• My First Week in My New School

    As I stepped out of the airplane and walked down the steps onto the tarmac, I could see a strange bald man holding a sign that read, “Jake Farcroft.” I pulled my backpack up onto my back, and trudged over to the man.
    Getting closer didn’t make him seem less strange. Actually he seemed stranger, his eyes were a wispy grayish-yellow, and his skin, though it was dark, had a strange, almost translucent look, like he was only partially there. Oh, and he had to be at least seven feet tall. I had a bad feeling.
    “You Jake?” He asked
    “Yep,” was my answer.
    He then said, “Get in, I’ll get your bags.” He pointed a set of keys towards a car with one hand, unlocking it, and held out his other hand for my baggage claim ticket.
    “It’s the green duffel bag,” I told him. I got into the car. In a couple minutes, he was back, and we started down the road.
    “So, how long have you worked for Kanzloo Academy?” He didn’t answer, “I’m a bit nervous, what are the kids like?” He still didn’t answer. I tried a few more times, but still got nothing, so finally I sat back and looked out the window.
    It took over an hour to reach the academy. Once we were there, I hopped out of the car. I walked around to the back of the car and got my bags. I asked the man where I should go, and he pointed to a small building that had a big sign on the side that said, “Sign-in and Registration Here.”
    Inside the building there was a desk with a sign, “Sign-in,” and a desk with a sign, “Registration.” I walked over to the sign-in desk; there was one person in front of me in line.
    Suddenly, out of nowhere these two boys came up. “Move over small fry,” the larger one said.
    “I was here first,” I reply.
    “Oh, you must be new here, so let me explain how things work around here. People like me rule, and people like you, cower in fear and do what I say. Is that clear?”
    “You may be able to push around some of these wimps, but you can’t push me aroun…,” was my answer. I never got to finish because a fist was heading directly at my head. I ducked, and then dodged out of the way. The big guy’s crony got ready to make another pass at me, but the big guy laid his hand on the crony’s shoulder.
    “Let me take care of him,” the big guy said. Then he lifted his hands above his head. His fingers twitched and then he whispered the words, “Como sutrith polor synthax.” Suddenly between his hands formed a glowing green ball. He brought his hands higher, getting ready to bring his hands down to launch it at me.
    At the last second, I heard the most beautiful voice in the world. It said “Paltray.” The guy floated up and in a flash flew across the room and slammed against the opposite wall.
    The big guy picked himself up, pointed at me and said, “I’ll get you,” then ran out of the building, being closely followed by his crony.
    I turned to see my savior; it was the girl who had been in front of me in line. “Hi, I’m Jake,” I said, “Thanks. What exactly just happened?”
    “Hi, I’m Catalena, but you can call me Cat. That was Rory; he’s a big jerk, an eighth grader, and a spell-weaver. He…”
    “A what.”
    “He’s a spell-weaver. Sort of a mixture between a druid and a wizard,” I gave her a blank stare. “You know what a druid is right?” I shook my head, “Well, a druid is a person who channels natural energy, and a wizard releases inner magic using spells and incantations, so a spell-weaver channels natural energy using spells and incantations.”
    “B… bu… but, magic isn’t real.” It was her turn to give me a blank stare.
    “How can you see what you saw today and not believe in magic? What are you doing at Kanzloo Academy if you don’t have any powers of your own?”
    “Wait, are you saying that everyone at Kanzloo Academy has these freaky abilities?”
    “Yes, that’s what I’m saying.”
    “What’s your ability... uh... gift uh... you know?”
    “I’m a were-human,” she said very prissily.
    By now, I’m going nuts, “You’re a what?”
    She sighs and rolls her eyes, “I’m a were-human, I’m half cat and half human, which would usually make me a were-cat, but I was born as a cat and changed into a human as I grew older, which makes me a were-human.” I must have looked like an idiot. I’m about to answer when she says, “you go sign-in and I’ll talk to you later.”
    “Bye,” she says, and then she turns and walks out of the room.
    I sign-in, get my orientation packet, and a message that I am to report to the principle first thing tomorrow morning.

    This morning I woke up to the sound of these strange creatures, which I later found out were air sprites. My arm hurt. I looked at it and saw my open journal, the corner digging into my arm. I turned the page back to the 8/30/07 entry when an air sprite breezed past my face. I turned to watch it do its little dance when suddenly I hear a rip. I turned to see an air sprite carrying off all of my journal pages but the 8/31/07 entry. I miss my pages.
