THE SLATE OF VALE PART 5
“WOW!!!” Ham exclaimed
“What is this place?” Pinna finished and held her breathe.
The five walked out of the land Tripler and awed at the sight before them. They were standing on a nation of green vegetation, stretching out as far as the eyes could see. It seemed to be surrounded by beautiful orchards, and flowers, as tall as a Victorian house, standing elegantly, with trimmed edges almost as if they were taped. Hologram goal post, designed like fire rings, were hovering above, just ahead, and ten players in their H-Board, were battling to see the ball go through it. Just where the field had ended, were numerous Air Triplers, departing or landing, like swarms of bees making merry in a h—y hive.
“This place is awesome” Matt exclaimed. Standing closely now, he could see the banner with the blinking character clearly, only that now, he noted that it was actually a hologram board.
They were really taken aback. The environment itself was covered with myriad of sparkling buildings. The asphalt road had cobber stones pedestrian. Apart from the hero’s city, Jeff hasn’t been anywhere in Anadan that had so much beauty. The popularity of the school might have come from its beauty. There were many people too, all dressed in different colors of uniform. Some were marching like military trained solders, while others were playing different kind of musical instrument.
“It’s a welcome party for us.” Pinna waved her hands to a guy who had been staring at her, probably bemused by her height.
“Not for us alone, look there are others too” Ema said. They looked around and saw that others were also landing. It had been a five day’s competition.
“Welcome children, it’s good to see you all made it here, alive and well.” Someone said from behind. It was a brunette woman that was slim and of the same height with Pinna, but not as tall as Mr. William. She wore a gorgeous spectacle which was resting on the bridge of her nose, and fitted into her body was a perfect white suit.
“My name is Jessica April, the dean of studies” The woman said. The smile that painted her face came with little lines, which made her sand color aging skin, tempting to touch. “Hope you enjoyed your trip?”
“Yea… it was fun” Ema replied.
“I thought as much. William might have the hard looks all the time but he is fun to be with” Jessica said as she watched the air Tripler take off.
“Here in the academy” Jessica continued, returning her gaze to the five “the first thing every fresh man should know is that there is only one rule, and that rule is for you to ‘always obey the new rule” Jessica’s smile widen “Now, your new rule for today is to do whatever you are told to do.” She sighed heavily and adjusted the collar of her suit “having said that, the five of you would follow me to the principal’s office, he would like to have a word or two with you.”
What kind of rule is that? Pinna grumbled.
Jeff and his companion followed her quickly into one of the tall building. The building was more like a museum. It had different legendary pictures, artifacts, plaques on the wall, accolades and monument of past heroes. The new students stared in wonder. Jeff on his own part saw his coming to the Heroes academy as a dream come true. He had read books about this school; seen pictures and watch it on the TV. He never thought for once that he would one day see these things physically.
“I can’t believe we are in Dustin’s gallery, the pictures in the books had it all right.” Ham said.
“That must be the Lady Hara, the wife of Lord Donald.” Jeff pointed at the statue of a woman holding a child with one hand and a sword with the other.
“I will be like her someday. Brave. Fearless. Courageous.” Pinna said proudly, to the amusement of Matt and Ham.
“What’s funny?” she asked.
“Take a good look at that statue and the picture over there. Does any of it shows that Lady Hara was five thousand feet tall?” Ham asked.
“AM NOT FIVE THOUSAND FEET TALL” Pinna defended angrily
“Or does it show that she had eyes so large that it could see through a person soul?” Matt added and he and Ham burst into hot laughter.
“Shut it both of you. We are here.” Ema warned.
They had rounded a bend and came into a hallway. Mrs. Jessica knocked twice on one of the metal door and they all walked in. Their steps echoed through the room, which was very large and almost empty. Its wall was covered with artificial flowers, even the lining pillars were covered from top to bottom. The only part without flower was the floor and the open glass windows. At the far end of the room opposite the door, stood a semicircular table, on it sat six people. They were all dressed in White suit, like ancient scholars with expressionless eyes staring intently at the new comers. Two among them were ladies. With the way the hall was arranged, one could guess it, as a place where important meetings were held.
“Welcome to the Heroes academy.” The man sitting in the middle said. Mrs. Jessica had left the children standing in the center of the hall, a little pace away from the semicircular table. Jeff stared at the table and recognized the one sitting at the left side. It was the same man from the Heroes city. The one he had admired. The man still had that gentle air about him. What is he doing here or are these, the people who had sent him to organize the competition? Jeff couldn’t tell for sure.
The man in the middle who had spoken earlier, wiped his brow with clean white linen. He appeared to be the oldest in the group, with gray dark hair and clean shaved beard.
