After lunch, Ashley had her first class without Taylor or Jerry. The only person she knew in that class was Connor.
“So what class is next?” Ashley asked Connor while Taylor and Jerry headed in the opposite direction.
“We have Dark Magic next,” Connor said, motioning to the left.
“It’s a class where we basically learn about magic and spells we aren’t supposed to use. A woman named Mrs. Fula teaches it.” Ashley turned to look at Connor.
“Why would they teach us about spells we aren’t supposed to use? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?” Connor shrugged.
“Not necessarily. I mean, I don’t know. I guess it’s better to have knowledge than none at all. No knowledge is how people get hurt.”
“And all knowledge is what?” Connor looked at Ashley.
“A burden.” Just then, they arrived at the dark green room. Inside were many glass balls, smoking potions, glowing energy balls and a deep pit in the middle of the room.
“Whoa,” Ashley said, taking in her surroundings. Connor nodded.
“Where do we sit?” Connor pointed to the glowing pit. “What?” Ashley asked, her head snapping to Connor’s face. Connor nodded again.
“It’s not as bad as it seems. It’s spelled and it’s just a portal.”
“Personally, I’m a bit tired of portals,” Ashley muttered. Connor raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “Where does the portal lead?” Connor looked away and stepped forward.
“Anywhere.” Ashley stepped up too and they were standing on the edge.
“So, I could just...go anywhere?”
“No, silly,” Connor laughed, “not now. Not ever, really. It’s spelled so that the only place we can go in it is the school.”
“And if it wasn’t spelled?”
“Well, you’d be able to go any place, any dimension, any person on or in between creation.” Ashley raised her eyebrows.
“In between creation?” Connor nodded.
“There’s sorcery everywhere, Ashley. You just have to know whether to look for it or not.” Ashley nodded. “Well, now we have to jump.”
“What?” Ashley asked, backing up. Connor laughed and grabbed her shoulder and pulled her forward.
“Look, we’ll jump together, alright? On three.” Ashley nodded. “One, two..” Connor pulled Ashley into the pit with him. As they were falling, Ashley moved her arms and legs around and screamed, searching for a grip. “Calm down!” Connor screamed to her, wrapping his fingers around one of her wrists.
Ashley closed her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut, holding back a scream. Then suddenly, they stopped moving and started floating mid air.
“What’s happening?” Ashley asked Connor.
“Class.” Then a feeling of knots made itself known inside of Ashley’s stomach that only grew bigger and bigger until she was pulled forward, straight towards a wall of the pit. Ashley screamed again and braced herself for an impact that never came.
When she opened her eyes, she was standing in a cave with multiple students in it and a woman with white eyes and blonde hair standing in front of them.
“Glad you could join us Miss. Gain and Mr. Pierre,” the woman said in a calm voice. Ashley widened her eyes and looked around. There were rows of desks lined up filled with about fifteen students in them.
“I’m sorry we’re late, Mrs. Fula, Ashley’s new and-” Mrs. Fula raised her and Connor stopped talking. Ashley glanced over at him and he had a zipper where his lips should have been. About half the class broke out into laughter and with another flick of the rest they had zippers for lips too. Ashley’s eyes widened more and she took a step back. The woman smiled at her.
“Don’t be afraid, Ashley. It won’t do any good here.” Ashley nodded and took a step forward. “I already know who you are. You’re the girl in Quarters 203.” Ashley nodded again. “Yes, well, it’s a pleasure to have you in my class.”
“That’s a first,” Ashley muttered. Mrs. Fula smiled and motioned to the chairs.
“Have a seat Miss Gain and Mister Pierre.” She flicked her wrist again and all of the zippers disappeared. All of the children breathed in deeply and grabbed at their mouth, making various facial expressions and making sure their mouths still worked properly. Ashley and Connor decided to sit in the back of the class.
“Alright class, today we are learning about a special type of dark magic. Dark magic that kills,” Mrs. Fula said. A lot of children in the class started to ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh.’ “You shouldn’t ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’,” Mrs. Fula said seriously. “This is serious. Now, in sorcerer and sorceress history, the use of death spells and potions have been kept to a minimum. After all, they are forbidden. But, one of the most known times of the use of a death spell is when the consul had to deal with the Parson, Quall, Victarian and Fitzgerald families. As many of you know, those families had been the root and heart of suffering for many centuries, and well, enough became enough. In the late 40s, early 50s, the consul went out on a sort of witch hunt to exterminate the families- for good.”