    For 15 minutes, I tried to get my pages back, but those air sprites are just too darn fast, so I resolved to ask Cat to help me get my pages back later. I then got out of bed and ran off to the ladder. Oh! Did I tell you the dormitory is built inside a crater? So, to get to it you must go to this small building near the sign-in, which is really an elevator. You then ride down what must be 40 stories and come out to a fork. On the left side of the fork is the girls’ dormitory; on the right is the boys’. If you walk down the boys’ side, you eventually reach a giant crater and if you look up there’s a window through which you can see the sky, the crater’s that big. There are ladders everywhere and the beds are in little alcoves built into the walls. There are thousands of these alcoves.
    Well, I climbed down the ladder, took a shower, and got dressed. Then I headed towards the elevators. In 40 minutes, I had eaten and was waiting to talk to the principle.
    “The principle will see you now,” said the redheaded receptionist. I stood up and walked into the room. My stomach churned involuntarily.
    “Come in Jake.”
    “Thank you sir,” I said as I walked into the room.
    “Please, sit down.” I did. “I know how worried you must be so I’ll get right to the point. You’re probably wondering what you’re doing here. Well your parents thought that it would probably be best if I told you, uh…, well you come from one of the most powerful families of the paranormal people’s alliance.”
    This is where it gets weirder. “What, you mean…”
    “Let me explain everything, and then maybe you’ll understand. Not long after the beginning of time, in the City of Atlantis, a couple got married. Soon the woman became pregnant and gave birth to quadruplets. Her two boys she named Alex and Jake, the girls she named Sandra and Catalena. Now while Alex and Sandra were normal children, Jake and Catalena were different. They had amazing abilities. Jake was the world’s first wizard, and Catalena, well she could take on the shape of anything. Because of these abilities both children were disowned, and taking the name of Skiltrino, they both married. You, Jake are the descendant of Jake. We are not yet sure how his genes may choose to manifest themselves, but we figured you should know.”
    “So I might get these abilities?”
    “Yes, now get to class before you are late.”
    I jumped up and was almost out of the door when a cat jumped out of a hanging plant and hissed at me.
    “Oh and I have asked my daughter Catalena to help you with your first few days,” the principle said.
    Suddenly the cat became Cat. She stood up and grinned at me. “You nearly scared the life out of me,” I gasped.
    “That was the point,” she replied haughtily.
    While we were walking past a small hut, Rory jumped out. “Told you I’d be back,” he said. My head began to throb. My stomach was churning.
    “Get out of my way Rory.” There was a buzzing in my ears. And my stomach felt like a volcano about to erupt.
    “Make me,” he said, in a real snotty voice. I hit boiling point, my blood was coursing and then the wind began to whip up.
    The wind felt strange. I realized this wind must have been magic-made, “Were-humans can control the weather.” I said surprised
    “No we can’t.”
    The wind was now a small tornado with lighting coursing through it.
    “Now don’t go crazy Farcroft,” Rory said with a worried look. The tornado was now at least 50 feet tall.
    “Then who’s doing this?” They both looked at me with worried looks. Then I understood. I was doing this. Me. The gawky thirteen-year-old who can barely do basic math had called up this immense storm.
    “Alright Jake, you can stop now,” said Cat. She really looked worried.
    Suddenly out of one of the buildings ran that strange man who had picked me up at the airport. He ran, screaming like a kamikaze, towards the tornado. The tornado was getting dangerously close to a strange dome building. All of the sudden he lept into the tornado, disappearing. The tornado began to twist and then it stopped. The man fell lightly onto the ground, and walked away unshaken.
    I was breathless. But Cat took this whole thing in stride and told me we’d better get to class.
    The rest of the day went as normally as possible, until we got to P.E., which was also called, “Magic Management.”
    Thankfully, it was co-ed. Cat walked me to the gym, which was really another cavern. This cavern, the gym, had an opening in the side that led to a giant square arena-like place. Did I mention that Kanzloo Academy was on a large island? Well anyway, the P.E. teacher said that due to the ruckus that morning, he hadn’t had time to set up his usual first day of school game. Everyone looked at me angrily. I guess that first game must be really fun. I shrugged sheepishly. The teacher continued, “For our first activity, we will be playing dodge ball. Rules, no killing or maiming, all non-lethal undoable magic allowed, and other then that, follow regular dodge ball rules. Line Up, Frankie, you get first pick. Rory, you’re second.” I was picked last.
