Hello, and welcome to my favorite novel of all time. In this book there will be adventure, fantasy, action, suspense, romance, heartbreak, fairytales, tragedy, and great evil. Are you up for the challenge of reading?

I already have 104,000 words typed up and I would really enjoy reviews, critiques and questions as I post segments. Segments will range from 800 words to 5,000 words. That's only because I haven't divided the POV's into chapter segments yet. Yep, that's right, I have written a novel entirely in POV form...but they won't all be from the same person. There will be multiple people because the storyline is extremely intricate.

Enjoy :)

*Umaya POV*

There are a lot of different ways to sit in a chair. During elementary school days, you find that over the years, you've discovered them all. If you're small-boned like me, you get the opportunity to sit like that throughout the remainder of your school-bound life and make all of the other kids jealous. I could make anyone covetous with the way I was in my shiny white high-heeled boots and my classy black vest.

Lucky for me, the school I go to doesn't involve much sitting around. Teens like me can't be expected to sit for any length of time that extends beyond twenty minutes. Hey, even fifteen is pushing it, especially with sweet freedom right around the corner.

It's the last week of school before our two-week summer break. Everyone's been restless lately, including me. Can you blame me though? After all, my mother put me back in Komoto Preparatory School when father died. I don't care what she says—Vishita Academy is still the best school on earth. Education, social status, food, fun, and athletes there are all top-of-the-line.

Gosh, my older brother Kitta graduated from there last year. I miss him. Who knows where he went? Alumni are crazy and unpredictable! According to mother, I'm already showing signs of becoming one of those wild graduates and she's worried sick about it.

Mother says alumni still need to be grounded by rules, laws, precincts, perpetual boundaries, perils, pearls, etc. With her, it's always this and that about her opinion. She rarely takes anybody else into consideration. Yeah, I know a lot of teens could say that about their maternal figure, but my case this is an honest-to-goodness fully-accurate account. My mother pretends to care. Yeah, she really doesn't.

Off the alumni go, gallivanting into the far corners of the earth in search of truth and excitement, only to find that what they've been looking for doesn't exist. Mother once told me there's no such thing as "truth". Everybody has different ideas of what the truth is. Again, you can see that I don't have a problem going against what she believes. I believe there IS such thing as truth. And you can bet your best knife that I'm going to find it before my life is over.

I glanced out the window briefly. Mrs. Shrewberry scolded me for letting my mind wander during the test. Some kid with white hair (I forgot his name even though he's been present all the years I've been here) had a playful laugh on his face. Written tests—ugh—I never really liked them. Where's the fun in making scratch notes on a sheet of thin wood? Sitting during classes is another thing Vishita'll never make you do. There's a whole lotta action going on in Vishita right now, and I'm missing out on it.

I didn't know the answer to this test question anyways. How am I supposed to know how to fix a broken steering wheel? That's boy stuff. I looked down at my left hand where around my wrist there reposed a handmade bracelet of wintergreen, brown, orange and maroon threads interwoven together. It was a friendship tie made long ago, back when I first came to Komoto. That was before I'd ever been to Vishita, and I thought Komoto was the best school here. I was dead wrong.

Still, I won't deny myself reminiscing with the happy memories I had here.

My friend Frankie made the bracelet. He and two other cadulan—Eli and Melanie—had identical ones once upon a time. The three of them were still friends. Oh, the toxic pain. I had been the one to back out. I was the reclusive one. I was the "bad" friend who didn't really understand the other cadulan. Ages ago we made a pact—something about being friends forever. I can't really remember.

I don't think I'll get a second chance to be what I was. Redemption is rare. I'll be lucky if I can redeem my grades this year. I'm one of those students who tried real hard in school, but my best effort only produced a passing letter. Back in Vishita, where the teachers always kept you on your feet, you got FANTASTIC grades.

"Six five four three two one!" Frankie and Melanie counted down. "School's finally, FINALLY DONE!"

For today, at least.

"Wohoo!" Frankie picked up some of the students and swung them around. He was a real giant, that boy. This was one of the few times I'd get to see Eli's face (only from a distance) without all the girls surrounding him. Eli was a very popular guy. And I don't blame the ladies for wanting him—he's pretty cute, I'll admit. "Come to the sushi bar with me today." Frankie said to Eli and Melanie.

"Sure!" Eli replied energetically.

"You bet!" Melanie chorused.

For a moment I considered crashing. But I knew that wouldn't work. No way. I'd die of humiliation.

"I'm going on a fishing trip with my dad and Ruolan tomorrow." Said Camario Ulsten to Raylon, who was one of his best friends.

"Wow! I wish my dad did that!" Raylon enthused. "All he does is sit around on the couch drinking Sake."

I stood up, and my long braid swayed to and fro along my back. I made my way through to the front desk where I turned in my test. Britta was cheering because she only had two more days left of school before summer, and then after that was her last school year. Lucky me had two more years.

Britta flailed her arms around dramatically (she was a good cheerleader, but not the best) and had no regard for the other students' positions. I ducked out of the classroom as quickly as possible. The misty sunrays desperately wanted to penetrate through the trees that surrounded the school. The sun was calling me. My eyes were as black as the night, yet I dearly adored the daytime.