“Now, I know when just saying it, the act of killing doesn’t seem that hard. Many would think a gun or knife should do the trick, but no. Yes, human weapons are very dangerous to sorcerers but they cannot kill a sorcerer or sorceress on its own. There needs to be some type of potion or spell involved. But with the death spell, a weapon isn’t needed, for the spell is the weapon. In fact, it is the only spell that can kill on the first strike.”
Connor raised his hand and Mrs. Fula nodded for him to speak.
“So this death spell...this is what was used on those families?” he asked.
“Well not exactly,” Mrs. Fula started. “The captors first had to be restrained because they were too powerful. Their magic would have deflected the spell if they weren’t restrained.”
“How?” Connor asked.
“There are many deflection spells, Connor. And those families knew every last one of them.”
“Okay, but you said they were restrained.”
“They were,” Mrs Fula, said and cleared her throat. “There are spells for everything, Mister Pierre. And the consul used a spell that depletes magic.” Ashley’s eyes widened.
“So, not only did the consul use the death spell on them, they also took away their magic?” she asked. Mrs. Fula nodded.
“They did what needed to be done. They always do what needs to be done,” Mrs. Fula said. Ashley nodded and looked at Connor. He looked back at her and shook his head. Mrs. Fula cleared her throat again and then went back into her lecture.
“Over the course of many years, the death spell was created, and in order to use it, more than one sorcerer has to be present. The death spell is so powerful that only one sorcerer won’t cut it.”
A girl with brown hair and green eyes raised her hand. Mrs. Fula nodded.
“Is it possible at all for one sorcerer to use the death spell?” Mrs. Fula turned pale.
“It has only happened once,” she said tightly.
“Who did it?” the girl pressed on. Mrs. Fula shook her head.
“Ask your history teachers. We are getting off topic.” The girl slumped lower in her seat. “Now,” Mrs. Fula continued, “the spell takes a lot of power, and with power comes sacrifice. The spell cannot be casted without a price. The price of life.” An uneasy silence settled amongst the class as they digested the information. Ashley raised her hand.
“So you’re saying, that in order to kill someone with the death spell, someone has to die?” Mrs. Fula shook her head.
“That is what you’d think but no. The life that is taken has to be put into something else.”
“So, instead of someone dying, someone gets born?” Connor asked. Mrs. Fula nodded.
“But how is that a bad thing?” Connor asked.
“Great evils can be born into this world, Mister Pierre. And if someone is evil enough for the death spell to be used on them then you can bet the life replenished by their death would be evil, too.”
“So, the babies born out of the spell are evil?”
“Anything created out of destruction is evil.” The class stared at her with wide eyes. Mrs. Fula shook her head. "When a soul leaves this world, another soul of equal value and of equal power replaces it."
Connor leaned over towards Ashley.
"Maybe those babies were the after effects of the spell," he whispered. Ashley nodded and then put her finger to her lips.
"Okay class," Mrs. Fula began, “now we are going to talk about the rebirth spell.” She waited as the class’ eyes shifted towards her. “The rebirth spell is also forbidden. It, basically, gives life back to something that has already lost it. But, like all spells, it comes with a price. Just like taking life away, gives new life, giving new life takes away life. In order for the rebirth spell to be used, someone has to die.”
A boy with light brown hair sitting in front of Ashley raised his hand.
“Why is it that someone has to die? Why would you make a spell so unfair?” the boy asked.
“That is the thing with spells. If you take something, especially something as precious as a soul, it needs to be balanced or the whole world will be affected,” she told him.
“But how does one soul affect everyone else?”
“Never underestimate the power of one soul, Mr. Carter,” her tone getting dangerously serious. “Souls are the things that make up this world. Souls are where humanity truly lies and without them, there will be nothing but chaos.” The boy stared at her for a few moments before nodding his head and looking away. Ashley looked at Connor who was looking at her.
“A rebirth spell?” she asked him. Connor shrugged.
“Maybe the book has something about it,” he offered. Mrs. Fula then suddenly cleared her throat.
“Is there something you would like to share with the class?” she asked.
“I just thought it was interesting how souls could be valuable. You’d think they’d be the one true priceless thing,” Ashley said before Connor could say anything. Mrs. Fula’s eyes widened and nodded.“You’d think, Miss Gaine, but really, nothing is truly ours. Even the air we breathe has to be exhaled at some point.” Then, suddenly, as if a switch was turned on, Mrs. Fula’s face brightened. “Well, that’s enough dark sorcery for one day, isn’t it?” She looked at her nonexistent watch. “Class is almost over, anyway.” She looked at Connor. “Mister Pierre, I assume you’ll show our new student the way out?” Connor nodded. She smiled and looked at the rest of the class. “You are dismissed,” and she vanished, leaving a smell of mint gum.