stammered. He looked at Scarlett. She looked flushed and awake, with shrunken
pupils and shaking fingers.
"N-no, Sir, you can´t
do that! Please!" Scarlett begged.
"I´m afraid I can,
Scarlett," he said apologetically. "I´m sorry, but you and Felix seem
like the perfect pair."
There were a few giggles and
whistles from the crowd. Scarlett hid her face. Mr Rosselfield threw the
audience a look of annoyance, and a hush fell over them. Felix looked up at the
top rows and saw Chase. He shrugged and sucked in his mouth, hands by his
shoulders, as if to say ´Well, what can you do?´
"Not like that. No, you
two fight similarly. It´s like you already know what the other´s going to
´That´s true´, thought Felix
grimly. He sunk back into the plastic chair that he had sat before Scarlett was
paired with him. He slumped against the back. Tired. Weak. Defeated.
Everyone went in lines back into the common rooms. Felix dragged himself up the
stairs, and flopped on the silk sheets face-down, and moaned groggily. So far,
today wasn´t the best. At least they started on a Friday- tomorrow is the start
of two beautiful days of peaceful bliss. Ahh. Thank god for the wonderful
Nothing to Do Days.
Dusk began to settle over
the grounds of Skothamor Academy. A layer of mist hovered over the
An aura of mystery quietened
the whole of the First Year Moonclaw.
Felix, face still buried in
the silk blankets, didn´t notice Chase quietly approaching him. "Fiducia,
certa, potestatem," Chase whispered, sitting gingerly on the edge of the
bed. Felix turned his head to the side, grunting quizzically. "It means
Reliability, Precision, Power." Chase paused. "It´s the school
Felix sat up and flipped
himself over, resting on his elbows. "Is this supposed to be
Chase shrugged. "Sort of...?"
Felix noticed Ace on the
double of his section on the other side of the platform. He was joking and
laughing with his mates, and he briefly heard the name ´Scarlett´. Felix
decided that he didn´t particularly like Ace.
a series of tones increasing in pitch sounded from the cone-shaped speaker.
"Dinner time, First
Years!" trilled a sugary voice over the speaker. "Please form an
orderly line outside your common rooms, and your mentors will come down to lead
you. Thank yooou! *ding-ding-ding-diiiing!*"
There was a bustle of feet
and flailing limbs as all the boys clambered down the stairs. When they all
squished out the door, the girls looked upon them with a look of disgust and
contempt, as they continued to stand in a perfectly formed line. A girl, with
bouncy blonde hair and pearl-white teeth that were constantly displayed in a
sweet smile, was standing in front of them.
"Hello!" she sang in the same sickeningly sweet voice from the tannoy
machine. "Sorry that your Mentor couldn´t address you, boys! He´s
currently busy, but he´ll be along soon. By the way, I´m Emilie! Hiyaaah! I´m
going to be the mentor for the girls! I was in First Year Moonclaw, too! But
now I´m in Elite Moonclaws, which means it´s my Ninth Year here, and I was
elected mentor for the first years! How sweet is that?!" she squealed. She
was dressed in a gaudy neon shirt with puff sleeves underneath light-blue
dungarees, and electric-turquoise converses. She was a bit too screamy and
giggly for Aster, but she seemed a hit with the other boys.
A taller boy scrambled in
front of the line. Oh, god...Bailey!
Emilie managed to maintain
her perfect smile, but embarrassment seemed to play her pink lips.
"Sorry! Sorry, it won´t
happen again, I prom-" his eyes fell to Scarlett, who was seriously
struggling to stop herself from running to him screaming. His pupils dilated with ecstasy. "You
got into Moonclaw...I´m so proud of you, sis." he breathed loudly. She
smiled with pride. Felix could see Scarlett whispering to all her classmates,
"He´s my brother." "You see him? He´s my big bro!" "Do
you have a brother? I do! There he is."
Next Bailey´s eyes found
Felix. Oh, joy.
"Ah, there he is! I was
hoping I´d see you here!" he came over next to Felix. "Hey, I´m
hoping you´ll be good company for my little sis."
Felix shrugged. "I
guess that´s one way you can put it."
Felix gasped in awe when he walked into the Great Hall once more- but this
time, a long wooden table ran through the middle, laden with rainbow-coloured
jellies, beautifully decorated cakes, plates piled with profiteroles and glossy
chocolate syrup, crackly, golden ducks, muffins bejewelled with glacier
cherries, and more delightful feasts.
Scarlett had already claimed
her seat, and the two either side for Bea and Celeste. Felix noticed that she
was careful to sit nearest to the 4-tier red velvet cake.
Mr Rosselfield stepped up to
the podium to give a motivational speech before the meal, though Felix was sure
that no one was listening, and all eyes were anxiously glancing at the Red
"Please note that the
food is to share," Sir said solemnly. "If you do want some food, you
need only ring the bell nearest to you to call upon the Hetrae." A line of
rosy-cheeked cooks lined up against the wall smiled cheerily. Each had the
white apron and cap, and plain black dress, and dull brown hair tied into a
messy topknot. They were all identical. "The Hetrae are clones we produce
especially for the school. They will perform any given order- except for the
ridiculous ones." He smiled, without humour. “Now, children, I will warn
you once more, the things you will see at this school are things worse than the
horrors in the pit of your nightmares. You will witness death, pain,
imprisonment. You will have to take the lives of others. Yes, grim things will
happen, my students. That´s why you must be prepared. This world seems too
perfect, doesn´t it? Not even a third world war yet. If you think about it,
there are many things that should be fought for- oil, land, life. Why does this
hardly ever happen?" Mr Rosselfield shouted. He leaned on his podium
tensely. "Because the government leave us to do it. Different, unworldly
matters, too. We have sorcery. We have weapons. We have monsters. We have
YOU." He pointed at a random girl in the audience.
"Yes! And you- and you,
and you! All of you!" he shouted, gesturing at the whole room. He calmed
down a little and exhaled. "Yes. We need you youths to fight for us. We´re
too old to wave cutlasses about. We need younger flesh and blood. You will
learn many great things along the way. Yes, even sorcery!" the whole crowd
murmured in excitement. "Thank you, all. Enjoy your feast." with a
dismissive wave of his hand, he turned and walked over to one of the teacher´s
dining tables. The students broke into chatter.
"Is he mad?" Felix
"In a good way." Bailey smiled. "He´s my idol, you know. One of
the best warriors when he was younger."
Scarlett rang a bell for a
Hetra. It heaved it´s plump body over to her at a surprisingly fast pace- when
everyone noticed that they had tiny bat wings fluttering on their back. Not
enough to make them airborne, but enough to speed themselves up a little when
"Um, hello." Felix
smiled nervously at the portly woman. She smiled blankly with a cheery face,
and everyone couldn´t help grinning back. It´s like their happiness was
"Can I have some duck,
please? Gravy, too." The Hetra waddled surprisingly fast over to the duck,
and sawed through the tender meat, and placed it on Felix´s porcelain dish.
Weird. It was exactly the right amount. She then poured a thick, steamy layer
of gravy on top of the meat, and with a final flourish, she ladled some juicy
roasted vegetables on the side. Smiling widely, she then waddled away to the
Not a single student was
left waiting- each was attended to within 10 seconds. No one knew how the
Hetrae did it, but they weren´t about to question it. They were getting the
best food they had ever eaten, which was proved when each and every pupil
staggered back to their rooms, stuffed with warm profiteroles and roast dinner.