I’ve been standing here for what feelings like a good hour only to waste time, I glance at the boy to the right of me. He’s a few feet taller than me and is a lot stockier than most boys I know. His arms are a little too big for his body as is the upper half of his body and I’m strangely aware of the scaly muscles defined beneath his shirt. He glances at me and looks away. I do the same thing, apologetically realising that I’m making him uncomfortable. I couldn’t help it we are standing in line in an empty room. I feel the boy on the other side of me shuffle his feet a bit before he stands at ease with his hands set behind his back.
No one has spoken.
There are cameras in this room that monitors every move and because of it, I’m consciously aware of their lack of faith in us. The air is still and silent, I can hear the breathing of my fellow classmates. Though none of them have ever spoken to me—because I didn’t really grow up on this world.
Talk about culture shock.
Eventually the door slides open and there stands a man, dressed in full body armour. It gleams in a sterling silver under the white fluorescent lights overhead. His head is exposed and I notice his short silver hair—his energy levels must be low. Than my eyes drift to the rank on the front of his chest and notice that his name last name is just below it—Colonel Izrick.
His blue eyes are cold and when I say cold, I mean they are devoid of any emotion. I thought I was seeing things but taking a second look and a longer glance. I realise I was right. He looks as though he’s seen the spoils of war and consequences of it. He stops in front of us and scans us individually. I keep my eyes ahead and stare at the wall behind him when his eyes rest on me. I remain still as a statue and notice everyone else does the same. We’re all terrified of what type of training course he has on offer for us this time. “You’re all probably wondering what you’re doing here?” he begins.
Yes, I am, I think but don’t say. I wouldn’t dare talk without being ordered let alone backtalk to a superior officer. I’m only a foot-soldier at the moment—a Rookie. I have a lot to go before I’m even considered to be a Knight and even longer before I’m considered to be a Silver Knight. I may have graduated the trial with flying colours but I still have many more problems to face and that is doing everything I’m told without complaint.
So far that’s all I want to do. I’ve done nothing but assignments, and when I say assignments I don’t mean the practical ones—I mean the written ones. We had finished secondary education and left PASA behind and I feel like I’m still there. Talk about a total drag. “You’ve all been called here for a reason. All twelve of you have proven to be the most skilled and talent young Squires PASA had to offer.” His eyes scan every face and I’m awfully aware of his gaze resting on my face of all the faces. “So now it is time to prove your worth and value to the Order of PASA. Planetary Advanced Specialists’ Artillery—that is what PASA stands for. Whether you recognise it or not is none of my concern but you are the best of the best and for the next generation you have a bright future.”
“Now as I said before, it’s time to prove your worth and value to us.” I notice a holographic screen is displayed before us. “This is classified information that will not be repeated out of this room. Everything you see in here, everything you hear in here, stays in here.”
He’s silent for a moment before declaring, “Let’s begin.”
PLANET EARTH, DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
08:00 HRS 2010
The portal opens and I step out into the backyard of my foster home. Everyone’s asleep. I trudge through the large spear grass and head passed the thick old fallen trees and into the square green grass area on this five-acre block of land in the rural area of Darwin that was considered to be our backyard. I pass the pool, wrapped in a tall bar fence. Heading up the footpath, I carry my satchel over my shoulder. At sixteen, this sight would not be considered strange at all nor arriving home late because often foster kids like to run away or so they like to say.
I arrive at the back double doors of our large house. The thought of it is too expensive but then again the thought of living in Australia is expensive in itself. The doors are locked, no surprise there. I allow my idol form—my human form—to transition (change) into my Nefaliem form a form that I was originally born in. I’m what is known as a Nefaliem Hybrid, that’s probably why no one on Nefelia will talk to me. A Nefaliem Hybrid, is a baby hatched by Tylif but then sent to Earth to be reborn by a random Human. Depending on who gives birth to the Nefaliem Hybrid, will determine the child’s social status.
So as for me, I was born into a poor family who lived boarder line poverty and as a result I was given up and put into the system from the first early months of my life until now. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, I mean I get an education after all. The one thing that keeps me from playing around with boys at my age. Being born from an Aboriginal woman and Irish Australian, makes me a half-cast Aboriginal born Nefaliem Hybrid. I stand at the door and grasp the handle. “Why are you procrastinating?” a familiar voice sounds and I glance at the shadows to see Asashin.
I freak out at his voice, not because I’m scared, but rather I’m worried about what would happen to him if someone saw him. “What are you doing here?” I demand.
“Making sure you get home okay.” he declares.
“I’m okay. I’m home you can go.” I say and slip my Nefaliem transitioned hand into the glass panel and unlock the door from the inside. I slip my hand back out and open the door.
“I can’t just yet. Here.” he says and gives me a small chip and I know what these are. My first practical assignment package. Unlike Earth, we don’t need to worry about packing because it’s already done. “You know what you have to do.”
“I do.” I whisper and head inside. The moment I close the door, the light flicks on. There stands my foster mother with messy brown hair and tanned Australian skin. Her Caucasian features are hard but elegant, she’s in her early thirties and has children of her own. Why she decided to foster—I’ll never understand. Not all of us are good, even I know that. But even so, I know why and it’s not fair but someone has to look after us I guess until we’re of age.
“Who are you talking to?” she asks, “And what are you doing up?” I frantically search for a reasonable excuse one that doesn’t cause me more problems. Especially given my new assignment and it being my first practical assignment, I can’t afford to blow it exclusively if Colonel Izrick is the report-to-man. My foster mother’s eyes shift over to the digital clock on the oven’s overhead and the next thing I hear is a blurry grounded. “It’s four in the morning! Get to bed. And you’re going to school tomorrow.” She turns her heel and stomps down the hall not even considering to ask me where I was. I guess I’m going to get that question flung at me later today.
“Perfect.” I say and scan the darkness outside and see Asashin in the distance. A portal opens and he disappears into it and vanishes without a trace. “I’m so going to sleep in class today.” I intemperately mutter.
KORMILDA COLLEGE, DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY
It’s a bizarre dream that much I knew. I was left to wait with the others in the waiting room. There’s an agonising scream of pain and I couldn’t help but follow that newly born cry. As I enter, the white clean room, I see what I never expected to see, a baby. It’s wrapped in a blanket and handed to the mother, the mother is Aboriginal several shades darker than me. She, I notice, gave birth alone—the father is nowhere to be seen. As I enter the room, no one tells me to leave instead, they smile at me and say, “Look at how you’ve grown.”
“I knew she was a beauty,” the nurse says. I regard them confusingly and glance down at the child in the mother’s arms. There was a seven-point star on its head followed by two blue claw markings on each side of its cheekbone.
I soon realise it’s me.
“That’s not possible.” I mutter.
“What’s not possible?” a voice sounds and I jump in my seat. Glancing up I spy my teacher starring down at me. His arms are crossed and I can without a doubt, tell he’s annoyed. “May I repeat, what’s not possible, miss Rodregas?”
I quickly glance at the clock, “It’s not possible that I miss recess.” I cover and Mr. Adams glares down at me before sighing and heading back to the front of class, not before declaring, if he ever found me in his class sleeping I’d be in academic detention. The bell rings a ding and dong; and before we know it we’re all quick to quit the room. Leaving before Mr. Adams could remind us about homework.
It’s recess and I head to my usual table and sit down. I didn’t notice much around me not even my best-friend Andrew who pulls out a seat across the table in the cafeteria. “Sup. How was English?”
“The worst. I fell asleep in class.”
This surprises my friend. “Seriously?”
“I know.” I manage.
