Part 2: Chapter 5
I was still brooding over Aralisa when her voice pierced my sleep from where I lay in the tree. I sat up and searched the grounds for her. Trayen was leading her through the grove towards the stables. He had on his Guarding attire. She was still dressed in her school uniform.
“You are awfully quick for a Night class student,” he spat out.
“Am I?” she asked curiously.
“You can summon Air magic to do your bidding, but not use Earth to shield you. You don’t use your sword to fight, but dodge attacks effortlessly.” He blocked her path suddenly.
I tensed up to see where this was going.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“Trayen, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m Mallie, your friend. I don’t remember anything else,” she defended herself.
He took a step closer to her. “You--” He stopped what he was going to say. “You look like a Night student. You act like a Shaper.”
What he said was true. But was she ready to know what she was?
“Are you accusing me of being one?” she questioned his manner.
“I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
I blinked. He was having a hard time coping with it. If that was the case, it would be hard for him to learn the complete truth of things.
“Trayen, I don’t remember anything about my former life. I woke up as a Guardian. So that makes me a Guardian. Why would I be a Shaper in the Night class?”
I had to stifle laughter. The ironic part was she was just that.
“To misuse me and Isla? To make fun of us? Are you here to spy on the Guardian class?”
Wow. I had to give Trayen some credit. Aralisa used to make fun of them and misuse their friendship. Though now they were truly friends as she had lost her memories. I glanced at her to see her reaction. She wasn’t taking it well. She looked as though she might burst into tears at any moment.
“I would never betray my friends, neither you nor Isla. Why would you suggest it?” she cried as some tears escaped down her face.
“I need to make sure. I can’t let you know the secrets of the Guardians if you aren’t going to keep them.”
Secrets? What secrets?
“So that’s what this is all about? You won’t let me know the secrets of the Guardians? So I can’t perform Guard duty? Up show you?”
I was glad to know she wasn’t fooled. She was livid by his actions.
“No, that’s not what I meant,” he tried to explain.
“Then what did you mean? You’ve been moping about me defeating you earlier in fencing. You attack my abilities and ethics here in the Aurora Grove, not to mention you think I am your enemy and not your friend. What is wrong with you?” she attacked him back.
He stepped backwards, shaking his head. He was struggling with something. “It doesn’t make any sense. None of it does.”
“Will you enlighten me?” she asked.
What was he talking about?
“You have abnormal qualities for a Guardian. And all the Night class students know it. But we also know that there is a Day student that has abnormal qualities for a Shaper. Did the Headmistress mess up and switch you two by accident?”
Oh, great. So, he was noticing the differences. In fact, everyone was. Although, I found it odd that he would compare her to her former self. Then again, he didn’t know that part.
“I…” she began but trailed off, “We talked about this before. You told me that I would do fine. Are you saying now that I’m not going to?”
“This isn’t about that anymore. I’ve seen the way Caiden looks at you.”
I tensed up again. This wasn’t good. I stared intently at her, wanting to see her reaction. She didn’t give much of herself away. For the first time, I wished I had the Shaper connection with her to be able to know what she was thinking or even feeling. Then Trayen’s words hit me as he brought up her real name.
“I guess after Caiden dated Aralisa, you’re much tamer than she was, even if it is forbidden.”
She looked flabbergasted. She unloaded onto him. I watched as she defended herself from his verbal attacks, but he was getting angrier as she kept rambling on. He kept throwing out excuses asking how she was able to move quicker than everyone else. She wouldn’t know that part about herself. And again she couldn’t explain her actions, but only her instincts.
Trayen’s face showed nothing but true rage. He wasn’t getting the answers he sought. They would come from her eventually, but now was not the time. I knew there were others around us. But they were in different parts of the courtyard, not bothering to come between the two that were angry at each other. But I was worried about Aralisa. She looked half a step away from crying and Trayen didn’t look any better than before. I had to act.
Trayen didn’t get the chance to approach Aralisa another time. I jumped down from the treetops and landed in front of her. I didn’t want him to attack her. I also didn’t want to see her hurt, physically or emotionally. My eyes were burning with the pain I saw in Aralisa’s face.
He froze from my sudden presence. “Get out of my way, this is between me and Mallie,” he angrily whispered.
I was not going to move. He needed to calm down. “I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you to come any closer.”
