THE SLATE OF VALE PART 4
The Heroes academy
The fifth day came like a whirl wind, the day that marks the end of the entrance examination into the Heroes academy. To Matt, it was the happiest day of his life. It was a day that signals his freedom from bondage. He was free like a bird in the sky. A part of him he knew would miss all about this place, but the part that wanted to get away was more demanding.
After handling the house documents to his ungrateful family, he was surprise to see how delighted his mother was. She had locked him in a tight embrace and helped him packed his stuff. She was too quick to let him go. ‘Three less stomach to feed’ She had said, when Kyle had asked her, what she was up to.
Matt had left the house and had soared directly to Jeff’s home, which was four blocks away. Both boys had rushed to the RCD – ruling control department – station, where they bought a flight ticket to the Glass City. Now, they sat side by side on the front row, in the cylindrical air shuttle – which had one entrance at the back. They were waiting anxiously for the pilot, who was discussing with his co-pilots, at the far end of the station.
“So what did she say when you handed the document to her” Jeff asked Matt, regarding the incident with his mother.
“At first, she was furious that I had participated in the race, but when she saw the document, she had hugged me with joy and for the first time in my life, I heard her called me a hardworking boy. Am happy you know,” Matt smiled “But sad as well, I can’t believe she compared three stomachs to mine.” Matt chuckled but Jeff burst with hot laughter.
“Laugh, you stick head” Matt jammed his elbow into Jeff’s rib. “I see no reason why people can’t just understand my simple stomach.”
“Perhaps your definition of simple is different from what people are accustomed to”
Jeff’s laughter made his eyes drift to the glass window. He observed as people were ushered and directed to their respective motor or out of it by their assigned Keepers. Everything was in order, no chaos or noise was heard as one might expect from a dense crowd, the scraping of boots against the marble and the beeping sounds emanating from the human-like-droids, called The Keepers, were the only noise disturbing the silent peace.
“The king wants a perfect society, there are no flaws or complain to what these people are doing” Jeff observed as the laughter died.
Matt followed his gaze and nodded in agreement.
“True, it looks perfect”
“Excellent; I would say. Even The laws of physics says that no machine is hundred percent efficient. So too, I strongly believe that no governmental system is without flaws, where there is order, the entity chaos has a hut”
“You did not just quote princess Ada” Matt asked, surprised at how well Jeff had quoted the historic Princess from the book ‘Ada Pride Of Alaocha.’
“Sure, what do you expect; I have been reading that book like forever”
Matt laughed. “I never read pass the prologue you know”
“Because, I can’t stop feeling sorry for Ada when her lover left her, I always pity her. It sometimes makes me wonder if some men have brains at all. How can a man in his right senses, treat a lady with such discontent? Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that people no longer value the gift of love anymore, lust is easily displacing it”
“Says the guy who just left home and had his mother crying, all because he was going to the greatest academy in Anadan”
“Jeff!!” Matt exclaimed. “It’s like you are sitting on your ears. I never told you my mom came to the valley of tears because I was leaving, she was all smiles”
“Oh, remind me what she compared your stomach with again” Jeff asked not able to control the laughter
“I am not talking to you again” Matt said. He was trying to make a face, but it was difficult, he too couldn’t control the laughter building inside him.
“Good morning guys”
The laughter died slowly, as the two boys turned their attention to the direction of the new comer. She was standing about two paces away from them, in a sleeveless crimson blouse, with yellow trends running on the rim and on the sides. Her hair was tired in a ponytail and her little red lips appears to dull the color of her sleeveless blouse.
“Hi Emazita, hope you don’t mind if I call you Ema?” Matt managed to say. He could feel his short blonde hair standing on his head, this girl is heavenly adored.
“Definitely not, besides, that’s what most people call me.” Ema shrugged “Mind if I sit beside you?” she asked.
“Off course” Matt replied and made room for her to sit beside him, not minding the fact that the question had been directed to Jeff.
“It’s good to know you didn’t return to Zapper city, traveling with Matt is a torment” Jeff said with a smile.
“Hey, I’m not the boring type,” Matt protested, but was ignored.
