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Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Fantasy  ➡  Romance  ➡  Clean & wholesome

The Misfit

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© 2015 Ayesha Jamal. All rights reserved.

This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without prior written permission of the publisher, except as provided by United States of America copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, at [email protected] Cover -design by author Ayesha Jamal and picture by John Goode (https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnieb/) under the following license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

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Table of Content

Chapter One 3

Chapter Two 29

Chapter Three 49

Chapter Four 82

Chapter Five 104

Chapter Six 138

Chapter Seven 160

Chapter Eight 197

Chapter Nine 227

Chapter Ten 260

Chapter Eleven 282

Chapter Twelve 305

[][] Chapter One

They traipsed through the woods, her father and Aleck were right in front and Aria and her mom ambled in their wake.

“We don’t want to be too late Sam, let’s make it a short trip today. Aria has school tomorrow”, her mom said grouchily to her dad. Her dad simply looked back at his wife, and the horn between his eyes glinted in the moon light.

“Mom”, Aria groaned. She almost never went out of the house, apart from the school of course. That trifling fact aside, she happened to be a star student, like anybody else who would have a non-existent social life. Oh, there were a couple of kids at school that she talked to but no one in particular. No exclusive group of best friends who did each other’s makeup and hair, or hung out in the woods when they felt like it. It was, Aria pondered, really awful to be alone most of the time with her head buried in the books. It was also quite pitiful that the only time she enjoyed herself was on these long, once in a blue moon, mid-night rambles through the woods with her family.

Smack-

A little stone hit her hind leg and fell down. She looked up and saw her brother grinning at her.His golden mane glimmered in the moonlight. He was proud of it; even now he preened, stretching his long, lion’s body. Twigs snapped under his claws. For the thousandth time in her life she wished to be just like her brother, a glorious lion, instead of a beautiful, but fairly gullible unicorn. She scowled at him menacingly, hoping he would stop annoying her with his crazy antics. She wanted to enjoy the peacefulness of the silent night, and get rid of the baggage that stressed her mind.

Usually when Aria morphed, her mom would go on and on about how beautiful, how stunning Aria was. “Look at you young lady, sparkling hair, dewy eyes, ivory-satin mane. You’re the definition of beauty my girl, people must envy you!” she’d sigh. But Aria knew better. Yes, she was beautiful, sure she was talented, but she was also a glitch in the system. Usually when a person is an anomaly, they either fit or they don’t, and Aria had the misfortune to fall into the latter category. She felt like Jenny, the East Asian transfer student who had come to their school on a student exchange program from the division Buaway. A few mean students had gone after Jenny for a while calling her ‘chin-chin’, ‘ching-chong-‘and other insults aimed at her slanted, teardrop eyes . Aria had personally thought Jenny beautiful, with the illuminated, silkiest of skins and inky black hair that shone everywhere. Jenny had gone back to her school after a semester while Aria was stuck in this place forever. She was a unicorn in a place full of Morphos who weren’t unicorns, and that was a big crime in itself.

She rid herself of the toxic thoughts and looked at the dark forest, which was heavenly quiet. Somebody had left a string of fairy lights strung to the branches of an old gnarled, maple tree. The lights twinkled in the dark, as a few crickets creaked nearby. They were all silent. Her mom was lost in thought, her eyes that were hauntingly like Aria’s stared into the space. Aria wondered if her mom was thinking about Aria’s grandfather, who had passed away last Saturday. Her mom had been really close to the grandpa, and had stuck firmly to his side like a devoted daughter throughout his illness. Aleck was no doubt wondering about his finals, which were looming ahead of him dangerously and he probably was wondering how he could get through them without being thrown out of the college. Her dad was silent, as he usually was, his art was in numbers, and making magic happen as he sat behind his chrome and wood desk at the bank, being his usual mathematical self.

The wind flicked idly across gorgeous golden lashes. Fire burnt, settled, and then reignited in his eyes. Aria watched the light as it played across Asher’s features, enhancing, bronzing each of them to perfection. She sighed contentedly, reality was way better than her dreams of him.

“Miss Smith!” Mrs. Fern’s shrill voice shook her out of her pleasurable sight-seeing. Someone snickered at the back.

“I’d appreciate it, if you kept your eyes on the board rather than on Mr. Barnyard’s face, no matter how boring you find the former to be”, the algebra teacher said icily.

Aria felt her face flame, as she muttered an incomprehensible “sorry”. She looked up to find Jackie Crawford glaring at her with hatred in her eyes. There’d be hell to pay for this later.

For the rest of the lesson Aria glued her eyes to the board, and kept them fixed to the screeching board marker, until her eyes watered. With the lunch bell, she flung her backpack onto her shoulder and scurried out before anybody could catch up to her. The ‘anybody’ was Jackie, Asher’s girlfriend, who would likely throttle Aria for looking at her boyfriend. Jackie guarded Asher like a three headed bull dog.

Aria reached her locker door and was about to pull out her books for Psychology, when a hand pulled her from the back and turned her around.

“You skank! Don’t you dare look at him again; you’ll just be making fun of yourself. There’s no way he’s going to look at a softie like you. Don’t you get it yet? Nobody wants you here. You’re just an anomaly, an aberration, a mistake of nature!” Jackie hissed in her ear. Behind Jackie, the fat twins hovered menacingly, rubbing at their knuckles.

“I’m sorry”, muttered Aria, wishing for the ground to burst open and take her in. Students had stalled in their places and were looking at the drama, interestedly.

“You better be”, Jackie growled, hesitated and then said in a lower voice,

“Remember Penelope, won’t you?”

Aria did remember Penelope. Penelope had been a dyslexic. Had been. For as long as Aria could remember, Penelope had been the butt of Jackie’s jokes. The poor girl who enrolled into their school in grade eight, had trouble looking people in the eye; she talked with her head averted to the side. She walked slowly, as if checking direction with every step. Jackie and her friends had begun to call her ‘Bug’. It was “Bug this” and “Bug that”. Aria didn’t know the specifics, nobody did. But there an incident involving Jackie, Penelope and dust bombs. Soon after Penelope had broken down and committed suicide. Jackie was never blamed. Most people were afraid of her. Furthermore there was no evidence to pin the blame entirely on Jackie. After all, Penelope was dyslexic and such people are often prone to depression and discontentment. But Aria knew better. She seen Penelope’s face change color at every insult and jibe that Jackie directed at her. She’d seen Penelope cry in a corner of the library. Aria had tried talking to her, but the girl seemed to shun any attempts at being befriended.

