Disclaimer: I would really love to own Wizard101, but alas, I don't. KingsIsle owns it.
My nap turned out to be a lot longer as it was already dinner time, or so I was told by the gentle yet somewhat urgent voice of Penny's. I stirred and rolled to my side, letting out a small grunt at the disturbance. I opened my eye just a crack, my gaze facing the large wardrobe across from the bed and then at the dim lamp hanging on the ceiling. It looked like it was a couple of hours before midnight, but really, being in this room could fool you as to what the real time is at night. And I was right as the clock on the wall confirmed that it was still five past seven.
I yawned wide, not bothering to cover it and looked around the room for my friend. Even with the help of the lamp above, aside from my still-blurred eyes, it was still fairly dark due to the dark colored wall and flooring. It was the result of Penny's boldness at showing her pride as a Death student that she abandoned the consideration of practical use before applying the dark items and furniture in the room. My eyes then caught some movement near the foot of the bed and I saw Penny standing in front of the mirror on the right wall, applying light make up to her face. I blinked once and I felt sleep began to possess me once again. When I show no sign of leaving the bed after two minutes, Penny looked at me warily and said, "Come on Sophia, you don't want to miss dinner!"
The lower bunk where I was lying was so warm and comfortable I just wanted to lie there forever and sleep, but then the imaginary creature in my stomach reminded me of how I have not fed it since breakfast by letting out a low, demanding growl. I groaned; as much as I wanted to just stay there, I couldn't simply ignore it. I sat up, stretched, and swung my legs off the bed, swearing under my breath as they make impact with the chair stood just beside the bed. I wished the dorm room could be roomier. The room was only about three meters square wide. Most of the spaces had already been occupied by some furniture, large ones at that. The bed was standing against the far wall across from the door, a long desk half filled with piles of thick books and a candle holder beside it. There was a large window just slightly above the desk, which was the only ventilation in the room; a cool gentle breeze and a smell of rain outside was blowing through the small crack of not having it fully locked. It also made studying a little less boring as it gave us the beautiful scenery of the Ravenwood area below. Two chairs were shoved beneath the desk, one of which I had just knocked earlier. On the left wall stood a large, old wardrobe and a shoe rack just nearby the door. If I had had a choice, I would throw away the wardrobe and replace it with a smaller one; we didn't have many things to keep in there anyway.
I took some time massaging my legs; adding to the sore from the impact with the chair, the sore from the previous exertion in the afternoon had not completely gone yet. Oh well, on a positive note, at least I got a pleasant nap. I rose from the bed and took out my favorite clothes from the wardrobe; a long-sleeved white shirt, a black with red-trimmed vest, and a matching knee-length skirt. My body was all sticky with sweat so I wanted to take a shower first before going down the dining hall, but Penny insisted that I do it after dinner.
"We are already fifteen minutes late. Just change and wash your face."
I rolled my eyes behind her back as she turned to give me some privacy to change. Penny was always strict about getting in time. She could suddenly be pushy at times, a habit of hers of which I hated and also gratitude at at the same time because without it, I wouldn't have gotten to class in time every time.
Once I finished dressing, Penny opened the door. That's when I realized just how hungry I was. The various smell of delicious food down the dining hall has creeped inside the room like a ghost and invaded my nose, causing my mouth to water slightly. I hurriedly wash my face as we passed the bathroom on our way down. The hallways were practically empty; the other girls must have already been down there eating dinner. Penny dragged me by the arm through the hallways and we were practically half-running and half-flying down the stairs, an act I think was not necessary because I would do just that without her forcing me to.
A pair of large, brown double oak doors with beautiful ornate stood sturdily before us, the handles were designed to resemble vines entangled together. The appetite-raising smells grew stronger in here indicating the Dining Hall was just beyond these doors. I pushed it open to reveal a wide and high-ceilinged room full of girls in various robe colors. Unlike our room, the dining hall was bright from the big chandeliers hanging above. The girls were sitting cramped together in six long tables filled with food and drink, making clattering noises with their spoons, forks, and knives while chattering as noisily. There were actually seven tables in there, but the one table near the door was completely free of occupants. You see, the tables were arranged for each of the school of magic so you have a pretty good idea which school that table belonged to.
Ignoring the usual murmurs of disgust from the girls when they saw us, I propped myself into a seat nearest to the door on that dark-covered table and began to scan the content. Penny positioned herself across from me and mimicked me. The dining hall was the only place in Ravenwood that did us real justice. Despite of its only few occupants, the table was always full with food and drink covering the surface just like the others. While we were gratitude of it, I thought that was a total waste for it was clearly impossible for the two of us to down them all.
