Um..I'm not an excellent author. I know that. But I hope you consider reading this and telling me what you think. That'd be much appreciated. c:

[Warning: This chapter is fifteen pages long according to Microsoft Word.]

Chapter 1
False Truth

{ J a s o n }

Jason Smith never thought he’d learn to master what was called the most peaceful Element. It never had occurred to him that he’ be a Wind Tamer, a person with the Element of Wind. He lifted his hand to the sky, wondering if he could change fate. But the breeze suddenly blew harder, as if trying to blow away his thoughts. He sighed, pushing himself up into a sitting position.

Why me?

The wind blew the leaves off of some perfectly green trees. Jason thought a little more about his Element. Wind, he thought, was much too peaceful, especially for a person like him. He was reckless, rash, and unreasonable, and Wind Tamers were typically described to be easy-going, cautious people.

Which he was not.

He felt a cold finger tap his neck, stopping his train of thoughts. Turning around with a shudder, he saw his best friend, Daniel Parks, staring into his eyes.

“…What do you want?” Jason asked quietly, turning back around to face the sparkling stream. He heard Daniel sigh, and take a seat next to him on the dewy grass.

“It’s not the end of the world,” he suddenly said, ripping a blade of grass out of the ground.

“Says you,” Jason grumbled. He and Daniel were both Wind Tamers now, but it didn’t fit either of them.

“At least we can fly,” Daniel said, trying to lighten the mood. Jason just looked to his right with a pained expression on his face.

“I wonder what Weapons we’ll get…” Daniel continued. He looked over at his friend, and started to say something, but stopped. Behind him, Jason could hear multiple footsteps, their feet crushing the wet grass as they slowly walked over to the two.

“What’s up, Wind Tamers?” a familiar voice asked. Jason turned around slowly. The rest of his friends, three girls, stood before him.

“Don’t call me that,” he grunted, pretending to be interested in his shoelace.

“I think Wind is a cool Element,” Cinna, a shy girl with caramel-coloured hair, said in a small voice. She’d become an Electricity Tamer along with Crystal, which was interesting since the two sometimes had tendencies to turn violent. Liyla shook her head, yawning.

“I like my Element,” she said sleepily. “Psychic is good.” Beside him, Daniel nodded with approval, but his eyes were on Cinna.

“So, are you going to go see what your Weapon is, or are you going to sit here and mope?” Crystal asked her hand on her hip. Jason spit into the grass and pushed himself up.

“I guess I’ll have to go…” he mumbled, and started to slowly make his way to a large, cream-coloured building, kicking rocks on his way. Crystal’s eyes followed him until he disappeared into the building. She sighed, twirling the ends of her purple-blue hair.

“He needs to lighten up,” Liyla said, turning around and walking the direction Jason had gone without saying another word.

The three left silently looked around before finally going to receive their Weapon.

Jason eyed the teachers who stood guarding the Weapons like it was the best thing in the world. He rolled his eyes and tossed a slip of paper to one of the guards. He inspected it thoroughly before handing it back to the boy. He then called for the teachers to bring him the Weapon specially chosen for Jason.

Jason took a seat in a metal chair that could be folded in half. He bit his lip nervously, studying all the teachers and various students that stood about him. One girl with green hair pulled back into a ponytail cried out happily when someone handed her a medium-sized sword specially designed for Grass Tamers. A boy next to her received a handgun, but he looked quite upset with it.

Jason jumped when he felt someone tap his shoulder. He turned around and saw a boy with blond hair and green eyes. He looked around his age, but for some reason, he was holding the Weapon Jason was to have.

“You are Jason, correct?” the boy asked, his expression remaining the same. Jason nodded, trying to get a glimpse of his Weapon. The boy just smiled, taking a step backward. “I’m Jouick, fifteen years old.” The boy, Jouick, raised an eyebrow suddenly. “I believe I’ll be seeing you around…” he muttered, and showed Jason what he’d been hiding behind his back.