Jackie looked tauntingly at the expression on Aria’s face and stalked away with the twins in her trail. Aria felt anger ripple through her, helplessness threatening to strangle her and fiery flames flickered in her mind. Just then, she heard a crash. She looked around. Jackie lay flat on her back on the ground, in a puddle of water.

The twins were pulling her up. A couple of juniors laughed, and Jackie’s face turned puce with anger. Bunching her dripping skirt in her right fist, Jackie gave the finger to the juniors and stomped away in a huff.

“Meatball curry, again”, Aleck mimed puking, “that’s like the third time I get to eat meatballs this weekend”. “Aleck”, Mr. Smith warned. “You should be more understanding; you know how busy your mother is these days. Learn from Aria, do you see her complaining?” Aleck frowned at Aria over his juice. “Dad, that’s cause Aria is a fuing Unicorn. They are meant to be gentle and understanding.” “Language, please”, Mr. Smith banged his fork on the table. Aria glared at her brother. Being the only Unicorn in her family, her school and perhaps the only one in the entire Universe of Morphos, was a vastly sore subject with her. Her mom, a lioness, taught acrobatics at a popular gymnasium near their house. Aria knew it was a popular, since Jackie Crawford, the fat twins and a few of Jackie Crawford’s cheerleader friends went there in the evening to get their lessons. Her dad, Mr. Smith, who was a nine-to-five banker the National Bank of Swift, was a rhino. Her exceedingly annoying older brother Aleck, came out as a lion at the age of twelve and had flaunted it in her face ever since. Now he was in UCL, next town, and came down to their parents’ house at least once a month.

Aria vividly remembered her own Revelation Ceremony in the Great Hall of Merlin. The Great Hall was built by the Merlin committee, which comprised of the most powerful magicians from all round the world. The hall was opened once a year, only for the Annual Revelation Ceremony. She was a bundle of excited nerves and had been waiting for this day her entire life. She had driven out of Swift for the town of Merlin in the backseat of her parent’s bright red BMW, on her mother’s insistence; they’d all listened to the audio version of an Emma Bell classic on the way. Her mother, being the teacher she was, was big on making every moment of the trip a ‘learning experience’ for Aria. Aria sat stiffly in the bling concoction; her grandma had declared to be “a gown fit for a princess”. Aria’s grandma, who was alive, then, had sewn her beautiful blue brocade dress which glittered with rhinestones and pearls.

The ceremony was to begin at eight am, and Aria’s mom kept looking at her antique Clarke obsessively, afraid of being late. They reached the venue half an hour earlier. Liveried traffic officers guided them to the large underground parking. The parking was bustling with the heat and energy of vehicles. People had bought in their most glitzy wheels. Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, a couple of Maybach Exeleros, Rolls Royce Ghosts, and Ferrari FF’s – It was a car fest, and owners lingered around and preened in their toys. Her dad parked the BMW in a secluded corner, all the time eyeing the ostentatious display with disdain. His had been a “rag to riches” story. He had been lucky, and more importantly, intelligent enough to win scholarships to a respectable college. Aria’s Grandpa had never made it to high school graduating class, he had worked away his life at the car service station and his family survived on a tight budget. Aria knew without doubt that her father could buy a fancy car, hells bells, he did well enough at the bank. He just wasn’t into showy displays of opulence.

A ginormous, chatty crowd stood outside the massive gateways of the Hall of Merlin. At eight oh’ sharp, bells wrung out, very much like the church bells on a Christmas. The stone gargoyles carved on the gates, swung open and the crowd rushed inside. The crowd was awestruck, Aria could see as much. It was nothing like anything she’d seen in her life. It was a fairytale come true. Large chandeliers hung midair, as if held by invisible hands. Little glass hearts, lit up with fire, hovered on the ceiling. Huge cherry trees had been planted sparsely. They were spectacular in appearance. Their pink arms, pregnant with ripe, red cherries caressed the ground. The floors were the zenith of optical illusions and magical enchantment. People were gasping in delight at the ocean running under their feet, yet they were standing on a ground very solid, very real. Music sweet like the ambrosia and heavenly like the nectar poured from now where and everywhere. Little glass tables hung in their places, empty wine glasses hovering above them. A chubby boy near Aria grabbed a glass. “Look”, he squealed in delight. The glass had filled immediately with iced coffee, topped with drizzled chocolate. Aria felt her mouth water. She too pulled at a hovering glass. It filled with strawberry daiquiri, complete with a strawberry and umbrella at the top. The air buzzed with the excitement and exclamations of the invitees. Despite the chatter, a sense of peace and immense tranquility reigned.

“Ladies and gentlemen”, a deep voice filled the room; a hush fell over the crowd. “Welcome to the Annual Revelation Ceremony. Please take your seats”. People shuffled around and sat down on the tables that had their name cards.

After a few minutes of silence the voice continued.

“The Merlin Committee would like to congratulate all the children who will be Revealed today as one of the Four Great Morphos.

We recall history every year at the Great Revelation Ceremony, to pay tribute to our ancestors who braved the Apocalypse and saved our generations. We begin the ceremony in the name of the Great Morpholion, the Great Morphorhino, the Great Morphojaguar and the Great Black Morpholeopard.

The Old World had creatures called humans and animals. They existed separately in their territories. A few humans learnt the wrong things. They enslaved animals and used them for their good. They put them behind bars in cages, decorated their skins as trophies in their drawing rooms. They hunted animals until most of them reached the point of extinction. They tilted the balance of nature, until nature could take it no more”. Aria could feel the silence throbbing like a pulse in the room.

“The apocalypse came. Nobody remembers how it came or what happened during. A few people remained; our ancestors. They woke up, as if from a deep sleep, and found that the world as they knew it, no longer existed. They struggled; they experimented, and wrote down from memory of the old world. They found out the meat plants, the milk plants and the leather plants. It seemed that their new world wanted to fulfill all their needs from plants. Pre-apocalypse, they used animals for it. They were happy until they had children”, the voice paused dramatically. Aria knew it all, yet listening to it this way, sent shivers up her spine.