Andrew begins to talk about his crush. I can’t help but nod. He’s always talking about Mark but sometimes I wonder if he notices how annoying it can be. Mark is already dating someone might I add and the woman he’s with is a little snake. She so sly it’s not even funny. I begin to wonder why the good ones get over looked. “I can’t wait until he breaks up with her.”
“He might not be gay.” I remind.
“I know he’s not gay. But he might be a bisexual.” he prompts. I internally sigh, I’m not going to get through to him in this life time that’s for sure. “I mean seriously, she’s not even that pretty. I’m certain he’s going to break up with her.” Andrew proclaims and I fight the urge to face palm myself but then again, we weren’t adults—apparently adult relationships tended to last longer, something about how they’re more careful about who they choose.
“You don’t have to be like that.” I say, hoping he’d drop the subject.
“What do you mean by like that? I’m not like anything you haven’t seen before.” he announces and I stifle a laugh, “What?” he asks pulling out his phone from his pocket. It’s the latest IPhone. Unlike mine which is the old Nokia with the wide computer keypad. I often use mine for music if anything.
“Nothing.” I cover and he gives me a half-hearted glare as he realises what he just said. “I should go get something to eat.” I say and stand.
“Oh no. Don’t look.” Andrew warns.
“Don’t look at what—?” I stupidly ask and realise it’s all but too late. I see him! I’m quick to drop down in my seat and sink a little hoping he can’t see me. With a hand to the side of my face—I hide. Andrew laughs at me but I’m too focused on who’s in the cafeteria than to pay attention to my gay best friend.
“Did he see me?” I ask peering over my shoulder.
“Honey. I’m sure he doesn’t even know you exist.” Andrew laughs and I glare.
“Why are you so mean?” I sarcastically ask.
And he sarcastically replies, “Because I can.”
“I hate you.” I grumble.
He snickers, “I know but you love me too.” Than out of the blue, I feel a presence beside my chair. I glance up and there stands John. I know without a doubt it’s him, I’d be able to pick him out of a crowd of identical models. He is so gorgeous. . .
“You didn’t forget about the practical we have tomorrow right?” he asks as I take-in the sight of his thick jawline and pale blue eyes. His golden locks sits in glossy waves around his high cheekbones. “I don’t really want to fail.”
His voice is like an angel . . . wait . . . “What did you say?” I ask, wondering if I heard him right. This is the first time he’s ever spoken to me and possibly may be the last time since he ever will as I’m known to have a bit of a sharp tongue and what comes next might be entirely my fault.
“I said ‘we have a prac tomorrow and I don’t want to fail’.” he says and I notice his friends behind him one is tall and muscular the other is short but also athletic.
“What . . . and you think I want to fail.” I demand. I want to be a doctor as if I’d waste my time failing. “Last time I checked, my grades are on average—higher than yours.” I hear his friends beside him tease him and snicker at my comment.
“Burn, John. Looks like she got you!” Andre laughs, he’s the taller muscular one with a bit of a rotten personality—how he managed to get a girlfriend was beyond me. The thought of dating him is unimaginable.
“Whatever. Just make sure you don’t wag.” he remarks.
I glare and watch as he moves over to his table near the glass window. “As if I’d skip class!” Andrew remains quiet and I glance over at him to notice he’s quick to innocently smiles at me, as he devours his chips I didn’t notice he had. It’s almost as though he’s seen a good movie.
“You know I thought you were all about education is the key to everything.” Andrew mutters before swallowing his chip and saying, “You’re . . . so into him.” I glare.
“Mind your own business.” I retort and vacate the cafeteria aware of Andrew following after me. He’s still my best-friend even though he enjoys tormenting me. Having a strong belief that education and knowledge is everything, is a bit of a battle when my crush insists on being so tempting. He probably has a girlfriend. I remind myself and hope for it, even though the thought of it makes my heart ache.
I sit behind the desk not too far away from John. My eyes continue to glance over at him and I’m stunned but not surprised by the amount of girls throwing themselves at him. I know without a doubt he would be a hot soldier, one day. Given that I knew that’s what he wanted to be, from what I heard from Andrew. He could be wrong—John may end up changing his mind. He sits two rows in front and three rows to the right, providing me a perfect view. “You might as well give up.” a girl beside me declares and I glare.
“What are you talking about?” I ask, I’ve never met this girl but I knew her. She’s the new foreign exchange student from France. Her English is okay but not perfect, with a strong accent she does well with the guys. It’s the least I could say for myself—which is a little sad. Then again, I’ve been told that I have my whole life for that type of stuff. So in the end, I don’t really mind.
“He’s out of your league.” she says, “No offense.”
“That’s totally offensive.” I retort and she shrugs her shoulders. From what I remember her name is Bernadette.
“Only if you take it that way.” she muses and glances at the front of the room. Maths begins and the class swings by rather quickly, than to my surprise, I’m off to next period. I saunter down the breezeway and head towards the bubbler (drinking fountain) not too far away and the only reasonably tasting one. I take a sip and stop, I see Bernadette heading towards the bathrooms. I’m quick to hide behind the corner because that’s pretty much what I’m trained to do. That and she did look suspicious. Glancing over her shoulder once again she heads inside. I’m tempted to follow after her but realising that I may be causing more harm than good, I refrain from such a thing and watch as the day flies by.
It’s home time and I’m knackered. It’s funny though not many Australians use the term knackered—it’s a word I received from my step-dad because he’s from England, someone who was with my mother for a long time, who eventually didn’t want me, so he took on the responsibility that is me and started looking after me because I didn’t have any blood relatives in the city. It may not be recognised by the courts but he’s still a good man and tries to make sure I have what I need and tries to make sure that I’m safe on top of everything else. I wait for his car to pull up and I see he’s black glasses through the window of the Mitsubishi Triton, it’s a a white Ute pretty much. I watch as he pulls up beside me and I hop in, aware I had said goodbye to Andrew a while ago when his mother came and picked him up. “How was school?”
“The worst.” I reply.
Our car moves along as other parents line up their cars to pick up their kids. “It can’t be that bad.” Peter announces.
“Are you kidding me? Go back to school than tell me how it can’t be that bad.”
“You’re over exaggerating.” he declares.
“I know.” I reply. “How was work?” I ask, aware he can’t tell me much. He’s a soldier, a special forces officer and I can’t see him ever telling me anything more than what needs to be said. I know the feeling all too well. No one knows that I travel from planet to planet almost every day.
“It was busy.” he deflects. I internally sigh and glance out the window as we leave the college grounds. Peter regularly drives me home to my foster parent’s house who have no problem with him being like a step-father to me. He even drives me to my Karate classes which I’m thankful for. Speaking of which it’s something I have later tonight. “Remember, you have Karate.”
“I remember.” I reply, “Grading’s coming up shortly.” Grading is often a test to determine if a person is able to move up to the next belt, I’ve nailed my forms and techniques not to mention my self-defence tactics.
“How soon?” he asks.
“The end of the year.” I announce.
“That’s far away.”
“I know.” I say and to my surprise, a man stumbles onto the road and Peter slows down.
“Bloody drunks.” Peter honks the horn and calls out the window, “Get off the road!” I sink in my seat a little, aware I see Bernadette behind us in her little silver Toyota Yaris. Peter gives an apologetic sign and Bernadette I see in the rear view mirror responds understandingly. I’m surprised by this and hear Peter say once the man stumbled off the road. “When you get your licence you’ll have to deal with stuff like this.”
“I know and my test is next week.”
