War of Elemen

RE-WRITING : Tara Baxter isn't your average girl; with the power and skills to take on an army, know to the world of Elemen as the the Imperial Mage Princess. She's trying to keep Earth out of the hand's of Elemen's army. While helping a friend's father test the magical abilities of the combat class he is in charge of, Tara meets a friend from Elemen and she isn't pleased especially since he is the boy she was promised to marry and her parents turn up right after. Tara accidentally triggers an all-out war between the mages of Earth and Elemen. Along with her friends all over the world, Tara fights to protect the world she holds close from her home and family.

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1. First Draft

Chapter 1 : The Elements Begin To Move

Sitting on a sturdy branch, Tara looked down at a group of boys who were sitting at picnic tables nearby. Watching them as she tied her long white-blonde hair up in a ponytail with a brown ribbon, Tara smirked as her mobile phone vibrated. Opening the message, she quietly read it to herself,

“Everything in place, start at any time.” Smirking, Tara slipped the phone into the pocket of her baggy mint green hooded top and stood up on the branch, watching as the boys started to wander towards the tree.

 

Watching the boys, Tara breathed softly so she could hear their conversation,

“Mr Gray is taking his time, our test was supposed to start fifteen minutes ago. Do you think something happened to him? He isn't usually late, was the test cancelled?”

“No, in fact, I think the test has started already. Look around, this park is deserted, even if it is school day there should still be people here. Mr Gray never said he would be here at the start only where and when it started. I think there should be something around here to do with the test.” One of the three boys, who had stood separately from the rest of the group, had started to walk towards the tree as Tara moved around to the other side.

 

When the three boys moved away again, Tara grinned and pulled on a string, she slackened the string and tightened it again. A loop of string fell down from the tree, surrounding the group with the exception of the three boys, effectively tying them to the tree,

“So, you are the prized students of sensei, such a shame that only three of you noticed this. Stage one of the test has been completed, three students proceed to stage two.” Tara jumped down from the tree, landing near the group. Her clear dark-green eyes focused on the three boys before pulling the string away,

“My name is Tara Douglas, I am here to assist Gray-sensei in the testing of his intermediate five class. Today’s test will consist of three stages, the first stage has just concluded, the second stage will begin in five minutes and you will be tested separately. Those who have failed are free to stay and watch. I’ll return shortly, stage two will be combat, please begin any preparation you need to make. Also, direct in questions concerning the test criteria to your teacher” Tara wrapped the string around a pencil and walked away.

 

When a middle-aged man passed Tara as she walked towards a small building, she paused to talk with him briefly. The boys watched as she openly glared at him before hit the man on the head before storming off towards the building while the man walked towards the boys,

“Well, here comes Mr Gray, let’s get an answer from him.” The boys watched as Mr Gray strode towards them. When he reached them, Mr Gray looked at them all,

“I guess it was a bit of a surprise but to move to advanced one, you should be able to handle that. So, three of you got through to stage two, that’s more that the last time. Are you all staying or are you going home since you are excused from school the whole day?” The boys exchanged glances before nodding their heads,

“Who is that? What happened? How did she decide who passed? And, why is it someone who is probably younger than us and is a girl to boot?” One of the three who passed was furiously glaring at Mr Gray, who was watching him with a guarded expression before sighing in defeat,

“Relax, Tara was following the plan I had set out for her. I told her how to tell the pass from the fail. Miss Baxter is a friend of mine and she is older than you, she is eleven, I’ll explain everything later but I have to go. Also, while she is a girl, Tara is level with me and the headteacher when it comes to ability, she may even be stronger. I've got somewhere to but I’ll be back later.” Mr Gray went to turn away,

“You noticed it. She’s getting weaker, it wouldn't be hard to since you have known her the best out of us four. Right, John?” Mr Gray turned to look at a teenaged boy who had appeared on the other side of group,

“Yes,but it cannot be helped. Since the planetary core was damaged, she's being keep everything in order herself so it isn't a surprise that's she's struggling.” Nathan frowned and walked away with Mr Gray.

