The Heir of the Dragon
“Eeee-heeeve, let’s get something to eaaaat already!”
The whining voice in Eve’s ear belonged to Beel, Eve’s current demon companion. The emaciated girl floated near the ceiling of the corridor in a dark tattered cloak, ratty grey hair bouncing everywhere as she thrashed around in a petulant tantrum.
“I already had lunch,” Eve tersely replied, trying to keep from getting irritated by the demon’s antics. “I’m not hungry.”
“But I aaaam! Lunch was hooours ago!” Beel wailed.
“You’re a spirit. You can’t eat food,” Eve calmly reminded her.
“But I’m still huunngry!” Beel replied, as if a simple meal would sate the Demon Queen of Gluttony’s appetites.
“Evangeline Moonshadow!” A sharp call drew Eve from her conversation with her spirit partner, and she turned to see Audrey Angelique storming down the hallway towards her. Brow furrowed and eyes fierce, the silver-haired girl’s normally stern countenance had crossed the line into seething rage.
“Lady Angelique,” Eve said, lifting the hem of her skirt and curtsying, reminding the future archduchess of her position. It seemed to have the desired effect as the noble paused for a moment to force the anger from her face and regain an air of dignity.
Indeed, her tone of voice when she next spoke was much more calm and measured. “I wish to speak to you about Sabine Scarlet.”
“If you want to talk to Sabine, I’m sure she is capable of speaking for herself.” Eve took great care to keep her tone firm, but polite. She knew Audrey as a consummate lady of class, who would respond best to dignified conversation.
“Sabine’s thoughts on this topic are of no interest to me,” Audrey said coldly, Eve raising her eyebrow in measured surprise. “I wanted to know how it happened that you became associated with her and her friends.”
“Forgive me, my lady, but I was not aware that who I made friends with was the topic of interest among the cohort,” Eve said, keeping her tone respectfully deferential and trying her hardest to keep the sarcasm out.
“It isn’t, I was… merely curious,” Audrey said after a pause, “how someone who seemed to be such a diligent student at the beginning of the term would find themselves involved with such offensive acts as bullying your classmates.”
Eve sighed. This had been what she’d feared. In finding a “group” to be associated with, she had sought to conceal herself from being labeled a suspicious outcast. Unfortunately for her, by choosing to befriend Sabine, the girl’s temper had brought more scrutiny upon her than she had expected and now she’d caught the eye of Audrey Angelique.
Not to mention that Sabine’s actions would no-doubt reflect poorly on Blake’s perception of her, as well. With the benefit of hindsight, it may have been the wiser choice to befriend Elly instead. Blake was concerned for her, in a way that Eve had not predicted given his antisocial behavior and violent temper.
But it was too late now. If Eve couldn’t go back, then to start she would need to throw Audrey off the scent. She began to work out a plan, the perfect trick to fool someone as self-righteous as Audrey.
“I despise bullying,” Eve said, following her master’s teachings and lying with the truth. She let her feelings of disgust out into her words, and adding a tinge of fear and sadness that was all her. “The way Sabine treats Elly… it makes me sick to my stomach. But what am I supposed to do?”
She put on the most pitiful look she could, slumping her shoulders and hanging her head in shame, mimicking Elly’s body language perfectly. “I can’t… stand up to someone like her…”
Eve would pretend that she had joined Sabine to avoid being bullied herself. It would be the perfect illusion, because Audrey could believe it so easily. Eve wasn’t a noble, she was a nobody. Sabine Scarlet wouldn’t normally associate herself with someone of Eve’s standing. If Audrey believed that Sabine was using Eve to get good grades in class (another embellished truth) and that Eve only went along with the bullying to save her own hide, she would definitely think poorly of Eve, but she would also understand the girl’s position, and shift the target of her ire solely upon Sabine.
Eve would become a pathetic loser, but not a villain. And that was a role she was perfectly fine with playing, so long as Audrey believed it. And Eve would make her believe it. She opened her mouth to lay it on even thicker, but before she could she noticed Audrey wince in pain.
“Is everything alright?” Eve asked worriedly. The way the girl’s face went pale and she started to sweat was concerning. Audrey’s eyes flashed crimson and she fell to one knee, panting. “Audrey?!”
Audrey glanced up at Eve, her eyes wide with terror. It was a look so foreign on her that Eve didn’t know how to respond.
“Elly!” Audrey gasped out, leaping back to her feet and turning back the way she came, dashing down the hall in a panic. Eve stood stunned for a second longer before chasing after her, concern welling up in her chest. Whatever it was that scared a girl so normally composed like Audrey had to be of serious importance indeed.
Audrey and Eve reached the quad just in time to see a flash of scarlet flame that was followed with a blood-curdling scream of pain. Audrey charged across the grass, drawing her sword.
“Stop where you are! All of you!” Audrey bellowed in that harsh tone of hers that compelled people to listen. Everyone froze where they were, save one. Elly was rolling around in the grass and screaming in pain, clutching her face in her hands as red fire licked her hair, filling the air with a sickening odor. Audrey dropped her sword and fell to the girl’s side, smothering the flames as best she could while calling for help at the top of her lungs.
