Chapter Seven

Two Nights Later

"This is it?" Titania asked, getting her first look at the outside of the school. "It looks like an office building. Where's the clock? The bell that rings the children in? Why isn't it brick red?"

"Ti, have you ever been to school?" Reagan asked slamming her door shut and stood next to Titania at the tailgate.

"Homeschooled," she said, grabbing her swords and backpack. "I've only seen images of schools in books."

"That's kind of ironic," Reagan said, holding the door open for her.

"Is it?" Ti asked walking next to Reagan as they headed in the general direction to the practice room.

"Just get your head in teacher mode, and you'll do fine."

Ti snorted at that before suddenly going tense. "Vampire ahead."

"There are vampires all over this building," Reagan began to explain before literally bumping into Zoltan. "Oh, pardon me."

"No problem," he said, flashing a no-fanged smile. "Actually, I was hoping to catch you."

"What for?" Titania her ask. She had just kept walking.

"I wanted to ask how you can smell the difference between synthetic and actual blood," he explained, keeping up with her. "That is a very unique talent."

"Practice," Titania answered for her, stopping at the end of the hallway, looking both left and right. Before Reagan could do anything, Ti picked the right direction and continued. She knew that Reagan had rolled her eyes behind her back at her clipped answer.

"Practice is it?" Zoltan said, still keeping up with both of them. "Would you mind showing me sometime? I really want to learn."

"And get in her pants," Ti mumbled under her breath.

"Ti!"

"Well he is," she said, again going in the right direction toward the waiting practice room.

"I assure you, my motives are entirely sincere," Zoltan said from behind her.

Ti just snorted at that before opening the door to the practice room and walked toward the bleachers. She set her bag down and unsheathed her swords. "The gimpy vamp is going to be late," she said.

"How do you know that?" Zoltan asked, following behind Reagan. Ti saw him glimpse Reagan's butt before looking up to meet her disapproving gaze.

"She'll never tell," Reagan said, frowning at her. "Best to just let it lie. For how long will he be late, Ti?"

"A little while," she said walking up to her. "In the meantime, do you want to have a Scenic Battle?"

"Which one?"

Titania smiled. "My favorite one."

Reagan took one of the swords and smiled back at her. "Love to." And they began.

Chapter Eight

Dougal teleported to the school and quickly headed sown the hall. He knew he was twenty minutes late for sword training with his new teacher. Three months had flown by sense he lost his right hand, and he was still having trouble. And not just with the big stuff (sword fighting being at the top of that list), he was having trouble with just his normal morning routine. It was difficult to dress oneself, brush one's teeth, or heating up breakfast with one hand. Worse, as it wasn't his strong one. He hadn't realized how fast-paced he was until he was forced to slow everything down.

Roman had promised him that they were working on a way to replace his missing limb, but all the trail based experiments had failed so far.

Hoping that this new teacher wouldn't give up on him, and that he hadn't given up on him showing up, Dougal entered the practice room (remembering just in time to use his left hand, not his right) and stopped in surprise. The new girl, Reagan Snow, was sword battling against an unknown young girl, and they both were using their left hands to do it!

Off to the side, he spotted Zoltan watching the fight with amusement. Walking over to him, Dougal asked, "What's going on?"

"They're having what they called a Scenic Battle. From what I can understand of it, they really are fighting, but they're also acting out a scene from some production."

"Why are they doing that?"

"They're just passing the time, waiting for you to show up," Zoltan answered, now turning toward him to give him a disappointing look.

"Well, you trying putting on your boots with one hand," he mumbled, turning to watch the battle so he wouldn't see pity in Zoltan's eyes.

"You are most excellent," he heard Reagan say to the younger female.

"Thank you," the young lady replied, backing Reagan toward the wall. "I have worked very had to become so."

"I have to admit that you're better than I am," Reagan said, smiling.

"Then why are you smiling?"

"Because I know something that you don't know."

"And what is that?"

"I am not left-handed," Reagan replied, switching hands immediately, and the battle suddenly turned. Now the young lady was on the run, and it looked as if Reagan might defeat her.

As the young lady turned to avoid an aggressive swing from Reagan, Dougal was able to get a good look at her. She was a little thing, having to be no taller than five feet, possibly five foot one if she really stood up straight. She looked to of average weight. With his vampire eyesight, he saw that her mouth was shapely. The bottom lip was fuller than the top that lip in the shape of a cupid's bow. He put her eye color at a brown, though there was some gold mixed in as well. But what really caught his attention was her hair. It was short, cut almost a few inches from her scalp, and as he watched the light play against it, he couldn't decide if it was brown or blond. With that short hair, heart-shaped face, and short stature, he couldn't help but compare her to a fairy or pixie. He put her as a new student, as she couldn't look no more than twelve, thirteen possibly.

