Chapter 2

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At eight exactly, we were on our way to the first class. Masses of students in the Ultara uniforms stood in front of the entrance hall. They clustered around the foyer and up the main staircase. All of them seemed to float in and out. I almost got dizzy with these crowds.

"Have you seen her?" Cammie asked me.


"Me neither."

"She must be around somewhere," I said.

"Oh, you can smell her?" Cammie asked, raising an eyebrow at me with a mocking smile. I shot her a look. But then just out of thin air, we got a glimpse of a familiar figure emerged from the crowd.

"Alyssa!" Cammie shouted. "Over here!"

Alyssa was reading her schedule on a piece of paper when she turned abruptly, and we both waved like mad in sudden joy.

Here came my other best friend- another gifted girl in this school. Alyssa Schell, her baby face broke into a pearly white smile. Her dark hair swayed in a neat ponytail as she bounced up to us. And as always, Alyssa's uniform was perfectly pressed and not even a single wrinkle was in sight. She was the kind of nerd that when she put on her black-framed glasses, she could make the world burn with her geeky hotness, and which is exactly how she looked right now. Some of the freshman girls were already drooling after her.

Sometimes we call Alyssa the next Einstein. She's always obsessed with the E=mc2, Black Holes, and the Law of Gravity- anything that related to physics, just leave it to her. Like one semester, she conducted a low level of static electricity from a nylon stick and aluminum foil. I didn't know how she did that, but after she told everyone to hold hands in a circle as a human transmitter, she released a burst of electric spark through us. Thank goodness, Cammie and I broke the link before we got a new set of nasty hairdos, but the rest of us weren't that lucky.

"Oh! Vivienne! Cammie!" Alyssa yelled back excitedly and dashed through the crowd toward us.

"We were looking for you everywhere!" Cammie said when Alyssa finally came to make a trio.

"Me too!" Alyssa replied breathlessly, pushing her glasses up her straight nose, looking as if she'd just finished a marathon. "Did you guys miss me? Because I've missed you so much!" Then she wrapped her arms around the two of us.

"Oi, can't breathe!" yelled Cammie, then we all melted into laughter. I noticed how strange their perfumes smelled - I guess I would ask them whether it was a new Coco Channel or something - but I would save that for later; now I had to hug my best friends!

After we pulled away, Alyssa started bubbling about the trip to Da Vinci's hometown. I could pretend to be interested even though half of the things she said was only about physics. When she proceeded to open her notebook of what she found, a girl came up to us with a shy smile. She had brunette hair with red highlights and nice curves. Then I realized she was only looking at Cammie.

"Hey, Camilla," she said, her hazel eyes dancing flirtatiously as she spoke. Alyssa and I secretly rolled our eyes.

"Yeah, can I help you?" Cammie said with a smirk.

"I just wonder if you have a moment," she bit her bottom lip seductively. Her beautiful brown skin glowed even more.

"Sure," Cammie said, then mumbled something in Spanish before putting a hand on the girl's small back. They were about to walk off when I quickly gripped my best friend's elbow and yanked her back.

"Cammie! The class will start soon," I hissed into her ear.

"Relax, Viv," she whispered back. "The girl just needs a moment."

And with that Cammie and the hot Latina girl walked away, leaving us staring after them. But before they turned the corner, Cammie held her fingers in a V-sign and put it between her tongue. I just wanted to throw up.

"Did you see that?" I said to Alyssa.

"Vivienne, I have four eyes, what do you think?" Alyssa said without looking up from her notes. "Let her be. I think she misses that."

Still, the fact that girls hooking up with my best friend in the middle of our reunion is just pure annoyance sometimes.

Alyssa and I approached the front entrance of our Ancient Hall. It got that name because our school looks like the place where dragons and faeries would live. There are huge halls and passageways with plenty of Renaissance pictures and portraits on the walls. The Ultara Academy is constructed from blocks of grey sandstone and huge wood columns with Gothic sculptures all over the place. In contrast, every classroom is well-equipped with the latest hi-tech stuff. All the sensory glass doors, space elevators and sterilized steel labs, just to name a few, make the Ultara interior feel like a NASA station.

Later we got to our very first class. We settled in our seats for World History and waited for the teacher to call the roll. Cammie came back and took a seat with me and Alyssa. The smirk on her face grew even more smirky as I stared at her and shook my head. Then the girl she went with earlier appeared with a flushed face. Her hazel eyes almost looked glassy as if she was high on crack.

"Seriously?" I said. "Already on the first day of school?"

"There is no rule that says you can't come on the first day of school." Cammie shrugged. I had to think for a minute to get it, and then I almost fell off my chair.

"Well, that was quick," Alyssa commented.

"You know me," Cammie quirked her perfect eyebrows.

Then Mr. McKowit, our World History teacher appeared through the door.

"Welcome back for another interesting year," he announced. "I hope you enjoy this year lessons as much as I enjoy teaching them. But first, let us take a moment to welcome your new classmate..."

Then the whole class turned into a beehive with murmuring girls. It's because we hardly have any new enrollments in the Ultara Academy. We only accept two types of geniuses- geniuses who are born and geniuses who are made.

Besides, every subject in the school is designed especially for the gifted ones, a.k.a. freaks. So if you enjoy doing the oral math, learning Ph.D. chemistry, memorizing world historical dates, building robots, or searching for old fossils- then welcome to freak-hood.

Suddenly an unfamiliar girl with long black hair, wearing the same school uniform as us, entered the room. She had a slender body with pale flawless skin and a graceful walk. And the girl had the most gorgeous eyes I'd ever seen. She came to stand in front of the class with an air of confidence and smiled brightly. Well, for this new girl, there was no telling which one of the seven bits of intelligence she might possess, and in that case, she might have to be an attention-magnet for a while.

"My name is Jacqueline Deveraux, but you can call me Jacques. Nice to meet you," she spoke in a charming French accent and waved femininely to the class. Her raven black hair brushed against her shoulders like fine Chinese silk as she turned.

"Do you know anything about her?" I heard Alyssa whispered to Cammie. It's a customary question when we've got someone new because we simply want to know what kind of a freak she is.

"Nothing," Cammie whispered back, which was pretty unusual for her, not being in a loop. And if a daughter of the school headmistress doesn't know, no one else does. The new girl flashed her enchanting smile again before walking to the back. But when she walked past our desks, Jacques brushed her gaze across the three of us. Suddenly I got a brief feeling of adrenaline going inside me. And as if on cue, her face also changed into a curious frown. I didn't have a tendency to detest newcomers, but my intuition told me that there was something hidden in her dark gorgeous eyes, something darker.

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