Beginning Combat went smoothly. Gabby taught the students basic steps, such as jabs and swipes, with various weapons. She would take her time building up their strength, since there were so many younger kids in her class. Most were under twelve, though a few were her age. Those that were older were new to camp, but the younger ones were students who didn't qualify for the next level yet.
After class, Gabby walked with Keller to the library. There, they bumped into Ozzie, who gave them the run down on the rest of the day. Dinner was at 6:30, though they may consider going earlier to get in line. Afterward, there would be a camp out starting at 8:00 in the Magic Glade to commemorate the first day of classes.
"Do you want to hang out during the camp out?" Keller asked.
"I'd like to, but I think the leaders want me and Lindsay to stick with them. We haven't gotten much time to catch up. I'll find you during it though," Gabby offered, "So we can hang out for a little."
Keller smiled. "I'd like that."
Gabby decided to have dinner with Emily instead of her friends. She had hardly spoken with her mentor since she had arrived and was eager for the alone time with her. They settled under a tree by the side of the manor.
"It's awfully strange eating food that the students made," Gabby remarked, "I'm used to being here and tackling the kitchen with everyone."
Emily laughed. "Almost everyone. We had to sit Lindsay in the corner, remember?"
"Well, except the day we left it to her to make dinner…"
"Eggs and ramen!" they giggled together.
Emily sighed. "This is making me feel old, reminiscing about the good ol' days."
Gabby smirked. "Maybe because you are old?"
Emily elbowed her jokingly. "Watch yourself!"
"So how are you and Marlin?" Gabby winked.
"Oh please, don't start!" Emily blushed. "You know we can't be together! He's a prince!"
"Still saying that? So is Loren! Look at him and Kara!"
"Kara is a princess! She'll easily become a queen!"
"You may not be a princess, but no one is more caring than you, Em. You'd be a great queen. I get the feeling Marlin knows that. He's just waiting for you to be ready."
Emily was quiet for moment. "Yeah, well, who made you the expert anyway?" she mumbled sadly.
Gabby shrugged and smiled. "I know you. And I'm just observant."
"Observant!" Emily laughed and added sarcastically, "Sure you are!"
"Sit here over here, Lindsay!" someone shouted from across the clearing.
The camp leaders had their own area, as to give everyone some privacy, but the voice calling her was far from that area and annoyingly familiar. Alex waved frantically, coaxing her over. Guys and girls were free to sleep by each other, so long as everyone kept an eye out, though the leaders' bondeds did a good job of this as well. Alex sat among his friends: Gavin, Riley, and Trevor.
Lindsay just stared at him blankly and didn't move.
"I think he's waving to you," Gabby whispered from behind her.
"I'm aware," Lindsay replied flatly, "I'm trying to figure out his motives. And how far his vision works."
Gabby shrugged and rolled out her sleeping bag. She stretched out on it and relaxed.
Lindsay sat down next to her. "Maybe, if I ignore him, he'll leave me alone."
"Not a chance," Gabby laughed, gesturing behind Lindsay.
Alex stood there, smirking. "Hey, I couldn't find you during dinner or the bonfire. After all, you ran off right after class."
Yawning, Lindsay asked, "And what do you want?"
"To thank you, of course!" Alex exclaimed, "I couldn't believe what you said to Jenna! That was actually pretty cool."
Lindsay didn't say anything.
Alex recoiled. "Why so angry? What did I say?"
"You're mocking me, aren't you?" she growled.
"No, I mean it!" he insisted, "I actually respect that, though you still confuse and irritate me."
Gabby smirked, but stayed out of the conversation. It wasn't her place to predict the future aloud.
The boy can't win, huh? Thunder grinned. Even if he's genuinely respectful, you hate him.
Lindsay shrugged. "Zoe always complains that I base too much off a first impression, but I can't help it. It takes a lot to change my opinion."
Alex rolled his eyes. "Well, whoever this Zoe girl is, she's got your character pinned down. Props to her, 'cause I still can't figure it out."
"She's also one of my best friends, whereas I've only known you for two days," Lindsay scoffed.
"Doesn't matter. I'm a genius at figuring out people. It's my power, remember?"
"Doesn't matter. Your power isn't figuring out people. It's seeing their emotions. Like I was telling you, that doesn't mean you understand them."
"True, but it sure helps. Unlike someone," he gestured to her, "I can tell when someone is being genuine and honest. And of course, I can see when they may be seriously considering hurting me."
"And yet you still don't know when to leave them alone, huh?" Lindsay grumbled, stretching out on her sleeping bag and covering her eyes.
"Nah, it's just fun to annoy you. I don't even have to try."
