"Sapphire," I call out to Sapphire as she goes back to the dorms. She instantly spins around, and Franky, Tanya and Diego have the decency to wait for her, too.
"Whitney?" She replies.
"Um, can I ask you something?" I ask her. She nods with a warm smile.
"Anytime," she calmly replies.
"Well, I was wondering...I mean, you're the same type of as I am, right?" I begin. She nods slowly.
"Well...how come you don't practice witchcraft, too?" I ask her. "I mean, we're both witches, then, aren't we?"
"There's two types of witches in The Underworld; witches that were born witches and mixed-blood witches, like us," Sapphire explains. "The magic in our blood grants us a lot of magical powers. So, we're not true witches, but are still magical in some ways. That's also why our kind don't need wands. True witches do at first, but once they're powerful they no longer need them." I nod, taking it all in.
"mixed-blood witches," I taste the words out in my mouth, and somehow they fit together like the perfect jigsaw puzzle.
"Yes, we are kind-of witches. The terms mixed-blood only refers to our blood purity. We are kind-of witches because of the magic in our blood." It all makes even more sense now. "Just like pureblood for shape-shifters like Katie, Jamie, and mostly everyone at this school. Anybody who is of mixed-blood are just not pureblooded, and that could include being a mixture of shape-shifter tribes as well, like heinz fifty-sevens. But, to answer your question, I don't deny myself as a witch, but I don't practice witchcraft because I want to be a pegasus knight instead."
"Ahhh, thanks," I reply.
"It's fine," she replies before continuing onto the dorms with the others.
"Hey, Katie," I turn to my BFF just as she's also about to leave. She turns and smiles at me warmly. "Yeah?"
"Well, I was wondering if there are any book shops that might sell any spellbooks here?" I ask her. Her face brightens up immediately.
"Yeah, there's one in Roar City; I'll come with you if you like," she replies.
"Okay," I shrug cheerfully. Instead of getting the Hellrider in as we usually do, as I have money in their currency, Leos, we take the bus in. When we arrive we tour the streets together until we find a large building with a clock like Big Ben on it. I've never seen such a vibrant and beautiful city before (well, apart from when I went up to London). Roar City is full of skyscrapers and now that the sun is setting the city's beginning to light up with life. We're in the most desolate and oldest part of Roar City now. The streets are cobble-stoned, and the buildings are old, ancient and crumbling. Yet it's...beautiful at the same time. It's sunset, and the sky's light up with luminous orange.
"Here it is," Katie says. "Lets go." I nod and we shove our way past the large stiff door and into a large room, filled with shelves of books. I'm surprised it's still open. We take a while to find the witchcraft section until we finally come across the spellbooks. I find one which says, 'Witchcraft...for beginners'. Katie nods, but just as I'm about to check it out at the till, Katie stops me.
"Wait a sec, no witch is complete without their wand!" She cheerily exclaims, and steers me over to the counter. I give her a perplexed look.
"But I don't need a wand; only true witches do, and I'm not a true witch," I protest. "I can only perform magic because of the magic in my blood, and that is why they call us witches when in reality we aren't true witches."
"Oh," she simply says, and I notice her duck her head in embarrassment. It's even more embarrassing with the creepy old woman behind the till watching us. Katie follows me to the till where I place the spellbook on the till in front of her.
"You're a mage, aren't you?" The woman behind the till asks. She's old and wrinkly with icy blue eyes.
"No, I'm, I'm..." I begin.
"Mages are a type of witch, just don't use wands and use the power of the elements instead," she says, smiling warmly. The power of the elements...I remember Nadine and how she froze Tanya that day? Also, she did not possess a wand. Is she...a mage?
"But I'm a sort-of witch...though not a true witch." I naively tell her. Should I have told her that?
"Oh yes, of course, you're the young girl everyone's talking about right now," says the old woman. "And of course, that the werewolves and vampires are hunting down right now, especially that Adolphus, not that he's a true werewolf anyway."
"That says something about you as a person," she says. "Wolves are rather powerful and majestic creatures, don't you think? I would be interested to know what your familiar is!" My head snaps up immediately.
"A-a what, sorry?" I ask her, unsure.
"A familiar," she says. "Every witch, mixed-bloods and even vampires have one. You'll discover yours one day, don't you worry my dear. Anyway, that'll be thirty Leos, please." I hand her over the book and the wand so she can scan both of them and then I hand her over the remaining money dad had given me just as I'd left for school that day he woke me up and told me I was going to school. No shit.
She hands me back over the book and the wand that is back in it's case. I nod at her, thank her then leave promptly. I've been wondering...how is Adolphus not a true werewolf? But saying that, I remember how he is just like every other shape-shifter, how dad knows him from the past, and how most werewolves walk on twos instead of fours...maybe that'll give me a clue right there.
"C'mon, lets go," Katie suddenly grabs my hand and waltzes me out of that creepy place.
"What's wrong, Katie?" I ask her.
"You shouldn't just tell people your identity like that; what if she reports you to the vamps or werewolves or whatever then what?" Katie snaps, however, doesn't sound too angry, just concerned.
