CHAPTER 3: Blossoming Love

"Wake up! Miss future president!" Athanasia said with a cheerful voice as she barged into my room. "Today is the Election Day and I am sure you will be the victor."

I quickly hid Nemitria's journal under my blanket. If she caught me reading my ancestor's diary, she would be furious. However, it was too late. She marched towards my bed and seized the journal.

"Asia! Please be careful with it! It's precious for me." I protested. I found this old dairy inside our attic, near the end of January. It related the mystifying life of my great grand aunt Nemitria Trima. This memoir became a personal treasure for me.

She shot me a disapproving look.

"You were reading it again, weren't you? You promised me you will take a break."

I looked down and turned my head away. She was angry. "I am sorry, but I could not resist."

"You already read this thing several times! Why are you so interested with her story?"

My mood changed, and I answered with eagerness. "Since I found this diary, I developed a deep connection with Nemitria. At first I was curious because I saw the name of Keil Lossell in some passages. It changed when I discovered some scandalous revelations. It's not the Lossell who are the founders of this lsland! The Trima and a few other families were the original habitants of this land. They lived here centuries before Keil Lossell and the other settlers came into the picture."

"Okay, calm down. I think you should concentrate on more recent events. You are wasting your time by digging in those families' history." Athanasia sounded a bit cruel and was looking like a different person.

"What do you mean?"

She changed her posture and smiled at me. It was a forced smile. "I mean the elections!"

"Okay." Her explanation did not convince me. I let it slide because I had something to discuss with her.

I took the journal and placed it inside my drawer.

"Ethan is coming to pick us. He had to stop at Kyle's mansion before coming here, but he would be on time."

My heart skipped a beat. "Is Kyle coming too?"

She shook her head, "He did not say anything about it. They have something to discuss. It's about the upcoming basketball tournament."

"Oh." I answered and pouted my mouth. "Asia? Can I ask you something?"

"Sure." She said checking her reflection in the mirror.

"Did you notice something different about Kyle lately?"

She pondered for a long moment before saying. "There is something strange about him. He appears to be a little on edge nowadays. It's as if he is afraid of something."

"That's right! I tried to ask him what happened, but he did not want to confide what is bothering him. He also stopped coming to our house and I can't understand what's going on."

"Maybe he is just worried because they will assign the team sports captains today. Ethan talked about it last night. The atmosphere among the players is pretty tense right now. Some of them want Kyle to be their new captain while others think Ethan is more suitable for the post."

"I hope it won't create a rift in their friendship."

"No, it won't." She said with a strong assurance. "They have been friends for a long time. I am sure it won't disappear over a silly competition. And don't worry about Kyle. When this event will come to an end, I am sure everything would be back to normal again."

I sighed and look towards the window, "Is it a bad thing? I don't want him to remain distant towards me."

"No, it's not," she said with a good-natured tone. "You became friends when you were just three years old. Everyone knows you two held a special bond."

I lay back on my bed and took my pillow to hide my face. I started to blush.

"Hey, Nora! What's wrong?" Athanasia asked. She sat down beside me and started to soothe my hair.

I waited till I was calm enough and removed the pillow. I looked at her with a serious face. "I might have developed some romantic feelings for him."

"What? Is it true? You like Kyle?" She squealed and grabbed my shoulders.

I grabbed both of her hands trying to keep her composed.

She was being too loud. "I didn't say I like him. I said I might like him."

"So you are not sure?"

I nodded and bit my lower lip. "The problem is I am afraid that I might confuse friendship with love! He is my first friend. We spent most of our childhood together. He is protective towards me. Moreover, we both share the same passion for basketball and manga. I have a special fondness for him. However, I can't tell if it's love or something else."

"Okay, let's examine your problem. You've been feeling this way since he started to be distant right?"

"Yes."

"Well, maybe you just miss him!"

I fidgeted my fingers and continued to speak. "There's something else, and that's why I have started to question myself. I saw him with Jenny Hickman yesterday and she was out ragingly flirting with him. He seemed to enjoy the attention. It's quite normal for a basketball player to go out with a cheerleader."

