Monday, 28 May 2012

Circle Quartet: 33

Chapter 33

“This is not fair!” I explode.

Jeff says nothing but stares at me with his cold eyes.

“How can you do this to me? I’m part of the team and it’s my job to assassinate that damn woman!” Now I’m in total rage. Stefan wants to calm me down but I shoot a death glare at him. Stefan sighs and raises his both hands in defeat. No one can stop me now.

“Your job is to protect this Academy,” says Jeff in a low, threatening voice. He never talks to me this way before and I never yell at him, too.

“I’m an assassin, Jeff,” I threaten him back. “Your job is my job too. You said once that we’re a team. And good leader never leaves his men behind!”

“I know my place, Alice!” Now Jeff is in rage as he bangs on the table and approaches me. This time, he doesn’t look like a big brother that I’ve known. “I’m your First-Class Commander and also a Vice Chancellor. You are just my underling, get it!” He grits his teeth while leaning his face closer to mine. “You disobey me, you’ll pay for the consequences!”

I feel a pang inside my heart and it is very hurt. Everyone stares at him unbelievably. How dare he talks to me like that, in front of all people? Even Stefan can’t do anything except stays silence.

“I hate you, Jeff,” I blurt out. “I hate you!” I shove his shoulders and leave the meeting room. I can hear Stefan is calling out for me from behind but I ignore him. I teleport to my room at the North Tower.

Abbie is taken aback as I suddenly appear in front of her. I know I look very miserable right now.

I tell her everything about what happened during the meeting. I’m not in rage anymore but in tears. Abbie caresses my back as she wants to calm me down. My heart shatters like a broken mirror. It really hurts.

I wake up as the sun goes down. Usually, I feel very energetic every time I see the sunset but today I feel nothing. I just stare at the window, looking at the lovely sunset while thinking of what I am going to do tonight. Abbie is getting ready for her task and she says goodbye few minutes later. Abbie is an assassin too but not in my group.

I walk around the fountain, hoping for the mysterious ‘guardian’ but he’s not there. I don’t know how to call for him so I just sit on the bench. I sigh heavily as I look up at the dark sky. It doesn’t snow tonight.

“I know I’ll found you here, Alice,” says a voice that I really know so much. I turn around and see Stefan standing next to me, smiling.

“What do you want?” I ask him and turn my gaze away.

He sits next to me and gently put his hand on top of mine. His hand is so warm.

“I know you still feel sad about last night. I never saw you quarrel with Jeff like that before,” says Jeff. I just stay in silence. “I know that you’re still mad at him but there must be reasons why he wanted us to stay here.”

“I don’t know what to think, Stefan,” I sigh heavily and close my eyes as I lean my head to his shoulder. “He was so cold, like he’s not Jeff. We never raise our voices like yesterday, before.”

Stefan holds my hand and squeezes gently.

“I hate him, Stefan. I really hate him,” I suddenly say that.

“Hey, don’t say that,” he whispers. “Maybe he just wanted to protect you from danger, Alice. And he wants me to protect you here. He’s not a person who will do something without a reason, Alice. You know him better than I do,” says Stefan.

Suddenly, I realize about something. Something weird about Jeff last night. The way he talked to me is not he’s mad, but he tried to look mad so that I’ll stay. Yes, I that’s right! Jeff got another plan and he didn’t want me and Stefan to get involve. Besides, I remember what Alse said that night.

“We need to go to Jeff, Stefan,” I suddenly stand up and grab Stefan’s hand. “Right now!”

“Wait, Alice,” Stefan stops me.

“What?” I glare at him ferociously.

“I’ll give you a ride,” he smirks and changes into a wolf. I hop on his back and without wasting any time, we rush to the main door.

As we nearly reach the door, someone is standing there. Stefan stops running and growls to that man. It’s the man who claims himself as my guardian!

“What do you want this time? Trying to stop us?” I ask in a cold tone. “I don’t have time to talk to you. I need to go to Jeff, to stop Alse!”

Alice, who is this hooded guy? Asks Stefan.

“I’m her guardian, Stefan Silver,” that man replies. “And I’m here not to stop you but to warn both of you.”

