We all put our time in here and when our time comes to leave, we return to the elements. Whether we are buried or being turned to ash and scattered to the trade winds or poured into the sea. We all return to the elements. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust...we all do our time and get our reprieve.
In loving memory
Stella S. Salhany
My thanks goes out to all that believe in me and to every one that has helped me turn this dream to a reality.
It all started (one day at school) when my guidance counselor called me into her office just before Christmas break. We needed to talk about a school that was interested in me. She told me that she had received a call from E of U, a boarding school. They were looking for students that are unique and advancing beyond their current curriculum. The process of my enrollment in this mysterious boarding school had already begun, unbeknownst to me. She went on to tell me about how she had recommended me and that I would be receiving an application in the mail in a few weeks. While I was shocked, I reveled in the possibility for a new beginning. I mean honestly, I did not fit in at this school and well, home, yeah that was a completely different story.
She explained to me that I was a late entry into the program, normally by 8th grade year you were chosen as a student, but I fell under the radar, like normal. She had to focus their attention in my direction.
I sat and weighed my options. I could stay where I was and continue dodging bullets and ducking bullies, or I could go somewhere I was wanted that would challenge my when it came to the curriculum. Honestly, it was a no brainer. I had outgrown this school and its mediocrity well before I had begun high school.
The application arrived the following Monday and it took me over a week to finish the paperwork. To be honest going to school out of state might be good for me but I wouldn’t know until May if I would be accepted to E of U.
What few friends I had, found out about me applying for the boarding school. They kept asking why I would want to do something that extreme? All I could tell them was I was tired of not fitting in or feeling like I belonged.
Before I new it, it was the second week of May and I received my acceptance letter along with a welcome packet to E of U; I couldn’t believe it. Inside I found a list of everything I needed to bring with me; as well as where to catch the bus. It also said I would get another letter at the end of July with my room assignment and my class schedule for the first semester.
Finally, it was the beginning of August, and closer to the start of the school year which meant it was time to begin getting ready. I was finishing up packing when my mom came into my room and gave me two hundred dollars as a back to school present, so I could add to my wardrobe. I decided to go shopping and finish packing later. I headed out to the mall and met a few of my female friends to help me with my shopping. I picked out my atypical clothes, black pants, red, black and gray shirts, sneakers. The normal high school wardrobe. The girls decided I needed something different for my fresh start. So on top of what I had already selected, they threw in some dress clothes as well as putting back some of my, less garceful, choices. I ended up with a few button down shirts, casual dress pants and some patent leather shoes, along with my jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. The girls left and I headed home to finish packing and make sure I had everything so I could relax over the next week.
I spent the rest of my time hanging out with the few friends I had since I wouldn’t be seeing any of them for almost a year. The week was over before I knew it, and come Saturday morning I had to catch my bus.
I was to catch the bus along with meeting a few of my new schoolmates at one of the local colleges. The bus was scheduled to leave at 8:00 a.m., I arrived there at about 6:30 and to my surprise, there were already four students as well as the bus with its driver and steward. The steward approached me with a clipboard and asked for my name; I told her my name and showed her my paperwork. She told me I was all set and could start loading my luggage and feel free to get to know the other students. She also told me there was a café that we could go to get breakfast at if we wanted, just be sure to be on the bus by 7:50 because it would be leaving promptly at 8:00 and if you weren’t on board you would be left behind.
While I was loading my luggage a bubbly girl, standing all of 5’4”, with ash blonde hair and steel gray eyes, walked over and introduced herself. She was a cute little thing meek and sort of tomboyish.
“Hi I’m Danny.”
“Nice to meet you, you can call me M.”
“So we’re all going to grab some food would you like to join us?”
As those words left my mouth, a deep booming voice interrupted.
“Hey sis, I see you’ve made a new friend.”
“Yeah, Max this is M.”
I was still loading my luggage and struggling with it, when I turned to find a massive individual towering over me.
“Hey you want some help with that?”
“Yeah sure, thanks, this bag is almost as big as me.”
“No prob, so Danny did you invite M along.”
“Yeah, but he wants to know who us is.”
“Oh, ok. Well it’s you, me and the two quiet ones over there.”
As Max was saying that he was tossing my luggage into the cargo area like it was a bag of marshmallows.
“There wasn’t anything breakable in there, was there?”
Standing there stunned not knowing what to say I just kind of shrugged. “Umm, no man there wasn’t.”
“I’m sorry M, my brother forgets how strong he is sometimes.”
“That’s ok, how about we get that food now?”
We headed towards the cafe and grabbed the two quiet ones on the way. It was another brother and sister; they were your normal freshman, small, lanky and unsure of themselves. The girl was short with red hair, and blue eyes, her brother was a little taller with blond hair and brown eyes, they sort of looked like Mutt and Jeff.
“Hey you guys, I’m Danny, this is my brother Max, and that is M. We’re going to get food want to join us?”
“Sure I’m Kyle and this is my little sister Kelly.”
We headed on our way before any more students showed up; it was just 7:00. The café was a good size place just on the edge of campus; bed headed sleepy eyed college students were just opening it. They said for us to have a seat and someone would be right with us. A tall nerdy guy walked over and said he would be our server.
“Hi I’m Pauly. What are you guys doing up so early, I don’t even want to be.”
“We’re catching a bus to E of U.”
Max cut me off before I could answer. “It’s a private boarding school out of town.”
“That’s cool, never heard of it though.”
“Yeah it’s in a small town, most people don’t know about it; it’s for the gifted.”
“Oh, ok. So what can I get for you guys?”
“Can we have a few minutes to decide?” Kelly asked.
While we were looking over the menu, I asked Max why he cut me off from answering about the school.
“Oh it’s my second year there.”
“Oh, I didn’t know, I thought this bus was all freshmen.”
“Nope there are a few upper class man that grab rides in with the freshman. I came for my sister since it’s her first year, I didn’t want her to be overwhelmed.”
“Oh that’s cool.”
Kyle finally joined the conversation. “Yeah this is my third and my sis’s first.”
“Oh so we’re a mixed group.”
“More then you know.”
“What do you mean by that Danny?”
Before she could answer, our server came back.
“So have you guys decided?”
Danny started to order as though she never had said a word, about us being different. “I’ll have a bagel with cream cheese, and a large double espresso, with extra sugar and whipped cream.”
Kelly ordered next in this quiet little voice, “Can I have a small hot cocoa with whipped cream?”
“Would you like anything else?”
“Umm, yes could I please have a mocha chocolate brownie?”
We just sat there staring at her; I thought no one could top the two girls, those little sugar and caffeine fiends.
“And for you guys.”
Max ordered next, “I’ll have four bagels, two orders of bacon, two orders of French toast, and four omelets.”
The server just stood there amused, “And to drink?”
“Oh, yeah I almost forgot, I’ll have a gallon of chocolate milk, along with an espresso.”
“Oh, ok no problem.”
“And for you two gentlemen?”
Kyle ordered scrambled eggs, bacon and large tea with honey; I got prosciutto, mozzarella and egg sandwich on a sun-dried tomato bagel; and a large iced mocha caramel latte.
“Ok and will that be all?”
Max spoke up again, “can I get the bagels to go.”
“Sure, I’ll get your drinks and the food should be out in about 15 minutes.”
The server wandered off and we all started to chat again, and before we knew it our food was ready. The server along with the cook helped bring over the food, which covered the whole table and half of the one next to Max. We ate in silence and paid our bill, all though Max and Kyle were arguing over who would pay, they ended up splitting it. We made it back to the bus by 7:45, there were about ten more kids waiting. Some were just standing around chatting while others were in a panic trying to fit their belongings in the cargo area. We boarded the bus taking seats in the back; it was five of eight, when Max was getting impatient with everyone messing with their luggage, still trying to get it in. He got up grabbed a few of the larger students and got off the bus.
“Ok everybody stop what you’re doing and get on the bus.” Max said.
One of the students started to whine, “what about my stuff” as he turned to find five large guys standing there glaring “Nevermind” as he was saying it he just ran and got on the bus.
They got everything loaded and were getting back on the bus when this flaming hyper guy came running up.
“Wait, wait don’t leave me.”
The steward spoke up, “What is your name; you should have been here a half an hour ago.”
