Chapter Nine: The Eve of All Hallows' Eve

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"nothing is permanent in this wicked world — not even our troubles."
-charlie chaplin

✵✵✵

School starts up again the next day, and along with the waves of students that arrive at Griffian High comes an abundance of annoyance and lament.

All of my classes morph into a blur of boredom, and countless conversations about Halloween arise.  Most of those conversations mention Kassidy's famous Halloween party, which is an event I've never had the chance to experience.

By Friday (the day before Halloween), everyone is bursting with excitement for the haunting holiday. It gets to the point where I hear the words "ghosts" and "vampires" more than usual.

My friends, however, don't speak of the holiday. They've probably never experienced Halloween, due to them being from a different planet. The only one who recognizes Halloween is Adrian, but even he doesn't understand the bursting excitement that everyone withholds.

"What's...'Halloween'?" asks Saphiria on Friday as we're walking home from school with all of our other friends. "Is it, like, a movie or something?"

"Well, Halloween is a holiday on Earth where everyone dresses up in costumes and celebrates 'scary' things. A lot of people go trick-or-treating," I answer, the feeling of unusualness swelling inside me, as I've never really had to explain what Halloween is.

"That sounds really stupid," says Saphiria.

"Are you kidding!? It sounds amazing!" exclaims Sylvia—her excitement is no surprise, as she is the most morbid person I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Once we get home, I bring all of my friends upstairs to my room, and I explain the ordeal that is before us: costume selection.

"Okay, so every year I dress up in a costume for Halloween. And I really want all of you to dress up as well," I say, looking at all of their confused expressions.

"Well, what are we supposed to dress up as?" asks January.

"Anything, really. I usually just dress up as something simple, like a cat," I say.

"I want to be something gruesome," states Sylvia. "Like a bloody witch that wants everyone dead."

"So...Cerielle?" I say, earning laughs from everyone.

"Okay, so, how do we get our costumes?" asks Saphiria.

"Well, people either buy them or make them themselves. But since we all are magi, I guess we could just summon them," I say.

"True," agrees Adrian. "But we can't be very noticeable. It's pretty much forbidden to practice magic where humans are present. But since we're not in public, I guess it's fine."

And with that, our expedition of choosing and summoning Halloween costumes commences. I quickly choose mine: A cat costume. Very basic, I know, but it's the only Halloween outfit that I can pull off without looking insane. Saphiria summons a nurse costume (accommodated by a fair amount of fake blood to show that the nurse she is dressed up as is a murderous psychopath). Sylvia continues with her previous morbid idea, and summons an insanely horrifying witch costume, whereas January chooses to be an angel, which is surprisingly a very simple outfit.

As for the guys, Pyris transforms into a vampire, and Adrian summons a nerd costume, which is purely ironic—Adrian Hazereaver, this brawny guy who is going to transform into a nerd.

Even though we do summon our costumes, we don't necessarily try them on, as tomorrow is Halloween, not today.

"So, what do you guys want to do tomorrow for Halloween?" I ask them after we've all put our costumes away. "We could just hang around here."

"Or we could sneak into Kassidy's Halloween party..." says Sylvia deviously.

An essence of mischief lingers in the air after Sylvia's suggestion.  Although her idea could end catastrophically, it might actually be fun.  And besides, if we get caught and kicked out, we can always go back here to spend the rest of the night.

"Let's do it, then!" agrees January.

✵✵✵

That night, I am met by another dream, which reminds me that I haven't told anyone about my nightmare of Calysta.

This time, I am somewhere that looks as though it is a giant castle of crystal and light. I look around at the heavenly architecture, and when my eyes reach the ceiling of the palace, I realize where I am.

The Palace of the Celestial Paladins.

I don't see any of the Celestial Paladins, though.  They must be in the throne room, so I walk down the crystalline hallway, my footsteps faintly echoing against the heavenly walls.

I reach the throne room, and fortunately I find them.  Although, they aren't in their thrones.  Instead, they're standing in the middle of the throne room, clustered around someone I vaguely recognize: Leonora, the Lady of Fate.

"Please, Leonora, tell us more about what is to come for her!" begs Aelia the Enchantress, the Celestial Paladin who I find to be the most motherly of them all.

"She is in for a rude awakening, that young demigod.  I may have saved her life before, but with all the threats that won't cease to hunt her down, I'm afraid I cannot help her much further," answers the Lady of Fate.

I feel my blood drain from my face and my body stiffen at her words.  They echo in my mind, creating a symphony of fear.

"What about us?" asks Calystian, the Celestial Paladin who I'm not afraid to admit I have a small crush on.  "Can we help her at all?"

"The only way to help her is to visit where she dwells, which is a place that we must never reveal our secrets to," answers Leonora.  "She's on Earth, safe at the hands of her Erevalian friends."

"Is Adrian Hazereaver with her?" inquires Aelia.

"Yes, he is.  He is keeping watch every moment he is with her, but I have a feeling that he senses the oncoming threats as well as I do."

"Should we warn her?" asks Enrys the Sage, the Celestial Paladin who I believe is the smartest of all of them.

"I think it is best to," agrees Leonora. "I propose we have one of you visit Earth at a time, and help her in any way possible. You will each have an hour at most, because remember, when you are on Earth, you temporarily lose your immortality, and the threats that are searching for Hypaeria will try to murder you as well."

It's almost strange to see the Celestial Paladins look up to someone for help; they're so powerful that the scene before me is unnatural.

I stay back in the shadows casted by a giant crystalline pillar, but before I decide whether or not to say anything to the Celestial Paladins and Leonora, the dream ends, and I am back in my bedroom.

END OF CHAPTER NINE

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