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13 Fresh Air  - Arcanum

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Chapter 13

'Merry Christmas, I know we agreed not to get each other something but I couldn't resist. Hope you like it. Love Paul' the message read. My body filled with nausea, did Paul get this got me?

"Hmmmm interesting…. These all seem to be books from the library" Ashley said picking up one of the other books reading them. "Hmm they all seem to be books based on stories." He added reading the back of the book. "Seems like an odd gift if u ask me..." He said looking at me. Flipping through the pages and began reading deeper into the book, "hey look.... they are writing about krakens, we have those here!" He added closing the book putting it back on the pile.

I looked at him in disbelief, as if what he said was witchcraft ....."You're telling me Krakens are an actual thing here?!" I replied tossing my book back on the pile.

"Yeah... you know.. giant sea monster with multiple arms that annihilates fleets... but they are pretty rare, there are far more dangerous and numerous monsters you could come across at sea to be honest." Ashely added.

"Hmmm do you know what the time is?, I'm feeling a little tired." I asked Ashley.

"Yeah it's getting late its around 9pm..... I guess we should call it a night. The guards outside will be on watch over night, so you should be safe, also Paul should be on patrol around the school, so nothing to worry about." He smiled.

"What time would I need to wake up tomorrow? So I'm not late for the trip….." I asked.

"Should be around 8am. The guards or a teacher will make sure every freshman is present before they set off." He smiled.

"That's a relief, I guess this is goodnight then." I smiled.

"Goodnight Emilia, anything happens tap the small button at the bottom of the badge, it's a panic button, it will let us all know you are in trouble….." Ashley said as he began walking out the room, "Ohh and your room number is 509 by the way." He added as he opened the door to walk out, "Good night" He said one last time waving as he exited closing the door.

The silence felt strange, for the first time today I was left on my own, picking up the book I looked at the message again, 'it's too much of a coincidence this must have been from Paul, maybe he doesn't hate me as much as I thought….', I decided to hide the book under the mattress, the last thing I want is people finding out and getting the wrong idea, reading the message one last time before I put it away. I walked to the wardrobe to pick up my change of clothes and a towel, and walked into the bathroom, taking a look at myself in the mirrors, "Urghh" they could have at least brought my makeup with me." I spoke to myself. Turning on the taps on the bath, it was a relief that there was hot water, at least I can enjoy a nice hot bath. Undressing myself and folding my clothes leaving it in a neat pile, i slowly slid into the hot bath it was extremely relaxing, soaking in the hot water and the calming atmosphere, instantly putting me in a state of relaxation, this is exactly what I needed to end this crazy day.

Feeling thoroughly relaxed I dried myself, the pajamas consisted of a plain large T-shirt and shorts simple but extremely comfortable maybe made from cotton, it felt disgusting using the same underwear for a 2nd day but I had nothing else to wear, I defiantly will need to buy more. Exiting the bathroom, I noticed that there were no windows it felt oddly suffocating, 'maybe I should ask Ashley for a window, see if he can do that for me'. As I laid in the bed staring at the ceiling, I couldn't help but wonder what my family was doing right now, what they must be feeling. The only way for me to get back home is to ask Paul. meaning I'll have to eventually meet him for the first time in years, and ask him for a favor which he I doubt he will be willing to do at the risk of his own life.

Closing my eye trying to sleep, tossing and turning endlessly only exacerbated my restlessness, to the point it was even frustrating to lie down. 'Maybe I need to get some fresh air' as I made my way to the door, upon opening the door the two guards instantly turned around, "is something wrong Miss?" one asked.

"Everything is fine, I just wanted to get some fresh air." I replied.

"Miss we can't let you do that, its too dangerous." The same guard said.

"Look I'll be gone for only a little bit. I'll be back soon you wont even know i was gone" I tried to reason which them taking a step out.

Holding his hand out, "Miss I can't let you go." He insisted.

"Okay Okay" I pretended to agree, "Look all I'm gonna say is, you know I'm friends with a lot of highly ranked students if you scratch my back I will scratch yours." I offered.

They both looked at each other, gestured to me to stand back and closed the door. A few seconds past when the door opened again, "we will give you 10mins, if you're not back by then, we will drag you back ourselves." The other spoke out.

