*** Read authors note at end please. Very important information! ***

Chapter twenty-seven

[Val’s POV]

I marched along with the rest of the Water-abled students towards the gym and, as usual, every other Abled was already there. It seemed as though Water Skills always went overtime because Coach Shulk and the other students were always waiting on us before we could start. It was probably all due to Ms Flumine’s incessant need for a dramatic entrance and exit to every single class.  My head pounded from the Skills class. For once I wasn’t able to excel in that class and I blamed the mountain of information and worry piled high up in my brain for not being able to concentrate and control the water with solely my mind. That, and it was extremely difficult to do.

My eyes found Derrek but this time he wasn’t looking and waiting for me to stand by his side. We weren’t together. Breaking up with him had been the worst decision I’d ever made by far... but I wouldn’t buckle under any scrutiny, I wouldn’t beg for him back... I stood beside Helena and smiled at the Elementals; Cara, as usual hung back and I doubted she’d join in, which was fine.

“Hurry up you slackers!” Coach Shulk boomed, she was an ever ready megaphone. The rest of the students picked up the pace and soon we were all standing in the centre of the gym. The ruined city had disappeared and the gym was back to its regular atmosphere of forest, desert, rocky lake and infirmary. “Alright, today’s class is going to be a recap of everything you learnt up to date! Include, if you can, the techniques you learnt from today’s Skills class. No partners this time... every Abled and uh, Elemental for his or her self. If you decide to partner up or gang up then fine by me. Just don’t kill anyone! Go!”

My eyes widened at the quick dismissal and in a matter of seconds everyone had scrambled for either their best element environment or into the forest to hide. I darted into the forest by force of habit so I could gather my wits. I dove behind a rotted tree trunk on the ground and decided what my best plan of action was.

Attack and don’t die.

Seemed like an idea... maybe not the best, but it was something.

The sounds of guns and swords ringing through the air reached my ears and maybe the faint sound of a flame thrower but I wasn’t too sure. Suddenly my cover snapped into two as an Earth-abled clenched his fists together. He lifted his hands and the logs lifted into the air. I could sense his intention was to squash me in between the two pieces but he was too slow and I tumbled forward through the wet leaves and mud of the ground.

I collected the molecules of water as I threw my fisted hands back over my shoulders and by the time I threw them forward in his direction two solid whips, one in each hand, whipped forward and slashed across his face and chest. As the pain registered in his face he lost all concentration on the logs and they fell to the wet mud with a heavy thud. I whipped back and forth as I watched my footing so I could quickly run away. I’d counted twenty gashes across his body, cutting through his skin and clothes, before I turned and ran in the opposite direction.

“I saw that Valerie girl run down there!” I heard a group of Abled shouting. I’d always been one of the last students standing and I guess now I had a target on the back of my head. My ice whips grew in thickness as it slid over the dew drops of leaves and a slight frost decorated the slick body. I saw a thick, horizontal branch up ahead and I flung the whips forward and watched as they swirled around the branch in success. I ran harder and faster, and once I felt the tension tighten in the whip I tightened my grip on the handles and jumped.

The forest momentarily turned upside down as I flew into the trees. I released the whips and cut my hands across my body instantly making the whips rain down as nothing but water. I landed roughly on the branches surrounded by leaves and felt my footing slip causing my shin to hit the wood hard. I winced but kept quiet as I watched the students who were chasing me run past. I couldn’t help the smirk that crept onto my lips as I quickly fashioned an ice bow.

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