Hey everybody! Thanks for reading this fanfic. I hope you've enjoyed it so far. Feel free to check out my other Winx Club stories and review them!
Note: I will be out of town and without internet access for about a week starting August 1, 2009. I apologize for the delay this will cause my fanfictions.
Author's Challenge: I've decided to add in a few references to semi-popular culture. They can be references to singers/songs, television shows, places, brands, or whatever. For example, I may mention people in Magix using birds to send quick messages to friends, referencing the social networking site, Twitter. Or, we could add a scene where the Winx girls and pixies are eating fruit for breakfast and Kiko is being chased by the pixies. This would be a reference to Trix yogurt and/or cereal. Some of these references may be more obvious than others. If you spot any (or think you may have) post it in a review.
Rumors stated that the new Red Fountain campus might come close to the height of the Cloud Tower castle, but it would also be technologically advanced. Where Cloud Tower had large winding staircases, Red Fountain would have elevators.
About a quarter of the way up the stairs, Sierra silently vowed that she would not go down the stairs again until semester break. By the halfway point, she decided to skip her break and wait until the end of the school year. As she dragged her bag up the last flight of stairs, she changed her mind once more; she would stay in the castle until she graduated from Cloud Tower.
Exhausted, Sierra let out a sigh as she took the last few steps. A few witches stood around outside the castle door. A couple stood off by themselves, but most of them were talking with others. They were all older, probably juniors, maybe seniors. She remained standing at the top of the staircase, careful not to make eye contact with any of the other students. If they were juniors, it would be okay, but she knew it was best to avoid a run-in with the senior witches on her first day. On Planet Earth, it would mean trouble for her on Freshman Friday. At Cloud Tower, the trouble would last for the year.
"So, I take it you're one of the new students," A woman cackled as she lifted her mug of tea. She was rather short and stout, some would even go as far as describing her as 'round.' Her lilac hair was pulled back into a tight bun. "I'm assisting Lady Griffin in helping students check in today. Please state your name and place of origin."
"I'm Sierra and I'm from the Lotus Diamond Cluster."
The woman looked down at her clipboard and nodded. "Yes. You have a sister, Beatrix who is a senior here, correct?"
Sierra nodded. "Yes, ma'am."
"Alright. The Headmistress will give the freshmen their dorm assignments. Please head towards the main meeting hall."
"Um, where is that?"
The lady took a sip of tea and pointed towards the main staircase. "Go downstairs until you get to a door near the bottom of the steps, then just take the staircase behind the door. The hall is at the top of one of the turrets."
She wanted nothing more than to collapse right then and there.
The City of Magix was not what one would call a small city. Some would even say the term "city" was an underestimate. The crowds of young students had died down since earlier in the day, and most of the remaining students were ones who already knew their way around town.
She was definitely not one of those students.
With a sigh, she sat down on one of the benches and took out her cell phone to call her friend-the same friend who talked her into this in the first place. She pressed the keypad a couple times before closing the phone. "Of course I forget to charge it," she muttered in frustration.
This would be a whole lot easier if I had any idea where I was going. The pink haired pixie of portals had promised to help, but she was nowhere to be found. Neither was Digit with her electronic maps and gismos.
It really wasn't their fault. It was sort of a holiday for the pixies. All anybody ever knew was that it was an annual celebration, but it was never at the same time each year. Chatta mentioned that it happened at the time when certain planets and stars aligned. They were pretty unpredictable planets; they only realized the day before that the time for the celebration was approaching.
She should have taken it as a sign. Those planets aligning meant she was in a strange city trying to find her way around alone.
And there was nothing she hated more than being alone.
There was a payphone near the bench, but a quick glance at her watch told her orientations at the schools were starting soon. Even if they hadn't started yet, things would be too busy for her friend to answer the phone. She wasn't going to waste her money to leave a voicemail message; it would just leave her stranded by the same payphone.
She looked down at her hands and winced. The air in Magix wasn't considered dry to most people, but most people didn't grow up in a planet near so much water either. She slathered some lotion on to soothe her dry, cracked hands. Then, she brought the hands to her face and inhaled deeply. "Mmmm. Frazzleberry Crème," she sighed, momentarily forgetting her problems.
Looking up again, she saw the inter-realm subway fly overhead. She knew how to get back to the train station. Going home wouldn't be too hard.
Except it took weeks of convincing before her stubborn, overprotective parents would even consider letting her go. Going back now was out of the question.
She wasn't sure why she wanted to go in the first place. Musa had talked a lot about how great Alfea was. It was the best fairy school in the realms, but that never came up in conversations. She was too busy talking about her friends. They were great friends- "the best" as Musa described.
The Winx Club was the reason she did not want to be there.
The Cloud Tower library was right outside the school's main meeting hall, and Sierra took immediate note of that detail of the castle. Somewhere within the room had to be a spell she could use to obliterate those stairs.
