Day Before Departure
You are the start of everything…
And you will be the end…
The bright full moon radiated a soft silver glow on the cemetery below. The day was hot, and the now cool air drew the mist from the freshly moved soil. To any unsuspecting eyes, it would have looked like a scene from an old classic horror movie, scaring off anyone daring to disappear into the fog. They didn’t know about the real horrors that hide in the darkness, and they certainly didn’t know about those that kept them there. I know though, but that’s because I’m one of those that fight every day and every evening to keep them there…
And it’s a bloody battle every frickin’ time! And I love it!
There I was – A beacon of bravery, a heroic icon that Batman himself would deem worthy! – dashing over open graves with lightning speed, chasing after my target with flawless determination and impeccable grace. He was a fast moving shadow, swiftly avoiding every obstacle and blending into the darkness, but with one great leap over the statue of a crouched angel, I tackled him to the hard ground, bashing his skull into a tombstone and holding his head to the dirt.
I sat up and grinned, “Well, well, well, going out for a little late snack there, aren’t ‘ya?” I tucked my hand into the pocket of my coat and pulled out a nice sharp and pointy wooden stake, “Feel like showing me those pearly whites, Vampire?”
I didn’t get the banter that I wanted. Instead the too pale Vampire stood up with me on his shoulders and tossed me off as if I weighed nothing. My back hit a tombstone so hard I heard a loud crack, and whether it was my bones or the stone, I can’t be too sure. Looking up, I saw the Vampire had turned to face me. His bright blue eyes glowed in the night like headlights, his fangs were pure white like snow. Crouching down, he stalked towards me, getting closer and closer until his face was inches from mine and I couldn’t bury myself further into the stone tablet, his eyes slowly creeping down from my eyes to my neck. They stopped, lingered and he cocked his head to the side while he reached out and balanced the gold cross I wore around my neck on his ice cold fingertips. The Vampire raised an eyebrow as if he was confused and amused all at once.
“Ky-ree-a?” he read the name engraved on my necklace.
I blew my fringe away from my face, “Its Ky-rah. Kyria Salyeria. The ‘i’ is silent,” I lifted my foot up and slammed it hard into the Vampire’s stomach, pushing him away from me. Pushing myself off of the ground, I did a quick kick that landed solidly under his chin and knocked him back onto the cold floor.
Before he could stand up, I put my foot on his chest to anchor him to the ground and keep him there. He tried standing up, but that was the beauty of possessing Super Strength, he was bigger than me but his Vampire strength didn’t compare to my Slayer Strength.
I grinned, “And pretty soon you’re so going to be silent, too, Mr. Vampire,” I twirled the wooden weapon around before I dropped my knee into his throat and plunged my sharp pointy stake into his chest, piercing his soulless heart.
The Vampire screeched, a loud skin-crawling wail before his pale flesh cracked slowly, and his black soul leaked through. Parts of his body shattered and crumbled into dust, mixing with the cemetery’s soil. The evil Vampire was no more, and I, the level AA Slayer, Kyria Salyeria had once again saved the day. Yay! I stood up, dusting off the dust from my knees, feeling kind of proud because I’d just saved the world––
I stopped when I felt that my knee was warm and wet. I looked at my hand and saw dark red blood covering my fingertips, it was fresh and very dark. But, once Vampires were staked, they didn’t bleed, they just activated their dust-bunny mode. Was I bleeding? Holy crap, did that Vampire actually break skin?! I examined my knee but there was no blood anywhere, only leaves below my feet…
Leaves? I crouched down and picked up the leaf, it was bright orange and it felt oddly warm. But there are no trees in this cemetery––
I looked up and all of a sudden the tombstones were gone and tall thin trees stretched high into the cold night sky, scattering the full moon’s light and hiding the stars from my sight. The air changed, the smell of damp soil was slowly replaced with the smell of trees and dew. The fog had grown so thick that I couldn’t see the trees in front of me, and I couldn’t see my feet. Taking a gentle step forward, my fingers brushed against the bark of one of the trees on my right, another step took me to a tree on my left.
I started to shiver as an ice cold breeze crept over my shoulders and locked around my chest, making it difficult to breathe. The air felt too thin, too cold and way too creepy for my liking. Time to go! I felt around, using my hands as my eyes because the fog seemed to be getting thicker and thicker. I wasn’t sure if I was moving out of the forest or deeper into it. I didn’t even know how I ended up in a forest. I took another careful step, but something colder than ice caught my ankle and I tumbled to the ground, hitting the dirt hard.
I didn’t move for a second, screwing my eyes shut and waiting for the pain to go away, “Ow. Ow,” I pushed myself up onto my knees, ignoring the aches I felt on my hands and shins, “Way to tread carefully,” I looked at my palms and sighed. Scratches, deep and thin covered my palms, blood seeped through slowly, sinking into the lines of my flesh, “Seriously?”
