"Dad?" I say after feeling refreshed from crying, entering the living room downstairs where dad is watching football. He glances up at me, squinting his amber eyes at me, concerned.

"Are you okay?" He asks me. I nod slowly but firmly.

"Yeah. I've decided now. I want to go to counselling. I need help dad, every night, I have a nightmare - either it's about mum's death or about Bianca's death - and I feel the only way I can drive them out is to talk about it with someone, anyone, even if it is a complete stranger", I say. He sighs sadly as I mention Bianca's death. "I'm so sorry, dad, for the trouble I caused and for getting mad at you when you were only trying to help. I want the help, even if it will kill me."

"Well done, Whitney," he says, getting up and patting my shoulder. I glance up at him, surprised. He's a lot taller than I am, and, for a dad, is well-built and muscular.

"You must have a healthy state of mind to conquer and resist Darkness' pull. If you don't, then Darkness will consume you," he continues. "At the moment you do not, and you may be our only hope. I never thought that it would be my daughter that is mentioned in the prophecy, and I am so proud of you." He hugs me close. I bury my head into his chest, glad to feel his love.

"Dad," I begin. "How do you and Adolphus know each other?" This is another question that has buried at the back of my mind ever since that day when they fought each other. Now I have the chance to ask him, to find out the truth. He sighs deeply, and looks out into the space as he speaks.

"I am a pureblood shape-shifter, Whitney," He begins. He looks down at me, and I look back at him confusingly. "Do you know what that means?" I've heard the term before, and I swear Katie mentioned it once...

"It means that my blood as not been diluted - or mixed - with any of the other shape-shifter tribes' - or pure human's - blood. I have no feline and no other canine in me, besides that of a mackenzie valley wolf - yes, it has to even be the same subspecies, too.

"You see, purebloods are becoming rarer and rarer now, as tribes are hunted down by humans. Man's artillery and machines gun us all down, and we have no chance, now matter how much we pretend to be mighty and fierce. Also, that fact that more powerful species such as vampires and werewolves are hunting us down is causing our numbers to fall because we are the weaker species, hence evolution by natural selection. Instead of inbreeding we mate with humans, but the shape-shifter gene is then recessive, causing the offspring to then seem merely human, when in actual fact they are three-quarters human and a quarter animal, basically half pure human and half shape-shifter. They say that purebloods are less healthy than mixed-blooded shape-shifters because we have less genetic diversity within us. Mixed-blooded shape-shifters are shape-shifters that have more than one different tribal shape-shifter blood within them. They are not hybrids as they are still shape-shifters, but instead usually can only shape-shift into the tribe that is more dominant. Usually the more common the tribe, the more dominant their genes are. Wolves are a perfect example of this. Tigers, and snow leopards, on the other hand, their genes are recessive if they were to, in fact, mate with someone of wolf blood, causing the child to inherit the wolf tribal gene only. However, if the resultant has more than three shape-shifter genes inside of them, this will cuase them to be no more dominant than the other, causing them to be able to change into any of the animals that they have inherited. They are known as, not just mixed-bloods, but heinz fifty-sevens, the ones with more than three shape-shifter tribal genes within them. They are rare also, as school's now teach the importance of blood purity. Werewolves fear heinz fifty-sevens, as they have the ability to transform into as many animals as they inherited, and therefore have many modes of attack to defeat an opponent, giving them many advantages.

"Adolphus hates mixed-bloods like you, and mixed-blooded shape-shifters and especially heinz fifty-sevens. I was a member of Bianca's Elite guard, and because of this, even though I was here, I was affected by her death deeply. I heard the rally, that I know you started off." I gasp in surprise. "I knew straight away that she was dead. Adolphus was also part of her Elite guard. You see, there's her Elite guard; she didn't have bodyguards; she could take care of herself. Then there's the secret police, which are made up of even more wolves. I have known Bianca's two boys - Shar and Rama - ever since they were born. And her husband, Fang. Adolphus and I have been arch enemies ever since, and he wants revenge".

"So that's it?" I demand. He nods, but I'm not entirely sure.