Stefan and I look at each other than look at that mysterious man again.

“Someone is going to be a sacrifice, tonight. Even it will stop Alse for a while, but both of you need to be careful. Alse wanted something from you, something that will make her live for eternity,” says that man and then vanish.

Stefan tells me to hold on tight while he dashes into the dark night. I don’t know what that man is trying to say but I have a bad feeling when he said about someone who has to be a sacrifice.

We reach at the end of Enchanted Forest. Suddenly we hear a scream. A horrifying scream that brings chill down to my spine. I gulp as I hear the scream.

It’s not very far. Let’s go!” Says Stefan and we run towards that scream.

Stefan stops as we see a woman, who is still screaming, holding a girl who looks just like me. What is happening here? I jump off Stefan’s back and look around. Beatrice and Zayne are here but wounded. I look at the girl again but this time she’s not the girl anymore.

“False blood! How dare you trick me, you little half-vamp?” that woman, or Alse, screams in pain. Her body is melting slowly. I can see her long nails full with blood as she’s stabbing to the girl who now turns into a man. And I know that man.

“Jeff!” I call out to him as he falls to the ground. I jump forward and catch his wounded body. He has been stabbed by Alse and blood splutters everywhere.

“You’ll pay for this, Jeff! You’ll pay for this!” Alse retreats while her body melts and she’s gone.

Stefan, Beatrice and Zayne rush to us. Stefan kneels down beside me and calls Jeff’s name. Jeff is breathing weakly and Beatrice is trying to heal him.

“Alice,” he calls me in weak voice. I hold his hand and tears start to flow down to my cheek. “I’m sorry...for scolding you last night.”

“No! I’m the one who should say sorry to you. I’m sorry for hating you, Jeff. I’m so sorry,” I sob.

“It’s okay,” Jeff coughs blood. “At least, you’re safe.”

“Why did you do this, Jeff?”

“Because, I don’t want you to get hurt. And you too, Stefan,” Jeff turns to Stefan. “Alse, she wanted both of your blood, to gain eternity.” Jeff groans in excruciating pain.

“Jeff, don’t talk so much. I’m going to save you,” says Beatrice, and she too, is in tears.

“It’s no use, Bet,” says Jeff, trying to smile as nothing will happen to him.

“Jeff, don’t say that. You’ll be alright, man,” says Zayne.

Jeff slowly shakes his head. “No, Zayne. My time ends here. You’re going to take over my position as the new Commander.”

Jeff’s breathing is getting slower and his face look paler. He loses too much blood. I need to do something. I don’t want to see him suffer this way.

“Drink my blood, Jeff,” I offer my blood to him. But he smiles weakly and holds my hand.

“Your blood is too precious for me. Alice, be strong and stay alive. I know that you’ll stop Alse one day. Even if my body is not here anymore, but my spirit will always be with you, Alice. Thank you, for being the best sister for me,” he coughs more blood. Beatrice is trying her best as she can but she can’t heal the wound nor stop the blood.

“Jeff, don’t leave me!” I cry and hug him tight.

“Goodbye, Alice,” Jeff whispers his last word to me before he closes his eyes.

“No!” I gasp. His eyes shut slowly and he stops breathing. I cry bitterly, hugging his dead body tight. Beatrice also cries as she can’t save Jeff while Zayne and Stefan turn into a werewolf and howl in sorrow.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Circle Quartet: 32

Chapter 32

One of all things that I hate the most is to know the ugly truth. Seriously, I hate the word ugly. Sometimes, when we know the truth, we feel satisfied. Like the first time I knew that I’m a vampire, I was in the cloud nine. For me, being a vampire is something that is so cool because I’m different from normal human beings. I drink blood, I can sleep inside the coffin and I can disappear into thin air with a single poof!

But the truth can be really disturbing. You see, I read a lot about the myth and legends of vampires and the other four main clans. When I knew I’m a vampire, I was afraid to go outside to play with any human friends because a vampire can’t be exposed to direct sunlight. I tried to avoid my favourite food which is garlic bread because a vampire can’t even go near the garlic. I demanded Dad to buy me a coffin because vampires sleep in a coffin.