 

 

Chapter 2 : An Old Friend Shows Up

 

Just as Tara emerged from the building, Nathan and Mr Gray disappeared from sight. Walking towards the boys, Tara was holding a medium sized cardboard box. When she reached the group, Tara dropped the box and glared at the three boys before glancing in the rough direction that Nathan and Mr Gray muttering under her breath before focusing back on the group,,

“We will be participating in one-on-one combat then in three-on-three, two other testers will be coming shortly.” Tara pulled a large blanket out the box and spread it over the grass.

 

Taking her faded beige trainers off, Tara took her lavender knee-length skirt off to show a pair of brown shorts underneath. She beckoned to one of the boys and indicated for him to stand opposite her on the mat,

“This test is to determine if you are capable of what is required at advanced one. You are not required to beat me in combat, you must demonstrate all your skills. I will then make an assessment on whether or not you will proceed to the next stage. Do you understand?” Tara took a stance and focused her gaze on the boy.

 

Attacking first, Tara landed a kick on the boy’s shoulder. Quickly exchanging attacks, Tara and the boy moved around the blanket as the fight intensified but ended quickly as Tara tripped the boy and pinned him on the ground in a single move,

“Your starts are clear and precise, the actual moves are accurate and strong but your exits are too slow. Your defense positioning is wrong, if you keep it up like that you will severely damage your body. You have good speed and are able to improvise. You pass.” The boy bowed slightly and stepped off the blanket as Tara beckoned the next boy.

 

Taking a stance, Tara gazed at the boy and watched all of his movements. Narrowing her eyes, Tara grinned as the boy dashed towards her. Grabbing the boy's leg as he thrust it towards her face, Tara pulled on it and sent the boy flying over her head; following him, Tara placed her fist on the boy's side and forced him away as his knee struck her shoulder. Dashing at the boy, Tara knocked his legs out from underneath and pinned him to the ground with her forefinger on his forehead,

"You did good, no attack faults but your defense is too weak and your stance is indecisive. An undecided, passing through to the third stage will require an evaluation of your performance in team combat. Next." The boy stood up and walked off as the next boy walked on.

 

Turning to face the boy, Tara looked into his eyes and froze as she recognized his green eyes with a start. Shock shot down her spine as she took her stance. Hiding her shock, Tara started the match by throwing the boy over her shoulder; as she turned to attack him, she was met by the boy's fist, flipping backwards and kicking the boy's jaw Tara knocked him over and pinned him to the ground with her arm against his chest. Relaxing her body, Tara stood up and watched as the boy stood up with her,

"Pass, you have good combat skills but fail to see into others attacks properly, that is the only fault. The three-on-three combat will begin when the other testers arrive and as I don't know when that is, take a five minute break before returning here." Tara pulled a lavender baseball cap out of the box and put it on, threading her hair through the gap along with the ribbon.

 

Watching the boys wander off towards a block of toilets, Tara glanced at the boy, she had just fought, who had stayed behind. Moving to the side as he sat against the tree, Tara glared at him and sat opposite him on the grass,

"Gregory, why are you here? Shouldn't you be at Elemen, doing whatever it is that you jerks do over there?" Gregory smiled,

"Whether or not you did the right thing by betraying Elemen; I wanted to see what it is with this world that has made you betray us, you have half-an-army looking to bring you back home and the other half looking to destroy you. To be honest, I think the Existence Complex would be better off without this awful place, the land is heavily polluted, the people are ignorant and violent, the animal are stupid and mages have to live in secrecy. So, princess, what do you see in this place?" Gregory didn’t bother hiding the sarcasm,

"Do not call me that Gregory, I am not the princess any more, I gave that up when I left. This world which was abandoned by all the others at the very beginning has done quite well for itself and considering it has done this well without magic shows just how superior they are to the other world; also we don't have to live in secrecy, we chose to. Also, why did you turn up here, at this class, with these people? I pretty much guessed why you were in this world but couldn't figure out why you were here."  Tara glared at Gregory as he stood up and patted her head with a grin,

"Even if you aren't the princess, I still love you. We didn't have to be promised to each other at birth for me to feel this way about you. I wanted to see how mages are trained in this world so I signed up, the methods are quite interesting."