“Just remember to keep your eyes on the road and your mind alert. There are both good and terrible drivers on the roads.” We cackle and soon enough I’m home. My practical assessment for PASA is at the back of my mind at the moment but I knew later tonight I would have to deal with it. The joys of living a double life . . .
It isn’t until after Karate and that I pretend to retire at home, that’s when my real mission begins. I step out of a portal and into a forest. I’m aware of where I am, Washington State, USA. I saunter through the forest and head towards the blinking lights of Seattle in the distance. In my Nefaliem Form, my blue gleaming scales and silver hair shines under the rays of the full moon. I’m alone as I wander through the forest. It took a couple of hours before I stumble upon the suburbs. I stalk through the suburbs and head for the main city. It takes a long time but I somehow manage. It’s midnight by the time I arrive at a tall glassy building. From where I stand, I glance up, in my Idol Form—my Human Form. I wore a brown leather jacket to keep me warm from the cool air. “Up we go.” I mutter to myself and head towards an alleyway.
It’s a good thing our practical was postponed earlier today. I really didn’t want to face John after the way I acted but at the same time I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to be with someone like him. All thoughts aside, I focus on entering the alleyway. Once I do, I scan left and right, both ways down the alleyway and when no one is seen, I transition into my Nefaliem Form of blue scaly skin with weapons, armour and a silver cloak. I fly to the top of the building and once I land on the top of the building, I’m quick to race over to the glass window that sat in the middle of the roof, providing skylight for the building within. I search for a hatch and notice it’s locked. I smile, “Too easy,” I announce and pick at the lock. I open the hatch and float down inside. I use the power of invisibility—our camouflage mode and bypass all the CCTV devices throughout the building until I make it to ground level.
I glance around, peering through the darkness around me and watch as the shadows engulf me. I move through the darkness with my invisibility mode on. What I searched for was something that wasn’t exactly in this building but rather under. I headed to the stairs at the far end of the room with an ‘exit’ sign above the door.
As I enter the exit. I search the darkness with my senses—using it to guide me through the maze of concrete white corridors that guided the halls. I cautiously move down the halls aware that what I’m searching for would often be guarded by spirits and demons. I glance at my Personal Computer Pack on my forearm—my armour shines a sterling silver as my PCP initiates, revealing a silver AI. I notice the AI, hovers above my forearm from his chest to his head. “My lady.” he greets.
“Mizreth.” I greet. “I need a scan of the interior.”
“On it.” he declares, his voice sounding more computerized. I glance around as I walk, keeping my forearm in front of me where I could clearly see Mizreth. It’s amazing that our AI’s didn’t have a short time period like they did centuries ago. However, they live the lifespan of its assigned partner. So for Mizreth that would be me. He would stay with me until the day I died. “The complex is clear. I’m not picking up any energy signatures.”
“Not even spiritual?” I question.
“No. The spirits may be silent tonight.” he assumes and I know if he keeps doing that he’s going to cause us problems. This is my first real mission and the second time I’ve ever really need to use Mizreth. Often our AI’s are used on missions as three things: recorders, intel gathers and guides in the most hostile situations. In a way, I recall being told that was why the AI’s were created. There’s often too much unpredictability when it comes to battles and war zones.
As I continue to saunter down the darkness of the halls, with the only light projected from my AI. I’m aware of the dangers that will be fall me. A couple of more minutes of searching the halls, I head towards the basement only to find it’s locked. “Really?” I wonder out loud.
“Perhaps you should break it.” Mizreth offers with a smile. I don’t say anything and kick. The door flies across the room and smashes against the far wall opposite me. “Don’t you think that was a little much?”
“You said I should break it.” I reply.
“But I didn’t mean you should make noise.” Mizreth counters. I glare. “What? It’s true. You could have the security guards down here in—”
“Who’s there?” a male voice calls though the shadows and I realise that it’s not just shadows that’s behind me but a source of light from a torch.
“Too late. Hide, my lady.” Mizreth whispers as he disappears from my PCP. I summon my power from my central core and focus it on my skin. Invisibility becomes me. There in the distance the security guard approaches. He’s a tall man dressed in a blue uniform. The security guard stumbles upon the doorway without a door and regards the hinges. They’re bent and out of shape. I watch as his fingers trace the hinges, his light lands upon the sight of bolts along the floor that flew out when the steel door was forced away. I’m aware of the connections he’s making but I’m also aware of my need to control my breathing—he’d hear me if I’m not careful.
“What on earth?” he mutters as I see his light spotting the metal door locked into the wall several hundred metres away from the door. He moves towards the door but also scans the darkness around him. I notice his free hand moves to the gun on his belt and I fear he’d shoot me if I startle him. So slowly, I walk towards the centre of the room, what I need is just below this room. Though, I freeze in place. The air around me chills several degrees and I’m aware of something deadly is present with us. The security guard continues to move to the door and regards it closely. His hand trails along the bent metal of where my foot dented the door. “How the hell?” he continues to speak to himself as more connections are formed.
I stand not too far from him, staring at what stared back at me with a smile. The security guard doesn’t notice but the demon that’s standing in front of him regards the security guard. I summon my metal crossbow and fire. Green sparks glitter in the darkness, a reminder my arrow was fired. The security guard ducks before spinning around pointing the gun at the shadows. The demon moves from the human man and over to me. I stand ready as it leaps at me. I grasp its shoulders and grind along the ground with my feet sliding along the floor. The security guard I notices begins to panic. The demon remains silent and disappears but I sense where it’s headed—it’s after the human.
I’m quick to use my warp majic and travel over space and distance. Connecting my knee with the demon’s chest, I save the human in time before he’s attacked by the demon. The demon flies away from me and shatters against one of the metal containers that sat in this room. I didn’t have time to question why there were containers in this room but I also didn’t have time to protect this human at the same time. I stand behind him and wait for him to turn around. His light lands on me and I see the fear in his eyes. I bare my dragon fangs and he takes off screaming.
The demon in humanoid form drops to the ground, it’s ash black skin makes it difficult to be seen in the shadows but it’s fortunate for me that my Nefaliem blood makes it easier to see in the dark. I can see everything in the darkness as clear as day and watch as the demon runs at me with its claws dragging along the ground. I warp and hold out my arm in time. I feel immediately the neck of the demon connect with my armoured forearm and watch was it flips backwards into the air. I summon my sword and move over to it, without any further delay I pierce the chest of the monster and send it back to Hell. “Now it’s best we find that relic.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” Mizreth announces.
I stand and stare at the shadows. “If I were a powerful relic, where would I be?” I mutter more to myself than Mizreth.
“Obviously out of sight and out of reach.” Mizreth announces.
I regard the remains of the demon that begins to fade away and stare at the ground where my sword sat. I pull and notice that the blade is easy to yank out. “That’s funny.”
“What is?” Mizreth asks.
“Scan the ground, I think there might be another level beneath us.” Mizreth is quiet for a moment or two and declares: I’m right. The idea would normally make me happy but given that this relic is one of many I’m sent to find it isn’t all that great.
“There’s another level under us but it appears to be abandoned. Better yet, sealed off.” Mizreth announces. I phase through the ground and head deeper into the abandoned level. I notice the room is filled with old crates covered in a white blanket for the purpose to keep the dust away. Whatever they were hiding, it explains why the relic would be here. I scan the room and demand Mizreth to scan each crate. “There’s an item that is a little different than the rest.”
“Where is it?” I ask.
“It’s four hundred meters north.” I saunter towards it, eventually dropping my arm. I’m aware Mizreth’s holographic body would rotate according to the angle my PCP was. I head closer to it and at the top of the crates I notice an old wooden box—like a treasure chest.