Dad just laughed when I told him that I didn’t want to go outside, or eating garlic. The scariest thing of all is the stake. Vampire can be killed with a stake that strike through the heart. Dad once said that everybody will die if someone stabs a stake to someone’s heart. Dad loves to play golf every weekend and brought me along. He said that he didn’t die just because of sunbathing or stay long under the sun. He even ate garlic bread in front of me, saying how delicious garlic bread is.

When I grew older, those things are not a bother anymore. I enjoy sunbathing every summer. I love garlic bread; I can even eat more than ten garlic bread sticks every morning. I sleep on a cosy bed like everybody does.

That was the day when I learned the truth about modern vampires.

Today, the feeling is different.

Knowing the truth about Alse is really disturbing. After the shocking meeting with Alse, Jeff told me the truth.

And the truth is, Alse is Grandma Zelda’s eldest sister. That’s why they look alike.

But there’s one more thing that make me distraught. If Alse’s age is more than 100 years, how old is Grandma Zelda now? And how old are my parents? And the most important thing, how old am I now?

I search for the book about Alse in the library and this time I forbid anyone to accompany me here. I need to have my own privacy. I’ve found one book about dark witches and Alse was the founder. She got more than a hundred followers back in 500 years ago and all of them were turned into monsters and goblins. And all of them were females.

But the book didn’t mention much about the early history of Alse. And I think I need to ask Grandma Zelda herself. She’s the one who knows her eldest sister. Grandma Zelda is rarely at the Academy since Alse got free from the seal. I know she’s busy with other Eldest to stop Alse.

I sigh heavily and put the book back on the shelf. I look around the library and realize that I’m alone. Only the librarian on duty is here but she’s also busy arranging the books. I walk out of the library and go toward the fountain.

The air is still but cold tonight. I sit down on the bench and look up at the dark sky. No stars appear tonight. Maybe it’s cloudy because I can’t even see the moon. Once I read ghost stories when I was small. Ghosts usually appear during full moon. A man changed into werewolf during full moon. Werewolf reminds me of Stefan. And also reminds me of the final test in the enchanted forest. That incident always makes me smile.

“Looks like you are a little bit calm,” says a deep but gentle voice.

I quickly turn around. Sitting next to me is a man wearing a robe with hood; the man that I saw at this fountain back then. I yelp and fall from the bench. That man helps me get up and chuckles lightly. I only can see the lower part of his pale face and his mouth.

“Sorry for surprising you,” he says as he pulls me up.

“It’’s okay,” I say, brushing the dirt. I don’t know why I feel like I knew him before. “Who are you?” I ask, staring at him.

“Let’s just say I’m your guardian. It’s not the right time for you to know me yet, Alice,” he smiles.

“You know my name?” my eyes widen.

“Of course I do. Everybody knows you, Alice. I mean, everybody in this beautiful, majestic Academy knows you. A vamp-girl who is smart and loves adventure,” his smiles never fade from his face.

I’m still blinking while staring at him.

“Don’t be so stiff, Alice. I won’t hurt you. I’m your guardian, remember? A guardian is supposed to protect his master,” he says gently.

“I thought that you’re a ghost. I saw you here, a long time ago. And then, when I woke up, I was somewhere else. And Stefan said that I fainted,” I say.

“That’s because I hypnotised you. I’m sorry for doing that but I really wanted to see you that time. Nobody else can see me except you, Alice,” he says.

“What? Why?” I ask and this time it’s getting curious.

“Because you’ve been chosen to have me as your guardian,” he replies.

“Who ordered you to be my guardian? I don't need one, for your information. I can take care of myself,” I say firmly. “I don’t mean to let you down. But, seriously, I don’t need any guardian whom I don’t know the identity.”

He chuckles again and looks up to the sky.

“Like I said, it’s not the right time for you to know about me. But,” he looks at me, “one day, when you need help, I’ll come to serve you.”

Then he disappears. How I hate this kind of situation! One minute he’s here, the next he’s gone.

