The Adept

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Battle of the North Wing

HEIDI

Tristan teleported us to his office in the HQ, at the West Wing. He told me he needed to look for another wand for us each as ours were either lost in the explosion or broken by some maniacal Necromancer.

“You go ahead first. Find the Virtuosos who are stationed at the perimeters of the Academy. I’m sure Wynona has placed them there,” he instructed as he handed me a new wand.

“What are you going to do?” I asked. He was foraging through files and papers.

He looked up, ruby eyes glazed and grave. “Finding a way to kill the wench.”

I blinked. Cool.

I made my way past the Garden and to the nearest guard post. Ever since Synto’s invasion more than a year ago, the three Sages had expanded the Academy which eventually constituted to four main parts of the entire property. They named these four parts as the North, South, East and West wings. The North wing was where the dorms mostly were, the South was the offices, and the HQ, nearest to the portal in the Garden. The East wing was where the Hall was, together with the training grounds and the West wing consisted of lecture halls and classrooms.

Tall electrical fences were erected ten metres around the campus, with guard towers placed some metres from each other. The Adepts and some Virtuosos were to man the grounds when necessary while the selected Virtuosos were stationed at the guard posts atop the guard towers in shifts. These were called the Guardians.

There were a couple of Spellcasters stationed on the grounds and the guard posts by the time I got to the fences.

“Anything yet?” I asked, interrupting. The blonde girl replied first.

“Negative. It’s still pretty quiet.”

“Maybe Wynona is wrong,” the burly guy shrugged. Then he eyed me before introducing himself. “I’m Johnny.”

I shook his hand. “Heidi.”

“Germaine,” the girl said. “You’re an Adept, right?”

“Good guess.”

“We heard about you,” Germaine explained. “And you...you know, tried to invade the Magic realm with Synto’s army and all.”

Touché.

“Technically she was possessed by Synto,” Johnny corrected her. “And give it a rest, Germie, that was more than a year ago.”

“Okay,” I said, moving past the conversation, “fill me in.”

Germaine nodded. “Well, Freddy up there is manning the post. He’ll signal us if he spots anything.”

“Got it.”

Johnny eyed me head to toe. “You know, you don’t look like a Spellcaster.”

Germaine agreed. “Yeah, you dress like a Vampire.”

I cleared my throat. “Well, can you guys fight?”

“Of course,” Germaine chimed. “We’re trained by the Duel Master himself.”

“Yeah, Sir Tristan’s pretty hardcore with our training,” Johnny added.

“What I meant is combat fighting,” I said, holding up my fists. “Do you know how to use your arms and legs?”

Germaine shook her head while Johnny thought for a moment. “I suppose, I can box?”

That’ll do.

“I’m asking in case we need to fight with our hands. Casting spells are great but they are hard to do so when you’re up-close with your opponent.”

The two stared at me, gaping. Germaine spoke first, “I don’t think that would be necessary. We can take them with our spells, no problem.”

“Look, the Necromancer is a Spellcaster herself and she’s tactical. She uses anti-magic spells when facing the likes of us.”

“And how do you know about this, Vampire Girl?” Johnny asked, cynically. “Your information seems way too accurate for an Adept.”

I sighed inwardly. “I faced her before, okay? Just trust me on this.”

* * *

An hour passed and still no sign of trouble. I wasn’t even sure where Wynona or Tristan were. Germaine and Johnny exchanged stories about their Neophyte days while I sat between them. Germaine was explaining where she got her first tattoo and why she got it; a pact with a best friend who died a year later, she said. It was a bluebird with a daisy in its beak.

Johnny talked about being the football star in his high school. He used to have a girlfriend but she made fun of him being a Spellcaster. She said it was nerdy, he scoffed, and dumped him after. Germaine pouted her lips. She told him she respected him more than anything for sticking true to his path. I popped two pills of painkillers. The nagging ache in my wound was returning.

“What did the poison feel like?” Johnny asked. He looked genuinely concerned. I explained to them about my encounter with the Necromancer earlier on.

“Hot,” I replied, picking at the grass with my fingers. “Like fire inside you and you can’t do anything about it because your own energy is blocked.”

Johnny cringed. “That’s wild.”

“You seem to have more experience in the field,” Germaine chimed in. “Your skills surpass some of us.”

“Not exactly,” I shrugged. “I’ve a lot to learn. I haven’t even began my Adept training yet.”

A scream from the guard post. We turned to see the guardian named Freddy struggling with a djinn. Soon he fell out of sight and the djinn jumped down from the guard post, landing with a heavy thud. Johnny cast Delirium while Germaine threw short bursts of lightning at it. When it was in a daze, Johnny finished it by setting it on fire with Arsonion.