"Your mother was a human who excelled at swordsmanship and horsemanship. You and Libby have seemed to have inherited her skills, Whit". I gasp in horror.

"She, she..."

"She was amazing, for a human. I fell in love with her. Back then, it was forbidden to marry humans. Adolphus found out about our secret relationship, and threatened to tell Bianca, who had, already, by then, granted me the position as a guardian, which I had then evolved into. Adolphus became jealous. Adolphus told Bianca, and she made me choose between her and a human, as she called her. I chose - though now part of me feels dishonorable because of it - your mother. Bianca never spoke to me again. Adolphus was satisfied when I was gone. But once a guardian, always a guardian, whether you like it or not. But that was not enough for Adolphus. He wanted me dead - and still does. I pledged myself as a guardian to your mum in order to protect her from Adolphus.

"But I failed, didn't I?" He bows his head down in deep sadness. I wrap an arm around him reassuringly.

"I'm sorry, dad," I say soothingly. "It must be awful feeling." He looks at me, his amber eyes brimming over with tears.

"No, Whit", he says."As soon as she died, I literally felt heartbroken, and I felt my soul almost shatter. I managed to stop it though, because I knew you too would need me. You still need me. We need each other. Now, I can't take it any more. I failed her. I failed to protect her. I pledged myself to her feet, and I didn't stick by it."

"Dad you did everything you could," I say. "It wasn't your fault. You didn't kill her. It was Adolphus who pulled the trigger. What I don't get is, that wouldn't have people seen him?" He shook his head.

"No. He used an invisibility skill that he possesses to cover himself and the car, so no, people didn't see him." I nod.

"It's called cloaking," dad continues with a faint smile. "It's a spell, which is strange as werewolves don't usually practice magic."

"Adolphus has to be stopped, because this is out of hand already," I say. "That's why...I'm going". He stares at me.

"No, Whit! You idiotic little girl! Do you have a death wish or something! If I lose you too then I don't know what I'd do."

"But dad, I'm not some dumb little girl anymore," I reply harshly. "It's time for me to learn the skills, and grow up." He cups my face tenderly.

"But you don't need to grow up so fast," he says.

"I'm nearly fifteen, dad," I reply."I can handle it." He glares at me protectively. He turns away from me.

"Don't be so naive, Whitney," he says. "I'm not having you go back to that deathtrap!"

"My friends need me dad!" I yell back at him. "I can't just stand by and let them get possibly killed too. It's my responsibility; I am the child the prophecy talks about. Nothing can change that. So no matter how much you try to wrap me up in cotton wool somehow or another Adolphus will find me again; someone will always be after me. And when that day comes, I'll be ready." I clench my fist, determined. "My friends were there for me when I needed them to be. Now I owe it to them to protect their world."

"Oh, right, so was Sophie and that there for you?" He asks me. "I thought it'd do you good to go to The Underworld at the time and get away from that little gang of yours. But no, instead you land yourself in more shit!" I gasp in horror as he yells that. Sure, sometimes he does swear occasionally, like when he's working on a car or when he's stressed. But he's never sworn at me before. Ever.

"Swearing at your own daughter," I mutter under my breath. "Now you know where I get my use of bad language from, then eh? You can no longer tell me off". I smirk triumphantly to myself. I've got him now!

"Whit, you can't go," he murmurs softly, sitting back down on his armchair, staring up at me with pleading eyes.

"I have to," I say. "Otherwise I'll never be ready."

"No, Whit! I can just physically stop you if I have to just like that!"

"Is that a threat, dad?" There's a pause between us. I'm not scared, because I know what's coming. He won't hurt me, and he won't stop me.

"Yeah, right," I taunt him cruelly. "You won't stop me. You can't fool me. You underestimated me. I know what's coming." With a triumphant smirk, I stroll calmly out of the room and up the stairs to my room. I know that was mean of me. In fact, I was well out of line. But how else am I supposed to get my own way with an over-protective dad?

