Chapter 1

Waves of Shock

"Aww, look at this one," the tone mocked, not for the first time that day, "he doesn't even have his whiskers yet. What's the matter, Baby Whiskers, your Mammy not want to look at your baby face?" SNAP. Plastic forks never held up in an angry fist. In a swirl of air, Riftone whirled on the three older boys who had come to stand behind his lunch table.

"Shut up!" SMACK. In a burst of air, Riftone's punches were never light, or painless, they were the impact of a small hurricane aimed at your face. The older boy was shrieking on the ground before he even knew he would be punched. Riftone popped onto the top of the table, feet flat , letting the air raise him there. Throwing his hands forward, he propelled himself away in a shock wave that nearly flattened everyone he left behind. He was running. In the wind. Letting the wind help his feet fly faster than most others he had ever known or known of. The air streamed around him, not whipping or dragging on him like it would others. Running was natural; it came as naturally as the thoughts that flooded his mind then. Why did I have to come here? Poolhurst has the same study group and is only five extra miles from home! I should have picked Windcasting as my study! All these Investigators and Law-enforcers are total jerks! They think they're so macho, even the females!

Riftone was becoming upset enough to make the wind toss away from him when it tried to aid his footfalls. Sometimes, the physical pound of the ground through his body was what helped best to shove the anger away. Running in the cushion of air was always too relaxing to fit an angry mood. With the harder rhythm of soul to dirt, he propelled himself onward. Then POOMF. The semi-soft impact sent him spiraling towards the ground. His legs twisted up around two other poles, that he realized were thin legs in the next millisecond as his arms caught the waist and shoulder. The girl let out a short yelp, but did not have time for any other reaction, because of the speed at which Riftone corrected his position. In a swift pull of wind, he was untangled from the girl's legs and arms. He cradled her head against his shoulder in case she smacked the ground sooner than he could control waves. Wrapping her legs over one of his hips, to ensure she was equally effected by the next buff of wind, he was able to come out standing in the opposite direction from which he had been running, with her arms crushing his neck and her knees poking into his spine. The wind settled away from Riftone, helping only to support the girl's weight, so that he wouldn't strain his muscles and drop her on the ground he had just kept her off of. Once settled enough to realize their hearts were reaching rabbit-killing speed, Riftone loosened his grip on the girl, letting some of the air sink away as well. The girl rose her head only an inch, relaxing her death-grip. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she began shrieking and flailing, and shoving at Riftone. In effect, Riftone conjured more air up to hold her, as he fought to keep her back off the ground and let her down onto her feet at the same time. It was hard to get a move in mind that would do so with her constantly changing positions. He was especially distracted by the fist that was trying to slap him everywhere. Riftone took his hand off her head to bat at her hand in defense. He wasn't even really holding her, when he heard her yell,

"Let me go, you pervert!" Rather cross at name calling for the day, he seriously considered letting her feel gravity's force, but decided instead, not to become the bully and simply, swatted again at her rude fist stating,

"I would, if you would stop flailing!"

"Let go!!"

"Stop flailing!" Riftone increased the thickness of air under her, trying to step away, but her arm was still wrapped over one shoulder, beating at his back. Obviously she was not paying attention to the blue/clear force holding her.

"Let go!"

"Get your arm off my neck, and you won't have a problem!" For the first time, she took in his cross visage and realized it was not a human pressure that held up her body. Freezing mid-flail, she looked down to see that his arms were not touching her, but were merely in positions to keep himself from getting beaten up. Taking advantage of her instant standstill, Riftone dropped the air out from under her legs, causing her to slide upright and place her feet gently on the ground.

"Now, get your arm off my neck." He attempted a kinder tone, but he was still upset. Her eyes had gone wide, and she was no longer breathing as she stared open-mouthed at her feet on the path. Only a small part of her stunned brain registered the order, so although the pressure of her arm lessened, it was still hovering along his shoulder-line. Riftone, sighed, turning his eyes up towards the tree cover as he allowed the air to go back to its normal course.

"Do I have to move it myself?" Her eyes darted up to his face and her already open mouth, sucked in air easily.

"Oh. S-sorry." Even with all the air she had, her voice sounded breathless. Her arm slid slowly away and they both took a small step back.

"Y-you can... levitate?" Riftone rose his eyebrows at her, she was actually only an inch shorter than himself.

"You act like you've never heard on Windcasting before."

"I... haven't. I haven't heard of a lot of magic abilities."

"It's not magic. It is a genetic control of the element." Her eyes went as wide as golf-balls.


"Oh my doG! Where in the noggin are you from!?"

"I'm a foreign exchange student from Earth."

"Earth? What country is that?"

"I mean Terra, the planet." A spark of knowledge lit his eyes.

"Ohhhh, you're part of the Planet Education Program!"

"That's right. I just got here last night and am on my way to The Academy of Wicker for Investigators and Law-enforcers to sign in." Riftone scowled at the mention of his academy, remembering why he was out here on his lunch break.

"So you're like what, eighteen? That's when Terrans go to academies right?"

"Usually, but your, I mean, Prigadonians start sooner, so I'm still 13." Riftone rolled his eyes, sarcastically thinking, Perfect, another immature, macho maniac.

