“There are five types of immortal a human can become.”
“Become? They aren’t just born?”
Meena shook her head, keeping her tone as clipped as mine. “Immortals don’t…reproduce like that. Anyway, there are five. Each have several of their own subspecies, but there is a representative of each in the Eternals.”
“So the Eternals are the government?” I asked. The flare of anger was leaching away now and I was starting to get sucked in again.
“Yes,” Willow piped up. I remembered the way Lycan Gray had spoken mainly to her.
“Lycan Gray represents werewolves, then? Are they one of the five?”
“Yes,” she repeated, getting up to move closer to us in the middle of the circle. “Last night, we were going to spy on you,” she said, a little embarrassedly. “Lycan only listens to his werewolf charges, so I had to bring Meena with me to explain what she thought about you. He wanted to see you for himself.”
I turned towards Meena. “What about your representative? The shape shifters have one, don’t they?”
“Mine is busy at the moment,” she grimaced. “Which brings us back to the protecting.”
Somewhere behind me the school bell tolled in an echoing distant way, though it wasn’t that far away. I had half turned to leave and go back, but Meena grabbed my wrist.
“Don’t you want to hear this? Or are you still convinced we’re pranking you?” she asked sceptically. They had both sunk to the floor again and sat with their legs crossed.
“Whatever,” I muttered and sat on my bag again. The ground was still damp and spongy. I shot an anxious look towards the school.
“They won’t miss us,” Willow grinned. “You can’t tell me you mind about missing physics.”
I shrugged grudgingly. “Come on then. It’s taken you long enough to get round to telling me.”
They raised their eyebrows but didn’t comment. Meena had volunteered herself as spokesperson, because she cleared her throat conscientiously.
“Right. This going to sound like a cheesy thing to you, after what you said before, but… someone isn’t after you as such, but if he finds out about you he might come and get you.”
“What for? I’m nothing special.”
“He can make you into a weapon,” she continued bluntly, ignoring my surprised face. “Jeez, this is difficult to explain. Like I said, immortals don’t reproduce, they pass on their conditions through other methods. Werewolf and vampires have venomous saliva in their bites, as do shape shifters when in animal forms. The venom isn’t poisonous in the way that it kills, but it is poison in the way that it invades human cells and edits the DNA into that of whatever bit the victim. Elves have special gifts - some can tell the future - “ she traded a look with Willow, “- and they can pass it on through touching someone with a finger on which they wear their birthstone ring - it’s important for elves,” she added. My jaw had dropped again. I was trying to comprehend the existence of vampires and elves on top of everything else. I struggled to close it.
“People who die without being changed, which happens, they have the extra choice of becoming an elf - without the touch of one - as well as going… on. The last of the five is a centaur -” there it went again, “-and they’re very rare because centaurs are reclusive. They keep all their knowledge to themselves. The touch of a centaur’s bare skin against a human’s is enough to change them. Nobody can ever touch a centaur accidentally.”
I nodded slowly. “Okay, I think I got all of that. Venomous bites and never touch a… a centaur. But how is it relevant exactly?”
She exhaled loudly. Willow shifted slightly and took over the storytelling.