    Being on Rory’s team didn’t mean much; everyone threw balls at me no matter what team they were on. In the corner, I saw someone doing some weird zappy thing to one of the dodge balls. It began to writhe and glow green. He then threw it at me. I tried to dodge, but I wasn’t fast enough.
    It hit me. I felt a weird tingling passing through my whole body. Then it stopped, so did everyone else. They were all staring at me. Suddenly I felt self-conscious. I stared down at my feet, and gasped. I looked like, uh, like, you know, those half-human, half-horse thingymajigers from either Greek or Egyptian Mythology. A, a centaur, that’s what it is. Well anyway, the whole becoming a centaur thing was a bit too much for me. I fainted.
    When I came to, I heard yelling, “Donald Fulton, you undo whatever you just did this second or I’ll put a cat hater mark on your forehead and wherever you go cats will attack you.” Even with my head pounding I smiled. It seemed that Cat was a good person to have on your side.
    I stood up, which was more difficult than it seemed. The boy who had been in the corner shrugged to Cat, pointed his hands at me and said, “Osmius deius cornitrian,” and in a flash of light I was back to normal. Then I fainted again.
    I woke up in bed. My dinner had been laid next to me, along with a note from Cat to rest, and that she would see me in the morning. I quickly ate my dinner, and then took out my journal to write this account.

    I woke up today and there was something sitting on my belly. I opened my eyes and screamed. Staring right into my eyes was this thing, a living breathing thing. It looked kind of like a monkey, except that it had tiny little bat-like wings on its back, and its face was more human than a monkeys’. Then it reached its hand forward and touched my right temple. A jolt shot through my body, but I didn’t scream. It then hopped off my stomach and clambered down the ladder to who knows where. I gained my composure, climbed down my ladder, took a shower, put all the books I’d need for today in my bag, and went to breakfast.
    As I walked into the cafeteria, Cat stood up and waved to me. I looked around. Yesterday I had eaten some pop tarts left over from my trip, so I had never seen the cafeteria before. It was huge and there were these tiny little people walking everywhere.
    When I got to the table where Cat was sitting, I noticed that there was another person sitting at the table. He turned to look at me and to my surprise it was Donald Fulton, the boy who had turned me into a centaur.
    “What’s he doing here?” I asked, gesturing towards Donald.
    “Don’t be rude Jake,” Cat said testily.
    “After what he did to me yesterday, I have every right to be rude.”
    “You’re right…,” Donald started, until Cat gave him an exasperated look and cried out.
    “No he’s not! You have no right to be rude, and don’t let me ever feel that you want to hit someone over something as simple as atomic reconstruction ever again.”
    “How do you know that I was thinking about hitting him?”
    “Your right, he is as dumb as he looks,” Donald said turning towards Cat.
    “Wha… hey,” I said also turning towards Cat.
    “I just mentioned to Don that you didn’t know even the simplest things about magic.” My face must have been turning red.
    “O yeah, I know all sorts of things about magic.”
    “You didn’t know that were-humans can sometimes feel what people are thinking,” Donald cut in.
    Let me handle this,” Cat said to Donald. She turned to me, “Okay, if you know so much on a topic you didn’t even know existed three days ago, what are the four magical elements?”
    I didn’t know this one. I didn’t even have the first clue what the answer was. Then I felt pressure on my right temple, and suddenly I knew the answer. At least I thought I knew the answer. “The four magical elements are Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, unless you’re talking about Chinese magic, in which there are five elements: Fire, Earth, Water, Metal, and Wood.” I could tell I was right by the surprised looks on there faces, so I flashed them a smug smile.
    “Alright Smarty Pants, what color do water pixies turn when they are asleep?”
    Again with the pressure on my temple. “Green.”
    “When was the last meeting of the…”
    “Why’s your backpack moving?” Interrupted Donald. We all looked at my backpack and sure enough, it was moving. Then the top flap of my backpack lifted up and there was that creature that had been on top of me when I had awakened. That pressure on my right temple was back. It got worse and worse, until it got so bad that I had to put my hand up to it. Then all of the sudden the pressure was gone, and a voice spoke in my head.
    Hello, my name is Darshana. I am here to guide you along the path you must take.
    “Aughhhhh,” I screamed.
    “Jake, were did you get that,” asked Cat.