With that I grab my phone, conjure up the Hellrider with those words, go through all the same procedures blah blah blah, and finally end up at SSAE. My phone suddenly vibrates in my pocket. I slide it out and check who the text is from. Franky.

whit, 2day after skl we're meeting in that clearing again and training with takeo. hope 2 see u there :)

I smile down at the the text, and text him back:

yh sure, in fact, i'm here now :)

He texts back:

k, kl. nearly end of skl; so boring sat in science learning shit bout shape-shifter biology. c ya there then.

I go over to Warrior's stall. He snickers at me, and gently stroke his face.

"Long time no see, Whit", calls a familiar voice. I instantly spin around to face the person.

"Becky!" I exclaim."Nice to see you too!"

"So, how are things?" She asks me."You're here everyday now aren't you? Haven't you been enrolled at a new school yet?" I shake my head.

"No, not at the moment. Kind of glad though as it gives me a break from everything," I reply. "It sucks really. Becky, do you know about the prophecy?" She nods.

"Yes. You're mentioned somewhat. It's kind of important that you're still here, though."

"I know," I sigh. "But I managed to escape this time. Dad's probably gonna chain me to the bed in a minute." She looks at me sympathetically.

"I know," she says. "But he's only trying to protect you. He's already lost...your mother. He doesn't wanna lose you too. You've got to start seeing things from his point of view. He's probably so lonely and probably misses you when you're gone. He needs you there. It isn't all about you, though, at the moment it feels like it as the fate of The Underworld depends on you and a few others..."

"Why?" I instantly demand. "I'm not a little girl any more, even though I may look it! I need to be here!" She looks at me straight.

"Be here only because you want to, not because you have to," she replies."Do you want to save your friends?" I nod.

"Yes," I say. "And I wanna be here to look after Warrior, too."

"Then do that then," she says."But remember; acting like a spoilt child isn't gonna get you anywhere. You have to mature quickly, even though these days we try to discourage our children from growing up too quickly", she laughs a little at that."But this is different. Don't lose yourself to Darkness, whatever you do." I nod firmly.

"I won't, Becky," I reply. And deep down, I know she's right. Poor dad. Why do I always act like that around him? No wonder he got so angry. He must feel so sad, so sorrowful and miserable. Maybe she's right; I do need to start thinking about others apart from myself.

I try to put myself in his shoes. He probably just doesn't want me to get hurt. He loves me; he doesn't want to lose me. And I love him too, bizarre as that sounds. And I don't want it to be like this between me and him. Am I programmed to piss people off or something?!

•*´¨`*•.¸¸.•*´¨`*•.¸

After the little lecture I decide not to take Warrior into the forest; somehow I have a feeling I won't be needing him today. I go to the same clearing, the same clearing where...a lot of things have happened. I wait for them to arrive. Not long after the bell's gone they're all here - even Rama, Crystal and Ria. Takeo arrives, with the scarecrow and some wooden replicas of our weapons.

"Hey, Howl," I murmur to Howl as he pulls me close by his side.

"'Right, babe?" He asks me, kissing the top of my head. I giggle and lean against him, snuggling deep into his chest.

"Hey, Whit," Katie calls me cheerily. I smile at her. Forever bubbly.

"Hiya, Katie," I reply. Her eyes dart between me and Howl before finally settling on me.

"So, you okay?" She asks me with a dimpled smile. I nod.

"Yeah, I'm okay thanks, you?" I ask her. She nods.

"Yeah, good ta", she replies, smiling cheerily.

"Oooh, Howl and Whit cosyin' up again, are they?" Tanya suddenly barges in.

"Oh, shut up, Tanya, you're embarrassing them," Katie snaps at her. Tanya ignores her.

"So, have you too done it yet?" She asks us.

"What?"

"You known, it."

"Yeah, I know it, thank you very much. And no we haven't. I'm too young to be doing stuff like that!"

"Oh my dayz, Tanya, go away," Howl suddenly but gently shoves her.

"Tanya, you know what I've told you about confidentiality," Sapphire nudges her, Franky by her side. "Even if they had - which I'd be very surprised at - it's not like as if they would tell you. You'd go around the whole school broadcasting it on the tannoy system." Katie and I can't help but giggle at that.

