The Rise of Heroes Book 1: The Academy of Hidden Secrets

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Chapter Thirteen

“Now students, we have some good news.” Headmistress Olema began just four months after everyone settled in the school and began lessons...Well everyone but the students in the Copper Building so in other words, Team Hero.

Their original instructor quit because the second he saw Rashika, he ran out the door faster than a serpent swimming after its prey. While the other teams spent their first four months training to fight and learn about their ancestors’ history, Team Hero was stuck either lying around the floor in their headquarters bored to death or helping staff members do their chores while they waited for a new instructor. Now every time Olema began her announcement like that, it can usually mean that she hired some other instructor who will take a look at either one of them before running outside screaming in complete horror.

“Don’t worry you adorable monsters, this new instructor of yours won’t jump off the school grounds like the last one,” she reassured gently, but pretty soon she might need to just face the fact that her smile won’t help them anytime soon. Like she told them, the last instructor was so afraid of Rashika and Ozur being put in a team with demons that she ran out of the doors and literally jumped off the cloud the school was on top of but thankfully, Phil, the train driver who did the crazy stunt on their first day arriving at the school, came just in time to save her. Rumor has it that those two began to go out on dates a lot lately.

“This is going to be our five hundred-thousandths new instructor Headmistress,” Eathelyn moaned into her pillow with boredom while her other teammates stayed quiet for the sake of their sanity. “Next thing we know by the next month we’ll be at our millionth.”

“Oh come on Eathelyn at least show some spirit,” Olema urged, making a cheerful gesture, only to have Eathelyn raise her hand to wave it lamely while she sarcastically cheered, “Yeah a new instructor to run away from us! What joy...” Rolling her eyes, Rashika quickly reassured the Headmistress who looked like she was just about to strangle Eathelyn.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be on our best behavior with this one, we’re all very excited.” She then growled to rest of the members. “Right guys?” A chorus of unimpressed and bored voices responded.


“Okay, thank you Rashika, now I must warn you that you must never mention the words ‘daughter’ or you will die,” Olema informed, only to receive flabbergasted glances from the team so she explained in a sad tone, “This instructor has a very sad backstory and it’s best not to mention it if you want to live.” Nodding awkwardly, the group got up from their settings and followed their Headmistress who led them to the backfield that was supposed to be their training grounds. “Say hello to you new instructor.”

All the teens saw was the same oak tree that stood tall and proud, they didn’t see any person around. Ozur began to whistle a bit, getting the idea that maybe Headmistress Olema might be losing her sanity since she spent every single day looking for new teachers. Rashika and Eathelyn exchanged looks, trying hard not to let out their laughter at Ozur’s horrible attempted whistling.

Hugo raised his hand as he asked in the best polite way he could. “Uh, Headmistress...I don’t mean to sound rude or anything but all we see is a tree...Are you sure we don’t need to take you to the nurse again?”

On cue, they saw a figure fly in front of the rays of the golden sun as it flew down towards the field and the moment Team Hero got a look at their instructor, they all swallowed a gasp, trying not to make a bad impression.

Their new instructor was a she and she was a couple inches shorter than the headmistress but tall enough to look scary for any student. She wore a long black dress that was past her feet, only revealing her rose-red shoes and her arms were covered with the dress sleeves. Her eyes were as dark as coal, with her pupil a thin as paper, indicating that she was a demon. Skin dark as night while her coal hair was shoulder length but a bit wavy and in bangs. Most of her hair covered her left eye completely, almost like the Eathelyn hides her right eye. However the feature that stood out the most was her leathered wings, well actually she only has one part of her wings. The left one. She landed on the grass with no problem as she paced back and forward like a captain in the army.

“My name is Ulin, you’ll address me as captain or Captain Ulin...I’m not going to go soft on you so don’t expect any motherly support from me, I’m not your mother! I won’t treat you like children who were just born. You are about to be adults who will face the truths of the real world, and will either live to fight or live as a coward! I am here to prepare you for life, to prepare for any hardship that will be thrown in your face!” She looked over at Headmistress Olema who nodded and left the group to their instructor, whispering. “Good luck.”

Once Olema was out of sight, Ulin gestured the teens to follow her out of the field and apparently they didn’t hesitate enough not to listen if they wanted to keep their heads. They walked passed the other fields where the rest of the students were either practicing frontal attacks, or defense, well until Sundria caught sight of Rashika. She snickered and pointed at Rashika while whispering to Alsha who was shooting several daggers at a target. “Look over there, those freaks finally has a teacher who won’t run away just after looking at Rashika. I can’t help but feel sorry for those other three, having to spend four whole months doing nothing but wait just because of a mistake like her.” Ulin looked over at Rashika without letting the teen notice, waiting to see her reaction to such an insult. She could see the young dragon’s knuckles tighten up, but she didn’t show any response or threat at all.