“I know, I’m sorry ma’am, my parents got lost.”
“Ok well hurry up we’re on a tight schedule, now what is your name?”
“Ok well get your stuff on the bus and we’ll be on our way.”
Max turned back, “I’ve got it, get on the bus, Flash.” Max picked up the trunk the kid had with him and shoved it in one of the bays. “All right we're ready now.”
“Ahh, thank you Max. Ok last call no more delays.”
They got on the bus, the driver started it, and we were on our way to the next pickup. It was about 10:00 a.m. when we arrived at another campus the next state over. There were about ten more kids waiting there. The steward stood and announced for everyone to stay seated. She got off and started taking names; it was another motley bunch. As she was taking names, she told them to get on the bus and leave their stuff there. Everyone was on the bus and the she asked if Max and his friends would mind loading the stuff so they could be on there way.
“Sure no prob, but when are we going to stop for food, all this lifting is making us hungry.”
“We will be at E of U in about two hours, and you know they always have a huge spread for the new students and their helpful siblings.”
They got everything loaded and we were on our way once again. We arrived at the final pick up about a half hour later and there were just four students waiting. It was odd they didn’t have any luggage with them. The guys had backpacks and the girl had a small purple carry-on that matched her hair. They got on the bus and we were on our way once again. We traveled a little while longer; going through a tunnel, on the other side, there was nothing but open road and country, no houses, no people, just trees and grass for miles. It was about an hour later that when came to a point that we could see the campus off in the horizon. Finally we arrived at the campus entrance, the bus pulled into a cul-de-sac, where there were other buses already unloading, it only took a few minutes for each. We were directed up a path through a wrought iron arch, as we stepped into a large courtyard, which had a large fountain in the center; with upper classmen and staff surrounding it. They were waiting to direct us to the auditorium where we would attend orientation. We were told to leave our belongings in the courtyard and that they would be delivered to our halls and left in the lobby so that we could tour the grounds. As we started moving through the campus, I began looking around at all the buildings thinking this looks like a small city, not a high school. Some were covered with ivy, all the were skilled masonry, and no two buildings were exactly alike; some were tall, others short but they all had their own personality. It was strange, we even walked past a few stores and restaurants. It seemed odd to me that all of this existed on a school campus, it was more than I had ever imagined. Was I dreaming? This was nothing like any high school I ever thought I’d be going to; this place was like a college and high school all rolled into one.
The next thing I knew we arrived in the auditorium it was monstrous, the large room was cavernous yet cozy. The ceilings had to be 45 feet high, making everyone in attendance look miniscule. Rather than your typical bleachers there were risers with comfortable looking chairs, not the cheesy folding metal chairs or the atypical plastic chairs in most high schools. As we filed in, the dean was patiently waiting to address us, the Class of 1998. The dean was a large well-dressed man with a very muscular build; he didn’t even use a microphone to address us, his deep booming voice carried exceptionally well.
“I welcome you, the class of 1998, this campus will be your home for the next four years or longer if you choose to continue on with us here at E of U. You stepped foot on campus as adolescents with the desire to learn, and when you leave you will be adults filled with all the knowledge you sought out.”
He went on to tell us that classes didn’t start until the third week of August for freshman, but that we arrived there a week early so we could get settled in and acquainted with the campus.
I was reading over the paper work I had received earlier that summer, it had my room assignment and told me I would have two roommates. I was in the west wing of the Earth Gate Hall, first floor, room 482.
The dean finished shortly after and we headed towards our dorms to find our rooms and settle in. The campus was thriving with activity, from upper classmen helping us find our halls to sign-up for clubs, societies and sports teams. Each house had a representative; they all acted like barkers from carnival sideshows. The first to approach me was an intimidatingly massive individual from the House of Monsters, he wanted to know if I would be interested in pledging for rush week. I stood there in a confused state, the only thing that came to my mind was I’m in high school and they want me to join a frat house with the strangest name I’ve ever heard.
“You want me to join? I’m only a freshman in high school!”
“Here at E of U, there are no boundaries between classmen; everyone is given the same opportunities, little man.”
“Why is the frat called House of Monsters?”
“It’s because we are the biggest fraternity on campus and most of our members are athletes.”
“Ok but I’m not into sports, so why would I want to join your frat?”
“Well for starters we’re more then just your typical jocks; most of our members are in the top 10 % of their graduating class. We also lend a helping hand to others.”
“Can I get back to you on it? I’d like to get settled in; this is all new to me and is a bit overwhelming at the moment.”
“Sure no problem, the offer is always open for you. By the way I’m James.”
“Ok that’s cool, I’m M. Thanks a lot and I’ll see you around.”
I headed on to find my hall I didn’t make it more than ten feet when I was approached by another frat.
“Hey there, I represent the House of Elements, and I was wondering if you would be interested in pledging?”
Before answering I stood there and looked him over the only thing running through my mind was he’s kind of geeky. I was thinking they really know how to attract the ladies.
“Thanks but I’m all set.”
“Ok no problem we’re not a pushy group, but if you change your mind the offer still stands.”
“Ok I’ll keep that in mind, thank you.”
Ok this is weird I’ve only made it about half-way to my hall and two frats have already offered membership; but the really weird part was the standing invite they both had given me. Little did I know I had already been chosen to become part of a secret society.
I finally made it to Earth Gate Hall and found my luggage in the lobby; I grabbed it and headed for my room, which I found without any mishaps. As I arrived at my door I noticed on the outside of it were three envelopes one had my name on it. I opened it and inside of it, I found a welcome letter, my student ID, my class line up which was in a sealed envelope and my room key.
I unlocked the door and stepped through, I was amazed by what I found on the other side of the door, the place was set up like an apartment. In front of me was an open living room with a large sectional couch and a tv stand boasting a decent 35 inch TV that suited the space perfectly, to the left was the kitchen that had a fridge, a sink, and an abundance of cabinet space. It was roomy and bright, not super colorful, like most apartments, but definitely livable. I walked through the living room, where I found four doors three of them had message boards each with the occupants name on them. I found my name and went inside.
In front of me was a queen size bed, to the left there was a closet with a built in dresser. To the right I found a brand new laptop, a PDA, an cd player, and a printer. Next to the desk, there were French doors that led out to the patio that went around the end of the hall.
I was unpacking when I heard a voice in the living room asking if anyone was here. I opened my door and returned to the living room to find one of my roommates; he couldn’t have stood any taller then 5feet. He was well dressed in a suit with a black trench coat over it; underneath one arm was a brief case and behind him was a suitcase as big as he was tall. He wore gold wire framed glasses and had blackish blue curly hair in an Afro-like style.
“You must be M. Johnson.”
“Yes I am.’
“Cool I am James Taylor Drexel, at your service.”
“It’s nice to meet you James.”
“No, the pleasure is all mine and, please, call me Drex.”
“I can do that.”
“So what can I call you kiddo?”
“M, that’s what all my friends call me anyway.”
“Cool, M it shall be, or kiddo if that’s ok with you.”
As we were talking, we heard another voice coming down the hall.
We both turned to see the third member of our little party make his way into the room; he was taller then me, and a little on the pale side. He was very well dressed, he had a messenger bag slung over his right side and a large suitcase behind him, it was funny if it wasn’t for the mullet you knew he was a ladies man. His voice was mellow and smooth it was the type of voice you could picture reading poetry in a café somewhere.
“Hi, I am Malcom.”
“I’m Drex and this is M, guess we’re roomies for however long we’re here.”
“Hey I’ve got a question for you and Drex did either of you get your class line-ups for the year? I got my schedule for this quarter.”
“Funny you should ask that kiddo, I know I didn’t how about you Mal?”
“I didn’t get one either.”
“That’s just weird, well I’m out of here; I’m going to go check out the campus.”
“Have fun kiddo.”
“Will do, you guys want to meet up later?”
“Sure there’s a café in the center of campus we’ll meet you there in a few hours.”
“Ok Drex, That works for me.”
I left the room and headed down the hall, and walked right into some of the local jerks picking on a kid with blonde hair, he was a real runt, and it wasn’t fair. As I got closer I could hear the boy pleading in a whiny, voice with a slight lisp not to hurt him.
“Hey dumb and dumber why don’t you back off the little gay kid.”
