The whole school was still beaming with activities in preparation for the coming graduation party, when Matt and Jeff came to the Girls dormitory. Everything about the place was confusing. The road tiled with cobber stones, spiders in all direction into different area. Some went into the ornamental gardens, meandering into the forest. Some others snaked back into an unknown destination, why others led the way to the lofty building, which stood elegantly and touching the sky. Pale yellow lights were forcefully swerving out from the windows of the building, as though the building was a bag of light, whose body was perforated with needle. Flowery shingles rounded the wall, where the creamy paint failed to touch. And just beside every window, was a balcony, whose dentil was lined with climbers of blinking light.
“I see no sign of trouble” Matt said. He was leaning on one of the street poles, whose light in comparison with the buildings was dim. His eyes still held that admiration, for the myriad of buildings had an unfailing splendor. Its pride was incomparable. The designer really blessed this place with his golden touch.
“Am certain I heard her cry for help. The real problem should be how to locate her,”
“Ema once told me in class that she and Pinna shares the fifth floor, in the first generation building.” Matt replied thoughtfully.
“Wow, you mean she invited you to her room? What’s the twentieth rule of the academy concerning visitation of opposite sex” Jeff raised his eye brow. He wanted to laugh, but seeing the look on Matt’s face, he restrained himself.
“Rules, I wish I could obey them.” Matt frowned as he eased his weight from the pole and walked towards the direction of the building, searching the roof tops. Jeff elevated his gaze too and followed behind. With reference to what Matt had said, it made their search easier. The hostel was structured like rings touching each other; with nothing to differentiate one from the next.
“There, I think that’s it” Jeff pointed ahead at one of the tall building. It was difficult to see it from this point, where the roof of one of the building was obstructing, but with a little shift in the position of the body, one would notice the white letters, boldly attached to what appeared to be the front wall.
“Sure is” Matt said and activated his H-board. The letters on the building spelt FIRST GENERATION OF THE EAGLE’S CLAW, and on it, one balcony stood in isolation, almost like a spot on a batch of flour.
“Wait” Jeff cautiously held his friend. “What if she really is in trouble, what do we do, how do we explain ourselves?”
“I don’t know; let’s make sure she is okay. Stake me, I pray she is. We will maintain the shadows so no one would see us, especially Mrs. Jessica April, Ema told me she parades the night, doing the job of the night prefects.” Matt shoulder was tense as he walked into his hovering board and plummeted carefully in the shadows of the night, avoiding the beams of the white light.
Jeff grumbled and soared behind him, his head was really trying to cook up what he would say if Ema really was in trouble. The fact that he now hears people’s cries in his head was cold clothing. What if he was misinterpreting his own voice with that of others? No, he knew better. Unless he is going insane, he is sure he still recognizes his own subconscious mind. The voices in his head occasionally come like whispers of too many people, saying different things all at the same time. It hadn’t been unique until the last few days; Ema’s cry for help, showed that something was definitely wrong with him. It would have been better if he knew what, because, the throbbing each cries brings, was a testimony that he really need to get rid of it and fast.
The pane of the glass window was open when they finally made it to the poorly lit room. Matt was the first to sneak inside and Jeff followed behind. They were both welcomed with the stack paper air of the small room, whose pile of books, were in disarray on the top of a table, sitting at the center, with two chairs looking upon each other with their legs. The door of the closet hung open from one end, and clothes littered the rug floor and bed.
“What happened here?” Jeff asked. His boot crushed something on the floor and made him lift his gaze to the ceiling. The light bulb was broken. It was difficult to make out the every feature, but he noted that the pictures on the walls were in shred too.
“Nothing good” Matt said. He was standing over the wardrobe now, tying to pick out meaning.
“Maybe a fight, or struggle with the prefect”
“That makes sense. If Ema was in some kind of trouble it’s definitely with the prefects”
“What do we do then, what next?”
“What next? I don’t know. But I think we should head back to our block before the nights prefect notice our absence.” Matt said with a hard face and turned back to the window. It was then that Jeff noticed the metal in his hand. It was a dagger.
“Wait” Jeff whispered and held Matt’s wrist firmly “Think about it Matt, if –
“Jeff, did… you… see that?” Matt asked in panic and held up his dagger.
Jeff must have felt it too as he turned behind and saw rays of blue light, escaping through the razor slit of the single door in the room. The light rays were not constant; they were pulsing gently, softly and quietly.
Jeff stared at his friend with wide mouth. “You were right Jeff, Ema might be in danger” He heard Matt whispered softly with fear, but did not cower away. Both boys moved forward, slowly and quietly. But for the echo, the noise in the hallway would have drowned the cracking sound of the door. Yet everything remained unmoved as they turned the knob and walked stealthily into the next room.
Apart from the pulsing of the blue light, the room was totally dark. A body with full lock of hair was laying back first on a large four footed bed, and on her head were two hands glowing with blue light.
“Get away from her” Matt rushed and pushed the boy with glowing hands. Jeff switched on the light and relaxed his tensed muscles.
“What in the five square do you think you are doing Harmzold?” Matt queried. The dagger in his hands was nowhere to be seen.
“She needed it, she would have died if I hadn’t come here immediately” Ham defended.
“Is that the best you can come up with? Because that’s not the way to answer a straight question” Matt stared darkly at the boy who was almost the same height with him.
“Matt, calm down, we don’t want to draw the nucleus of the school to this point.” Jeff said and placed a hand on the shoulders of his angry friend, but Matt refused to back down.
