Chapter 10: The Arrival

Silas paused in front of the iron gates of the BlackTears Academy. He indulged in the welcoming feeling of being back at the only place he would ever openly concede as his home. The sight of the tall, looming towers and the cherry-wood doors leading inside calmed the tension he felt. The crunch of his steps against the gravel revived the memories of his first time walking this path as a child.

"Silas!" Robert shouted as he came running up to the other boy. The two seven year olds grinned at each other as they waited for Linda to catch up.

Out of breath she managed to gasp out, "You two walk too fast! It's not fair."

Silas simply laughed and continued on. The sound of their feet crunching against the gravel path became embedded in their memory.

Smiling slightly at the memory he opened the door and strode inside. His destination being the Headmistress's office. He hoped she hadn't changed the location of her office as she was frequently known to do. As he climbed the stairs to where he knew her office to be last he began to feel anxious.

Pausing just outside her door he swallowed hard. Maybe it was his guilt that was making this so much more difficult he considered. Yet he did not regret the risk he had taken. 'At least not yet.' He thought grimly.

Gripping the cold knob he pushed the door open and managed a soft, "Headmistress?"

Headmistress Alicia turned at the soft voice of one of her teachers. She knew who it was the minute it spoke. Silas had come back. The surprise at his arrival caused him to smile slightly. He watched with amusement as the shock swept over her face before disappearing. She came out from behind her desk and greeted him warmly, "Mi nino. Where have you been? You leave for a month without a single explanation!"

"I was with Rosa.." He trailed off at his mother's fierce glare. Wincing he waited for her to voice her disapproval.

"You could have told me that, Silas. Do you have any idea how worried I was?!" She continued to lecture.

Silas scowled. "Worried?" He asked. The confusion in his question caught Alicia off guard. She stared at him in shock.

'Does he still not understand?' She thought in despair as she struggled to understand why this was still something he didn't get.

"Yes, worried. Unlike what you believe, Silas. Mothers do care about their children." She whispered.

Silas still looked at her blankly before muttering, "Sorry.'

Sighing, she made a note to talk about this again. Very soon. She leaned forward and pulled him into a tight hug. "Como estas?" She spoke in the desperation to change the subject.

He hugged her back briefly before pulling back. He smiled slightly and replied, "Regular. Y tu?" He was beginning to pick at the stitching of his cloak sleeve.

The older woman gazed solemnly at her son. A frown graced her face as she took in his stiff frame and overall tired appearance. Just looking at him she knew something was off. She would find out what it was.

"Bien. Como esta Alexis?" She asked in hope to ease his worry.

This only backfired as he went completely rigid. He stopped fiddling to stare down at the floor in a very concentrated pose. He then turned his attention to the old painting on the wall to his left. She knew he was deliberately avoiding her eyes. The urge to scold him burned on her tongue but she didn't. The knowledge that he would eventually come to her with this halting her. She was shocked by the turmoil inside her son's gaze. The fear and worry made her wonder the possibility if he was sick.

"Alexis es lo que yo querĂ­a hablar." Silas said stiffly. The frustration on his face was rather out of place and it bothered her.

As she studied her child's posture and expression she knew there had to be something truly bothering him. It was worse than she had feared. He had only been gone a month and yet the child she had adopted had changed in some way.

Motioning towards the chair just in front of her desk in which she was leaning against she asked, "What's wrong?"

Eyes hardened with a disapproving gaze as he stubbornly shook his head in decline. Her patience wearing thin she finally ordered, "Sit, Silas. Now!"

He glanced up at her sharp tone and his defiant glare wavered. Watching her with wary eyes he could only spot concern and a touch of worry buried deep. With a fierce scowl in place he edged towards the seat in caution.

She smiled light at his obvious reluctance before repeating, "What's wrong?"

He was silent for a few minutes in a internal debate. He began to speak then thought and went back to silence. Once more she waited patiently for him to voice his concern.

"Are you sure she's the one?" The tentative question escaped his mouth before he realized he had spoken it aloud. He instinctively cringed in expectation of his father's wrath, even if he was no longer there. Yet the instinct was still a part of him. It didn't matter that he knew she would never hurt him.

She met her son's frightened eyes with a comforting gaze. Leaning forward she touched his arm gently before whispering, "Do not doubt Lady Magic, nino."

"But, Mama!" He started to protest. She knew he wasn't really doubting the Lady just only his own doubts.

"What makes you doubtful?"

