Chapter 1: Chapter One: First Day Jitters
- First Day Jitters
Valkyrie looked herself over in the mirror, ready for her first day of her sophomore year. (Okay, not her real first day, but it was move-in day and freshmen orientation. So… Same thing.)
She had let her hair grow out a bit during the summer. Instead of her purple hair being in a short bob cut, it was now just a tad below her shoulders and pulled back into a ponytail. She kept her style of glasses, always preferring the thicker frames… (And black went with everything.)
Valkyrie wore a navy blue graphic tank top (Witches Do it Better) and a pair of dark denim shorts. Her trusty boots were now exchanged for slightly more comfortable navy blue and black sneakers.
Cheshire rubbed against her legs, his golden eyes seeming to glow. She picked him up and grabbed her bag. “Come on, Ches… It’s time to see what the future holds for us…”
Aside from a paint job and a strong protection spell at the gates of Cloud Tower, not much seemed to have changed from last year. Zarathustra was still the one who greeted and admitted the students, the monsters of Cloud Tower still peeked out through the windows to see who was coming, and the castle was still foreboding.
“Seems not everything is meant to change.” Crystal teased, coming up beside of Valkyrie. She had on her red corset tank-top and her green denim jeans and combat boots. Her crystal necklace still wrapped around her neck.
“I’m just glad this will be a Trix-free year.” Valkyrie gave a laugh. ‘Do not lose your guard.’ Her dragon reminded her. She sighed, petting Cheshire to calm down. “Let’s get our keys back and unpack our room… I’m curious about our freshmen students.”
“Same here.” Crystal grinned, heading up ahead of her to Zarathustra. This time the older witch not only gave them their keys, but their class schedules.
“Remember to make use of your time before classes start on Monday to gather all your supplies.” Zarathustra reminded them. Valkyrie gave a smile.
“Of course. See you at Orientation.” She waved, walking off with Crystal into the castle… Okay… So the inside was a bit different.
Not just from the paint job, but now there were eerie paintings on the wall. Mostly of monsters and the landscapes from the dark realms, a few teacher portraits. And Valkyrie couldn’t help but notice the arachnoid spy monsters in the corners. “Okay… I take it back… Security is much tighter this year.” Crystal shook her head. “Why’d they have to screw it up for everyone else?”
“Because they were power hungry and mad.” Valkyrie told her, heading to the stairs. She waved ever so often when she noticed a familiar face, giving a quick smile…. This was going to be an interesting year…
They’d finished with their unpacking spells, their room mostly resembling the way it was last year… Though with a few added photos…
Valkyrie couldn’t help it, she had a beautiful girlfriend and wasn’t shy to broadcast it. A picture of her and Flora on Rancor with Crystal and Kota was on her desk, right where it belonged.
A similar photo was on Crystal’s wall, though it was from their time at Musa’s concert. “So… Looking at my schedule, it seems we’ll be learning a bit more about Covens…” Crystal said, sitting on her bed, Patches in her lap. Valkyrie groaned, looking at her schedule.
“Dammit…. You’re right. I mean, I’m all for the Monster Taming and Advanced Potions… Hell, I’m excited to learn more Advanced Dark Art Battle Strategies… But Coven stuff? No thanks…” Valkyrie sighed, reaching over to pet Cheshire who had taken to napping on her desk.
“Well… in the curriculum’s defense… Most witches do form bonds with each other and seldom do any covens become like the Ancestral Coven… So….” Crystal shrugged. “I guess it’s just to learn what we’d have to do if we decided to form one…”
Valkyrie looked away, feeling that tightness in her body. “I don’t think he will ever let me make a coven… Not after what happened to him…” Crystal stood, walking over to Valkyrie and sitting on her bed, taking the smaller witch’s hands.
“Well he’s going to have to get over himself enough to let you pass your sophomore year. Because I’ll be damned if I have to go through Cloud Tower without you.” Crystal smiled. “And that’s a promise.”
Valkyrie laughed, leaning into her friend. “You’re the best.”
“Damn right.” A knock at their door caught their attention. “Mirta’s at Alfea this year… Isn’t she?” Crystal asked.
“Yeah… So… Who…?” Valkyrie waved her hand, the door opening. Lucy was in the door way, looking at the ground.
“Hey… I just… Wanted to say hello… and ask how summer was for you guys…” Lucy started, shyly kicking at the ground. Valkyrie smiled.
“We had a decent summer, what about you? Come in and you can tell us.” Valkyrie offered. Lucy gave a slight smile, walking into the room and shutting the door behind her.
“It was… A bit of weird summer… I had to come to terms with a lot of things but… I think I’ve got it all sorted out now.” Lucy admitted.
“Nightmare troubles? Because we’re used to that. I think we’ve all been having them…” Crystal admitted. Lucy shrugged.
“A little… But it was also… Realizing that Mirta wasn’t coming to Cloud Tower this year… I get her wanting to try and be a fairy and everything… But… I kinda feel left… You know?” Lucy sat in Valkyrie’s desk chair.
Valkyrie leaned over, placing a hand on Lucy’s shoulder. “She would never leave you, Lucy. She’s just studying different things. There’s always the weekend to hang out.” Valkyrie gestured to the photo of her and Flora. “I mean, Flora and I do pretty well.”
“And you can hang with us… I mean, I know we’re probably not the favorite witches at Cloud Tower, but we’re decent.” Crystal grinned. Lucy shook her head, laughing.
“Not the favorites? You guys have become legends here. Haven’t you been reading the CT chat rooms and forums? The freshmen are excited to meet you guys. And half the school wants to form covens with you.” Lucy gushed a bit. Valkyrie shook her head.
“Still on the fence about coven things… And… It’s nice they want to meet us… but… We’re just witches. Normal witches.” Valkyrie explained.
“Who just happened to take a stand to the Trix Coven. Nothing more, nothing less.” Crystal stated. Lucy laughed.
“Try telling that to your new fans.” Lucy smiled. “But if you guys are sure about the hanging out thing…”
“Just don’t start shit with my fairies.” Valkyrie told her.
“Or try to sell us out to any Icy, Darcy, or Stormy wannabes.” Crystal added. Lucy placed her hands up.
“No. I’ve learned my lesson. One time around was bad enough.” Lucy pledged. Valkyrie smiled.
“Come… It’s almost time for freshmen orientation and the opening speech. I don’t want to miss anything.” Valkyrie stood.
Crystal stretched, getting on her feet. “Yeah… And it’s a long way down to the field… Why couldn’t we have elevators or escalators…?”
Lucy shook her head, standing up. “Budget cuts?”
They took their seats higher up on the bleachers this time, not having to sit at the foot with the freshmen anymore. Sophomore seats.
The freshmen were all eagerly chattering away, nervous energy radiating from them. Ms. Griffin stood, walking over to the center of the field, mic in hand. “Welcome back to another grand year at Cloud Tower!” She cheered. The other witches cheered and clapped, excited. Thrilled to be standing.
After they settled down, Ms. Griffin continued. “I know that you returning students may have noticed a few changes to our set-up here at Cloud Tower. We needed a bit of a face-lift for the castle… and we have raised arachnoid spy monsters to monitor each area of Cloud Tower. After the foolishness that took place last year, we can’t afford to deal with something that horrific again.”
“This year, we will also be participating in more… Recreational activities with the other schools of Magix. I know traditionally we kept our distance from Red Fountain and Alfea, but after the events of last year, we felt it would be best to try and work on the bonds between us all. The magical dimensions rest on a balance of power, and if we can try to keep the balance where it needs to be, then we should strive for it.”
Ms. Griffin gave a smirk. “That doesn’t mean you can’t still pull pranks or create mischief for the fairies of Alfea or the specialists of Red Fountain, it just means we won’t be ruining entire events… After all, everyone needs a little chaos in their lives. Just remember that all pranks must be something that can wear off within the week and nonlethal. We don’t want to have to expel anyone this year.”
“That being said, we will be attending the Welcoming Party at Alfea on Saturday. For this one event, try to be on your best behavior as they unveil their new east wing. Last year was difficult for us all and they deserve that bit of respect. Do I make myself clear?” Griffin asked.
The students chorused together how they understood her and would be on their best behavior. “Good. Now one more piece of news before we move into orientation… Professor Bittersmoke has retired after teaching here for 60 years. He will be greatly missed. Professor Zarathustra will be combining her potionology classes with his herbology classes, so if you see herbology, just report to Zarathustra’s classroom.” Ms. Griffin looked around. “Now… I ask this every year, and every year I’m disappointed… Who wishes to volunteer to go first for orientation?”
None of the freshmen moved. Griffin was about to give up, when one freshman witch stood up. “I volunteer.” She spoke, standing up. Everyone craned a bit to see the brave, new freshman.
Valkyrie paused, noticing how familiar the witch looked to a certain fairy. She had long red-orange hair pulled back into a ponytail, her bangs still hanging a bit in her face. Expressive brown eyes and pouty purple lips.
The witch wore a light blue tank-top with a skull on front, ripped jeans, laced up boots, and dark grey leather jacket. Griffin gave a smirk to her challenger. “Who are you and from what realm?”
“Delores Pendragon from Tides, the neighboring realm to Andros.” She gave a slight bow. “May I?”
Griffin waved her hand as Delores took her place on the field. The shapeshifter was released and the dome came up.
“Wonder how this going to go…?” Crystal whispered to Valkyrie.
“I don’t know… But there’s something about her… I just… Can’t put my finger on it…” Valkyrie muttered. The girl looked so similar to Bloom, and that couldn’t have been a coincidence…
And she was so confident… Like she was playing a bit of a game… Valkyrie watched as the other witch walked over to the shapeshifter and placed her hand on it, stepping away.
The creature changed and shifted until it settled on a form. A large red and tanned dragon with extended wings and clawed feet. Delores seemed to grin as the creature charged at her, and laughed when it managed to slam her into a barrier.
“Do you really think that’s going to stop me? They don’t call me a dragon tamer for nothing.” Delores taunted, getting to her feet. She waved her arms and cast her spell. Water came up from the ground, turning into ice shackles around the dragon’s ankles.
She smirked and moved her wrists, watching with glee as the shackles began to rip the dragon apart, forcing the shapeshifter back into its original globby state. Delores turned to face the ground, giving a bit of a bow. The students cheered, clapping loudly for Delores.
Griffin brought down the barrier, clapping herself. “Brava Delores… I feel you’ll do wonderfully in our honor’s program.”
The witch gave another bow. “Thank you, Headmistress…” She went to her seat, beaming.
“She could be competition for you.” Lucy whispered to Valkyrie. The purple-haired witch shrugged.
“I’m not trying to compete with anyone, Lucy… I just want to graduate Cloud Tower and maybe start some sort of writing career…” Valkyrie whispered back.
“Writing?” Lucy whispered, confused. Crystal gave a light chuckle.
“Val’s always been good with words… The Daily Witch would hire her in a heartbeat if she wasn’t still a high school student.” Crystal explained. Valkyrie flushed, proud.
“I hope that’s true…”
Valkyrie waited at her table at the White Horse, keeping a diligent watch on the time. “Missing someone?” A voice called. Valkyrie turned, giving a slight smile when she saw Delores.
“Something like that… But I’m not worried…” She extended a hand to Delores. “Impressive work today at Orientation by the way…”
Delores shook her hand and Valkyrie could feel something… Uneasy about her. “Thanks. I was hoping to be impressive… Though the word around CT is… No one is as impressive as you when it comes to magic… Even heard you have an army up your sleeve.” She gave a smile, one that had it come from Bloom, would have been warm.
But on Delores… It was unsettling… “They like to exaggerate.” Valkyrie shook her head, waving her hand. “I’m just very determined.”
“So am I.” Delores purred. “Which is why I thought it fair to warn you, that I usually get what I want.” Valkyrie tensed up.
“And that means what exactly?” Valkyrie asked, her being going into high alert.
“You’ll see soon enough….” Delores winked. “Enjoy your date.” She sashayed off, making a point of smirking toward Valkyrie.
“Who was that?” A familiar voice asked. A familiar touch on her hand. All of her tension seemed to disappear and she melted, taking hold of the hand in hers.
“That was just some freshmen witch… Delores…” Valkyrie gave a smile to Flora, squeezing her hand. “But she’s not important right now… How did unpacking go? Was it great seeing everyone?”
Flora grinned. “It was wonderful. Our room is still in the same place and… It’s a little weird being around the freshmen because they’ve all heard about what happened last year and are… Hero worshipping a bit…? It’s unsettling for most of us, but Stella is thriving.”
Valkyrie laughed. “Of course she is.” She looked at the empty seat. “And where’s Morgan? At Red Fountain?” Valkyrie teased.
“Actually she’s showing Mirta around. She and I have taken it upon ourselves to make sure Mirta’s experience at Alfea is a good one.” Flora grinned. Valkyrie smiled.
“That’s wonderful of you two… Just remind Mirta that she’s welcome to come to Cloud Tower for visits. I know Lucy misses her.” Flora gave a nod.
“Will do… Now how about we order dinner and try to get over our first day jitters?” Flora suggested. Valkyrie grinned.
“I like the way you think.”
Chapter 2: Chapter Two: Dance Prep
- Dance Prep
“Are you sure about this?” Valkyrie groaned as she was dragged over the Mall of Magix. Crystal laughed.
“Hello, we’re going to a dance tomorrow. We need to look our best.” Crystal teased. Lucy, Mirta, and Rubis chuckled.
“Yeah… I mean, it’s the second time in history we’ve been invited to an Alfea dance.” Lucy reminded Valkyrie.
“And it’s always best to put your best foot forward.” Mirta agreed, leaning a bit against Lucy. “I mean… It’s going to be a blast having you guys there and it’s going to start a whole new era of witch and fairy team-ups.”
Rubis shrugged. “I’m just excited that we’ll get to see more of the boys this year… I actually got close to this one specialist during the sieges… And I’d like to see where that goes.” Rubis flushed a bit.
Valkyrie placed a hand over her heart. “Oh how cute. My heart beats for you Rubis.” She teased. She then turned to Lucy and Mirta. “And what about you two? Any special guys or gals?”
“Uh… Not at the moment.” Mirta shook her head, waving her hands. “I’m just trying to learn Alfea’s campus right now.”
Lucy bit her lip, flushing a bit. “I’m not exactly looking either…” Valkyrie couldn’t help but smirk when she noticed how Lucy and Mirta gave glances to each other.
“If you say so.” She turned to Rubis. “Which of the guys anyway? I mean, we roped you into coming dress shopping with us, maybe we can help you out with him in return?” Valkyrie asked.
Rubis grinned. “I think that’s a fair enough trade… It’s Bishop… From the outer regions of Callisto… He’s not a wizard, but he’s incredible with his curved daggers. We fought together and… He made me feel powerful.” Rubis flushed a bit, twirling a strand of her dark pink hair.
Crystal smiled. “Come on… We are going to find the perfect dress for you… Unless you’d rather suit up like Valkyrie over there.” Crystal teased.
Valkyrie rolled her eyes. “I’m not going all out… Okay? Tomorrow is only semi-formal attire. I think dress pants and a nice shirt should suffice.”
Mirta and Lucy both shook their heads. “Oh no… You’re not doing Flora like that. She absolutely loved the little suit you had last year.” Mirta told her.
“Yeah. Which is why you’re going to at least wear a button up shirt and a tie. Trust me on this.” Lucy explained. Crystal and Rubis laughed as Valkyrie groaned.
“I hate clothes shopping…”
Valkyrie silently praised the Dragons after her friends made their last purchases. Rubis had settled on a lovely green halter top dress with metallic colored fringe at the bottom.
Mirta found a purple and black midriff shirt and a lovely jean to go with it. Lucy had become fond of an abstract black and white dress.
Crystal got herself a lovely sapphire colored dress that went to her knees and had a flare out toward the back. Valkyrie had become convinced to get a short-sleeved, black button-up shirt and a red tie. “Are you sure you didn’t need the dress pants too?” Rubis asked.
“I have plenty of those. Trust me.” Valkyrie chuckled. “Now, I don’t know about you ladies, but I’m starving.”
“I heard Jamie’s Pizza was able to open back up… You game?” Lucy grinned. Rubis gave a bit of a squeal.
“I loved that pizza… I hated not getting to have a slice over the summer.”
“Same, it’s the best.” Mirta agreed. “I bet we can beat the lunch rush if we hurry.” Crystal grabbed her bags.
“What are we waiting for?”
The witches, and the newly winged fairy, claimed at table near the edge of the restaurant. All had their orders before them.
They discussed the party and their respective plans for the dance while they ate, and talked about their hopes for the year. Valkyrie froze after a moment, feeling that uneasy feeling again.
She looked up and saw Delores with another freshman witch… ‘What was her name…? Cyan…?’ Valkyrie tried to remember, observing the witches as they walked by the restaurant.
“Val… Magix to Val…” Crystal waved her hand in front of Valkyrie’s face. Valkyrie shook her head, taking a quick drink from her soda. “You okay? You seriously spaced out there for a moment.”
“Sorry… I just…”
“Don’t tell me your nightmares are starting back up…? Because that never means anything good.” Mirta half-whimpered. Rubis swallowed.
“Was it a vision?” The Zenith witch asked, tugging at strands of her hair. “I know future sight runs in your family…”
Valkyrie shook her head, giving a weak laugh. “No… I just…” She paused. “Am I the only one who gets a weird feeling from that freshman, Delores? Or do you guys feel it too?” Valkyrie asked.
Lucy frowned. “She seemed okay to me… I mean… the whole ‘dragon tamer’ thing seemed a bit much… But I’m pretty sure it was smack talk against that beast…”
“Do you think something’s off with her?” Crystal asked, and Valkyrie knew by the tone that she meant her dragon. ‘I certainly do… There’s a familiarity to her…’
“Yeah… I do. There’s… Something familiar about her…” Valkyrie admitted.
“She does look an awful lot like Bloom… Except for the eyes… And the way she carries herself…” Mirta said. Valkyrie shook her head.
“No… I mean… A different kind of familiar…” Valkyrie pushed her glasses back up. “But it’s a mystery that doesn’t have to be solved right away… I mean… She’s not a threat… Right?”
“You’re the one who can suss that out… You’re the one with the sixth sense for that shit…” Lucy reminded her. Valkyrie groaned.
“Okay… In that case, I’m going to will her to not be a threat. I just want a normal sophomore year where the main drama is who spelled who and who asked who out.” Valkyrie raised her hands a bit, almost like she was praying. “Please Dragons let that be my only drama this year.”
Crystal sighed. “Yep… We’re going to end up fucked…” She shook her head. “Something’s going to happen and we’re all going to be fighting for our lives again.”
“I hope my wings come in soon, then… I’d be better in a fight.” Mirta claimed. Rubis hummed.
“You know… I could do a realm-wide search to find out who Delores is… That might make it easier to determine if she’s a threat or not…. I mean… If she is a threat, we could squash her plans now so it won’t be as bad later.” Rubis offered. Valkyrie gave a bit of a smile.
“You’d do that?”
“Of course… Hell, if I had known the trouble Icy, Darcy, and Stormy were, I’d have researched into them too… But I figured they were just… Pains… Not… Psychos…” Rubis half-apologized. “Just give me a day or two and I’ll give you the results.”
“I owe you.” Valkyrie extended her hand to Rubis, squeezing it. “I majorly owe you.” Rubis shook her head.
“No way… If she’s going to be threat, that would affect us all… Really I’m just doing this out of self-preservation. The only reason you’d get the information is because you’re one of the strongest witches at Cloud Tower.” Rubis admitted.
Lucy chuckled. “At least you have faith in her.”
“After last year, we all have faith in Val.” Mirta grinned, giving Valkyrie a thumbs up. “She gave those witches a major beating, even before they were trying to control everything.”
Valkyrie flushed. “I wish you guys would lighten up on all of that… I don’t even really remember half of what happened during the fights… I sort of let him take control…”
Crystal laughed, holding up her soda glass. “Doesn’t matter. You’re still a hero to us. I mean… You stood up to seniors and didn’t even use your full power. You made every witch at Cloud Tower feel safe enough to be true to themselves.” She gestured to Mirta at that comment. “And you took control over the Army of Darkness. You may hate the phrase, Val, but you’re a hero to us wiches.”
Lucy, Mirta, and Rubis extended their soda glasses too. “Here, here.” Valkyrie gave a slight smile, still flushing red as she clinked her glass to theirs.
Chapter 3: Chapter Three: New Year Blues
- New Year Blues
Alfea looked so much better than it had last year. A new paint job always did wonders… And of course there was the tarp over the new east wing, waiting for the unveiling. “There you are!” She heard a cheery voice. Valkyrie grinned, turning to face Flora.
She was beautiful in her yellow and blue flowered outfit, hair nice and loose. Valkyrie hugged her close, kissing her cheek. “So how are the girls?” Valkyrie asked.
“They’re good and hanging out with their boyfriends…” Flora chuckled. “Come on, let’s get you to the others.” She grabbed Valkyrie’s hand, leading her to where the other Winx girls were.
Stella had a new headband and was wearing a lavender dress/leggings combo. Musa had a pinkish red crop top and new jeans. Bloom was wearing a blue and white striped shirt with a ruffle skirt. And Tecna was wearing a purple and green suit. “See boys, even Valkyrie’s changed her look up a bit… From Goth Chic to Punk Chic.”
Valkyrie rolled her eyes, chuckling. “If you say so, Princess.” She grinned, waving over a familiar couple. “Guys, I want you meet someone.”
The group stood at attention as Morgan walked over with a new specialist. She had her blonde-brown hair braided back and wore a yellow sundress, and the boy had long black hair pulled back into a ponytail, wearing a green tunic top and white khakis.
“Everyone, this is Helia Scofield, Professor Saladin’s nephew and a childhood friend of mine and Val’s.” Morgan introduced. Helia gave a slight wave, unsure of the attention.
“We met over the summer.” Sky explained, going over and shaking hands with Helia. “You’re awesome with your laser gloves.” Helia gave a slight smile.
“I’m… Decent. But I’m not awesome by any means.” Helia explained. Riven smirked.
“I’m just glad you’re not going to be competition for me. It’s bad enough Sky and Brandon think they have a shot.” Riven teased.
Timmy pushed his glasses up, looking over his data. “Actually… If we’re going by statistics… Sky is ahead…”
Brandon laughed, clapping Timmy on the back. “I wouldn’t worry about any of those things, Timmy… Wait until graduation before we start looking at stats.”
Riven rolled his eyes and Musa stepped in, trying to defuse the situation. “So Helia, what brings you to RF? Weren’t you like an art student or something?”
“I was… But after last year, I realize I’m needed more as a specialist than an artist… But I’ve only signed onto piloting and restraining classes… I’m not one who wants to actively fight…” Helia rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m actually a pacifist… Most of our childhood, I tried to keep Valkyrie and Kota from knocking heads.”
Valkyrie gave a slight laugh. “Yeah… But Kota and I have mellowed out.” Morgan snorted.
“Oh please… The only reason you two aren’t fighting right now is because he and Crystal aren’t within range.” Morgan teased.
The Winx and the specialists laughed a bit, and Flora pulled Valkyrie close. “You two are just passionate… I know.” Helia smiled.
“I take it you’re the new girlfriend Valkyrie’s been so proud of?” Helia asked. Valkyrie flushed a bit and Flora smiled.
“I’m Flora La Rosa…” She greeted.
“Stella, Princess Stella Sol of Solaria.” Stella stepped in front of Flora, shaking Helia’s hand a bit vigorously.
Musa chuckled, waving her hand a bit. “I’m Musa Kai from Melody. And you’ll have to learn to ignore Stella, she gets a bit… Excited.” She teased. Stella huffed, turning around dramatically and leaning into Brandon.
“I just have a lot of feelings and no shame in showing them.” She argued.
Bloom stepped aside from the chaos, giving Helia a shy wave. “Bloom Peters from Earth… Sort of… It’s complicated.” Bloom laughed. Helia chuckled.
“I’ve heard about you from Valkyrie and my uncle. Is it true you and Valkyrie are counterparts?” Helia asked. Bloom gave a smile and shrugged.
Tecna carefully shook Helia’s hand. “Tecna Mode, at your service…” She looked at the brush peeking out of Helia’s bag. “You know, paint brushes are a bit archaic… You could use a digital tablet and make paintings much faster.”
“But you can’t feel the brush strokes or make the figures come to life… Newer isn’t always better.” Helia smiled. “Though there are times when tablet drawing comes in handy.”
“He actually helped design the new Red Fountain.” Morgan grinned. “Which we’ll get to see at their expo in a few weeks.”
“Yeah… Once we all figure out the layout a bit better.” Sky laughed. “It’s a bit different from the first campus.”
“But it’s roomier. And has better hangar bays.” Timmy pointed out.
“The creatures have better stables too.” Brandon smiled. “I never thought I’d finally meet a happy gryphon.” Valkyrie snickered.
“They are finicky creatures…” Valkyrie admitted, half teasing.
Soon a light began to flash and everyone began to move to their seats, ready for Ms. Faragonda to give her opening speech…
Flora and Valkyrie swayed in time with Musa’s beats, standing apart from the crowd. “So a Dragon Fire Wing…? Bloom’s got to be excited about that.” Valkyrie teased a bit. Flora sighed, leaning her head so their foreheads touched.
“I’m sure she is… But remember, Bloom isn’t the only one here with those abilities…” Flora reminded her. Valkyrie was about to retort when she felt a hand on her shoulder. That uneasy feeling settled in and she pulled away quick from Flora.
“What the-?” Flora began, looking to where Valkyrie was staring. Delores gave a little wave, a slight smirk on her lips.
She was wearing her leather jacket over a green dress she had and near sky-high stiletto heels. “Mind if I cut in? I just love this song… And you seem to be the best dancer here.” Delores purred, taking Flora’s hand.
Valkyrie felt her anger rise and had to hold herself in check. She looked to Flora, wanting the fairy to do whatever she wanted. Flora pulled away, moving so she was behind Valkyrie, her hands on Valkyrie’s shoulders.
It was soothing, having those dainty hands holding her shoulders. Holding her close. “I’m sorry, but the only ladies I dance with aside from my girlfriend are my best friends and my sister… I’m sure there are other lovely fairies or witches you could dance with instead.” Flora turned her down sweetly, though her hands tight on Valkyrie’s shoulder belied her tone.
Delores gave a little bow. “My bad… I didn’t realize things were so… Serious here…. Let me know when you’re tired of dealing with the possessed.” The witch purred, moving along. Valkyrie fought back the urge to burn the younger witch, held back purely by Flora.
“Is she always like that?” Flora asked, turning Valkyrie around to face her. Valkyrie let her hands go and hold Flora’s waist, pulling the fairy close, laying her head on the fairy’s chest as they began to sway again.
“I don’t know. But if she makes that a habit… I’ll show her possessed.” Valkyrie half-growled. Flora chuckled a bit, moving her hands from Valkyrie’s shoulders to cup her face.
“Valkyrie, there’s no need to be jealous or worried… I’m not going anywhere… Let alone with some clone of Bloom.” Flora assured her, kissing her softly. Valkyrie leaned into her, her grip tightening.
“I’m not jealous… I’m the keeper of the Dark Dragon Fire… I have no reason to be jealous… I just thought she was rude for interrupting.” Valkyrie tried to cover, her face flushing. Flora shook her head, fighting a smile.
“If you say so, Honey. If you say so…”
Valkyrie meditated on her bed, trying to focus her rage away… Rage was the key to her power, but it was also the key to her losing any control over it that she had… So she had to find a balance…
And after tonight, that balance was greatly needed. Even Cheshire’s calming purrs were having no effect on her mood.
The dorm door opened, and Valkyrie heard a low whistle from Crystal. “Meditating already? The school year hasn’t even started and you’re already feeling pissy?” Crystal teased.
Valkyrie growled a bit, an honest Draconian growl. She could feel the flames on her skin, licking at her fingertips. She shook her head, taking another deep breath to calm down. “Yeah… I’m ‘pissy’ as you put it…” Valkyrie groaned, reaching for her water bottle. Ice cold water typically helped soothe her heated body… Typically.
“Wanna talk about it?” Crystal asked, plopping down on her bed, facing Valkyrie. The purple haired witch sighed, stretching a bit.
“Delores. I don’t know why she keeps trying to insert herself into places I’m at… But she does… and tonight… She tried to cut in on a dance I had with Flora and then preceded to flirt with her in front of me. And she called me possessed. Possessed!” Valkyrie growled.
Crystal gave a little laugh. “Sounds like you were jealous for a hot minute. Flora turned her down though, right?”
“Yeah… But then there was the whole ‘possessed’ comment.”
“You sort of are though… I mean… You do have a dead dragon’s spirit merged with yours.” Crystal reminded her friend, her hands waving a bit. “Or was she meaning it more… Negatively…?”
“The way she said it was definitely negative…” Valkyrie set her glasses on her desk and laid on the bed. “I just hope she doesn’t try to start shit after tonight… The only reason she’s still standing is because of Flora…”
Crystal hummed, petting Patches. “Well… Let’s just see what Rubis’ search turns up… Then we’ll see if Delores is a threat to us, or just a Trix coven wannabe.” Valkyrie swallowed, deciding to change the subject.
“How did Rubis’ night go? Did her and Bishop have a good dance?” Valkyrie asked.
“There were adorable.” Crystal cackled. “And so were Mirta and Lucy… Though I don’t think they’ve noticed the other has eyes on them yet… Makes me wish I could just shake them.”
“I know that feeling.” Valkyrie teased. “I was like that all night watching Helia and Morgan.”
“Kota’s still pissed that you’re more likely to win that bet by the way…” Crystal reminded her. Valkyrie snickered.
“If they don’t start dating by tomorrow… I win regardless.” Valkyrie laughed. Crystal shook her head.
“And then you two wonder why I never leave you alone together. You’re both chaotics. Simple as that.” Crystal snarked. Valkyrie grinned, rolling over to pet Cheshire.
“Yet you still hang around us.”
“At this point, I’m invested.”
Chapter 4: Chapter Four: Never A Dull Moment
- Never A Dull Moment
Valkyrie did her best to listen to Professor Tanae as the older witch discussed the basics of monster taming. “The most important rule in dealing with any creature, light or dark, is make it known you’re not afraid. Fear will get you killed.”
“You must stand up to the beasts, assert yourself as the dominant power. Then you gain their trust, show them they’re better off with you.” Tanae rambled. “Once you’ve got the beast under your control, the bond will not break unless you allow it.” A bell rang. “Next class we’ll be taking a field trip into Gloomy Wood Forest. We’re going to see how you ladies handle cravens.”
Valkyrie hummed a bit, writing down a quick note before gathering her things. Crystal walked over, books in her arms. “Enjoying beast taming?” Crystal asked, half-teasing. Valkyrie smiled.
“I think I’m going to. Though I’m dreading our next class…”
“The Coven Forming class…? Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to bind yourself to anyone. Just do the group work and keep yourself from using blood magic.” Crystal shrugged. “Simple.”
“Easier said than done…”
Ms. Griffin taught the class on Coven Forming. It was a simple introduction into the inner workings of covens and how and why they form. (The biggest portions were about team building, but no one had to swear any oaths or bind themselves…)
“Now, I know what most people think when they hear the word, COVEN. They think of the Ancestral Coven and their quest for power and madness. But that’s not what a coven really is… No, that’s just a perversion and cultified version.” Griffin all but growled out.
Liss raised her hand. “Ms. Griffin, weren’t you once a member of the Ancestral Coven?” The blue-spiked haired witch asked. Griffin paused.
“I was. But I was also young, foolish, and joined purely because I felt I had no other choice. But I got out and I helped bring them down.” Griffin spoke, loud and clear. Proud. “I found witches I could truly trust and I formed a coven of my own.”
“You see, ladies, a coven is a group bound in blood and magic. I’ll cover the reasons for blood binding later in the semester, but you must be careful when binding yourself. You have to be able to trust who you are binding yourself too and that your goals are on similar wavelengths.”
“A blood bond is hard to break unless you use a runic spell and a time spell or charm together. Picking someone for your coven is important, they need to be someone you feel you can trust with your life.” Griffin looked around the room.
“I know there are tensions at Cloud Tower right now, divisions between those of you who were raised traditionally and those of you who were raised more… Modernly. Especially where the treatment of fairies are concerned… But during this semester, my goal is to try and help you find your ‘sisters’, those you know you could bond with… Any questions so far?” She asked.
“What if you don’t wish to form a coven…?” Valkyrie asked, not even meaning to ask outloud. Griffin tilted her head.
“You don’t want to have a coven?” Griffin asked.
Valkyrie wanted to shrink away. But she’d already opened her mouth… “I’m on the fence about covens. I’m wary of the thought of having one or being part of one.” Valkyrie admitted. ‘We have each other. We have friends. We don’t need a blood bond.’ Her dragon huffed.
Griffin gave a nod, leaning against her desk. “That’s your prerogative. There are some witches who actually do better when they are solo than they are when in a group. But there is a reason the term ‘power in numbers’ exists.” Griffin reminded.
“Can someone be forced into a coven?” Tabitha asked, dark blue eyes turning a bit to Valkyrie. The class laughed a bit, realizing what was really being asked. “Just curious.”
‘If she tries something.’ Her dragon growled in her head. Valkyrie glared toward Tabitha. “That’s not even funny. And if you even try-” Valkyrie began her threat.
“Enough!” Griffin created a plasma wall between the two witches. “A coven bond must be voluntary. Forced blood magic seldom works. It has to do with the heart and feelings… Though that’s more in depth than we will go for you sophomores.” She looked to Tabitha. “And for the record, there are laws that prevent forced coven bonds. Do not make me think you’re going down that hole too… I’ve already sent three dropouts to Light Rock Lake, I’m not afraid to send more.”
Tabitha swallowed. “Of course, Headmistress… It was just a question…” Lucy scoffed.
“Yeah… A dumb one.” Lucy told her. Griffin faked a cough.
“Let’s just continue with our introduction… Shall we?”
“So her name is Layla, huh? Sounds like you’ve made a new friend.” Valkyrie grinned, leaning against one of the willows in the courtyard. She was on the phone with Flora, learning about the mysterious new fairy and her sleeping baby pixie.
“Maybe… But she has friends in trouble… Her pixie friends are trapped in ShadowHaunt.” Flora spoke, a worried tone in her voice. Valkyrie paused, memories that weren’t hers flashing through her mind.
A castle under the cliffs. A bat-looking screech creature. A being that could shift into a dark phoenix. Someone who was once a friend, become foe.
“Valkyrie… Are you there?” Flora’s voice asked, laced in worry.
“Yeah… I’m here… I’m just… I spaced out for a second… That place you mentioned… ShadowHaunt… I think it means something to… My dragon…” Valkyrie admitted. Flora let out a soft swear, something that she seldom did.
“That’s not good. Is it?” Flora asked. Valkyrie swallowed.
“That depends… What does… What does the… What did you call him… The Shadow Phoenix? What would he want with the pixies?” Valkyrie asked.
“I don’t know… But I have a feeling we’re going to find out… We’re going to be pitching our rescue plan to Ms. Faragonda tomorrow. Interested in coming along?” Flora asked.
‘No. We’re not strong enough to face him yet.’ Her dragon muttered. Valkyrie frowned.
‘You’re being chattier than normal.’ She thought to him. “I may have to sit this one out… I’m trying to wrap my mind around a coven forming class.” Valkyrie admitted.
“Good luck with that… I know how hesitant you are about Covens.” Flora sighed. Valkyrie shook her head.
“It’s not me… It’s him…” She paused. “I could try and get information on ShadowHaunt and the Phoenix for you…. I have a feeling that if I… Know about him… Then my mother probably does too.” Valkyrie offered.
“That’s be lovely. Just email or text me whatever she says.” Flora paused. “I’m going to have to go Sweetie, we’re going to show Layla around Alfea…” Valkyrie gave a smile.
“I’ll talk to you soon, Flora… Goodbye.” She hung up, letting herself slip down to the ground by the willow. “Okay Dragon… Why are we so upset about ShadowHaunt and a Shadow Phoenix?” Valkyrie asked.
‘You’ll discover it… Speak to Griffin.’ Her dragon hummed. Valkyrie frowned. “You’re absolutely no help. You never just actively tell me anything useful. It’s always in the heat of the moment or while giving me nightmares.” She half-hissed.
A voice laughed and Valkyrie looked up, inwardly groaning as Delores walked over. “You really are possessed… Talking to yourself is a sure sign of demons haunting you.” Delores smirked. Valkyrie glared.
“Did I miss something? Because I don’t remember asking you for your opinion.” Valkyrie fired. Delores shook her head.
“Just don’t become… Mad. I’d hate to have to bring down such a powerful dragon.” Delores smirked, walking off.
‘Burn her. Burn her to ashes.’ He growled. Valkyrie held her palm open, letting a small flame form before she put it out.
‘No… I’m better than that. I’m better than her.’ Valkyrie stood, heading back inside of Cloud Tower. She had a mission already in progress and Flora was counting on her.
She entered her mother’s office, using a soundproofing spell on the room. Griffin frowned. “I thought we’d be done with these little chats after last year… Everyone knows you’re mine… And everyone knows about your powers…” Valkyrie sat down.
“I’m not here to talk about me, though…” She paused. “Flora and her friends found an exhausted fairy and the fairy’s pixie friend outside of Alfea the other day… She’s Princess Layla Poole of Andros.” Valkyrie started.
“And what does this have to do with your visit here?” Griffin asked.
“Layla claims that her other pixie friends are still imprisoned in the Underrealms within the Kingdom of ShadowHaunt.” Valkyrie explained. Griffin’s eyes widened and Valkyrie could feel her shock and fear radiating. “They’re being held captive by something called the Shadow Phoenix… Apparently, he’d been banished from the Overworlds and has just regained enough power to start popping back up.”
“What I want to know is why my dragon is upset with this Phoenix and why I know about ShadowHaunt. I asked the dragon, but he’s being contrary right now.” Valkyrie looked at her mother. “Tell me.”
Griffin took a deep breath, seeming to prepare herself. “The Shadow Phoenix is known as Lord Darkar… And he and… He and your father were close friends. And I was close friends with Darkar, once upon a time.” She bit her lip and tapped her fingers on her desk. Nerves.
“But you see, your father wasn’t the only Dark Dragon Fire keeper who… Who knew Darkar. Lord Darkar was given his title and his power by the first keeper, and he was supposed to have acted as an advisor…” Griffin paused, letting it sink in for Valkyrie.
“After the Ancestral Witches usurped power over Obsidian and began to train your father, Darkar swore his allegiance to them and became bound in blood to Tharma… During the War, we banished him at Linphea… I thought it would be for good… But…”
“But now he’s free again…” Valkyrie paused. “And my dragon feels betrayed by Darkar too… That someone he once trusted turned to the Ancestral Witches…” She placed her head in her hands, pushing her hair back. “How are we going to stop him? What’s his plan?”
Griffin paused. “I don’t know. I don’t know what he could want with a bunch of pixies… Unless it’s revenge, but there were few pixies who helped the Company of Light… Except for the four heads… Athena who is attached to Red Fountain, Discorda who is attached to us at Cloud Tower, Concorda who is attached to Alfea, and the Queen of the Pixies, Ninfea.”
“I don’t know… I feel like there has to be something more…” Valkyrie rubbed the back of her neck. “Is there anything you remember about ShadowHaunt that could be useful…?” Griffin gave her daughter a stern look.
“If you think you’re going to gallivant down to the Underrealms and challenge Lord Darkar right now, as you are, you are mistaken.” Griffin chided. Valkyrie chuckled.
“No. No. I’m not going to charge into ShadowHaunt… Yet… I’m actually asking for Flora… Her and her Winx Club friends are planning a pixie rescue mission. And I said I’d get information…” Valkyrie admitted. Griffin sighed.
“I’ll be surprised if Faragonda lets them anywhere near ShadowHaunt… That place, while empowering for witches and dark magic users, will drain the power of anyone with light magic. And fast. Though I do recall enchantix fairies being able to maneuver the terrain alright…” Griffin tapped her cheek. “The only advice I can really give them is to be aware of Kerborg.”
“Kerborg?” Valkyrie asked.
“Darkar’s favorite pet… His true form is a bat-like creature, but he can shapeshift into most any monster. He’s extremely dangerous and even venomous.” Griffin warned. Valkyrie felt a flash of memory at the name of Kerborg.
“I’ll warn them.” She stood up, turning to face her mother. “Thank you, for being honest with me about Darkar…” Griffin gave a nod.
“You’d have found out one way or another… I figure this way is safer.” Griffin admitted, giving a smile. “Just try not get into too much trouble this year.”
“No promises.” Valkyrie chuckled, making her way out the door. She grabbed her phone, quickly sending a text to Flora about what she’d discovered as she headed back to her room.
