| Nathalia |
“Where I came from, it’s rude to ask someone anything without any introduction,” I spat, openly glaring at the man who dared speak our parents’ names.
“Miss Levina, I suggest you mind your behavior,” Casper warned. “These are council representatives and─”
“That’s alright, Casper.” The Ilwani among the five beamed at me. “I am Barthier Lynx and these are my associates. Please, introduce yourselves.”
“Morden Skinner,” grunted the male Syren.
“Pedro Javier,” said the Lupus man, making me clench my teeth harder, remembering how he killed papa, cruelly wrenching his heart from his chest.
Someday, I will take his own and crush it with my own hands.
“Nereza Hart, Ivory Thorne,” said the Suuri and the Lawin respectively.
“That wasn’t so bad.” I smirked.
Now I know your names. I will hunt you and I will kill you.
“We’re pleased to meet the council representatives. I’m sorry about my twin.” She smacked my head playfully and laughed, but I did not miss the slight quiver in her hand. “She’s a little rough since we were young. But to answer your question, no we’ve never heard of them. May I ask why you are asking us this question?”
“Hazel Levina was your mother, right?” asked Barthier.
“Yes, Sir. She was,” replied Cassy.
“I see. Selena Hague was her close friend. She never mentioned her?” Barthier continued the interview, or should I say subtle interrogation.
“No, Sir.” Cassy shook her head, meeting Barthier’s eyes with the look of complete innocence.
Barthier pursed his lips and continued, “Did Hazel teach you any spells?”
“Some telekinesis and light sorcery. And we know a little on how to effectively block attack spells directed at us. But that was only recently, Sir,” I explained.
Oh, how I wished I could fill this room with thorns big enough to impale them and kill them instantly.
Barthnier joined his hands together in a single loud clap. “Very well, is it okay for me to conduct a small test?” He was still smiling like an old creep.
“Fine,” I shrugged.
Barthnier did not humble himself for he instantly surrounded himself with a sinister amount of mana that made Cassy and I jumped from our seats, providing a good amount of distance from him.
The corner of his lips tugged upward, and he carried this expression of superiority, like a predator playing with his prey. The other council representatives remained inscrutable.
Cassy conjured an invisible mana shield that surrounded the two of us.
He squinted his eyes and in a blink of an eye, he extinguished his mana display. I was a bit disappointed. I could have ‘accidentally’ attacked him back on the pretense of self-defense.
“That’s curious,” His smile was satisfactorily removed from his face. He motioned for Casper. “They were five on the Spectulus, right Casper?”
“Yes, Your Honor.” Casper answered, his head slightly bowed.
“Interesting.” He gave us back his attention. “Well then, thank you very much for your cooperation.” He winked at us before the five of them disappeared into a wisp of smoke.
Oh great, teleportation magic. Another spell that I don’t know how to perform.
“They’re unto us now, Lia,” Cassy mumbled. We were out of the headmaster’s office and onto our way to one of the training rooms.
I studied her and I couldn’t believe that she was still calm while I was fuming with hatred. Cassandra was definitely on a different league than me. While I’m emotional and stubborn, she was logical and giving. While I focused on attack magic, she trained herself on defense for the sole purpose of protecting me.
Without her, I would have already self-destructed long ago.
The only consolation I convinced myself with was that finally we had names to associate with our parents’ murderers.
“Barthier Lynx, Morden Skinner, Pedro Javier, Nereza Hart, Ivory Thorne. They are going down, Cassy. They will atone for their sins.” I was clenching my fist so hard that my nails broke skin, smearing the white tiled floor with droplets of my blood.
She hung back and faced me. “Lia, promise me you’ll never do anything rash. Until you guys complete the coven and we’ve gathered enough allies, that’s the only time we can act. And we still need to train,” she said, putting emphasis on the last word.
Sighing, I pulled Cassy into a hug. “I know, sis. I’m sorry for always worrying you.” I stroked her hair. “You’ve always protected me since we were little, but you should know that I also have your back. No matter what.” I released her and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “We have their names now. It’s a matter of time before we can avenge our parents so they can finally rest in heaven with Luna and Ilwa.”
Cassy gave me a sad smile. “You’re right, but remember Lia, do not let your grudge define who you are.”
“Of course.” I assured her, forcing a smile on my face.
We strode towards the Ilwani training rooms where Lana told us to meet.
“What room number was it again?” Cassy asked when we reached our destination.
“Hold on.” I grabbed my phone from my pocket and reread Lana’s text. “Six.”
We walked further down the hall when a group of Ilwani intercepted us. I recognized the Taurus symbol on their body parts.
I groaned. Ilwani who belonged to a guild tend to be egotistic. The initiation of guilds were said to be designed to filter the best Ilwani and it was tough and gruesome. Surviving all the tests groomed them to be seasoned fighters who has the responsibility to protect the citizens of Ilwania. However, having the notion of being the aces of a whole race, the fame and compensations they receive turned them into power-hungry phonies. But it’s not good to generalize so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.
At the center of the group was a girl with a scar reaching from the bottom of her right cheekbone, running towards her upper lip and ending on her right nostril. She wore the scar with pride as if it was telling a story of a fight won with dignity. Although she was inches shorter than us, it did not waver her domineering stance. Clearly, she was the leader of this group.