Anyway, tonight's menu was as wonderful as always. Various cooking of chicken, beef, any meat you can think of, scattered across the table in several plates along with many others. A jug of hot chocolate and mugs were placed in interval of every five chairs along with the desserts, which mostly consisted of cakes. I took a glance towards the Fire table where the girls were having a little fight over a cake. A smirk formed upon my lips. I pulled a whole cake to myself, purposely lifting it to my nose and inhaled its sweet aroma slowly when one of the Novices stared at our table with her mouth open longingly. Penny, having noticed what I was doing, smacked my arm. I laughed. Poor Novices would always get the leftover, which wasn't much. We didn't mind sharing our table with them, but knowing them, they would just turn our offer down and yell at us, making it seemed like we ask for their food and not otherwise. Taking our attention back at our table, we then proceeded to fill our plates with a bit of every dish and started to eat.
The food tasted wonderful I literally wolf down all of my plate's content in ten minutes. Penny cringed disapprovingly as I belched out loud and commented, "You eat like a gobbler that hasn't eaten in months."
I just laughed and started digging in the dessert. Penny shook her head in disbelief while putting her spoon and fork down. "How could you not gain weight with that kind of gobbler's appetite after three years?" Penny wondered out loud.
"Eh, just my luck?" I shrugged. Unlike other girls, I didn't really care about that matter. Food is food, there are plenty of them and free, so we just have to enjoy it, no? We continued eating in silence for the next five minutes. Most of the girls were already returned to their rooms by then, leaving only about twenty people or so chatting and laughing with each other. I watched them once in a while from behind my half-eaten cake, laughing after taking a glance towards us. Needless to say that they were talking about us.
"Anyway Sophia," Penny said, and I was glad for the distraction because the thought of yelling at them to mind their own businesses was ready to come out of my mouth. "Are you done with your detention? You returned sooner than you should be today."
I snorted. "I wish. You know how Drake is. He's just playing with us!"
"I think you meant Professor Drake, Sophia." Penny corrected me.
"I don't care, Penny. I hate him." I said simply and I meant it. I wonder how he could become a professor with that kind of attitude.
Penny shrugged. I knew she wasn't even sure whether to respect or hate the professor herself. Penny also hated him for his self-importance, arrogance kind of attitude, yet at the same time he was a professor that's bound to be respected. Yeah, that was a pretty hard decision for Penny, a model of devoted student, to choose. For me, you know the answer already!
"Well," Penny readjusted herself in her chair, "I just want to remind you that our third year is almost over and you'd better continue working on filling up your Experience Point for this year to pass to Journeyman rank."
My forkful-cake halted halfway in the air between my open mouth and the table when Penny completed her sentence, my eyes widened in realization. Dang it, I've completely forgotten about that!
What is this about the Experience Point, you ask? In Ravenwood Academy, we have to take seven years of study. There are a total of seven ranks; Novice, Apprentice, Initiate, Journeyman, Adept, Magus, and lastly Master. In our first year, we start off as Novice wizards, and the next year, we move up a rank and become Apprentice wizards, and so on. To pass the year and move up a rank, we must fulfill two things. Firstly, we must pass all the subjects given through the final exams, and secondly, we must fill up our Experience Point; the amount of points for every rank is different, the higher the rank, the more points are needed to collect. Experience Point is gotten from the 'quests' we receive from the people in Wizard City (or other worlds depending on your rank), be it wizards or non-wizards, mostly the latter. The non-wizards need our help with all the 'magic-ky' stuff, so simply speaking, we, wizards, help them with whatever magical problem they have and they will give us Experience Points and sometimes other useful stuff too in return.
I abandoned my cake as I tried to recall how many points I have collected on my Badge. If I remember correctly, I wasn't even done half of it and the school year will be over in like, four weeks? I stared at Penny in horror. "Oh my God, Penny. What do we do?"
"Well, I'm not really worried about myself," said Penny as she poured herself a mug of hot chocolate.
Penny shrugged and just showed me her Initiate Badge that she always carry everywhere. The small thing had a tiny glow around the inner edge which meant that it had collected the points needed.
I stared at her in disbelief. "What? But the last time I checked, we have the same amount of points!" I complained, feeling betrayed.
"Well, I do quests when I have free time, you know, when Professor Wethersfield brought us to Krokotopia for field study. I took the opportunity to do quests there when the study session is over. The people there give much more Experience Point than here in Wizard City."
"Oh," I said in understanding. Penny had also taken Balance class too by the way, so she got the chance of visiting Krokotopia quite often. Well, lucky her.
"By the way you reacted, you don't have it as well as I do, do you? You need to finish your detention soon so you can start working on it."