“Ralph Esterwild had a male child with his wife Carli, the child grew up, and when it reached the age of twelve, the child would transform at will into a mountain lion. They were agitated, afraid, that a mutation had tainted the human blood. Soon people noticed the same thing happening with other pre-apocalypse children. At twelve, they would begin to show specific food preferences and characteristics. Some of them would become able to morph into lions, some to rhinos and other into black leopards and jaguars. However they, like us, could only morph at night, and reproduce just in their human forms. What made a human a lion or a jaguar was not genetic. A morphorino and morpholion could give birth to a morpholeopard. This new world and broken laws of objectivity baffled one and all. The old world people who’d survived didn’t know what the phenomenon was. Whether this was punishment for a lifetime of enslaving and exploiting wild life, or it simply was a new way of living, introduced by nature to establish a balance.

We, the Morphos, are the survivors, my dear audience. Three centuries ago, Mercer Merlin, the world famous magician decided to establish the Hall of Merlin. To date, his contemporaries contribute to hold the Merlin Hall in its dazzling splendor. Merlin had very specific ideas on how this hall is to be used. He decreed that it only opens once a year, for the celebration of the Revelation. It serves dual purpose of letting the Ministry have a record of our Morphos, and of course, to celebrate their new identities”.

“I’m going to introduce you all to the Amazeball. I’m sure some of the cheeky twelve year olds here have experimented with morphing, and already know their Morpho identities. The rest of the kids will discover theirs today. The Amazeball releases Revolutin dust, which will trigger the onset of morphism”.

Aria looked around for a ball, but couldn’t find anything other than the curious spectators gazing in different directions for the same. Then with a gurgle, the floor of the stage parted, from it raised a huge globe the size of a massive room, as bright as the moon. The front of the Amazeball dropped open like petals, two women and two men, attired in black suits, came out of it. The room broke in thunderous applause and the new comers bowed, like actors do after a splendid theatre performance.

“The Amazeball is ready now”, the bearded host spoke into his microphone, “We will now proceed with Revelations”. He nodded at the tall blond, who typed away something on the LCD panel of the Amazeball.

“Chazion Damen”, the ball squeaked. A tall, freckled boy with honey-blond hair walked up to the Amazeball, the doors opened. He hesitated, looking at the marvel with wide, startled eyes. The blonde prodded him to enter the ball. The ball began whirring, as soon as the doors closed. Despite knowing all the stories and myths there were to know about the Amazeball, Aria gaped at the spectacle. A minute or two later, the doors opened. Out came a beautiful black leopard, silken fur streaked all over its lithe body. The crowd clapped and cheered. The bearded man whispered in the leopard’s ear. The leopard went inside the ball. When he would morph back, he would be naked and in need of his clothes. Charter Reynolds had effectively morphed back into a person. He look elated, his face red with exertion and the rush of Adrenaline pumping through him.

“Sarah Aladdin”, the ball squeaked again. A tiny girl, with black curtain of silky hair falling to her waist, ran up to the ball. She came out as a rhino, complete with a large, lethal horn and a smaller one right behind it. People whistled, and cheered. The transformation was bewildering. Sarah hadn’t been bigger than a minute, yet this morpho specimen was a humungous presence. A tall Arab woman stood up from the audience, smiling ear to ear, when Sarah morphed back and ran into her arms.

Witnessing morphism was not new for Aria, but the fact that in a few hours’ time, she would be one of the ‘grownups’ ,was something she looked forward to .Her mom and dad occasionally morphed at night and went for a ramble in the woods, like so many others in her neighborhood. Aleck was allowed to morph only on weekends, with his studies and all. He used the opportunity to hang out with his friends near the lake in the forest. She had heard stories of the night parties in the woods. There were five woods in Swift, which were hugely famous night spots for hanging out and games like wrestling between Morphos. The female Morphos tended to hang in separate groups, splashing around in the lake and gossiping with each other. Afterwards, the whole party would morph back and head to The Mug for coffee, hot chocolate, milkshakes, chocolate coated strawberries and S’mores. Aria desperately wanted to hang out with other Morphos in her school. She was shy, and had difficulty making friends. Her hopes of getting into the mainstream were all pinned to the Revelation.

She’d tuned out sometime during the hundred and fiftieth Revelation. The ceremony was pretty time consuming, alright, nobody had promised otherwise. However the ambience and atmospheric alterations, most likely achieved with magic, had her relaxed hours later. She’d just filled her glass with mango Laban, a Moroccan slash Arabic drink, when her name was announced.

“Aria”, her mother whispered, giving her a pat on the back. Her father stood up with her and gave her his most reassuring smile. Her legs were a jelly, and it was with great difficulty that she reached the platform. The bearded man gave Aria a small smile and a wink. Aria smiled back gratefully, and felt a knot unravel in the pit of her tummy. She entered the Amazeball and doors clamped shut behind her. She quickly discarded her garments, all the while shivering with anticipation. A fragrance tasting of summer, of melons, oranges and orchids began swirling all around her. She willed herself to be someone really strong, a ferocious morpho that would overwhelm her embarrassing puny self and her excruciatingly timid personality. Aria felt herself change. Her hands changed to cloven hoofs, and she felt hind legs sprout. Her torso stretched. Eyes watered and began to change size. White hair sprouted from her head. She felt dizzy and not just a little uncomfortable. Relax, she whispered, and closed her eyes. She kept her eyes closed. The fragrance faded, and the doors of ball opened and she stepped outside.

The silence was deafening. Aria smiled bravely, her smile faltering a little when the hush didn’t break. The four hosts stood in stunned silence. The clipboard in the short red head’s hand slipped and clattered to the ground. It broke the quiet. The room hummed with excited murmur, gasps and retorts, none of which Aria understood. Sensing her bewilderment, the bearded host came forward, and tugging at her leg, he pulled her towards the huge gilded mirror attached to the platform. Aria gasped in surprise. This creature was nothing she’d ever seen before. Yes, fairytales talked of it, the Unicorn. She shook herself, and her glorious reflection imitated. It was her, alright. Her white horse’s body glistened, and her pearlescent, silken mane rippled in the soft wind. Then there was the horn her forehead. When fairytales spoke of the unicorn, its horn was sharp and lethal like a sword blade. The horn on Aria’s head was as useless as a blunt kitchen knife. But this…she, was beautiful. No wonder her appearance had rendered the audience speechless. She was beautiful, boring and useless. She turned towards the host. “What am I?” remarkably, her voice was steady, as she asked him. He shook his head. “I don’t know”.

