She screamed in anger...

She screamed in pain...

It couldn't be! IT COULD NOT BE!

It was impossible! This couldn't have happened...

She shook the pale, pale form. Too still, too broken.



Looking down, she saw the blood on her hands, still warm...

And so, so wrong...

And she gave into the darkness...


The dark haired girl woke up, gasping, feeling like something was choking her. Recognizing her surroundings, she calmed down.

Ria Hiwatari breathed deeply, and then realized something. Her face was wet.

Why...why was she crying?

One day Later

(Three days after the Investiture)

The brown haired boy was leaning with his back to his desk. His lips were moving, but I wasn't hearing anything. I wasn't even sure he was talking, actually. My head felt kind of thick and woozy...

Oh lord, I was so, so tired.

Courtesy of that horrible, horrible nightmare I had last night. And oh god, what a creepy nightmare it was.

I started feeling sick as I recalled it again.

Though it had mostly faded when I woke up, some parts were so, so clear. I remembered seeing someone - a woman I think, from the back.

A weeping woman...

And she was so, so sad...


I shuddered as the hair at the back of my neck stood up. That feelings from that dream had been way too much that I hadn't been able to stop crying for quite a while...and then had actually thrown up. That's how sick I'd felt. I'd only felt better when Rei had settled on the pillow next to me, and talked me to sleep.

I don't deserve him...

Poor Rei had been so, so worried, that he'd actually wanted me to stay in bed. But that dream, that...person. The dream had seriously scared me.

I hoped it was all a product of what I now believed - my seriously disturbed imagination. And, I really hoped she wasn't, like, real.

How could anyone deal with that pain?

"Ria? Ria?!"

I blinked, looking into a pair of concerned amber eyes. "Uh yeah..."

"Are you well?" He sounded on edge too. "I wouldn't believe you if you said yes." He glanced around the classroom, lips pursed. "This feels way to normal."

I nodded, glad to think of something else. "I guess..."

He was right, though. My life had completely changed a month ago, when I'd discovered that I was actually a Yokai. And not just a Yokai, but apparently one of the pure-bloods, and part of a Clan called Hiwatari. Since then, the supernatural, creepy and the insane had the genres of my new school life.

This is just...

The ordinary scene before me, one I'd seen every day at school before, no longer felt the same.

For one thing, it felt way too weird. When 'normal' had become the 'weird' - I had no idea. I'd just been in this place for a month, and so much had changed.

I couldn't help but wonder...

What else would?

Outside the window, the morning looked as normal as possible.T he classroom was filled - kids were talking normally, some looking way more excited. Now that most of the excitement had died down, I was starting feel nervous again. And I didn't seem to be the only one. I had noticed that some kids were strangely quiet - not everyone was all smiles and cheers, it seemed. Or maybe, they too sensed something was coming...

Was it a premonition?

I noticed a few of these kids - A boy with russet hair and a Spanish accent, a shy girl whose whole face was covered by her hair, another kid who, I kid you not, never spoke at all. There were others, but these three definitely stood out. Groups had already formed in the Class...but these few were always alone.

I wonder if I should try talking to them?

"Not yet." Amir muttered. He'd probably guessed what I was thinking, or read my mind.

"Not everyone is comfortable just yet, Ria. It's not like they can't talk, they just choose not to."


"Sure." I shrugged as I set down my notebook, going over my notes.

I'd decided to catch up on my work in the last two days - a.k.a. Yokai stuff - what the guys had left me. Those really had been epic - and I was seriously interested in the historical parts. Yokai history was seriously interesting - but then I'd always been into history.

Guess when your parents dragged you all over the globe, you did develop an interest for the new and unusual...

The five of us met up once, but that was mostly for mail. As SCP, Henry received the Class's questions, so we spent a hour going through all of that.

Which, surprisingly, was a lot.

Mostly kids wanted to know about the upcoming ceremonies, and rules - which no one had any idea about.

And which I had to admit was kinda worrying.

Most of the letters were about familiar summoning, from kids who hadn't turned twelve yet - like me, Asta and Amir.

But unlike those kids, we also had somehow gained familiars.

So of course we were trying hard not to freak out...everything was under control.

Yeah, I was telling myself that a lot now.

Our waiting had ended yesterday - when we had been notified - for a sudden class today. According to Henry, classes timetables ran in 'weekly schedules' - which would start after the Partnering Ceremony. Not yet..

