Last Chapter left of with Pollyanna returning to her dorm and finding one lit candle above her door. The Headmaster had warned her of strange things happening around Ribbawhim, could this be one?
The Oh So Awful Dork Party
Could this be what The Headmaster was talking about? Watch for strange things. You got that right. Couldn’t have been more specific chief. She dared to take another step, not before a moment of freaking out of course.
With every movement further, her heart skipped a beat. Why her door? Who’s light was this? Why doesn’t magic work? WHY DOES HAVE TO BE DARK!?!?!
Finally reaching the eerie pool of creamy orange light, she glanced up at the flickering candle but back down at the door quicker than a fly changes course. With fluxing darkness around her, she felt that even if she didn’t open the door, whatever lied beyond it would find her. Eventually.
Pollyanna reached out her shaking hand and clenched her cast iron door handle. Cold to the touch. Before she could react, the door flew open and light gushed into the hall.
His voice was unmistakable but that didn’t swell her frightented temper.
“Rinakuel what the hell!?!”
“Isn’t this amazing? I learned a blockage spell!” Rinakuel said with an untimely grin across his stupid, yet a friendly face in this case.
“A blockage spell!”
“And you thought practicing it in my hall was a good idea?”
“Well, yeah?” He pointed at the candlelit lights hanging in the hall. “Your dorm’s the only one that still runs on condenser magic—no way would I be able to block macromagic.”
Glancing up toward the lantern, Polly asked, “And what about…”
It was gone. The odd metal lantern was gone and the original two flamed candlesticks were burning on their copper mounts.
“…What about…what?” Rinakuel poked his head beyond the threshold to see what Polly was perplexed by.
“The, the, the lantern. Did you change it?”
Bending his head upside-down to see the lantern he replied, “Nope. Didn’t touch it.”
Hmm. Polly pushed him through the doorway and shut the great metal infused wood behind her. She shuffled through her backpack and tossed out everything she didn’t want to carry which was inevitably all of it aside from the two smashed crunch bars at the bottom.
“Why are you here? I thought we were going to The Upside-Down Tree…” Polly asked, riffling through her books as if fanning through the pages would teach her anything.
“We are…” Rinakeul held up his finger, “…but, there’s been a slight change in plans.”
“And that is?” Polly was still a little pissed that he shut down her entire dorm and was now hiding out in her room.
“I need to barrow your Seragif.”
“What? No! Why?”
“I need it!”
“It was a gift!”
“And a gift should be used. Not…tossed in your closet like a moneyless Christmas card.”
Polly rolled her eyes. “No. Those go in the trash.”
“Rinakuel, what do you need my Seragif for?”
He tottered back and forth. “Okay. So, I made a bet with Romper—”
“First mistake.” She mumbled.
“And now whoever gets Grizzly to say “Oh my bigly wiggly toes” first get’s to have the Newman stick.”
“I need the hat Polly! He loves that thing and he’s bound to say it as soon as he sees me wearing it!”
Polly broke away toward her closet. “The Serigif is a ceremonial piece warn at Immanu. Not clad jester attire!” she slammed the folding doors to her cluttered closet shut.
“You do not honestly believe that.”
Turning around to him, her hands still around the closet knobs, she stated, “I do too.”
“Oh yeah? Is that why you’ve never worn it or is it because you forgot it was buried under that flowered rug your mum gotcha.”
She cocked her head at him saying, “How did you—”
Polly threw her closet doors open and hurtled aside the mess crammed in it. Tossing the rug to the side she stared into an empty hat box.
Spinning back around to her puckish friend. He smirked at her with the hat that did look rather silly above his head.
“I knew you had to see it on me.” Rinakuel twirled.
“It still looks like a zebra leg covered in bear fur.”
“Don’t forget the donkey tail on the top.” He flicked it.
“Please keep it safe.” There was no winning this fight. Not now that he had his beloved décor atop his stupid head.
Rinakuel marched toward the door and threw it open.
“Shall we?” he asked with an ungraceful bow, catching the hat before it slid off of his locky brown hair.
Polly rolled her eyes and walked out. The door shut behind Rinakuel as they strode down the hall. He locked his arm with hers and spun them both around, Polly understanding why when she caught a glimpse of the security team, lead by Professor Scouler storming down the hall.
Rinakuel was about to be in big trouble if they were caught. Not only trouble, probably a great deal of pain and humiliation, too.
They hurried the other way, Rinakuel nodding with a grin at a girl in a yellow dress as they passed. Rounding the soonest corner, the pair took off sprinting down the remainder of the hall and practically leaping down flights of stairs. Blazing into the night wind, they scurried for the Upside-Down Tree.