"You are aware of Jenny's nature, she flirts with everybody. But if you want my opinion, I think Kyle likes only one person."

"Who?"

"You!"

"Really, are you certain about it?"

She nodded. "It's obvious! Kyle always has a unique gaze when you are near him. He treats you as if you are the most precious thing on earth."

"You are kidding!?"

"Nope."

"I had no idea about it!"

"Then you must be the most dim-witted girl I know."

"Hey," I protested and threw my pillow at her. She ducked it with ease.

"Okay enough of talking now. It's time to get ready. It's an important day and I don't want you to be late. I am going to help mom."

I got up to select my clothes and made my way to the bathroom.

When I came downstairs, I noticed my Dad wearing his coat. He was leaving for his office.

"Good morning Daddy."

"Hey! Good morning, Honey-Bee! Are you nervous for the elections?"

"Yes," I replied and ran to give him a hug. I considered him the best father of the world. He was someone hard-working and had to make a lot of sacrifices for me.

"I promise if you win. I will take you out to dine at your favorite restaurant tonight."

"And if I lose?"

"We will still go. We will just treat it as a family outing."

"Restaurant?" Athanasia asked coming out from the kitchen. "Did you hear mom? Dad is taking us out for dinner!"

I looked at Dad again and he gave me a helpless shrug.

"We will see about dinner later. For now girls please take your breakfast. I am getting late for work."

She came to sent Dad off and the three of us said goodbye to him.

A few moments later we heard Ethan hooking his car outside.

"Nora, hurry!" He is here! Athanasia said.

"Why? I have not finished yet." I said taking my time to drink my milk. I teased her like any real little sister would do.

"Nora, please! You know I don't like to make him wait."

"Fine," I said placing the half-finished glass on the table.

I took my bag and Athanasia grabbed my arm.

"Bye Mom," she yelled.

"Have a good day girls and good luck Nora!"

"Thanks!" I was not sure if she heard it. Athanasia was already dragging me outside.

Ethan stood in-front of his second-hand blue car. I halted my steps when I did not see Kyle's silver Ford. I half-hoped that he would show up.

Kyle and I travelled to school together. I considered it as a special ritual. When we were young, our respective mothers would take us there, he would hold my hand with a strong grasp. Later on, we started to use bikes. During the first years of high school, the bus became our transport. And this year he got his own car, he came to fetch me every day. On our way to Lossell High, we will speak, laugh or listen to some music. It was the only occasion where I became carefree, spending time with Kyle was refreshing. His presence helped me calm my nerves. Even doing these normal stuffs with him seemed amazing.

However, during the last two weeks he stopped coming to my house. At school, nothing changed between us, we still had a close relationship. I tried to ask him about his changed attitude. I didn't know if I misunderstood or not, but his face became pale and he didn't answer my question. Instead, he changed the subject.

Athanasia hugged Ethan, and he affectionately kissed her.

He pulled back and looked at me. I think he noticed my sad face.

"Hey, Nora! How is it going? Kyle did not come but don't forget I am your partner in crime too."

I grinned at him. Ethan could put anyone in a good mood.

"I am fine. I hope you don't mind if I became the third wheel again."

"No, not at all. You are the first girl in my life. Athanasia came in much later."

Athanasia hid a smile, "She might be your first but remember this. I will be your last woman."

"Sure, anything you say, Love." He gave me a quick wink and gallantly opened the doors for us.

"After you, my ladies." He sat on the driver's seat and drove away from our house.

Apart from being best buddies with Kyle, Ethan was also a good friend of mine. The three of us played in the same basketball team before we entered high school.

The students at Lossell High considered Athanasia and him as the best couple of the school.

In the beginning, they used to dislike each other. They argued all the time. But Kyle and I guessed that they used this scheme to hide their true feelings. So we made a plan to make them confess their love for each other. I lied to Ethan by telling him that Kyle liked Athanasia and planned to propose her. Meanwhile Kyle tricked my sister. He asked her if she could help him choose a restaurant for his parents' marriage anniversary.