My attention snapped back as a hand waved in front of me.

"You really seem lost today." Amir sounded amused now. "I must have called your name at least five times."

"I am." I brushed my hair back, trying to put my feelings into words. "I feel like something weird is going to happen...again." I didn't know why, but that was the feeling I was getting. "Something bad." I added.

His eyes narrowed.

Before he could reply, another voice broke in.

"Oh for the love of the Beasts!" An annoying voice broke in. "Quit whining, would you? Worrying like that isn't going to do anything."

I rolled my eyes as the sooty haired boy tilted his chair back, his legs on his desk again. "You two should look at you faces - always ready for the worst..." He laughed as he stuck his tongue out. "Learn to relax, weirdos."

So yeah...

After the Investiture, Kian had been, as you say it - going 'over the top'. Not that he didn't deserve it...but,

It was getting annoying fast. I felt way better as I saw the door open.

"And here comes Prez..." Kian muttered, slouching off. "Let the fun begin..."

"It's almost time for the Ms E to show up." Henry entered the room, Asta behind him. "Everyone, please sit!" Henry shot Kian a sharp look.

"Including you, Kuran!"

"I would say not to worry..." Amir muttered as he sat down. "But, do be on your watch. I guess we will find out how long we have by today."

I nodded.

Ms E could only have called this class for one reason.

To talk of the upcoming ceremonies.

"Thanks, for telling me." I muttered back. "You didn't have to."

Amir shook his head, eyes darkening. "Don't thank me. Not yet anyways..."

My mind went back to last evening...



Ria ran to where the long haired boy was pacing. It was dusk, but it was going to get dark fast. On the path, Amir looked relieved when he saw her. She'd received a message to meet him out here a few minutes ago - and that too as soon as she could.

"Why are we here?" They could have met at the Towers. Since it was out of the Hedge, she had to leave Rei behind.

Amir, she suddenly noticed, looked - weirdly worried. She couldn't put a finger on it, but something was off.

"'s safer here." He stopped pacing. "I - I had to tell you something." He was avoiding meeting eyes.

"It's kind of important."

Ria felt a shiver. "Important?"

Normally important here meant...bad. And bad here, usually meant dangerous.

He sighed, amber eyes growing darker. "I may not be sure about it all, but I must tell you this." He took a deep breath.

"Do not, under any circumstances, ever trust Haruka Hiwatari."

The feather on Ria's head suddenly shook.


She did not look surprised.

"I don't, remember." she snorted, her brows scrunching. Amir noticed she did that whenever she got angry. "Dude's a psycho - "

"Ria - its not that simple- "

"Though I don't think he'd really hurt me..." She paused, eyes suddenly snapping back to him. "Wait - what do you mean?"

He shook his head, eyes dark. "It's - its complicated - I'm not even supposed to know about it. It's related to your Clan." He looked grim. "All I can tell you is this - beware of him, and even other Hiwataris."

Ria felt cold suddenly.

"What?" She whispered. "All Hiwataris?"

The image of a tall smiling black haired man in purple fluttered through her mind.

Amir looked stricken. "I hate to say this, and I would not even try unless I was sure something was wrong." He faced her, stepping closer - close enough for her to see the panic in his eyes, his next words a whisper.

"I think - no I'm sure it's all connected Ria. Your parents - leaving the Clan, probably why they never told you anything about the Yokai. Something was up."

Ria could only stare at him. "You mean to say something bad?"

And why is he telling me this?

Amir suddenly looked a lot more worried. "I - I cannot not say this unless I was sure what exactly. I think you need to know - to be on your guard."


His eyes narrowed, eyes hardening. "The Yokai world - especially pure-blood Clans, are like another world altogether. Their rules are different, more...dangerous." He grit out, tone suddenly cold. "The Clans can be ruthless. And yes, really, really dangerous."

"You mean that my Clan is - "

"Yes." He nodded. "So is mine, so is Henry's, and Asta's. And trust me, if something is strange, you do not want to be caught up in that."

Ria crouched down, suddenly feeling dizzy. This was so very strange.

"So, what do I do?"

Amir also crouched down. "For what it's worth what I heard - "

"Wait - heard? Did you eavesdrop?" He blushed. "I - didn't mean to -" He shrugged. "It just kind of happened."

"Who? Who must have known who it was."

Amir's face blanked.



He looked around, voice a whisper again. "I cannot tell you who all...but I am sure I heard a voice I know."

