List of characters in this chapter:
Terrence Stromtern: an accomplished magic user, he is around 700 years old and is headmaster of the School
Alexander Reoran: The antagonist of this book, he is trying to find a way to bring his love, Julia, back to life. Also an experienced necromancer
Characters chapter 1:
Christen: The main protaganist of this book, she is daring and doesn't take cr*p from ANYONE. She's a bit naive, but she's willing to do whatever it takes to do what's write. Her past is unknown...
Dakota: Christen's best friend, he's the other protaganist. He's very smart, and already knows alot about the Arts. He's a bit quick to irritate, but is patient when it comes to arguements. He can be a bit cold, but he tries to be good.
Professor Elisabeth Jade/Inner Jade: Professor Jade is the new headmaster after Stromterm's death, and was the woman in the beginning. She is prim and elegant, is very wise, and determined to do the right thing. Inner Jade can only be described as insane. She's capable, but highly unstable. She enjoys killing, and often fights to get out.
Crunching through the leaves, an aged man clutched documents in his hands as he ran through the forest to evade capture from the Windflyers, artificial creatures created to hunt their prey. Which was what he was. The Windflyers flew after the man, their hummingbird like wings doggedly avoiding treetops and leaves.
The man stumbled and fell, tripping on a tree root as the documents scattered. He glanced behind him, hearing the Windflyers come ever nearer. He grabbed the papers, and started to mutter an incantation. Hopefully someone will find it. Just as the papers disappeared in a flash of white fire, he heard the inhuman wail of the Windflyer closing on the kill.
Someone hid in the shadows behind the man, making no move to assist. Eyes a brilliant violet, they silently watched the event, unable or unwilling to help. All that could be done was watch.
“Come!” shouted a voice, power radiating in the word. The man who formerly had the documents stood up, facing the voice. He recognizably paled at the one who came before him. “Hello, Professor. Still teaching parlor tricks?” Feet treaded the leaves, shining silver hair reflecting through the patches of moonlight.
“Alexander! I forbade you from using the Arts!” said the Professor, his electric blue eyes narrowed in hostility. Alexander laughed, soft and musical. “Oh, did you? Well, you’re such an old relic, and it’s time to make way for a new generation.” He slowly took a polished ebony stone from his pocket, smiling. “You see, after you expelled me, I learned a few things. And I made my very own NightStone.”
The Professor was shocked. Just to Use a NightStone would take many Shadow Forces, but making one should cause self-destruction. “You’re a fool! You don’t know the forces you’re playing with!”
Alexander sneered, his placid face gone for an instant. ”No, you’re afraid of power! And those who possess it since you can’t have your own! You have said I was hopeless, foolish, and impure! I’m more pure than the old scum you are!”
The Professor sighed, his face softening. Alexander was a fine student before he turned foul…”Do it then,” he said calmly. “The pages of the book are gone now. I sent them off. So you can’t get them now. Do what you must.” Alexander froze, now he was the one shocked. He tried to put back a cold expression. “So, you want to die, old man? Why don’t you fight back?”
“You were a good child, Alexander. Kind and honest. Where did that boy go? All I see is this monster you made yourself. Alexander, you can have a second chance if you just repent. Please.” The Professor made no move to get his own weapon, a thin cane hanging at his side, as he looked at the boy.
Alexander bared his teeth, his eyes flaming with golden fire. “It’s because of you! You couldn’t save her! You had the powers! It’s your entire fault!” he shouted. Black energy welled in his hands, fumed by his rage, but he did not attack the old man. “You don’t know pain! I’m going to bring her back, even if you won’t!”
“Alexander, you can’t hold that forever. You must let her go. Julia would’ve wanted that. You can’t bring back what’s lost. And….” The Professor closed his eyes. “I do know pain. Scars heal, but if you keep wounding yourself, it won’t ever.” “Save me your moral sap!” Alexander spat. “Tell me where you took the papers!” “I cannot.”