“Is that it up there?” I ask, Mizreth, gesturing to the chest piled at the top of the crates.
“That’s where the source is.” I leap and hop, from one crate to another than another, my feet landing lightly on each crate. A skill all Nefaliem Knights had to learn to harvest from a young age. Once at the top, I stick my arm through the chest and pull out what appears to be a chalice embroidered in golden diamonds and dashed in silver crucifixes.
“Is this it?” I ask.
“The energetic majic radiating from it determines its inhuman properties. That and I think this is the chalice Neragarden had forced Prador to use in order to gain the power of the angels.” We’re silent for a moment longer before I declare.
“Alright, time to go.” I say as I place it against my utility belt where it’s magnetised to my belt and doesn’t move for the length of the journey home.
I return back to Darwin, Australia. Aware I’ve completed my mission. I’m quick to inform my supervisor Volvomich and the officer in charge of the mission of my accomplishment. I manage to sneak back into the house and this time, I enter without being caught and slip over to my room. Just when my hand graces my doorknob I hear a soft voice. “Kal?” it questions. I follow the voice and see seven-year-old Maria rubbing her eye with dishevelled strawberry blond bed hair. “Why are you up?” she asks through a yawn.
“Shh, Maria. Go back to sleep.” I whisper as I brush her hair back from her face. “You have school tomorrow.”
“So do you.” she whispers in return as she moves over to me and gingerly wraps her arms around my waist. “I’ll go back to bed if you do.”
I rub small circles on her shoulder and say, “Okay.” Without any further delay, I lead Maria back to her room before heading back to mine. The next day, comes quickly and I wake with a start and to the sound of loud but short bashing against my door and Maria’s voice.
“Kalverya! Mum says to get up!” she calls and continues to bang on my door.
“I’m up!” I call back, even though all I want to do is go back to sleep. Maria’s voice disappears and the banging stops. I know without a doubt right now; Maria has returned to the mother-ship to report that I’m well awake. I sit up in bed, the rays of the morning light filter through my blue curtain and I throw my feet over the edge. My feet sting against the cold tiled floor. The next thing I do is yawn and stumble towards my door, grabbing my towel from the back of the door, I saunter to the bathroom only to realise the door is locked. I knock on it. “Aaron! Hurry up! I need to use the bathroom!”
I hear my foster father’s voice boom down the hall. “You don’t have time for that Kalverya!”
“I need a shower. I’ll be quick!” I call back. I hear him grumble something under his breath but turn back to the door to find thirteen-year-old Aaron staring back at me with his well-groomed brown hair.
“I need a shower.” he teases. I glare.
“Go away.” I grumble and watch as he flees down the hall dressed in full uniform. I enter the bathroom and quickly get ready. The next thing I know, I’m sitting at the dining room table with Maria and Aaron. In the high chair to the left of me is nine-month-year-old Michael who continues to play with his Weetabix. The scary part is there’s another one on the way I’m reminded, as I notice the small bump on my foster mother the moment she walked into the kitchen.
“Hurry up and eat Kal. You’ll need your strength.” my foster mother scolds.
“I know Jane.” I reply. She gives me a look that says, “watch it” and I do, returning my attention back to my breakfast. Not long after, I’m on my way to the bus stop at bus stop on the side of the road where our buses pick us up. There isn’t an actual bus stop. Aaron and Maria also wander to the area where I normally stand to be picked up. Their bus naturally comes first than mine. In a way, it’s a pain.
“Stop it Aaron!” Maria wails. I spin around and see Aaron keeping Maria’s bag from her. “Give it back!” She turns to me, “Kal!” I sigh and storm over to Aaron who’s quick to run from me but I’m quick to catch him by the bag.
“Stop stuffing around first thing in the morning.” I growl as I toss Maria’s bag back to her.
“Y-e-a-h.” Maria sarcastically announces. I shoot her a warning look and she’s silent. Aaron laughs at his sister’s silence and falls silent the moment my eyes rest on him.
“Really?” I ask, “You’re going to fight before school?”
“I’m only having fun.” Aaron retorts.
I glare, “It may be fun for you but obviously your sister didn’t enjoy it. So in my eyes it’s not fun.” Aaron shrugs it off than apologises—I knew he did that for a reason. When we get home later today, he’s going to have to apologise if he didn’t already than Jane is going to make him. I internally sigh; I can’t wait until I move out.
I pull out my phone and read over the text, I received from Peter.
Sorry Kal. Can’t pick you up today had to head into work early. I’ll pick you up after homework centre as usual.
I sigh and this time I hear Maria ask, “What’s wrong?”
Aaron stands on the other side of me and I regard Maria. “Peter can’t pick me up.” The three of us are silent until our buses arrive. Maria and Aaron are kind enough to say goodbye while I wait for mine and when my bus arrives. The first thing I hear is the sound of my name being called. I smile at the familiar driver as I climb on and see at the back of the bus my classmates. Well they aren’t entirely my classmates they were in my year level though, so in a way; they kind of are but kind of aren’t my classmates.
I head to the back and sit down. “You’re catching the bus today.” Matilda says. She’s a tall Australian brunette with no Aboriginal blood. Her tanned white skin is filled with freckles but somehow she makes it work.
“Obviously.” Anna declares, she’s a Malaysian Australian and I’ve always been quick to notice how pretty she is. “So what you couldn’t get picked up by your step-dad?”
I shake my head, “No. He had to head to work early.”
“That’s a bummer.” Anna replies.
“Tell me about it.” Soon enough we leap into a conversation about geeky stuff like Anime, Manga, DC Comics the works and by the time we were discussing the possibility of Wonder Woman and Superman as a romantic item. We’re at school and there twenty minutes before the bell as usual.
As I enter the school grounds, I pass the usual canteen than the cafeteria until eventually I stumble upon Andrew. “Sup.” he greets.
“Sup, yourself.” I reply and he smiles.
“Well guess who I saw.” Andrew declares, pulling off his large headphones and letting them sit around his neck.
“Who?” I ask, not really caring. “Mark?”
Andrew raises his brow than smiles, “Yeah I did but he’s not the one I’m thinking of right now.”
“Wow really?” I sarcastically muse.
“Come on seriously.” Andrew whines.
After a few moments I question, “John?” And Andrew nods while I roll my eyes. “And guess what happened?”
I sigh and move pass him, “What?”
“Bernadette asked him out.” I froze on the spot.
Peering over my shoulder I ask in a trembling quiet voice, “What? Did he say?” I really didn’t want to hear the answer than again; I didn’t want to know at the same time. This type of thing is none of my business but I felt the aching desire to know and if he is no longer on the market. I would have no right what so ever to have any form of feelings for him.
“He . . . I’m afraid said yes.” In that moment, the world wasn’t the same. My heart felt like a dagger had been run through it and my eyes stung. I glance over at Andrew and see the saddest look in his eye. “I’m so sorry Kal.” He could tell I wanted to cry but I didn’t. I don’t want to, not with so many people around.
“No big deal.” I manage after some time.
“But aren’t you still his partner in chemistry?” he asks.
I slowly nod, “Yeah. And I have chem first thing in the morning. After home group.”
Andrew places a hand on my shoulder and I meet his eyes. “He’s an idea. Get him alone, you can hold him down and I’ll punch.” The idea of that makes me bubble in laughter but the pain continues to linger. “Why don’t we head to our spot?” I nod and Andrew leads the way. When we make it to our spot at the back of the school near the oval, I begin to think about things. I count the amount of things I have to do and realise that I have too much as it is. I’m a soldier but I’m also a teenage girl so why could life be so cruel. That’s when I notice Bernadette at the opposite end of the oval. She’s looking down at her phone when I notice she glances from left to right than back again. Andrew continues to talk about what he would do if Mark was in the situation that I’m in with John and I realise he’d do what he’s doing now so I remain silent. Instead, my eyes linger on Bernadette than rest on a stranger walking towards her.