“I couldn’t, going back to Zapper is too expensive and besides, who wouldn’t stay here forever? This city is heavenly beautiful.” Ema said
“Is it as beautiful as the seven-rose hall of Zapper?” Matt asked
“Well, it’s hard to tell, but I prefer it here in the Heroes city”
“Why, because of the beauty?” Jeff asked
“Yeah, and because of the tidiness, I took out sometime to walk around yesterday. There are no slums, no street beggars and the city has a good drainage system, unlike other cities in Anadan”
Silence envelope them for a while
“What’s the version of your H-Board” Ema asked, breaking the silence. She carefully took Jeff’s Hover Board from his laps and studied its streamline body as though it were some kind of trophy.
“RCD 23-64” Jeff replied.
“That’s an old version” Ema frowned. “How come you won that race, I had the lead with a neck breaking distance”
“Jeff is an amazing racer; he had been racing since he was ten. As at that time, this H-board was too big for him.” Matt replied and laughed.
“TEN?” Ema asked and Matt nodded “That’s an older age”
Matt frowned “What do you mean”
“I started my first boarding lesson at the age of seven, even at that I could not manage the glow of speed rushing through my body. How did you do it Jeff?” Ema asked and Matt observed; her voice was tender and lovely.
“To be frank Ema, I don’t really know” Jeff replied plainly. “It just happened”
“You were amazing in that race Jeff; really good… and… sorry for being nosy though, we barely know each other, I don’t expect you trust me.”
Jeff opened his mouth to argue, to tell her that that was not the case, to tell her that he actually meant what he said, but he was interrupted.
“Hi everyone” said a tall slim girl. She was in a white T-shirt and pale blue trousers, her dark hair flows behind her and her face was filled with emerald green eyes, as huge as that of an ostrich. She towered over the boy standing beside her, with a blue H-Board under his arm.
“PINNA” Ema exclaimed as she rushed into the open arms of the girl. It was like rapping your hands around a tall tree
“Ema, it’s good to see you after all these years.” The girl called Pinna said as she returned the hug and held her money purse tightly.
Ema smiled at her warmly “You haven’t forgotten that, have you?” She asked.
“No I haven’t, the last one didn’t end well did it?”
Both girl stared at each other, all traces of friendliness gone, and at the look of things, it seemed either of them might raise a fist any moment.
“Good morning kids. My na – ”
Someone said but trailed off when he noticed the uncomfortable air in the plane. “Do we have a problem here?” The man’s eyes flickered from one person to the next
“No, we were just getting along” Pinna said as she broke the gaze and sat down behind Jeff.
“Okay, if that’s the case, I bet we should get going.” The man finished. That was when Jeff recovered from the shock of the girls and took the appearance of the man in.
He was almost the same height as Pinna, but was very huge. His broad shoulders were covered with muscles, from his arms to his broad chest. The black RCD pilot uniform he wore seemed way too small for a man his size, making him appear more of a bouncer than a pilot. The barge of an eagle clutching a snake was emblazoned perfectly on his chest, with nothing to show his linage or the clan he belongs to.
“And by the way my name is William, and I will be at your service today.” The man smiled and walked straight to the cockpit. He was raking his sweating palms on his low cut hair.
“Seriously” Ema laughed and sat down “You really know how to put up a scene Pinna”
“Shut it Zita, this is not funny” Pinna said faking an angry tone.
“What’s wrong with you two, this minute you are staring at each other like hungry lions and the next minute you are behaving like two atoms in a covalent bond.” The other boy that had come in initially with Pinna said.
He was in blue, from his top to his trousers. Even his hair was dyed blue. It reminds Matt of his two brothers. But this boy was more handsome than Kyle or Tim. With lovely cheek bones and sun glowing skin. He was way younger though, about the same height with Jeff, but a shoulder length with Pinna.
“Save your breath Ham. Like I said, we were just getting along” Pinna said not sparing either of them a glance.
“GIRLS” The boy called Ham murmured irritably as he rubbed his brow slightly.
“I never had the opportunity to congratulate you three, especially you Jeff. My name is Harmzod. You can call me Ham” Jeff smiled warmly as the boy introduced himself.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet one from the Blue linage, are you into the healing glow yet?” Jeff asked.