Bells tolled all across the Academy, warning the others of the incoming djinns. The other guardians began shooting different spells at the horde of djinns, a black mass of shadowed beings huddled into a large army. They roared and echoed through the Magic realm, making the hairs on my arms and back of the neck stand.

“In your places!” I heard Tristan command, striding behind us with his eyes fixated on the army of the unholy beings.

“An army has gathered at the North wing,” Wynona announced as more Spellcasters showed up, including the Neophytes and Acolytes. “Be ready!”

“This is an all-out war,” Johnny muttered to himself but loud enough for Germaine and I to hear.

“Freddy,” Germaine turned to us, eyes filled with concern, “Should we bring his body down?”

We looked up the guard post where he was attacked earlier on. I wriggled out of my jacket and tossed it aside, “I’ll get him down.”

“Vampire Girl, are you crazy? The djinns are—“

I leapt onto the stone wall and held onto the uneven texture with my fingers and the tips of my boots. I stayed as closed to the wall as possible and lifted myself up, one limb after another. The roars and howls from the djinns were within sight, just on the other side of the electrical fence. I had to work fast.

Bad day to wear these pair of jeans.

As I climbed halfway, I could hear Johnny shouting something at me but it was inaudible. I finally reached the guard post. It looked like those sniper posts in old war films I used to watch with my grandma—except that this one had no mounted machine gun, only a wooden chair and one lone injured guardian.

A burly man with hooded grey eyes bore on me the moment I climbed into the post. He watched as he sat in a corner on the stony floor. Relief washed over me.

“Freddy, right?”

He nodded.

“Let’s get you out of here while we can,” I said and held out a hand.

Freddy shook his head. “I’m paralysed from the waist down. And I’ll crush you if you try to carry me.”

Just as I was about to think of a plan, a djinn leapt over the stone parapet of the guard post. They were starting to scale the walls. I dodged its claws and tackled it to the parapet, ramming its body with my shoulder. Freddy pointed his wand and cast Frozium at another that was about to jump onto me. I took a step back and booted the djinn over the parapet.

“Thanks,” I said as I turned to Freddy. “Now, grab my shoulders this way and on a count of three, use your arms to push yourself. One, two, three!”

We almost stumbled back but I steadied. He held onto the parapet tightly to gain balance and distribute his weight.

“Teleport us down,” I said.

“I can’t feel the energy in my lower body,” he argued.

“Close your eyes. Your energy is inside you, not your nerves.”

He shut his eyes and just as he teleported, something yanked me back. Freddy reappeared on the ground with Johnny and Germaine while I landed on my back, facing the underside of the roof of the post.

“Miss me?” A pale Vampire face appeared in sight, her long blonde locks of hair flowing towards my face.

I lifted my legs off the ground and booted her jaw as I rolled backwards, using my hands to hold my weight. Renee stretched her arm to claw me but I swerved in time. I elbowed her head and swiped at her with my knife. She dodged. I swiped again, taking a step forward. She evaded that too.

Renee eyed me with her bright red irises, sneering.

I pulled out my wand, “Arsonion!”

The cold sensation again. I could feel it in my toes. Renee swung a roundhouse at me but I ducked. I gathered my energy again and the icy coldness arose inside me.

No, no, no—

I threw my wand to the floor and held up my fists. I dodged her claws and threw jabs at her jaw and it felt like iron. She flinched.

In retaliation, Renee tackled me in her Vampire super-speed that sent us over the parapet and into the Academy’s compound. I landed on the grass with Renee on top of me—it was a long fall—but I somehow survived it. Still, it didn’t fail to take the wind out of me as I touched the ground. Renee had also taken the impact but she was regenerating.

The djinns had already broken through the perimeters and going against every Spellcaster they met. Each Virtuoso fought back ferociously, spell after spell.

The ache in my waist was returning. Renee got up first, cracking her neck as she grabbed me by the collar of my shirt.

“Look around you, Heidi! You’re too late. She’s already here.”

She raised a fist to hit me but someone got to her first.

“Delirium!” Germaine cried, her hair dishevelled and a small cut on her lower lip.

Renee dropped me and covered her ears. I dragged myself to the side, clutching my wound. Germaine knelt beside me, eyes wide with fear.

“Where are you hurt? Let me heal you before the spell wears off.”

I shook my head. “The healing spell doesn’t work on my wound. I think my stitches are torn open somehow, I’ll need to stitch it back.”

Germaine understood immediately and teleported us to Nurse Hilda’s office in the South wing.

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