This was four years ago. She had been recorded a Unicorn. Nobody, even the know-it-all mighty Merlin committee knew exactly what she was. Neither the pre-apocalypse world nor the new Morpho world had ever witnessed a creature like her. Since they didn’t know her character specifications, they’d written her down as an anomaly. It was just a step forward from writing her down as diseased. Not only that, The Tattler had done a cover page story on her, titling the piece ‘The Anomaly’. Other dish rags followed the Tattler’s trail and wrote embellished versions of her Revelation. Kiera Kudo of Tattler wrote her down an ‘Inconsequential Misfit’, which instantaneously was popular with the inhabitants of Swift. They hyperbolized her lack of ability and over pitched her beauty. This was not good for her repute. The Morphos prided themselves on their strength and ability. Winning it in the battlefield was everything- beauty without strength was useless.

Aria hadn’t anticipated the reaction at school. Before the Revelation, Aria was just a pretty and shy girl who liked to hide behind books in the back seat. After the ceremony and the tittle tattle of The Tattler, she came into unwanted lime light. While boys generally left her alone, mean girls made her their plaything, calling her weirdo, screwball, useless, aberration to her face and on her back. After a while the hype of her Revelation died down, and pretty much everyone ignored her. She was not suitable for the ferocious games the Morphos played and fitted in with none of the groups. Her dreams of attending night parties at the woods were shattered, as nobody was ready to hang out with her. It was as if her oddness would rub away on them.

[][] Chapter Two

Swift High was buzzing with anticipation and planning. Inter-school Games were coming closer and there was lots of planning and practice to be done. Asher, who happened to be the president of student council, was holding daily student meets in the school auditorium. Attending the meets was compulsory for the entire student body. Aria slugged behind the others, and chose a back seat in the shadows. Asher gave a short pep talk on the importance of winning these Games. Buck Wilman, Sam Boon and the other athletes hooted and thumped their feet on the wooden auditorium flooring, and the resulting noise was deafening. Aria hated the Spirit Games. She’d abhorred them since the day they began, two years ago. To her they were chauvinistic and barbaric. Female students were not allowed to compete. They were side lined to the roles of compering and cheerleading, and giving first-aid to injured male athletes. More importantly, there was nothing for Aria in the games. While she looked like a cheerleader, with her pretty face and long hair, her muscular coordination and balance were pathetic. She just wasn’t cut out to be a cheerleader, as Ms. Avery, the cheerleading coach kindly pointed out.

Since she was avoiding looking at Asher, after the encounter with Jackie, there was nothing for her to do. Pulling her legs up, she rested her chin on her knees.

“Ahem”, someone cleared their throat, sitting beside her. She turned to see a boy there. He wasn’t someone she’d seen before. He had a head full of red, curly hair and twinkling brown eyes.

“Not interested in jumping up and down with pompoms, Aria?” he pointed towards the stage where Jackie Crawford and other cheerleaders were having a discussion with Coach Avery and Asher. Jackie was hanging on to Asher’s arm, as if standing required his support. The boy had called her by her name, when she’d never even seen him around. However, she didn’t push the issue. She was glad to have someone sit beside her for a change, and not treat like an infectious disease.

Aria shrugged, rolling her eyes. He looked amused.

“By the way, I’m Finn. I’m there in your advanced creative writing”, he said, putting out his hand.

“Why have I never seen you?” Aria replied suspiciously, even as she shook his hand.

“Well, you’d notice people more if you weren’t always hiding behind your books”.

He was wrong. Aria did hide behind her books, but she observed everything in the class. From Jake Vindolf, class clown making dirty jokes to Ariel Margovich and Hugo Parker’s passionate kisses at the back of the class room, when they thought the teacher wasn’t looking. There was no way in the world that she would miss the existence of an entire person in the class. Especially, since the person in question had flaming red, extremely noticeable hair.

“Are you going to the Interschool Games Inauguration Ball tomorrow?” Finn asked, looking down at her with intense brown eyes. Aria took a deep breath. She didn’t go to such shindigs. They weren’t her thing, really. Aria had been asked out occasionally by the guys in her class, and she’d turned down every one of them. Not out of spite or anything, she was just painfully, excruciatingly shy. Girlfriends, or a lack thereof, had left a huge gaping hole in Aria’s social mingling abilities. She was afraid that she’d bore the guys who asked her out, and this would bring more unwanted attention.

“I….” Aria was going to turn him down, when Finn held up his hands. “I know, I know. You can’t go out with me. But Aria, I just want to go as friends”, he hesitated, “I…. I’m not into girls”, Aria’s mouth dropped open. Finn was telling her that he was g*y. Aria didn’t know any g*ys in her school. She took a deep breath and gave him a small smile. Finn was giving her a chance at friendship, and she wasn’t about to let it go.

Finn: What are you wearing today?

Aria: Jeans and tee.

Finn: Are you for real. Are you really going to wear that to a ball?

Aria: Sure. What’s wrong with a j & t?

Finn: Don’t get me started on that Aria. You do have a dress you can wear, don’t you?

Aria: Okay I’ll wear a dress. And remember I won’t dance. I can’t.

Finn: You can’t not dance at a ball.

Aria: Finn.

Finn: Kay, kay buddy. Don’t get into a fit. No Dancin’.

Aria: 

Aria smiled at her phone. Finn had exchanged numbers with her in the class yesterday. Surprisingly, he was right about being in her class. Aria still could believe that she’d missed him for the whole first term of creative writing. It was amazing to have a g*y friend. It was better than having girlfriends in her class. Nobody in Aria’s class knew he was g*y. Only yesterday, while she and Finn were chatting, Louis Simpson walked by them. “Dude, stay clear of her. She’s the vestal virgin”, he looked at Finn, as he said it. Finn looked back coldly at him. “And Simpson, you’re just a vestal cow”. Aria snorted with un-lady like laughter, as Louis scowled at Finn. A few people turned back in surprise. Aria laughing was rarer than it snowing in Swift. Finn smiled at Aria indulgently. At that moment Aria had decided; Finn would have to be her best friend forever.