I rubbed my bloody hands on my jeans and stood up, cursing because I knew I would have bruises tomorrow. I stumbled over more branches, and fell right into a tree, hitting my shoulder hard on the bark. I cursed and pulled myself up onto my feet and stood still, waiting until I was stable enough to move. I could feel my blood dripping down my fingers, and the cuts started to burn. I rubbed my aching shoulder and looked around, unable to decipher my location because the fog made everything look grey and white…
And I could feel eyes on me…
Fear had finally sunk into my bones and I couldn’t move. My eyes searched uselessly for an exit but everything was hidden. It felt like the eyes were getting closer and my heart started to pound until it felt like it was beating in my throat. I jumped when the leaves rustled behind me, and an eerie laugher was carried by the wind…
Ice cold fingers suddenly trailed down my spine and I shut my eyes, knowing exactly what was happening. I knew that if I turned around, I would still be alone in this beyond creepy forest. I closed my eyes and fell to my knees, blocking my ears because the screaming started. It was soft at first, then another sounded off, then another and another. It was getting louder and louder and my heartbeat ricocheted in my body, echoing inside my head and mixing with the screams. And then everything stopped as suddenly as it had started, and the only thing I could hear was my heartbeat.
You are the start of everything…
I sighed and opened my eyes, seeing the brightly coloured leaves underneath me. And there was the first drop of blood, and then there was another. And then the blood was pouring, raining down onto the leaves and I knew that the blood was mine. The ice cold hands were on the top of my head now, long fingers trailed down my temple, brushed some of my hair behind my ear and then curled around my chin…
And you will give me the power to end it all…
Oh, Kyria. You’ve killed the protector of them all…
The ice cold hand gripped my chin, and the other held my head while they twisted in opposite directions, and after hearing the sickening snap, I fell into the darkness, I couldn’t feel my body anymore. There were no more sounds, but a dull pain swelled at my temples, growing and growing until it felt like a sledgehammer was pounding away at my brain.
My eyes fluttered open, the morning light making the headache worse. I rubbed my eyes, ignoring the tears and my trembling fingers. I sat up slowly, my head feeling like a ton of bricks on my weak neck. I crossed my legs and shut my eyes, trying to catch the breath that crashed into my lungs. Tears lingered on the brim of my eyelids but I knew that crying wouldn’t take the pain away.
It wasn’t the nightmares that gave me these headaches, it was the Voice. It always gave me headaches, but recently they have been almost unbearable. Almost. I ran my fingers through my hair and opened my eyes, swallowing back the tears that were building up in my throat.
I wiped my nose with the back of my hand and threw the blanket off of my trembling body. My feet were just as shaky as I rested them in my slippers, and squeezing my toes because I liked how soft they were. The pounding continued at my temples and with an irritated sigh, I pulled open my bedside table drawer and took out a painkiller.
I glared at my alarm clock. It seemed to be a saving grace, the only thing that would wake me up from my nightmares that would repeat itself over and over again until I woke up. It was a recent thing, the alarm clock waking me up from hell even though I never set it. Especially at the ungodly hour of ten a.m.
I switched it off. The loud buzzing noise making my head hurt for a completely different reason. I forced myself up from my bed and shuffled to my bedroom door and pulled it open slowly. I went to the bathroom across from my room and filled up the glass that seemed to always magically be there. I drank the tablet and caught my reflection. Wow. Just wow. Blue bruise like marks hung underneath my eyes, and some of last night’s mascara smudged. I looked like a beat up racoon. I threw the rest of the water out and wet a towel to clean my face, when the smell of eggs wafted into the bathroom.
I threw the towel on the counter and shuffled out of the bathroom, praying that the painkiller would kick in soon. I shuffled down the stairs and took a left into the kitchen, “Morning Mother.”
My Mom whirled around and gasped, “You’re awake?!” she looked at the clock on the wall and gasped again, “And before noon! Oh my Lord, it’s going to snow!”
I narrowed my gaze, “Ha-ha,” I pulled out one of the counter stools and sat down, “Do I get another gasp if I tell you that I woke up by myself?”
I jumped when I heard my mother drop the pan and I shook my head when she turned to face me with her mouth hanging open, “Really?”
I rolled my eyes and jumped off of the stool to the kettle, “Want some coffee to calm your poor nerves?”
“That would be lovely, thank you,” she turned back to the frying pan. While she shimmied the pan left and right, frying some eggs, her bright blue eyes glanced at me, “You’re looking a little more pale than usual. Are you feeling nervous for tomorrow?”
“Hardly,” I shrugged. “I have another headache. But I took something for it, and it’ll probably feel better after I eat something.”