“Why should we?”
Next thing I knew I was pinned up against the wall by a very large hand.
“Now what are you going to do about it shrimp?”
“He ain’t going to do anything it’s me you should be worried about!”
They turned to find another kid standing behind them smoking a clove, he was tall and well built dressed in all black wearing mirrored sunglasses, his hair rested just over his collar. You could tell he wasn’t here to be their friends. He pulled his hair back and put his cigarette out on the wall.
“How about you two goons let them go and we all can walk away from this.”
“How about we bash your face in too?”
“I don’t think so I’m only going to ask nicely one more time.”
“Go fuck yourself!”
“Wrong answer primate!”
I was sitting on the ground next to the other kid; I sat and watched as the kid in black beat both of the goons down with out even breaking a sweat, then he reached down and pulled both of us to our feet.
“You two ok?”
“Yeah I’m ok big brother.”
“How about you kid?”
“Hey kid next time you want to help; make sure you can.”
“I will thanks for the hand.”
“No problem, thanks for trying to help my little bro.”
“Hey Dark maybe we should introduce ourselves.”
“Sorry, please excuse Mr. Personality there. I’m Dante Dark and Mr. No Social Skills is Daemion.”
“I’m M nice to meet the both of you.”
“I hope next time we meet it will be under better circumstances.”
“Yeah me too.”
We shook hands and parted ways, I continued on my tour of the campus hoping for no more incidents. I finally made it to an exit were I stood staring in awe of how massive the layout was. Of what I could see standing there the campus had to be the size of Massachusetts, my dorm sat in the middle of the quad, there were three more, slightly smaller dorms on each side, the campus was set up like a large horse-shoe. The middle of the quad was a common area there were trees all around, picnic tables, benches and statues it looked like something from ancient Rome, including marble paths leading to different quads and areas of the campus. I picked a path that said Elemental Science and Hall of Knowledge, I thought to myself strange name but I guess I’ll check it out. I found the Elemental science building, what I thought would be a lab wasn’t. I opened the door and stepped inside there was nothing in there but a rolling white board sitting in the middle of the hall. The floor was nothing but dirt and the walls were covered in moss, when I looked up even more to my surprise there was no ceiling not even a roof. I was standing there looking around scratching my head just not getting it, when a door that I had not seen opened. It was like it appeared out of thin air. There were no handles, nothing at all along the walls to indicate any doors or entrances, to think of it the door I came through didn’t even appear to exist. Through the door sashayed a beautiful pale-skinned women who appeared to be about twenty-four, she had collar length black hair, piercing emerald green eyes and oddly pointy ears, strangest girl I had ever seen.
“Hi, there I’m one of the instructors of Elemental Science. My name is Evergreen, and you are?”
“Oh, I’m M.”
“Well M you look lost or confused I’m not sure which. Is there anything I can help you with?”
“What happened to the doors?”
“The doors are there, they just blend in with the walls.”
“Oh, ok, but what about the ceiling and the dirt floors, oh yeah and the moss on the walls. Is this lab under-construction or condemned?”
“Oh, no neither, everything is in proper order. Why is there something wrong?”
“Yeah at my old school halls have, floors, ceilings, work benches, and oh yeah there’s no moss on the walls and you can find the doors.”
She was standing there smirking at me in amusement, trying not to laugh. “Oh, I see so you find this kind of strange?”
“Umm, yeah sort of.”
“Well we do things a little different here, it’s an elemental hall, and we believe the class should be taught in the elements.”
I was standing there looking at her as though she had flipped her lid. A classroom with moss on the walls, disappearing doors and no ceiling and she’s telling me this is all in order.
“This is a joke right, it’s just one of those tricks you play on the freshmen right?”
“No, no tricks here.”
“Yeah sure there aren’t. Umm, I think I should be going now.”
“Ok M, well I’ll see you in class next week, you can find your way back right?”
“Yes, this is where elemental science is taught.”
“Ok, well yeah sure I’ll see you then. Oh can you point me in the direction of a door.”
“Sure it’s right there.” She pointed to her right there was nothing there but a moss-covered wall.
“No really can you show me the door?”
“I just did, just walk over and place your hand on it, it will open.”
I walked over to the wall, thinking sure it will, and I’m going to fall in love with a vampire.
“You never know, you could.”
“I could what? I didn’t say anything.”
“Oh sorry could have sworn you did. In any case, not to be rude, but I really must be going.”
She turned walked away, leaving the same way she came in, as I stood there alone, slack jawed, still not finding a door. So, I threw caution to the wind and did what she said, I touched the wall. Miraculously, a handle appeared and the door swung open without any real effort. I walked out to find myself standing at the front entrance. As I was standing there talking to myself.
“How the hell did that happen, and who was that crazy woman, she couldn’t be an instructor.”
That was the exact moment that Max happened to come strolling up.
“Hey M, who couldn’t be an instructor?”
“A girl named Evergreen; she seemed to be off her rocker.”
“No she’s an instructor, she’s actually quite sane. Why do you say she’s crazy?”
“Max have you seen that hall?”
“Yeah I helped build it.”
“You what, where is the rest of it, and what the hell is with the moss?”
“Rest of what, everything’s there, it’s all in order.”
“Ok, what’s with you people that’s the same thing she told me, and you come from the same area as me and you don’t find it to be odd.”
“Nope, come on I’m blood red and bald, and I’m only a sophomore.”
“What do you mean you’re not red?”
“I’m the same color as your aura, buddy.”
“Ok, this is too weird I must have fallen asleep on the bus and this is all a dream.”
Max walks over and pokes me with one finger.
“Nope you’re not asleep, and I didn’t poke you that hard.”
“Really, ok well I think I’ll be going now, maybe I should go get some sleep or a coffee.”
“Oh, well there is a café in the center of campus, just take the path that says Fountain Row and then there will be another that says Center Campus. From there you should have no problem finding it.”
I headed in the direction he pointed still confused and shaking my head. I found Fountain Row and headed down it when I ran into the two goons Dark had beaten down. They were looking for someone to pay for their humiliation; unfortunately, it was me who ended up paying.
They picked me up and threw me into one of the fountains; my only thought was I was done for as they held my head underwater until I finally faded out of consciousness.
When I came to, I was leaning up against the fountain with two beautiful blondes hovering over me.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah I think so, just one thing please tell me I’m not dead and you’re angels.”
“Silly you’re still alive and no we’re not angels.”
“Yeah my sister’s right we’re a lot sweeter!”
“Ok, but where are the neanderthals who were trying to drown me.”
“I got them boss.”
I turned my head to see two mammoth men standing off to the side. One was holding the two goons by their necks with at least a good foot between their feet and the ground.
“What would you like us to do with them boss?”
“I’m sorry, could you repeat the question; my head is still swimming.”
“What would you like us to do with them?”
“I know what I would like to say, but I’m going to use my better judgment and be the bigger man, let them go.”
“You got it boss.”
“Ok you two heard him let them go.”
Before the biggest one of the two guys put the bullies down, they gave them a warning.
“Ok you two piss-ants, if me or my little bro here see or even hear about you picking on anyone again we’ll become your worst nightmare, am I making myself clear?”
They both nodded.
“Good, now get lost!”
The bigger one of the two put them back on the ground and they took off running.
“Come on boss, up you go.”
With two fingers, the smaller one pulled me to my feet.
“Besides being wet, you okay boss?”
“Yes I’m ok, but the boss thing is starting to bug me, my name is M and you four are?”
The blondes spoke first.
“My name is Opal.”
“I’m her sister Sapphire.”
“It’s nice to meet you two ladies.”
“And the two very large and intimidating individuals are Michael and Samuel, the Walls brothers.”
“Nice to meet you two as well and thanks for the helping hands all of you.”
“It was no problem Boss.”
“Well see you around then?”
“Yes you will.”
We all shook hands and traded room extensions.
I headed towards the café to meet up with Malcom and Drex. I found them sitting at a table on the patio, I pulled out a chair and sat down with a squish.
“Kiddo, did you go for a swim or something.”
“It wasn’t by choice.”
“I bet, should I ask where?”
“Oh just in one of the fountains.”
“You know there are about nine pools on this campus.”
“Yes I do, but like I said, it wasn’t by choice, I had a few helping hands with my swim.”
