They rushed me out of my house and through the streets. People ran outside of their houses to see what was causing me to scream at the top of my lungs. Though I wish they had not seen this. I was well known in my neighborhood. To a point where I could call people by name, and they could do the same. There were gasps and screams, some even cried. Most knew the situation immediately by looking at my house.
"They cry for this one." A guard points out, whispering so others might not hear.
"I don't know why. They're lucky we don't just throw this murderer in jail." This remark struck a nerve.
"My mother was already dead." I say harshly, knowing my words mean nothing to them. "I'm innocent of the accusation you're claiming."
"No, ignorant child. The cause of death was hypothermia. You killed her. And your own mother too... you're lucky if Mistress Demonis decides not to behead you." He laughs.
"Straight to the guillotine with this one!" The other guard jokes. But my eyes are fixed to the ground as I begin to cry. Not for myself, but for the shameful thing I had apparently done. Unable to fall to my knees because of their grip as well as the iron chains that had been latched onto me, I simply cried.
"Twila, no!" I hear Miss Ramona cry. "You can't take her! She has no one left! Please!" She pleads, begging for my release, but it's useless. They're content with my relocation.
"That's good. It'll be easier to break her spirit and mold her into a warrior. She'll need that for the things she'll grow up to face. Out of our way, woman!" The guard shouts at her, shoving her aside when she doesn't move.
"Twila!" She continues to scream as I'm taken away. Though, why she cries for my release, I do not understand. After all, she had been urging me to go to the academy not even twenty-four hours ago.
We walk for about an hour before we finally arrive at the academy. A large building that was built upon the ruins of a temple. It sits next to Aqua Demonis' monument of vanity. A statue of her pulling the string on her bow, arrow ready to fire. She looks nicer in the statue, maybe because it was made before she allowed herself to be consumed by power. As we enter the academy, I feel a chill and hear the laughter of the trainees. All joking about me being "fresh meat". I couldn't understand how they could find the slightest joy at this place. Though, after a short stop, I could see why most of them were. They'd escaped the grime, tattered clothes, and illness of the Stalarian poor. I even recognize a few people from the streets.
The building's interior is just as beautiful inside as it is out, matching even the temples dedicated to the siblings. The hallways are solid white, made out of what looks like marble. Definitely well taken care of. The ventilation system works well too, as the entire place is relatively cold... or maybe that's just me. I didn't realize when the guards in front of me stopped walking. I ran into one of them, scratching my cheek on their armor.
"Look alive, runt. You're meeting her Majesty Aqua Demonis." He says proudly, pushing the doors open. "Your majesty! We've brought the girl you've requested."
"You've done well. Leave us be, if you will." Her voice rings out. She sounds really young, though I know she's at least in her late thirties. The guards leave, shutting the giant red doors behind them. "Young mistress Twila." She begins. "Your power is one all too familiar to me. I simply couldn't let them put you in the dungeons. I'm sure you've heard the legends, where I came from. What happened to my siblings."
"What you've turned Stalaria into." I say without thinking, immediately regretting my words.
"Yes... I'm afraid I'm not as good a leader as my sister Sheath was. Forgive me for that." She smiles at me. I smile too. Not because she did, but because I just got away with what most people would be beheaded for. "I'll get right to it. I believe you to be... my sister. Her reincarnation." She says smiling again, looking me dead in the eye.
"But... the legends... they say you all have to die for the reincarnation cycle to happen, correct? You and your sister would have to be dead, correct?" I ask hesitantly, not wanting to overstep what limits I've been given.
"Yes, that is normally how it works. Except for my brother Death. And if I'm right, he has the power to reincarnate those around him as well. Even... Frost." She says, nearly choking on her words. Does she really believe me to be Frost? I know I have powers nearly the same as hers, but hers were far more powerful than mine could ever hope to be... weren't they?
"Regardless, you're going to be put through academy training. I just wanted to let you know personally, Twila. I'll be watching you. CP, give her the tour, if you will." She shouts as the red door swings open again. A man in red walks into the room. He seems to be just as tall as Aqua Demonis. His short spiky hair maybe putting him over her. His face is smooth. Well, except for a jagged line that I can only assume is a battle scar. He walks to me, holding out his hand. Taking it, we go back out into the hallway.