Rashika, however, felt a fire of rage burn inside her, she was ready to beat Sundria up but then again she couldn’t risk the fact getting kicked out. Besides, she knew her chance will come really soon but for now, she just followed Ulin like the rest of her team. “Since you four are way behind I’ll just have to give you the test right now,” Ulin began once they passed the training fields, resulting Eathelyn to step up as she tried to contain her patience. “Wait for what test, we didn’t hear anything about a test! No one else had to take a test on their first lesson!”

Ulin responded in a calm tone as if she didn’t hear the hint of anger in Eathelyn’s voice. “Of course but that’s everyone else, you all, however, are just four defenseless fourteen-year-old kids who do nothing but pick up fights in trains, isn’t that right Eathelyn? Hugo?”

“Hey in my defense I was dragged into that fight that day,” Hugo raised both his hands while he turned an embarrassing color of a cherry since he actually didn’t like to recall the time he chickened out from a fight but still had to do it because of Eathelyn.

“It doesn’t matter if you were dragged, threatened, forced, or even just foolishly volunteered!” Ulin snapped, causing Hugo to instantly shut up. “If you join the fight it doesn’t matter how you joined, the only thing that matters is to know what to do so you can win and stay alive.”

Soon they found themselves in the grass field behind the school, away from any snooping eyes but Ulin’s voice was the only thing they could here at the moment. “Now this test is to see how much you kids know and if you pass then you are surprisingly caught up to everyone else, if not then well it just means tons of extra homework every night for the next two weeks and believes me, you won’t even have time to sleep if you fail this.” The teens gulped but not loud enough for Ulin to notice until she pulled out an amber poleaxe that has a ruby at the end of the pole. “This is a test that the other teams are going to take right now, a test to see how strong and intelligent you are to defeat me! Try to grab this ruby from my weapon, and destroy it, then you’ll all pass. You have until the dinner bell rings!”

“But that’s like an hour!” Ozur calculated but Olin soon vanished into thin air, leaving one more piece of information to them. “Try to find and defeat me because your future depends on this test!” Suddenly the ground began to shake, causing the team members to try to gain some balance but it was difficult when the grass began to grow rapidly into giant trees while separating them from the process!

“Everyone hold on to a branch!” Hugo ordered as he made a jump for the nearest one next to him.

“Um, have you forgotten something Hugo but I’m a wolf hybrid!! Wolves don’t climb a tree!I never tried jumping forward for a branch, there weren’t any trees at the orphanage!”

Rashika rolled her eyes as she began leaped over from branch to branch to locate where Ozur was hanging from. Eathelyn, on the other hand, was gripping onto her lighting blade since she pinned it on the nearest branch she aimed for as she struggling to get up and make another leap. “At least give us one small lesson before starting!”

“Shouting won’t help Eathelyn, get that sword of yours ready and follow my voice!” Hugo’s voice echoed from the other side. “Rashika, I need you to help Ozur and then the both of you will need to locate Ulin and see if she’s responsible for these trees sudden growths sprout!” Hugo didn’t need a sign to know that Rashika quickly used her necklace to transform herself into her dragon state as her eyes narrowed for any sign of Ozur. Well until she dodged a paintball prank that fell from a branch just a few meters above her, and a cry from the very person she was looking for. “No! My paintball, I was really looking forward to using it later!”

Ozur was, for some reason, in his wolf form while his claws were scratching the surface of a weak branch he was holding on to but unfortunately he wasn’t doing such a good job. “Hey quit fooling around with your claws and let go!” Rashika shouted as she began to fly down to the ground, causing a shocked Ozur to look around to see where she was shouting from. “Are you crazy, do you want me to die!?”

“Just trust me!”

“Fine but if I die today, my ghost will be haunting you for the rest of your life!” Ozur threatened, then he released his hold and fell as he saw the trees grow taller every inch he fell! Suddenly he felt fast, strong claws grab his furry back, looking up he saw a dragon, no Rashika; flying as fast as she could to catch up to the canopies of the trees. She felt her heart beating louder than her mighty roar, faster than those growing trees as she raced to the surface to see if she can catch a glimpse of Ulin. They suddenly landed one of the giant tree branches, turning into her hybrid form while her glaring eyes gave Ozur the hint to get out of wolf form.