“A sword…” Jason whispered softly, taking the sword from Jouick’s gloved hands. Jouick smiled, waved goodbye, and walked away. Jason gawked at the sword like an idiot. It was extremely warm, and the hilt of the sword was gold. There was a small peridot stone stuck in the exact middle of the hilt, and it shone brightly. A few yards behind him, he heard the entrance door open. He felt the presence of his friends, and turned around. Liyla stood in front of Daniel, Cinna, and Crystal, and her knee was scraped. She spotted him, her eyes dull, and walked over to him.

“What happened?” Jason immediately asked, observing her knee.

“I met somebody and then fell,” Liyla said, embarrassed. Jason heard Daniel attempt to hold back a laugh, and he smiled.

“Well, it’ll be fine,” Jason said. He saw Liyla’s eyes widen as she laid eyes on Jason’s sword.

“Whoa,” she gasped, eyes unmoving, “I didn’t think you’d get a shitty weapon, but…Wow.” Liyla sighed happily. Daniel looked over Jason’s shoulder, and Crystal and Cinna ran next to Liyla, staring at the sword.

“Go get your own damn Weapon,” Jason growled when Crystal tried to snatch the sword out of his hands.

“Fine, I will, then,” Crystal said, marching up to the guards. Moments later, she came back with an AK-47, a wide grin on her face.

“Score,” she said, plopping down onto a chair. Liyla then grabbed Daniel’s and Cinna’s hands and dragged them over to a table to get their Weapon. Once the three were out of hearing range, Jason turned to Crystal.

“Are you four hiding something from me?” he demanded, his golden eyes staring into Crystal’s blue eyes.

“You just moved here, Jason. We haven’t seen years…Please don’t make any assumptions about us.” Crystal glared at him, her eyes giving a clear message of what she’d just said.

“…You are hiding something,” Jason said, slapping his forehead angrily.

“I…Wh…What? No!” Crystal shouted, lunging for Jason’s arm. Her nails dug into his skin, making him cringe. “I can’t tell you,” she hissed, “because you’re not ready to know. Don’t try to find out…I’ll tell you soon enough.” Jason stared at his friend with shock. She let go a few moments later, sitting back down in her chair.

Jason shook his head, making his way toward the door. He passed Cinna, who held a bow and a bag of what he assumed carried arrows, Daniel, who held a gigantic, thick black sword that seemed to heavy for him to carry, and Liyla, who was holding a large ebony box, nodding as a teacher in front of her spoke to her.

He walked out the door and into the forest, mumbling things. He reached the stream, his favourite spot. The water was still sparkling, and it carried colourful pebbles in its current. He started to sit down, but then a bush started shaking rather violently, so he stood straight up again, alert.

He stared at the shaking bush for a few minutes. Suddenly, when he least expected it, a girl tumbled out of the bush, whispering “ow” over and over again quietly. He took a step backwards, blinking a few times. Yet the girl still lay there on the ground, leaves in her brown hair.

The girl sighed and pushed herself off the ground. She looked about a head shorter than Jason, but he wasn’t sure since she was on the other side of the stream, where the land was higher. She had long, brown hair and green bangs. When she turned around and noticed Jason, a small smile formed on her lips. Her green eyes reminded Jason of…something.

“Have you heard of me?” the girl suddenly asked, plucking the leaves out of her hair. Jason shook his head, looking down at the sword. He ran his finger over the peridot stone, knowing that the sword was what he thought of when he saw her eyes. He looked back up at her curiously. Her hands were on her hips, and her smile had gotten bigger. On her right wrist, there was a silver charm bracelet that glittered and sparkled from the sunlight.

“Better for me, then…” The girl took a cautious step forward, and teetered on the bank. Jason looked at his surroundings nervously, thinking of Crystal.

“You’re a Wind Tamer, right?” she asked, gazing at him curiously. Jason opened his mouth to say “yes”, but before he could, she started talking again. “I thought so…” She hopped onto a large grey rock that stuck out of the stream, much to Jason’s surprise.

“Interesting…” She jumped again, landing in front of Jason. He stumbled backwards, surprised.

“W-who are you?” he demanded, wondering if Crystal and the others knew this girl.

“Oh,” the girl said, putting her finger to her bottom lip. Her eyes sparkled, bringing out her pale skin. “I’m Alice…But I’m honestly surprised you haven’t heard of me yet.” Alice winked at him, letting out a small giggle. She took another step toward Jason, who gulped nervously.

