Author: Fate Rose PM
Amber Bradds was a perfectly normal teenager until one night her town was murdered by werewolves. Now she must turn her back on everything she knows in order to survive life as the apprentice of a mysterious witch. With war threatening to break out, life as a human in the magical nation of Pandora is dangerous. Can she handle it or will she get herself killed?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 22 - Words: 43,074 - Reviews: 37 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 12-24-12 - Published: 07-17-12 - id: 3042564
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Puzzles, Paintings, and Panic
She didn't leave her room at all the next day, except to eat. No one looked for her and she didn't run into anyone on her food runs. She was undisturbed and so she spent her time studying. When that bored her, she picked up the book of fairy tales again and resumed the happy adventures. She completed a few more stories; one about a prince and a pauper who switched lives, another about a street rat who won over a princess, the last one was the classic account of the three little pigs. Then she set the book down and decided she needed to get out for a little while. It was midnight, so she thought it best to stay inside the house and explore some more. She wanted to go outside and maybe make a snowman or something, but after the scene she had witnessed the previous night, she was too afraid.
On the upside, there was a lot to see in the house, plenty of unexplored territory just waiting for her to discover. A brief search through the closet found her another long sleeved shirt to put on (for whatever reason, the halls always felt freezing to her) and then she headed out.
The first floor contained nothing that she found the slightest bit interesting. Perhaps the conservatory would interest her on another day. The billiards room was also something for another day. But there was nothing to entertain her at that particular moment. She headed up to the second floor.
Up here she found a room with a pool in it, muttering to herself, "That should not be possible." Then again, neither should a house with a mind of its own and magical shortcuts. She shook her head and shut the door. She was a naturally logical person; she didn't want to start listing out all the impossibilities of just the house. That would lead to thinking about the impossibilities of the whole freaking nation and that would just give her a headache.
There was nothing else of interest (or unusual nature) on the second floor, mostly just bedrooms. She hoped to find something on the third floor. She hadn't been up there much, except when she was hanging out in her own little library. It was a world of mystery. Amber enjoyed the occasional mystery, especially if it was a good one.
The first room she tried was locked, probably Fay's. The next few were spare bedrooms. The house had a ridiculous amount; Amber wondered how often anyone actually used them.
It was about the fifth room on that floor that caught her attention. She opened the door and discover what was, in essence, someone's art studio. The far wall was made entirely of glass, just one giant window. The room was lit by tons of candles in wall sconces. Scattered all throughout the room were paintings, more than Amber thought she could count. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to where they hung, they were just all over the place. There was no common theme amongst them. She saw sunsets, quite a few of them. But there were also graveyards, churches, wolves, dragons, trees, rivers, and oceans. Despite the difference in the subjects, there was a clear style amongst all of them. They had obviously been painted by the same person. She wondered who, doubting very much it was the witch. Melinda didn't seem like she had time for a hobby, though what she was busy doing was beyond Amber's imagination.
"Can I help you?" a voice asked. Amber jumped and turned around, finding Cayden standing there, one dark eyebrow raised.
"Did you paint these?" she responded.
He nodded, emerald eyes roaming around the room and studying the paintings. There was pride there, mixed with an artist's criticism. That slight, 'if I painted it now, I would do this differently' attitude. "I get bored. Especially now that Mom doesn't want Jackson and me going out at night. Not particularly a whole lot to do around here."
"Why don't you learn magic?" she wondered aloud.
He grimaced, obviously not excited that she had asked. It was time consuming though. If she could focus, she definitely wouldn't be bored. "I can't."
"Why not?" she pressed. Normally, she had enough manners not to continue discussing something that someone clearly didn't want to talk about, but she was genuinely curious and, much like him lately, quite bored.
"Well, first off, the spell book hates me. Secondly, you have to have witch or human in your ancestry somewhere in order to learn. Werewolves, vampires, trolls, and pretty much anything else can't learn it. Fairies are born with their own magic. They don't learn."
"So then…what does that make you?" she pondered.
He smirked. "You seem like a smart girl; I don't want to ruin the puzzle for you."
Her jade eyes glimmered and a small smile formed on her lips. "I do like puzzles. But what about a hint?"
His smirk broadened and she immediately knew his hint would not be helpful in the slightest. "I painted it and it's hanging somewhere in this room."
She sighed, the smile instantly vanishing. "You have a painting of everything. Including several of the magic-less species you just named off."
"Oh, I know. Believe me, I know. Let me know when you have a guess. I'm curious to see what you can come up with." On that note, he turned around and left her alone in the art studio.