“Ozur, when we fly out again and get to the top, you try to sniff her out while I try to spot her with my eyes!” With that, Rashika’s tail wrapped around Ozur’s waist as they once again took off to fly after the trees. Apparently, the trees had different agendas in their minds than to let a hybrid dragon carrying a hybrid wolf get to the surface of their leaves. Soon the duo found themselves dodging vines that grew from most of the branches as they began to try to swap them like pesky flies!

Meanwhile, Eathelyn was following the last spot where she heard Hugo’s commands and was using Lightning Blade to slice through the interference of the vines. If you could see through her hair that covered her right eye, her Demon Eye was already activated, so it was completely white as snow so she moved quicker than the speed of sound, without the need to grab a branch! Hugo’s Demon Eyes were both activated, so both his eyes were white as he used his cape to disappear and move faster without getting seen but some vines were smart enough to find him, then crush him. This test seems easy but we’re dealing with getting passed this and then we have to handle a teacher who’s like a sergeant! Man, mom wasn’t kidding when she told me that Lunar Star Academy meant business!

“Rashika, since we are flying around in circles then you know what you’re doing right!?” Ozur could feel the wind race through his fur which was a nice feeling to feel; if they weren’t getting chased by oversized vines that want to squish them! “Of course, let those things follow us!” Ozur suddenly turned pale, well not that pale but he was beginning to think that he might be pale enough to be unrecognized! “When you say follow us, you mean lose us right!?” He hoped this was some joke, and if it was, he would be shocked that Rashika could be joking around at a time like this! “Nope, I’m serious! I’m letting them catch us!”

Before Ozur could respond to that, he saw that the vines have surrounded them by making a wall around every corner of them! Does Rashika have a death wish!?

Rashika looked around, seeing no possible escape but however, she didn’t panic; she just smirked. Now Ozur was sure that Rashika has gone insane! “Hope you’re ready for some explosive flying.” Before he knew what was happening, Ozur saw Rashika breathe out a candlelight amount of fire before she began to fly straight up once the small flames were gone!

“Rashika, in case your eyes are broken but we’re trapped remember! And you could have made a larger fire than that small speck you made!” Rashika didn’t respond back to Ozur, she just continued to fly to the sealed top until he heard and saw...“EXPLOSIONS?!”

That was when her smirk got a little bigger as the bombs continued to activate until the very moment they were inches away from the top, those vines exploded and they were out in the open! “Okay, quick question before I die from complete befuddlement; how and when did you learn that vines can be explosive!?” Now for some people, this might be considered a miracle but actually a clear logical explanation can be stated.

While Rashika was flying around the forest in circles as she carried Ozur while the vines were chasing them, her belt of bombs was still strapped around her and close enough to reach. So with a quick smart tail, she grabbed twenty of those limitless bombs and tossed them to spots of the vines until they were surrounded. Her small flame fire was the signal to activate all the bombs at the same time and the best part is, she will never get harmed by the explosions, even while holding a wolf. She just smiled at the question she received and simply answered, “It’s called quick thinking and good aim my friend. Now stop asking questions and help me locate Ulin!”

Ozur sniffed around as Rashika flies over the forest canopy, her eyes narrowing every corner and branch of the sight. They saw or in Ozur’s case, sniffed out nothing but branches, leaves, vines and acorns that began to fall. Just before new vines to avenge the blown up ones, Ozur caught an ashy scent that belonged to their new instructor the same moment when Rashika saw a flash of black leap out from the trees. “Ozur, I’m going to drop you off to chase Ulin down while I make a good clearing for her to stumble upon!” Before he could protest, Ozur found himself flying down to the ground while more explosions were made from the trees to clear his way! He fell face-down on the dirt before he turned back into his wolf form to quickly get up, sniff the area for a second before he let out a howl and chased Ulin down.

Rashika followed the two running flashes as she soon caught sight of Hugo and Eathelyn, coming right to the exact spot she intended to clear up. “Okay, trees, sorry for doing this but I promise to regrow you just as soon as we pass this test.” With that, she inhaled much air as she needed which basically was half the air the wind was harshly blowing! Finally, after five seconds of holding in all that air, she breathed out an enormous amount of fire that no dragon was able to breathe out in decades! The fire spread quickly around the trees she aimed for, as it swallowed up its victims until there was nothing left but ashes. Ulin was running as far as she can away from Ozur’s sensible nose but she apparently was too worried about him than the fact that she ran into the spot that Rashika turned to ashes, and she wasn’t alone.