“Crystal should have told you about me…That is, if she cares about you,” Alice whispered, her face inches away from Jason’s.

“What is that supposed to mean…?” Jason asked, thinking of what Crystal had said to him a few minutes earlier.

“It means exactly what I said,” Alice answered, her breath feeling oddly warm on Jason’s neck. Her breath smelled like peppermint gum, the kind that cost a few dollars more than a regular pack of Hubba-Bubba.

“Get away from him!” Jason heard someone screech behind him. He felt someone’s hand yank him away from Alice. He felt sickeningly dizzy and warm, even though the person who’d grabbed him had cold hands. Within seconds, he saw all his friends pointing their weapons at Alice, who stood there with a smug smile. Cinna’s bow had an arrow in it, and it was aimed at Alice’s head; Liyla had knives placed between all of her fingers on both hands, and she glared at Alice maliciously; Crystal had her gun pointed at Alice; and Daniel had one hand on Jason’s shoulder, the other hand holding his sword up above his friend’s head.

Jason looked around, bewildered. “What are you guys doing?” he asked, struggling to break free from Daniel’s grip.

“Stay still,” Daniel growled, his eyes on Alice. Alice laughed and tossed back her hair, as if she weren’t afraid.

“I guess it’s time I take my leave,” she said with a snicker.

“You aren’t going anywhere!” Crystal shouted. She pulled the trigger, and a bullet came flying out. Alice quickly jumped backward, and the bullet whizzed past the tip of her nose. “Damn,” Crystal muttered, licking her lip.

“So violent…” Alice taunted. Her finger was up at her lip again, and Jason saw that her nails were painted the colour of her eyes and bangs.

“Damn you!” Crystal shouted again, rage burning in her eyes. She yanked the gun up to her chest, her finger on the trigger.

“See ya,” Alice said. Suddenly, the girl was on fire, and she laughed. Jason gasped, for he had never seen someone on fire before. “We’ll meet again, Charms,” she said before disappearing. Daniel sighed and let go of Jason, who fell to his knees.

“…Who is she…?” he asked aloud. Crystal gave him a bitter glance before turning around to tell Daniel something.

“Guys, I found drops of her blood…” Cinna announced, pointing at a few drops of blood.

“I hate that damn rabbit,” Crystal said angrily. “She can go rot in Hell for all eternity. Fucking bitch.” Cinna shuddered, but brought out a small glass tube.

“Should I collect the blood?” she offered, her face pale. Daniel nodded, turning back to Jason, who still kneeled on the ground with a twisted expression on his face.

“Why…Why did you try to kill her…?” he whispered, staring at the dirt. Daniel bit his lip, his silver eyes following the trail of ants that marched in front of him.


“What do you mean by that?” Jason played with the small hole in his black trousers, making it wider. Daniel bent down, looking him in the eyes.

“I guess it’s time to tell you…” He looked around at the others, who nodded with approval. “Okay. Remember how we all used to live together in Circo until you moved away, and then the four of us moved to River Sanctuary of Nouvelle?”


“…During that time you lived in Alvera, the four of us got involved with a company…Called Charm.”

”Charm? Is that why Alice called you ‘Charms’?”

“Yep.” Daniel flashed a small smile. “We work for Charm…Alice works for Ebreyo.”

“Ebreyo?” Jason got down into a sitting position, paying close attention to Daniel.

“Yes. They aim to accomplish the exact opposite of Charm.”

“…What do you guys even work for…?” Jason asked, holding back an exhausted yawn. Daniel placed his sword on the ground right next to him, staring fondly at it for a minute.

“Charm works to prevent the Shift, and various other things. Ebreyo wishes for the Shift to come…to obtain its power.” Daniel looked up at Jason with a curious smile.

“What’s the Shift?”

”The Shift…is when the dead come back to life, the demons pour out of Hell, which means the Angels and Sages will die, and the world will slowly start to end.” Daniel drew a circle in the dirt, drawing what looked like the continents on it.