“I won’t calm down until Ham tells me why he was touching and roman…” Matt swallowed the last part when he noticed the slight change on Ham’s expression. “…Are you sure you didn’t drug her or something?” he hunched over Ema like a doctor, trying to check her body temperature and pulse. Ham had already gone black with white knuckles.
“What do you take me for Matt? If Ema is sleeping as you claim, don’t you think she should have woken up” Ham asked “That” he pointed at another body lying on the floor, with black blood staining the carpet. “Is why I am here, Pinna called me because she knows I could use my healing glow to stop Ema from dying. Now, you see am not trying to take advantage of her? A little trusts Matt, just a fragment.”
Jeff noticed the embarrass look that Matt covered with a sigh, but said nothing. Matt had left the bed where the unconscious Ema was and was now squatting over the dead body on the floor. The body was like a decayed skeleton, its dark hair was scanty and on its moon face, underneath its left eye, was a black tattoo that ran down its cheek.
“What is this?” Jeff asked, but that question was answered by the opining door as Pinna walked in with three Sol-X. Jeff’s eyes followed the girl’s hand as they handed the Sol-X to Ham. It was the hundredth time he was seeing it, but he couldn’t help the thought. They use the Sol-X to stored solar energy, a reserved energy that enables them to use the lambent of vale in a sunless domain. How can a little pen-like device as the Sol-X, hold so much power? How does it feel to actually extract and glow? Jeff watched as Ham took the Sol-X and sat down on one of the chair; he placed his hands on it and closed his eyes. Nothing odd seemed to be happening, but the obvious fact was that Ham’s breathing lowered as they lifted his diaphragm outward and inward.
“That is a dark army” Pinna said as she stood before the two squatting. She had a brown book and was flipping over the pages. “It is called the damned.” She explained “A solder of the dark force, which appeared once in human history, when lord Tyrust and his beloved friend Donald, battled the Ageless demon.”
“How come it’s here? History said Lord Tyrust destroyed every last of darkness, which led to the end of the world and birth of Anadan” Jeff asked and stood up with Matt. They paired their eyes with Pinna and watched the drawings on the book. The only different was that the creature on the book had a single wing.
“I don’t know, I was discussing with Ema about the grad party” Pinna looked at Matt when she said this “And this creature came out of nowhere and seized Ema. A single touch and Ema slumped like a heavy bag. Thank the five squares Ham came immediately he received my text.” Pinna shivered as all eyes went to Ham who stood up and stretched himself. He paid no attention to the three, but rather went straight to Ema’s bed and placed his right hand on her forehead.
“Would that be enough, or should I get more Sol-X?” Pinna asked Ham who was humming silently with closed eyes. There were no blue lights or glow this time, everything appeared normal.
“No, the energy I absorbed from the other is enough.” Ham smiled but did not open his eyes. “Maybe because am still a rookie in this field, but I haven’t encounter any poison as deadly as this. Nothing I can’t handle though.” Silence enveloped the room, until Ema’s cough brought light on their faces.
“If this were to be the land of the dead, I would be happy that the spirits of my friends are watching over Me.” she smiled and sat up. Jeff felt his spirit lifting with joy as he sauntered towards the bed and watched the girl. She looked so fragile and beautiful as always.
“Oh shut it you mother sucking under grown little child.” Pinna said trying to fake an angry tone.
Ema laughed “Did I hang your concern heart on the moon?”
“You sure did. Scare me like that again and I will skin your PP brain and feed it to the dust of the street” Pinna said and hugged Ema
“PP, Hmm, what’s that, Precious Princess?” Ham asked bemused by the acronym.
“Never mind, Ema understands” Pinna said with a smile.
“PP is a street name for Pick-Pockets” Ema said laughing
“Oh!!!” Jeff exclaimed as he remembered the first day they came to the academy. Pinna had held her money pulse after embracing Ema. Matt and Ham must have gotten a flash back too as they laughed at the hilarious acronym.
“Why did it attack me?” Ema asked after the laughter must have died down. The rest of the group took their focus back to the creature, which was turning to dust as the clock ticks by.
“It didn’t attack you; it was looking for something or someone, but definitely not you.” Pinna said “Here” she pointed at the brown old book, which was like a journal. “It says that the damned are carnivorous creatures that do not kill at random unless instructed. They are men made from total darkness and can live for thousands of years” Pinna’s eyes strode down to the last sentence which were written in bold letters “Here it says, the damned are creatures sent by the dark one to destroy the Blaze”
“The blaze? I wonder who she might be.” Matt said
“Me too, the question here should be what we are going to do with this, ‘Damned army” Jeff pointed “Huh, the name sulks”
“We should report to the school authority?” Pinna suggested with her huge eyes flickering from one person to the next.
“NO” the three boys said simultaneously.
“Relax you three, I was only joking. Besides, before the authority comes, this creature must have disintegrated completely to nothing.”
“I suggest we keep this to ourselves” Ham said and the other four nodded their heads, just as the last part of the creature, disintegrated into dust and was carried away by the night’s wind.
As if it was a signal, the emergency bell of the academy chimed.
“Oh no” Jeff panicked, “See you girls in the grand hall” he immediately activated his H-board and jumped out of the window. Ham followed his lead.
“You will be alright?” Matt asked Ema who nodded and smiled at him. He gulped uneasily, activated his hover board and jumped out of the window.