“Well isn’t that just great…? First you get attacked by the psycho cousins from Hell, and now your dad’s best friend is causing trouble?” Crystal swore, draping herself over the bed, Patches laying on her stomach. “Like can we not catch a break?”
Valkyrie threw one of her pillows at Crystal. “What’s this ‘we’ business? I’m the one who’s getting memory flashes and random bouts of anger.”
Crystal huffed, tossing the pillow back and hitting Valkyrie in the face. The purple haired witch let herself fall back on her bed, defeated. “I’m just saying, I tend to get dragged into your shit… It’s in my job description as your best friend.” The brunette witch rose up, pulling her legs to her chest.
“Do you really think he’s going to start trouble…? Or do you think he’s just messing with the pixies and then go quiet for another hundred years?” Crystal asked. Valkyrie sighed, sitting up.
“I have a feeling he’s going to be trouble for us all… I mean… He and my dad were friends…” She groaned. “Why is it she can tell me about his friends and the Coven, but she won’t tell me about him?!” Valkyrie growled.
Crystal sighed. “Because it hurts…? Think about it Val, she was with him and the Coven for years… She probably really cared about him… And then when it turned out they were all a bunch of mad, power-hungry, genocidal psychos, she left… Physically anyway… I mean, we both know how hard it is to forget when you used to love someone…”
Valkyrie groaned. “Maybe… But still…” She sighed. “I just hope I get news soon about the rescue mission soon… I don’t like picturing Flora going down into a place like that…” Crystal perked up a bit.
“What about picturing her on a double date with me and Kota?” Crystal asked. “After the whole rescue thing?” Valkyrie smiled.
“That sounds wonderful.” She paused. “Have you heard anything from Rubis yet? Regarding the whole… Search?”
“I talked to her in Professor Zarathustra’s class… So far, there’s nothing damning about Delores… In fact, she seems to be exactly who she says she is.” Crystal shrugged. “You probably feel weird around her because she has ‘mega bitch’ energy, just like Icy did.”
“Let’s hope that’s all it is.” Valkyrie went over to her desk, looking over her notes. “Excited about craven wrangling tomorrow?” Crystal swore.
“Why does it have to be birds? I mean… Those things are evil.” Crystal groaned. Valkyrie chuckled.
“Awww…. Someone's scared of birds.” Valkyrie teased. Crystal glared.
“Keep on and I may just summon a bunch of snakes into your bed.” Valkyrie tensed up, wincing.
“Go for it, if you want the whole castle to catch fire.” Valkyrie half-threatened. Crystal laughed a bit, shaking her head.
“You’d set the castle on fire over a snake?”
“Of course I would. The only good snake is a dead one.”
“But they eat pests.”
“Cats eat pests too. And cats are much better than those little devil monsters.” Valkyrie scratched Cheshire’s head to make a point, feeling him purr. “Look, if I don’t see or hear a snake, I’m good.”
Crystal shook her head. “You’re a big, bag witch… And you’re scared of a living noodle…? Will wonders never cease?” Valkyrie rolled her eyes, going back to her notes.
“Keep on…” She threatened, showing a flamed hand for emphasis.
Chapter 5: Chapter Five: Argulus?
Valkyrie watched as a woman with long, flowing blonde hair walked the dank and dark halls of the castle, blue eyes seeming to burn with a fury all their own. The woman was dressed regally in a dark purple robe, a black dragon shape seeming to wrap around it, the head ending on her shoulder.
She followed the woman, watching as she pet the shadow creatures and the bile monsters, cooing at the beasts.
“That’s right… You’re such perfect little monsters… Where is your master?” The woman cooed, looking about.
Valkyrie walked over, cautious. “Hello?” She asked, waving her arms. The woman turned and faced Valkyrie, a look of shock and surprise on her face. It quickly changed to a look of concern, her eyes flashing a red glow.
“You shouldn’t be here, my child… This isn’t a place for a witchling.” She walked closer to Valkyrie, her hand extending. “Though you seem so familiar…” She paused, stopping her hand before she touched Valkyrie, a noise outside the cliffs alerting her.
“What was that?” Valkyrie asked.
“That is Argulus…” The woman spoke, mater-of-factly. “You need to leave before he sees you, young one… He needn’t know of your existence.” She looked Valkyrie in the eyes, but it felt as if she was seeing passed Valkyrie. “Keep her safe, My Dragon.” She whispered.
“Wait! What’s going on?!” Valkyrie asked, the room quickly changing. “Come back!”
Valkyrie woke up in a cold sweat, shaking still. She could hear movement on the other side of the room and a low whistle. “That had to have been some dream… You were talking in your sleep.” Crystal gave a slight chuckle.
The purple-haired witch rose up, catching her breath and grabbing her glasses. “I think I… Met a former keeper… Not my dad… But… The first one…” Valkyrie swore. “That sounds crazy…” She reached for the journal she’d began keeping near her desk and a pen, writing something down.
“Compared to everything else in our lives? I’d believe it.” Crystal tilted her head. “When did you start journaling again?”
“Over the summer. I had to keep reality straight after I woke up some days… Some of those nightmares got really intense and I had to keep a log of what really happened so…”
“So you could take away its power?” Crystal finished. Valkyrie gave a slow nod. “No shame in that… None of us came out of last year unscathed.” She walked over, sitting at Valkyrie’s desk. “So the first Dark Dragon Fire keeper, what were they like?”
Valkyrie frowned, trying to mentally conjure up the image. “She was about average height… Blonde and blue-eyed… And… I guess royalty…? She was wearing some sort of regal robe anyway… And she was meeting someone called Argulus but she wouldn’t… Go into detail…”
‘Anything you’d like to tell me?’ Valkyrie mentally asked her dragon. Silence. Of course… He only butted in when he didn’t need to…
“Maybe after classes we can look him up? I bet Rubis could find something about him on the web.” Crystal smiled. “Or if nothing else, our library has books on everyone.”
Valkyrie stretched. “Sounds like a plan.” She looked around, confused. “Where are the cats?” She asked.
“Look on top of our wardrobes.” Crystal gestured up high. Valkyrie looked, and sure enough, both cats were asleep up high, tails twisting down below. “And as much as I’d like to go back to sleep… We need to be getting ready… Breakfast starts soon, and I’d hate for your mother to come looking for us.”
Valkyrie groaned. “I know…” She noticed Crystal was already dressed. “Head on down and get a table with Lucy and Rubis… I’ll be there soon. Promise.”
“You’d better be.” Crystal gave her a look, getting up and grabbing her bag. “Because if I have to come looking for your tiny ass, your dragon won’t be able to save you.” She teased. Valkyrie chuckled.
Professor Ediltrude took to the center of the field, ready to set the stage for the witches. “Alright witches, we’re going to practice fighting during harsh weather realities. I know some of us had a dose of that last year during the Siege of Magix, but it’s still in the curriculum and you need to learn.”
She looked the witches over. “Any volunteers?”
“That depends, do volunteers get to skip the first exam?” Samantha asked, teasing. The witch leaned forward. “I mean… That would be an incentive.”
Ediltrude smirked and Valkyrie felt a sense of dread. This was not going to be pretty. “Oh, Samantha… Do you really think I should give any of you a pass on the first exam? Okay… If you can withstand the session I place you in, you can skip the first exam.” Ediltrude chuckled. “But if you can’t… I want a report on weather conditions and their effects on a battlefield and on magic. A dozen pages.”
The class groaned. “Waita go, Sammy.” Endora glowered, twirling one of her long red bangs.
“It was just a joke.” Samantha frowned.
“If you wish to be a comedian, Ms. Neilson, might I suggest doing so on your own time?” Ediltrude glowered. “Now. Who’s first?”
Valkyrie wanted to make herself disappear. After her dream, she didn’t want to have to focus on survival. But of course, the universe has other plans…
“Ms. Sylvane, let’s see if you can measure up to your skills from last year.” Ediltrude challenged, motioning for Valkyrie to come over. Valkyrie sighed, setting her bag near Crystal and walking into the center.
Ediltrude stepped away and formed the protective barrier. She cast a spell and the inside of the barrier began to darken and become rainy and windy, a shoreline formed and the waves become havoc.
A creature formed, one that crawled out from the depths. It seemed to have the face of piranha, large claws, and a massive body.
Valkyrie stood her ground, the wind and rain making it hard to see and the sand began to shift under her as the tide kept crashing. She didn’t notice the creature lunging for her until it had grabbed her and began to drag her toward the tides.
She closed her eyes, focusing inward. Her fire began to burn hot and her skin became like the fire. The creature dropped her and she rolled, coughing as sand got in her eyes and the rain messed with her glasses.
Getting to her knees, she placed her hands on the ground, feeling the sand. ‘What was that spell… Right!’ She gave a smile as she focused, one hand remaining on the ground, the other reaching toward the sky. “Though this day is dark and stormy, take my joy and make it shiny.” She recited, feeling at peace as the setting changed again.
The sun came out, the tides began to dry up, and the sand became grass. The creature growled in frustration, swinging its massive claws at her. Valkyrie glowered and created a ring of dark fire around her, little blasts coming from the ring and forcing the creature into the barrier.
Once the barrier came down, the students cheered and clapped, but Ediltrude seemed unimpressed. “I said to survive the terrain I gave you, not change it to something more manageable.” The teacher glared.
Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile, trying to keep her panting to a minimal. “But you never said we couldn’t change the environment. There was no rule against it.” Ediltrude glowered.
“Fine… I won’t dock you. This time.” The older witch looked Valkyrie over. “And if I were you, I’d get a shower. Sand is awfully messy.” She smirked, going back to the center. “Next?”
Valkyrie had scrubbed herself clean and changed clothes, thankful to be out of the sand. “So… Any news from Rubis?” She asked, pulling her hair back.
Crystal sighed. “About that Argulus guy? No. About Delores? Sort of…” Valkyrie walked over, looking over Crystal’s shoulder to read Rubis’ text.
“Damn… She’s squeaky clean… Honors in her middle school… Head of the swim team. Older sister of three.” Valkyrie groaned, moving to sit in the floor. “Guess there’s nothing wrong with her…?”
“Not publicly…” Crystal shrugged. “Look, the girl rubs you the wrong way because she has a major bitch attitude. You’re not the only who feels that Delores is off. I mean, Lucy, Rubis, and even the Linphean triplets can feel it.”
“Still…” Valkyrie paused when she heard her phone go off. A text. She stood and went to her desk, giving a bit of a smile. “Well… One good thing is happening today. I’m heading over to Alfea.”
“Awww… How precious.” Crystal teased. “What’s going on? Flora need you?” Crystal taunted. Valkyrie sighed.
“Sort of… Emotional support… Apparently only certain fairies got to go on the rescue mission…” Valkyrie admitted. Crystal shook her head.
“Well… The Underrealms are dangerous… And I’ve heard stories about how even witches can be drained if they go there.” Crystal reminded her.
Valkyrie nodded, looking to where Cheshire was laying. “Hey, Ches… Wanna go for a walk?” She asked. The tuxedo cat raised his head, yellow eyes glowing.
He stretched and walked over to Valkyrie’s backpack, sliding in. “Guess that’s a yes.” Crystal chuckled.
Valkyrie smiled, taking her bag. “I’ll be back before curfew.” She paused. “And… Keep an ear out… Okay?”
“Will do.” Crystal gave a mock salute.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six: Pixie Rescue Mission
- Pixie Rescue Mission
Valkyrie made it easily enough to the Alfea campus, but entering in was a different story. “I don’t know, Amaryl… You really think she was invited here?” A dark haired fairy with glasses and a pink beret asked.
Amaryl, the fairy with short blonde-ish hair smirked. “I don’t know… But I know we should give her the Alfea welcome.”
“Leave her alone!” Flora’s voiced called, getting in between Valkyrie and the other fairies. “Ortensia, Amaryl, back off.” The other two fairies shrugged.
“If you want to hang with a witch, that’s your problem.” Amaryl gave a glare to Valkyrie. “See you later, witch.” She and Ortensia walked away, toward Alfea’s courtyard.
Valkyrie took Flora’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “You didn’t have to rescue me… I could have handled those fairies.” She teased. Flora chuckled, wrapping her arms around Valkyrie.
“I know… But I’d rather you not get into trouble.” Flora half-teased. She gave a little gasp and pulled away when Valkyrie’s bag moved, then gave a laugh. “Did Cheshire come too?”
Valkyrie laughed, setting her bag down so the tuxedo cat could get out. “Yeah… He missed you.” As if on cue, the cat began to rub against Flora, letting out soft purrs and mews. Flora giggled, reaching down and picking him up to hold him.
She stroked his fur and Valkyrie could feel the nervous energy Flora had had disappearing. “So where are we heading? Your room? Or the gardens? Maybe the lobby?” Valkyrie asked. Flora kept holding Cheshire, giving a slight smile.
“Can we head back to my room? I… I’m also sort of… Baby-sitting…” Valkyrie tilted her head.
“Yeah… Layla, Bloom, and Stella went to ShadowHaunt and… Layla didn’t want to bring Piff… Her baby pixie? So I’m watching her. And Kiko…” Flora gave a smile, stroking Cheshire’s head. “Tecna and Timmy are working on reconnecting us to the others… And Musa and Riven… Are trying to comfort each other.” Flora looked down a bit.
Valkyrie wrapped her arms around Flora’s waist, kissing her shoulder softly. “Flora, I may not know Layla, but I do Bloom and Stella. They’re strong and full of fire and energy. ShadowHaunt won’t know what hit it.” Valkyrie gave a smile. “And it’s not like they’re alone, right?”
“Right… Saladin sent Sky and Brandon.”
“Perfect. They’ll be back before you even know it.” Valkyrie stood on her tip-toes, kissing Flora. “Now, I say we settle down for a movie to try and calm your nerves… Maybe see if that little pixie wants to play?”
Flora smiled. “Sounds wonderful.”
Valkyrie and Flora were on the couch in the common room of Flora’s dorm, the movie playing on screen. It was a simple fairy-tale based movie, one of romance and good versus evil. The only twist was that the main romance was between a princess and her female knight.
Flora tried to watch diligently, but after having been drained most of the day from worry, she fell asleep with her head on Valkyrie’s lap, the witch comfortingly stroking her hair and rubbing her back.
Kiko and Cheshire had made a truce, both cuddled up asleep on the rabbit’s bed. And the pixie was laying on a pillow on the coffee table, snoozing softly.
Valkyrie couldn’t help but smile as she waved her hand. Her phone rose up and began to snap a picture or two of the scene, something Valkyrie would cherish.
Of course, all good things must come to an end… The doors opened up, Musa and Tecna walking in.
“Hey Val. How goes it?” Musa asked, a bit too perky for someone who looked as if they had been crying. Valkyrie placed a finger to her lips, gesturing to Flora.
Tecna paused. “Oh poor dear… She seems to have worried herself out…” Tecna shook her head.
“Yeah… Flo always feels things a bit deeply.” Musa bit her lip. “But we do gotta wake her… It’s about time for night fall… And we don’t want you to get in trouble for being here after hours. Timmy and Riven already left…”
Valkyrie sighed. “I know… I just… I hate her being so upset… I wish there…” She paused. “I’m Bloom’s counterpart. I can sense her out.” She grinned. “I can find out how they’re doing.”
Tecna grinned. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
“We’ve been too worried to think straight, Tec.” Musa reminded her, looking to Valkyrie. “Use that link.”
Valkyrie gave a nod and closed her eyes. She let her flame fill her and leave, going to find Bloom…
They were running and panting, sweating and weak. Stella was shining bright, doing her best to keep the monsters away. She tried to shift too, to help protect, but her powers were drained… Weak.
Sky stood before her, sword drawn and ready… Between him and Stella, the monsters were gone.
“They’re fighting monsters… Bile monsters from the look of it…” Valkyrie spoke, opening her eyes. “But Stella helped take care of them. They’re super weak to sunlight.”
Musa sighed in relief and Tecna gave a smile, rubbing the back of her neck. “Good… That means they’re still alive.”
“It means there’s hope.” Musa stretched. “Okay… We know that much, could you see anything else?”
“It was mostly just feelings… Bloom’s exhausted, but ShadowHaunt has that effect on fairies.” Valkyrie looked to Flora’s sleeping form, dreading having to wake her. “You two take care of Flora for me while I’m back at CT…” She looked to the other two fairies. “You’re some of her best friends and she needs you.”
“We need her too.” Musa gave a thumbs up.
“That’s right. We’re not the Winx Club without her.” Tecna grinned. Valkyrie nodded.
“Just keep that in mind.” Valkyrie carefully touched Flora’s shoulder, giving a gentle shake. “Flora… Flora… It’s time to wake up.” She whispered. Flora gave a soft groan, her body moving a bit.
“I didn’t mean to fall asleep…” The brunette whispered, raising up. She flushed a bit when she saw Tecna and Musa. “Oh… How long was I out?”
“Not too long. But we decided it was best to wake you now.” Tecna spoke, taking a seat on the other couch.
Musa plopped down beside her. “Yeah. It’s about time for night to fall and we know it’s a long way back to CT. The boys even left already.”
Flora looked to Valkyrie. “Let me get my shoes and I’ll walk you out.” She started to move and Valkyrie took her hand.
“I’ll find my way out… You need to rest. All of you need to rest.” Valkyrie turned to the other fairies. “I know that you’re worried… I would be too… But let’s face it, they’ve been in worse messes and come out on top.” Valkyrie stood and she kissed Flora’s cheek.
“Let me know you’ve made it back…” Flora whispered. Valkyrie nodded.
“Always.” She paused, grabbing her bag and whistling for Cheshire. “Ches… Come on… Time to go.” The cat rose his head and gave an annoyed mewl, but stretched and strutted over to Valkyrie.
She opened her bag, rolling her eyes as he hopped in. “See you girls later.” She waved, making her down the hall…
Valkyrie was nearly out the Alfea gates when she smiled at a familiar figure walking in. “Hey, Morgan. Where’ve you been?” She teased. Morgan flushed a bit, hugging her cousin.
“I was out with Helia… He was showing me this cool new spot at Red Fountain… They have an overlook of all of Magix now.” Morgan rambled. She shook her head, stopping herself. “What about you? What brought you to Alfea?”
“Flora… She and the others are worried about Bloom, Stella, and Layla.” Valkyrie told her. Morgan swore softly.
“I heard about that… They’re going to save the pixies right?” Valkyrie nodded.
“Yeah…. I just hope they make it back in one piece.” She stretched a bit. “Anyway, I’m going to have to get going… I’d rather not be late for curfew.”
Morgan gave a nod, hugging her cousin one more time. “Be safe out there.”
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven: Cloud Tower Troubles
- Cloud Tower Troubles
Valkyrie was flipping through the library’s catalogue, frustration becoming more evident. “Where is that book…?” She sighed, leaning back in the chair. “It’s got to be here…”
“What book are you looking for?” Discorda asked, the pixie flying over close to Valkyrie. “I might could be of assistance.” The witch pushed her glasses back.
“I want the life book of a guy named Argulus.” Valkyrie told her. The pixie gave a concerned look, crossing her little arms.
“And just what would you want that man’s book for?! Certainly it can’t be for class? He’s not supposed to be in any curriculum.” The pixie began a soft rant. Valkyrie shot her a smile and batted her eyes.
“But you could still help me… Right…? There might be something sweet in it for you…?” Valkyrie tried. The pixie gasped.
“Are you trying to bribe me, young lady? With my sweet tooth? How dare you.” Discorda huffed, sounding far too much like Valkyrie’s mother for comfort. The pixie paced around the book for a moment. “What sort of sweets are we talking?”
Valkyrie smirked. ‘Got her.’ “How about if you do this for me, I’ll make sure to sneak you in one of those ice cream sundaes from the kitchen?” The pixie extended her tiny hand.
“We have a deal, young witch.” The pixie smiled. Valkyrie shook her little hand and watched as the pixie flew up high, a purple magic aura surrounding her. Within moments, a small but decrepit looking book landed in front of Valkyrie.
“That’s the book?” Valkyrie asked, frowning. The pixie shrugged.
“According to my magic it is… He may have changed his name.” Discorda crossed her arms. “Sometimes if you become known by something else, you’ll have multiple books.” Valkyrie picked up the small book.
“If you say so… Thank you, Discorda… I’ll bring you the ice cream tonight.” The pixie gave a bow.
“You’d better.” And with that she was gone. Valkyrie took the book and found an empty table to sit at, opening it up.
Argulus was an esteemed knight and wizard in the realm of Obsidian. He was favored by the queen of Obsidian, and granted lordship over the dark realm known as ShadowHaunt, where he raised and cared for the creatures of shadows and monsters of the night.
After proving his worthiness to the queen during the death of the Great Dark Dragon and the banishment of the witches responsible for the Dragon’s death, the queen bestowed upon him a great power.
She made him the true Lord of ShadowHaunt and gave him a sliver of her power, a shadow force from the Great Dark Dragon. It allowed him to become the Shadow Phoenix and granted him immortality.
He served each ruler of Obsidian, a dark knight for them during harrowing times… Until the witches returned and overthrew Obsidian… It is thought that Argulus died that day, trying to protect the royal family of Obsidian, though rumors started that he betrayed the family to the witches in exchange for more power… And a rebirth…
Valkyrie shut the book, feeling tears trying to form. Memories flashed of fighting side by side with this Argulus, a man with dark skin and darker eyes, but a heart that once was gold. She could see flashes of the siege on Obsidian, the destruction and death the Ancestral Witches left in their wake.
And then she saw it… A flash of a memory as the final blow hit her former self. Not a blow from any of the witches, but from a familiar and once beloved friend.
“What sort of book gets you upset?” A familiar voice taunted. Valkyrie froze, her anger dangerously high from both the witch’s tone and the book’s information.
“I’m not in the mood for you right now, Delores.” Valkyrie kept her voice calm, trying not to let it waver. The redheaded witch didn’t seem to get the hint as she sat down in front of Valkyrie, a smug look on her face.
“Don’t tell me, a sappy romance novel? Or was it your life book? I bet it’s dark and depressing.” The witch smirked. Valkyrie waved her hand over the book, letting it go back to wherever Discorda found it.
“What it was is none of your business.” Valkyrie went to stand when Delores grabbed her hand. The feeling on her skin was nearly ice cold, and Valkyrie growled, pulling her arm back.
“I said to leave me alone!” She growled, standing tall and her voice getting louder. Delores smirked gesturing around the room.
Other witches who were in the library working on projects had started watching Valkyrie, concerned looks on their faces. “I was just trying to help…” Delores projected her voice, starting make herself look small.
Valkyrie glowered, not buying her act. Though it seemed the other witches were. Valkyrie shook her head, grabbing her bag and heading out the door.
“Please tell me you did not almost attack Delores.” Crystal asked, barging into their room. Valkyrie had been writing down what she’d learned from the library, and about Delores.
“I didn’t try to attack her. All I did was tell her to leave me alone.” Valkyrie told her friend, looking up. “Besides, she’s the one who grabbed me.” Crystal swore.
“That’s not the story going around. Everyone who saw you two in the library said she was comforting you about something and then you snapped.” Crystal repeated the story. “Which… Anyone who knows you knows better… But…”
Valkyrie groaned. “She’s setting me up for something. I can feel it.” Crystal sat beside her friend on her bed.
“Probably… Which is why you need to stay the hell away from her. That way, she can’t do whatever it is she’s planning.” Crystal told her friend. Valkyrie sighed.
“I’ll do my best.” A knock on their door made them both look. “Come in.” Valkyrie spoke.
Lucy and Rubis walked in, excited. “I may have figured out who Argulus is… Apparently he was-”
“A knight for Obsidian…?” Valkyrie answered. Rubis frowned, taking a seat on the floor.
“How did you know that?”
“Book I found in the library…” Valkyrie replied, moving so she was on the floor with Rubis and Lucy. Crystal followed suite, taking a few papers from Rubis.
“Did you know he and Lord Darkar are the same person?” Crystal asked, handing the paper to Valkyrie.
The smaller witch read the paper, giving a low hum. “That would make sense… Did it say anything about his betrayal?”
“Just that he wanted power and the Ancestral Witches promised it to him.” Lucy explained, showing the realm wide web research.
“Which could mean trouble for you, considering everyone claims he’s out and about again.” Rubis told Valkyrie, her hands gesturing a bit. “I mean… Aren’t there pixies missing because of him?” Valkyrie groaned.
“There are…” She rubbed her temples. “I wish I knew what he could want with the pixies… If we can figure out his plan, we can get ahead of it…”
Rubis’ eyes widened. “You can’t be serious…? You want to take on Lord Darkar?” Lucy sighed.
“She wanted to storm Cloud Tower last year when Icy, Darcy, and Stormy took over… She’s always been brave like that.” Lucy reminded Rubis.
“Yeah… A stupid kind of brave.” Crystal placed a hand on Valkyrie’s shoulder. “I know you want to keep another siege thing from happening like it did last year, but there’s no way of knowing what Darkar could want with those pixies.”
“It could be anything from wanting to drain their powers to just wanting something to torment.” Rubis pointed out. Valkyrie pulled her legs to her chest.
“Still… Something doesn’t feel right…” She looked to Rubis. “What about our other problem? Did you find anything else out about Delores?”
Rubis bit her lip. “You may want to let that vendetta go… I’ve seriously not found anything bad about the witch… And according to the school… You’re the one who snapped at her…”
Lucy rubbed the back of her neck, twirling her green hair a bit. “I don’t doubt that she may be trouble, because you’ve proven to be great at sensing it… But you may want to be more careful around her. If she’s trying to mess with you, getting other Cloud Tower witches to turn on you would be a surefire way.”
“Like I said earlier, stay the hell away from her.” Crystal reiterated. Valkyrie sighed.
“Fine… But if she grabs me again…” Valkyrie warned. “I will burn her to a crisp. I don’t care who she is.”
“Just… Stay alert.” Rubis pulled her bag over. “Now… Instead of depressing ourselves and working ourselves into a tizzy, I say we work on our homework…” Lucy groaned, laying back on the floor.
“I dread working on my paper for Professor Pandora… I don’t know which of the deadly sins I should write on…” Lucy whined.
“Try envy. It’s simple and easy enough to cover.” Crystal told her. “Or maybe even pride?”
“I’m doing mine on wrath…. Seemed fitting enough.” Valkyrie waved her hands, her notebook and pencils coming and displaying themselves in front of her.
“I’m going to do sloth.” Rubis grinned. “It’s perfect for my philosophy of working smarter instead of harder.”
“All hail the procrastinators and the lazy people, the true innovators of our generation.” Crystal teased, giving a laugh. “I’m thinking maybe lust or gluttony…” Valkyrie hummed.
“For you…? Lust. Use Kota for inspiration.” Valkyrie teased, laughing when she felt herself get hit on the arm with a notebook. Lucy and Rubis cackled at the display, shaking their heads.
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight: The Codexes
An ooze shot went by Valkyrie, just barely missing her as she jumped back, flying to the top of her pillar. “Do you have a good shot, Ververine?” Valkyrie called, looking at her blonde partner down below.
The other witch gave a wink, her hands creating the runes needed for large vines to sprout from the ground. The sludge monster they were facing off against launched another oozing attack as Ververine crossed her arms, the vines wrapping tightly around the monster.
It shrunk in size and broke through the vines, unwilling to be contained. “I had him!” She growled, jumping to where Valkyrie was to avoid being oozed.
“Rubis! You’re the one with a dome based shield… Can you contain it?” Valkyrie asked. Rubis gave a salute, jumping down from her platform and conjuring up a spherical prison, encasing the monster.
“Come on girls, you have one shot. I don’t know how long I can hold it.” Rubis admitted, her concentration on the orb.
Valkyrie closed her eyes and felt for her fire, letting the flames burst and strike the monster. Ververine conjured up leaf-based ninja stars, using them to cut deep into the monster’s skin. It imploded, sludge covering the field.
(But thankfully, not them.)
The barrier came down and Griffin clapped her hands, the other students following suite. “You did well working together. Though I wonder why you didn’t come up with a battle strategy beforehand.” Griffin asked.
“We did… We tested to see what the creature could do before we went in for the kill… Trial-and-error will always be necessary.” Rubis answered.
“And we knew as long as one of us still stood, we had a chance.” Ververine gave one of her rare smiles. Valkyrie pushed a loose strand of her purple hair back.
“Sometimes it pays to be a bit impulsive.” She explained. Griffin gave Valkyrie a look but shook her head.
“You did well girls… Let’s see if Euphorbia, Tabitha, and Shilly can beat your time.” Griffin looked toward the bleachers. “Come on girls… Don’t be shy.” The older witch teased.
Valkyrie gave a sigh of relief as she wrote the last sentence of her paper. She’d been working in the library on her monster report for Professor Tanea on the benefits of a Bog Beast, and it had finally come together. She put her notebooks and laptop back in her bag and waved her hand over the books, watching as they went back to where they went.
She grabbed her bag and started for the door, when one of the bookcases began to shake. She paused, watching again as the book case rattled and moved. ‘Go behind it.’ His voice whispered.
Valkyrie raised her hand to the bookcase, watching as it slid away to reveal another room filled with more books. ‘Go inside. The answer to your question lie ahead.’ Her dragon urged her forward.
She sighed and walked into the room, looking the books over. All were obscure titles, some in a language she’d never even knew existed. One began to glow and before it could hit her, she had grabbed it, holding it tight within her hands.
The book’s title was unreadable, but Valkyrie opened it up, curiosity getting the better of her. Pages turned on their own, an image popping up in front of her eyes.
Ruins of an ancient temple came to light, a power surging through it. Four keys kept the portal to the temple opened, and two flames stood in the center. One dark, one light. Both burning so brightly, Valkyrie could feel the heat from the pages.
“What are you doing in here?” A voice cried out. Valkyrie gasped, dropping the book and turning around. Professor Pandora had her arms crossed, a scowl on her face. “How did you even know about this room?”
“I… I didn’t… The bookcase opened on its own and that book,” she gestured to the one she’d dropped, “came to me.” She picked her bag up. “You know what…? I’ll go head and march myself up to the Headmistress’ office… I know when I’m in trouble.”
Pandora rolled her eyes. “Must you be so dramatic?” The older witch sighed and brought Valkyrie out of the room and closed the case back. “Those books are locked away for a reason… They’re nothing but trouble. All they do is corrupt the mind to find some ancient ultimate power.” Pandora scoffed.
“I mean… Let’s be realistic… There are several types of ultimate power… But who’s to say which the ultimate power really is.” She shook her head. “Foolish ideas.” She muttered. Valkyrie frowned.
“What are you talking about?” Pandora snorted.
“There are several legends about finding the ultimate power. Some say it comes from the Great Dragons. Some say it comes from the Water Stars. Then you get the Realix story and the Fairy Animal story… I think there’s even one about the Infinite Ocean. A bunch of humbug if you ask me.” Pandora shook her head. “The only ‘ultimate power’ I believe in is the Dragons. And that’s because I’ve seen what they can do.” She gestured to Valkyrie.
“Right…” Valkyrie paused. “So… Am I in trouble or no? You never really filled me in on that one…”
“If the door opened for you, it opened for you… Just don’t be getting any ideas of realm-wide domination.” Pandora warned. Valkyrie shook her head, waving her hands a bit.
“I’m good… No plans of domination here… Except maybe in competitions… I’m a bit competitive.” Valkyrie joked it off, making her way out of the library. She needed to talk to her mother.
She was sitting down in front of her mother’s desk, waiting for her mother to respond to the tale she’d told. “Mom…?” Griffin sighed.
“Sounds like you know about Realix and the power it can bestow…” Griffin admitted, pulling out her own copy of the book. “The four codexes are scattered about Magix, but if you can combine them, you can open the doorway to Realix and get the power bestowed there.”
Valkyrie rubbed her temple. “And let me guess… It’s something that Darkar or Argulus or whatever his name is would want…?” Griffin paused.
“Where did you hear that name?”
“A dream… This blonde woman in a regal dress told me about him. Sort of… It’s complicated.” Valkyrie bit her lip when she noticed how her mother was staring at her. “What…? It’s… I’m right, aren’t I? That woman was a keeper before me?”
Griffin nodded slowly. “Sounds like you met the first… Queen Rhea.” She leaned against her desk a bit, head in her hands. “And you’re right about Darkar… Realix could be his goal…”
“Then we need to stop him from getting the codexes… Tell me where they are and we can make teams to protect them…” Valkyrie gave a smile. “We can get ahead of this.” Griffin shook her head.
“The codexes are already in safe places. Heavily guarded areas in places no one would suspect.” Griffin tried. Valkyrie frowned at her mother’s tone. It was one where she tried to be sincere, but the sarcasm just dripped into the words. Which meant…
“They’re hidden at the schools, aren’t they?” Valkyrie asked, arms crossed. Griffin groaned.
“Yes… But it’s not our choice of hiding places… Believe me, we’ve been to the Council several times to try and convince them to hide the pieces elsewhere.” Griffin sighed. “But we’re to keep them where they are…”
Valkyrie stood, placing her hand on her mother’s. “Well, I know about them now… So I can help keep an eye out… Maybe that’ll keep the chances of their being stolen low?” Valkyrie tried.
“Let’s keep hoping.” Griffin squeezed her hand gently. “Now get going to your room… I’m sure you have plenty of homework to work on.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“Love you too, Mom.” She winked, walking out the door and down the stairs. Her room did sound like a good idea… Maybe a rest before dinner…
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine: Attack of the Shaa
- Attack of the Shaa
Classes had concluded for the day, but Valkyrie found herself at the field with a few of the shapeshifters. Professor Tanae had instructed her to move the creatures from the stables and allow them to get some sun. (It made them more irritable, which was important for the test the senior witches had tomorrow.)
“Okay… I’m sorry guys, but this is where you’re supposed to be right now… I know it’s bright out here, but Professor Tanae said this was where you needed to be.” Valkyrie tried to soothe the creatures. She closed her eyes, letting a small wave of calm come from her, just like Flora had taught her to do.
The creatures seemed to settle down and Valkyrie gave a smile, turning to leave for the castle. Creak. Crash.
The witch turned quickly, freezing in place when she noticed on the shapeshifters had changed forms and broke free from its container. She touched the ground and closed her eyes, letting the energy around her connect. “Professor… We may have a problem.” There. The message was sent.
The creature gave a haunting wail, loud enough to force Valkyrie to her knees and shatter her glasses. “Dammit.” She swore, trying to get a look at the blur lunging for her.
She rolled over, trying to dodge the monster as it kept lunging for her. ‘Get to your feet!’ Her dragon hissed at her. Valkyrie glared, managing to get to her feet when the creature shrieked again.
“Dark Dragon’s Wrath!” She growled, pulling her negative energy together, feeling it coil around her and lunge. An onslaught of negative energy attacked the creature, causing it to wail again.
Valkyrie fell to her knees again, the sonic waves of the wail messing with her thoughts and hearing. She felt a claw grab her, sinking into her skin.
She felt more than saw her blood run down her arm, the claw sinking in deeper. And then she felt it, a sucking motion, her flame dulling.
Valkyrie growled, struggling to fight back, her skin heating up to the point the creature had to let her go. She fell to her knees, wincing a bit at the feel of them scraping against the concrete bleachers. “I’m not going down easily.” Her arm throbbed and her skin kept heating up, she could feel him coiling inside of her, wanting release.
She stood up and popped her neck, summoning the dark energy around Cloud Tower to her, letting it consume her. She couldn’t see what was happening, but she could feel the dragon coiling around her, becoming her as it lunged, the flames licking at her skin as they surged forward, burning the creature until it became the shapeshifter again.
Valkyrie panted, sweat pouring from her as she sunk to the ground. Her arm throbbed, her head ached, but it was done. It was done…
She couldn’t open her eyes, but she could hear movement around her. Voices. “Do we know who spelled the shapeshifter?” A familiar voice. Her mother. Concerned.
“No. The spy monster only saw it take form and attack… But it didn’t see who cast the spell.” Another concerned voice. Ediltrude.
“She fought well though… I’m impressed with how she handled the Shaa, considering they’re extinct creatures.” Professor Tanae exclaimed.
“Assuming she isn’t deaf now…” Nurse Mal deadpanned. Valkyrie carefully raised her hand.
“Not deaf… Might be blind…” Her voice was hoarse. She heard her mother sigh in relief, a hand took hers.
“You’re just drained… That’s what a Shaa does…” Griffin kept her voice low and calm, though Valkyrie could hear the waver. “You got lucky… It almost killed you.” She paused. “Your arm is bandaged and stitched, but you’ll have a scar.”
Valkyrie let out a breathless laugh, finally able to open her eyes. Blurred. So many blurred images. “It’ll match the one on my other arm from Stormy…” She teased, wincing a bit. “What happened to me?”
“Someone spelled one of my shapeshifters. Made it angry and far more aggressive than it needed to be… And then it was turned loose on you.” Professor Tanae answered.
“We don’t know who yet… But we are looking into it.” Ediltrude promised. “We may encourage our students to create mischief and mayhem, but this sort of attack goes beyond a simple prank.”
“It’s grounds for expulsion.” Griffin admitted. “And whoever did this will be expelled.” Griffin promised.
Valkyrie winced, raising up a bit. “Will I be okay for classes?”
“Good question… I think you should take tomorrow off, just to be sure your power builds back up… You’ll only miss one day, and I guarantee your teachers will understand. Besides, it’s Friday… You’ll have a whole weekend to recover.” Nurse Mal tried to make her feel better.
“And my glasses? I think they were shattered…” Valkyrie looked around. “And I don’t like trying to make out blobs…”
She felt something being placed on her. She grinned, seeing the Cloud Tower Infirmary clearer. “That’s better.” She sat up, squeezing her mother’s hand a bit. “So… When am I free to go?”
Griffin shared a look with her fellow teachers and the nurse, concern on her face. “You can leave the infirmary… But if you leave the campus… Take a friend. Whoever did this is still out there.”
“So keep your head down.” Ediltrude warned. Valkyrie gave a nod, wincing a bit as she moved off the bed.
Her knees were bandaged and wrapped. “I take it I took a nasty fall…?”
“Several, actually.” The nurse amended. “Be sure to change them before you shower, after you shower, and before bed and after you get up. We don’t need you catching an infection… Those creatures are pretty nasty to be extinct.” Valkyrie frowned.
“Shaa’s died out years ago… But my shapeshifter must have known one…” Professor Tanae explained. “Or… Whoever controlled my little baby did…”
Valkyrie sighed, still feeling woozy. “I just can’t believe someone got the drop on me.”
“We can’t be prepared for everything. Sometimes, things just… Happen.” Griffin told her daughter, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Trust me on that one.”
“I can’t believe I’m escorting you to Alfea just so you can meet your girlfriend’s new friend and a bunch of literal pixies…” Crystal complained. “Not to mention that you were attacked just a few hours ago… And almost died, might I add.”
Valkyrie leaned a bit into Crystal, her legs still unsure of themselves. “Look, I’m not going to sit around and be some scared little girl waiting for the next attack… I’m stronger than that.” She looked at her friend, biting her lip. “Besides… I promised Flora that when everyone made it back from ShadowHaunt, I’d come and greet them… I’m not going to break a promise to Flora.”
Crystal rolled her eyes, placing an arm under her friend to help hold the smaller witch up. “Valkyrie, does Flora even know about what happened today?” Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile and Crystal swore. “Of all the… You know what…? If she doesn’t pummel you after you get better, I will.”
“I made a promise.”
“One that she would understand if you didn’t keep.” Crystal replied, shaking her head. “Hell, if she doesn’t kill you, she’ll kill me for bringing you out like this.” Crystal complained. Valkyrie chuckled.
“Flora…? Kill? I don’t think so… She has some bite to her… But murder’s a stretch” Crystal snorted.
“You don’t know what happened last year, do you? When you passed out after controlling those monsters? Flora flew up, grabbed you, brought you down safely, and then preceded to tell you that if you died on her, she’d bring you back to kill you herself.” Crystal countered. “And she said all kinds of other scary things too… I didn’t think a fairy could be so dark…”
Valkyrie rolled her eyes. “You’re exaggerating…”
Crystal was not exaggerating. Flora was angry with her for not taking time to rest… But she was still fussing over Valkyrie and it was… Kind of nice…
Oh, Flora was happy to see her, hugging her tightly… Until she saw Valkyrie’s arm and knees. “What happened? Did a craven get after you? I told you those birds were mean…” Flora took over for Crystal, letting the witch lean on her.
The other Winx girls, including the new girl with dark skin and long dark hair and the posse of pixies came over, concerned.
“You look like you took your own trip to ShadowHaunt.” Stella commented, wincing a bit. Tecna frowned, pulling out her little pda.
“I could scan the wounds and see how bad they are… Are you sure you should have left Cloud Tower in such a state?”