Ria's heart was pounding as he continued.

"I didn't hear much - but I know who it was."

She waited.

"It was Haruka Hiwatari for sure."

Ria licked her lips nervously. "And did you hear what he said?"

The boy facing her looked frightened. "Yes." He leaned in closer.

"He said - "Just you wait till I have her under control. It's a done deal. And then, I'll make sure that nothing ever gets in my way, here, or back in the Clan. No matter what."

She gulped.

"They - could have been talking about someone else..."

Amir slowly shook his head. "There was more. It's what he said next - that's what was disturbing."

"Go on."

He said - "I'll make sure she obeys. Of course she will have no choice once she's my charge, and no one can do anything. That human brat needs to learn who her master is. If she doesn't want to end up like her parents, that is."

What the -?!

Amir looked at Ria's pale, pale face. For a second he wished he'd just kept his mouth shut.

"My pa-parents?" She stuttered. "Are you sure you heard that?"

He nodded. "That's what I heard. Word for word."

He'd made sure...

She bit her lip, looking uncertain.

Too late to take it back now...Maybe I shouldn't-

And then he saw her eyes sparking, seeming to almost glow with the same determination he'd seen before.

Ria was strong. And he was sure she would have liked to know for sure.

But, was she strong enough?

At least he hoped so. She had to be...

"Uh...thank you." She was standing up again, her hair swishing about. It was then Amir noticed how dark it had gotten. "I - I don't know what to do about this."

Amir looked up, feeling sympathetic. "It's true people get partnered with Clan relatives. I just hope it doesn't happen for you."

He meant it.

For a second, he though he saw panic flash in her eyes. Then it was gone, and she groaned loudly, kicking at a rock. "Yeah, me too. The horror." She made a face.

"Just be on your guard Ria." Amir stopped himself before he blurted anything else out. "Let's go back."

Amir watched her walk away. Not yet...I cannot tell her just yet.

Out of all the pure bloods he'd met here, he felt that she was the nicest...and also the most defenseless. She was new, and she had no idea about this.

Any of this.

She wasn't ready to hear what he had uncovered.

He didn't even think he was. When he'd first read that had seemed like a mistake.

Something unbelievable, and almost impossible...

But, if it were true...

It could be a huge problem...

And Ria, Ria who was so new to the Yokai realm...

Would be at the center of it...

Neither of them noticed the black haired boy, hidden behind the foliage. His electric blue eyes narrowed as he watched them walk away.

Back in the Classroom

Amir must be right. I need to learn more, and as fast as I can.

I watched the other kids carefully.

I remembered seeing them during Freshers - their powers, and their abilities. How easily most of them had adapted, especially the B and A levels. Like they'd done it all before.

I have gotten lucky till now.

I had had time to think this over, and the picture was kinda scary

And it came down to one question.

What would have happened I didn't have the others? Or if they never became friends with me?

Am I really the weakest link? The others could hold their own - whereas I was still new to everything.

My dad always told me to look at the real picture, the real picture.

So, I had. Really, really well, and really, really hard.

And it was freaking me out.

"Hiwatari! Have you taken the roll call?"

Startled, I jerked - and looked straight into Henry's cool gaze. He was holding the Class Log book...

Oh shit!

"I'll get to it!" Roll Call, apparently was the Vice President's job.

Let's get to it...

No one knew what all Ms E was going to discuss, but I hoped it would make things clearer - as we had too many things to think of. There were a gazillion things I could think of, but one thing stood above all.

The Familiar summoning.

I chatted a bit as I called out the names, mentally cringing whenever my speech was mentioned.

I think I made a huge, huge mistake...

I pushed that to the back of my mind and continued. I did hope nothing much would change for the worse. I'd finally started fitting in here...and as weird as it got, it was also equally magical. I mean, everything had to exist with some sort of price right? So, if there were beings of power, the rules must also be more dangerous.

And funnily, I did get that. It wasn't 'normal' - but how did someone actually define 'normal'? On the basis of what?

I did like it here. Yeah, it was insane, dangerous, but I couldn't not like it. I don't know how, and I don't know when but, St Warriors...I was a part of it. And happy to be.

I felt a bit lighter as I came to that realization. And I saw things more clearly.

I wasn't the only one.

All around, apart from a few kids, almost everyone seemed to be excited, and definitely happy.