    “I didn’t get it. When I woke up she was sitting on my stomach. Then she reached out and touched my temple…”
    “Your right one? The one that hurt a couple of minutes ago?” asked Donald.
    I nodded and continued. “Then she jumped off my belly and climbed down the ladder. She must have climbed into my backpack while I was taking a shower. What is she?”
    “She’s an imp,” said Cat.
    Would you please stop talking about me as if I’m not here?
    “She did it again!” I screamed.
    “Who did what?” asked Donald.
    “The imp. It spoke in my mind.”
    “That’s not possible,” Donald said.
    “If it’s not possible, then how is it happening?” I said rudely. I was still mad at him.
    “Magic is weird, you never know what’s going to happen next,” said Cat. “We’d better get you to dad.”
    “Wait, your dad? You mean like the big principle guy?” asked Donald.
    “Yes. Come on. When you’re not in trouble for turning the gym teacher into an ape, or genetically fiddling with science experiments in order to cause explosions, he’s a very nice guy.”
    Darshana started hopping up and down. “She says we should get going.” The two looked at me amazed. I shrugged and motioned with my head towards the door.
    “The principle will see you now,” said the red headed receptionist.
    Cat, Donald, and I got up and walked toward the door.
    “Catalena, Jake, Donald, to what do I owe this honor?” Darshana popped her head out of my backpack. The principle’s mouth opened. “Wha… what… where did that come from?” Darshana bared her teeth, which all looked like eye teeth.
    “Sir please, she’s very sensitive.”
    “Dad, The imp, it,” Darshana turned to look at Cat. “I mean, she speaks right into Jake’s mind.”
    We quickly told the principle the whole story. “Oh my,” was all he could say.
    He just stands there and says nothing. I have yet to see a reason for why humans are better than imps. I had forgotten about Darshana. Ask him if he wants to try to explain something that cannot possibly be explained?
    “She wants to know if you want to try to explain all this. She says that it can’t possibly be explained.”
    “Well she’s right. Did she really say all that to you?”
    “All right. Obviously this is no normal creature, so even though we don’t allow pets, I’ll write you a pass so that she may go wherever you go.” Then he turned to Darshana. “And this will only work if you promise to sit and listen quietly, and don’t cause problems.”
    Tell the man I agree with his requirements and will comply with them to the best of my abilities. I relayed the message and then we left.
    We had missed the first class of the day. Looking at my schedule, I saw that this class was on astral projection, whatever that was. We arrived at the largest above-ground building. When we entered I gasped. There was no floor just grass. Lining the large circular wall were trees, and in the exact center of the room was a large circular pond.
    I followed Cat as she got a mat and walked over to sit around the pond. I realized I should have a mat, and went over to the pile to get one. What about me? Don’t I get to participate? I got a mat for Darshana.
    “Are you so fat that you need two mats Farcroft?” Asked Rory. I didn’t say anything. I just spread both mats out on the ground. Cat looked at me expectantly, then realization flashed in her eyes as Darshana climbed out of my backpack and hopped onto one of the mats. “Wuh, what is that,” stammered Rory. Cat, Donald, and I just ignored him.
    “Hello children, today we are going to explore the fascinating world of astral projection. Why is there an imp in my classroom?” He looked at us.
    “Well sir, the principle gave me this piece of paper which explains it all.” I handed him the paper. Everyone was staring at me. How come I’m constantly drawing attention?
    “All right, let’s get back to the lesson.” He handed me the piece of paper back. “Astral projection is the projection of the conscious mind via the
    Etheric double or energy body. When you’re young it’s easiest to project in a peaceful environment. That’s why we’re in the arboretum. So now I want you to sit cross legged, close your eyes, and try to separate your mind from your body.
    I closed my eyes, then I felt a small hand on my shoulder. It grabbed onto me, but not in a normal way, and then all of the sudden I felt like a sticker being pulled off its paper. I opened my eyes and saw my body underneath me. I looked at who was holding my shoulder and there was Darshana, but not Darshana. I realized that this must be how I looked. A couple of seconds later, an apparition of the teacher floated up. About five minutes after that, other students started drifting up.
    “Jake, are you sure this is your first time projecting?”
    “Yeah, I mean people don’t normally go around sending their mind out of there bodies, do they?”
    “Well, actually, it has innumerable uses,”
    He is correct you know.
