Tarts

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Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen - Sully


I don’t really like to talk. I mean, I do, I don’t mind doing so but it just depends on the people. When I meet new people I tend to get really nervous, you know? I don’t know the person so how should I know if I can enjoy talking to them?

But I’ve really never been one to talk, ever since I was little. I’m a little younger than J but she insisted on staying back a year so that we could go to Edendale together. I’m glad she did that. I dunno if I would’ve lived. And the dorms are pretty nice. I like the people that room with us.

Griffin is fun. A little cocky but that’s ok. He seems to be afraid of showing too much emotion but I know with the help of J we could get him more comfortable around us, in the very least. But he also seems very emotional as well, which is confusing. It’s nice having someone that shared a similar hobby but I don’t think I could show him most of my drawings. Not yet, anyways.

My dad’s death is confirmed, no worries there. But it did take a toll on me, as well as J. It’s why I stick to myself so much. I can’t help it. It doesn’t help that colors appear with sounds! I don’t bring that up with people too much.

Nayleth is… she’s a mess. But one that I don’t mind cleaning up. I think she’s really sweet, even if she comes off snarky but I don’t mind that. Although, like Griffin, she bottles up her issues. I wondered why the stars in her voice changed to a pretty pink?

The book I had was from my father. He noticed my love to draw and it helped that he was one of the few metas that were blessed with the gift of foresight. Like Mark, I guess. But he knew that drawing would have something to do with my form so he had the book specially made for me. It’s always adding pages and is made out of dragon leather so it will stretch for as long as I need it.

Ink and lead isn’t an issue. My form is, I guess, like Nat’s. It’s a form of Letting, a class of metas that use a specific talent or physical thing that helps give them their powers. It’s that metas form of seeking. I can still do base magic though since I’m not a full meta.

One of the only full metaphorms in history that could also do Seeking was Mark and I think Jesse but both had to sacrifice that to save someone or something. Some people say they were good frieds because of how Mark acts when you bring us Jesse. It makes me wonder about peoples past but its not the best idea to pry.

I don’t really like to open up to people. The one time I did that person stabbed me in the back. Literally. Thank God J knew what her roses could do by then or I don’t think I’d be walking.

Schools fun though. I got to take classes I enjoy because each student talks to a counselor or one of the teachers to help figure out what would best fit them. I got to take World Painting twice a week! And I think I’d take Seeking class with Nat. I dunno why they’d put her there but I think those days Quintis takes her to help with her powers. Auggie told us about that. I’m hoping I can go with. I don’t like being around so many people to practice my magic. Makes me antsy.

I’m shy. I know that. J tells me that a lot. Especially when we first met Nat and Griffin. That day I didn’t want to get out of my pajamas because I was comfy and didn’t think Mark would have a dream that demanded we warn Bren that someone would be having there Calling day on the other Earth. Funnily enough we ran into Nat, who was that person. Who knew?! Wait, maybe Mark did? Wouldn’t surprise me.

But when I saw Griffin it kinda made my stomach flip. He’s a good looking guy, I must admit. I like women but I don’t mind guys. I just like women more but if I was given the chance I guess I would date a guy? It’s complicated and doesn’t matter to what I’m saying.

Anyways, Nayleth was fun to notice. She seemed surprised. But even more so when she found out that we knew Bren. But that part of her life and I guess I could say bloodline? No, that sounds too medieval. Genetics? I’ll go with that, that part of her genetics was hidden from her.

I feel bad. I wish I could’ve kept her mother away from her. Me and J both wish we could’ve helped her but obviously things turned out differently. In the very least, she knew about the divorce. Although, you can’t hide things like that from a kid.

At the moment, we were all getting dressed for the day. I think it was Thursday so me and Nat had Seeking class to get to. Or Quintis to get to. One of those.

J was throwing together some food for us. I think it was frozen sweetened maple sap with grope seeds and butter bread. It was the best we could manage as Nat and Griffin both wanted to save up money for something. I guess lots of food? I dunno. But I needed a new bag and I had my eye set on this dark stained leather with sapphire strap buckles. A pretty blue, honestly.

I got up from my bed and I knew immediately that my hair was a woozly mess. And I could feel the static that was making a bunch of pieces in the back stick up. Yay. My muscles were sore as well but that was a normality for anyone in this world really. Either you were training, battling or relaxing, be that had happened rarely since the rebellion.

J told me good morning as she shoved four reusable bags each a different color with our names written on the bags with tape. Wait, no. The names were written on the tape which was on the bags.

