The Day She Met Him
“Hi, my name is Pennie Raynhart. I’m sixteen years old, and it is my dream to become one of the singers who bring justice to this world. I hail from the beach town of Acqua Stellata, and I have seen the corruption of our government. I want to express my love for our country Le Alba through song and bravery. As a young Oviri with summoning magic, I...” she trailed off and shook her head. “No. No, no, that’s not good enough. No guild would accept that.”
Pennie picked up a remote and used it to turn off the camera in front of her. She walked towards her bed and slumped across it. Pennie sighed at how uncomfortable it was. If she had to put it into words, she would say that lying on the bed felt like she was lying on a pile of rocks. Not that she could do anything about it, it was just something that bugged her. Pennie looked around the make-shift apartment she had rented after being kicked out of her home. It was extremely small with everything in one room, except for the bathroom. It was cramped and there was only one window making it a dark place to live but Pennie was thankful that it was at it wasn’t falling apart and was reasonably clean. If she had the choice, she would have selected a better place to live but she just couldn’t afford it.
She sighed and grabbed her iPad, looking at the pictures she had stored upon it. She was particularly drawn to the latest image of a benefit concert which had images of people dancing on stage and feeding homeless people with a gentle smile. How she wished she could be like the Oviri in each image, protecting people, risking their lives and shining brightly on stage. It was her dream for many years to join a guild, yet that dream still seemed so far away.
Pennie sighed, “Maybe this cramped space is messing up my creativity. I have to get out of here.”
Jumping off the bed, she walked to the mirror. She looked at her reflection and attempted to fix her dark blonde hair. It was days like that one she was thankful for her fine, straight hair. It was so easy to style and manage quickly. She scowled at her freckled face wishing it could look more beautiful. She couldn’t be bothered with makeup, so she just shook her head and left it be. Her brown eyes scanned over her pink sleeveless top and green plaid skirt. With a nod of approval, she grabbed her handbag, placing her iPad inside of it.
“Perhaps I’ll get inspiration from the streets.” She muttered.
She slung the bag over her shoulder and walked out the door, making sure to close it firmly behind her.
Pennie walked the streets studying the different emotions that spread through the city. Acqua Stellata was known for its beautiful beaches. The sky was cloudless, letting the sun shine brightly over the deep blue ocean. The gentle waves crawled to the to the shore where the snow-white crystal sand was soft to touch. It was the most popular holiday destination in Luminea, especially during the festival season. Despite the beauty of the coastline, the city wasn’t very desirable. In fact, it was quite poor. Closer to the beach, she had to admit was somewhat nice. The fancy new skyscrapers were dozens of stories tall, in fact, they were so tall it was almost like they disappeared into the sunlight. Some of the buildings were so modern that they had strange geometric shapes and the windows were so clear and spotless that Pennie could see her reflection perfectly as she walked past them. The streets were clean and filled with tourists, exploring exotic shops such as hot springs. However, walking away from the beach, Pennie realised the quality of Acqua Stellata declined. Though there were still fancy buildings, they looked kind of dirty, as if their age was finally getting to them. There were also a lot of older buildings, which would have been nice if most of them weren’t falling apart. The streets were less clean, and smiles seemed to fade off the closer she got to Acqua Stellata’s Industrial Area. After living in it for so long, she realised that there were three groups of people. There were the rich aristocrats who visited the town only for pleasure and showed off their excessive amount of money. She watched in disgust as she walked past a wealthy young man. He bought out an entire store of sweets, leaving the hungry people waiting behind him disappointed. Secondly, there were the average people, which was a very broad category from many walks of life. In a corrupt society like hers, a lot of people were destitute. The aristocrats looked down on these people without thinking to use their wealth to help others.
Pennie sighed. It shamed her to think that she used to be one of those rich people, blissfully ignorant until the day she had to learn how to care for herself. The gap between the rich and the poor was terrifying. At that moment, Pennie had just enough money to pay rent and for three meals a day. At that moment, she was lucky to have extra cash after completing a favour for an elderly couple.
The sound of marching loomed in the distance. She stopped dead in her tracks. The third class was approaching, the army of the Le Alba Control of Shadow Oppression Government. People formed lines on either side of the street.
“Make way for the CSOG!” A man yelled.
The people shook in fear. It was a well-known fact that the CSOG tore apart families to ‘control’ the number of Shadow Creatures and Oviri existing within Le Alba. Camps were created to segregate those of a magical background from what the Government deemed as ‘normal’, which were usually wealthy snobs with their noses high in the air, more concerned with a speck of dirt ruining their fancy cars rather then what was actually happening in their country. This often meant that, magic or not, those at a financial disadvantage were considered unfit to live in Le Alba.
