"Hey, Savvy," Nocte said, stopping her roommate just before the blonde left the room. Savvy was going to the library again to study White Spells, which Nocte figured she should be doing too… but honestly? She was too lazy. "If you see Witley, can you tell her that I kinda… want to speak with her?"
"Of course," Savvy said, smiling, and then left.
She went back to the results of the amplitude test Wrath gave her over the weekend, in which she didn't have time to look over until now. She tapped her fingers on her desk irritably, not liking what she saw. She already knew about all the stuff the results were talking about, but seeing it black on white wasn't making it easier.
There was a polite knock at the door.
Nocte tossed the results onto her desk with a aggravated sigh before swivelling her chair to face the door. She decided to make her wait as she ran phrases and sentences through her mind until she found the right words. The door did not sound again, which was proper, and she breathed in slowly in preparation.
She could not believe she was seeking her out, but she really had no other choice. Nocte rubbed her temples, feeling a migraine coming on. She felt like her father, calling on an assassin or a disobedient slave.
"Come in," she said, crossing her legs and intertwining her fingers.
Witley entered and gave a slight bow with her head. When Savvy had told her that Nocte wanted to see her, she knew it was serious. Her mistress had called, and she was more than ready to reply. Of course, Melissa knew that it was just a matter of time before her lady needed her services. A Witley knew everything.
"No doubt you know why you're here," Nocte stated, feeling uncomfortable on the inside. She made a perfect imitation of Dire, and Dire had massacred thousands of people, something she didn't want to copy.
Witley's silence was answer enough.
"Does the princess think it's you?" she asked.
"Yes," Witley replied.
"Does she know the dance?" she inquired, tipping her head to the right.
"Yes," Witley answered.
Nocte nodded to herself.
"I don't care about Paine," Nocte said easily, leaning back. "Paine trails the princess like a dog. He dares not contradict her because she is his royal flush. He will play to her tune, and as long as I have her convinced, he'll be convinced."
Melissa agreed, but knew that Paine would eventually grow up. For now, her lady's perspective held true. In a few years… She dare not guess.
"I really don't want you to do as I say…" Nocte said in indecision and cautiousness. "But… could you pretend to by Darkhour's girlfriend until the dance?"
"I will do as you wish, mistress," Witley intoned with a respectful bow.
Nocte winced and said, "Please don't call me that."
"Not a chance," Melissa said with a smug smile. "Ciao."
She sighed as Witley left, fling her thick hair back in buoyancy.
- - -
They made a pretty picture, Nocte agreed. She was looking out the window, watching as Witley leaned closer into Darkhour. Darkhour, in response, snaked his arm around her waist. They were in plain view and no one was surprised to see them together. The End of the Year dance was within a week. Such open flirting and possessiveness will be taken as a challenge to the princess and the Paine.
She moved away from the window, feeling everything coming together. A twinge of panic hit her for a second and she wondered why until her eyes landed on her open Technology textbook. She had a project due in three days, and she had yet to start. All the secret meetings, secret shopping and secret conversations were distracting her from what was really important: school.
It wasn't just Tech, it was also White Spells. Professor Jóhannsdóttir had just handed out their summative assignment that will be handed in next week sometime. Trembling by the thought of failing, she turned on her computer, opened the Web Browser and started to research for her Tech project on recent viruses.
After two hours, three pages of jot notes and a couple of glasses of water later, her eyes were beginning to tire. When they began to twitch, she decided to print out the last few pages, turned the computer off and start to highlight the important things. Another hour later, she was brain-dead. Her eyes were working, but her brain wasn't registering.
She groaned, feeling her head ache. That was her cue to drop everything and order chicken balls with sweet and sour sauce to ear her feelings away. However, before she was halfway to the phone, she felt guilt pull her back. If she didn't finish the project, she'd disappoint her parents. Never mind they forced her into this god-forsaken school! Never mind they gave her crappy Christmas presents! And never mind they got her lingerie instead (well, it was her mother who got it for her, but whatever)!
She had to pass to make her parent happy.
If anyone ever asked Nocte how she got through Evil Academy, she would say it was through pure determination, a lack of sanity and an empty stomach. Equipped with all three (a truly dangerous combination), Nocte stormed to Assaku, thinking a change of scenery will help her focus. But it didn't. It was quiet, too quiet, and it was chalk full of busy minds trying to concentrating, but can't because all the concentrating was cancelling each other out!
Besides, too much concentration make Nocte see purple happy faces…
Literally smacking herself on her forehead, she made way to her table, but found it preoccupied.
She did a double take, not believing it. Sitting at her table was Savvy (which was normal) and Noir (which wasn't normal). Had Witley been right?
"Beware of the quiet ones."
Could Savvy be fornicating with the enemy? Why? Why?
"Why?" she whispered.
She felt a tap on her shoulders and she jumped, heart beating irregularly. She narrowed her eyes and turned around, ready to scold whomever it was to the brink of their lives. However, it wouldn't be her to do the scolding, it would be her to be scolded.