Reagan now had the young lady pinned up against the wall.

"You are amazing," the pixie said, trying to fight her way back into open space.

"I'd have to be after twenty years," Reagan said with a smile. Dougal blinked at that. According to Reagan's record, she was no older than twenty-seven. She began sword fighting at seven?

"I'm afraid I also have something to tell you," the pixie said, a smile forming on her face.

"Tell me."

"I'm not left-handed either," the pixie said, suddenly shoving Reagan back into the middle. She traded her left for her right and attacked Reagan with new steam, and Dougal remembered that they were playacting, though it sure looked real.

He saw Reagan beginning to look worn out and worried as she tried to regain her advantage.

"Who are you," Reagan asked, dodging out of the way of her opponent's sword.

"No one of consequence," Pixie said, dodging Reagan's attempt.

"I must know," Reagan said, leaping backwards to avoid another attack.

"Get use to disappointment," Pixie said, and with one final swipe, disarmed Reagan, sending the weapon flying toward Zoltan, who just managed to avoid it before it took off his head.

Dougal was about to clap when he heard Reagan say between breaths, "Finish it."

Shocked, he watched as the pixie walked around Reagan, sword at her throat until she was behind her.

"I would sooner destroy a stained glass window than an artist like yourself," Pixie said, raising her sword. "However, I can't have you following me either."She tapped Reagan with the hilt against her head. Reagan fell as if she really was knocked out. "Please understand that I hold you in the highest respect."

Reagan rolled over and smiled up at her. "Why do you always get to play The-Man-in-Black?"

The pixie smiled back. "Because I always win."

She helped Reagan up, and Zoltan began clapping; Dougal joining in a few seconds later. Reagan smiled and gave a bow. The pixie just rolled her eyes, collected the swords, and quickly placed them in their scabbards.

"Wonderful performance," Zoltan said, walking over to Reagan while ignoring the other female. "And what play was that scene from?"

"The Princess Bride," the pixie replied before Reagan could answer. "It's a movie based off the book of the same title. This is the scene where Indigo Montoya challenges the Man-in-Black."

"And this Man in Black is the villain?" Dougal asked surprised at how mature the young woman sounded. In his mind, he added two more years to her supposed age.

"Actually, he's the hero," she said, lowering her brows at him.

"So this Indigo is the villain then?"

"No. He works for one of the villains at the beginning of the story, but he's really on a quest for revenge against the Six-Fingered Man."

"Why does he seek revenge?"

"What am I? Walking clip-notes for the story?"

Reagan gave her a push and glared down at her. "Be nice, Ti." She turned toward Dougal and smiled. "Hello, Dougal. How are you doing?"

The pixie snorted and walked over to where the secret armory was, jumping up to reach the button and walked into the room, returning with two claymores in her small hands. Dougal was impressed that she could carry such heavy weapons.

"I'm doing well," he absentmindedly answered as he watched the pixie set one of the swords down and began warming up with the other one, obviously getting herself used to the weight. "Do we still have time for my practice?"

"I'm sure you do," Reagan said, looking down at her watch. "I have to on shift in five minutes, though; so I can't watch how your first lesson with Titania will go this time."

"Whoa, wait," he said, whipping his head in her direction. "I thought you were my sparring partner tonight."

"What gave you that idea," she asked, quirking an eyebrow up at him.

"Well, I assumed…"

"Ti is an excellent fighter and a natural lefty. She can help you out where us righties can't."

"But she's just a little girl!" He exclaimed. "She can't be my teacher."

Reagan dropped her face in her hands as the young lady stopped her warm-ups to glare at him. Dougal could smell her O positive blood rising toward her face, along with a hint of something extra. He took another quick sniff, but couldn't identify what this other scent coming off her was.

"I am twenty-two years old," she said in a dangerously calm voice. "I have been fighting with the sword sense I was four, trained by two master swordswomen. I can now defeat them in practice, and I'm deadly certain I can kick your ass. But if you don't believe me, pick up that sword and try me out yourself, Gimpy."

"Very well then," he said, and did as she challenged.

"Oh boy," he heard Reagan say before she walked behind the protective screen and sat on the bleachers; Zoltan sat beside her. "This won't be pretty."