Sadly, if one chose to leave the country, there was a high chance they would receive worse treatment no matter where they travelled. The reason for this was the Dark Shadow was an Oviri from Le Alba. No one would trust a person with any relation to the monster who caused the fall of the Mave Kingdom and nearly destroyed the world in the process. Although his name was erased from existence, his offensive actions had haunted Oviri for thousands of years.
When the CSOG parade had passed, Pennie sighed in relief. She was thankful that over the past century, the Magical Liberation Council was formed. After a huge war, a new law was created, one that prevented CSOG from attacking innocent people without the consent of the MLC. However, even with the Peace Treaty and the CSOG being smaller than it was one hundred years earlier, they still committed crimes against the population.
The tension in the air disappeared as the army marched into the distance. Pennie walked hastily away. It angered her that the CSOG could get away with anything. It was why she desired to join an MLC guild to save the people from their unjust treatment.
“I swear I will become a great Oviri and teach those guys a lesson.” She growled clenching her fists.
She did not notice two suspicious men were watching her as she strode away.
“It’s no good. Everything is spinning,” the young man groaned.
He lay on his back on the train platform and sighed, he was so dizzy that he didn’t even want to place the hood of his cloak back over his light brown hair.
“You’re hopeless,” The young man’s companion said, standing over him as he scratched his strawberry blonde hair. “If the CSOG catches you like this they’ll think you are suspicious.”
“Shut up Blaze, you’re the one who forced me to ride that stupid train,” the young man complained. “You should have known by now how much I hate them.”
“You confuse me, are you afraid of trains or do you get motion sickness?” Blaze asked.
“Neither…” he replied.
“Regardless, the only way we’d make it to the centre of Acqua Stellata in time was taking that train,” Blaze sighed. “Speaking of which, we really should get going. It’s for the best if we finish our mission before the sun sets.”
“Just five more minutes,” the young man whined.
“I suppose it can’t be helped,” Blaze stated, placing his hands on his hips. “Well, it’s not like I really care, after all.”
It was only moments later before the young man suddenly jumped to his feet.
“That was quick,” Blaze said with surprise. “Usually you…”
Blaze stooped when he noticed the serious expression on the young man’s face. The man’s light green eyes seemed to focus on something in the distance.
“Is something wrong?” Blaze asked.
“Something doesn’t feel right,” the young man replied, his eyes flickering from one direction to another.
He narrowed his eyes as if to notice something and immediately began to run, leaving Blaze behind.
“Hey don’t just run off!” Blaze called as he watched the young man disappear into the distance.
It didn’t take long for Pennie to realise she was being followed. It wasn’t hard to notice two strangely dressed men appearing down every street she visited. They were dressed suspiciously in large hats, glasses and long trench coats; it was evident that they were up to something. Just to be sure she went to places she wouldn’t usually go. The thing she wondered was why they were following her in the first place. Many ideas had come to mind, but none of them would explain why they would take the risk while the CSOG was in town. She began to pick up the pace. She believed if she could quickly move into a store and stay there for a while her attackers, or whatever those men were would give up.
“Wait a minute...” she said to herself coming to a halt.
She realised that if she were to stay for too long, it would be dark and easier for her followers to attack and by the time that happens the CSOG would have left, making her attack simpler. It left her with one option; she should return home and notify the CSOG. As much as she hated them, they had a legal obligation to protect people from criminals. As she was an Oviri, the CSOG may not believe her, but it should have gotten the stalkers off of her case. Pennie turned around to head back to her apartment, but as she did two men stood in front of her blocking her path. Pennie instantly recognised them as the men who were following her earlier.
“Where do you think you are going, pretty lady?” One of them asked with a sly smile.
“Why don’t you come hang with us? We promise you’ll have a good time,” The other claimed.
“No thank you, there is somewhere I need to be,” Pennie stated, attempting to walk past them.
The two men moved to block her path once more.
“Really…?” One man asked with a fake smile.
“You don’t seem to be heading anywhere in particular.” The other pointed out.
“I’m supposed to be meeting with someone” she lied, hoping to get out of her awkward situation.
“Really…?” The two men asked again, slithering closer to her like bloodthirsty leeches.
Pennie turned around to find another man standing behind her. By looking at him, she could tell that he was obviously the leader of the group. He wore a tight dark T-shirt and ripped skinny jeans. His black hair was pulled back by a purple beanie. The man leant against the wall with his arms crossed in front of him.
“Get a move on you two; we don’t have all day.” He said with a sly smirk.
“Come on boss were just having a little fun.” One man complained behind her.
“Yeah, it’s not like she can get away anyway.” The other agreed.
“Just ignore them, they don’t understand ladies like I do,” the leader smiled as he turned his gaze to Pennie.
“Hey, that’s not fair boss,” One of the other men groaned.