“Why would anyone want something like that to happen?” Jason asked, thinking about Alice. She didn’t seem like the type who’d want something like this…But then again, he didn’t really know her, and she was a Pyro, and Pyros had tendencies to snap and turn violent and hateful.

“They want to obtain its power, like I said earlier. Plus, they wish to recreate the world, which is possible. All you have to do is make a wish when the Fulfiller comes out of her sleep. The power of the Shift is…enormous,” Daniel said with a sigh. “Alice is our sworn enemy. She’s tried to kill us so many times…” He laughed, getting up off the ground. “Why don’t you join Charm? We can work together.”

Jason got off the ground, wiping the dirt off his knees. “I don’t know…” He looked at the forest that surrounded him, wondering what he should do.

“We saved you…So you have to join!” Liyla said happily with a wink. Jason frowned.

“Wh-what? You didn’t save me from shit! She wasn’t doing anything to me!”

”Any longer and she would’ve,” Liyla said darkly, pulling her hair out of their pigtails. “She’s insane. I wonder why she isn’t in an asylum or something.” She stuffed the knives back into their ebony box, stretching. “I hate her with all my being.“ Jason shuddered.

“Pyros are scary,” Cinna added, straightening her white dress. “You saw what she did in the end. They can light themselves—and others—on fire…” Jason stared blankly at her, as if she were nearly transparent and he couldn’t see her.

“Let’s go back home,” Crystal said, picking at her nails. Everyone but Jason nodded in agreement, and they all headed of home. The sun was nearly down; it sat on the horizon, spraying orange and pink light everywhere.

They’d all gathered in their living room since they all shared a house. The TV was on, and some reporter chick was talking about how earthquakes kept violently striking a small town just outside of the Capitol City, Remoira. Cinna and Daniel sat on one couch together, Crystal and Liyla on the other, and Jason by himself on the couch farthest from them.

“Are you afraid of us or something?” Liyla had asked with a laugh earlier. Jason knew she hadn’t meant to anger him, but she had. Now, Liyla glanced at him nervously, her lips pursed.

“So…You’ll join Charm, right?” Cinna asked happily, her eyes smiling.

“No.” Jason’s voice was flat and toneless, shocking Cinna.

“Wh-what? Why?” Cinna yelled. She was about to jump out of her seat, but Daniel put his hand on her mouth, and pushed the small girl backwards quickly.

“Please consider joining…” Daniel said, taking his hand of Cinna’s mouth.

“Why?” Jason asked. His gold eyes glowed in the darkness as the sun set and the pale moon rose. “I’m only fifteen. I think it’s best to wait before I join some organization—“

“Actually, I think it’s best to join now if you don’t want the world to end,” Crystal interrupted. “Just saying.” Jason growled and Crystal smiled smugly, like Alice had when they’d cornered her.

“Plus, if you join, you’ll never have to move to another country away from us again,” Liyla added. Jason inhaled; they were so persistent. He stood up, looking out at the dark horizon. Was the Shift even real? They could be telling him bullshit lies, he thought. But weren’t they his only friends?

“Fine, I’ll consider it,” he said, walking toward the stairs and up to his room, slamming the door. He heard Liyla and Cinna shout with glee, saying they’d bake a cake if he decided to join. Jason opened the door to his balcony that stood high above the ground. Their house was owned by the school, so they had houses stacked on houses…Which meant the rooms on the top house were ridiculously high, since all houses provided had an upstairs and a downstairs.

He stepped out onto the balcony silently, leaning over the cold rail. Everything that had happened was running through his head like a high-speed train, a train that could wreck at anytime. He reached out and grabbed a forest-green leaf from a tall tree that ended just above the rail of his balcony. He ripped it into pieces, letting them flutter away to the ground with the wind.

Jason saw the tree slowly shake, though the wind wasn’t strong enough to do it to the tree. He immediately thought of Alice, who’d tumbled out of the bushes when he’d met her. He suddenly heard a quiet thump behind him, and whirled around quickly. In front of him stood Alice, her peridot eyes practically glowing.

“Hey,” she said weakly. Jason stepped backwards, but he felt the rail. He looked behind him and saw the street far below him, the lights twinkling like stars. “Are you afraid of me now? Ha!” Alice laughed, holding her stomach. “Damn, I never thought you’d be a wimp!” She let out a tired sigh when she finished.