Eve caught her breath, taking a moment to get a grip of the situation. It looked pretty grim. Sabine was curled up in a ball, face pale and eyes empty with horror. Her hair was tangled and her clothes were ripped, and she was muttering something Eve couldn’t hear as she rocked back and forth, arms wrapped tight around her legs. Mindy sat beside her with an arm around Sabine’s shoulders, looking horrified as well. Jasmine just looked numb. Then there were the boys. Calum Arslow was standing off to the side, a little red in the face but otherwise fine. The other three boys with him looked flustered as well.
Elly was the only one seriously injured, and Eve was about to join Audrey in calling for help when she was cut off by someone else.
“We tried, but… but by the time we got here it was too late!” Calum shouted, his tone filled with panic. Audrey stared up at him, confused.
“When we got here, Sabine had burned her, and we tried to pull her off, but…”
“What?!” Mindy exclaimed, her face hot with rage. “That wasn’t what happened, you were-!”
The voice that put a stop to the shouting match wasn’t Audrey’s, but someone else’s entirely. The sky warped and Reed Rivers dropped out of a portal, landing in the center. Eve swallowed as she saw the older girl, a wave of fear rolling over her. Reed had a smile on her face, practically frozen there. But her eyes… the rage in her eyes was unreal.
“I heard someone call for help, so I came,” Reed said, the rage in her voice chilling the cluster of students. “And I saw my dear Elly injured…” Reed walked over to Audrey, kneeling down and picking up Elly, holding her close to her chest.
“Listen, I tried to help her,” Calum said, rushing over to her, his face looking so desperate that Eve almost believed it for a second. “But before I could, she-“
“You don’t want to be talking to me right now,” Reed hissed, her voice growing darker and darker. She looked back at him with a glare. “I’m trying very hard to keep calm right now. I will take Elly to the infirmary and then return, to get your statements. So I want everyone to be here when I get back…” her voice deepened into a nearly guttural growl. “Unless you want to see me when I’m not holding myself back, that is…”
Calum gulped, stepping back, and the fear that flashed across his face reflected what Eve felt herself. Reed turned and walked into the portal, disappearing.
There was a lot of trouble to sort out in the following hours. Eve was supposed to give a report to one of the campus security officers detailing what she had seen and heard, as did everyone else who was present. Reed had taken everyone to the office of campus safety, and now here they were, nine students seated in a circle outside the office door while Reed gave her report of what happened.
No one was talking. The mood was rather tense, as would be expected. Sabine’s look of stunned horror hadn’t changed, and Mindy and Jasmine were both trying to comfort her now. Upon closer glance, both girls also looked a little mussed, like they’d been fighting. The boys, too. Sabine’s clothes were the only ones ripped, but everything suggested a struggle of some kind had taken place.
The boys were talking amongst themselves, so Audrey was the only other independent party in the room. She was glaring at Sabine and it looked like she could barely control her rage just being in the same room with her. Clearly her mind had already been made up.
Eve didn’t know the full story herself, so she wasn’t quite sure what to believe yet. With nothing to do but wait and think, she decided to try and put some of the pieces of the puzzle together.
The most glaring piece, and the crucial issue at hand, was the fact that Elly had gotten seriously injured. And it wasn’t like last time, either. A student had used magic without faculty approval and hurt another student. That was a fact no one disputed. Even Eve had testified that she’d seen the scarlet flames burn Elly’s face.
Which put Sabine in a very bad position. Attacking another student with magic was an expellable offense.
Eve looked back at what else she’d seen and heard. Calum, his clothes and hands slightly burned, blaming Sabine for attacking Elly and saying that he’d just shown up and tried to “stop her”. Sabine trembling with fear in her eyes, her hair messed up and her clothes torn. Mindy desperately comforting her, and then snapping at Calum when he tried to blame Sabine. “That wasn’t what happened, you were-!”
Calum and Sabine were clearly at the heart of this incident, which made Eve curious about what role Elly played in all this. She considered what she knew about Calum and Sabine. Sabine had complained about her parents forcing her to get engaged to the blonde boy, and her frustration had only been building. While she despised her situation, Calum had been getting more aggressive with her every day, and she had been resisting him more and more forcefully. But Calum was also a lot bigger than her, too.
The puzzle in Eve’s mind was forming a clearer and clearer picture, and she didn’t like the look of it.
Reed walked out of the security chief’s office and he began calling the other students in to take their statements, starting with Calum. The swaggering confidence that the boy walked with told Eve that her suspicions were probably right on the mark.
Calum had tried to assault Sabine. She had fought him off as best she could, and even used her magic, and somehow Elly had gotten caught up in it all and suffered the real injuries.
Eve felt like she was going to be sick. But as much as she hated him she couldn’t walk in and condemn the piece of garbage, she hadn’t actually seen anything. So when it was her turn to record her statement she calmly told the officer exactly what she had seen and heard, emphasizing the important points about Sabine’s ripped clothes and the horrified look in her eyes, and hoped he would be able to put the pieces together himself.
Eve hoped that it was as obvious to campus safety as it was to her.
When they all finished giving their statements they were sent back, and all the involved parties were confined to their rooms until further notice.
Three days later, the announcement came down from on high. Sabine was being charged with using her magic to assault a student, and would have to defend herself before the school board.
If found guilty, she would be expelled.