“Roses for the Lady in …” Finn peaked from behind the huge bouquet of yellow roses, “…pink” he finished, and grinned ear to ear when he saw Aria. “People are going to piss themselves”, Finn said, hugging Aria. Aria hugged him back. Her friend was delightfully inappropriate. She wore a long pink, figure hugging gown of chiffon, which her mother got her for her cousin, Esme’s wedding. It did lovely things for her. Her green eyes sparkled, like crushed emeralds. Her lips were full and pink, her complexion a story book peaches and cream. As always, she didn’t have a speck of makeup on her. She’d left her waist length, dark auburn hair open, and it fell like a silken curtain on her back. Finn looked bedazzled, and said so. “If I weren’t g*y, I’d run after you like hell”, he whispered into her ear as he came into her house. Her mom was dicing sausages at the kitchen counter, a pot of spaghetti boiled at the back. Seeing Finn come in the front door, she wiped her hands on the kitchen towel, and came out to greet him. Aria saw appreciation in her mom’s eyes as she took in Finn’s black suit and clean-cut hair. “It’s lovely to meet one of Aria’s friends”, she sighed. “This girl just doesn’t socialize and hang out. I’ve been so worried about her”. Finn raised his eyebrows at Aria in a ‘why am I not surprised?’ way. Finn appeased her mother’s queries about his background. He lived with his dad and had no siblings. Finally they were able to leave. He opened the door of the passenger seat for her, like a true gentleman. Aria felt happy as she said ‘thank you’, with a thousand feelings in that single word.

They parked outside the high school building. Finn took Aria’s elbow as they headed towards the the gigantic assembly hall, which was the venue for the Ball. The planning committee had out done themselves. The hall was covered in plush, gold and red carpet. Little, marble statues, of Black leopard, lion, rhino and jaguar hung from the ceiling. Potted bonsai trees, with red leaves were apparently procured from some exquisite place for high amounts of money. The school orchestra, who with immense originality, called themselves The Orchestra, were playing slow and soothing classical melody. Couples were already on the dance floor, and a few people were standing aside sipping juice. “Finn!” A platinum blond shrieked and came running to Finn. She hugged him tightly, and Finn reciprocated. Aria looked pointedly at Finn, when Platinum batted her eyelashes at him and began talking animatedly. Finn sure didn’t look g*y right then. And the blond was obviously head over heels in crush with him. Finn adamantly avoided Aria’s eyes, while he made small talk with Platinum. After a while, Finn mumbled an excuse, and took Aria’s arm, walking towards the other end of the hall.

“A friend of yours?” Aria narrowed her eyes at him.

“Yeah”, he looked uncomfortable. “Doesn’t she know?”

“You’re the only one who does”. Aria nodded, understanding now.

“Let’s dance”, Finn blurted out.

“Finn, please. No. I’ll injure your feet, because I just don’t understand dancing”.

“We’ll dance barefoot, in the corner”, he said pointing to a secluded corner.”

Hmm… well, ok. But I’ll be stepping on your feet all the time “, she warned.

The Orchestra began to play ‘Slow dancing the night away’, which was Aria’s absolute favorite. She put her head on Finn’s shoulder. Dancing wasn’t bad at all. Finn was a perfect partner. Aria did step on his feet, but he just laughed it away. She realized that she was actually enjoying the dreaded ball. It was a happy feeling; not being a wallflower or a nervous wreck. Aria was still in heaven, when she felt Finn stiffen. She looked up to find Asher standing near them. Her heart banged in her sternum and threatened to topple over. He looked so handsome, his blue eyes were serious as ever, and dirty blond hair fell to the nape of his neck.

“May I have a dance with the lady?” “Sure”, Finn smiled, and as Asher leaded her away, Finn winked at her conspicuously. Aria rolled her eyes at him, trying to rid herself of her nervousness.

Asher gave her a killer smile as he twirled her around. Surprisingly, she didn’t step on his feet. She was terrified of making that faux pass. Asher drew her closer, until his breath caressed her cheek. “You look different today. More beautiful than ever”, he whispered. She flushed with happiness, and butterflies jittered in her tummy. They danced for eons, and Aria was still lost in pure bliss when two hands pulled her back harshly.

“Why are you dancing with her?” Jackie screamed at Asher. Her mass of tightly curled hair flew behind her. She looked beautiful, even with fire blazing in her eyes. Goddess of wrath, Aria thought to herself.

“It was just a dance, Jackie. Cool down”, Asher was composed. “Just a dance? She was slathered over you like the whore she is, and you had your hands all over her”, Jackie growled. It was a wonder that she didn’t morph into a leopard right there and then. Fortunately for Aria, it was a daytime ball; otherwise Jackie may have morphed into a leopard and ripped out her throat. A fitting ending for a fine day.

“You bitch! You asked him for the dance. I told you to stay away”, Jackie sputtered, and pushed Aria back. Aria waited for Asher to deny it. He didn’t. Aria spun away, trying to hold back her tears. She was going to head for the door, when Finn caught her. He faced Jackie. “You know what? You’re just a jealous and hateful bitch. Your boyfriend”, he pointed to Asher “has tired of you. He’s simply not interested in your booty anymore”. He pushed himself close to Jackie’s stunned face and hissed, “And if you ever manhandle Aria, I’ll make sure that you regret it for the rest of your miserable life”.

Finn: Hey there.

Aria: Hey.

Finn: Feeling better today?

Aria: Sure. Thanks.

Finn: For what?

Aria: For sticking up for me.

Finn: Anytime darling. That’s what friends are for.

Aria: 

Finn: We’re going to JZ’s night party today.

Aria: Finn. You nag me like an old wife. Don’t you have a life, or a boyfriend?

Finn: What? I wish you didn’t have to hide your face all the time. Have some faith in yourself dude. I have a life, and you’re a part of it now. Ps.no boyfriend, nobody wants me 

Aria laughed at this. He was such an amazing person, and a rock of a friend. She couldn’t believe he didn’t have a boyfriend stashed away somewhere.

Aria: JZ didn’t invite me.

Finn: Sure he did. I saw him chatting you up on Friday.

Aria: You see too much 

Finn: Pick you up at 9 buddies.

