It was an oddly warm day for December in Dry Ridge, the sun was shining brightly bringing a new light to the usually gray days, so most of the students took advantage of the pleasant weather spending their free hours and lunches outside.
Bart, Ali, Garrett, Hope, and Trevor were all seated at a picnic table in the grand courtyard eating lunch together chatting away happily.
“It’s such a nice day out huh?” Hope asks basking in the warm sun, she tilted her head up enjoying the nice change in weather.
“Enjoy it while you can bean, it’ll be cold again once night hits.” Ali says through a mouthful of food.
Just then Sor came practically running towards the table looking upset. “You okay there Green?” Bart questions as Ali scooted down to make room for the blonde girl.
“Have you guys seen Rena yet?” She asks hurriedly.
“No?” Hope shakes her head “Why? What’s going on Sor?”
“Well when Kaiden and I were leaving class, he brought up the dance again.” She didn’t miss Ali’s eye roll at the mention of the boy “He told me some guys were thinking of asking Rena to the dance but after her whole fiasco with Ian, they’re afraid of her. They’ve said some pretty unkind things too.”
“Oh no.” Hope says sadly, she knew Rena was hoping someone would ask her, she just wouldn’t admit it. The girl acted as if she didn’t care about anything.
Sor sighed “Yeah. And word got around and Rena heard about it. She’s pretty upset, I haven’t seen her all day.”
Bart shot Trevor a look know that he would have his chance at asking Rena to the dance now. Trevor merely looked down at food pretending to be interested in it.
Ali waved a hand “Beasley doesn’t want to be any of those lad’s date anyways, they’re not worth the time.” His attention was on Sor now “Speaking of not worth anyone’s time, did you tell Reed no yet bean?”
Sor bit her top lip nervously “Yes, I did it as gently as I could. He took it...pretty well.” She couldn’t get his dejected look out of her head, guilt raged in her. She knew she did nothing wrong but she couldn’t help but feel bad, Kaiden was great and he was the only one who asked her.
“Why did you say no again?” Hope asks, Kaiden was a good guy, she couldn’t understand why Sor would say no. It wasn’t like they’d have to date afterwards. They could just go as friends.
Sor felt her face heat up and fiddled with her sweater sleeve “Well, I’m sort of hoping someone else will ask me.” She chose her words carefully making sure not to give any indication that she was talking about the boy sitting next to her.
Of course, she wanted Ali to ask her but the idea of telling him made her feel nothing but embarrassment and nervousness. So she had a teenie crush on him but she didn’t want to ruin their friendship or even worse get rejected by him. After all, Alister O’Malley doesn’t date.
Ali did his best not to show exactly what he was thinking. The idea of Sor wanting to go to the dance with someone else bothered him a bit? That was ridiculous, Sor was Sor, his friend. But he couldn’t help but wonder exactly who she was talking about.
Bart abruptly stood to his feet causing the rest of the group to look up at him “I think I know where Rena is, I’m going to talk to her.”
With that he left the grand courtyard to the one place he knew to find Rena; the Hunter’s training facility.
She was right where he expected her to be, in the swordsman training area, tearing at a practice dummy. Grunts of frustration can be heard as she swung her two swords cutting off the dummy’s head. Due to most of the facility being enchanted this particular dummy was able to regrow any parts what were ripped or chopped off.
He approached her slowly as she did a spin move slicing the dummy’s head off once more. “What do you want Winchester.” She asks not looking away from her training, sweat was running down her face and her muscles screamed for a break. But she was angry, she had to let out her frustration.
“Just wanted to check up on you. I heard what’s been going on.” Bart says now standing in front of her. He stared unaffected by her glare, he could see the hurt in her eyes.
“What’s going on?” She attempted to play dumb wiping the sweat from her forehead.
“Cut the act Beasley. I know what those idiots around school have been saying.” He states crossing his arms.
“It’s nothing Bart. So what if those little boys are afraid of me. I don’t care.” Rena says returning to her training.
