“No, you’re doing it all wrong. TheKatakanMountainsare on the right of theLakanaLake. And the Misai Glaciers are in the very north.” Rhea smiled at the little vampire she had been tutoring. The little girl, Moonshine, had been orphaned a few months back and Berret had brought her to the school. She had yet to be adopted and until then, Rhea had taken her in as her own.
“But, Rhea, if the Katakan Mounts are this way,” she drew little triangles as mountains in her brown crayon, “then wouldn’t theLakanaLakebe right here?” She began to draw a blue circle to the right of the mountains.
“No, sweetheart. The lake is on the other side. Remember, you’ve been there.”
“I have?” Moonshine looked up at her with her pure black eyes. There were no whites and they reminded Rhea of Professor Spriggla’s eyes.
Rhea nodded, smiling. “It’s where Berret f—” Rhea cut herself off, realizing she was telling the little girl she had been found. “It’s where Berret took you before you came here.” Rhea smiled.
“I don’t remember that…” Moonshine looked back at her drawing. “So, is this where the glaciers are?” She was pointing at the bottom of the page.
Rhea grinned. “No, sweetie, the glaciers are in the north, where it’s really cold.”
Moonshine nodded. “Oh, I remember you told me that!”
There was a knock and Rhea turned to see the kindergarten teacher standing in the doorway with a smile. Rhea stood up and brushed crayon shavings off her dress. “See you again tomorrow?” she asked Moonshine.
“I would like that,” Moonshine replied, not looking up from her drawing.
“You’re doing a good thing here,” Professor Nerezza said with a smile. Nerezza was a young elf, only a few years older than Rhea. She had pure purple eyes and pointed ears.
“Thank you, Professor,” Rhea said with a smile as she exited the room.
“Hey, there you are!” Alexia came running down the hallway with a smile on her face.
“What’s going on?” Rhea asked.
“Well, I’m coming from Baramore’s office. And guess what we won’t be having for the next few weeks?”
Rhea shrugged. “I don’t know. What?”
“At all?” Rhea asked.
Alexia shook her head, golden eyes gleaming. “No classes until this Darkness nonsense is resolved. And no classes means no finals!”
Rhea grinned. Then she frowned. “Though, that does mean we’ll be putting all our energy into fighting, right?”
Alexia nodded. “Isn’t it awesome? Like a double win!”
Rhea shrugged. “I don’t see how fighting is a win, Lexx.”
Alexia shook her head. “You can be quite a downer, you know that, R?”
Rhea grinned. “Whatever.” She began walking down the hallway back to the girl’s dormitory with Alexia at her side. “Where’s Myst?”
“With Nevara and Zendaya.” Alexia frowned. “She’s trying to figure out what’s going on with the pair of them.”
“Has she found anything out?” Rhea asked.
Alexia shook her head. “I just don’t get it. Not only is Zen’s whole attitude changed, but so has her appearance. I mean, can faeries even change their wing colors? Like, isn’t that something you’re just born with?”
“That doesn’t stop mortals form getting plastic surgery,” Rhea replied.
Alexia grinned. “Anyways,” she said, getting serious again, “I’m meeting up with Myst and Zendaya for lunch later. You want to join us?”
Rhea nodded. “I’d love to.” Alexia smiled. As they entered the girl’s dormitory hall, Araminta came out of Zendaya’s room, looking angry.
“What happened?” Alexia asked her.
Araminta walked up to them, dark blue eyes flashing angrily, fangs showing. “What is up with that girl?”
“Zendaya?” Rhea clarified.
Araminta nodded. “She stole all my makeup and tossed out through the window. Then she took all my dresses this morning and I found them in the mud on the way to Spriggla’s class.”
“Are you serious?” Alexia asked, golden eyes wide in shock.
“No way!” Rhea cried.
Araminta nodded. “What happened to her? She’s acting so weird…”
Alexia shrugged. “We’ve been trying to figure that out. She’s been acting more and more like Nevara.”
Araminta nodded. “If you guys can put her back to normal, I would so love you.” She flipped her dark blue hair over her shoulder and left them, walking away for the lunchroom.
Rhea looked at Alexia. “No way. That’s nothing like her!”
Alexia nodded. “I can not believe this.”
Myst burst out of her room and stalked over to them. “If I ever have to talk to Nevara again, I might burst.” She growled in her throat and Rhea noticed a fluffed out brown tail had appeared behind her. The tail came out in her human form when she was really angry.
“What happened?” Alexia questioned.