Valkyrie waved her good hand, shaking her head. “Not necessary Tecna… I know what attacked me.” She paused. “I was helping our beast taming teacher set up for the seniors’ exam tomorrow and… Someone spelled one of the shapeshifters and it attacked me…”
“She means it almost killed her. Had Professor Tanae not received her SOS in time, she could have bled out.” Crystal hissed in Valkyrie’s direction. “But she wanted to come to Alfea instead of rest because she promised.”
“Valkyrie, you should have let me know… You could have met the pixies and Layla at any time.” Flora chastised. “By the way, Layla, Pixies, this is Valkyrie... She’s Bloom’s counterpart and my girlfriend. And a Cloud Tower witch… And that is Crystal, the witch of crystals and precious gems.”
Crystal gave a wave. “Nice to meet you guys. Sorry if I’m pissy right now… But my best friend almost DIED.” She emphasized that point by glaring at Valkyrie.
“Yeah… You probably should have stayed at Cloud Tower and rested. But I guess we have to admire that you keep your word.” The new fairy, Layla, spoke, giving a nervous chuckle.
“She’s so in love.” The pinkest pixie gushed, twirling around by Stella. “It’s romantic.” Valkyrie flushed.
“That… I wouldn’t…” She stammered. A pixie with long hair in pigtails flew over to Valkyrie, arms crossed, inspecting her.
“I suppose you and Flora do look good together… But you better be good to my fairy. Or I’ll beat you up.” The little feisty pixie put her fists up. “I helped take on Lord Darkar you know?” Valkyrie gave a slight smile and winked.
“Don’t worry… I’ll be good.” She looked to Flora, wanting an explanation.
“That’s Chatta. She’s my bonded pixie… And Amore over there is Stella’s.” Flora introduced.
Layla showed a sleepy pixie in her hand. “And this is mine, her name is Piff.” Valkyrie gave a smile.
“Lockette here is mine.” Bloom showed the little purple haired pixie that was flying around. Lockette gave a shy wave, staying close to Bloom.
“And Tune and I are bonded.” Musa grinned, showing her immaculately dressed pixie. Tune gave a bow.
“How do you do, witches? Has the day been…” She paused. “Terrible for you?” She winced. “I’m sorry… I don’t know the proper etiquette for witches… I’ll need to speak with Discorda on that.”
A pixie who appeared to be dressed as a robot laughed a bit. “Oh Tune…. There’s not much difference in the vernacular of a witch and fairy… They’re very similar.”
“Digit…” Tecna chastised. “Digit is my pixie… She’s cute… Right?” Tecna gave a slight grin. Crystal shook her head, giving a smile.
“So how was ShadowHaunt?” Crystal asked.
“Terrifying and dark and bleak.” Stella winced. “And those creatures were majorly yucksville.”
“It could use a bit of a light magic touch.” Layla agreed. “But the waterfall and cliff-side are impressive.” Bloom bit her lip.
“What is it?” Musa asked Bloom. “Something happen out there?”
“We were attacked… By Icy, Darcy, and Stormy… We were saved by this Paladin… But… They’re so much stronger…” Bloom admitted, holding Lockette.
Valkyrie growled a bit, wincing when she tried to stand on her own. Flora held her tight, easing them both to sitting on the ground. “I knew I should’ve ended them!” She growled. “And now they’re working for Darkar…? Aren’t they…? Another traitor.”
Fairies and pixies all frowned, confused. “What do you mean by that…?” Chatta asked. “Do you know Darkar?” The small pixie flew close. “Are you a friend of his?” She challenged.
“Chatta give her some space.” Flora carefully set the pixie down. “I’m sure there’s a reason.” Crystal sighed.
“So… Because you guys were going to ShadowHaunt and asked Valkyrie if she may know anything about that place… We did some research…” Crystal started. “And that research prompted Valkyrie’s dragon side to show her the first life it held.”
“Queen Rhea of Obsidian bestowed the Shadow Fire to her most trusted knight, a man named Argulus… When the Ancestral Witches escaped their banishment a few thousand years later, Argulus betrayed the crown of Obsidian by siding with the Ancestral Witches… He became Lord Darkar, the Shadow Phoenix. And my dragon is still a bit pissed about it.” Valkyrie rambled.
Bloom shook her head. “Is… That something I’ll be able to do as I connect more to my dragon?”
“You should be able too. Eventually.” Valkyrie leaned into Flora. “Anyway… That’s partially the reason I wanted to come… I had to tell you what we learned about him.” She paused. “And that I may have found out what he wants…”
“Really?” Musa asked. Valkyrie gave a nod.
“He wants to enter something called Realix… There are hoops he’ll have to get through to do so, but I bet we could stop him from getting there.” Valkyrie admitted.
Tecna frowned, messing with her pda. “Realix isn’t showing up.”
“It wouldn’t. It’s an ancient realm.” Lockette piped up. She flushed a bit as everyone stared at her and she hid behind Bloom’s hair. “I mean… It’s hidden away… By powerful magic…”
“What’s in Realix anyway?” Stella asked. “A new couture wardrobe? A sparkling palace?” She teased.
“More like… Ultimate power over the realms.” Valkyrie told her. “Which is why we’ll need to stop him every chance we get.” She made herself stand up, wincing as she got to her feet. Damn she was sore.
Crystal groaned. “And here I was hoping for a wonderful, peaceful new year…”
“Kiss that goodbye.” Musa sighed. “Guess we’re going to be adventuring again.”
“Least we have each other to lean on.” Flora grinned, wrapping her arms around Valkyrie to subtly support her.
“And we have Layla, the more, the merrier.” Tecna grinned. Layla kicked at the ground, flushing.
“You guys are sweet.” Layla flushed.
Crystal noticed the time, her phone going off.
“You guys are too… And well… I hate to be that witch who ruins a great time of reunion, but it’s getting late and Val is still weak.” She looked to Flora. “You should swing by CT for a visit tomorrow. She’d love that.” Crystal winked. Valkyrie rolled her eyes, kissing Flora before leaning into her friend.
They said their goodbyes, and Crystal assisted Valkyrie back to CT, still chastising her for endangering herself further. For a promise.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten: Party Crasher
- Party Crasher
“Now girls, I want to make something clear.” Ms. Griffin had them all at assembly, about to load the magi-buses to Red Fountain. “This will be one event we do not mess with. Saladin and his students are unveiling their new campus and giving a sneak preview of some of their lessons in their arena.”
“Considering the events of the siege last year, we will be on our best behavior today. If you choose to go to the dance afterward, you may create minimal chaos. Nothing lethal or long-lasting. Understood?” She asked. The students chorused together ‘yes headmistress’ keeping their heads down.
Griffin and the teachers had been harder on the witches the past week, searching for whoever tried to kill Valkyrie. Word had spread around campus about her attack, and while most were impressed Valkyrie survived, others were growing suspicious of each other.
Valkyrie had healed well, though her legs were still bruised and her arm had scarred up. Claw marks could still be seen digging into her skin. “At least we’ll get a little reprieve today.” Valkyrie took her seat by Crystal.
“And we get to see Kota and Helia…” She smirked. “I bet Morgan is thrilled.” Valkyrie chuckled.
“If she’s not too enthralled by her new pixie friend, Jolly.” Valkyrie teased. Rubis and Lucy took the seat in front of them.
“So are we all sitting together or what?” Lucy asked.
“And are we going to stay for the dance? What’s our plan ladies?” Rubis turned to face them. Valkyrie shrugged.
“The plan is… Whatever it needs to be… All I know is I’ll probably be sitting near my girlfriend and my cousin… So if you want to be in fairy-free spaces, I’m not who you want to be by.” Valkyrie admitted.
“And I’ll probably be by Valkyrie unless Kota has a place he wants me to be.” Crystal smiled.
“I’ll be hanging with Mirta.” Lucy sighed. “I promised I’d give her new fairy friends a chance…” Rubis gave a slight smile.
“Guess I’ll be flirting with Bishop from the sidelines.” She sighed. Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“You do you, Rubi… You do you.”
The new campus was fantastic. A shocking fire red overlay, a new state-of-the-art stadium, garden beds, new stables, and just far more spacious… (And that overlook was incredible.)
When the buses pulled over and the witches began to split into groups, Valkyrie went to wait at the benches near the entrance. Crystal followed, shaking her head. “This is where they said they’d meet us?”
“Something like that.” Valkyrie took a seat, her knees still throbbing. “You can go on ahead if you want… I know you want to see Kota before his event.” Crystal sat by her friend, leaning back a bit.
“No way. We don’t leave each other.” She gave a nudge to Valkyrie. “Besides, someone needs to stay close to you and make sure you don’t do something stupid.” Valkyrie smirked.
“Ha. Ha.” She fake laughed. “You’re soooo funny.” She teased. Crystal crossed her arms.
“I’m just saying… Between the two of us, trouble seems to find you the most. Kind of like you have a big target on your back.” Crystal told her. Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“Dark Dragon Fire keeper… Hello. I probably do have a target on my back.” Valkyrie reminded her. “Wonder if-”
Soon enough, familiar faces were walking over. Valkyrie couldn’t help but smile, getting to her feet.
They had changed their looks, but it suited them. Bloom was wearing a blue t-shirt with a heart on it and a ruffle skirt. Stella wore a sleeveless green dress with lavender stripes. Musa was wearing a blue tube top with red stripes and jeans.
Tecna had a purple shirt and skirt, both button ups. Layla wore a purple tank top with a blue water symbol and a khaki skort. And Flora… Flora wore a pink ruffle mid-riff top with dots and a pink skirt with one side longer than the other.
The pixies were flying about them, making comments about Red Fountain’s redesign. “I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.” Flora greeted, rushing over to take Valkyrie’s hands in hers. Valkyrie smiled.
“Yeah well… I heal pretty fast…” Valkyrie shrugged. Crystal shook her head.
“Don’t let her fool you, Flora… She may look better, but she’s still a bit sore and slow on her feet.” Crystal blurted out. Valkyrie glared. “I’m just saying, Valkyrie… You’re still feeling that fight.”
Flora kissed the top of her head. “Don’t worry… You’ll be back to normal in no time.” She grinned.
“Did they ever find out who spelled the shapeshifter?” Bloom asked. Valkyrie shook her head.
“No they haven’t. But the investigation is ongoing…” Valkyrie sighed. “I just wish it’d die down though… I hate feeling like I have to look over my shoulder. I mean… I’m paranoid enough as it is…”
Stella shrugged. “I’m sure it’ll all work itself out.”
“They’ll get sloppy.” Layla offered. “And once they get sloppy, it gets easier to find them.” Musa wrapped an arm around Layla.
“You know, we’re doing the half-time show?” She grinned, changing the subject. “It’s gonna be off the hook.”
“I’m sure it will.” Valkyrie smiled, glad for the change. “Hey… Where’s Morgan anyway? Did she come with you?”
“No she didn’t. But I’m sure she’s here somewhere.” Tecna offered.
“She is… She’s currently working on some painting with Helia.” Kota’s voice called out. The girls all turned, smiling as Kota and the other boys walked over.
Crystal went over to him, pulling him close for a kiss. “Glad to see you, Hero.” She teased. Kota grinned.
“Glad to see you too.” He looked to the others. “I hope you guys get to see my match with Harlan. I’m going to kick his ass.”
Timmy chuckled. “And I’m doing the piloting parade with the new starships and hovercrafts.”
“Riven and I are going to be dueling.” Sky winked toward the magenta haired guy. “Don’t worry, I’ll take it easy on you.” Riven scoffed, giving a playful smile.
“Go all out, Sky. I’ll show you what it’s like to be a real soldier.” Riven taunted. Brandon went over to Stella, taking her hand.
“I’ll be fighting a senior, Princess… Isn’t that exciting?” He asked. Stella kissed his cheek.
“Of course it is, Shnookems.” Stella grinned. Valkyrie shook her head, leaning up to whisper to Flora.
“I hope we don’t get that bad.” She whispered. Flora giggled.
“Oh be nice, Valkyrie… They’re in love.” Flora giggle/whispered. Tecna went into the center of the group.
“I hate to be a bother, but shouldn’t we be finding our seats? I don’t want have to stare in through a window.” Tecna reminded the group.
“This way ladies.” Kota grinned. “And Valkyrie.” He added, sending a teasing smile to the witch.
“You’re lucky I’m not at full power right now, Lover Boy.” Valkyrie sent a little spark to his feet. He winced, jumping a bit.
“Whoops.” Valkyrie smirked. “It slipped.”
Valkyrie and Flora sat a row above the other Winx girls, right beside Crystal and Morgan and Helia. “Helia, are you not competing?” Flora asked. Helia shook his head.
“I’m more of a restrain them and contain them sort… All out fighting isn’t my thing…” He flushed a bit. “I mean… I have before… But that was a different time.”
Valkyrie, Crystal, and Morgan flushed. “Yeah… That was our bad…” Morgan admitted. She had her hair tied back in a bun and wore a flowing white sundress. “We should have known better than to mess with the basilsk…”
Valkyrie shuddered a bit, shaking her head. “I still can’t stand snakes.”
“And I can’t stand the thought of becoming a statue.” Crystal shook her head, leaning back in her seat.
“That sounds like it was an adventure.” Stella commented. “Why would you mess with one of those things anyway?”
“We were twelve and Morgan just got her wings… We wanted to test them out and… It didn’t go well.” Valkyrie gave the short version.
“That’s an understatement. If Ms. Griffin and Professor Saladin hadn’t shown up… We’d have been statues.” Crystal sighed. “But that’s what happens when you don’t listen.”
“And we were all guilty of being rebellious…” Helia admitted. “I think it’s because we grew up with the war stories.”
“War stories? Right… Most of us had family in the Great War.” Layla remembered. “My parents were anyway…”
“I think all our parents’ were involved.” Tecna admitted.
“Oh guys! It’s starting up now!” Stella interrupted, bringing attention to the stadium. A levibike race was breaking out, though it was hard to tell who the racers were by the helmets…
“Helia… Question… Is that part of the ceremony?” Valkyrie asked, gesturing to the monster that had just landed on the field. A LeoDragerous.
Helia paled, grabbing his string gloves. “Nope… Not part of the plan at all.” He stood. “But maybe we can squeeze it into the schedule.”
The fairies wasted no time shifting and flying off, firing their blasts of power at the creature. Valkyrie got to her feet, but stopped when Crystal grabbed her wrist. “Let them handle this. You’re still too weak.” Crystal reminded.
Valkyrie glared. “I need to help!”
“Then we’ll do crowd control.” Crystal told her, raising her arms and forming a barrier around the stadium. “Get the other witches to help me hold this shield up. It’ll prevent the thing from escaping and from hurting anyone not fighting it.”
Valkyrie sighed. “Fine.” She started going up the rows of bleachers, telling each Cloud Tower witch the plan.
Soon there were dozens of witches with their arms outstretched and a large barrier between the civilians and the beast. Valkyrie gave her power to the barrier, needing to feel like she was doing something.
Seeing the beast nearly eat Morgan made her anger surge, but she calmed herself when Helia managed to save her cousin. ‘You should be out there fighting too.’
‘We’re weak right now. Remember?’ Valkyrie argued, feeding more of her power into Crystal’s barrier.
It poofed. Just poofed. Gone. The witches gave a groan, letting the barrier drop. The fairies and heroes who had been on the field collapsed themselves, worn out from trying to stop the beast.
“You know… I always thought those things were extinct…?” Digit spoke, her little voice carrying worry. “My database says they’re extinct anyway…”
“Maybe someone did a summoning spell?” Bloom asked.
“But who? Who would want to summon something like that?” Musa asked.
“And why would they want to? I mean, those things have no manners.” Tune huffed.
“I predict there will be more chaos in the future…” Jolly spoke in a hushed tone. “I saw it in my cards… I don’t know what the chaos is… But it’s grand.” She flew over to where Valkyrie had sat down. “Almost as grand as what I can see in your future…”
Valkyrie waved the pixie off. “Not really interested in having my future told… Thanks though.”
“She’s a spoil-sport.” Morgan told her pixie, powering down and collapsing by her cousin. “So… Was that it? Or do you think there’s more monsters lurking around?”
“I think we’re good.” Tecna looked her pda over. “I’m not detecting any more dangerous entities.”
“Perfect! Hopefully the dance will be on still!” Stella squealed. She paused, noting everyone looking at her. “What? I like parties.” She pouted.
“It’s okay, Princess. No one’s complaining.” Brandon laughed, coming over to hold her.
Valkyrie didn’t feel like dancing and her legs were still throbbing a bit. She went outside the ballroom and into the night air, letting her skin cool off.
She ached, but it wasn’t she did anything… All she did was just a simple shielding spell. “Must be hard being so powerful and so useless.” A voice taunted.
The purple-haired witch glowered at the voice’s owner, Delores. The redhead was pulling her jacket on, giving a smirk. “I mean really, what good were you today? A shield? That’s a laugh. But I guess that’s what one gets reduced to when they’ve been weakened.” She continued. “I mean, your own cousin was nearly eaten and you didn’t do anything to stop it. Couldn’t though, could you?”
Valkyrie stood up straight, needing all of her height despite her knees aching. “Either get lost, or get burned.” She threatened, heat already pooling into her hands. Delores grabbed her wrist and Valkyrie could feel ice slipping into her skin, as if her blood was literally chilling.
“I think you’re full of hot air, Valkyrie.” She pulled away, brushing her red locks back. “Don’t worry, if you don’t feel like dancing with your fairy tonight, I’ll keep her company.” She gave one last taunt before slipping back inside and into the crowd.
Valkyrie sank to the ground, leaning against the wall. She could feel tears forming, but she kept them wiped away, refusing to breakdown here.
Delores was a bitch… And getting upset over something she said…? That was stupid…
‘But what if she’s right? I should have been out there… I should have fought.’ Valkyrie told herself.
‘You’ll fight again. Give yourself time to recover.’ Her dragon urged. ‘You need your strength back.’
She sighed. It was easy to say, but regenerating magic energy wasn’t an easy or quick task. It built itself back up slowly, to fill every part of her being. And with a power like hers, it took longer…
“I’ve been looking for you…” A calm voice approached. Valkyrie heard clothes rustling and felt a presence sitting beside her. Flora. She forced a smile, willing any evidence of tears away as she laid her head on Flora’s shoulder.
“It was too hot in there… Even for me.” She lied, keeping her head down. Flora wasn’t going to let her off that easy, though.
She felt a gentle hand under her chin, lifting her face to Flora’s. Green eyes searching her cold blue ones.
“Tell me what’s going on, Valkyrie… You’ve been so quiet ever since the monster attack…” Flora kept her voice even. “And you look like you’re going to cry… What happened?” Concern. For her.
“I just feel… Useless… I should have been able to help you guys catch the LeoDragerous… But I couldn’t.” Valkyrie looked down. “I know I helped keep the shield up, but… My cousin could have died today…” She felt herself shake. “And there was nothing I could do.”
Flora wrapped her arms around Valkyrie, bringing the witch into her lap, letting her head rest on her shoulder. “Valkyrie… It’s okay. We all have our off days… Musa, Tecna, and I didn’t get to go to ShadowHaunt… And we felt pretty useless since we had to stay back… But we knew someone needed to be on the home front…”
“And Morgan is a strong fairy, Valkyrie… She did well fighting the monster. And Helia got to play her hero.” She kissed Valkyrie’s cheek. “And no one got hurt.” Valkyrie took a breath.
“You’re right. You’re right… I’m just…. Suffering some wounded pride.” Valkyrie gave a weak smile. “Thank you… For that.”
“We are supposed to be each other’s confidants.” Flora giggled. “Besides, you’d do the same for me.” Valkyrie felt her spirits lift.
“I would. In a heartbeat.”
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven: Who is Professor Avalon?
- Who is Professor Avalon?
Valkyrie ran down the halls, the screeching getting louder and louder in her ears. She tried to focus on her power, searching for that familiar heat, but it was no use. “What’s the matter? Out of power? Isn’t that sad?” A taunting voice called.
She stopped, surrounded by the Ancestral Witches. “I don’t know… Is she even useful to us without her power?” One asked.
“Hearing her scream could do wonders for us.” The other replied. Valkyrie backed away, turning tail and trying to run.
Claws gripped her tightly, the Shaa creature holding her down. “Let me go!” She growled, trying to struggle free. But it was strong, much too strong.
She tried to find her power, tried to feel the heat. But it was gone… Turned into a frosted ember.
She landed on the floor of her room with a thud, her covers twisted around her. Cheshire gave a screech, upset at having been disturbed. “Valkyrie… you okay?” Crystal asked, rushing over.
Valkyrie groaned, getting to her feet. “I’m fine… Just… Fine.” She closed her eyes, giving a smile when she could feel her inner flame burning. “Just a bad dream…” She waved her hands over the covers, putting her bed back together.
She grabbed her journal, writing down the nightmare and then the truth. Valkyrie had her power back. And no one could take it from her. No one. Crystal placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder.
“Okay… Just making sure you’re going to be cool tonight. It’s Alignment Night and we’re all going to be waiting to hear what bad luck befalls the dimensions.” Crystal studied her friend. “You’re going to be there, right? I know Lucy and Rubis will be…”
“I’ll make it. I mean, it’s just in the student lounge. If I can’t be there, something is wrong.” Valkyrie smiled. “What am I supposed to bring again? The chips? Or popcorn?”
“Chips. Rubis is bringing dip and Lucy is sneaking ice cream from the kitchen. I’ll be bringing drinks. Oh… Shilly has blessedly told us she’ll be ordering the pizza.” Crystal grinned. “Which we all know is perfect, since Shilly’s dad owns the pizzeria.”
“Oh family connections. Aren’t they wonderful?” Valkyrie laughed, getting to her feet. “I’m going to start getting ready for breakfast. Classes still cancelled today?”
“Of course. It’s like Friday the Thirteenth around here. A celebration for us lovers of bad luck.” Crystal winked. Valkyrie hummed.
“I was born on Friday the Thirteenth… In October… Wonder what that should mean for me?” Valkyrie pondered. Crystal snorted.
“It explains a lot, actually.” Crystal teased. “Bad stuff always seems to go down around you.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“Some witches got it, some don’t.”
Valkyrie was on the terrace with her mother, observing the ever changing sky of Cloud Tower. “I take it this will be the front row seat?” Valkyrie teased. Griffin chuckled.
“Something like that… When these planets align, something nasty usually occurs… I know you witches have your watch party in the lounge…” Griffin was setting up her telescope. “I’m glad to see you’re moving better. Your powers nearing full strength again?”
“They are…” Valkyrie paused. “I’m still having the nightmares though… About being powerless… I can’t stand that feeling.” She crossed her arms, being careful of the scars on her left, the feeling of claws digging into still fresh.
“I know what you mean… Relying on others, feeling weak… It’s seldom a fun experience.” Griffin walked over, hugging her daughter carefully. “But those experiences seldom last.” She looked at her watch, frowning.
“You said your friend was on her way…” Griffin had her impatient tone in. Valkyrie shrugged.
“It’s Tecna…” She paused when she heard a familiar revving noise. “That must be her and Timmy…” Griffin powered down the shield around Cloud Tower, just long enough for the levibike to make it to the terrace.
Timmy and Tecna got off the bike, three pixies floating around. Digit, Valkyrie recognized… But the other two… “I’m sorry to bother you, Ms. Griffin… But Livvy over here learned from Discorda that you’re an expert on astronomy.” Tecna gestured to the little blonde pixie.
Griffin waved her hand, a bit casual. “I wouldn’t say expert… But I do know how to use the stars and planets for predictions. Valkyrie said this was an urgent matter…” Valkyrie stepped forward.
“Yeah… What’s going on, Tecna?” Valkyrie asked. The pink haired fairy bit her lip.
“I know it’s going to sound crazy… But I believe that our new professor at Alfea, Professor Avalon, is a being known as the Angel of Destruction. He fits all the criteria and we need to know when the planets of Orez, Fallot, and Rot will align and give him his power.” Tecna just blurted out there.
Griffin and Valkyrie both paused, sharing a look before looking to Tecna and Timmy. “Timmy?” Valkyrie asked.
“I’ve never really met the guy… But from what Tecna has told me… He is suspicious.” Timmy pushed his glasses up, fidgeting a bit. Tecna frowned.
“You don’t believe me?” Tecna asked.
“It’s not that.” Griffin spoke. “It’s just that I know Faragonda. I’ve known her since we were teenagers. She may be naïve and more gentle-hearted than she should be, but I know how much she cares for her students and how intensively she researches anyone who applies to teach at Alfea. I find it hard to believe that she’d bring such a creature anywhere near you girls.”
“That’s just the thing though, Ms. Griffin, the Angel of Destruction lures you in and makes you trust him. It’s no surprise that Ms. Faragonda fell for it.” Digit explained.
“I want to hear about these signs you’re seeing.” Valkyrie asked. Tecna pulled up her minicomputer, showing the data.
“He shares retractable wings with the beast… And his wings are the same length as those of the beast. His power is strong. And he’s been isolating Bloom, the strongest of us all at Alfea.” Tecna pointed out.
Griffin gave a hum. “If this is true, Tecna, then you need to be on your guard and keep Bloom safe.” She went to her telescope, making a few more adjustments. “Leave the pixies with me and I’ll send a message to you when I can tell the alignment time… Right now it’s still too bright out.”
Tecna gave a nod. “Thank you, Ms. Griffin…”
“And Tecna…” Griffin paused “If Avalon is the Angel of Destruction… Take care not to let him escape into Magix… It’s bad enough we could be dealing with Darkar, I’d rather not add an evil angel into the mix.”
Tecna gave smile. “Of course.” She turned to Valkyrie. “Want to help nab him?” She asked. Valkyrie thought for a moment.
“I would… But I sort of already made plans. Next time?” Tecna gave a thumbs up.
Valkyrie shook her head, listening over the phone as Flora talked about the stern talking too Ms. Faragonda had given them. “It was a bit humiliating… But… I guess I learned to be more careful what I trust.”
“Hey, don’t be hard on yourself. Had Avalon actually been the Angel of Destruction, you’d have nailed him. And it’s always better to be safe than sorry.” Valkyrie tried to put pep back in her fairy’s voice.
“You’re right. And at least we proved how close we are by being willing to take on our own teacher…” Flora hummed. “You know… The magic sessions he does with Bloom are to help her remember her birth parents… If you wanted, I bet he could help you with your own history…?”
“I’m good. My dragon tends to let me know whatever he thinks I should know… And I’m fine with that right now.” She gave a smile. “My powers are back to full strength.”
“Wonderful! That means we can go to the White Horse soon? Maybe this weekend?” Flora’s voice went back to being its usual cheery self.
“I think that’d be wonderful.” Valkyrie grinned. Then she felt it, unnerved. Like she was being watched. “Flora, I’m going to let you go… I’m going to find Crystal and see if we can finish this Coven’s project.”
“Okay. I’ll talk to you soon, Sweetie.” Flora spoke. Valkyrie smiled.
“Goodbye, Dear Heart.” She hung up, looking around. No one but her and the arachnid spy monster. But that could explain the feeling of being watched… Right…?
She sighed, putting her phone in her pocket and making her way back inside the castle to find Crystal. They really did have a project to work on, it wasn’t going to finish itself.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve: In Motion
- In Motion
Valkyrie walked onto Red Fountain’s campus, determined to find Helia. She’d messaged him earlier, and he swore he was done with classes… That he’d be in his room… Question was… How to get there…?
“Ye lost little Witch?” Codatorta called. Valkyrie turned to face the tall accented teacher, giving a slight smile.
“Not exactly… I’m looking for a friend of mine… Helia Scofield? Professor Saladin’s nephew?” Valkyrie tried. He stroked his beard, giving her a once over. “If I could just talk to him… That’d be great.”
“Then why not just call the lad?” Codatorta asked. Valkyrie bit her lip.
“Look… It’s about a painting and it needs to be done in person.” Valkyrie argued. Footsteps approached.
“Don’t worry, Professor, I’ll take her.” A familiar voice spoke. Valkyrie turned to face him, feeling her skin pale. Harlan. His was wearing the Red Fountain uniform, his short brown hair with blue tips seeming to shine in the sun.
He gave a smile, blue eyes shining… And all Valkyrie could feel was dread. “No thanks. I can find him myself.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Come on, I’ll take you to Helia.” He extended a hand. “Specialists’ honor.” Valkyrie turned to Codatorta, giving him a look. The man took a breath.
“That’s nice of ye, Harlan, but you should head back to the Wizard’s Brigade. I’m sure Salvador hasn’t given ye permission to leave yet.” Codatorta gestured toward the east wing. Harlan gave a shrug.
“Sure thing, Professor.” He looked Valkyrie over. “Maybe we’ll get a chance to talk some other time.” He gave a wink and walked off. Valkyrie shook her head.
“Thanks… I’d have hated to start an interschool incident…” Valkyrie told Codatorta. He gave a chuckle.
“I’ve been redirecting men from women my whole career. I don’t know what it is about the ones who can’t understand the word ‘no’ but it boils me blood. I even helped yer mother and Ms. Faragonda run a few off.” He gave a wink. “But ye do need an escort here… We can’t have ye just walking around.”
“I’ll escort her.” Valkyrie turned, giving a smile. Riven. Not her first choice, but he was definitely okay in her books. “Where are am I taking you?” Riven asked.
“To find Helia… I don’t know where he’s dorming and I kind of need him for something.” Valkyrie explained. Riven chuckled, running a hand through his hair.
“Perfect. I needed to head to my room anyway.” He started walking, gesturing for her to follow. She started to follow him, pushing her glasses back into place.
“So you and Helia are roommates?” She asked.
“Yeah. I know, it’s sort of an odd couple situation… But he doesn’t judge my taste in music or my snack habits.” Riven shrugged. “So… It’s a good deal in my book.”
“Helia’s always been full of surprises…” Valkyrie admitted, staying close. “Thank you for escorting me by the way… It… Means a lot.”
“I figured you’d’ve preferred me to Harlan… I don’t know what you did, but that guy has a hard-on for you.” Riven shook his head. “I mean, even I can take a hint, you know?”
Valkyrie groaned. “For some reason he thinks he can make me straight… That I just need the right man and that the right man is him.” She sighed. “And it’s getting to the point that I may have to hurt him.”
“Just try not to blow your powers out again…” Riven half-teased. “Musa told me it’s why you couldn’t fight the monster with us… Something about getting drained.” Valkyrie swore.
“I was nearly murdered, actually. And we still don’t know who the hell spelled the shapeshifter.” Valkyrie frowned. “I half-wonder if it may have been Darkar.”
“That guy in ShadowHaunt? What would he want with you?” Valkyrie hummed, pulling at her hair a bit.
“Long story short? My dragon knew him in a past life… And…. It wasn’t a good thing.” Valkyrie cut to the chase. Riven gave a low whistle.
“See, that’s why I’m glad I didn’t inherit powers… They bring confusion and enemies.” Riven made a gesture. “And I’m pretty sure my concentration would always be shot.” Valkyrie laughed.
In through two buildings and around three corridors, they made it to the dorms. Riven knocked on his room. “You’re decent, right buddy?” Riven asked.
Helia opened the door, frowning. “Yes wh-” He paused, smiling and opening the door wider to reveal he was in his specialist uniform. “Valkyrie! What are you doing here? Is Morgan with you?” He flushed a bit.
Valkyrie shook her head, walking inside with Riven.
One side of the room was immaculate, paintings on the wall and an easel near the window. Neatly made bed. A desk messy only by notes and sketches.
The other side was a bit messier. Clothes everywhere, rock and metal posters on the wall, Bed only half made. Riven walked over to his side, grabbing his bag.
“I’m headed back out… I’ve got patrol duty.” Riven called. Helia gave a wave.
“Be safe out there. You never know when those rocks might start attacking.” He half-teased. Riven rolled his eyes, smiling as he left. “So what did you want me for?”
Valkyrie bit her lip. “This is going to sound… Mushier…. Than I probably want it to.” She took a breath. “Yule is several months away… I know… September is just now almost over… But I was thinking of commissioning you for a painting to give as a gift for Yule….” Valkyrie managed to spit it out.
Helia gave a knowing smile. “For Flora, I’m guessing?” Valkyrie gave a nod, feeling her cheeks turning red.
“I know… I know… I’m far more attached than I should be, but I’m attached and I like her and… I wanted to get her something for Yule… And she loved those paintings you showed us at the dance the other day… So…. Will you do it?”
Helia bowed to Valkyrie, taking her hand and kissing the top of it. “I’d be delighted to do a painting for your lady love.” Valkyrie flushed.
“I never used that word…”
“You don’t have to. Valkyrie… You admitted you’re attached. That’s the closest to love I’ve ever seen you.” He smiled. “And I’ve seen how she seems to temper you and keep that impulsive streak of yours lowered. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.”
Valkyrie shook her head. “Whatever helps you sleep at night…” She swallowed, pulling out her phone. “I’ll send this too you after you confirm you think it’d be a good painting…” She pulled up a photo, one from last year.
It was an illuminated night shot of Flora in Gloomy Wood Forest. She had her face lighting up as the first of the Gloomy Wood Blossoms began blooming. A photo that was hard to take, but well worth it.
“That’s gorgeous. Crystal did wonders teaching you how to use your camera.” He half-teased. “But I think I saw a glimpse of a better photo…” Helia carefully scrolled to a different picture.
It was the same night, the Gloomy Wood Blossoms were in view, the moon light shining down on their petals. And just to the side was Flora, her arms wrapped around Valkyrie in a hug. “I don’t remember taking that one…” Valkyrie admitted.
“That’s the one good thing about these newer phones… If they’re in photo mode and think they can have a good shot, they’ll take it.” He smiled. “And I think she’d appreciate this being the painting far better.”
Valkyrie flushed a bit. “Okay… Let me send it to you…” She hit a few buttons, waiting as the photo sent. “Should I pay you half now, half later…? Or should do you want me to wait until it’s completely done so you can have a better price?”
Helia smiled, hugging his friend. “Pay me after. I know you’re good for it.” He gave a playful wink. “And I know where you live.” Valkyrie chuckled.
“Right…” She bit her lip. “Will you escort me out? I don’t want to run into-”
“Harlan? Yeah…. He’s… Still obsessive I’ve noticed…. He actually asked me about you after the expo… Like he was worried I was interested in you.” Helia shook his head, grabbing his bag. “Me… Interested. In you?”
“I know. It’s so obvious you’re in love with my cousin.” Valkyrie teased. Helia flushed.
“I mean… I don’t…. Not like Morgan…. She’s always been a good friend of mine and…”
“Save it, Helia… I’m an empath. Remember? I can sense other people’s emotions… Whether I care or not is a different story, but I can sense them.” She gave a playful nudge to Helia. “And she likes you too… Has for a while.” Helia swallowed.
“Guess I should man-up, huh?”
“Oh yeah.” Valkyrie waited as Helia locked his door back, following him down the stairs. “If it’ll make things less awkward… When you ask her on your first date, tell her you’d be fine making it a double date with me and Flora.”
Helia gave a grin. “You’re amazing… You know that right?” Valkyrie shrugged.
Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen: Feeling the Rush
- Feeling the Rush
“Obsidian was the center of the dark realms, and the royal family was once considered some of the most powerful dark magic users known to us all. In fact the only ones who could stand a chance against them were the royal family of Domino, their counterparts.” Professor Gilda began to wrap up her lecture.
“But it’s dead now, why would we care?” Tabitha asked, leaning in her desk. “I mean… I get why some of us would… But the rest of us…?” She shot a look at Valkyrie.
Gilda tsked. “Girls… I tell you about Obsidian because it’s considered the birth place of dark magic. Without Obsidian having ever been made, none of us would exist. Our magic would be extinct… We’d be… Fairies…” Gilda shuddered a bit.
“Now… Any other questions?” No one moved. “Good. Then we’ll move on to the section I was wanting to get to before the weekend… The study of blood magic and blood binding.” She opened her book.
“Page 623 please.” She told the witches to turn their books.
Valkyrie looked the page over, skimming it. Blood binding was a form of marriage ritual, showing not only a binding of body and mind, but of spirit and magic too. It was a practice mostly done in dark realms to prevent one half of the couple from gaining power over the other, effectively making them equals.
Similarly the practice of blood magic was used to enhance spells or potions, as the users magic essence was literally poured into ritual. “Are… We going to be practicing blood spells any time soon?” Valkyrie asked.
“Dragons no…” Gilda shook her head, crossing her arms. “Blood magic was a stepping stone for dark magic, but it’s considered archaic… The only ‘modern’ uses for blood magic or blood binding is when a witch pledges herself to a coven…” She paused. “Of course… there was also the Ancestral Coven who used such bonds to drain and corrupt their soldiers to make themselves more powerful…”
“But that’s a lesson for another time.” Gilda clapped her hands together as the bells went off. “Now… Remember to study for our history exam.” She looked to Valkyrie. “And to stay out of trouble…”
Valkyrie gave a slight wave, grabbing her bag and books. She waited outside the door for Crystal, leaning into the taller witch.
“Can classes be over…?” She whined a bit. Crystal laughed.
“I’m pretty sure we still have one more class each… Or at least, I know I’m due for Pandora’s class. What about you?” Crystal asked. Valkyrie frowned.
“Advanced Battle Strategy workshop… With my mother.” She gave a slight groan. “I can only imagine how this is going to go… I can feel the bruises already.”
“Your mom is pretty badass.” Crystal nudged her. “But so are you. Don’t be late. You know she’d make an example of you.”
Valkyrie sighed. “I know… I know…”
Valkyrie forced herself to get back to her feet, despite her breathing getting harder. “Are you sure you wish to stand?” Griffin asked, holding an orb of energy in her hands.
The rest of the class had already kept to their places on the ground, willing to accept defeat. Valkyrie took her stance, pushing her hair back. “I’m not staying down.” She challenged. Her mother gave a smirk, her hands making small movements.
‘Keep light on your feet and stay centered. Do not let her knock you down.’ Her dragon warned, as if he’d faced her before. Three different energy signatures flew after her, attacks starting at her feet.
She jumped into the air, managing to grab a tree branch. One of the energy orbs blasted the branch, making her let go and fall. She groaned, making herself get back up. “There’s no shame in admitting defeat, Valkyrie. Stand. Down.” Griffin warned.
‘Stand down little witch. Be a good girl, listen to us.’ A familiar voice hissed in her ear. She felt her blood chill, a familiar coiling heat flowing through her.
“I’m not standing down.” She growled. Heat came to her palms, dark flames flowing down her veins. “Dark Dragon’s Pulse!” Valkyrie let her power flow off her in draconic waves. Her mother dug her feet in, creating a shield of protection.
The shield seemed to absorb Valkyrie’s power, and with a flick of the wrist, Griffin sent the power back to her daughter.
Valkyrie fell hard to the field, wincing as she sat up, one hand in the air. “Fine. Fine. I surrender.” She let herself fall back, laying on the ground. “The grass is nice and cool anyway.” She muttered.
Griffin went into the center of her students, sitting down on the bleachers beside where they lay. “You fought valiantly, all of you. And I’m proud. A Cloud Tower witch does not give up or give in, not even to forces stronger than her.”
“That being said… Admitting defeat is also admirable. If you see you can be beaten, retreat. It’ll give you a chance to live to fight another day or even find reinforcements.” She took a breath. “Normally we wouldn’t be pushing these battle classes so hard…”
“Last year made everyone nervous, huh?” Lucy asked, raising up from where she’d been laying down.
“It’s not just last year that has us shaken.” Griffin took a breath. “It’s time I told you all what was going on… I’ve had this chat with other students and other teachers are having this chat with your classmates right now.” Griffin started. “And I’m sure our counterparts at Alfea and Red Fountain are having the same discussion…”
“What’s going on, Ms. Griffin?” Rubis asked, moving to sit up. “Does it have to do with why that beast attacked at Red Fountain?”
“I can’t answer that for certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised.” Griffin admitted. “Icy, Darcy, and Stormy have escaped Light Rock Lake… And have started working with someone that I thought the Company of Light had banished.”
All of the witches froze, listening intently. Valkyrie could feel their fear and worry, and even a few hints of witches ready to fight. Anger. She sat up, bringing her knees to her chest as her mother continued.
“He goes by Lord Darkar and he runs the Kingdom of ShadowHaunt.” Gasps could be heard. “Yes I know… We’ve all been told it’s where bad children get sent. It’s a famous tale to tell your children… But the place is all too real and so is Lord Darkar.” She paused.
“I should know… There was a time when I considered him a friend. Though that was during my more… Misguided days…” Griffin admitted. “He worked with the Coven and several members of the Company of Light and I banished him to ShadowHaunt, preventing him from entering the Overrealms…”
“But the spell must have worn off or someone undid it… We can’t say for sure which happened, but we do know the Trix coven are working with him.” Griffin told them.