She studied the paintings, admiring them. They were all beautiful. Each unique, and all very beautiful. They were also freaking endless. His hint was entirely useless. She was going to have to figure it out a different way and she definitely would. His puzzle had caught her attention. If that had been his goal, Cayden had succeeded. The room was suddenly much less interesting and she headed out.
It wasn't long before she gave into the temptation for fresh air and headed back to the first floor. Last night's events definitely still had her scared, but she had been cooped up in her room for too long. Tori let her out the front door and she wandered to the barn, to visit Stanley and Jill. They were excited to see her, but they seemed a bit jumpy and it made Amber nervous. Unicorns weren't skittish like horses. Jill bit her, whether it was the nerves or the unicorn's bitchy attitude was anyone's guess. Amber's reaction was to give Jill the dirtiest look she could achieve which then resulted in her feeling ridiculous. When she heard the wolves howl, though, she wasn't mad. She was scared and she suddenly understood why they were.
"Why did I think this was a good idea?" she muttered. Neither Jill nor Stanley could provide her an answer. The howls came again and she focused. Three, there were definitely three unique howls out there. She didn't recognize any as Jackson's either. These were wolves, nothing supernatural. Amber's heart stopped trying to jump its way out of her chest and calmed to an unreasonable pounding. The mutts were scary, but the half humans were terrifying. The dogs acted purely on instinct. The alternative ran on thoughts. Amber could handle the wolves. They didn't scare the hell out of her. She just needed to either outrun them or outsmart them or some combination of the two.
Another set of howls yanked Amber from any plans she could make, assuming she could have come up with any under this kind of pressure. They were getting farther away, but still too close. Maybe she could wait in the barn and they would just leave. But maybe they would come back. If she was going to run, she had to do it now.
She paused, briefly.
She thought, shortly.
She bolted, quickly.
A small part of her mind was practically screaming, Damn you, Amber! Nerds don't run! Nerds do not run! OH GOOD GOD, NERDS DO NOT RUN!
She ignored it entirely, focusing on moving one foot in front of the other. She couldn't ignore it anymore when all that focusing was useless. She tripped over her own feet and skidded into a face plant. Her heart skipped a beat; she had seen this horror movie
Dammit, why can't nerds run? she demanded to herself. The thought was fleeting; she spotted a white wolf in the trees.
Oh, good God, run! Run, run, run, runrunrun! her mind shrieked, forgetting her nerdiness. She struggled to her feet, limping back to the house as fast as she could. Pain shot through her legs as she ran. Her lungs burned from the cold air, but she was too terrified to feel the temperature outside of her lungs.
She made it to the front door and turned the knob before she remembered she was living in house with a mind of its own, a house without a key, a house she needed to request entrance to. (A house that very well could decide not to let her in, just because.)
Oh, for the love of all that's good on this planet… she thought, panic slowing her down. She just had to ask the house to let her in, but she was so scared the words weren't coming out. She was gasping for breath and stuttering and her words were just a jumbled mess.
"T-t-t-tori, I n-need to come i-inside. It's A-amber. P-p-please let m-m-me in," she spat out, hoping and praying that the house would understand her desire. The door flashed green. "Yes! T-t-t-thank you!"
She opened it and fell into the hall, shutting the door behind her. It was a moment before she got back to her feet, she didn't want to move. No more visiting the unicorns, she decided. No more leaving the house even, day or night. She stumbled into the kitchen and got some water from the fridge. Now that she was no longer terrified of death by wolf attack, death by heart attack was an unfortunately realistic possibility. She plopped into a chair, drinking the water and taking stock of her injuries. Her left ankle was twisted, swollen, and would probably be bruised in the morning. Her right knee had managed to be skinned through her jeans. The jeans themselves were completely ruined, no hope for repair or a second wear. Her face was cut. Adrenaline was rushing through her veins; the injuries didn't hurt now, but they sure as hell would in the morning. It was going to be awful; she didn't even want to think about it.
What she wanted, truly wanted, was to go home. Not here, the witch had been right, this house was more of a prison. She wanted to be with her parents. She wanted to have school tomorrow. She wanted to be fast asleep in her safe bed. That was what she wanted most, to be safe. Home was safe, it was the safest place she could ever think of. Perhaps it might be the safest place she would ever know. As she was quickly learning, the stereotypes and rumors were quite true.
Pandora was dangerous.
Pandora was very dangerous and Amber was very human.
A/N: I totally almost forgot it was Saturday. But it's technically still Saturday! So, I'm going to post it now so that I can say I updated on time, then proofread and then replace this chapter.
Anyways, this is one of my favorites. I love the little look at Cayden. Hope you enjoy!
Edit: Proofread! C: Hopefully lighter on the mistake.