At first Ethan tried to ignore the matter. He fought against his emotions but lost. When the fateful night arrived, he came to our house. He wanted to know the location of their date.

I took him to the restaurant where we had reserved a booking for them. When Ethan saw Kyle and Athanasia together, he could not control his jealousy. He admitted that he like her since they were young however he felt too shy to acknowledge it. Surprised by his confession, Athanasia declared she also shared his feelings. And since that day they became inseparable.

Kyle and I left them alone, and we went to take a stroll around the neighborhood. We raced across the streets and landed in the park. Tired, we lay on the ground to stare the sky. I still remembered our conversation.

"Wow the stars are so beautiful!" I exclaimed. "I want to become an angel and touch them."

He turned towards me and looked at me strangely. The soft moonlight was highlighting his handsome face. He was looking like a fallen angel himself. He held my hand with a gentle hold and used his left palm to touch my hair.

"You already look like an angel Leonora, isn't this enough?"

"But I want to have wings, striking long white wings!"

"I won't let you have them." He whispered in my ear.

My body tingled pleasantly when he uttered those words.

"Why are you saying this?" I stared at him mystified.

"You would use them to escape this world." He said while enmeshing a lock of my hair. "I can't imagine a place where I won't be able to sense your presence. I can't live without you."

"Kyle."

I never thought those words as romantic. I only understood that he considered me as his most treasured companion.

The car stopped moving, and I turned towards the window.

I didn't even notice when we arrived at school. Athanasia had to snap her fingers to get me out of my daydream.

"Hey, Nora! We are here!"

I got out of the car but Ethan and Athanasia were not moving an inch.

"You guys are not coming?"

"Yeah, you go first we will catch up with you later." She said softly. They were gazing into each other's eyes. I understood that they needed to spent time alone.

"Okay."

I walked a short distance and people started to greet me."Hey, Nora!"

"Hi, Nora!"

"You look good today!"

"Hello Miss Trima."

"Good luck Nora!"

It continued even when I entered Lossell High. Whether it was a teacher or some students, they all had a bright smile when they saw me.

I, however, barely acknowledged them. I could discern that I was receiving those attentions only because Kyle was my friend. Everyone knew that I had a close relationship with his family.

My eyes searched for only one person. And, I was not pleased when I found him. He was animatedly chatting with Dyris Darcy. A girl who recently moved to Lossell, and she was the daughter of my Dad's boss.

My blood boiled; perhaps she was the reason for his changed behavior towards me.

I did not like, witnessing Kyle close with someone else like this. A deep ragging storm formed inside of me. It incensed my soul, and I wished that Kyle was here beside me instead of her.

I opened my mouth and called loudly, "Kyle."

He turned towards my direction and his face became bright when he noticed me. He left Dyris side and marched towards my direction.

"Leonora, you are here."He gave me a side hug. I observed that Dyris, seemed slightly out of place. I wanted to make her more uncomfortable, and I moved closer towards Kyle. He looked surprised, but did not mind. He wrapped his arms around my back and pulled me against his strong chest. I moved my head over his shoulder and looked towards Dyris.

Her face appeared sore, and she did not seem happy.

"Are you ready for your epic day?" He asked as he pulled away.

"I am petrified. And you?"

"A little tense, the coach still looked undecided. He let nothing out yesterday. It's a close call between me and Ethan. But I am not worried about you. I am confident you will be the winner."

"Yes, the whole school knows how much you worked for this title." Dyris said as she joined us.

I suddenly felt guilty for the way I treated her earlier. Dyris did nothing wrong. I reacted too impulsively. I gave her a sincere smile and said, "Thank you."

"We better hurry." Kyle intervened, "The assembly is about to start." He placed his arm over my shoulders and led me to the assembly room. Most students were staring at us. I took my seat and Kyle sat beside me. Dyris went to sit with her cheerleader friends.

The auditorium filled up with a slow pace. There was still time left before the start of the assembly. I took advantage of this moment to speak with Kyle.