“What are you doing here?” Jason asked, looking Alice up and down. She wore a baggy basketball sweater, ripped jeans, and neon sneakers. Her hands were casually stuffed into the pockets of her sweater. Sticking out of her jean pocket was a pack of gum and a lollipop.

“I want to finish our little chat that got cut short,” Alice said with a small smile. Jason wondered how they could want her dead. Maybe it was just him, but the girl was beyond gorgeous, and the mystery that surrounded her made her all the more attractive.

“So…?” Jason gripped the cold rail so hard his knuckles turned white. Alice, noticing this, rolled her eyes.

“You’re a high school student in tenth grade, fifteen years old, born in Circo. You’re a Wind Tamer who has the Weapon called the Holy Sword, and you’re friends with Crystal, Daniel, Cinna, and Liyla. Correct?” She stared at him expectantly, hands on her hips.

“…Stalker, much?” Jason let out with a nervous laugh, wondering how she found out all this information about him.

“I’m not a stalker…” Alice growled, her hands clenched into fists.

“Okay, okay, so you’re not a stalker,” Jason teased jokingly. Alice exhaled angrily, toying with one of the strings on her sweater.

“Since I found all of that about you…You can ask about me,” she said coolly. “I like to be fair,” she added. Jason whistled softly, angering Alice.

“Okay, okay…” he muttered. “Um…How old are you, then?” Alice gazed at him coldly.

“I’m fourteen, you dimwit. My birthday’s up soon…Whatever.” Jason rolled his eyes, mumbling things under his breath.

“Where were you born?”

“…Remoira.” Alice twirled the ends of her long brown hair, obviously bored. Her hair ended around the area her forearm ended—basically where the elbow was. Jason bit his lip, bracing himself for the answer to his next question.

“Are you a Pyro?” Alice suddenly stopped what she was doing, as though she were a frozen statue.

“…No. Did Crystal tell you that?” Alice said with disgust in her voice, anger in her voice, expression, and eyes.

“No, Cinna did…”

“Cinna,” Alice said with a sigh. “I don’t think she deserves to be anything like Charm or Ebreyo…She’s too timid and naïve.” The lollipop fell out of her pocket, bouncing on the balcony floor like a marble. She bent down and picked it up, ripping the wrapper off of it and sticking it into her mouth.

“Then what are you…?” Jason asked softly, watching as Alice licked her lips and tossed the wrapper off the edge.

“Discussion ended,” Alice said, yawning. “Are you going to join Charm?” she asked, her eyes suddenly serious. Jason looked down, uncertain of what he should say.

“…I’m not sure.” he said truthfully, looking back up into the girl’s green eyes. She sighed quietly, closing her eyes for a moment.

“If you do—er, when you do, since I’m sure they’ll find a way to convince you to join—we’ll be enemies. Got that?” Alice said casually, her eyes dull.

“…How can you say it like it’s an everyday thing?” Jason asked aloud, picking at the sleeve of his red shirt. Alice wondered about if for a bit before smiling.

“Maybe I really am insane, like Liyla said.” And with that, she hopped onto the roof, looking down at Jason. “I’ll see you around, Jason Smith,” Alice said with a wink and a wave. She jumped off the roof, and Jason ran to the other side of the balcony with shock. He looked down and didn’t see her, sighing with relief. He dragged himself back into his room, turning off the light as he fell onto his bed, letting himself voluntarily fall into the blackness of sleep.

“Wake up, sleepyhead!” Liyla shouted, awakening Jason, who lay halfway out of his bed. “It’s the first day of tenth grade! So get up and get ready!” She marched out of his room and down the stairs, blabbering on about how breakfast needed to be made.

Jason crawled out of his bed and landed on the wooden floor with a thud. He ran his hands along the carpet. His foot hit his nightstand, and he stood up, yanking clothes out of his closet.

He marched downstairs as he pulled his shirt on, ignoring the conversation Liyla and Cinna were having. He sat down on a stool and started eating a waffle that had already been placed there for him, most likely by Cinna. Ninety percent of the time she made their breakfast and placed it out on the table or the high kitchen counter for them to devour.