With my light red backpack in one hand, I ran through the small woodland area. Their little white leaves fell on me. I held my short skirt down with the other hand. "Where's she going in a hurry?" I passed Camario and some of his guy friends. Camario was always up for a joke or a prank outside of school. During classes, he put on this humorless montage that he thought the teachers got. Nobody really did, though.

I kept running, running, across the bright green field. The winds were in my favor today it seemed. They hoisted the fresh mountain air high and then rolled it down into the valley. Although I hadn't seen the massifs since my days at Vishita, it would take a thousand years for me to forget the fresh, fulfilling highland scent.

Mother called me from her little white car. "Umaya, stop dawdling. Get over here!"

I walked to the car because I believed in silent rebellion. My mother's not a bad person, but she's certainly not a good one either. She had lost any respect I had for her many years ago. To outsiders, she might appear like she's being over-controlling for my protection, but I know how it really is. She doesn't care about me or my brother. The only difference was, he got away and I didn't. Kitta had friends and I didn't. His best friend, Minuki Senma, was the one who arranged for him to have a place to live.

Mother thought I was too helpless, too weak to do the things I want to do. Oh how it pained me! The worst part about it is…it's true. No matter what I did, my skin has always been very soft, very pale and very fragile just like my innards. I was prone to illness, slow to recover and she never told me why. All I knew for sure is that I inherited whatever this was from father. Mother's normal. Normal for what she was, at least.

"Humph." I leaned on my arm.

On the tip of my elbow, there was a small white scar I'd had for years. I had tripped over some grass and fall on the cement. The wound didn't want to heal on its own. My classmates found it amusing that I the "poor baby" of the class had to visit Doctor Ichiro over a two-centimeter long cut. From then on, my parents made sure I would never fall again. I dunno why they overreacted so. It was just a little cut. I don't even remember the pain. I just remember being afraid to bleed. But I doubt my parents would go to such lengths to mollycoddle my fear. They must have one of their own.

The car's tires screeched. "Mom, you just ran over a cardboard box." I announced. Her reckless driving scared me sometimes. "Watch out for the squirrel." I droned, my hands over my eyes. This sort of thing happened all the time. "Be careful, mom."

She frowned in solemnness.

My brother had similar scars as me, but he was shrewd enough to not let our parents know about them. My fear of bleeding again is one of the big variables that kept me from playing children's games with Eli, Frankie and Melanie. Stubbornly, I distanced myself from them. And from pretty much everyone else too. In Komoto, the anti-social student's always the bizarre one.

People knew there was some reason I kept to myself. I didn't feel like sharing it with them. If somebody would have talked to me or sat with me, I might have opened up. But nobody did. Melanie smiled at me once or twice and that was it. Bless her heart. That girl's chock full of infinite kindness I wish I had.

"Mother, why are you driving so fast?" I whispered.

Mother's face was unrelenting and daunting. It was a structured face much like the one I had myself. The woman was prone to chapped lips just like me. I had a bad habit of licking mine when the cold air started up. It was only August after all. Cool drafts were already vacating the foothills and spilling into our territory. Our homeland. This place I lived in was called Desintirde. Desintirde meant "destination" in some age-old language I studied once but didn't remember.

If only I could find mine, then my home might have more of a meaning to me.

"We are what we are, Umaya, and you must accept the fact that life as we are isn't going to be pretty."

I heard a few loud snaps coming from outside. It sounded like something wet was hitting our car. Like icy, slushy, bullets. You know what a rubber band sounds like when it's pulled to a breaking point? Like that, only more low-pitched.

"You remember the Izco family, right? My co-workers?"

Another snap was launched into the air. This time, it was louder.

"Whenever you see your brother next, tell him you need to visit the Izco family."

"But they live all the way in Ameri—"

"I know! Just do as I say for once in your life, Umaya."

There were a few more snaps. Our car hissed and spun round and round out of control. Mother hit the steering wheel with a cough. The airbag hit me square in my face and the shock deafened me. I felt pain coming from somewhere, and then I passed out.

When I opened my eyes, I saw, "Kitta!" I'd recognize that limp anywhere.

The young man smiled down at me. Standing next to him was Minuki. They were both very serious and obnoxiously fidgety, yet they played pretend for my sake. I realized I was lying on a bench and Doctor Ichiro (Komoto's school doctor) was mending my wounds.

"Mom's gone." Kitta said softly. Leave it to him to be blunt in his manner of speaking but gentle about the way he said it.

"I'm not surprised." Minuki whispered to Kitta.

"Gone where?" I asked impulsively. "Not…dead?"

"No." Both the boys said.

Was this…relief I felt?

"Just gone." Kitta repeated.

"Before the accident, mother said something about the Izco family—something about visiting them."

"You're lucky to be alive. You're not going anywhere." Kitta pulled out headphones from his pocket. This was a long-distance communication device in disguise as a music player. Kitta was calling somebody. Most likely somebody in the Izco family.

"Lemme guess: you're going to take me to come live with you now, right?" I asked dryly.

