|Harlington Academy: Beginnings and Endings
Author: SugarCraziiness PM
Magic, teenage angst, and killing evil beings of darkness? Psh! All in a day’s work at Harlington Academy. Unless you’re a sorceress attracted to all sorts of trouble. Which, despite all odds, I’ve survived...so far. And only barely.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Humor - Chapters: 17 - Words: 80,124 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 20 - Updated: 12-13-10 - Published: 06-04-08 - id: 2527343
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I am lazy, thus I have long since stopped editing the documents. Bad Leanne, bad! This is more of an info dump/filler chapter, but it's something, right? The next few chapters are more exciting, don't worry. Once again, I'm a horrible updater, so don't expect too much. Ok, read and enjoy or don't, but always inform me of grammar errors or criticisms in general!
*~~*Harlington Academy: Beginnings and Endings*~~*
Chapter 17: Possessed?!
"Pulsus!" I groaned as I struggled to my feet for the millionth time that day.
I bent over, hands on my legs, trying to catch my breath. "That," I gasped, wagging a finger at her, "was not. Fair." I mean, honestly. After forty-five minutes of lessons and you'd think she'd ease up a little on me. But no. She just had to snatch every opportunity to knock me out. "I call—"
"Ictus!" A spiraling flash of green light flew at my head.
And I sidestepped it. "Oy!" I shouted, trying to grab the deaf girl's attention. "I CALL TIME OUT!" I waved my arms wildly in her direction. Just in case she didn't notice.
Rosemarie let her hands fall on her hips and leaned to one side, a seemingly natural pose for her, seeing as she used it every few minutes. "I think that's the first one you've successfully dodged out of, what, twenty?"
Obviously I was too tired, so I couldn't manage much more than a, "Shut up." Thus collapsing to the floor. "Noooo moooore! Everything hurts! Muscles I didn't even know I had hurt. I beg mercy, oh Divine One!" Okay, so I did have a little words left in me. "Can't we just take a little nap?" I tried to use to my best puppy pout on her from where I was lying on the floor.
She nudged me with her toe. "Stop being such a drama queen." With that, she nudged me again, except this time she did it a little harder than I would have liked. "Get up. You have more shapeshifting to do."
"Oh c'mon!" I whined. Jutting my lower lip out, I held my pointer finger and thumb up for her to see and made a little space between them. "Just an itty bitty nap. A tiny, tiny, tiny nap?" When she shook her head, I wah-ed, for lack of a better word. "Wah. Boo you." I rolled over on my side. "I'm taking a nap anyways!"
Pointing her wand at my rear end, she muttered, "Morsus."
Screeching like a banshee, I shot up like one of those cartoons on TV (you know, where they jump up a hundred feet in the air and stuff). I glared at Rosemarie as I rubbed my now-very-sore bottom. "Thank you, oh so much. How could I ever live without your kindness?"
She narrowed her eyes. "The sarcasm's pushing it."
"I don't really care."
It was probably a bad idea I said it. Because then, Rosemarie gestured her wand at me and said, "Verto bumblebee—"
"NO!" I shouted, jumping at her. But of course, it was too late, because then the only thing I could hear in my own ears was buzzzz. "You female dog!" I buzzed. "A bee? Honestly?! You changed me into a gosh-freaking-dam—" intentional spelling error! I mean, oopsie daisy, "BUG?!"
"Hm!" she spoke up, in that annoying way of hers, "I wonder where that weird buzzing noise is coming from? Huh, where did Sam go? I can't seem to find her! Oh, look, a bee. I may as well swat it." She raised her hand, ready to aim.
"You wouldn't!" I hissed.
"I'm sorry, Sam, wherever you are!" Rosemarie exclaimed loudly, completely ignoring me. "But this bee is really ticking me off! Maybe if it apologized to me nicely it won't have to face such a cruel, horrifying death—"
"Okay, fine! I'm sorry, happy?"
"This bee sure looks like it could use some stamping on—"
"DEAF. LADY. I. AM. SORRY."
She pursed her lips. "I think the bee just called me a deaf lady. I do not appreciate that from pollen-sucking pests."
I groaned. "Would you stop referring to me as a bee? Now change me back right now or I swear I'll whoop your sorry humongo lard butt!"
Yeah, I really shouldn't have said that. Rosemarie gasped. "My butt is not made of pig fat!"
"Really?" I retorted. "It sure looks like it from my point of view!"