There was no time to look for a spell though. Besides, I can't even use a simple luggage shrinking spell. How would I manage to actually obliterate the stairs in Cloud Tower? The corner of her lips curled upward in a slight smile at her thoughts.
She pushed the heavy door open. The meeting hall was large, but at the same time it was small compared to the meeting hall at Alfea and the Red Fountain arena. That was understandable though; there was little chance that anybody except for the Cloud Tower Witches would gather there. Red Fountain and Alfea often joined together for special events. They needed the extra room.
Scanning the room with her eyes, she quickly noticed a crowd of students who had congregated on one side of the room. She could spot the fear in their young eyes, and she was sure the other students could as well. She wondered how many freshmen, herself included, would become victim to the senior witches. She bit her lower lip and sat down near the other freshmen.
"Welcome students," An older purple-haired witch spoke from her platform suspended above the ground. "I am Lady Griffin, your headmistress for your time at Cloud Tower, and I also have the potential to become your worst enemy if you get on my bad side."
The silence in the room was deafening.
"Now, to start off I would like to thank the returning students for your help in defeating Icy, Darcy, and Stormy last year. This year, I will not be so lenient on misbehavior. If any of you cross the line even once you will be instantly expelled. You all should know where that line is, and if you have any doubts you should not take that risk."
Sierra frowned. Rules that were too vague bothered her. It's too easy for favoritism to occur in the first place, but according to Griffin anybody could be expelled. Griffin was the one who determined if a student was misbehaving.
Still, she had to trust her headmistress.
"Now, as you may know, Alfea and Red Fountain are having their annual back-to-school dance. You would think that they would invite us since we helped defeat the Trix, but like usual we were not invited."
Nobody was surprised. The annual dance never included the witches of Cloud Tower, and nobody really had any hope that things would change. The Alfea fairies and Red Fountain specialists had a special bond- an alliance. They depended on teamwork. The witches knew better. They had learned early on not to trust anyone. They relied first on themselves; it was the only safe thing to do."
"Ms. Griffin," a brave, or possibly just foolish, sophomore spoke out from the crowd. "Are we having that contest to sabotage the dance again this year? Cause I had some ideas and I kinda wanted to try to win the prize."
A few brave souls gasped, but most, Sierra included, just sat in silence with eyes widened.
The headmistress did not respond, purposely allowing the suspense to build. The students, including the sophomore who spoke before, were frozen in fear.
She slowly exhaled, looking straight into the eyes of the sophomore. "Magix is still recovering from the damages of last year. If something happens the school district may threaten to kick us out of our school. When I said there was a zero-tolerance policy, I meant it. An invasion into Alfea could mean our end."
A couple students relaxed a little, but most remained unmoving. Most of the returning students questioned their fear of Icy, Darcy, and Stormy the year before; those three witches were nothing compared to Lady Griffin.
"Now, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, please report to your dormitories," Griffin instructed the students. "Quickly now."
The cluster of freshmen remained where they were sitting.
"Now, I will call you alphabetically by first name. You will come, take your room assignment, and then go straight to your room."
Sierra watched as slowly, one-by-one, the students filtered out of the room until, at last, she was left alone.
"Sierra," Griffin's voice was no longer hard. "I decided to wait to give you your dorm assignment. There were some last minute changes, and because of that you will have the room to yourself. I advise you not to tell any of the other students of this."
Sierra nodded. "Thank you, Lady Griffin."
"One more thing."
"As long as you do your best, there is nothing to be afraid of. You have potential. I can see it in you."
Sierra walked down the twisted hallway towards her room. There was a name on the door above her own, but it had been rubbed off. There was just enough left to make it seem as if she had a roommate; she couldn't make out the name.
The door creaked as it opened. Most of the people in Magix hated the dark, cold feeling of Cloud Tower, but Sierra didn't mind. It had a charm in itself. Red Fountain's current campus was earthy and rustic, but rumors stated the new campus would be modern. Alfea's campus was soft, light, and airy. It held some ancient magic treasures, but it also underwent upgrades and changes.
Cloud Tower remained unchanged, aside from some decorative upgrades. They did not have the luxuries of new equipment. Their floors squeaked; chairs and tables wobbled. The beds were hard, and the blankets that the school provided were thin.
Nobody really seemed to mind. Somewhere, among the run-down school, was a charm in itself. The antique furniture, though much of it was broken, had history in the school. To many, the school was a reminder of visiting grandparents as a child.
The room was bare. There were two black iron twin size beds, each with a single pillow and grey-green bedsheets. In between the beds stood a large bookcase, and on the opposite side of each bed was a simple table with an antique lamp. Across the room from the beds stood a large mahogany armoire with intricate carvings in the doors. The handles and trim were gold and bronze. On either side of the armoire were two identical wooden tables and some old chairs with battered cushions.