"She can be a bit... rough around the edges. But let me show you the bright sides of the Academy! My names CP, it's nice to finally meet you, Twila. The staff here have heard all about you. It's all Mistress Demonis can think about since news or your home arrived this morning. Now. On this tour you're going to meet everyone who's important to your training, so I hope you're paying close attention!" He laughs, patting my head before we turn into a room labeled with a bright red plus with Medical Wing written in black. "We'll start with miss Snow Ashbel." As we enter a room with several beds and curtains, I hear someone scream in pain.
"Miss Ashbel! It hurts!" A boy cries, I hear the sound of kicking.
"Now, now, stop that. You've broken an arm, I understand, but in a matter of minutes, the pain will be gone, in a few days, your arm will be as good as new!" She says cheerfully, though I can't tell her expression as she is still not in my view.
"Wow. She's changed her technique! A few days to heal a broken arm... she was never this quick before." CP comments while walking into the room where the screams of pain are coming from. She laughs as slowly the screams stop.
"Alright, be on your way. Bed rest, Mr. Ramirez. Come see me in three days and we'll get that cast off." As she shouts this, I see a boy with tanned skin walk through the waiting room. His attire seems a bit strange, as it's flowing but at the same time it's skin tight. He stops in his tracks when he sees me, looking me up and down.
"Flash freeze." He whispers.
"Excuse me?" I say, not completely understanding his choice of words.
"You're flash freeze. The girl who froze her house in a matter of seconds!" He shouts.
"Yeah... My name is Twila..." I sigh, knowing that a reputation here means nicknames, and mine has already been chosen.
"Oh sorry. I'm Hayden." He smiles at me as a woman I can only assume is Snow Ashbel walks into the room. Her long blonde hair is tied in a ponytail, and her gown is glowing white. "It's nice to meet you, Twila." He says, as he's walking out.
"You too!" I call back as the woman approaches me.
"Oh, I've heard much about you Twila." She begins, smiling widely. "The air around us, it mixes well. You see, I also am able to do what you do... just not as... extremely as you are. You've quite the reputation here already, everyone is so excited to meet 'Flash Freeze'." She seems really nice, but I find myself a bit confused.
"I don't understand... In legend... you're spoken to be an expert in poisons... not ice. Or medical care." I voice my confusion, referring to the legends of the bad times when Stalaria herself was attacked by a severely unlikely opponent.
"Yes. I only briefly met the others. When those stories were told, not much was known about me, you see? If you remember, Senterra--the sibling of light--and Gaia--the sibling of earth--were the creators of the town once known as Crescentia. A beautiful town formed from the remains of a planet known by the same name." She sighs, lowering her head and wiping away a tear.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean too bring up a sore subj--" I say quickly but am interrupted.
"Me and Snow are from that planet. In fact, we're the last known survivors of it." CP reveals, hugging Snow. I can't help but wonder if those two are an item. They seem to be highly aware of each other's emotions.
"I would go into details, but I'm sure you know the stories of the war. I traveled very far around Demonia, on what was revealed to be uncharted lands, in search of Senterra Demonis. I ended up threatening the life of the one I was searching for with a few of my poisoned darts. At a highly unfortunate time. I interrupted a game that Nike was playing with them. One that costed them all--except Melinda and Aqua--their lives. I fled the area and hid, afraid to be involved." She sighs. "My point is that as far as the legends go, my story is unknown."
"Well... if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to hear it in it's entirety someday." I say, holding out my hand for her to shake. My situation wasn't the best, but I though that if I could impress the right people, maybe I would do well here. Like all the others who seemed to have found a home here. I'm shocked when Snow Ashbel pushes away my hand and embraces me in a tight hug.
"Any time. You're always welcome here, Twila." She says as she releases me. "You two better continue your tour.
"Yes, of course. But Snow before we go... Have you heard from Kisara?" CP asks, obviously bracing himself for the answer. Legend hails Kisara Paumera as a savior. Able to travel through a plane known only as The Shadow, she was able to save the life of Aqua Demonis by taking a fatal hit from the man who threatened Demonia's peace. Never seen or heard from again after the events that took place back then. But in the stories, Snow had never met Kisara like CP's question would claim that they had.
"I'm afraid I haven't. I don't think I ever will, honestly." She sighs.
"I'm sorry... another question." I begin, looking as apologetic as possible. "How exactly do you know her? The stories never speak of you two meeting beyond the brief meeting between you and the siblings."