Alexander smirked. “I can always use force to get it out; I dabbled in Creation while I was gone.” The Windflyers came behind him, a crude mix of hummingbird and lion, and all a crimson blood red. “Alexander, please,” said the Professor quietly.
Hate bubbled in the young man’s eyes and he hissed back, “Die.” The WindFlyers pounced, the Professor didn’t stand a chance and he fell, his blue eyes staring up at the sky, but unable to see it.
Alexander tossed the NightStone up, the Windflyers sucked up like mist. “Humph. Wish he had shown some fight.” But his stomach was churning at his words. He had come so far, learned so much, just to bring Julia, the only one he really cared in the world, back from the Infinite.
He failed once again. He sighed, running his fingers through his soft silvery hair. It hurt, like a thorn in his heart. Alexander turned aside, striding off. He needed to move.
As soon as the murderous boy left, the person hidden in the shadows came out, silent tears dropping to the ground. It was a woman, and she laid her head against the dead man’s still chest. “I’m so sorry, Professor Stromtern. I-I was too weak,” she sobbed, guilt and horror at what she had witnessed filling her. He was still warm, but already it was fading.
She stood up, rubbing her eyes. “I promise to avenge you, and spread your teachings to all. You were the greatest mentor in the Arts, and I will not be able to pass you. But I promise, in the name of the Earth Mother, that I will do all that I can to make sure you will not die in memory. I swear to it.” As she raised her head to the crystal moon, a baby was born. One that would answer her prayers.
Christen was woken from her bed with a start, her uncle’s voice yelling from downstairs. “Christen! Get your useless butt down here or I’ll use the bucket again!” Christen shuddered. She knew he was serious. Last time he poured a bucket of water on her, it took three days for it to dry.
She quickly hopped out of bed, her short black hair unkempt and messy from sleep. She rushed downstairs, where her uncle, Quill Athardin, was waiting downstairs. Ever since Christen’s mother had died from pneumonia when Christen was three, Quill had raised her, though with the discipline of a drill sergeant. “I’m sorry, Uncle. I overslept.” “Darn right you did,” he grumbled, but not unkindly.
Christen popped some toast in her mouth, chewing quickly. Her bus would be coming soon, and if she didn’t hurry, she’d miss it. “What are you, a pig? Chew normally. If you’re late, I’ll give you a ride.” She nodded to her uncle, chewing slower. As soon as she finished Christen ran for the door, grabbing her backpack before running outside.
Dakota, her best friend, was waiting at the bus stop, arms crossed. He looked a bit annoyed, but that was normal. “Sorry, Dakota! I overslept!” Christen said sheepishly. “So you did the usual?” he asked sarcastically, sighing. He talks a lot more than he used to, Christen thought. But there’s always that kind of irritation at me. He’s such a sourpuss.
“Heh, maybe. But I had a weird dream last night.” She was about to speak when the bus came, and Dakota wasted no time getting on. She scrambled on after him.
Christen ducked a stray paper plane on the bus, rolling her eyes. Even if everyone was in high school, they acted like such little kids. She plopped next to Dakota, chuckling to herself. Dakota rolled his eyes. “Mind sharing the joke?” “Eh? Nothing, just thinking.” He shot a look. One that obviously said, “You need to grow up fast or I’m going to snap.”
Christen bristled, feeling offended, and a little scared, at the same time. “D-don’t give me that face! It creeps me out! And I’m more mature than these guys right?” Dakota looked around the bus, noting the yelling kids, video games, and music players. “A bit. At least you’re not absorbed in the techno world,” he concluded.
Christen was about to reply when Dakota put a hand over her mouth, looking serious. “Don’t move,” he muttered to her, looking out the window. Christen tried to look too, and was almost tempted to yell. Giant shadowy figures in huge cloaks walked the streets, the passerby ignoring them completely. A man walked through one and visibly shuddered, walking faster.
