'I'm surprised you were allowed to come,' said Marinia, hand on her hip and smiling maleficently. 'Aren't you a prisoner in your own home?'
Anala smiled back falsely. 'It took some convincing, of course, but I know what makes Bosrold tick. No need to worry about me,'
'Don't worry, we won't.' Anala was clearly aware that the Twins had sold her out to Bosrold that day in Duelling class, and she wasn't happy about it, but a mentality within her refused to let it show.
Just then, Principal Paradam called for them to quieten and listen.
'First of all, I'm so glad that so many of you decided to come tonight, I assure you that you will not regret it, or indeed forget it. It appears that you are all so eager to leave that most of you are already here, so we may in fact leave earlier than planned, giving you all much longer to, as you might say - partay. In preparation, I want you to assemble into groups of a minimum of three so that we can utilise the Blinking pendants in the best way. As some of you have heard, our accommodation over this weekend will be camping tents, and although you may feel uncomfortable about this, I assure you we have tried our utmost best to maintain...luxury.'
Paradam moved off of the stairs to talk to Madame Aquila in the crowd, who was dressed in a trenchcoat modified to accommodate her golden harpy wings, her wavy blonde hair in a whip-like plait.
'Anybody know what to do with this?' asked Andrel, unhooking the Blinking pendant from his neck and holding it out.
Will took it in his closed fist, drew his wand and said 'augere'. A dim light flowed from within and a slight heat, when he opened his hand the newly-extended chain pooled nearly to the floor.
'You remembered,' smiled Anala fondly, 'I'm impressed.' She turned around and saw Bosrold glaring and gesticulating for her to come back. 'I guess I'd better go. I'll see you around.' She pushed back through the crowd and ignored Bosrold as she passed, standing at her uncle's side and joining a conversation with Madame Aquila.
When all of the students had been ticked off of the list, Paradam allowed them to put on the Blinking pendants. Will slipped it over all four of their necks, keeping them bound closely together in a circle. Bosrold counted them down from three, and at one, Will pressed the pendant, it clicked into place and a bright white light shone through the seam, blinding them. Will felt his feet hover above the air, he looked up and saw the vaulted ceiling blur away into a whiteness that he flew violently towards.
His head felt like it was going to explode, his eyes were forced closed from the pressure, when he managed to open them a crack, he could see the blurred shapes of his friends around him. It felt like somebody was pushing their fist down his throat, spasms of articulate pain struck his chest. Just as Will begged that it could be over, his airways suddenly cleared and he felt himself falling towards the ground, seeing a field of white grass which stained to green as he came closer.
Although Blinking seemed to dim the pain of hitting the ground, Will's ankles took the brunt of the fall and ached severely. He heard his friends yelp as they hit the ground around him, Will fell forward onto his stomach and felt the pendant chain cut into his neck before snapping. The remainder of the fall knocked the wind out of him and he spluttered into the grass for a moment. Overhead, sparkles reined down on him from where they had broken through, slowly disappearing. Will turned and saw that he, Tayna, Andrel and Sayara were lying in a splayed circle, then he watched as the ends of the broken chain of the Blinking pendant slithered through the grass like snakes towards the other, fixing itself.
Will watched as a space of sky nearby seemed to tear like a rip in paper, behind was pure whiteness, dropping through came Paradam, Bosrold, Madame Aquila and Anala. His attention then centred on the landscape, the sky was dark, their journey had used up an evening's worth of Time. They were in space of flat land, surrounding which were a dozen hillsides, each glittering with an orange fire on top.
'Ah, we have neighbours,' smiled Paradam, causing some of the children to look on with worry.