"Occult?" Nocte said, bewildered. She had never seen her sister in the library before. Outside, yes. Inside? No.
"I need to talk to you," the psychic said, her tone unkindly and a tab bit ominous.
Looking back at her friend talking to the friend of her worst enemy, she wondered if it was a good time to leave. Looking into her eleven-year-old sister's glare told her that it was time to leave, good or not. So she gathered herself and followed Occult to an even isolated area of the library, a far corner in the Fiction section.
Nocte gaped and felt herself float on clouds. So many books, so many stories… so little time. It was like a dream come true. What confused her was why no one was in the fiction section, but then she assumed no one at Evil had the imaginations to fuel these books.
She touched the spine, read the spine and then slung her arm away from the spine. It was an evil book. A book that told of how an evil servant rose up, killed his master and family, and too all their belongings into him. These weren't fairytales, these were immoral novels.
"Nocte," Occult said, ignoring her troubled look.
She spun from the books to face her sister.
"I've heard of your decision," the psychic said.
Nocte felt dread enter her, but did not show it outwardly. She knew what decision her sister was talking about, and she got ready to argue (softly because she was in the library after all). Running her tongue over her braces she sighed.
"I'm against your choice," Occult said, cutting off her sigh.
Big mistake on her sister's part because Nocte needed sighs to survive.
"I don't care," she said, squarely meeting Occult's eyes and holding them.
"You plan on killing our parents?" Occult asked, rising to a challenge. "If you tell them you're going to be a healer, they'll have a heart attack."
"Father's health is beyond perfect and mother maintains exercise by… well, you know," she flustered and turned red.
"That is no excuse!" Occult saw red. "You are already on bad terms with the elders, you should go no further. If you continue with White Spells, what would our family say?"
"What would the other clans say?" Occult let Nocte choke on that for a while.
Nocte looked away, feeling guilt gnaw at her stomach lining. It was fatal to any clan if they faltered in front of the others. At the sign of weakness, the others would not hesitate to jump out and tear them apart piece by piece. Nocte knew what they'd do if they succeeded and she shivered at the possibilities.
"It is enough that they know you're weak," her sister continued solemnly. "But to become a healer is to show Erisire that you admit you are weak."
She swallowed a lump in her throat and felt like the bookshelves were closing in on her. She settled against one of the shelves and steadied her breathing. She had thought that she could handle the ridicule of becoming a healer, but she had yet to think if her family could handle it.
"Of course they can," she answered herself, voice broken. "Our family can survive any weakness."
"Know now, sister," the eleven-year-old said as she bore her eyes into the back of Nocte's head. "If you become a White Mage, or healer or even a nurse, you will be exiled."
Nocte took a deep breath while the words sane into her.
"You' might-" Occult said, her voice cracking at the thought. "I dare not say."
She could guess what was left unsaid, and her knees gave way. She slid down the shelf onto the floor. The ground levelled out her head, but did nothing to steady her heart.
"If the elders are serious…" Occult carried on, biting her lips together. "Even we can't save you."
Nocte knew they couldn't…
Occult knelt down to catch her eyes before whispering anxiously, "Sister… this decision could make or break you."
Nocte looked up, torn and half courageous, and said, "I do not break easily."
- - -
She dropped her papers, not caring how they landed, and slid her shoes off. Moving from habit alone, she undressed and entered the shower. She closed her eyes, feeling the water soak her hair, slide down her face and hit her open palms. The water was nice, but it did not calm the fire-like madness raging inside of her.
After Occult had left her, she had remained sitting and thinking. She wanted so badly to do as she wanted, but she knew better. Her family had an invisible collar around her neck that felt very real when tugged.
She opened her mouth and let it fill with water, wishing that perhaps she would fill up and then explode. But then there'd be blood and guts everywhere, and she'd have for Savvy to clean it all up by herself.
She spat out the water and cried. She cried at the injustice of it all! She cried at how her parents loved her, but not enough to set her free. She cried, so alone, in this unbreakable web her family had woven themselves in. Her tears mixed with the water and she hoped that her eyes wouldn't look too red when she got out.
She wiped her face along with her body and then dressed in her pyjamas. Making sure she looked okay in the mirror, she got out and greeted Savvy, "Hey."
She sounded as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. She sounded as if she hadn't seen Savvy with Noir. She sounded as if Occult hadn't brought the Apocalypse down onto her head. She sounded as if she hadn't cried, but had been laughing instead.
"Order dinner again?" Nocte asked, hand posed over the phone.
Savvy smiled and said, "Alright."
"She dialled the kitchen and told then that they were having dinner in their room. She put the phone down and knew that it wouldn't take long for the servants to bring up their evening meal.
"Are you having trouble with your technology project?" Savvy asked, looking at the scattered papers on Nocte's side of the room.
"Not really," Nocte replied. "I went to the library today to do some research."
She noticed Savvy tensing at the mention of Assaku.
"But then Occult had to talk to me, so I didn't get to do anything, much less enter Assaku," she continued leisurely and saw Savvy relax.
