If you ask the universe "Can this day possibly get any worse?" you're bound to find that the universe will show you just exactly how it can make your day a whole lot worse. Even when you don't think it's possible, it just happens. I've experienced this first hand several times. And being the stupid idiot that I am, I still actually dared to utter the question in my silent rage following my last interview.
I stood there, fuming inside, as the tall blonde figure strode out of the office, having smugly and obnoxiously just said "he had better things to do." What did he freaking think this was? An attempt to get a circus act together?
And of course, just like with so many others, he thought I was a kid. Great. Twenty three and I still hadn't managed to ditch the baby-face yet. It irritated me, but in all truthfulness I don't think people actually meant to think of me as 16. I think my thin limber body and young appearance tended to give the illusion I really was only 16 to people. And although my mother said my young looks were a blessing, it was really, really difficult to have people take you seriously when they were asking you questions like "Shouldn't you be in school?"
I tried hard to give him an intimidating stare, but if he saw it, he must have laughed inside. Or maybe he hadn't even noticed it at all. I sighed and packed, getting ready for my trip back to no-where. As I was exiting the building, though, a girl immediately ran up to me and was waving one of my flyers frantically around in my face.
"I'm here for the adventure club!" she panted.
I blinked, taking her in. She was average height, had flowing red hair and seaweed green eyes. One thing that caught my attention was her very pale skin. Like she hadn't seen sunshine, well, ever. Which was equally odd considering Australia's average sunny weather.
"Um....who are you?"
"I'm Skylar..." she paused, staring at me as though she forgot her answer mid sentence.
"Skylar Green." She stammered.
"Okay, um, Skylar? Interviews ended, like" I checked a clock tower down the street, "ten minutes ago."
"Oh," she replied, with a slight hint of uneasiness. "Well, um, do you think you have time for one more?" She asked. "I um...I really don't have any place to go."
Oh, great. So far, every interview. Every. Interview. The person who had showed up had either been far below qualification or was there because they were looking to get something out of joining. Like money, or something.
"Um..." I said, trying to buy time and figure out a good way to tell her, well, no.
"I'll buy lunch. My treat." She said.
Meals in downtown Sydney were expensive. If she was offering to buy both of us lunch, that meant that she at least had money, and wasn't looking for cash. I thought for a moment. Finally...
"Fine." I said. "Where do you want to eat?"
"I'll let you pick." She said.
I decided a better place to eat so I didn't feel like I was cheating her out of too much money was to go somewhere on the beach instead. We went to Rico's, a small shack on the beach that sold beach food and cold drinks. I dug into a fantastic hamburger, but Skylar didn't seem like a girl interested in eating meat. She stared at my lunch with almost like a restrained and hidden disgust. She let me finish my meal in silence. Finally, we began to talk about her, and I asked what skills she had.
"Well, uh..." she thought for a moment. "I can talk to sea creatures." She offered.
I stared at her, trying not to blurt out what I was thinking, which was: great, you talk to fish? That will be useful.
"I can also breath under water, and manipulate water as well." she continued.
Okay, not bad.
"I can also swim very well, so you wouldn't have to worry about me drowning. Or dying in a fire or something."
"Ha ha, you're almost like a mermaid." I joked.
"Oh...yes..." She laughed, nervously, "ha ha."
We finished lunch, and decided that she would be in. At least for now. Out of all the interviews, she was actually a decent candidate. I would have to see how she handled herself in battle though. Someone with the ability to control the element of water definitely valuable. The only thing I couldn't determine was where she got her powers from. I assumed she was an alchemist, like me.
We took a bus out of the city, and we eventually arrived at number 17 Winston Street. The sun was setting, lighting the endlessly blue outback sky a wonderfully vibrant hybrid of orange and pink.
As I grabbed the door handle, the door completely fell inside. Great. Inside the house, it was extremely dark. I used my wand a second time that day (which was a record now) to slide the door back into the frame, then light the building. Although I thought Skylar would turn her nose up at the place, I surprising found she was delighted.
"This place, it's..."
"Dusty? Murky? Appalling?"
"Quaint," she substituted.
"Ah, well, there's an extra room upstairs you can sleep in." I said. "Bathroom's at the end of the hall."
"Lovely," she said with a smile, and headed upstairs. This girl was confusing me. When I first saw her, I assumed she was a native Australian, just one that for some reason didn't get a lot of sun. But now, she acted like a tourist separated from her family. Maybe she was European? I got the feeling she wasn't acting like her true self because she was trying to get on my good side, which was actually a good thing, because it meant she might be a good deceptive partner as well. I eventually decided to head upstairs too. I had enough for one day.
I awoke to the smell of burning.
It was morning of the next day. The sun was high in the sky, and glaring through my window. I hadn't undressed from yesterdays clothing, which made me believe I had fallen asleep without even bothering to shower or anything. Downstairs I found the new girl cooking something on the stove. And burning it.
"What are you doing?" I hollered, still half asleep.
"I'm making breakfast." she stated simply.
"You're going to burn the house down!" I cried, rushing over to the kitchen.
"I find that hard to believe since, you know, I can control water." she said with slight snarkyness, her patience breaking.
"In the name of Nicolas Flamel, do you even know how to use a stove?" I said, opening the windows to clear out the smoke, and turning down the dials which had been blasted at full heat.
"Well excuse you." She said, her temper finally unleashed, "I was trying to be a polite guest by trying to make you breakfast. Not trying to burn your house down."
"This isn't my house. It's the adventure club HQ. And it's your home now, too, if you want to be apart of it." I said. Then I looked at what she was actually frying. It looked like....I'm not sure. Seaweed? "Um....and what exactly are you making?"
"Fried seaweed salad." She stated. "It's a delicious mermaid dish."
I slammed my hand on my forehead. Great, I bet she was a vegetarian. This girl....
Finally, the smoke cleared, and I made myself an actual breakfast while Skylar enjoyed her Seaweed Delight. We ate in silence, glaring at each other. That's when we heard the knock on the door.
Okay, to explain what happened next, I need to first tell you that I'm kind of...well...paranoid. It's kind of a long story. I'll tell you about it later. Anyway, point is, I didn't trust the knocker. I pressed a finger to my lips, signaling for Skylar to be quiet. She understood, and nodded, then watched me as I made my way to the window and peaked out the curtains.
I saw...well...I wasn't sure what I saw. It was...a half human, half dragon thing. I think she was a girl, thanks to the way she was dressed. I saw and heard her knock again.
What was she doing here? How did she know where the HQ was, if she had seen the flyer? Was she an assassin?
Finally, she pounded on the door, and, well, the door came completely out of the door frame and crashed onto the floor. I heard the girl mutter "oops."
Great. Just, fantastically, wonderfully, freaking, great.
Skylar got up quickly, and was first to greet the creature. I saw her look of surprise as she saw the girl in her half human/half creature form. Quickly, she asked.
"So, tell me, what are you?