    As Don and I walked out of our last class of the day (it was Mythological Animals 101, Cat was in History of Animals 201) he asked, “So when did you first learn of your powers? For that matter what are your powers?”
    The first time I ever used my power was the first day of school, and I really have no idea what my powers are. How about you?”
    “When I was five, my mother brought home some apples. Now back then I hated apples, so I sat at my seat at the table and stared at the apples in the bowl at the center of the table, wishing there were oranges. The next day the apples didn’t smell like apples. Then they changed colors. And soon they were oranges. That was the first time I ever used my powers.”
    “So what are your powers?”
    “Transmutation.” I gave him a blank look. “It’s the ability to change matter at molecular, atomic, or sub atomic levels.”
    Wow that’s not a common ability.
    “I wonder, do you think you can do incantations.”
    “You mean those rhyme thingies?” I asked.
    “Yeah. Think of a cool one.”
    Say, so that we may see things from very high, give us wings so we can fly.
    “Darshana just gave me one.”
    “Say it.”
    “So that we may see things from very high, give us wings so we may fly.”
    The three of us looked around, but nothing happened. “I guess you don’t have that ability…”
    All of a sudden my back was tingling. I looked at Donald and it was like light was materializing right there. In a flash, the light was gone and on both of our backs were wings.
    They were easily seven feet when stretched. The wings were pure white, well they were, until Donald took one look at his, closed his eyes and when he opened them again they were pitch black. He looked at me, “You ready?”
    I nodded. Then at the count of three we leapt into the air, and quicker than you could count to three, we fell back to the ground.
    You need to start higher up.
    I was annoyed for not thinking of that myself. “What would you know about it?”
    Darshana whipped open her wings, which were about four feet tip to tip.
    “Oh.” I turned to Donald, “She says we need to start higher.
    “Let’s go to the cliffs,” (as I have told you the academy is on an island, what I didn’t tell you is that three sides of the island are cliffside.)
    “Okay. Wait! We’ll miss the homework hour.”
    “Not if we hurry.” Donald took off running. I took after him and Darshana leapt into the trees, spread her wings and glided, landing on my shoulder.
    By the time we reached the cliffs, I was ahead. I went to stop but just as I reached the cliffs and stopped, Donald ran into me and we both tumbled off the cliff.
    My wings whipped out and caught the air. I was flying.
    I hit an updraft, and soon was soaring miles above the island. We flew over to the building where our group was supposed to have our homework hour. Then I stopped moving.
    I looked behind me and Donald wasn’t moving either. We soon started slowly floating down. When we reached the ground, one of the supervisors was there. “Did you have a good flight?”
    “Yeah It was great,” Donald answered without batting an eye. I spotted Cat. Then she spotted me. She raced over.
    “You idiots! Have you totally forgotten about the resort?” Donald went pale.
    “Cat, I can take care of this," said the supervisor. “Did you totally forget about the resort?”
    “What is the resort?” I asked.
    The supervisor opened his mouth to say something, but Cat cut him off saying, “6 acres on the south of the island (the only side that isn’t cliffs), is a celebrity resort. We just have to hope no one saw you.”
    “Sorry Cat. When Jake zapped these wings on, I couldn’t help but be excited, and I sort of lost my head.”
    “Well, don’t let it happen again.” said the supervisor. Then he walked away.
    Cat turned back towards us. “What do you mean, Jake zapped these wings on?”
    What do you think he means, moron.
    “Be nice.”
    “What did she say?” asked Cat
    “You don’t want to know.”
    “Whatever. So what did you mean?”
    “Just what I said. I asked Jake if he could do incantations, and he didn’t know. So we tried it and he can.”
    “Just get rid of them and come do your homework.”
    Donald closed his eyes and then opened them. His wings were still there.
    “I can’t overcome your power.”
    “Uh, Flying is fun, but not when we’re sighted, Get rid of our wings so this wrong can be righted.”
    Nothing happened. Then the wings started shimmering and then disappeared.
    Maybe someday I’ll figure Kanzloo out. Until then, I just got some news. I’m going to have a platform mate. You know how I was telling you that the boy’s dormitory is a giant cavern, and all along the sides are thousands of platforms? Well, there are usually two people to a platform, but they hadn’t had anyone to share with me. Now they have one and he should be here tomorrow.


    This morning I woke up, and for the first time since I came to Kanzloo, nothing happened. Darshana was sleeping in a crevice above my bed and the air sprites were off bothering someone else. Ah, peace.