Griffin smiled at me and said that I could hop in the shower since everyone else had showered, brushed teeth and such. I nodded and smiled, telling him a quick good morning as I tried to find my comb which wasn’t on my bedside.

I furrowed my brow, taking a quick glance around the room before Nat came over and tousled my hair, ridding it of the static then handed me my comb. She said good morning and smiled brightly at me. I stared at her, slightly shocked at her playful gesture but soon returned a weak smile and glad that she seemed in a better mood from the other day.

“Hey, we should head out. Mark told me Quintis would snatch me after the teacher lectured us about what the class was. If you want, you can tag along.” Nayleth told me as she gently tucked away a small doodling book. I wondered what she was trying to draw as I smiled at her.

“Of course! I don’t like Seeking all that much anyways. I’m not that good at it. Anything to comfort you, because you seem to need that lately.” I replied simply, fixing the strap on my bag and as I was heading out the door I saw J smile curiously at me.

---

The teacher for Seeking was Mrs Mock. Thin blonde hair and stringy build. It made me wonder if she could be made into a good horror drawing. She was very good at teaching though, and was fun. She dressed in plaid, for some reason too.

We normally were outside for this class. It was getting really chilly. You could tell winter was approaching with it’s icy grasp of chilling breezes and frosty dew. Mrs Mock’s voice was yellow and orange and puffy white like marshmallows unlike the sound of the breeze which was the clear glint of glass and baby blue.

She started the class by introducing herself, like any teacher would. A new semester had started so that meant new classes. Me and J spent the first semester helping out mom out with the soldiers but then she made us go back to Edendale. We couldn’t really argue, it was part of our fathers will that we had to go to Edendale.

Nayleth seemed intrigued by it all but I could tell it wasn’t all that interesting. She couldn’t do seeking so why should it matter too much to her? Yes, knowing basic spells would help but people didn’t normally use seeking in battle. It didn’t melt together well unless it benefited that persons form.

Soon, I saw her perk up with a slight grin. It made her eyes light up. I loved her eyes. So pretty. And how she could be snarky, even when it wasn’t the best idea. There was a lot I liked about her.

She saw me looking at her and blushed but I just mouthed back Quintis, her nodding her head vigorously. She was ecstatic, obviously. I hoped she find it fun. Or that she could even get her form to appear. The only thing we knew was stress, overbearing emotions, really.

Quintis soon walked up and the entire class only paid attention to him. I mean, a man with an eye patch and gruff looking appearance and red, tattered poncho was really a sight. He was like a pirate.

He told Mrs Mock that he would be taking Nayleth and she was confused. He pointed at her and Mrs Mock’s eyes went a little wide but she didn’t complain and let Nat walk up with me. Quintis glared at me and looked at Nayleth who just kept walking as I tagged behind her.

---

Bren helped us get to Quintis’s home as you know, it was in Woodgrove. I did like his home but I think that the snakes were the most interesting part. There was a baby one so that was always fun to sketch.

He lead us through to he backyard and the entire time the snakes just watched us. They had cow eyes, you know? Hey just kinda stare and look really cute. I dunno how they do it.

His backyard was rather well kept, which surprised me. But he was evidently ready to help Nayleth out. Any sign of chairs and tables, not mention a tree that had very recently been trimmed as evident by the bright green from where branches and leaves used to be.

He told me to just sit on a small space that was his patio and I did so. I don’t really like being yelled at. Not my thing. So I normally just do what people tell me to do and try not to get involved in fights unless I feel like I absolutely have to.

Quintis first had her practice her marksmanship. It was entertaining to see Nalyeth struggle and when she figured things out, like the best way to hold the bow and easier motions to summoning it, she got really excited. It was entertaining.

I just watched, toying around with the cap of my javelin pen. It was the only really safe part to toy around with but i could easily pull it off as some regular pen. Just use a small part of my form and there I have it, a regular old pen. Not that hard.

Quintis would keep looking at me, which I assumed was to make sure that I wasn’t being trouble but I just watched Nat as she accidently shot the arrow at Quintis who had gone over to check on a flower, the arrow having grazed his arm and blood started to slowly trickle out.

He frowned at the injury, Nayleth’s face going pale as I saw her fingers start to tap rapidly tapp against the base her bow and she started rocking on her heels with a hand out in front of her, as if she was going to try and catch him.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t know what to do- I- I- I’m sorry.” She rushed out as Quintis turned to look at her. The blood was starting to dry, from what I could tell.

“It’s fine, girly. Things happen. I’m gonna go clean up, Sully, come with me.” Quintis stated, a command, more like it. I got up and took my book with me and smiled at Nat in a reassuring manner. She smiled back and I could feel my stomach flutter again.