“So… Are they going to try for the Dragon Fire again? Because if so, I say Valkyrie raises that Army of Darkness and just finishes it now.” Samantha pointed out. “I mean… It’d be quick and easy.”
“Easier said than done, you mean… Do you have any idea how wiping it is to try and summon an army like that? And then to control it?” Valkyrie asked. “Though if we did want to storm ShadowHaunt…”
“We’re not storming anywhere.” Griffin shook her head. “So let’s just nip that in the bud now. No one is storming to ShadowHaunt. Going to fight Darkar in his own domain the worst idea we could have.”
“Then what are we preparing for? I mean… this feels an awful lot like we’re being prepped for something.” Liss brought up. Griffin took hold of her ankh necklace, as if trying to find strength from it.
“Lord Darkar wants to enter a realm known as Realix and obtain a form of Ultimate Power. Now while it can’t be confirmed that Realix does house such a power, we can’t stand by and not try to stop him.”
“The way into Realix is with four keys… A codex when all put together… The four pieces are at Alfea, Red Fountain, Cloud Tower, and the Pixie Village… I’ve gotten word from Saladin that the Red Fountain piece was stolen... And that the pixies at Alfea have been hit with a homesickness spell…”
“And if he succeeds in getting the one from Pixie Village… It’ll only be a matter of time before he comes here looking for our piece.” Valkyrie finished her mother’s thought. “Which is why we’re preparing…”
Griffin gave a slow nod. “I know it’s asking a lot of you, but we do not want someone like Darkar getting any form of Ultimate Power. It’d spell doom for us all.”
Valkyrie got her feet, looking to her fellow witches. “We’re not going to let Darkar take our piece. Are we girls?” She asked. No one seemed to make a move.
“Do you want to be slaves to a madman? Because that’s what would happen… Assuming we don’t all end up dead. And yes, this is dangerous… But last year was too, and we survived.” Valkyrie grinned. “Not only did we survive, but we’ve changed public opinion on witches, have we not?”
Lucy stood up. “You’re right. We have.” Lucy looked to the others. “I mean, the new Miss Magix is a witch. There have been more witches within royal guards… We’ve all been reading the news, right?”
“We have.” Rubis stood. “Girls… We’re going to keep Darkar and those dropouts back. Right?” The other witches gave each other looks before getting to their feet.
“Cloud Tower witches don’t give up or give in.” Liss grinned. Griffin clapped, giving a smile as she stood.
“You are all going to make excellent witches when you graduate.” Griffin praised. Valkyrie snorted.
“You mean if we graduate… Because at this point, it’s seeming iffy.” Valkyrie half teased. Griffin shook her head, a bemused smile on her face.
“I’m glad Bloom managed to unspell the pixies.” Valkyrie spoke into her phone. Morgan sighed.
“Me too… I was really worried about Jolly there for a second… I thought she was for sure going to make it back before we could catch her… Piff was no trouble though… She kept falling asleep…” Morgan groaned. “And then there’s all the battle classes Griselda is making us take…”
“Mom’s doing the same here… I actually got my ass handed to me today by her…And according to my dragon, it’s not the first time she’s slung us around… Apparently she and my dad used to spar pretty hard too.” Valkyrie leaned against a wall.
“That I can believe… Aunt Griffin was always hard on us growing up when it came to defense studies… Remember when she convinced us to take those martial arts classes? I managed to only go for one year… But you kept getting sent back?”
“I loved those classes, thank you.” Valkyrie scoffed. “It was fun getting to use my size to my advantage. Do you know how hard it is to grab something so little?”
“I do… Spent most of my night chasing after my pixie. And she’s smaller than you. And winged.” Morgan whined. Valkyrie chuckled.
“I’m sorry, Cousin.” She paused. “So any good news for me?” She heard her cousin shuffle a bit.
“Some… Helia asked me out… And…. I of course said yes.” Valkyrie smirked as she heard her cousin’s voice go up a bit, nearly swooning at the thought. “And I was thinking we could do a double date? I mean, your birthday is coming up about the day Helia and I were thinking of going out… So it’d be a two birds-one stone deal…” Valkyrie smiled.
“I’ll ask Flora if she’s interested.” She heard Morgan sigh in relief.
“I’m glad… I mean… I really like Helia, Val… But I get tongue-tied when we’re alone… But in a group… I think I’d be a bit better.” Valkyrie chuckled.
“Don’t worry, Baby Cousin, I’ve got you.” She swore when she noticed the clock. “Now I’ve got to go… I’m supposed to meet Crystal in the library to study for our history exam.”
“You too!” Valkyrie smiled, hanging up. Oh this was going to be so much fun…
Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen: Cliff's Edge
- Cliff’s Edge
Valkyrie gave a smirk when she noticed a familiar figure at Alfea’s front gates. “Waiting on a fairy?” She asked. Helia was wearing a light purple shirt and green vest with jeans. And his signature slips. His dark hair was pulled back into a single ponytail.
He gave a laugh at Valkyrie’s question. “Something like that… And you, birthday girl?” He asked, teasing. Valkyrie smiled.
“Something like that.” Crystal had insisted Valkyrie dress up a little. She wore a scarlet off-the-shoulder top and dark denim blue jean-capris. She had her sneakers, unwilling to compromise on those. Strands of her purple hair were pulled back into a ponytail, the rest hanging to her shoulders.
“I’m still surprised you let your hair grow out. Last time I saw you, you hated for it to even touch your neck… Now it’s shoulder length…” Helia teased. Valkyrie shrugged.
“Things change…” She chuckled. He looked at her scarred shoulder.
“Not everything changes… I remember when you and Kota got those.” Valkyrie groaned.
“I know, I know. You and Morgan told us it was a bad idea… and we did it anyway… But hey, we know better now.” Valkyrie laughed.
“If you say so.” Helia chuckled. “Though Kota’s still… Kota.”
“And I’m still me.” Valkyrie winked. She smiled when she heard familiar heel steps and turned around, grinning at her cousin and girlfriend. “Don’t you two look lovely?” Valkyrie walked over to Flora, putting her arms around her.
The brunette had her hair in one-long braid down her back, her jade eyes seeming to shine in the sun. She was in a pink sundress with green trim, with a floral pattern and sandals.
Morgan had her hair in a bun, her pointed ears showing. She wore a dark green, long-sleeved shirt and a dark pink vest, along with her favorite ripped jeans and sneakers.
Helia bowed to Morgan, taking her hand in his and kissing the top of it before raising back up, hand still holding hers. Morgan giggled a bit, flushing. Flora sighed in Valkyrie, giggling a bit herself.
“We were thinking of eating at White Horse… and maybe taking a stroll through Magix Park?” Morgan brought her idea up. Valkyrie smiled.
“I think that sounds good to me. Flora?” She turned to her girlfriend. Flora gave a nod, going arm-in-arm with Valkyrie.
“I think it’s lovely.” She looked to Morgan. “Jolly and Chatta planned to hang out with Amore and Stella, right?”
“Right. Though Jolly’s a bit upset. She wanted to read all of our fortunes today.” Morgan shook her head. “But I know how Valkyrie feels about that.”
“Hey, she can read fortunes all day long… Just not mine…” Valkyrie pushed her glasses up. “There are some things I’d rather not know…”
“I can understand that… No one should learn too much about their future… It never ends well.” Flora admitted.
“It can end well… It just seldom does.” Helia amended, giving a squeeze to Morgan’s hand. “We should start going. I’d rather we not all walk home in the dark.” Valkyrie gave a smirk.
“No need to be scared of the dark, Helia…”
“I’ve never been scared of the dark, Valkyrie… I’m scared of what’s in the dark.”
Milkshakes and fries would forever be the perfect combination in Valkyrie’s eyes. “You know, the only thing that’d made this better is if Crystal and Kota came with.” Valkyrie hummed.
“No way. We’d end up kicked out because of some challenge you and Kota come up with.” Morgan laughed. “Like remember when we went to Freyo’s beach and you both tried to see how long you can stay underwater without spells?”
Valkyrie laughed. “Right… The life guard came and pulled us out… Mom and Mrs. Remiz were soooo pissed.”
“We all were, if I’m being honest.” Helia confessed. “You two scared most of us.” Flora laughed, leaning a bit into Valkyrie.
“So she’s always been daring? Sounds about right.” Flora teased.
“You don’t know the half of it.” Morgan laughed. “Oh….” She turned to Valkyrie, a smirk on her face. “Question… If I were to mention it was your birthday to the waiter…. How mad would you be?”
“Very.” Valkyrie promised. “One… My birthday is two days away… And two… I hate feeling like I’m surrounded. You know that.”
“You hate being surrounded? Wonder why that is?” A voice taunted. All four teens turned to face the voice’s owner. Delores. And here Valkyrie’d been hoping she’d stay quiet… Delores gave a smirk, tilting her head toward Valkyrie.
“Screw off.” Valkyrie kept her voice level. Delores chuckled, a dark menacing sound if you were to ever ask Valkyrie what it sounded like…
The redhead placed a hand on Valkyrie’s shoulder. “I just wanted to wish you a Happy Early Birthday.” She taunted. Valkyrie felt cold slipping into her skin. She glared, feeling her skin heat up and fighting a smirk of satisfaction when Delores quickly brought her hand back, steam coming off of it.
“You may want to be careful around, Valkyrie… She’s been snappish here lately. And I’d hate to see her hurt someone.” Delores looked to Flora. “Especially you.” She turned back to Valkyrie. “I mean… It’s just a matter of time… Isn’t it…?”
Flora was quick to stand up, her arms crossed and… An actual scowl…? On her face. “If Valkyrie were going to hurt anyone here, it’d be you, and she’d be well within her rights to do so. You’re the one who came over here. You’re the one seeking her out. If you know how much she doesn’t like you, then perhaps it’s a sign you should get lost.” Flora quickly covered her mouth, flushing a bit.
Helia, Morgan, and Valkyrie sat there. Stunned. Flora had lost her temper… And it was… Something. Valkyrie couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy.
Delores shook her head. “Wow… She must have you under a strong spell… But that’s okay… You’ll see it soon… You’ll all see it…” She turned to walk off. Flora sat back down, putting her face in her hands.
“I can’t believe I did that…” She whispered. Valkyrie scooted her chair closer, wrapping an arm around Flora.
“Thank you… For that… You really didn’t have to… Hell, you probably shouldn’t have.” Valkyrie told her. Flora turned to face Valkyrie, taking both of the witch’s hands.
“Listen to me carefully, Valkyrie. You’re worth standing up for. That… Witch… She doesn’t know you like we do and she doesn’t matter.” She took a breath. “I’ll always stand by you.”
Helia and Morgan both cooed, teasing Valkyrie before extending their hands to her. “We’re standing by you too…” Helia told her.
“That’s right. We’re family.” Morgan reminded her. “Now… Who was she anyway? She kinda looked like Bloom…” Valkyrie shrugged.
“She’s a freshman from Tides… And I don’t know what her problem with me is… And I don’t know what to do about it… All I know is I’ve been trying to stay the hell away from her. I don’t need to add to my problems.” Valkyrie leaned into Flora.
“Amen. We’re having to prepare for a potential fight with Darkar… We don’t need personal dramas too.” Morgan shook her head. “Though I’d take personal dramas over world ending ones any day.”
“Sadly, we don’t get that luxury.” Helia looked to the sky, admiring the birds overhead. “Wonder where they’re going…?”
“Probably south… It’s starting to get chilly for them.” Flora joined in the bird watching. Valkyrie chuckled.
“Come on… We’d have a better view at the park…”
Morgan and Helia had wandered off toward the lake with a little sack of bird seed, hoping to feed the ducks.
Flora and Valkyrie were laying down on the grass, watching the clouds. “I’m telling you, that one looks like a dog. See the tail?” Flora laughed, gesturing to one of the further clouds.
“I don’t know… It could be an accordiphant…” Valkyrie countered. Flora pulled Valkyrie to her, letting the witch lay on her chest. She gestured up again.
“Look at it from this angle and tell me that’s not a dog.” She stuck to her guns. Valkyrie laughed, but looked, swearing softly.
“Okay… So maybe it is a dog…”
Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen: Day of the Rose
- The Day of the Rose
Mother and daughter were working in their kitchen at home, doing their best at baking a cake for their family dinner at Theodora’s. Valkyrie couldn’t help herself when she noticed her mother’s attention was turned and the flour that was right there…
“Oh, Mother Dearest.” She called, flicking a bit of flour at her mother, her purple hair becoming white. Griffin glowered.
“Of course you know, this means war.” The older witch smirked, magically creating little flour balls and sending them flying at her daughter.
Valkyrie ducked, grabbing for a baking pan. “Magic is cheating!” She yelled out, dodging what she could, coughing up what she couldn’t.
“We’re witches. We don’t have to fight fair.” Griffin snickered, dodging the flour her daughter flung at her.
“In that case.” Valkyrie grabbed a bit of the cake mix, slinging at her mother and laughing as it dripped from the older witch’s face.
“Two can play that game.” Valkyrie didn’t stand a chance as the bowl was dumped on her. Both witches laughed at the ridiculousness of the others’ appearance.
“I think we’re going to have to buy a cake instead.” Valkyrie finally was able to speak, flicking a bit of batter out of her hair. Griffin was dusting flour off her apron and dress.
“Oh your grandmother will be disappointed… But I have to admit… That was something we both needed.” Griffin conceded. Valkyrie snorted.
“More like, I had to get back at you for class. I don’t like being beaten.” Valkyrie half-teased. Griffin shook her head.
“More like you don’t acknowledge when you’ve been beaten….” She paused, and Valkyrie could sense the bit of sadness in her mother… And the joy… A bittersweet feeling. “Your father was like that too…” Griffin finally spoke. “He couldn’t stand not being able to face a challenge head on…”
Valkyrie walked over, being careful not to smudge more mess onto the floor as she hugged her mother. “You really did love him, huh?”
“Once… Maybe a part of me still does… But there are some things I can’t let go of… And him being okay with genocide was something I couldn’t stand for.” Griffin told her, placing a hand over her daughter’s.
“Mom… Before you left him… Did he ever hurt you?” The question just slipped out. But… It had been weighing on her since Delores made that comment… Would she just end up hurting those she loved, despite everything…?
Or was it something she could fight against…?
Griffin frowned at the suggestion. “Outside of sparring? Only once… And that was before we had any sort of respect for one another. It was our first mission together and we had a huge fight that ended up with both of us nearly drowning on Andros… Why?”
Valkyrie bit her lip, ignoring the taste of cake batter on her lips. “While Morgan, Flora, Helia, and I were at the White Horse… This… Other witch gave a warning to them… That one day I’d turn on them and hurt them… So I thought… If my dad could do that to you…”
Griffin scoffed, shaking her head. “Valkyrie… You’re not your father. You have some of his qualities, sure… But you’re not him. And I know you, Valkyrie. I raised you. I highly doubt you’d ever hurt someone close to you.”
“But there’s still a chance I could…”
“Valkyrie… Unless you were spelled or incredibly hurt yourself, you’d never harm someone you care about.” Griffin placed a hand on her cheek. “And I would know. I’ve watched you grow.” Valkyrie gave a slight nod.
“Maybe we should start cleaning up before Cheshire decides to wake up and make this mess worse.” Valkyrie changed the subject. Griffin gave a chuckle.
“You head on to shower… I’ll clean up here and then we can switch.”
“Aye, aye.” Valkyrie gave a mock salute, walking toward the living room. She paused at the doorway. “And Mom…? Thanks… I needed that.” Griffin gave a smile.
“I know feelings are hard to admit in this family… But it’s for the best we learn to address them.”
Theodora shook her head when she saw the store bought cake. Salvador and Palladium both laughed, having managed to actually make their dishes.
“What happened to the cake you were going to bake?” Salvador teased. Griffin looked to Valkyrie.
“Someone decided to start a flour and batter war.” Griffin outed Valkyrie. The younger witch threw her hands up.
“Hey, all I did was throw the first pinch of flour. You’re the parent, you could have stopped me. I mean… we all know how impulsive I am.” Valkyrie laughed, trying to turn it around.
Morgan snickered. “The question isn’t who started it, but who won it?”
“I did.” Both Griffin and Valkyrie answered before giving each other looks. Palladium gave another laugh.
“This is almost as funny as Wizgiz scaring poor DuFour…” Palladium chuckled. Morgan gave a laugh at that.
“That was pretty priceless… I thought Miss Manners and Grace was going to faint.” Morgan explained. Griffin smirked.
“You sure you’re not a witch, Morgan?”
“My wings say fairy, but my heart says witch.” Morgan placed a hand over her heart for emphasis. Theodora rolled her eyes.
“This family becomes worse and worse every year… It’s those schools…” Theodora shook her head, trying to hide her smile. “Of course, I suppose humor is important…”
Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen: Nightmares and Daydreams
- Nightmares and Daydreams
Valkyrie felt it flowing through her, the flames licking her skin as they flowed from her body, the heat rising in the air.
Her dragon coiled around her, giving her strength she never knew she had. The Whisperian Crystals floated above her, helping her channel her powers, her ‘grandmothers’ cackling and flying about her.
“Do it, my dear… Show us what you can really do.” The center witch spoke, Belladonna.
“Give this world your wrath.” Tharma cackled.
“Show your true nature!” Lysslis called to her. Valkyrie felt herself smile as she raised her hands, the flames coming forth.
Her dragon lashed out at the world below, burning everything it touched. “This isn’t you!” Flora called, flying to her.
All of her fairy friends were ready, shifted and in the air. All looked terrified. Even Morgan. “Valkyrie you need to stop!” Flora came before her, extending a hand. “Stop this madness.”
Valkyrie paused. She wanted to take Flora’s hand, she wanted to stop… But when she took Flora’s hand in hers, the flames engulfed the little flower fairy. The smell of burning skin was unmistakable, and so was Flora’s screams
She woke up with a voiceless scream, tears flowing freely down her face. Her body shook and she trembled, fear flooding her. Crystal rushed over to her side of the room, pulling Valkyrie close.
“Whoa… Whoa…. Val… Val… Magix to Val… You’re safe now… You’re at Cloud Tower and whatever you’re still seeing… It never happened.” Crystal kept the smaller witch close, letting Valkyrie feel that she was alive and well…
Valkyrie gasped for air, leaning into Crystal, sobbing softly. “Hey… Hey…. What’s wrong? What happened…? You usually don’t… Don’t cry…” Crystal played with Valkyrie’s purple hair, trying to soothe her.
Both cats jumped on Valkyrie’s bed, rubbing against her and purring, not stopping until Valkyrie started to pet them, her hands shaking as she did so. “I… I killed her.” Valkyrie whispered, moving away from the cats and Crystal, wiping at her eyes.
“You killed who?” Crystal asked, moving to grab some tissue. “Because last I checked… Your only body count was in demons and monsters.” She tried to joke, tried to make her friend laugh.
Valkyrie shook, her hands nearly missing the tissues as she tried to wipe away the tears and self-soothe. “Flora…” It was barely a whisper. A name she never wanted to say like that. “I killed Flora.”
Crystal frowned, sitting down on Valkyrie’s desk chair, getting in front of the younger witch. “Valkyrie… You’ve never hurt Flora. Flora is perfectly fine. In fact, she’s probably waking up right about now for breakfast.” Crystal handed Valkyrie her cellphone from the desk. “If you want to confirm it for yourself, text her. I’d say call but I don’t think you could handle that right now.”
Valkyrie gave a little nod, taking the phone and sending a quick ‘good morning’ text to Flora. The fear and the aching eased a bit when Flora immediately texted her back, a ‘good morning :)’ text. “Do you feel better?” Crystal asked. Valkyrie gave another nod, reaching for Cheshire.
The cat laid in her lap, purring and letting her stroke him. “Good…” Crystal placed a hand on Valkyrie’s shoulder. “Now you’re going to get up and get a shower… Wash your face and forget about that stupid nightmare. Flora is safe. You’re safe. We’re all safe…”
“Now remember class, we have our exam tomorrow. Pick your teams and try to bond with them between now and tomorrow… The better you feel together, the more effective you’ll be against our creatures.” Griffin clapped her hands in time with the bell. “Dismissed.”
Valkyrie was slow to grab her bag and books, still feeling exhausted and spooked from her nightmare. Griffin stopped her at the door. “Are you feeling okay, Valkyrie? You kept acting like you’d fall asleep in class…” Valkyrie swallowed.
“Nightmare… A bad one.” She looked to her mother, knowing she had dark circles from lack of sleep. “I… I guess I’m still feeling… Nauseous about it.” Griffin frowned.
“Is it anything you’d like to discuss?” Griffin asked. Valkyrie shook her head and waved her free hand.
“No thank you… I’d rather not get branded as a future psycho…” She forced a smile. “I’m sure I’ll be fine soon enough.” She made her way out of the classroom, pausing when she saw two familiar faces.
Lucy and Crystal. “Everything okay?” Crystal asked. She was still worried about Valkyrie, having not seen the younger witch cry in years.
“Peachy.” Valkyrie replied, looking between the two. “So… Do you two have partners for tomorrow’s exam yet, or can I claim you?” Valkyrie tried to change the subject. “I mean… Not permanently… But you know…”
Lucy chuckled. “We gotcha.” The green haired witch put an arm around Valkyrie and Crystal. “I think we’d make a great team. Crystal?”
Crystal gave a smile and nod. “Come on… Let’s do some ‘team bonding’. Maybe we could spring for a pizza and a movie?”
“And a little chaos?” Lucy added. Valkyrie gave a sigh.
“A little chaos… Nothing major. I don’t think I could handle that right now.” She admitted. Lucy frowned.
“You okay? I know you’ve been acting off all day…” Lucy told her. Valkyrie gave a shrug.
“I’m… Fine… Physically. Nightmares have been messing with me… Nothing major.” Valkyrie made herself smile. “Who wants to mess with some salon customers?”
“Messing with beauty queens? I like it.” Crystal snickered. Lucy gave a little stretch.
“Let’s see the havoc we can wreak.”
The salon was a grand idea. Those who were taken by their own looks ended up becoming their own horror show. Crone hair, untamable curls, color blendings that completely clashed. So many beauty queens (and kings) were shaken and teary eyed.
Valkyrie, Lucy, and Crystal couldn’t help but laugh about it at the pizzeria they’d stopped at. “You’d think they’d realize the spell only lasts a day.” Crystal laughed.
“People panic when their world’s turn upside down.” Lucy chuckled. Valkyrie shook her head.
“I still don’t get why people would spend so much time on their looks… If people weren’t impressed before a makeover, they wouldn’t be after.” Valkyrie ate a slice of her cheese pizza. “It’s all propaganda from the makeup and fashion industries anyway.”
Crystal groaned. “Oh here we go… Valkyrie’s fashion rant.” Lucy chuckled.
“We’ve all heard it before, Valkyrie.” Lucy reminded. Valkyrie shrugged.
“I’m just saying… If we all stopped caring too much about how we looked, so long as we looked clean, the happier we’d be. I mean, looks are only skin deep.” Valkyrie continued.
“I’m sure Stella would disagree with you.” Crystal teased. Valkyrie snorted.
“Stella can disagree with me all she wants. I’m not dating her anyway, that’s all Brandon.” Valkyrie reminded. Lucy laughed.
“That’s so true… Poor guy. She’s seems so high-maintenance.” Lucy laughed. Valkyrie shrugged.
“She is… But she comes by it honestly… At least she’s a generous beauty queen… According to Flora anyway…” Valkyrie took a drink from her soda. “Speaking of fairies… How are you and Mirta doing?”
“It’s kind of hard keeping up with each other since our class schedules seem to conflict… But we’re doing okay…” Lucy gave a slight flush. “At least I think we are.”
“Talking friend-wise or girlfriend wise?” Valkyrie asked. Lucy flushed deeper.
“We’re just friends!” The green haired witch told her. Valkyrie and Crystal shared a knowing look.
“Sure… I said the same thing before Flora and I started really talking.” Valkyrie teased.
“And Kota and I were friends long before we started dating…” Crystal gave a nudge to Lucy. “The only way to change things is to admit your feelings though… Do you want to change things?”
Lucy sighed, laying her head on the table. “I do… But… What if she doesn’t like me that way?”
“Oh please… Mirta’s in love with you. She wouldn’t have fought so hard for you to see the truth behind Icy, Darcy, and Stormy if she didn’t love you so much.” Valkyrie reminded her. Lucy gave a smile, raising her head.
“That’s right… So… I might have a chance?”
“Only one way to know for sure.” Valkyrie gestured to Lucy’s pockets. “Call her. Ask her out.”
“And then all will become known.” Crystal teased. Lucy gave a nod, grabbing her phone.
“I’ll be back…” She walked away from the table for privacy and Crystal and Valkyrie shared a laugh.
“Oh young love.”
“How romantic.” They laughed. Valkyrie took another bite of her pizza, her soul feeling like it’d been lifted.
A day like this was just what she needed to get over that nightmare. A day with friends… And a phone date with her girlfriend. Perfect.
Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen: Losing Control
- Losing Control
She watched from her window as several groups of witches left campus. There was a Witches’ Ball in celebration of Samhain, but Valkyrie hadn’t been feeling very celebratory…
Flora had left for Earth with her friends for some sort of “Halloween” adventure (whatever that was), Kota and Crystal were enjoying the night, and Morgan and Helia were gallivanting at the park.
That left Valkyrie at Cloud Tower with Cheshire and Patches. (And a few other students and teachers who didn’t leave for the ball for whatever reasons. Most likely due to the flu that had been going around.)
Valkyrie didn’t mind though, using the solitude to her advantage. She played her music as loud as she wanted, feeling the power in the lyrics. Cheshire and Patches twirled about, almost like they were dancing, making Valkyrie giggle at the pair.
“You guys… The steps are more like this…” She teased, starting up her own dance. The cats weaved around her legs, purring and enjoying the attention, and Valkyrie just laughed.
Valkyrie searched Cloud Tower’s kitchen cupboards, grinning when she’d found what she was looking for. The peanut butter. Perfect.
She reached for the jar, but stopped when she felt the change. The air around her began to chill, fast. “Hello?” She asked, turning around.
A little scurrying on the ceiling made her look up. She gave a smile, waving to the arachnoid spy monster. “You should get better at sneaking up on people… It’s bad business if we know where you are.”
“Poor little witchling, she’s so confused.” A familiar voice called. Valkyrie felt her blood chill as she turned toward the door, anger rising at just the voice.
“Show yourself Icy!” She hissed, making her way out of the kitchen. “I know you’re here.” She called out.
“Isn’t that sweet…? You must have been studying me to know me so well.” She heard the voice call. Down the hall this time.
Valkyrie glowered, running after the voice. “You’re not going to get away this time!” She growled, chasing.
“She’s so cute. She really thinks she can stop us all by herself.” Darcy’s voice called. Right outside the window. Valkyrie opened it up, hopping down to the courtyard. It wasn’t a long fall, just a few feet.
“Come and get us, little witch!” Stormy’s voice cackled. Valkyrie turned in the direction of the voices, chasing them down as fast as her short legs could carry her.
‘Something doesn’t feel right. Stop the chase. Regroup.’ Her dragon warned. Valkyrie kept running, ignoring him.
‘Can’t let them win. If they’re here, I’m going to stop them.’ Valkyrie was determined.
‘Then keep your eyes peeled… I feel a trap.’
The voices had led Valkyrie to the field, the full moon’s light giving it a more eerie feeling. Normally, Valkyrie would have enjoyed the atmosphere, but at the moment…
“Show yourselves!” Valkyrie yelled out. The field lights came on, a figure moving to the center. Valkyrie swore. “Seriously? Delores?” Valkyrie shook her head. “This some sort of joke? Because it’s sick.”
The redhead gave a smile, her eyes seeming to glow in dark. “Oh, Valkyrie… It was just too easy to lure you out… My mimic skills are pretty good, huh?” Delores laughed. Valkyrie rolled her eyes, crossing her arms.
“Fine. You got me. It’s funny. You know the entire magical dimension is worried about an impending attack by those bitches and you want to joke about it. Clever.” Valkyrie kept her distance. “Let’s get back to the castle before we get into trouble.”
Delores cackled. “You don’t get it do you? You’re already in trouble, My Queen.” Delores raised her hands and Valkyrie heard a familiar screech. The Shaa.
“You… You’re the one who-”
“Spelled the shapeshifter? Yes. I was trying to provoke your true nature out… But I suppose I’ll have to force it.” Delores backed away and Valkyrie quickly rolled to the ground to dodge an attack from the creature.
It gave one of its bloodcurdling screams, Valkyrie held her ears, trying to keep it from having another headache. She closed her eyes, letting her heat rise and the flames touch her palms. She shot her blasts at the creature, feeling relieved as it began to back up.
But it wasn’t done. It charged her and Valkyrie barely managed to get to the air. The Shaa turned, letting out its screech again. She put up a shield, groaning when she was knocked out of the air, crashing to the ground.
She forced herself to her feet, letting her dragon coil around her. “Dark Dragon’s Wrath!” Valkyrie’s dragon lashed out at the beast.
Valkyrie’s feet felt cold, ice encasing around legs, making her chill. Her onslaught attack stopped. The Shaa reared up, letting out another sonic screech.
This time it hit directly, shattering the ice and forcing Valkyrie into the bleachers, hard. She let out a whine as the concrete of the bleachers cut into her.
Claws wrapped around her, though they weren’t digging in as deep this time. Just securely holding her up. Valkyrie struggled against the beast, wincing as the claws sunk deeper into her skin. “Don’t worry, my baby won’t hurt you anymore… In fact, the only real danger here will be you.” Delores walked over, a vial in her hand.
Valkyrie glowered, kicking at the beast, trying to tap into her inner fire. “I don’t know what the hell you want from me, but I’m not giving it you.” She growled. Delores laughed, waving her hand over the vial.
“Don’t worry… You just have to stand there and look pretty.” Delores had the potion outside of the vial, manipulating it into the air. The liquid touched her skin, burning a bit. “Relax… This potion is just going to bring out your… Darker side. And then Lord Darkar will have the Queen he wants.”
Valkyrie struggled, but the claws holding her in place just sunk deeper, blood running down her arms. “You don’t want to do this!” She tried, panic rising as the liquid settled on her skin.
“Just relax, My Queen… Just relax.” Delores began to chant in a different language, and Valkyrie cried out when the liquid forced itself beneath her skin.
She could feel her body heating up, her vision darkening and her pulse rushing. Memories flashed in her head. Each death her dragon had every experienced, each betrayal of a former friend… His own keeper’s betraying him.
The anger and rage became too much, too fast, a dark aura overtaking her as Delores cackled. ‘She made a big mistake.’ Her dragon all-but gleamed to Valkyrie.
She slumped a bit against the beast, feeling the heat coil around her, the flames flickering in her veins. An aura of darkness surrounded her, melding into her, the negativity of Magix flowing all about.
“You should’ve learned this lesson from you master… Never play with forces you can’t control.” Valkyrie, no, her dragon, spoke, giving a twisted smile.
She let her body burn hotter and hotter, the beast letting her go, steam coming from its claws as it backed away. Valkyrie turned to face it, raising her hands. Pitch black flames swarmed the creature, burning it away.
Valkyrie turned face Delores. The redhead dropped to her knees, hands held high in praise. “My Queen, you are lovely in all your dark and powerful glory. I can feel your energy, your negativity. It’s so beautiful.”
Valkyrie glowered, raising her own hands. Her dragon coiled around her, manifesting itself and attacking the other witch, sending her flying into one of the light poles. Delores groaned, getting to her feet.
“You were right about me… I am the only dangerous one here.” Valkyrie walked over to her, her powers still pulsating. She sent another blast at Delores, watching the witch hit the ground again and again, steam coming from her. Delores writhed a bit, and Valkyrie struck her again, a smile twisting onto her features.
Delores wasn’t moving, but she was alive. Valkyrie could feel it. She raised her hands to create another blast, but she paused. ‘She’s down. We need to stop.’
‘But I can’t… I can’t stop… It burns too much… I have to expel this heat.’
‘We’ll kill her.’
‘We’ll die otherwise…’
She was struggling with the idea, wanting to simultaneously kill Delores and let her go. Her dark energy was trying to find a way out of her body, wanting to release itself. Demanded a release.
Valkyrie forced herself back, back to the center of the field. She screamed out as she felt the energy leaving her, taking the form of the dragon as it began shattering the lightbulbs in the field lights, making cracks in the bleachers, bending the trees around the field.
The energy found its way out, coming out in waves around field. And just as quickly as it started, it stopped.
Valkyrie felt everything in her body ache as she collapsed. She could hear voices coming for her, a sedative spell cast….. And then nothing… Nothing but the empty.
Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen: We're More Than This
- We’re More Than That
She was in the center of a dark room. Had to be a room, there was floor beneath her, not grass or sand or anything else. Just floor. Hardwood if she had to guess.
There was no light… No sound. A feeling of dread overcame her. “Hello? Hello?” She called, looking about.
Cackling. She could hear cackling around her. “Show yourself!” Valkyrie commanded, trying to keep her voice even. She tried to keep her cool, tried to stay calm. More cackling. But it was closer.
“Isn’t it wonderful…? Knowing just how powerful you can be? All you have to do is let go of all your inhibitions. Become the destroyer you were always meant to be.” One voice spoke. Familiar and taunting. Belladonna.
“You killed one of Darkar’s agents… Your first taste of blood. How does it feel, knowing you took a life?” Lysslis cackled.
“This is why we had you leashed, your powers were always so unpredictable.” Tharma laughed.
Valkyrie shook her head. “She’s not dead… I didn’t kill her.”
“Oh… But you did… You unleashed all that pent up rage and aggression… You stole her life… Didn’t it feel good?” Tharma cooed. The other two cackled.
Valkyrie fell to her knees, dizzy… Could she really…? Did she…? She could remember screams of pain… She could feel blood on her skin. Her power was out of control, she couldn’t stop the energy from leaving her… Not without imploding…
Tears began to streak down her face. “I killed her…”
“Yes you did… And you enjoyed it, didn’t you? You enjoyed taking her life, feeling it slip away from her.” Belladonna laughed.
“You’re one of us, always have been.” Lysslis taunted.
Valkyrie shook, the realization hitting… She did enjoy the thought of it, of killing the girl. She wanted Delores to suffer, she wanted to watch the life leave her eyes. Tears fell, her body shaking as it hit.
“No…. No… I…” But there was no use in defending herself, what was done was done.
“Your legacy is death and destruction, Valkyrie. You may have been named for the protectors of warriors, but you were born to destroy.” Belladonna laughed, placing her chilled hand on Valkyrie’s shoulder.
Valkyrie shoved her away, running from the other witches. She didn’t have to listen to them, couldn’t listen to them…
“I don’t know why you fight it, my dear. You’re meant to be the Queen of Death, the bringer of destruction. Don’t lie to yourself, feel that power surging through you. Stop fighting it. Embrace your destiny… Embrace us.” A skeletal creature with wings spoke. Okay, so it was the armor he wore that was skeletal.
He walked over to Valkyrie, extending a hand to her. Valkyrie growled, creating a ring of fire around her, keeping him away. He laughed, stepping back. “See…? I can feel that anger from here. Just give in, give up. Join your cousins. Join me.” He hummed, gesturing above the witch’s head.
She looked up, seeing Icy, Darcy, and Stormy cackling above her. “Come on, Valkyrie, give up already. Be one with us.” Darcy coaxed.
“Prove you’re not a loser. Embrace your full power.” Stormy cackled. Icy smirked.
“Be one of us, Valkyrie. Destroy the magical dimension. Help us rebuild it in our image. Be the ruling power.” Icy proposed.
The man, Argulus-Valkyrie guessed, walked through her flames, using his cape to protect him from burning. “Join our cause, Valkyrie. Do what you were born to do.”
Valkyrie growled, sending a wave of flames toward them. “I’m not going to destroy the realms. I’m not going to help you!” She yelled.
Argulus laughed. “Valkyrie. Sweet, lovely, Valkyrie… You’ve already tasted blood. Your dragon has truly awakened, tasting the destruction around it. You can’t fight destiny.” Valkyrie glowered.
“Watch me.” She sneered, sending one more blast of power toward them before running away. She needed to be alone, she needed to think…
“Stand up. There isn’t time to mourn or mope.” Her dragon snarled in her ear. She turned away from him, feelings of sorrow still raw, confusion messing with her thoughts.
“I killed her.”
“So they say. But can you ever believe a word from those hags? Or their granddaughters? I know you don’t believe Darkar.” Her dragon chastised her. “Come with me. I’ll show you members of your true family… I’ll prove to you that we’re not the monster everyone claims.” Valkyrie paused.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean your father may have sullied our reputation, but one bad apple does not mean the tree is spoiled.” Her dragon moved, sliding under her so she was riding on him. “I have much to show you.”
He flew with her, the walls becoming more and more illuminated as they went by. “I’ll start with the first… Queen Rhea. She was more stubborn than a Minotaur, but no one could find fault in her decisions. She had amazing intuition and her skills in battle were unmatched at the time. It’s why I picked her to reside with”
Valkyrie studied the woman’s portrait. The same woman from her vision months ago… A woman with long blonde hair and the coldest blue eyes.
Her dragon started up again, leading her down the rows. He’s stop long enough to explain what each did, how each leader changed their world. She felt pride, knowing that her past wasn’t all death and destruction.
“Don’t get me wrong, there were times of war. There will always be war where there is power… But your ancestors did the best they could to preserve the lives of those who were innocent and blameless.” Her dragon cautioned.
“Some may have been considered cruel in their acts. King Legioa was one such… Cruel king. He had no mercy when it came to war criminals or assassins. Nor did he have mercy against those who were… Unpleasant to dark magic users. He was one of the first who had to fight for equality between the light and dark realms.”
She looked at his image, amazed at how young he looked despite the reputation he had. King Legioa shared the cold blue eyes. His hair was brown, cut short with a neatly trimmed beard. He wore the crown and the regal purple robes of Obsidian.
Her dragon led her further down the hall, to the last image.
“King Jordan was passionate for justice and truth. With my power and my assistance, he had the most peaceful reign… No one wanted to risk retribution at his hands.” He paused. “He was also the last of royals… Your grandfather.”
Valkyrie studied this portrait long and hard. This king, her grandfather, had short dirty blonde hair and the same cold blue eyes she had. He had a goatee and wore the garment with their crest, their birthmark, the coiled dark dragon.
“What about my father…?”
“He is the only one not here. He doesn’t deserve a place within your history. All he did was tarnish us, turned us into a boogeyman to scare young children.” Her dragon seethed. “If your father hadn’t fallen for the Ancestral Witches and their ploys… They wouldn’t fear us as they do. And we wouldn’t be the symbol of death and destruction.”
Valkyrie got off his back, walking up to the portrait. “How do you know I’m not like my father?” Valkyrie asked him. Her dragon gave a rumbling laugh.
“You may be his child, but you have your mother’s will. And she proved her will was stronger than the one those hags had. She openly defied them and lived to tell about it. And you, my dear, are your mother’s daughter.” He began to coil around Valkyrie, his heat melding into her.
“You are your mother’s daughter… And you are my keeper… Together… We’re more than what they made us.” He spoke, his voice lilting a bit, as if he was reciting a spell. “We are more than what wish us to be.”
“We’re alive. We made it.” Valkyrie felt herself saying, unaware of where those words even came from…
She woke up with a bit of start. Her vision was blurry, but she could see blobs of color around her. She was laid down on something a bit uncomfortable, one of infirmary beds if she had to guess.
There was something over her face, making her breathe in some sort of aromatic potion. It had a sweet scent too it, but it made her unable to speak. “Valkyrie… I want you to calm down. I can see that panicked look… You need to relax.” Her mother’s voice spoke.
Valkyrie breathed in deeply at that, her body relaxing. One of the blobs near her placed something on her face… Her glasses.
Flora was by her side, teary-eyed but smiling. Morgan and Helia had taken over one end of the couch in the room, Palladium and Salvador on the other. Kota and Crystal were on the floor, and her grandmother was in the chair. Her mother was at her side, looking relieved. (And about two years older… Worry aged people…)
“You’re under aromatic therapy right now… Morgan, Professor Palladium, and I found a potion combination that would counteract the one you were… Administered. Granted, I had to go to Eraklyon for one of the flowers… But it was all worth it.” Flora squeezed her hand. “And I promise to tell you all about it, later.”
“You had us worried.” Crystal spoke accusingly. “When we found you at the field… We thought…” Crystal shook her head, wiping at the tears in her eyes. “We thought we’d lost you, Val…”
“But that was some fight you put up… You completely destroyed Cloud Tower’s training field.” Morgan told her, leaning into Helia. “Of course… It’ll be fixed in no time…”
Valkyrie gestured to the mask and Flora carefully took it off. “What about Delores? Did you catch her? Did…” She couldn’t bring herself to ask.