As soon as the bus passed them, Dakota put his hand off her mouth. Christen wasted no time. She slapped Dakota across the face, trying to do it hard. “Ow! Hey! What the hell was that for!?”
He rubbed his red cheek, muttering curses. “What were those things?!” Christen demanded, trying to keep her voice down so people won’t listen. Some kids saw the slap and were laughing to themselves.
He kept rubbing his cheek, scowling. “You didn’t have to hit so hard,” he muttered. Christen scowled back, crossing her arms for an answer. “Alright I’ll tell you. They’re bad news, that’s all I can tell you for now.” He looked out the window again for any more.
Christen was a bit nervous. She wasn’t superstitious, or really religious. But those things had to be real. “Are we the only ones that see them?” All Dakota did was shake his head. She sighed. “I have a feeling today’s going to be weird…” she grumbled.
The bus came to a stop, and a flood of kids came out, jostling each other and pushing to get out. Dakota and Christen came out last, both feeling really tense. Christen looked to the right, noticing a woman. She wasn’t ugly, but not beautiful either.
She radiated power, and she was looking right at Christen with those violet eyes. She quickly looked away, heading inside. When she looked back, the woman was gone. Not the weirdest part of the day yet, but pretty close.
She headed into homeroom, and yelped when a hand laid against her shoulder. She turned around, but it was only Principal Hoffman. “Christen, come with me to my office,” he said, pulling Christen away. She had no choice but to follow. It might not be him. It could be one of those shadow things, or something worse. Maybe it wants to kill me.
She pushed away those negative thoughts, consoling herself that the office secretaries would hear what was happening and help, and she learned enough defense moves from Uncle Quill to help her survive attacks.
The principal led her to his office, closing the door behind him as he sat at his desk. There was a long silence, and Christen shifted uncomfortably. She was about to speak when Hoffman cut in, asking, “The Shade Servants. Did you see them?”
Christen blinked, surprised. Her principal knew about them? The one who wanted a perfect school, who was stricter than an army general, and was balding? Now that took the catch for shock. “Err….you mean those spooky shadow things? Is that what they’re called?” The principal didn’t reply, and Christen saw why. Hoffman was melting! His skin bubbled like wax, and Christen jumped to her feet, positively grossed out.
When he stopped bubbling, and after some smoke, a woman was in Principal Hoffman’s place, the same woman who had watched her from before. Her long dark red hair was tied up in a bun, and she had splashes of freckles across her nose, kind of ruining the image of intimidating.
“I’m sorry you had to see that,” she said, sitting down as the goop formally Principal Hoffman oozed away. “A minor side-affect in Replacement. Don’t worry. Your principal is enjoying an all-expenses paid trip to Tahiti at the moment. I’m sure you’re quite confused.”
Christen just stared, jaw gaping at what happened. “Hoffman…melted…you…how?” she squeaked, unable to form an entire sentence. “Like I said, it happens during the Replacement process. Your friend, Dakota, might be able to explain later. For now, I must speak with you.” She folded her hands, looking at Christen calmly.
“I am Professor Elisabeth Jade. But you must call me in my presence Professor Jade or Ma’am. Is that clear?” Christen nodded. “Yes Ma’am.” Professor Jade waved her hand, simply saying, “Hot Chocolate And Biscuits.” Two mugs and a tray came out of thin air, floating to Christen. “Take the mug. Nothing’s wrong with it. I only teleported it to us. The biscuits too.”
Christen had a crazy thought of someone watching their hot chocolate disappear in front of their eyes, and had an urge to laugh. “So…you’re some kind of witch?” asked Christen after she cooled down. Professor Jade scowled. “I can’t believe you would compare me to such riffraff. I am a User, one of the highest achievements in magic.” “Ah. Magic…riiiight.”
