Sunlight poured through the window and blanketed me with a peaceful warmth. Today was the first day of classes. Probably the first time that I’ve ever been excited to attend school.
Wearing a fitted white tank tucked into the high waist of my loose jeans, I stuffed the textbooks and notebook into my bag. Just before I was about to leave, I remembered the velvet lined pouch holding my phersu eggs and clipped it to my waist. If closeness is going to help hatch my eggs, these babies are going to go everywhere with me.
The hallway was bustling with students, seemingly excited and upbeat to start the school year. Almost everybody looked as if they had made friends with their neighbors pretty quickly. Unfortunately, my neighbor didn’t seem too keen on getting close to others, which was all fine and dandy since he seemed like more trouble than he was worth.
I made my way through the swarm of students, hoping they weren’t all going to the food hall as I was planning to, and a long-drawn sigh escaped my mouth—mornings were never good for me and the chaos was making my head hurt.
Someone stifled a snort behind me. Looking over my shoulder, I found myself staring at Lucas.
“Can I help you?” I asked flatly. How long had he been standing behind me?
“You should be more excited. It’s the first day of class,” he mocked with a condescending tone. Talking to me when he wants and ignoring me when he wants? I don’t think so. I turned and started walking away.
His Ceres wasn’t hard to find since the dominating potency practically engulfed the others—a bright crimson red. I wrinkled my brow, battling against the urge to turn around and get a better look as I sensed a veil of sorts shrouding it.
Lucas was still behind me when we arrived at the food hall. Remaining silent as we got our food, I took my tray and sat at an empty table. He followed suit.
“Do you mind?” he asked, already sitting and already taking a bite out of his breakfast sandwich.
“I don’t get it.”
“What is wrong with you?”
His mouth twitched into a smile. “Nothing.”
“Then why do you act like that?”
He took another bite. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” His piercing green eyes seemed to look straight through me, but the feeling was comforting in some way. And the fact that it comforted me, made me uncomfortably confused—it was a strange turmoil inside me.
Then, I noticed his arrogant smirk, and groaned.
“How did it go?”
I looked up taken aback. He was actually trying to hold a conversation. “What?”
“The Extraction.” A genuine curiosity painted the tone of his voice. “How did yours go?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “It was okay.” I wanted to see his egg, but I wasn’t sure whether or not he would show it to me if I asked.
“Do you want to see my egg?” He cracked a smile, clearly amused.
I looked down, embarrassed. Was I really that easy to read? He chuckled as he pulled out a deep red egg with orange tints. It was interesting to see how different his was compared to mine.
“It’s going to hatch,” he stated.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Excuse me?”
“Did I mumble?”
“What makes you think yours is going to hatch when you’ve had it for less than a day?” Although I was questioning him, the confidence in his voice pushed me to believe it would prove true.
“Call it a gut feeling,” he said with an eyebrow raised and a curl playing at the corner of his mouth. “So, are you going to return the favor?”
I reached into my pouch and faltered. Which egg? I thought, flustered. Finally, I decided only to remove my purple phersu egg. He didn’t have to know that I had two. “This is mine.”
Lucas jolted when he touched it, then held it up to the light. “You can see your phersu.”
“But you can’t really tell what it is.” I took the last bite of my banana and checked the time. There were a few minutes before class was to start. The food hall had nearly emptied and only a few straggling students shoveled food into their mouths. Lucas followed as I threw my trash away. This time he walked beside me.
The Gold class was a few corridors away. There were around thirty students in the class, and it looked like we were the last to arrive. This year, Lucas and I were the only new admits. The students hushed when we entered and stared as we walked by. Though I wasn’t fond of Lucas’ attitude, I was slightly grateful to have him accompany me through this awkward silence. Only slightly.
We took the empty seats in the last row. Everyone’s eyes seemed to follow us and linger for a socially unacceptable length of time. It couldn’t be that rare for a new student to enter the Gold class, could it? I heard Lucas’ sardonic laugh under his breath. His eyes slightly squinted, but I could still see the twinkle in the clear green color.
“Is something funny?”
“That’s usually the reason people laugh,” he answered. He didn’t make an effort to elaborate as he brushed his hand through his jet-black hair before casually leaning back into his seat.
I looked around and noticed a girl, with big brown eyes and short bobbed hair, staring at me. Again, for a socially unacceptable length of time. The way her hair was ruffled and her nippy movements even when standing in place reminded me of a squirrel. Her Ceres was a bright yellow orange, moving wildly within her. I could tell she lacked a bit of control.
Our eyes met and she took it as an invitation; she popped out of her seat and practically sprinted to my desk. “Hi, I’m Shelly!” The pitch of her voice made me cringe.
“Selena.” I nodded.
“I know that. I watched the interviews. You were pretty impressive. Kind of showy in my opinion.” She spoke so fast that I barely saw her lips move. “I’m part of the divination lineage. I can see the future and past of a certain object. I can’t really control it fully yet, but when I do my phersu egg will hatch! I can’t wait. I really wonder what’s inside of it. You want to see it?” Before I could even answer, her egg was shoved in front of my face. The deep pink egg was even more bizarre than Lucas’ and mine—the shell was covered with furry hairs.
“Touch it, it’s really soft!” Shelly insisted. Her lips twitched as if she struggled to hold her words back and her brows almost reached the top of her forehead. There was something terrifying about the way she opened her eyes so wide that I could see the whites around her pupils. I slowly reached toward it and she met me halfway.
“That’s amazing,” I replied. What does everyone else’s eggs look like? I wondered.
“I know, isn’t it? My phersu is going to be so soft!”
“It’s never going to hatch with your level of control. You can’t even control how much you talk,” Lucas scoffed. He spoke as if he knew her. Or maybe, he didn’t have a filter, which was also a very strong possibility based on the short amount of time that I’ve known him.
“You should watch your mouth,” Shelly retorted. Then she turned back to me with an apologetic face. “Sorry, I’m going back to my seat, I really can’t stand being near him. And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep your distance, too.” She stomped back to her seat.
“What a joke,” Lucas mumbled purposefully loud while rolling his eyes.
“Do you know her?” I asked. It hadn’t occurred to me, since I had never seen anyone here before, but some of these students must have attended Foundational school together before entering Vanderwald.
“You shouldn’t bother with her. You don’t realize it, but I just saved you from another headache,” he replied with a mocking grin.
“I don’t remember asking for it,” I said indignantly with glaring eyes. “Everyone has the opportunity for their phersu egg to hatch.”
He frowned. “Do you even know the amount of control and power it takes for that to happen? I’m sure you realized that she’s far from controlling her Ceres.”
“How did you?” I wondered if he was able to see the Ceres’ aura too. The bell rang before he could answer.
A heart-shaped face woman with big brown eyes walked in. She looked young but her posture and strut demanded respect. Her body was as straight as her long brown hair.
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