Easy said than done, I sighed frustratingly, remembering Professor Drake's mention about the amount of books we have yet to return. My detention would not end soon, I was pretty sure of it. Speaking of detention, something more important came up to my mind. Putting my Experience Point problem aside, I turned to Penny, a mixture of excitement and seriousness showed in my face. "Hey Penny, guess what?"
"Hmm?" Penny looked over at me from behind a mug of hot chocolate she was drinking.
"I had heard a big news."
Then I told her about the brief conversation between Cyrus Drake and Moolinda Wu this afternoon and my suspicion of who they were talking about. I had expected her to be surprised, but aside from her slightly raised eyebrows, her expression didn't change a bit, which made me kind of disappointed. "Oh, come on Penny, aren't you surprised?" I complained with a sigh. I meant, what I just told her was a BIG news!
Penny simply shrugged. "I don't know, Sophia. They could be talking about someone else."
"They couldn't be," I insisted. "If only you saw Drake's expression when hearing that, you'd know it was Malistaire they were talking about. How many people in the Spiral does he care about anyway?"
"Like I say earlier, I don't know. If it really was Malistaire they were talking about, what are you gonna do about it? Hmm?"
"Well, it's just that it's the first time I heard the news about him after so long, so I kind of become excited to know how he's doing." Don't get me wrong there, it's not that I was his fan or whatever. What he did was awful. I could still feel the cold air of that day lashed on my skin as I watched the Death School building being ripped apart from Bartleby's root right in front of my eyes. The wails and screams of agony from the students inside the building were still clear sounding in my ears, piercing through my heart and sending shivers down my spine as they, along with the building plummeted down out of sight. That's no way I would forget that day. Many had died in that incident and I shuddered every time I thought of how close I was to losing my life too. I survived because I came late that day. I survived, all thanks to my laziness. "I hope, if the news is really about Malistaire, it's good news this time, that they finally succeeded in capturing him or something."
There was a moment of pause between us as though my last sentence was a prayer. I looked up at Penny and I knew she was having a mental conflict within her head. She was still finding it hard to believe the fact that the one she once looked up to had turned evil and caused so much misery to many people. The last time I read the news about him, about a year ago, he was in Krokotopia and was causing a stir up between the land's inhabitants. The Ravenwood Bulletin, the one and only believable source of information regarding Malistaire, had also mentioned about a 'Krokonomicon' once. I wasn't sure what that was, but then after that, The Ravenwood Bulletin had stopped writing the detailed information of what Malistaire was doing, and only writing the most general information on the situation and not about Malistaire himself; either they had lost a brilliant informer or they had received an order to keep all that was happening low profile. I was more leaned to the latter considering the article consisted the mention of Krokonomicon had caused a little panic between the higher-up wizards. Anyway, after the stir up, Krokotopia was not a really safe place anymore to go around unarmed, and guards were constantly placed at the entrances of every area. Nobody knew what Malistaire's plan was; he seemed to just causing havoc wherever he went. I wonder if I would be like that too if I were to lose someone I loved.
"We'd better going back now. Dinner time is almost over." Penny's voice snapped me back from my thought. I looked at the big Grandfather Clock at the wall behind me. It was a little before eight, that's when all of the food disappear from the table. You wouldn't find even a scrap behind after that, so it was important to be going to dinner on time as you were not allowed to go out of Ravenwood's ground after eight o'clock to buy food; again I thanked Penny for that in my mind. Picking up an apple, I was halfway rising from my chair when I heard the big doors snapped open followed by a girl hurried inside. She collided into my back as she ran past me and the next moment I was thrust forward onto the table. My hand knocked the hot chocolate jug, spilling the content all over the table and to my clothes. Good thing Penny was able to catch me before my face could be buried into my half-eaten cake.
Anger quickly boiled inside me as I whipped my head about in the direction where the girl went. She seemed not to realize what she just did as she kept her pace towards the green-covered table without stopping to mock me. Then I noticed something strange. The girl's clothes were surprisingly soaked wet it clung to her small body like a second layer of brown and green skin. Her short, brown wavy hair was soaked as well; it looked as though she had just come out of the rain outside.
"Calamity!" I heard one of the two Theurgists remained on the Life table calling out to the rain-soaked girl. Calamity? What an odd name, I mused. "Where have you been? You were gone like all day!"
The addressed girl, who must have been a Theurgist as well, took her time to steady her breaths, her face flushed red as though she had just run a marathon. "I—I got lost…" her soft, almost sing-song voice quivered a little, probably from the cold.
The other Theurgist with black hair shook her head in disbelief before asking, "Calamity, you have been living here for all your life, how come you still managed to get lost?"
