Onyx

Some are carriers. Some are immune. What you are is a mystery, until it's too late. The change, or the transition from Human to Vampire, is never an easy one. For some, it is fatal, resulting in a one way ticket to your grave. For others who progress to completing the change, it's a new life for them. Onyx Academy of Dusk offers just that - a place for young Vampires to be educated, but dark forces are at work there...

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3. Chapter 2: The Grand Tour

The Isle of Nyte wasn’t the mysterious, secretive, misty island she’d originally imagined. The way the home of the Changelings had been described had left Chantelle slightly fearful of what she might find here. Instead, she found herself walking along a raised wooden platform surrounded by blue water. It led up onto honey coloured sand, stretching along the edge of the island to form a quiet little beach.

 “It’s beautiful,” Chantelle whispered.

Kenji smiled down at her, “Yes it is.”

He led her across the beach and up a set of concrete steps. They were slightly uneven, and felt strange under her feet after being on the sand. When they reached the top, they were greeted with the sight of luscious green grass with a concrete pathway leading all the way up to a giant building.

The Academy!

It was a grand building, seeming to possess its own type of darkness. It seemed to be a pentagon-shaped structure with a courtyard in the centre. There was a separate, much smaller building – almost like a regular house – behind the school. Chantelle gasped loudly at the sight of a graveyard to the left of the building.

 “I told you,” Kenji said quietly, “My eldest brother didn’t survive the change.”

He grasped her roughly by the shoulder, leading her up to the large oak doors at the front of the Academy, before releasing her to push them open. Inside, the school seemed very modern. The floors were made of a light wood, cleaned to the point of being shiny, and the ceiling supported a glimmering crystal chandelier. Cream leather chairs were positioned all around the reception-like area, and in these chairs were three very different girls.

 “Welcome to Onyx Academy of Dusk,” A man appeared behind the counter ahead of her, “Please wait here a moment, and the headmistress will arrive to give you a tour.”

The man had tawny brown hair, combed perfectly into place with a clean side parting. His skin was flawless, and his eyes were a bright shade of hazel she’d never seen before. Even his voice had been somewhat appealing, soft and polite.

 “That was Axel Sawyer.” Kenji hissed, “He’s a general receptionist, and he organises the pick-up of new Changelings.”

Chantelle perked up slightly, “Pick-up?”

 “When you begin the change, fully changed Vampires notice – it’s a part of the instinct you acquire. The symptoms are recognisable to Vampires straight away, as is the sudden change in the scent of your blood.” Kenji wrinkled his nose, “It thickens and smells different during the first day of the change.”

Her eyes opened wide with horror: “A Vampire called the Academy and brought me here? That woman, she...”

 “Yes, I found you.”

Chantelle and Kenji turned simultaneously on the spot. A tall, slim woman stood in front of them in a long black dress that was tight against her skin. It had one strap that went across her right shoulder, and was covered in diamond studs that continued down the dress in one thin line. A diamond bracelet shimmered on her left wrist, and her long chestnut hair was pulled into a bun on her head, showing her long, silver earrings. Her eyes were lightly made up with black mascara, and grey eyeliner – emphasising the lime green shade of them. She was lightly tanned for a Vampire, with rouged lips that formed a perfect smile.

 “Chantelle, may I introduce Asuna Rae-Belle, our headmistress.” Kenji said softly, nodding respectfully to the woman.

 “A pleasure,” Asuna said, offering her hand. Her nails were manicured, and all trimmed into the same shape and length.

 “Hello,” Chantelle squeaked nervously, shaking her hand and flushing crimson.

Asuna remained silent, striding straight past Chantelle and towards the three girls who were chattering quietly. They all stopped when she neared, nodding respectfully at her as she approached them.

 “Ladies, I apologise that you are all still awake at this hour, but Chantelle will be your final roommate.” Asuna spoke proudly, “We would like you to accompany us on a tour around the school, and then take Chantelle back to your dormitory to get a few hours sleep before sunset.”

Sunset...? Chantelle thought, Vampires sleep through the day!

At the far side of the room, there was another oak door that obviously led into the rest of the school. The shortest of the girls, a brilliant blonde with baby blue eyes, opened it and gestured for the others to pass. She smiled sweetly; her soft pink lips and pale skin making her look like an innocent little girl. However, the gleaming white fangs that had lengthened slightly showed her to be otherwise.

 “I’m Summer Doxton,” She spoke with a mild Australian accent, “Nice to meet you.”

Chantelle didn’t reply. She felt quite apprehensive actually, with a churning sensation in her stomach. It reminded her of the journey on the boat, and she folded her arms across her stomach for some sort of comfort.

