow.
“Montgomery, thank you for helping me to bed.” I said with a smile as I grasped the doorknob.
“No, problem Sir, is there anything you require before I go off to bed?” He said with an English accent.
“No Montgomery, thank you, goodnight my old friend.” I said with a smile touching his arm.
“Goodnight young master,” he said stepping back with a slight bow and walking slowly down the hallway to the stairway. After walking into my bedroom and changing into my sleepwear, I turned on the TV. Flipping through the channels I found an interesting show about strategy, I climbed into bed which was well made thanks to the chambermaids of the mansion. My head hit the pillow soft and cold; I quickly fell asleep, listening to a major talking about how men are more effective with anger then women. I smiled slightly, if he only knew.