Sierra pulled the sheets off of the bed furthest from the door and replaced them with her own black sheets. She did the same with the pillow on the other bed,making a mental mote to buy more cushions in Downtown Magix; the second bed would easily convert into a small couch.
She, then, pulled an old wicker basket out of her bag, and put in a pile of blankets and smaller pillow coverings. From the pile, she pulled out a couple dark lavender pillowcases and covered the small decorative pillows she brought with her. One, she placed on the bed she was sleeping on; the others she left on the extra bed. Then, she spread a lighter lavender blanket over her bed. The basket of remaining blankets was placed onto the floor of the armoire for when she needed a change in her décor.
She hung a picture above her door. It was a simple image, framed in black. A black sun next to the silhouette of a heart, and then a cross. In the bottom left corner were roman numerals: XXIV XXIX: XI. She hung another black-framed painting above her bed. This one had more detail than the first. It was of an orange and pink rose with a honeysuckle vine stem. On the top of the rose was a bee, and on either side of the flower was a gem: a pearl on the left and an alexandrite stone on the right.
She placed her books on the bookcase in the center of the room, mixing in a few decorative trinkets and knick-knacks. Her journal, a battered leather book, however, was placed next to the lamp on the table by her bed. She set a pen there as well, placing the rest of her pens and markers into a ceramic cup on her desk.
She took a glance at the old analog clock across the room and sighed. There was still enough time to catch the next bus to Magix for those cushions she wanted, and she was sure she could find another black bedsheet while she was out as well.
And even if she couldn't find anything that afternoon, she at least felt at home.
It doesn't take long to realize that one can find anything in the City of Magix.
Anything, that is, except a map.
Layla's frustration steadily grew stronger. Most people in Magix, she saw, were friendly, but they were also much too busy to be bothered. She continued down the street, looking for signs of anybody who might be able to give decent directions.
As she walked, she came across a small store on a corner. The glass on the window was chipped and warped; cobwebs hung from inside the corner of the doorway. "H.N.C. 'Zines," she read the sign aloud. She could see the distorted shillouette of a person inside the building. She shrugged and pushed open the heavy door.
The figure inside was of an old lady. Her grey and white hair stood on end, like a dandilion. Her short stature was accentuated by her hunched back. The clothes she wore were black rags that seemed to be just draped over her frail body. Her skin was wrinkled, and her crooked nose seemed too large for her face; a wart retsted on the tip of her nose. On her pointed chin was a large, dark mole with a few noticable black hairs sprouting from it.
The lady cackled softly, stroking the black cat on the counter. The cat purred softly, rubbing its head on the woman's arm.
Layla coughed. The smell in there wasn't strong, but it was nauseating nonetheless. Even after the first moment breathing in the air, she felt strangely lightheaded.
"How may I help you, sssssssssssssweetheart? The woman ran her tongue over her yellowed teeth. "Perhapsssss you would like a new copy of the latesssssst fasssssssshion magazine?"
She was starting to feel a little dizzier, but she tried not to show it. "No thank you, ma'am. I was just looking for Alfea."
The lady continued to stroke the cat with her long yellowed finger nails. "Thisssssss placccccce issssss for magazinesssssss not mapsssssss."
"Alright. Thank you anyway ma'am," Layla stepped outside and took a few deep breaths of fresh air. Slowly, her head ceased spinning, and she was able to continue on her way.
Two girls stood outside the magazine shop. One was dressed a purple color so dark, it almost seemed black. Her white hair was cut into a short asymmetrical bob. The other girl wore black pants and a white shirt with black horizontal stripes. Her dark black hair was parted in the middle and hung in clumps around her face. The white-haired girl had smooth, pale skin without a mark or blemish, while the black-haired girl's face was dotted with blackheads and pimples.
Both girls looked at Layla and smiled.
"So, you're looking for Alfea, right?" The white-haired girl spoke.
"Yes. Do you know how to get there?"
She nodded. "It's a bit of a ways from here, across the forest. The bus station down the road has a shuttle bus that will take you there. Come on, I'll take you there," she wrapped her arm around Layla's shoulder, stroking the end of her thick, dark, ponytail.
The dark haired girl remained silent as she followed the other two girls towards the station. A large bus pulled into the station just as the three girls stepped onto the platform. Layla looked at the flashing sign on the bus with Alfea as the destination. She smiled.
Layla stepped onto the bus and found a seat next to the window. She found herself dozing off as the bus pulled out of the station and headed down the road towards Alfea.
The white haired girl smiled slyly at her sister, showing her a strand of dark hair.
"What's that for?"
"Hush! I thought we'd give those Alfea students a piece of our mind."
"But Professor Griffin forbade us to invade the dance."
"We aren't going near the school. I figured we can cause enough trouble with a little spell I learned. We'll cast it out in the swamp on the way back to Cloud Tower."
"What if someone finds out?"
"You worry too much. Nobody will ever know about this. Bedsides, Alfea's only getting what they deserve."