Narrator: Carmelina Blaze
The Second DeFlèche Tome rests in the bottom of my backpack, heavier than any school textbook, and infinitely more valuable. Lugging my pack, I stroll into the cafeteria and place it on the table with a sigh.
My cousin, Adrian, is following me. He's filling me in on the incident that occurred at the beginning of first period. I stopped listening when he got carried away describing the sensations he felt, but now I'm trying to focus once more.
"There's one thing left hanging - something that shouldn't be," he tells me.
I scowl. "Jake's 'nads?"
He rolls his eyes. "Yes, those too." He pauses to look at me with firm eye contact. Adrian, or Arrow as most call him, is now more serious than ever. "Blaze, there is a sixth empowered one present at the school today."
I frowned, "There's a fifth?"
"Luna," he says the word with such admiration.
"Oh, right." I blush at my slow uptake.
The four of us and a teaching assistant. We'd detected her presence a month ago, and kept our distance for a few weeks. Then, we found out she was no threat to us. Just an exhiled citizen of the Arcane Duchy.
But I'm still confused about this sixth.
"Is this one from Duchy?" I ask.
"How would I know? It's when I got pushed over coming into class. Definitely supernatural, and definitely the short, hooded student I saw," Arrow says, his voice now edgy.
"Hmmm," I ponder aloud.
"Is Jake in line getting you food?" Arrow asks.
I nod, "He better be. And at the back of the line, too, 'cause I don't want to look at him just yet."
He tilts his head so that his rich, coppery bangs hang straight down over his eyes. The rest of his hair, however, is considerably shorter. The piercing in his left eyebrow is obscured in shadow, marked only by tiny, dull arrowheads. He glances down at the clenched fist I'm holding against the table.
"Duchy," I remind him.
"Right. Well, Duchians can't step on American soil, legally, without a permit," Arrow says.
"Wrong," I tell him. I remain thankful that nobody is sitting close enough to hear the specifics of our conversation. The background noise of the other students is heavy enough to obscure our odd conversation. "Most American soil, and yes some Canadian soil, is the same land occupied by the Arcane Duchy's border. Duchians walk it all the time, whenever they please. After all, it's theirs. As long as they don't phase into the central realm, where magic is scarce, they aren't violating any laws."
The central realm makes up the world as most know it, as the easily perceivable seven billion people living on the planet do. However, there's an estimated nine hundred million that live in obscurity, in the supernatural crevices and alternate fragments of the world that are hidden within reach.
"Right. But you knew what I meant!"
"Pffft," I pfft. "My mum wouldn't accept an answer like that from you!"
Arrow sighs, collapsing onto the cafeteria table. Then he perks up, "Where's Luna?"
I shrug. "Dunno. Do you remember anything more about your attacker?"
"Seemed young. Tanned skin. Dark features. Green windbreaker. Hooded."
"The hood was green?!" I ask.
"Yeah, why?" he sits up.
I pull my backpack off the floor and onto the table, and quickly open the zipper and begin to remove the Second DeFlèche Tome. "The Greenhoods. They're descended partly from a tribe of arcane Aboriginals, and some Duchian traitors. Not unlike the half-French half-Aboriginal Métis of the central realm. The First Tome has more on them, let's see." I begin to flip through the massive text.
Arrow gets nervous, because we're not supposed to have the Tomes out in front of people so casually. We usually go outside to look at it during school.
"Look here," I pass him the book. There's half a page on their suspected range, and then it ends abruptly at the bottom of the page.
He skims it. Pretty fast, considering the English used isn't entirely modern. Most of it is useless information. And then he points at the page numbers. 1104 and 1127. "Uggh... it looks as if -"
We exchange foreboding glances.
I do the math.
"Twenty-three missing pages," I say with a whistle.
He shakes his head. "Something tells me this Greenhood business goes back to Aunt Eleanor's day!"
Then, Arrow stirs from his reverie and slams the massive book shut as if he has sensed something suddenly. Then he turns in his chair with a smile.
"There you are!" says Luna, as she approaches with Skyla in tow.