It's checkmate. - Sylvia Maline Pierzak
There is a world behind the reflection of the mirror.
And as much as I came here for answers, I never knew these kinds of men existed before I passed through it.
He is absolutely handsome, innocent yet dangerous, and clad in shining armour. My class advisor looked about as ready as a prince about to sweep you off your feet onto a pearl white horse for a pleasant ride.
Though, I wouldn’t mind him being the horse, either.
His strong, knowing expression reminded me to straighten my own tilted, unfocused head. I’d have to look and act accordingly if I want to leave this world with knowledge and a beating heart. It would be a waste if I was imprisoned without hesitation, or under normal circumstances, dead. The work I put into coming here, setting up the bread crumbs from my parents to follow, planting a decoy to convince them.
Maybe staying should’ve been my priority. Winning that dagger was not the greatest option to achieve the power I needed per say, and I didn’t take into account its historical relevance, and how impossible it was for other Leiazs to have ever moved it by a millimetre. Now Ravamore and its people are watching every move of a mere teenage girl, who so happened to take it in under half-an-hour.
It didn’t help that I disappeared from the press, leaving them with enough boost to make rumours, saying that I had used forbidden techniques. I did not, and they know that. They had the luxury of the front row seat to see me doing what the noble and the royal Leiazs were. As if it would stop the students from asking for their own answers and autographs.
“What type of Leiaz are you?”
“How’d you melt the crystal?”
“What spell did you use?”
“What form did you combine?”
“May we see your grimoire?”
And so on.
Vanished for three long months, yet my name still haunts the headlines and seizes every breaking news bulletin on the airwaves. My presence, or lack thereof, seems to have sparked a frenzy of fascination throughout the six kingdoms of Leiazwald. It's almost comical how I thought I could focus on high school this year, undisturbed.
As I glance around the classroom, I realize I'm not the only one caught under his spell. I can't deny that he's the most captivating teacher I've ever encountered in my brief stint at this school. He reminds me of Sylvia's mythical tales, where a goddess falls for her training instructor. Comparing my own experience to her story, I can't help but agree that everyone in this realm is nothing short of breathtaking.
I can't blame the other girls in my class for losing focus every few seconds, not when he's the one imparting knowledge. His skin is the perfect shade of light brown, and his sunken cheeks seem to add an air of mystery to his already alluring presence. The sharpness of his high cheekbones chisels him to perfection, making him look like he's been plucked straight out of a golden age. I can only imagine what lengths they'd go to catch his attention, from discussing his subject matter to merely greeting him hello or goodbye. Even I feel like I've hit the jackpot being in his class, if it means I get to bask in the radiance of his face every morning.
The blaring school bell rang, signaling dismissal. I smiled as the girls behind me let out a loud, disappointed sigh. I wouldn’t say I didn’t feel the same.
“Finally!” Mariella jumped out of her seat, hurrying to pack her notes. I forgot she was beside me the whole time.
“The F.A.R. meeting? It’s today. Did you forget?” She said, slinging her bag over her shoulder as we headed out the back door of the classroom.
I sighed, “Right, the one you dragged me into.”
“Ms. Merxado?” Professor Hale called as he gestured for me to come to him. “May I have a bit of your time?”
Mariella glanced at him with a small smile before she nodded to me, “I’ll see you outside, then.”
I slowly made my way to his desk, where he was preparing a few papers to put in a pile inside his bag. I failed miserably in my attempt to conceal the growing grin I felt forming. Oh fuck it, I’m gonna look weird.
“Please, call me professor when we’re in the classroom.” He corrected. “I’m only to be addressed as ‘sir’ in Weapons Combat.”
I nodded in compliance, guess who’s looking forward to her Weapons Combat period this week.
Noting my silent agreement, he continued. “I wanted to personally introduce myself at the house sorting yesterday when I had heard you enrolled at this school. But due to the full schedule, I resorted to the first day of the class instead.”
“Damian Hale, your class advisor for the rest of the school year. It’s a pleasure to finally have your acquaintance.” The professor stretched out his hand, completing his formal introduction.
I shook it, inconspicuously enjoying his gentle touch. “Pleasure’s all mine. I take it I have no need to introduce myself?”
“Certainly not.” He chuckled softly. “It’s an honor to be your teacher, Diamond Winner.”
If any other person called me that, I’d be uncomfortable. It’s a reminder of my status and place here in this world, and of the expectations each and every person in this kingdom has placed on me. I never would’ve liked to be involved in their national problems as much as I am now. Because of my sole existence here, I could tip the scales and turn this place upside down if I’m not careful. I know the recent goddess wouldn’t exactly like the idea of an outsider causing more chaos than this world already does.
“I look forward to what I’ll be learning from you, Professor.” I smiled as I released his hand.
“You best be on your way now.” He said, reading off the time on his watch. “The First Aid Rescue’s about to have their first meeting in half an hour, yes?”
“How’d you know I volunteered to participate in F.A.R.?”
“I’m your class advisor, Ms. Merxado. It’s part of my job to know each of my student’s extracurricular activities.”
“Right. Makes sense.”
Two years of homeschooling can really make you forget how life is in regular school. But as much as I’d like to reprimand myself for it, this isn’t just some regular school. Unless, you count in the magic, creatures, flying broomsticks, and stuff that came straight out of a very descriptive novel. Sylvia’s novel, X.A.H.C.
After I was dismissed, I met up with Mariella, who waited for me by her locker, chatting with one of the girls that weren’t from our section. They were giggling and laughing a lot as I stood by them. How many people did Mariella befriend in this school?