It’s a man.
He hands her something, speaks to her than takes off. I regard Bernadette and suck in a mouthful of air the moment I realise her eyes lock on mine. I can tell without a doubt whatever happened she didn’t want anyone else to see.
Our eyes held each other’s gaze a little longer. In one moment, Bernadette breaks our gaze and quickly turns her heel and retreats around the corner. “So you know how it is . . .” I hear Andrew say. I forcibly turn my attention to my dearest friend, fearing I’d hurt him if I didn’t.
“Did you . . .?” he begins, “You didn’t hear a word I said didn’t you?” The bell rings loudly overhead as I stand and leave where we sat. Andrew is quick to follow after me ranting about how my lack of concentration bothers him. I sigh and apologise. He smiles and forgives me but demands it doesn’t happen again. I nod and agree.
After homeroom, I head to my designated class where I often learn and undergo practical’s for chemistry. Once I head inside, the first person I notice is John. He’s quick to catch my gaze and I discreetly pull my attention from him. I could feel him watch me as I ignore him. Instead, I focus on my teacher who insists on being a bit of a scatter brain this morning. Everyone in the room can see it. “Alright class, today we are learning about stoichiometry.” she says in her old frail voice. I regard Mrs. Luthen as she scribbles the word ‘stoichiometry’ on the board. “We’ve briefly touched base with this but at the same time spoke about dynamic equilibrium which will be explained in your senior years.” As the class progresses we are split off into our designated groups with our designated partners and I fight the urge to run away.
John walks over to my table with his practical book and mocks, “Ready partner?” I nod and don’t say anything. I stand feeling his eyes watch me as I walk over to the benches and begin to set up our experiment. We conduct our experiment together mostly in silence while I continue to fight the urge to look at him. “Is everything okay?” he eventually asks. I force my eyes to blankly regard him. This action is immediately a mistake as I can’t help but think of Bernadette.
“What makes you think something’s wrong?” I evenly declare.
John appears almost uncomfortable and says as he rubs the back of his neck, “Well you’re always lively and talkative, you know. Sure I tease you every now and again outside of class and may act like a jerk but I think you’re a pretty cool lab partner. That and if there’s something wrong I want to know because I don’t exactly want to fail.”
At those words, I can’t help but glare, “Nothing’s wrong and you’re not going to fail because I don’t want to fail.” I state before muttering, “I can’t afford to fail.” Unlike John he can have a gap year after year twelve and live with his parents by that time I’ll be living on my own and the question on how to do that tickles at the back of my mind. I’m dreading the day I’ll complete school and dreading the day even more when I’ll be on my own. I guess you have to grow up sometime Kal. I think. After period’s one and two chemistry is over and recess comes.
The day swings by quickly, the only thing that I can recall ever really happening is when I left my physics class to fill up my water bottle only to walk pass that same man who had given Bernadette something earlier this morning. He glances at me for a moment than continues in stride to the front office. The place where the school reception is and the where the principle sits. “Weird.” I mumble than return back to physics.
It isn’t until after school, I notice things become a little strange. I take note of Andrew and his consistent complaining as we dump our bags in the locker room before entering the library. “What are you complaining about?” I hoarsely whisper. I glare at Andrew waiting for an answer.
“Look.” he says and I do as the locker room is lined in glass windows. I see in the library there’s a bunch of tables to study on and further away are shelves and shelves almost eight feet tall of books and more books. On the left there are a bunch of computers for students who don’t have a computer at home or didn’t bring their own laptops. My eyes rest on Mike with his arm strung around his girl—Natalie.
“Try not to think about it.” I attempt.
“Easy for you to say.” Andrew is quick to grab his books and head inside the library. I notice my bag vibrates. I take one last glance at Andrew and search inside my bag, my phone is ringing and it’s not my personal one. It’s the phone that Andrew doesn’t realise exists. I’ve received a new message:
Portal Route 2B…
I glance at Andrew through the glass and turn my phone off, taking out the sim. I tuck it back into my bag and head over to Andrew, he glances up on my approach. “What’s up?”
“I need to leave.” I say. He scans the library.
“Are you going to tell the teacher?” he asks.
“Yeah. Of course. Why wouldn’t I?” I ask and he raises both brows quickly and pulls a face. “What?”
“Most of the time you disappear.” he says, “What are you living a double life?” he mocks and I force a laugh, trying to not make it sound suspicious at all.
“Anyway, I’m going to tell the teacher and I’ll see you tomorrow.” I manage as I slink away. Andrew waves and begins to read. I head over to my math teacher Ms. Smith. Her long blond hair is pulled up on her head and her blue eyes grace mine the moment I stop before her. “Excuse me, miss. I need to leave.”
“Do your parents know about this?” she asks. I’m lost for a moment, of course they don’t but it doesn’t really matter and the question remains which parents.
“Yes.” I lie.
“Do you have a letter of leave?” she questions and I’m once again lost until I realise what she’s talking about. I nod.
“It’s in my bag.”
I stand there awkwardly and she shoos with her hands. “Go get it.” I’m quick to get my letter I had folded away in my bag for emergencies. I show it to her and regard her features scrunched in concentration. She flips it over before handing it back to me. “You’re free to leave.”
“Thank you.” I say before quickly quitting the library with my bag stationed over my shoulder. I descend down the stairs and head for the girl’s bathroom not too far away. Once inside, I’m quick to place my bag on the ground, after I ensure the bathroom is empty and feel my idol skin heat. I feel my energy tingle along my skin before I feel it gathering at my feet than running along my legs towards my head. It’s the same notion where my scales begin to conceal my body from my toes to my head—transforming my Idol form (human form) into my Nefaliem form. I pick up my bag and pull out a cube from my utility belt and watch as it scans my bag before shrinking it down to size where I place it in my utility belt.
I’m taller than what I am in my Nefaliem form than in my idol form because of my heels, a biological representation—a biological reminder of what I really am. I regard the ceiling and float towards it before I begin to phase through it. Passing through the ceiling, the ventilation shaft and onto the roof. I see the clear blue sky and I feel my energy surround me as I work to conceal my existence. Once I’m certain I’m in my camouflage mode—I shoot into the sky. A portal opens and I fly into it, leaving planet earth behind.
The portal opens in on a planet I’m not all too familiar with. I fly into a world of red, orange and darkness. I regard the sight of soldiers marching towards a line of soldiers in the distance. Their uniforms are different but similar. Their weapons and shields are also designed similarly but with different crests. I hear my earpiece buzz to life and the sound of Cornel Izrick’s voice enters my ear. “I see you’ve responded.”
“I have sir.” I reply.
“Hold your position until Lieutenant Morgret arrives.” Volvomich? “Down below is a mercenary group against the royal army of planet Sparta. Due to our allegiance with planet Sparta we are to defend the royal heir who is amongst the royal army.”
“Did they call for our help?” I question.
“Yes.” The even bigger question is should we even be involved in wars on other worlds—I mean it’s not ours to deal with we didn’t even start it. “Your mission here private is to secure his highness’s safety in place of his knight. Nothing more. Understood?”