Everyone now wore the uniform - with the academy insignia at the blazer's chest pocket (it had appeared on all the shirts and blazers). Everyone also wore the silver chain around their right shoulder - which was connected to the guardian stone in the pocket. Apparently, only the owner could take it out or put it in.

Neat, in a weird sort of way. Guess we wouldn't have to worry about misplacing that...

I finished the roll call in a hurry - good thing I did, as seconds later, the clacking of familiar heels sounded.

Ms E walked in, with a smile as dazzling as her glittery silver top. She slowly clapped her hands from the desk.

"My my, kiddos! You certainly surprised everyone, and not in a bad way either!"

"All rise." Henry called out.

By now I had read up a lot - especially about the Student Council duties - this was SC protocol. "Bow!" Everyone followed.

The teacher watched as we all sat.

"I cannot say that I was surprised though. I had an inkling that this year's class would really be something different." She waggled her fingers.

"I say, the performance will be in everyone's minds for quite a while, along with the Speeches..."

Jade green eyes flickered towards me. I flinched as a few people laughed.

Oh, my moment of insanity...

Thankfully the teacher had already moved on.

"As you may know, the first month here is all fun and play. You've had it quite easy till now."


In which parallel universe!?

Apparently, others agreed. Furious muttering broke out as she paused.

"However, that part will soon to be over."

Ms E's tone changed. "After the Investiture, as you may all know, only two more Ceremonies remain. And, I'm sure, you all have been looking forward to them." She smiled and leaned forward. "I'm talking, of the Familiar summoning and Partnering Ceremonies of course."

Everyone shut up.

Okay, why was I getting a bad feeling?

"I've personally agreed to this class to discuss the details, given that the last time, according to the SC here, your mail mysteriously never arrived. And the amount of confusion there seems to be regarding both, as our SC seems to think."

Henry must have written to her...

"So instead of the letters, I shall tell you instead. So! Lets get down to it. Now, I cannot tell you everything - Academy traditions - but I must point out certain rules which must be followed. Please take notes, if you think you will forget. Now, these must be followed -"

All voices dropped, and almost everyone was noting stuff. I started, only to feel like a moron when my pen didn't work.

The Class was super quiet. Just when I was thinking about pretending to write, a pen clattered on my table. Zach, twirling an identical pen was grinning from the side. Mouthing a quick thanks, I started scribbling.

" - First. All students must be dressed in Clan attire - if they have been provided it. If not, you must wear the full academy uniform."


"Rules are very simple - and you may already know, breaking even one may exempt you from this vital Ceremony...which will mean a lot of trouble. And that, my dears, is something you do not want. Rule breaking here leads to...complications."

I smirked. I just bet they would.

Zach took one look at my face and let out a huge snort. It was so loud that almost everyone looked up.

Ms E stopped talking.

"Is anything the matter, Mr Redwolf?"

Eyes wide, he started to cough. Violently.

"Are you sure?" Ms E called out.

He shook his head and kept coughing like a champ, face almost maroon. I hoped he was okay. Dude sounded like he was gagging or something.

Eyebrow arched, Ms E carried on.

"You all will be picked up separately - so do not come with your friends. The allotted time will be shortly provided by the Councillor's directly - so it will be delivered directly. Once you arrive at the place - you will be given clear instructions." Ms E's smile disappeared as she sat straighter.

And that was when she dropped the bombshell.

"The first ceremony to take place, which will be very, very soon - will be the Familiar Summoning."



A startled ripple cut across the class.

Ms E continued to speak as if nothing had happened.

" - The Familiar summoning is among the oldest time-honored traditions here. It is held twice a year - once in Spring, and once on the onset of Winter."

Twice a year?

Holy shit we were screwed.

I couldn't help myself, I turned around - and saw Asta's white, white face. Behind her, Kian's eyes were wide. This was clearly news to him too. I wasn't the only freaked out face in the class. Everyone looked stunned.

Ms E was looking at us like we were morons or something.

"Well, what did you expect?"

Not this for sure!

Ms E looked irritated. "Not everyone is of age! Who all have turned twelve? Hands up!"

Some kids raised their hands - Henry, Kian, Miguel being among them. But most hands were down, and kids were looking at each other.

"What does this mean?"

"Dunno man - "

"So few?"

The teacher pursed her lips. "That's a rather small number..." Her eyes seemed to glitter.

"Sensei, can you elaborate? About the ceremonies..." Even Henry sounded a little breathless. "The procedure and all..."

Looks like even he was taken by surprise...