"Promise id be back by then." I replied smiling, rushing out the room down the stairs Ashley took me to earlier. Hastily walking down I made my way to the entrance of the building. Through the doors I could see the starry sky and a bright full moon, bursting through the doors the world welcomed me with a relaxing cool breeze, it was still rather warm despite the time of day. The world tree look even more beautiful, its rainbow hue creating a small beautiful light show within its vicinity. The school felt very different in the night, dark and silent but the moon making just enough light to make it slightly visible. The sounds of crickets could also be heard in the distance, and the hooting of owls. Walking around a bit I picked a bench to sit on, looking into the stars I imagined stories in my head, where I was having grand adventures like those I've read in books.

Losing track of time, it felt like I was out for way longer then the guards allowed me, in the darkness I could see two silhouettes approaching me, when suddenly it seemed they were sucked into the ground disappearing, I stood up to take a better look at what happened, when multiple flying projectiles narrowly missed me, I froze in a panic as a bright blue object flew towards me levitating a meter away in-front of me.

"If you make a move, it will be your last." I heard a familiar voice in the darkness. A hooded silhouette slowly appeared from the darkness.

In a panic, I quickly tapped the button on the bottom of my badge. "Now why couldn't you just follow as instructed" the voice spoke out, as several vines burst forth from the ground attempting to constricting me, I tried to fight it trying to break free, but the sheer number and strength was overwhelming, constricting me so tightly causing me to fall hard on the ground like a plank of wood. "Shit!" He spoke out as he held a hand to his ear "Ashley where is she?!" He yelled.

Finally recognizing his voice "PAUL?!" I screamed to the dark figure.

"Oh Shit False alarm Ashley." As he lowered his hands and the vines releasing their grip slowly receding back into the ground.

"Emilia?" He spoke out walking towards me.

"Yeah...it's me" I hesitantly replied, I never imagined our first time meeting after so long to play out like this.

"What are you doing outside?! Where are your guards that was meant to be watching over you!" he yelled at me. "There is a curfew for a reason! Especially after an attack!" He yelled with a very serious tone.

"I'm sorry... I didn't know, I just wanted to get some fresh air" I replied as I helped myself up.

"Where are your guards?" He asked.

"I dunno they was over there" as I pointed in the direction where I saw the two silhouettes' get sucked into the ground, "they got sucked into the ground over that direction." I replied dusting myself off rubbing my elbow that was still in pain from the impact.

"OHHH F" Paul reacted,turning to their direction as the 2 silhouettes rose from the ground.

The two silhouettes instantaneously drew their weapons and began firing at Paul. "Stop" I yelled but I was too late, barrages of light came screaming out their weapons directed at Paul. When suddenly a large stone wall rose up in-front shielding him from the oncoming fire. The immense amount of rubble and dust being released from the impacts caused me to back off turning my face and shielding my eyes and mouth with my hands in a panic.

When the sounds of fire eventually stopped and the small bits of rubble settled, I looked to see if Paul was okay. "PAUL?!" I screamed.

"I'm okay" he replied calmly as he walked to the guards.

It was hard to see what happened but it seemed as if they were restrained by vines similar to how I was, completely immobilized and also holding their weaponry out of reach.

The vines began receding into the ground, "stand down, it's Paul the Black Dragon Slayer." Releasing them allowing them to regain movement.

They both immediately dropped on their knee's taking off their helmets "we are so sorry Paul we didn't know!" begging Paul for forgiveness.

Paul quickly helped them up from their knees "Please I should be thanking you two for doing your roles, you both acted valiantly and courageously." He replied to them.

"Thank you Sir" They responded saluting.

"I'll take care of your remaining shift, you two go get some rest" he said, passing their weapons back to them.

"Thank you Sir, so sorry for opening up fire on you!" they apologized one last time before walking away disappearing into the darkness.

"Emilia! You okay?" He spoke out walking towards me.

"Yeah I'm......" I suddenly began feeling woozy, as I felt a warm trickle of liquid down the side of my head, touching the side of my head to see what is was, red liquid stained my fingertips... as I saw myself falling to the ground. With a fading vision of Paul instantaneously appearing in front kneeling down yelling at me but I couldn't hear anything, raising my hand to his face. "Help" I tried to scream.

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