The air at Ethelwine was tense the next day. Students were on edge due to the recent Vampire attack, most looked over their shoulders every so often afraid they would be the next victim.
“I can’t believe there was another attack. Your dad really has his work cut out of him.” Rena states watching students quickly walk to their classes as she, Sor, and Kaiden stood near the entrance to Professor Parkinson’s classroom.
“Don’t worry, I’m sure Papa will be able to catch it.” Sor reassures.
Kaiden threw his arm around her shoulder with a grin, “I can’t believe I’m meeting your dad. I’ve heard a lot about him. He’s legendary!”
Sor gave him a tight-lipped smile “Yeah it’s going to be so great.” She says quickly before changing the subject. “Where are the others? They better get here soon if they want to meet him before everyone else.” She wasn’t sure how her dad would react to her having a boyfriend.
The subject never came up at home and her father steered clear from any talks about boys. Hopefully, he would give Kaiden a chance.
Ali came zipping through the hallway. A few sweat blotches were still visible from his intense morning workout. He greeted Rena warmly, nodded at Sor and ignored Kaiden entirely. “Where’s everybody? Don’t tell me I’m most timely today.”
Rena grinned at him “For the first time ever you’re the first one here. I have no clue where the others are. I’m sure Bart and Hope are off being gross together.” She waved a dismissive hand leaning against the wall. She tried to keep the mood light knowing that things were still tense between Sor and Ali. Kaiden seemed oblivious. Sor must not of told him of her and Ali’s little argument.
“Well, more time for Mr. Dalca and myself to become best friends.” Ali stood against the wall, threw his head back and closed his eyes. He wasn’t much for conversation today. Not with this group, at least. Being around the new couple seemed to annoy him to no end.
Rena spotted Hope and Bart walking down the hall. She couldn’t hear but she could see that they were having a heated discussion. Bart seemed to be getting more frustrated as the argument went on.
Once they noticed that they were approaching their friends, they quickly stopped arguing and tried their best to act normal. Hope’s face was a slight shade of pink and she was flustered from frustration. “Hey guys.” She said calmly.
Bart’s face was clenched tight. “What’s up?” Rena rose an eyebrow studying the two, she’ll have to ask Bart about it later.
“Just waiting for Sor’s dad to get here. He should be here soon I’m guessing. Class is about to start.”
“I just hope he’s in a good mood, I want to make a good impression when I meet him.” Kaiden chuckles squeezing Sor’s shoulder.
“I’ll be in a much better mood once you get your damn hands off my daughter.” A deep voice boomed from behind the group.
Sor turns to greet her father with a beaming smile running to hug him “Papa!” He chuckled as he hugged her back.
Gabriel was a very large man and very built, he towered over his daughter making her look smaller than she already is. He wore all black from his top coat that reached his ankles to the black boots on his feet. Rena noticed the blade strapped around his leg as well as wooden stakes around his waist and a silver cross necklace that rested on his chest.
He didn’t look anything like Sor, he had light brown hair that was slicked back reached the top of his shoulders, curling slightly at the ends and a light scruff covered his face hinting that it’s been awhile since he’s shaved.
The only things the father and daughter shared were the bright green eyes and light complexion. All in all, Gabriel Dalca was a very intimidating man to be near. “Ah floarea mea! You get more beautiful each time I see you.” His small smile disappeared as he glanced over at the group. “Who are all these people fiica?”
Sor grinned and brought her father over to the group “Papa, these are my friends and my boyfriend Kaiden.”
Gabriel rose an eyebrow as he studied Kaiden disapprovingly “Ah boyfriend. You are the one my daughter has chosen to be with yes?”
Kaiden nervously smiled and held out his hand “Yes sir, I’m Kaiden Reed.”
“An American. I see.” Was all Gabriel gruffed out before taking Kaiden’s hand making sure to grip a little tighter than usual causing the boy to grimace. “It’s nice to meet you boy.” The tone in his voice made it sound like he was anything but.
“Okay, that’s enough.” Sor nervously laughs pulling her father away from Kaiden “These are the rest of my friends, Irena Beasley, Bart Winchester, Trevor and Hope Johnson, Garrett Amos...and Alister.” She rolled her eyes dismissively as she introduced the Irish boy.
“How goes it, sir? It’s a privilege to meet you. I’ve heard a lot of incredible stories!” Ali shook the mans large mit with firmly. “I know Sorina is glad to have you here.” He very deliberately pronounced her full name and shot her a look that said back-at-you. Sor didn’t both to hide her glare at Ali as she stood next to her father.
Gabriel grinned slightly shaking Ali’s hand “Ah an Irish man! Spent a few years myself as a young man in Ireland, hunted a banshee, the devil took me 2 years to kill.” He chuckled releasing Ali’s hand. “I quite enjoyed your people’s ability to drink, though I don’t quite remember much of those two years.”