“Understood.” The line severs and I’m left alone to stare upon the sight of pure darkness. My silver hair and cloak sways in the wind as they are tinted a blood red colour. The colour of the sky above. No one seems to notice me and because of that I begin to descend and hide amongst the trees. I stand at the edge of the forest hidden in the shrubs for a while and notice that a sibyl floats around my head, recording everything that plays out. I regard it than ignore it. A sibyl is an AI in a sense but is nothing like Mizreth. Instead, it records, distributes and catalogues recorded videos of wars where the Nefaliem are. It’s a pre-caution should anyone abuse their power. It also allows our superiors to ensure we are doing what were supposed to be doing. The sibyl floats away and I hear stomping from behind me.
I’m quick to stand and turn around only to be tackled through the shrubs and into the open grassland. I’m slammed into the ground and feel the weight of a heavy monster pinning me down. “Lookie what I have. I rotten Nefaliem Knight.” it gargles and the first thing I notice is its golden eyes glowing through the shadows surrounding it’s features.
I feel the monster’s forearm press over my collarbone keeping pinned down. I glare at the beast above me and realise that there’s one thing that I can do in this position. With my arm free, I unsheathe my forearm blade that sits above my forearm in my armour and hear the zing as it stabs into the abdomen of my attacker. I regard the shock and pain concealing his features and I wait for him to pull himself from me and when he does. I roll over my shoulder and pull myself to my feet. “Nefaliem.” he grumbles before falling to his knees and dying.
I notice the mercenary army moves to surround me and I glance at the sight. They all point sharp swords or spears at me. I push one away and raise my hands. “I surrender.” I say and watch as two men in front of me turn to glance at each other for a brief moment before turning their attention back to me. I couldn’t help but shrug with a small smile. “Can I talk to your Captain?” I ask.
“A woman has no right to ask such a thing.” One of the members declares and I glare.
“Yeah, I get that but if you don’t I’m going to start taking down all of you one by one.” I warn. I gesture to the large troll that pinned me down earlier and regard the men surrounding me, “Unless you want to end up like him you’ll let me speak to your Captain and trust me . . . I wasn’t even trying.” I feel fear simmer through the group and I smile. I don’t enjoy violence but in some situations sometimes that’s all you can do in order to ensure your survival and that’s what I need to do—survive.
“You’re a witch.” one remarks.
I move my fingers as if I’m casting a spell and watch as they shuffle back. “If I’m so deadly why do you take the chance? I could always turn you into a chicken.” I remark and watch as their eyes widen.
“Enough.” a male voice booms. On a high horse, trots a man in gleaming silver armour—his armour isn’t like ours. Instead, it’s more primitive, it reminds me of the armour the humans had in their early wars.
“There’s no such thing as sorcery.”
“Really?” I voice out-loud. Energy—majic runs through my veins. My people are dragons for heaven’s sake.
“Yes. It’s fake. It doesn’t exist. You’re a liar.” he annunciates slowly. I couldn’t help but scrunch my face a little in annoyance.
“How so?” I question. I’m certain by my physical appearance I don’t look Spartan. He assesses me and dismounts his steed. Pulling off his gloves his men move out of his way and I notice he’s quick to walk around me like a lioness cornering its prey.
“You are not Spartan. Are you?” he questions.
“What gave you that idea?” I retort and hear his men grumble in distain. I hold their sneering gazes. The Captain calms down his men and gestures to where the royal army is in the distance.
“You’re here for them, aren’t you?” he inquires.
I’m silent for a moment, holding the glare of this annoying man, “I don’t have to answer that.” His lips pull into a snarl and the next thing I feel is pain radiating from the back of my skull. Its pinch at first but when I turn around to face it. I see a large fist racing towards me before I feel excruciating pain radiating from my nose. Not before long I begin to collapse and black out.
I wake in fear of my life; startled by the possibility of my death. My eyes register to the room I’m in and It’s a holding cell. My mind is ruffled. I have no recollection at first as to why I’m here but then in a blink of a moment, it all comes flooding back and I groan. I move to sit up only to feel the force of my aching skull pounding against the front of my forehead. “Ow.” I mumble and slowly push myself up.
“Look who’s awake.” a male voice sounds. I glance at the source and see through the metal bars, there is a man who he continues to sit and watch me from the shadows. I suddenly feel the need to shiver.
“Who are you?” I ask.
“I’m none of your concern. However, it’s the Captain who will be of your concern.”
“What do you mean by that?” I ask as I regard the guard a little more closely. He stands and disappears around the corner declaring: “You’ll find out soon enough.” Than out of the blue . . . bang! Bang! Bang! Three consecutive explosions reign throughout the prison. Debris, dust and metal flies everywhere and I’m quick to cover my eyes. There at the opposite end of my cell is Volvomich. He ducks into the cell and immediately his eyes lock onto my guard. I see the look cloaking Volvomich’s features and I’m terrified. He zooms through the bars with his Nefaliem super speed, breaking them down and tearing through them. Immediately, he’s before the guard who freezes in fear. I turn away as I know what is going to happen next. I hear the sound of a snapped neck and turn back to see the body fall to the floor lifeless. Volvomich steps over the deceased Spartan man and I stumble to my feet with the wall for support. “You should know better than to turn a blind eye. Death is the impending truth.”
“I know.” I mutter. He’s silent before he turns his heel.
“Let’s go.” As I follow Volvomich out I notice that there is dust, dirt and blood everywhere. “Try not to look if you can’t handle it.” I nod and follow after him through the base of dead bodies.
It isn’t the first time I’ve seen Volvomich angry but it is the first time I’ve seen this many bodies. The wounds the men received were done by a sword. I regard the blade sheathed on Volvomich’s back and notice that blood is coagulated around the edges of his metal sheath. The sight of it makes my stomach turn but also it makes my heart yearn for the amount of lives lost. We saunter through the grounds and not before long a man runs out. But he surprisingly isn’t facing us. Instead, his back is turned and he knocks into Volovmich who I hear grunt in annoyance. The man falls on his rear and glances up at the towering Nefaliem. I can sense this man’s fear but I can also sense his desire to live. He picks up his sword and charges at Volvomich who catches the blade. With his scales, the blade wouldn’t even tickle let alone cut.
The sword shatters under Volvomich’s fingers and not before long the man stumbles back and stares at the pummel in his hand. I see the man’s eyes grow wide with fear and Volvomich glares. His eyes drift to me than to Volvomich before he turns his heel and flees. It isn’t long after that before we leave the enemy camp behind. We settle in the forest. “Are you in pain?” Volvomich asks.
I shake my head, “No just a headache.” I see he regards me a moment longer. His eyes seem to carefully assess me. “What about the prince?”
“He’s fine.” Volvomich declares. “There settled a few days north of here in the mountains where we’re headed.” I feel relief wash over me and not before long we were on the road again but this time. We don’t exactly walk or use a portal. Instead, we use our power to fly. And fly we did. High into the sky and towards the enemy camp. As we fly, I sense Volvomich’s mind link with mine and his warning to keep my pace. The sound of our movements in the air would cause heads to turn. So, flying at top speed is definitely a no go. Eventually we arrive at the camp, later that evening. Torches are lit and when we descend the guards are the first to block our path. “We’re here for an audience with his highness.” Volvomich declares. The guards look us over before one of them regards me. “She’s female.” one announces.
“She’s with me.” Volvomich states and I’m aware of what’s going to happen. The guards glance at each other.
“Women aren’t allowed in the war room.” Volvomich briefly glances at me before moves past the guards.