"WRONG!" The boys said jubilantly.

"You're going to live with Miss Machiko." Minuki pointed his finger awful close to my face.

I flinched. "The garden fairy?"

Minuki nodded smugly. The three of us walked to her house—a normal suburban home decorated with lovely plants, trees, bushes and living things. While the guys talked to the elderly woman who was gardening, I took an interest in a particularly sea green flower. It was a loner, and it was very beautiful. Its sea green-ness was kind of glowing in away. It reminded me of my hair. Only, my hair had black tips from that one day when I was fourteen and decided to see what would happen if I poured ink on it.

The flower had an herbal moisture to it, which I spread across my dry, cracked nails.

A girl about three years younger than myself appeared, smiling. She was kind of chubby. "You're Umaya Hagi, and you go to Komoto too."

"Yes…" I stood up slowly, wary of the stranger.

"What naughty, naughty parents you have!" She shook her head and flew around me in circles.

My black eyebrows narrowed. "What do you mean?"

"They're partnered with the Triple—"

"Sharie!" Miss Machiko called. "I've told you to keep these things to yourself."

"I don't know what she means, Miss Machiko."

The fat, but cheerful woman had worry and concern building up in her eyes. "Have you ever heard of Angel Academy?"

"Yeah…but they disbanded the project ten years ago."

"Correct." Miss Machiko said. "And do you know who the "they" are?" I noted that she put a strict emphasis on the WH sound. "Do you know why they disbanded the project?"

I shook my head.

"Because America's not safe." Kitta and Minuki said out of synch.

I looked down.

"Remember the treaty?" Kitta asked me.

That part I know. "America is one of the few countries in the human realm that'll allow people from other nations to come into it. Thus it's been dubbed neutral land. Like a giant safe-house."

"There's a lot more to it, but I'm glad to see you've got the basic gist down."

"There are…cadulan…who want to keep the Americans ignorant." Said Minuki. The guy's voice cracked whenever he got nervous. I used to make fun of him for it. But now was not the time. "There are also cadulan who want to protect the name of peace. Very few still have enough honor to do that."

"And I suppose you're one of them, eh?"

Minuki shrugged.

My stomach was churning violently inside of me. It occurred to me that it had been doing this the whole time and because of it, I hadn't been on the ball.

I wish I would have noticed sooner that my brother had become blind in his left eye.

Minuki mumbled something to Kitta about a foreclosure.

"The vice told me that someone is coming with the answer to our problems." Miss Machiko said.

"That sounds about right." Kitta said.

"Run along, Sharie." Said Miss Machiko very loudly.

Sharie was already trying to pull me inside of the house. I didn't want to go—I'd rather listen.

"Come on." Sharie used a tone I hadn't heard in a long time. A kind tone. Hers was the voice of a true friend.

"Yes, Gorou said he was a—"

"Umaya." Sharie pulled harder. "Let me show you to your room."

I went with her.

The walls were decorated beautifully, with paintings and sculptures and other décor. It was as if the house had been imported straight from Italy. "If you behave, perhaps over the weekend, we'll take you to the fairy market. It's an exceptionally quaint place just outside of Desintirde where fairies can go to obtain seeds for plants and herbs and tea and stuff."

"You're a fairy too, I take it? A fairy and specter hybrid?" I admired the bright green wallpaper.


"You're definitely part ghost though."

"Yeah. But my other mix is human. Miss Machiko's my mother's sister by the way."

Sharie opened a rich, dark wooden door. "Whoa." The walls in here were yellow with a white border. Oh how I adored the color yellow! When all the other colors fail, yellow is one of cheer. I took a better look around and I began to realize that all my possessions, everything I owned in my house, had been carefully brought over here since this morning.

Somebody knew I was coming.

"Where are your parents?" I asked the younger girl casually.

Sharie shrugged.

"Did you ever meet them?"

She shrugged again. "In this day and age, with everything that's going on, you can never be too sure."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Sharie floated on top of my big canopy bed. "It means that somebody wants to keep you naïve all your life."

Her speech was not exactly clear, so I quickly became confused. "Me? Or you? Or both of us?"

"Oh, everyone. But especially you." She pointed at me.

I picked up a fluffy brown pillow and threw it at her. She turned intangible and let it fall right through her. I sat next to her on the bed.

"Miss Machiko tells me you've got many gifts, but little power."

This kid really knew how to ruffle my feathers. I must admit I'm both impressed at her boldness and angry about it at the same time. "What gifts?"

Sharie shrugged. "She said you're an uncommon one, that's all."

"Hmm. This day for me has been quite peculiar."

"Get used to it."

"What did you say?"

"…Peculiar will soon become your new normal." She winked. "Keep a close eye out for everything you call unusual. Perhaps one day, you'll be able to glue all the pieces together." She stood up. "Though I doubt it."

My mouth hung open. I had no words.

In the distance, I heard a door closing. I looked out the window and saw my brother and Minuki driving away in a little blue car. I had missed my chance to say goodbye. When we were little, Kitta promised he'd always be with me. How childish I was to believe that fantasy. All I had to hold onto was his spirit now.

Review please! Thanks for reading