Oh my. "I'LL SQUASH YOU TO A BLOODY BUG PULP!"
"Eep!" I squealed as I buzzed away as fast as my miniscule wings could carry me. "Here comes Rose-zilla!"
"Don't you fly away from me, missy!"
I think, while the chase went on, we didn't pay much attention to where it was due. Meaning, while Rose and I went this way, a whole lot of something else went on that way, cutting right across the front of this way, aka our way. Does that make sense? Anyway, while we were busy running or buzzing, we didn't notice the people talking in the hallway adjacent to ours. So when I immediately stopped flying in that direction, Rosemarie nearly crashed right into me, almost seriously injuring me in the process. But she stopped just in time so the other people didn't hear us.
Rosemarie tried to peek around the corner. "What are you doing?" she whispered lowly to me. Being the size of someone's thumb made everything seem louder, even whispers.
"Shh," I told her, before buzzing in the other two's direction. The other two, as it turned out, were Professor Payne and Professor Gray, my Sorc. Ec/Elements and Self Defense teacher. Now what were they doing here? It was getting late, and if they'd caught Rosemarie and me they'd probably have shooed us off to our dorm.
Rose and I managed to stay quiet enough to catch some of the conversation. "…alarm mustn't have been a mere coincidence," came from whom I'd assumed was Professor Payne. This immediately caught my attention, and I flashed back to the alarm the first week of school. The topic had to be important. "It couldn't have been shades?" Though it was a statement, her voice rose a little at the end like she was asking a question. And what did she mean by "shades?"
"Out of the question," Professor Gray answered shortly. "No shades have gotten into Caells since…"
Professor Payne cut him off. "Since when? How are we supposed to know? You and I both know that the M.A.P.L.E. is neglecting their Atrum Investigations Department." Atrum, Atrum…where had I heard that term before? "Besides. A number of shades have already escaped onto Earth."
"Yes, but Earth's realm guards have always been a little…faulty."
Professor Payne glanced at him tiredly. "Victoria Harlington gave her life for the realms. It's only their fault the realms overseers have not appreciated her effort." She swept a gray strand of hair out of her aged face. "The community must renew the Three Realms Council."
Professor Gray seemed shocked by this. "No, Patricia. It's not that drastic."
"Don't you feel it coming?" Professor Payne asked him. "What if the Elementors of future were right? They could be speaking about any one of the students on our own campus!"
"You know the chances for that are immensely slim."
"Maybe." Professor Payne crossed her arms. "Maybe not. But it's always possible that the shades have passed Atrum's barriers—"
Apparently, I have such perfect timing, because my body chose that exact moment to change back into its normal girl form. I landed on the floor with a thud. Thank goodness my clothes had a permanent stay-on charm. Unfortunately, though, Professor Gray and Professor Payne happened to hear the little ruckus, and they quieted immediately. "Did you hear it?" Professor Payne asked.
I couldn't see Professor Gray now, but he must've nodded, because Professor Payne continued, "We should leave." No, no, no! Not good! They would catch us, for sure! Rosemarie and I exchanged a panicked glance.
We stood stock still as the professors' footsteps started to echo down the hall. They were walking away from us, not towards us. Rosemarie and I both exhaled. Whoo. That was a close one. I nodded at Rosemarie and pointed to the direction down our opposite hall. She nodded back, and we dashed off (quietly) towards our dorm.
"You were listening to what?"
I shifted uneasily. "Professor Payne and Professor Gray were talking." I glanced around the doorway just to make sure Rosemarie had really left. It was the day after we'd heard the conversation, and Rosemarie had apparently wanted to check out some books from the library, so she left. "About shades. And Atrum."
Leah froze. "Atrum?"
"Yeah," I said, scratching my head confusedly, "though I wouldn't know why. I feel like I've heard about that somewhere, but maybe it's just me…"
Smack. "Ow! What was that for?"
Leah rolled her eyes. "Don't you remember?"
I shook my head dumbly.
"Atrum, the realm of shadows! It's from that book we got the time we ahem-ed into the ahem's office!"
I blinked. "You know, the 'ahems' are not helping me much."
She smacked her own forehead, which only continued to confuse me. "Snuck into Headmaster Johnson's office!" She'd tried to lower her voice, but it came out more as a yell-whisper, if there is such a thing.
"OH!" I exclaimed, realization dawning on me. Finally. "You mean—oh my, THAT book?"
"The one with the thing?"
"That was guarded by the thing?"