“I have to say, you’re taking this rather well,” Jade pointed out, sipping her mug. “Normally, the child calls the mortal police and I have to do a full Memory Wipe spell on the force and the witnesses, which is bothersome.” Christen didn’t really want anyone’s memory wiped, so she said quickly, “Uh, yeah! Wouldn’t want that! I can totally believe in magic!”
Professor Jade frowned a bit, her pointy nose twitching. “The proper term is Arts, but yes, you can call it magic. “But what do I have to do with any of this?” asked Christen. “Shouldn’t it be obvious?!” the redhead barked back. Christen thought for a moment, and then it dawned her. “Hold on a sec. I’m a wizard? Like, big pointy hats and magic wands wizard?”
“No, not a wizard. Wizards can only be males. Vice versa with witches, though they are both low ranking powers. And wands aren’t used often, as they are powerful devices. Normally staffs or your own energy is good enough. And pointy hats? Is that the image mortals came up with?” Jade raised an eyebrow, smiling incredulously. Christen’s ears went red in embarrassment.
She was new to this magic or Arts or whatever! How was she supposed to know about what wizards and witches and stuff looked like? A snide voice in her said, “Well did you expect them to have three eyes? Or maybe large noses?” Christen scowled. Okay, that voice was not hers. “Your Inner Self is developing quickly.” “My what?!”
“The part of yourself that supplies your powers. Not an official part of you, like multiple personalities, more like….an inhabitant who resides in your mind and body.” Christen made a face. That sounded like multiple personality disorder to her…”I’m surprised yours has stayed down for so long, even when you weren’t trying. Usually the two switch off a lot,” Professor Jade said, fascinated.
“I DON’T WANT SOME GUY IN MY BODY!!” Christen shouted, slamming her hands on the table. “Hey! I’m a girl, know-it-all! If I wasn’t you, I’d tell you to jump off a bridge!” snapped the little voice. Christen clutched her ears. “Just shut up!” And surprisingly, the voice did, and Christen relaxed. Professor Jade seemed less pleased than before.
“That’s how many Hopefuls are lost. They can’t stand the presence and either kill themselves or go insane. You must have control. Your friend, Dakota, handles his well.” Christen slowly removed her hands from her ears, surprised. “Dakota has powers too?” He had that sort of atmosphere about him, like he was above the normal kids.
Normal. That word was officially gone from Christen’s life. She sighed, feeling a bit disappointed. She knew she was special somehow, but couldn’t the professor wait a little longer before invading her life?
“Now come on, I only came because you were special. We better get your friend too. He could be dangerous.” Christen was going to ask how Dakota could be dangerous when Professor Jade went out of the office, and the question died. She went after Jade, noticing that the school staff dipped their heads and gave greetings of, “Good Morning Principal Hoffman.”
Christen looked at Professor Jade, squinting her eyes. Her form was flickering slightly. One moment she was the exotic magic user, the next old Hoffman. “It’s a Mirage. You’ll learn it eventually,” Jade whispered into Christen’s ear. The two entered where Dakota was in class. “Ms. Foreman, I will need Dakota for a moment.” The flushed teacher nodded quickly, obviously startled at the principal’s, or the Professor’s, arrival.
Dakota got up from his seat, looking bored with the whole thing. What would make Professor Jade think he’s dangerous? He can be grumpy at times but he’s not so bad, Christen thought. He walked over to them, glancing at Professor Jade with cool brown eyes. He looked away, deciding that she wasn’t worth the time.
Christen followed after the two, who walked past her without seeing if she was behind. “So, uh, where are we going exactly?” Professor Jade answered briskly, “We’ll be going to your house first, so you can pack. Then we’ll be at Dakota’s. I don’t want to give you clothes when you get to the school.” “Wait, a school?! Am I going to Hogwarts?” Professor Jade glared at Christen. “This is not a time for jokes, and Hogwarts is obviously a work of fiction.”