“Alice? What are you doing here? I thought that you’re in the library,” Stefan appears and once again I yelp and fell on the ground. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, for the bloody vamp!” I grumble irately as I stand up one more time. “You know what, I hate falling down from the bench!”

Stefan clears his throat. “Sorry, Alice. I didn’t mean to fright you. I want to tell you that Jeff wants to hold an urgent meeting right now. Both of us need to be there,” he says.

We rush to the room where Jeff holds the meeting. There are only 6 people in this room including me and Stefan. We take a seat and listen to what Jeff wants to say. He explains the current situation of Alse. She’s trying to destroy the Academy since Grandma Zelda is the founder of this place. But she’s still lack of her powerful dark magic and we, as the first class assassin, need to stop her from killing innocent people and protect our clans and our Academy.

“We’re in critical situation and we need plans and strategies to stop Alse. Starting from tomorrow night, all of us will have our own position. But tonight, I’ve decided the position for all of you here. Alice and Stefan,” Jeff turns to me with a serious face, “your position is here, in this Academy.”

“What?” I snap and stand up abruptly. Everyone gasps as I bang my hand on the table. “What do you mean my position is here?”

“I command you not to join the squad,” Jeff stares coldly at me.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Circle Quartet: 31

Chapter 31

No one knows where exactly Alse and Cody are hiding. After getting some information from Squad 3, Jeff picks 5 people for Special Searching Squad including me and Stefan. The other three are Zayne, Raven and her twin sister Macie. Raina is supposed to be in our group but regarding to her carelessness, Jeff picks Macie. Even though Macie’s spell casting skill is not as good as Raina but she doesn’t act recklessly as Raina.

Hiding in shadows is my favourite ability. After being blooded, I have gone through a lot of training and this is one of the abilities that I really enjoy the most. To be an assassin, you must know how to hide yourself. Zayne and Stefan are hiding somewhere up on the tree and they are still in human mode. Raven shifts herself to bat to sense any magical wave from Alse. Macie and Jeff are making themselves invisible.

I slip from shadow to shadow. Tonight is the lucky night because the sky is quite clear and I can see the moon shines down to earth. Even though it’s not a full moon but at least it produces light to create the shadows. Then, I heard something rustling nearby. I stop and sharpen my hearing and my night vision.

I heard someone’s talking I use telepathy and connect to all my group members.

Where are you, Alice? Asks Jeff. I think he’s not too far from where I’m standing right now.

A bat flies over me and lands on my shoulder. I know it’s Raven.

Did you get anything? I ask.

There are rows of houses nearby and I sense a strong magic near the fourth house from the left. Says Raven. I nod. Alse is hiding among the humans because she needs human blood to stay alive, for now.

Cody must be with her right now. Let’s go and check it out. I’m ready to leap to another shadow but Stefan stops me from behind.

I don’t think you should go there by yourself, Alice. He holds my shoulder before I leap.

I’m not alone, Stefan. Raven is with me. I hiss.

But it might be dangerous. Just wait the signal from Macie and Jeff. Zayne says that they are planning something. Says Stefan.

Stefan is right, Alice. It’s too dangerous. We’re dealing with the top-rank bad-ass. There’s no way it’s going to be easy. Besides, we just want to know their hideout and the proof that Cody is with her. Raven hops to the branch and shifts back to normal.

We wait there for a couple of minute until we hear something weird nearby. Suddenly, I can feel a chill down to my spine. There’s a young woman with grey night gown standing near the tree where we hide.

Something wrong with that woman! We need to scram! Raven screams inside her head.

She swings her hands towards us.

Watch out! Stefan grabs my waist and jumps off the tree. Raven quickly shifts into a leopard and jumps with me and Stefan.

“Thanks, Stefan,” I say while panting hard. Stefan nods and stands in front of us. That woman really scares me and I don’t know why.

“Aww, you want to be a hero tonight, little cub,” that woman smiles evilly to us.

“Not only him, you old hag,” Jeff and the others appear within a second. “We’re going to stop you.”

That woman laughs. “You want to stop me?”

“What’s so funny, Alse? Or you just laugh because you’re outnumbered?” says Zayne. He stands side by side with Jeff and ready to fight.

That woman is Alse? But she’s too young!

