Chapter XIV: In Deep Water (3/14)Mature

He strode around the grounds, pulling his feet from the heavy, gathering snow. Soon, he felt the chill on his face, and he felt like he was turning to stone. His hands were glowing red, and they sought warmth in his trouser pockets. He deviated from the path occasionally, ducking to dodge incoming snowballs. He mused at how, despite the kidnapping situation, the children never seemed down about it, there was always something to lift their spirits out of the gloom. He watched the students in the process of building a snow figure as high as the trees, growing so large that two minotaurs were needed to push the torso into place. They began to construct two hills of snow that took the shape of legs, now appearing as if the snow figure was sat leant against the tree.

It took Will a moment to realise, but when he saw a Draíochta girl summoning water from the lake, he realised that one of the participants was Laguna. The water snaked over her head from the water and began to form on the snow figure's face, giving it detailed features as it hardened to ice. At one point, she noticed Will standing and watching, and made her way towards him. As she came closer, he noticed how many layers she was wearing, not so apparent from a distance. She was dressed in a thick, white coat, her neck buried in the grey rabbit fur collar. She was further protected by mittens, a woollen bobble hat, and a scarf pulled over her nose, just revealing her eyes lit happily as she met with him.

'I see you're up early too,' she said, her voice muffled through her scarf.

Will nodded, smiling back. 'Apparently I have an Elemental meeting too,'

'Oh, with Mrs Hogston? She's lovely, and she really helped me when I first came here. Don't listen to what the Twins say about her, they don't like anybody who tries to tell them what to do.' The wind blew and slightly dislodged her hat, Laguna replaced it with a quick, almost nervous reflex.

'Aren't you boiling? Will asked, 'you're wrapped up pretty tightly.'

'I have to be,' she said, giving up on the hat and tucking it into her pocket. 'Winter's bad for me, I'm not too pleased that it came early, even if it is fun building snowmen.'

'What do you mean, you have to?'

She looked at his considerately for a moment, before hooking a finger on her scarf and slowly pulling it down. Her lips looked frozen solid, they had turned pale blue and were glittering like sunlight on snow. 'See?' When she spoke, her lips cracked, fissuring like broken glass.

'Are you - are you alright?'

'Not exactly,' she said. 'It's linked to my powers. Remember when I liquefied because you frightened me?' Perplexed, he nodded. 'Mrs Hogston says that happens because I unknowingly absorb the moisture in the air into myself. It means I have a lot more water in my body, and also means that I'm susceptible to weather. Like this.'

Awkwardly, she pulled her hand out from her mitten, at once Will saw it begin to glitter like ice as the cold touched her skin. She flexed her fingers and held her hand in front of him. Suddenly, Will heard a slow crackling sound, and watched her wrist grow stiff, each of her fingers locking straight as her hand began to turn transparent; it was turning to ice. It caught the shimmering light, and through it everything looked distorted, in blurs of colour like a melted lens.

'Wow,' said Will. 'Can you - can you move it?'

Ever so slowly, she moved her index finger, but the ice began to chip and crack until it snapped completely off at the second joint. Will flinched as the finger dropped to the ground at their feet. 

The End

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