“It probably will. We all get headaches, sweetheart. It’s not a new thing,” she gave me a bright smile. “I’m actually glad you’re up. Maybe we won’t be late today.”
“I’m always late and you know that. I can wake up two hours before an event and still be late,” I filled both our cups with hot water and mixed the coffee. The smell was already making my head feel better, “Chances are I’m going to be late for my own funeral.”
Mom shook her head, a few loose pieces of her blonde hair falling through her hairclip, “I know your brother is still fast asleep, but the smell of bacon will wake him up soon enough.”
I set Mom’s mug down on the counter beside her and took mine to my stool, “Probably. What are we doing today anyway? I know we have to go out into the field for that expo thing.”
“It’s a little more complicated than that––”
The back door opened, and the sound of heavy boots hitting tiles made me stand up and move to the kettle again and grab another cup. My Dad came around the corner carrying a bright blue crossbow in his hand. His green eyes met mine and he grinned.
“Morning, darling,” he leaned over the counter and kissed my forehead. “I’m glad your mother woke you up.”
“She actually woke up by herself,” my mom chirped.
Dad stumbled to a stop and his mouth dropped, “Really? I mean, really?” I rolled my eyes again and turned back to my task. My dad stole my chair and set the crossbow down on the counter, “How did it happen? I mean, is your clock broken or did you figure out that sunlight can’t hurt you?”
“You guys are so hypocritical,” I set my dad’s cup in front of him. “When you guys come home at three or four in the morning, or just before sunrise, you guys are out like a light the whole day.”
“But that’s because we come home at three or four in the morning,” my mother teased.
Daddy picked up his cup, “Or just before sunrise,” he took a long sip and smacked his lips when he was done. “You can’t do that at the Academy. You have to be on top of your classes there.”
“Speaking of the Academy,” mom pointed at me with her spatula, “Are you done packing? You can’t pack before the bus comes.”
“I’ve already sent most of my stuff in. I just need to finish packing my carry-on,” I stifled a yawn, “But other than that, I’m good. I’ll collect all the essentials from the head of the dorm?”
“The Admin Office,” my dad corrected. I caught him looking a diagram of the crossbow he was now examining. He peeked up at me, “Hopefully they’ll give you kids a map this year.”
“They give maps to all First Year students,” my mom dished up all the food into separate plates and she turned back to the stove, “Honey, will you go call your brother to come down for breakfast?”
“No need,” my brother replied as he rounded the corner and wiped the sleep from his eyes and ran his fingers through his dark brown straight hair, “I could smell the bacon,” my little brother went to sit beside my dad. His blue green eyes went to the crossbow immediately and then he moved to the opposite side of my dad, two stools down, “Why is there a crossbow on the counter?”
My dad was a pretty big guy, so he just raised his hand and ruffled Kyle’s hair, “The trigger is busted. So this arrow has been stuck in here for I think almost two weeks now,” he pointed at the trigger. “I’m not sure if some mechanism is out of place or something.”
“I thought we weren’t allowed to bring weapons in the house anymore?” Kyle buried his chin into his palm. His eyes met mine and I cocked my head to the side, trying once again to find any similarities between us, but the only similarities we shared was the bright blue green gaze. Kyle’s hair was dark brown and perfectly straight (like my mother’s) and mine was blonde but very wavy (thanks Dad for that trait) and it took forever for me to straighten it.
“We aren’t,” I heard Mom scold, “But your dad will have to put it away before breakfast,” she turned to my brother. “Kyle, you and Kyria will have to eat quickly, okay? We need to leave soon.”
“Kyria’s the one that eats slowly,” Kyle chirped. And I had to grind my teeth. Kyle was definitely in that teenage-bad-mood stage (as any thirteen-year-old would be) but every now and then I had to remind him that at three years his senior and before his growth-spurt hit, I could still kick his ass.
I rolled my eyes and moved to my stool, in between my dad and my brother. Kyle had a big mouth and liked dishing out cocky comments but when my dad raised the crossbow, he fell silent. Kyle was still young, and he wasn’t comfortable around any weapons but if you give him something electrical, the kid is a genius.
My dad turned the crossbow and suddenly the arrow shot out and went flying through the air right at my mother. My mom whirled around quickly and held out her hand, and suddenly the arrow slowed down, just before it pierced her hand. Mom moved her hand and the arrow was floating mid-air above her palm. Suddenly the arrow fell and Mom caught it, she raised an annoyed eyebrow at my dad who just blinked.
“Oops,” my dad pulled his lips tight, “Guess the trigger was just jammed,” he smiled up at my dad. “Sorry, dear.”
My mom stormed up to the table and slammed the arrow down in front of my dad, “No weapons – especially the loaded ones – are allowed in this house again. I shouldn’t have to tell you that, Wayne.”
“It happens,” Dad set the crossbow down beside him, “No Elements inside the house either. Your rule, just by the way.”