Her smile was just… just strikingly perfect.

I followed Quintis through his living room and to a bar counter he had and he poured me a glass of water as he dug around the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Quintis took out band-aids with that stuff that helps clean out injuries.

I sat down and gently laid my book down. My fingers kept running along the edges, the pages fluttering.

“So, Sully, care to explain why your smile seems like someone doped you up on beetlejuice? Because I think I have a good idea.” Quintis said to me, washing away the blood and applying the bad-aid.

“I, uh, what?” I responded, rippling the pages of my book more and more.

Quintis chuckled as I glanced out the window to see how Nat was doing and she saw me and smiled with a wave. I smiled back and looked at Quintis who was raising an eyebrow. “That, is what I’m talkin’ about.

“You like the girl, dont’cha?” He said as I took a swig of water. I could feel the heat grow in my cheeks. “It’s alright if you do. She seems to trust you the most. But don’t hurt ’er, you got it?”

I almost choked on my water at that. “I-I What?! No! I wouldn’t dare!” I replied, taking another swig of water before I said something i would regret.

He grinned, knowing he got what he wanted out of me and ushered me out of the house with another glass of water for Nayleth. But I was starting to pick at a string on my shirt. I had left my book int here and I didn’t want to go back in.

Nat smiled at me, thanking me for the glass of water but her eyes drifted to my fingers pulling at the string of my shirt and she asked where my book was.

I responded with the fact that I had left it inside and I was rather nervous on going back to get it as me and Quintis had talked about something that made me rather nervous. She chuckled at me, and went inside to get my book.

She came back out and gave me the book, her bow glinting beautifully in the sun. It reminded me of how her laughter could be so soft. LIke how she was when we were looking at the stars. A open book, soft yet harsh.

Nat held out her bow as I tucked my book back in my satchel. I looked at it, wide eyed. She insisted that I at least try to use. I took the weapon, drawing back the string to my cheek. Years of being around soldiers, I’ve learned things. Can’t really help it. I feel like a sponge sometimes.

She adjusted my elbows, where her hands touched I could feel my cheeks turn pink more and more. But I saw a black arrow form, like the ink that leaves from the waterfalls along my back.

Her face was surprised but she explained that when it doesn’t have arrows it will use her blood instead, since she can bloodlet so apparently it took my inky powers as a substitute to that.

I let the arrow fly, missing the bullseye by a few inches. She high fived me and she seemed relatively happy. Even with the breakdown from the other day.

“Nat? Are you, are you feeling better since yesterday?” I asked her, looking at the ground as my fingers played with the drawstring of the bow like it was a rubberband.

“I, uh. Yeah. It’s nice having people to trust for once in my life. My mother kinda ruined that for me. I get why my Gram and uncle hid things though. But mother really screwed me up.” She replied and I looked up. Nat was twisting her fingers around and around her wrist then running a hand through her hair, repeating the process.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-” But she stopped me, smiling grimly.

“It’s ok, Sully. It’s ok. I promise. But thank you for letting me talk. It means… a lot. But is there anything bothering you before Quintis leaves his kitchen because I think he just set something on fire.” she asked me, pointing to the window and you could see the man with a pot of water and then throwing it at something that was obviously smoking.

I laughed and snorted, making my nose feel weird and that made Nat laugh right along side me. “No, I’m, I’m good. Although, you’re most likely curious about my background, right?” I asked her and she nodded a head as her smile still wavered.

“Well,” I began, feeling the ink begin to help me tell my story. It leaked from my fingers and danced around me like a ritual circle in motion. “I didn’t really know my father. I have memories here and there. All I know is I look a lot like him. Blonde hair and the reason why it’ll always be the word blue. Why I have a slightly crooked nose and why I can be bashful.

“He died of cancer, as J told you. She knew him better than me, of course. His name was Stanse. My mom still misses him. Won’t ever remarry, we both know that.” I told her as she returned her bow into its necklace, struggling to get it around her neck.

“Oh, let me help.” I offered and she handed me the necklace. “Anyways,” I returned to what I was saying as she moved her hair to help me get the necklace on. “ Our father drew building plans and would draw characters of untold stories. That’s another thing i got from him, I guess. Always told me to stay safe. Always. I never really worried about it until…” And my words drifted off as I got the necklace attached to itself.

Nat turned to face me, rest a hand on one of my arms. Her touch felt nice. “Ok, one, thank you. That would’ve taken me way too long. And two, what? What happened, Sully?” She asked and I could hear the curiosity in her voice. But her eyes showed that she actually cared.

