Daily Archives: December 6, 2011
Continued from Here:
The storage unit in the northeast end of the college grounds was crowded with broken tables and desks, old signboards, broken beds from the nurse’s room, brooms, sticks and old faulty cabinets. The only window in the corner was covered with newspapers and little light seeped through. Inches of dust settled over everything. The room had been abandoned for years, simply used as dumpster storage. In the middle of the room stood a boy dressed in school gear, bent over a small glass aquarium feeding goldfish. Only the aquarium and the ground near it were free of the dust that had possessed everything. Faintly, the sound of wings flapping and coming closer could be heard from outside. Moments later, the door opened and a guy, looking in his mid twenties walked in. Dressed formally in a slightly worn black suit and loose tie, he had a small round face with prominent cheeks, small round green eyes and wavy black hair with a bright facial complexion. From his getup and stance, he seemed inferior to the boy standing within the room. The nametag and card on his jacket pocket read “Teacher”. Rubbing his hands together, the boy inside the room looked up from the aquarium and turned to the doorway. Even in the light seeping from the doorway, it was difficult to make out his features.
“Elijah.” The guy in the doorway bowed slightly before straightening. “It’s true. It is her.”
“Morning, Will. So is it true what they say about her?” Elijah asked.
“I cannot say for sure yet.” Will replied. “I don’t think she noticed me.”
“Did you see the familiar anywhere?”
“I couldn’t locate her location. She came out of Downing Street but wasn’t detectable until much later. Hence I didn’t see the familiar.”
“So they’re staying at Downing Street?”
“There’s a group of people that convene there for the bus but who live elsewhere, she could also be from anywhere.”
“Ian’s reputation is well earned it seems.” Elijah smirked. “Is the girl heading here?”
Elijah approached the doorway just as Will stepped back and to the side, lowering his head to a formal bow. Grabbing his bag, Elijah slung it over his shoulder as he stepped outside. His face reflected handsome features. While his eyes were indrawn and a light blue shade, his long straight nose stood out even more because his cheekbones were accented and his face had a straight linear feature with thin lips and a prominent chin. His hair was black and ruggedly curly.
“Is the Council aware?” Elijah asked.
“I doubt they have any suspicions.” Will replied.
“Let’s not let our guard down. Stay sharp and keep an eye on her. Let’s see how things go on ahead. Call for Daniel. I have some errands for him.”
“As you say.” Will said as he straightened and turned to walk away. Turning, Elijah shut the door to the storage and bolted it shut.
Su Ae missed orientation. Or rather, was going to. As soon as she got out of the bus and had her first glimpse of the giant gothic style building in front her, her curiosity was piqued and she wanted to explore it more and she knew the grilling daily class sessions and short breaks would hardly allow for it. Besides, she liked visiting places when they were least crowded and with more than half the campus at orientation, she’d have more freedom and fun. So instead of heading straight for the auditorium, she looked at the map in her hand and headed to her right for the library. She’ll start there and work out all the way towards the class halls in the end. With a smile she put all the papers in her hand except the map back into her bag just as her cell phone rang. It was Ian.
“Yes I’m here already and I’m fine!” She said laughingly as soon as she picked up. She heard Ian’s chuckle on the other end.
“Unfortunately that’s not what I called for. I ran into Annie at the store.” He replied with a smile. “She’s lost her phone apparently and wanted me to ask you to wait for her at the entrance so that both of you can go in together. Orientation isn’t for another 20 mins, right?” Su Ae checked her watch. It was 8:40. “She left a while ago and should be there in ten. You’re also just at the gate?”
“Yes, your timing is impeccable as always. I’ll wait here.”
“You forgot the candles!” Su Ae’s chimed just before she hung up. Ian looked down at the basket in his hand. He had forgotten the candles.
Su Ae hung up the phone and flipped it close in her hand just as she turned back towards the gate when she bumped into someone. For the most fleeting moments, as her phone and the map in her hand dropped to the ground, she felt faint and almost semi conscious. When she tried to look up at the person she had bumped into, all she saw was a fleeting and vague image of something black. Shaking her head, she closed her eyes just as she felt fine again and opened her eyes but this time, there was no one in front of her. Confused, she looked down at her things on the ground.
“Are you alright?” Su Ae turned to the source of the voice a little behind her. It was a teacher; she guessed looking at his suit. He approached her, looking worriedly at her and her things dropped on the ground.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She replied with a smile. “Just dropped my things by accident.”