Christen pouted. “Yeah, obviously,” she muttered. She must’ve sounded like a total idiot in front of them. They went out of the school without a hitch, and then the trouble started. “Knew they would follow you…” Professor Jade muttering, Summoning a staff from nowhere. Dakota stood tall, crouching as if to jump. The Shade Servants followed her to school.
“W-wait! There’s like, 30, of them! You can’t fight them by yourself! Let us help!” Christen intervened, worried for their safety. “You think I would let two Hopefuls fight Dark spirits? I won’t fight them, like an idiot hero.” Professor Jade shot a glare over at Dakota, who said nothing.
Professor Jade raised the staff high. “Defend your master!” she shouted, throwing it to the ground. It morphed into a younger woman, who looked like Professor Jade, but with long hair. “Whatever you say. Elisabeth. I’ll take care of these guys easy.” “No, you won’t. Your host is my body, though fused in the staff. You will only hold them off when we make our escape. Then, you will teleport to us,” Professor Jade snapped.
Christen was awed. So this was an Inner Self….She wondered if hers was as cool as Professor Jade’s. Inner Jade frowned. “I’ve been in that staff way too damn long. You’re just a chicken. But I’ll do it.” She cracked her knuckles, smirking at the Shade Servants as her peculiar yellow eyes gleamed. “Light From Within,” she said slowly, raising her arm.
Professor Jade grabbed the kids’ hands, pulling them away. “We need to be a considerable distance away to teleport from the dark magic happening there.” Christen wrested her arm away from the professor. “Hey, she’s gonna need help!” She ran off, both Dakota and Professor Jade yelling behind her to stop.
As she went to the fight, all was in chaos. There were numerous black puddles Christen assumed were ex-Shade Servants, and one woman fighting off 20 more. A sword made of pure silver had entered Inner Jade’s hand, and she was cutting down the creatures with the swiftness and silence as a born killer.
She faltered her onslaught when she saw Christen, opening her mouth to tell her to leave when she was stuck from behind, and she let out a grunt of pain. Christen gasped, rage filling her. Yes, she barely knew Professor Jade, much less Inner Jade, but these freaky shadow things won’t scare her anymore! A golden rapier materialized in Christen’s hand, and she stared at it in wonder. She could do that?
She remembered the current problem and called the Shades, “Hey! Ghost Flops! Betcha can’t take me on!” She was hoping they didn’t understand her, and only responded to her shouting, but apparently they speak English, confirmed by their enraged hissing. “Crap,” Christen muttered, backing up. This was not a good idea…
“So what? You’re going to run away? You ran over here, like a moron, but now you’re deciding to run? Make up your mind!” said the snide voice known as Inner Christen. “Shut up,” Christen muttered, but it did encourage her. She raised her rapier, a soft golden glow about it, and sliced one of the Shades cleanly in half.
It let out an earsplitting screech, like nails on a chalkboard, and evaporated into a puddle. The other Shade Servants stepped back, more careful now that their comrade had fallen. One didn’t get to screech when Inner Jade came from behind, slicing it through the middle as the black goo splashed her.
After that, the Shades couldn’t stand a chance, Christen and Inner Jade fought like demons, with just as much ferocity and mercy, in this case, none. Soon, all that was left were the puddles. Christen pumped her fist. “All right! Those guys didn’t stand a chance!” Inner Jade looked away, a glare on her face. “I didn’t want your help,” she said gruffly, shoving past Christen to where the Professor and Dakota were waiting.
Professor Jade gave both of them an entire lecture when they got back. To Christen it sounded like this: “Of all the foolish, worst actions in history, blah blah blah, approximately the stupidest Hopeful ever, blah blah blah, deliberately disobeyed orders, blah blah, and knows nothing of danger!” Both Inner Jade and Christen’s ears were ringing, and then Professor Jade noticed the sword Christen held.