“My name is Abel Manim. I’m the principal of this academy. Before we accept you into this institution we would like to run some test.”
“Wait, TEST? Like in the lab?” Pinna asked.
“Watch your tongue young lady, you speck only when are spoken to” Abel bellowed.
“Excuse me sir, is that a new rule?” One of the women sitting on the table asked. She had papers scattered in front of her.
“Yes, write it down” Abel replied.
The new students stared at them with confusion. Was this how rules are made in the so-called, best Academy of Anadan?
“You will be taken to your dormitories once you pass the test. Any question before we proceed?” Abel asked calmly.
“Yes” Matt’s hands went up in the air. “What if we fail the test?”
“You will be sent home” Abel said coldly as if bored.
A small table was set before them by some uniformed ladies, and on the top of the table was a white candle. The flames were out and the thread of the candle signified that it had already been used. One of the uniformed women drew a circle on the marble floor, around the table where the candle was kept. She must have used a paint spray because, the white fluid appeared boldly on the frictionless marble.
“Pinna Nin. Please step into the circle” One of the uniformed woman said. Pinna didn’t move an inch until she got a ‘try it’ looks from her friends.
Immediately she stepped into the perimeter of the circle to where the candle was kept, the candle turned red and burst into red hot flames.
“Cool” Pinna exclaimed as she watched the burning flames.
“Eagles claw” Mr. Abel said with boredom.
“Eagle’s claw, what does that mean?” Pinna asked with confusion written all over her sweating face.
“It’s the house you now belong to. A house for the Red glowers, where you would be taught how to use the extracting power of speed.” One of the women took the protesting Pinna out of the hall. Pinna wouldn’t have gone with her had she not promise Pinna, that she would see her friends again.
“Emazita Long” The other woman called. Just like Pinna, the candle turned red with red flames. Ema also was taken away to the Eagle’s claw. It was then that Jeff observed the five other people in the room. They were dressed in a well design uniform. Each bearing the color of the five glows of Anadan. There were the Reds, the Blues, the Silvers, the Grays and the magnificent Golds. Their uniforms were all black, but each has its own color trend running on each side of the uniform, on their arms and collars, and the uniform appeared to be more of a battle gear.
“Harmzod Sylvester” Ham walked into the circle with boldness. The candle this time became blue, with deep blue flames.
“A healer” whispered one of the uniform women standing behind Jeff.
“Dove’s scale” The principal shouted with a tiny fragment of enthusiasm etched on his voice. He sounded as though he was happy to find a blue. One of the students with blue trends on his uniform took Ham out of the hall.
Jeff shivered with fear. He had been too busy studying other people that he hadn’t pause to think of what to expect when called upon. What color would the candle be? He stepped into the circle with eyes closed, as if expecting something to happen out of the blue.
“A gray, take him to the Gray’s hoe.” Jeff opened his eyes when he heard that, he was disappointed as well as the principal, why are the grays treated with utter contempt. The candle appeared unchanged and dead. There was no flame to make it alive.
Jeff shook his head as he walked out of the parameter. He was never happy being born a gray. When others would be out there learning how to extract powers from the sun, he would be in the garden tending crops. That’s what the grays were significant for. It really frustrated him that he might spend his years in this school studying plant and animal feed. Matt came out almost immediately and fell in step with Jeff. None of them said a word as they walked behind the boy who took the lead.
Back in the hall, the six people in white suits sat alone with troubled looks plastered all over their faces and exhaustion too.
“That’s the last group to arrive and the last for this year.” Announced the secretary; She wore calm posture different from the rest sitting on the table. The Principal stood up and paced the room. He seemed to be in deep thoughts.
“We are running out of time sir” a man named Fred said. “For how long are we going to search for him?”
“As long as there is breathe rushing through our lungs.” The principal replied not looking at either of them.
“But sir, we have spent all our resources trying to find him” a woman named Stella said. She shrugged uncomfortably “Now am calling it him, we don’t even know the gender. I think it’s time we start looking
For his touch bearer as well, or to create awareness so the people will engage in the search?” She finished.
The principal paused for a second then shook his head.
“No, we can’t risk that. What if we are wrong, it would only bring false hope. The revelation itself said they would come like a mighty twin star in the night’s cloud. No one knows what that means. But we should hope to find him first before any of the foreseen tragedy befalls him. What do you think Alex?”
“Well” the man called Alex sat up and cleared his throat. It was the same man who conducted the competition in the Heroes city. “I have nothing to say, I only have one question. How are you so certain that he would come to the academy? He might be out there, somewhere.”
The principal shrugged as if suddenly cold
“Just instinct; I believe we would find him, if not we are all doomed.