“You’re a first year too, right? Haven’t seen you around before. Be more careful. There’s usually a lot of rush around this time, anybody can step over your things if you keep dropping them. You’re lucky its orientation today so there aren’t many people around or you’d be saying bye forever to your mobile. Won’t be enough of the map left to say bye to.” he returned the smile as he bent to pick up her map and held it out. She picked her mobile.
“Thanks! Yeah, I’m just waiting for my friend before heading in together.” Su Ae replied as she took the map he held out.
“Then I’ll be your teacher this semester!” He sounded enthusiastic but Su Ae felt something underneath it. “Got to say, I am pretty strict where studies are concerned so don’t slack off in class or work.”
Before Su Ae could respond, she heard Annie call out to her and turned to the gate to see her waving. She waved back.
“See you in class.” The words were out of his mouth before Su Ae could respond to his earlier comments when she turned back to him.
“I’m Su Ae.” She held out her hand for a shake.
He ignored it and started walking away with a smile.
“I’m Will.” He called out behind him. “The campus is too big and you can easily get lost. Be careful of where you tread.”
As she stared at him walking away, Su Ae finally placed what she had been feeling. His last words had helped her place it.
‘A familiar’, she whispered to herself just as Annie caught up with her.
“Sorry I’m late. Forgot a few things.” Annie chimed in.
She wasn’t going to let everything dampen her spirit, Su Ae thought to herself. It was a new beginning. She should make the best of it. Running into a familiar wasn’t even necessarily a bad omen. She had already spent too much of the morning being bleak. It was time to stop ruining things being pessimistic. What was going to come was probably definite, but it wouldn’t kill to take it on with a fun attitude.
“It’s going to be an adventure! Attending school here! Having fun together!” Su Ae turned to Annie with a smile. She felt it. “Let’s rock together.”
Annie smiled in return. “Idiot. Of course we will! So, where to? Knowing you as I do, I’m sure you don’t want to attend the orientation.”
“Let’s explore the place first.”
Elijah had just opened the entrance of the central hall when Will caught up with him. The older guy was panting and had clearly run all the way there.
“You were right.” He told Elijah. “I don’t know if it was the Council or not, but she was attacked just inside the premises. It didn’t look like a very strong attack though.”
Elijah didn’t look surprised as he let go of the hall door.
“What was it?”
“It was gone as soon as I got there, which was early enough. I think she noticed it too.”
“Where is she?”
“Daniel is following her. I think she was heading to the library.”
“I’ll check things out. Bar the premises, will you?” Elijah’s voice had an annoyed tinge to it. “Council or not, I don’t want any more demons getting around. This is irritating!”
“Damn, if only it weren’t for that old geezer!” swore Elijah and with a rolling of his eyes, started towards the exit.
All the while on the walk towards the library, Su Ae felt as if there was someone watching them but whenever she looked around, there were four or five people going about their own business. Annie asked her once if she was looking for someone the fourth time she turned back which made Su Ae blush awkwardly.
“No” she replied just as they opened the library doors and felt a sudden rush of a cold chill.
“Wow, it’s eerily cold in here!” Annie exclaimed.
Su Ae agreed. For a sunny February morning, it was an eerily cold chill.
“Where to first?” she asked Annie as both of them looked around in awe.
The entrance did not do the library justice. As soon as they stepped inside there was an overwhelming feeling of grandness and awe. The ceiling was high, at least thirty five feet and the use of materials gave the spaces a different and olden feeling. Even though the whole campus was little more than a hundred years ago, the library was a picture of rather ancient and conservative times. Su Ae herself was used to such sights but Annie’s open mouthed reaction made her smile. On their left was a grand staircase that led to the mezzanine floor above, the reception at front and the right led to the heart of the library, bookshelves lining the whole floor.
“So, where do you think we should start?” Su Ae asked her.
Pointing to the book stacks on their right; Annie smiled mischievously and hopped away. Su Ae followed with a smile. Five minutes and ten different bookshelves later, Annie finally stopped with several books in her hands.
“Let’s browse through!” she declared as they approached the reading tables. The place was empty. Su Ae noticed the chill but ignored it thinking it was her imagination.
“Are you sure you want to do that now? It could take hours. You’re a bookworm and its -!” Su Ae asked her as she walked behind her, browsing through the pages of a magazine herself until she stumbled on something, cutting her words and fell down.
Confused, she turned back to see what she had happened and saw Annie lying unconscious on the ground by her pile of books, which Su Ae had stumbled on.
“What?” She had barely thought when she heard a sound. A laugh; but what struck her as peculiar was the strange tone of it. She looked around but no one was there.
“Annie?” She turned her attention back to her friend and shook her a few times. “Hey, wake up, what’s wrong? Annie. Annie. Ouch.”