Nocte decided not to investigate, and ended up gathering her papers. Dinner arrived, and she let Savvy get the door as she booted up her computer to type up her report. Her mind was working on autopilot, stopping every now and then to take a bite of food or a sip of her drink.
Why didn't Savvy tell her she was seeing Noir? What was she going to tell her parents? When did Savvy and Noir get along? How was she going to tell her parents? Was Savvy really studying White Spells at the library, or was she always busy with Noir? Where was she going to go if her family kicks her out?
Her hand spazzed on her and tipped over her glass of water. She cried out, jumped up and quickly snatched her papers away from the damaging liquid. Savvy got a towel and Nocte was relieved that the water didn't kill her Technology project.
But it did get one thing.
Savvy's hands paused as her eyes took in Nocte's test results.
It read: Should avoid death.
Nocte lifted the saturated package, pointed at the words and said, "No shit."
She threw the papers back onto her now dry desk, aggressively turned off her computer and tossed herself roughly into bed without so much of a "good night" to Savvy. Besides, it wasn't a good night anyway.
- - -
She threw him a pen, effectively hitting him directly on his forehead. Noir didn't think twice about her angry manner, and that only ticked her off more as he simply picked up the pen and started to take down notes. She wanted to strangle him! She wanted to gas him into unconsciousness, take him to a dark room and smack him to oblivion!
What did he have that she didn't? Is he a better friend than her? Or perhaps he's more than that to Savvy…?
She shivered in disgust at the mere idea.
"No way," she thought. "Savvy has standards."
"Remember to hand in your reports!" Professor Signe squealed delightfully as she swung on her wires above the class. "Tee hee hee!"
Nocte tossed her report in without care and didn't bother to ask for her pen back. Noir never gave them back anyway, so it didn't matter.
Why? Why? Why would Savvy hang out with Noir when she had her? Was Nocte not a good enough friend? Did Nocte pale in comparison with… whatever Noir had? Noir made fun of Savvy, so it didn't make sense!
She burst into the room and screamed, "Savvy is seeing Noir!"
They looked up and were tempted in telling her to knock next time.
"What?" Ivy asked for clarification.
"I saw Savvy with Noir in the library," Nocte said, still upset.
"Leave us," Witley commanded and her friends got up without question.
Sometimes, her friends didn't know what Melissa saw in Nocte.
Once they were out of the room, Witley said, "Calm yourself, milady."
"I am calm," Nocte fumed, not exactly the picture of calm.
Witley was at a lost for words.
"You knew what was happening!" Nocte shouted, pointing an accusatory finger at the blonde. "Why did you not inform me?"
At this, Witley narrowed her eyes and said, "You did not want anything from me, remember?"
Usually Witley knew better than to counter her mistress, because it was considered improper, but she couldn't help herself. Nocte was only thirteen and she was fifteen, two years her senior. It was a natural reaction to degrade those younger than you.
Nocte humbled and frowned, her eyes beginning to sting.
Seeing this, Witley felt… bad, for once in her life.
"I apologize, my lady," Witley said, mending wounds. "You should not worry about them."
Nocte squeezed her Tech textbook closer to her, not believing the older girl.
"They are only helping each other in White Spells," Witley explained.
"But why?" she asked, confused beyond words. "White Spells? So Savvy was really studying White Spells… but with Noir?"
"Professor Jóhannsdóttir told them to work together in order to draw out each other's White Spell capabilities," the auburn said, brown eyes telling the truth.
"Explain," Nocte ordered, still not grasping the concept, or rather, still not wanting to grasp the concept.
"Noir is bold and Deadwood is not," Witley said, taking out a compact mirror to fix her make-up. "Deadwood is caring and Noir is not. Noir is to help Deadwood become capable in casting the spells and Deadwood is to help Noir become… kinder to animals so that they actually survive."
"But it still makes no sense," Nocte said. "Why wouldn't she tell me?"
"Perhaps she was afraid to loose you," Witley said, powdering her face absentmindedly.
"Or perhaps she likes him," Nocte said, and Witley stopped moving. "It is, isn't it?"
Witley put away her compact slowly and then said, looking up, "Perhaps."
She sighed and said, "Oh well… She's my friend, I can't stop her from liking him…"
"Be cautious, mistress," Witley said.
"Don't worry, and you shouldn't dye your hair too much. I heard it's bad for you," Nocte said. "Ciao."
- - -
He moved a pawn. He always made that move, she noticed.
"You told Occult," Nocte said in a relaxed manner as she moved her rook.
His arm stiffened for a second before following through with his move.
"What do mean?" Dire asked.
"You told her about my choice," she said, and positioned her knight.
"I did not," he lied perfectly, but Nocte was a Yin and his sister, a deadly combination.
She watched him move his bishop and then she moved her bishop to counter his.
"Then how did she find out?" she inquired.
"Occult is almost all knowing," he said, placing his bishop elsewhere on the board.
"Really?" she asked as she moved her queen for the kill.
"Really," he said.