It was Aria’s first night party in all the five years after The Revelation. Her mom and dad were only too happy to let her go. They hadn’t even given her a deadline. A classmate JZ, a filthy rich, tattooed guy with a lip ring, was hosting it. This meant that JZ was bringing in the food and drinks. Most of the guests had arrived. They were gathered in front of JZ’s house, laughing and talking with each other. Aria felt the butterflies coming back into her stomach. All she wanted to do was to run back, but fk Finn, he was holding onto her hand tightly, well aware of her intentions. JZ came by their car and thumped Finn’s shoulder, “Yo, Man” Finn thumped him back, “Yo”

Finn greeted Aria and whistled, “Hottie. Wow, thanks for coming in girl. I feel honored”. Aria blushed and smiled back, tentatively. JZ was such a big, macho guy, but a humble heart, a friendliness that bubbled over and his kind smile had put her slightly at ease. Her biggest fear was morphing in front of her classmates. She’d never done that before, and the thought of turning into a Unicorn, a species unknown to them, was punching her right in the gut. “Move guys!” JZ hollered from his car, a fitting, black Ford Mustang. The fleet of cars drove crazily, beeping their horns, with drivers shouting profanity at each other until they finally reached Rutsgate Forest. The Forest was alight, loads of teenagers and adults were already hanging out there. “Dudes, hurry! Take the lanterns and try to find a secluded spot”, JZ’s equally crazy girlfriend, Antaria, was shouting and handing out lanterns from a huge cardboard box. Someone plonked a chips carton in Aria’s arms. Finn was holding up the beer pack in one hand, with the other arm draped around Aria’s shoulder, as they entered the forest. The anterior of the forest was completely taken. Aria looked sideways, to find a pair of lions wrestling each other. Most of the Rhinos were gathered around a lake, splashing each other with water, and dunking each other into the lake. They walked deeper into the forest and were able to find an unoccupied spot. It was a clearing surrounded by oak and birch trees. “Perf!” JZ sighed contentedly, dumping a massive carton near the tree. Rest of them followed suit and put away the food and drinks in the spot chosen by JZ.

Aria had spent half a decade hiding from who she was. She’d never morphed again after the Revelation, and she wasn’t sure she still could, and if that was a bad thing or a good one. Most of the girls in the party had already morphed, after stripping naked behind a gnarled, oak tree. It was her turn, and her hands shivered as she got rid of the last item of clothing. Then she willed herself to change. It came as easy as a second nature. She closed her eyes and stepped out into the clearing. A few people gasped, and a morpholion let out a small roar. Her beauty was still blinding as ever. Even tales and myths of her beauty hadn’t prepared her friends for the sight that stood before them. Finn was still standing unmorphed, Aria wondered why. In a strangled voice he said, “Y’all please. You gotta make a girl feel comfortable”. Taking the hint, most of the people turned around, and awkwardly went back to what they’d been doing.

“Let’s do a wrestling match dude”, JZ, having morphed into a lion called for competition. “Yeah”, David stretched his black leopard’s body lazily, “Bring it on dude! The winner gets the most beer”. The rest of them pulled back, to leave the space around them. Aria was astonished to see that their Morphos were almost the same size, despite the huge differences in David and JZ’s physical appearance. David was short and thin, while JZ was muscular and tall. David and JZ circled each other, sniffing and shrugging. . To Aria, JZ’s mane looked like a really good physical advantage. Without warning David went straight for JZ. He clawed at JZ’s legs. JZ roared and hurled David to the birch tree. David collided with the tree and landed on the ground with a thud. JZ immediately went for the kill, but David rolled over and held his paw over JZ’s neck and with all his weight David kept JZ straddled to the tree. The boys began counting. JZ tore at David’s flesh, and Aria looked with horror as blood dripped down David’s torso. Yet David kept holding down JZ, all the while JZ injured David in different places. When the boys reached zero, David let JZ go, and fell back with a deafening growl. Aria looked at the mangled mess that was David. Even JZ looked bad, where David had been holding him down. Aria was repulsed and horrified. The other Morphos led JZ and David away. Nobody seemed concerned; it seemed to be a regular occurrence for them. She now remembered seeing guys in her class come in sometimes with cuts and bruises and the other times with bandaged or in arm slings. She’d never bothered to find out why; but now she knew and didn’t like it. Something rustled in the tree behind her. She turned around quickly; it was a snake.A snake with eyes that glowed like red gemstones. She’s never seen a snake. Oh, she’s seen pictures of them in history books but that was all. Snakes existed no more. As she stared into its eyes she felt drowsy, as if being lulled to sleep. Just then someone closed a hand around hers.

“I think that’s enough fun for today. Now we get to leave”, Finn said. With that she blacked out.

[][] Chapter Three

Aria woke up and thought she was somewhere else; no erase that, she knew she was somewhere else. This was a room, yet it wasn’t hers. Maybe she was just dreaming. Feeling crabby, and not just a little dizzy, she pinched herself. And scowled, because the four poster bed was still in front of her, yet someone had the gall to leave her on the floor carpet. Just when she was about to get up and take a good look around, she heard rackety voices near the door.

“No… The Master said not to disturb her”, a shrill voice whispered.

“Poor thing doesn’t know what knocked her out. I’m going to wake her up and she’s going to eat this, even if I have to spoon feed her. God, not to have eaten for twelve hours, Agnes, makes my blood freeze”, a raised voice spoke with authority.

The door handle turned, and the two women came in, and stopped short when they saw her standing. The curvy, short, red head smiled and brought a tray to her. The aroma of steaming broth, and the chunky pieces of fresh bread made Aria’s mouth water, and she realized that she hadn’t been fed in a long time. The taller one, with a stick-thin frame, stood in the doorway with her lips pinched in disapproval.

“Aria, please sit down and have some broth. I thought you’d like something light after your …. er, little adventure. We have dinner in roughly two hours”, the woman sat Aria on a chair in front of the tea table in the corner, which Aria had missed.

The tall one went out, after clucking like an annoyed hen. Aria looked straight at the red head. “Where am I? Is this a dream?” The woman sighed. “Aria, you’re at the Ministry. To be precise, the Ministry’s residing quarters”. Aria opened and shut her mouth, feeling like a fish.

“And I don’t know why you’re here. I just know that they want something from you. That’s all” The woman was about to say something else, when a pager like object, stuck to the collar of her blouse trilled.

“You’ll find out in due time”, the woman nodded at her kindly. “And I’m Laila. I happen to be in the kitchens most of the time; you can find me over there. I have to go now. Ralph, he’s not very patient”, she sighed again, and moved out of the room. Aria glared at her retreating back.