"Yeah, right, I can keep a secret," Tanya says, miming zipping her mouth shut.

"Yeah, you'd best do that from now on, init?" I say bluntly.

"Hey, Whit", Wolfie politely greets me. I nod back at him, dimpling at him.

"Hey," I reply.

"Hey, Howl," Wolfie turns to him, with a dangerous glare. "You hurt her, and I'll have to kill you." Howl nods.

"Don't worry; I won't," he confirms.

"Good," Wolfie says. I turn to him reassuringly.

"Seriously, Wolfie, I'm fine", I say. He smiles at me. He's so good-looking. Don't get me wrong, Howl's cute, but Wolfie's gorgeous. Not inhumanely beautiful like a vampire, but still hot all the same.

"Right, guys," Takeo announces, immediately silencing everyone. We all turn to face him.

"Today, is going to be a very important lesson for you all," he begins. "You need to get stronger quickly in order to be able to take on the type of enemy we're facing. That means finding your affinities, whilst others of you maybe finding some powers you may possess.

"You see, whilst everyone has an element which - not completely - but slightly - influences them in everyday life and battle - only those select few can actually activate them and be able to control and manipulate them, then they're affinities. For most people, however, if you're fire it gives you a bonus in attack, earth defence, water evasion and air mobility. Electricity would be accuracy, spirit internal damage, metal defence, ice attack and thunder mobility. The only thing is, all the five optional elements all cause internal damage, if you have an affinity for them." That's when Jamie suddenly interrupts.

"I thought that everyone has an affinity for their elements," Jamie says. He shakes his head.

"Like I said, only those select few," he says. "Which means that with humans it will never be. Most warmblood vampires have affinities for their elements, and only one coldblood vampire that I know of has an affinity for any element at all. Then maybe one or two werewolves, then all the royal - or should I say God - shape-shifters have affinities have affinities for their elements." He glances at Rama as he says that. Everyone gasps in surprise, completely and utterly gobsmacked by this new information.

"Gods?" Katie asks, her jaw hung open in shock. "I-I thought, they were..."

"Just royalty?" Takeo prompts her. "No, they are gods and goddesses also. Why do you think they all possess such divine powers?"

"I-I never knew," Diego gasps. "So that's why they're on such a godly level compared to us. Even the guardians aren't up to their levels."

"Why were we never told?" Franky instantly demands, sounding a little angry.

"Because Misteria and Shera are the main goddesses," Takeo explains. "It would cause an uproar." They all nod in understanding - except for me.

"You knew, didn't you, Whit?" Jamie suddenly darts the question at me.

"You knew because out of us you were close to Bianca, and you witnessed the fight between her and Adolphus," Jamie points out. "You found out then, didn't you?"

"Why are you keeping so many things from us, these days, Whit?" Katie says, sounding hurt.

"Yeah, I thought we were your friends," Tanya mutters accusingly.

"N-no! Y-you don't understand! I just thought, it-it didn't matter, that's all," I stutter nervously. But they're not gonna abandon me. Not at a time like this. They won't.

"What's the biggie, anyway?" Howl comes to my defence. "It doesn't really matter now, does it?" They all stare at him like what?

"Shut up, Howl, your input is not needed," Franky growls at him threateningly.

"Come on, guys, what's important now is that we get on with this already," Rama says, glancing at Franky. "You of all people should know that." Franky's eyes darts away from his gaze, a frustrated look on his face.

"Don't tell me what to do, Midget," Franky snarls at him, kicking the ground in disgust. How childish. Rama, however, keeps his calm and ignores him.

"Anyway, like I was saying," Takeo purposely raises his voice. "Shape-shifter guardians also have affinities for their elements. Then, only a select handful of normal shape-shifters can actually activate their elements." His eyes circle around our group before settling on me."Whitney, you've already discovered your affinity. For the rest of you I'm gonna help you. Most of you should be able to guess what your elements are anyway, just we need to find out whether you can activate them or not. So, I want you all to stand in a big circle." We all immediately shuffle about. I try using my precognitive skills to try and see who will activate them and who will not. Once I'm in the circle in between Howl and Katie I close my eyes for a sec and concentrate. After a minute I open them and smile. I know who will be able to and who won't - because they are the chosen ones.