“What you fought wasn’t Delores Pendragon… The real Delores has been on Tides this entire time. Apparently her parents divorced and she was planning on going to Coventry Academy to be near her mother. But for some reason, we never got the letter.” Griffin glared.
“Then what was I fighting?” Valkyrie asked, her mind spinning.
“A minion for Lord Darkar… One of his shadow creatures. We don’t know what he wanted with you, but he was desperate.” Salvador explained.
“Though we suspect it has to do with your powers. The Dragon Fire may be key into getting inside of Realix.” Palladium offered.
“Apparently the original plan was to become your friend, but we all know how frigid you can be to outsiders.” Crystal told her. “So she wanted to drive you crazy enough to snap…” Valkyrie groaned, rubbing her head.
Everything ached and this was… A nightmare. “So… That potion she gave me?”
“Was an inhibition potion… It’s meant to make you blur the lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’… Though from what we could see, you tried to fight it.” Kota told her.
“Which is admirable… Considering it was applied directly into your bloodstream.” Theodora stood. “How are you feeling, dear?”
“Sore… Confused…” She frowned. “What day is it anyway?” Everyone in the room paused. “What day is it…? How much time did I miss?”
“Two weeks…” Flora whispered. “Two weeks.” Valkyrie laid back, trying to wrap her head around everything.
“I’m so behind aren’t I…?”
“You were just attacked, nearly died on us, and you’re worried about school work?” Helia asked, uncharacteristically upset. He shook a bit. “Valkyrie… You had us all scared.”
She gave a weak smile. “I get that… and I’m sorry… I am…. But I’d like to know how behind or not behind I am… Please…? I… I have to have something… Normal to think about.”
Griffin shook her head. “Any and all work you missed will be made up before we leave for Yule… I promise. Right now though, try and focus on recovering.”
“Yeah, after the time you’ve had, you need to rest.” Crystal gave her a look. “Or else.” Valkyrie was about to retort something when they heard excited voices coming to the room.
Two little pixies burst in. One had her strawberry blonde hair pulled into pigtails, wearing a green outfit. The other looked a bit like a court jester. Both were carrying a bag. “I’m glad to see you’re awake.” Chatta told Valkyrie.
“See… I predicted that she’d live. And she did.” Jolly jumped up and down. Griffin gestured to the bag.
“Do I even want to know what’s in there?” She asked. Jolly grinned.
“We went to Cloud Tower and a bunch of Valkyrie’s witch friends left little cards for her.” Jolly giggled. Valkyrie winced.
“If any of those are screamers, I will be making challenges.” Valkyrie half-threatened. Crystal snorted.
“The hell you will.” Crystal told her.
“Language.” Griffin chastised. Chatta chuckled.
“Well, it’s not just from Cloud Tower students… Bloom and the other girls wanted to send you some love to.” Chatta landed on the arm of the bed. “You’re pretty popular for a witch.” Chatta teased.
Flora kissed her cheek. “I’m just glad she’s okay.” She whispered, playing with her hair. “We were all so worried…”
Valkyrie flushed. “I’m really sorry… I am… I just…” She paused. “I thought I heard Icy, Darcy, and Stormy outside Cloud Tower… I didn’t want them to get… the codex… So I went to fight them and…”
“It turned out to be an illusion…?” Morgan supplied. “It happens.”
“Yeah… Lord Darkar is a real nasty with his tricks. He tried to eat us, you know?” Chatta huffed.
Salvador gave a sigh. “Darkar was always… Bad news…”
“At least this portion is behind us.” Theodora tried to change the subject. “I heard you’ll be discharged soon enough.” Valkyrie smiled.
“I’ll be glad…” She paused. “I didn’t miss Musa’s concert… Did I?” Flora laughed.
“Oh no… That’s at the end of the month. You’re not going to miss that.” Flora promised. Valkyrie smiled.
“Good… I kind of gave my word to a very pretty fairy that I’d be there… Do you know her?” Valkyrie teased. Flora smiled.
“I might.” Crystal shook her head.
“Gag me.” Crystal taunted. Valkyrie shot her a smile.
“And now you know I felt being third wheel for you and Kota all these years.” She teased. The group couldn’t help but laugh, needing that release from the past two weeks.
Valkyrie sighed as she laid back on the bed. They wanted to keep her over one more night for observation. Flora had permission from Faragonda and Griffin to stay, and she was laid back on the couch near the bed, telling Valkyrie about her Eraklyon adventure with Bloom.
“I still can’t believe King Erendor was so… rude about the Haideis Lotus. You’d think as a King he’d want to save lives.” Flora huffed, crossing her arms. “I gave him a stern talking too.” Valkyrie smirked.
“Really now? I’d have loved to see that.” Valkyrie chuckled. Chatta shook her head, standing on the table near Valkyrie’s bed.
“You wouldn’t have. She was actually really scary. But she made some really good points and Prince Sky was adamant about standing by her.” Chatta admitted. Valkyrie smirked.
“What did you say?” Valkyrie asked, looking to Flora. The fairy flushed, placing a hand to her mouth.
“Honestly… I don’t even remember… I just know I was pushed past my limit and we were nearing the two week mark of you fighting for your life and I was so angry… And scared.” Flora admitted. “All I remember is Bloom having to hold me back and Chatta pulling on my hair while Sky and Brandon finished… Sealing the deal.”
“She’s lucky we didn’t get banned from Eraklyon.” Chatta hummed. “But at least we now know how King Erendor feels about dark magic.”
“He’s always been like that… He never could trust a witch, even if a witch saved his life.” Griffin spoke, entering the room with a bag. Valkyrie took a deep breath and groaned.
“Did you go to that Zentihian place? Because that’s what it smells like.” Valkyrie looked over to her mother. Griffin chuckled.
“I made sure to grab enough for us all. Even you, Chatta.” Griffin looked to the pixie. Chatta grinned.
“I might could get used to this.” Chatta flew over. Valkyrie started moving to get up, Flora coming over to help.
“Easy… You took a hard fall out there.” Flora reminded her. “And you’ve not used your legs in a bit.”
Valkyrie gave a sigh. “But I have to get to the food…” She whined. Griffin shook her head.
“What did I tell you about whining? Witches don’t whine.” Griffin teased.
“No, we witch. And I will start witching.” Valkyrie snarked. “I have been IV fed for two weeks. I’m starving for real food.” The others gave a laugh, Flora kissing her cheek.
“Patience is a virtue.” Flora teased.
“But it’s not the one I have.”
Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen: Making Up
- Making Up
Valkyrie collapsed on her bed, exhausted. Cheshire laid beside her, nudging her every so often. “I love you, Ches… I do… But right now… I need a nap… Or twelve…” Her door opened and she slowly rose up. “Can I help you?” She asked.
Crystal laughed, waving for Valkyrie to lay back down. “Don’t be so salty… I’m just grabbing my books so I can head for the library.” She looked her friend over. “Please tell me you didn’t just cram two weeks’ worth of make-up work into one week.”
“I won’t tell you then.” Valkyrie muttered. “But you know damn well I can’t handle being behind on anything…”Crystal shook her head.
“Type A Wiatch… That’s going to get you… Hurt one day.” Crystal nagged. No one made death jokes around her… Not after what had happened during Samhain.
But at least her friends were beginning to loosen back up… Valkyrie hated being treated like glass. Hated it.
“I stand by my decisions. They may not be the best, but I stand by them.” Valkyrie closed her eyes. “At least now I don’t have to worry about working over Yule…”
“Like I said, Type A Wiatch.” Crystal teased. “But seriously…. How are you feeling power-wise? I know you took a major drainage…”
Valkyrie held up her right hand, a little flame in the palm. “I’m good. Still much too hot to handle.” She joked. Crystal snickered.
“If you say so.” She walked over to her side of the room and grabbed her books. “I’ll be in the library if you need me… Try not to get lured into the woods by crazy voices this time.” Valkyrie gave a wink.
“Only if they sound like Flora.” Valkyrie teased. Crystal rolled her eyes and flipped off her friend. “I don’t think Kota or Flora would appreciate that!” Valkyrie joked, snickering to herself as Crystal closed the door.
(Okay… So she was deflecting with humor… But in her defense, if she didn’t deflect it… She’d go into hysterical crying fits again… And it was bad enough breaking down inside her head, but in the real world? No thank you.)
She was woken up by the sound of knocking on her door. Loud and harsh… Lucy. “I’m coming!” She spoke, still half asleep from her nap. She rubbed her eyes and grabbed her glasses, getting to her feet and opening the door.
“Normally I’d let you power nap, but I found this and thought I should bring it to you.” Lucy smiled, stepping aside to reveal Flora. The flower fairy gave a wave, a little basket in her hands.
“You always talk about how nice Cloud Tower’s courtyard is… I thought we could have a picnic? If you’re feeling up to it…” Flora gave a smile. Valkyrie grinned.
“Sure… Come in and let me get ready.” She opened her door more, letting Flora inside. She turned to Lucy, giving the taller witch a side hug. “Thanks for bringing her.” She whispered.
“Don’t mention it… It gives me brownie points with Mirta.” Lucy winked. Valkyrie smiled.
“Cute. We should double date.”
“One day.” Lucy waved at her. “But I’m stuck studying right now… See ya later.” She winked, walking off.
Valkyrie shut her door, laughing at how Cheshire was curled into Flora’s lap. “Now that’s my place.” She teased. The cat raised his head and gave a mew, laying back down.
“Poor baby…” Flora giggled. “He just wants a little love.”
“Con artist.” Valkyrie pointed at Cheshire. “He is a con artist. Not a baby.”
“Baby.” Flora insisted, petting the tuxedo cat. “Just a little kitty.” She teased.
They set up under the willow tree, enjoying the cool, crisp air and the solitude. “You’re right… This is a beautiful little hideaway…” Flora agreed, taking a bite from her sandwich. “Though I bet could I could spruce it up just a bit.”
“Don’t… This is a witch school… Dark realm plants thrive here, but light realm plants… Not so much.” Valkyrie warned, taking a sip from her lemonade. “Man this is sour… Did Chatta help?” Valkyrie teased. Flora chuckled.
“She wanted to try her hand… And I couldn’t tell the poor thing ‘no’. Could I?” Flora kissed her temple. “Are feeling more like yourself?” She asked.
“I’m feeling better than have in days… Though I did complete my assignments ahead of schedule…” Valkyrie admitted. She winced as Flora elbowed her.
“You shouldn’t work yourself so hard…”
“I know. I know… But I couldn’t stop myself.” Valkyrie whined. “I had to finish it… And now that I’m finished, I feel so at peace…” Flora sighed, setting her sandwich down and wrapping her arms around Valkyrie.
“We’re going to have a long talk about proper rest and relaxation.” Flora whispered. “But for now… I’m just glad you’re at peace and that you’re okay.” Valkyrie leaned into Flora, sensing something a bit deeper there. Worry. Concern.
Valkyrie moved from Flora’s hold, swapping them out so Flora was laying more on her instead. “Flora… Tell me what you were feeling those two weeks that I was out of it… I…” She paused. “I know it had to have been painful… I know it was a living hell for me, being visited by those three hags and Lord Darkar himself at one point… But for you… And for my family and friends… I have no idea what you went through.”
“And… I want to help… But I can’t help if I don’t know.” Valkyrie rambled, feeling herself flushing. “I know… I suck at feelings… but… I’m trying.” She felt tears on her shoulder and dainty arms pulling her close, holding her tight.
Flora was sobbing and Valkyrie held her close, rubbing her back and playing with her hair, trying to soothe her. “I thought… I thought you’d died… And that I’d never get… That you’d never speak to us again or joke at us or… Anything… I…” Flora’s voice sounded destroyed and all Valkyrie wanted was to make it better.
She kissed the fairy softly, wiping at her tears. “I thought we’d lost you… I kept going to Bloom during the day to use her connection to you make sure you were still alive… I… I must have left a dozen texts to your cousin…. Not to mention the calls to Crystal and Ms. Griffin…” Flora started calming down a bit, the worst behind her.
“And the thought of losing you was so strong and so painful…. But the worst of it for me is that… That you would have died without knowing…” Flora bit her lip, pulling Valkyrie to her. The fairy kissed her, softly, reverently… Like it would have been a last kiss.
“I love you.” Flora whispered when she pulled away, the words brushing at Valkyrie’s lips. “I love you and I needed you to know.”
Valkyrie wrapped Flora in her arms as best she could, letting the fairy lay on her. “I love you too, Flora. And I’m so sorry if I hurt you.” Valkyrie held her tight. “But I don’t want you to worry about losing me anymore… I’m not going anywhere.”
Flora hummed. “You better not.” Flora warned, her voice sharper than usual. “I don’t think I could handle it.” She leaned up to kiss Valkyrie again, wiping at her eyes. “We should finish our picnic… We don’t want ants taking it.”
Valkyrie smiled. “I think I could still eat.” She let Flora go, but kept a hand on her. “Especially if it’s your treat.” She teased.
“Don’t you have a love story for the ages?” Crystal teased, finishing up with her nails. She’d painted them a neon green for Musa’s concert. “I bet it’ll be adorable.” She laughed.
Valkyrie gave a smirk. “You’re jealous mine’s prettier than yours.” She chuckled. “I mean, much prettier.”
“Kota’s pretty… He’s just a bit shaggy.” Crystal snickered. “But you know me, I like them shaggy.”
“That you do.” Valkyrie taunted. “You know, I heard Mirta and Lucy are on their second date… Think it’s going well?”
“I hope so… They’re supposed to have went bowling with Rubis and Bishop.” Valkyrie frowned.
“I really did miss everything didn’t I?” She swore. “Damn. You go into one two-week coma, and everyone starts dating.”
Crystal shook her head. “That’s what you get for going out alone on Samhain.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“Next time I think my murderous pseudo cousins are after the codex, I’ll totally wait for everyone to return from their party.” Valkyrie snipped.
“Or alert Professor Zarathustra to a possible intrusion like a normal student would.” Crystal snickered. Valkyrie huffed.
“But that’s just the problem isn’t it… I’m not normal…” She sighed. “But… I do have Flora admitting she loves me… So that’s a good thing in my life. And I’ve finished my make-up work… So another point in my favor.” Valkyrie joked. Crystal sighed.
“One of these days you’re going to joke to the wrong person…” Crystal shook her head. “One of these days…”
Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty: Magic In My Heart
- Magic in My Heart
“Valkyrie!” Flora rushed over, hugging the purple-haired witch. “I’m glad you made it.” She flushed a bit when Griffin and Crystal had walked over. “And it’s good to see you, Ms. Griffin… And Crystal.” She gave a nervous laugh, Valkyrie still in her arms.
Valkyrie chuckled. “You’re here early.”
“I was helping Musa with the stage…” Flora admitted. Griffin paused.
“I thought Ho-Boe gave her an ultimatum…?” Griffin asked. Flora gave a slow nod.
“Musa said she’s going to honor her mother, that it’s what she would have wanted. So we all helped prep the stage to support her.” Flora took Valkyrie’s hand. “But when I saw Cloud Tower students arriving…”
“You rushed over? How cute.” Crystal teased. “But that’s to be expected.” She crossed her arms, looking around. “You haven’t seen Kota anywhere, have you?”
“He and Helia are practicing a stunt together… Something about combined magic and heroics? Morgan’s helping them out…” Flora gestured down the way. The sound of an explosion made all the ladies wince.
“Yep… That’s my Kota.” Crystal gave a laugh. “He’s nearly as danger prone as Valkyrie.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“I’ve been good at staying out of trouble.” Valkyrie argued. Crystal snorted.
“This week, maybe… Tell her, Headmistress.” Crystal moved her hand in a presenting motion. “Valkyrie is danger prone.”
“I have to disagree, purely because of word choice… Valkyrie isn’t danger prone, that would imply she just happens upon trouble, which she doesn’t. No… Valkyrie is a bit of a trouble-maker and rebel rouser.” Griffin smirked. “Which isn’t a bad thing… but it does lead to sticky situations…”
“Not to mention the near-death situations.” Chatta flew over, arms crossed. “You really should be more careful, Valkyrie. Flora was so scared, Piff had to help her sleep at night.” Valkyrie felt herself shrink.
“I’m sorry… I thought I was protecting Cloud Tower… My mistake.” Valkyrie tried to wave them off. “But in my defense, any of you would have done the same thing I did.” She looked at Griffin. “I know you would have. Nana finally told me about that suicide mission to Obsidian… Your ‘trial’? Not cool, Mom. Not cool.”
Griffin groaned, rubbing her temple a bit. “I’m going to have to have another chat with my mother it seems…” She looked to Flora. “Is Headmistress Faragonda here yet? I’m going to need to speak with her and Saladin…”
“I think they’re giving Musa’s dad the tour of Red Fountain…” Flora gestured to the east wing. “Last I saw, they were heading that way.”
Griffin gave a nod, looking to Crystal and Valkyrie. “Find your seats and try to stay out of trouble.” She warned, walking off.
Crystal chuckled. “I’m going over to help Morgan keep Kota and Helia from blowing up. You guys have fun.” Crystal winked.
Flora took Valkyrie’s hand, lacing their fingers. “Let’s go find our seats. I’d hate for them to get taken.” Valkyrie leaned against Flora.
“Lead me on, my Dear.” Valkyrie chuckled. Chatta cooed above them, flying just ahead.
“You two are so cute… I take back everything I said at first.” Chatta chuckled. Valkyrie gave a pretend shocked look.
“You said bad things about me? Oh Chatta, that breaks my heart.” Valkyrie teased, unable to keep from snickering. Flora playfully nudged her as they walked toward the stadium.
“Chatta was just concerned about you being a witch.” Flora explained. “But let’s face it, Valkyrie, witches just have a bad rep… And it doesn’t help that Icy, Darcy, and Stormy are out there.”
“No it doesn’t.” Valkyrie frowned. They made it to their seats and sat down, Valkyrie looking toward her feet.
“Did I tell you I was thinking of storming ShadowHaunt? After that little attack from Lord Darkar, I’ve been thinking of paying him back…” Flora crossed her arms and gave a stern look.
“Valkyrie Edna Sylvane, you will not be going to ShadowHaunt.” She carefully jabbed Valkyrie in the shoulder, her good shoulder. “Alone, anyway.” She softened a bit. “We’ll go together and face Lord Darkar. But we’ll do it when the time is right.”
Valkyrie grinned at Flora, studying the brunette’s face. She had a soft heart-shaped face, the most dazzling jade eyes, and talking about storming ShadowHaunt together… Valkyrie cupped Flora’s face, pulling her in for kiss.
“I’m pretty sure I’m in love with you.” Valkyrie whispered to Flora when they parted, foreheads touching. Flora flushed, giggling a bit.
“Pretty sure I’m in love with you too…” She wrapped an arm around Valkyrie. “But I was being serious… The girls will get restless not knowing what Darkar is going to do next, which means we’ll be planning an attack against him.”
“And when that happens, I want in.” Valkyrie clasped her hand in Flora’s. “Any danger you’re facing? I’m facing too.”
“Same here.” A voice called from behind. Morgan gave a wave, plopping down beside Valkyrie. “Darkar can’t stop us all.” She winked. “Besides, it’s kinda personal for me now. He went after my cousin.” She placed a hand on Valkyrie’s shoulder. “And we Sylvane’s can’t stand for that.”
“Not in the family, but I feel you. If we’re going to rock Darkar’s world, I’m in.” Crystal took her seat just behind Valkyrie and Flora. “I’m pretty sure ShadowHaunt could use a few chrysalises around anyway.”
Flora laughed. “Awww… That’s sweet. Very ominous and threatening, but the gesture is lovely.”
“You’ll find that most from Rancor are like that, Flora.” Palladium took his seat just ahead of Valkyrie, Salvador joining him, wrapping an arm around his husband.
“Yeah, we have a bit of a twisted sense of family. You’ll get used to it. Palla did.” Salvador chuckled, kissing Palladium’s cheek. Both Valkyrie and Morgan rolled their eyes.
“Get a room, Uncles.”
“Dads…. Please behave. Or I’ll get Aunt Griffin.” Morgan threatened. The group gave a laugh as the men shook their heads.
“I’m not scared of my little sister, Morgan.” Salvador reminded her. Palladium snorted, putting a tad of distance between him and Salvador.
“I am… Just a tad. You forget I’ve been on the opposing side to her before.” He paused. “Though between her and Griselda… I’m not sure who I fear more…” Valkyrie hummed.
“Probably my mom… Aunt Griselda’s never gotten lethal before. Mom sort of has… On a technicality… Do demons count toward a body count?” Valkyrie asked.
“Sounds like a question for Professor Pandora… She’s better at that kind of thing.” Crystal added, leaning back in her seat.
After the initial shock and snickering about Codatorta in a suit, the event took off. Sky and Brandon started it off with their fire dance and Valkyrie… Was so tempted to mess with them.
“How mad would Bloom or Stella be if I just… Singed them a little? Just a little…?” Valkyrie whispered.
“Very.” Flora leaned in Valkyrie, taking the witch’s hands in hers. “Here… Idle hands are often a danger. “She teased. “I’ll keep them from making trouble.”
Valkyrie turned her head, giving a chuckle. “Listen at you, all smooth talking…” She kissed Flora, chuckling as she pulled away. “I may sneak you off later.” She nudged.
“Behave.” Flora whispered, nudging back. “Look, its Kota and Helia.”
“Valkyrie, so help me if you mess with them.” Morgan hissed from the side. Valkyrie waved her cousin off.
“I’m not doing anything. Flora’s got one hand under lock down and I’m pretty sure one-handed magic isn’t enough for pranks.” She turned her to attention to the stage.
She was actually amazed at how well Helia and Kota were doing. Kota was creating obstacles and hoops for Helia to maneuver around using his laser glove and agility. All in all, not a bad show…
The real performance however, was next.
Codatorta took the stage, giving a smile. “Next up is a lass from Alfea. She’s a talented fairy and an even more talented musician. Ladies and gentlemen, I give ye, Musa Kai!” Codatorta turned toward the curtain, hand extended.
Musa came out, guitar strapped on and hands in the air. She looked at home on the stage, like she’d waited her whole life for this. (She looked pretty good too, if Valkyrie were honest. The hat and baggy pants suited Musa’s persona all too well.)
“Okay guys, I was going to try for a rock thing… but… I had a better idea.” Musa admitted, carefully clasping her hands around the mic. “I wanted to share a personal song… The first one my dad ever wrote for my mom. Magic in My Heart.”
The fairy strummed a bit on her guitar, swaying as she got her voice. An enchanted hush fell over the crowd as Musa sang, each note hitting a new wave of emotion.
Flora laid her head on Valkyrie’s shoulder, sniffling just a bit. “How romantic…” Valkyrie kissed the top of her head.
“It’s beautiful.” She whispered, finding herself swaying with Musa’s tune. The standing ovation Musa had after was incredible.
Lightning struck randomly in the center and Musa’s father was on the ground, Stormy looming over him. “Nobody move or I’ll shock him enough to stop his heart.” Stormy threatened.
Valkyrie tensed up, everything in her screaming to fight. “No. We can’t risk it.” Flora whispered to her. Valkyrie shook.
“But there’s more of us than there are her. We can make a rush…” Valkyrie argued.
“Not with Musa’s dad on the line. He’s all she has left.” Morgan reminded, taking her own hold of Valkyrie.
Everybody was at a standstill, unsure of what to do. “Now Musa. Be a good daughter and come take your daddy’s place.” Stormy ordered, cackling.
Musa glared, but paused, grabbing her mic. “Everyone, sing with me. Make some noise.” Her voice pleaded. She led the charge, starting up a melody.
Valkyrie gave a confused look to Flora. The brunette’s face lit up. “Do as she says… Musa gets her power from music… The more music, the more power she has.” Flora explained. Crystal shrugged.
“I’ve seen crazier things happen.” Crystal closed her eyes and began to sway, doing her best to sing the scales along with Musa.
Morgan and Jolly shared a look, starting up their own song. Flora took Valkyrie’s hand, a soft hum coming from her. Valkyrie started up her part, trying to keep her voice in time with the others.
Palladium and Salvador did a harmony portion, swaying time. Stormy was visibly becoming confused and shaken. Valkyrie smirked, determined to keep going.
Riven could be seen going up and down the aisles, getting more and more people to join in Musa’s mish-mashed song.
Soon the fairy shifted into her wings, her hands conjuring up the most powerful sonic waves Valkyrie had ever heard (or seen). They sent Stormy straight into the air, across the whole realm. Musa laughed into the mic. “Ladies and gentlemen, Stormy has left the building.”
“So why was Stormy being so… Petty? I mean… Stopping a concert for revenge against Musa?” Crystal snorted, laying back on her bed. “That’s a bit junior high.”
“You’re telling me.” Valkyrie stretched, moving to lay down. Cheshire gave a mewl at being moved, but quickly curled up beside Valkyrie, ready to snooze. “According to Flora, Musa thwarted Stormy’s solo attempt at getting Alfea’s codex.”
“Sounds like Stormy shouldn’t be by herself.” Crystal snickered. “Girl can’t be trusted to do a simple job.”
“More like, she can’t resist letting people know that she’s performing a job… Stormy always needed attention… I mean, Icy was the powerful one and Darcy had the looks… It’s no wonder Stormy has the attitude… She needs to be noticed.” Valkyrie set her glasses down. “Simple psychology really.”
“Sounds like you’ve been taking lessons from your own shrink.” Crystal laughed. Valkyrie sighed.
“Discorda isn’t a psychology pixie… She just finds it interesting…” She closed her eyes. “Besides… Mom told me that I had to speak to someone about my near death experience, so I picked the one person who was less likely to repeat a word I said… Discorda.”
“Isn’t that mostly because she doesn’t care as long as no one is getting hurt?” Crystal asked. Valkyrie hummed.
“Still worrisome though. You need to get your head straight about what happened…” Crystal paused. “We don’t want to lose you.” Valkyrie started to pet Cheshire, curling around him.
“If it helps… I’m writing things down too… Maybe one day I can sell it as my memoir. Hearing Dragons In My Head. Great title right?” Valkyrie half-joked. Crystal groaned.
“You need to work on your material.” Crystal moved on her bed, rolling over. Valkyrie snorted.
“You just don’t understand my genius.” She yawned. “Night, Crys…”
“Night Val… And please… Try to dream of better jokes.” Crystal teased, clapping her hands. The lights went out, and Valkyrie gave a hum, still stroking her cat’s fur, focusing on how warm he was.
Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One: That Time of Year
- That Time of Year
Vines sprouted out of the ground, wrapping tightly around Crystal’s legs, holding her in place. Valkyrie kept a shield up, rushing over to her friend. “Want a little help?”
“Cover Lucy! I’ve got this!” Crystal gave a smile. “Trust me.” Valkyrie shrugged.
“If you say so.” She turned back to their opponents. Lucy was doing well, her insects were making Tabitha wig out, unable to keep her duplicates operational. Gerbera was controlling the vines holding to Crystal.
And Sabrina had to be here somewhere… Zzbbab! Valkyrie fell to the ground, feeling the electricity running through her system. “Kind of shocking isn’t it?” Sabrina chuckled. Valkyrie quickly dodged the next round of lightning, letting herself heat up.
“Not really into puns these days… Try that joke again next year.” Valkyrie fired a blast of dark fire energy. Sabrina snickered, easily dodging the fire ball.
“You missed.” Valkyrie smirked.
“Did I?” She gestured to the vines now on fire, giving Crystal enough leeway to escape and power her crystals back up. Sabrina glared.
“That was a dirty trick.” Electricity bounced off her. “I don’t like being played!” She created a ball of lightning, sending it toward Valkyrie. The purple haired witch created a shield, deflecting the ball into Tabitha.
The duplication witch screeched out, falling to the ground. Sabrina’s eyes got big, Gerbera turning on her. “Watch where you’re aiming!”
“I was aiming for Valkyrie!” They started to argue. Valkyrie motioned for Lucy and Crystal to join her, extending her hands to them.
“United we stand.” She reminded them. Lucy took her hand.
“United we stand.” The green haired witch let her energy merge with Valkyrie’s.
“United we stand.” Crystal took Valkyrie’s other hand, her energy merging with theirs. All three witches closed their eyes, channeling their powers.
A crystalized dragonfly materialized, making quick work of Sabrina and Gerbera. The shield went down, claps and cheers erupting from the crowd. “You all did well, but the match goes to Valkyrie, Lucy, and Crystal.” Griffin commented.
“Now… Even though you all did well…. I’m taking points from both teams. Gerbera, Tabitha, Sabrina. Fighting amongst yourselves is a clear sign of disconnect. A coven works in harmony.” Griffin chastised before turning to the other three.
“And while dividing to conquer may sound like a good idea, it seldom is. There is power in numbers.” She waved her hands, a healing wave washing over the girls, revitalizing them. “To your seats.”
Valkyrie, Lucy, and Crystal took theirs opposite of Tabitha, Sabrina, and Gerbera. “Good fight, guys. Your times are getting scary good.” Crystal extended a hand to Gerbera.
Gerbera grinned. “You guys are doing amazing too… I can’t wait to see what you guys pull off next.”
“Just try to be easier on your redirect. Lightning burns like crazy.” Tabitha winced, rubbing at her back. “I don’t know how you took Stormy’s, Val.”
Valkyrie shrugged. “Thick skin? Thicker head? I honestly don’t know, myself…” She looked to Sabrina. “You mad?”
“Disappointed. But it’s fine. I’ll get you eventually.” The witch smirked. “And you’ll be sorry.” Lucy chuckled.
“Good luck on that one.”
Valkyrie double-checked her bags before sending them into her pocket dimension. “I can’t believe Yule is so close…”
“I can’t believe you nearly died twice in one semester. That’s a new record.” Crystal commented. Valkyrie frowned.
“You’re going to harp on that for the rest of the year, aren’t you?” Valkyrie asked. Crystal gave a nod and Valkyrie swore. “Crystal… I didn’t ask to be attacked. Okay? That first time, I was doing an assignment for a teacher and that… Shadow thing created the monster. The second time I was trying to protect the codex from what I thought was Icy, Darcy, and Stormy.”
She looked down, wrapping her arms around herself. “And I hate having to keep apologizing for those events… I never planned them. I never went out of my way to have those fights.” Crystal gave a bit of a sigh and walked over, pulling the smaller witch into a hug.
“I know… I know… I just…” The brunette sighed, pushing back strands of her hair, green eyes tearing up a bit. “I keep having nightmares that you did die… Or worse… Darkar managed to corrupt your spirit and we had to fight you. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to try and kill your best friend, even if it’s just a nightmare?”
Valkyrie held her friend tight. “Crystal… I’m okay. We’re okay.” She swallowed. “You know… Writing down what happened to me during my little coma trip down my dragon’s memory lane… Really helped me…? Maybe writing would help you?”
Crystal snorted, wiping at her eyes. “That’s your thing, babe. Mine’s crafting…” She waved her hand, showcasing new crystalized jewelry she’d created. “I’ve been working on these off and on all year… Some of my better ones,” she brought up a red crystal shaped into roses on a head band, “I came up with while you were out cold… Helped keep my hands from being idle…”
She gave a laugh. “I had to keep busy too… Because any time I had a free moment, I’d think of stealing Kota’s levibike and navigator to head into ShadowHaunt on my own…” Crystal paused. “And I wasn’t alone in that thought… I mentioned it to Flora once, and had it not been for your uncle discovering that Eraklyon plant for you aromagic therapy… We probably would have went down there.”
Valkyrie shook her head, trying not to laugh at the image of her best friend and girlfriend storming the cliffs of ShadowHaunt. “That’s quite the image, I’ve got to say…” Crystal laughed.
“Yeah… It was mostly talk though… Made us feel better… Gave us something else to think about it.” She took Valkyrie’s hand. “Just… Try not to scare us like that again…?”
Valkyrie squeezed her friend’s hand. “I’ll do my best to stay on the side of caution. I’ll do my very best. But I can’t make a promise.”
“Understood.” Crystal walked over to her room, scratching Patches’ chin. “Ready to go, baby?” She cooed at the cat, listening to her purr. Valkyrie chuckled, then swore, grabbing her bag.
“I’ve got to stop at Red Fountain… I promise to let you know I’m back at Rancor.” She hugged Crystal. “Take Cheshire for me?”
Crystal sighed, looking over at the sleeping tuxedo cat. “Fine… Just try not to take too long. He hates not being with you.” Valkyrie smiled.
“Best friend ever.” Valkyrie gave her a thumbs up, rushing out the door…
Kota waved at Valkyrie, giving a smile. “What are you doing here? I figured you’d be on a transportus bus already.” Kota opened his arms. Valkyrie gave him a side hug, being careful of his sides. (Crystal said he’d gotten injured dragon riding, and Valkyrie wasn’t going to make it worse… Yet.)
“I’ve got to see Helia about a painting. Have you seen him today? He hasn’t left for Callisto yet, has he?” Valkyrie felt a bit of panic rising. She didn’t want to be late with Flora’s gift. That’d open up a different can of worms.
“He’s in his dorm room I think. Or at least, that’s where he was heading after gryphon training…” Kota frowned. “What do you need with Helia?” He paused, smirking. “Don’t tell me, you commissioned him for Flora?” Valkyrie flushed, frowning a bit.
“And if I have?” She asked, defiant. Kota laughed, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m just glad you’re finally admitting to having feelings. It’s very becoming.” He half-teased. Valkyrie smirked.
“At least I’m becoming… That goatee you’re trying to grow though? Not so becoming. You look like you have a gopher attached to your face.” She taunted. Kota gave a fake wince, holding his hand to his heart.
“You wound me. Cut me to thick.” He dramatized. Valkyrie rolled her eyes. He stopped, giving a chuckle. “Come on, I can tell when you’re losing patience. The dorms are just this way…”
Valkyrie couldn’t help but gawk at the painting, loving the colors and the way it all seemed to blend together. Helia even wrote in calligraphy in the stars. “Wait… Did you seriously add that in?” She asked, gesturing to the words.
Of all the flowers in the gardens, of all the lights in the sky,
My Dear, you put them all to shame.
Though I ignore the warnings others give me,
Your words do I heed.
Whenever you come to call,
I bow at your feet.
Love was never in the plan,
I never wished to fall…
But now I know you can catch me,
So with you, I will stand.
Helia flushed a bit, rubbing the back of his head. “I may have had Crystal sneak one of your journals over…” He admitted, giving a sheepish smile. He moved to his dresser, pulling out the notebook Crystal had let him borrow. “But I’ve got to say, never took you for a poet…”
Valkyrie flushed, pushing her hair back and taking the notebook back, sending it into the pocket dimension. “Normally it’s short stories or me trying to separate my own thoughts from the dragon’s… But… Flora was seriously on my mind… and…” She groaned. “I’m soooo screwed aren’t I?”
Helia wrapped his arms around her. “Feelings often feel like weaknesses… But we can gain strength from them.” He admired his work, kissing the top of his friend’s head. “Besides, I thought it’d be more special with a little something from you in there… Besides it being a portrait of the two of you, I mean.”
“Right… I just hope she likes it…” Valkyrie smiled. “I know I do. Your work is so amazing, Helia.”
“You should see my dragon series… Codatorta has been letting sit in on the dragon rider’s brigade and I have some amazing shots sketched out for painting…” Helia rambled a bit. “But… That’s not important right now. Right now… Your painting is complete and you can take it home.”
Valkyrie opened up her bag, pulling out her wallet and handed Helia a wad of cash. “Thanks. I hope the Magix currency is okay…? I mean… We spend most of our time here so…” Helia laughed, counting it up and putting it away.
“Don’t worry about, Val. Magix currency is perfectly fine. In fact, with what you just gave me, I’ll be able to get a new set of paints.” He gave her a wink.
Valkyrie smiled. “You’re seriously the best.” She walked over to the painting and waved her hand around it, sending it to her pocket dimension. “That’ll hold it until I can get home.” She looked to Helia, giving a sheepish smile. “Walk me down?”
“Of course.” He gave a little bow to her before taking her hand, leading her out of the room and down the halls…
Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two: Yuletide Feelings
- Yuletide Feelings
Valkyrie grinned as Flora walked out of the station, a red puffy coat covering her petite form. Chatta was sitting on Flora’s shoulder, a green hooded cloak over her “Glad you took my warning about the cold.” Valkyrie told her, taking her hand.
Rancor was in full winter, snow and ice on the ground, snowflurries still falling from the sky… Yule lights adorned most of the businesses around the main town, and a tree was decorated in the center.
Flora leaned into Valkyrie giving a little laugh. “I am too… Though I have to admit, I have been in colder climates.” They started the walk back to Theodora’s, hand in hand. “So… Who all is going to be there anyway? Are you sure I’m not going to be intruding…?”
“Yeah, we don’t want to be party crashers… Tune would flip her bows if she knew we crashed a party.” Chatta crossed her arms.
Valkyrie laughed. “Trust me, you’re going to be more than welcomed at Nana’s… This is the part of our Yule celebration where friends come to join family. So it’s going to be a bit crowded anyway. A more the merrier sort of thing.”
“Doesn’t answer who’s going to be there…” Chatta reminded. Flora looked to her pixie.
“Chatta, be nice.” She warned. “I’m sure we’ll see when we get there…” Valkyrie shook her head.
“No it’s fine. My Nana is hosting, so she’ll be there with her cat Sasha… Sasha is an old lady and a bit cranky, so if you touch her, but gentle.” Valkyrie warned. “My uncles Salvador and Palladium will be there… And Morgan and Jolly.”
Chatta laughed. “I’m so glad I won’t be the only pixie there. That just warms me up. I should cheer!” She flew off of Flora’s shoulder, dancing around. “Yay Jolly! Horray for Jolly!” She cheered, flying back down. Valkyrie and Flora laughed at the pixie’s antics.
“Will Helia be there?” Flora asked, gaining her bearings back. Valkyrie nodded.
“Helia will be there… Crystal and her family will be there… Kota and his family will be there. Ediltrude will arrive just before dinner, like usual. And Zarathustra and Griselda will probably be there shortly after we get there.” Valkyrie counted off.
Flora froze. “Griselda?”
“Don’t worry… She’s much more relaxed outside of Alfea.” Valkyrie winked. “You’ll see.”
Valkyrie couldn’t help but grin as Flora seemed to just meld into her family seamlessly. She handled the dark and often grim jokes like a pro, even telling a few of her own. Sasha took to her nearly as quickly as Cheshire had, a good sign in Valkyrie’s book.
‘It’s fine if you don’t like cats, but if a cat doesn’t like you, there’s something wrong.’ She could hear her grandmother’s voice echo.
Jolly and Chatta were showing off to Kota’s mother and father, Eric and Hilda. They once performed with a circus using their illusion acts, and Jolly’s tarot card readings and Chatta’s cheers just seemed to spark something in them.
Griselda, Palladium, and Theodora were heard arguing about potions and proper techniques in the kitchen, something that seemed to occur each year.
Griffin, Ediltrude, and Rebecca (Crystal’s mother), were having a hushed discussion, heated if their faces were anything to go by…
Her uncle Salvador and Crystal’s dad, Russel, seemed to be having a great time joking around, their eyes gleaming with mischief….
Valkyrie and the ‘kids’ (why they were still considered that was beyond her) were having their own arguments about schoolwork and the work load… (All while Helia snapped photos. He couldn’t help himself, feeling all too ‘inspired’ to just stop.)
“I’m telling you, the Eraklyon Institute is far more hardcore than Red Fountain. We’re getting to drill with the royal army.” Alexander argued. He was the oldest of Crystal’s younger brothers, and the only one with magic. He was in training to be a paladin, and always determined to beat out Kota.
“Man, you don’t get to call yourself hardcore if you haven’t handled a full-on invasion. Red Fountain did. And we won.” Kota boasted, stretching on the couch.
“Your school had to be remodeled because it was blown down. I wouldn’t call that a win.” Andrew countered. He was the warrior in the Lane household, having become quite handy with a bow and laser arrows. He wanted to become a guardsman one day.
“But we survived to remodel.” Kota smirked. “Boom.”
“You got your asses saved by a bunch of fairies. No offense to Flora and Morgan.” Collin pointed out. He was the youngest of the brothers, all dark hair and lanky tall. His weapon was a diamond-tipped hammer.
Crystal rolled her eyes and got in-between her siblings and her boyfriend, sitting in Kota’s lap.
“Boys. You’re all hardcore. Congratulations. Now shut up and remember your places.” She opened her palm and her necklace glowed. “I can and will go Medusa on you.”
“Yes, Crystal.” Her brothers looked away, flushing. Kota swallowed.
“Whatever you say, Babe.” Flora chuckled, leaning into Valkyrie from where they were on the floor.
