The marble pillars outlined a bare stone wall. Mr. Sloan recited something under his breath, and the etchings of a door impressed into the smooth surface.
Ornate carvings and foreign symbols lined the top. In the center was a tangled carving of a dragon, bird, and winged horse. The dragon was the largest carving, threatening yet graceful. The bird had varying feather types. The winged horse looked the most elegant of the three. Mr. Sloan opened the door and started down the stairs.
We descended deeper and deeper.
“Selena, you have finally made it. It is a long walk, but well worth it,” the voice said. Mr. Sloan—who was blocking my view—moved to the side, and there stood the headmaster, golden haired and blue-eyed.
Azure-colored fire began to light up, spiraling all the way up to the ceiling. At the highest point an iridescent ornate chandelier exploded in illumination. Yellow light showered gold dust around us. The sight was spectacular as the sparks of light ignited the underground room. While the stone wall chamber should have felt more like a dungeon, the foggy haze of elucidated shimmer blanketed us in a dreamy light.
“It’s one of my more whimsical creations,” the headmaster said, admiring his own work. “Shall we get started, then?”
I nodded, still not knowing how we were going to start off the procedure. Though, I imagined it would be painful, stripping a part of a Ceres from a Valkryn. Afterall, the word “extraction” wasn’t the most reassuring term.
Headmaster Elmore motioned me deeper into the room until I stood directly under the chandelier. It’s even more amazing from below.
An intricate pattern of water surrounded me, weaving in and out with sharp curves. The headmaster stood behind a steel wired stand, intertwined like vines, holding a leather-bound book that looked older than anything I had ever seen. There was a strange aura—silvery gold—glowing from the antique cover. I concentrated on the headmaster and sensed his aura was the same as the one radiating from the book.
“Selena, the only thing you have to do is stand there and concentrate on the feeling of your own Ceres,” he instructed. “Judging by the control you displayed during your interviews, I’m sure this shouldn’t be a problem.”
I closed my eyes and began to concentrate—just another one of my meditation sessions, I reassured myself, finding it a bit unnerving with the headmaster watching.
My purple aura appeared first. Its presence shifted within my body with ragged movements. The quick decisive, and almost aggressive maneuvering felt natural for the amethyst electricity that coursed through my nerves.
I could hear the headmaster reciting something in the background—the same foreign language Mr. Sloan had spoken when he had opened the door.
I continued to meditate—feeling a bit calmer now—and a cool chill ran down my spine. It wasn’t uncomfortable just…unfamiliar. The icy silver aura of my chrome crept from within me like mist on an early winter day. The presence of my recently acquired Ceres still felt somewhat disconnected. The electricity felt like saying hello to my best friend, but the chrome more accurately compared to being reunited with an old friend.
I felt out of my element. How had I controlled it so well during the interviews? The silver Ceres slinked through my body, the movement undulating with grace and determination, searching for something.
The surprise touch of a hand on my back broke my concentration and my eyes fluttered open.
Headmaster Elmore’s eyes were wide with twinkling approbation. His aura was overwhelming, and the vast power of his Ceres felt suffocating. He collected himself, as the marvel from his eyes dissolved. “That was wonderful, much more than I…expected. I don’t know why I doubted Molly…”
“Who’s Molly?” I asked.
He disregarded my question. “Take a look up there.”
The round shapes revolved above me. Instinctively, I reached for them as they descended into my hands—two phersu eggs.
In my right hand, the egg was silver with a metallic sheen. There were fluid movements within the egg, gliding at a graceful pace.
A distinct spasm stirred from the second egg. This egg’s shell was a deep purple crystal. The shell was transparent and the creature within it was made of the same material, so I could see the phersu moving agitatedly as if trying to break through. The impatience was evident in its chaotic movements.
“I’m sure you know that what just happened is very…uncommon. Never has there been an individual who has produced two phersu eggs.”
“I’m not sure I understand.” I couldn’t take my eyes off the two marvels in my hands.
“During the procedure, the Ceres is drawn out from a Valkryn. This pure essence of power is then formed into a phersu egg. The only explanation for you possessing two would be that you have too much power for one egg to support. Therefore, your power had to be separated into thirds,” the headmaster hypothesized. He made me sound more powerful than I felt.
“When do phersu eggs hatch?”
“Students must reach a certain level of power and control for it to hatch. However, there have been instances when Valkryns have been unable to reach the level of power and control over their Ceres for their phersu egg to hatch.”
So, there is a chance that my phersu eggs won’t hatch. That is the last thing I want to hear.
“You want to keep your phersu eggs with you at all times. The longer they are with you, the more connected you are with them and your separated power.”
The headmaster motioned Mr. Sloan forward. “Please escort Miss Somerset back to her room. She’ll be needing her rest for her first day of school tomorrow.”
The walk back to the dormitories was a short and quiet one. Lost in my thoughts, I barely noticed my surroundings. My eggs were cold like glass, but I could feel the subtle warmth permeating from the center. I wondered what creatures moved within.
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