 “The Academy has three floors; this is the first floor where many of the classrooms are located. The library, music rooms, drama studios, and a few other classrooms are situated on the second floor, and the third floor consists of the dormitories.” Asuna explained, “It’s a lot to take in, but there is a map in your dormitory for you to study before breakfast.”

One of the other girls added quickly: “Breakfast starts at seven-thirty in the evening, but you should be awake by six.”

She had jet black hair that just met her shoulders and eyes that were halfway between brown and emerald. She was taller than Summer, and called Yuki Moretti, according to a gold charm bracelet on her wrist.

 “So you do sleep through the daytime?” Chantelle asked shyly.

It was the third girl’s time to speak, “Yes, we do. UV rays, after long exposure, become problematic. To Changelings, they are quite uncomfortable, and are one of the reasons why the change can be fatal. To Vampires, they can cause skin problems, eye problems, headaches, and nausea.”

She sounded like she was reading straight out of a textbook.

She had dirty blonde hair and eyes like aquamarine. She was the palest of the girls, but also the skinniest. Summer and Yuki were both shorter than her, but Chantelle seemed to be the tallest, being just a matter of inches above the third girl.

 “What’s your name?”

 “I’m Taylor-Louise Parker.” She said proudly, “My brother is the dorm next door to us.”

Chantelle remembered Kenji talking about how he and his brothers were no longer the only siblings to be changing at the same time. She smiled to herself, feeling happiness at the thought that the siblings might both survive.

 “He’s hot,” Summer whispered, winking at Chantelle cheekily.

She couldn’t help but roll her eyes. The appearance of male Changelings was the last thing on her mind. She’d be taken from her life, and thrown into a new one. Not even her species was the same. She’d gone from Human to Changeling overnight – and wasn’t even in Cambridge anymore. To anyone else, Cambridge would be just another English city, but it had been her home for all seventeen years of her life so far. Thinking about never seeing that place again made her eyes sting, but she refused to cry.

She’d always refused to cry in front of people.

 “This corridor is for the rooms that teach standard Human curriculum.” Asuna gestured to the doors evenly spaced along the corridor, “English, maths, the sciences... it’s all taught along this corridor, and half of the next.”

The pentagon-shaped building made the corners quite strange to be in. In every corner, a stairway went up to the floor above. Chantelle admired the architecture of the Academy – it was very unique, but she liked it.

 “My class is social studies, and it is taught here – along with psychology, healthcare, genetics, and self-awareness class.” Asuna continued, “These classes help to encourage you to think about yourself and develop a sense of understanding.”

 “And more importantly, these doors lead out to the courtyard in the middle of the school, or to the rest of the island.” Yuki said, pointing to two doors, directly opposite each other, “These are used for break, lunch, and study periods.”

 “And Crystalline meetings,” Taylor-Louise added, “They’re held in the courtyard too.”

A confused expression crossed Chantelle’s face. She had no idea what a Crystalline meeting was, or if it meant anything to her. Luckily, Asuna noticed it.

 “Crystalline is a group of students who represent precious stones, symbolising each of the Vampire Gods and Goddesses – and the elements they embody.” She explained, “Recently, no meetings have been held. The Changeling chosen to guard obsidian, the stone of Skylar, was taken from us by the change. Skylar is yet to choose another in his place.”

A dark look crossed Asuna’s face. It showed just how much she cared for her students, haunted by every single one that passed away. Chantelle tried to force the horror from her mind, instead recognising Skylar as the God of the stone Obsidian.

 “What does Skylar embody?” Chantelle thought aloud.

Taylor-Louise smiled, “He embodies darkness and light – the balance of good and evil.”

It was a cryptic answer, but one none the less, and Chantelle stored the information in her mind in the hope it would help one day.

 “I guard Beryl, the stone of Chloro – which is obviously nature.” Taylor-Louise continued, “And according to Summer, this makes me a weed.”

Chantelle chuckled involuntarily, and Summer grinned.

 “Now, now,” Asuna scolded, “The final two corridors are for the study of Vampirology, which is all about our species, power control, tolerance of blood lust, and also sports and games rooms for physical activity.”

 “Some of the sports are done outside,” Yuki said with a smirk, “After someone broke all the windows playing baseball in the gym.”

Summer blushed a dark shade of red, “It was the first time I’d ever hit the ball. Give me a break.”

Chantelle rolled her eyes, they were all so close. How on earth was she supposed to share a dormitory with these three? She’d never fit in. Asuna gave her a warm smile, and her worries were suddenly gone – and the tour continued.

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