“But you do care.” Bart replies a matter of factly. Of all people, it was him who could see right through Rena’s facade. She tries to keep her true feelings hidden from the world but someone who knows her best, like Bart, knew it was just a way to keep people at a distance.
“I don’t. Just drop it Winchester.”
He sighed and began to walk away “Fine. Just for the record, there is one person who wants to ask you to the dance.”
She paused to look over at him “What? Who?” Her attempt to be unaffected failed. So she cared a little but no one else had to know that.
Bart tried to hide his smirk knowing he got her to show some sort of emotion “Trevor.”
Rena gaped at him in disbelief nearly dropping her swords “Johnson? Since when? Wait why hasn’t he asked me then?” Trevor had plenty of opportunities to ask her, so why hasn’t he? They were friends right? It was like he was afraid of her too.
Bart shrugged “For awhile now I guess, he’s too afraid you’d say no.”
“That’s ridiculous, I would have said yes to Trev. He’s a good guy.”
Bart shrugged once more “Yeah but you’re pretty intimidating Beasley.”
Rena moves away from the dummy to put her swords away, rolling her eyes while hauling her gym bag over her shoulder “I’m going to find him.”
A look of surprise came across Bart’s face “Wait what?”
“Trevor, I’m going to find him.” She states calmly walking away from Bart not waiting for his reply.
It wasn’t hard to find Trevor, he was where Rena figured he would be. She knocked on the door of dorm 307 loudly impatiently tapping her foot waiting for him to answer.
Swinging open the door Trevor stood groggily, his grey t-shirt wrinkled and he wore sweatpants with black socks on his feet. He must have been napping.
“Rena?” He asks tiredly rubbing his eyes “What are you-“
“Are you going to ask me to the dance or not?” She demands crossing her arms getting straight to the point.
That knocked him out of his tired state, he stared at her with wide eyes “Uh Rena what are you talking about?” He tried to play it off but failing miserably.
“I know you’ve been wanting to ask me to the dance Johnson, so why haven’t you?” She asks looking at him expectantly.
Johnson felt his face heat up “W-well it’s just that you’re Rena...and uh…” He stammered a bit under her gaze. Even when she was angry she was still beautiful. How was he supposed to keep his thoughts coherent when she was standing in front of him asking, not demanding, he be her date. His stomach was tied in knots.
“What does that even mean?” She threw her hands in the air in annoyance “Am I that terrifying that no one wants to go with me to this stupid dance?” Hurt can be seen on her face.
Trevor put his hands on her shoulders with a slight laugh trying to calm her down and easing his nervousness “Rena! It’s not because you’re terrifying, it’s actually the opposite.” He took a step back and ran a hand over his face. “You’re too amazing Beasley. I’m just me...just Trev....I didn’t think I was good enough to ask you.” He scratched the back of his head nervously.
“If you would have asked me Trev, I would have said yes.” Rena replies looking away.
Trevor instantly perked up at her confession. “Really?”
She nodded her head. He chuckled still feeling that nervous twinge in his stomach. “Well then, Rena Beasley, would you do the honors in coming with me to the dance?”
Rena looked over at him and pretended to be deep in thought “Welllll….”
Trevor gaped at her in disbelief causing her to chuckle and punch his shoulder “Sure Johnson, I’ll go with you to the dance.”
“GAME!” The referee shouted calling the end of the match. This week’s match had been between the Hunter’s and The Brutes in the early afternoon while the Architects and Grims later in the evening.
Bart panted holding up the Brute’s treasure in his hands while the rest of his team ran up to him cheering. The final score had resulted in the Hunters leading with 150 points while the Brutes had 75 points.
“You’re brilliant Winchester! Another win closer to the finals!” Sonya grins patting him on the shoulder.
A roar from across the field grabbed their attention as Ian in orangutan form beat his chest, his fiery eyes were focused on Bart. The blonde met the ape’s gaze head on. Neither boys wanted to back down but it was the Brute that looked away first.
