The air was damp with fog tonight, making it simple for Uroko to sneak back in the school. He could see the bathroom window was just like he left it, barely open, and the light off. Climbing over the ledge, he quietly scaled down to the window. He latched the window shut a few seconds later and smirked as he watched the aura of a guard float by outside. Uroko took the hidden case off the wall above the last stall and changed back into his pajamas. It was extremely late, but he was still too pumped from the flying to fall asleep, or at least he thought he was.
Uroko would sneak out at night to enjoy the one thing that a very small number of people in the world could enjoy, flying. He knew of only three very strong psychics that could levitate themselves and a boy in Romania born with feathered wings. Even during training he never had the room he wanted for flying, so he broke the rules occasionally. Thankfully, since it was such a unique power, the Academy didn’t have sensors in place to spot him when he took off and landed.
He snuck over to his bed and noticed it was just after 3:00 A.M. Uroko cursed himself for staying out so late, knowing he had to be up in four hours. As he lay down he felt like someone was watching him. In a dark room with forty-nine other beds and no light on it made it hard to see if he was just being paranoid. Still reeling from the excitement he figured he’d never get to sleep, but as soon as his head rested on his pillow he was asleep.
He woke with the instinct to protect himself. His scaled wings burst out of nowhere through his shirt, the dark green scales rising from under his skin looking as if they were flowing over his full body. As they covered his left forearm they jutted out to form a large round shield, protecting him from his attacker, while they formed a fearsome set of claws on his right hand. Without his eyes being the slightest bit open he swiped his claw and struck the enemy. As soon as he heard the loud squeal his eyes burst open.
Gael was sprawled on the floor, her arm bleeding from where she managed to block Uroko’s attack. Niht, her brother, knelt by her side making sure she was okay. The other Cadets were gasping and whispering to each other, not sure what to do. It took Uroko a moment to process everything before he jumped off the bed to make sure his friend was alright.
“Oh man! Gael, are you okay? I swear I didn’t…I…oh god I’m sorry!” He didn’t know what to say or if she’d forgive him. He kept expecting to get punched in the face by her twin brother.
Niht looked up “She’s okay, are you?” He was staring at Uroko, along with everyone else. Even Gael’s eyes had a shocked look, not of fear, but of worry. Uroko looked from Niht to Gael and finally noticed he couldn’t stop shaking. That’s when he remembered the fear from his dream. Gael placed her hand on his. He wished it could have been one of those moments like in the movies where the girl’s touch comforted the fear. Sadly, it did nothing to calm him. Uroko launched for the bathroom, locking the door.
He stared in the mirror, hands on the sink. He couldn’t feel it happening but was sure this must have been why everyone was shocked. The scales kept coming in and out of his skin without his control. He couldn’t stop it, he couldn’t make them come out where he wanted, and he’d never had this many scales before. The same thing happened eight years ago, but that was when his power first showed. He was six years old and there wasn’t much he could control then, but he had learned and should have been able to control it now.
Not thinking, and shocked at the sudden appearance in the mirror behind him, Uroko turned and unleash several punches and kicked before he realized who he almost hurt. Thankfully, the water flowed around and under his quick assault.
“Woah, chill out man! I just came in to see if you were okay.” Samuel’s human form took hold. He was six foot of lean muscle and boxing champ of the academy. He usually shaved his head, but was going for a braided look right now. He grabbed a towel from the rack and wrapped it around himself, “I think we should take you to see Nurse Quartet.”
Uroko turned back to the sink, and ripped the shredded remains of his shirt off, taking in the full site of his chest. He couldn’t hide the fact that he was scared. Not only because his power was changing, but the dream was still fresh in his mind. “Sam, I’ve...yeah, let’s go.”
Samuel opened the door to see Niht and Gael waiting for them “Gael! Don’t worry, I’m here now. You don’t have to worry.” he said as he tried to hug her. Gael mumbled in her normal shy voice “I’m fine.” as she watched Uroko walk out. Of course, Niht quickly diverted Samuel’s hug with a punch to the arm. “Quit it Sam, this isn’t a good time.” Niht handed Samuel the clothing he’d left behind when he took his water form. He stepped back into the bathroom to get dressed before they left.
The hall was crowded by the other students wanting to get a look at what was happening, and they didn’t seem to want to move. Gael, pissed off by their idle curiosity, walked up to the kids who were blocking the way out and said in a calmly chilling voice “Move”. The sea of kids quickly parted as Gael led the way, with Uroko, Niht, and Samuel following.
The whispers in the crowd began to rise as Gael noticed the others weren’t following her anymore. She turned to see that Uroko’s scales were sliding in and out much faster than they had been. Uroko seemed to be in a state of shock. It was picking up momentum until it suddenly stopped, covering his whole body. Probably from the shock, Uroko lost consciousness. Samuel and Niht caught him, getting cut by the scales a little. Gael ran over and took Niht’s place as he, the faster of the two, ran for the nurses office. They laid him on the floor as one of the other kids broke through the crowd handing Samuel a pillow and blanket. “At least someone’s being helpful around here” he muttered. He placed the pillow under Uroko’s feet and covered him with the blanket.
Samuel noticed Gael’s arm was still bleeding. He ripped the bottom of his sleeve off and threw it on his shoulder. Leaning over Uroko, he placed his hand over Gael’s wound as it turned to water. The claw mark was much deeper than he realized, but he was not surprised that she hadn’t said anything. After he wiped down her wound he tied the torn sleeve around her arm, causing her to wince. Samuel smirked “We’ll get the nurse to take a look at you too.” Gael looked up at him “after she takes care of him.” Her eyes fell back on Uroko’s scaly face.
A few minutes later Gael rested Uroko’s head on the ground and fell into the trance. She walked over to the nearest wall, as the crowd watched in awe. Most of them had never seen the Song Twins’ Doorway. Her finger ran over the wall, a thin green glow followed it, outlining a large rectangle. Once she finished the outline a green vortex appeared with a snap where the wall had been seconds before.
Samuel stood up, lifting Uroko, and grabbed Gael’s hand. The light seemed to swallow him and Uroko as they stepped through the portal, followed by Gael. It was no different stepping through any door. One second they were in the hallway, the next they found themselves with their back against the wall beside an empty bed in the hospital wing. The doorway they had traveled through closed with a crackling hiss as soon as Gael stepped through. Samuel and Niht placed Uroko on the bed.
Nurse Quartet looked over the group, seeing Gael’s arm bandaged. She closed her eyes and began to hum. Before the others could blink, Nurse Quartet was now four identical people each humming a higher note. They all opened their eyes at the same time and immediately got to work. Two of them walked over to Uroko and began to examine him, one of them took Gael to clean her arm and bandage it properly, and the last took Niht and Samuel to the side to find out what happened.