Rhea stared at Principal Berret with wide unbelieving eyes. “You didwhat?”
Berret stared back with calm intelligent eyes. “I have invited the Hunters to our school.”
“Yes, I heard you say that, butwhy? They hunt us, they kill us!”
“Only to keep us in order,” Berret replied. She stood up and sighed. “I know they have gone out of control recently, killing us often for no reason other than sport. But if I do this, I may be able to set right what was put wrong years ago.” She seemed to be talking to someone else, to a different period in time. She certainly wasn’t talking to Rhea.
“Berret?” Rhea asked. Berret seemed to come back to the present.
“Sorry about that.” She sighed again. “I have to do this, Rhea. You’re just going to have to understand. I need your support behind me when I announce it to the school. Can I have that?”
Rhea nodded. “You always have my support, Mom.” Rhea left her adoptive mother’s office and ran right into Alexia and Myst as they came walking down the hallway.
“We were just going to come find you,” Alexia said. “What’s going on? Why are the classes canceled for today?” Her usually wild and bright golden eyes were narrowed with concern.
“You’ll find out soon enough.” Rhea walked away from them and headed toward the girl’s dorms. Alexia and Myst followed her.
“Rhea? What happened?” Alexia’s tone had changed from curious to concerned.
“Nothing, Lex, don’t worry about it.” Rhea entered the room she shared with Alexia and closed the door behind her, leaving Alexia and Myst outside.
She went to lie down on the bed and sighed.
She must have fallen asleep because the next thing she knew, an insistent knocking on the door woke her up. “Who is it?” she asked.
“Alexia. PB has called an announcement in the theater. Come, quick!” Rhea got to her feet and went to unlock the door. Alexia and Myst were standing there.
“Where’s Zen?” Rhea asked, noticing for the first time that their friend was not with them.
“I have no idea, haven’t seen her all day,” Alexia said as they walked to the theater. Rhea walked behind Alexia and Myst, wondering how Berret was going to tell her students that their worst enemies were about to stay at their school with them.
“Students, please quiet down,” Professor Spriggla ordered as she walked through the aisles to the front of the theater room where Principal Berret and VP Baramore were standing on the stage. Alexia, Myst, and Rhea sat down at the very back of the theater where they managed to find three seats together.
“Now, we have called you all here today to inform you of some changes we are making to the school.” Protests rang out as students assumed any change would be bad. Berret clapped her hands and the students silenced immediately. “We will be housing some guests and I expect you all to be very kind and courteous to them.”
“What kind of guests?” Natalia’s voice rang out.
“Hunters,” Baramore replied in a gruff and stiff voice.
“What?!” Students stood up from their seats to show their disgust.
“You can’t do this!”
“Hunters in the school?”
“They’ll kill us all!”
“Silence,” Baramore called out.
“I am terribly sorry, students, but you will have to trust me. The head Huntress is an old friend of mine and has assured me that her Hunters will be very well behaved.” Berret’s voice was strained as she tried to keep her voice calm and authoritative.
“Why are they coming at all?” a student asked.
Berret exchanged glances with Baramore. He nodded and she turned back to the students. “As Professor Vaiko’s AP class already knows, he has been gone missing and not come to class.” She sighed. “Truth is, he won’t be coming back.” Silence greeted this as students wondered why he would have left. Even if students hadn’t had Vaiko as a teacher, everyone had heard of him and everyone had seen him in the hallways with the crazy glint in his silver eyes. “He encountered a creature we have never heard of before. This thing, the Darkness, consumes everything in its path. It is very close to our school right now, and the fact that it was able to take out Vaiko is very disturbing. I have invited the Hunters so as to fight this menace together.”
“We can’t work with Hunters!” someone called out.
“Of course we can!” Berret snapped. “You need to let go of your own views of Hunters and trust me. We can trust them and together we can destroy this enemy.”
Without another word she stepped down from the stage and exited the theater in silence. Baramore followed her out. The other professors stood at intervals along the outer walls.
“This is nonsense.” Rhea looked to her side to find Natalia sitting across the aisle with some other pixies and a few faeries. “I can’t believe she’s allowing our enemy right into the school.” Rhea stood and walked over to them.
“You should trust your principal the way she trusts you to be well mannered when they get here.” Rhea told them with a contemptuous glint in her gray eyes.
“You’re one to talk, principal’s pet,” Natalia sneered at her back as she left the auditorium with Alexia and Myst at her sides.
“You already knew, didn’t you?” Alexia asked quietly as they walked back to the girl’s dormitory. Rhea nodded. “And you didn’t bother to tell us?” Her tone was curious, not accusing.
Rhea stopped and looked at her. “It wasn’t my news to tell. Besides, Berret was going to tell you all eventually anyways.”
“And you agree with her?” Myst asked in her soft voice, her chocolate brown eyes curious.
Rhea turned to her and shrugged. “I don’t know. But I do trust her. And if she thinks this is the right thing to do, then I’m not going to oppose her.”
Alexia sighed. “Well, if you’re good with this, then I guess we are too. Right, Myst?” Myst nodded with a smile in Rhea’s direction.
“Thanks, guys. That means a lot to me. Honestly.” Alexia nodded, understanding.
“When are they coming?” Alexia asked.
“They’ll be here by tomorrow night,” Rhea replied.
“That’s pretty soon…” Alexia looked out through a window. “Plus it’s a full moon. I won’t be there to greet them.” Though all were-beings could transform at will, werewolves were bound by their curse to change every full moon. Werewolves and vampires were bound to each other by the Moon and Sun curse; while werewolves were forced to transform every full moon, vampires weren’t allowed in the sun. Werewolves also gained strength from the moon while vampires were strongest in the daytime.
“Oh right, you’ll have to go to the Werewolf Room, won’t you?” Rhea asked. Berret had created the Werewolf Room when she first became principal ofNightMareSchoolas a place for werewolves to go every full moon to be in peace while they transformed.
Alexia nodded. “Sorry about that.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault.”
“Hey guys, don’t look now, but here comes Natalia,” Myst whispered and stood to one side as the little pixie shoved through the hallway past them.
“What’s with her?” Alexia asked. The little orange winged pixie looked highly agitated and nervous about something.
“Maybe she’s scared of Hunters,” Rhea suggested.
“Doesn’t really seem her style to be afraid of something though,” Alexia pointed out.
“Maybe she’s just going to look for Nevara,” Rhea suggested. “Which reminds me; I haven’t seen either sister all day. I would have thought Nevara would definitely have had an objection at that meeting, no?”
Alexia nodded. “I have no idea where either of them is. Zendaya was supposed to meet up with us earlier this morning after classes were cancelled, but she never showed up.” Rhea looked at her with worry. Where could Zendaya possibly have gone?