A chill had descended on the room.
“And so I left him. You girls were only a few weeks old. And Peter has always been one of my best friends, so after I left Cambio, I ran to Peter, knowing he could give us shelter. And he did. And later on, we were married. But Az, if Cambio is there, then you need to leave. Even though you’re his daughter, he will kill you. Az, promise me that you’ll leave tomorrow.”
Azkedelia shook her head. “Mom, I can’t promise that. This school, and schools like this, this is where I belong. I need to try and figure out what he wants and stop him. I won’t let him keep me from my people.”
Genevieve looked down and sighed. “Alright. Az, you can stay. Nix, will you…”
Nix shook her head. “Sorry mom, I’m staying right here. My teachers back in California think I’m here for a family emergency. And I think this qualifies as a family emergency.”
Azkedelia hugged her sister.
Genevieve finally looked at Merlin. “Azkedelia, who’s the boy by the door?”
Azkedelia’s face turned red. “Mom, I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Merlin.”
Merlin walked to Azkedelia and faced the mirror. “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Keystone.”
Peter’s eyes flickered from Merlin’s race to Azkedelia’s. “It’s nice to meet you, Merlin. Maybe one day we will meet in person.”
Merlin nodded. “That would be nice, sir.”
“Merlin, you’re the one that’s been taking care of Azkedelia, correct?” Genevieve asked.
Merlin nodded. “Yes, ma’am. I’ve been taking care of her.”
Genevieve nodded. “Very well then.”
Peter turned to Nix. “Bye, Nix, get back to California before too long, I don’t want you to be expelled because they have no record of you.”
Nix nodded. “Bye, dad. And don’t worry, I will.”
“Bye mom, bye dad. Thanks for that info, it’ll help a lot,” Azkedelia said.
Genevieve nodded. “You’re welcome, Az. Just promise me you’ll try to stay safe.”
Azkedelia nodded. “I will.”
Nix waved her hand over the mirror and it faded back to its reflective surface. Azkedelia stood in the middle of the floor.
"It's okay, Az," Nix said as she turned to her sister.
Azkedelia looked up. "We need to find out what Cambio wants."
Nix and Merlin nodded.
"And we will, I promise." Merlin came up behind Az and wrapped his arms around her waist. "What all did he say to you?"
Azkedelia closed her eyes. "He said that he's been watching me for a long time and that…"
"And what?" Merlin asked, his chin on her head.
Azkedelia's voice dropped down to a whisper. "That I would find out what he wanted on the night of a lunar eclipse."
Merlin looked at Nix. "Isn't there a lunar eclipse coming up soon?"
Nix shrugged. "Maybe. I'll ask Atlantis, she'll know."
Merlin nodded as Nix stood in front of the mirror and contacted Atlantis.
Merlin pulled Azkedelia's hair away from her shoulder. "Az, I need to check your shoulder. Will you be okay for a few minutes while I go get the stuff?"
Azkedelia nodded and sat on the bed. Merlin walked out and headed toward the infirmary.
"The next lunar eclipse is in two days, why?"
Nix looked back at Az. "It's kind of hard to explain, but this evil shape-shifter is our real dad and he wants to do something to Az during the lunar eclipse."
Atlantis twisted a red and black curl in her fingers. "Lunar eclipses have always had potent magic, and there are certain rituals that can be done that provide great power. And if said rituals are performed by or on people like us, then the power provided is more than triple usual powers. And if the performer has evil intent, then the consequences are horrifying to even try and imagine."
Nix blinked and Azkedelia's face turned even paler.
Atlantis looked at Azkedelia. "Az, I'm coming. I'll be there soon and I'll help figure out what all of this is about."
Azkedelia nodded. "Thanks, Atlantis, but you don't have to."
Atlantis shook her head. "Of course I do. If this Cambio is our birth dad, I want to know the man who sired me before you take him out."
Azkedelia smiled. "Thanks, Atlantis. Can't wait to see you."
Atlantis smiled back. "See you tomorrow, little sis."
Nix waved an arm over the mirror and turned to Azkedelia. "Az, I'm going to the library to see if we can try and figure this out. Think you'll be okay until one of us gets back?"
Azkedelia nodded. "Go. I'll be fine. And Merlin's on his way up."
Nix cocked her head. "How do you know?"
Azkedelia shook her head. "I'm not sure, I just do."
Nix nodded slowly. "Right. Well I'll be back."
She turned toward the door and walked out. Azkedelia looked around her room. Something felt different. She slowly got up and walked to the fireplace. Azkedelia reached her hands out to the flames. She smiled as the flames leapt closer, small flames reaching out and caressing her wrists. A small flaming dragon ran across her wrist. It curled affectionately around her arm.
"Hi there," Azkedelia whispered to the dragon. "Tell me secret, brother of the flames."
The dragon wove up her arm and curled across her neck. It lifted its head to her ear and opened its flaming jaws.
A dry, serpentine voice slid across her ear like sandpaper. "The ancient shape-shifter is your father. A more power hungry vessel for an evil soul there never was, and never will be again if he is stopped. On the night of the lunar eclipse, your world and your life hang in the balance. Even the smallest flutter of a butterfly's wings can upset. Your sacrifice will grant him all the power he wants. To defeat Cambio, you must look within the heart of the flaming moon under the waves."
A chill had descended on the room.