The Secret Twilight

All Rights Reserved ©

HOW NOT TO TREAT YOUR WORST ENEMY

When we finally got to the school, I asked Ari to go make herself comfortable somewhere out of sight, for now, just to be on the safe side with school registration. Once we found out our room, I sent her a telepathic message. We weren’t supposed to be using our Powers and Ari, and her invisibility would definitely flare up red flags. We had already decided on the four Powers which we were going to register. Keeping it simple, I chose magic, telekinesis, elements, and animal communication. I thought it might be weird if someone caught me taking to Ari out loud or seeming to understand her in animal form. The rest I could hide or pass off like magic.

We waited in the queue for what seemed like hours. Some of it was 1st-graders, tiny little 7-year olds just starting out, not even knowing what Powers they had yet. Another group were the 6th-graders, 12-year olds whose parents decided not to send to a Cantainian junior school. Finally, there were us, the 10th-graders and the most significant bunch. When looking out onto the rest of the crowded courtyard of fellow students, it looked like every Avalonian could be here, yet this was only one school out of seven.

A group of 11th-grade boys were walking around like they owned the place. They stopped and looked carefully at every person in the line, especially the 10th-graders like they were looking for someone specific. I had my back to all this, but I could see it all in Debs’ mind.

Then I saw one that we all recognised (at least in pictures), the Governor’s son, standing at the head of the pack wearing a blue Prefect sash on his waist. I didn’t know much about him, apart from the fact he was a real mini Hitler of a kid. I had no idea he was only a year older than me and in the running for the Inter-School Championships which ran every three years. Basically, he was listed as the best Avalonian our age, all groomed and ready to rule over us as the next evil dictator when his father dies. I turned around to get a better look at him and to be honest, he was alright looking; short, dark hair and green eyes, very tall. He would have had a fan club of girls chasing after him if it wasn’t for his father and his reputation. Seeing me, he marched right over to us, we all wondered if he suspected who we were at that point. Seven children who fitted the prophecy, standing together was an easy target, especially after the news report.

“I don’t think I know you,” he said in a lovely baritone voice, which really disturbed me. I should have been hating this guy on the spot. “I’m Nicolas, heir to the Governor of Cantainia and I know virtually every person in this school, and I never saw your pictures in the new sign-ups list.”

We were prepared for this as we never registered for school by name, which isn’t entirely unusual, as some Avalonians are on the run from one person or another for merely existing. In answering, I attempted to be smart to show him we weren’t afraid of him or his father, but I came out as weak. I just couldn’t stand up to this guy, he was too nice looking and gentlemanly underneath the scary reputation that followed him. But I could never trust this guy – he was the enemy, my competition, I could never like him.

“I’m Alaїs, and this is Nidia, Peter, Debs, Kat, Jason and Rachel, and we come from Europe.” Anoitoa! [Idiot!] Why did I introduce us in rank order? It was as close to the truth as I would permit to tell him, especially since we were on Cantainia’s most wanted list. I had the feeling he might have some mind Powers, so I was glad I could block him with my own. He simply gave us welcome and left without another word. I was then seriously hoping I would never be in a situation like that with him again.