Cheshire was in her lap, purring, enjoying the closeness as Flora pet him. “Is it like this every year?” She asked.
“It gets worse as time goes on… But you learn to live with it.” Morgan winked. “Or you learn to be like Crystal and take charge.”
“Though sometimes we have better ways of settling arguments.” Valkyrie gave a mischievous smile, her eyes lighting up behind her glasses.
Helia groaned. “I know that look. I never liked that look.”
Flora tilted her head. “What’s… Going on?” Valkyrie kissed her cheek.
“You follow my lead… But if you don’t want to participate, cheer for me.” Valkyrie winked, standing up.
“Everyone listen up!” Valkyrie called out. Everyone turned to her face her, including the adults. “It’s that time of year again. The boys are questioning which is stronger, Eraklyon’s Institution, or the schools of Magix.”
Andrew and Alexander gave a smirk, knowing exactly where this was going. Collin crossed his arms, waiting for the signal. Kota grinned, kissing Crystal’s cheek. “This is going to be epic.”
“Hell yeah.” Crystal whispered, smiling.
“Now… We all know the only way to solve this problem is with the Grand Snow Ball fight. Magic is allowed, but it can only be used at the snow. No direct magic at each other. There will be two teams. Magix vs. Eraklyon.” Valkyrie continued her call to arms. She turned to the ‘adults’. “You may join a side or start a cheering section. Either way, someone is going down.”
Theodora stood, giving a little clap. “I’ll referee, as usual. Everyone bundle up and head for the backyard.” She assisted her granddaughter. Flora chuckled.
“This another tradition?” Flora asked. Valkyrie winked.
“Yeah… We just can’t help ourselves.” Valkyrie kissed her softly. “Come on… We need to bundle up and get to our teams.”
The Grand Snow Ball Fight had the gathering broken into two groups, each with a sub-cheering group.
Kota had Valkyrie, Flora, and Morgan on his team. Alexander had Andrew, Russel, and Colin.
The cheering squads tried to divide up evenly, but there were more parents who had their child at a Magix school than in Eraklyon’s Institute.
Theodora got in between the two teams. “Okay, I’ll share the rules so everyone knows what to do.” She held up her hand. “Rule One. Magic is allowed, but only on the snow. You cannot use magic directly on your opponent. Rule Two. The game is over when one team has no more players. Rule Three. You’re out of the game if you get hit three times with a snow ball. Rule Four. No. Rocks. In. The Snow. Balls.”
She glowered at Andrew and Kota on that note. “I mean it. That will disqualify you.” Both boys gave a sheepish smile and nod.
“Good. Have fun.” She stepped back quickly as the teams rushed to gather snow to demolish one another.
Morgan and Valkyrie kept up a double-teamed attack, aiming for the weakest link, Colin. He was the youngest and least experienced of the Eraklyon side, and they were willing to exploit that fact.
Flora tried for sneak attacks, her connection to nature giving her a bit of an edge when anyone on the opposing team got too close to the willows.
Kota went diving into enemy territory, snowballs at the ready.
Colin and his father were doing wonders with their snowball slinging snowman, but Flora seemed to put a stop to that.
Andrew and Alexander were on a mission to strike out Valkyrie and Morgan, knowing they were the stronger opponents.
The cheering sections couldn’t help but get excited, watching the action unfold.
The teens were inside and huddled around the fireplace, trying to warm up. Flora had nuzzled close Valkyrie, hoping her naturally warm skin would have an effect.
Kota and Alexander were still bickering, but it was more good-natured this time, and through chattering teeth. Crystal was trying to warm them both up, shaking her head at the ‘ridiculousness’ of boys.
Colin and Andrew were huddled close to their father, Russel, hoping they’d warm up faster together.
Morgan was laying in Helia’s lap, shaking as he tried to warm her up.
Griffin and Rebecca walked into the room, plates of hot chocolate in their hands. “Now that you’re all done trying to kill each other, how about something to warm up?” Rebecca began to pass out the mugs.
“And please do not try to burn each other… Last year’s accident was bad enough. We do NOT want a repeat.” Griffin warned.
“Yes, Ms. Griffin.” Colin chattered.
“We’d never.” Andrew gave a weak smile, shaking. Alexander smiled.
“We’re good kids… Honest.”
Griffin and Rebecca shared a look, both shaking their heads and laughing. “If you say so…”
“So this is where you and Morgan had so many sleepovers growing up?” Flora teased. Valkyrie had led her upstairs to the room she and Morgan shared whenever they stayed at their Nana’s home.
It wasn’t a large room by any means, but it hosted two twin beds and two dressers. Photos hung along the wall of Griffin and Salvador and Palladium. Some of the girls’ as children. A few even had them with their parents or their grandmother.
“Yeah… We stayed over many a night because of our parents’ work schedules… But I think Nana enjoyed it as much as we did. She hated the feeling of an empty house… Especially after my grandpa died.” Valkyrie gestured to the center photo.
It was a black-and-white photo of a young family. Edgar Sylvane had an arm wrapped lovingly around his wife, Theodora. A young Salvador with bright eyes and shaggy hair was leaned against his mother, and a smaller, younger Griffin was in her father’s arms.
“You were sort of named after him, right?” Flora asked. Valkyrie gave a nod.
“He was an Edgar… I’m an Edna. Well… Sort of.” Valkyrie smiled. “Though that’s not the reason I brought you up here… I just… Didn’t really want to do this with prying eyes.” Valkyrie closed her eyes and waved her hands.
The painting appeared, but with a cover over it. “So… For Yule… I commissioned Helia to do your gift… I’m not artistically inclined like he is, and I knew you liked his paintings… so… I wanted to do something nice.” Valkyrie flushed, waiting.
Flora walked over, tentatively pulling the cover away. She gasped, placing her hand over mouth. Valkyrie could see her eyes watering up, a hand going to her heart. Valkyrie bit her lip, worry setting in.
“Valkyrie… It’s beautiful… But I don’t remember Helia being a poet…” Flora looked to Valkyrie, wiping her eyes a bit. She wrapped her arms around the witch, lifting her up and kissing her.
Valkyrie flushed, holding tight to Flora. “I… May have done the poem… Crystal gave Helia one of my notebooks and… He used what I wrote.”
“It’s gorgeous. It’s definitely going up in my dorm room.” Flora flushed, letting go of Valkyrie. “I may have gotten you something too…”
She closed her eyes, waving her own hands. A pendant was brought forth and Flora showed it to Valkyrie. “I know you don’t wear jewelry often… But I couldn’t help but think of you when I saw it at Eraklyon…”
The pendant was golden and shaped like a rose, but the image portrayed was of a sleeping dragon in a meadow. Valkyrie grinned, turning around and pulling her hair back. “Will you put on me?”
She could hear Flora giggle as she clasped on the necklace, her dainty fingers tickling a bit at Valkyrie’s neck. The witch turned after it was clasped on and pulled the fairy down for a kiss, her arms wrapping tight around Flora’s waist, keeping her close.
“Isn’t that cute?” A voice interrupted. They pulled away, flushing and Valkyrie couldn’t help but glare at the intruder… Morgan.
“Seriously? You couldn’t wait about five more minutes?” Valkyrie asked. Morgan laughed.
“Sorry, Cousin. I just wanted you to know the party’s starting to break up. I was wondering if you and Flora wanted to walk with me and Helia to the bus station?” Morgan asked.
Flora flushed. “That’d be lovely. Just… Hold on a second?” She asked. Morgan gave a nod.
“Sure thing, lovers.” Morgan teased, heading back out the door. Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile.
“Family, huh? Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.” She tried to laugh it off. Flora giggled.
“It could have been worse…” Flora teased. Valkyrie shook her head, red faced.
“Don’t remind me.” She clasped her pendant in her hand. “Thank you, by the way… Your gift is lovely.” Flora gave her a peck on the lips, pulling away with a smile.
“Yours is too. I never would have pegged you for a romantic type.” Flora told her. Valkyrie shrugged, giving a smile.
“I’m full of surprises… I didn’t think I had it in my either…” She watched as Flora turned to the painting and waved her hand, sending it to a pocket dimension.
“I can’t wait to show it off at Alfea…” Valkyrie grinned.
“I know the feeling.” She pulled up her necklace, letting it waver for a moment. She took hold of Flora’s hand, giving a squeeze. “Come on… I remember promising your dad I’d send you home before it got too late.”
Flora kissed her cheek. “I do love a witch who keeps her promises.” Flora teased. Valkyrie grinned.
“I do what I can.”
Chapter 23: Chapter Twenty-Three: Fairies at Cloud Tower
- Fairies at Cloud Tower
The auditorium of Cloud Tower was packed as the witches filed in, some chatting about what they did over break, some wondering what announcements would be made that day. Valkyrie just leaned back in her seat, her hands playing with the pendant Flora had given her. Crystal chuckled, nudging her.
“She’s really special if she can get you to wear her jewelry.” Crystal teased. Valkyrie just gave her a smile, a bit of red touching her cheeks.
“You’re just jealous it’s too late for us now.” Valkyrie teased back. Lucy shook her head, taking the seat by Valkyrie.
“I’m just glad we all had a safe vacation.” Lucy cut in. Crystal groaned.
“Mostly safe… There was a moment when I thought my brothers were going to try and kill my boyfriend…” Crystal crossed her arms. “Like, why are boys so ridiculous?”
Lucy and Valkyrie shared a look and shrugged. “As the lesbians in this circle, we have no idea.” Valkyrie spoke.
“Yeah… There’s a reason we deal with girls… Boys are a bit much.” Lucy teased. Crystal playfully hit them both.
“You’re useless to me. Both of you are just useless.” She snorted. A hush quickly fell over the auditorium as Ms. Griffin stepped up to her mic.
“Ladies, I’m here to inform you of a… Minor change in plans for the first part of this semester… We will be hosting a group of Alfea fairies. They’ll be here to learn a little bit about dark magic so they can better understand how beings like Lord Darkar work.” Griffin started.
There were a few hisses and boos and Valkyrie had to force herself to stay quiet in her seat, hands gripping her arms tight enough to leave marks.
“I know, I know… It’s not what you want to hear, but it’s for the best. Because we worked together to defeat the Army of Darkness and the Trix coven, we survived last year. If we wish to survive Lord Darkar this year, we have to work with the fairies again.”
“There will be no hexing or cursing of the fairies while they are here. I want to send them back to Faragonda in one piece… Do I make myself clear?” Griffin asked.
The room chorused with ‘yes headmistress’ and a few ‘fines’. She gave a bit of a smile. “Good. Now that that is settled, everything else will go as scheduled. Have a great first day back.” Griffin and the teachers began to file out, leaving the witches to wrap their heads around fairy exchange students.
Seeing this as her chance, Valkyrie made her way down to the center, mic in hand. She let her power fill her and a roar echoed in the room, silencing the witches. “Glad I have your attention, ladies, because I have a few rules when it comes to the fairies.”
“One. Pranks are fine. But they cannot impede the fairies’ work ethic or ability to fight. Two. No fighting with the fairies outside of the field. No challenging the fairies either. And three… Flora is off limits. End of discussion. Any questions?” Valkyrie asked.
“What if we don’t like your rules? What are you going to do about it?” A blonde witch asked. Elizabeth, Valkyrie realized, and a former friend of the Trix coven. Valkyrie smirked, raising her hand.
The witch began to screech, holding to her arms as her body turned red with heat. Valkyrie put her hand back down, and Elizabeth went back to normal, panting and holding herself. “If you don’t like my rules, tough. And I think I just answered the question about what will happen if you don’t follow my rules.”
“I’ll boil you from the inside out, turning your own magic energy against you. And if any of you try to hurt Flora, well let’s just say you’ll wish I only challenged you. Do I make myself clear?” Valkyrie growled out.
The other witches gave silent nods, a few helping Elizabeth up. “Good. Dismissed.” She watched as the witches began to scramble, all except for Crystal and Lucy who had their arms crossed.
“You know, for a hot second there, you really were Ms. Griffin.” Crystal shook her head. “Though the threats were a little more severe.”
“Yeah… And when did you learn that boiling spell?” Lucy asked. Valkyrie flushed and Crystal swore.
“Dragon knowledge.” Valkyrie gave a shaky laugh. “But I had to make them listen… And most witches only listen to power moves.”
“As long as you know to pull back before you actually kill someone.” Crystal warned. Valkyrie gave a solemn look.
“I know how to do that. Trust me.” She gave a wink. “Now I’m going to wait in the lobby for our fairies to arrive, you’re welcome to join me.”
Lucy smiled. “I think I’ll join… Just to see if Mirta’s with them.” Crystal rolled her eyes.
“You two have fun. I’m heading over to Red Fountain. Kota’s taking me biking.” She gave a grin. “And I’m beyond ready to see how fast those levibikes can go.”
“Just try not to wreck.” Valkyrie teased, hugging her friend. Crystal snorted.
“I’m not the one that’s danger prone.”
Valkyrie and Lucy greeted the Winx as they arrived, grinning when they noticed Mirta and Morgan were in tow. “Welcome to Cloud Tower ladies, we’re going to show you the ropes.” Valkyrie smiled.
Stella wrapped her arms around herself. “Right… Quick question… Are the other witches going to do anything to us or can we relax a bit? Because I don’t feel comfortable letting my guard down in a place like this…”
Lucy snickered. “Don’t worry, Valkyrie’s got the whole school under her thumb. They know better than to mess with any of you.”
“Valkyrie, what did you do?” Mirta asked, crossing her arms. Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile.
“Nothing that anyone can prove.” She pushed her glasses up, clearing her throat. “Why don’t we start with a tour…? I know Flora, Morgan, and Mirta know the layout pretty good, but I’m sure the rest of you could use a guide.”
“As long as you don’t lead us into the dungeons, I’m cool.” Musa half-joked.
“I’m interested in seeing your archives… I mean, I know we were there before, but this time we won’t be on a time crunch.” Tecna pulled her database up. “I know it’d be helpful in our quest…”
“Please tell me I get a single room…? I’m going to need all the beauty sleep I can get in this place.” Stella complained. Flora shook her head.
“Oh Stella, Cloud Tower isn’t that bad. You should see the gardens and the courtyard, it’s actually really pretty.” Flora took Valkyrie’s hand. Morgan smiled.
“I know the potion’s lab is awesome. Aunt Zarathustra promised to show me how to make some blast-back potions.” Morgan gave a little cackle. “I’ll be unstoppable with those.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“If you say so, Cousin.” She looked to Layla and Bloom. “Anything you two are particularly interested in seeing?”
“You guys have a gym? Because I know Alfea’s is pretty good, but I need something a bit more… Risky.” Layla asked. Lucy smiled.
“Oh we have a gym… And it could be considered risky… You can fly faster than Screechers, right?” Lucy questioned, trying not to laugh at the look Layla gave.
“I’m just interested in surviving… I can feel so much negative energy here and I’m mostly sure that it’s not just you…” Bloom gestured to Valkyrie. “But I guess Cloud Tower is where the most negative point in Magix is….”
“Don’t worry Bloom, you’ll be able to handle the negativity.” Valkyrie gave a wink. “Let’s start our tour…”
The classrooms weren’t impressive to the fairies, but that was reasonable, given that most classrooms tended to look similar.
Stella actually enjoyed the kitchen though, surprised by the sweets and serving sizes. “How is it you guys seem to have better food than Alfea?” She asked. Lucy shrugged.
“I think it had something to do with Bittersmoke before he retired…” Lucy answered. Mirta hummed.
“I thought it was because of Discorda…?” The redhead scratched her head. Bloom frowned.
“The pixie that stays here… She’s… Famous for her sweet tooth. Which is exploitable if you need help with assignments.” Valkyrie explained. “But be warned, she’s not like most pixies… She’s… Very witch-like for something with wings.”
“Basically she’s Valkyrie if Valkyrie were any shorter and grew wings.” Morgan teased, giving a little shriek as Valkyrie shoved her.
“Let’s just move on…” Lucy laughed, starting the group toward the hallway…
Just as predicted, Flora and Morgan loved the potions’ lab and herbology garden, taken away by how efficient it was. “Papa would so freak if he knew Aunt Griffin was holding out on him.” Morgan gasped.
“I’m half tempted to cut my wings and transfer.” Flora joked. Valkyrie kissed her cheek, squeezing Flora’s hand.
“No need for all of that… I happen to like your wings.” Valkyrie teased, grinning as Flora nudged her back.
Layla enjoyed the gym. A little too much… It took most of the group to push her out, promising to bring her back later.
Stella had to admit the courtyard and gardens were lovely… “For dark realmers, anyway.”
The field had everyone’s attention. “How does it work anyway?” Musa asked. Valkyrie stood in the center.
“Simple, you fight a creature with a barrier surrounding you. The barrier goes down if you beat the creature or the creature beats you. You’re graded on how fast you can defeat the monster, what technique you used, if you improved from last time you faced a monster, and if your spells were effective.”
“Think of it as an alternative to the Magical Reality Chamber.” Mirta offered. Flora looked to Valkyrie, gesturing to the marks on her arms.
“I take it that’s how you get hurt?” Valkyrie gave a slight smile.
“Sometimes… Sometimes I’m a bit… In over my head….” Valkyrie admitted. Lucy snorted.
The dorms were the last stop. “Here’s the hall you guys will be on… Crystal and I are right there and Lucy is there.” Valkyrie gestured to the rooms. “So if you need us, we’re here.”
A meow came from the hallway, Cheshire sitting in front of Valkyrie’s room. Valkyrie sighed. “One of these days I’m going to figure out how you keep slipping out of there.” She warned. Cheshire just yawned and stretched, strutting over to Flora and weaving around her legs until she picked him up.
“He just wanted to say hello…” She showed Cheshire to Layla. “This is who I was telling you about, Layla… Valkyrie’s familiar…”
Layla frowned. “Familiars are similar to pixies… Right? A witch bonds with a creature and they sort of… Help each other?”
Valkyrie seemed to weigh that down, thinking of the words to say. “Sort of… No every witch has a familiar, but those of us who do… Tend to be more…” She paused. “Witches aren’t the most adept with emotional security… We’ve been conditioned for so long that emotions are sort of… Weak…”
“So familiars sort of help us with emotional support… They’re a bit of a new thing… But it’s to help us learn more about ourselves… If that makes sense…?” She swore. “My grandmother is so much better at explaining than I am…”
“Speaking of the pixies… Why didn’t you bring them?” Lucy asked, looking at Mirta, specifically. “I was kind of looking forward to showing Cherie around Cloud Tower.”
Mirta and the other fairies looked to the ground. “We felt it’d be safer for them at Alfea… In case some of the witches tried to retaliate…”
“Yeah, we weren’t expecting Valkyrie to… Take us under her wings…” Bloom half-joked. “I mean, we know she’s protective of us, but we figured she’d let Cloud Tower do its thing.”
“Oh I will. All I did was warn against actually doing something to hurt you. Pranks are fine… But actually trying to maim any of you?” Valkyrie shook her head, letting a little flame come to her palms. “Not going to happen.”
“Valkyrie…” Flora gave her warning tone. Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile.
“What? I just want to make sure we get you guys back to Alfea in one piece.” Valkyrie placed a hand over her heart. “Isn’t that okay?”
“Just don’t lose your temper.” Flora warned, taking her hand.
“So what now? Do we just hang out or…?” Musa asked.
“Explore if you want. Dinner will be 6, try not to be late because my mom does an internal head-count to make sure everyone’s there.” Valkyrie warned.
“Yeah… Aunt Griffin has a thing about making sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be… She’s… Protective. Not as bad as Valkyrie, but yeah…” Morgan added.
“And curfew?” Stella asked,
“Curfew is midnight, so as long as you’re in your room by then, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Get caught after curfew, and it could be a warning or a punishment, depending on who catches you.”
“Zarathustra is the worst, by the way. She can’t be reasoned with like some of the other teachers.” Lucy warned. Mirta flinched.
“Yeah… I once got caught sneaking in a late-night snack and she caught me… I had to stay up all night and help with the dungeon monsters.” Mirta shook her head. “Not a fan.”
“And tomorrow, we start our classes…” Layla shook her head. “Never thought I’d have classes at a witch school.”
“We never thought we’d host fairies either, but here we are.” Crystal told them, coming up the stairs. “But hey, don’t cause trouble, they’ll be no trouble.” She looked to Stella. “I’m mostly speaking to you because I remember you have a bad habit of trying to tell others how to dress.”
Stella gave a sheepish smile, twirling her bangs. “Can I help it if style is my passion?”
“Just try to tone it down while we’re here Stella, we don’t want to start anything.” Tecna warned.
“Yeah. Having witches gang up on you isn’t cool. Trust me.” Musa laughed.
Chapter 24: Chapter Twenty-Four: Exchange Students
- Exchange Students
Valkyrie was running, running as fast as she could. She crashed into someone, hitting the floor, hard. “Watch where you’re going.” She growled, looking up…
Bloom… She’d run into Bloom… The red hair and big blue eyes were unmistakable. “Valkyrie?”
“Bloom?” The girls helped each other up, looking around where they were. Hallways and hallways of rooms, a window showing them the edge of a cliff.
“Where are we?” Bloom asked. Valkyrie turned to her companion.
“I thought you would know…?” She crossed her arms. “I’ve never been here before… Is this another part of ShadowHaunt? I’ve been dreaming of ShadowHaunt lately…” Valkyrie admitted.
“I… don’t know… I can’t tell.” Bloom looked around, placing her hands on the wall. “I know these doors don’t open… I’ve been trying.”
“So why are we h-” A screech came from down the hall, and Valkyrie tensed up. “I know that screech. We’ve got to run!” Valkyrie grabbed Bloom’s wrist, pulling the fairy as they ran in the opposite direction of the screech.
“What’s chasing us?” Bloom asked, panting as she tried to keep up.
“A Shaa beast. Those things will kill you.” Valkyrie pushed Bloom behind a pillar, covering her mouth to keep quiet as the Shaa went by them...
Valkyrie groaned as she woke up, reaching for her glasses. It could have been a worse night… She could have been killed… But why was Bloom there…? ‘Proximity brings clarity at times.’ Her dragon hummed.
She shook her head, standing and making her bed up, causing Cheshire to hiss at her. ‘Clarity to what?’
‘You’re synched… In harmony. For now. And that’s a good thing.’ She glanced at the time, going ahead and shutting off her alarm as she got ready for the day. No use in trying to head back to sleep when she only had ten minutes left anyway…
They shared a knowing look at breakfast, but that was all. No need in worrying the others as they prepared to start a new semester. Especially when they were at a school not their own. Valkyrie, Crystal, and Lucy did their best to answer the remaining questions the fairies had, hoping to ease their minds before classes officially began…
Discorda burst into Gilda’s classroom, arms crossed and wings flaring. “I hate to ruin Dark Magic History, but Valkyrie’s needed to keep the peace between her little fairy pets and the freshmen.”
Valkyrie groaned, looking to Professor Gilda. The pink haired witch shook her head, waving her hands. “I knew this was going to be a troublesome idea, but you can’t change the Council’s mind about anything.” She looked to Valkyrie. “Keep the peace.”
Valkyrie gave a little bow and grabbed her books, turning to Lucy and Crystal. “Take notes?”
“Sure thing.” Crystal and Lucy gave her a thumbs up as she left with the pixie.
“Where are they anyway?”
“MY library. And they’re acting like children.” Discorda growled. “If I were stronger, I’d stop them myself.”
“I know. I know.” They made it down the hallway and Valkyrie could hear the arguing, mostly from Stella and Cyan. Valkyrie walked in, creating a barrier between witches and fairies. “What the hell is going on in here?” She growled out.
The freshman witches took a step back. “We were… Working on a project about Mandrake Roots…” Cyan gave a weak smile.
“Yeah…. We’re just working on a project, Valkyrie…” Kanika giggled nervously. The fairies frowned.
“You were arguing with us.” Morgan corrected.
“All we’re trying to do is survive the week. Okay?” Bloom told them. Valkyrie turned to the witches.
“You girls want to prove yourselves? Work with the fairies. You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. Consider it a lesson in coven work.” Valkyrie told them.
“But it’s an insult to us that they’re even here.” Lazuli blurted out. Valkyrie tilted her head, letting her eyes flash a bit.
“The real insult is feeling you have to prove you’re better than the fairies. A confident witch doesn’t have to prove a damn thing, she just is. So get over yourselves. Unless you’d like to join Elizabeth?” Valkyrie started to raise her hand.
“Nope. We’re good. Totally good.” Jade laughed, pulling at her friends’ sleeves. “Right girls?”
“Right.” Kanika nodded.
“We’ll get back to work now…” Lazuli smiled. “Maybe after we can all go shopping…?” Stella grinned.
“Now you’re talking.” Valkyrie sighed, crisis averted.
“Good… Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to class.” She started to leave when Flora grabbed her hand.
“Do I wanna know why they’re scared of you?” Flora asked, green eyes filled with worry. Valkyrie kissed Flora softly.
“Probably not… But… Just know, I didn’t hurt Elizabeth that bad… All I did was give her a small burn. Witches raised ‘traditionally’ only understand pride, wrath, and power moves, so I did what I had to do to ensure your safety. Okay?” Valkyrie told her.
Flora sighed, squeezing her hand. “Just don’t do anything rash for us… We can handle ourselves.”
“Yes dear.” Valkyrie kissed her cheek before walking off, turning to Discorda. “Keep an eye out.”
Valkyrie glared as Mirta, Morgan, and Flora told her about what happened in summoning class. “I can’t believe her!” She growled.
“I’m already starting to feel cattier than normal… I can’t stand this.” Stella pouted, walking over with the others in tow.
“We told Ms. Faragonda this was a bad idea, but she didn’t listen to us.” Layla growled. Bloom was about to say something when they heard a crash. The girls rushed over, seeing Lucy shaking on the ground.
“What happened, Lucy?” Mirta asked. Lucy shook her head.
“Icy, Darcy, and Stormy are here… They’re after the codex…” Lucy trembled. “I’m sorry… I didn’t know where else to go.” Valkyrie glowered, turning to the girls.
“Can you keep yourselves together long enough to bust them up?” Valkyrie asked.
“We can try…” Musa said. “But it’s not like we have any ideas.”
“Where would Cloud Tower even keep their codex?” Tecna asked. “I guess I could scan the building…”
“That’ll take wayyy too long, Tecna. I say we just start making noise until they find us.” Stella told them.
“No way, we need to find the codex and protect it.” Bloom argued
“But if we look for it and find it, wouldn’t we just be leading them to the codex?” Morgan questioned.
“Morgan’s gotta point…” Layla pointed out. Valkyrie put her hands to her head, trying to drown out the arguing.
‘I know where to go… Follow my voice.’ Her dragon whispered. Valkyrie paused, looking to her friends and girlfriend, hating to see them all fighting. “SHUT UP!” She growled, her dragon swirling around them, keeping them in one place. Everyone got quiet, the witches looking more nervous than the fairies.
“I don’t know what the best course of action is, but I do know we need to stop Icy and her little sisters before they get the codex.” She turned to the witches and the fairies. “And to do that, we have to work together. We can split into groups and-”
Stella began to walk off. “I don’t take orders from witches, sorry Valkyrie.” Stella huffed, walking off.
“Stella’s right, we’re fairies. We don’t take orders from witches.” Musa and Layla stormed off. Valkyrie swore, watching as everyone started off on their own, arguing amongst themselves.
Flora, Morgan, Lucy, and Mirta remained. “Mirta, why don’t you and Lucy warn my mother about what’s going on?”
“Of course. Come on, Luc.” Mirta helped Lucy up, leading her toward the headmistress’ office. Valkyrie turned to Morgan and Flora.
“Want us to come with you?” Flora asked, walking over to Valkyrie. “I know your plan had to be good.” Valkyrie took Flora’s hand and kissed it.
“I want you to go find your friends… Make sure they don’t get into trouble.” Valkyrie told her. “Cloud Tower’s sort of… Finicky about things.”
“Ediltrude said it was alive…” Morgan spoke. Valkyrie sighed.
“Sort of… It’s a long story, one we can talk to my mom about later.” She felt anxious. “Just find the other fairies and make sure they get back to themselves… Fighting each other isn’t going to help this situation.” Valkyrie watched as Morgan and Flora took the hallway Bloom went down.
“Okay… Lead me on.” Valkyrie whispered. Her dragon started whispering directions to her, slowly taking control as she ran down hallways and into the Heart of Cloud Tower.
Valkyrie had her power surging through her, ready to strike. “Don’t blast, it’s me.” A familiar voice called. Bloom. “How’d you know about this place?”
“If you guys would have listened to me before getting pissy and running off, it’d be more than the two of us here.” Valkyrie retorted. Bloom gave a sheepish smile, running her hands through her hair.
“Sorry… That catfight spell is kinda strong…”
“Right. Just shift and be ready for them.” Valkyrie took her stance, feeling the negativity in the air.
Soon enough, the room began to chill as Icy stepped into the chamber, her sisters at her side. “Lookie here. The Dragon losers.” She snickered, creating icy cold winds to blow them back.
Valkyrie formed her shield, swearing as Bloom hit the wall. “You’re not going to win this fight, Icy.” Valkyrie glowered, letting her dragon loose. It surged forward, forcing Stormy back into Darcy and then into the walls. Icy growled.
“Ice Coffin!” Valkyrie heated her skin up, letting the chill run off of her.
“That trick’s getting old, Icy.” Valkyrie taunted, letting the ice burn around her. Bloom flew by her fast.
“Dragon rage!” She called, a burst of flames coming from her wings and hands. Darcy teleported Icy away, getting up in Bloom’s space.
“Optical darkness.” Bloom flew into a wall, falling to the floor.
“Val, I can’t see!” Bloom sounded panicked. Valkyrie flew down and stood in front of Bloom, taking a more protective stance.
“Aww, going to try and protect Bloom? What would your girlfriend say?” Darcy taunted, sending waves of darkness toward Valkyrie.
Valkyrie put up her shield, watching as her dragon swirled around her and Bloom, protective. Stormy growled, raising her hand to strike.
“Be careful where you aim, Stormy, you might blast Darcy again.” A familiar voice teased. Valkyrie felt relief when she saw Crystal and the other witches running down, fairies in tow.
“You’re not getting the codex, Icy.” Musa growled out. Stella and Flora flew over to Bloom, helping her to her feet.
“We’re going to stop you.” Mirta glared.
“You’re history.” Morgan flew beside Valkyrie, placing her hand on her cousin, linking her powers to Valkyrie’s.
“Damn right.” Valkyrie moved her hands, controlling her dragon to lunge again at Icy, Darcy, and Stormy.
The witches fell back but got back up, cackling when a door began to open. “The Heart of Cloud Tower is already opening up… You losers have, once again, lost.” Icy taunted.
Valkyrie and the other witches shared a look as the ‘Heart’ opened up, a familiar presence inside. Valkyrie couldn’t help but snicker and point behind Icy. “Are you sure about that, Ice Queen?” She taunted.
Icy turned quickly, glowering. “Griffin?!”
The other witches cheered as Ms. Griffin walked out. “I see you’ve all managed to find the teachers’ lounge. Pity it’s not what you were looking for.” Griffin snarked. Darcy growled.
“Where’s the codex, Griffin?” Darcy raised her hands.
Valkyrie placed her hand on the ground, letting out a strong heat wave, knocking Darcy into Stormy. “Sorry, but I don’t take kindly to people threatening my Headmistress.”
“And we really don’t like slackers and dropouts at our school.” Sabrina called out, letting her powers flow.
Layla and the fairies formed around the witches. “You’re surrounded.”
“You can’t take us all.” Musa snarked. Darcy looked to her sisters, giving a nod.
“Perfect Darkness!” She cast, putting the entire room into complete darkness.
“Ray of light!” Stella called, the room lighting up. But the Trix were gone. Valkyrie hit the wall, growling.
She turned to the other witches. “Get the word out on campus. And remind everyone what happens to those who work with Icy, Darcy, and Stormy. Make sure there’s nowhere on campus they can go.”
Shilly and Tabitha gave a nod, springing into action with the other witches. Crystal and Lucy hung back with Mirta and the fairies, waiting to see what would be asked of them.
“I know going after the Trix is important, but Bloom needs us.” Tecna reminded, gesturing to where Stella and Flora had laid Bloom down.
“Don’t worry… Bloom will be taken care of.” Griffin promised. “It’s getting late anyway, you all need to rest.” Valkyrie glared at her mother.
“Rest? Knowing they’re here? No way. We’ve got to keep looking for them.” Valkyrie argued. “We can’t let them have the codex.”
“They can’t get what they can’t find.” Griffin smirked. “I know what I’m doing, ladies… Now please… Go to your rooms and get some rest.” She waved her hand over Bloom, teleporting her. “She’ll be waiting in her dorm for you.” She handed Flora a small bag. “And those should erase the spell. Just sprinkle it in a water glass and make sure she drinks it all.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Flora gave a nod. Valkyrie felt herself still shaking, Griffin placed a hand on her shoulder.
“You need to rest, too Valkyrie. You’ll be no good to us exhausted.” Valkyrie sighed.
“I’ll make sure she rests.” Crystal walked over, nudging Valkyrie. The smaller witch faked a smile, still feeling ill at ease.
Chapter 25: Chapter Twenty-Five: The Heart of Cloud Tower
- The Heart of Cloud Tower
The Winx, Lucy, Morgan, Mirta, Valkyrie, and Crystal walked into Ms. Griffin’s office, having been summoned earlier. “Did you girls sleep well? You’re going to need your strength today.” Griffin told them.
“I think some of us did…” Stella yawned. “Though I could have done without the hallways screaking.”
Griffin shook her head. “Cloud Tower does as it pleases… Most days.” She frowned. “Unfortunately, Icy, Darcy, and Stormy are trying to gain control of Cloud Tower through its heart…”
“What would that mean for us?” Bloom asked. Valkyrie felt herself growl.
“It means we’ll be fighting Cloud Tower too.” Valkyrie put her hands on her mother’s desk, anger rising. “We need to find them. Fast.”
“Calm down, dear. Your temper isn’t needed right now.” Griffin warned, getting to her feet. “I’ve already told the teachers to stay on guard, and I have a task for you.” She handed off rubies. “These will detect strong dark magic, which means you can use them to track Icy, Darcy, and Stormy.”
The rubies were glowing brightly. “Are you sure? Because they’re already glowing…” Layla asked, concerned.
“That’s probably because Valkyrie’s here… She practically radiates negative energy and dark magic.” Crystal placed a hand on her friend. “But we love her anyway.” She teased.
Valkyrie shook her head, moving away from Crystal. “Now’s not the time…” She looked to her mother. “I’m not going to be able to use the rubies, how should I track them?”
“You won’t be.” Griffin looked to her daughter. “You’re not hunting them.”
“Aunt Griffin… All due respect… But… Why? Valkyrie and Bloom are some of our heavy hitters… And we all know how much Valkyrie can’t stand the Trix, so keeping her from fighting them may not be a good idea.” Morgan mediated.
“Valkyrie isn’t helping locate the Trix because I want her to guard Discorda. She’s the only one at Cloud Tower who knows where the codex is, and she’s constantly moving it. And while I would normally consider her powerful enough to fend for herself… That’s not the case today.” Griffin looked to Valkyrie.
“Guard Discorda. Do not let them have the codex.” Valkyrie crossed her arms, looking away.
“Fine… I’ll keep Discorda safe.” She turned to leave, giving Flora’s hand a quick squeeze before she headed out the door and toward the library…
“I always wondered what was up…” Valkyrie coughed, waving cobwebs and dust away from her, “here.” She was in the fourth spire of Cloud Tower, hidden away from the world, up in the hidden tower.
Discorda was with her, poised for a fight. “It was my room when I first arrived here a millennia ago… But as you know, I’ve since moved into the library… But I kept my piece of the codex here…”
Valkyrie leaned against the wall. “And do you think they’re smart enough to find us here?” Valkyrie asked.
“I don’t know… Darcy was always the brains behind the group… But unless Icy wants to hear it…”
“Nothing will come of Darcy’s ideas.” Valkyrie shook her head. “So glad I’m an only child. It makes things so much easier.”
“The entire dimension is glad for you to be an only child… One witch like you is one thing… But two or three like you? No thank you.” Discorda half-teased. Valkyrie snorted.
“I don’t know, Discorda… I think I’m pretty great.” She teased back.
The tower began to move and shake, Valkyrie wrapped herself around Discorda. “The hell was that?”
“The castle is alive… And fighting itself… Griffin must be trying to regain control of the tower…” Discorda shoved herself away from Valkyrie. “And you’re not my bodyguard, you’re just back up… So keep your hands to yourself.”
Valkyrie rolled her eyes. “Yes, Pixie. Whatever you say…”
The quakes continued off and on, and Valkyrie had to keep herself braced against the wall to keep from being slung around. Discorda had herself in a ball to keep from getting hurt by the debris.
When it finally stopped, Valkyrie gave a sigh of relief… But it was short lived.
The wall burst open and Discorda growled, crossing her arms. “You’re not getting a damn thing here, Icy.” The little pixie seethed.
Icy cackled. “Look here girls, this pixie thinks she can stop us by herself.” Valkyrie flew out, crossing her arms.
“Funny, I don’t think she’s alone.” Valkyrie glared at the Trix. Darcy snarled.
“I was wondering where you went. Normally you’re sniffing around with those fairies. What’s wrong, Mommy keeping you on a short leash?” Darcy snarked. Valkyrie tilted her head.
“More like, she knew you’re only half as dumb as you look.” She drew power from the negativity around Cloud Tower and from Discorda, sending a powerful dark energy blast toward Darcy.
The brunette dodged, but Stormy wasn’t fast enough. She got tossed into the air, saved by Icy’s grip. “No one hurts my little sister.” Icy sneered.
“You sure about that?” Stella called. Valkyrie couldn’t help but smile as the seven fairies arrived, wings fluttering fast.
“Cause I’m pretty sure we kicked her ass last year. Just like we’re doing this year.” Musa created a sonic boom, sending the witches scrambling.
“Oh please, you pixies can’t hurt us. Not with our Gloomix powers.” Stormy growled. Valkyrie snorted.
“Not even sure how those are a thing, considering Darkar pulled it out of his ass.” Valkyrie snarked.
“Yeah, it does seem a bit made up… Maybe he just wanted to make them feel better about themselves? They did seem to keep losing to us.” Morgan taunted.
Icy growled, sending a wave of ice toward Morgan. Tecna flew in front, creating a shield that sent them back.
“We need to converge girls!” Bloom ordered, starting up the spell. Valkyrie swore, feeling the energy change.
“Don’t they know they need harmony for that?” Discorda hissed to Valkyrie. Valkyrie shook her head.
“Pray it works.” She whispered back. Icy snorted.
“A meditating fairy is an easy target.” She and her sisters began to power up. Valkyrie and Discorda joined hands, sending a blast toward the Trix.
“Boasting witches are too!” Valkyrie combatted.
An explosion happened, forcing the fairies out of their fairy forms and sending them flying downward. Valkyrie swore, feeling frozen. Icy cackled.
“Oh what a conundrum, Valkyrie. Stop us, or save your friends?” Icy cackled. Valkyrie growled, feeling her body and aura changing, the flames licking up through her veins.
“Save them… It’ll be okay.” Discorda whispered. And that was all Valkyrie needed.
Her dragon consumed her, became her. She flew down, swirling around each fairy, catching them in her stream of flames, lowering them to the ground.
Flora was the last one caught, and Valkyrie held tight to her as they landed on the front steps of Cloud Tower. Valkyrie groaned, spent as her power waned and the dragon disappeared, revealing the fairies Valkyrie saved from the spikes down below.
She fell to the ground, slipping out of consciousness…
“We’re sorry we weren’t much help… I can’t believe we let a spell screw us over…” Layla rubbed the back of her neck. “We should have fought it more…”
Valkyrie shook her head. “Don’t worry about it… Okay? You were right about convergence being the answer… You just have to work at it.”
“Still… We caused you to lose the codex… You… You had to pick us or it.” Flora looked away. “You shouldn’t have had to make that decision.” Valkyrie walked over, wrapping her arms around Flora and kissed the fairy.
She pulled away, giving a smile. “I’ll always pick you guys… Always.”
“More like she’ll always pick Flora.” Stella faux-whispered to Bloom, snickering. Bloom shook her head.
“I don’t know Stel… She did save all of us… We could have been stuck in that chasm forever.” Bloom reminded her.
“We’re still bummed we weren’t able to stop them though…” Musa kicked at the ground.
“But at least Aunt Griffin has control of Cloud Tower again….” Morgan tried looking on the bright side.
“And we have our lives…” Tecna added. “Which means we can fight again, another day.”