Mom glared at my dad and crossed her arms over her chest, and just shook her head slowly and turned back to the stove to retrieve the plates.
I’d like to say that we’re a normal family, and to any humans in this world we probably looked like it, too. But we weren’t exactly normal, even though we are human, we’re just a special breed of human. And we keep all the other humans safe from the evil creatures that seek to destroy them. But we don’t only protect humans. Anyone with a good heart and a good soul and innocent, we put our lives on the line to keep them safe from harm. Some humans know about us but to most, we are just stories people tell their children to help them believe that they are safe from the monsters under their beds.
And to others that belong to worlds that are not on the human plane, we are more than stories. We are legends, we are generations and generations of warriors that walk the night to fight off the evil black souls. I’m not exactly sure about the time period but the Slayer Family have been around for a very, very long time; training generation after generation how to use the power that our precious and rare bloodline has been given. And let me tell you, we have pretty awesome powers: super speed, super strength, flexibility, agility, warrior’s instinct and our most powerful super power; the ability to manifest the four Elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
The Slayer Family is just a general term. There are actually two Slayer Families, but let me start from the beginning. Long ago when the three worlds were able to mix, every species and every being lived in harmony until the evil and darkness slipped through the cracks and caused utter chaos and complete bloodshed. The Creator then sent down two Warriors, Warrior Yalser and Warrior Salyeria, to protect, defend and help the innocent and slay the darkness. When the darkness realized that they were under attack, they waged war against the Warriors and the Warriors were on the borderline of defeat. So the Creator sent down a more powerful Warrior, stronger that the two Warriors combined, this Warrior would be the most powerful being to walk the three worlds and their sole purpose is to protect the innocent and slay the darkness. The called this warrior, The Slayer. The Slayer and the two Warriors fought the Great War for many years and they won but it cost a lot more than what the Creator wanted. The Slayer decided that in order to keep humanity safe, they needed to be separated by the blood-driven and more powerful beings. So humanity was to mix with the other species’ no more. The Slayer, Warrior Salyeria and Warrior Yalser then travelled between the three worlds, slaying the black souls that sought to destroy the innocent ones. The battle is constant and bloody.
The two Warriors were able to reproduce and pass their powers and abilities onto their spouses and their children, which worked to their advantage for now they had an army to help fight against the darkness. The Slayer however, died in battle but the Creator knew that the Warriors could use The Slayer’s strength, so from then on with every passing generation, The Slayer was either born to the Yalsers or the Slayerias. After a long time, the Warriors and their offspring were more a family than an army and they were known to the worlds as the Salyeria Family and the Yalser Family, a.k.a, the Slayer Family.
The Slayer was more involved, and usually considered the leader when the two families come together but as time passed, The Slayer was usually doing their own thing and the two families had their own orders from the Heads of their Families. Now, if we come to the present, The Slayer is still doing their own thing and is usually considered the renowned and illustrious leader of everything, and the Heads of Family are following close behind.
And for the first time ever, the ‘Slayer Family’ is actually a Family because the Head of the Salyeria Family (my daddy), Wayne Salyeria, and the Head of the Yalser Family, Jennifer Yalser (mommy dearest) married and merged the two families! Yay!
But because there are two families (that are still very distinct and different), you can usually tell who is who because each family wears a Cross around their necks. A gold Cross means you are a member of the Yalser Family, and a silver Cross means you are a member of the Salyeria Family.
And because the three worlds are constantly at war, every species (except for humans) are ranked and each species is different. Like, in our family, the Heads of the Slayer Family and The Slayer are ranked AA Slayers – a really difficult rank to achieve. And obvious the younger you are, the lower you are ranked. It’s different with every species, some state the purity or royalty of blood, some species’ have it but don’t really use it. Even with us, we don’t classify ourselves as ranked Slayers, only the Council does. I don’t know every single detail of my bloodlines, all I know is that when managing all of the worlds, the Head Council is the captain of that ship with a few inputs from The Slayer who the council mostly sees as a Warrior (that hasn’t changed and the same thing goes for us!).
We’re not the only ones that protect the innocent from darkness. There are a lot of people in the three worlds, and every person, no matter their species has volunteered to help us keep the different communities safe from danger. So long ago, the Slayer Families created five different Academies where warriors are trained for every situation, to help every single person and that’s where we go once we turn sixteen. Not everyone stays in the Academy though. Training is difficult, people are mean and the tasks we’re given are usually tasks from hell itself, so if you drop out it’s your problem.
My cousins have gone and dropped out but I am determined to graduate and get ranked as a Level AA Slayer so I can fight beside my parents and keep everyone safe. That is my dream, it’s always been my dream and it’s the only thing I feel compelled and confident enough to accomplish. My Family think I’m aiming too high, but I think I can do it! I want to keep people safe. Darkness is not my thing despite the fact that black is my favourite colour.