“J and I were coming back from a herbing trip. She needed some jumpkins from the jungle and it’s never safe to go alone and our mom couldn’t go with so we had to. We trusted one another and knew our way around our weapons at this point.

“But on the way back, we ran across a few straggling soldiers of Red’s.” I paused, seeing her eyes grow dark and fist clench. “They harassed me. Not J. Me. I don’t know why. I do look rather like an easy target. It pissed J off. It’s how she figured out she could go grow those vines.

“She strangled two of them, the third one had dropped me and glared at her. He was that arrogant. By that time he had broken my nose and I had a really bad black eye. I clicked my pen and the javelin pierced him through the heart.

“We don’t do too much without worry anymore. We tried to stay laid back when were going to Woodgrove but honestly? My stomach felt like it had been ripped out and I’m pretty sure me and J both got close to throwing-up. I know Griffin was worried literally sick as well.” I finished, running a few fingers over the bridge of my nose.

Nayleth sighed, rubbing her cheeks with her hands and groaned. “That fuckin’ sucks. I’m sorry I caused you guys that trouble. I should’ve been more careful and now we’ve got Red looking for me or Griffin’s parents and-” I stopped her, smiling slightly.

“It’s ok, really. It just scared us to death. We had been ambushed and could’ve died. You got lucky. We trusted you would get out. Well, Griffin did. I was insisting we go find you right away but nope.”

“Well, it was sensible to at least get some help!” She replied, chuckling grimly.

I smiled at her and turned my head to Quintis who was holding a plate of burnt toast. It looked like someone was trying to drown it in butter. I wonder if he knew how to cook. I could help him with that.

Nat snickered at his attempt with toast and took the plate, setting it on a stained-glass table that had been nestled in a back corner of the yard. Quintis thanked her and she nodded in response, picking up some of her stuff because it was time to go.

“I recommend you two keep an eye out for one another. And one out for Mark. He’s got something’ planned for you four. Just pay attention in class and things should go smoothly, aight?” Quintis told us and we both nodded our head in understanding but I think we were both rather weary with everything. I wondered what he meant by that.

It didn’t take us long to get back. Quintis had Bren help us again. He winked at me as we left but I brushed it off. In the very least, I smiled in a response. The man knew one of my few secrets that I really didn’t want people to know.

Yeah, I liked her. But she wouldn’t like me and I just, it’s better to keep quiet on things like these, I’d guess. I’d figure out how to tell her in the future but she had just gotten here a week or so ago. I think maybe two? Either way, she needed time.

After we settled in back at our room, I plopped down on my bed since it was in front of the TV and Nat joined me, putting on Fairy Tail. She had warmed up some popcorn and handed me the bowl as we both shoved a bunch into our mouths and then I could hear the other two fighting to get up the stairs. People exclaiming and shouting encouragement to the other as Griffin came bursting through the door, his eyes bright and a smile plastered across his lips.

J was smiling widely too and was just about jumping up and down in excitement.

Nat asked what was going on, standing up quickly as she dropped her handful of popcorn on the floor. I just stayed sitting, watching with wide eyes. I was curious, as it was obviously something good.

Griffin told us to watch and he took a deep breath, closing his eyes. Me and Nat glanced quickly at one another, considered with the fact that Griffin might be trying to make himself implode.

But soon we heard him gasp softly, and you could see him biting down on his teeth as hard as he could but Griffin did manage to smile at us. And then we saw chitin running up and down his arms, disappearing behind his shirt. It was this beautiful auburn brown, the chitin was. I wondered if I could get that color in paint?

It ran across his fingers like small streams, making them seem more pointed and when Griffin smiled you could see that his eyes were just a little bit darker, with a gleam in them that I couldn’t quiet place. It had changed his eyes too! That wasn’t commonly seen in metas.

He was a full-meta as well though, that much was obvious. But it brought him so much joy to know, at least, that he wasn’t gonna be stuck like a human with tattoos. And then we noticed his tail.

It was long, very bendy. And pointy. The thing looked like it could’ve cut through steel! But the end was this deep yellow, like mushroom yellow. The kind you think of when someone mentioned the word sick. It ended just before the point that could stab people, easily into pitch black.

Nayleth was grinning and I was just staring in wonder as Griffin spoke. “We figured it out! They had us practicing quick attacks, like surprise punches and stuff, you know? J scared me and I freaked out and viola!” He told us as he kept smiling. It was a freaky form,that much was true but I was curious as to what he could do.

I think we all were as the oven caught on fire.

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