"Checkmate," she said smugly and his eyes widened in realization. "But I'll give you this game, only because I distracted you immensely."
He leaned back and waited for it.
"You owe me," she finally said.
"I suppose," he said.
"You suppose?" she inquired, raising an eyebrow.
He sighed in defeat and said, "Alright, I owe you."
- - -
The End of the Year dance was a grand affair, and it always fell on the Sunday before the last week of classes, and after that, as you can guess, would be the two weeks reserved for exams. To accommodate the dance, all teachers were to set the due dates for assignments the week before the dance, therefore the last week was reserved for review.
Like the Halloween dance, or any other dance for that matter, Savvy did not want to attend. However, due to Nocte's constant pleadings and naggings, she was to attend. She had her hair in a massive bun and she wore a nice light green dress that really brought out the colours of her eyes. With the help of Melissa, she looked real nice.
Nocte, however, had more trouble in selecting a dress and putting up her hair. Her hair was short, remember? She could grow it like the last time, but didn't want to cut it again (she had done it herself after the Halloween Ball, and she wasn't going to visit Medusa). So she took a blue clip, pushed back her long bangs and clicked it in place. With the same spell as before, light blue eye shadow graced her eyes.
Her dress was simple, definitely not a dress for intricate dancing. It was blue with spaghetti straps and fell to below her knees. Her shoes were nice and simple too. Savvy had expected something bolder, or breathtaking like last time, but thought that simple suited Nocte just as well.
"Shall we go?" Nocte asked with a grin and offered her arm.
"We shall," Savvy said with the same grin and took her arm.
Together, side by side, they entered the grand hall of Chaos. It was well lighted this time, with a dreamy appearance. Fairies were dancing on the ceiling, creating the effect of start. Dark, transparent curtains, strung with tiny, glowing micro fibres, skimmed down the walls. Romantic candles were bunched up in little groups at certain parts of the hall to emphasise the calm mood. Small round tables were to one side of the hall, and at each table was a centrepiece of black roses.
Even Nocte had to admit, it was classy.
Nocte heard Witley coo and saw them together on the dance floor. They were quite close to each other, and some (meaning Nocte) would even say too close, but those two were an "item" so it was okay. But even without a relationship, Evil did not frown upon those things. Sex was just another way to manipulate people.
Witley was wearing that red dress Darkhour had bought at Arachne, or was wearing the same one but in a smaller size. Seeing her in that itty, bitty dress made Nocte feel fat. Witley looked stunning… or was it slutty? Whatever it was, Darkhour and her looked good.
"He actually found a tux to match it," Nocte thought.
"I have a question," Siyamak said, appearing as if from thin air.
"Sure," she said and then looked to Savvy. "I kinda need to talk to my overprotective cousin for a while, mind if I leave you?"
Savvy looked nervous and about to faint.
"Care to honour me with a dance, Deadwood?" Noir inquired from behind.
A brief look was exchanged between Nocte and Noir before she felt it was safe to let Savvy go. Noir knew better than to get her pissed. She watched her friend walk to the dance floor with the redheaded bastard-
"Nocte?" her cousin interrupted her thoughts.
"Hm?" she hummed and turned to him.
"Over here," he said, leading her off to a corner. Once they were hidden slightly by shadow, he asked, "What is he doing?"
"Who?" she asked and reading his pointed look she smiled. "Oh, him. Don't worry."
"Don't worry?" Siyamak asked. "How can you say that? She's all over him, like melted butter."
"Siyamak, chill," she said, choking on laughter. "It's not like we're together."
"Are they going to dance together?" her cousin asked in a very serious manner.
"I think so," she lied.
"What?" he said, flabbergasted.
"Relax," she said, patting his shoulder. "It's all according to plan."
"Oh Guan-Yin… not the plan again," Siyamak groaned.
"Stop worrying," she said.
"I can't," he said. "What are you going to do next year without me?"
Now that he mentioned it, she sobered up. Siyamak was graduating this year and that made her sad. Seeing her glum expression, he felt bad for raining on her parade.
"Cheer up," he said, smiling sheepishly. "Ohanzee will still be here along with a lot of other Heis."
She guessed that was true.
"Think of the plan," he finally said and she immediately looked more cheerful.
"Right," she said, enthusiastically. "The plan."
He sighed, giving up on her, and then suggested, "Let's get some drinks."
She nodded with a smile as they made their way to the juice bar. Siyamak made sure none of the drinks were suspicious before scooping up some peach punch for his little cousin, who happily sipped it up without question. He couldn't believe how innocent and naïve she was at times, or how focused she could be when she was executing a plan.
Suddenly, a hush fell over the room and that was her cue. She excused herself and made her way to the bathroom silently, glad that she got no attention what so ever. People have begun to pay less and less attention to her as she became less of a Yin they thought her to be. Great villains did not pay attention to those who do not matter.
Nocte stepped into the washroom and smiled, seeing Witley's group ready with bags. Ivy drew out lip-gloss, Janelle lifted out some blush, Kara got out eye shadow and Christine pulled out the dress and said, "We have, like, a lot of work to do."