“After breakfast, get dressed kids, we have to leave in the next half hour,” I heard my dad say. I had been absentmindedly easting my breakfast.
“Done,” Kyle pushed his plate away and jumped off of his chair, “I’ll go get dressed. Don’t be late, Kyria.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I rolled my eyes while Kyle scurried off and up the stairs. I was left alone with my parents who were eating quietly and that definitely was not normal. I forked up some eggs, “You guys are being awfully quiet.”
“Are you sure you want to go to the Academy, darling? It won’t be easy. It’s going to be really tough and you’re the only Slayer attending, so it’ll just be you training,” my dad said to me, putting his heavy hand on my back.
I nodded, “I know and I’m prepared to face it. I know I can’t be all whiny and complain the whole time. It will just fall on deaf ears, anyway.”
“It’s not the same as training here, honey,” my mom whispered. “They are going to drill you there. You can’t slack off or else they’ll kick you out.”
“If I stay there for the whole three years like I’m supposed too, will I become a Level AA Slayer?” I looked at my parents. Their eyes just scanned my face and they nodded slowly. I shrugged, “Then I’ll stay there. I want to fight beside you two, that’s how I know that you guys will be safe. I want to be a Level AA Slayer. And if I have to suffer for three years, I will do it with a smile on my face.”
“That’s my girl,” my dad grinned as he ruffled my hair and I smiled at him, even though my mouth was full of food.
I turned back to my meal, and was glad to hear my parents talking with each other, about things that only the Heads of Family could talk about. Politics. But none of what they said registered with me because my mind was somewhere else. They didn’t know about the Voice in my head, they didn’t know that it was the cause of my headaches and my nightmares. I didn’t want them to know. I didn’t want them to think that their daughter was crazy. So I kept it a secret. I’ve kept it a secret since I was thirteen years old.
To become a Level AA Slayer was my main reason to go to the Academy. It was the fire that burned within me. But I was getting sick of the pain that Voice was causing me, and I knew someone on campus would be able to help me. The teachers there were trained for pretty much anything, why couldn’t a disembodied voice be one of those things?
And while my drive was to become a Level AA Slayer and get my sanity back, my parents had another reason for sending me to the Academy…
“You remember the promise you made us, right, Kyria?” I heard my dad say in that half scolding/half reminding tone that I didn’t like.
I knew I was pulling a face, “Yeah, yeah, I remember. Just don’t be surprised if I don’t apologize and things get worse.”
“We have complete faith in you, darling,” my mom kissed my temple.
I pushed my left overs around in my plate and mumbled to myself, “I think I need a little more weapons than faith.”
“As members of the Slayer Family, we have to be involved in the community and because humans are in the mix with other beings now and––”
“We have to watch over them and make sure the Magical World beings stay secret and absolutely no one gets hurt,” my brother and I completed my dad’s sentence, flat tone and rolled eyes.
My dad frowned, “Smart asses. This is good for when you guys go out into the world,” he met our gazes in the rear-view mirror, “Consider this a fieldtrip.”
“So I’m going on an educational journey before I leave on a bus to go on an educational journey? That’s a lot of education right there,” I teased and my mother rolled her eyes as the car came to a stop. I sat up and looked out the window at the field where colourful tents and stalls were all set up and tons of people were strolling all over the place, stopping and buying whatever they found interesting enough.
“I didn’t expect so much people to be here,” Kyle murmured to me, “There’s even more than last year.”
“A lot of kids are starting their First Years, so many parents brought them out to make some friends early or just to get into the New Year vibe,” Mom explained. “New Year Festivals are much bigger in the Magical World than here.”
“There’s rides!” I screeched excitedly, “And donuts!”
I pushed open the car door and jumped out of the car. My father opened his door and grabbed my sleeve before I could runaway to the donut stand. He pinned me down with that control-yourself glare and I frowned. We walked together to the entrance of the festival, where we didn’t have to pay a cent of the entry fee and suddenly I was overwhelmed with the different colours that swirled around some people, bright yellows, lavenders, teals and blues.
I stumbled to a stop and rubbed my eyes. My dad put a hand on my shoulder, “Seeing auras again?” I nodded and he smiled, “It’ll go away. Once you get used to the colours, you’ll hardly notice them. For now, use them to know your species. Can you see the yellow ones?” I nodded, “Those are the gypsies.”
“I know,” I grinned back at my dad, “And lavender auras belong to Secondary Slayers and the blues belong to Hunters.”
“Good girl,” he ruffled my hair. “And what’s the difference between Secondary Slayers and us?”
“They can’t control the Elements and their powers aren’t as strong as ours,” I looked at the different auras, the teal swirls outnumbered the other colours, “Teal auras are humans, right?” my dad nodded, “There are so many of them here.”