After dumping our bags in the dorm, which all five of us girls shared, we joined the boys for dinner in the Grand Hall. There we met the other three boys that Peter and Jason shared with, along with the other girls in the dorm next door and simply sat at the front of the hall due to us being welcomed as new students. With us was a couple of college helpers who had come off their holiday early to help with the latest arrivals. College didn’t start for two more weeks, and after that, it was work, work, work for these guys. Amongst them was a blonde-haired girl who looked like a military arts student with her green camouflage clothing and weapons belt. She could be studying anything from field combat to behind the scenes strategy. She looked at us like she knew us, of course, that wasn’t possible unless she looked drastically different at some solstice meeting. The headmaster, Professor Knight, got up and made an extensive speech about school values and welcoming new students before leading us in the Cantainian anthem. Being from Scotland, where there’s only a small population of Avalonians, we never saw any need for the song being sung. I knew the tune as it was played occasionally but had never realised it was all in Avalonian, our people’s language. I’ve never bothered to learn it fluently. Looking around, I could see most of the new kids knew some of the words if not all and that we were the only older kids not singing. From the Avalonian words I knew, it was all about Cantainia being beautiful and magical. It was probably one of the few things that survived the war and the Council’s regime as I couldn’t find a hint about the life we’ve had since then. After this, we were dismissed to sit with the rest of the school, and dinner began. Yet I was also reminded that before I met my Dad, I’d never heard of Avalonia. Everything was focused on being Cantainian, our planetary heritage, not our county’s. So, I now think that the Council has made our world completely forget our true heritage. When we sat down, I hardly noticed that the military girl had followed us until she sat down beside me at the table. While we were eating the marvellous feast that was before us, she started talking in a weird language, and it took me a while to figure out it was Kairosa!

“I know who you are,” she expressed in a way that she knew I would understand. “I have been searching for you since I discovered the seven from the prophecy were still alive only a year ago. Your Father doesn’t know I’m alive, but I’m Jennifer, but you can call me Jenny. I don’t want to attract too much attention, so let’s switch to English.”

After translating to assure the others she was on our side, we started to exchange stories without any mention of species or who we were. Turns out she’s our sister, well half-sister, the girl who died in Dad’s arms. Somehow her healing ability was slow, and Dad left before she woke. She then flew a spaceship for a while and crash-landed on Earth about two years ago. Looking young enough to be starting college, even though she’s actually 26, Jenny enrolled herself in Terry’s university now that her ship was beyond repair. Don’t ask me how she passed the Powers test or faked her school report. But apparently, knowing Captain can get you anything amongst forgers with Avalonian knowledge like those of Dad’s friend Jack’s. As Dad stays away from those folks as best as he can, he has yet to hear that she’s still alive. She didn’t want us to tell him, she just wanted to appear when he next visited, which he promised would be the upcoming parents open day in October. Having an older sister is really cool, Jenny knows all kinds of geeky stuff on computers and military tactics. This was an excellent person to have on our side, yet she didn’t fit the description of our greatest ally.

After dinner was a short tour of the castle. It was really grand, yet medieval, and you could just feel the magic by looking at it. It was situated in a forest on a hill overlooking a lake and had no real organisation to it. It was easy enough to get lost, and rooms seemed to change location whenever they felt like it. Even whole corridors seem to swap places, and the staircases appeared to lead to different places every time you climbed them. However, there were five distinct sections to the castle that were not interchangeable. The boys were on the north side and the girls on the south (talk about sexist symbolism, north always falls above south on a compass). The human subjects were on the east side and the Cantainian on the west (just think West-side – best side, East-side – beastly human side, I was told on day one). Then in the centre was a large central tower, over towering the rest holding the Grand Hall, teachers’ offices and lounge and the infirmary. Surrounding that was a large courtyard with a running track and duelling areas. Still, most people hung out in the courtyard outside the clock tower on the west side.

The girls’ dorms (which I’m told is similar to the boys’), was a sizeable semi-circular common-room with plenty of chairs and cosy corners. A fireplace was in the middle, which heated up the whole room, and there was even a music corner with radio and piano. Up the stairs, was a quiet study area balcony going the entire way around, somehow this was completely quiet despite all the noise below. There were then two doors off the study balcony, one for primary kids and another for seniors. The college was situated in a separate castle just down the road, but they still mingled with us and were allowed in our dining hall. The tower itself had seven floors, one for each year and another for the prefects. They infuriatingly had their own bedrooms – two girls from 6th, 11th and 12th-grades, one being the Head Girl. The dorms were above the study balcony and a large bathroom, with every facility you would ever need, down the stairs. Each Junior floor had two dorms, and each Senior level had three, each with five beds, which meant only up to thirty people per year, so it was a pretty small school once you did the maths. Plus, not every bed was filled. Nevertheless, I still thought it was huge, and it took me half the year before I memorised the patterns of change.