After her hunger dissipated a little, Aria took a stock of the room. It was a room out of a fairytale palace, indeed. The four poster bed was too high, the sheets too shiny and the carpet so thick and soft that her feet disappeared into it. For the life of her she couldn’t fathom why she was at the ministry, or how she’d reached it. Last she’d been awake; she was in JZ’s party, chugging a beer, and watching JZ and David have a go at each other’s throats. Finn. She hoped he was alright. She remembered his hand clasping hers, and the snake with glittering red eyes. Just one more thing in the newly formed list of things she didn’t know. Her parents! She bolted up from the chair. Sh*t. Her parents must be insane with worry. They may have called the state police by now. She could almost see Aleck driving out from his university in a hurry, and Aunt Gemma brewing ginger tea for Aria’s anguished mom as she sobbed away on her dad’s shoulder. God! She could imagine the frenzy at her house. Unless… that is unless the ministry had the good grace to call her parents and let them know. Aria wasn’t into politics. She just knew that the world was divided seven divisions, and each division had its own Ministry. The Ministry of Swift was very secretive. They had their headquarters in the Palace of Titus, which was at the very edge of Swift, and was surrounded by monstrous, sky-scraping trees that hid the Ministry from the prying eyes of townsmen. Normally, they didn’t even mingle with the common people, not even during the elections. She had seen Minister’s picture splashed out on Newspapers numerous times. He was too young, too good looking to be true, and on top of that his name was Ray. Minister Ray was touted as the youngest Minister in all history everywhere. Girls in Aria’s class treated him like a movie star. They had posters of him hanging in their rooms. Aria had found it disrespectful. A Minister was supposed to enkindle respect rather than blind adoration in his disciples, it was most inappropriate. She even remembered Sophia Murdoch showing-off her arm, his name tattooed on it, and a gaggle of admiring girls stood around her giggling.

She was still lost in thought when someone knocked. “Come in”, it was the thin woman, Agnes. “It’s dinner time. I’m supposed to show you the dining hall” Agnes muttered, not looking happy with her new assignment. Aria trailed behind her, down a long, red-carpeted corridor. Portraits, painted in oil, hung in gold frames on the ornate walls. She guessed that they were of ex-Ministers’. Huge chandeliers hung from the gilded ceilings. Aria was still gazing around, drinking in the beauty that was the palace, when Agnes came to a halt. A large mahogany door was wide open, laughter and chatter poured out of it. Agnes nodded at Aria, and Aria stepped into the room. It was a dining hall, its splendor thousand times that of the Hall of Merlin. About a dozen people were assembled around a massive dining table, goblets of gold hovering in front of them. A hush descended over the diners when they took her in. Aria, as if in a dream, floated to the table behind Agnes. Agnes pointed to an empty seat and Aria took it. Taking a look around, Aria realized that her appearance wasn’t unexpected. She did a double take when she looked at the stranger to her right. His hair was deep purple, and his pink face was unlined and almost babyish, with a matching deep purple beard. He smiled at her, and gave her his hand.

“Hello Aria, I’m Odo” She shook her hand and gave him her best smile saved for ‘struck-by-lightening’ moments. There was no point in asking him how he knew her. It seemed that everybody was aware of the reason behind her appearance, except herself.

“So Aria, what do you think of Titus?” he waved a hand towards the wall of the dining hall.

“It’s fantastic. But I wish I knew why I’m here”, she sighed.

“Well, it’s not my place to tell you. The Master called you in, and he will explain”. “Called you in” was certainly good phrasing for blind sighting and abducting an unsuspecting victim. For the life of her, Aria couldn’t guess why they called the Minister, ‘Master’. It was….unusual.

Just then the woman on her left turned to face her and Aria gasped. The woman was totally bizarre. She had three stars tattooed on her forehead, one of her eyes was pink and the other was green. Her hair was snowy white, and wore a witches’ blue pointy hat decorated with a crescent and a star. She wore a robe printed with tarot cards. Ignoring her, the woman kept looking at the goblet before her, and the liquid in it changed color from pink to green and then blue. Looking around Aria found that most of them were dressed like it was Halloween. Most of them wore pointy hats, and long sleeved robes. Belatedly, it hit her; she was in the company of magicians.

It was her third day at Titus, and by this point, Aria had almost ceased to be surprised. She had yet to see ‘The Master’. On her second day, out of sheer loneliness, Aria had wandered down to the kitchens, and found Laila. It seemed that Laila was half in love with Ray, like the rest of the staff. The castle women make him out to be an Adonis, and swooned every single time they talked of him. Aria was highly disgusted. The almighty and amazing ‘Master’ Ray seemed to have effectively forgotten that he’d gauged out a high-school teenager, in her senior year, from her normal life and plunged her into a Palace that housed weird, colorful magicians, dishes that filled of their own accord with scrumptious food and rooms that remained spotless; despite no cleaning staff ever coming in and doing the job. To Aria’s surprise, she’d found her whole wardrobe from home, neatly pressed and hung in her room closet. To Laila, she’d made a smart retort about ‘The Master’ not being able to afford a new wardrobe for her, but secretly she was pleased. It was like having a piece of home with her in this strange, new place. ” For the five hundredth time Aria, I don’t know why he wants you here”, Laila sighed. “However, I can assure you that he will not throw you into the dungeon or turn you into a toad”. Aria was sat on the kitchen table by Ralph, who had placed a steaming upside down pineapple cake in front of her. Aria could see that Ralph was sweet on Laila. He was the head chef of Titus, and had an army of chefs working under his instruction. Yet he came to anterior kitchen, and tried to draw Laila into conversation. Laila looked totally disinterested when Aria tried to point out the obvious. “I don’t plan on getting old in this kitchen, miss”, she’d replied tartly, pulling her shoulders up.

On her fifth day, when Aria had finally come to the conclusion, that she’d been brought in by mistake, the Minister’s lackey came to fetch her. He was tall, brawny and looked like an ex-murderer. He also had a squint and a jagged, white, frightening scar that loped down his left cheek. Aria felt uneasy walking down with him. As they walked down the long, endless corridors, Aria tried to make small talk. “How long have you been with the Minister?”

“Three years”, he grunted, without pausing or looking at her.

“What did you before that?”

“I was a hired terminator”. There! He was an ex-murderer. The Minister sure had some shady people working for him, Aria thought, discreetly putting some distance between herself and the creep. This had effectively curbed all her attempts at small talk, and she wished that they didn’t have to walk together for long. Her wish wasn’t granted. They covered at least three lingering staircases, two hallways and a million more corridors before they reached the Minister’s lodgings. Aria was out of breath, and she leaned against the door. The creep knocked at the door thrice, before the door flung open without warning and Aria fell inside, landing the ground on her butt. Huffing and puffing, dusting her skirt, she got up from floor and looked around for the offender; there was none. Magic, they took it for granted .The creep nodded at her, and left. Perfect, she sighed, she had just been left alone to deal with the minister. The hall was more elevated in splendor than anything she had seen. She suspected that this had been Titus’ private chamber. The walls were lined by onyx, with a smattering of bronze mosaic tiles here and there, and the overall effect was splendid. Statues carved of stone had been strategically place though out the hall. At the far end, over the massive fireplace, there was just a single oil portrait; of the Minister, Aria guessed.