"That's true. The stories use Aqua as it's center. Kisara and I aren't really mentioned much after the battle with Nike. After she took the hit for Aqua, she went back into her shadow and fled. She found me again, however, and She, Titanium, a passerby named Calamiris and I lived together for about two months. All the while, she suffered from the wounds she received defending Aqua. We became best friends over that time. Though one morning when we woke, her and Titanium had vanished. Not knowing what else to do, Calamiris and I decided to leave and set our sights for Stalaria. We've been here ever since." She smiles at remembering the time she spent with them. "They're presumed dead, but I haven't given up hope. Neither have many others."
"I-I'm so sorry." I mentally hit myself for continuously bringing up memories that were more than likely hurtful to remember.
"You're perfectly fine. I expect to see you again, Twila. I look forward to telling you more." We both smile as CP leads me out of the medical wing and into the large hallway.
"If you don't mind my asking, CP. Is there something... between you and Miss Ashbel?" I ask, he bursts into laughter at my question.
"Caution, young one. If she were to hear you call her Miss Ashbel, she might inflict a wound upon you just so she'd have a reason to send you to the medical wing and explain to you why she's much too young to be called by that." He laugh again and then sighs, scratching his head. "You see... Long ago, there was something between Snow and I. In fact, we had all but sealed it. But the night we had realized we were for each other, our planet was attacked. One of our closest friends died that night. Crescentia's destruction didn't come until much later, but all capable forces were drafted and sent to Demonia for training. Myself, being one of them. I remember watching Crescentia on the night sky. You see, it was like a large moon to Demonia. It never left it's orbit. It was a beautiful planet. And there isn't a day that I don't miss it." He explains.
"I don't understand, though. Why did that... stop anything from happening between the two of you?" I ask as we make a left onto the main hall of this massive building. We come into a large open area. An area I can only assume is the center. It's use is unknown to me, though it's architecture is simply beautiful. The light is natural, coming in from an oculus positioned at the very top of the dome-like roof. Though there were torches mounted on pillars. I could only assume they were lit at night.
"Separation. We both grew apart in our time spent away from each other. She became attached to the medical side of what she could do, while I... I sought out a higher goal and decided to serve Demonia." He seemed saddened. Maybe it was because of the fact that they were no longer as close as they had once been.
"How did Snow survive Crescentia's destruction?" I asked, hungry for knowledge now of the story that legends had forgotten. Or rather, never even acknowledged.
"That's a story for another time, dear one. We're at our next stop." He smiles at me, grabbing my hand as we walk into a large classroom. There are many students, more than I can count without taking too much time. A man greets us, I can tell he is the instructor of this large group of students.
"This... is the classroom that houses the top fifty students. They've all worked hard to be here, and are at the very top of your class. It will be your goal. All you work to be in, will be in effort to get here." I see a lot of their eyes on me, and even hear a few whisper my name. As well as many more whispering my new nickname. I can feel my face burn as I begin to feel self-conscious. I can only imagine how red I must be.
"Twila? Are you alright?" CP asks me, grabbing my shoulder and leading me out into the hallway. I can hear laughter from the classroom. My first impression wasn't a good one.
"What do you think? I accidentally killed my mother this morning, CP. I have to live with that fact. And... before I've even been given a proper chance to grieve... I'm being laughed at. Laughed at for being embarrassed by a name given to me for what I've done." I shout at him. He takes a step back just as the door to the classroom flies open.
"Number fourteen! What are you doing?" The instructor shouts at the person who opened the door. I look back to see a girl, about my height staring back at me with teary blue eyes. Her long brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail and her clothes are in better quality than I've ever seen clothes in.
"My name is Reiya." She says, walking forward to embrace me in a tight hug. "Don't let them get to you, okay? That classroom in there is just filled to the brim with ignorance. It's all about competition to them. Don't let them break you, Twila." She smiles at me, walking back to the door, stopping right in front of it. "CP... cut the tour short. She doesn't want to see anything else. Take her to her classroom." I was in tears now. For the embarrassing moment I had endured, but more so from the act of kindness. She seemed to know my mind well. I wonder if she had faced something similar to what I'm going through now.
"Well... let's get you to your homeroom. Let's see... room three-oh-four. Ah! Cal is your instructor. You'll be in the class with the bottom 10, Twila. But don't let that discourage you. After all, the year has just started! Only one lesson has been learned, so the ranking system is based on that as of now." He smiles, trying to lighten the mood.
"What was the lesson?" I wonder aloud, not really expecting an answer.
"Nothing too important, I'm sure." He laughs as he opens a door marked with a bold 304. The first thing I notice is a man in light golden armor standing in front of a very small classroom.