"Oh, no!" The young princess exclaimed as she leaped forward in a frantic state. The attempt to catch the amphibious creature that was hopping without a care through the luxurious suite of the King's Quarters was a complete failure. Little dark, wet spots marked the frog's trail on the plush carpet. She stood on the threshold between the living area and the balcony looking on with her mouth in the shape of an 'O' and her eyes the size of Pluto.
Just as she had been about to release the frog back onto the balcony of the high-rise that was overlooking the Atlanta skyline, it managed to wiggle out of her little palms and land on the white carpet before she could react. Gray knew that could only spell trouble for her. Why couldn't the dang thing hop in the direction that it was supposed to?
"The king's gonna kill me," she muttered to herself as she eyed the gap between the doors that led to her father's bedroom. Her breaths were coming in short and her heartrate spiked at just the mere thought of the frog heading in that direction. Long dual-toned waves fell in front of her face as her hands reached for the frog. Just as her palms were about to cup around the little guest, it launched itself forward and squeezed between the gaps of her father's doors. With an 'oomph', Gray fell forward on her hands and knees, earning herself a nice carpet burn in the process. "Oh, no. No, no, no." The little girl's voice rose to a higher octave with each utterance of the word.
Blowing the long strands of white and black hair from her eyes, she pushed herself up onto her bare feet and then took an unsteady breath. "In and out, Gray. You got this," she whispered to herself, attempting to pump herself up with enough bravery.
Gray had been sitting on the couch on the large patio, taking in the fresh warm air when she spotted the frog sitting on the glass table. It was a hot day in Georgia, after all, and there was no water in sight. Feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness for the amphibian, Gray knew she needed to get it to water before it expired. So, she unilaterally decided that she would put it in the bathtub for a few minutes seeing as she still had time to spare before school. All was going well until the fateful moment she decided to return it to the outside world.
King Forest Monroe was due back at any moment to send her on her way to the exclusive private school that mainly housed humans. The King was not a forgiving man when it pertained to his only daughter, who also happened to be adopted. So having a frog hopping with wild abandon through his immaculate home would not please him in the least. Gray knew if he discovered her actions, that she would be sporting new bruises to school that day.
The eight-year old girl with white and black hair that could pass as grey did her best to calm her heartbeat before she set her little shoulders back and walked into her father's sacred space. The room was off-limits, especially for her, but there was no way that the king could find the frog in there.
After she walked a few feet to the double french doors that housed her father's sanctuary, she pushed the doors apart and stepped inside. Immediately, her eyes landed on her father's massive four-poster bed. Closing her eyes, she used her instincts to feel for the direction that the living being was hiding. "Come on, lil' guy. Where are ya?"
A slight pulse vibrated through her by way of the armoire which was decorated with intricate carvings of swirling designs. Gray padded towards it on the tips of her toes with a sense of calm. She dropped to her carpet-burned knees and peered under the ornate structure. "Found ya," she whispered with relief and reached to scoop the interloper into her small hands. "It's okay, little fella, I'm gonna set ya free," she cooed to the frog, and somehow the frog didn't budge and let her pick him up.
When she stood up and turned around, she came face to face with dark brown eyes and forest green hair. "My...my...my king! I...I was jus.." But the little girl was interrupted by pain radiating from the back of her skull where the King had snatched the strands of her wavy hair in his iron-clad fist. "Ahhhh!" she screamed, yet she still managed to maintain her grasp on the frog. "I'm sorry, I was tr...try...trying to..."
"Shut up. You know the fucking rules, child," King Forest bit out. His deep baritone voice that was filled with hatred seared into her little soul, threatening to burn it. It took every bit of her strength to suppress the whimpers that begged to be released, but this was far from the first time she'd experienced his form of punishment. "I suppose I need to reiterate them before it finally sticks into that dense little brain of yours, hm?"
With that, he snatched Gray along by the back of her hair, essentially dragging her out of his room to "reiterate" his point. All the while Gray protected the frog in her tiny grasp while she received her punishment.