“Wait for me.” he calls and I nod. Once Volvomich is gone the guards turn to me. I hold my chin high and say:
“You do know I have permission to be in this camp, right?” I ask and they’re silent, “Would you like to question his highness? I’m sure he’d give you an answer.” I confidently say. Even though we’ve never met, I’m aware Volvomich would ensure that the others would know who I was before he’d rescue me. Than that thought alone sort of annoyed me. I need to be strong, resilient and powerful. To do that I knew I’d have to fight to take down bigger opponents than me. The men stepped aside but didn’t take their eyes off of me. I trudge through the camp and scout out the area reserved for us. I notice it’s at the far end of the camp. Far from the others. I smile, Volvomich is smart—wouldn’t want to get too close to the others.
“You do know I have permission to be in this camp, right?” I ask and they’re silent, “Would you like to question his highness? I’m sure he’d give you an answer.” I confidently say. Even though we’ve never met, I’m aware Volvomich would ensure that the others would know who I was before he’d rescue me. Than that thought alone sort of annoyed me. I need to be strong, resilient and powerful. To do that I knew I’d have to fight to take down bigger opponents than me.
Once at the tent, I scan my surroundings. Satisfied with no one trailing after me, I headed inside and notice it’s bigger than what I expect it to be. Then again, this is the standard tent for Spartan Knights. However, we weren’t Spartans but we were Knights. I wonder if it was the King who insisted we sleep in its confines. Feeling a little tired, I choose a straw of bed on the ground and crawl on it before curling up and sleeping. I wake to a whispering noise. Frantically I glance at my tent doors. It’s closed. I note Volvomich’s sleeping form at the opposite end of the tent. Carefully, I tread from my sleeping area and over to the tent exit. I slip outside and hear the sound of whispering once again. This time it’s a little different. It sounds as though it wants me to follow it. I question what to do. What would Volvomich do? I wonder as I stare at the shadows only to realise something in the shadows is staring back at me. I see it turn its heel and disappear. “This so isn’t a good idea.” I mutter. I follow after the shadow, only to hear a voice behind me.
“What isn’t a good idea?” I turn over my shoulder to see Volvomich staring in the direction I had saw that person.
“You saw him didn’t you?”
“I did.” he proclaims and steps passed me.
“So you must have heard that whispering, earlier on?” Volvomich doesn’t answer instead he stares on ahead. I watch him wander a good hundred metres before he turns over his shoulder and declares. “Are you coming or are you going to stand there staring at empty space?” he quizzes. I grumble a curse under my breath. “I heard that.” he announces at the edge of the forest. I’m not surprised, our hearing is very sensitive, just as our eyes are sharp. With energetic majic flowing through our veins we have more than enough power to become invincible but even that is a vulnerability—or so I’ve been told. I follow after Volvomich. It’s after a few minutes of wandering through the forest that I catch a scent lingering in the air.
“What’s that smell?” I ask.
“That would be the King.” Volvomich informs he’s silent for a moment before adding, “You can come out now.” His sharp blue eyes scan the darkness and I follow his lead. Out from behind a tree steps a man. By the shadow of the forest, his features are hidden but as he steps towards the clearing where we stand, I notice his features are revealed.
“King Eurotas what are you doing out here?” I question.
“I need to speak to you two . . . alone.” he announces and I glance at Volvomich the moment he regards me—I recognise that look masking his features. We both don’t have a clue as to what the Spartan King could possibly want but we accept what he needs.
“For what purpose?” Volvomich asks. I feel a chill in the air and as the two being to converse about a potential traitor I scan the area around us. The leaves dance in the evening wind, gently fluttering against the backdrop of the crescent moon.
Than in one moment, I sense it. “Sir.” I prompt. “I felt it.” he confirms.
The King who is now before us, I feel regard me with a questionable gaze. “What . . . the wind?” the King presses as he looks around.
“No.” I say. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you why we Nefaliem are considered formidable?” Volvomich questions.
The King is silent for a moment than says: “No.”
Volvomich is silent, my queue to explain, “We are able to sense energy levels as we are made of ancient energetic magic. Something we often refer to as energetic majic. It’s the existence or life force of an individual or an inanimate object. Depending on whether it’s living or inanimate will determine its initial energy level. A living person will have a higher energy level than say a rock.”
“How can you sense a rock? It’s not alive.” the King smartly inquires.
“Like I said the initial energy level. It will be there in the background but not as a presence but as an actual presence of an animal or in this case a Spartan man.” I stare in the direction I sense the presence of a man. Within a split second something separates from the unidentified man and flies towards us. I’m quick to step in front of the King and deflect it with my blade. Something I realise is a throwing knife. The knife sticks into the ground and I glare at the darkness. I sense several more knives are tossed towards me, using my short blade I deflect them all. I feel Volvomich sprint towards the shadows. With his super speed he’d be more than able to catch whoever is causing so much problems in seconds he disappears but I hear everything that follows after.
The sound of a body is smashed against the bark of a tree. A gasp escapes the lips of the stranger and I hear Volvomich growl-like a dragon. He’s pissed and the enemy knows it. “Who are you?” Volovmich darkly answers.
“Don’t make me ask again. I’m a very impatient man.” Volvomich warns and I feel the King shift behind me.
“What’s going on?” he asks.
I hear the sudden sound of tearing flesh. Than the agonising scream of the man. Volvomich must have harmed him somehow. “Are you going to answer the question or should I tear off another finger?”
“Trust me. You don’t want to know.” I reply. The King falls silent and I hear another voice.
“Father?” I’m quick to scan the shadows and notice the King runs to his son who appears to be around my age. “Why are you out here?”
“Jaheem, I need you to return to the tent.”
“But—” the son begins. In the background of their conversation I hear everything Volvomich is doing and everything the stranger is spilling. I already feel sorry for him. I know for a fact he hasn’t just lost a finger but several. That thought alone makes my stomach queasy.
“It’s not safe here, your highness.” I declare with utter concern. If there is a man several feet away with an agenda to assassinate the king than my fears for the prince would be correct.
“But why is my father here?” the Prince asks.
“Son you mustn’t be here.” King Eurotas hushes. I nod my head. He really shouldn’t be here. The royals shouldn’t even be in the same company. It’s true. The royal family is considered to be a priority target by many. Many have already attempted to assassinate them—explaining why the members of the royal house must have their own knight. Someone who I’m certain is dead and if so who will be there to protect this family?
“I know father but I came to make sure no harm has come to you.” Jaheem announces and I can’t help but awe at the sight. Both males regard me with a risen brow.
“What it’s a sweet sight,” I utter than I notice a loud snapping sound. Using my super speed, I grasp the King and the Prince before swinging around a boulder and forcing them to the ground. Wind blows around us and I hear several trees fall over before snapping. I feel something collide with the boulder we hide behind. Something flies through and the next thing I notice, Volvomich is unconscious several feet behind me.
“Stay down.” I order. The King and the Prince nod in union and I take off to Volvomich. I notice he’s face is a little chalky. Then I notice blue blood pools out from his scales. I regard the sight in horror. There is very few things in this universe that can harm us and I fear the one thing that can is in the hands of our enemy. I hear the sound of footsteps heading towards me and I take note of the figure. He’s dressed in black armour and his features are concealed behind a black face plate much like our own but I notice he’s uniform isn’t that of scales. It’s something different. “Who are you?” I ask.
The man doesn’t say anything instead, he attacks. I leap out of the way and avoid being burnt by a green angry flame. There’s energy radiating from his fingertips in green waves. He has power something which is beyond dangerous as I know for a fact—this man is here to cause severe damage. I regard the royal family and call, “Run!”