"As long as you don't do anything weird then I won't do anything but if you try to hurt anyone, I swear I'll kill you myself." Gregory sighed and nodded his head as Tara stood up pushing his hand away from her.

 

 

Chapter 3 : A Three-On-Three Battle Begins

 

Watching as Gregory joined the rest of the group as they sat at the picnic tables, Tara frowned as pulled her phone out and was about to start writing a message as Nathan appeared beside with a similarly-aged boy who resembled Mr Gray,

"So, how'd it go? With the three who have progressed to the second stage, their individual combat stats." Tara put her phone away and stood up, smacking Nathan on the head, she pulled him up with his collar, glaring into his eyes,

"You said you looked into the whole group, you told me that there was nobody who could pose a threat through contact with me. Tell me why he is here, on today of all days, tell me why that idiot is here." Nathan's smile slipped off his face with a flash,

"The Martin's child is an inside contact, he was one of many who helped us get you out and provides us with information; I apologise for not informing you. I can guarantee that he poses no threat. So I suggest you calm down and focus on the task." When the other boy started to laugh, Nathan and Tara flushed red and sprang apart. Tara glared at the boy until he stopped,

"And why would you be laughing Craig?" Craig paused in though before noticing that the group was heading towards them.

 

Shaking his head, Craig turned Tara around to face the group as he and Nathan stepped in behind her. Waiting until Gregory and the two other boys stood at the front before stepping  forward and looking directly at them,

"The three-on-three battle is non-magic with the exception of a single communications channel, there is a time limit of five minutes, like the single battles there is no need to defeat us. The three examines will be in a team and will fight against myself and my two co-testers. Do you understand the conditions we have set?" Tara watched as the three boys exchanged a glance and nodded their heads.

 

Reaching into the cardboard box, Tara pulled out three wrist straps and a large sphere, handing the sphere to Craig,

"These straps will help us to analyse your skills without constant observation. The objective is to take this sphere from us as well as my ribbon, it will also end if you take just my ribbon." Tara turned to grin at Nathan and Craig before indicating for the boys to get ready.

 

Waiting until the rest of the group had moved to a safe distance, Tara turned to grin at the three boys, who were standing five meters away and held out her left hand, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath while relaxing her body,

"Oh elements of the world, spirits of heaven, angels of hell, gather to me and form a cage. Cut away from the world and hold back damage, retain shape and strength. Gather dancing light and glowing shadows, follow me through eternity. Isolation and Protection Barrier. Element Magic Establish." Light gathered in Tara's hand and exploded out, lying on the grass like snow in a perfect circle stopping just before the rest of the group before melting away,

"The barrier will make area recovery easier and prevent the rest of your group from getting involved. The battle will now begin." Waiting until the boys to nod their heads, Tara turned away and started to walk away.

 

Taking advantage of the opportunity, the smallest of the boys dashed forward and made a grab for the ribbon in her hair. Reaching the ribbon, the boy just missed as Nathan grabbed the boy's hand and threw him back the way,

"While I am the team guard, you will not get through the defences. I am Nathan Grimley, I specialize in defence and armed combat. This won't be as easy as it looks." Tara shared a quick hi-five with Nathan before turning to face the three boys,

"I suggest working as a team." Tara jumped backwards to stand beside Craig and watched Nathan stroll back.

 

Standing in front of Tara and the sphere, Nathan took a stance and watched as the three boys watched carefully while they were discussing something. Taking advantage Craig dashed forward and caused the boys to scatter, attacking all of them and keeping them apart. 

 

 

Chapter 4 : An Unexpected Family Visit

 

Sitting at the roots of the trees, Tara watched the three boys who lay exhausted on the ground while she herself was filled with boredom. Nathan and Craig was standing nearby by, Tara watched as Gregory and the smaller boy slowly sat up,

"Well, if I had known it was going to be like this then I wouldn't of bothered with the monitoring straps. Nathan, Craig, the two of you need to learn what it means to hold back. Well, I can start pulling the barrier down." Sighing, Tara stood up and closed her eyes as a silver magic circle appear beneath her, glowing softly before disappearing again,

"Stage three, the magic combat round, will begin at the mage center in three hours. Gray-sensei will be here to take you there shortly. As we have to go start preparing, myself and my two friends shall be leaving; don't make a bother of yourself." Tara bowed and walked away, followed closely by Nathan and Craig.