“That sucks, but on the upside, you have some admirers over at that table kiddo.”
“To your left.”
“Ok what am I looking at?”
“The table full of girls. To be more exact the long haired brunette.”
“Ok I’ve got her in my sights, and I think she’s got me in hers.”
“Go talk to her.”
“No way, I look like a drown rat, I think I’m going to cut out and go get cleaned up.”
I got up and left, I just wanted to go drown myself standing up with no help. After I walked out the girls joined Drex and Malcom.
“So who’s your wet friend?” the brunette asked nonchalantly.
“That’s M and you are?”
“Oh, sorry I’m Robin and these are my friends Rachel, and Reena.”
“Pleased to meet you, I’m Drex and this is Malcom, we’re all roomies.”
“Oh I see blue boy.”
“And I see that you see the truth.”
“Yes I do but how about your friend?”
“You must mean M then.”
“Yeah, I am not really a fan of my own kind, no offense Malcom.”
“None taken, I feel the same way.”
“So how about M?”
“Nope he doesn’t see the truth, at least not yet.”
“Oh, Okay, so he doesn’t know you’re blue, and that Malcom and I have a tiny little biting obsession.”
“Naw, not at all, so let me guess you’d like to meet him, snack or other interest?”
“Well M is at our dorm room, so why don’t we head back there?”
“Fine with me.”
They all head back to the dorm room. Rather than walking they body slid, due to the sheer distance. Body sliding is sort of like it sounds, its what most science fiction fans would call a form of transporting. You simply “slide” from point A to point B whilst standing upright. It looks similar to someone holding the shutter button on a camera as someone else moves forward. They arrived at Earth Gate a few minutes later and headed up to the room. They entered the living room and Robin asked where M was. Drex replied by pointing to the only door without a white board.
“Yeah if you hadn’t noticed he was all wet.”
As I was finishing my shower, I heard voices in the living room. It’s funny any other time I would have brought my clothes with me, but this time I didn’t and from what I could make out Drex and Malcom had female guests out there.
I opened the door and peeked out, they were all sitting except the beautiful pale-skinned brunette, and luckily, she was talking with Drex so she wasn’t looking in my direction. Therefore, I dashed for my room and shut the door quietly hoping no one would notice my escape from the bathroom.
A few minutes later, I could hear Drex calling for me.
“Hey kiddo, there are some people here that would like to meet you.”
“Ok, I’ll be right out.”
A few minutes later, I made my way into the living room ready to meet people now that I was in a dry set of clothes. As I stepped out of my room, I was caught in the gaze of the brunette from the café. I could feel her eyes move up and down me at least once before she spoke.
“Now I must say you’re so much cuter now that you’re not sopping wet, but the towel looked good as well.”
“You caught that, did you?”
“Oh, yes I did. By the way I’m Robin, and I hear your name is M.”
“Yeah, that would be me, so what else have you heard.”
“Not much but really curious, about what happened.”
“Oh you mean the wet clothes?”
“Well I was on my way to the café to meet up with Drex and Malcom, by way of Fountain Row when I was given swimming lessons.”
“Well I see you passed.”
“Yeah with the help of the Walls brothers.”
“Oh I see, so how do you know them?”
“They just happened by.”
“Yeah that sounds like them always there when someone needs a hand.”
“So how do you know them?”
“Every body knows the Walls brothers.”
“Oh, ok. So how did you end up here?”
“Well after you left we went over to talk with your roommates, and they invited us back.”
“Oh, I see.”
I was so entranced in those ice blue eyes of hers they had me pulled right in, even with everything else going on around us I was completely trapped in her gaze. The only thing that brought me back was one of her friends saying they had to get going.
“So Robin would you like to grab a coffee or something sometime?”
“She would love to but next week is rush week.”
“Ok, so that means what?”
“It means most of us have been chosen to rush and we have things we have to do to earn our places.”
“Robin say goodbye we’ve got to go.”
“Ok chill, I’ll catch you later M.”
“Ok that’s fine.”
She walked over to the white board on my door and wrote her number down.
“Call me or drop in.”
“I can do that.”
“I bet you can.”
“Rob enough flirting, we’ve got to go.”
I watched them leave and I almost followed her to the door like a little puppy, but I stopped myself, no need to look infatuated with her or desperate.
“Nice kiddo she’s hot and I think she’s sweet on you.”
“You think so?”
“Kid she made a whole lot of effort just to meet you. She all but invited herself over.”
“Oh, well that’s cool; well I’m going to go finish straightening my room up.”
“All right, I’ll be here.”
“Hey where did Malcom go?”
“I don’t know he was just here. He must have left with one of Robin's friends.”
I disappeared into my room and Drex crashed onto the couch, turning on the TV. After I finished straightening up I sat down at my desk so that I could open up my new alarm clock, the damn thing was taped so tight that you needed a knife to open it. I finally got it open then couldn’t get the damn thing to work, I must have been messing with it for about a half hour, when I heard a knock on my door, I went over, opened it, only to find Drex standing there.
“Hey M, are you all right I heard you yelling.”
“No I can’t get this damn thing to work.”
“Let me see.” I handed the alarm to Drex and he had it working in no time.
“Strange thing, never seen one like this, well I think it’s all set just set the time you want.”
“No prob, that’s what we’re here for, to help each other out.”
“I know, well I’ll see you tomorrow I’m going to get ready for bed I’m exhausted.”
“Have a good night.”
I lost the week exploring the campus as well as hanging with new friends, before I knew it, Monday was right around the corner and classes would be starting.
“Great; damn thing, now I’m late for my first class.”
I booked out of my dorm room and took off running down the hall still cursing the alarm clock under my breath. As I was trying to break the seal on my class schedule, I didn’t even see her step out of her room until I ran into her knocking both of us on our asses. Her books as well as everything I had with me went flying everywhere.
“What the hell; why don’t you look where you’re going. And on top of that, what do you think you’re doing running in here?” she asked.
“I’m sorry miss, I’m late for class.”
“Yeah me too, no thanks to you.”
I realized something while Miss Spaz was freaking out on me. She was talking really fast and taking very few breaths in between.
“Ok, stop freaking and let’s help each other out.”
I got up off the floor and helped her to her feet. She was very cute when she wasn’t spazing out. She had long curly brown hair, with wheat highlights running through it, big brown eyes with a light tan complexion. She was wearing a skintight forest green tank top that stopped right above her belly button, over that she wore a button up cap sleeve shirt that came just to her waist and a cute pair of shorts that matched her tank top.
“Now how are we going to help each other?” she asked in a huff
I handed her, her books, “well if you’d stop spazing, you'd see I already picked up all your books.”
“Yes I did, now if you could just tell me where this class is, I’ll get out of your hair.” I added abrubtly
Looking down at her watch, “We’ve already passed the window that they will let you enter the class.”
“I’m off to a great start.”
“You told me to stop spazing that doesn’t mean you can start. Hey it's day one and all they do today is tell you what you need to do for the class.”
“And how would you know?”
“Well, I’m not a freshman.”
“Oh I see, so you’re going to send your big upper class men boyfriend after me?”
Laughing, “You're cute you know that, too bad I don’t go that way.”
“Thanks I think.” I added, confused.
“Your welcome, I’m Sprites.”
“Nice to meet you Sprites, I’m M.”
“Pleasure, sorry about the rocky start between us.”
“Hey it’s no problem. I shouldn’t have been running”
“Come on, we might as well grab a coffee.”
“Ok as long as you get decaf.”
She just smiled and shook her head, “Ok then let’s get going.”
We headed off to the café, it was pretty quiet not too many people there, but again that could have had something to do with everyone else being in class or still sleeping. I ordered an iced latte and a muffin; Sprites stuck to her word and got a decaf although she added a hell of a lot of sugar so I’m not sure if it being a decaf would make all that much of a difference. We sat out on the patio chatting about her first year, what it was like and what she was studying.
“So this is your second year here?”
“So what is like to be a student here?”
“It’s never boring, you’re always learning something, whether it be academic, or just about yourself.”
“So what are you studying to be?”
“A Courier, an assistant, and I’m also studying anything to do with my heritage.”
“You’re studying to be a Courier?”
“Yes, why do you find that strange?”