Taking a moment to catch their breath just on the outskirts of Ravenforest Woods, behind Okelly Hall, Rinakuel took off the Seragif and brushed back his lightly greased hair.
“Think they were onto us?”
“I don’t know it’s kinda hard not to be onto someone with a giant boot on their head,” Polly said lightheartedly. “And us?” No no noRina-crime, I’m not your accomplice. You made the lights go out all on your own.”
“Oh come on we’re behind Oak-Helly, our villainy is practically notarized now.”
“You will go down as a one man racketeer. No way. Not me.”
“Glad to see that your loyalty will be with me till the end of days.” Rinakuel fluffed his coat tails and marched into woods, stumbling over the first few tangled roots like an idiot.
The trees loomed over the already blackened grass, but didn’t surpass the staggering height of Okelly Hall in the backmost edge of the swamp. The ghostly building cast a gaping shadow over the forest for most the day, aside from dusk and dawn. The builders of it were said to have died inside while constructing the last room. Even to]o this day, on the 8th floor, room 123 has four incomplete brick walls revealing the empty oblivion of the rooms and halls surrounding it.
The entire floor is actually a restricted zone, and although professors say it’s because the floor is used for faculty storage, all of the students know that can’t be the case.
“Watch your step, someone got to the yubbin a little early,” Rinakuel said, nudging aside an empty keg.
“Looks like most of it spilt all over the ground,” Polly commented, trying to hop to the dry splotches of land.
“Idiots,” Rinakuel said, leaping further into the woods.
“I just don’t understand why dri—” Polly’s sentence turned to screaming as her leaping turned to sliding and then crashing on her butt.
Rinakuel cackled. “You are now covered in yubbin. And mud.”
“Thank you. Thank you, Rinakuel, for in forming me of my current situation. I couldn’t’ tell from the wet slimy feeling oozing into my pants.”
“My oh my.” Rinakuel stepped back toward her and stretched out his hand.
But Polly wasn’t paying attention. She was focused on something else—something strange. The keg didn’t appear to have been left behind or knocked over so the top popped off—no. The yubbin escaped the keg in an entirely different manner.
All down the keg. Claw marks the size of three fingers wide had torn into the aluminum keg.
“Polly,” Rinakuel said again, his hand still stretched out.
You’ll see weird things.
She took Rinakuel’s hand and he pulled her out of the muck. Should I tell him? No. It’s probably nothing. Probably just an animal digging for scraps. But the size of those claws…
“Eeres minuktus,” Rinakuel said, removing the liquid from Polly’s clothing.
She attempted to brush off the remaining dirt. “Sorry, nothing I can do about the mud.”
“It’s fine. Thank you, Rinakuel.”
Noticing her noise flare, he said, “Or the alcohol smell.” He nudged her saying, “Looks like your just one craaaayyyyyayyyaaaaayyaazzzy partier.”
“Never again, Rinakuel. Please. Never again.” Polly journeyed farther into the woods with Rinakuel trailing behind.
Claws? Claws!?! Freaking claws? She couldn’t shake it, but she couldn’t talk about it either. One pipe of this, or her conversation with The Headmaster and the entire school could be a buzz. That or she’d be made fun of for life because no one would believe her story.
But what did any of it mean?
“Halt!” A voice not ten paces in the forest ordered. “Claim the answer to The Riddeler of The Woods to be deemed worthy.”
“Ask the riddle so we may be deigned.” Rinakuel fumbled forward delivering a bow.
Dork protocol. It may have been dumb, but at the same time it was kinda cool—she had to admit.
“Who is the one who roams the forest looking only for what he can not find?” the man, who Polly knew, even under the dark knight armor.
“Now who, but what, for the one who does not know what he is looking for is merely a what, not a who.” Rinakuel replied to his super-dork friend Garrick.
Polly still didn’t understand that riddle, but she went along with it anyway.
Garrick lifted his staff, deeming them worthy to pass further into the forest, to the mouth of The Upside-Down Tree.
“Welcome friends,” he said.
“Didn’t know this was one of those parties,” Polly tossed a muttered comment into the forest.
She should have known though, what else would the costumes be for?
The Upside-Down Tree stared like one would imagine, with the roots above ground. Sprawled out all across an open field in the forest were tree roots like any other. Hundreds of them, big and small, made their way through the greens but all connected at the heap of bark in the middle.