Leah looked plainly irritated now. "Yes, Sam. That is exactly what I'm talking about." With a sigh, she continued, "So what were the professors talking about?"
I tapped my chin as the memories flickered past. "I think they were talking about the alarm that went off in the first week of school. Something about the MAPLE and their Atrum Investigations Department…realm guards…Victoria dying…the Three Realms Council…Elementors of future…" I frowned. "Oh, and shades might have broken past Atrum's barriers."
Leah had appeared calm up until that very last sentence. By what I could see, she'd either choked on air or her own spit, because all of a sudden she'd started coughing like crazy. I patted on her back, trying to help her out, until she finally rasped out, "Shades! NOT good!"
"What about shades?"
She made a wild gesture with her hands, flailing them as if that'd make any sense to me. "They're only supposed to be in myths! They'd—supposedly—been extinct for years! Are you sure that the teachers said shades?"
I nodded my head, certain I was right. "Positive."
Leah had stopped choking by now. "Do you even know what shades are?"
I raised an eyebrow. "Do I look like I do?"
She shrugged. "Shades are similar to shadow demons when they don't have bodies. They look like your average shadow, but they're darker than night. It's only a subtle difference, but they're visible when it's dark. Unlike shadow demons, shades can appear in the daytime, but only with a body."
"What's with all this "body" business?" I asked.
If her expression hadn't been so deadly serious, I would've assumed she was kidding with me. "Shades, for lack of a better term, possessmagical and mortal creatures."
I don't know why, but I still laughed. It wasn't even funny, I knew, but maybe I found it better to laugh than to listen to Leah go on about demons and whatnot. "Possess people? Leah, no offense, but are you feeling okay? You might have something wrong with your head…"
This only made her more put-off. "I am being serious, Sam! That's what shades do! All of the humans' stories and tales about demons possessing people's bodies, they're all real. Shades consume the creature's mind and body, and expel the former inhabitant. They trap the body's former soul in an item, another body, anywhere, so the soul is left to fade away into nonexistence." Wow. Sounds happy.
I raised both eyebrows. "But, that can't happen. I mean, if shades could get the job done as easy as that, wouldn't there be a lot of possessed bodies hanging around?"
"They say shades haven't existed since Victoria Harlington's time."
"And yet," I spurred her on, "Professor Payne was just talking about them being the cause of the school's alarm?"
Leah shook her head like she was trying to solve an extremely mind-boggling problem. Which, in her case, I guess she was. "That's what I don't get. How could the shades have been kept secret…unless…" Her face brightened and pop! I immediately knew she found her solution. Well, at least a small one. "Unless…"
"Unless they've been locked up in Atrum all this time!" Leah concluded. She began to pace, her mind obviously racing at a million miles per hour. "That must be why it's called the Realm of Shadows, correct? Isn't Caells also unofficially named the Realm of Light? And Earth is the medium…" She gasped at her sudden realization. "Don't you see, Sam?" I nearly jumped when she'd started shaking me.
"See what?" I squeaked.
Her eyes were shining with the excitement of her discovery. "It must be all part of the balance. Atrum is the opposite realm of Caells. The Three Realms." Pressing a hand to her forehead, she fell down onto a bed. "Why…why would it be kept secret?"
I stood there like a wooden doll, waiting for the gears to click in place. "So what you're saying is…there are three realms?"
"But," I wanted to argue, but my mind was still slightly jumbled, "we only learn about two realms in class…"
Leah nodded slowly, trying to catch me up to her pace. "That's because they don't want to mention Atrum. I always thought that Earth and Caells were just there, but all those mythological creatures of darkness in the stories I've read have never had a source. The books never explained. And for a reason." She stood up and began pacing again. "I wonder what the Three Realms Council discusses. If the shades have broken past the barriers, they could be walking among us even now! We wouldn't even know. Shades have been described to have the intelligence of humans."
She was losing me again. "Wait, wait, wait. What are you talking about? Shades here? Now?"
She nodded again. "You said yourself that Professor Payne and Professor Gray were discussing the cause of the school alarm. What if shades really did set it off? The school alarm only goes off at the threat of the school's barriers being broken. Not broken yet, per say, but close enough for the school to warn us. That must mean that shades have attempted to infiltrate Harlington Academy." Her eyes widened. "Or they already have."
Okay, this was a huge load of information. I needed a breather. Where was the pause button? "You mean soul-sucking demons are in this school right now?!" I exclaimed, panicking. "What if they're watching us…from the walls...from our classrooms…from our own room?!"