"I've gotta admit, I didn't like it in there either," I admit to her. "She was...kinda creepy." She nods in agreement, looking at me. We then have a little giggle together as we walk on.
I watch as the pair leave the old cranky building. They have no idea; completely vulnerable to attack. Still, I'm not gonna be the one to save their asses if anything happens to them.
We left the academy only to save Nadine. At the moment, Nadine is safe at her home. We only 'work' for Adolphus in order to protect her. Adolphus has let her stay at home as her parents would otherwise wonder where she was, as she never actually left on her own will that day. When he captured us, we had to tell him where she was. He said that if we do everything he says, then he'll let Nadine stay safe and sound. But, if we don't, then he'll kidnap her and kill her. Simple.
Only if there is a word for it, simple is not it. Complicated and scary are what I'd call it.
"Why are we doing this?" Scarlett hisses to me from behind in the alleyway. I hush at her, finger to my lips.
"Shut up, idiot! You make too much noise and we'll get caught. You know the orders, I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. Do you want to help protect Nadine from Adolphus?"
"Yes, yes, of course I do," Scarlett gabbles nervously.
"Well then, let's report back to Adolphus. We know where they are now. Whitney's obviously been trekking back and fourth to see her friends and look after her pony. You know I hate this as much as you do, but we have to. I don't want Nadine dead either." I gaze at her pleadingly.
"Listen, why don't we just sneak her out of that cellar?" She asks. I stare at her as if she's on something.
"Have you got a death wish or something? Adolphus would hunt us down and skin us alive, and Soloman wouldn't give two shits anyway!" I argue back.
"Exactly my point. If we go back to SAE anyway, either way Nadine is gonna die," Scarlett says.
"Then if we do get set free then we don't have to go back," I snap back foolishly.
"Yes we will! Both of them will make sure of it! They think we're stupid but we're not! We won't attack Whitney tonight, but we will at some point."
"Or I've got an even better plan," I ponder to myself, musing to myself in thought with a devious smirk on my face. "We don't have to go for Whitney. Whitney...can come to us instead."
"Dad?" I call as I enter the front door as I return home via the Hellrider. I can hear Alyssa Reid's the game blaring upstairs in Libby's room. He's not there. Instead of looking around like you would usually do, I quickly rush upstairs to find him in his room, sitting on the edge of his bed, sobbing quietly to himself. Guilt gnaws at my insides ravenously. I caused this. I've never seen dad cry like this before. It's strange; dad's not the crying type. Seeing him break down like this now...just about breaks my heart. I'm scared and I'm not sure what to do.
"Dad," I quietly and cautiously stride to his side, perch beside him and wrap an arm around his broad shoulders. "Dad, I'm sorry." He pulls me closer, almost fiercely, and hugs me protectively.
"Why, Whit?" He asks me. "Why would you do that to me?" I shake my head, unsure.
"I don't know," I reply back in a sad murmur. Because, even now, I'm not sure what's best for me to do. I feel torn in two; for my friends back in The Underworld, the place that is my duty to protect, or for my friends and family back here.
Which reminds me...I've been back here all summer hols up till now, and Sophie hasn't gotten in touch with me at all. And she knows that I'm back. I miss her; I wanna catch up with her, Emily, Alice and Clarissa. And Riley...
But me and him are over now, and we can never be friends again...
To take my mind off things, as it's Saturday tomorrow, I text Sophie:
hey, comin out 2moz? xxxx
She instantly replies back:
no, soz, busy x
Wow, this is so not like her. I mean, usually she would send me lots of kisses back, and she's definitely not busy with school work, I can tell you that now for sure. No, instead, tomorrow she's gonna be busy...with a boy. Wretch. Why would she choose some dumb boy over her old BFF? And, she knows very well that I'm psychic, too. She knows that I'll see her. Does she want me to see?
Oh well, that's her loss, then.
Back at school at break time on Monday Diego hands out invitations to his 16th birthday party which is coming up in a few weeks.
"Wow, like, it's not here?!" Tanya exclaims, buzzing with excitement."I like a good party. I mean, you guys remember my fifteenth, right?" Oh, yes, her fifteenth that was at the beginning of the summer hols in late July. It was blistering hot over in Oklahoma, where she lives, but her party was amazing! Cocktails in the sunset (yes, there was alcohol, you know what Tanya's like) and she'd managed to persuade her younger brother Jayden and her mum to get out of the house too. Yes, it was crazy. With a few of her other friends in her year, too (but we were careful not to trash the house).
"Yes, we all remember your fifteenth, Tanya," Sapphire says, looking at her, eyebrows raised mockingly. "You got so wasted that you were just lying on the floor in the end, doughnut." Tanya giggles at the memory. Yes, at the end Tanya was literally spread out along the dance floor like as if she wanted some guy to do her, too.
"Yeah, you were very...obnoxious", Katie comments. "Perhaps a little too over the top if I might say." Jamie just stands there, smirking.
"Anyway," Diego raises his voice purposely. Tanya frowns at him but doesn't say a word."I hope you can all make it. About twenty odd other people are coming." Tanya looks at him as he mentions that."No, Tanya, there's no bitchy people, trust me."