“Ah, yeah most people just do that as a job they don’t study to get the job.”
“Really, well where I come from it is a very serious job.”
“Oh it is, so where do you come from?”
Sprites looked down at her watch, “Oh shit we’ve got to get to class.”
“Oh alright can you point me in the direction of the training coliseum.”
“Sure, which one?”
“There’s more than one?”
“Of course.” Sprites said, matter of factly.
“Ok well how do I know which one I have to go to?”
“Well what is your instructors’ name?”
“It just says, Malaki.”
“Ok, that’s all I need, head up to Fountain Row, and then follow the Path of Limitations; you want to go to the largest building out of the five.”
“Ok thanks I’ll see you around.”
“Ok, well you better hurry, you only have ten minutes and it’s quite a hike.”
We both headed off in our own directions, I turned to wave to her but she was nowhere to be seen. I found the coliseum without any problems, although I arrived just before the bell rang.
There I was standing in the center of this huge open arena with about twelve other classmates, when two large men entered the arena dressed in centurion armor.
“We welcome you all to the training field this is where you will be pushed to or beyond your limits. I will be one of your instructors, my name is Malaki.”
“And I’m his son Malakin; we have trained some of the best, and for you to be here in this arena with us you must have been seen as something.”
“Whoa hold up what type of class is this?”
“It’s a limitation class to make you prove yourself as well as to find out what you are capable of doing.”
“And why am I here?” I asked a bit befuddled.
“It’s because of who and what you are.”
“Oh really I thought I was human just like everyone else here.”
“If that was so my young friend you would have never been allowed to come to this school.”
“Ok I’ve already had a bad morning and I’m really not in the mood for games.”
“That’s typical; most of your kind like to cut right to the point.”
“Yes your kind.”
“And what would my kind be?”
“Your kind is known of in legends, your kind is known as farmers, scientists, and hunters, but then you have the one exception to the rule, and you my young friend are that exception.” boomed Malaki.
“Ok sure, thanks for explaining that for me, now I’m even more confused then when this whole conversation started.”
“Don’t worry it will all become clear soon enough.”
I started to see Malaki was ever the prophet and more than confusing.
“Sure it will.”
The rest of class went about discussing what would be expected of us through out the semester. The bell rang and I headed for the next class on my schedule, it said Elemental science, I thought as I walked to the building. You must be joking me, not this again. I arrived at the elemental hall; it still looked the same as when I had left it last. I walked through the front doors, the classroom looked precisely the same, except for the 12 or so students standing in the center of the building. Once again confused, I became more so when the strange women I met the week before walked up behind me.
“Well M it’s nice to see you made it back.”
“You really are the instructor aren’t you?”
“Yes, I’m a level 4 elemental.” she said softly
“What the hell is that?”
“You should know what that is, it’s a part of who you are.”
I just stood there scratching my head as she walked off and started calling out names. It was the strangest sight when she sat down on a stool in front of the class that I could have sworn was never there.
“Ok, well, everyone create a seat.”
“Create a seat.” she said bluntly, if not a bit annoyed.
“You mean take a seat don’t you.”
“Oh, of course.”
As she said that, a stone stool appeared from nowhere.
“Ok, does everyone have a seat?”
“Yeah but where the hell did mine come from?”
“All in good time, M. Just pay close attention and follow along with the rest of us.”
One of the other students spoke up, “For an Other you’re kind of green.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Evergreen, Evergreen, my seat won’t stop growing.” said a girl with a bit of fear in her voice
“Amber its ok I’ll fix it.”
“Ok but please hurry I’m afraid of heights.”
As Amber was saying that, the seat lowered its self-back down to the perfect height for her.
“Thank you Evergreen.”
“No problem that is what we are all here for, to learn from our mistakes.”
“Ok that was a cool trick; I thought this was a science class not a magic show.”
The bell rang before anymore could be said. Before she let us leave, she gave us our assignment for the evening.
“I want you all to find out, the highest level of elemental in your blood line, and what element they have mastered.”
“You want us to do what?” I said, even more confused than normal.
“Exactly as I said, study your family line and their highest elemental level. You should be going, you’ll be late for your next class. If you would like help just stop back here I’m always around.”
“Ok I’ll do that.”
I left the building staring at my schedule and realized I didn’t have another class for two hours. That would give me plenty of time for lunch and to think over my classes. I thought about going back to speak with Evergreen, but she already had students arriving for her next class. So I headed off to grab lunch and see who I could find. I made my way to the dining hall. I now noticed that it had two distinctly separate entrances, one door was labeled Entity the other said All Others, I stood there for a minute a bit bewildered and decided that the Entity entrance must be for the sports teams. I entered the side that was open to all. It was set up like an all you can eat buffet, anything you could want. As I was walking along I found theses strange little juice boxes labeled O, A, AB, B and some were positive and some were negative. I grabbed a box that had AB on it and sat it on my tray. I was thinking it was a nice change of pace to find apple banana juice, but found it a tad bit odd that it was warm.
As I was heading over to one of the tables, Malcom grabbed my juice.
“Thanks M; you got me my favorite drink.”
“Yeah and its just the right temp, I’ll grab you something cold from the fountain. What do you like?”
“I’m not picky just grab something.”
“Ok, well Drex is over there why don’t you grab a seat with him and I’ll be right back.”
I sat down with Drex.
“Hey kiddo what’s up you look confused.”
“What’s the deal with the warm juice boxes?”
“Oh them, nothing really they’re just an acquired taste, trust me you wouldn’t like them.” said Drex as plainly as he could.
“Oh, ok. So, what’s with the Elemental science class?”
“Don’t know I don’t have to take it.”
“And why are there two separate entrances to the dining halls?”
“Different menus, another acquired taste thing that you wouldn’t like either.”
Drex was mumbling under his breath, “Yeah most beings don’t like food that could possibly eat them.”
“What did you just say?” I said a bit shocked.
Before I could ask Drex again, Malcom returned with my drink.
“Hey M here’s your drink, whatcha talking about?”
“Nothing much, we were just discussing the other dining hall.”
“Oh, what about, you mean the jock hall.”
“Yeah that would be it.”
Before Malcom could say anymore, Drex stomped on his foot.
“I already told M about that, he knows all he needs to know.”
Malcom took a seat and we finished our lunch in silence, I excused myself and headed back towards the Elemental lab, to talk to Evergreen. I entered the lab where I found Evergreen awaiting me; she was sitting at a desk with a file in front of her.
“I was wondering if you were going to come back today?”
“I’ve got some questions, and maybe you can give some answers.” I said inquisitively
“Sure that’s what I’m here for, so what can I help you with?”
“Can you tell me what the deal is with this school, there seems to be more going on here than meets the eye.”
“Well you’re right about that, but I can’t explain it to you. You’ll figure it all out in due time.”
“What is due time here, everyone is so vague, I never get any real answers, just vague statements that I don’t understand.”
“I understand that, but it will all become clear, you’re due to meet with your elder in a few weeks and after you meet with him you’ll be seeing things a lot differently.” said Evergreen.
“Ok seeing my guidance counselor is going to help me how?” I chimed in with a touch of annoyance in my voice.
“It’s not a guidance counselor, but he’ll call for you when he is ready to speak with you.”
I started to look around for a clock and forgot there wasn’t much in here besides the moss and the white board.
“M, what are you looking for?”
“A clock, I need to know what time it is, I have one more class to go to today.”
“Its almost 2.”
“Damn my next class is at 2:15, I’ve got to go.”
I took off like a shot out of the lab, and then realized I had no clue where the hell I was heading. I stopped to look at my schedule to find out what my last class of the day was, and it said Bio. Ok now where in the hell would a Bio lab be in this place? I grabbed one the other students passing by.
“Hey do you know where the Bio lab is?”
“Yeah, go up Fountain Row, and then take a right on to Lab Drive it’s in the Renaissance lab.”
As I was heading up Fountain Row, I was thinking to myself this part of campus still sends chills up my spine. I almost ran past Lab Drive, thinking I was going to be jumped by the goons once again. Of course, it was just my imagination running wild.
I turned down the path and headed for my bio class, luckily I found the building without any problems.
It was a building made of glass, you could see everything going on inside, from the plants in the windows to the models in the middle of the classrooms.