Hugo was just a few feet in front of her, holding out his twin swords, one sword for each hand. Ulin felt her muscles tense up a bit when she felt Eathelyn’s presence as the teen held a tight grip on her Lighting Blade, the sound of electricity flowing through the blade. Ozur stopped in his tracks, standing firmly on her four paws, getting ready to attack. Rashika was hovering the sky, waiting for any attempt Ulin might make. “You tracked me down and caught up to me, I’m impressed Team Hero!” Ulin then raised her right hand that held on to her poleaxe that revealed the ruby. “But now you have to try to get this ruby out of my weapon, which is absolutely impossible for beginners who just sat in their headquarters bored while doing nothing!”

“Well then if it’s that impossible Captain Ulin then prove it us!” Eathelyn responded as she began to circle Ulin with the same speed she had earlier. “Prove it to me!”

Ulin made her defense by spinning her pole ax so fast that you couldn’t even tell which direction the blade was at! Eathelyn then expanded her circle to keep a safe distance from the spinning blade, until she brought her sword up and stopped the spinning in an instant! Both blades were neck on neck with each other, as their wielders tried with every ounce of strength they had to bring the other down. Eathelyn glared down at her sword, as she stretched her arm out to make a grab for the ruby but Ulin saw that coming at that very moment! She raised her poleaxe and glided away from Eathelyn with just her one wing! “Don’t try that trick with me little girl! I’ve seen that coming but now I’ll be sure to keep my distance from you....And attack...You!”

Ulin turned around in record time, using her weapon as a defense to block both blows that Hugo tried to make with his twin swords. Hugo had Ulin almost near the ground but she wasn’t going down without a fight that she about engaged herself in. In great speed, she slipped away from Hugo’s blades and began a close battle combat with him. Her poleaxe struck one of his twin swords but Hugo blocked that strike with his left sword and used the right sword to get Ulin’s hand off her weapon! Ulin then raised her right leg and kicked Hugo to the side without any worry about showing what was underneath her dress since it apparently moved like some sort of pants! Hugo flew to the ground, hitting his back onto the rough surface of ashes as Ulin charged towards him but he rolled aside, making her miss!

However, that didn’t mean he was safe, he could hear the flapping of Ulin’s wing as she flew as fast as she can to strike him until she found herself caught in a cloud of smoke! Ozur leaped from the smoke with his mouth holding onto a container full of smoke bombs! “Hugo! Grab the rope and once you feel a tug, pull!” With a wag of his tail, Ozur fetched the smoke bomb Rashika tossed at him and threw it only with one end of the rope to Hugo before disappearing into it. Ulin quickly removed all the smoke that trapped her with her one wing until she realized that Hugo was holding on to a rope, so she rose her poleaxe, ready to cut the middle! Before she could accomplish that, however, Rashika tossed several more of her bombs, activating them at the process which resulted in a ring of flames surrounding their opponent!

Once Rashika was out of Ulin’s and Hugo’s sight, he suddenly felt a strong tug from the other end, so following the instructions Ozur left him; he pulled with all the strength his muscles could muster! Unbeknownst to their plan, Ulin flew out from the flames, ready to put an end to this as she flies straight down towards Hugo! As he pulled the rope towards him, Ozur helped pulled the middle of the rope closer and faster to him while Rashika went to the rear end where Eathelyn was holding on to the end tightly as her hands grabbed the demon’s shoulders, holding them with a strong grip. Each of the team members hearts was beating at a slow pace while Ulin’s heart was beating like war drums as she was getting closer and closer to Hugo! Once she was at a close range, her eyes widen as she saw what was behind Hugo once he made his final pull! Rashika, now in his dragon form, beginning to soar up to the sky with Eathelyn at her claws, both going at great speed! The two girls were flying straight towards Ulin, who couldn’t make a U-turn or stop in her tracks while Hugo hopped on top of Ozur and ran to a certain spot.

Eathelyn made her bravest battle cry, her fists aiming for their instructor, who was ready to at least defend herself until she suddenly felt time go by slowly around her! Eathelyn’s right eye was once again fully white but of course, Ulin couldn’t see that so as she struggled to figure out what was going on, the young teen threw her fists straight at her poleaxe!

Ulin looked at Eathelyn in confusion until she realized that she no longer felt the cool metal amber on her hand, and that was when she was brought down with a mighty punch to the back! The moment Ulin hit the ground, time went back running how it should, looking up to Rashika getting ready to land with Eathelyn but she couldn’t seem to see where the weapon landed. If it landed anywhere on the ground at all.