At recess, Gray sat on a massive root of an ancient oak tree. She watched the other children play with one another freely on the playground. Squeals and laughter echoed throughout the play yard, and Gray wondered what it must feel like to have friends like that. Her only friend, Royal, had a separate recess time than she, so she was relegated to having to watch the others from afar.
That day's recess was different, however. Fifth graders were joined with the third graders on the playground. A school play was being performed by some of the students, and so that forced the fifth grade students to slide around their usual recess time to join the third grade's. It didn't matter much to Gray. She'd rather draw patterns in the sand with a stick, anyways.
The magnetic silver bracelet on her little wrist caught the sunlight and the glare flashed in her eyes for a brief moment. Her hair was no longer dual-toned, just simply white. And if she had her currents, they would be suppressed along with whatever power she possessed. To the average human, Gray was normal. As normal as a Kinetic Princess could be.
A black crystal stone hung close to her heart that was laced on a leather string to form a necklace. Her father always told her that it belonged to her birth mother and that her dying wish had been to pass it along to Gray. So, Gray had sworn that she'd never take it off for anything.
Gray was busy sketching the crystal in the sand when she was knocked over onto her side with a brutal blow. It was followed by the air being forced from her lungs and a sharp pain in her ribs. The same ribs that her father injured that very morning had just been struck by a wayward kickball. She lay huddled in a ball in the sand nursing her wounds when she heard the laughter. Tears threatened to form but it hurt to breathe, so she held her breath and squeezed her eyes shut.
The laughter drew closer as the children approached Gray. "Look guys! Let's see if we can make the weird girl talk!" A young boy's voice called out to the others. A groan escaped from Gray as she held onto her ribs, hoping her peers would soon go away. Didn't she have to deal with enough from her father? Why did they have to mess with her, too?
The bullying began for Gray in kindergarten. Usually, Royal was there to ward them away for her, but there was no Royal anywhere in sight. So, she'd have to endure it like she did with her father. It seemed that she was deemed weird due to her quiet and introverted nature. She didn't like being around people and she didn't particularly enjoy engaging in meaningless conversation. But perhaps the plan to remain invisible was not working as well as she had originally thought.
"You think you're too good to talk to us, weirdo? Because you're not! You're just a freak! An ugly one, too!" A chorus of agreement informed Gray that she was surrounded. She dared to peak an eye open and released a jagged breath. Pain made her grunt as she did. She licked her lips and grains of sand stuck to her tongue causing grit to be lodged between her molars.
The boy who was taunting her stared down at her with a smug and proud smile. It was obvious that Jacob Smart felt powerful and in control. A sadistic boy that one was. "So, tell us, freak. Why do you think you're too good to talk or play with us?" He crossed his arms over his chest and looked around at the other faces that were egging him on. Nevermind the fact that every time Gray had asked to join in with the other kids at recess, ridicule and mockery ensued.
Gray quickly shook her head, effectively planting sand deeper within her tender scalp that she'll have there for weeks to come. "Speak!" Jacob demanded. But Gray couldn't. It hurt to breathe, much less to speak. After several long seconds, Jacob broke the silence, "Fine. I'll just have to make you, then."
Gray braced for the oncoming pain. Her eyelids sealed shut, once again, and her hold on her ailing ribs tightened. Sudden pain erupted from her shin. It felt like someone had just slammed the hilt of one of the Warrior's swords directly onto the bone. A scream tore from her throat.
Twice in one day. It wasn't exactly a record, but it definitely wasn't a common occurrence. Usually, she had time to heal a bit between occurrences. She hadn't been so lucky that day.
Breathing became difficult as tears streamed down her dirty cheeks. All she could do was hope it wouldn't last long. Where were the teachers? Why did they never stop this?
As she waited for the next wave of agony, she noticed that the voices around her became fewer and fewer. After several humiliating seconds and no more blows, she opened her eyes. Everyone had disappeared, including Jacob. In his place stood a boy that she had never seen before. He looked slightly older than her, perhaps a fifth grader. He had black hair that was cropped closely to his head. He had the brightest of blue eyes that she had ever seen. As beautiful as they were, they didn't feel like they belonged to him. More like they were a disguise.
