by Gracie Jane
I just realized that I have no time to post this tomorrow as I have to leave for my spring break trip at 6 AM… Eek.
Also I apologize for originally saying this would likely be posted on Monday. Please forgive my schedule, ha!
I also didn’t have any time to make a thumbnail like a usually do, please forgive me for that!
Drop some feedback, maybe leave a like if you feel like it, and please enjoy! I’ll be in the mountains and probably won’t have good connection via my phone, so the next chapter may take a little bit, maybe even two weeks 😬. See you then!
The morning was a flurry of excitement. Immediately, wondered Where am I? Where’s my clearing?, but then I remembered that today, the kids and I would be taken to Oakmer Academy. Getting up, I felt completely rested even though the motel mattress felt like a rock.
Actually, it probably was a rock.
Wandering around the room, I noticed a shower in the bathroom. I hopped in it; There’s a first time for everything! Fairies had magic systems that didn’t require water. The human shower felt a bit more steady, while the fairies’ cleaned themselves by being blasted with magic freshwater waves in short successions.
After the shower, I changed into a different outfit, an orange short sleeve shirt made out of autumn leaves, and pants also made out of leaves, but this time green. I then brushed my hair and put it into a simple braid. I thought I looked pretty good. The Loster fairies always told me that fall colors suit me.
I walked outside of my motel room, just in time to see Kenna leaving her’s, too. She had her blonde ponytail back up, and was wearing hot pink everything. The color hurt my eyes, but she somehow managed to pull it off.
“Hey, Kenna,” I greeted, still a bit shy.
“Hi, Amaranda!” She waved, then did a cartwheel in the grass. “Wanna get some breakfast? One of the rich kids, Brady, said he would buy us some navarite croissants from the bakery!”
“Uh… Navarite croissants?” I questioned, remembering the tiny bugs that had attacked me the day before.
“Oh, not actual navarites, but their goopy, blueberry stuff! Smeared all over croissants! Super good.”
“Croissant?” I asked. Fairies have their own breakfast delicacies, and croissants aren’t often on menus at the natural colony sites.
“You… haven’t had a croissant before?! It’s amazing bread and dang! How have you not had one?” Kenna honestly seemed offended.
I wasn’t convinced, but it was free food. We met up with the other kids and walked across the street to the Little Lou’s, a cafe known especially for its navarite croissants. Brady, who was a cousin of the Torrent Stride’s royalty, had a crowd of students behind him in line for their croissant. The line moved pretty quickly, and Kenna explained that Brady, being ever the planner, had called earlier to let them known and pay in advance.
“Pst, Amaranda! Get in front of me. You poor thing, never had a croissant! Those fairies don’t know how to raise a child,” Kenna urged me. I laughed and got in front of her as prompted.
A minute later, I arrived at the counter. A cheery server in a baby blue apron smiled at me and reached into a box from behind the counter. A smile peeked out against my will. They had prepared a whole box of croissants for us!
The server handed me a buttery pastry in the shape of a crescent moon, smothered in blue creme. I licked my lips, causing Kenna to grin even more from behind me.
I thanked the server, then stepped out of line. Kenna followed me after getting her croissant, and we sat outside on the grass with the rest of the kids.
I raised the croissant to my lips. It smelled like home- Er, Loster Wood. A million blueberries seemed to dance around my nose, and a sweet smell made it seem like it was about to burst into delicious pieces. I poked the tip of it in my mouth, some navarite goo leaking onto my finger. I bit into the croissant. Yum! The buttery crescent moon mingled perfectly with the blueberry taste.
Kenna smugly looked at me, licking her fingers. “Told you you’d like it.” I was too busy eating to make a snarky reply.
For the rest of the morning, we all pretty much goofed off. We knocked on some local students’ parents’ doors, then ran away before they saw us. We had races on the grassy plains and climbed trees. For the first time, I found myself playing with other kids my age and size. Some of the more ‘mature’ kids stayed out, but I had to catch up on being a human girl. It was super fun, even if athletic Kenna won 99.9% of the time.
Back in Loster Wood, it was hard to find a fun game. Everyone had their own clearings, and even if they ever did exchange trees for wooden houses, the fairies had magic and the reflexes to catch the one demonic little fairy child. The fairies had wings and wouldn’t even be able to play games fairly against me if they wanted to. With winged fairies as my competitors, well, it wasn’t much of a competition.