Jason took a last bite of his waffle and jumped up out of the chair, haphazardly tossing the plate into the grey sink. He stomped back up the stairs, randomly stuffing stuff he thought he’d need for school today. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and put his sword—the Holy Sword, as Alice had called it—into a leather case in the shape of the sword that he’d also received from Jouick.

As he jogged back down the stairs, Jason wondered if Jouick would be in any of his classes. He was fifteen, which meant he’d be in tenth grade. He then remembered that Alice had said she was fourteen, and that her birthday was coming up soon. Which meant, if she even did go to school, she should be in his grade, too.

He noticed Daniel and Crystal rush out the door while Cinna and Liyla packed their lunches quickly. They pushed him out the door before they closed it and ran off to school, dragging him along with them.

The halls of the perfectly clean school were filled with chattering students who were throwing their unneeded stuff into their lockers and heading off to their first class with their friends, schedules in their hands. The bell rung unexpectedly, and a few people screeched, running to their class as fast as they could.

Jason shrunk into his seat at the back of the class. Liyla was in the class, but she was up at the front, by the window. There were only two empty seats left—the one in front of him and the one to his left. The teacher, a redhead with glasses and enormous boobs, walked to the front of the class behind her desk, asking everyone to stand up and introduce themselves, like their name and what their favourite colour was.

“Um, hi, I’m Liyla Robinson. I was born in Circo, and my favourite colour is…purple,” Liyla said shyly. Jason stared vacantly out the window as the rest of the students introduced themselves. The door to the class suddenly swung open, much to everyone’s surprise.

Jason looked over at the door, hearing two people sighing. A boy with long, blond hair and emerald eyes—Jouick—walked in, holding the wrist of another person. The other one walked in, scanning the room. Liyla growled, practically baring her teeth at her. She had shiny brown hair, green bangs, and green eyes—Alice.

Alice laid her eyes on Jason silently and last night’s conversation suddenly ran through his mind. Jouick dragged her up to the teacher—Ms. Arakne—and to the back of the room, where the only seats left were. Jouick quickly took the seat in front of Jason, finally letting go of Alice’s wrist. Alice hesitated for a bit, but then sat down next to Jason, attempting to ignore Liyla’s death glare.

“So, um, the two students that walked in…Could I have you introduce yourselves?” Jouick immediately stood up, placing a gloved hand on his chest.

“I’m Jouick Carse, born in the Capitol City of Remoira. And…my favourite colours are dark green and gold.” He sat down after a quick bow, his expression unchanging as multiple girls across the room gazed at him in awe. Alice then stood up, scratching her neck.

“I’m Alice Luane, born in Remoira. My favourite colour is the bright olivine shades of peridot.” She sat down without another word, and the classroom broke into small mumbles. Alice just placed her bag on the ground next to her, avoiding Jason’s gold eyes.

“….And so, that is how you write haikus,” Ms. Arakne finished as the bell rang. The loud ringing woke up Alice, who jumped up with a startled look.

“Okay, no homework today since it’s your first day! Have fun!” Ms. Arakne shouted as the students poured out the door and wandered down the hall. Jason followed Alice out the room, silently thinking what to do about the Charm situation. He felt someone bump into him, and saw Liyla creep up to his side.

“Damn rabbit! I bet she was planning to get a seat next to you,” she gritted through her teeth, her eyes dark and upset.

“…Rabbit?” Jason asked curiously, but Liyla had mad a sharp left and had disappeared into the Math classroom. He looked back down at his schedule that already had a rip in it. It said he had Gym next, which made him smile. Running was always fun.

He ran down the hallway and up a flight of stairs. He opened the cold red doors of the gymnasium, gawking at the perfectly polished wooden floors and the large stage at the end.

“Welcome!” a loud voice boomed, surprising him. To his right stood a tall, muscular man with a white cap on and soccer clothes. “Just drop your stuff off in the locker rooms and sit on the stage, okay?” he smiled, pointing to a door all the way to the right. Jason quickly scuttled over to it, and ran down the stone steps to what he assumed was the boy’s locker room.

