“Bah, don’t mind the voice,” Theo says quietly after a moment. “They’re just stiff necks, trying to spoil our fun.”
“Well I didn’t use that much power,” Katha stares across at Theo.
“I’m not that stupid.” Theo glares back at her.
I pull my feet up onto the chair and hug my knees to my chest. I can feel the tension in the air as they glare at each other. “It was probably me,” I whisper, so softly I wonder if they could hear. But they must have because they both look at me.
“But that shape was so cool!” Katha seems to have been impressed by it.
“Who taught you how to do that?” Theo asks.
“No, nobody,” I stammer out, suddenly feeling close to tears. If only I’d had a chance to see Dad before I got here. Maybe then I would feel more secure. Strong, I have to be strong I remind myself. “I mean, Dad’s taught me some things, but I haven’t been training long.”
“Like what? One year, two years?” Theo is the epitome of curiosity.
I look from Katha to Theo. I wonder if they will believe me. “One month or so,” I whisper as I look at my skirt. They do not gasp or make any comment. I can feel them looking at me in astonishment though. Before Theo can ask more questions the voice speaks again.
“Would all Testees please file into Conference room Fifty-Three. Your orientation is about to begin.”
Everyone in the waiting room begins to stand up. “Come on,” Katha urges us. “Don’t want to get stuck in the last row, do you?”
I let the two of them drag me along. I don’t know why they are being so nice to me. I hope that, like Gloria, they like me for me, well what little they knew of me. I wish Gloria was here now. I miss her. I wonder if I’ll be able to talk to her before the test. I hope I can.
My right hand clutches at my pendant. My left is alternately held by Katha and Theo. They switch leads as we move our way through the crowd. An athletic boy pushes past us.
“Out of my way stupid half-bloods,” he sneers. I can’t tell which one of us he's talking to.
“Just as many full bloods as half don’t get their wings,” Katha states.
He looks at her and his sneer gets worse. “Well, well a full blood with the halfsies. They’ll only bring you down you know.”
Theo starts up to him as he turns away. I can feel Katha’s anger rising too. Letting go of the pendant, I do the unthinkable, I grab their hands. “Don’t take the bait, he’s only looking for a fight.” My voice is soft. Bullies, I hate them. They were the bane of my school existence.
We manage to find seats, just front of middle and off to the right. I’m not surprised to see the bully has gone all the way to the back. I just hope he doesn’t have spit ball equipment. I look into my pendant. For some reason the thought of spit balling makes me think of Ash. Stay safe, I think, I’ll come find you once I’ve passed this test.
I look up in time to see Theo glance quickly away. Katha snickers as his face flushes, but before I can puzzle out what’s going on the door opens. As one we all turn to face the man who has entered. He strides in and up to the podium, setting his briefcase upon it gently. What is it with the three piece suits around here?