 

Leaving the park, Tara sighed and pulled the ribbon out her hair, wrapping it round her wrist. Standing at the roadside, she watched as a SUV pulled up. Nathan and Craig glanced at Tara before opening the door, waiting for her to do the same,

"...Tara, are you alright? If you need to rest we can take you home and pick you up later. You've went through a lot of magic without support today." Looking down at the ground, Tara shook her head before looking at Nathan and Craig,

"I think I'll walk today. The weather's nice and I want to be by myself for a bit. I'll keep the emergency channel open in case anything happens." Tara looked at Nathan and Craig as they nodded their heads before sitting in the car. Tara closed the door and watched the car disappear round the corner.

 

Turning around, Tara sprinted along the road, past shops, past houses, past businesses. Running until she reached a small empty park, opening the gate Tara walked through the park until she reached a large cherry blossom that stood in the middle. Stopping, Tara closed her eyes and sighed, relaxing her body, calming her mind before opened her eyes,

"You better give me a good explanation for being here. I am in a bad enough mood already." Tara whipped round to see two adults (a man and a woman) standing behind her, sharing nervous smiles as Tara crossed her arms,

"We came to persuade you to come back. The court has agreed to forgive you and everything if you come back now."

"Do you think I haven't come back yet because I'm scared of not being forgiven? I have not come back yet because I do not agree with the court and their principles. What they are doing is wrong and even if it makes me a traitor I will fight against them and defy them, I am going to protect this world. This wonderful, amazing world which even knowing who I am and was still looked after me, protected me and gave me a place to belong. Here on Earth I am more than what I was in Elemen. Back there I am just a thing for the court to mess with, I am only a title, only a face for the Imperial Family of Elemen. Here I am Tara Baxter, a young mage with an overly-protective personality, I am the third smartest kid in school, I can go outside without being constantly watched, I am the captain of an elite mage unit formed to protect this world against Elemen, I've travelled all over the world and seen so much. I refuse to just turn my back them, everyone I have met even the people I have not met yet." Tara glared at the two adults and tensed her body as she saw someone run up behind them.

 

Turning around, the man grabbed the mystery person's arm and threw him over his shoulder. Tara sighed as Gregory landed at her feet. Extending her hand, Tara pulled Gregory up, she glared at him before relaxing,

"Sorry, I wondered why you never went with them and I followed you." Gregory turned and looked at the adults,

"Tara, why are your mum and dad here?"

 

 

Chapter 5 : Glad You're Still My Friend

 

Stiffening, Tara clenched her fists and stepped away from Gregory, her whole body shaking as tears formed in her eyes. Gregory sighed and rubbed his head, he watched Tara wipe her tears before stepping close and putting his head to hers. Turning to face the adults, Gregory stepped on front at Tara, grabbing her hand and bowed to the adults,

"I'm sorry, even though I promised I would not do the same as Tara, I can't keep that promise. I am also someone who has chosen to betray Elemen. I also hold value with this world and do not want to see the Imperial Court try to destroy it. Please don't try to persuade us otherwise." Gregory pulled Tara past her parents and out the park.

 

Stopping when they got to a busy street , Gregory let go of Tara's hand and quickly stepped away, watched as she rubbed her hand, holding it close to her as Gregory looked around. Tara glanced at Gregory before turning away,

"Thank you Gregory and I am sorry for what I said earlier. But, I have to ask you, are you sure this is something that you want to do? There is no going back." Gregory looked at Tara and smiled as she blushed slightly, shifting on her feet,

"I decided a long time ago that this is the path that I would walk on. Even if I can't be of much help this world is still precious, it holds my memories with my sister, it's all I have left to connect me with her. So I will gladly give my life to protect this most special place." Tara turned to face Gregory and hugged him, holding him tightly while she cried,

"Thank you, Gregory...I'm glad, are we still friends? Even though I said such painful things to you." Tara stopped crying as Gregory hugged her back, they stood together for several moments as the sun peeked out from behind a cloud,

"Yes, to me you are a friend and my most important person. What you said to me earlier, I said to myself back in Elemen just after you left. If I am still a friend to you then, yes, we are still friends." Tara nodded her head slightly as she stepped back,

"I'm glad. I still think of you as a friend. I'll have to learn to trust you again, well at least as much as everyone else."

