Chapter 9: Team Bonding.
“What do you mean inside the mountains?” I asked, imagining these weird mole people living inside the mountains.
Laughter filled the room, like it was some big joke that I was conveniently left out of.
“The classes, as well as the gym and dorm rooms are inside the mountains. The three mountains you see outside are actually hollow and inside are intricate tunnels.” Kai explained, the laughter in his voice did not quite fade away.
“It’s just like memorizing a schedule.” Alvina offered.
“Except if you get lost, you would be stuck there for days.” Zephyr retorted which made Alvina scowl and slap him on the arm.
“Oh great.” With just my luck that is exactly what was going to happen. I am going to die inside a mountain with no food or water.
“But that still leaves the question how are we getting Twyla inside without drawing attention?” Clementine says while toying with her weird pudding.
“We could wait them out. It’s almost curfew and we can give her the grand tour tomorrow.” Zephyr offered.
“We have classes tomorrow; I don’t think it’s wise for her to miss her first day of classes.” Alvina scowled.
“We can skip them, it’s school. I don’t need human math to fight off Angels.” Zephyr pouted.
“We could hike up to the house.” Kai offered.
I shook my head furiously, “Anything but that.”
“It’s safer to wait them out, but we could always just cover her face with a napkin of something.” Clementine laughs at her suggestion.
“So, let’s just wait them out.” Kai decided.
“I have a question.” I stated, I didn’t want to raise my hand because that would be foolish, “How come you said our house and then mentioned dorms earlier?”
“The regular students have regular dorms inside the mountain to the left which is called Dungar. The Nox Knights live above the Dungar to protect the students and staff when they sleep.” Alvina explained.
One thing caught my attention, “The mountains have names?” I groaned, how am I supposed to remember names, I can barely remember my own.
A soft round of chuckles sprinkled the room, “Dungar is the dorms, Maraberry is the classes. Maraberry is the mountain in front of the other two. Tunshaw is the training facilities, it’s where we spend most of our time.” Kai explains.
“Yay training! I love exercise!” I said unenthusiastically.
Kai pulled out his phone and began tapping away.
“We are allowed to have phones?” I asked incredulous, I thought this was going to be a school that foregoes all technology and embraces nature.
“You can’t be serious.” Kai looks up at me dubiously.
“I can’t imagine going a day without my phone.” Clementine interjected.
“What made you ask that?” Alvina peered at me curiously.
I shrugged, “I like to read fantasy novels. But in schools like this one, not many mentions using their phones. So, I figured you didn’t use them.”
“This is the twenty first century, even old crones like Zephyr and I use phones.” Alvina laughed.
“Old crones?” How old are they exactly, come to think of it they never gave me a serious response?
“Alvina is an old croon, she is eight six.” Zephyr put his arm around her.
She snapped her gaze towards him with a glare that made me shiver, “So are you!”
“Yeah but you are older by two months.” He grinned at her scowl.
“Eighty-six!” I exclaimed.
“In demon years that only makes her about eighteen-nineteen” Clementine smiled at me.
“how-how old are you?” I looked into her eyes, trying to see if a number would magically appear.
“I’m only eighteen.” She huffed.
“Only eighteen” I nodded, as if she didn’t look like a freshman in high school.
“Only a baby.” Zephyr laughed at her while he stole a piece of her pudding.
“Hey, I am eating that!” She shouted, “You don’t steal a wolf’s food.”
“I’m twenty-six.” Kai said softly pulling me from the antics in front of me.
I scrunched my eyebrows, “But aren’t you the Dux. Shouldn’t you be the oldest?”
“A leader doesn’t need to be the oldest, just the strongest and best.” Kai grinned like a fox.
“Sure, sure” I said as I continued to nod. I guess I will just look this up on Google later. Wait can I even do that? I mean most supernatural stuff contradicts itself, it’s hard to find the real information.
“We still have time to kill, any more questions?” Kai asked raising an eyebrow at me.
“Earlier you said, you have animals. What are they?” Clementine pulled up her shirt, I began to cough, “Pull down your shirt!” I whispered at her. If my mom had seen that, Clementine would have gotten an earful.
“Don’t worry. I wanted to show you my wolf, Luna” Her black wolf smiled at me from her stomach.
“Um…hi.” I waved at the wolf. I didn’t know what else to do.
Clementine beamed at me as she pulled her shirt down. Why was she so comfortable exposing herself like that? I can’t even wear a crop top without feeling self-conscious.
Alvina pulled up the sleeves of her shirt, “This is Naga my snake, her name comes from Hindu religion. The half human and half serpent species.” She patted Naga fondly.
“My crow, Bram doesn’t want to be seen.” He shrugged, “What is your animal?”
