I was fuming now. “I didn’t even want to go to that school. And then that stupid boy started being mean to Lana for no reason, so I blew up the window and walked on out of there.”

The birds were quiet. They looked at me, considering. Then they turned to Lana.

“Someone was mean to you?”

Lana tried to disappear. When that failed, she nodded. “Uh huh.”

“What did he look like?” Nahc said.

“Nahc, you’re not going to do anything.”

“Did he have a badge?”

“Mr. Clops said…”

“Yeah,” I said. “A knife. With three paint drops on it.”

Whatever I said must have been the wrong thing to do. The other birds turned on Nahc, wings up defensively.

“No Nahc. You’re not going.”

“They’re going to try again.” He said.

“They always do. But Mr. Clops made that a BIG rule. No talking with them. Ever.”

“Heck with that!” He said. “If the Gratefuls want to start in on this again, I’ll settle this. Right now, you watch me!”

Lana and I looked at each other. “Gratefuls?”

“Human supremacists,” Nahc growled. “The paint drops are blood. Red, like real blood should be. They hate elves, dwarves, all the fae. But they despise the Reza. We’re tainted stock, even worse than the alien stuff.”

“And they live next to the Quarter,” one of the birds said. “Looking for a reason to mess with us.”

I glowered. I was right next to that boy. Relatively. He hated Lana, was probably thinking about hurting her too.

“They’ll be out of school in a couple hours,” Nahc said. “He’ll be out. Alone.”


“They’re the ones who put us in curfew!” He shouted. “They beat up on Juan, and we were the ones who got blamed for making sure they didn’t kill him!”

“And what are they going to do if you retaliate?” The bird said.

“I’m going.”

“We’ll tell Mr. Clops!”

“rrrrrrgggghhh…” Nahc flew up into the sky. “Zep Skargle Fla farktassikit! And sit on it too!”

I was hearing these words fade away. Nahc was being calmed down, he wasn’t going to do anything. The other birds were going to lead him back to the Waste Quarter. Maybe even Lana was going with them, make sure he was okay.

Perfect. That gave me a chance to do some good.

I ran back to Blue Wheel Academy. Finally, this was a problem I knew how to fix. Bad person at school. Beat him up, and suddenly there was one less one problem.

I saw the gardens come back into view. I gripped my staff, ready to fight. All right, whoever you were. Prepare to have your butt handed to you by…

“The Green Witch.”

A woman appeared in front of me. I stopped, and even backpedaled. The woman was tall. Easily over six feet, dressed in a magenta dress that highlighted her yellow skin. Dark hair fell in a wave around her face in elegance.

I hadn’t heard her approach at all. No magical signature, no portal. She was just there.

I couldn’t focus on that. The woman her hands from the folds of her dress, and pointed at me.

“Let us begin our lesson.”

copyright 2019 Jack Holder

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