A simple but appropriate door had been carved into the stump in the middle of the woods, and although the door looked like the warm and cozy threshold of her Grandma’s house—one candle dangling in an iron lantern above—Polly knew below the trunk was an entirely different story. Before Rinakuel even opened the door, the bass from the music below could be heard, and when he opened it, the long shaft of the hollowed out tree made it all the more amplified.
“See you at the bottom?” Rinakuel said, almost shouted, as he jumped.
“If you can find me!” Polly replied.
She didn’t want to waist another minute. As much as Polly wasn’t a fan of parties, she did love a good music festival, and with her favorite song already playing, she knew not to wait above ground any longer.
Jumping into the root, Polly flew down the trunk of the tree before coming to a slow float above the landing at the bottom. Touching down with one foot, the magic of the tree released its effect and gravity returned to normal.
She stepped off the landing and made her way to the bar, the music bouncing off the acoustical walls of the Upside-Down Tree auditorium. It truly was an upside-down tree, except instead of leaves it was all made of wood, and it was massive, like the top of ten trees.
“What can I getcha?” one of the bartenders, a girl with a half shaved head and long glowing pink hair asked, leaning her bracelet decorated forearm on the sanded oak bar.
“Just a water right now,” Polly replied, still needing something to clear her head form what she saw in the woods.
“Yes. A water. If you have a problem with that I’ll make the other half of your hair disappear too.”
Probably a little harsh. But Polly wasn’t in the mood for dealing with people who asked to many questions, tonight.
The bartender frowned and slid a cold glass of water over to Polly, the bubbles on it still clinging to the side. Being one of the more studious students in her class, people were wise to not engage her. That and Polly had the unique ability to make things disappear. She didn’t often use her gift to her avail, mostly because when something disappeared she’d have to bring it back within one day’s time or it’d be lost forever. And, using magic on another wizard was frowned upon outside of class. But she wasn’t afraid to, and her gift was a nice card to pull from her back pocket when she needed it.
Sipping from the glowing red straw, Polly spun around in her swivel chair and watched the party rave. Students had some of the dumbest dance moves, but it was still enjoyable to watch all of them—especially enjoyable to watch the good ones. The way they moved so effortlessly, knowing every step without hesitation and blending effortlessly with the beat of the song. They were so good, and could keep her mesmerized for ages.
“Care to give it a try?” A male voice, a foreign, male voice from beside her said, one arm still on the bar.
She turned to him, forgetting that the straw was still pressed between her lips as she took in his features. Dark brown, maybe even black hair, brown eyes and a physiognomy that rivaled most male models, Polly tried to conceal her chipper response.
“I’m certainly not very good.” She tried to be bashful. That was a good idea, right? “But I do know a few things.”
“That’s a great place to start,” he said, standing off the bars lift-step and extending his hand to her.
He…was actually extending his hand…to her! Why Polly couldn’t you have practiced more dancing? Strange things will happen—oh shut up this is just the heavens smiling down at me!
Of course she took his hand. What could one dance do? It was a stranger she’d never see again unless both of them wanted to so dancing with prince charming was an opportunity she wasn’t going to pass up.
Plus she actually could turn him into a frog if he got annoying, or a pig.
But his dancing talents certainly weren’t annoying. The way he swayed and moved and spun her around and caught her in his arms—my goodness he was good.
“Olin, from the upside of Mur,” he said, letting her go into a spin.
And of course she replied with her name when he pulled her back in.
“What a lovely name.”
“You probably say to all your girls.” A bold statement, but there was no sense in being timid, not anymore.
“True indeed,” he replied, wrapping a hand back round her waist as their other hands intertwined, the song changing form rave to waltz in a matter of beats.
Olin wasn’t particularly interested in dancing with Pollyanna, but that wasn’t his agenda. For being such a smart girl she was awfully quick to enchant. Within minutes he had her thinking the music had changed to something slower and not before long were they out of that nerd infested tree cellar
But she didn’t notice, the spell he placed had kept her woven in an endless web of dreams until he was able to safely get her to Harrowbrook. She’d freak when she woke up, but the information he had to give her could not be said on the grounds of Ribbawhim.
Hours passed, and Olin questioned the strength of the spell he used. That or his own power.
It was normal for a humans first transition to The Other to have draining side effects, but this was boring him to death. If he have to wait another minute for this girl to wake up he’d contemplate finding someone else.
It’d be easy for the decorated warrior to train someone of pure blood but he was placed under strict orders to have a petty human to fulfill this task. But sitting here was excruciating!
He breathed. Meditating while he had the opportunity would be a wise decision. A moment of peace was rare to come by and it was foolish of him to rush it. Closing his eyes, Olin inhaled deeply, and, of course, the human woke up.
Thanks for reading!