Lindsay just kept her eyes closed, covered her ears and yelled, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA LA! Is that the wind?! Who knew the wind could be so irritating?!"
"Very mature," Alex laughed, rolling his eyes.
Lindsay stuck her tongue out at him. "I'm super mature. Right, Gabby?"
There was no response.
"Gabby?" Lindsay asked again and sat up, confused.
She wandered off while you were arguing. Thunder informed her.
"Way to be observant." Alex smirked.
"I'm plenty observant! More observant than you!"
To be honest, the two of you may as well be blind. Thunder muttered as the two began arguing who was more observant than the other.
"I could have caught her, Keller! If only I hadn't been such a chicken!" Anna whined.
"Caught who?" Gabby asked as she came up to her and her brother.
"Gabby! Hey! You actually came," Keller greeted her, ignoring his sister's mischievous look.
Gabby smiled. "Good observation. You didn't think I would?"
"You just seemed busy is all," Keller explained, nodding to where Lindsay and Alex were arguing, "I thought you'd have to mediate."
"I figured I'd let them solve their own problems. They could use the alone time," Gabby said, "Speaking of alone, where is Mitch? I thought you might be with him."
Keller shrugged. "We were looking for him, but no one has seen him. Adriane said he wandered off mumbling something about clouds."
"He's probably drawing," Anna said, pouting, "I asked to see his sketchbook, but he wouldn't show me. What's the point of drawing if no one can see it? Art is meant to be shared!"
"Maybe for you, but for others, it's private," Keller explained, "It seems like his sketchbook is a lot like his diary."
Gabby shrugged. "To each their own, right? Why don't we go over to the bonfire and have some s'mores?"
"Yes please!" Anna squealed, grabbing her brother and Gabby by their hands and dragging them along.
Keller laughed, "Didn't have to ask her twice!"
The three of them roasted marshmallows around the giant bonfire and made a mess of putting them on their s'mores. The infamous blond twins, Cinder and Erin, joined them. They chatted excitedly with Anna about their dragons. Gabby had to scold them once or twice about creating illusions around the fire and making other campers think their marshmallows were on fire, but they otherwise behaved. When Anna dropped one of her s'mores in the dirt, Cinder gave her his, both his a little pink. Anna smiled, split it in half for them to share, and thanked him. Keller eyed the little boy and looked on protectively as Cinder gave him a nervous glance.
"Relax," Gabby whispered to Keller, who was still staring Cinder down, "He's just being nice. It's cute."
Keller grumbled, "She's eight. No boy needs to be cute and nice to her. I'd prefer she think boys have cooties still."
"Alright," Gabby sighed, "You're just doing your job as an overprotective big brother."
"I'm not being overprotective! She's eight!"
"It's not like he's asking her out. They're sharing a s'mores. Besides, it won't be long before she's old enough to have a boyfriend."
Keller looked at her in horror. "What?! She's not having a boyfriend 'til she's thirty!"
"Don't be ridiculous," Gabby laughed, "You're fifteen, right? How old were you when you had your first girlfriend?"
Keller's face turned a bit red as he glanced at her and said nothing.
"You haven't had one yet?" Gabby realized, but added, "I guess it's not that unusual. I haven't had a boyfriend either, and we're still only sophomores. I just thought for some reason you would have."
"You haven't either?" Keller's face turned a bit redder, but he smiled and said, "Well, that's good."
"Why is that good?"
His eyes widened, as if just noticing he spoke allowed. "W-well, I can at least use you as an example for my sister. I mean, I mean since you haven't had a boyfriend and all."
Gabby shrugged. "I guess. Everyone is different."
Most settled down and slept around 3 a.m., but Lindsay couldn't sleep. Instead, she got up and stepped around people until she made it from the glade to the main path. She walked back towards the manor and found herself taking the same route as that night so many years ago. Staring at the gate, the memories flooded back: Hunter, tails, animal ears, losing control, his threat. The guilt.
A tear escaped down her cheek as she felt wolf ears form on her head.
Thunder padded up beside her. I thought this was where you went.
"Sorry," Lindsay choked out.
We all changed that night. I just wish it would leave you alone. This is why I was nervous about coming back. I can't stand it haunting you even more.
She didn't say anything. Instead, she stared up at the stars and listened to the crickets, trying to clear her mind.
Thunder nudged her hand. C'mon, let's head back.
Nodding slowly and forcing the wolf ears on her head to disappear, she followed him back to the glade.
Shorter than usual, but it's something, right? You should all thank Mistyx7 for reminding me to write. Haha, thanks for your patience guys!
This is where I write something witty to make you review. I've resorted to bribery. I may or may not give you a cookie for reviewing. Maybe I'll stick to threatening you guys. Review or I'll sick the cookie monster on you!