"Phew," she lets out a sigh of relief at that. Suddenly she turns on him, finger prodded in his direction in a telling-off manner. "But, if there are you're gonna regret it, got that?"
"Well, Tanya," Wolfie gently reminds her. "It's his party. He can invite whoever the hell he wants to. If you don't like it then don't go, simple as." He shrugs nonchalantly. She narrows her dark orbs at him in an evil glare filled with sheer menace.
"Nobody was asking you, Dog," she snarls at him. He smirks at her.
"I'm no dog, love," he retorts back in a cocky manner.
"Hey, guys, cut it out," Katie tries to stop them.
"I'm not even gonna get involved," Jamie echoes after her, quietly slipping away. My hand reaches out on it's own accord and yanks him back into place.
"You're not going anywhere, faggot," I sneer at him. An expression of shock sweeps over his face, and he puts his hands up in protest.
"Jasus," he breathes. "Calm it, love".
"Shut up, Jamie, stop being so cocky," Franky elbows him playfully. Jamie jabs him back with the sharp pointy end of his elbow. Then Franky pulls him close, grabs him roughly and starts vigorously rubbing his knuckles on the top of his head, messing up his spikes.
"Hey, cut it out," Jamie complains, but laughing as he does so. Franky releases him. Jamie immediately starts smoothing his spikes back into place again. Katie rolls her big blue eyes at them irritably.
"Hey, what did you guys in your exams?" Howl suddenly asks them. Tanya's face contorts in disgust.
"The ones you did in June?" Howl asks them.
"We only did some of our SSQ ones in June, like I only did history and additional science", Sapphire says, then sighs. "We'll have more science exams and history exams this year, too. I got an A star in my history and an A in additional science overall". When we look at her with question mark expressions on our faces, she explains,"I'm in top set, which means I do separate sciences. I get three SSQ's, one each in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I did my core science exams at the end of year nine - unlike in the human world when you do them in January of year ten. I did additional science last year and this year I'm doing further science. What Franky and Tanya and Diego will be doing this year I've already done, and what the year tens that aren't in top set are doing this year I did in year nine. They then add up the marks we got in our exams and that gives us the grades in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The nice thing about only doing core and additional is that at least even if you have one weaker science you can still get a decent grade overall, whilst if you have a weaker one in separate sciences then it looks really bad compared to the other two".
"Oh, well done," I praise her. Katie claps cheerily.
"Yay," Katie grins cheerily.
"Roll on the nerd," Tanya says with an eye-roll, but can't help but clap as well and smile for her, so we know that she's joking.
"What did you get, Tanya?" I ask her.
"Huh? Oh, I don't do history so I didn't do that one," she replies. "I do business studies, sports studies and drama. So 'cause I do foundation tier in core science, I got a C as C's the highest grade you can get if you do foundation; they wouldn't let me do btec 'cause they know I can do better than that. I didn't even revise or anything; it was easy."
"I got a C in my history and a B in core science overall," Franky says, then shrugs nonchalantly. "Didn't revise or anything. Also once you get into year ten - or year nine if you're in top set - you get to do chemistry and physics also. But if you're in year nine and you're in top set you start separate sciences, but they give people in top set a choice. They also look at other scores in other sets and if people from lower sets have good levels in their biology they're given the option to do separate sciences as well. I got the choice to do that as I'm in set two and my the levels I was getting in year eight were good so at the beginning of year nine they asked me if I wanted to move up a set and do separate sciences with all the nerds but I thought na 'cause it's too much hassle. Besides, my weakest science is Biology so my grade in Biology would've looked terrible."
"I only did core science," Diego says. "Got an A overall, B in Biology, A in Physics and A in Chemistry. I do Geography, so I didn't do any History exams".
"That's still good, though, one C and a B," Katie reassures Franky.
"Yeah, but in History we have, like, two more exams to do in medicine and surgery in The Underworld so I haven't got an SSQ in History yet," Franky says. "Apparently they do the same sort of thing in the human world too - except ours is in The Underworld".
"Yeah, but think about how well you could've done if you'd revised," Sapphire pats him on the back playfully. He slowly turns his head to her.
"Are you dissing my C and B?" He asks her. She shakes her head. He then laughs and grins at her, pulling her close.
"I don't mean it, I know I could've," he reassures her. "Come here." He holds her tight in a reassuring embrace.
"It's...okay," Sapphire mumbles against his shirt. "I shouldn't be so patronising." He smooths down her mid-length lanky mousy locks. Tanya rolls her eyes in despair.
"About my party," Diego continues. "Let me know if you can come ASAP, yeah?" We all nod in understanding. And, I know that, dad will let me go.
So that night back at home I go and ask him.
"Dad?" I say. He tears his eyes away from the telly screen and smiles warmly at me. "Yeah?" I take a few steps closer into the living room.
"I was wondering...please could I go to my friend Diego's party?" I ask him. "Here's the invite with all the details on it." I hand it over to him. The party's at his house where he lives in Spain and it starts at seven and finishes at twelve.
"Yeah, go on then," dad says, handing back over the invitation. He gives me a good pat on the back. "You've been through a lot lately. It'll do you good to socialise." Except, that, right now, I don't feel like socialising.