"I missed you this morning." I said with a soft voice.

He gave me an apologetic smile, "That's sweet of you."

"Kyle-."

"There you are!" I looked up. It was Rose and Stella. Both of my friends had identical grins on their faces.

"Are we interrupting something?"

"No, not at all." I moved away from Kyle and patted the seat beside me. I could make another attempt afterward.

A few minutes later Athanasia, Ethan and William entered the auditorium. They chose the same row as us.

The boys made their usual greeting by using their complicated handshakes. We knew each other since kindergarten. However, we all became friends when we attended middle school.

Our friendship was strong because we bonded well with each other.

Everyone sat straighter when our principal Mr. Ash appeared on the podium. He gave directions to the other teachers, and the preparations were about to start.

I used to be part of the school basketball team when I was younger. I would always experience a deep sense of nervousness. However I could not compare the two situations. This time my anxiety has multiplied. Kyle and Ethan were also adopting tense postures. It reminded me of old memories where we would support each other.

Mr. Ash tapped the microphone and spoke.

"Good morning, students. As you all know, we are here today to pass the school duties towards the selected persons. It includes the captainship for each sport teams, the representative for every class. And we will have to nominate our school president. The results are in my hand."

He waved the envelopes in the air. "Your votes have determined the person worthy to represent you."

All the noises died and everyone listened to him carefully. I placed my hand on my forehead. I sensed the real pressure. My perspective was changing. During the last two weeks. I did my best to gather as many votes as I could. I was a new member in the student council department. It led me to have a disadvantage compared to my rival Blair Holton. I still remembered the incredulous looks which they gave me when I placed my candidacy.

For them Blair was the next president. I did not give up, fortunately, it was not in their hands to seal the victory. It was not an easy task. I had to strive up day and night. I put in a lot of hard work to convince the students I would make the best president of Lossell High.

However, I have realized my efforts might not be enough to guarantee my triumph.

The voters would just nominate the person they liked the best.

Everything was reduced to a mere popularity contest.

"So without further delay, I will now invite on stage Mrs. Violin, the head of the sport department." I looked up. The woman accepted a file from our principal.

"Good morning everyone, we will now begin with the cheerleader captain. It's Miss Dyris Darcy who gathered more votes."

Loud claps of applause resonated in the room and when Dyris stood up. She gave 'her audience' a flying kiss and walked towards the stage to collect her badge.

"Next we have to nominate the basketball team captain. The chosen one is…"

She paused dramatically and continued. "Kyle Forester."

A smile came to my lips, and I stood up to hug him. His hands circled my back, and he whispered in my ear. "See you up there."

My smiled disappeared at once. Kyle seemed positive I would achieve my goal. I did not want to disappoint him.

I did not have the time to share my doubts because Ethan and the entire team came to congratulate him. They hoisted Kyle on their shoulders and took him to the stage.

Athanasia inched closer towards me and handed me a tissue. "Are you okay? Your face looked pale."

I jumped and said. "I am fine. Just a little nervous."

"Relax, everything will be okay," she said with a positive voice.

"I hope so." I replied and watched Kyle accepting his badge.

Mrs. Violin continued the other nominations. She stopped when she reached the end.

"Next we have the most important part of our program. It's the election for the school's president."

She looked towards the students present on stage. "You may go back to your seats."

She stepped back and Mr. Ash came in front again. "I will request the two candidates to come here before we announce the successor."

I took a deep breath and stood up.

"Nora! Best of luck!" Athanasia said, clasping my hand with a tight grasp.

"Thanks." I said and moved my legs. I did not stumble on my way towards my destination. Maybe I was unconsciously becoming more self-assured.

I looked towards my rival Blair Holton. We never interacted with each other. Nevertheless, I always viewed her as a strong and competitive opponent. I wondered what was going on inside her mind.

At last the time to declare the president arrived. Mr. Ash showed us the envelope.

"Boys and Girls, your new school president is Miss Leonora Trima!"

I opened my mouth, shocked. It took me a moment to register what he said. I won! Blair congratulated me, and I thanked her by giving her a bear- hug.