"If you are sure what your element will be due to your star sign, I want you to think about things associated with that element. For example, if you are fire, then think about hot summers, or hot fireplaces or radiates or candles burning. If you are water, think about a nice, cold shower, or the sea refreshing you from the heat at a beach. It is up to you. But, you must not try and do this with any other element, as it will not work. You cannot activate any other element except for your own. Is that understood?" We nod. He turns to me.

"Whitney, you need to be able to gain more control over your element. I want you to practice on your own summoning it and working with it as thunder was under Darkness once. Also, try practicing channelling thunder into Clarent, too."

"Um, I haven't got Clarent on me at this precise moment of time," I protest. He groans at me.

"Well, whatever then. Just practice controlling it, will ya?" I nod. I walk out of the circle and go stand at another edge of a clearing.

"Come to me, thunder!" I cry out. Thunder instantly obeys, I feel the atmosphere around me and a small patch of the sky from up above me rumble menacingly.

"Lightning bolt!" I cry out, and instantly one flashes down onto the ground just like that. Everyone turns and stares at me, in awe.

"Whit, try and be a bit more quieter", Takeo instructs me. "These guys are trying to concentrate, after all."

"Okay, sorry," I mumble quickly, then get back to work. Out of nowhere, I hear cheering and water comes plummetting onto me, completely flattening down my hair limply to my head. I stand there, shivering, and turn around to face them, fists clenched by my side. Everyone stares and laughs at me.

"That's it whoever did that I'll get lightn-" I'm immediately distracted by the sight of Franky. I shake the water droplets out of my soaking wet hair and am taken-aback by the stream that Franky has formed from his feet, running over to where I am. Suddenly, thunder rumbles as it starts lashing it down on our small clearing.

"Yay! Franky, you did it!" Sapphire exclaims in the dripping wet, clapping proudly. He smirks at me apologetically.

"Soz, Whit, that was me conjuring sea that splashed you", he says. I can't help but smile happily for him. It's no surprise. The thing is, I didn't see that coming. I don't usually see myself...

Except for the odd occasion I have. Like in the prophetic visions I've been having...

Lets not think about right now, I think stubbornly to myself.

"Yes! Well done, Franky!" I cheer for him, trying to hide my annoyance. The thing that matters is is that he's succeeded in conjuring up his affinity.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blows me over, me tumbling backwards and landing on my butt in a puddle! Damn! Now it looks like I've pissed myself! I stand up and clench my fists, gritting my teeth in order to prevent a growl.

"Right, own up to that immediately," I growl as Diego lightly laughs. I knew that he would. But i Hadn't seen me bum-planting a puddle, either! Perhaps they're just unexpected things?

"Diego! You're, you're air..." Tanya gasps in complete and utter amazement. Diego gives her a small smile.

"Yeah, I guess," he laughs lightly. A huge gust of wind suddenly gushes past us. We all stumble far back, some of us falling back onto our bony butts. Four more to go.

"So...who's next?" Wolfie ponders. He turns curiously to Rama and Crystal."Have you two found out your elements or affinites yet?" Both of them nod simultaneously.

"Yeah, he's thunder," Crystal explains, jabbing a thumb in his direction, who shot a glare at her. "And I'm fire."

"But, you're, you're..." Wolfie stares at her in amazement.

"I'm not a normal shape-shifter like you guys," she says with a slight snob on, flipping back her long silver locks. "I'm an aristocrat. Why do you think I know Rama personally? We met when we were both infants, didn't we, Rama?" He nods in response.

"Aristocrats and nobles are very powerful pureblood shape-shifters as well, as powerful as the guardians," she carries on. "But the guardian opportunity gives normal shape-shifters a chance to be powerful, whilst we aristocrats and nobles have other duties, such as helping running the country, for example. Some of us can activate our elements into affinities, more so than just you're average shape-shifter. To be honest, you have to bevery lucky for a normal shape-shifter to be able to activate their elements, which is very rare. That obviously says a lot about you guys." Her eyes settle on Franky, then Diego.