“Yeah, we can get any chick we want of we really wanted to,” the other agreed.
“So, what’s a pretty thing like you walking around by herself?” The man continued, ignoring his lackeys.
“That’s none of your business,” Pennie stated, acting tough to hide the fact that she was frightened. “But I must be going, I don’t want to be late.”
“Oh come now, don’t be like that. You’ll have more fun with us, I swear,” the man said, not taking no for an answer. “What’s your name, pretty thing?”
“Why would I tell you that? I refuse to tell some strange man my name,” Pennie said, attempting to move past the men. However, the leader held out his leg, and she tripped scraping her knees on the pavement.
“Well, my name is Kenneth. Now that you know my name we aren’t strangers anymore,” The man claimed as he glanced down at her with a crazed look about him “You won’t be going anywhere without a little payment…”
Pennie tensed up as the two men walked closer to her.
“What do you think you are doing?” a new voice growled, “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!”
A man no older than Pennie began to walk up to her and her attackers. He had brown hair that lightened at the tips and bright green eyes. He was dressed in a black cloak that fell to his knees. He grabbed onto Pennie’s hand and helped her to her feet.
“We were supposed to meet up ages ago.” He said, acting as if he knew her, “but you were so late; I began to worry.”
“Who do you think you are, interrupting our discussion like that?!” Kenneth growled.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.” The young man stated with a sour expression, an expression that Pennie noticed made her pursuers look frightened.
“What is this aura?” Kenneth asked with a shaken voice.
“In fact, I don’t appreciate what you were trying to do with my friend here,” he said with a sneaky grin. “Now personally, I would like to beat you up myself, but the CSOG is just around the corner.”
“Surely you’re bluffing,” the boss said taking a step back.
“I happen to have a very loud voice, so they’d probably hear me,” he said clenching his fists together continuing to stare down the boss. “Would you really like to take the chance that I am bluffing?”
“I do sense some intense power coming this way boss” one of the men turned to the boss.
“Well, then I guess we’d best be going,” the young man sighed and began to walk away, still holding on to Pennie’s wrist. Pennie reluctantly followed him, as he dragged her away from the agitated men.
“We’ll get you back for this!” One of the men called out from behind them.
Pennie examined the guy who led her away from the men; he didn’t seem to be hostile. Nevertheless, she knew she couldn’t trust him. She was technically no safer than what she was before. Once they were far enough from the three men, Pennie pulled herself away from the man’s grip.
“Just what do you think you are doing?!” Pennie shouted.
“Ah I’m pretty sure I just saved your life!” the man exclaimed turning around to face her. He placed his hands on his hips, appearing to be dissatisfied with Pennie’s reaction.
“I didn’t need your help,” Pennie lied, attempting to sound tough. “I was doing perfectly fine on my own.”
“It didn’t look like it from where I was standing,” he sighed. “You know; you’re not a very good liar. You should really be thankful that I just happened to be passing by at the right moment.”
“Well… I…” Pennie interjected.“I didn’t need help from some stranger.”
“Wait… so you don’t…” the young man began with an extremely disappointed expression.
“So this is where you went,” a voice interrupted. “Honestly if you’re going to run off somewhere you should at least warn me first.”
Pennie watched as a man with spiky strawberry blonde hair walked towards her. Much to her surprise, she recognised the man as Blaze Tooronga, a member of the MLC guild she wished to join, Twilight Heart. From what Pennie had read, Blaze was one of the last Air Elemental Oviri in existence and was one of the most powerful members of the guild, even though he was only twenty-one years old. Once she saw him, she couldn’t help but think he looked a lot younger.
“OMG, you’re Blaze Tooronga,” Pennie exclaimed.
“Who’s this?” Blaze asked the young man.
“I just saved her from some thugs. They were following her, and I stopped them as they started to harass her,” the young man replied.
“I see, so that’s why you ran off,” Blaze said.
Looking closer at the young man as he talked to Blaze, Pennie realised that he couldn’t have meant any harm and was just kind enough to come to her rescue. She sighed with relief.
“I guess I should thank you for saving me.”
“Oh it was nothing,” the young man turned to her and smiled. “Anyone would help out if they saw someone in that situation.”
“Not around here I’m afraid,” Pennie muttered under her breath. “Most people only look out for themselves.”
“Sorry, I didn’t catch that…” the young man stated, his smile fading slightly.
“It’s nothing,” Pennie chuckled. “I really am grateful, and I apologise for being so rude earlier. How could I repay you?”
Blaze and the young man looked at each other for a brief moment. Blaze nodded his head and then the young man turned to her.
“You live here don’t you?” Blaze asked.
“Yeah, why,” Pennie frowned.
“Well, we were hoping you could do us a little favour,” the young man stated.
“Huh…” was all Pennie could say.