Everyone cheered and a bright emotion of triumph passed through my entire being. I glanced towards all my friends again. Athanasia and Ethan were beaming brightly at me. William, Stella, Cassandra and Rose applauded with loud claps. Then my eyes meet Kyle's gaze. His eyes shone with pride.

I got lost in them. Nothing would outshine this moment. I made the person whom I love, proud.

Yes, I did not have any doubts about it anymore.

I, Leonora Trima, was in love with Kyle Forester.

The day passed like a blur for me and before I even noticed it was already the end of my last class. I gathered my things and started to make my way out. Athanasia, Stella and Rose quickly caught up with me.

"So Nora," Stella declared as she wrapped her arm around mine. "You ought to give us a treat to celebrate your big victory!"

"Yes." Rose added, "As the new elected president, you have to take care of your subjects' needs."

"Sure. Tell me where you want to go."

However Athanasia interfered, "Sorry, but today it won't be possible. Dad is taking us out for dinner."

"Oh, that's too bad," Rose said, "I was hoping to use this opportunity to take your interview."

"Hey, don't worry," I cajoled her. "I don't have anything planned for tomorrow. We can all go at Burger's Palace."

"Really? Oh Nora, you are the best!" Rose gave me a bone crushing hug. I opened my eyes wide, surprised by her action, while Stella and Athanasia just laughed.

"Who said you don't have any plan for tomorrow?"

We all turned to see Kyle was standing behind us.

Even if I was surrounded by my friends, it seemed we were the only people in the hallway. It became more intense when he came near my side. Some goose bumps appeared on my back and they changed into a warm sensation. I was seeing him in a different light now and I had no idea how to behave normally around him.

"What's happening tomorrow?" Athanasia asked with a curious tone.

Kyle answered her question while keeping his eyes locked with mine. "I already told my mom the good news. She is ecstatic and is arranging a party in Nora's honor. Today is a short notice, but everything will be ready tomorrow."

A party? How can they decide without asking me? Being the school president demanded a lot of work and I needed the weekend to put my thoughts in order. I also needed time to figure out my situation with Kyle. I had nothing against Mrs. Forester. In fact, I considered her as a second mother, but sometimes I found her too controlling.

"Party?" The three girls became excited, and it fuelled my anger.

"Leonora, my mom asked me to bring you home this afternoon. She had ordered some dresses and wanted to see if the fittings are right."

He reached forward to take my hand. "Don't worry Asia, I will ask the driver to drop her back home afterwards. You won't be late for your dinner." She accepted with an amiable nod and stepped away to let us go.

My anger increased when I heard he did not plan to drive me back to my house. What kind of games was he playing? Paying attention and ignoring me at the same time?

He began to lead me; however, I stopped him from going further. "Kyle! Let go of me!" I stated coldly.

He halted and looked at me perplexedly. I never protested when he held my hand before. It was a normal occurrence, between us. "What happened, Leonora? Is there something wrong? Are you all right?"

I tried to answer him with a calm tone, "Tell your mom, thanks, but I don't want the dress or the party!"

Athanasia and the others understood that we needed to be alone and decided to leave.

"I need to finish an article," Rose said quickly.

"I have cheerleading practice," Stella said with a lame voice.

"Ethan is waiting for me, Nora, come when you finished. Okay?" Athanasia lived with me long enough to understand my moods. She assumed with a correct guess that I won't leave with Kyle.

"Did I do something to upset you?"

"No!" I snapped. I did not understand my reaction. It was like all the frustration which I kept locked for the past two weeks were about to explode. The stress of the election. His weird behavior towards me. And of course the undeniable fact I love him. They were creating a big turmoil in my mind.

"Then what's the matter? Why are you so mad?" He asked, raising his voice.

"You didn't even ask me if I wanted a celebration or not. I have the right to refuse!"

"Leonora." He took a deep breath and continued. "I am sorry next time, I will ask for your permission before doing anything. For now, can you please accept this for my sake? My mom has already made several arrangements. It would be difficult for her to cancel them."