She was slightly amazed that Christine wasn't on her phone, and that was all she could register before she was pulled out of the blue dress and dressed in the red one. In a flurry of activity, her hair grew longer, to her waist, and was curled. Daring red eye shadow and red lips were next, and then the beautiful tango shoes.
"Is she ready?" Witley asked upon entering. She quickly changed from the red dress to the blue one. She would rather die than wear the same dress as someone else.
Nocte was a bit peeved at how Witley could make even the normal blue dress look sexy.
"Yes," Janelle said. "She's ready."
"I don't know…" Christine said, tilting her. "Her breasts aren't up to par."
"I'm thirteen!" Nocte yelled, embarrassed, and then turned to Witley. "I'm ready."
"Good, they're waiting for you," Witley said. "And be warned, milady… Paine knows."
"So no more surprise…" Nocte murmured.
"Paine and Noir are the only ones who know," Witley said, keeping a secret close. "The princess will be surprised."
"And falter… hopefully," Nocte said. "Make sure the light is on them until she could see me."
"Right," Ivy said with a nod.
"Be careful," Witley warned.
Nocte nodded and exited the washroom. She merged with the crowd and saw Blackthorn and Paine walking onto the dance floor together. The room was silent, but loud with expectations. Paine sent a challenging look to Darkhour, who merely narrowed his eyes. Nocte sent a wink to Darkhour, and he signalled for the band to play.
Paine and Blackthorn came together as Nocte, who looked only to be a mere shadow (Witley and her gang did well in dimming the lights), walked towards Darkhour. They met in the middle of the dance floor, and Nocte felt her heart beat especially hard that night. A lot of people were watching, and if she were to fall, she'd die of embarrassment.
They got into position and when the band gave a bang of a first note, Nocte and Darkhour moved in one fluid motion. As they moved into the second step, a rush filled her blood, a rush that had developed ever since she found dancing fun. The beat was familiar, the steps were familiar and the motions were familiar. But the rush was always different.
The Tango, it took her breath away.
"You actually found a suit to match this dress," she said to him.
"Don't talk," he ordered.
"Why?" she asked as he lead her to the next step.
"Because it's distracting," he said, feeling his ire churning.
"But we always talk during practices," she pointed out.
"This isn't practice," he said, glaring.
"Relax," she told him softly. "We're here to have fun."
"We're here to win," his said, his tone hard.
"We're here to do both," she said and smiled.
At that moment, when both pairs came close to each other in the middle of the dance floor, a bright light fell upon Nocte and Darkhour, showing all those in the hall that Darkhour's partner wasn't Witley, but Yin. Blackthorn was surprised the most. She had wanted to beat Witley again, and here she was faced with an amateur?
Distracted, Blackthorn's foot slipped, but Paine held strong, almost stumbling, making it seem purposeful instead of accidental. But the damage was done. Those who were observant saw.
"Got her," Nocte whispered spitefully.
Even Darkhour had to smirk at that. Paine almost fell…
"Huh!" Nocte gasped, her right foot suddenly not cooperating.
She fell, but instead of hitting the ground, she felt Darkhour's strong arm around her waist. Her held jolted boldly, her back bent gracefully, her legs beautifully posed… the dip, and the room went wild with clapping.
"You made a daring move," Darkhour whispered as he rolled her back up.
Once on her feet again, she did not see Darkhour, but saw over his shoulders to meet up with Noir's mischievous green eyes.
"It was Noir," Nocte said, her face grim. "A jinx of sorts."
"Even so," he said. "We must dance more boldly."
"But we only practiced-"
He met her eyes.
"You mean to improvise?" she asked, disbelieving.
"Afraid?" he challenged with a shark-like grin.
Narrowing her eyes, she whispered into his ear, "Bring it."
He immediately rolled her out roughly and rolled her back in, her back leaning on his lean torso. She felt the room grow extra silent as she suggestively slid down his body, her ass extra tight, and dress riding up her leg. And before she hit the ground, he spun her back up.
"Bravo," he hushed. "I didn't expect that."
She opened her mouth to reply, but then choked on the air when she felt his hand on her thigh and then he spun her away at arms length. She glared, not very happy, as she walked in long strides towards him. Placing her hand on his chest, she began to push him back, and he obediently took steps back.
In a flash, she was in his hands again, and so was her ass.
She really gasped this time, pulled away and slapped him right there on the dance floor.
A collective in take of breath could be heard from the audience, and Darkhour was more amused than mad at her display of indignation. He simply wrapped his arms around her and they swayed very, very, very close together in the rhythm of the song.
"That was uncalled for," she hissed lowly.
"But it got a reaction from the people," he said, smirking.
"I will kill you," she swore.
"After we win, babe," he whispered above her ear, causing a shiver to run down her spine, and then spun her round and round.
Rough, insistent and audacious. There was a fire between them that made them appealing to the eyes of the audience. As the song ended with just as loud as a bang as the beginning, they all unconsciously held their breaths.