"Why don't you show us, Rama, Crystal?" Katie begs them. "Please?"

"You're the same as Whitney then," Wolfie says to Rama. Rama nods. Rama bows down to Crystal.

"Ladies first?" he offers. She smiles gratefully at him.

"You sure?" She asks him. He nods, smiling confidently.

"I am," he replies firmly. With his reassurance, she cries out, "Come to me, fire!" A source of heat begins building up from her and with a movement of her hand a ring of fire surrounds her, blazing around her hungrily. She suddenly jumps up into the air, fireballs in her hands, flips up and throws a fireball down at us. It bounces high along the ground towards Franky. Suddenly scared, with a hand movement a wave of water comes splashing onto it, extinguishing it immediately. With a pout, Crystal lightly lands back onto the ground.

"Awww, you ruined my fireball," she moans sadly. He smirks arrogantly at her.

"Thank you, fire, you may go play now," she says, releasing fire to do whatever it wants to do.

"Now it's my turn, then," Rama declares, stepping up. "Come to me, thunder!" A loud rumble echoes across the sky just above us, and lightning flashes down right in front of him.

"Lightning bolt!" He cries out, and with a downwards hand gesture another lightning bolt flashes down at the ground, making it shudder this time. We stand back, stunned.

"Wow, that's impressive," Diego breathes. Franky pulls back his lips in a growl. Jamie lets out an, 'oooh.'

"Oh my," Howl breathes."Oh my dayz." Katie claps cheerily.

"Yay!" She joyfully cheers. I laugh with her. She's so cheerful.

Suddenly, we notice Ria go completely silver and shiny. She takes a step forward, and she sounds as if she's wearing metal armour.

"Ria!" Sapphire gasps in amazement. "You're, you're...metal!" Ria smiles at her, then stands in front of Diego.

"Punch me," she orders him. He shakes his head.

"No, I'll hurt you," he says. She sighs irritably.

"Just punch me already, for God's sake!" She yells at him. With that he throws in a punch, then cluthces his fist in agony, spurting blood from his knuckles. I notice Katie gag. Diego clenches his jaw and grits his teeth, fighting against it.

"Ahh, shit," he groans. "I think I might've just split a knuckle."

"You okay, Diego?" Takeo asks him, striding over to peer at the damage.

"Damn, she really is made of metal now," Diego says with a slight growl. Ria releases her metal, going back to her normal self again.

"Nobody can touch you any more, Ria", Jamie says with a slight smirk."How interesting." She giggles slightly.

"Sorry you got hurt, Diego," she says. He glares up at her, then gets up and pats her on the back.

"Na, it's all right, I'll live," he replies nonchalantly. Wow, he's so tough and manly, saying that, despite the amount of pain he's in. And I know pain. Respect.

"You might need a bandage for those bloody knuckles", Takeo notes rather tactically.

"I'll go with ya, mate," Franky says, placing an arm around his shoulders. So they set off to the infirmary. A crackling sound enters my ears and a sudden shriek is heard from Ria. We all gasp in horror to see Ria being electrocuted by Jamie, who isn't far from her. Jeez, glad it's not me this time, but still.

"Sorry, Ria," Jamie says apologetically. "Guess I haven't got complete control over my power, huh?" Ria growls at him furiously.

"Ow, that hurt, she whimpers, her hair all sticking up all over the place. She looks so comical we all burst out laughing.

"Luckily, it wasn't too high a voltage," Jamie says. With that he flips up in the air, static electricity buzzing at his fingertips. He then flings some away from us. It charges towards the ground in a fury of blue, then explodes. However, more water comes flowing into the electric and...nothing...happens. I hear a chuckle.

"Sapphire?" Jamie frowns at her.

"The water that we conjure up is pure H20. Nothing happens if you mix pure H two 0 with water. It has to have something like salt or another ion in it for it to be able to conduct the electricity," Sapphire explains (rather scientifically). I've got to admit, we did Chemistry in year nine here also but we haven't learnt about that yet.