“Christen….where did you get that?” she asked, obviously not pleased. Christen felt like she did something wrong, like with Uncle Quill. “Uhh…I guess I Summoned it?” Professor Jade shook her head. “No, you Made something, an extremely difficult art to learn. I’m amazed.” Christen flushed with the praise when Inner Jade cut in, “Yeah, the stupid girl’s great. It’s back in the staff for me, right?”
“Of course. No one wants you around,” said the professor, both of the redheads glaring at each other. They looked the same, but were total opposites. “Go Back To Where You Once Were!” Professor Jade called, and Inner Jade winked before she evaporated into mist and went into the glowing orb at the end of the staff. Dakota asked, sighing in irritation, “Are we going or not?”
Christen had forgotten all about Dakota, who seemed even more grumpy than normal. She didn’t really know what to do with the sword…Dakota sighed, waving his hand as the sword disappeared. “It’ll come when you want it. Don’t thank me.” He didn’t even speak…thought Christen admiringly. He turned away, waiting for Professor Jade to start.
Professor Jade had already started, a little shining ball floating between her hands. “Alright, you two touch the Teleport,” she ordered. Dakota and Christen obliged, and Christen had to stop herself from giggling. It felt tickly on her fingers, floating around the skin like dust specks, spiraling quickly. Professor Jade’s soft voice whispered, “To The School.”
At first Dakota thought that Professor Jade did something wrong, which would not be that much of a shock. The three were spiraling out of control, and Christen looked as if she was going to be sick. Finally the spinning ceased, and he glowered in disapproval at Christen when she passed out from the experience. He felt a bit dizzy himself, but he wouldn’t show it.
“This was your first time Teleporting, Christen; you will grow used to it in time.” Professor Jade helped her up, sighing. Dakota ignored them, looking around. It was twilight, and everything was in a mournful mix of orange and dark blue, the atmosphere slightly haunting. The school itself was a short but wide building, made out of polished stone.
He wasn’t fooled by its simple appearance. It was behind the building that had the true secrets. He bristled and took out a knife when a voice blurted from nowhere, “So this is the Christen! More beautiful than Creation!” A boy randomly embraced Christen, and she yelped, trying to shake him off. “Get off me, you dope!” Dakota smirked. Obviously, this guy had no idea how violent Christen can be.
With no hesitation, Christen punched the weird boy across the face, sending him flying. “Nobody hugs me! Got that, you little twerp?” Apparently she’s awake now though, thought Dakota. The weird boy stood up, adjusting his now broken glasses.
“But where are my manners! You can’t fall in love with me back if you don’t know my name! I am Nicholas Sworden. Not Nick, please.” Dakota scowled at Nicholas, for some reason, he didn’t like the twerp. He let out a small laugh at Christen’s reaction to what Nicholas said. “I’m not going to fall in love with a guy who doesn’t leave me alone!” she shouted.
“Nicholas, please leave the new students be,” sighed Professor Jade, her hand over her face. “Come inside.” She led the way, Nicholas walking next to Christen while she cringed. Dakota walked ahead, keeping an indifferent expression. There was something funny with Nicholas, something he didn’t like.
As they walked to the school, Professor Jade told them about what they can do. “While you are staying here, you will learn how to control your powers, and what Arts you are destined to practice. A User, like myself, can learn any of the classes, but usually you can only practice one or two”.
“There are Diviners, who predict the future and use their minds to practice, Battle Arts, summoning weapons and using forces to fight, such as fire, Creation, an uncommon art and extremely difficult to master, though you have a knack for it, Christen. Elemental classes, to use the elements of man, and-“
“Necromancy,” cut in Dakota, gaze cool. “The Art of Darkness.” Professor Jade looked suspiciously down at Dakota, but nodded. “Yes, necromancy, uses the dark Arts, using shadows for their bidding and sometimes mind control. You must be wary of those who use it.” Christen looked at Dakota, but he looked away, unable to meet her eyes.
