“Find him!” he roared. The man’s bright red cape swirled around him as he paced.
“But sir, he’s untraceable. No one has seen him in over ten years.”
“You think I care? He needs to be destroyed! If he has any children, they will be nearly invincible! Aberforth has such immense power that any offspring will inherit his and his spouse’s power.” He stopped pacing and turned to the slave before him.
“Sir, Master Phlegon, we have been looking for a long time. What if he is just dead?”
The slave flinched, expected a tongue-lashing, but instead, the professor calmly said, “Guards. Escort this vermin away for a whipping.”
“No! Please, wait! I—I’ll try harder to find him,” the slave tried to bargain, but Phlegon was shaking his head.
“Take him away,” he snapped. The guards surged forward, grabbed the slave’s wrists, and hauled him out into the bright sun. Phlegon walked to his throne in the nearly empty room. After sitting down, he began to contemplate what to do. There were spies all over the country searching for his enemy. He had shape-shifters, spell-castors, and warlocks searching for Aberforth. Surely he couldn’t be that well hidden.
Phlegon sighed and stood, before heading to his room in the castle. He needed to start packing. In just two weeks, he was to head back to Melrose Elemental Academy. He was 0ne of the five main instructors, was head of the Ignis’ Lair, and the best fire master in all of Tygrosation.
Phlegon lived with his wife on the outskirts of Tygrosation, and Melrose was in the middle, about one hundred miles from the capital, Arrieta. It would take him four days to arrive, and the rest to start planning out the year. Phlegon’s wife, Blaise, rushed to him while he was gathering his clothes.
“Phlegon! Oh, I have just wonderful news! Your brother’s son, Tyson, will be going to Melrose this year! I do hope he chooses Ignis!”
“Mm, that would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?” he asked in a bored tone.
“It would. Oh, and your brother also sent this, as well.” She held out a scroll with their family crest in wax along the edge.
He broke the seal and nearly dropped it. He couldn’t believe what it said. The professor read the scroll again, just to be sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“Phlegon? What’s wrong? What does it say?” Concern laced her voice.
His head snapped up to his wife. “Finish packing for me. I have people to contact.” Phlegon turned on his heel and left. He needed to find his brother.
We’ve found him.
“Mama, are we leaving soon? I’m ready to see Grandma,” Brenna whined.
“I know, sweetheart. We’ll leave soon. But your father has to finish packing.” Lana smiled at her daughter. She will be going to Melrose this year. They start when they’re five and will graduate when they’re twenty. Lana will miss her terribly, but it is for the best.
Aberforth came out to see his family smiling. He waved a hand over his head, creating a shelf of water that looked like a magic carpet. He lowered it and added steps. Lana accepted Abe’s outstretched hand and sat on the water. Abe lifted Brenna up and set her beside her mother. He grabbed the luggage and tossed it on the water shelf. Abe got on it, and asked, “Are we ready?”
“Yes! Let’s go, papa!” Brenna exclaimed. Abe laughed and waved his hand forward. They drifted up and headed toward the town. They saw other people riding on water, as well as floating stones, fire, birds, or grass growing really tall and dying instantly when they’re across it. Someone on the grass glanced over and their eyes widened. Abe saw someone on the ground throwing fire like a baseball back and forth.
They looked up and saw him. The fire died. The men took off running toward a huge castle. They no doubt saw Brenna as well. Oh, no. Abe turned to Lana, but she saw. There was feared written all over her face. He rubbed her back to comfort her. Abe leaned over and whispered, “I’ve prepared for this. Brenna will be safe.”
She nodded and pulled Brenna closer. Abe snapped his fingers and the water shelf they were riding on shot forward.
After four hours of traveling, they arrived at Abe’s mother’s house. She was an Aqua, too. They hustled inside and locked the door. Tomorrow Brenna was going to the Melrose Elemental Academy to hone her abilities. They would all be in danger tomorrow. It was an exhausting day of traveling, so they went to bed early.
The next morning, Abe, Lana, and Abe’s mother, Ara, sat around the kitchen table talking. “Mother, if they come for me, send Brenna to my brother’s during her breaks. I have already discussed this with him, and he has agreed. Alder will care for her until she is to go back to Melrose,” Abe stated.