“And they can’t know about the other beings’ existence,” my dad pulled Kyle’s ear. Kyle growled and pulled away from my dad and glared at him. Dad raised an eyebrow, “Kyle. Some societies stay secret. Remember that.”
“You tell one person and suddenly the weight of the worlds is on your shoulders,” Kyle rolled his eyes.
“Get used to it,” Mom smiled and ruffled his hair. “Now you kids run off and find your friends. We’ll be by the big tent if you need us.”
“Okay, bye,” Kyle waved and scurried off, going straight for the rides. He wasn’t bugged by the different colours swirling around the different bodies like I was. And that could only mean one thing…
“Kyle’s powers haven’t come in yet either,” I whispered to my dad.
My dad sighed and ruffled my hair, “It’s no big deal. Everyone is different. Your powers are coming in slowly, Kyle’s will probably be the same. Your blood is a lot stronger than the rest of ours, so there are bound to be a few bumps. Once they come though, you won’t even remember what life was like without them.”
“Thanks daddy,” I turned to my parents. “If you need me, I’ll either be by the rides or the donut shop.”
I waved goodbye to them as I scurried away towards the rides, but really I wanted to look around. I was looking at my hands, flexing them to see if I could bring out my Super Strength. Usually, a member of the Slayer Family got their full powers when they turned thirteen. Here I was, sweet sixteen, and no powers. They came in flashes sometimes and I couldn’t control them. Sometimes I would be faster or stronger than before and other times, the auras would just make the corners of my eyes fuzzy. Auras irritated me, all the colours mixed with more colours bugged me, but it was an easy way to tell who had a soul and who didn’t. I’d never seen a black aura before, I don’t think I was ready to face those monsters. Yet.
I stopped and looked over my shoulder but before I could see who called me, I was pulled into a big bear hug and swung around like a rag doll. I giggled and just let it happen, “Okay, okay. Oxygen would be nice, Emi.”
Emi set me down and grinned from ear to ear. His kind brown eyes met mine and he ruffled my hair, “Just happy to see you before we officially become totally awesome kick-ass First Years and leave this troubled world behind.”
“And go into a world where people fly, use magic, drink blood and use the Elements isn’t a troubled world?”
“God, can’t you be positive? Just cause you can’t fly doesn’t mean you gotta bring down those that can,” Emi teased and he easily fell into step beside me, pushing up the sleeves of his jacket to expose his slight tan.
“You can’t fly, either, hot shot,” I knocked him with my shoulder. His lavender aura started to cloud my vision and I had to stop and rub my eyes to clear the colours up.
“Colours bugging you again?” Emi stopped and held my shoulders, “It’s seriously so cool that you can see auras now, just by the way.”
“Thank you, but yeah, they are a little annoying,” I smiled up at him. “Just takes some getting used too. So are you ready to take on the Magical World?”
“You and I dominated in school, after school training and now we’re going to make the Academy our bitch,” he ran his fingers through his messy black hair, “Can’t say that on campus cause the big kids are probably stronger than I am.”
“At least you realize that Emilizer Flux.”
“Hell no! No last name here. I’m an SMT Academy student now. And because I am not royal, noble, nor a lord or lady or a master of any kind. You can’t call me Flux anymore,” Emi repeated like he read it from a text book. Which he probably did.
“You’ve been studying, Emi. I’m impressed.”
“Thank you, Mistress Salyeria,” he gave me a cheeky grin and I frowned.
“I will smack you upside the head if you call me Mistress,” waving my finger around to serve as a warning but all it did was make Emi chuckle.
Emi wrapped his arm around me and laughed, “Don’t worry. You can level up to AA in no time and you’ll still be little Kyria to me,” I smiled up at Emi and his brown eyes stopped. “Oh hey, there’s Andrea and Shelly.”
I followed his gaze and noticed the two girls standing and admiring something shiny at one of the stalls. Like Emi; Shelly, Andrea and I grew up together. We were a rare few of Magical beings that attended a Human school. That was what made us so close, and it made is easy to talk to each other about our growing powers that we couldn’t discuss with our other very human friends.
Emi pushed me towards the stall, making jokes about how they were like elves that were attracted to shiny things but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it’s just what girls do. Andrea has a major crush on Emi, so she can pretty much feel when he is around. She whirled around, her waist length black hair flowed around her pale face like a cape. Her bright grey eyes studied Emi from head to toe.
“Emi! I’m glad I got to see you before the joy of being accepted into SMT Academy inflated your already narcissistic ego,” she reached out and Emi hugged her back with one arm. I think he knew she liked him but he obviously didn’t feel the same way.