“So you’re the infamous orphaned Ilwani twins everyone was talking about.” Smirking, she crossed her arms on her chest and gave us a head-to-foot scrutiny.
Everyone? Did we just became popular in just a few weeks in the academy? What the hell did we do?
I gave the girl an equal haughty stare. “Yes and you are someone who’s blocking our way,” I arched an eyebrow at her.
She laughed, her minions following after her. “Confident, isn’t she?”
Her minions scoffed and grunted, all of them wearing similar sneers.
She advanced towards me and cupped my face, pressing harder, squeezing my mouth into an embarrassing pout.
“Careful there,” she warned. “If you want to maintain that face of yours, I suggest you know your place. You’re nothing but a five.”
“Get your hands off her,” commanded Cassy, her eyes flashing a dangerous glare at the woman.
I gripped her right forearm and forcibly removed it from my face. I squeezed harder until she shrieked in pain. My wolf might be suppressed by my magic but the Lupus blood in my veins was permanent thus making my physical strength greater than that of a regular Ilwani.
“Guild master!” her minions shouted. They wanted to help but this was a fight their leader started and for them to interfere would be dishonorable.
“So, you’re the infamous youngest guild master,” I returned her previous greeting with the same sassy tone.
“Release me or you will regret it!” she demanded, still writhing in pain. She tried to pull her arm away but I maintained my hold. Her right kick was expected so I reluctantly let go of her right arm then received her kick with my left. It was a fast kick, but to my wolf eyes, it was in slow motion.
“Gotcha,” I grinned, threatening enough to spark fear. “You started it, remember? I’m just returning the favor,” I licked my lower lip and squeezed her leg until her bone gave way from the pressure, giving me a satisfying crack before I decided to let her go. She fell to the floor with a sickening thump.
Truth was, Cassy was trying to warn her. From me. This girl picked the most excellent timing. Of all the days that she could provoke me, she picked the day when I saw the culprits of our parents’ deaths.
She was now screaming profanities at me. Her minions were staring at us with terrified expressions.
I crouched to the floor so we could be eye to eye. She winced back. Holding her fractured leg, she looked back at me with her lower lip quivering. “Can we pass now?” I smiled.
She held my gaze and the color of her eyes turned white. Her minions started snickering.
“Eh? Another trick?” I tilted my head to the side. Seriously, maybe I’m the villain in this story.
I felt the tug from my insides, a churning and acidic feeling started to form in my stomach. Falling on all fours, I wheezed and began coughing out blood.
“Lia!” Cassy screamed. I held out a hand for her, indicating her to stay put.
“You...What is your name?” I asked, staring daggers at the girl.
She laughed. “Now you ask me, orphan. I’m Jade Lynx, daughter of Barthier Lynx.”
Red hot rage flowed through my veins. This was how her father killed our mother.
My shoulders started shaking and soon I was laughing maniacally. “I guess the apple did not fall far from the tree,” I spat more blood and stood up.
“Let’s see who dies first.” I summoned my real power. Using a lot of mana, I conjured thin rainforest vines from the ground. All of it encircled her whole body and squeezed. It would require her to match my mana count to stop my vines from choking her to death or chopping her to pieces. But she was consuming hers by trying to kill me by poison. She needed to stop her attack if she wanted me to stop mine.
She wriggled wildly on the floor. Her pupils returned to its usual color, ceasing her attack. I released the vines but its mark on her skin remained.
I snarled. “Can. We. Pass. Now.”
She nodded, still panting. Her group parted for us like the red sea. I stood up and eyed Cassy, she was shaking her head at me. I knew I exposed us but she was trying to kill me. There was no other choice.
My stomach was still hurting but it was healing fast thanks to my Lupus genes. “Where’s room six?” I asked the group. They all pointed to a door at the end of the hall.
I was about to leave them when I remembered something. I whirled around and saw that they were already helping their guild master stand up. I met her gaze. “Put a challenge in the Certare. I would gladly accept it,” I smirked.
As expected, I received a series of lectures from Lana. It turned out that she saw the whole ordeal. Cassy, on the other hand, remained quiet, her hands trembling, and she would not meet my gaze.
“What am I supposed to do? Die? She tried to poison me and that’s the only way I know how to stop her,” I reasoned out.
“You provoked her! You broke her leg!” screamed Lana.
“Well she squeezed my face! She started it!” I fired back.
“You could have─”
“Stop!” Cassy yelled at us and it was the first time I saw her in this disposition. She looked at me with hurt painted on her face.
“You promised me you wouldn’t do anything rash. And it was seconds away from meeting her,” she accused, glared at me as she did so. I looked down, guilty. “You could have died!”
“I didn’t,” I murmured but I bit my lip almost immediately.
“I’m tired of this Lia,” she stated, her voice weak. “You always put yourself in danger without thinking what I would feel. You’re my only family left and you always take that for granted.”
I gasped, horrified at what I made my twin feel. I felt despicable. I felt ashamed of myself.
Cassy left the training room quietly. When she closed the door behind her, tears started flowing from my eyes.
“I’m sorry Cassy,” I sobbed. Lana sat beside me as I cried.
I hated this day.