It reeked of stinky socks, sweat, and gas, and some of the lockers had wads of gum stuck on them and boogers piled up in the corners. He shuddered and placed his backpack on a white bench. He reluctantly ran back up the steps and to the shiny stage. He sat down, feeling weird to be the first one there. The gym doors burst open again though, but no one he knew came in.

Jason sighed, kicking the stage. Suddenly, he smelled peppermint gum, and turned around to see Alice behind him, messing with the fuzzy blue curtains. She didn’t seem to notice he was there, and toyed around with the large curtains.

“U-um…” Alice turned around, her green eyes flashing. She looked Jason up and down as she had when she’d met him at the stream.

“What?” she asked, placing a hand on her hip. Jason didn’t answer, staring into her eyes. “I thought I said we would be enemies,” Alice growled, biting her tongue.

“I haven’t decided to even join Charm yet,” Jason protested. Alice lifted her head with an amused “hmph” and licked her glossy lips.

“I can sense that you will. It’s a little obvious,” she said with a small laugh. She wore an orange tanktop and brown cargo shorts, and her silver charm bracelet was still on her right wrist. He noticed a yin and yang charm, which he thought would’ve made Crystal laugh if she saw Alice wearing it.

“Why are you staring at me like that?” Jason snapped out of his thoughts. Alice was staring at him oddly, as if deciding whether slapping an annoying teacher was good or bad. The air suddenly felt cold, and Jason looked around—everything was tinted blue.

“What the…” Jason jumped a little, shocked. He felt a bony hand on his shoulder, and looked up to see Alice’s pale face.

“Even if you join Charm or not, you’ll be my enemy. That’s a fact since Crystal and them are your friends…No, your closest and only friends. I advise you stay away from me and listen to your friends…Friends are always correct and strangers wrong, am I right?” She exhaled, and Jason’s neck felt sticky and hot from her breath.

“…What do you mean?” Jason asked, not daring to blink.

“I mean what I said. Your friends…Don’t take them for granted. It’s best to have me as your enemy…” She added something to it, but Jason couldn’t hear it.

“I don’t even know you,” Jason said, confused, “so why would you be my enemy?” Alice bit her lip. A few strands of green hair fell over her air, but she ignored it.

“I just am.” She took her hand off Jason’s shoulder and the world was restored to its original colours. Out of the corner of his eye, Jason noticed Jouick walking up the steps to the stage. He speed walked up to Alice, whispering something quickly to her. When their little conversation finished, Jason saw Jouick drag Alice to a spot at the edge of the stage, arm’s length from Jason.

Jason stared forward, trying to ignore the two. He heard them quietly whisper things to each other, but he didn’t dare eavesdrop. Soon, the entire stage was filled with about thirty students, all glancing around the large, bright room nervously. He saw a girl clumsily fall and land on her knees. She quickly got back up again, though, and scuttled up the stairs. She noticed the empty spot by Jason, starting to walk towards him. He was about to tell her the seat was taken, but he decided not to. He could feel that the girl was troubled, and he didn’t want to crush some klutz’s feelings on her first day of tenth grade.

“Hi!” the girl chirped happily, plopping down next to him. Her hair was pink and brown, and her eyes were blue. Her hair was pulled up into two buns atop her head, but a lot of the hair hung down normally, reaching to around her neck.

“Hi,” Jason echoed quietly, brushing back some of his black hair.

“I’m Rami Johnson. Who’re you?” Rami asked excitedly, her blue eyes staring at Jason expectantly.

“Um…I’m Jason Smith,” Jason answered nervously.

“Ah…That must be why I’ve never seen you around here before—you’re new!” Rami shouted, throwing her arms up into the air dramatically. Jason rolled his eyes as he tied his shoelace, ignoring all the random questions Rami asked as he did the simple task.

The man with the white cap reappeared and told all the students to grab a partner or two and get a basketball and shoot hoops. Like everyone else, Jason jumped off the stage and ran to the basket with the basketballs. He grabbed one, spinning it on his fingertip. He bumped into someone, and noticed who with a sigh.