“You’re right, Alice dear. I look young but I’m an old hag, just like your brother said. I want to be young forever and powerful. These humans give me what I need!” she smiles evilly at me.

She reads my mind? That’s mean, all this time, she heard us!

“Not really, Alice. I can’t read mind just like you did. But I hear certain whispers inside here,” she points to her head.

“Where’s Cody?” demands Zayne in a serious tone.

“Why do you want to know about my lovely pet? He’s mine, you damn wolf,” she scowls to Zayne but Zayne stays calm. “I don’t want to play with you, kids, tonight. I’m saving my playtime for a special occasion, even though you bring me what I need the most,” she chuckles.

“But at least I’ll show you my true self a little bit,” she smirks and slowly changes her appearance into an old hag. After her transformation, I suddenly gasp as I see her face.

“Looks like my little prey is getting scared,” she says in a singsong voice. Then she laughs heartily like she’s seeing a funny movie.

“It’s okay, Alice. I’m here,” Stefan whispers as he holds my hand firmly. “I won’t let her hurt you.”

But I still lock my gaze to Alse. Her face looks familiar!

“Well, I think I better get going now since I’m not in the mood to drink two precious bloods. Besides, it’s not even a full moon tonight. I’ll let you play with my cute little goblins!” She snaps her fingers and three ugly goblins appear. She, on the other hand, disappears into thin air.

Zayne, Jeff and Macie fight the goblins and within a second, they defeat those goblins. I don’t know why my legs are shaking wildly and I’m still holding Stefan’s hand tightly. I can feel the bead of sweats trickle down from my forehead.

“Alice, are you okay? God, you look pale!” asks Raven as she shifts back to normal, again.

I gulp. “That woman…her face looks like Grandma Zelda!”

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Circle Quartet: 30

Chapter 30

I never saw Stefan in such a worrying face before. After the terrible incident, we went back to the Academy and Stefan dashed to the Healing Chambers. This place looks like a hospital where doctors and nurses shuffle here and there, treating patient and handling operations. My second cousin, Aiden, works in this chamber but I haven’t seen him after the blooding ceremony.

Stefan and I and the rest of his family are waiting at the waiting room as Granddaddy Saba is being treated in the healing ward. Actually, it is not right for me being here because I am not part of the clan. But Stefan’s family wanted me to stay. They said that I’m part of the family too.

I sit beside Stefan, holding his hand as he sighs heavily. I squeeze his hand, telling him that Granddaddy is going to be fine. I’m also praying for him. Everyone is very quiet except for Tavis who is sobbing bitterly. Stefan soothes him by patting gently on his back but the sobbing is getting louder. Stefan lets go off my hand gently and pulls Tavis to his hugs. Even though Tavis is not the youngest in the family but Tavis is a soft-hearted person.

Nash gets out from one of the healing room. His right shoulder has been treated but still need to be bandaged. He kneels in front of us, saying sorry that he couldn’t save Granddaddy Saba. Uncle Azure and Aunt Amethyst assure him that it was not his fault.

Nash tells us everything for what had happened during the mission. Cody was in the group, too, as one of the trackers. Then the monsters appeared and they attacked Nash’s team. Granddaddy Saba fought those monsters and got some scratches. Suddenly, Cody attacked Granddaddy Saba from behind.

“It happened too fast, Father,” Nash begins to sob. “I’ve tried to stop Cody but I failed. Cody’s body got bigger and the eyes were flashy red. He bit me on the shoulder and wounded the rest of us.”

“It’s the work of magic,” I gasp and every eye of the Silvers locks their gaze at me.

“Magic?” Zayne breaks the silence.

“Yes. I’ve read in the book once, about Alse. She’s expert in performing dark arts and magic. And she also can control someone under her spells,” I explain.

“Maybe Cody has been possessed by her dark arts,” says Aunt Amethyst. “That poor child.”

“Or maybe he works under Alse for certain reasons. We need to discuss about this with the Board,” says Uncle Azure.

“And if there any attacks again, we’ll be ready for it!” Stefan stands up and so I am.