She looked over her shoulder only to see her poleaxe flying into the hands of Hugo, who was stretching out for it but soon Rashika came flying in without Eathelyn in her claws and used her tail to slap the weapon to get it flying faster! At that very moment, Eathelyn arrived out of nowhere in record time to hold Ulin down as Ozur stopped his running to give Hugo a shot on getting their prey. The amber metal stick part of the poleaxe was now in Hugo’s grasp, his hand moved to the spot where the ruby was attached to. Without hesitation, he used one of his swords to pry the jewel out, and right that second of suspense, the ruby flew right out! Everyone was quiet at that moment, as the ruby bounced slowly to the ground until it landed right in front of Ulin and Eathelyn.

Ulin made a grab for it but Eathelyn was already several steps ahead of her, grabbing hold of the ruby! With the remaining strength she had contained, Eathelyn’s fists tightened around the jewel as she crashed that ruby into dust, leaving not a single trace of what it used to be! Pieces scattered across the ground, leaving what it once was to be gone for good.

The moment the ruby was destroyed, all the trees shrunk back into just a normal field with several burn marks as Eathelyn quickly got off Ulin. Eathelyn stepped back, standing next to Rashika, Hugo, and Ozur which two of them turned back to their human forms. Their instructor wiped the dust off herself, wearing a stone, emotionless face as she stepped closer to the team, who were beginning to sweat in nervousness.

Ulin suddenly wiped off the serious face and replaced it with a face of confidence, and pride. “Congratulations Team Hero, you all passed with flying colors. You’ve proven yourselves worthy of my respect.” She pulled out a clipboard from out of nowhere and announced with pride, “Now from what I’ve read about each of you, and witnessed, today you four showed more potential than the whole school can perform after a million years.” Team Hero couldn’t help but stare at Ulin in shock since just moments ago she had a face of murder!

“Hugo of the Dark World, I’m assigning you as your team’s leader, you are in charge of all decisions and responsible for whatever happens to your teammates. From the way you commanded and took the lead, I can see that you’ll be a natural at this.” Her eyes left Hugo’s stiff reaction, turning to the second member of the team. “Eathelyn, you are the warrior of this team, you’ll be the one who will be the strongest but the one who will see what is beyond what others can see. I have no doubt about that, you punch pretty strong but remember to save some fun for the rest.” Ignoring the confused face Eathelyn was sending, Ulin continued, “Rashika, you’re the navigator, the one who’ll help your team know what to do with tough situations and the one who’ll locate the places you’ll need to go. Of course being a dragon you’ll have no trouble, not to mention that you’re Ormr’s daughter, so I know you’ll be one to flourish.” Her eyes went to the final member of the group. “Finally, Ozur, the tracker, you are the one who will identify who is the enemy and find what you’re team is searching for with the Navigator. Trust yourself and your comrades no matter what.”

Team Hero blinked once, then twice, completely speechless. It’s not every day they see someone come in and act like a sergeant until the moment she’s defeated is when she acts like someone they knew since birth. “Um, question Ulin...I-I mean Captain Ulin but what’s with the sudden change in the act?” Ozur silently prayed to himself to somehow live if Ulin is patient enough to answer him. She smiled warmly at him while patting his shoulder. “To see how much you know about how to battle, and if you passed, you’ll get my good side...If you were to fail well that’ll be a whole different story. I promised myself that I will train those who have enough courage, intelligence, stealth, and strength to defeat me, and you are the first to pass. You four are surprisingly smart, mind if you let in this secret of yours.”

“It’s all in our instincts I guess,” Ozur began to brag until he couldn’t keep his act up before confessing, “Fine, we read some battle tactics books from the library while we were waiting for an instructor, besides no one would even go near Rashika or me just because we’re different.” Rashika glared at Ozur but she could help but agree with him until Ulin whispered to them so no one can hear. “Listen to me, you are each special in your own way. It doesn’t matter if you’re a demon, a dragon, or even a wolf; you are each strong, special, and full of determination, no matter what people call you.” Once again Team Hero was silent once more, as their instructor smiled once more as she then led them to the cafeteria while the bells began to ring. “We better get something to eat then, you’re all seem to be caught up to everyone else now and tomorrow we’ll begin our lesson on strategy. Be prepared for the year of your lives Team Hero. But seriously, you all are still forbidden from saying that word in my presence which Olema warned you about because I will kill whoever is foolish enough to say it.”

Rashika, Hugo, Eathelyn, and Ozur couldn’t help but look over at each other with a grin on their faces, aside from the disturbing warning. Why? Well, it wasn’t because they saw their instructor smile and know that they won’t be having a sergeant as a teacher. They passed their first test, and four months have passed, but they didn’t forget about the message from the little slave boy they’ve met, and now they can meet him again.

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