Ali raised his eyebrows at Sor. This may end up being easier than he first thought. “Ha! If you remembered it with any real clarity, you weren’t in Ireland, aye? You’d get along with my Pap. A real Irishman.”
“And who might your father be young man?” Gabriel asks curiously, the boy did look familiar but he couldn’t quite place from where.
“Theodore O’Malley, sir. He’s one of the headmasters here.” Ali was always proud talking about his father, but especially in the company and someone so well revered.
A booming laugh escaped Gabriel’s mouth at the sound of his old friend’s name.“O’Malley! I knew I recognized you from somewhere. Can’t believe the old man had a son. Your father and I go way back. I have plenty of stories I’m sure you’ll want to hear.” Gabriel replies clapping Ali’s shoulder playfully “I like you Alister. I believe we’ll get along very well.”
“Okay, let’s move on to my other friends Papa,” Sor exclaims getting her father’s attention once again not liking the fact that her father had enjoyed Ali’s presence. She forced a smile on her face to keep from glaring at Ali again.
Bart stepped forward looking just as nervous as Kaiden had. He stuck out his hand towards Mr. Dalca. The man looked at him. He looked as if he was studying every weakness and flaw that Bart had. This made Bart hesitant. “I’m uh- Bart. Bart Winchester.”
“Winchester you say?” Gabriel remarks shaking Bart’s hand “You’re the one who managed to shoot the creature during an attack yes? Parkinson mentioned you. That’s quite impressive.” He compliments, his tone wasn’t as light as it was with Alister but it was still somewhat friendly.
Bart calmed a little. “I did what I could, but it wasn’t enough. I just want to make sure that someone I care about isn’t next.” He gave a pointed glance towards Hope. It wasn’t of anger though, it seemed to be a look of understanding and a bit apologetic.
Gabriel nodded in understanding “That’s an important driving force for a hunter, to protect the ones you care for the most. It’s what makes the job worth it.” He looked down at his daughter in adoration before looking over at Bart. “William would be proud.” Bart’s eyes widened in surprise “Wait, you knew my dad?”
Gabriel’s lip twitched up in amusement “I’d know William’s son anywhere. We attended Ethelwine at the same time, funny guy...terrible Grim.”
“Oh.” Bart was very taken aback. Mr. Dalca smiles gently. “But I’ve heard he made up for it by having a very exceptional hunter for a son.” He took a glance at the bow slung across Bart’s back.
“Augustus.” Bart said plainly. “I’ve heard many tremendous stories about the dragon killer. And I suspect that one day, I’ll hear stories about you. Now who’s this?” He turned towards Hope.
Hope looked a little surprised. “Oh I’m Hope.” She stepped forward and gave Mr. Dalca a quick hug as he started to stick his hand out. “I’m an architect.” She said cheerfully. “And this is my twin brother Trevor. He’s a brute.” She put her arm around Trevor’s neck and pulled him towards her and rested her head on his for a moment. Gabriel stared blankly at the twins “Nice to meet you.”
Sor hid her laugh looking at the uncomfortable look on her father’s face. The only people who have ever hugged her father were her mother and herself, no one ever dared to touch Gabriel Dalca.“Papa, this is Irena Beasley, my best friend and roommate!” Sor says introducing the two dragging him away from the twins.
Rena stood with crossed arms as Gabriel studied her. Out of everyone in the group she looked the least intimidated. He wasn’t that scary. “Ah yes. I know who you and your famous family are. I could spot a Beasley a mile away. You are following tradition yes? Studying to become a mage?” Gabriel asks with a raised eyebrow.
Rena snorted and shook her head “Sorry pal you’re looking at the first hunter ever in the Beasley family. Unfortunately I just couldn’t stick to tradition.” Gabriel looked taken aback for a second
“A hunter? Last I’ve heard Damian Beasley’s daughter had come to Ethelwine to become a Mage. It’s about time someone in that family came to their senses”
Rena rolled her eyes throwing her hands up in annoyance “What are we? The Royal family or something? Does everyone know everything about my life?”
Gabriel chuckled “In our world, you basically are, at least your father would like to think so and acts like it.” His words turned bitter “He did always act as if he had a stick up his rear.”
“Let me guess you were friends with my dad at this school too?” Gabriel smirked and shook his head slightly “Quite the opposite really. Your father was very by the book and stuck to the rules while I on the other hand...well...wreaked havoc. As you can imagine, we didn’t get along.”
“Wow. That’s weird. They’re like total opposites because her dad was by the book and she can’t even read a book.” Bart jests poking fun at Rena.