“Abe, you can’t be serious. If they are after you, then continue hiding,” Ara pleaded.
Abe’s hand landed on the table with a loud smack. “Mother, we have been hiding for eleven years. Five of those were with Brenna. She needs to have a normal childhood. One where she doesn’t have to live in constant fear of being found and killed. One where I’m not involved.” Abe stood, and walked to the window. “She can’t continue on like this. We’ve moved so many times, I wouldn’t be surprised if she would be eager to leave.” He stared out with a look of deep concentration on his face.
Brenna had walked downstairs, rubbing her eyes. “Papa? What’s wrong?”
He looked at her, at first with concern, then lovingly. He motioned her over and knelt down. He pulled her into a hug and said, “I’m just going to miss you. A lot. Be safe while you’re there.” Abe looked at Lana before continuing, “You’ll be going to your Uncle Alder’s during all your breaks, okay? As soon as we think it will be okay, we will come get you.” Abe released her.
“Sweetheart, let’s go get dressed. You need to get ready for your big day!” Lana took Brenna by the hand and led her back to her room upstairs.
While Lana helped Brenna get ready, pulling a light blue dress with a dark blue sweater on her, she heard the door downstairs slam open. Lana ran towards the luggage. She pulled out Brenna’s bag with everything she owned in it, as well as a few things of her parent’s. She gave to Brenna and picked her up.
Lana ran downstairs and saw Abe suspended in the air, with vines wrapped tightly around him. Abe glanced over and choked out, “Get… Brenna.” Lana nodded and very quietly edged toward the kitchen, where she saw Ara hiding in the closet, with the door open just a crack. Ara spotted them and waved them over.
When they were close, Lana whispered in Brenna’s ear, “Go with Grandma. Don’t look back. Your father and I love you very much, never forget that.”
Lana put Brenna down with her bag. It was too heavy for her to lift, so she dragged it across the floor to Ara. She came out of the closet and lifted the bag to her shoulder. Once she had the bag secured, a vine shot out and wrapped tightly around Lana’s wrist. “GO!” she screamed.
Ara took Brenna’s hand and led her out the back door. She said, “Brenna, we need to run. We are going to run until we get to Uncle Alder’s. It’s a race, okay?”
Brenna nodded. They took off running, and Brenna kept in mind what her mother told her. ‘Don’t look back.’ She heard screams and a loud explosion.
They had been running for a long time when they finally caught a glimpse of Alder’s house. He was outside and noticed them running. He immediately ran towards them. Ara was stumbling. She was too old to run this far while carrying such a heavy bag. Alder caught her before she fell.
“Get Brenna inside. Keep her safe. They got Abe and Lana. I think they’re dead. Here’s her bag. I can’t keep going. Alder, her life is in your hands.”
He swallowed and took the bag. He helped Ara off the road and picked up Brenna. “Mother, come to us when you’re rested.” Alder knew she would probably die, but wanted, needed, to keep hope. His brother had died, his mother couldn’t too.
She merely nodded when several vines wrapped around her waist. “Alder, keep her safe!”
He took off running to his house with Brenna in his arms. He got inside and set her on the couch. “Stay there. I’ll be right back.” She nodded and clutched her bag closer. Alder ran to his room and grabbed the duffel bag from under his bed. It has been packed for a week now. He unzipped it and threw a few more things in there, such as extra clothes, money, pictures, and treasures.
Alder threw it over his shoulder and ran back to Brenna. He grabbed her bag and put it over his other shoulder. Then, he picked up Brenna and brought her outside. There were people surrounding his home. Alder drew a sharp breath and whistled loudly. A large white dragon with glimmering blue eyes dove down to them. Everyone ducked, except Alder. He knew it was only his neighbor, who was merely doing him a favor. In exchange for this and eight hundred dollars, he let his neighbor have his house for his daughter.
The dragon landed, and Alder jumped on. He settled Brenna between his legs and tapped the dragon twice. It launched up and quickly flew away. He already knew where to go. They passed over Melrose, where they saw people streaming in and out of it.