The first week of school was a blur of (often pointless) knowledge. Turns out Avalonian language wasn’t the only thing that we were behind on. Although in this school they just call it Cantainian, as if the entire planet spoke the same language. We had a considerable lack of Council history and politics to which the teachers always expected us to know. There were around twenty of us new 10th-graders, and it looked like only us seven knew nothing about Cantainian history. If you’d asked me anything about the royal past and politics, I would know it. Anything since then I just knew it was a segregationist and against what Avalonia originally stood for. Such answers would get you worse than an “F” in class, more like being put on the execution list for treason.

Also, turns out Nicolas wasn’t the only person I could never trust. Most of the Council’s children were in the school, including Nicolas’ other competition. A bulky 11th-grader that could pass for an American footballer, who is the son of the Vice-Governor. Historically the two oldest sons have always been in competition with each other until one (usually the Governor’s son) wins outright. Then they become best friends and start the next Council together, or one kills the other. Apparently, years ago, one of these kills happened, and the Vice-Governor’s son was killed by the Governor’s son’s gang. Just because the Governor’s son was losing and didn’t wanna look bad. Since then, the younger brother vowed to get revenge for this brutal murder. The last Vice-Governor never had any children (or only had daughters who were all killed secretly under law). So out of nowhere, a young man became friends with the current Governor and never sought to challenge him. Rumour has it this is a descendant of that vengeful brother and that he knew he wasn’t strong enough to beat the Governor. So, he married the top girl in school and produced a powerful boy to compete with Nicolas and win back the family’s rightful place. Compared to Nicolas, you’d think he’d win, but it turned out Nicolas made up for it in Powers and weapons. He was known as the school bully but tended to only pick on Junior kids or fragile ones. Leonidas Pain was this boy’s name and watching him train on the field was brutal, and he always won, on the other hand, Nicolas did too, yet the two never spared each other.

Nicolas also had a younger brother in 7th-grade called Daniel, who was his father in every way. I grew to dislike him straight away with his lazy, stroppy manner like he was the Governor himself or a slave master. He was spoilt and always got his way. I wonder if he ordered his teachers to always give him top marks and no homework (or got other students to do it for him). I never saw him do any work, and he always got good grades. My theory could just be right, as he was terrible at everything, we saw him at.

The girls-next-door were friendly and were the first friends I had outside of the Twilights. First, there’s Mary, a small, blond-haired French girl who knew her technology and immediately started making music mixes for all of us. Starlight, who still led a tribal life similar to that of a Native American who could do some cool nature magic. Lauretta (or just Laura), a cousin of the Council, as her aunt was married to one of them. Poppy a Hispanic girl. Finally, there’s Charlotte (or Charlie) who had been attending this school since she was 7 and an all-season Demigod Camp during the holidays. Don’t ask about Starlight having a weird name, she has a younger brother called Thundercrack, some native tradition or something. As for Charlie, turns out she’s another demigod. Her Mum is Demeter, and her Dad never wanted a kid, so she’s been in school care since and the Camp pretends to be her foster parents. Her Dad never even knew her Mum was an Eternal One, just assumed she couldn’t take care of the baby either. However, he did know Charlie was Avalonian and still teleports around to see Charlie when he can be bothered (hardly ever). I never got to know the other girls in our year as they were all competing on becoming Council wives. Honestly, who would wanna hang about with girls who spent more time concentrating on their vanity, looks and the boys who I was supposed to be fighting against?

Next thing I knew the boys flew into our window despite there being strict spells against Power transportation within school grounds. That means no teleporting, no portals, no fireplaces and definitely no flying. How Peter was able to fly in without getting caught, I have no idea.

“Nice crib girls,” said Jason slyly.

“How come you never got caught?” asked Debs rhetorically. “Next thing you know I’m gonna wake up to one of your silly jokes. That I’m not looking forward to,” she folded her arms in resentment. Afterwards, she proceeded to get into her pyjamas. She was right, though; the boys should have been caught. But I was glad at the same time, just as long as it was very occasional. So, the boys came and went every other week and every time I was amazed that they were able to bypass the enchantments.

