The sun rose earlier than usual that morning. Elisa did not know why she felt something inside her shift once she laid eyes upon the golden circle. The sky greeted her with clear blue when she opened the window. She was now standing on the balcony, her hands gripping the white stones with ferocity her small being should not possess. There were dark circles under her eyes which had no place on her young skin. Those perilous sickles marred her face and cast a ghastly aura around the girl.
A sudden coughing fit could be heard from the nearby balcony. Elisa’s tired eyes immediately flashed in the treacherous sound’s direction only to widen when they managed to fully take in what was happening. It was one of the members of the Black Hawks also known as the elite. The Black Hawks were the country’s best soldiers. The organisation constituted mostly of the descendants of the Kraft family. However, the other three great families had managed to secure formidable positions as well. After the Krafts the Carlings had the most relatives involved with the military. The Carlings considered this position to be quite shameful, considering the head of the Carling family was the director of Amyss Academy and the country’s leader. Nevertheless, the Carlings could take pride in something else – their inherent ability to take full advantage of any situation.
“What are you looking at?” The Kraft spat.
Elisa managed to resist the urge to puke. She only turned her head away and closed her eyes. The girl hated seeing these killers in broad daylight. She knew that the Black Hawks were the reason this country’s people could live in peace. However, Elisa could not forget how this peace was ensured – by carrying out various missions. Most of them were harmless and involved either the protection of an important person or their relatives. Nonetheless, there were special types of mission – those which fell under the word Elisa despised the most – confidential. In her eyes confidential meant espionage and assassination. Only the most skillful warriors could fulfill them – the Black Hawks. These monsters were depended upon also when the country was attacked or waging war. They were the perfect tools; the best mankind had to offer in terms of strength, agility and weapon prowess. In Elisa’s eyes, however, they were nothing more than blood-thirsty killers.
“You should not let your guard down.” Someone suddenly said.
Elisa whirled around. Her eyes traced the same path as before only to see no one on the nearby balcony. Gentle knuckles came into contact with her head and a soft whisper of the word idiot followed. Elisa’s eyes narrowed as she scurried away from the intruder. She did not scream though. The girl merely turned around with her arms crossed over her chest and asked:
“What are you doing here, Sam?”
The boy in question rolled his mischievous, emerald-green eyes. In contrast with Elisa’s unkempt appearance, Sam’s brown hair was shining in the morning sun. The bright circle’s light illuminated the orderly tresses as the wind caressed them with a gentle hand. His cheeks were slightly red maybe because he had run all the way here. He had probably taken two stairs at a time in order to arrive faster. However, a thousand stairs connected the female dormitory with the first floor. Therefore, the chances of tiring yourself out while rushing were fairly high.
Elisa’s eyes narrowed once she saw the casual clothes her friend was wearing. His attire consisted of a cotton white shirt which was tucked in light brown pants. A jacket kept his upper body warm, while black boots adorned his feet. His hands were in his pockets as the boy was trying to regain his normal breathing pattern. Elisa was too busy with observing the way his chest muscles contracted under the pristine white shirt to notice the smirk that overcame the boy’s features.
“Like what you see?” He teased.
Elisa’s first response was a wave of fast blinks; then a blush and finally a scowl and a roll of her eyes. While she was fuming, Sam could not help chuckling. The sun had barely risen and he had already managed to ruffle her feathers. The beginning of his day was definitely filled with enjoyable moments.
“Don’t answer me with a question.” Elisa barked before she entered her room. “How did you even manage to get in here? I thought the guards were on duty.”
“They were and they still are. However, I guess you could say they are no match for yours truly.” Sam replied before he sat on her bed. He then lied down and proceeded with stretching his entire body.
Elisa did not fall for the trap this time. She was too busy getting dressed. The doors of the wardrobe were big enough to cover her entire body and Sam was too much of a gentleman to take a peek. Not that it would matter anyway. After all, Sam’s heart had already been taken and Elisa’s was too young to even wish for the maddening love Sam was prone to giving.
“I’m ready.” Elisa announced as she closed the wardrobe door. She then looked expectantly at Sam’s gaping face.
“What?” Elisa asked as she furrowed her eyebrows.
“You aren’t seriously going to wear that, are you?” Sam asked as he gestured to her “attire”. Elisa’s choice of clothing was a white shirt, black pants and a black coat that reached her knees.
“What’s wrong with my clothes?” Elisa demanded as she stepped forward. Sam had got up from the bed and was now standing before her. Elisa’s eyes narrowed to slits while Sam brought his hands up in a defensive position. With a nervous chuckle he uttered, trying to pacify her:
“Nothing. It’s just…”
“Just what?” Elisa glared.
Sam dropped the act. He scrutinized her before he said:
“You know you are just asking for trouble, right? Your grandmother requested that during this excursion all girls should wear either dresses or skirts with the academy’s logo on them.”