I was thinking to myself why are there models? I though this was bio not art class.
I entered the building and found my classroom I entered to find that the tables were situated in groups of four each with a pedestal in the center I couldn’t figure out why. On top of the pedestal, there were no beakers, burners or anything else you would expect to see in a science lab.
I took a seat next to a girl with spiked blue hair, she seemed a little strange but what the hell, why not, how bad could she be.
“Hi I’m Icy.”
“Nice to meet you Icy, I’m M. So is this Bio?”
“Yup, why do you ask?”
“Oh it just looks a little different then I expected.”
“What were you expecting?”
Before I could respond, the instructor entered the room.
“Afternoon class, welcome to Biology of the Sexes. I’m Dr. Samuel J. Carver. This class will help you familiarize yourselves with the physical body. Since this is the first day, I’m going to explain with a bit more detail about this course and what you should expect.” he started.
“Normally on each pedestal you will have a specimen on which you will be studying, but there are some rules you will need to follow.”
“Dr. Carver, what type of rules.” piped up one of the female students.
“Well that is a good question, Ms. Cricket. You all must understand that the specimens are living breathing beings; there are certain boundaries, by which you will all abide. I want everyone to write these rules down, sign them and pass them to the front. This will signify your understanding and acceptance of the rules lain out for you.”
As Dr. Carver was saying this, he began writing the rules on the white board that sat in the front of the room.
Be respectful of all of the specimens.
No touching without permission.
Use only the water soluble markers that are provide in this class.
If holding a study group you must hold it in this classroom, or in a private setting.
Only use specimens on the list provided.
What happens in this classroom stays in this classroom.
“If any of these rules are broken you will be dismissed from this class! Ms. Cricket could you please make sure everyone receives this list, and would everyone please pass forward their agreement to the class rules.”
I sat there reading over the copy of specimens that Ms. Cricket had given me. It was funny it looked like a list of names to me, and next to each name there was either an M or an F, funny as it seemed though, some didn’t have any thing next to them. I sat there muttering to myself; I don’t get it, what kind of list is this?
“Well Mr. Johnson that list your reading over; is a list of students who have volunteered their time for this class. Does anyone else have any questions?” said Mr. Carver.
“The only thing I don’t understand is why our study groups must take place in a private setting or within this lab?” said one of the male students.
“Well, Mr. Conroy, that is because all of the specimens are in their most natural state of being. Does that clear it up for you?”
“So what you are telling us is that we are working with naked living bodies.”
“Yes Mr. Conroy, that is correct, does any one else have any further questions?”
“I do, I understand what the M and F stand for but why do some of them not have any gender?” I asked.
“Well Mr. Johnson that would be because some of the specimens do not have a gender.”
“So what does that mean?”
Before he could answer, the bell rang.
“I’ll see you all next time, please be aware that we will be studying your first specimens in that class.”
I left my last class of the day and headed back to my dorm more confused than when the day started. It seemed as though all the questions I had asked throughout my day had never really been answered. It was like there was more here than meets the eye but it was as if it was being hidden from me.
All the answers I had received where vague and didn’t seem to make very much sense. It took me about 15 minutes to walk back to my room. That is when it dawned on me that there was no transportation on this campus. For campus this large, for walking to be the only form of transportation, seemed extrinsic. I arrived back at my room to find Drex sitting on the couch, munching on a snack.
“Hey kiddo how was your first day?”
“I don’t know, it just seems as though I never really got any straight answers.”
“Sorry to hear that but things will become clearer as time moves on.”
“That funny, I can't even begin to count how many times I heard some form of that sentence today.”
As I was saying it, I took a seat on the couch joining Drex in becoming one with the TV when there was a knock on the door. Drex checked to see who was there. When he opened the door to no one, he simply found a note attached to the door by a pin that looked like a miniature sword.
“Hey kiddo, this is for you.”
I looked up from the TV, “who left it?” I said, all but exhausted.
“I don’t know it’s addressed to you, so why don’t you open it and find out.”
I opened it and read it aloud.
Young squire your adventure has just started, you are requested to begin your quest to take your place among The Brotherhood of the Knights. Time is ticking and the messenger will not wait long, you will find your winged friend at the place you would reflect on your day's events.
“What the hell?”
“In laymen’s terms kiddo, you’ve been chosen to become part of The Brotherhood of the Knights; now get going you’ve got to get your ass to the reflection pool and it’s in the middle of campus.”
“Ok, ok, I’m out of here.”
I ran across campus as if my life depended on it. I still had no clue why I had been chosen to join; but it added to the rest of my messed up day. I reached the pool with no real idea of what I was looking for until I saw her, she was breathtaking standing there basking in the sun, her long blonde hair looked like strands of gold, and her face gleamed as though she were covered in glitter. Her wings were awe inspiring, they were a gleaming white with purple and blue undertones.
“I’m guessing you’re who I’m looking for.”
“I might be; your name please.”
“Yes, I am who you’re looking for, here, this is for you; you really cut it close getting here.”
“Sorry.” I said, a bit ashamed.
“You made it, so it doesn’t matter.”
“Before I forget, that cat suit looks really good on you.”
“Thanks, but time is ticking, you should read your note to get to the next leg of your quest squire.”
She was right so I opened the note and read it. Your next quest is to rescue the princess from the tower. The tower can be found were knowledge is bound and put on a shelf; your friends will be a great asset on this leg.
“The Library of Knowledge!”
“Good luck young squire.”
I took off and headed for the library, which was located near the study halls; I entered the library, and went to the info desk to see if they could help.
I found the book in the fiction section it was called My Princess, it was located on the top shelf down in the last row of shelves. And of course, the top shelf in this library was over eight and a half feet tall. I thought the game was over until I heard a familiar voice.
“Hey boss what you up to?”
It was Samuel Wall standing about twenty feet away from me.
“Samuel can you get a book for me?”
“Sure boss which one?”
“It’s called My Princess, it’s on that shelf.”
Reaching up he plucked it off the shelf with no effort at all and handed it to me.
“That book doesn’t really seem your style boss.”
As I turned the book over, as I did a picture fell out of it, I picked it up.
“Then what did you want with it?”
“Apparently, this picture.”
“Oh, you know her?”
“Ok I don’t get it.”
“Hey listen to this. You found the princess and rescued her from the tower now take her home to the king of the land. King of the land I don’t get it?”
“Well the king of this land would be the dean.”
“Your right Samuel thanks for the help.”
“Any time boss.”
“I’ve got to get going I’ll see you around, thanks again.”
With that, I was heading for the doors so I could get going to the dean's house.
The sun was just starting to set as I was coming up the walkway at the dean’s house; he was just coming out to pick up the mail.
“Excuse me, Dean?”
“I think this is yours sir, I found it in the library in one of the books.”
I handed him the picture.
“Oh my, it’s my daughter I misplaced it sometime last year. But I have nothing to give you; he said as he was looking through his mail; Hold on, this piece of mail must be for you.”
He handed me a black envelope with a red M on it.
The last leg of your journey awaits you in the labyrinth of beauty. Find the mirror to join us, avoid Medusa. You may get a guide to help find your way, choose wisely.
“The labyrinth of beauty?”
“That Mr. Johnson would be the House of Beauty, but it’s an all girl sorority.”
“Oh goody.” My voice dripping with sarcasm.
“And the only way in is if you know someone there.”
“This keeps getting better and better; dean could you please point me in its direction.”
“Sure it’s on Garden Way which is off of Throne Drive.”
“No, thank you for finding that picture for me.”
I made my way to the House of Beauty, and it was one hell of a journey. As I was going up the walk I spotted two faces I recognized, Opal and Sapphire. When they saw me, they stopped playing frisbee and they came running to give me a hug.
“Hey M what’s up?” they said in unison
‘Nothing much but I need to get into the house.”
“Why?” asked Opal
“I’m on a treasure hunt.”
“Come on tell us the truth.”
“There’s a door in there I need to use.”
“The knights are at it again.” giggled Sapphire
“You know about it.”
“All of the girls know about the knights and we all know about the door to the hidden courtyard.”
“So can you get me to the door?”
“Sure just as long as Margaret isn’t out of her room, checking the floors, the door is at the end of the hall right next to her room.”
“That must be Medusa.”
“Yeah you could call her that.” the both said laughing.
