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Out of the Shadows: Part One


by rachelindea

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Author's note: This story was pretty much inspired by my love of Wraith pets, especially the Ogrin. Everything else just sort of figured itself out. :P I hope you enjoy reading ^^.

The class was in chaos.

     First of all, the room was pitch black. Cobolt didn't know which idiot had managed to do that, but it certainly complicated matters somewhat. As a wraith Ogrin he had some advantage in the darkness; namely, he could actually see. But what he saw wasn't exactly encouraging.

     Two of his classmates had gotten into some sort of tussle. Obviously one had muttered the wrong spell and it had shot out his wand and hit the other in the eye. The JubJub was now sporting a rather vivid green patch around his eyes, which was probably the only source of illumination in the room except for Cobolt's purple glow, and it was pulsing in a sinister way.

     The Mynci who had done the deed was now attempting to fend off the angry pet, with both of their wands flashing rather wildly. The rest of the class was muttering to themselves and shouting questions. And Cobolt was pretty sure that the dunce of the class, Mariel, had managed to fuse her arm to the desk. After ten seconds of confusion there was a flash of bright light and the room was returned to normal.

     The Earth faerie standing at the head of the classroom looked far from impressed, arms folded in front of her, her hands still smoking slightly. Instantly the class fell silent, blinking in the sudden blinding light, turning to face their teacher.

     "That's enough, Marko and Ylan," she said impatiently.

     The JubJub froze, poised with one foot of the ground and his wand thrust forward. The tip was glowing. Ylan looked relieved, lowering his wand, and then Marko reluctantly did the same. He shot the Mynci a dirty look that was rendered more feral by the rapidly growing stain of green on his face.

     Their teacher sighed. "Well, I guess that's enough for today," she said. "We'll have to clear that off, Marko, and—" she paused as she finally noticed Mariel. The pink Lutari was looking rather forlorn, and she had indeed somehow managed to make her arm a part of the table leg.

     Mariel wilted under the gaze of her fellow classmates, sinking lower in her chair until her fused arm stopped her. Most of the pets and faeries who had started at the Academy with her had already passed through to third-year level classes, but she still had difficulty mastering the basics.

     It was some sort of mental block, Cobolt knew, especially because her younger brother Karl was some sort of magical prodigy. He turned his head to study the Halloween Chomby, who was sitting quite far away from his sister, smiling slightly at her predicament. On the desk in front of him was a piece of smooth obsidian, glinting darkly. The task they had been set was to transform a piece of wood into stone, and Cobolt had a similar chunk of rock on his desk, only his was a slightly pinkish marble.

     "Alright, you may all leave now," their teacher sighed, dismissing them, then walking wearily towards Mariel's desk to free her.

     Immediately chairs scraped on stone and the students began to file out, most of the faeries reaching the door first with the aid of their wings. Cobolt quickly slipped through behind Karl, who crossed the threshold into the hallway and then began snickering. Behind the Chomby skittered a Captive Shadow Wraith, giving Cobolt an evil empty-eyed grin before fading into his pet's shadow.

     "You're out early."

     The acerbic tone made Cobolt's skin itch, and even his fur stood on end despite him knowing that the Faerie Academy was probably one of the safest places in Neopia. Well, from evil influences anyway. It was hard to say just how safe one could be in a building bursting with untrained magical pets and faeries. But that was the effect Adele's voice had on most people.

     He spun around and surveyed the stretch of wall behind him. A ball of white light was bobbing peacefully above the door, but there was a tiny shadow cast by the doorframe.

     "Impressive," he admitted to the empty wall.

     "Isn't it?" Adele sounded rather smug. She stepped out of the shadow and leaned against the wall nonchalantly. "Anyway, what happened in there? It sounded rather fun."

     "You would have enjoyed it," Cobolt said darkly, remembering the confusion and chaos.

     "Excellent," Adele cackled. "But you know there's no point in me going to an Earth class."

     Cobolt envied her. Adele was a Dark faerie, complete with flowing purple hair, huge bat wings and the personality to match. She was also exempt from all classes at the Academy that had nothing to do with Dark magic, and therefore had a lot of free time to herself or the opportunity to take some of the higher level classes.

     Cobolt had discovered the gift at a young age. Sometimes he had managed to move objects without touching them, or make water and fire appear out of nowhere (the latter had been the cause of the incident that had quite inexplicably resulted in his whole kitchen exploding). But ever since his owner had painted him Wraith the year before he suddenly found the urge to use magic stronger.

     The colour had also resulted in some other perks. His night vision had vastly improved, something to do with the magical properties of the paint brush, and it had been much easier for him to cast Dark magic spells. In fact, it was the only magic he could use consistently without the aid of the ash wand tucked behind his ear.

     After much begging and pleading, he had finally convinced his owner to send him off to the Faerie Academy to refine his skills a bit. And he had quite shamelessly fed on his owner's fears of another exploding kitchen, the final result being that at the start of the year he had begun his training.

     The first student he had met had been Adele. He remembered it well; he had spent most of the trip through Faerieland staring open-mouthed in awe at the buildings, and the faeries. His first sight of the Academy had simply blown him away with the sheer size, the shining towers, the marble columns – pretty much everything about it. All the students had gathered in the reception hall, and Cobolt had found himself backing into the shadow of one of the columns, a habit he had picked up since he had been painted Wraith and blending in with shadows seemed like a natural part of his colour.