I closed my eyes and said with a cruel voice, "I don't care!"

Kyle took a step backwards, shocked. He was unable to believe it. His sweet and innocent friend was acting like a tigress.

"You are angry with me, aren't you? The party has nothing to do with it! So stop beating around the bush and tell me why you are so infuriated?"

"Okay. I will! Why do you keep refusing to hang out with me after school? And why do you keep avoiding my house as if it contains a plague?"

Kyle touched the back of his head, he was nervous.

"Look, it's not what you think. It may seem that I am ignoring you. The truth is, I have lots of things on my mind. They are keeping me busy."

"You are busy? Busy with whom? Jenny or Dyris?"

We remained silent for a moment. It was as if I had unleashed an invisible arrow.

Kyle's features changed, and he gave me an arrogant smirk. "Oh, now I get it, you are just being jealous! For your kind information, I don't need your permission to speak with other girls!"

His words hurt me like a deep agony. I could not bear the fact he could decrypt me so easily. Furthermore, to my horror, my stupid tears were starting to make their appearance. I had a problem. I cry when I was sad and I shed tears when I became angry. At this instant, both emotions were having an intense battle inside me. I felt helpless, and I wanted to disappear.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw him coming closer towards me. "Hey, are you crying?" He asked with a soft tone. He gently placed his right hand on my cheek. His palm tingled with warmth and I leaned against it. However, I came back to reality when my tear drops touched his hand.

I pulled away with a harsh move and said, "Why should I be jealous? I am not your girlfriend!"

"Leo-"

"And guess what? I am not even interested to be your friend anymore!"

He became stunned and did not move or speak. Kyle then gave me a look which I would never forget. "Don't say that. Don't you ever repeat those words again!" His eyes held a distress which was truly heart-breaking. I was not indifferent towards his pain. Thousand of pins seemed to pierce my heart.

I did not have the strength to stay near him any longer. I walked away and didn't look behind. It was better to kept moving forward or else I would break down. I would end up confessing my love for him and I was not ready to do this. I was not ready to open my core.

Once outside Lossell High, I searched for Athanasia. Her back was facing me and she was coincidently chatting with Dyris. They seemed to have a happy conversation as Dyris was smiling brightly. Athanasia knew her before she moved to Lossell and that's why they hit off right away. Dyris noticed me first.

"Hey Nora, please come and help me to convince your sister." Athanasia jumped and looked at me with a worried glance. I think she understood I had a fight with Kyle.

"About what?" I asked, trying to keep my voice neutral.

"Oh, it's a stupid idea!" Athanasia answered with hastiness. She grabbed my arm, "Come, Nora we should head home. You must be tired!"

"Oh come on, Asia, let me tell her!" Dyris protested. "Listen Nora, one cheerleader is leaving the lsland and we have one spot free. Stella told me that Athanasia used to be part of the gymnastics club. I was asking her if she was interested to join the squad."

"Asia you should go for it! You were a good gymnast back then."

"I was not good. I was fairly good," she corrected.

"You don't need to be afraid, the girls and I will teach you everything." She placed a hand on Athanasia's shoulder. "Trust me, I will personally make sure that no one would bully you."

Athanasia curled her lips, and I realized that she was not in the mood to continue this discussion. So I decided to jump in her rescue. "Let it be, Dyris. She likes to cheer for Ethan by being in the crowd. She would admire him better this way."

Dyris laughed and Athanasia looked away from us trying to hide her blush.

"Oh, how cute!" Dyris exclaimed when she saw Athanasia's face.

"But I must admit that you and Ethan make a nice couple. I wish I had a boyfriend like him."

My sister's expressions darken, and she turned sharply towards her friend. "They are many boys chasing after you. Why don't you choose one of them?"

Dyris flipped her curly light brown hair and gave us a cocky smile. "All the good ones are taken and besides, I am not the only one who is single! Nora also does not have a boyfriend. Although I suspect that there is something going on between her and Kyle."

Our previous encounter flashed into my mind and I became disturbed again.