“Sounds like something my mother says…” Valkyrie chuckled, snapping her fingers and letting her hair form a shorter spiral bun. “Retreating is perfectly okay when you find yourself in duress. It’ll give you the chance to live and fight one day more and find reinforcements.” She mimicked her mother.
The girls couldn’t help but laugh, the air becoming a bit lighter around them. “Come on, guys… We should head back to Alfea before it gets too dark.” Mirta finally broke the group up, pulling away from Lucy.
“Be careful.” Valkyrie warned Flora. “Let me know you’ve made it back.” She kissed Flora’s cheek.
“I will. Hopefully I’ll get to see you soon?” Flora asked. Valkyrie gave a smile.
Chapter 26: Chapter Twenty-Six: Changes in the Air
- Changes in the Air
Valkyrie carefully crept up on the bile monster, keeping her cool as she sent her presence out to the beast. It turned to her, growling and snarling, getting into pounce position.
She stood her ground, letting her aura flare and her power be known. The monster began to whimper, bowing its head. Valkyrie smirked, walking over and petting the creature’s head. “Look at you… I bet you’re just a sweet heart…” She cooed to the beat, rubbing its back.
Professor Tanae clapped her hands, walking over. “Seems you have a knack for monster taming. I should put you down for next semester too.” The professor praised. Valkyrie rubbed the back of her head.
“Thank you.” She gave a little bow, making her way back to her seat. The professor turned toward her next ‘volunteer’ Crystal.
“Let’s see how you and the cravens get along.” Tanae smirked. Valkyrie could see Crystal fighting back a groan.
“Sure thing, Professor…” She forced a smile as she walked up to where the cravens were perched.
The birds squawked and flogged toward Crystal, making the witch shake a bit. “I think they’re already mad…” She spoke.
“Don’t let them feel your fear, Crystal… Focus…”
Crystal sat down by Valkyrie in their next class, lucky enough to have a few moments before it started. “I can’t believe those birds tried to eat me.” She complained. Valkyrie snickered a bit.
“They could sense your fear, Crystal… You need to purge that fear from you.” Valkyrie told her. Crystal snorted.
“Easier said than done.” She snipped. “What about you and your fears? You let Icy and the others have the codex because you got scared of losing the fairies.” Crystal paused, realizing what she’d said and put her hand over her mouth.
“I didn’t… I.”
Valkyrie grabbed her bag and books, heading out the door. Griffin was down the hall, coming toward her classroom. “I don’t recall you being dismissed right now…” Griffin questioned.
“Don’t feel well.” Valkyrie looked to her mother and gave a few fake coughs. Griffin shook her head.
“Go… Just don’t cause any trouble.” Griffin warned.
“Never.” Valkyrie gave a weak smile before heading to her dorm. She needed space… That’s all…
Cackling could be heard overhead as Valkyrie peered over the side of the bridge. They were so high up, jagged spikes and harsh waters were below.
And the fairies… Seven fairies were falling and falling fast. “Tick, tock, Valkyrie… You better save them…” Icy, no, Belladonna sneered.
“Or they’re going to die.” Lysslis cackled.
“Fight us or save them.” Tharma taunted. Valkyrie felt torn, watching the girls falling she knew she had to save them…
But the codex… She couldn’t let them have it…
A shriek broke her concentration and she fell to her knees, tears flowing freely. Morgan had landed, a spike going right through her body. Valkyrie shook, frozen in fear.
The others faced similar deaths… Bloom drowned in the water, her wings letting the waters drag her down. Layla and Stella ended up on the spikes by Morgan…
Flora… Flora hit the bridge with a sickening crack, her eyes open and a scream on her lips.
Valkyrie swore as she shot up, her body trembling. ‘We did the right thing. We can stop Darkar, but we cannot bring back the dead.’ Her dragon tried to reason.
‘If Crystal thinks it’s all my fault, it’s my fault. I was supposed to protect the codex and Discorda.’ Valkyrie argued, wiping the tears from her eyes.
‘You’re young. Mistakes will be made.’
‘This mistake could cost us the magical dimension though.’ Valkyrie reminded him. She could hear his snort.
‘We can stop Darkar. We can beat him. With or without a codex.’
Valkyrie sighed and grabbed her bag. “If you say so.” She whispered out loud, heading for the library.
She felt a familiar presence beside her, hesitantly sitting down in the chair beside hers at the library. “Can…. We talk?” Crystal whispered. Valkyrie turned to face her friend.
“I didn’t mean what I said earlier… I know human life is more important than any trinket… I just…” Crystal looked away. “I felt disgusted with myself for letting them get the drop on me earlier that day… And then… The whole craven incident… I just… I lost my cool and I lost it on you.”
Valkyrie gave her a nudge and a smile. “Its fine, Crystal. Besides, if I were you, I probably would have made the same accusation… I mean… You’d trade the codex in for Kota.” She tried to joke. Crystal gave a smile.
“Yeah. I would. And I’d trade it for you and Lucy. Mirta. Morgan… Maybe the fairies.” She teased.
They both laughed, the tension disappearing… Valkyrie heard the rustle of cloth and turned, seeing her mother. “Mom… What’s wrong?” She asked, noting how grim her mother look.
“Alfea lost its codex… Faragonda wouldn’t go into detail… But that makes three in Darkar’s possession.” Griffin looked to Valkyrie and Crystal.
“What does that mean for us?” Crystal asked.
“More training and more drills. We can’t afford to have our guards down.” Griffin looked both girls over. “I felt I’d warn the two of you first… The others tend to fall in line if you do.”
“They’ll get fall in… Don’t worry.” Valkyrie gave a salute. “Question is… What’s our next plan?”
“Just keep your guard up and follow orders. We don’t need any heroes right now.” Griffin warned.
“We’ll do our best.” Crystal promised.
“Yeah… And when the time is right, we’ll make Darkar pay.” Valkyrie vowed, feeling her dragon humming within her. He was beyond ready for retribution, but he was patient enough to wait.
Chapter 27: Chapter Twenty-Seven: Morgan Takes A Stand
- Morgan Takes A Stand
She growled out when she hit the tree, her back popping when she fell to her knees. Valkyrie stood, feeling the anger and rage rising within her. The monster flung itself at her, claws drawn and ready to attack.
Valkyrie stood her ground, her skin heating up as a dark aura filled around her. “Dark Dragon’s Wrath!” She growled, her arms moving in front of her as a dragon-shaped flame coiled around her and lunged forward.
The creature cried out in pain from the flames, sparks and steam coming off of it as it poofed back into the shapeshifer’s glob form. Valkyrie glowered, keeping her stance. “Ms. Sylvane that is enough!” Ediltrude brought the barrier down. “Stand down now.”
Valkyrie turned to her. “Let me go again. I need to-”
“You need to tone it down. Going like this will make you sick. And then what good will you be?” Ediltrude placed a hand on Valkyrie’s shoulder. “Besides, your mother wants to see you in her office… Your cousin is there too… Family bonding I suppose?” Ediltrude waved her hand over the shapeshifter.
“And if you wish to continue training with me, do not push yourself to the brink of death. I grew up with your mother, I know perfectionism runs in the family.” Ediltrude gave a smile. Valkyrie sighed.
“Yes, ma’am…” She walked over to the bleachers, grabbing her bag and heading back toward the castle.
Valkyrie stagger-walked into her mother’s office. Jolly flew over, getting in front of Valkyrie. “You look like you’ve not been sleeping… And I can feel something dark looming over you… Shall I tell your future?” The little pixie asked. Valkyrie looked by her, giving Morgan a look.
“Really? Using the pixie for an intervention?” She asked. Morgan shrugged, walking over and pulling Jolly to her.
“Sorry, Jolly. Valkyrie here has a thing about fortune telling.” Morgan apologized. Jolly huffed.
“But it could help… I mean, my predictions were right on Halloween… And the prediction about the Winx going on vacation…” Jolly pouted.
Valkyrie groaned. “Don’t remind me… A whole week without Flora…” She placed a hand on her pendant. “Of course… She promised to write…” She took her seat by Morgan, fighting a yawn. “But I have a feeling that’s not what I’ve been called here for…”
“It’s not.” Griffin waved her hand over her crystal ball. “Darkar has three pieces of the codex and the last is in Pixie Village…” She looked Morgan and Valkyrie over. “I know you two have been working hard,” she looked to Valkyrie in particular for her next statement, “and I know you’ve not been resting properly…”
“I can sense ‘a but’ coming in…” Morgan leaned back. Griffin gave a smile.
“But I’m going to ask the two,” Jolly gave a fake cough and Griffin rolled her eyes, “the three of you,” she amended, “to search Black Mud Swamp for a plant known as the Lilo…”
Morgan lit up. “The Lilo? Oh that’s going to be a challenge… It hides in plain sight and most mistake it for a weed… But the power it holds…” She paused. “Wait… What are we going to do with the Lilo?”
“Faragonda, Saladin, and I are going to use the Lilo for a protection spell over our schools… Darkar may already have our codex pieces, but I have no doubts he’ll attempt to attack us again out of spite…” Griffin explained. “Normally, this would be an assignment for teachers… But…”
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation? We can handle finding the Lilo.” Valkyrie gave a smile to Morgan. “Isn’t that right, Cousin?”
“Of course.” Morgan pushed back a loose strand of hair. “And it should be a snap with my half-elf natural abilities.” She smiled.
“And I know Black Mud Swamp like the back of my hand.” Jolly giggled. “I do séances there with Concorda often.” Griffin chuckled.
“Okay girls… Be safe on your journey.” Griffin stood. “And do not hesitate to ask for help.” She looked to Valkyrie. “And try not to push yourself too hard.”
Valkyrie and Morgan got to their feet. “We’ll do what we can.” Valkyrie promised. “See you when we have the Lilo.”
Morgan gave a wink. “I’ll watch out for her, Aunt Griffin. Don’t worry.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“I’m the older cousin, here. Remember that.”
“You’re also the more impulsive one…” Morgan argued as they walked out of Griffin’s office. Griffin shook her head, a quiet prayer leaving her lips…
Jolly groaned, falling onto Morgan’s shoulder. “We’ve been at this for hours… I’m starting to think we were sent on a goose chase.” Jolly whined. Morgan patted her pixie on the shoulder.
“Relax, Jolly, the Lilo is here… We just have to feel for it.” Morgan chuckled. “I mean, there’s a reason it’s considered elusive.” She turned around, seeing Valkyrie leaning against a tree. “Are you sure you should have even been sent on this mission?”
Valkyrie shook herself quickly, getting to her feet and looking straight ahead. “I’m good. I was just resting my eyes…” Valkyrie forced a smile. “Promise.” Morgan shook her head, going back and grabbing Valkyrie and pushing her to sit on a log.
“We’re going to rest here for a few minutes. I’m not going to have you pass out on me.” Morgan warned, grabbing a snack-bar from her bag. “Eat this. It may not taste very good, but it’ll do the trick.”
Valkyrie gave a wary look at the snack before unwrapping it, putting the garbage in her own bag and taking a bite. She scowled a bit, but continued eating, grabbing her water bottle and guzzling it down when she was done. “The hell was in that?”
“Bitterroots. It’s to shock your system awake. Much healthier for you than caffeine.” Morgan snickered. “But uh… It’s got a lot of kick.” Valkyrie snorted.
“I’ll say.” She pushed her glasses up, feeling a bit more energized. “Ready to start back?”
“Follow my lead.” Morgan winked, hopping up. She laughed when she noticed Jolly asleep in her bag. “Poor little pixie…” She chuckled, picking the bag up.
The Lilo was at the edge of the swamp, hidden behind a few ragweeds. The only tell of what the plant really was were the tiny black petals. Morgan grinned, pulling Valkyrie into a hug. “We found it!”
Valkyrie gave Morgan a look. “You act like there was ever any doubts.”
“Oh, there were doubts. But they were mainly about you even making it this far.” A familiar voice taunted. Darcy and Stormy stepped out from the trees, cackling.
Valkyrie’s anger flared and she stood in front of Morgan, the fairy setting her bag (and sleeping pixie) down. “Just what do you think you’re doing here?”
“Eliminating a few problems… What do you think we’re doing here?” Stormy’s electricity crackled down her arm, firing straight at Valkyrie. The witch put up a shield around her and Morgan, digging her boots into the dirt. Morgan glared.
“Time for some wings!” She called, a burst of light surrounding her. The light dispersed, leaving her in her fairy form, wings fluttering fast. She created an energy ball from the elements around them, sending it into Stormy.
Stormy growled, falling back into the ground. Darcy sneered, waving her arms. “Hypnotica!” She cast.
Valkyrie fell back into one of the trees, her body weakening again. Morgan ended up hitting a rock, wincing as she fell to her knees.
Darcy and Stormy both cackled. “It’s like they’re ready to die!” Stormy laughed. Darcy hummed.
“It’s almost a shame to end it here. I was having so much fun playing.” The brunette walked over to Valkyrie, grabbing the younger witch by her hair. “Did you enjoy the nightmares as much I enjoyed giving them to you?” Darcy taunted.
Valkyrie growled, feeling her body heat up, the realization settling in. “Let. Me. GO!” She and her dragon both shrieked aloud, sending a burst of flames to Darcy.
The witch released Valkyrie, laughing. “Darkar was right. You are weaker these days. What’s the matter? Afraid to give in to yourself?” Valkyrie glowered, moving to get to her feet.
Stormy blasted her back with a lightning whip, making the witch groan out as she hit the mud of the swamp.
“Leave her alone!” Morgan yelled out, fluttering in between Stormy and Darcy.
“I almost forgot you were here too…” Stormy smirked.
“Yeah… You’re kind of forgettable… And kind of useless.” Darcy taunted. Morgan glared, planting her feet firmly.
“Thanks for projecting your own self-image issues. Unfortunately, I don’t give a damn.” Morgan summoned her power, extending her arm. “Paras acha!” She called. Mushrooms formed around Darcy and Stormy, spores spewing over the witches.
They took to the air, coughing and wheezing. Morgan flew after them, hands on her hips. “What’s the matter? Can’t handle a little stun spore?” She taunted. “Let me guess, you’re bark is the only thing bad about you?”
Stormy growled, twirling around until a twister formed, trapping Morgan and making her crash toward the ground.
Valkyrie swore, gathering her power to cushion Morgan’s fall. The fairy managed to land safely, panting a bit. “You okay?” Valkyrie asked. Morgan nodded.
“Been better.” Valkyrie admitted.
“How sweet. A family that worries over each other.” Darcy sneered as she and Stormy landed. Valkyrie glowered.
“At least we’re a family that cares.” Valkyrie got to her feet. “Let me guess, your coven isn’t working out because you’re all fighting over Lord Dorkus? Right?” She taunted.
Stormy and Darcy both snarled and sent energy blasts at Valkyrie, forcing her to the ground. Morgan sent a vine to wrap around the witches, holding them in place. “Leave us alone.” She growled.
Darcy laughed. “Wow… Check out her ‘tude Stormy… It’s like she thinks she’s a witch.”
“She probably wants to be one… I mean let’s face it… She’s the only one in her family with wings. How pathetic.” Stormy taunted. Morgan paused.
“And I bet you don’t even get recognized by the elven communities. You’re only half an elf. If that.” Darcy continued.
“You really do have to feel useless, don’t you?” Stormy continued. Morgan closed her eyes and Valkyrie could feel the anger radiating from her cousin.
“You’re right. I am the only in one my family with wings. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with elven family due to the scandal of my being.” She had her power coursing through her veins, the entirety of Black Mud Swamp seeming to give her power.
“But you’re still wrong about me. I may not be the strongest in my family, but I’m strong enough to send the two of you back to Darkar.” She growled, chanting in a tongue all her own. Valkyrie gave a weak grin as she recognized the chant as elven.
The witches were sent flying away, teleported to a whole new dimension. Morgan fell to her knees, winx spent as she shifted back. Valkyrie got to her feet, walking over to her cousin and pulling her close. “You were incredible.” Valkyrie praised.
Morgan gave a smile. “Yeah… Yeah I was, for a fairy.” She winked. A glow surrounded Morgan, a small arrow shaped pendent appeared over her heart before disappearing. “What… Was that?”
Valkyrie shrugged. “I have no idea… But I’m sure Faragonda will know… After we get the Lilo and head back.” Morgan sneered a bit Valkyrie, looking between them.
“And you need a bath. I can’t believe you hugged me while covered in mud.” Morgan stood, helping Valkyrie to her feet.
Valkyrie laughed. “I thought you enjoyed playing in the mud.” She teased, going back to where their bags had protected the Lilo plant.
“Not like this!” Morgan argued back.
They made it back to the swamp’s entrance, surprised to see the heads of the schools already there, waiting. “We felt a disturbance and made our way over… What happened to you girls?” Faragonda asked, fixing her glasses.
Griffin looked them over. “Seems they went swimming in the bog…” She shook her head. “But at least they found the Lilo.”
“For the record, Val went for a dip in the bog… She then hugged me while covered in gunk.” Morgan told them. Saladin frowned.
“Trying to keep yourself awake?” Saladin asked Valkyrie. The witch sighed.
“More like I was shoved into the bog. Stormy and Darcy jumped us… And…” She looked down. “I was beyond exhausted.” She gave a smile. “But Morgan totally rocked their worlds. She sent them packing with a force I’d never seen before.”
“And then I got this pendant thing… But I’m not sure… What that means.” Morgan told Faragonda. The headmistress grinned.
“It seems you’ve earned your Charmix.”
“Charmix. It’s when a fairy overcomes an emotional or physical weakness… A fear, if you will…” Faragonda told her. Morgan’s face lit up, realization settling in.
“They kept pointing out how I’m the only fairy in my family and how that means I’ve got to be the weakest link… Which was always a fear of mine… That I really am the weakest in the family because I’m a fairy… But standing up to them….”
“You proved to them and to yourself that you’re just as strong, if not stronger, than the rest of us.” Griffin finished for her niece. “I’m proud, and I know your fathers will be too.” She looked to the two girls. “Now set the Lilo down and head back to your campuses. You both look like you could use a shower.”
Morgan and Valkyrie chuckled, setting the plant down and giving a salute. “Good luck with the protection spell.”
“We’ll need it.” Faragonda gave them a nod, sending them off…
She was showered, fed, and exhausted… Crystal came over to her side, handing her a glass. “You sure about this? You may sleep for a while…”
“I couldn’t keep my cousin and her pixie safe today, Crystal… All because I was exhausted…” Valkyrie sighed. “I have to sleep… And if this is the only way he’s going to shut up long enough to let me, if this is the only way Darcy can’t get to me… So be it…” She grabbed the glass and downed the drink, pursing her lips at the sour taste.
Crystal shook her head. “Good luck.”
“Thanks…” Valkyrie whispered, already feeling sleepy as she fell back onto her bed.
Chapter 28: Chapter Twenty-Eight: Last Resorts
- Last Resorts
Valkyrie was penning her letter to Flora in the library, trying to find the words to tell Flora everything that had happened the past few days. “Discorda… Should I mention the Charmix thing, or no?” She asked.
The pixie crossed her arms, tapping her foot. “I’m not sure… Does she get envious? If so… I wouldn’t…” Valkyrie gave a laugh. “I’m serious… I’ve met some fairies who truly envy each other to the point of sabotage. They can be worse than witches on that sort of thing.”
“I don’t doubt that… But Flora isn’t…” Valkyrie paused. “Flora’s vice… If she has one… Is probably wrath. She may not be quick to anger, but I’ve seen just how terrifying her anger can be.” Discorda raised an eyebrow.
“Saying you’re scared of your girlfriend’s temper?” Discorda teased. Valkyrie snorted.
“More like, I’m more willing to do anything possible to keep her from showing her temper. Which is why I’m the hothead in the relationship… That way the things she wants to say and do get done, but her hands stay clean.” Valkyrie grinned. “It’s a beautiful system really.”
Discorda laughed. “Have you ever heard the story of Persephone and Hades? I have a feeling you’d appreciate it.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.
“I’m not trying to steal her though.”
“Hades never truly stole Persephone either… The girl chose the god of the dead all on her own. It was her mother that claimed her to be stolen…” Discorda corrected. “I can get you the true myths… if you’re interested.”
Valkyrie grinned. “I’d like that.”
“Valkyrie come quickly!” Lucy rushed into the library, pulling at Valkyrie’s wrist. “You’ve got to go.” Valkyrie frowned, getting to her feet and grabbing her bag.
“What’s going on?” She asked, panic rising.
“It’s Helia and your cousin… They said something happened to the Winx and they’re going to help them… But they need you too.” Lucy told her. “It’s Trix related.”
Valkyrie all but growled. “I’m on it.” She looked to the green haired witch. “You and Crystal keep an eye on Cheshire for me, okay?”
“Got it.” Valkyrie gave a nod, rushing out of library and down the halls to the front gates…
Valkyrie bounced her leg, nervous energy building. “How much longer?”
“Until we get there? Ten more minutes… Don’t worry, Valkyrie, I’m sure they’re going to be fine… Timmy said they had a plan to hold them off until we got there.” Helia tried to assure the witch.
“And Ms. Faragonda said most of the girls have their Charmix abilities now, too… So that’s a plus.” Morgan placed a hand on her cousin’s shoulder. “They’re going to be okay.”
“For the Trix’s sake, they’d better be.” Valkyrie vowed, that familiar heat welling up inside of her. “I’m well rested this time, and I’m beyond pissed.”
“Save the anger for the fight. Please… This ship is sensitive to magic.” Helia tried to plead with Valkyrie. “I mean… It’s new and I’d rather not lose it.”
Valkyrie rolled her eyes. “Just keep flying, Leonardo.” Valkyrie teased. Morgan shook her head, snickering.
“I see them.” Valkyrie gestured to where Timmy and Sky were trapping Icy in a log tomb, though she could tell it wouldn’t last long.
“If I let you girls out, can you take them?” Helia asked. Morgan grinned.
“I’ve been itching for a rematch.” She closed her eyes, summoning her power. “Charmix!” A flash of light washed over her, shifting her into her fairy form, with an added arrow broach and what appeared to be a pink potions bag.
Valkyrie grabbed one of the laser swords. “Saladin won’t mind… Right?” She winked. Helia sighed.
“Just be careful…” He opened the hatch, letting the girls jump to the ground.
Morgan flew off, sending blasts of energy into Stormy’s back. The witch cried out, turning around. “What the hell?”
“When did you get here?” Darcy growled. Icy snarled at her sisters.
“I thought you took care of them!” Valkyrie charged them with her newly acquired laser sword, forcing them off the creature they’d overtaken and onto the ground.
“I guess your sisters don’t tell you everything, Icy…” She taunted, sword facing them. Stormy cackled.
“Do you even know how to use that thing?” She asked. Valkyrie smirked, charging against Stormy, making the witch block her abdomen when she was really going for her legs.
Stormy cried out, falling into Darcy, a gash on her leg. “She cut me!” Valkyrie shrugged.
“I’ve known how to hold a sword as long as I’ve known how to walk, ladies. You never know when your power will fail you.” She gave a smirk to her cousin.
Morgan took the cue, creating vines to wrap around the witches. Icy sneered and froze them over, going to set herself and her sisters free. Valkyrie managed to charge before they were freed, crashing her sword into Darcy’s Gloomix, the energy reverberating enough to give Valkyrie a taste of power.
“Dark Dragon’s Wrath!” She called, summoning her dragon, feeling the heat coil around her before lunging at the three witches.
They had fallen to the ground and getting to their feet. Stormy raised her hand to conjure her power, but that was the time when Helia showed up with the squad ship, firing blasts at them.
“Let’s just get out of here!” Icy grabbed her sisters, teleporting them away. Morgan fell to her knees, shifting back.
“We did it… I can’t believe that worked.” She laughed.
Valkyrie laid on the grass, trying to catch her breath, sword at her side. “I know… It was awesome.”
They could hear the cheers erupting, the rest of the specialists and fairies, aside from Layla and Bloom, showing themselves. Flora pulled Valkyrie into a hug, twirling her around. “Where did you learn to sword fight? That was so incredible.” Flora gushed. Valkyrie flushed a bit, taking in Flora’s red two piece.
“My mom always said to be prepared… So when Saladin enrolled Helia into sword classes during elementary school… I went with him.” She answered.
“You could give Sky a run for his money.” Riven teased, nudging Sky a bit.
“When did you guys get here?” A familiar voice called. Bloom. Valkyrie gave a wave as Bloom and Layla walked over, pixies in tow.
“We always come for fairies in distress.” Valkyrie teased.
“It’s sort of our thing.” Helia chuckled. Morgan frowned, zeroing in on the coughing and sneezing pixies.
“What happened to them?” She rushed over, looking them over.
“They just got sick…. And I tried a healing spell but it wouldn’t work…” Bloom looked away. “Do you think you could help?”
Morgan frowned. “I don’t think so…”
“The Flower of Life…. It’s the only thing guaranteed to save a pixie.” Layla looked to the group. “I know we shouldn’t… But we have to get them back to Pixie Village…”
Sky gave a nod. “Guess the vacation is over…”
“And just when we starting to enjoy ourselves.” Tecna pouted, crossing her arms. Timmy put an arm around her.
“Don’t worry, Tecna… There’ll be other vacations.”
“That’s right. And maybe the next one won’t include killer witches.” Stella half-joked, already making her way toward the squad ship.
Valkyrie shook her head, taking Flora’s hand in hers. “Did you have a good time?” She asked, walking with Flora.
“It was okay… But I wish you could have come along.” Flora kissed the top of her head. “It’d have been so much better… You wouldn’t believe how chilly it got last night…” Valkyrie flushed a bit at the implication.
“If it helps, I’ve been having to take sleep potions at night… Darcy spelled me somehow…” Valkyrie told her. Flora hummed.
“Maybe the Flower of Life could help you too?” Flora wondered. Valkyrie shrugged.
“I don’t know… Maybe…”
Because there were two squad ships, the group had to split into two. Most of the fairies elected to head back to Alfea to alert Ms. Faragonda of what had happened at the vacation realm, while some of the others wanted to assist the pixies.
Stella, Bloom, Tecna, and Musa rode back with Sky, Riven, and Timmy. Brandon and Helia elected to take Morgan, Flora, and Layla to Pixie Village.
“Valkyrie, do you want a lift back to CT or…?” Sky asked, ready to load up his ship.
“I’m going to stick to the pixies…” Valkyrie gave a wink. “You never know when a witches’ touch may be needed.”
Morgan snorted. “No one needs to know about yours and Flora’s love life.” Morgan teased, grabbing her cousin and pulling her into the ship.
Flora and Layla couldn’t help but laugh, shaking their heads at the two cousins. Tune sniffled.
“Those sorts of jokes aren’t polite…. They’re… They’re…” She sneezed. “Excuse me… Rude…” She huffed. Valkyrie took her seat, giving a sympathetic look to Tune.
“I’ll apologize for Morgan then… She’s really her father’s child.” Valkyrie half-teased. Helia went to the controls.
“Please don’t antagonize the pixies…” he warned, giving a look Valkyrie. The witch put her hands up, not wanting to argue.
Flora shook her head, taking the seat by Valkyrie. “I’m glad you’re coming… It’ll be amazing to see Pixie Village… I’ve never been.”
“I haven’t either… It’ll be quite the experience.” Valkyrie smiled, taking Flora’s hand.
Chapter 29: Chapter Twenty-Nine: Saving Pixie Village
- Saving Pixie Village
They landed in a clearing near Pixie Village, not wanting to accidentally harm anyone. Valkyrie toted Lockette and Amore while Flora and Layla had their respective pixies in their arms. Morgan had Digit. And Tune was being carried by Helia.
“So Pixie Village is just up… Here.” Layla gasped, nearly dropping Piff in the process.
“What’s wrong?” Lockette asked, her voice squeaking a bit. Valkyrie swore when she saw Pixie Village. Or what used to be Pixie Village.
The pixies were huddled together, most of the village incased in ice. “Icy’s been here…” Morgan’s words fell, hollow.
“Which means… Darkar must have their codex.” Helia finished the sentiment. Brandon shook his head.
“That’s… That can’t be.” Brandon looked to Layla. “Can it…?”
“I’m afraid it’s true…” a green and regal looking pixie flew over to the group. “A witch with great ice power arrived and… She threatened to destroy everything unless I gave her the codex.” The pixie shook her head, teary eyed.
“I… I’ve done what I can… But I can’t defrost the village.” She flew to the ground. “I’m no good to the pixies…”
Layla got down to her level. “Don’t worry, Queen Ninfea… We have a witch of our own, and she’s pretty heated.” Layla looked over to Valkyrie. “Right?”
Valkyrie carefully handed Lockette and Amore over to Brandon. “I can try… If you’ll allow me, your majesty.” Valkyrie gave a bow to Ninfea. The pixie carefully took Valkyrie’s hand.
“You’re Griffin’s daughter, the Keeper of the Dark Flame…” Ninfea gave a smile. “Please… Do whatever you can.”
Valkyrie gave a nod, moving closer to the block of ice. “Okay… If there are any pixies or pixie pets in the area, clear out. It’s going to warm up wayyy to quickly for you to handle.” She watched as Livvy and a few others cleared the way.
She closed her eyes, letting her body heat up, feeling the flames dance in her veins, coming through her skin. She kept it dim, wanting only to provide warmth and heat. Opening her eyes, she gave a smile, seeing the ice melting and turning into water. “You did it!” Morgan cheered.
“Guess you’re warmer than most witches.” Brandon joked. Valkyrie shook her head, getting to her feet.
“That was lame. Stella would hurt you.” She chuckled. Ninfea and the other pixies flew near the center, a large and beautiful pink flower lay there.
“Oh no…” Layla groaned. “I think… we just found another problem…”
“The Flower of Life… It’s sick….” Ninfea spoke softly.
“But… Without it… We’re not going to get better….” Chatta held tight to Flora, coughing and sneezing.
“What are we going to do…?” Amore whimpered.
Valkyrie turned to Morgan and Flora. “You two are the nature experts… What do you suggest…?”
Morgan passed Digit off Valkyrie, going over to where the flower was. “I don’t think this is something I should mess with… I know a lot about nature and I’m closer to it than most…. But my power comes from the energy within nature… Not nature itself…” She looked to Ninfea. “I’m sorry your majesty… But maybe my father could help…?”
“It’d take too long to head back to Alfea now…” Layla looked to Flora. “Flora… Can you do this?”
Flora looked to the flower and Valkyrie could feel her nervous energy. “Flora?” Brandon asked.
“I… I can try… Let me think for just a second…” She gave Chatta to Morgan, sitting down by the flower, stroking its petals. “Maybe if I can figure out what’s wrong exactly… I can fix it…”
Flora had been at it for an hour. The pixies were getting sicker and the flower was wilting fast. Valkyrie could feel her discouragement, her frustration. “One more…” Flora tried another healing spell. It seemed to work… for a second.
The fairy shook. “I… I need a second…” Her voice was breaking as she walked off. Valkyrie looked to Digit in her hands.
“Digit…” She started.
“Go… And get her.” Digit gave a nod. Valkyrie smiled, carefully setting the pixie down.
“I owe you.” She winked to the pixie, rushing off after Flora.
The fairy was near the ships, tears falling freely from her eyes as she trembled. Valkyrie walked over, wrapping her arms around Flora, laying her head on the fairy’s shoulder. “What’s wrong?” Valkyrie asked.
“I can’t do it… I’m not…” Flora sniffed. “I’m just a flower fairy, Valkyrie… I’m not… I’m not a true nature fairy… And everyone is counting on me and… If I fail… the pixies will die… I can’t… I can’t mess up, but I can’t even try without knowing how I’m going to fail…”
Valkyrie made Flora turn to her and levitated herself so she was eye-level with the fairy. She cupped Flora’s face in her hands, letting some of her heat waver off onto Flora, wanting her to feel the warmth.
“Flora… You are the nature fairy. I’ve seen you take command over Gloomy Wood Forest, I’ve seen you ride the winds of Linphea, and I’ve seen you play with the Rancorian Vines. And let me tell you, those vines hate everyone, but they loved you.” She kissed Flora’s nose.
“You, my dear Fairy, may not see it, but you’re the fairy of nature. I can feel it now. The fates have chosen you to be the next nature fairy… Hell… You may be chosen later on to be the next Mother Nature.”
“Flora, aside from Bloom, you’re the most fearsome fairy I’ve ever met. You don’t show it, you’re patient and slow to anger… But I saw it in Gloomy Wood Forest. I saw how easily you can command the natural world around you. Very few fairies can say that.” She touched her forehead to Flora’s, allowing a link for Flora to see herself the way Valkyrie did.
“You’re fiercer than you know, Flora Grace La Rosa. And you’re going to fix that flower because I know you can. And we both know I’m never wrong.” Valkyrie told her, wiping at her tears.
Flora held her close, kissing her softly. “I love you.” Valkyrie smiled.
“I love you too. Now get your wings on and save the Flower of Life.” Valkyrie grinned, stepping back as a light shown over Flora.
She’d transformed into her winx, taking Valkyrie’s hand as they walked back to the village. “I just had an epiphany.” Flora winked to Valkyrie. “If I give it my all… It should be enough to save the flower.”
Flora sat down by the Flower of Life and stroked its petals, her power flowing freely from her. Valkyrie grinned, feeling Flora’s self-confidence boosting as the Flower began to blossom. “It’s working.” Digit gave a slight cheer.
“That’s my fairy!” Chatta exclaimed through coughs. Valkyrie gave Chatta a look.
“She’s our fairy.” Valkyrie corrected, giving a wink.
Soon enough, the Flower of Life was healed, the leaves for the tea were blown out in thanks. The pixies cheered, swarming Flora who could only flush. A light flashed around Flora, a pendant stretching out across her chest appeared before disappearing. “I think I just got my Charmix.” She grinned, looking to Valkyrie.
“Thank you.” She walked over, kissing the witch’s cheek. Valkyrie smiled.
“I’m just doing my job as supportive girlfriend.” She half-joked. “Besides… I meant every word.” She took Flora’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “Now let’s brew these pixies some tea.”
Valkyrie gave a wave to Helia as the ship took off, leaving her there at Cloud Tower’s gate. She turned, making her way back into Cloud Tower’s castle.
Griffin, Crystal, and Lucy were waiting in the lobby. “So did you manage to stop the Trix?” Lucy asked, wanting details.
“Something like that…” She looked to Griffin, concerned. “They have all four codex pieces… Did Queen Ninfea tell you?”
“She did… She also said that a certain fairy managed to save Pixie Village.” Griffin gave a smile. “Flora was the best witch out of all of them that week…” She praised. Valkyrie opened her mouth, about to retort when she felt something snap.
‘The Balance is changing! She’s… They’re trying to corrupt her.’ Her dragon began to panic and Valkyrie fell to her knees.
“Valkyrie!” Crystal tried to help her up, letting the smaller witch lean on her. “What’s going on? Did you get hurt at the Resort Realm?”
Valkyrie shook her head. “The Balance… It’s shifting. They’ve… Bloom… Something’s happened to Bloom.” She growled out, her body trembling. “I can’t feel her warmth… I can’t feel her light…”
She wanted to fight, she wanted to find Bloom and stop what was happening… But she couldn’t… She felt like a vice was squeezing her. “To the infirmary… Quickly.”
“NO!” Valkyrie growled out. “I don’t need medics… I need to fix it… I’ve got to find Bloom… I’ve got to….” She felt heated, and not the good kind. Crystal laid her crystal necklace on her.
“Feel the ice, Valkyrie… You gotta chill out for a second.” Crystal tried to reason.
“You can go help find Bloom after we figure out a way to keep you from… Making yourself a liability.” Griffin told her. “Nurse Mal should have a charm that will help you and your dragon stay in harmony. But you have to trust us.”
‘Find Bloom… We’ll take the charm. Find Bloom. Set it right.’ Her dragon snarled.
“Fine… But I have to find Bloom soon… The Balance is way off and he’s totally wigging out on me.” Valkyrie told her mother.
Griffin gave a nod to Crystal, opening a portal. “The short cut to the infirmary, find her a bed.” Crystal gave a nod, Lucy falling in behind her. Valkyrie tried to keep herself together…
She had to keep them together… Just until they found Bloom…
Chapter 30: Chapter Thirty: Seeking Bloom
- Seeking Bloom
“The others are here and ready… We sure about this?” Crystal asked, arms crossed as she walked over to Valkyrie’s infirmary bed. The smaller witch stood, determined.
“I have to help find Bloom. The only way to stop him from wigging out is if we find what’s wrong with her and fix it.” Valkyrie told her, rubbing the small bracelet on her arm. It was a charm Nurse Mal created to keep her and her dragon in harmony with each other until they found Bloom.
“Okay then… I’m going too… Someone besides Flora has to keep you in check.” Crystal winked. “Let’s head out.”
The witches made their way to Cloud Tower’s front gates, Ms. Griffin discussing something with Timmy. “That should be the map you need to navigate ShadowHaunt without causing too much of a ruckus. You’ll need the element of surprise.” Griffin told him.
“Th-thanks Ms. Griffin… But how did you get this?” Timmy asked. Valkyrie walked up, giving a smile to Timmy.
“She made it. My mom has an eidetic memory and she and Darkar were buddies once.” Valkyrie told him.
Timmy swallowed. “What?”
Kota popped his head out from the hatch. “That’s right. Ms. G used to be a tactician for the Coven… But she’s switched to our side…” Kota quickly amended, noting the look Griffin was giving them.
“Just be careful. All of you.” Griffin looked to Valkyrie. “I mean it.”
“We’ll be fine.” Valkyrie waved her mother’s concerns off, giving a smile and walking into the squad ship.
Morgan and the Winx were there, along with the pixies and Timmy’s squad mates, plus Kota. Flora walked over, taking her hand. “Are you okay? You’re shaking.”
“Her dragon’s wigging out… We think something must have happened to Bloom after she got taken because he’s not giving Valkyrie any rest.” Crystal answered, taking a seat near Kota.
“It just means the balance is tipping… So we need to hurry.” Valkyrie let Flora lead her to their seats, doing her best to relax near the fairy.
“Don’t worry… ShadowHaunt won’t know what hit it.” Timmy told them, closing the hatch and grabbing the pilot’s seat.
Soon enough, the ship was in takeoff, the scenery quickly shifting. Chatta flew over and sat in Flora’s lap, taking Valkyrie’s hand. “Nice bracelet. Where did you get it?”
“It’s a charm… To keep me and my dragon in harmony until we find Bloom.” Valkyrie told her. “Please don’t mess with it.”
“Can you sense Bloom out? Like… See what’s going on with her?” Sky asked, worry in his voice. Valkyrie moved to sit up straight, closing her eyes.
Darkness… She could feel a whole level of darkness that wasn’t normal to this plane of existence. Her body wasn’t meant for this, it was meant for life and warmth… This… This wasn’t her nature…
Valkyrie seethed, shaking her head. “He’s done something to her… She’s… It’s like she’s a dark fairy or something… I can feel her light but it’s dimmed down…” Valkyrie tried to explain.
“I wonder what he wanted with Bloom anyway…. He had the codexes.” Stella huffed.
“To open Realix. You have to have a balance to open the gates. Dark and light.” Crystal explained. “Ms. Griffin tried to explain that to us earlier, when we were trying to put Valkyrie back in the driver seat.”
“Driver seat?” Layla asked.
“My dragon tried to completely take control when he started wigging out… We couldn’t have that… So here’s the charm.” Valkyrie raised her wrist.
“Jolly… Do you have any predictions for us?” Lockette asked, turning to Morgan’s pixie.
The jester looking pixie closed her eyes, tarot cards falling around her. “I see… A plan coming together. And I see… I see love conquering all… though it doesn’t say what sort of love… And… I see powers being stripped from someone… That’s never good.” Jolly whimpered.
“Don’t worry… We fought the Army of Darkness, we can handle Lord Darkar.” Morgan gave a smile. “We’re stronger than they are.”
“We’re a hella’ova lot more determined anyway.” Kota agreed, raising his hand in the air. Crystal laughed.
“And we’re faster.” She admitted.
“I know we have much better style.” Stella joined in. Valkyrie shook her head, laughing a bit as the others continued their affirmations. Flora playfully nudged her, kissing her cheek.
“Let them have this… If it helps… It helps.” She whispered. Valkyrie grinned.
“You’re right. I just hope it does help…” She whispered back, laying her head on Flora’s shoulder.
The boys had begun discussions about talking to a potential ally once they reached the Underrealms. Valkyrie tried to follow along, in case her input was needed, but with Flora’s dainty fingers playing in her hair, focusing was… Bad.
She barely even noticed when Sky, Brandon, and Layla took the levibikes out, other than the ship was suddenly less crowded…
Valkyrie groaned when the ship landed, looking around at the panicked faces. “What’s going on?”