“Aye, it’s true. Poor bean has me tutor her for every class.” Ali joined in laughing along with his friend.
Rena rolled her eyes punching both of the boy’s shoulders. Gabriel chuckled lightly and checked his watch for the time “Ah I assume you all have classes to attend. I should be going as well, Professor O’Malley and I have important matters we need to discuss.” He turned to his daughter and kisses the crown of her head “I will see you later floarea mea.”
With one final disapproving look towards Kaiden and a nod towards the group, Gabriel turned and walked down the hallway without a second glance. “I like him!” Ali shouted when the man was out of hearing distance.
Rena nodded in agreement “Your dad is pretty cool Sor.”
“I don’t think he likes me very much.” Kaiden remarks nervously scratching the back of his head.
Ali chuckled quietly. “He likes us, boy.” He whispered to Bart.
Sor smiled sympathetically taking his hand “It’s okay Kaiden, my dad will just have to warm up to you. He can be a little overprotective sometimes. I’m sure he’ll like you once he gets to know you.”
Kaiden pulled his hand away from hers, looking unconvinced “Uh yeah sure. You’re right. Well I better get to class. I’ll see you later.” He turned and quickly walked from the group.
Bart and Rena were on the practice mats of the Hunter training facility. There was a mixture of noises that came from sword fighting, gun fire, and people sparing. Bart and Rena were practicing Akrima today. They both held a stick of bamboo in each hand and were alternating hits with each other. Smack. The noise of contact increased as they slowly sped up.
“So Ali and Sor have really been at each other’s throats lately. What do you think is going on with them?” Rena asks breathlessly, continuing to increase the speed of her hits.
It had been a few weeks since Sor and Kaiden had become an official couple and it seemed like she and Ali couldn't be in the same room without fighting. No one knew what had been the cause of the tension was but knew it had to do with the American boy.
“I’m not sure.” He met each of her blows but was getting into speeds he wasn’t comfortable with. Rena was the swordsman, not him. “Ali really doesn’t like Kaiden.” He decides to try and end it. He met one of her strikes and went for her legs. Rena quickly blocked his blow then before Bart knew what happened she had struck him across the face.
Rena smirked at Bart’s bewildered look “You’re getting predictable Winchester.” She took a step back, wiping the sweat from her forehead “By the way, what’s up with you and Hope? You two seemed pretty frustrated with each other lately. Don't think I didn't notice how tense you two have been.” She raised an eyebrow and rested her hand on her hip.
Bart touched the mark where Rena landed her hit. It was warm and pulsing. Bart moved his jaw back and forth trying to work out the pain. “We just had a difference of opinion.” Rena stared at him waiting for him to go on.
Bart sighed. “I asked her to help me do some research and see if we could find anything that might help us track the vampire down. She doesn’t think I should worry about it and that it’s too dangerous.”
“With Dalca here now, I agree with her.” Rena shrugs “If anyone is going to catch that thing, it’s him. Just let him do his job.” She placed her weapons down crossed her arms “I know you want to find that vampire Bart and your reasons for wanting to are good but I think you just need to let this go.”
“And You say I’m predictable. I knew that’s what you would say.” He said with a smile. He hefted his two sticks and got into stance. They started again, slowly at first but were picking up the past fast.
“You know what I think?” Bart said in between smacks. “What’s that?”
“I think that everyone knows where we need to go to find this thing, but no one wants to admit it because of what we went through. But the sooner that we accept it and realize that the headmasters or Dalca won’t ever look there, the sooner we can end this thing and people stop getting attacked.” Bart went for the legs again but feigned and caught her off guard.
When Rena went to block he jabbed her in the gut with his other stick and she stumbled back a couple steps. As the two friends sparred with one another, their phones went off. Each getting a text from a different source.
“Pap invited the Dalca’s over for dinner. This could get awkward...” read the text on Bart’s phone.
Rena checked hers as well. “So tell me why my dad agreed to have dinner at the O’Malley house??”
Bart rolled his eyes and started typing on his phone. “Well don’t make it awkward then. Do we need to clear out of the basement for the night then or are we good to study there?”
Ali: “Think Pap wants it quiet around the house. I’m sure you guys can get into something. I’m pretty sure there’s a festival in town! Take Hope”
Rena glanced up from her phone with a grimace “Well that’s going to be an interesting dinner.”
She let out a sigh getting back to their previous conversation “Alright Winchester, how about this. You find out if there’s a chance that the vampire could be in the forbidden floor and I’ll think about helping you hunt it. But I’m not going back down there because you have a hunch. Deal?”
“I guess.” Bart said as he shoved his phone in his pocket. “Let’s get out of here, there’s a parade in town that I’m apparently taking Hope to.”