"When I first met her, Allen was trying to control her. I managed to fight him off two times before we got to her house in which she was living with Rosa. We found out she was to have her Lykra inheritance three days later yet she has not been through it yet."

"You have to believe in her more, nino. Besides, if she hasn't come into her heritage then the power will be stronger than if she had been on time. That is the truth of all inheritances. You know that the youngest heritage is always the strongest. It is not normal for a child of her age to go through such a strenuous magical heritage."

Silas nodded silently in agreement before she went on, "Did you face him alone?" Her tone immediately sent Silas on alert. He glanced over at her and knew one wrong word and he was pretty much as good as dead.

"A few times." He grudgingly admitted. He chose to ignore the pain searing in his chest from the last fight.

Eyes narrowed in disapproval Alicia asked, "Are you hurt?"

"No!" Silas all but shouted a little too quickly and found himself face to face with one very suspicious mother. Not to mention this was his mother didn't help the matter much at all.

"You are lying, Silas Alex Serpentine. Now tell me the truth!" Alicia rebuked sternly while keeping a tight hold on his wrist.

"I'm not!" Silas denied vehemently as he yanked his arm free. He didn't have time for this! He had to get to Rosa before she finished!

Staring her son down Alicia finally spoke her response, "We will talk about this. If you need to talk you know where to find me." She grudgingly said her goodbye as she watched him take hold of the door knob.

"Si, Mama. Gracias." He muttered as he fled the room in the eagerness to escape her piercing glare. As such he did not hear the whisper she spoke as the door shut firmly behind him.

"De nada, mi hijo." She whispered while thinking desperately, "Please keep my son safe, Lady Magic!'

Anulekha sat watching the board in close observation. She scowled as a black pawn encroached on her knight. She moved to capture said pawn with the knight when she heard the desperate plea of a worried mother.

Hand poised over the knight she changed her decision and moved the knight away from the pawn to safety. At least safe for the time being.

"I promise to do my best to protect him, Alicia." The wind whispered into the mother's ears.
Anulekha smiled as her words reassured the mother before frowning at the board. The red queen had finally moved. The change would soon begin.

Meanwhile Rosa stood at the counter in the hospital. In her hands were Rin's release papers. She was currently signing them as the three girls sat in soft chairs. Each was doing their own thing and seemingly content in their own worlds.

Rin was watching Alexis who had taken occupancy in the seat to Rin's right. In Rin's lap was a stuffed white tiger in which she clutched onto in protective manner. It was her first gift since she was five and as a nine year old she treasured the toy dearly.

Rin tapped on Alexis's shoulder impatiently. Alexis held up a finger for patience. Rin waited. Alexis was writing in the journal her parents had given her two years ago. The faery lock had turned itself into the violet ink pen she was writing with. Finally she stopped and closed the journal, asking, "What is it, Rin?"

"Do you think Rosa would like to have me at the orphanage?" Rin asked worriedly as she glanced at the woman signing the papers. Fear of rejection mirrored her worry as she turned back to Alexis.

"Of course!" Alexis reassured her friend in faithfulness.

Hope sat in the chair to Rin's left. Swinging her legs back and forth she was very mindful of the people coming and going. Also the ones that were being pushed in wheelchairs. "Aren't you excited? We get to go to a new school!"

The two nodded as Alexis began to look around. Tears began to fill her eyes as she asked, tearfully, "Where's Silas?"

"Right here, child. You shouldn't worry so much." Silas commented as he came striding in the door.

As she bounded out of the chair Alexis ran up to him. Still rather short she could only manage to wrap her arms around his waist tightly, "How are you, oji-sama?"

Laughter shook his body and Silas winced in pain. Ruffling her hair so she wouldn't see he asked, "I'm doing fine, chica. I see you are already learning new languages."

She grinned up at him adoringly in response. She wrapped her thin arms around his neck after he leaned down to pick her up. Clutching the back of his cloak tightly she whispered in his ear, "I missed you, sir."

He hid his shock as he replied a bit stiffly, "I missed you, too." He closed his eyes briefly while wondering why he was allowing this child to worm her way into his heart.

Rosa turned from the counter and smiled knowingly at him. She chuckled at the glare he gave her and asked, "Is this everything?"

"Yes." Silas replied shortly as he shrunk the bags and stuff them in his pocket. Grasping onto Hope's hand tightly he shifted his position to hold Alexis more securely. As the five stood hand in hand he closed his eyes and concentrated. In a swirl of mist they vanished completely unaware of the man behind them. He watched them leave in rage with flaming red eyes and a sadistic smile twisting his face.