She sat back down, propping her feet up on the second stool.

"What some of you may have guessed - in St Warriors, the official Enrollment year is from October 31st of one year to October 31st of the succeeding year. As the Academic year starts in the latter, the classes begin in February." She tapped her fingers on the desk.

"This means that some students are already of magical age before others. We here believe that time should not be wasted and that every child should be allowed to access their Yokai counterpart when they are ready. As soon as they are ready."

Hang on.

I remembered the others arguing over the timing of the Summoning...

"So, the Spring summoning is those of you who are of age, and the Winter summoning for who turn twelve afterwards. Since the classes - in question officially start and are graded from the second semester for everyone, there is no problem with this being an advantage or disadvantage."


But we were in so, so much trouble...

"What are the dates sensei?" Someone else asked.

Ms E smiled. "'I've been given the heads up. It usually happens by the second week, but we never know for sure. It will happen before the end of this month for sure.

The Councillors will notify you as soon as the date is fixed. Of course, the Partnering ceremony will take place for all, no matter what, right afterward."

This month...oh god.

Now I had another reason to worry...

But let's think about that later.

Ahead, I saw Henry turn back, looking worried as his eyes flickered over us. If he was worried, this was bad.

Of course no one had seen this coming.

Calm down. It will be alright guys. Henry's calm tone helped.

Too bad Asta wasn't feeling it. Alright? Alright? How the hell do we even get out of -

What can we do now? Amir asked nervously.

Maybe there is an expla- I tried to cut in.

Three of us are dead. You hear? D.E.A.D! Asta sounded like she was going to lose it...

Henry sighed.

Calm down, you are overreacti -

Shut up Egir! Too loud! Kian joined in. However, Asta was in a full out panic mode by now.

Calm down? My god! Do you know what they'll do? Prison, the law guardians, oh my - She looked like she was really freaking out. Her hands were shaking, and she had a really weird look on her face.

I recognized it, as I was feeling it too - now as I thought of Rei.

One of terror.

Reaching back, I grabbed her hand. It's okay. I'm sure there is something -

You idiots!

Kian, on the other hand was starting to get angry, if the scowl on his face was anything to go by.

Birdbrain, turn back round! Nimr, stop staring! Egir shut it! If you get any louder the tranny will- "

The next second he froze.

"-My my! Mr Kuran!" Ms E cooed as she got up off her chair. "What a frightful face. Might I know what lovely thought caused it to become so?"

Holy shit.

Kian looked like a deer caught in headlights as Ms E waited expectantly. "Well?"

Don't you say anything rude. (Henry)

Shut up.

I'm serious Kuran... (Henry)

Bet she heard you. (Me)


The entire class was staring.

"I'm waiting, Mr Kuran..." Ms E's eyes were like chips of ice.

Oh yeah, she totally heard.

"I was thinking about the duties of the SC. And mine." He grit out. For a second, it looked like Ms E was so not gonna buy it, but thankfully, she started grinning.

"Oh my! Finally taking interest in your job are you? Don't you worry, I shall be discussing that too. For now," Her tone suddenly went razor sharp.

"Pay attention."

The Ms E paused, looking past me. "Yes, Miss Egir?"

Asta sounded calm - even though I knew she was freaking out inside. "I had a question about the Summoning Ceremony..."

"Go on."

I was impressed by how confident she sounded. "Uh - so, if we are not of age, will be be effected by the Summoning ritual? Or expected to participate?"

Ms E looked puzzled.

"Oh no. Only those of you who are twelve will be required to do so. The rest will take part in the Winter summoning. There are very strict laws regarding this, you know. The Law guardians will be there in attendance too."

I swear, I could feel Asta's relief, that's how strong it was.

You okay?


"Now then, the infamous Partnering Ceremony. First years, this is where caution comes in."


"This particular ceremony is...unique to our academy. The magic used during it is ancient. So, ancient, that even we do not know how exactly the partners are chosen."

And the nasty surprises just keep coming...

I wasn't the only one who was shocked. Many classmates looked freaked out.

"That is not what should concern you, first years. But rather; how you must be ready when the spell is activated."

Everyone looked ever more unnerved.

"Once the spell is activated, we do not know how it will manifest. Or to be honest, what it will do."


Ms E smirked as if she was enjoying our 'misery' or something. Knowing her...

She probably was.

Henry raised his arm again, and I was so very thankful. "Can you please elaborate?"