"I—I don't know…" I noticed a hint of panic in her voice, even clearly as she said her next sentence. "There is… something important I need to tell you…"
"Whoa, calm down, Call! You sound like you were just chased by a ghost," the first Theurgist exclaimed, her face showing true concern.
"More importantly, here, have dinner first. We have spared you some…"
Just then, the Great clock chimed in eight times, leaving the three Theurgists to freeze momentarily at the sight of the suddenly empty table. What timing. The ninth, growl-like sound that followed a moment after the clock, loud enough that I could hear, was clearly come from Calamity. I saw her face redden even more in embarrassment as she looked miserably at her growling stomach. She looked really close to burst into tears…
And then, a flying apple zoomed towards her.
"OW!" she cried out as the apple made impact with the back of her head, and it took three seconds for me to realize that I was the one throwing it.
"Hey! What is your problem, Deathy!?" the black-haired Theurgist yelled at me, standing up from her chair fast. The other glared at me while Calamity looked down to see what was hitting her.
"At least," I set my jaw and shot them a glare, "have the decency to apologize after knocking someone up and make their clothes dirty."
I turned to leave then, only to find Penny smiling broadly at me.
The amount of our homework had us awake until a little past midnight. Having exhausted her eyes and brain after reading some thick and heavy books, Penny collapsed almost immediately after her foot had left the last ladder to the upper bunk. I was just as exhausted as her, minus the sleepiness, thanks to my long nap. From experience, I knew that I wouldn't be able to sleep the rest of the night, so after grabbing a sweater, I sneaked my way out to the Commons. That was against the rules, but I couldn't bear staying in the room any longer without doing anything. I needed to take a walk and I didn't want to wake the sleeping Trees in Ravenwood when doing so.
The rain had subsided just a little after we had finished dinner, though tiny droplets of water were still falling from the tree where I was currently hiding in at the moment. I had climbed up the big tree near the pond just outside of the Headmaster Tower after I decided that I had enough of walking. I was currently staring up at the sky. It was amazing. Millions of stars claimed the sky, blinking continuously in a beauty that couldn't be expressed by words. The light from the full moon above made the street lamps kind of useless as it outshone them. The second wonderful thing was the lake. So clear the water that when the moonlight hit the surface, it sparkled beautifully as if having a contest with the stars above.
The night would be a perfect silence had it not been for the night breeze rustling the leaves of the tree. The cold air of the night had tried to penetrate through my sweater without much success, however that wasn't the case with my uncovered arms and face as they were now starting to turn red from the long exposure in the cold. Some owl hooted once in a while, sending off some creepiness into the air. For some people, that might be kind of scary, but I liked that. I always enjoyed night time and its calmness, maybe that's the reason I got chosen to be in the Death school.
I leaned my back against a tree branch, my gaze still glued to the sky, and stayed like that until something caught my attention. The previously dark tower behind me suddenly went bright. Someone had turned on the light inside. The next moment, the front door opened wide and the thin figure of Merle Ambrose appeared between the frames, his staff held at the ready in front of him. His usual blue starry robes and long white beard were swaying in the wind, his monocle glinting in the moonlight as he stared forward intently.
Shoot, I've been found out!
Or at least that was what I thought.
I didn't have time to panic however, as at that time, I heard footsteps coming from the tunnel from Ravenwood. A moment later, five figures emerged from the tunnel and walked in the direction of the Headmaster's tower single-filed. I held my breaths, trying to melt myself with the shadows as they walked past the tree.
"We are here," one of the five people said. I observed them through the thick branches and leaves and gasped silently once I recognized one of them. Oh my God, it's them! I felt my heart beating faster as I saw the five enter the yard of the Headmaster's tower. Ambrose had walked down to greet them and then steered them into the tower, the big double doors closed shut then. For a full minute, I just sat there feeling awed. It had been a full year since I last saw them. With them being here, it could only mean one thing, and that had proven my suspicion being true; it was really Malistaire the one Cyrus Drake and Moolinda Wu had talked about this afternoon, otherwise these five people, the Order of the Spiral, wouldn't be here right now this late of night.
~to be continued~
A/N: So, what do you think? I meant to make the ending cliffier but I think I have failed. Please let me know if there is any grammar mistake or confusion in there. This story wasn't beta read and I stink at grammar, so it would be much appreciated if you could point that out so I can improve!
A/N2: This is the edited version of the old chapter. Not much has changed except for grammar mistakes here and there (as long as my eyes could see them! There might be some I have missed). Despite the long long long time it stays unupdated, I still haven't given up on this. IRL matters and my lack-of-inspiration-turned-into-laziness are to blame. Gomenasai! *bows so low to my still loyal readers*