“We’ve been hit by… Some sort of lightning.” Timmy and Tecna were doing their best to save the ship’s computer.
“I’ve got this.” Tecna shifted into her fairy form, and then brought out her Charmix. She connected to the ship, doing a little reprograming. “That should… Work.”
“Brilliant work Tecna.” Timmy grinned. Valkyrie felt a chill in the air.
“Okay… So what was that?!” Valkyrie asked.
“Ice…?” Helia questioned. “And it looks like it wants to crush us…” Flora stood, going over to Morgan.
“Feel like making a little trouble?” Flora asked, giving a wink.
Morgan grinned. “I’m right behind you.” The girls shifted into their fairy forms and Charmix pendants, flying off outside.
Valkyrie leaned back, watching them from the screen. “I could burn those away, you know?” Stella huffed.
“You could… But we don’t want to upset the inner you.” Stella explained.
“Yeah, no disrespect meant Val, but if he’s wigging out as bad as you said he is… Using your powers may trigger him. Even with a charm.” Musa explained.
“Just let us handle things for once.” Crystal chimed in. “Check it, they’re already back.” She waved as Morgan and Flora walked back in, shifting out.
The pixies flew around them, giggling and cheering a cheer led by Chatta. Flora took Valkyrie’s hand, kissing her softly. “The ice isn’t something we should worry about.”
“Yeah. We fixed it.” Morgan took Helia’s hand.
“My question is how did the ice get there? I mean… This place isn’t due for any ice storms, is it?” Musa asked.
Riven frowned. “No it’s not…” Valkyrie glared.
“Icy and her sisters are probably here somewhere, messing with us.” She stood, frowning when she felt pulling on her hands and hair.
“It may be rude of them to attack us unprovoked, but that doesn’t mean you get to be the one to fight back.” Tune told her.
“Save your strength for ShadowHaunt, we’ll need you more then.” Amore flew in front of Valkyrie.
Valkyrie groaned, taking her seat. “Fine. Fine. So who’s going witch hunting?” Crystal smirked, taking a stand with Kota.
“We will. Don’t worry, we’re a pretty good power couple.” Crystal winked, heading out with Kota.
Valkyrie felt her stomach drop, worry filling her. Flora sat down in her lap, laying her head against Valkyrie’s. “Stop thinking, just feel. We’re going to save Bloom and Crystal and Kota can stop those three witches.”
“I hope so…” Valkyrie whispered, frowning when it began to chill over. “Guys?” She spoke aloud.
“Our engines are freezing…” Riven swallowed. “This isn’t good.”
“You’re telling me… We’ll need to try and hit the reserve power.” Timmy could be heard frantically typing.
“Forget that! I’m heading out to defrost us all… And then I’m going to kick some witch ass with Crystal and Kota.” Stella declared, shifting into her wings and Charmix and flying out. Amore cheered.
“Go get them Stella!”
“I wish she would watch her language. So unbecoming of a princess…” Tune shook her head.
The ship began to heat back up, the power coming back online. Fighting noises could be heard, and a teleportation command.
Three sets of footsteps entered the ship. Crystal was glaring, her hair mussed. Kota’s cape had been torn. And Stella just looked angry. “They got away.” Stella growled.
“But we messed them up pretty good… Kota managed to make Icy think Lord Darkar was really going to pick Darcy over her.” Crystal chuckled.
“And Crystal had Stormy incased in a chrysalis…. I doubt she’d have been a beautiful butterfly… But… It was worth a shot.” Kota joked.
“As great as it’s been guys… I think we’re able to fly now… Let’s go meet Sky and the others.” Timmy and Tecna started the ship back up.
“I just hope we got Queen Amentia willing to help us.” Morgan crossed her arms. “I mean… She’s reasonable, right?” Stella snorted.
“Totally reasonable… Except she was in love with Brandon and was going to force him to marry her despite already being in the best relationship with me.” Stella frowned. Musa laid a hand on Stella’s shoulder.
“Hey, she’s with that one guy now though… Right? And according to Livvy, she hates Darkar… So maybe she hates Darkar more than she does us?” Musa asked.
“Let’s hope so.” Stella huffed. “For her sake.”
“I see a guard worm, that can only mean the plan worked!” Tecna cheered as Timmy landed the ship.
Sky and Brandon waved them down, rushing to greet the group. “Come meet our new friends.” Brandon rushed them out so they could meet the trogs of Downland.
Valkyrie couldn’t help but go over to the guard worm, placing a hand on it. “Who’s a good boy…? I bet you’re so sweet… Almost too sweet to be a guard.” She cooed, petting the creature. It made a little noise, tail wagging.
“Why are you petting my guard worm?” A girl’s voice sneered. “Don’t you know how disgusting they are?” Valkyrie turned and had to keep from throwing the term ‘disgusting’ back around.
“Any beast that’s in service should know how good they’re doing… Otherwise they’ll lose faith in their abilities and in their masters.” Valkyrie warned, moving away from the guard worm. “But hey… Be my guest, Queen Amentia.”
She looked Valkyrie over. “Brandon, you didn’t say we’d be assisting witches too.” She sneered.
Brandon swallowed. “Valkyrie and Crystal aren’t just any witches… They’re special.” Brandon looked to Valkyrie. “And strong.”
Crystal rolled her eyes, taking Valkyrie’s hand. “Can you believe that?” Valkyrie snickered.
“Maybe he did marry her while he was gone.” Valkyrie teased. She turned and noticed the others getting ready to start back on their quest.
“Guess we’re hitting the road.”
Chapter 31: Chapter Thirty-One: Storming ShadowHaunt
- Storming ShadowHaunt
Valkyrie held tightly to her chair and to Flora as Timmy maneuvered through the tight entrance Amentia and her worm had created. “Is it me, or is something feeling off here?” Kota asked, looking at his scans.
“The whole Balance is off.” Valkyrie spat at him. “Darkar is playing with shit he has no business playing with.” Valkyrie felt her anger rise again and closed her eyes. Piff came over to her, placing a hand on her.
“Thanks for the assist, Piff, but I’m pretty sure I’m too far gone for that.” Valkyrie gave a weak smile to the pixie as she flew back to Layla.
“Check out the monsters!” Stella exclaimed. Brandon powered up the blasters, firing away.
“I think there’s too many of them for my blasters to handle… Sky?” Brandon turned to his best friend. Sky smiled, standing.
“I’ll take the Red Wing. Riven, Helia, take the control panel. Timmy, are you, Brandon and Kota good with the ship?” Sky asked. All the boys gave a salute.
“Aye, aye captain.” They teased, Riven and Helia moving to their stations.
Crystal hummed. “I could give a little magic boost to the main ship… A protective shielding if you would?” She asked Timmy.
“Sure. You and Kota can put it up.” Timmy gave a nod as Crystal and Kota grabbed hold of the panels, their power flowing through…
Valkyrie held to her chair, watching the scenery as they blasted at the monsters. She could barely make out what everyone was saying, memories flashing by her. Memories she never experienced….
“Oh Argulus… ShadowHaunt is always lovely this time of year.” Queen Rhea was gushing. ShadowHaunt was covered in creeping ivy and kudzu, Spirit Willows and Howling Marigolds. The waterfall a pristine place to swim…
The monsters in harmony, attacking only intruders or those who wished them harm.
There was another flash. ShadowHaunt had changed into a barren wasteland of a realm. She was seeing through the eyes of a man she’d never met before, but Darkar knew him. Welcomed him in. “Our plan is going the way it should. Soon, the magical dimension will be ours.”
“Magix to Valkyrie! Magix to Valkyrie! Are you there?” Chatta asked, bringing Valkyrie out of her… Trance?
“I’m here. Sorry I spaced…” Valkyrie swallowed. “What’s going on?” She’d noticed the fairies were gone and Crystal, Kota, Brandon, and Timmy were all that was left with her and pixies.
“The fairies are trying to stop the monsters and get a landing… We just wanted to check on you.” Jolly admitted, flushing. “You… You were glowing…”
“And that’s kinda concerning right now.” Kota told her. Valkyrie groaned.
“It’s this place… ShadowHaunt wasn’t always like this… It used to be beautiful. Full of life and that haunting beauty one can only get at a dark realm… Darkar destroyed it when he joined forces with the Ancestral Witches…” Valkyrie sighed. “But what can I do about it except complain?”
“I find complaining does a lot more than you give it credit for.” Chatta mused. Valkyrie chuckled.
“If you say so…”
They all managed to land safely at the edge of ShadowHaunt’s castle. A plan was being hashed out on how to bring down Darkar and save Bloom. “The guys and I can keep the monsters off your back while you save Bloom.” Sky offered.
“Great. But…” Musa looked to Crystal and Valkyrie. “What’s your plan?”
“My plan? I’m going to help the boys… Crystal can go with you guys just as easily as I can. It may be better for her to go anyway, considering her power can help with the stability of ShadowHaunt.” Valkyrie told them.
Crystal gave a slow nod. “Right. I’ll keep with the fairies.” She gave a thumbs up, turning to Kota. Oh the mushy goodbyes were always the sweetest…
Stella walked over to Brandon, Amore by her side.
Musa and Riven were embracing, Tune dabbing at her eyes.
Timmy and Tecna weren’t much for words, but they were doing their thing, Digit hugging to both of them.
Layla comforted Sky.
Helia and Morgan were attached to the hip… And…
She felt arms wrap around her, holding her close. “Please be safe, Valkyrie.” Flora whispered. Valkyrie leaned up, kissing Flora the best she could, wanting the fairy to feel how much she cared.
She pulled away, pushing one of Flora’s locks back. “Don’t worry about me. Worry about Bloom. And worry about Darkar if I get my hands on him.” Valkyrie swallowed. “I don’t know if I’d be able to stop myself.”
“And I’m not sure we’d try to stop you.” Flora admitted, taking her hands. “Just… Out here… Be safe.”
Valkyrie gave a wink. “Always.” She froze, sensing the monsters returning. “Get going girls! We’ve got this!” She yelled out, watching as the fairies scrambled inside, pixies right behind them.
The boys drew their weapons as the creatures came out of the shadows. Kota frowned. “Anyone have any battle strategies?”
“Kick ass and forget taking names.” Riven called out, charging into a group of the bile monsters. Valkyrie was about to power up when she heard a familiar laugh.
Delores, no, Not-Delores was waiting by a pillar, cackling. “Good to see you’ve made it my Queen… Though I should say, Lord Darkar has already picked a different Dragon Heir.”
Valkyrie growled, removing her charm and feeling her dragon welling up inside of her, forcing his way to surface. Her eyes reddened and she smirked, the flames coming from her palms. “You’re going to wish you’d killed me for good all those years ago.” She snarled, the flames taking the shape of a dragon as they attacked the shadow creature.
She tried to fight back, but her efforts were futile. Turning to ash and steam, there was no escape. Not for any of the creatures.
The instant more arrived, Valkyrie would realign herself, the flames seeming to spark around their heels by themselves.
‘We will reclaim ShadowHaunt. Argulus will fall.’ Her dragon seethed, the flames burning in her veins as she released the embers against the monsters. She just smiled, letting him take control.
‘We will.’ Was all she needed to say.
Chapter 32: Chapter Thirty-Two: Ultimate Power Couple
- Ultimate Power Couple
The monsters were becoming innumerous and the boys were wearing down. “There’s got to be a way to knock them all back!” Kota called, creating a power shield over them. Valkyrie rose up, her dragon whispering in her ear.
“Let me…” Valkyrie walked through the shield, ignoring the protests from the others. The creatures of ShadowHaunt acted as if they’d lunge at her, snarling and drooling. She cackled, pushing her glasses up.
“Boys, girls… Relax…” She felt her dragon surround her and watched as the creatures took a step back. “That’s right… I’m the keeper of the Dark Dragon’s Fire. I am your true ruler. Argulus has betrayed us all with what he’s done and he won’t be forgiven easily.” Valkyrie assured the creatures, letting her dragon fly among them, soothing them.
She listened as Kota dropped the shield. “Um…. Is that something they teach in monster taming at Cloud Tower? Because I’d like that lesson…” Kota tried.
“Let’s just say me and these creatures have history.” Valkyrie pet one of the gator hounds. “Isn’t that right…? Who’s a good boy…?” She cooed, turning to the rest of the creatures. “My friends and I mean no harm to you. Go back to your habitats and rest until this is over.” She commanded.
The creatures paused but began to leave, doing as she said. Riven hummed. “Impressive… So… Since we’re about to storm the castle… Want to invoke your little army from last year?” Riven asked.
Valkyrie snorted. “For this? No. I won’t waste my soldiers on a worm like Aruglus.” Valkyrie, no, the Dragon spoke. “He’s betrayed me for the last time.” She started toward the castle gates. “Are you boys coming or not?”
Helia and Kota took to both of her sides. “We’re all for one.” Helia told her.
“And one for all.” Kota reiterated. Riven, Timmy, Sky, and Brandon ran to keep up, looking over the castle.
“This place sort of looks like Cloud Tower…” Riven spoke. Valkyrie chuckled.
“That’s because the witches who first created Cloud Tower were servants of Argulus… Before he became a traitor and lost all that he was.” Valkyrie turned to a portrait of Darkar waving her hand and watching as it went up in flames. “I’ll have to redecorate once I regain control.”
Kota swallowed. “Dragon… Sir…. Can we have Val back? You’re starting to scare us just a bit.” Kota admitted.
Valkyrie paused, but shrugged, starting back on the path she was on. “We’re one and the same… I’m just… On autopilot… if you will. I know this terrain, I created it, so I’m looking it over.”
“Right… And you can sense Bloom?” Sky asked. Valkyrie nodded.
“Bloom and my counterpart were here… They’ve moved to a different realm, one I can only assume is Realix. We’re going to need to act quickly if we’re going to save them and the magical dimension.” Valkyrie rushed down a hallway, pausing when she saw a familiar face.
Timmy rushed ahead of her, pulling Tecna and Digit into hugs. “I’m so glad you girls are okay.”
“We’re fine.” Tecna smiled, looking to Valkyrie. “Is it just me or are you feeding out more negative energy than normal?”
“We don’t have time to waste… We need to locate Bloom.” Valkyrie told Tecna and Digit, looking down at the creatures’ bones at her feet. “Seems not all of my pets came to me… But it’s fine. Any that choose to serve Darkar after my awakening is a traitor.” Valkyrie turned to Tecna. “Where did the others go?”
“Down that corridor… Valkyrie are you feeling alright?” Tecna asked. Valkyrie already started down the hallway, but she could hear Kota and Brandon trying to explain things to her. How he had decided to take over after she removed her charm. (They were no longer in harmony, not fully. And so he needed control. To fix what had been broken.)
Flora and Musa flew over to them, Flora immediately crossing her arms at Valkyrie. “We already had this discussion once, Dragon. It’s her body, her in control. We made that very clear, did we not?” Flora tapped her foot. “Now, bring Valkyrie back.”
“I’m needed to fight Argulus. I know what I’m doing, Flora.” Valkyrie tried to assure the fairy. Flora raised her hands, thorny vines coming from the ground.
“Don’t make me ask again.” Flora glowered, one of the vines scraping at Valkyrie’s legs.
Valkyrie paused, her inner-self smirking as her dragon tried to find the words to say. The aura around her died down a bit, and Valkyrie couldn’t help but laugh as Flora hugged her. “I don’t know what it is about you, Flora… but he’s nervous around you.”
Jolly flew over, chuckling. “My cards did say that love fixes all problems.” The pixie laughed.
Kota and Helia placed their hands on Flora. “We’re just glad she listens to someone.” Helia teased.
“Yeah, Crystal would’ve been pissed to see her in full dragon mode.” Kota teased. Valkyrie hit both boys, not too hard, but hard enough.
“Bloom. Fate of the universe. I think we should get going.” Valkyrie reminded them. The boys gave a chuckle, heading up the stairs Musa and Flora said the others went up…
The portal gave a rocky ride, but once they were on the other side of Realix, Valkyrie took her stance.
Stella, Crystal, Layla, and Morgan were breaking free from a trap on the floor and Brandon, Helia, and Kota had rushed to help them.
Darkar growled. “This isn’t a prep-school mixer!” He sent them flying back, the specialists and Tecna trapped to the ground.
Valkyrie glowered, letting her flames lick at her palms as she sent them flying toward Darkar. He groaned, hitting one of the pillars. “Well I’ll be damned… They did have a child… And here I thought my pet was lying to me, considering she never could produce you.” Darkar sneered.
“That’s because unlike you, I can’t be corrupted with promises of power and riches. I know what I’m worth.” Valkyrie powered up for another blast, her dragon curling around her.
Darkar cackled. “But do you know what you were born to do? That you’re going to be the destruction of the magical dimension? That you’ll free the Ancestral Witches?”
Valkyrie tilted her head, her dragon surging at Darkar and forcing him back into the pillars, hard. The steam and smell of smoke and death coming from him was unmistakable. “Those hags have no power over me. I destroyed their crystals, just like I’m going to destroy you.”
“Oh really? Bloom?” Darkar laughed. Valkyrie frowned, unsure of what he meant until she’d felt the air knocked out of her, a feeling of burning on her skin.
She heard unfamiliar cackling and looked up, swearing when she saw Bloom on the altar of Realix, chanting and casting at her.
Another hit forced her back, making her land near Helia and Crystal. “Damn… That’s what that feels like.” Flora flew over, helping her up.
“I will be.” She glared at Darkar. “We’ve got to find out how to stop him… And turn Bloom back.” She got to her feet.
Darkar blasted at the specialists, and Stella and Musa stepped up, creating a barrier. Riven managed to get to his feet, trying to protect Musa as best he could…
Valkyrie swore when they both went down. “Guess he was loyal to the end.” Darkar cackled. Valkyrie glared, about to power up another blast when another form arrived.
“Unlike you Darkar!” It spoke… The voice… Was a combined voice… Icy, Darcy, and Stormy. They began to fight with Darkar, blasting each other into the pillars.
“They don’t stand a chance.” Tecna whined.
“Maybe a five percent chance…” Timmy explained.
“At least we’re getting time.” Stella bit her lip. “Girls… Plans?”
Morgan looked to Sky, flying over and doing her best to unenchant him. “You need to be the one to talk to Bloom. If anyone can get through to her when she’s like this… It’s you.” Sky nodded, carefully getting to his feet.
Valkyrie looked to the others. “The rest of us need to form a barrier around him, just in case.” The fairies and Crystal gave a nod, a protective shield surrounding Sky appeared as he walked forward to the altar.
“Bloom… This isn’t who you are… Darkar has you under a spell…” Sky tried to reason with the darky fairy. “You… You’re a girl from Earth and the Princess of Domino… You’re one of the lightest beings in all of the magical realms… And… Your heart is so pure Bloom, I’m not going to give up on you… I love you.” Sky confessed, his eyes closed and all of his energy getting sent into the words.
Valkyrie took Flora’s hand, giving it a squeeze. The speech had been so moving… So wonderful…
Lord Darkar growled and shifted into the Shadow Phoenix, having gotten rid of the Trix, he started after Bloom and Sky. “You’re not doing anything to my-” Bloom began to glow, the purity around her lifting Darkar’s spells.
“I’m not yours, Darkar. And neither is the ultimate power.” Bloom growled at him, turning instead to hug Sky.
“Found them!” Codatorta’s voice called from behind. Valkyrie grinned when she saw Griffin and Faragonda with him.
Darkar growled. “Griffin…” He sneered. “Seems we meet again.” He flew over and Valkyrie growled, feeling claws sinking into her. “Of course, if I can’t have one portion of the Dragon Fire, I’ll go for the other.”
Valkyrie glowered, her body and aura heating up, dark energy surrounding her. He cried out, forced to let her go as she flew back where the others were. “I’m only going to say this once, Bloom and I are sixteen. You’re wayyy too old for either of us. And I’m GAY!” She all but shrieked.
The others laughed a bit, Crystal and Morgan hugging her as Darkar growled.
“Fine… I don’t need the Ultimate Power… I’ll just destroy all of you know and take the Dragon Fires and merge them with my Shadow Fire.” He snarled, preparing an attack.
Griffin looked to Faragonda. “Barrier spell?”
“Barrier spell.” Both women placed their hands in the air, a large protective barrier formed around half of Realix. “Girls, make a plan and make it quick.” Faragonda warned.
Codatorta looked to Kota. “Help the ladies keep the barrier up, as for the rest of you, Hydra Formation!” He called. The boys got into position, weapons at the ready near the edge of the barrier.
Kota put his power into the barrier, smiling when he noticed Crystal doing the same thing. “Do this often?” He teased.
“Only for my teachers… and cute guys.” Crystal winked, keeping her power merged.
Bloom gathered the fairies. “I think we should do an all-out assault with our Charmix powers. And then Valkyrie… You take over.”
“You sure you want that…? Because if I get the chance… Darkar will be no more. Period. End of discussion.” Valkyrie looked to Bloom. “Are you okay with that?”
Bloom smiled. “Darkar has already lived several life-times… He’s due for a break.” Bloom gave a smirk. “Right?”
Valkyrie grinned. “Do what you have to. Leave the rest to me.” She watched as the fairies summoned their Charmix powers, taking to the air.
Bloom started them off with her dragon’s wrath, a coiling red and orange dragon swirling around her and lunging forward.
Stella summoned her solar flares, increasing the brightness and the scales of the dragon.
Tecna created an electronic barrier that electrified the dragon, making touching it not just a burning experience, but a shocking one.
Morgan gave the dragon the ability of blinding speed, her elven spell doing wonders on the shape of it.
Flora created a vined body for the dragon, bringing forth structure and a poisoned wall around it.
Musa made sure it was loud and proud, the might roar of the dragon more frightening than anything heard before.
And Layla gave it movement, her morphix waves enchanting the dragon into attacking Darkar.
He did his best to fight them off, growling and swirling… Dark energy radiating from him… But the fairies were too much for him.
Darkar was forced back into his true form, the skeletal man with armored skin, down on the ground. Valkyrie let her dragon’s aura flash to life, walking through the barrier spell and in front of Darkar. “What do you want?” He snarled.
“To take back what I gave you. You failed me, Argulus. You failed me when the witches attacked Obsidian, you failed me when you let them raise my former keeper, and you failed me by trying to have me assassinated at Cloud Tower.”
Valkyrie opened her palms, her dragon coiling around her, the flames licking at her skin as they burst forth. It began to surround Darkar, his pleas and cries for mercy music to her ears. “Shadow Fire come forth, regain your strength. From this body, you are released. Go fill your land, once more with fire, no more lies will you desire.”
A dark shadow moved away from Darkar and the dragon, flying overhead and disappearing in the air. The dragon came back to Valkyrie, leaving the shell of what used to be Darkar. She turned, looking to the others.
“Everyone ready to head back?” She gave a slight smile. “I mean… Nothing really for us to do here… Unless you still want that ultimate power, Bloom?”
The fairy shook her head, laughing. “I’m good.” They made their way out of Realix and into the portal…
ShadowHaunt had already changed. The castle still looked the same, but from the windows, it was easy to see…
Shadow Willows began to bloom again, and Whispering Pines… Spirit blossoms were blooming. And the creatures had… Seemed to mellow out…
“Seems you did this place a favor…” Sky commented, hand in Bloom’s as they walked toward the squad ship.
Valkyrie shrugged, leaning against Flora. “All I know is I never want to try a spell like that again… I feel so drained…”
Flora chuckled. “I’m just glad you managed to convince the shadow creatures that we’re friendly…”
“She does have the best grades in beast taming.” Crystal teased, hopping onto the ship once the hangar was lowered. “So, there are enough seats for us all, right?”
“Aye. Just be sure to strap in.” Codatorta eased their minds, walking in. “C’mon boys, to yer stations.” He called.
Kota made his way to the ship. “On the double, Sir.”
“Right behind you.” Helia took his seat.
Timmy grabbed his pilot’s chair. “I’ll be your captain… Everyone please enjoy the ride.” Timmy smiled. Griffin and Faragonda shook their heads.
“When was the last time we rode again, Griff?” Faragonda asked.
“When we tried to stop an attack on Andros… And it was Saladin driving…” Griffin looked to Timmy. “Please tell me you’re safer than Saladin was…?”
Riven laughed. “Saying our Headmaster was a daredevil?”
“Oh he was… There wasn’t a challenge he didn’t think applied to him.” Faragonda spoke, taking a seat and double-checking her seatbelt. Griffin snorted.
“It was worse than that… He once took three trips to the Fortresses’ Infirmary… in one day.” Griffin shook her head. “You couldn’t tell that man to be careful.”
“Couldn’t pay him to be either.” Faragonda sighed, chuckling.
Stella snickered, taking her seat near Brandon. “And what were you two like back then?” She teased.
Crystal laughed. “Ms. G was definitely queen of the worriers… If our childhood was anything to go by, right Val?”
Valkyrie laughed, sitting by Flora. “Oh yeah… I can’t remember a day that didn’t pass by when we did protection spells and wards.”
“My dads were bad about that too… And I had to stay on alert at all times.” Morgan complained.
“It was for your own safety…” Griffin argued. “And if I recall, you all managed to get into trouble anyway… Or should I bring up the basilisk incident? Or perhaps the Great Burning of Rancor Elementary?” She glared at Valkyrie on that one.
Helia and Crystal laughed. “Busted.” They joked together. Morgan shook her head.
“I told Kota and Valkyrie that wasn’t a good idea… But did they listen? No.” Morgan chided. Kota frowned.
“Don’t act innocent over there, Morgan. You were our lookout.” Kota reminded.
“That’s right. You played your part. Helia and Crystal were the only innocent members of our troop. And that’s only because Helia moved to be with his dad and Crystal got sick.” Valkyrie leaned against Flora. “But it was a harmless prank.”
“Harmless until you let your flames get the better of you.” Griffin reminded. Faragonda chuckled.
“I remember that… You had to leave early during the Council meeting.” Faragonda pointed out. Griffin shook her head.
“Don’t remind me… Headmistress Lenora had me doing potionology classes after…” Griffin groaned. “Salvador was the potions expert… I… Needed work.” She chuckled.
Valkyrie sighed. “And then you wonder why my grades are the way they are in potions.” Valkyrie shrugged. Crystal playfully hit her.
“Oh please, you’ve never made anything under an A-. Your perfectionist heart couldn’t handle anything less.” Crystal taunted. Codatorta laughed that time.
“She sounds like her mother on that one.” He teased.
That’s how the flight back to the schools was… Joking, teasing, and just being thrilled that it was all over… Darkar was no longer a threat… And ShadowHaunt was back on its feet.
Chapter 33: Chapter Thirty-Three: Unbreakable
“See ya!” Lucy winked, running off to where Mirta was waiting on her. Valkyrie laughed, watching Crystal and Kota dart off to dance too.
She looked around, trying to be careful of the dancing couples around Alfea’s campus. It was lit up so wonderfully and the music was going strong, and… It was a full moon. She could feel her power just dancing under her skin, wanting to be tapped.
Griffin and Faragonda were with Saladin and Salvador, talking about their Realix adventure when Valkyrie walked up to them. “Hate to interrupt but… Have any of you seen Flora?” She asked, looking to the ground. “I kind of wanted to make sure I didn’t scare her off in Realix.”
Griffin chuckled. “I highly doubt that happened.”
“So the Dragon took over for some fun time… And it could be said you killed Darkar… But that’s just… Semantics.” Salvador grinned. “I mean… You helped save the realms and brought ShadowHaunt back to its former glory.”
“Who’s in charge of ShadowHaunt now anyway?” Saladin asked. Valkyrie grinned.
“The shadow fire itself is the new guardian of ShadowHaunt… I figured power corrupts… so I might as well give the power up to itself.” She shrugged. “It seems to be working too. I mean, the balance is back on track.”
“That’s my girl.” Griffin chuckled. “And if I’m not mistaken, yours is over there.” She gestured to the steps of Alfea. Valkyrie smiled and gave a wave to the teachers.
“Thank you, but I’ve got to go.” She laughed, making her way over to Flora. The fairy was beautiful in her yellow dress, the blue flowers highlighting around her curves. Flora grinned, taking Valkyrie by her tie.
“I was wondering where you’d went… Crystal said you were looking for me, when I was looking for you.” Flora kissed her, bringing her close.
Valkyrie smiled, leaning into Flora and letting the fairy hold her. “I’m sorry I was late… Lucy was having a bit of a crisis and Crystal and I stayed to help her.” Flora just tugged Valkyrie’s tie a bit, and Valkyrie gave a soft whine.
“Just try not to be late again.” She advised, taking Valkyrie’s hand.
“Not on my life.” Valkyrie promised, giving Flora’s hand a squeeze. “Would you like to dance?” Valkyrie asked. Flora grinned, leading her to the dance floor.
“I would.” She placed a hand on Valkyrie’s waist, the other taking her hand. Valkyrie did her best to match it, swaying with Flora in time with the music. Flora twirled her and caught her, kissing at her neck, teasing.
Valkyrie laughed, about to say something when she heard Timmy yelling about group shots. “Should we?” She looked to Flora.
“Let’s go.” Flora took her hand, wrapping her arms around her once they got into positon. Timmy made sure to have Tecna enchant the camera, taking several shots of the group, some funny, some serious.
Valkyrie looked to Flora, kissing her cheek. “I’m going to grab some punch, want some?” Valkyrie asked. Flora grinned.
“Please? If they have cherry that is…?” She flushed. Valkyrie laughed.
“Oh no… You don’t get to pull on my tie then act all shy. I know better.” Valkyrie teased her, walking toward the punch bowl.
Layla handed her the glasses, using her powers to pour. “Thanks…” Valkyrie smiled. “It’s been great getting to know you, Layla… I hope you’ll be back next year. I know Flora needed some back up.” She winked.
Layla grinned. “Don’t worry… I’m definitely coming back. There’s nothing that can stop me and my parents are thrilled that I’m learning so much…” She took a sip of her own drink. “Besides, Alfea is where my mom went to school.”
Valkyrie smiled. “I think all of you ladies are legacies here… Aside from Morgan.” Valkyrie gestured to where the Winx girls were dancing around.
“And you’re a legacy too, right? At Cloud Tower?” Layla asked. Valkyrie sighed.
“Sometimes it’s a pain having your mother be headmistress.” She gave a dramatic wave. “But what can you do?”
Stella began shouting and jumping up and down, obviously excited about something. “Come on…” Layla led her over to the others.
“What’s going on?” Valkyrie asked. Stella showed an envelope to the group.
“I just found out that I’m having a Princess Ball. It won’t be until August because it’ll take all summer to plan… But oh my gosh I’m having a Princess Ball!” Stella cheered. “And you’re all invited.”
Layla laughed. “I just hope yours is better than mine was.”
“I’m sure it’ll be something.” Musa teased, leaning against Riven. “Want me to do your tunes or what?”
“No thanks. I still remember how your top five totally clashes with mine.” Stella gave a playful huff.
Flora wrapped her arms around Valkyrie, taking her drink from the witch. “You wouldn’t mind going with me? Would you?” She asked.
Valkyrie sighed. “That depends, do I have to wear a ball gown or will Stella let me wear a suit?” She asked. “I mean… I’d prefer the suit.” Flora chuckled.
“I think as long as you didn’t clash with her color scheme, she wouldn’t mind.” Flora kissed her cheek.
They were at a table, each had gotten a plate from the buffet. “I’m just saying, junior year is going to be so exciting. I heard that’s when you earn an Enchantix.” Musa started.
“I’ll just be thrilled to have a history class that doesn’t involve magic battles, but instead the styles of the realms.” Stella hummed.
“I heard we’re going to be introduced to a few new monster courses.” Tecna took a drink from her cup. “That’s going to be quite the challenge.”
“Boys, what are you going to be learning?” Bloom tried to change the subject. Sky gave a nervous laugh.
“Advanced heroics… And dragon taming.” Sky admitted.
“I’ll be allowed more freedom to pilot the ships.” Timmy boasted. Helia grinned, giving Timmy a nudge.
“Not to mention our intro into guard dynamics in the kingdoms surrounding Magix.” Helia reminded.
“I’ll be thrilled to learn more battle magic styles.” Kota stretched. “I think it’d be good for me.”
Flora looked to Crystal and Valkyrie. “What about the two of you?”
“I’m delving in deeper into magical items and how they can assist your quests.” Crystal showed her necklace. “I think it’ll be a great… Experience for me.”
“I’m looking forward to more advanced beast taming… Though I am excited about Professor Pandora’s emotive class. My powers sort of come from rage and anger anyway… I’d love to find a better balance…” Valkyrie leaned into Flora.
“Hey… That thing you did to Darkar, think I’ll be able to do that?” Bloom asked. Valkyrie smiled.
“It’s possible… But you’ll need to really connect to your dragon and your power.” She paused. “I could offer to help… I mean, we’re counterparts, we have a shared history… We could bring out the best in each other.”
“It would be something… But we’d need to train somewhere no one could get hurt.” Bloom looked down. “I don’t want to hurt someone on accident… Again.”
Valkyrie nodded. “I’ll look into some places.”
Layla clinked her glass. “Okay, before things start to get depressing, I say we get back to the party.” Layla laughed.
The others laughed, finishing their plates before heading to the dance floor…
Flora and Valkyrie were on the grass near Alfea’s courtyard, the sounds of the party still going on nearby.
“Okay… So what’s that constellation?” Flora asked, gesturing to the group over Alfea.
“Arcadia… She was the first fairy to turn her light magic into wings.” Valkyrie gestured down a bit. “And those are the first witches. Not the Ancestral Coven, mind you, but the real first witches…”
“And over there…” Flora grinned, gesturing near the courtyard.
“That would be Lotus…” Valkyrie rose up. “Lotus was named for the flower, and both are dazzling.” Flora moved to lay her head in Valkyrie’s lap.
“This is dazzling too… Being able to step away from everyone.” Flora hummed. Valkyrie laughed, running her hands through Flora’s hair.
“Yeah… It really is.”
Chapter 34: Chapter Thirty-Four: Summer Bummer
- Summer Bummer
She was packed, ready to leave for the summer. Valkyrie cast a spell over her things, sending them to her pocket dimension until she got home. “So you headed straight home or what?” Crystal asked, teasing.
Valkyrie smiled. “I’m about to go and meet with Flora and the others… Stella is forcing them on a shopping trip for her Princess Ball thing… So I’m planning on whisking Flora away.” Crystal laughed.
“Good luck with that… We all know what Stella’s like when she’s in party mode.” Crystal grabbed her bag, picking up Patches. “Anyway… See ya back on Rancor… I’m going with Kota.”
Valkyrie rolled her eyes. “Be careful on the levibike.” She teased, hugging her friend before grabbing her own bag.
Cheshire stuck his head out of the bag, giving a mew. Valkyrie chuckled, petting his head. “Don’t worry… Most places in Magix allow familiars.” She assured the cat, making her way down the stairs…
Valkyrie was thrilled she was able to get Flora and Chatta away from Stella for a few moments. The princess was in breakdown mode and Bloom was doing her best to bring her mood back up. “She always that intense?” Valkyrie asked, sipping on her soda.
Chatta shrugged. “It’s her Princess Ball that she’s worried about. I can’t blame her for already wanting it to be perfect.”
Cheshire stalked out of the bag, sitting beside Valkyrie in the booth. Valkyrie sighed, pulling off pepperoni bits and setting them down for him to eat. “Still, she has to understand that most people here are just doing their jobs…”
“Stella’s just… A fashionista.” Flora gave a soft laugh, finishing off her plate. “She’ll be back to herself soon.”
“I hope so. I’d hate to see what would happen if her princess ‘tude got her kicked out of the mall.” Valkyrie chuckled. Cheshire gave a mew, his answer in solidarity. Chatta stood on the table, eyeing him.
“I don’t understand why your familiar had to be a cat. Dogs are so much friendlier.” Chatta spoke. Valkyrie shook her head.
“Witches don’t get to choose. Just like fairies don’t choose their pixies.” Valkyrie explained.
“That’s right, Chatta. Besides, Cheshire is lovely.” Flora reached over and pet the cat’s head, Cheshire leaning into her and purring.
“He’s got charm… I’ll give him that.” The girls laughed, until a familiar face stopped by their booth.
Jolly’s wings were worn from flying so fast, but she had a look of determination on her face. “Valkyrie… I know you don’t like to have it done… But I have to give you a reading. Now.”
Valkyrie looked around, searching for Morgan. “Where’s your fairy?” She asked. Jolly groaned.
“Morgan is with Helia… They’re nearby, I promise… I just… I have this compulsion to tell your future.” Jolly shook. “Please.”
Chatta frowned. “Jolly, I’ve never seen you like this… Did something happen?” Valkyrie paused, taking a sip of her soda.
She could feel it too… Something wasn’t right. Something was disturbing the balance of things. “Okay Jolly… What’s in your cards?”
Jolly summoned the cards, three of them, gasping and shaking at each one. ‘Just what I was afraid of.’ Valkyrie thought to herself. She had no future… Not a real one. Not a good one.
“I see you will meet an estranged family member… One you’ve never met. And I see that because of this family member, you’ll be brought to a dual path… One of good and one of evil, though it won’t be easy to spot which is which. And I see that you’ll be pushed to a limit you didn’t know you had…” Jolly’s cards disappeared and the pixie panted, laying back on the table.
Valkyrie sighed, about to speak when her phone went off. A simple text from her mother. SOS.
She stood quickly, grabbing her bag. “Flora, I’m sorry… My mom needs me and…” She kissed Flora, pulling the fairy close. “I promise I’ll explain everything.”
Flora smiled, shooing her off. “Go. I’ll be fine. I can wait for an explanation.” She waved Valkyrie off, turning her attention back to the pixies…
Valkyrie walked into her mother’s office at Cloud Tower, feeling even more wary when she noticed Faragonda, Saladin, and her uncles by her mother’s side.
Her mother looked visibly distressed, her hair down and eyes looking to Valkyrie, like she can’t believe she’s real. “Valkyrie… We really need to talk…”
“I can see that…” She set her bag and cat down, walking over to her mother and taking her hand. “Mom…What’s going on?”
“There’s been a breakout.” Faragonda started… “In Omega.” Valkyrie felt her breath catch.
“Omega? Isn’t that where… My dad is?” Valkyrie asked. Saladin looked away, gripping tightly to his staff.
“It is. And…”
“He’s the one who escaped.” Griffin finished for Saladin, squeezing her daughter’s hand. “Your father has escaped Omega… With Icy, Darcy, and Stormy… He’s weak due to being in ice for so long… But he won’t stay that way…”
“Then we should attack him now. Right? Finish him?” Valkyrie looked to Saladin. “We can get him while he’s down.”
“We could… If we knew where he went. We know he started off on Andros, but… We can’t pinpoint where he is now.” Salvador explained.
“Which is why we want you to be on high alert, Valkyrie. We don’t want…” Faragonda started.
“You don’t want me to be my dad. I know.” Valkyrie sighed. “I’ve heard it all my life.” She paused for a moment, now able to detect a weak feeling. “Does he have the Dark Dragon still?”
“No… Not really. You have the power of the Dark Dragon… But he does have what is known as a remnant. Your dragon, and potentially Bloom’s, will know him simply because of the wavelength you share… But that’s all that remains of his former power.” Palladium told her.
“Which is something we could use to our advantage… At some point.” Faragonda admitted. “You and Bloom could stop him in his tracks.”
“If we only knew where he was and where he’d strike.” Valkyrie growled, looking to her mother. “Can I know his name? He’s already out, I might as well know what to call him, because I’m sure as hell not calling him ‘dad’.”
Her mother opened her mouth to chastise her for her language, but thought better of it. “Your father’s name is Valtor. Valtor Drako....” Griffin took a breath. “I don’t know how we’ll stop him, not yet… But I promise we’re going to try.”
“Good thing I have my own Company of Light formed.” Valkyrie half-teased. “Between the Winx, the specialists, Crystal, and I, we can stop him.”
“Not alone. We’re here too.” Faragonda promised.
“And this time we’ll make sure he’s done for.” Saladin vowed. Salvador took Palladium’s hand in his.
“If we get the chance…”
Valkyrie took a breath. “Can I tell the others?” She asked.
“You may have too… Sooner or later, if we can’t catch him now, they’ll end up facing him later.” Palladium admitted.
“Okay… And let me guess, I’m not to engage him yet? I’m to train but keep myself to a low profile?” Valkyrie asked. Griffin took her hand.
“Please… For my sanity if for no other reason…? I couldn’t handle losing you.”
Valkyrie squeezed her mother’s hand. “I’ll do my best… But if he attacks first, I can’t make any promises.”
“That’s as good as we’ll get from her.” Salvador half-joked. Valkyrie relaxed a bit, looking to the teachers.
Summer wasn’t going to be carefree this time, not with her father on the loose. But she would be stronger when she faced him, stronger than he’d ever been.