Henry was so...beautifully academic. I just thought of it and it seemed to fit.

Really? Beautifully academic? (Kian) What is wrong wi -

Get lost!

Ms E was already talking again.

"The spell, as I said, in ancient magics. And every year, one of the Councillors performs the ceremony. The effects are always different - some say the wordings, or the tone impacts it. Sometimes, students report seeing a bright light shining from their partners. Other times, they have seen threads shining, connecting them. Last year, they heard each other's names."


I was expecting something more ...Freshers' like?

Holy shit did I sound disappointed?

I'd forgotten how loud I was thinking - and froze when I heard the others.

Ria... Amir sighed.

Oh my. Asta sounded surprised. I think you did.

God you're such a freak! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I flushed. How Kian's telepathic laughter was even more annoying than the real thing, I had no idea.

But it was.

Kuran, shut it! Henry snapped.

"That doesn't sound too bad." Kian called out from the back, laughter still in his voice. "Sounds pretty easy." He half yelled at the Class. "Right guys?"

A few others also nodded.

I had to say, I agreed. Given the stuff we had already faced - this should be a piece of cake.

Ms E shrugged. "True, but it might be a little disorienting for some. As I said, every year is different; so please do not be too...shocked if anything were to happen. it will not be anything dangerous, so I say worry not!"

Oh great. Ms E was smiling that smile again.

"That said, you must also note that it's only after you've undergone both the ceremonies that you will find out which Houses and Elemental Rankings you have -so that is in the second semester for most of you. Does anyone know anything about them?"

A few kids raised their hands. I already knew, as I had finally managed to finish off Henry's section of notes. Just as I was thinking that - Ms E's unerring gaze found mine.

"Ms Hiwatari?"

Okay, I know this...?

I cleared my throat, feeling suddenly shy. "Uh - the Academy has two student divisions - the Elemental Ranking and Houses."

Ms E nodded.

"Uhh - There are five houses, and four elemental rankings. A student will have both rankings depending on the familiar they have or will manifest...?"

"Well said, Vice President. Now, can anyone about Ms Singh?"

Rani stood up, looking as expressionless as usual. "The five houses relate to the four creatures found in nature, and an external one which is abstract or 'Celestial'. This is also known as the 'grade power'."

I almost jumped. Was this the Celestial ranking...?

" - The four elements also correspond to nature. What a student will be granted, depends on their Clan lineage, powers, and their familiars."

Ms E pointed to the back - right at Kian, whose head was down.

"The names of the dear Activities&Disciplines Head?" There was a pause then a muffled retort was heard.

"Don't know, don't care."

There was a small silence.

"Mr Kuran...did you know that I, as the homeroom teacher of this year have the power to sanction the Fresher's videos for Academy wide circulation." The teacher sighed. "And I would hate - "

Kian sat up so fast his head banged on the wall behind. Hard.


"Oh, you are awake!"

For a second he looked pissed off - and suddenly he started to smirk. "I'll tell you."

Uh oh...I know that tone.

Guess I wasn't the only one. Henry swiveled around, looking alarmed.

Kian grinned real wide.

"The five houses are the Furballs, the Featherballs, the Shellys, the Scaleys...and the Celestials."

What the?

Were those really the names?

Ms E tutted, eyes steely. "The real names, Mr Kuran. I can assure you the Councillors will not find this amusing. Now - ?"

Kian rolled his eyes. "I don't know the exact names." He muttered defensively. "They are weird..."

Ms E looked around, and a few more kids from the last benches were asked, but no one knew the names. By now I knew most of the Class by sight, but for some reason two (from before)really caught my attention. There was the Hispanic kid who looked done af, and there was this girl - who I kid you not I hadn't noticed till now.

She had a pale face and wore oversize Harry Potter style specs - which caused her eyes to cover most of her face. Which was most of her face was covered by her heavy black bangs. She did try to answer, but even Ms E couldn't catch her mumbled words.

"Okay, anyone else?" Miss E looked perked up as a hand went up.

Unsurprisingly, it was Henry. "Good. I thought you would know, Mr Long."

He stood up, looking a little smug.

"The Houses are Ta'alla, the Velura, the Feitei, and the Seisha. Otherwise known as the Furred, the Feathered, the Shelled and the Scaled. Last is Ti-yan - which is Celestial."

My mouth dropped open.

How do you even spell that?