    I was walking into the cafeteria when the principle called me over. Next to him was standing a boy, with bright green, blue, purple, red, yellow, orange hair. I’m not kidding. And what’s more, it’s not like patches of color. Each individual hair was a different color. It was pretty cool, in a weird way.
    As I walked over, he was talking to the boy, “Ah Jake, this is John. He will be your new platform mate. John, this is Jake. I know you’re pretty new here, but could you show John around?”
    “Sure.” I turned to John, but he wasn’t there. I looked around, but he was nowhere to be found. A flash came from my temple, and suddenly it was like the world phased out so I saw everyone like ghosts. John was right next to me.
    He was here the whole time; he just obstructed your ability to see him. I over came his power by changing your sight to a magical sight. When people are using magic, you’ll see them fully. But if they’re not, they’ll look like wraiths. I’ll return you to regular sight, but you need to learn how to change your sight without my help.”
    My temple flashed and I could see normally again. “John I know you’re there. Show yourself.” And I reached out and grabbed his arm. A spark jolted between us, and John appeared.
    “Wow! Are you a Psi Inhibitor?”
    “A what?”
    “An anti-Psi, someone who inhibits Psi power.”
    “I don’t know. I actually have no idea what my powers are.”
    “Well, what do you know you can do?”
    “Whip up tornados when I’m angry, and do incantations.”
    “Awesome! Look the cafeteria’s full. Get us some seats.”
    “Yeah, come on.” I turned around and there was Cat and Donald, Cat turns to John, “I’m Cat, short for Catalena, and this is Donald.”
    “I’m John. Nice to meet you,” he said, shaking both of their hands.
    They all turned to look at me. I knew what they were thinking. “The cafeteria is full, but we are not. Give us a table, five chairs, and food piping hot.”
    A table appeared in the hall with five chairs, covered with good food. “Three cheers for Jake!” shouted Cat. Then we rushed over to the table and began to eat.
    Our group was walking out of the cafeteria when all of the sudden Darshana screamed and fell off my shoulder. She was convulsing.
    “What’s wrong with her?” I asked looking at Cat.
    “I have now Idea, but Mr. Phillips will”
    “Where is he?”
    “His office is deep in the jungle, no one can even find it if he’s not leading them.”
    “So how are we supposed to get him here?”
    John began to glow a light yellow, and then it stopped. “Perfect timing, Cat have you ever been to his office?”
    “All right think about it,” Cat closed he eyes, and John reached out to touch her. Suddenly a ball of light surrounded them and when it cleared they were outside a strange tree hut. “Here we are,” John announced proudly
    “What did you do?” asked Cat
    “I teleported us to the place in your memory.”
    “I think this can wait,” I said, picking up Darshana’s body, walking to the door in the tree, and knocking on it.
    The three of them followed me. “Hello, I’m sorry I only give out food on Thursdays and Saturdays.”
    I continue knocking. The door opens “Uh hello yes, do I know you?” he said looking at me, then seeing Cat and Donald, “Oh hello Cat, Donald, What are you doing here? How did you find this place? Well you’re here now so I guess, come in.”
    “Are you Mr. Phillips?”
    “Why yes, and who are you two,” he said as he looked at John and I.
    Darshana began convulsing again. “No time! Darshana needs your help.” He noticed Darshana for the first time.
    “An imp! Bring it over here and set it down on the table.”
    “Her!” Said the four of us at once.
    I did as he said. He then walked over to her laying his hands on her forehead and leg. “Dring, dring-a-ling.” He said all of the sudden, or at least that’s what it sounded like.
    Something flew into the room carrying a bucket of water, “Thank you, Skragnik,” he said as he grabbed the bucket and set it in a hole on the table that must have been made for it.
    Skragnig flew around then spotting Cat and quickly fluttered down landing on the table in front of her. He held out his hand. She held out hers and he took it and bowed to her. “Mr. Philips, is this a Skrzak?”
    “Uh yes, I rescued it from a pack of were-cat’s when I was in Poland about three years ago.”
    “What’s a Skrzak?” asked John
    “A small winged cousin of an imp.” Said Mr. Phillips not really paying attention he was looking at the bucket of water and then he let out a squeak and three clicks. Out of the bucket rose at least 40 tiny blonde heads all clicking back in reply.