Darkhour, appearing to be the dominating male, spun her aggressive to a dip, holding her thigh close to his waist. Their eyes did not falter from each other as she craned her head back, exposing her smooth neck, and tilted her back, almost erotically.
Applause broke out loudly and Nocte smiled, breathing deeply. Seeing her smile, he couldn't help but smile himself. He smoothly brought her back to her feet and then the both of them bowed elegantly to the crowd.
And sometimes, her friends knew exactly what Melissa saw in Nocte.
Nocte looked over at Paine and saw him look colder than usual.
Nocte and Darkhour bowed again, and a new wave of applause spread like wildfire. There was no question as to who had won. Winning felt good… really good…
"You can let go of my cousin now," Siyamak hissed from behind, not looking happy.
Hearing this, Darkhour's arm tightened around her waist, causing her to blush, and then he said with that confident smirk of his, "Why? Afraid I'll hurt your cousin."
Siyamak's glare darkened as he gently pulled her away from the brown-haired hottie. Seething, her cousin said, "Don't touch her again."
Holding her eyes he said suggestively, "It doesn't have to hurt, you know."
Siyamak was about to knock him a good one, but Nocte got there first, her fist connecting his stomach. Darkhour keeled over slightly, not really hurt but surprised none the less, but he kinda saw that one coming. Practicing the tango with her for more than two months, they learned a lot from each other.
Jed came over and glared at Siyamak. He learned that glaring at Nocte was no use, especially with that playful manner of hers.
"Don't even suggest that ever again!" she scolded him, completely embarrassed.
"Don't talk to him," Siyamak said and then pulled her away.
The crowd parted for them, more like for her (but she wasn't going to deflate her cousin's ego), and she couldn't help but feel… superior?
"What were you thinking?" Siyamak asked, angry.
"I was thinking of winning," she told him, still basking in the afterglow of her victory (who cared about Darkhour anyways? That dance was all her).
He was about to say something, but Noir interrupted them.
"Congrats, Yin," the redhead said, the mischievous smile still on his lips.
"I want to thank you," she said, catching him off guard. "If not for your jinx, we would not have done so well."
A smile appeared on his face again and he said airily, "Yeah… well, that's how great I am. Now, if you don't mind. I have to run from a certain Paine, if you know what I mean."
"Yeah, I have to go too," she said and then ran for it.
She was not going to hear her cousin scold her for the rest of the evening, instead, she planned on going back to her dorm and simmer in happiness with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Thinking of it, she smiled.
She decided that she liked winning.
- - -
She was more than ready for the White Spells exam, so when the papers were in front of her, she finished it in record time… or at least, she'd like to think that. She left the exam room first, and relaxed for the rest of the day with a nice glass of ice lemonade.
Technology was harder, all of it on computer. Thankfully her brother was the emperor of the most technological advanced country in all of Erisire. She thought she did okay, but wouldn't let herself hope for better.
History would have been difficult if she hadn't read the textbook herself. As she left the exam room, she saw some of the weaker students sweat and tremble. She felt sorry for them. You can't graduate if you fail History.
Strategy was… well…
She moved her knight as she literally sweated underneath her uniform.
Melchior seemed not to notice her nervousness as he moved his king.
After she had finished the written part of the exam, she was called into his room to play chess. Chess! Can you believe it? And at first, she had strategies upon strategies stacked up in her head, but halfway through, Professor Melchior had seen through all of them. Now, she made the moves on the spot, watching all directions and becoming paranoid. Damn, he was good.
She moved her queen and he moved his knight.
She felt the stirring of panic but she squashed them down. It was done, she was going to loose. She rolled the thought in her mind for a while until she got comfortable enough to just play for fun. She moved her knight, only thinking half-heartedly.
In a few more moves, she was finished.
"Checkmate," he said and looked at her.
"Congrats," she said and smiled.
"You may go now," he said, expressionless.
"Actually," Nocte said, looking at the door. "I arranged a match for you, professor."
Melchior looked to the door and his eyes widened.
Dire entered and Nocte reset-ed the board.
"Have fun, gentlemen," she said.
When Dire had agreed to owing her a favour, he certainly didn't expect this. Looking back now, he had always wanted to play Cyrus Melchior of Evil Academy, ranked top twenty of the greatest chess players of the world. They shook each other's hands respectfully, and Nocte could tell that they were both itching to start.
Politely excusing herself, she left silently, thinking that Melchior wasn't such a bad professor, evil chess player maybe… but not a bad professor.
Weaponry… Weaponry… Weaponry…
"Here we are again, Yin," Aadi spat, positioning her jambiyas parallel to her chest.
"Yup," she said, a bit cheeky. She had the jian at a defensive position.
"Remember," the dark-haired professor said. "You win, 80. We tie, 70. You lose, you remain at a 64."
"Right," Nocte said with a nod.
They charged, their weapons meeting in the clear sun. Aadi danced around her, and she was confused for moment until she found the rhythm of her feet. She drew out the sword and glanced Aadi's daggers. They both jumped back from each other.