 

 

Chapter 6 : The High Council Meets

 

Leaving Gregory at the park, Tara headed to the mage center on the outskirt of the town. Sitting in the middle of endless fields, the center was four stories tall, was half-a-kilometer long and a few hundred meters wide; the ground floor was filled with classrooms and small relaxation areas, the first floor was a sports area with swimming pools and a running track that went around the edges, the second floor was full of martial art practice areas, and the third floor was a mixture of meeting rooms and computing rooms.

 

When Tara reached the grounds of the center, she headed straight to a small building nearby. Shoving the door open, Tara sat down in the entrance and relaxed her body in the cool air as she closed the door with her foot. Tara grinned as she heard soft steps behind her,

"Anna, George, I wouldn't think about it if I were you. Have Nathan and Craig arrived yet?" Tara turned and looked at the black-haired twins who had tried to creep up behind her,

"Come on, can't we have any fun. You three elites are handling this and we are dealing with the paperwork. Besides, those two are in Forty-Twenty, we're just heading up ourselves." Tara took Anna's hand and stood up, letting the twins leave before closing the door behind herself.

 

Following the twins across the center grounds, into the building, up to the third floor and through a maze of rooms; Tara frowned in deep thought as she followed them into Meeting Room Forty-Twenty and sat down at the table in the middle of the room. Nathan was sitting on her right, Anna on her left, George and Craig sat opposite and the remaining six chairs were empty. Tara sighed,

"I'm sorta out of the loop here. So, what's going on? There must be something or the High Council wouldn't be meeting." Nathan and Craig exchanged an unease glance as Anna avoided eye-contact with Tara. George leaned back in his chair and looked at the ceiling,

"The Dorea Unit and Prime Unit have begun to move." Tara stood up so quickly her chair flew backwards into the wall as she slammed her hands into the table, focusing on George,

"WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN DOREA AND PRIME ARE MOVING?!" George sat properly and looked into Tara's eyes as Anna pulled her chair back over and put it in place,

"They've began tracking down our units on the other side. We've already lost two, those six have already been dispatched to analyse the situation but we need to make a decision today. Keep the plan to the original timescale and risk the safety of our units and this world, or begin with stage two now and ensure everyone's safety. Stage one has already been finished and we've even been improving it. I mean, I think we all agree with the evacuation part but, Tara, are prepared for your role? You do this and you won't ever be able to even hope of achieving a somewhat normal life. You'll have to be the one that informs the International Council and then inform the world of magic's existence." George, Anna, Craig and Nathan all watched Tara as she sat back down with a sigh,

"Yes, I am prepared for it, it is important that they understand what is going on properly and they will trust us more if the person that explains and reveals is the head themselves. So even if I have to give up my daily life to do so, I will do it. You should not have asked. I can already tell that you all will want the plan moved forward and as do I." Everyone exchanged small glances before sighing,

"Right, Anna and Craig, I want you to work with me on the test when the time comes. Nathan, you contact the International Council, I'll go to them tonight. George, you handle the conference. Anna, Craig, I need you to distribute this to the other centers and the rest of the council as soon as possible, as long as it's done by tonight." Everyone exchanged glances, nodded their heads and stood up.