Andrea and Shelly were some of the very few people here that had a pale pink auras. Witches, Wizards and Magicians possessed them. Andrea’s whole Family was a coven of witches but they were incredibly nice people that lived a very posh lifestyle. Andrea had a little bit of daddy issues because she never met her father and she wanted to complete her First Year before she ventured out into the world to find her father, where most of her powers come from considering that the women in her family were all half-breeds.
“You use such big words sometimes when it’s really unnecessary,” Shelly shook her head, her bronze curls bouncing all over. She gave me a wink with her bright blue eyes, “So how’s ruling the community, miss Slayer?”
“Same old, same old,” I grinned back, “How did your very human mother take the news about you going to a magical school on a different plane?”
“She doesn’t know yet. My grandmother just told her that I was attending a school down in the Cape,” Shelly shrugged. “Mom believes it enough, so she doesn’t know that I have magical powers.”
Shelly’s family is also a coven of witches but it skipped her mother and Shelly had to learn everything from her grandmother. Her mother wasn’t very involved in her life either, so she was raised by her grandmother mostly.
“I bet it took a few tries to get her to accept it that easy, huh?” I giggled.
“Four compulsion spells and one heavy night of drinking later, Mom finally accepted that I was going to a school where I could solely focus on my studies,” Shelly fluttered her heavily mascaraed eyelashes innocently.
Half-breed families didn’t usually live easy lifestyles. The children were either magical or human and they had to keep it from their families and decide which lifestyle they wanted to live. Most families were broken because the magical parents usually ducked out whenever they found out that they were having children with a human partner, some families had it in their bloodline though and the powers were unavoidable.
Shelly held up a small diamante chandelier, “What do you think, Ky? I’m thinking of putting it up in our dorm room.”
“It’s very sparkly, Shelly,” I examined the pretty sparkles. “But it’s not my taste.”
“Ah, but it does match your very pretty eyes,” I looked up and an old woman appeared behind the stall. She wore an orange bandana to hide her dark grey hair. There were wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. She smiled at me and her clear yellow aura started swimming around me. She was a real gypsy and when her eyes went to the gold Cross around my neck, she instantly knew who I was, “Did I hear correctly, dear? Are you an SMT Academy student?”
The question was posed in a way that was safe for humans to hear but it meant a lot more to those that knew what SMT Academy was. I smiled at the old gypsy, “Yes. We’re all going to be First Years at SMT Academy starting tomorrow.”
“It’s our last day here,” Emi said cheerfully and then he frowned, “And here come the emotions...”
“My, oh, my! First Years! Which Academy are you lovely children attending, don’t tell me! Two witches, you are attending West Academy? And the young Secondary Slayer is attending North Academy and of course, a member of the Yalser Family will be attending Central SMT Academy.”
I smiled, “Actually, we’re all attending the Central Academy. And it’s complicated with the whole Yalser/Salyeria thing.”
Her mouth dropped open, “Oh my goodness! However did you all get accepted?” her brown eyes met mine and trailed down to my necklace and with a twinkle in her eye, she grinned at me, “Ah, I see. You’re the daughter of the Heads of Family! No wonder your friends were accepted.”
“Oh, no,” waving my hand around, “No. They were accepted on their own terms. My name had nothing to do with it. They are really talented Witches and Secondary Slayer. They got in by their own merits.”
“Well, that’s good all the same,” she clicked her fingers together. “I must give you a parting gift, I give one to all the students I meet,” she rubbed her hands together and looked at all the trinkets set in front of her, “Now, what shall I give you? What shall I give you?”
Emi knocked me with his shoulder and gave me a wink, “How about a little fortune telling, Aunty?”
She gasped and clapped her hands, “Brilliant idea! Oh, you might not like what you hear though?”
“Can’t be worse than what we’ve already heard about the Academy,” Emi stuck out his hand and grinned, “Hit me with your best shot!”
The gypsy smiled and carefully cradled Emi’s hand in her own, her dark eyes studying the lines. Her expression was completely unreadable but she held his hand close, “Oh, the lines are very unclear. But I can see that young witches are taken with your charm…”
“I’m a very charming person,” Emi grinned and I giggled. He kicked his head in my direction, “Ask them, they know.”
“There is a very big difference in overconfidence and charm, young man,” the gypsy scolded. Emi’s grin fell away and I laughed loudly behind him. Her eyes went back to the lines on his palm, “Oh, I can see that you and the young Salyeria are close?” Emi nodded slowly, obviously not wanting to say something stupid again. Her eyes met his, “There will be challenges when you reach the Academy, but you are very familiar with the young Salyeria’s heart and you will be a wonderful guide to your precious friend but it will be a great sacrifice.”
“What am I sacrificing?” Emi whispered, looking at his palm.
“It’s a sacrifice for both of you but I can see nothing but light on your lines. So your sacrifice is noble. Whatever your sacrifice is,” the gypsy smiled and pinched Emi’s cheek. “You should be proud of yourself for taking such good care of your dear friend.”