    Mr. Phillips clicked and squeaked the situation to them and then with a squeal they leapt out of bucket. As they arched through the air a tiny blue-green tornado surrounded their tails, and when it was gone they had tiny legs, with which they landed lightly on the table and the scampered onto Darshana. Their skin began to glow blue as they lightly ran all over her, and in a few minutes they stopped glowing and leapt back into the bucket, their legs changing back to tails.
    After a bit more clicking between Mr. Philips and the things, he turned toward us. “She’ll be fine. According to the water sprites she is suffering from shifting.” He walked over to a bookcase and pulled out a book. While he flipped through it I took time to look around. It was all wood. We were in what was the lowest part, with a table in the center and a fireplace/kitchen to the side. A little further on was a set of three stairs that must have led somewhere. “Ah, yes shifting,” Mr. Phillips voice brought me back to the present. “Shifting, a syndrome that can affect anything connected into the magic world, very common in highly connected entities such as oracles, many different forms of undead, imp’s and elves.”
    “So what caused it?” I asked.
    “A shift in the magical world. It is lucky you brought her here. If not for the sprite’s magic, she probably would have died. In a couple of days she should be fine, but you probably should leave her here. Just in case.
    By the way, how did you find my cabin?” Cat, Donald, and I turned to John
    “I’m a psi-3,” John said, “I have very powerful psychic abilities, but they come and go as they please. That yellow glow told me I could now teleport.”
    We said goodbye and left. “Let’s walk instead of teleport,” said Cat. We all agreed, but it turns out walking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We rounded a large boulder and heard a loud pitched scream. Standing there was a red creature. It was kind of lionish, or at least feline. It’s head was like a humans except for the long bushy mane and the three sharp rows of long teeth still dripping the blood of its last victim. But the most unusual feature of the creature was the long scorpion tail. I had learned about this creature in Mythological Creatures 101. It was a manticore. The manticore let out another high pitched scream that shattered the glass face of my watch. Then it lowered it’s front legs and raised its haunches and in one swift movement brought the stinger towards the four of us. Cat and I dove to the right, Donald and John to the left. The manticore chose to go after Donald and John. John vanished and reappeared in a tree above. He grabbed some kind of spiky fruit. Actually he sort of held his hand over it and it popped off the tree and floated over his hand. He then launched it at the manticore, but it bounced harmlessly off its tough hide. It was almost on top of Donald when Cat leapt towards it and mid leap changed into a cat. Not a little fluffy cat, but the largest tiger I have ever seen. It/she wrapped her legs around the tail as it came down to strike Donald. I raced over and grabbed his arm pulling him out of in front of the manticore. I saw Cat go flying and land lightly on her paws. The manticore turned toward Donald and I, but instead of striking with its tail it pounced on us, its front paws pinning the two of us to the ground.
    Everything was going in slow motion. I could hear Cat and John calling something. Feel Donald thrashing next to me. I heard a crack and a pain shot through my chest. The weight of the manticore’s paw was making it hard to breath. My head was reeling from adrenalin, my blood pulsing through my veins. I felt a weird tingling at the center of my torso. A flash of light, the weight lifted, everything went black.
    I woke up on my alcove. John was sitting on his bed talking to Donald and the minute I sat up Cat and a man who I had met earlier, name Dr. Hammond, ran over to me. “Jake are you okay?” asked Cat.
    “Tell me Jacob, how are you feeling?” asked the doctor.
    “Tingly and my ribs hurt. What happened?
    “That makes sense. Three of your ribs are broken, and from what Catalena told me, the tingling makes sense. I’ll be back with some medicine.”
    I turned toward Cat. “What happened?” I asked again.
    “Well the manticore was on top of you and Donald, and then there was this bright flash of light. The manticore went sailing across the clearing and landed, dead, on the other side.”
    “But I don’t understand. Where did the light come from?”
    “You. We believe you learned how to manipulate electrical fields.”
    We just stared at each other for a while. Then the doctor came in, gave me something to ease the pain and something to put me to sleep, and told Cat to leave.


    I woke up this morning and the doctor gave me a potion to speed up my recovery. The downside? No more pain medicine (they don’t mix well). He said that I would have to stay in bed for two more hours and then I could go. Thank goodness Cat had brought me my journal so I could write about everything that happened yesterday.
    The rest of the day went really well, and even more surprising, I’m starting to fit in. I’ll have to give this place some more time, but you know what, I’m happy. Happier that I’ve been in a long time. Maybe Kanzloo isn’t so bad after all.