“Woah! Calm down young man and you too, young lady. You guys have already joined the battle and you two must be tired right now. It’s time for me and your mother in action. We’ve been waiting for this moment for so long, am I right, my dear Amy?” Uncle Azure wraps his hand around Aunt Amethyst shoulder and both of them giggle. I see there’s nothing funny about this. But I know Uncle Azure loves adventure, just like Dad.

Then, Deena and Beatrice come out from the healing ward, sigh in relief. I can read on their face that Granddaddy Saba is safe.

“How’s Granddaddy?” asks Zayne, approaching both of them who take out their gloves.

“He’s in stable condition but need a lot of rest. He can’t get involved in any battle in one month,” replies Beatrice.

“Oh yes, I need to confirm about something with the Silvers. While we’re healing Mr. Saba, he mumbled some names such as Baby Blondie, Grey-Eye Lola and Crunchy Cindy,” says Deena.

At the same time, Stefan looks down on the ground, blushing deeply. Now our gazes lock to Stefan. Even Tavis has stopped sobbing and stares at his brother.

“Umm…actually,” Stefan scratches his finger to his cheek, “those names are the names of his favourite cupcakes,” says Stefan shyly.

“Cupcakes?” asks Deena and Beatrice and I in unison.

“Yup. Cupcakes. He adores and enjoys home-made cupcakes,” smiles Zayne.

“Made by Stefan,” adds Aunt Amethyst.

I think my jaw drops drastically. Stefan can bake cupcakes?

*         *          *

It’s been a week after the incident happened and Cody is nowhere to be found. The trackers and scavengers are still hunting for him. Maybe he’s with Alse in their hideout or maybe he runs away, far away from here. Since he’s under magic spell, the trackers and scavengers are having difficulties in finding him.

Stefan and I visit Granddaddy Saba who is getting very well. He’s not satisfied when he was announced by Beatrice and Deena not to move a lot and must rest a lot. He’s a type of person who doesn’t like to be in one place for a long time, especially lying on bed, doing nothing.

I know he’s getting bored, day by day, and that’s why Stefan and I visit him every day. Sometimes Zayne and Tavis join us too. Even Jeff came last two days, brought Granddaddy Saba a bouquet of daffodil with a box of butter cookies. Granddaddy Saba is quite amusing with all the visitors who come to visit since last week.

I also learned baking cupcakes with Stefan. He’s damn good in cooking, just like Ace. He does the cooking at home, almost every day. Since I came to visit Granddaddy Saba, I learn lots of secret talent of Stefan. Stefan is not also good in cooking but also in knitting and sewing. Granddaddy Saba told me that Stefan can knit scarf within 3 hours. I can’t even do knitting!

“I made some special cupcakes for you, Granddaddy,” I say as Stefan and I visit him on the ninth day. And he’s getting better.

“Oh, special cupcakes from my granddaughter-in-law! That’s very nice of you, sweetheart,” he smiles.

Stefan helps him to lean against the bed post and I show him 6 cupcakes that I made this morning with Stefan.

“Well, Stefan taught me,” I giggle. “Try them, Granddaddy.”

Granddaddy Saba takes one cupcakes which he calls Baby Blondie, a chocolate cupcake with light yellow icing on top. I even spread some colourful rice cakes on top of it. He takes a bite and smiles widely.

“It’s good! This one taste so good!” he praises. “Looks like you surpass your teacher, Alice.”

Stefan and I giggle.

“Well, she’s been practiced for three days to make Baby Blondie, Granddaddy. And she’s getting better in her cooking too,” says Stefan as he wraps his hand around my shoulder.

Stefan and I are getting closer and closer since the first day we visited Granddaddy Saba. We’re so happy to him smiling and chuckling. After staying in the wards for more than 10 days, Granddaddy Saba is discharged. But he still can’t do any heavy work and need rest. And this time, Tavis is going to take care of him for he is very close to his grandfather.

Even though things look better but the danger is still out there. Mom, Dad and the rest of the elders are still searching and spying on Alse. She’s not disguising as Yvonne anymore as her appearance has been revealed. Stefan and I are back in our assassin team under Jeff’s order.

And tonight, we’re going for witch and wolf hunting!