“Nope, am still too young to manage such power. It’s left for older Candanians” Ham replied.
“That’s cool I wish I had one of those powers. You see one thing with the Grays is that age doesn’t really count; everybody must work, even a day old baby is a professional farmer.” Matt sighed.
“And I wish I could be a Gray with no powers at all. You need to see all the lectures and rules leveled up for me by my father.” Ham lamented and sat down.
“Pinna, you said you would teach me how to glow.” Ema said changing the topic.
“You know that’s impossible for anyone who can’t extract, it might destroy you. You will need a whole dose of training if you want to try.”
“You can glow?” Matt asked Pinna with bewilderment, “But you are way too young, how is that possible?”
“Living in the slums can teach you a lot of things.” Pinna adjusted comfortably on her seat.
“FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT; WE TAKE OFF IN FIVE, FOUR, THREE…” Mr. William’s voice echoed on the speaker and the five children hurriedly fastened their belts.
The plane gave a little jerk with a humming sound. Jeff was happy to travel again by an air Tripler. His first experience had been with his father when he was six. It was a vague memory though but he remembered a little part of it.
“It’s good to be airborne again” Mr. William said some minute later, as he walked into the cabin carrying a tray of hot steaming coffee. He handed each of the students a cup and set the rest on table attached to the wall of the vessel.
“Wait, hope nothing is wrong? Who is controlling this vessel? This is not the part where you tell us to grab a parachute is it?” Pinna asked with eyes threatening to bulge out of her skull.
“Ha-ha” the pilot laughed “Haven’t you learn in school that an air Tripler can be operated by a keeper?”
“Oh I see” Pinna said quiet sheepishly
“Mr. William, please, what do you know about the Hero’s academy” Matt asked, trying to pick up a conversation.
The pilot blinked more frequently than normal, out of confusion or surprise, no one can tell.
“I know little about that place kid. But people say it’s a place where dreams come true.” The pilot sipped from his cup. He hadn’t sat down though. He looks like a man who could stand for hours without sitting down. What Jeff really like about the man was the way he speaks, which comes more like a whisper.
“What’s your name” William asked raising his cup towards Jeff.
Jeff shivered. Was I looking at him too intently that he fingered me out? No I doubt; Matt and the others are staring at him too. But why me
“Jeffred Peters sir” He said shyly. Mr. William nodded his head slowly and took one final sip from the cup.
“Have you read the book ‘Blood and Feathers?” He asked.
No, Daddy won’t let me read it Jeff wanted to say. That book in his father’s secret study. His father won’t allow him near his study let alone go near the book. He had warned him though, to stay clear, reasons where unknown to Jeff. He had searched effortlessly for the book after the death of his father but couldn’t find it. If Mr. William knows about the book, then maybe, just maybe he could answer my unanswered question. Some of his friends whose father had allowed the liberty to read the book called it useless. They say the book broadly blabbed about the descendants of the Gold’s, who were the direct blood line of Tyrust the great. That was why they were too strong and powerful
“I have read it.” Ham said “That book is far from interesting; my father nearly staked me for angrily throwing the book into the fire”
“I haven’t” Jeff replied uneasily. He and Matt were the only ones in the plane that hadn’t read the book.
“Just remember this” Mr. William said blinking dozens of times in one second.
“Stay far away from it. As far as you can”
Jeff was confused
“Why” He asked. But Mr. William was already arranging the empty cups on the tray. He appears to be a man of few words.
“Because the book sulks off course” Ema chuckled and the others laughed.
“No. Not that” Mr. William blinked again to the discomfort of Jeff.
“Your connection with that book might bring to life something deadly.”
“WHAT!!!” They all shouted in unison and stared at the pilot who disappeared into the translucent curtain of the door way, which separated the cabin from the cockpit room.
“That was scary” Pinna said
“PLEASE FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT WE ARE ABOUT TO DESEND” Mr. William announced.
From the glass window, the children saw what looks like a banner, and on it were blinking character that reads ‘WELCOME TO THE HERO’S ACADEMY.