Emi very rarely blushed, but his cheeks went bright red as he stumbled backwards muttering a ‘thank you’ and hid behind me. Andrea grinned and had her own blush on her cheeks and turned to the gypsy, “Can you read my fortune, please,” she held out her hand.
“Of course,” the gypsy took Andy’s hand and stared hard at the lines. Her mouth pulled straight, “Dear, you have a very good heart beating inside your chest but it is very fragile,” the gypsy looked up at Andrea and squeezed her hand. “You must keep your heart strong, even though it is easily hurt.”
“What happens if I allow it to be fragile, Wanderer?” Andrea whispered.
“What’s a Wanderer?” Emi whispered into my ear behind me.
“We’re allowed to travel the worlds after we graduate from SMT Academy, we wander through the worlds doing assignments and tasks. Wanderer is just a collective term,” I whispered to him, keeping an ear out for Andrea’s answer.
“You will travel down a very dark path,” the gypsy’s eyes landed on me. “And if you allow yourself to be weak, your friend might not be able to save you.”
Andrea pulled her hand away slowly and studied the lines herself. The gypsy held out her hand for Shelly but she looked a little hesitant. Shelly leaned towards me, “I don’t want some creepy cryptic fortune.”
“The lines aren’t very clear, Shell. You’ll be fine. Take it with a grain of salt, it’s not your destiny written in stone,” I pushed her forward.
Shelly held out her hand unwillingly but the gypsy took it softy. Shelly looked away at the trinkets that were scattered all over the stall while the gypsy’s dark eyes followed the lines, “Are you vain?”
Shelly’s head snapped back to the gypsy, her mouth fell open, “Excuse me?”
“Your lines tell me that you are very, er, shall we say obsessed with your appearance and your own wellbeing? But it seems that that it changes when you go to the Academy. But have no fear, dear. Your new found courage will save many lives,” the gypsy grinned up at Shelly.
“That wasn’t that bad, Shell,” Emi mumbled behind me. “You don’t have to sacrifice anything.”
“It wasn’t bad actually,” Shelly smiled back at the gypsy, then she turned to me. “Your turn, Ky.”
I stepped forward and placed my palm in hers. Her hand was warm against my slightly cold skin, and they were soft. I could feel her eyes studying the lines even though they just looked like creases to me. But I knew better than to question her abilities. I cocked my head to the side when she blinked her eyes a few times and squinted.
“I see…darkness…and pain and fear, but for everyone around you, and for yourself,” she started trembling and squeezed my hand tighter. “There is blood! So much blood. Oh! I see light but it’s clouded and hidden. I see that you… are tortured by hate and tempted by fate…”
“What does that mean?” I whispered, I could feel the fear in her tone. Her palms were sweating and she was trembling so bad it was reverberating to me. I grabbed her trembling hands and met her gaze, I felt oddly calm, “What does that mean?”
Th gypsy stared at me for the longest time, her hands gripped mine and her pulse was beating so quickly I could feel it beneath my fingertips. She leaned in close to me and whispered loud enough so only I could hear, “…don’t trust that voice in your head.”
My heart stopped and I could feel my eyes were wide. I tore my hands away and just stared, not moving but wanting to runway. I felt shocked and angry that someone knew my secret. A secret no one else knew, a secret I didn’t breathe a word aloud to anyone.
I couldn’t speak. The words choked in my throat, and it felt like it was cutting off my oxygen, “How did you know––”
“Sis!” I heard Kyle call and suddenly he was beside me, grabbing my arm, “Mom and Dad want you to come say hello to the rest of the Family,” I tore my eyes away from the gypsy and down to Kyle. His bright smile vanished and he let go of my arm. “What’s the matter? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“It’s nothing,” I crouched down and grabbed his shoulders and smiled, “Did the rest of the Family come?”
Kyle waved to Emi and to the gypsy and started pulling my arm, “Yeah, and the cousins bought tickets for all the rides! C’mon, c’mon! We’re not going to have time to ride the rides all day!”
“I’m coming, Kyle,” I stood up and turned to face the gypsy. I didn’t know what to say, she caught me completely off guard. She was pale now, the colour drained from her face. She knew the secret that no one else did. I shook off the fear and gave her a faltered smile, “Thank you for your well wishes, Wanderer,” I whispered unevenly. I slowly put a very shaky finger to my lips, hoping my eyes were enough for plead the safety of my secret. She nodded slowly, obviously not liking the secrecy.
It looked like she wanted to say more, but I grabbed Kyle’s shoulders and turned him around and my friends followed me as we stalked away from the stall. I had to look back at the gypsy and my heart stopped again when I saw her fiddling with a rosary she wore around her wrist and looking up at the sky, praying for something. It didn’t matter though. My secret was still my secret. For now at least…