Elisa rolled her eyes. She gestured to her shoulder where the logo of the school was. Sam rolled his eyes before he sighed exasperatedly. He threw his hands up in the air as he uttered, “Whatever. It’s your head, not mine.”
The boy then walked to the door and opened it. “Coming?” He asked, while tapping the floor with his foot.
The sound was barely audible yet it irked Elisa. She did not reply. She simply stormed out of the room. During their walk to the main yard neither spoke. Both of them were far too preoccupied with their thoughts. Sam was planning what he would do once they reached their destination with a smile of his face, oblivious to the fire that was clawing at Elisa’s insides.
With clenched fists the girl observed how the students filed out of the academy and gathered on the main grounds, waiting for their beloved dictator to speak. Elisa scoffed at the opening speech which was given not by Elisa’s grandmother, but by the woman’s sorry excuse for an assistant. As much as Elisa despised her grandmother, she could not help the slight sting of worry which flashed between the walls of her heart.
Had something happened? – Elisa could not help but internally ask. Her grandmother always did what was expected of her. The woman might not have been the greatest grandma, but she was and always would be one of the greatest protectors this country had ever seen. She was ready to take extreme measures when they were needed. For example, once almost the entire Kraft family had fallen victim to an unknown illness, her grandmother was the one to make the toughest decision – to lock the family out of the city so that the disease would not spread among the other inhabitants. Most of the Kraft died the same night they had been isolated. The City of the Four Hills was still suffering from the loss of its strongest and most ancient name.
Only the youngsters survived. It seemed that children below the age of ten had no traces of the illness in their bodies. As a result, they had been immediately rescued and taken to the safest place in the city – Amyss Academy. With its impenetrable walls and remote location it had been the perfect place to take refuge. It still was, actually.
Someone touched her hand. Elisa looked up only to witness the sadness in Sam’s eyes. She frowned and opened her mouth to ask, but he merely silenced her. The boy gestured to the disapproving glances the teachers and other students were throwing her. Elisa merely rolled her eyes. Her blue irises did not miss the guards that were coming her way. Immediately she bolted.
“Mmm, she’s a spitfire, isn’t she?” Kelly asked with a smirk. Allister merely scoffed from beside her. They were hidden in the tall trees which surrounded the Academy.
“Focus on the mission, not on your new prey.” Allister instructed.
Kelly rolled her eyes and chuckled as she observed how Elisa kicked one of the guards in the shin. Allister approved as well, judging from the pleasantly surprised smile that graced his features. A frown soon appeared, however, when two students grabbed Elisa. She managed to dig her heel in one of the assailant’s legs. The boy cried out in pain and let her go. The other captor reacted by grabbing her neck. Elisa winced and gasped, but quickly elbowed the pig in the gut. She then grabbed his arm and threw him over her back. The impact made all the air leave the boy’s lungs. He was now coughing and gasping for air. Elisa panted. She seemed hesitant for a moment. She then stepped forward and outstretched her arms.
“What the fuck is she doing? Why isn’t she using the time she bought to escape?” Kelly asked as she narrowed her eyes.
“I am not certain her current objective is to flee.” Allister remarked.
“Then, pray tell my dear friend, what could her aim possibly be?” Kelly quipped as she turned her head in order to look Allister in the eyes.
The boy did not turn around. For one, he hated it when Kelly used the Eyes of Darkness and two – he was entranced by the way Elisa’s palms were glowing. Even from here he could see the faint blue energy fade as fast as it had appeared when two meaty pairs of arms snatched her wrists and dragged her away. Two nurses knelt before the boy and started caring to him.
“Did I just see what I think I saw?” Allister whispered.
Kelly smirked in spite of her astonishment. She mirrored Allister’s expression of wonder. However, in her eyes there was a sinister glint. In Allister’s dark blue irises there was nothing but surprise and worry.
“She is a half-blood.” Kelly commented before adding, “Oh, I am going to have so much fun.”
“Don’t you dare lay a hand on her unless it is necessary!” Allister barked
Kelly eyed him curiously before she rolled her eyes and surrendered, “Fine. Fine. Just don’t do anything stupid.”
She then rose and jumped to another branch. Allister followed. His pride had been burnt.
“When have I ever done anything stupid?” He asked, astounded by Kelly’s accusation.
“You fell in love with me, remember? I may not have innocent blue eyes, but I was once in a similar position. You rescued me and I will be forever grateful, but I still abhor what you put me through because of your weak heart.” Kelly answered with bitterness and coldness.
Allister visibly flinched. His eyes widened before they clouded with what was undoubtedly guilt. The grip on his sword tightened.
“I am sorry, Kelly.” He whispered.
She grunted before smirking and replying:
“You should not apologise for what you feel, Allister. You are only human, after all, and humans, unfortunately, are prone to encountering the illness known as ‘love’ and getting burnt by it far too many times.”
Allister chuckled at her description of the feeling that was still aching within him. He sighed as he loosened the grip on his sword. The boy looked ahead and quickened his pace. With her emotionless mask still in place Kelly did the same.