 

 

Chapter 7 : Making Steps

Running down the steps of the center's main entrance, Tara grinned as she saw the combat class getting off of a bus that was parked nearby. Followed closely by Anna and Craig, she saw Mr Grey get off the bus, grinning as he saw her walk closer to the group. Stopping on front of everyone, Tara exchanged a quick glance with Gregory, Craig gave a small wave to Mr Grey as Anna grinned,

"So, everyone decided to come and watch. Glad to see everyone, I know that it is pointless and a bit late but I thought that I should introduce myself, well even if you don't move up you all be getting a formal introduction in four weeks time when your classes are moved here. Anyway, as Grey-sensei has probably already told you, I am Tara Baxter and despite my age I am an elite-level Unit Captain and forbidden-class Soloist; I'll be in charge of maintaining the units and classes in this mage center when it officially opens in four weeks. It's a pleasure to meet everyone." Tara watched as Anna stepped forward to stand beside Tara, she waved at everyone with a sweet smile,

"I'm Anna Greens, responsible for the safety of the female mages who will be coming here, so if any of you get any ideas about messing with the girls when you are here, please be warned that I will personally crush you myself. I am also a ranked mage in Tara's unit." The boys looked at Anna, not taking her seriously at all. Tara grinned as Anna glanced sideways at her and winked at her as Craig stepped forward with a look of stunned disbelief,

"That was a bit morbid, Anna. Anyway, I'm Craig Grey, Mr Grey's son. I'm in charge of student advice, so come to me if you need help. I'm an elite-level Vice-Captain of the Unit partnered with Tara's. I should give you this advice now, take Anna very seriously, I won't explain why since we're getting to give you a little show before the last stage begins." Craig grinned as Anna thrust her fist towards him, he blocked it just before it hit him and pushed Anna away from him.

 

Watching as Anna chased Craig away, Tara laughed slightly as Mr Grey walked forward, he put his hand on her shoulder. Turning to look at him, she nodded her head slightly,

"So you heard about it, what do you think? I'm worried about what caused them to start moving. I have an idea on the cause but I am hoping that I'm wrong." Mr Grey looked at the class behind them before looking at Tara as she watched Anna and George run around the empty car park,

"You did the right thing. You haven't told those three yet, about the core. I think if they knew what you had done, they would most likely kill you. You won't have shoulder your burden for much longer, when they all come over the natural life magic will be enough for the core to repair itself and you'll be able to release the spell. So why do you think they have began to move? It is that..."

"Concerning, it is very concerning. It's been one hell of a day, first I find out that he is our ally and then my parents turn up to try and persuade me to go back home with them. I think my blunt refusal and his telling them that he has betrayed them may have angered them. I haven't told anyone else." Tara looked at Mr Grey who was frowning at her, he sighed and moved his hand away, taking a step back,

"That probably is the reason, find a reasonable time to tell them. Well, if it's you then something like this won't be a problem, you've never been one to let things like this get to you."  Tara frowned as Anna caught George and pulled him over to Tara.

 

Letting go of George, Anna bowed slightly as Tara glared at the two of them. George stood up and bowed as well. They straightened up and Tara touched their shoulders slightly,

"I told you that there is no need to be so formal. It's fine, besides I managed to talk with sensei and they all seem a lot more relaxed now." Anna grinned as George nodded his head.

 

 

Chapter 8 : The Platform For The Last Stage

 

Leading the class past the center building and up a small hill behind it, Tara hummed to herself while the boys watched with caution. There was a small secluded area at the bottom of the hill where three sides where surrounded by forest. Anna and Craig were walking at the back of the group with small pink swollen cheeks from when Tara pinched them for fighting each other on front of the class while throwing them over her shoulder.

 

Stopping in the middle of the clearing, Tara turned to face the group with Mr Grey standing beside her, Anna and Craig standing behind her as the boys lined up on front of them, Tara turned and gave a sharp glare to Anna and Craig who smiled awkwardly, trying to ease the tension. Tara waited until everyone was focusing on her before starting and stepping forward,

"Right, I'm going to call out the names of the two who passed through to stage three, unfortunately one of the three failed the second stage. Gregory Martins, Benjamin Marris, step forward please." Gregory stepped forward along with the first boy Tara had fought against, as she stepped back,

"Benjamin, you shall be with me and, Gregory, you will be with Anna. You have five minutes to make any and all preparations you require. We'll be back then and Craig will stay behind to give any advice  as well as explaining the rules. Grey-sensei, could I bother you with area preparations and also, I require a talk with you later so could you please wait behind after the testing stage has been finished?" Tara turned and smiled at Mr Grey as she walked towards the forest behind her.

