Chapter One: Lets Get on Our Way

“Listen up please, listen up!” Perseverance announces to the gigantic room of students. He doesn’t need to raise his voice for everyone to settle down. They are all anxious for this gathering to begin. Once everyone is silent, Perseverance continues.

“There is a time honored tradition held between ourselves and our ancestral cousins in celebration of our cultural differences and the unity we have despite them. Each day one of the High Races is permitted to showcase everything that is loved and cherished in the hearts of their people. At the end of the day a challenge is issued. These challenges will be completed by teams composed of qualified youths displaying outstanding merit in combat, intellect, healing, magic, and leadership. This is what we have all been eagerly awaiting. At the end of this month we shall, for the first time since The Seventh Great War, be attending The Competition of The Four.”

Perseverance allows the excitement to run its course. Everyone cheers with joy while an ecstatic feeling floods the room. The other teachers on stage applaud but they feel more nostalgic than excited. The students in the current class are too young to remember the last Competition but everyone has heard the stories. A few moments later Perseverance continues.

“This year’s Competition is to be held on Earth in the Doegeran city of Huedrad. Those selected should consider themselves symbols of our culture and represent our traditions with pride. This honor is not given lightly and is to be taken very seriously. After consulting with the Heads of each House, high ranking Guardsmen, our esteemed faculty, and reviewing the many letters of recommendation, Queen Purity herself selected five Academy pupils for this year’s team.” Perseverance smiles as he sees several young men and ladies puff out their shoulders and sit straighter with confidence.

Perseverance begins to speak again. “Four of you will be the main contestants and participate in the challenges, while the fifth will be the alternate. Guile will now announce those who have been chosen. Please come forth to the stage if your name is called.”

Patrick has been battling it out to be top of the class and he knows most if not all of his instructors recommended him. He doesn’t even realize he is holding his breath until his lungs begin burning for air.

“The constants are, Luke son of Accuracy.” Patrick whips his head around to where Luke stands up. The crowd applauds as he flies to the stage. His bulky storm-cloud grey wings are perfect for gliding but not the best for fighting. “You are to represent Hypexion in the intellect challenge.” Feeling relief that the slot he wants isn’t taken yet, Patrick allows his mind to wander thinking about what Earth will be like?

“Jacob son of Greatness,” The applause softly continues as Guile announces the next contestant. It took a moment for Jacob to stand since as his older brother, John, refused let him go without a firm handshake and a personal congratulations.

“You are to represent Hypexion in the healing challenge. Frank son of Glory, you are to represent Hypexion in the combat challenge.” The smug young man stands tall and seemingly unaffected by the disappointment many of his classmates display. Frank can be a bit too vocal about controversial issues. Patrick is crushed that he wasn’t chosen to participate directly but waits to hear who is chosen as the alternate.

“Lira daughter of Ruthlessness, you are to be the leader of the team and represent Hypexion in every challenge issued at the Competition.” There is an eruption of approval for the class Electorate. Many stand up to support Lira as she took off toward the stage. Her sleek brown and white speckled wings are somewhat small for her body, but that just makes her a powerhouse for quickly ending fights. It also helps that her Magic Note is mauve, which represents stealth magic. Patrick nods his approval as he claps.

She lands on the stage and takes her place beside the rest of the team. Perseverance personally congratulates her as Guile announces the last member of the team. “The alternate position, Queen Purity said, was the hardest to decided upon but after much debate the decision was made. It is my great honor to announce that the first Body Born pupil of the Academy, Patrick, ward of Gratitude, will be representing Hypexion as the alternate for our team. My congratulations to you all.”

Patrick’s jaw drops as a mixture of relief and excitement wash over him. His classmates don’t share his excitement. They applaud out of an unspoken obligation rather than genuine excitement for Patrick.

So what? He doesn’t care that he is a Body Born. So what if his ebony skin isn’t that perfect alabaster white that every other Avion displays. So what if he is the only Body Born that was able to pass the Academy entrance exam? He isn’t going to let anything take away from this moment. He earned it, deserves it, and unbeknown to him he is sharing it with the one person that would mess it all up.

“Way to go Patrick!” Her voice rang from the rafters of the hall as he stood up. Immediately people look to find the source of the voice. Everyone recognizes who it is they just can’t see her. Patrick closes his eyes and lets out an agitated sigh. When he opens them, he sees Perseverance gazing at the rafters. Tracing his line of sight Patrick finds the shadow of a very mischievous yet familiar Avion girl.

K what are you doing here?” He telepathically asks her and turns his head back to the stage. All his teammates, except Frank, seem at ease with the idea of Patrick being on the team. Therefore, he proudly slipped out his own snowy white wings and flew to the stage. K didn’t answer him but her clapping prompts more from everyone else.

“Tell her to leave.” Perseverance whispers to Patrick as he lands on the stage.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’ll prove your faith in me is well placed.” Patrick says as he shakes his mentor’s hand. He whispers the next bit directly to his mentor. “I’m trying to sir.”

“Not going to.” She finally responds and Patrick can see she sent the message to Perseverance as well. His warm smile becomes tense very quickly. All instructors are guarded from mental magic incase a pink Magic Note student dares to try and read their mind for test answers. K shouldn’t have been able to do exactly what she just did.

“There she is!” Someone from the audience yells. An energy ball is shot toward the place where the shadow of her had been. Patrick picks up on her movement just as quickly as the rest of the highly skilled and well-trained Avionic teens.

Maybe I’ll just meet you at the House. Congratulations again.” Tone isn’t usually translated with telepathy but somehow she manages to sound as cocky as a Finnalin with legs.

Giving his head a little shake he sends her a warning message, “Don’t get caught.”

Her reply is a simple, “Never do.” 

Taking a quick peek at his team, Patrick sizes up the magically talented Luke, the knowledgeable Jacob, the imposing Frank, and their fearless leader Lira. It’s a safe bet that none of them could last a minute with his housemate K, and that is being generous.

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