By evening, we were getting antsy and hungry. We had eaten lunch at the Traveler’s Tavern again, but that was a few hours ago, and it wasn’t really very good anyways. Our stomachs were craving dinner, although we knew from stories that dinner served at Oakmer, especially the dinner before the first day of school, is always splendidly prepared.
Tuckered out from a sprint race, which Kenna had finished ten seconds before anyone else, we laid down on the grass. Butterflies danced in the blue sky, and my painting was softened by the sound of the gentle breeze.
One of the “too cool kids for games” stepped out from under a tree. He shyly waved at me, black clothes screaming “emo”. “Hey. I’m Oliver.”
I looked at him quizzingly, studying his dark skin and strange outfit. “Uh, hi.”
He sheepishly grinned slightly and said, “You look nice.”
“Oh, you too,” I replied in the standard fairy response to the standard fairy greeting. I saw nothing unusual, though he turned around and covered a huge smile. However, Kenna demanded answers.
“You like him? That’s Oliver Smith, one of those bad boys! He…” She gulped. “It’s said that he has some rings that summon dark, like, shadow spirits! And what kind of unmarried, young boy wears rings?”
“No, I don’t like him. I don’t dislike him, though. We just met! Plus, I find emo boys distasteful,” I admonished. I also didn’t know that the term “like” sometimes meant to have a crush on someone, though I had heard his name earlier. We had knocked on his parents’ door and pranked them.
“Well, I’m pretty sure he likes you. Look!! His shadow is doing something weird,” Kenna said. Sure enough, I looked over and saw his shadow facing our direction, though he himself was turned around, and it was making little heart signs with his hands.
“Uh…” I said in a freaked out, distrustful voice. “Where do you get the term ‘bad boy’ from, by the way?”
“Oh, he has some unpredictable anger issues sometimes…”
Before I could ask her to elaborate, I heard a shout from behind. “Oakmer Academy students! Please assemble here,” a loud voice yelled.
We all ran over to where a few professional-looking adults stood. A woman with short, auburn hair with streaks of gray spoke.
“Students, I assume you all hope to attend Oakmer this year,” she said, pausing. “However, there is a quick qualification field test. Our older students know this, and I hope they are somewhat prepared to combat their fears again, but the students starting first year will go in ready to overcome the problem quickly.” With that statement, new kids traded worried glances while older kids nodded nervously.
The woman continued. “If you would like to quit your entrance exam, which will bar you from entering the school, you will simply use dust that we will soon be distributing. This dust will transport you back here. There are no second chances. Does anyone wish to back out now?” She examined us, but no one answered.
“Good. Once you complete the exam, you will find more dust, which will be alike to the vials we are presently handing out.” The two other teachers accompanying her were giving students glittery maroon vials of dust.
“Please do your best. Do not take over thirty minutes. Do not mess this up, or you will have to retry next year,” the auburn haired lady said.
A bald teacher handed Kenna and I a vial each, like the speaking lady had shown us. I thanked him with a faint smile.
Kids began to pick up the chatter again. Another girl walked over to where Kenna and I were standing. She apparently knew Kenna. Wait, does Kenna know everyone?
“I’m scared,” the girl said. I guessed she was a first year, like us. Her cute floral dress puffed out as her skinny, brown legs shook.
“Pft, we’ve got this,” Kenna replied determinedly, though she had paled a bit. I preferred her hot pink attire paired with a healthy, courageous medium complexion, not her palish look she sported.
The girl looked unsure. “K… I don’t want to do this! I’m honestly really freakin’ worried. But if I chicken out, I’ll be that odd one out who couldn’t do it!!” She looked like she was on the verge of a panic attack now.
“Lu, you can do this! I believe in you,” Kenna gave a wavering confident smile.
I wasn’t sure what to think, so I just stood in silence. Combat your fears, the woman had said. What did that mean? Was that supposed to be literal? What were my fears?
“Amaranda, what do you think about this entrance exam stuff?” Kenna asked.
“I… don’t know what to expect,” I pondered.
After giving us a minute to talk (or panic mutually), the lady snapped her fingers. My throat closed up, as did everyone’s. She addressed us, and said, “Children, may I wish you good luck. Goodbye for now.” She snapped her fingers again, causing the world to blink and all of the kids to disappear, including me.