I looked around, almost everyone was scribbling like crazy... but there were a few poor souls like me who were just looking around. The Hispanic kid from before was just staring moodily outside. He caught me staring, and looked away, frowning.

What gave?

Thankfully Ms E invited Henry to write on the board. I checked what I'd written.

And yep - almost all spellings were wrong.

Ms E clapped. "Perfectly done! And lastly, the names for Elemental Ranks?"

Surprisingly, Amir raised his hand. "The names are - Arda,Vilya, Naur, Aalu- that is, Earth, Air, Fire, Water." He added bashfully.

I paused as I copied the new names. I had heard these somewhere...

But where?

"Great, Mr Nimr." Ms E started passing out what looked like forms. "This is the official list of books and supplies which will be delivered to you - along with the Academic schedule for holidays and exams. Please keep this in check!"

Next Ms E made them write down some notes which Eli sensei had passed on - along with a questionnaire of new chapters of H.O.T.Y.

Apparently, the studies were doing to be 'grueling' - whatever that meant.

"Be prepared kids...the semester is over before you can even speak the word 'exam'."


'Exam' was something which I did not even want to hear.

"I expect you to read up and finish Eli sensei's notes by the next class!"

After the Class - which basically were notes, notes and more notes to mug up -err I mean understand...the Class was allowed to wander outside as Ms E handed us thick red official looking volumes with our SC titles on the front.

"I expect you all to learn the duties enshrined in these. Of course, you'll be marked and reviewed as well, but that shall start from the second semester. For now, just learn what duties you have to do together as a council, as well as individually."


Then Ms E patted Kian on the head, tousling his already messy hair.

"Of course, Mr Kuran, I look forward to seeing your performance the most." the teacher beamed. "I think you are going to be great at nurturing a healthy and positive team spirit!"

Kian looked like he was getting ready to punch someone.

Before we could get to that - We ended up having to note down stuff again, this time about the SC. She went over the rules about 'fair voting', the 'veto' power and and how the five members of the SC had equal power and could take decisions. Basically it was fifty/fifty by the class for class decisions, and best out of five for decisions within the SC for it to be accepted.

Best out of five...?

Just then, I had a thought. And as usual, I blurted it out without thinking.

"Miss E...I heard that the Third year Student Council has two presidents. So how do they take decisions then?"

She cocked her head.

"The third years..." Her eyes suddenly gleamed as she stared at me, then at the others, who also looked interested as hell.

"Well, in their case, they have six members in the Council. If I remember correctly, the SC is divided in three groups of two members each. They take decisions after consulting each other."

Three groups?

The others looked surprised as well.

"Not only the two Factions...but someone else too?" Asta asked again.

Ms E nodded. "Oh yes. The class would be disharmonious...if it were only two." She said in a sweet tone.

I almost rolled my eyes.

'Disharmonious' my ass. There wouldn't be a class. Probably cos Haru would have blown everyone up.

Asta and Amir suddenly bent their heads, their shoulders shaking.

Omg they were totally laughing.

Beside me, Kian's head was down, but yeah - he was laughing too.

Henry just sighed.

" - Anyways, the Third Year SC is great! They always know how to have fun...and so does the class!" Ms E sounded like she really believed it.

I thought back to the Factions, and those third years back in the Ashwini grounds.


I really doubted that.

The teacher was talking on.

"Remember, now the classes have officially started - at least for the theory lessons. The weekly schedules will be presented after the ceremonies are over - but the teachers will take humanities and H.O.T.Y.!"

We nodded.

"Good luck, First year Council!"

Councillors' Lounge

"So, that's the date?"

Azuma Hiwatari's face was pale as he faced the other two Councillors. "It cannot be! -"

"It is."

Councillor K broke in. "There is not mistake. The date for the Summoning have been set."

" - But - but!" He seemed to be lost for words. "It's too late!"

The other two looked surprised at the sudden outburst.

"You know we have no jurisdiction here." The black haired Councillor's voice was sharp. "The orders came directly. We have to follow. As it is, invitations have been sent to the Guardians. It's final."

The silver haired Councillor looked up, his dual colored eyes curious. "You seem strangely concerned. Is all well?"

Azuma Hiwatari forced a smile. "Ahh...I'm just surprised. It's just - it's later than normal this year. Caught me by surprise."

"By a week I think..." Councillor K nodded. "Not too much of a deviation though. We need to start immediately..."

Azuma Hiwatari sighed.

I'm sorry Ria...

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