They got me into the house and we were almost home free when Medusa came out of her room. Opal and Sapphire pushed me into one of the rooms on the right. There was a girl sitting on her bed drying her hair wearing nothing but a towel.
“Hi you two who’s your cute friend?”
“Hey Destiny, this M and we’re trying to help him get to the mirror door.”
“The knights and their sick little sense of humor, let me help you guys out, but I’m only doing this because we’re friends and he’s cute.”
She got up off her bed, took off her towel and draped it on the bedpost; she then ran her hands through her hair, telling us to hide to the right of the door. She then stepped out of the room, striking up a conversation with Medusa.
“Hey Margaret, got a question for you about that dance we’re in charge of.”
“Destiny, its rush week I really wish you wouldn’t walk around naked.”
“Oh no some freshman will see a girl’s naked body; I should be ashamed of myself.” she said acrimoniously.
“Soooo not funny, Destiny.”
“Oh get over it Margaret, just because you hide under that moo-moo doesn’t mean the rest of us have to.”
“Whatever, the stuff is in my office come on if you want it.”
Opal watched as they walked down the hall towards the office and motioned for her sister and me.
“Damn Destiny is good.” I said with sheer admiration.
“Yeah she is; she knows the ins and outs of this place better than the back off her hand, but that comes with being a college senior.”
“You’re kidding me right; I just got to see a twenty something naked.”
“Damn thank her for the distraction and tell her I owe her one, I guess I owe you ladies two now.”
“No, it was our pleasure, but you better get going before Medusa comes back.”
I hugged them both and then walked up to the mirror, I touched it and it turned to something resembling mercury. I backed up, took off running, and dove in. The next thing I knew I was face down in dirt somewhere on campus.
I stood up and brushed myself off, looking around. I was in the middle of a courtyard; I had landed in front of a gray stone castle with two monstrous doors. Standing on the steps was a figure dressed in black with a red cloak; because of the hood with mesh covering, you could not see a face. I couldn’t tell if the form was male or female due to the distortion of the voice.
“Step this way young squire, you have passed the initiation.”
I was standing in a circular chamber with the rest initiates. In the middle of the room stood the lead member of The Brotherhood, dressed all in red.
“I welcome all of you that made it, however your tests are far from over. Let me be the first to welcome you to what is known as the Forge Weeks. In these following two weeks, you will learn who you are, as well as how far you can be pushed. Once you complete the Forge Weeks, you will have crafted your own armor and weapons. Remember your friends will be your best allies, as most of you found out today. Some of you chose your friends wisely, and then those of you who didn’t found yourselves in some very tough places. I wish you all luck and hope to see you all at the end of the two week Forge, to take your place among us.”
After he finished speaking the chamber went dark and they were all gone. All that remained were me and the other inductees.
“Ok, definitely points for the exit.”
“No they get points for how I got to the courtyard.”
“And how was that buddy?”
“Through a mirror in the House of Beauty.” I said
“My way was at the bottom of a swimming pool.”
“Mine was in the cold storage of the medical labs autopsy room.”
“The dumpster outside the dining hall.”
“Sounds to me the way the rest of you got here was the pits.” I said almost laughing
“Pits, I got here by a mud pit in the middle of the soccer field!”
“How the hell did the youngest one get the coolest way in?”
“Hey don’t ask me, I just did what the notes told me to do.”
“Well, I would love to get into a testosterone throw down with you boys, but I have mud and grass in places I didn’t think it could get it, so I’m out of here and I’m going to take a nice hot shower.” she said
“Can I help you clean up Samantha?”
“You are such a bottom feeder Lou; I would let the freshman help me first before I would let you touch me.” she said snarkily.
“Well it’s your own fault Sam, look at how you’re dressed cotton shorts and a baby doll tee. White on top of it.”
“Fuck off Lou, and FYI, I don’t have anything else on besides my sneakers.”
“Yeah I could tell, you’re very perky and that’s one nice camel toe you got going on there.”
“Hey back off already.” I said with every bit of tough guy attitude I had
“Kid if I want your two cents I’ll beat it out of you.” laughed Lou.
“Lou back off he’s just trying to get you out of my face.”
“Well he did, now I’m in his.”
“Lou; leave the freshman alone already.”
“Or what Sam, you’re going to hit me.”
“No asshole I am.”
At that, I hit him in the stomach and as he came down his face met my knee, laying him out cold. Sam grabbed me by my arm and pulled me away from Lou. She didn’t let go of my arm until we were out in the courtyard where she collapsed gasping for air while laughing at the same time.
“You're crazy kid, but the look on Lou’s face when you hit him was priceless.” she finally managed to get out.
“Oh come on, there’s no need to be all stone faced and serious about it, you fucked his world up.”
“Yeah I know I did.” I said with pride.
After that, she just sat there staring at me for a few moments in silence. I really don’t know what she was staring at; she got up from where she was sitting and walked over and kissed me on the check.
“Kiddo, you really are one of a kind and you’re a sweetheart to boot, thanks for standing up for me.”
After she said it, she stepped back about four steps. I could have sworn that she had horns when she turned and disappeared into the shadows, I thought she had a tail dragging behind her.
I was standing in the courtyard once more alone questioning the events of the day in my mind, questioning where the strength came from that I hit Lou with to knock him out cold. Questioning the mirror, my classes, and everything, I had seen and taken part in.
My alarm woke me from my slumber, its funny I don’t even remember making my way back to my dorm room, let alone setting the alarm to wake myself two hours before my first class.
I took a quick look at my self in the bathroom mirror before jumping into the shower, the gel was all out of my hair, but Sam’s lip marks were still on my cheek.
I was in and out of the shower in about ten minutes I was dressed and heading out the door to the café with more then an hour and a half until class.
I entered the lecture hall for the class I had missed yesterday, sitting to find a scantily dressed women perched on the edge of the teachers desk wearing glasses. Her dirty blonde hair was pulled up into a tousled mess, she looked like a school girl gone bad.
“Good morning M, it’s nice of you to join us today.”
“Thanks, but how did you know my name?”
“Because you were the only one missing yesterday, your seat is right down here fifth seat in.”
“Ok thanks professor.”
“Its not professor, its doctor, but no one calls me that.”
She slid off the edge of the desk and walked over to me, extending her hand.
“Hi I’m Psychs I’ll be your instructor for this class.”
“What is this class anyway?”
“It’s called the psychology of intimidation and bluffing.”
“You’re a Doctor of Psychology.”
“Yes I am, why does that bother you?” she asked inquisitively.
“I don’t really know how to answer that.”
“If it helps any I don’t analyze my students.”
“Yeah a little.”
“Ok well I promise by the end of this year you and I will be friends.”
The rest of the class was strolling in by this point, there were only about fourteen of us.
“Well good morning all, today we’re going to call each others bluffs and find out who of you has the weakest mind and will believe anything told or gestured towards you.”
As she was saying this she was playing with the buttons on her blouse but it was very subtle, its funny I knew what she was up too, she was putting an offer out on the table without saying a word. Now all she had to do was wait to see who fell for it first. As funny as it seemed, I could tell who noticed what she was doing; they were shifting ever so slightly in their seats every few minutes.
“Psychs are you warm?” asked one of the male students.
“Well you could say that, but it’s more like hot and bothered by all you handsome young men and all the hot young women.”
“She’s bluffing man.” laughed someone.
“No she’s not.”
“Oh she’s not huh, what do you think she wants; you to jump her bones right here in front of all of us?”
“All this fighting over little old me it’s making me all wet I should have worn panties today.” she said breathily
“Man she’s no exhibitionist she’s playing you like a bad violin.” said another student.
“What are you saying I’m not man enough for her?”
“No I’m saying you don’t turn her on.”
Psychs finally started to laugh.
“He’s right, Rick sorry but I was bluffing and you walked right into it.”
“Yes you did, I never verbally said anything I just made gestures at what I wanted and you took those gestures as an indication that I was horny or wanted sex, but the truth was I was just fishing to see who would bite.”
“And I bit didn’t I?” asked Rick, ashamed.
“Hook, line, and sinker.”
“Now M, why didn’t you buy my little act?”
“Simply put, because from speaking with you just before class started, I could tell where your standards are. You are not the type to sleep with one of your students. Next was the whole panties thing; don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re wearing black lace panties.”