"There's nothing going on between us." I replied with a cold voice. "Anyway, after what happened today I am sure that nothing would ever happen."

The two girls stared at me with puzzled expression. All of a sudden my phone buzzed.

"Excuse me." I took some steps away from them to answer the call.

I slid the cover and was surprised when I saw Ethan's name on my screen.

"Hello?"

"Nora. Sorry to bother you, but can you meet me at the basketball's locker room? I have something important to tell you."

I glanced towards Athanasia for a moment. It was a strange request, and he never asked me to do something like this before. I placed a strand of my hair behind my ear and asked him, "Asia is nearby. Shall I bring her with me?"

"No!" He said quickly. "Don't tell her anything! I promised that I will explain everything to you once you get here."

"Okay." I hung up the phone and walked towards Athanasia and Dyris.

"I'll be right back. I think I forgot something inside the classroom."

Without giving them time to protest, I marched towards Lossell High again.

The room was dim-lighted when I opened the door.

"Ethan?" I called with a hesitant voice and I penetrated inside.

"I am here." He answered in a gruff voice. "Please close the door, behind you."

"Ethan, what's going on? Why are you being so secretive?"

He did not answer me straight away, and he walked round the room.

I was starting to get worried. "Is it about the basketball captain's nomination? I am glad that Kyle was chosen, but it does not mean I don't feel bad about you."

He shook his head, "No, Nora. It's true I am upset about it. However, I did not call you here to talk about basketball. It's something more important."

"What is it?"

"You go to the cemetery, quite often, don't you?"

I closed my eyes and said with a pained voice, "Yes."

"During your visits, you never notice anything unusual?"

I thought for a moment. "No."

"Have you ever ventured near Keil Lossell's statue?"

"I once wandered near the territory. It was when I was twelve years old and I went to bury a necklace which Kyle gave me."

"Are you familiar with the folktales which surround that place?"

I nodded and some passages of Nemitria's journal suddenly entered my mind. "The guards refuse to look after the cemetery. They hear mysterious screams at night. But the story seemed quite far-stretched. I am sure it's just somebody who is playing a prank to keep people away from there."

"It's not a prank Nora!"

"What do you mean?"

"There are students from our school who are doing atrocious acts. They are scarifying people's lives."

"You can't be serious!" I exclaimed shocked.

"They have formed a dangerous cult and are doing those things to please the soul of Keil Lossell. They are even taking advantage of his legend to scare people off."

"How did you find out about this madness?"

"They asked me to join them, but I refused."

"So you know who the members are?"

"I know only one member."

"Who?"

"Jenny Hickman!"

"She explained that their sect is recruiting new members. The persons chosen will stand a chance to become their leader. That's not all. They are planning a mass sacrifice after the coronation ceremony."

"A mass sacrifice? Ethan, Lossell is a small lsland. People will notice if something like this will happen!"

"I am not entirely sure but their victims are not just from Lossell. They bring people from other countries too."

His eyes were marred with fright and his voice trembled as he continued to speak. "I am scared Nora! I refused to be part of their group and I am sure they won't let me off their hook that easily."

A strong shock captured my heart. I feared for my friend's life.

"That's insane! We have to stop them."

"Yes," he came to sit beside me and took my hand. "But it's not the only thing which is bothering me."

"Go on. I will try my best to help you."

"By refusing to be their leader, they decided to shift their focus elsewhere."

"They are planning to use either Kyle or William."

"It makes sense," I whispered. "They are Keil's direct descendants."

"I observed Jenny during the past few days, I am sure she did not say anything to William yet. However-"

He stopped and did not continue.

"What is it? What were you about to say?"

"Kyle's behaviour has changed during the past few days and I am afraid that he accepted the proposal. There were several instances when I saw him with Jenny."

"No! It can't be possible. Ethan, we both know Kyle well. He would never do something like this."

"Do what?" A loud voiced suddenly bombed inside the room. Ethan and I both turned towards the door. Kyle was standing there and behind him Athanasia, Dyris and Jenny peeked at us with curious eyes.

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