Parallel

Jade Elthering woke up alone and tortured. At the age of 6, she was at the mercy of a killer. Some how she escapes and manages resume a normal life for eleven years thanks to her loving foster family. But when her kidnapper returns for her, life gets turned upside down. Transported back to her previous life, Jade must resume her true identity if she is to save her friends and family. But will she have the courage to face down her stalker?

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12. The Academy

 

Renee scowled at me from the floor, forever playing the wronged damsel in distress. I rolled my eyes at her and went to pull my outfit from yesterday back on to find that it had been replaced by a prim school uniform. It had a black knee length pleated skirt, which I thought wouldn’t be very good for riding, a white shirt with what resembled a black Jewish tie around the collar, and a red blazer. The shoes however were better than I’d expected, just plain black brogues. I could ride comfortably in those, however that skirt… I glanced at Blaze and noticed he was wearing his uniform already.

                ‘The Academy is more likely to accept us if they see that we’re prepared.’ he clarified, clearing his throat anxiously. ‘Now, up. We must get going if we’re to make it there by lunch.’

                ‘Lunch?!’ Renee shrieked ‘You said it was another day’s ride away!’ she pointed at me accusingly. She was right, I had told her that we were a day away because that was what Blaze had told me. I raised an eyebrow at him accusingly.

                ‘We’re running out of time, we’re going to have to push these horses to the limit if we want to get there on time. Something isn’t right here.’ Blaze answered apologetically. I noticed a small dark bird sail past the window and I shuddered. He was right, something was definitely not right here and I for one did not want to stick around and find out.  I shot off the couch and handed Renee her uniform. I glanced over at Blaze nervously, who was still standing across from me.

                ‘Er, we have to you know, get changed now…’ I trailed off lamely, trying to shoo him from the room. His eyes widened.

                ‘Oh right, of course. Um, I’ll just meet you out front then.’ he tripped over himself sprinting out of the room. Renee laughed bitterly, pulling her uniform on.

                ‘You know, these uniforms aren’t so bad. I could totally pull this blazer off as Ralph Lauren.’ I rolled my eyes at her. Didn’t she ever think about anything other than appearances?

                ‘Come on, let’s go.’ I dragged her with me out the door once we were both dressed. Renee shot me a look that clearly said that I should’ve at least let her do her hair first. Blaze waited for us outside with Lucy. She looked worried, glancing nervously at the growing number of crows on the roof of her cottage. She waved one away and pulled me into a quick hug.

                ‘It’s so sad to see that as soon as I get you back, you must leave again. But you have to go now, it’s not safe here.’ she whispered into my ear.

                ‘Wait, what? You’re not coming with us?’ I cried

                ‘I can’t. Not yet. There are things I must take care of here first.’ she replied, tears shining in her beady eyes, moonlight illuminating the sharp angles of her face. Another crow perched on the roof, it’s evil eyes watching us closely. I shivered. I did not like the idea of leaving her here with those things alone. I turned to plead with Blaze, but again he gave me the ‘we’ll talk about this later look’ .

                ‘We must leave now.’ he stated simply. I let it slide, again, and mounted my horse after helping Renee onto hers.

                ‘Goodbye Lucy. Thank you for allowing us to stay with you, thank you for everything.’ I smiled sadly at her. Yet another crow sailed by onto the roof.

                ‘Go, now. We will meet again, soon. Just remember, parallel.’ she stated softly. Blaze nodded at her and Renee waved. We turned to leave on our horses, and the second we were past the fence boundary of her cottage, the crows attacked.

It was like watching a sea of black cascade onto Lucy’s front porch. The crows descended onto her, beaks sharp, eyes beady. Feathers burst everywhere, the crows cackles echoing into the quiet night. I watched frozen in horror for a second before turning back to help her. I could only imagine the claws and beaks tearing at Lucy, her skin bleeding, body ravaged.

                ‘Blaze!’I screamed. ‘WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING NOW!’  Blaze gave me a hard look, the fight between protecting me and saving his aunt battling in his eyes. He shook his head minimally.

                ‘We can’t. We need to leave. She will be okay. I promise.’ he replied.  I couldn’t believe him. We couldn’t just leave the old woman to fend for herself against the massive amounts of birds. More and more arrived, scratching and cawing ensuing until finally a small crow emerged from the chaos, wings outstretched and flying to the sky. The other crows looked away for a moment to see where it was going before all erupted into flight, chasing the small one into the night sky. When I looked back at the porch, Lucy was gone. I jumped off my horse, running back towards the property to find Lucy. Blaze rode up behind me and pulled me onto his horse with strong arms. Renee was busy inspecting her nails. I shrieked and struggled against Blaze’s strong hold and gave up. He started galloping at full speed away from the property. I went limp, worrying about Lucy.

 

After about an hour of riding, Blaze set me down and let me ride my own horse, which had followed us from Lucy’s. Renee was complaining of a ‘sore ass’ from riding so fast. It was a miracle that she could even ride a horse fast enough to keep up with Blaze. I huffed and used my new freedom to gallop ahead of the two to get some time away from them. I was angry that Blaze hadn’t let me go to help Lucy. God knows what happened to her. I heard the clip clop of hooves coming up behind me and was surprised to see that this time, it was Renee who had joined me.

                ‘You don’t have to be such a bitch you know.’ she chastised.

                ‘Why do you care? Just leave me alone.’ I seethed. Renee was the last person I felt like to talking to right now.

                ‘He was just trying to protect you, you idiot. Do you realise how hard that must’ve been for him? To choose you over his aunt?’ Renee hissed. She had a point. I sighed.

                ‘I’ll talk to him. Now would you leave me alone?’ Renee huffed and trotted away.

 

We rode on in silence, spotting a few more Reptuzz. Each time I saw one I was more and more entranced by their reptilian beauty. Their scales gleamed in the sunlight and they seemed so free, able to manipulate land and water easily. Fortunately there were no Animen to run into on this side of the forest so we didn’t have to worry about Armas. As the hours passed I realised I’d reacted poorly to Blaze trying to save me from getting hurt. I slowed down to the same pace as him and Renee caught on, she cantered off ahead without a word, for which I was grateful. Blaze was looking straight ahead, avoiding my eye. That hurt a little, he didn’t even want to look at me he was so pissed off.

                ‘Blaze, look. I’m sorry.’ I started.              

                ‘No, don’t apologize. None of this was your fault.’ he said dully. I felt even more guilty now. He had been tearing himself up for what happened to his aunt and I’d been ignoring him for trying to protect me. I reached out and put a hand on his.

                ‘We’ll find out what happened back there Blaze. I promise you. I’m going to train so hard at this Academy, the birds that attacked her will be poached by the time I’m through with them.’ I promised with fiery eyes. He looked at me and nodded.

                ‘I trust you Sierra.’ he squeezed my hand. ‘We’re almost there by the way.’ I nodded and rode ahead to tell Renee that her sore ass would be appeased soon.

 

Surely enough, a few minutes later we came to the edge of the forest, to be met by an enormous castle. It’s towers and dozens of layers of architecture were held together by what looked eerily alike to white marble or limestone, giving a ghostly illusion. I gaped on in admiration at the sheer size of it, let alone the pristine grounds and gardens surrounding it. It was perched aside a dock on the lake, where several naval looking boats were anchored. I gaped at Blaze who nodded.

                ‘This is the Academy.’  

Authors Notes: Sorry for the lack of update and a rather short chapter. I've been so busy the last few months with work and uni and exams that I've hardly had time to sleep let alone write. But it's summer now so I promise to update more often! What do you guys think happened to Lucy? xx Tori

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