Nocte knew Aadi was an expert with the weapons of her people, so she could only hope for a tie, at most.
Her professor flung a jambiya at her and she dodged, hearing the dagger stick deep into the ground behind. This was her chance! She closed in on Aadi and drew the jian upwards, successfully cutting Aadi's arm, but not without getting hurt herself. She looked down, saw the jambiya deep into her leg and fainted.
"Please don't let me die," she prayed.
- - -
When Nocte woke up, she saw Ebony sitting beside the bed leisurely pealing the skin of an apple. A soft mound was sleeping contently near her head, and she smiled when recognizing Hecate, Ebony's cat and familiar. It was morning, and Nocte smiled at the relaxed atmosphere. The pale sunlight washing over Ebony, made Nocte feel warm inside. She would never say it out loud, but Ebony was like the mother she never had, and no doubt the others think the same.
"Good morning," she whispered.
"Morning," Ebony said as she smiled. She did not look up from the apple she was preparing for her little sister.
"How'd I do?" Nocte asked.
"Aadi was admitted into Chalchiuhtotolin right after you," the witch informed lightly. "Her arm looked really bad."
"So I passed?" she asked.
"You were passing anyway," Ebony said, idly pulling a curled strand over her ear. "She was just specifically testing you."
"What do you mean?" Nocte asked, eyebrows furrowing together.
"She doesn't spar with anyone else during exams," her older sister said, splitting the apple in half. "She only spars with you."
"But why?" she said, confused.
Ebony shrugged and guessed, "Maybe she finds you worthy."
Nocte contemplated this and didn't know what to do about it.
"Apple?" Ebony offered, but meant it as an order.
Nocte took the quarter of the apple and nibbled happily.
"I heard about the dance," Ebony said, giddy.
Nocte blushed, remembering it all too well. What had come over her? I mean, the moves she had made… She was thirteen and he was fifteen! Ack! Panic attack!
"Terrian Darkhour is handsome," Ebony teased when seeing the blush.
"It's not th-that way," Nocte stuttered embarrassingly. "He's not my type."
"No, he's not," Ebony agreed, serious once again. Nocte could tell that Ebony didn't have the heart to be overly chatty today. "You need a good, solid man who loves you. Not a player, not a spontaneous man (god knows you're spontaneous enough), not Darkhour… never a Darkhour, do you understand?"
She nodded. She understood, really well too.
"Well," Ebony said, all perky again. "Father was impressed by your victory."
"It was insignificant," Nocte said, finishing the apple and taking another one.
"It was impressive, that's what it was," Ebony said, a spark in her eyes. "Not overly big, very sneaky, and you caught everyone off guard."
Nocte smiled at the compliment.
"You don't need a big victory to win," Ebony said. "Sometimes it's the small ones that make the biggest impact."
She nodded silently.
"Truly a Yin," Ebony boasted.
Nocte choked on her apple, gasping for breath. Horrified, she looked up and suddenly, Ebony looked solemn.
"No…" Nocte said. Her throat unexpectedly closed shut, and why was she tearing up? "I didn't want to… I just wanted to beat him, hurt his pride… not this."
Ebony looked out the window, not being able to look her in the eyes.
"Why is this happening?" she asked, voice cracking. "What have I become?"
"A Yin," Ebony said, jaw tight. It hurt her to see Nocte hurt herself like this. "It's nothing to be ashamed of."
"I never wanted to be like this!" she hissed worriedly, a tear falling.
"Like what?" her sister asked patiently.
"Like feeling pleasure in defeating an enemy, or excitement when scheming or… or…" Nocte swallowed. "Or superior to others who I should know are equal to me…"
"You know what, Nocte?" Ebony said. "Even after all these years, I still don't understand you… Those feelings are great, they are what make us who we are-"
"Evil?" Nocte asked with angry tears.
"Yes," Ebony said, finally looking at her. Her tone was hard and sure. "We are who we are, you can not change that."
"I can run from all of you," Nocte whispered tragically. "But I can not run from the blood that flows inside of me."
Ebony swallowed, heart breaking, and hugged her sister as she continued to cry.
- - -
Saturday June 27, - - - -
Summer vacation is finally here. We should get together and go to the beach.
And yes, I know you hate the beach, but come for me, k?
Anyway, we'll talk when we return to our homes.
Your eager friend,
Nocte smiled and said to herself, "Yeah… the beach…"
"Nocte?" Savvy inquired.
"Hm?" she hummed.
"Are you ready to go?" the blonde asked.
"Yeah…" Nocte said, looking at their empty room. She remembered when at the beginning of the school year, she didn't want to be here. But all the good times Savvy and her had made her kind of want to stay. "We should do something over the summer together."
Savvy's hold on her luggage slipped and she stuttered, "R-Really?"
Nocte smiled and said, "Yeah, of course."
"Um… I wanted to tell you be-before… but I was afraid…" Savvy said, looking down at the ground.
"Oh?" Nocte inquired, already knowing what her friend was going to say.
