A Smile to Hide - Chapter 34
Author: HatedLove6
Content Rating: T-16
Published: 2015-10-01 08:21:24
Tags: cyoa, wwyff, wwffy, a smile to hide, lgbtqa, het, urban fantasy, period piece, magic, psychic, school

Three years ago, the murder of your best friend has shattered the peace between humans and mythological beings. The longer your town lives in a false sense of peace, the longer the hatred between humans and beings grow. Create your own path, and become a soldier to find justice for your friend by finding her murderer, or find yourself shipped away against your will to the mysterious Fintan’s Academy for beings with unnatural abilities. There, you will learn and hone the ability inside of you, and meet people who will change your world.

Author´s Notes and Disclaimers:
The characters and events portrayed in my stories are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Chapter 19
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	Principal Rhoda gives you some immediate guidance when socializing with your peers.  Since you’re human, you should obviously stay away from things whose diet does include humans, although this school doesn’t allow any species with an all-human diet, just as human students aren’t allowed to eat any of the other beings.  If such a being should interact with you, she suggests trying to be friendly first, but if things do turn for the worst, find your friends or a teacher.  Vice Principal Ymir gruffly adds that just because most humans are frail and usually don’t have any aggressive psychic or magical abilities, it doesn’t mean that anyone would go easy on you.  The rest of the advice given was about basic etiquette, and then the conversation turned to school customs such as seasonal festivals, when you can use the phones for personal use, what you should do if you get hurt or injured, and that fights wouldn’t be tolerated.  

	“Do you see those statues hanging from the center of the cross arch of the ceiling?”  Vice Principal Ymir asks, pointing a finger up which barely passes above her head.

	Still walking, you look up and see the gangly bat-like stone statues, and all the ones, lined up each in the center of where the cross arches meet.  You had also seen similar ones on the outside of the school, and near the windows.  “They’re gargoyles, right?”

	“Yes, very good.  These gargoyles, act as surveillance cameras, even when they are stone.  That means that you can’t get away with much, if anything, here.  Keep that in mind when you plan your mischief.”

	“Good to know,” you say lightly, not that you really were planning on pulling off any practical jokes at the moment.

	On the way to the cafeteria, talking more about school-related subjects, and asking questions about you, Principal Rhoda recognizes one of the students.  Her ghostly pale appearance is hard to miss.  “Ah, Miss Zandra!  Good timing.  We were just about to drop yer new roommate off at the cafeteria.  Why don’t yeh take her there instead and get to know each other a bit.  Show her around too.”

	Zandra hesitates, looking between you and the stack of books in her arms, but continues to smile.  “Yes, of course.”  Her voice has a high edge to it, like a little boy’s just before they hit puberty.  Her silvery-white pixie style hair and her strong angled jaw along with her purple and gray striped sweater tucked into her baggy denim overalls makes her look even more like a boy.  Zandra doesn’t even reach five feet, giving her an even more younger appearance.

	“Ah, good.  I was worried I wouldn’t make it in time for the meeting this morning.  Thank you, Miss Zandra.  I hope yeh enjoy Fintan’s, and if yeh have any problems, yeh can always come see me at my office.”

	Vice Principal Ymir stands in front of you with a pinched face.  “Don’t do anything stupid.”

	“Yes, ma’am,” you reply, only to not seem disrespectful.  Seeing Vice Principal Ymir grunt and then follow Principal Rhoda makes you realize that you had been holding in an exasperated sigh.

	Zandra chuckles.  “Don’t worry about the vice principal, she’s like that with everyone.  You’re my new roommate, right?  The principal told me last night that I would be getting a new roommate soon, but I didn’t think if would be this soon, so I’m sorry that the room is still a mess.  I’ll clean it up right away, but anyway my name’s Alexandra, though I prefer Zandra, but if you want to call me Ally, or Alex or anything, really, that’s quite OK.  I heard you’re from North or South Carolina—I totally forgot which one, I’m sorry—but what’s it like over there?  Are the people nice?  What about the demographics?  I find it fascinating that the ethnicity percentage is different from state to state and even from city to city, and I always wonder why that is so I’ve been working on mapping everything, but it’s kind of hard to do even with all of these books and . . . I am so sorry.  People have said that I ramble and talk too much.  I didn‘t put you off, did I?”

	Despite all of her questions, you can tell, even without your ability, that Zandra seems to be a nice person.  Perhaps a little too eager, but nice.  

	“Before we go to the cafeteria, we have to go get your badge.”  She points to her embroidered badge that’s pinned on one of her overall straps.  It’s shows a moon background with a purple feminine figure with her mouth open showing her elongated canine teeth, and blood spilling out.  This figure also has butterfly wings that are gray blended with brown and has a bright red circle on the upper corner of the wing.  “It lets everyone here know what you identify yourself as, and is quite helpful.  For example, the cafeteria chef can just look at your pin and tell you what your menu is supposed to be.  It also helps for a newbie like me get the hang of identifying what other people are, especially those I’ve never met before so I know how to approach people and what kind of mannerisms I should watch out for.  Supposedly, after a few years of attending here, you’re supposed to be able to tell what umbrella people are without needing the badges, but it still helps.  We have to go by the Residential Adviser, Mrs. Brancherd, to get your badge.”

	You’re not . . . human, right?”  You aren’t sure if that was the most sensitive way of asking what someone is, but you had to know.