Nicholas looked suspicious of Dakota too, moving more protectively to Christen, who shoved him off. Dakota honestly thought that Christen was stupid, since she trusted him. They went to school together ever since third grade, and even then, Christen stayed his friend, despite his attitude to her. It ticked him off.
Professor Jade continued, “You will be put into dorms, and will take classes every day, though they aren’t like the classes you are used to in your old school.” Dakota scowled. He knew what that meant. The professor opened the door of the school, leading them inside. Inside, it was just as plain as the outside, but you can feel a presence in the air, something powerful.
It was much longer inside than it looked outside. They walked down a long corridor, and only one person looked out a door to see what was going on. A girl, about a year younger than Christen and Dakota. She giggled and closed it. Professor Jade pointed to the door. “Christen, you will be in that dorm.” Christen nodded, going inside.
Dakota felt slightly nervous now that Christen was gone, and Professor Jade ordered Nicholas to his dorm, leaving Dakota alone. “Come with me,” she said, walking down the hall. He had no choice but to follow, heart thumping in his chest. Was she going to throw him out? Did she know who he was? She stopped at the very end of the hall, away from all ears.
“Dakota Knite. Great-grandson of one of the most infamous Necromancers, Arwyn Knite, who slaughtered countless Arts users to create a Shadow Army to overthrow the mortal world. You come from a long line of Necromancers, Dakota.” Dakota looked up at the professor, not breaking away from her disdained expression. “I should kill you,” she said conversationally. He bowed his head.
“But…I made a promise to give every student a chance. You have to prove to me you are not like your family. Will you do that?” Her violet eyes searched his soul, Dakota knew, looking for deception. He was shaking with suspense and anticipation, waiting for her decree. “I believe you will try. I only hope your Inner Self isn’t like your predecessors.”
Dakota blinked, looking back up at Professor Jade, whose gaze was softened for a fraction. “You may leave. Your dorm is down there.” She pointed to a door. “I hope you do well,” she called after him as he walked down the hall. He narrowed his eyes, not looking back. He wasn’t his great-grandfather. He was different.
He opened the door, blinking in surprise. His dorm mate….was an idiot. The side that his new dorm mate lived was scattered with clothes, video game cartridges, and old food. The boy in the middle of the mess looked up from his game, blinking at Dakota. His curly blonde hair stuck out all over the place, and he seemed a bit disappointed with his new roomie. “Aw, why did I get the emo?” he whined.
Dakota met this guy for only two minutes and he already wanted to kill him. “Nice to meet you,” he said through gritted teeth. “I’m Dakota.” “North or South?” asked the boy, cracking up at his own joke. “Nice to meetcha! I’m Sam! Samuel sounds too fruity for me, so call me just Sam!” He was talking so quickly Dakota was having trouble keeping up. Who exactly was this kid?
Sam pointed to the other side of the room, which was virtually untouched. “Made sure the new roomie would be comfortable, so I kept my stuff on my side. I bet you’re a clean freak, right?” Dakota didn’t really mind messes, but the state Sam’s side of the room was scared him. A lot. He could already tell living with him will suck.
“So, do you like manga?” Sam inquired. “Do I like what?” Manga sounded like some girl’s name. “You don’t know what it is!? How did your parents raise you?!” “My parents are dead,” Dakota replied curtly. Sam’s face fell, and he lost his humor for a moment before he got it back. “Well, I read manga all the time, just to tell you. So I might spend the night reading it for a while.” Dakota scowled. Sam was annoying, but maybe he was one of those guys you love to hate.
“Yeah, I had a long day, so I’m going to sleep.” Dakota hopped onto his bed, rolling his eyes when the whoopee cushion placed there went off and Sam laughing again. He promptly threw it at the blonde’s face, lying down to sleep. He heard Sam mutter, “You know, you’re lucky you saw the professor. She’s the greatest User ever after Professor Stromtern.” Sam said more, but Dakota already fell asleep.