Landing roughly on the ground the three girls groaned while the adults chuckled. Standing up they just stared in awe at the castle.

"Rosa. I will take the children to the girl's dorms if you want to talk to Alicia?" Silas asked, clearly hiding his reason for not wanting to meet his mother once more.

"Sure." Rosa managed to say before the three impatient children yanked Silas's clothing in anticipation.

"Hurry up!" They whined as he stayed still.

Shaking his head absently in amusement he allowed them to pull him away. He kept quiet as they chattered excitedly and pointed out things of the castle. He found himself remembering the time he had done the same with Robert, Linda, and Rosa when they first arrived.

"Oji-sama?" Alexis's voice pulled him out of his thoughts. She was tucking on his sleeve as she gazed at him with wide, inquisitive eyes.

"Hai?" He questioned as they stood in front of the steps which lead inside. The door closed with a loud bang as Rosa went inside.

"Why are the walls like that?" She voiced her curiosity while pointing at the green walls that normally would be made of brick and concrete.

"Good question, nina." He praised her observation before explaining. "The stone is called Life Xavi. It's found deep in the ground sheltering the chaotic magical core that gives most of the world it's power. There are some spots where the stone has gotten so weak the magic has broken out. The stone is used to hide magic and keep invisible."

"So it hides us?" Rin asked as they walked into the castle. She had a tight grip on Silas's right hand as he lead them through the maze of hallways.

"Yes. There are other properties but you'll learn about them later." Silas said vaguely. His mind pondered what his mother and Rosa were up to as he came to the hallway leading to their destination.

"So you're telling me my son cast a curse beyond his capacity and is currently suffering from it?!" Alicia interrogated coldly. She was working her way up the latter to furious. She was just barely restraining herself from finding her son and giving him the lecture of a lifetime.

"Yes, ma'am." Rosa stuttered while edging away from her enraged mentor. 'Silas, you better have a will ready before she finds you.' She thought as she edged towards the door for escape.

"Well I suppose this means that talk is being moved up. Thank you, Rosa, for telling me the truth." Alicia dismissed, coolly.

Rosa simply nodded and fled the room with its tense atmosphere. Travelling back the way she came she nearly ran into someone as she went down the steps. Stopping she grabbed the other's arm.

"I'm sorry-" she began then noticed the all too familiar grey eyes. "Anna!"

The other woman squealed and hugged Rosa tightly. "Oh, Rosa! It's truly been far too long since we've talked. How are you?"

The two headed back down and chatted away. As they caught up on old times Alicia was quietly counting to a thousand in her head.

Silas knocked on the red oak door leading to the girl's dorm softly. Hearing a soft invite to come in he opened the door. He chuckled as he saw two of his older students leaning over a board game. Raising an eyebrow in mock disapproval he questioned, "Megan, Hana..are you two still playing that game?!"

The girl with a brown hair glanced up at him and grinned cheekily. "Of course, sensei! What else would be dare be caught doing in your class?"

The other girl had red hair and she swiped several blue rocks off the board. "Yeah, sensei! Only we can get in trouble for playing Go in your classroom."

Silas rolled his eyes at their antic scolding, "Spell Creation is a dangerous subject you two! How many times must I tell you that?"

The two simply grinned foxily at him as they continued their game with interest. Silas chuckled again but was cut off by pain searing through his chest again. Flinching he pressed his hand against the wound in attempt to dull the pain.

"Are you alright?" The girls cried out as they watched with frightened eyes. Even the two older students were scared as they moved forward to help.

Quickly he pushed the pain away and nodded, "I'm fine. Now why don't you guys show these three how to play that game until dinner. It should start in a few hours. The students have yet to arrive."

Fear in their eyes they nodded in hesitation. As the door shut behind him they stared at the spot he once stood.

Finally breaking the silence, Megan said, "So any of you know how to play Go?"

Receiving three shake of heads in denial, she motioned towards the board. "This is how it works.." This ensued a long conversation about the rules and moves. Using the board they showed demonstrations while they played.

Meanwhile Silas found his legs carrying him to his mother's office. Despite his desire to keep this from her he knew how dangerous such a decision could become. Shaking he just was about to touch her door to knock when it opened.

Standing in front of his mother he realized just how foolish he had been. Reaching out to grip her arm he felt black spots cross his vision. Soon the pain took over and he faded into darkness.