As I arrived, Mariella, unaware for the most part, wrapped her arm around mine and brought me closer, introducing me to the girl. Most red-heads were born from Netharya or Zanarya, but their numbers decreased by forty percent after the Great Continent Confinement. This fact in their history has stuck with me for a while. No one but Sylvia knows why they always lived as if there was a target symbol on their front and back. It would probably be years before she even reveals them.
“Shanz, meet Emillia, House Klarz.” Mariella beckoned. “We’ve been friends since primary school.”
“Hono… Honored to meet you.” Emillia greeted, her eyes didn’t meet mine out of nervousness.
“Likewise.” I give her a small smile in an effort to calm her down. “You’re a Nethaz, correct?”
Her gaze dropped even more as she answered, “Yes, I am.”
“I’ve never met a Nethaz before, you’re the first so far. I’m very delighted to meet you.”
Finally, she looked me in the eyes and relaxed her shoulders a little. As she fixed her glasses, I was losing patience. I’m not one to stay and drag a conversation out when the other party isn’t willing to meet half-way. It’s a waste of precious time.
“We have a club meeting in twenty-five, so we’re heading off.” I ended. “See you around, Klarz.”
With Mariella, I moved along and began to walk towards the west wing of the building. I may have exaggerated the time but there were already some students watching us as we spoke, like we were prey and they were hawks. I’d rather not give them that time of day. Judging from how I saw Emillia, she was the type to have her glasses broken into pieces, and I don’t think she’s clumsy.
A head held high will always turn a few heads, and I have never been able to prove that notion wrong. My energy was enough for some to shut their mouths and take a glance before they continued what they were previously doing. I would wonder why they did that, then I’d remember that the girl beside me had her arm around mine, with a dashing smile plastered on her lips as she matched my pace. I sighed, this just so happened to be who I’m in a circle with.
“Is there something wrong?” Mariella asked, furrowing her eyebrows.
“I still can’t believe you didn’t mention that Klaus was your cousin. It would’ve saved me a good ten lingering minutes when I first met him.”
“It’s not like you wanted to meet people, anyways. You made that very clear a month ago.” She said defensively, blushing upon her next words. “It was your idea to leave me and Daz behind with him, too.”
“Fair point.” I shrugged.
The memory of my request to Mariella’s father came back to me. How I told him to keep the cameras, reports, and prying eyes away from me. It’d only keep me from moving around here, and the fewer that know about me, the lesser they would expect from me.
After an eternity of walking, we reached the infirmary, and as usual, the whispers followed, too. But that never bothered me, and never will.
Before I could touch the door knob, a hand quickly pushed it open. His tall frame leaned on the wall beside it, and I looked up at the boy who eyed me down. What a flirt.
“Let me get that for you, Merx.” Marius offered.
It looked as if he ran with his concealed pants, I concluded from studying his face, and gave him a light smile before entering the room with Mariella following behind.
The sunlight was warm enough to bring a good atmosphere for those who woke up from training accidents. Simple single beds were lined up until the end of the infirmary. It was so long I felt the need to bike my way across to the balcony. My gaze shifted to the small gathering of four small beds ahead of me. There sat students in all high school grade levels, either on the beds or the provided seats, one even on a wheelchair with an ankle over his knee. Everyone, especially Klaus and Daz, who I recognized first, was chatting with their friends while the others engaged in a low damage pillow fight.
Then stood Klaus, removing his hands from his pockets and fixing a stray chair. He had a slight smile on his lips as he saw us coming, and nudged Daz as a signal.
Mariella wasted no time as she walked past me to greet them. The two boys excused themselves from their current party, which, in turn, made the volunteers look for whoever they had their attention set on.
Klaus’s sight stood steady on me, his eyes a shining crystal blue from the lighting of the room. He always looked professional because of his neatly gelled hair. I was thinking of walking towards them when Marius cleared his throat, and I am reminded of his existence as he grabs my bag from my shoulders.
“Whatever it is, Marius,” I warned with a forced smile. “Make it worth my time, and make it quick.”
He made a low chuckle, “I think our little time in the dark closet was cut one too many minutes short. Don’t you think?” Marius grinned as he took a step closer to me, delighted to see that it reached the listening ears.
“Why don’t we finish where we left off?” He winked as he carried my bag over his shoulder.
“And if I don’t want to?” I challenged, meeting his raised eyebrow with my own.
Marius reads my face, trying to see through my words as he answered, “Well, then I may be up to entertain a few questions.” He gestures his head to the students nearby that were probably listening to our conversation, curious enough to turn their own heads.
He expects me to be provoked. I bit my lower lip to conceal my laugh when I realized he wasn’t joking. Does this man in front of me really think that spreading false rumours about us making-out would faze me in the slightest? Has he seen how hot he is?
But, I’d play along if you ask me. The way his broad shoulders and biceps teased through his shirt could knock most girls on their knees– plus, two could play at that game. I’ve received more stares from the female students with him than I did with Klaus. Now, I don’t know if they were good stares or not, but seeing their eyebrows knit together as they watched me pass them, well, they make me want to believe they want to be me.
“Alright.” I allowed, remembering how he hauled me inside the nearest dim, empty room, trying to talk to me in private. I would’ve burned half the building if he didn’t make himself known.
He bent down towards my ear and whispered. “There’s a small garden at the back of the school, by the maze fields. I’ll be waiting at one of the gazebos.” Marius straightened his back and gave me a cheeky smile before he turned for the exit, still holding my bag to make sure I didn't blow him off.
I sighed tiredly as I returned my full attention to the volunteering group. Finally, we can get on with the first meeting of the year. Except Klaus is crossly eyeing the door of the infirmary.