It wasn’t uncommon to see people going to Melrose on dragons. His neighbor landed in a designated area and let them get off. Alder picked up Brenna and her bag. He left his bag with his neighbor and told him to watch it.
Alder pressed his lips to Brenna’s ear and whispered, “Don’t be scared. It’s okay. Let’s pretend that I’m your dad, okay? And now, your last name is Zavanella instead of Ogden. Remember that. Let’s go get you checked in. Oh, and don’t tell anyone about what happened today. I’ll be back on Friday to take you home.”
She nodded. “Can we go get checked in?”
Alder smiled and said, “We sure can.” They walked towards a woman wearing a long dark blue dress with pleats, a V-neck, and a gold belt around her waist.
Her dark hair was piled up on her head and her eyes were shining. “What can I do for you today?” she asked kindly.
Brenna glanced at Alder, then back at the lady, then back at Alder. He nodded and urged her forward. She took a deep breath and said, “I’m Brenna. Brenna Zavanella. I’m supposed to go to school here.” The lady smiled and said, “Follow me. We’ll show you to your room and get you situated.”
Her eyes were drooping shut. "And that was really what happened at the Chronicus Museum."
Brenna's eyes flew open as she grabbed her book bag. "Don't forget to study! You have an exam tomorrow! It's worth 35% of your grade!" her teacher called after the class.
"Yeah right!" she said as one of her best friends, Yolanda, came up beside her.
"You should really study more. You're not doing too well in this class." Yolanda said.
Brenna flicked water drops at her from her fingertips. "I'm serious! And quit that!"
Brenna laughed and shook her head. They found Jazzalyn, her other best friend, leaning against the wall down the hall. Easton was standing near her, and when he saw Brenna, a huge smile lit up his face.
"Hey, Easton. Where's Trent?" Trent was Brenna's boyfriend.
"He's coming. He had to stay after class and talk to Mr. Hect. He was caught sleeping in class."
"That makes two of us. I fell asleep but at least I wasn't caught."
After she said that, Trent sidled up to Brenna, wrapping his arms around her, and pressing a kiss to her neck.
Easton's smile dimmed a little. Trent asked, "Where's Colin and Finch?"
"It's their turn to get food." Jazzy answered.
"Are we going to Brenna's room for lunch?" Yolanda asked. Brenna nodded.
"Let's go. Lover boys are probably waiting on us," Jazzy said.
The group walked to Brenna's room, where they spent most of their lunches. They had from eleven to twelve for lunch and all their classes were one hour long.
Once they got to Brenna’s room, they all settled down. Her room was rather big and she didn’t have a roommate because of her last name. Jazzy and Yolanda were practicing their vine casting, since they were both in the Plantate Den. Trent and Easton, who were best friends, settled on the couch and turned on the TV. Brenna laid down on her bed and put headphones in to listen to music.
After a few minutes, the door burst open with Colin and Finch both carrying piles of pizza. Easton and Trent jumped up to help them. After all boxes were put down, everyone dug in and ate. Finch grabbed Colin’s hand and dragged him in front of the TV. The only people who knew Finch and Colin were dating were Brenna, Trent, Easton, Yolanda, and Jazzy. If anyone else knew, they would be bullied horribly and probably kicked out of school.
They all joked around and talked. When the hour was up and the bell rang, everyone went to their classes. Trent and Brenna had to go to water casting, Jazzy and Yolanda to plant and vine throwing, Finch and Colin to creature histories and Easton to rock growing.
While Trent and Brenna were going to class, they passed the Ignis Lair. Tyson, Professor Phlegon’s nephew, was out front, loitering and troubling the younger Ignis. Professor Phlegon was the head fire master in Melrose and he had a mysterious grudge against Brenna. In fact, one time she was walking to the nurse, after sustaining an injury while battling and he turned toward and snarled. After that, she made sure to keep away from him. Only Yolanda and Jazzy knew. There was no way she would tell Trent, because then he would become the clingy, protective boyfriend that she didn’t need or want.