A figure that had been observing her quietly from the shadows rose from a plush sofa, causing Aria to jump violently. He came closer, and the impact of him hit her in the gut like a hot knife, drawing out all air from her. He had hair dark like the midnight and raven’s wings, a little too long, unruly, and curling ever so slightly at the nape of his neck. His irises were golden, like they’d been taken and filled with the best wine in the maker’s cellar. His face was tanned and smooth; a statue carved by an artist. Muscles rippled under his half-sleeved t-shirt like someone’s who worked long and hard on the farms. And he was tall; hovering well above Aria’s five ‘six.

When she didn’t say anything, Ray thrust his hand forward, “Minister Ray”. “Aria”, she squeaked, taking his hand. It was a warm, big brown hand. She liked how it felt against hers. She gave herself a mental shake; she wasn’t supposed to be thinking about this stuff, this was the Minister. And she was forgetting something; he’d captured her against her will, and would use her for something in future. “There are things we need to get cleared Aria, have a seat”. Nodding her head she followed his suit, taking the chair opposite to him. “First, I need to apologize for getting you here urgently and in such a fashion. We wouldn’t have done this unless it hadn’t been absolutely necessary”. Aria nodded again, trying to gather her wits about her.

“I have questions”, Aria looked at him levelly.

“Shoot”, he said, watching her intently.

“How did you bring me here? Also, has my family been informed of this”, she waved her hand around.

“Remember Finn? Well, he bought you here. He’s my handyman. I’ve just recently sent him to Orana on a different mission.” He told her slowly, his eyes raking over her face. Aria’s mouth dropped open. So, that was why Finn had befriended her. Not because he liked her, but because he was doing his job. She felt depressed; the only friend she’d managed to snag was not what she thought him to be.

“And my family?” Aria asked, already dreading the answer. The first one had her still reeling with shock.

“A perception spell has been put over them. As far as they are concerned, they don’t have a daughter”, he said, and a pang of pain hit Aria in the chest.

“Why?” she asked miserably.

“We had to do it out of necessity. It’s not a permanent thing Aria; you are going to go back to your family. The spell we’ve put on them is fully reversible”.

There were a few minutes of silence, during which Aria tried to come to terms with the new information being thrown at her. The knowledge that she would go back once this got over was decent consolation.

“I’ve observed blatant use of magic in this place”, Aria commented on something which had been bothering her. The only time she’d seen magic in her life before was in the hall of Merlin at the Revelation. And that was nothing compared to what she saw here every day.

“Aria”, he took a deep breath. “You need to understand that the entire ministry is made up of magicians and that is also the case with the ministries of the other seven divisions.”

Aria gasped. It couldn’t be true, could it? She would have known if it was, heck, everybody would have known it. The world was under the control of magicians?!

“People aren’t aware of this, are they?”

“No.” “Don’t they at least have a right to know whose ruling them?” She pointed out.

“How do think people would react if this was the case?” He asked her, his intense champagne eyes boring holes into her. They wouldn’t like it, Aria knew that. People would be more comfortable knowing that they were ruled by their own kind.

“Having magicians that entertain on TV, or maintain a couple of fancy Hall of Merlins for you is acceptable. Some people still don’t call that magic. They think that the entertainers are just a couple of tricksters and illusionists. Magic or the idea of it is far beyond their idea of ‘normal’. Why do you think they burnt witches in the past? And what makes you think history wouldn’t repeat itself?” He was right. The people couldn’t know it, they wouldn’t want it. They’d want to be ruled by their own kind. “But why do you rule us. Why not average people like ourselves?” He did smiled like a cat then,

”That question, Aria brings us to our real business”.

He stood up and went to a massive window near the fire place, and pointed her to join him. She stood beside him, her shoulder almost touching his.

Tapping the window pane, he turned towards her, those hypnotic eyes so close to hers.

“What do you see?”

“Huh?” Aria had been robbed of coherent thought. “I said, Aria, What do you see out there”, he repeated, his tone impatient. Only then did Aria look from the window at the spectacle that lay below. It was a small village of sorts. Quaint little cottages, even tinier from her point of view, lay out before her in fairytale panoply. As far as she was concerned, there was no village surrounding Titus. She had driven by it in the car often enough to be sure of that. And through the cluster of trees, that surrounded the palace, only the archaic palace that served as the Ministry was visible. No village or villagers had ever been seen.

Because Ray looked questioningly at her, she said “Is this an illusion?” it had to be one, designed into the window by an outstanding architect. “No, it’s not an illusion, but an actual village full of magicians, young and old. We have put an enchantment over it, so the townspeople can’t see it”. Aria took that in. She was overwhelmed.

“So we have a magician village in Swift?”

“And other divisions.” he added.

“We have such villages in other divisions too!” This was becoming too much for Aria. The world had eight small villages full of magicians that nobody knew about. Well, that was…. interesting.

“But how do I come in all this?” She marveled at her sanity, at taking it all too well.

“That my dear, is a question for another day”, he was closer to her than she’d thought, their noses almost touching each other. Aria felt herself gaze adoringly into those eyes. He smirked knowingly, causing Aria to flush angrily. “I’m afraid can’t stay any longer. I have a meeting.” He said, turning away. Taking the cue, Aria stomped out of his chamber, where the creep awaited her outside the door.

***

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The Misfit

Born in a world of shape-shifters who call themselves Morphos, Aria knows all there is to know about being a misfit. She is one herself; the only gullible Unicorn in the division full of powerful Morphos, who are unable to accept her as one of them. Just when she thought it couldn’t get worse, it does. Blindsided and abducted by someone whom she considered a friend, Aria finds herself in the heart of the Ministry. A ministry made up entirely of magicians and surrounded by an enchanted village hidden from the eyes of Morphos. The Minister, Ray Oberoy, is charismatic, powerful and confusing. He is also engaged to the gorgeous daughter of the Minister of Valhaven. Aria quickly loses her heart to this golden-eyed, sleek-jawed Greek God, who seems to be disinterested in her. He just wants one thing from her: to save Swift, the division of which she’s a resident and he’s the Minister. Aria learns that her whole life has been a lie. She is a creature of heaven and the only one who could kill a demon that has been summoned from hell; a creature if not halted threatened the very existence of Swift.

  • Author: Ayesha Jamal
  • Published: 2016-03-08 08:50:07
  • Words: 51253
The Misfit The Misfit