Jade Kapan just might be the most normal person you could meet. But don't jump to conclusions, because you couldn't be more wrong. And she has no idea. No idea that the angels fight demons constantly just to keep the humans safe. No idea that she can change the whole course of the war. The only thing is, will she have the strength to make a vital decision?


6. Tests

           Mark wrapped his hands around my waist and jumped out through my window. He flapped his beautiful wings and we soared in to the air.

"Where are we going?" I asked him.

"We're going to the Aether."

We continued to fly in silence for a while, when I saw a bright light up ahead.

"Is that–" I didn't even need to finish my sentence. 

There it was. The Aether was a giant kingdom that was made out of beautiful gray stone. It floated on a cloud, and had multiple defense towers that were strategically placed.

"Right now it's in its war state. You should see it when we're at peace." Mark said wistfully.

The three of us landed on some cloud that was in front of a low building that looked like it was made out of granite. There was an angel standing in front of the door. When we walked up, said in a husky tone: "Identification please."

Mark and Cassie, their wings still open, walked through a turnstile, and as they did, a single primary feather glistened in iridescent colors. 

"All ranks of angels have an identification feather. It acts like an I.D. card or a fingerprint." Cassie helpfully explained. 

When it was my turn to go through, he held his arm out to stop me.

"Miss, you gotta open your wings so they can be scanned." He said gruffly

"But, I don't have any." I said, giving him puppy-dog eyes to help me win.

"The you have to complete a physical test."

"You're kidding me, right?!" Mark interrupted. "C'mon, Bruce! For old-times sake."

"We have no "old-times," Mark," He replied with a sideways glance in the young guardian's direction. 

"Let's get you suited up."

I didn't like the sound of that.

          "Do I have to?" I asked, looking at the skin-tight training suit that I was being asked to wear.

"Please, Jade," Mark begged me, and I had to admit, he looked really cute doing it. "You have to do it to rank up."

"Uug! Fine!" I relented, then shoved every one out of the room so I could change. The suit looked just like a wetsuit, only it was white, and had slits in the back for the wings I would soon earn. I wasn't sure if I actually wanted wings, but I had no other options. Bruce led us out to a training course, where I would demonstrate my physical abilities. Based on how I performed, I would earn that rank. For example, if I did really well, I could go right up to a guardian, and be able to fly. If not, I might be stuck as a cherub for a while.

"On the whistle you will sprint to the guardian over there," Bruce instructed, gesturing to the guardian at the end of the track, "and you will fight him in hand-to-hand combat. If you fare well, you will run as fast as you can along the balance beam, while dodging the spikes. Finally, you will be required to test your pain endurance. That is also when you will get your wings."

"That's it? Couldn't I just, like, lick my elbow or something?" I barely had time to finish my sentence before Bruce blew his whistle. I dashed down the track, running as if my life depended on it. Hey, maybe it did. I'd rather not find out. I finally reached the guardian. I thought I would at least have the chance to grab a weapon, but nooo. This angel obviously wasn't going to go easy on me. I did a summersault under his sword arm as he swung, gripping a dagger as I rolled by. I turned, kneeling, to deflect his next strike. 

          He swung again, and this time, I caught his blade on my hilt, and using the momentum from his strike, disarmed him. I rose and bashed his helmet with the butt of the dagger, causing him to fall to the ground. I had no idea where these skill came from, but I didn't dwell on them because I needed to move on. I started on the balance beam. Spikes came out of the floor and ceiling as I went along, running, jumping and ducking. Bruce only left out one minor detail: There were also swinging arms that I had to jump over. 

"Ack!" I called as I jumped over the first of them that appeared, "You could at least tell me about swinging arms!"

          I finally made it to the last step: pain endurance. Whoopee. Bruce was there waiting for me, and told me to stop and rest. He then gave me some golden liquid that I drank greedily. It tasted like honey, but better. I had no idea what it was and was too tired to bother to ask. Once I was rested, Bruce walked over to me and pressed a button on the inside of the collar of my suit.

"This will monitor your vitals, so we will know when to stop." He explained.

"Stop what, exactly?" I asked.

"We will put your mind through a series of tests. Your body will react to what we put into your mind. For example, if we tell your mind that you are holding something very heavy, your body might cramp, and you might start to sweat."

"Fun." I said sarcastically.

"And now, it begins." As soon as he said that, my side started to fell like it was burning. Someone was screaming, and screaming. And the I realized that it was me.

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