I notice the stranger observes the prince and the king carefully before he begins throwing green flames at them. I flip to my feet and kick, feeling the power of my energy flowing through my leg and out my feet, green fire erupts. The man back flips away and sweeps sending flames towards me and I butterfly flip over the flame and stand on my feet. He regards me for a moment and I stand with my hands out ready to fight. I hear Volvomich climb to his feet, no doubt, he’s regained consciousness. I don’t need to look over my shoulder to know where he is, I can feel his presence behind me. Not too close but close enough to help me keep this man away from the king and prince of this planet.
Behind the man in black there is several more men dressed in different attire. Several wore blue Nefaliem robes, others wore Spartan red and gold peplos and chlamys, while others wore Babylonian attire. This group appears to be diverse and to my surprise on the same side. What has caused this?
“That would be the Dark Cartel.” Vovlomich announces.
“What’s that?” I ask. A man dressed in all red, steps forward. With dark hair and golden-red eyes almost bronze he smiles a smirk that is set alight by the moon revealing the planes and curves of his features.
“The Dark Cartel, is what the United Council would consider, politically and morally incorrect.” the man announces.
“And who are you?” I demand.
“Why little Nefaliem, I’m known as General Taheal.” the man declares, slowly twisting his arms behind his back and threading his fingers together as if he were having an ordinary conversation with a friend. “Why don’t we work together? Hmm?” His brow raises a little and I subconsciously squeeze my fists a little tighter.
“Not a chance.” I remark. “The Dark Cartel and the United Council are sworn enemies. There’s no way I’d help you let alone work with you.”
He sighs, “That’s a shame. I figured a child from the all-powerful Nindo clan would understand but given your words. I’m made clear of where you stand.” His eyes are dark and sharp. “Kill them both.”
Volvomich appears in front of me. I notice he didn’t use his warp majic like some would, instead, he used his super speed. He stands ready in front of me to fight and I regard him stunned, “What are you doing?” I demand, “I can take care of myself.”
“They’re after their highness’s. Stop them!” he declares and throws a fist, but I notice it isn’t just a punch instead, his energy moulds into something different—it’s like a projectile was shot from his fingertips big enough to wipe out all seven men in one move. Some stay down others crawl to their feet. “Go now! Remember your mission. Protect the royal family!” he barks. I nod and take off after the king and his son. I hear several explosions. I hear Volvomich fighting the men, both physically and with the power of our energetic majic.
I run through the forest, feeling my eyes sharpen in the darkness. Feeling my nose tingle before the scent of their majesties are at the tip. Just as I catch their trail I feel something slam into my left shoulder. I’m flung across the forest. I land in a pile of trees. I move to sit up and rub my aching head. “Ow, who the heck did that?” I ask.
“I did.” I hear a voice behind me and I sense an attack. I’m not sure what but I evade in time and watch as the trees splinter under the attack. The fist of the troll I had taken down earlier, is lodged into the bark of the trees. He pulls his hand away and stands to face me. His eyes lock with mine and I recognise those golden eyes, “Remember me?”
I stand with my fists ready to fight and I watch as he saunters over to me. His big feet carefully glide along the base of the fallen and uprooted trees. “What do you want?” I demand.
“What does it look like?” he growls. “I’m after the head of the royal family.”
I glare, “So what you want to kill the king is that it?”
“Why else would I be here?” he retorts. Growing angrier by the second I launch myself at him, I throw a fist but am surprised by him catching it and pushing me back as if I were a mere feather. My back collides with the bark of a nearby tree and I watch as he moves over to me.
I block his oncoming attacks. His next punch I notice isn’t like his other punches, as he aims for my face. I lean away and notice the transparent energy wrapped around his hand and wrist. I flip backwards, in a gentle backhand spring, knocking his fist away with my boot. I elegantly land on my feet and bring up my fists. He regards me, momentarily before continuing his string of attacks.
I continue to block and protect myself. Only to slip around a tree and watch as the entire tree shivers under his impact, I hear his fist is yanked out of the bark before he chases after me. I surprisingly regard the monster and evade his stomping feet as one of them threatens to kill me. “Will you hold still?” he grumbles and I leap over a nearby boulder and land several metres below, near a river.
I hear their majesties in the distance and know I have to do something. Another sound waffles my ears and I hear the sound of heavy panting as if something or rather someone is chasing after them. I glance at the troll high above. I gather my energy and float above the ground and over the river. I have to loose him or I risk losing the king and the prince. Without the royal family, the current prophet of this world will cease to exist.
I see it in the distance. A looming figure that chases after the head prophet and his son. I glance behind me and see the Troll is gaining—a smile curls at my lips as I continue to run at a constant speed that isn’t too fast for the troll but not too slow. Without further ado, I leap over the figure that chases after the royal family. I quickly slip out of the way and spin around in time, to see that the troll has crashed into what appears to be a Crotian—a bull-like monster that stands on two legs with the upper half built as a man.
The Crotian growls while the blue skinned golden-eyed Troll; takes a step back and drops his height a little. It’s not as if he’s scared. It’s a tactic a lot of fighters use. As quietly as I can, I disappear into the forest. Leaving the rumbling of Outlanders behind me. I jog at human speed through the forest, the moon filters through the canopy giving me more than enough light to see the broken branches and squashed forest grass. I can clearly see the outline of their feet and smell strongly their scent. They’re close.
I stop and turn my right.
There, huddled in the shadows and the roots of a large tree; is the prince and the king of Sparta. I slowly step forward and whisper, “Hey, it’s okay. It’s me.” I sense they relax a little. Their eyes are fraught with fear and worry at the same time.
“Have you heard from Lord Volovmich?” King Eurotas asks.
I shake my head. “No. Why?”
“We’re just hoping he’s okay.” the prince confirms. I can’t help but smile at the honesty whisking his brusque voice.
I peer over my shoulder, ensuring the coast is clear before I turn back to the royal family and say, “Alright. Let’s head back to camp.” It takes a little longer to head back to camp on foot and a human pace. I realise at by the end of the trip, we walked around, doubling our travel time. I check over my shoulder every now and again to ensure they haven’t fallen too far as we trudge through the forest. It’s dawn by the time we return to camp.
“No!” I gasp.
The entire camp is destroyed. Bodies lay sprawled along the ground complementary to the blood that smears the dirt and grass beneath my feet. Small fires are lit, masking the once lively camp in a cloud of haunting smoke. I stand staring at the sight—my legs feel heavy as I begin to saunter through the carnage. The king and prince stroll behind me and to my surprise they’re reaction is that of mine: utter shock. “How could this have happened?” Jaheem asks.
“They were ambushed.” Volvomich announces from the shadows. I turn the sound of his voice and find him standing under the shadows of a tree. His blue eyes piece the darkness and I knew without a doubt his eyes glowed like that because it’s a recognisable trait from our demonic ancestor.
“Ambushed?” I wonder as I move closer to Volvomich. He steps out of the shadows and scans the area around us.
“Can’t you see it? It’s in the trees. The destroyed tents and set alight bodies.” I remain silent.
“Who would do such a thing?” Jaheem asks.
“A monster that’s who.” The King retorts.
“Or someone after you two.”
© Copyright 2016 by Kelvia-Lee Johnson
This is a work of fiction.
The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be constructed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organisations is entirely and purely coincidental.
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The world isn't always as it appears. Kalverya Nindo--on Nephelia, is known as on Earth as Kalverya Rodregas. Growing up in foster care proves to be both traumatic and frustrating. With rules and regulations there's no surprise why she's quick to jump at the opportunity to prove everyone wrong. Who said being a teenager and a soldier was easy?