When the weekend finally arrived, I got up early to go for a ride and turns out I wasn’t the only one with that idea as Nicolas was there too. I had just begun to get Ari ready by giving her a good brush and attaching a hold to her silvery neck. She hated being saddled or bridled, so I just had to deal with holding on tight. I was really only there to protect my cover as well as hers. I could have just as easily jumped out my window onto her back. Then Nicolas came in behind me, I was immediately hit by that nervous feeling again.

“I thought I was the only early morning rider,” he said as he approached a stable. “I’ve been here my whole life and never once saw anyone here of a Saturday morning. So, where did you pick up this beautiful thing?” Pointing to Ari as he walked out a black pegasus.

“The house we live in is in the middle of a Cantainian protected area, and she just took a liking to me.” I was glad Ari was also a pegasus. It showed that I was commanding, as pegasus are really hard to befriend as they are distrustful of strangers. As I said this, Ari scuffed her hooves in anger, and I could just feel it radiating through me. “This is Ari, and BTW the reason she’s scuffing her hooves is that she doesn’t like you and is getting ready to charge. Believe me, I’ve seen it.” This made Nicolas step back behind his horse, and this was precisely the reaction I was counting on. I kinda guessed he might pat her or something, but her being there gave me the courage to stand up to him. Her actual thoughts were not far away from what I told him, but she was worse than me at the whole, no trust thing.

“This is Theron,” he replied. “He was a gift from my father about three years back. He’ll let you touch him if you want, but I imagine you’ll keep your distance. Like the horse, like the rider, you probably would never go near me.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” I spat out before I could stop myself. I couldn’t believe it was apologising to this guy. What had come over me?

“No need,” he said, coming closer. “My reputation and my father scare the strongest of subjects away, but I want you to trust that I’ll make the best decision for this community. Also, there’s no need to call me ‘sir’, just Nick will do.” He offered his hand to me, which I took, again surprising myself. His hands were surprisingly smooth for a champion weaponist, and he was firm with his grip but not too intimidating. This was the first time I got a really good look at him, as the last time I was concentrating too much on convincing him I was telling the truth to notice what he really looked like. His eyes were strikingly green, all his features were smooth, and his smile was soft. This was not the boy I knew from the pictures. In those, he was around 12 and as harsh looking as his brother is now. Yet, I could tell it was the same person; his brother had lighter hair and the boy in the photos definitely has dark hair, plus his brother has brown eyes, not green. I also noticed how he said, “this community” rather than claiming it was his. This wasn’t the manner I was expecting, totally not the evil dictator way of doing things.

He then offered to ride with me, I told him I didn’t need protection, but it wasn’t about security, it was just to chat. So, I got on Ari and said “You can come, but only if you can keep up. Yah!” I whipped Ari’s hair like you would the reins of a horse, and she took off. Obviously, it was just for show, but I wanted to really show him I could look after myself. I didn’t need another boy beside my brother and his friend to worry about. I wondered was what was happening. I was being nice and in friendly competition with him while trying to show that he was hanging around the wrong girl. I did wonder how different things would be if he knew who I really was.

The ride was brilliant, he hardly got a word in apart from the occasional “wait up”. I raced him around the mountains for an hour before he started to circle down towards the lake, which lay by the school. He then showed off by water skiing his horse across the surface. I quickly checked my water charm (which is stored in an anklet I wear all the time, makes it easy to switch on and off) before following. Without any prompt, Ari did some real fancy shapes and flips, and all I had to do was hold on and hope not to fall off, which was helped by my flying ability. It annoyed Nicolas that I seemed to be the better rider, but really, I had hardly ridden. I just had a horse with a nasty attitude problem. Sorry, Ari, but it sometimes comes out and makes you show off a lot. We then trotted back to the stables where we were too out of breath to talk. Plus, we were laughing too much. He simply told me same time next week, smirked a look back and left before I could reply.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.