She suddenly grabbed her right upper arm as pain cut through it and felt wetness under her hand. Removing it, she saw blood on her palm and trickling downwards on her arm from a long horizontal cut. Something seemed to have cut it like a knife. Looking at the wound, Su Ae took a deep breath. She realized what was going on. She took her bloodstained hand and kept it in front of her as she looked around and tried to hear. Within moments, she heard the sound again. Reacting quickly, she looked up just as she raised her hand and shouted, “Argenkro!” and invisible to normal human eyes; a light green transparent field surrounded her and Annie.
Barely a moment after she had said it, there was a dull thud. Now she could see the demon as it fell on the table in front of her after colliding with her shield, snarling at her as it got back onto all fours. It had a human body but feet and hands like a cats with large claws.
“You think that can keep me out with this?” he snapped at her. “A petty shield is the best you can do?”
Su Ae bit her lip. He was right. She knew his kind. Though he was one of the lower demons, in little time he could easily break the shield. She reached for her mobile just as the demon attacked the shield again. It wasn’t in her hand or her pocket. Quickly, she started rummaging through her bag and found it after several moments just as there was another thud. This time she heard a faint crack. Hurry, her mind shouted at her as she pressed the speed dial 1 and called Ian. The demon attacked again and again.
“It won’t be long!” the demon hissed and she heard the laugh beneath it.
“Not so easily.” She muttered to herself. If he did break through the barrier and there was no other option, she would have to use a stronger spell until Ian came. She knew what it would bring but it was a risk she would have to take.
Ian picked after five rings just as the shield finally broke, earlier than she had anticipated and hence sent her falling back with the blow. The demon moved to attack her and raised his claws and she was unprepared to defend herself.
“Bingo!” The demon hissed.
“Ian” She shouted as his voice came on the other end. He understood.
But before the demon’s hand could touch her, it started writing in pain and retreated several steps. At a distance, it seemed to regain control of itself and hissed again before turning around and looking towards Elijah who stood across from the table, lounging leisurely against a book cabinet with a smirk on his face. Arrogance, Su Ae derived as she read his expressions, and amusement. He looked as nonchalant as if he were standing at a circus, enjoying the show.
The demon hissed and took a few menacing steps towards him at which Elijah’s smile widened and he addressed the demon.
“Are you sure you want to do that, low level that you are? I might not be so amused for long.” At the end, his tone was serious and deadly as he stared at the demon, the smile now gone.
The demon froze in its tracks. For a moment, it simply watched the boy and then took a few whiffs in the air, as if trying to smell something.
“You are not one of them.” It snapped at Elijah. “What are you?”
“Perhaps this will jog your memory and your senses.” Elijah replied as he moved two steps forward, holding out a chain n locket he wore. The locket was small round and golden with some sort of emblem encrusted on it.
“My apologies!” The demon spoke out in panic as soon as it saw the crest on the locket and lowered his head, as if begging. “I did not realize.”
“Get lost before I change my mind!” Elijah retorted. “And I had better not see you again!”
Before Su Ae could tell what was going on, the demon had vanished into thin air. And even before she could react, the boy jumped forward onto two chairs and then onto the desk, walking towards them. He knelt in front of her and Annie and looked down at them, the amused and arrogant expression back.
“Thanks for that!” Su Ae told him. “But who are you? And how could you -?” her words were cut short when he spoke up.
“Was that the best you could do? A shield? A shield even that low level demon broke in a minute!” he mocked her.
She gaped at him incredulously. He was arrogant. And rude!
“I guess it really was all talk about you.” He continued. “That was a spell for kindergartners and preschoolers!”
“I’m sorry. What?” Su Ae tried being polite. Losing her temper wouldn’t help.
“Something’s wrong with that old geezer.” He ignored her as he got back up. “You’re practically nothing!”
“Hey, who are you?” Su Ae got up and grabbed his arm as he turned away. Turning back, he shook his arm free.
“You don’t need to know. I’m waaaayyy above your station!” he said condescendingly. Just as Su Ae was about to reply with a retort, he continued. “Ah, your knight’s here to save you, princess! Bye!” His last word was accompanied with an annoying chuckle. With that he turned back, jumped effortlessly down from the table and walked away. Within a moment, Ian was there.
“Su Ae, what happened? What was it? Are you alright?”
“Yeah yeah I’m fine.” Seething mad from her encounter with Elijah, Su Ae forgot all about the demon until Ian pointed out the wound on her arm. “It’s just a scratch. Let’s get her up first.” She pointed to Annie.
Damn that Pratt! She cursed in her mind as she thought back to Elijah.