“She told me that Zendaya had always been like this and she’s just now showing ‘who she really is.’” Myst growled again and then sighed. She relaxed her features and looked at them. “Sorry. She just aggravated me.” Her voice returned to her normal softness.
Alexia hugged her. “Hey, we’ll get her back, don’t worry.” Myst nodded with a faint smile.
“Hey girls. We having lunch or what?” The three girls turned to see Zendaya come out of her room, blue eyes twinkling, blue wings fluttering. Her dark skin seemed lighter than ever and her dark hair was curled.
“Of course we are,” Alexia said, forcing a smile.
“Then let’s get going, shall we?” She looked at Rhea. Rhea couldn’t meet the unnatural blue gaze. “You joining us?” Rhea nodded. “Magnificent.” Zendaya clapped her hands together and smiled happily, leading the three girls down the stairs and into the lunchroom. Rhea passed Neytiri and Jay eating lunch with a few other young Hunters. Neytiri smiled in her direction and Jay waved with a smile. Rhea waved back.
“Who are they?” Zendaya questioned.
“Hunters I met the other day,” Rhea replied.
“Griffin’s daughter, right?” Alexia clarified. Rhea nodded. “Making friends in high places, eh?” Alexia winked.
As they all sat down Rhea sat beside Zendaya and Myst and Alexia sat across from them. A bowl of salad appeared in front of Zendaya and Rhea noticed that her appetite hadn’t changed. Alexia ordered a large steak while Myst got a peanut butter sandwich. Rhea herself wasn’t all that hungry and only got an apple and banana.
“So, you guys wanted to talk to me about something?” Zendaya asked.
“What were you and Nevara doing that day you were out of school all day?” Alexia questioned.
Zendaya’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t entirely see how that’s any of your business, but if you must know, we were simply getting to know each other better.” The pairs of suspicious eyes stared at her in reply. “What? Nevara and I can’t bond?” She shrugged. “I’m not asking you to believe me. I’m just telling you what happened.”
“And what’s with the change in eye and wing color?” Alexia plowed on.
Zendaya shrugged. “Professor Zatana says it’s from being around Nevara. These are my natural colors.”
“Blue?” Rhea raised her eyebrows. Zendaya’s purple and green wings and green eyes had described her better than anything else possibly could.
“What’s wrong with blue? Your hands glow blue when you use magic,” she pointed out.
“Yea, but they always have. Your wings have always been purple. Why would they decide to change now?” Rhea asked.
“Girls, all this questioning is really getting on my nerves. I mean, what’s with you guys? I’m supposed to be your friend, right? So shouldn’t you of all people be able to accept me for who I am?” Zendaya stood up abruptly. “I’ve had enough.” She began to walk away, but before she had gotten halfway through the aisle, she suddenly grasped her head with both hands, cried out in agony and fell to the ground. Alexia, Myst, and Rhea were at her side in an instant. The students and Hunters all craned their necks to see what had happened.
“Sorry…sorry…” Rhea turned her onto her back and saw her eyes were wide and her face was contorted in pain. But what struck her was that the eyes were…green.
Suddenly they went back to blue, the pain left her face and returned to calm coolness. “What are you guys standing around for?” She got to her feet and walked out of the dining hall.
Alexia, Myst, and Rhea exchanged confused glances as they returned to their lunch.
“What in the world?” Alexia asked.
“I have no idea,” Rhea said. “But did you see her eyes?”
Alexia nodded, golden eyes wide. “Do you think…?”
“Possession?” Rhea asked.
Alexia nodded. “A long period of time with another soul in your body causes your body to start changing to accommodate the intruder, right?”
Rhea nodded. “So the eye and wing changes could be because of this intruder in Zendaya’s body?”
“It would also explain the strange way she’s been acting. I mean, being that rude is so not her. Not even when she’s angry has she ever been as rude as the past few days.”
Rhea nodded. “Do we know how to dispel intruders like that?” Alexia and Myst both shook their heads. “I’ll find out.” Rhea got up. “I think I’ll go to see Berret right now.”
“Are you going to tell her about Zendaya?” Alexia inquired.
“I don’t see why not,” Rhea replied.
Alexia looked worried for a moment, but then she nodded. “Okay. Sorry. Go ahead.”
“No, what were you going to say?” Rhea asked, sitting back down.
“Well, I was just wondering… There had to have been a reason as to why Zendaya was out that day, right? Well, what if she had been doing something…wrong. And by telling PB you get her in trouble for it?”
“Wrong how? Zen would never have been doing anything wrong. I’m doing this for her. If she was doing something wrong, then she needs to be punished, right? But the first thing we need is to get the intruder out of her body and get our friend back.”