"Sapphire...how come you conjure up water, too?!" Franky explodes at her. She laughs lightly.

"I've always been able to. I just never did it in front of you guys. It's only because like all mixed-bloods, I'm technically a witch. I just choose to be a pegasus knight", she says.

"But...how can you be water?! You must be spirit or something? You're of mixed-blood...all mixed-bloods are either one of the optional five elements!" Tanya exclaims. Sapphire shakes her head at her.

"No, Tanya, if you listened you might have got it. Us mixed-bloods can be either one of the four original elements - just like other Underworld creatures born on the cusp of a star sign - or one of the optional five elements - just like Underworld creatures born on the cusp also - depending on our personality".

"I dunno, it's just weird," Tanya says, scratching her head thoughtfully. "I always thought of you as an airy sort-of person?" Sapphire quirks a perfectly plucked brow at her.

"Why just because I'm intelligent?" She says, laughing. "No, I guess I'm water".

"It's probably because you're wise," Katie notes.

"I'm not wise...yet. I'm afraid wiseness comes with age," Sapphire corrects her. Katie shrugs casually, then goes back to concentrating again.

"Woa," Katie breathes, eyes squinted shut. But before she can fully concentrate, heat breaks through her concentration, and I feel like as if my body's burning up. The ground beneath our feet is scorching and I jump almost ten feet into the air. Everyone else seems to feel it, too, and we all back off to the sides of the clearing for safety. Suddenly, flames appear all around on the branches and leaves, flickering on and devouring some of the leaves. Tanya now stands in the middle, eyes closed, and with a hand movement the whole of the edge of the clearing is a ring of fire now, all around in a big circle. Roaring red horses are the barrier between us and the clearing. After with another movement of her hand the flames are immediately put out and the horses gallop away.

"Cooool," Howl murmurs underneath his breath. He has an arm wrapped around me protectively, and I snuggle into him. One more to go now.

"Tanya!" Takeo exclaims."That was brilliant control. Well done. Keep that up and you could really go far, y'know." Tanya smiles flirtatiously at him, flashing her wicked dimples.

"Thanks," she replies, full of pride.

"So, who's earth?" Wolfie asks.

"That can only be out of Katie and Howl now," Jamie replies. "After all, they are the only other two earth signs out of us."

Just as he says that, the sweet scent of white lilies and spring drifts past my nose and suddenly white lily petals blossom out from beneath Katie's feet. With the body of a graceful dancer she twirls around gracefully, arms raised up above her head like a ballerina, and white petals scatter everywhere. What she does next shocks us all. She starts doing street dancing on her feet, and then flips forward, and, when she lands, creates a crater in the ground with a massive thud.

"That's...amazing," Jamie breathes, and earth fades away from her grip. "Well done, Katie." He walks slowly towards her, and places two hands on her shoulders. Their lips are just centimetres from each other. But instead he rests his head on her shoulder and deeply inhales her scent. "Ahh, you smell so nice." She gasps in surprise.

"Of roses," he growls lustfully. "Be careful that the vampires don't come after you." He pulls back and winks playfully at her. She frowns at him slightly.

"Whatever," she says. "Vampires hate the scent of shape-shifters and our blood isn't too appealing to them."

"Not necessarily," Takeo steps forward. "If a shape-shifter's affinity - not just element - is for earth then they tend to smell nice and their blood tastes nice, apparently." We all go, "ahhh," in understanding.

"I've gotta admit, Katie's always smelt nice," Tanya says, taking a sharp sniff in Katie's direction.

"But we smell nice to each other," Wolfie says. "Just not to the vamps."

"But they smell just as good as the mixed-bloods," Diego agrees.

"Uh-oh," Katie says, shaking a little. Jamie rests a hand on her shoulder.

"It's okay; nobody can touch you whilst we're here," he says. She lets out a sigh of relief.

"But you might wanna be careful," I suddenly speak up. "I-I was attacked by a vampire the other day. I was lucky that Riley saved me; he's a vampire hunter". I turn to Katie. "If we ever go out, just be careful. All the vamps are after me; that's what he said. And I don't wanna put you guys in danger too, especially as we're no match for one."