"What's wrong? Did I say Prigadonian wrong or something?"

"No. Never mind. So, are you a Law-enforcer, or an Investigator?"

"Law-enforcer. I want to actually be able to stop the crimes, not just find out what happened in the past." Riftone shrugged,

"I'm an Investigator, going to be, myself. I think that solving cases is more worth the time and effort than getting people mad at you for confining a loved one." Her mouth gaped open again.

"You go to The Academy of Wicker too!!?"

"Yeah... what else is there to be out here for?"

"Umm, a stroll through the woods?" Riftone rolled his eyes again, more passively this time, "Or a run... how fast were you going? I barely even saw you."

"I don't time how fast I go. I just let the wind take me." Riftone did allow for a smile and a shrug when she stated how cool it must be to fly with the wind and have total control of an element. Riftone told her how close to the academy they were and offered to walk back with her, to which she readily agreed. She was trying to ask questions from every angle to discover how air could be connected to genes almost the entire walk back. When they started across the bridge dividing the path from the campus, he finally just motioned a finger at her to make a thread of wind flick a piece of her hair declaring,

"I'm studying Investigation, not Biology." She finally just figured she'd have to be satisfied with what he had been able to tell her until she met someone who could explain it better. Stepping onto campus, gave her the sense, that she had best leave him to do his own thing and not bother him further to walk her to the office. She , at least, knew where that was, having been memorizing the map during the first part of her walk down the path.

"Well, I can find my way from here. Thanks for walking me here, even when you were going the opposite direction."

"Oh, I was coming back anyway. There is only ten minutes of lunch break left. Say! I haven't even asked your name!" Riftone felt rather stupid to have just realized that after such a long walk.

"Oh. how rude of me! I should have introduced myself earlier! I'm Melodony Merks. My parents couldn't decide between Melody and Melony, hence I became Melodony. What's your name?"

"I'm Rif-"

"Whiskers, so great to see you back so soon." The fake pleasantry tightened Riftone's insides, "Dean Hoover wants to speak to you. We weren't sure if you'd be back before lunch break was done." Melodony was instantly wary of the three boys that came up from under the bridge. She could feel the tension between them and Riftone. As she looked to Riftone his visage went hard and his eyes turned to stone, which looked much more dangerous to Melodony, who was still not used to the fact that Prigadonians had navy blue, maroon, hazel, or dark purple scleras, instead of white. The Iris was always solid black, and instead of a pupil there was a half-moon sliver of white. Riftone had blue, which, for some random reason, made Melodony coin the thought that it would be a beautiful death to be killed by him. His voice matched the "beautiful" thought much better than the "deadly" thought as he murmured, "Don't mind them Melodony, they just believe that those who have control of an element, should not be in any study other than their element."

"Ignoring us won't keep Dean Hoover from telling your mammy on you, Baby Whiskers." Riftone was staring at a nondescript piece of Melodony's shirt, his eyes unfocused.

"If you ever say anything about my mam again, I'll blast your nose into the ceiling, and I promise that will hurt more than my fist."

"Aww, Baby Whiskers is still upset that his mammy doesn't like his career goal." Riftone turned slowly, cringing his fingers in order to call the wind to his will. The increase in the breeze was too strong and centered to be natural; it whipped only around the three bullies.

"If my mam had the same narrow-minded ideals as you, I'd be in Windcrest right now, instead of with you pathetic dweebs." The air then condensed around the bullies to a semi-visible wall, when all three opened their mouths. Melodony's face had on a surprised confusion when Riftone turned back to her. Glancing momentarily back over his shoulder at the talking, but seemingly silent, group, Riftone explained,

"The wind is pushing their sound waves away from us in a haphazard manner that confuses the words."

"Why are you not in a windcasting academy?" She both sounded and looked awestruck. With a half smile, Riftone stated,

"Honey, you haven't seen anything yet. The better windcasters can still hear the voices in the wind if they try. Some can even bring voices to them over long distances, or send their voice in the wind." Turning back towards the academy, he started back along the path.

"Come on, lets get out of earshot before my DNA gets too scrambled to read."

"Is that possible?" Melodony scurried to catch up and ask. He gave a short laugh.

"No, but the wind is inside of me as much as it is around them, and the echo of the air movement is annoying after a while."

"What is an echo?" Riftone smiled, unable to help liking her curiosity. She didn't seam like the kind of tough-shelled females that usually came to The Academy of Wicker. This particular question was one he'd had to answer plenty of times prior.

"Just the feeling I get that tells me the basics in the air and how strong I am making it. It's not a prominent feeling. Any Windcaster has to be paying attention to interpret the feelings. When I was five, I didn't even realize they were caused by the air." Melodony matched Riftone's slightly longer strides to keep up easier, asking,

"When did you realize that?"

"When there was no wind and I broke all the porcelain figurines on the top shelf just by reaching up for the treats my mam had above them for the party that night."

"Oh." Melodony wondered if it ever embarrassed him to admit that, then decided to ask a more pressing question, "So what is your name."

"Riftone Deveer, and it is a pleasure to meet you Melodony." It truly was.

- end of Chapter 1-