After the second day of classes, Zendaya realized she had completely forgotten to go to Rakshata after classes the previous day. She hadn’t had her that day and the meeting had completely slipped her mind the day before after Alexia had announced her brother’s disappearance.
“Hey, I’ll catch up with you all in the dining hall,” Zendaya told Myst and Araminta as she left for the third floor. Alexia hadn’t gone to any of her classes and had instead simply stayed in her room the entire day.
Zendaya burst into Rakshata’s classroom and the dark skinned woman looked up form her desk in surprise. She calmed and smiled. “Welcome, Zendaya. How can I help you?”
“I just wanted to apologize about yesterday. I totally forgot to come by!” Zendaya looked down apologetically.
“Oh, don’t worry for a second, Zen,” she said, standing up and walking over. “I heard about Alexia’s brother. That had to have been a blow to you as well last night. Don’t worry about my invention. I got Ciel to help me out.”
She smiled in such a sweet and caring manner that it made Zendaya feel even worse about forgetting about her request. “If you ever need help again, please don’t hesitate to ask me,” Zendaya said as she walked toward the door. “I promise I’ll remember the next time.”
“Don’t sweat it, seriously, Zen.” Rakshata smiled again as Zendaya left her room and headed back down the stairs and to the dining hall. She found Myst and Araminta had saved her a spot and Alexia had come down to join the,
“How are you feeling?” Zendaya asked the werewolf.
“Much better, thank you.” Despite her words of reassurance, she sounded like she had been crying all day and her voice was cracked.
“Don’t worry, dear, seriously,’ Myst assured her, placing a hand on her shoulder. Alexia didn’t shrug it off as she had before but she didn’t respond to it either. Myst removed it and looked down at her plate sadly.
“Students and Hunters, please look and listen!” Principal Berret’s voice boomed across the hall. All the heads in the hall swiveled around to see her on the stage. “A curfew has been put in place and no student or Hunter is allowed out of the school grounds without permission or an adult. Thank you.’
As Berret left the stage withGriffinat her side, muttering broke out all over the hall as students and Hunters alike protested against a curfew.
“This is because of Alek,” Alexia muttered.
“What do you mean?” Araminta questioned.
“They don’t any more students or Hunters to go wandering off and get…taken.” Alexia refused to acknowledge that Alek might be dead until she had his body as proof. She got up and turned away from them. “I’m going to head back up. See you guys later.”
Zendaya looked after her sadly. “I wish there was something we could do to help her out.” Myst nodded in agreement.
“But what can we do? It’s not like we can bring Alek back for her. And right now, that’s the only thing that could possibly have a positive effect on her,” Araminta said.
“Hey, what are we talking about?” Zendaya looked up to see Nevara standing behind her. Her sister was smiling widely and sat down beside her. “Mind if I join you all?”
Zendaya narrowed her eyes. Was this nevara’s way of trying to extract information from her? She certainly wasn’t being very subtle.
“Hey, you’re back!” Myst commented in mock cheerfulness. “We were starting to worry about you.”
“And yet I doubt you bothered to inform any of the teachers of my absence, correct?” Nevara questioned.
Zendaya looked away. Sounded more like Nevara was trying to confirm they hadn’t so she wouldn’t have to bother explaining to any of the teachers where she had been.
“Don’t worry, we won’t fail to mention it the next time you disappear into the woods,” Zendaya remarked.
Nevara narrowed her purple eyes. “How thoughtful of you, dear sister.”
“Well, I’ve got to meet up with Ciel. So I’ll see you all later.” Araminta smiled as she got up to leave. Zendaya watched her join Ciel at the entrance to the hall and walk out together.
“Haven’t you also got somewhere to be as well, dearest dormie?” Nevara asked Myst.
Myst looked to Zendaya. Zendaya nodded that it was okay.
“As a matter of fact, I should go check on Alexia.” She left the table and Zendaya watched her leave the hall. Then she turned to her sister and sighed.
“What do you want,Nev?” she questioned.
“Why do you always assume I want something from you?” The look of feigned hurt was always believable.
“So you’re saying you don’t want anything?”
“I said no such thing.”
“Well, get on with it then.” Zendaya clenched her fists and waited to hear what Nevara had to say.
“Okay, I’m going to be frank about this. You know where I’ve been, right? The fact that you have yet to tell Berret about what happened tells me you’re either a big coward or an even bigger fool.” Zendaya whirled on her, green eyes flashing.
Nevara grinned. “Now, tell me what Berret andGriffinsaid to you in their audience chamber.”
Zendaya looked away. “If you think I’m going to tell you what happened in that room just so you can report back to your ‘master’ you are terribly wrong.”
Nevara placed a hand on hers and grinned. Zendaya’s eyes widened and she gasped as she felt her magic being drained. She whipped her hand away.
“You will tell me what was said in that room even if I have to drain every ounce of magic out of you before you do.” Nevara grinned evilly and got up. “We’ll be in touch, dearest sister.” She placed her hand on Zendaya’s shoulder as she said it and Zendaya felt an immediate drain. She pulled her shoulder away and Nevara laughed derisively as she walked away.
Zendaya stared after her as she exited the hall.
As she looked around she noticed the hall had emptied out. Baramore, Drey, Berret, andGriffinwere sitting at the end of her table, talking in whispers. Zendaya got up to leave and as she walked past them, Berret called her back.
“What did Nevara want from you?” Baramore inquired kindly.
Zendaya hesitated. Was she a coward and a fool for not telling Baramore and Berret about Nevara having been there when Bellonella took her over? She had thought it was her sisterly duty to leave Nevara out of it, to not get her into trouble. But if she was truly on the Darkness’s side, then should she tell Baramore about it?