When they got to class, they had to separate and go to the changing rooms. A boy and a girl were paired up; Brenna was with a guy named Randall. They had to use their strength to try to disable their opponent.
They stepped up to the ring. Randall bowed and said, “Ladies first,” with a smirk.
She smiled sweetly at him before thrusting a jet of water at him. It hit his chest and sent him flying. Randall got up and threw a rope of water around her ankles. It tangled up her feet, and brought her to the ground. She frowned and pressed her hand to the floor. A thin puddle of water slowly made its way toward him. He didn’t notice it, since it was very thin and clear. She made it travel up his back lightly. Once it was the height of his head, Brenna made it thicker and had it crash down on him.
It doused him thoroughly, and knocked him on the floor. She kept it going, and if he wasn’t an Aqua, it would have drowned him. Brenna finally stood up and stopped the water when he tapped his hand down three times, signaling he gave up. She was about to leave the ring but first flicked a few drops of water on him, her signature move. Several hands pat her shoulders and back. Trent gave her a hug before going to the ring to battle.
He lost. Trent’s face was burning with embarrassment. She tried to hug him, but he pushed her away.
“Trent, you know it’s not that bad. Someone had to lose.” She tried to comfort him, but to no avail. He would be in a bad mood the rest of the day. She went through the rest of class and when it was over, she caught up with Easton. Trent had already stormed to his next class.
“Hey, Brenna. What’s wrong with him?” Easton asked, motioning to Trent.
“He’s just mad he lost a battle. He’s such a whiner,” she stated.
“You got that right. Hey, I was wondering if you wanted to watch a movie tonight. It is Friday, after all,” Easton turned toward her expectantly.
She nodded and said, “Sounds good. I’ll tell everyone else.”
He frowned and said, “I meant just us. But if you want everyone else to come, that’s fine too.” Easton glanced at her before abruptly saying, “I should go. See ya Brenna.”
He took off, blushing bright red. She sighed and continued to her class. After this class, she had two more. Then she would be done for the rest of the weekend.
The rest of the day dragged by rather boringly. After school was out, she walked to her room. When she entered, Yolanda, Jazzalyn, Colin, and Finch were already there.
“Let’s watch a movie!” Jazzy exclaimed.
Yolanda calmly explained, “Easton told us we were having a movie night. He and Trent are getting snacks.”
Brenna inclined her head in understanding. She plopped on her bed and closed her eyes. She must have dozed off because she woke up to a pair of soft lips on hers. She smiled and opened her eyes. Dark blue eyes were looking into hers.
He pulled back and situated himself on the bed, getting ready for the movie. She snuggled next to him, and saw Easton staring at them. He quickly turned his head when he saw her looking.
About an hour into the movie, Brenna fell asleep. She felt someone combing their fingers through her hair. It was very relaxing. The next thing she remembered was the explosion. She was dreaming. Brenna was running down a long road, trying to get to her uncle’s house. She saw it but even when she ran as fast as she could, it never got closer. She felt a presence next to her, but when she looked, Brenna only saw an empty space next to her. She felt several hands grabbing her. She tried to kick them away. There was no way they would take her.
“Brenna! Wake up!”
“It’s just a dream!”
“You’re having a nightmare!”
“It’s not real! Stop!”
All these voices were crushing around her. Finally, her eyes flew open, and saw everyone huddled around her. Except she didn’t see them. They were all faceless and hostile. She needed to get away. They were gripping her too tight.
Brenna didn’t know what to do, so she clinched her fists and rose up. Everyone immediately got quiet. She looked around and that’s when it occurred to her. She wasn’t in danger. It was just a nightmare. She was safe.
It was her friends that were gathered around her. She didn’t understand why everyone was staring at her. Brenna glanced around and realized she was floating above everyone. And she wasn’t herself. She was clear. Her entire body was water. It was a blob. Brenna unclenched her fists, which technically weren’t fists, more like a ball of water. She returned to herself and landed on her bed.
Brenna clinched her fists again, and turned into a body of water again. She didn’t have a distinct shape; it was more like a giant water drop.
What no one knew, Brenna Zavanella had just created history.