Dakota woke up with a spider hanging over his face. He wasn’t afraid of spiders, but seeing one right when you wake up can surprise you. He yelped in alarm, accidently hitting his head against the bed stand. He glared at Sam, who was sitting over his bed with a fake spider in his hand, laughing hysterically. “Oh my god! Your face was so funny! It was like, ‘Ah! A spider!’ And then you hit yourself on the stand! That was a riot!”
Sam flinched at Dakota’s murderous gaze. “Uh, I mean, good morning roomie! It’s time for breakfast soon, so get ready. Okay, bye!” He zoomed to his side, starting to get dressed. Dakota didn’t get to pack, so he just hopped out of his bed. Sam turned back to Dakota. “Hey, if you need clothes, you can borrow some from me.” Dakota grimaced. Sam was so short there was no possible way for him to put on his clothes.
He headed out the door, going to breakfast. As he walked down the hall, he saw the other students and glanced at Christen. She was walking with this other girl, probably her roommate. He recognized her as the one who opened the door when they walked in the hall yesterday. Huh, would wonders never cease, he thought, grimly amused. “Christen is pretty cute, though. No wonder Nicholas likes her. I do.” Dakota sighed, rage boiling. Greeaaat. NOW his Inner Self was talking.
“Heey, Dakota. Can I have your body for one teensy moment? I wanna make my move,” whined Inner Dakota, who preferred being called Zeke. The two had a lot of trouble sharing the body, since both wanted dominance. Dakota hated his Inner Self more than he hated all his family members combined. He couldn’t believe such a selfish brat lived inside of him. “Do it, and I’ll kill myself to make you shut up,” Dakota replied icily. That settled the argument.
He sat down at a table, thinking of his predicament. Professor Jade knew he was one of the Knites, and he knew he was a necromancer no matter what. Necromancers only come from certain families, and are a rare talent, even more than Creating. Obviously, he was going to be scorned, but that wasn’t new. And there was something he needed to do; he couldn’t waste any time learning. But if I don’t I’ll get killed for sure, he thought, realizing the cruel reality.
Christen slid next to him, grinning. “Hey, Dakota. What did the weird lady say to?” No matter what, you can rely on Christen to put a bright side on anything. Sometimes Dakota didn’t mind it, other times he thought she was just being stupid. “I don’t want to talk about it,” he said, not looking at her. He didn’t want her to give him the look so many other people gave him. Pity because he was stuck in such a family, and fear because he was. Christen wouldn’t understand.
Another kid slid next to Dakota, beaming. Her long hair was a soft blue-green, obviously from hair dye, and was tied up in a ponytail. “Oh my gosh! You’re Dakota Knite right? That’s totally cool that you’re a necromancer!” Dakota looked at Christen, but she didn’t look surprised. Nicholas took a seat next to Christen, a bruise on his cheek from when Christen punched him. Then came Sam, who had a mountain of pancakes he got from the cafeteria. Dakota laid his head against the table. “What am I? Flypaper for freaks?” he said aloud, voicing his thoughts.
Christen rolled her eyes. “Dakota, you’re not flypaper. You’re honey,” she teased. The green haired girl nodded. “Totally. Oh, I’m Cassidy. It’s awesome to meet you.” Sam muttered something about annoying green headed trolls under his breath. Cassidy glared at Sam, huffing angrily. “You got stuck with Sam? He’s a failure to his family.” Dakota blinked, raising his head. He thought Sam was from a mediocre magic family, nothing special. “What do you mean failure? He’s an idiot, but otherwise not so bad.”
Cassidy crossed her arms. “Did he tell you his last name?” she asked. Dakota shook his head. “Well, obviously he wouldn’t.” “Too many freaks, not enough circuses,” pointed out Zeke, and for once, Dakota agreed. He looked at Sam, along with Christen, Nicholas, and Cassidy, and the blonde shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not a failure…or an idiot…” he said quietly, looking self-conscious. “Because I am Sam Stromterm.”