Ian huffed and turned, making his way towards the Brutes locker room. Bart rejoined his team’s celebration and went to greet his friends.
“You’re getting better and better with each game mate.” Ali compliments slapping Bart on the back. The boy groaned when Ali’s hand made contact with his now sore shoulder. Ian did not go easy on the Hunter’s this match, he really wanted to get to that championship.
“Don’t feed that ego of his.” Hope chimes in making Bart chuckle and bump his arm with hers.
“How about those Brutes though, they looked like they were out for blood.” Trevor shook his head remembering some of the plays that the refs let his class’ team get away with.
“Seems like it.” Bart grumbled feeling the aftereffects of the game on his body.
“Well don’t worry the mages will bring twice the heat next week boy, we’re going to make those no good sorry-”
Ali was cut off when a yell of terror echoed through the air, startling most of the students and faculty who were leaving the arena.
“What was that?” Bart asks throwing his gym bag to the ground. He reached around to grasp his bow and arrow.
“Sounds like it came from the arena.” Rena states running towards the entrance of the stronghold stadium with the group behind her.
“It’s a vampire!” A voice amongst the crowd shouted causing a mass panic around the arena. Students let out screams while professors did their best to keep things orderly. The crowd pushed against the group who were trying to get inside to see what was happening.
“SOMEONE HELP PLEASE!”
“That’s Ian!” Sor says trying to peer down into the field where the forest that had conjured up at the beginning of the match still remained. It’s foliage making it difficult to see where the boy was.
“Oh my god!” Hope shouts pointing towards the high trees where a winged creature could be seen grasping Ian with its clawed feet lifting him into the air. Ian could be seen attempting to shift into his orangutan but was too terrified to concentrate. He managed to partially shift making the creature drop him for a split second before gripping him once again.
“We need to help him!” Rena urged facing Bart, Ian’s pleas for help could be heard from the distance. “Think you could make the shot from here Winchester?”
Bart looked unsure but pulled his bow and an arrow out “I can try.” He pulled an arrow back and shut one eye focusing on the moving creature that now had Ian at least 50 feet in the air.
“What is going on here?!” Professor Ozil demands marching up to the group of teens just as Bart released the arrow. “Can’t you see there’s a-”
His sentence was cut as the arrow zipped through the air with a high pitched whizzing sound then lodged into the foot of the creature. It let out a screech and released Ian dropping him into the trees. “Good shot boyo,” Ali exclaimed in astonishment.
Howling in pain the beast disappeared into the trees, the tips of its wings only visible from the distance as it.
The professor watched into horror trying to decipher what had just happened to his star student. “You all stay here. Don’t you dare move a muscle until OMA arrives.” He gruffed out before rushing down the steps of the area. flew away.
Professor Ozil transformed into a large burly black bull and took off into the field to find Ian. It wasn’t often they came across Ozil and it was something they tried to avoid. There was a reason his tattoo was a bull, he was temperamental and very serious. Most students were afraid of Professor Ozil and really only students part of the Brutes class that enjoyed his presence.
It was a matter of minutes before the professor emerged from the forest carrying the unconscious boy in his arms.
“Oh god, is he?” Sor didn’t finish her statement hoping the group knew what she was asking.
“I don’t think so.” Bart observed watching the stoic face man exit the stadium through one of the locker rooms.
Racing to the outside of the arena they were met with Professor O’Malley and several OMA agents. “What are you all doing here?” The Irish man asks looking between the group of students “This is no place for you lot.”
“Is Ian okay?” Hope asks peering around the chaotic courtyard now filled fill faculty and OMA agents.
O’Malley let out a deep sigh and nodded his head “The boy will be fine, he has several broken bones and is currently unconscious but he will live. Now, enough on this, I want you all to head back to your dorms immediately. No use in having your around another scene like this again, hm?”
The group exchanged looks before following the Professor’s orders not wanting to argue with the man.
Another attack and this time, it was too close to home.