"Calm down," Leah soothed. "I'm not saying they're here yet. Of course, the headmaster would've put a stop to that. The teachers wouldn't dare let a source of evil enter our school. That's what the school was built for. To keep out the danger. It says so in my books." Seriously? What kind of books did Leah read? "It's just…" Leah groaned. "I wish we had more information."
I breathed in and out evenly. Maybe that's what Leah thought, but my brain was practically melting from the information overload. Probably it was just me and my slow thinking processes. "I don't know…how would we get it? We don't know anyone, and I just happened on the professors' conversation by accident."
I was starting to worry that Leah was running holes into the floor, at the rate she was pacing. "That's what I'm trying to figure out."
Suddenly, the door burst open. Both Leah and I, seeing that we had been concentrating so hard on our current enigma, snapped back to reality with a start. Rosemarie pursed her lips at the sight. "You two are both thinking too hard. You're going to get heart attacks from worrying so much. Don't stress yourselves."
Leah immediately recovered, shooting her an indignant look. "You were eavesdropping," she accused.
Rosemarie shrugged. "I have a healthy curiosity. And you," she pointed at me, "bee girl, are so obvious I could tell you were hiding something from the beginning. And I didn't even need my mind-reading. " She let her arm drop to her side. "So what is all this about the Three Realms?"
I stuck out my tongue at her. "None of your business."
Rosemarie snorted. "Very mature." Ignoring me completely, she turned to Leah. "So you need more information? You should've just asked."
Leah seemed completely surprised by this. Her mouth opened and closed, until she finally managed, "You know about the Three Realms and shades?"
"No," Rosemarie replied candidly, "but I know some people who might."
"Really?" I asked, blinking. "Who?"
Again, she ignored me. Hmph! How rude. "They live in Caells, so we'll have to wait until after tomorrow when the school lets out for the weekend. Is that alright with you?"
Apparently "you" only consists of Leah, because when Leah nodded, Rosemarie immediately smiled. "Good. If I introduce you to my sources, I only have one condition."
"And what is that?"
"You let me in on this little 'secret' of yours."
"Hey!" I shouted, trying to get their attention. "Wait a sec! Don't I get a say?"
They both looked at me, their expressions completely deadpan. They even said "No" at the same time. Jeez! Needless to say, I felt left out. After watching my own expression drop, Leah sighed and her face softened a little. "Sorry, Sam. It's just that this is extremely important."
I shifted my weight from one foot to another as I stood there awkwardly. "I know, and I get that. I honestly do. But…this is the only time I get to check up on my family and everyone at home." And, I decided not to add, my only weekend for a date with Jared.
"Oh," Leah said, understanding. "I see. Well, when you come back we can tell you what happened."
My eyebrows furrowed together. "What? Nuh-uh. I'm not missing out on this."
Leah tried to smile back as a sort of apology. "Well, like you said, it's your only time you can spend with your family and other friends. That's fine with us."
Hm. This posed a problem. I rubbed my arm, biting my lip as I thought over it. I couldn't…no, I promised. But what if? It was important, like Leah said. I had to go with them. Having decided, I cleared my throat. "I'll go with you."
"I can find another time. Don't worry about me. I want to be there for everything. It sounds like we're really onto something." I grinned back at them encouragingly. "So, this weekend?"
Rosemarie nodded. "It's settled."
While Leah and I muttered our assent, Rosemarie headed towards the door. "By the way, Sam."
I perked up at her call. "Yes?"
"You should get some sleep now."
I stared at her, puzzled. "Now? Why?"
Rosemarie glanced at her watch. "It's 9 o'clock, and we have to get to the fields early tomorrow."
"The fields? But tomorrow's Friday."
Rosemarie raised an eyebrow. "Don't tell me you already forgot, Brooks. I thought this was important to you."
"Well, duh, Eo is important. But there's no practice tomorrow." Then, it all rushed back. "Oh my gosh! I almost forgot! Ugh, and just when I'd stopped worrying about it…" My stomach was starting to churn, as it usually did when the topic was brought up.
"What? Forgot what?" For the first time, Leah had no idea what were talking about, and she obviously didn't like it.
I'd wanted to cherish the moment, but Rosemarie decided to cut it short. "Oh, it's nothing." Her eyes glinted mischievously. "It's just a big Eo thing coming up tomorrow."
I nodded, and Rosemarie voiced the words I'd been thinking.
"The first game."