I heard Aralisa gasp from behind me, but I didn’t dare turn to check on her while Trayen was still upset. His emotions were running wild and out of control. “Why?” she asked me.
“I won’t let him hurt you,” I spoke directly to her in a soft whisper. I don’t know if Trayen heard it or not, but I knew that Aralisa would.
“Trayen won’t hurt me. He’s one of my friends,” she defended him from me. But he wasn’t in check of his feelings and I still wouldn’t move.
Trayen stole his eyes away from mine to glance at her with a look of disbelief in them. “Mallie, even you wouldn’t…” He didn’t finish his sentence. I knew what he wanted to say, but he didn’t and I was glad for it. It wouldn’t be good to verbalize something that personal in public.
“I’m only protecting her for your sake, Trayen. If you attack her, you’ll be subject to the Headmistress. You know the rules.” I felt like I was acting the part of Hasten. I wondered where he was, or if he was watching. He would’ve intervened as I did, though it should’ve been him that intervened and not me. Where was he?
Aralisa, in the meantime, didn’t try to dissuade me from my current actions. Either she knew I was right or she didn’t know what to actually do in this situation.
“Fine, you know where to go, Mallie,” Trayen spat out as he left us alone in the Grove. I watched him go, happy to know that Aralisa was safe.
I turned around to see her, knowing the danger was past. She looked a little annoyed at my behavior. “Are you alright?”
“Why’d you do that?” She sounded a little miffed.
“I told you before. I didn’t want to see you hurt,” I repeated myself. She remained strangely calm.
“Then why did you intervene?” she asked again.
“You would be hurt if he was expelled. He’s one of your friends.” I didn’t think she understood that I was willing to protect her like that. Her eyes went wide as she struggled with the concept that I was willing to do whatever it took to make her happy as well as protected.
Trayen was right in one sense; Aralisa’s personality was drastically different from before. I could see that now in the way she reacted to the situations between us as well as her peers.
“Why do you even care about my feelings? You shouldn’t,” she blurted out while shaking her head at me.
She was right. To her I was a Shaper, she was a Guardian. But I knew she was really a Shaper and did not know it. And I did care about her. Well, I cared about her being content and happy. That usually ended with me not being happy. But that didn’t matter anymore. I wanted her to know that I cared deeply for her. I was risking everything by us being together and alone in the grove during the Night class hours.
“But I do. I used to not care, but I do now,” I explained to her. It wasn’t a full detailed explanation, but it was enough to get her mind thinking in the right direction.
“I don’t see the difference. You’re with Mirabella now. You didn’t care when you were with Aralisa. You shouldn’t care now. We’re not even in the same class.” She was still looking flabbergasted and didn’t understand why I really did care for her. “We are not the same.”
I thought about the change some more; I cared for her, not about her. My feelings for her were changing and I could feel it this time. The magnetic pull that was present earlier was back again. Only this time it was stronger. I wished she knew everything. I wished she could remember, but a part of me knew that it was better this way. It didn’t matter anymore what was in the past. That part of her would never be back again.
I took a step closer to her. “It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. With Aralisa I never needed to care. We had fun, but that’s all it was.”
In that moment I knew what I said was true. That’s all it was. Fun. Even then, it wasn’t as much fun. I wasn’t happy most of the time.
“And Mirabella? Is she not your source of fun?” She eyed me curiously.
She couldn’t remember what Mir and I were to each other. I couldn’t help but smile. “Mirabella and I don’t always see eye to eye.” Which was true. Mir wanted me to become happy without her, which is why she threw out the party invite the second time. I knew she wasn’t listening in to my thoughts at the moment. In fact, the link was severely quiet for the first time. Why was that?
Aralisa shook her head, trying to come to terms with my statements. “I’m going to be late for animal studies. I need to go.” She pushed past me, heading towards the stables.
I didn’t want her to leave, not yet. Like so many nights, and current events that were happening around me, I took a chance. I reached out and took her hand gently. She stopped and turned to watch me. She didn’t pull away; she didn’t yell or scream at me. She wasn’t frightened by what I was doing.
“I care about how you’re treated. I didn’t before, but I do now.” I was being truthful again. It was easier to be myself around the new her. I didn’t have to lie or hide my feelings from her. I bent and kissed the back of her hand, sealing my words.
She blushed at me. I let go of her hand. She had not moved the entire time.
“See you later.” I winked at her before walking away.