 

Waiting until Tara was out of earshot, Mr Grey turned, eyeing up Anna and Craig with concern,

"Don't look at us like that, Dad. In the short time between her arriving and you arriving, we got some..uh..em...worrying news, a reaction like this is expected from her. Don't let it get to you, we've got to get this test going. Anna, you better go start you preparations or else they'll have to wait for you." Anna scowled at Craig as she nodded her head and walked towards Tara who had stopped at the edge of the forest.

 

 

Chapter 9 : The Last Stage Begins

 

After layering on her barriers and protection layers, Tara strode across the field towards the group with her hair streaming out behind her, holding a small longbow in her hands. Stopping beside Craig, she tugged gently on the hem of his t-shirt, quietly Craig turned to face her as she looked around,

"I wasn't expecting the third one to fail, you don't have to stay and also, Grey-sensei knows about them beginning to move, I didn't say because the others were listening too. Also, I have something that I want to tell everyone later; Grey-sensei and Nathan already know what I want to say, they were part of the initial decision. I'll do it before I leave for the international council. I'll send Anna up when we've finished." Craig thought for a moment and glanced at Anna who was walking towards them, sighing and shaking his head before patting Tara's until she slammed her forearm into his chest,

"Do not pat my head Craig, is this going to be a repeat of last time?" Craig grinned and took a step back, he stuck his tongue out at her before running back towards the center.

 

When Craig had disappeared over the hill, Tara sighed as she fixed her hair and pulled out a small crystal from her pocket as she caught Anna walking towards the group. Fixing the crystal to where the arrow would usually be placed on the longbow, Tara grinned as the longbow shrunk,

"You two better be ready, there is half-a-minute until the one-on-one starts. Also, Craig probably told you that this will be nothing like the second stage battles. I should also warn you, Gregory, Anna has a minor obsession with explosives and physical weapons are allowed so you should be careful about that." Gregory nodded his head as Anna stopped beside Tara with a small grin on her face.

 

Waiting for Mr Grey to give the start signal, Tara and Anna exchanged a quick grin as they put some distance between themselves and the rest of the group. Gregory stood a few meters from while Benjamin, the first of the boys from the earlier one-on-one, followed Tara,

"You know, I noticed earlier as well, you don't seem to believe in yourself very much. It won't affect your skill much at this level but after Advanced Two, they begin to judge your confidence as well. A close friend of mine used to say 'A person who has skill and physical strength is weak unless they have faith in themselves, those around them and in their own ability; only then can a person become strong', well it probably means very little to you but the essence of it that insecurity and lack of confidence can highlight a person's weaknesses and make those around them unable to see their strengths. Try trusting yourself a bit more, everyone is like this in the beginning." Benjamin nodded his head while Tara took up a position opposite him as Mr Grey raised his arm into the air,

"I hope all of you have prepared properly, remember that this is a test to determine ability. Anna, Tara, this isn't a mock battle so please hold back a bit. Gregory, Benjamin, just do you best and everything will be fine, not everyone makes the first time, your testers had to take this test sever-"

"Grey-sensei, I suggest stopping there, there is no need to be telling our life stories. Hurry up."

"Hai, hai, Baxter-sama. I'll talk more about it later. Stage three of the Intermediate Five Test, One-on-one section, begins." Sparks rushed from Mr Grey's hand and formed large domes around Tara and Benjamin, and, Anna and Gregory.

 

 

Chapter 10 : It's About To Get Worse

 

The last stage took just over an hour to complete, the one-on-one had ended with Anna pinning Gregory against a tree and Tara was still fighting with Benjamin when Mr Grey stepped in to stop them, the team battle was stopped because both sides had done a great deal of damage to the surroundings.

 

When the last of the damage had been repaired, Tara nodded her head towards Anna who bowed slightly before turning away and walking towards the mage center. Turning to face the group, Tara smiled as she caught Mr Grey watching her from the back of the group,

"Well, you have certainly put up a fight. The last time I had to do this much repair for a grading test was that Advanced Three for the twins and Nathan. Either way, both of you have passed. Gregory Martins, Benjamin Marris; congratulations on gaining the Intermediate Five Mage Ability qualification and entering Advanced One, gaining the right to join units and becoming a full member of the International Mage Society and the International Crime Regulation Organisation. I hope you choose to continue developing your skills." Tara handed small sheets of paper to Benjamin and Gregory while bowing to them. She watched as the group wandered back towards the center while Mr Grey walked towards her.