"Wh-When I was studying in the library…" Savvy said, her lips forming an uncertain frown. "I was studying wi-with N-Noir… and I would have studied with you, but Professor Jóhannsdóttir wanted N-Noir to wor-work with m-me."
Nocte beamed and said, "It's alright. Noir helped you anyway."
Savvy smiled and then suddenly remembered. "Oh, um, Noir wanted me to return these to you."
A moment later, Nocte was laughing. In her hands were all the pens he had borrowed, and he really meant "borrowed" because now she had them all back. Fiddling with one of them, she gasped.
"Oh, he's good," she murmured to herself. "Really good."
"Huh?" Savvy asked, not able to hear.
"Nothing," she said and gathered up her own luggage. "I was saying that we should have ice cream together at the market over the summer."
Savvy glowed at the idea and nodded.
Nocte closed the door and handed her key card to the servant with some reluctance. Shouldn't she be happy to leave this place? She shook her head and made to the entrance of Wrath where her sister and their carriage were waiting.
"Seeya, Savvy," Nocte waved good-bye.
"Bye!" Savvy waved back, a grin on her face.
She arrived with Savvy looking sad, and now she left with Savvy being happy.
The carriage started to move to the entrance Gates of Evil, and while it moved, she saw the Deputy Headmaster, Hayai Shikyo, seeing the students off. She waved at him and got nothing in return, but she knew he saw. Then she waved at Darkhour, who smirked, and when their carriage got close enough to his elephant, he smirked down at her, feeling highly superior like usual.
"See you next year, Yin," he said.
"See you next year," she shouted with a smile. "Terrian."
He had a look of stupor on his face that made her laugh. Thankfully, their carriage was faster and passed his. But (surprise, surprise) she met up with Noir's wolf-ran one. Seeing him, she dug out one of her pens he had borrowed and waved at him. He looked over and smiled at the pen.
"Very nice jinxing," she said, smiling.
He grinned and said, "You shouldn't leave your personal items around… people could use them to curse you."
She rolled his eyes and said, "I didn't leave them lying around. I gave them to you!"
"You shouldn't do that either," he teased.
"I hate you," she said playfully.
He was laughing when their carriage passed his, and she got a brief glance of little Noir sticking her tongue out at her. And then she saw Paine, who still looked at her with the same cold eyes from eleven months ago. She graced him with a smile that he, of course, didn't return. Then there was Princess Vanessa Blackthorn, who flipped her hair at her.
Nocte rolled her eyes at the Princess, thanking Apollo that the princess hadn't been looking.
Looking back, she thought she didn't do so bad. Her marks were passable, of course her second term report card would be received over the summer, she made an honest-to-god friend, humiliated her enemy and found out her weakness-
"Nocte!" Occult snapped. "What have I told you about keeping your head in the carriage?"
Rolling her eyes, she settled back into the carriage. Now where was she? Oh yes, speaking of her weakness, she knew exactly what to do with it.
They passed another carriage, and she instinctively looked up to see Witley smiling politely at her, a smile Nocte returned cautiously. Witley had helped her throughout the year, but she was still iffy about the whole servant/spy thing. The auburn inclined her head to her, acknowledging her as her superior.
Nocte didn't know how to respond, but their carriage had already passed Witley before she could even say "good bye".
Yes, she didn't do so bad after all.
- - -
Upon arriving home, her father had called for her presence in his office immediately. She thought it symbolic that it all began in his office, and now it was going to end in his office. She laughed softly to herself as she entered.
Her father stood looking outside the window in deep thought. The afternoon sun illuminated him, as if to magnify his power. He heard her come in after a polite knock, and he stated, "Welcome back, Nocte."
"It's good to be back, dad," she said truthfully, brushing her bangs aside. Her father's back was facing her and she couldn't tell whether or not he was happy.
"Occult has told you," the Head of the Yin Clan stated.
The air got thick.
"Yes, father," the third child of the first family replied courteously, her back straightened, her head lifted and her shoulders lowered.
"Then I will tell you that you have escaped exile," Umbra said, glasses gleaming. "For now."
"Yes, father," she said, her stomach churning.
"Dismissed," he said, watching his wife hug his youngest daughter on the yard below him.
She bowed and made a move to leave.
She stopped, lifting herself up.
"I am curious as to what you have learned at school this year," her father said.
She thought about it for a moment before answering respectfully.
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."
Nocte bowed, took three steps back and left.
Unbeknownst to her, Umbra was smiling at her answer.
- - -
Whoa… I'm done.
253 pages altogether in only nine months. I think I'm quite proud. Yes, now that I think about it, I kinda am. Except, I already have plans for a sequel, well I basically have plans for a lot of things, so we're all just gotta wait.
I want to thank all of those who've reviewed.
Raw Garbage Namagomi
Anee or alice
I hope I didn't miss anyone.
Anyways, I'd like to write a massive author's note on everything, but I'll restrain myself for now. Only famous author's have 10 pages for their comments.
The next one's called… drum roll please…
Nocte Yin: How To Be Evil 101
the title cause it's gonna be a blast!