     The next moment he felt a sharp kick in the ribs and had stumbled out of the shadow, almost falling over. With a growl he had spun around, wisps of purple coiling off his fur, ready to teach whoever it was a lesson. And froze.

     A Dark faerie half again his height was towering above him, hands on her slim waist and a terrifying scowl on her otherwise pretty face. Half of her was in shadow, and he could make out the curve of one wing, while the other had faded into the shadow and was invisible. His angry words shrivelled up on his tongue as she spoke in a cool voice, a voice that made him shuffle nervously as if some unforeseen disaster was about to befall him.

     "Get out of my way, Ogrin," she snapped, stepping further out until only the hem of her dress was invisible. "I don't need the likes of you blocking my view."

     Cobolt flared up again, his mane sticking straight up in the air.

     "Or what?" he had challenged.

     She had slowly looked him up and down, contempt on her face, but when she reached his eyes she paused. He saw one eyebrow twitch slightly. Most pets and humans freaked out when they saw his eyes, because they lacked pupils. It seemed to creep most people out, seeing an empty purple glowing hole where his eyes should have been. It was the feeling Cobolt had used to get when he encountered transparent pets; there was something unnerving about not being able to tell where someone was looking when you were talking directly to them.

     "You've got an interesting aura about you," the Dark faerie continued. "And you sort of faded in the shadow. Do you know anything about Dark magic?"

     "No. That's why I'm here," Cobolt answered shortly.

     "Look," the Dark faerie grimaced as she spoke. "I don't like anybody here, especially none of my – should I say sister? – faeries. But I think I could stand to be around you. Let's say... acquaintances?"

     "Um...." Cobolt had replied, lost for words. "Thank you?"

     "Good. My name is Adelina. My idiot mother gave me that name, but it's the worst possible name for a Dark faerie. If you ever call me that, I will..." Here she paused and a dark nimbus of purple surrounded her hands for a few moments. "Well, let's just say it will be unpleasant."

     "So what should I call you?" Cobolt asked stupidly, eyeing her hands carefully.

     "Adele will do," she replied. "Now, if you excuse me." And she faded back into the shadow with a cackle.

     "That is the weirdest way of making friends," Cobolt muttered to himself, joining the rest of the milling students.

     "Acquaintances!" the column hissed behind him.

     *

     "I'm bored," Adele said, interrupting his thoughts as they strolled back to the student's rooms. Well, Cobolt strolled. Adele glided across the marble floor, the lower half of her dress covered by the roiling purple cloud that carried her. He was used to it. For a pet it would have been a case of showing off, but magic for faeries was a natural as breathing. It would probably have been more of an effort for her to simply walk.

     Then his mind processed her words and he immediately became wary. She did indeed sound bored, which never boded well.

     "What did you have in mind?" he asked carefully, making purple footprints on the stone floor out of the same cloud that was carrying his friend. They lingered for a few seconds, then slowly faded away.

     "Well, I've been working on my blinding mist, and there's some sort of stupid parade going down in the City tonight," she replied with a malicious grin.

     Cobolt gulped. They had tried the same thing in the dining hall a few weeks ago, except Adele had somehow gotten her half of the spell wrong, resulting in nightmares for a week to anyone who had encountered the conjured mist. He still wasn't sure if she had done it on purpose or not, but he didn't relish the thought of trying with normal citizens. Who knew how many of the faeries out there were masters of their particular brand of magic, and would strike back.

     "Well, it's a new moon tonight, I thought we could play some midnight tag," he suggested, studiously paying attention to his paws.

     He looked up just in time to see her grinning sideways at him.

     "Why, one could almost think you were trying to divert me, Cobolt," she said sweetly. She certainly wasn't fooling him with that tone.

     "Would I ever do that?" he replied in the same honeyed voice.

     There was a moment of dangerous silence, then she threw back her head and laughed heartily. It still sounded chilling, but Cobolt had soon learnt to tell the difference between genuine amusement and her actual evil laugh. In fact, he was quite good with dealing with her. He had come to the conclusion that most Dark faeries always needed someone – or in Jhudora's case several people – to feel superior to. So she could have the superior mastery of Dark magic compared to him, and at the same time show off by teaching him tricks he had yet to learn in class. It was win-win really. Besides, he could use all the different types of magic with the aid of his wand.

     "Actually, we haven't done that for a while," she said considering, cutting her laughter short abruptly. "And the new moon is the perfect time to play. Why, you are a true genius."

     "I do try," Cobolt replied, pretending to look bashful.

     "Good. Then I'll meet you at midnight on the roof," she said. "I have some.... stuff to do."

     She stopped abruptly, and Cobolt had to pull up short, his paws sliding across floor and leaving dark purple skid marks behind. He quickly dismissed the magic and turned to Adele. The cloud around her had crept up to her shoulders, and she flashed him her most evil grin, before the cloud covered her entire body and she disappeared, leaving tiny wisps of purple behind.

     "Well, that is just showing off," Cobolt muttered, padding the rest of the way to his dorm room.

To be continued...

 
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