“You don’t know? But I thought everyone knew, like how they knew my name.”
“You aren’t the center of attention.” Kai scoffs at me. I don’t understand this guy.
“It’s an owl” Several gasps echoed through the room.
“Does that mean something?” All four heads nodded at the same time.
“You are the second owl since Noxanne.” Kai whispered breathless.
“Who was the first?” I asked
Zephyr looked me in the eye, “Dead.”
“Um. Okay.” I began to feel restless in my seat. My appetite long gone; I shoved the cold pancakes away from me.
“Does your owl have a name?” Clementine ask.
I was going to say no when a faint whisper echoed through my head, “Nyra”
“Nyra.” I said softly as my owl shifted from my stomach to the back of my neck.
The noise died down for a brief second but then Kai pushed away from the table so loudly every pair of eyes turned to him, “Let’s get you to the Nox House. The cost should be clear.”
I nodded and picked up the plate, a hand was placed on my forearm. Clementine pushed the plate back down, “Leave it.” I nodded and she walked away.
Kai pushed on the wall and it melted away, revealing the empty cafeteria. He stormed out of the cafeteria, almost angrily. I swear he must be bi-polar or something.
As I made it to the entrance of the cafeteria I ducked down and hurried by as fast as I could. I didn’t want to hit the flowers, but to my relief nothing happened.
We passed the conference room, that I was in before. Quietly we walked back to the room where I entered Ravenwood. Why does that feel so long ago? It was only earlier today but I feel more mature since then.
We turned turn and continued walking in quiet. Should I say something? But that would be awkward. I should pay attention to where I am going, so I don’t get lost.
We stopped in a foyer looking area. It had another glass wall, but it was so dark outside I could barely see a foot of the outside world.
“This is the entrance to the mountains” Kai gestured at the door.
There was a big marble door, it looked like it took two people to open it each door. I thought something so secret would be more discrete, guess not. As we approached the door, it swung wide open, like magic.
Inside where three smaller doors, engraved on top of the door was the name. the one on the furthest right said, “Tunshaw”, the middle door said, “Maraberry” and the door on the left said, “Dungar”
“As long as you know what each mountain has you shouldn’t get lost. These doors give you direct entrance to the mountains. But there are several other doors throughout the mountains that will lead you to the other mountains.” Zephyr explained.
“I don’t do well in cramped spaces. I feel like I should mention that.” I said, recalling the time I was locked in my room.
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that.” Alvina laughed as she pulled open the door that said, “Dungar”
Inside where stair that lead up and down. Alvina climbed up the narrow staircases. I followed close behind, not wanting to get lost. The door slammed shut, the room was encased with darkness. I must have missed a step because felt myself falling down the stairs, is this how I die? Sparks raced up my sides, I didn’t need my vision to tell me who it was.
“Thank you.” I whispered and I groped the wall hoping to find a light switch.
“Just wait.” Kai responded and I stopped dead in my tracks.
Slowly the walls began to glow with soft greens, light blues, deep purples, and bright pink. With each second it got brighter until the staircase was illuminated enough for me to see.
“This is a night procedure so no one can fall down the steps. It’s different in the daytime.” Kai said, I turned to look at him and I barely suppressed my laugh.
If I though his eyes where glowing before, its nothing like right now. It looked like someone dyed his eyes electric blue. It was quite mesmerizing, it reminded me of water.
He coughed and looked away; I didn’t realize I was staring at him. “Your eyes look pretty.”
He didn’t meet my eyes as he said, “It’s one of the magic affects. It shows our magic ability through our eyes.”
“What color are mine?” I batted my eyes a few times.
“A beautiful blood red.” He muttered, I stared at him. He was still looking down at the floor.
“Okay, break it up.” Zephyr called from behind.
I blushed and turned to find a smirking Alvina. She opened her mouth, probably to say something sarcastic but Kai interjected, “Don’t.” The one word silenced her.
She turned around and continued walking, I guess that’s what it means to be a Dux.
We continued walking for what seems like hours. We went up and up. Every time I thought we reached the house, we just turned the corner and found more stairs. My legs where shaking but I willed myself to continue.
We reached to a halt, I let out an exasperated sigh. I put my hands on my knees trying to get oxygen into my lungs. Am I really this unfit? Alvina turned around and raised an eyebrow. I swatted my hand in the air, letting her know I was okay.
She pushed open a door, I didn’t know was there. I practically pushed past her; the cold September air whipped around my face. It felt great against my sweaty forehead. I took a deep inhale, the cold air burned in my lungs.
The sky was practically glowing with stars. A few feet away a small house sat.
“Welcome to the Nox Home” Alvina whispered.