"Are you okay," asked the boy with invading black hair and blue eyes that seemed to hide many secrets. Eyes, that despite their strange encroachment, displayed a familiarity to Gray that she never thought she'd see on another living being: pain. Others might see rage, but Gray saw his pain.
Gray took a shaky breath and nodded her head, "Yeah. Wh...where did they go?" She swallowed the built up saliva, taking bits of sand with it that scraped her throat on the way down.
"They left. I don't think they'll be bothering you, anymore," the boy said as he crouched down to look eye level with her. "Next time I'll beat their ass."
Not being able to help herself, Gray giggled, which reminded her of the pain in her ribs. Her giggle quickly transformed into a groan. The boy reached for her but she shooed him away, "It's okay. I'm fine."
The boy's dark eyebrows were scrunched up with worry and anger as he eyed the area on her ribs. He knew that a kickball wasn't fully responsible for her pain there, but he kept his thoughts to himself. For that, Gray was grateful.
Finally, Gray managed to push herself up into a sitting position in the sand with her knees bent and her feet planted flat on the ground. She wasn't much concerned about the pleated uniform skirt that was riding up at the moment. Modesty had never really been her strong suit.
It was when she looked around the playground that she immediately noticed several things. All of the children were gone. The playground was completely deserted save for the two of them, but that wasn't what was the most concerning. It was the damage to all of the metal structures on the playground that got her attention the most. The metal swing set was warped and crumpled. The monkey bars looked like a reflection in a playhouse mirror. The whirligig was useless now as it was bent and twisted in awkward angles.
The boy stared down at the ground with guilt and shame. "My powers just came in," he muttered, looking at a particular grain of sand. "I was just so mad."
It dawned on Gray why his hair didn't seem natural on him. When she spotted a black bracelet on his wrist, she knew she had been right in her assumption that he was no human. He was like her, a Kinetic. Still, powers didn't manifest until the age of thirteen, usually.
At a loss for words, Gray reached forward to place her hand on his arm to offer a comforting touch. "Hey, it's..."
Not a moment after their skin touched, an intense surge of power rocked through Gray that electrified her to the bones. Two different types of forces immediately melded together and swelled within her. It built itself in strength and glued her in place. From the looks of it, the boy was having the same experience.
This power was foreign, yet so familiar to Gray, like they were long lost friends. The energies continued to intensify to the point that Gray and the boy thought their little hearts would burst.
Wind whipped around the two children at wild, rapid speeds. Gray could taste the distinct flavor of metal, but there was obviously nothing in her mouth. Electricity with the voltage of lightning jolted through every molecule of her body, while invisible pulsing waves channeled from her body to the boy's.
After only a minute of this phenomenon, the same ferocity that the powers intertwined themselves with began to withdraw from one another with an equal amount of fervor. After having the forces hold the two children in place upon their arrival, their departure caused the opposite reaction. They were knocked several feet backward by an unseen entity. Gray and the boy sailed through the air after the powers purged themselves from one another. Gray landed with a thud on her back, once again having the air knocked from her lungs.
When she finished heaving and trying to catch her breath, Gray sat up and noticed that her previous wounds from her father and the kids were no longer present. The boy didn't seem as affected as she was by what felt like an invisible blast. In an instant, he rebounded back to his feet, looking ready to respond to whatever force that seemed to have attacked them. But it was gone and in its place stood only silence and stillness.
That was until the metal door to the school slammed open and ricocheted off the brick wall which was then followed by voices. Multiple teachers and the headmistress paused to look at the damage of the playground before they rushed to the boy and Gray. Whereas they seemed concerned for Gray, fear was written on their expression towards the boy. Gray watched as the boy resigned himself to his fate.
Three male teachers hurried towards him, although unease and apprehension were wound tight in their postures. The boy's glamoured blue eyes met Gray's one final time before he was hauled away in the chaos. She read them as clearly as if they were her own: goodbye.
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