"I don't know," Jamie says with a slight smirk. "After all, we have managed to activate our elements."

"Why didn't you tell us?" Katie suddenly rushes over to me, concerned."You're keeping so much from us these days, Whit. You didn't get bitten, did you?" I shake my head.

"He didn't have a chance," I reply. "Riley saved my life. I don't know how he found me, but he did."

"Vampire venom can't affect those of mixed-blood," Sapphire says. "It says it in the Sociology textbooks. It has absolutely no affect on us anyway. We can't turn into vampires. But, venom is dangerous to you guys, isn't it?" The others nod in response.

"A vampire hunter, huh?" Takeo says. "Tell me, what weapon does he possess?"

"A gun..." I try to recall what the vampire had called it. "It was called...the Red Eye."

"An anti-vampire weapon," he says, then holds his hand out to Ria. Ria sighs then hands over he gun. "Just like this is an anti-werewolf gun. Like this is only effective against werewolves, that is only effective against vampires. Vampire hunters are humans, however, not ordinary humans. Werewolves and shape-shifter gods were the only creatures that could crush vampires, until vampire hunters were created. Vampire hunters are recent creations, such as witches like yourselves," - he glances at me and Sapphire as he says that. "Yes, why do you think there is magic in your blood? You can learn to conjure magic. Just like I'm a wizard, technically, but a samurai. A few centuries ago, werewolves - as vampires and werewolves are notorious enemies - hunted down vampires and killed them to make the first anti-vampire weapons. The vampire genes are why anti-vampire weapons are only effective against vampires. Vampires did the same thing too, killing werewolves to make the first anti-werewolf weapons. That is why only anti-vampire weapons can only kill vampires and anti-werewolf weapons can only kill werewolves. Certain werewolf genes were also placed along with human DNA to create the first vampire hunters. Most werewolves, however, don't bother with people like you and me - only Adolphus does. It's probably because he was once a normal shape-shifter before. Don't ask me how, I just do. The true werewolves - not ones like Adolphus who were once normal shape-shifters, but the ones that were once human but were bitten by other werewolves - are the real enemies of vampires. They want to keep on making new weapons to kill vampires with, and kill people like us to create such extraordinary weapons".

"So Riley...isn't human?" I ask him.

"He is, just has a bit of werewolf DNA in him," he replies. "Just like you can get sheep these days that are a bit human. They have a bit of human DNA in them, but still look and behave like sheep. It just all depends on the DNA they inherit".

"What's that got to do with it?" Franky asks him.

"Because it's the same thing really," Takeo replies, shrugging nonchalantly. "Just a different scenario."

"Hey, Takeo, show us a bit of magic then if it's true," I reply. He shrugs. "Fine by me." He draws out a wand from his jacket.

"Come to me, thunder!" He cries out, and thunder rolls menacingly up above. He points his wand away from us, then cries out, "Lightning bolt!" Static electricity suddenly darts really quickly out form the end of his wand and into a tree.

"That's not magic that's elemental stuff," I protest. He smirks.

"No, but I can channel my elemental powers into my wand," he explains. "Other creatures can't use wands. Now do you get it?" I nod in understanding.

"So you're thunder, too?" I ask him. He nods.

"Yep", he replies. "Right, I think that's long enough, don't you think, guys? Class dismissed." I knew it. That's it. I knew that Howl and Sapphire wouldn't be able to conjure their elements into affinities. But why? I don't understand it. I don't understand anything any more.

"So, uh, Howl, I'll see ya later," He warmly says to me. I nod in response. Somehow I don't think our relationship is getting anywhere, but I don't wanna hurt his feelings.

"See ya," I say, hugging him back. Behind me, Tanya makes some snogging noises. I swear Libby's more mature than her.

"Stop it, Tanya," I snap at her after he departs. Tanya pouts sadly, says goodbye then goes back along with Sapphire and that to the dorms.

Maybe I should go and practice some witchcraft instead.