“So…Wanna be partners?” Rami asked, her eyes sparkling. Jason slapped his forehead, annoyed.

“…Sure, why not.”

”Yay!” Rami exclaimed, grabbing Jason’s arm and dragging him to the hoop at the left corner of the room, by the stage. There were two other people there…Jouick and Alice. Jason inhaled and tossed the ball to Rami, who attempted to toss it in the basket.

“I missed!” Rami shouted, stomping angrily. Alice’s green eyes glared at him, but not with anger. She looked more curious than angry, Jason noted. Jouick suddenly shook Alice’s shoulder and whispered something in her ear. Jason turned back to Rami, who was chasing after the basketball.

”Here, I’ll take it,” Jason said quietly, catching the ball midair. Rami nodded with a sigh, though her eyes were filled with awe. He shakily threw the ball upwards, and it teetered on the orange rim before going in.

“Wow! Jason made it, Jason made it!” Rami shouted, dancing around happily. Jason silently retrieved the ball, giving it to Rami.

“This time I’ll make it for sure…” Jason closed his eyes and leaned against the stage, listening to Rami shout and yell as she tried to get the basketball through the hoop.

Jason sighed as Cinna and Daniel argued over what Cinna would make for dinner.

“It’s the cook’s decision!” Crystal had finally yelled out, ending the argument. The first day of school had gone smooth, but Crystal was still acting violent and rough, like usual.

“Crystal, the stupid rabbit got a seat next to Jason in homeroom!” Liyla complained, biting her lip. Crystal growled angrily.

“Fucking rabbit. She needs to leave Jason alone. He’s not Ebreyo property, god dammit.” She kicked a stone angrily, mumbling random things.

“…Why do you guys call Alice a…rabbit?” Jason asked curiously, scratching his ear.

“Because…well, you’ll know soon enough. When you join Charm,” Crystal said with a shudder-inducing wink.

“Uh…Yeah, when I join Charm…” he thought back to when Alice had momentarily stopped time and told him she’d always be his enemy. The five walked into the house, plopping down on the cool leather couches. It was blazing hot outside, which was no surprise since it was August, the hottest month.

“Gym was such a pain in the ass…” Daniel mumbled, taking a long gulp of icy cold water.

“I like Mr. Jones, the math teacher. He actually knows how to crack jokes,” Liyla said happily, opening the wrapper of a honey bun. Cinna started going off about how the art teacher, Ms. Meranie, was amazing and kind.

“I personally liked the battle class teacher,” Jason quietly admitted. Daniel smiled at him, combing through his faded red-brown hair with his hand.

“Battle class is awesome,” he said. “I learned how to hold my sword properly.”

“I learned how to aim properly with my AK-47,” Crystal announced cheerfully, stroking the gun happily.

“I learned how to reduce the amount of pain when you use the bow and arrow,” Cinna admitted, her cheeks slightly pink. Jason nodded, remembering when he’d tried to shoot with a bow and arrow before. It felt like his bone had been snapped in half.

“Hey, I’m gonna go up to my room, guys,” Jason said weakly, trotting up the stairs. He closed the door behind him with a sigh.

“Hello,” a voice said.

“What?” Jason screamed, nearly jumping fifteen feet in the air. Alice sat on his bed, gazing at him curiously. “Wh…What are you doing in my room…?” he asked, bewildered. Alice laughed, inspecting the charms on her bracelet.

“I thought I’d give you another tip,” she said, standing up. Jason slowly walked over to her, eying her suspiciously. “I know you’re going to join Charm…So it’s best to forget the past,” Alice whispered into his ear. Jason froze. His past? “Don’t dwell on it, or you’re in serious trouble when you encounter Ebreyo,” she added. She moved away from his ear, blowing a bubble with her gum.

“And now, a present for the young gentlemen,” Alice said with a smile. She kneed Jason in the stomach, sending him onto his bed. She loomed over him, holding a small purple bag. She opened it, pouring its silvery contents onto him. He suddenly felt drowsy, and slowly started to close his eyes.

“Farewell, Jason Smith,” Alice whispered into his ear. “Farewell for now…” She opened the balcony door and jumped off the balcony, leaving the unconscious Jason behind.