She started to smirk “And how would you know that?”
“When you slid off your desk to shake my hand, you moved just right and I caught a glimpse of them.”
“Very attentive, I notice you profiled me as well.”
“You said you don’t profile your students you didn’t say we couldn’t profile you!”
“Very true, ok your assignment for tonight is to set up your own bluff, both with words as well as gestures, and we’ll see who gets bluffed.”
Class ended and I headed for the coliseum. When I got there I realized the dome was closed, it’s a pretty eerie place when it’s only lit by torches. I was standing there waiting for the rest of the class to show up when I thought I saw something move in the shadows. Man was I ever right, next thing I knew I had a fist coming at me; I dropped my books and blocked it.
“Lets see how well he handles that shadow sparer.” whispered Malakin.
“What skill level did you summons him at?” asked Malaki
“A medium one.”
“So it should give him a good run.”
“Yes it should but we don’t know what level he stands at or even how developed his powers are.”
“Guess we’ll find out in the next few minutes.”
Damn little bastard was quick and pretty strong for his build. He tried another straight-arm on me but I blocked that one as well, this time I was able to grab him before he could recoil. I spun him around by his arm and slammed him into one of the pylons that knocking the wind out of him.
“Come on tough guy; let’s go, get up it’s my turn to beat on you.”
I was standing over my attacker when I heard clapping coming from behind me, and the dome started to open, once enough light entered the coliseum the shadow guy disappeared from where he was.
“For a quiet one you have one hell of a temper, now don’t you.”
“Malaki, what the hell was the deal with that?”
“I told you young one I would push you to your limits.”
“Push me okay, I’ll buy that but what happened to the guy who attacked me?”
“Yeah I know that, but what was that thing?”
“Let’s just say it was a hologram.”
“Holograms can’t make physical contact and I shouldn’t have been able to fight with it.”
“They’re solid holograms, its new technology we use here for training.”
“Oh really Malakin.” my voice seething.
The rest of the class went without mishap, as well as the rest of my day. I was sitting at my desk working on my bluff for first period when the phone rang I picked it up.
“You’re to go to the hall of honor you have ten minutes to get there, time is ticking.”
The next thing I heard was a click and the line was dead. I don’t need this today, is all Drex and Malcom heard me yelling from my room. They just watched as I ran by them, they didn’t say two words to me. I moved my ass across campus to the Hall of Honor were Sam was awaiting me.
“Did you run all this way?”
“No Sam, I’m breathing hard because I just had sex.”
“You really need to learn to body slide.” she said sardonically.
“To body what?”
“Sam what are you doing here anyways?”
“I got this call and they told me to wait out here for my brother knight.”
“They must know what happened last night.”
“They probably do and figure we make a good team.”
“At least you’re wearing more then last night.”
Before she could come back, we started to hear a ringing coming from the base of one of the statues at the entrance to the hall. We found a cell phone lying there.
“Nice to see you both made it, squires your next test begins once you enter these doors.
“Squire M please hand the phone over to squire Sam and step away.”
I did as told, handed the phone over to Sam, and stepped out of hearing range.
“Evening squire Sam, before you enter the hall you must strip. And the only one naked is you.”
“Your place isn’t to ask, your place at this time is to do as you’re told until you have earned your knighthood.”
“You must have trust in your fellow knights.”
“Once inside you will find clues leading you to your goal.”
At that, the line went dead.
“Sam what’s up?” I asked
“They said we would find clues to lead us to our goal.” she said a bit anxious.
“Ok then let’s go.”
“Ok, that wasn’t an ok, that was an, I don’t really want to ok, spill it what did they say to you?”
“I have to strip before I can enter the hall.”
“Yes only me.”
“What the hell?”
“You mad about that M?”
“A little, it’s not fair to you and it’s going to be a little bit of a distraction to me; hold on there might be a way around it.”
“They said strip off your clothes not mine.” I said pointedly.
“You just want to see me naked.”
“Yeah that’s why I’m turning my back to you while you do and handing you my sweater.”
As she stripped down, I could hear her giggling. She folded all her stuff neatly and placed them on the base of one of the statues at the entrance to the hall.
“Mmm, you smell good, well at least your sweater does.”
“Thanks you ready?”
“Let’s do this.”
We entered the Hall and found our first clue.
Find Epicus the Brave, he fought in the nude, find his sword, at its hilt you’ll find your next task.
It took us sometime but we found the statue, we found he didn’t use weapons he fought hand to hand.
“This has got to be some kind of joke.”
“M hold on what else could be thought of as a sword?”
“I don’t know.” I said agitated.
I looked to where she was pointing, his manhood.
“Now, where do you think the hilt is?”
“Do I dare to tread here and ask why his dick would be a sword?”
“Because it’s hard and it’s used to penetrate the body.”
“Ok, so the blade would the shaft.”
“So the hilt would be the ball sack.”
“Oh you’re good; you must have done great in anatomy.”
“Thanks but I always liked the female body better.”
“I bet, but the hilt would be behind the sack.”
She was up on the pedestal with her hand in between the statues legs feeling for the next clue.
“I got it.” As she said it, she lost her balance and fell, I caught her and we both fell to the floor.
“Nice catch handsome.”
The next clue told us to find the statue pointing to the west and once we found it, it would point toward the next clue. It took us about thirty minutes to find it, but we did.
That clue told us to find a monster; he was the door to where we needed to be.
We must have walked by it over a dozen times. Until we noticed, the large face carved into the wall, teeth, eyes, and a tongue. We didn’t see any knobs or keyholes. We found one last clue that said; once you figure out how to open the door you might need something to loosen it.
We checked the whole mouth and didn’t find anyway to open it till Sam found something.
“Hey there is a button here.”
“Well push it.”
“It won’t budge; they weren’t lying about us needing something to loosen it.”
“Oil or something like that would work.”
“Yeah and where are we going to get that from?”
“I don’t know.”
“Hold on, I got an idea.”
“Ok, share it with me.”
“I really don’t want to; let’s just say I’ve got something to loosen it.” she said with an air of uneasiness
“Ok, like what?”
“If you tell anyone what I’m about to do I’ll be pissed.”
“Who am I going to tell?”
“Good now turn around.”
“Why, ok I’m lost.”
“Just turn around and don’t watch ok and stop asking so many questions.”
I did as she asked and stood there with my back to her until I heard the sound of something sliding open; I turned to see her standing looking up a stairwell.
“Well let’s go.”
“Ok you want me to go first or would you like to?”
“You can or did you forget about the whole clothes thing.”
“I kind of forgot.”
“No you didn’t you just wanted a look at my ass.”
“Get going smart ass.”
We started up the dark stairwell.
“Hey Sam, how did you get the button to release?”
“I lubed it up.”
“Lubed it up with what?”
“Why do you think I had you turn around for?”
“Never mind I know how you got it to open, is that the other reason you didn’t want to go first.”
We traveled the rest of the stairwell in silence; we ended up coming out in the center of the floor of the chamber from the night before.
“Welcome knights, you have passed your final test, as well as proved you can work well as a team no matter what the circumstances might be, you have also shown that you will stand up for each other no matter what the outcome might be. Take a knee both of you it is time for you to accept your knighthood, repeat after me.”
On this night, I become the line between the light and dark, I will serve all in need of help, and I will protect the weak and defenseless. I will stand by my brother or sister knight no matter the odds.
We both took our oaths and received our cloaks, and we became knights that evening. Sam’s cloak was dark purple with a black lining; mine was black with blood red lining.
When the senior knight stepped away from us, Sam jumped me and wrapped her legs and arms around me and she kissed me right on the lips.
“Thanks handsome, you helped me make one of my dreams come true.”
“You’re very welcome.”
After she got off of me, we left Knights castle and ended up back at my dorm room talking the night away.
The alarm went off waking me from my slumber once more, the only difference this morning was my bed wasn’t empty after I crawled out of it. My sweater hung from the bedpost and there was a beautiful naked female body still there off in the world of dreams. Its funny we spent the whole night together and she was extremely modest but when it came to sleep, I got to see and hold what she was so modest about, I watched as she cuddled up with a pillow. I did my usual thing and was out the door heading for my first class.