“Nothing, she was just wondering what she had missed in class today. She’s been filling ill and hadn’t left her room since yesterday morning,” Zendaya replied with a smile.
“Is that so?” Baramore asked skeptically. For a moment Zendaya wondered if they already knew Nevara couldn’t be trusted. “Well, if that’s all, you can go. I’ll see you in class tomorrow, Z.”
Zendaya smiled and left their table. She couldn’t get the wayGriffinand Drey had been watching her out of her mind. They had stared at her as though waiting for her to turn into Bellonella and start attacking. Their guard had been up and Zendaya was bothered that it had been against her.
She walked to her room and glanced into Alexia’s as she passed it. The door was open and Alexia was lying on her stomach on her bed. Zendaya stopped and knocked on the door.
“Go away!” Alexia cried without looking to see who was there.
“It’s Zendaya. I just wanted to see how you were feeling…” She wanted to go to her friend and comfort her, but wouldn’t dare enter her room until she was invited.
Alexia sat up and wiped her eyes. “Thanks, Zen. Come in. Sorry about snapping like that…” Zendaya entered the room and closed the door behind her.
“Totally understandable and completely forgiven. I’m really sorry, Lexx.” She sat down on the bed beside her and glanced over at Rhea’s bed. “Feels weird in here, doesn’t it? Without Rhea and all.” She looked up at the ceiling in thought. “I wonder where they are right now…” she muttered.
“Where did they even go?” Alexia asked, trying to get over her sniffles from crying.
Zendaya remembered that no one else would know they had beem sent to find something. Even she wasn’t entirely sure what exactly they had been sent to find. “I have no idea. But I hope they come back soon.”
Alexia nodded. She looked at Zendaya with thoughtful golden eyes. “So, enough about them. What’s going on with you? How do you feel after the intruder and all?”
Zendaya smiled. “Much better, thanks.”
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Zen,” Alexia said.
“Don’t apologize. It wasn’t your fault.” Zendaya got up and patted Alexia on the shoulder. “You should get some rest if you plan on going to class tomorrow.”
Alexia nodded. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night and sweet dreams, Lexx.” Zendaya turned and left her friend’s room and closed the door behind her.
She was walking back to her own room when Nevara came bursting out of her room. She leapt straight for Zendaya and caught her on the shoulders with both hands and slammed her back against the wall. “What did you tell Baramore!” she demanded angrily. Her purple eyes were dark in anger and her tiny wings fluttered frantically to keep her aloft.
“What are you talking about?” Zendaya cried, trying to pull herself free. “Let me go,Nev!”
“You told Baramore what you knew about me, didn’t you?” Nevara was in a rage and didn’t realize she was digging her long nails into Zendaya’s shoulders.
“Nevara! You’re hurting me!” Zendaya cried.
Just then, the door to Nevara’s room burst open again and Nevara’s weight lifted away from Zendaya. Zendaya gasped in relief as her nailed were extracted. She looked to find Myst clawing at Nevara in cat form. She was snarling angrily.
“Get off of me, Myst!” Nevara cried. Myst hopped off and morphed back into a human standing in front of Zendaya as though to shied her.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Myst demanded.
“I was simply talking to my dear sister. I don’t see why you felt the need to intrude upon our conversation.” Nevara stood up and dusted cat hair off her short dress.
“Why do you think I told Baramore?” Zendaya asked.
“Because he knows! He attacked me in the hallway with questions!” Nevara cried. Zendaya was surprised to find worry in her sister’s voice. Was she afraid of being found by Baramore or was she afraid of what the Darkness would do when he found his spy in no longer useful to him?
“Girls, please get to your rooms and get to bed. You have classes in the morning and I don’t want you all to be falling asleep.” Zendaya turned to find Rakshata stalked towards them. “And Myst, could I see you for a moment?” Myst went off to Rakshata while Nevara fluttered back to her room and lsmamed the door behind her.
“Can I help you?” Myst asked as Zendaya started walking to her own room.
“Not really. I just didn’t think you’d want to be in there with Nevara right after that little tantrum. You can stay with Zendaya or Alexia until she cools down.” Rakshata smiled. “See you girls in the morning.” She whirled around, long skirts twirling, and walked back down the stairs.
Myst turned to Zendaya with a smile. “Mind if I come to your room?”
“Seeing as how I intruded on your room yesterday, of course.” Zendaya smiled and opened her door. Inside, Araminta and Ciel were having a heated discussion. Zendaya started to close the door again as they abruptly stopped talking and looked over at her. “Sorry, guys…” She continued closing the door, but Araminta stopped her.
“Don’t worry about it. Ciel was just leaving.” Araminta looked pointedly at her boyfriend. He glared at her and left silently.
Myst came up behind Zendaya and they entered the room together.
“Sorry about that, seriously, Ara, I didn’t mean to interrupt you guys like that…” Zendaya apologized again.
“Seriously, don’t even think about it. We were just talking things through.” Araminta messed with things on her desk to busy herself, but Zendaya had already seen the tears in her eyes. She exchanged looks with Myst and the werecat shrugged in response.
“Well, I’m going to get some rest, you guys can talk or whatever. Don’t mind me.” Araminta threw some papers from her desk into her trash bin and walked over to her bed. She got into the bed and switched off her bedside table lamp. “Good night.”
“Good night, Ara,” Zendaya said with concern for her friend.
“Well, I guess I’ll head back, too. Classes in the morning and all.” Myst got up off Zendaya’s bed. “I’ll see you both in the morning.” Myst left the room and Zendaya lay back on her bed and stared up at the ceiling. What had Baramore said to Nevara to make her so angry? And if Baramore ad Berret were on to her, would that mean she would have to leave the school? What would the Darkness do to her if that was the case?
Zendaya sighed. Even after everything Nevara had done, Zendaya couldn’t help but worry about her sister as she always had.