	Luckily for you, Zandra smiles, showing that no offense has been taken by your question.  “Despite what my badge shows, I am part human, along with half shtriga, and part strigoi vii, which are vampires.  Don’t worry though.  I actually can’t stand the sight of someone’s blood.  I’m fine with seeing my blood, for the most part, but I don’t like to get my energy from blood even though that’s the easiest way of getting energy.  You see, the reason why most vampires drink blood is that it’s the easiest way of receiving other people’s energy, and the reason why we need to get energy from other people is because vampires can’t retain or restore their own energy like humans can.  I’m part human so I can restore my own energy, but it takes a long time, so I do sometimes take other people’s energy, but it’s through touch, a sort of physical-slash-psychic channel that allows me to connect with your energy and take as much as I need, but I would prefer only taking it after asking for permission, of course, and I only take a little of it.  Not so much that it would hurt or hinder you unless I was desperate, but that hardly ever happens.  There are lots of other ways of getting energy, but blood drinking and touching are the easiest; however, like I said before, I don’t like the sight, let alone the taste, of blood, so being roommates shouldn’t be a problem, right?”


	“So what can you do?  Since you’re human, you either have a psychic ability or you have a strong practice with magick, right?”

	“I don’t know what area of parapsychology my power is, but it’s mostly that I can tell when a person is lying, or if they are someone I can trust.  The latter seems for like a gut instinct though.”

	“Oh, so you’re basically a low-level empath.  That power sounds handy.”

	“Only if I can physically prove that the person is lying.”

	“That’s true.  Bummer.  Hey, does that mean that you know you can trust me?”

	“Yes, you do seem trustworthy.”

	Her expression brightens.  

	“What is it that you can do?  Dr. Phillips said that this school was for psychics for beings too, right?”

	“That’s mostly correct, but some beings don’t have any extra abilities because they can help those with similar extra abilities who don’t understand what they have.  As for me, I can astral project myself into other people’s subconscious, but it’s just easier saying that I’m a dream-walker.  I try not to, but it’s really hard to control, so I apologize beforehand if I accidentally see something I’m not supposed to, and I promise not to tell anyone anything.”  You both reach the Mrs. Brancherd’s office which is next to the girl’s dorm stairs.  “I’ll wait out here for you.  To be honest, she scares me.  Just ring the bell and wait for her.”

	You step in the room, immediately shielding your eyes from the slowly rising sun, pouring in from the French windows and step up to the desk.  On the counter over the desk is a large black iron bell, mounted on a circular frame.  Almost dubious about ringing this large bell, you look around on the counter and look over the desk and to see that there isn’t a smaller office bell.  It’s still early in the morning, and it would probably be wiser to not wake so many people up.  Especially ones with humans on their diet menu.  Seeing as there isn’t another bell, and not wanting to wait until Mrs. Brancherd—whatever she is—gets up, you cautiously grasp the handle and start tipping the bell.

	You stop at the first few deep resonating rings and wait.  After a few minutes, there isn’t any sign of a response, so you start ringing again.  Again, stopping after only a few rings of the bell’s hammer.  When there still isn’t any response, you ring the bell again, not stopping until the back door slams open.

	“What is it now, you grubs?”  Mrs. Brancherd yells with a high pitched voice that pierces your ears and is heavily rasped.  You can’t see her over the back counter and you have to wait until she reaches to her desk before you can look over the front counter to see her.  “Well?”  She states loudly, expecting an answer from you.

	“I’m a new stu—.”

	“Speak up, I can’t hear you.”  The way she talks reminds you of Jessica’s granny who constantly forgets to turn on her hearing aids.  

	You try again.  Louder, this time, and you talk slowly so she can read you lips just in case she misses any words; although you aren’t sure how much good that would do since her brow bone seems to slump over most of her eyes.  “I’m a new student.  I need my room key and a badge.”

	“Stop talking like that, you grub.  I’m hard of hearing, not retarded.  She shuffles to a file cabinet, and stands on a stool.  She wasn‘t that short, but she has a hump on her back seemingly from slouching, but you weren‘t quite sure since she seemed to resemble a tree with her hair being bundled bare branches, and her wrinkles and skin like bark.  If she had kept a good posture, or had grown straighter, she probably would have reached six or seven feet.  “What’s your name?”  When you tell her your name, she clicks her tongue in irritation, and steps down from the stool to pull out the bottom drawer.  “A human, eh?  Oh, good.  You’re not another one of those fire-starters.”  She continues to grumble through your file until she finds your room number.  

	Then she walks to another cabinet and stands on a step-stool to retrieve a couple of trifles.  Mrs. Brancherd shuffles back to you and hands you a skeleton key and an embroidered cloth pin that‘s bigger than the palm of your hand.  It’s white with a ten-pointed star lined in black.  Over the star, in the center is what looks to be a yin-yang circle, but instead of black and white commas, there are three commas with the third being gray.  On the left and right side of the yin-yang symbol are silver crescent moons, and above the yin yang is a yellow crescent with a red cross standing on it.

	“Now if that’s all, you can get out, and let me sleep.”

	When you exit the office, making sure that the door is closed, you can hear Zandra chuckle.  “See?  Pretty scary, huh?  Well, now that you have your badge, I’ll take you to the cafeteria.

	“Oh, and, by the way, before I forget, don't mind the cat that wanders around.  We're not allowed to have pets, but the cat's probably a stray and because our room faces the sunrise, he always finds a way in there.  He's really friendly though, so I don't mind that he sticks around, but if you don't like him, I'll try to deter him from getting inside.”	

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