 

Waiting until the boys were out of earshot, Tara turned to look at Mr Grey as the smile slipped from her face and her worry began to show. Closing her eyes, Tara sighed and sat down on the grass,

"First my parents show, then the two worst groups start moving, we've had to move up the plan. I have to go to the International Council and most likely tomorrow morning. I will be making an announcement on TV and Radio, it will probably be webcast as well, the main point is that is will be shown on every available device; we will be revealing magic, everything is going to get a lot worse and a lot quicker. We'll have to put up with magic-less and Elemen mages at the same time after this but it is essential for the plan to succeed. Can you come with me? I need to tell the others about the core and you are our adviser so the decisions have as much to do with us as you." Tara glanced up at Mr Grey as he looked at her and nodded his head. Standing up, Tara grinned as they began to walk towards the center.

 

 

Chapter 11 : The International Council

That night, after showering and changing into a pale green satin kimono-style tunic top and white three-quarter length cotton leggings, Tara left the mage centre not long after dinner. When she reached the edge of the mage centres boundaries Tara stopped and closed her eyes and faint green wings sprang out from the middle of her back. Jumping up, Tara caught the wind and flew up until she was above the clouds, pausing for a moment before fluttering her wings until they were moving to fast to be seen. She started flying towards a large mountain that look like it had sprung right out of an oriental fable and sprung up from the clouds.

 

Reaching the mountain after twenty minutes of constant flying at high speeds, Tara landed at the base of the mountain and her wings folded into her back as a doorway appeared in the rockface. Turning to the doorway, Tara grinned as the door opened to show dense mist behind it. Walking through the door, which closed and disappeared behind her, Tara walked through the mist which parted into a pathway so a small area around her was clear of mist. 

 

Quickly, another door was reached. Tara pulled the old wooden door open this time and stepped into a vacant corridor. Tiding her appearance, she stepped into a busy corridor, weaving her way through the crowd; walking for several minutes before stopping on front of ornate double doors, she nodded her head at the man who stood guard beside them. Tara took a deep breath as the doors swung open, held by two more guards, "Captain Tara Baxter, operational supervisor for the Bastian Mage Center and Chairman of the High Council of the International Mage Society. Present." Tara held a small ID up as she stepped through the doors.  

 

Looking up at the thirty-something members of the International Council, Tara dropped all emotion from her face, her clear eyes focusing on the strict lady who sat at the front of the council, "Captain Baxter, it relieves me that you appear in good health. To what do we owe this visit at this late hour?" Tara looked away for a moment, trying to look anywhere but at the council, "We have not yet established a timeline but a problem has arisen in Elemen. The Imperial Army has began moving their two primary units, Dorea and Prime, two of our units in Elemen have been lost, we accelerated the Kinell operation and have begun the next stage. The Ace unit has been sent to investigate the situation and are due to return four o'clock tomorrow morning. Also the heads of the the Imperial Family of Elemen visited Bastian today but quickly left, they wished for my return to their side." Tara locked eyes with the lady, determined not to look away until the meeting ended, "That is worrying news, but your High Council has reacted suitably. Many thanks for the notification. I take it this is to plan for the announcement, shall we set it for the day after tomorrow at noon?" "Yes, unfortunately that would be the latest we can wait. It would also give time for any information obtined to be processed. Do you wish for a copy of the information to be brought along after the unit's return?"

"Yes, please do so. That is all, if there is nothing else you may go." Tara closed her eyes and bowed before turning, striding through the doors which closed behind her.  

 

Speeding throught the corridors, Tara returned to the door she had entered through and leant against it. Taking deep, slow breaths, she kept her eyes closed as she calmed herself down and relaxed her tense body,

"That was a quick meeting. Next on the list is telling the others about the planet's core, then there will be nothing else left to do until the announcement." Tara sighed and opened the door before slipping inside.

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