"Rae, I'd really love to help. But Professor Nile has got me so busy." I follow Marnie around as she cleans up the Professor's classroom. She's training to be a healing teacher.
"But, I have to train a Water, an Aquarian no less, and Marnie, you're the best Water I know."
"You're just saying that." She hefted a large stack of books onto a shelf and looked at me. Her hair was falling out of an already messy bun and she looked as if she hadn't slept in a few days.
"Come on, it'll be easy. She knows all of the basics, I just need you to give her a little push. Show her a few tricks, maybe. Please?" I smiled at my best friend. She stared at me for a minute. Hope was rising in me.
"No, I'm sorry, I can't." She turned away from me and started to shuffle papers around.
"Oh come on. I'll buy you a coffee and a bunch of those saltwater taffy things you like." I tempted her. She stopped and looked at me out of the corner of her eye.
"Peaches and cream?"
"Whatever you like." I smiled, knowing I had got her.
"Alright fine. As soon as I'm finished here, I'll come and meet you at the Gym."
"Oh Marnie! You're the best, I love you." I bounced forward and gave her hug. "I'll see you later!" I turned and walked towards the door.
"Yeah, yeah." She waved at me, returning to her cleaning.
"Alright Zia, Nerina. I want you two to work together to get these targets." I had started giving them two training classes. Both of them with me and then a one on one class. They nodded at me. I signaled to the supervisor and they were off. They made a great team. They'd go at it as a team, hitting each target with fractional power. The first weakening the target and the next finished it off. With Nerina's ability, they sensed where the next target was and could dodge or hit it before it hit them. When it was over they stood, panting.
"Very good, girls." I clapped. The supervisor turned off the course. "Very good."
"Thanks." They said breathily. "Alright Zia, you're dismissed. Nerina, have a quick break until your other training starts." They nodded at me and went off to their bags. I was filling out their evaluations when Marnie strolled in, looking ready to train.
"Over here Marnie." I called. She walked over to me and sat down. I passed her a coffee and a small paper bag of saltwater taffy.
"Yum, thank you." She opened the bag and pulled out a taffy. Sucking on it, I filled her in about Nerina.
"She uses braces. Without them her bones could break. Who knew Aquarians were so delicate. Oh, also. Don't stare too much at her gills."
"She has gills?" Marnie's eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, they're pretty cool. She's actually holding her breath when she's out of the water."
"Wow, I've read so much about Aquarians, of course, but to meet a real live one is amazing."
"Thanks." Nerina's voice startled us, she smiled.
"So, should we get started?" I asked them.
"Yeah, sure." They both nodded at me. The class went great. I could tell Marnie was going to be a great teacher. Very patient and kind. By the end of it, Nerina knew more than I could ever teach her.
Afterwards, I parted with Marnie at Professor Nile's classroom and went up to see my grandmother. The locket felt heavy in my gym bag. Principal Jones wasn't in his office so I went to his desk to look for the keys to the door. I had done this many times before. As I was looking for the keys, there was a soft thump that came from the adjoining room, from Principal Jones' quarters. I stopped my searching and peered at the door. My eyes and ears couldn't detect anything and I returned to looking for the keys. But they were gone. I frowned and closed the drawer. Searching for them in another drawer, there was another thump and a curse from the other room. Curious, I stopped searching and crept silently to the door. Leaning my ear against it, I listened carefully.
"Come on, come on."
"Shut up. It's heavy." My breathing caught and the door opened slightly.
"Shh… Something is there." It was quiet. I could hear the sounds of their breathing. Light, tiptoeing footsteps. The slight rustle of clothing. Someone was coming to the door. I carefully slid into a dark corner. Light spilled from the doorway, a head poked out. "See anyone?" A voice from inside said.
"No." the one looking out said and then I recognized who the two were. I covered my gasp and waited for the door to close. There were more thumps and whispers as the pair continued with their task.
Once I knew they were gone, I dashed into the room. There he was, standing in the middle of the room, frozen.
"Oh my god." I went to him and placed my hands against his back. "Oh please be alive." The ice slowly melted away and evaporated. He fell limp into my arms. "Oh no, oh no. Come on, wake up, wake up." Nothing. I kept him warm while I dug around in my gym bag. I dialed Marnie, close to panicking.
"Marnie, you have to come to Jones' office now. It's unlocked. Please it's an emergency." I talked quickly into the phone. "and bring Spark." I added.
"Uh, sure. I'll be there as soon as I can." I flipped the phone shut and waited. They were here in under five minutes. "Rae?"
"In here." I called to them. Their footsteps were light and quick as they came into the room.
"Oh my god!" Marnie gasped and ran to my side.
"What happened?" Spark said while Marnie's hands glowed over Mr. Jones.
"I don't know. I just came in and found him frozen I melted it but now he won't wake up."
"You think Zia…?" Spark started.
"I can't be sure. Spark, I need you to keep him warm while I go and get help."
"Of course." I let Spark and Marnie do their thing while I went back out into the office. Frantically, I searched through the desk for the key and finally found it. Flying up the stairs, I called for my grandmother.
"Rae, calm down. It's alright. I'm here." She appeared in a red housecoat and nightgown. "What is it darling?"
"Something's happened to Mr. Jones. I found him frozen in his quarters and now he won't wake up." A look of horror crossed her face.
"Take me to him."
A/N: So, another chapter! Dududu... What will be the outcome of this... twist of events! By the way, I dont think I mentioned this in the previous chapter's Author's Note. But Mr. Jones' name: Cene. Is pronounced like Keen.