Chapter two -Trial
Aonie grinned at Arabella, the plan had been set and they both knew that Helena would fall for it. Arabella led the way back into the main chamber where Helena sat in deep conversation with Peter ( the two of them spent nearly all day together). Hunter and Edward stood leaning against the wall casually talking about that day’s lessons. Arabella nodded at Aonie and made to stand next to Hunter who slid his arm tenderly around her waist ( those two had also been spending a lot more time together).
“So Helena, I was wondering if you would try something.” Aonie said. It was a question but Aonie already knew the answer so there was no need to ask.
“Okay, what is it?” Helena replied making both Arabella and Aonie grin wickedly.
“It’s a psychic thing. Have you ever meditated?”
“Once or twice.”
“Super. Right, I want everyone to be quiet so that Helena can meditate. Right take deep breaths: in; out; in ;out. That’s good well done. Now, clear all thoughts from your mind so that it’s just black. Good. I want you to picture an animal, wait I will tell you what animal I want you to picture. It’s a panther. Now, imagine yourself becoming that Panther. Your hands changing into sharp clawed paws; your legs and arms changing into powerful weapons of death; your torso lengthening and sprouting a glossy black coat; your face morphing to the shape of killer cat; your teeth growing and sharpening to become fierce and deadly. Well done.”
Helena had done as she was told and it had worked. Her whole being was that of a gorgeous Panther. A soft purr echoed from deep in her chest and Arabella giggled. The Panther opened its huge amber eyes and stared at the crowd, and hissed. It was a menacing sound. A warning to stay back or she would rip your face off.
“Helena?” Peter asked from behind her in his strong cockney accent. Helena turned sharply to face him and purred again as she nuzzled at his arm for fuss. Peter’s hand came up and began to scratch softly behind her large ears.
“I told you that it would work.” Aonie gloated with a smug set to her chin.
“I never doubted you for a second.” Arabella announced. A blush crept up Aonie’s skin and turned her cheeks a dull rose. Edward and Hunter were both grinning as they looked from each other to Helena, everyone but Helena had known beforehand what would be happening. Arabella’s mind was skipping ahead though, her golden eyes were distant and calculating. She was wondering if it would be possible to conjure up images of creatures that Helena had never seen.
Her thoughts picked up images of strange, mythical creatures that lived in far off realms. She observed as a deep and black part of her reacted to them in different ways. Either that part of her would flinch away from it, wanting to run and hide, stay normal and hardly acknowledge it, or it would become eager and crouch like the savage beast it was. All of them would be helpful. She was keeping herself under tight reins and so far it was working.
“That’s a good idea.” Hunter whispered in her ear. She felt the waves of bliss ripple down her cheek where his warm, sweet smelling breath tickled her. She smiled wryly, the right corner of her mouth pulling up slightly, in reply. Aonie was grinning from ear-to-ear. She was obviously proud of herself, and so she should be. She’d thought it would take a few weeks to perfect this but it didn’t even take a day.
“Helena, all you have to do to change back is picture what I told you to but in reverse. If you try it that would be great. Don’ worry, you’re clothes will come because you morphed slowly so they became part of you.”
Helena did as she was told, everyone watched her mind and her boy as it changed back to human. When the claws had disappeared thirty seconds later, everyone erupted into a loud applause sending a harsh blush across Helena’s olive cheeks.
“We all thought you wouldn’t be able to do it on the first try. It is a very difficult skill to master, even for those who have the gift. Well done!” Aonie congratulated letting her grin cool.
“Thanks. Can I do more than one animal?” Helena replied eagerly.
“Yes. What you can do is practice in front of a mirror. You can do it with any animal at all. Just be careful. For now, you’ll have to do it the way I did it. But once you get used to it, you should be able to morph in a second. Cool, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. I’ll practice instead of coming with Arabella. If that’s alright, of course.”
Arabella smiled at her in a knowing way that said “ that wasn’t a question”. Helena suppressed a yell and just thanked her.
“I have to worn you though, your subconscious won’t like all of the animals that you try. You won’t know though until you have a go with them. The animals that you like won’t necessarily be the ones that your subconscious does, so it’s pretty much trial and error. Tonight, I’ll think up some animals that I think you’ll suit, those are the ones that you won’t be effected by because they show your personality.” Arabella said. She’d had a bit of experiences with shape-shifters in her 3’000 years and she knew how they worked.
Helena nodded not bothering to ask why it might effect her and how (I was curious).
Aonie and Edward left the room with good-byes and no contact, they were a little shy about there feelings for each other. Crushes are awful things. Peter and Helena were having a conversation about some rabbit they had seen when they had gone for their daily walk this morning (well ten o’clock). And Hunter had decided to take a wander around Arabella’s chambers. He did that occasionally.
Arabella sighed then pardoned herself from Helena and Peter. She took the far hallway that led to her room. She strolled carelessly down the corridor letting her bare feet scuff the floor as they lifted. Arabella loved to breath in the scent of the fresh Dahlias that lined the walls in immaculately decorated vases. She froze when she got to the end of the corridor: the door to her private chambers was open.
Arabella jogged to the open door and peeked inside. She felt like a little child peering round a corner as they were eaves-dropping on a very important conversation. To her relief it was just Hunter, then she got a bit mad.
“What are you doing in here? You know that no one is allowed in here without my permission. What are you doing in here?” She demanded. Hunter turned sharply at the intensity of her tone, smiling sheepishly.
“Lo siento. I needed to see what was going on. Your head has been a bit all over the place since the day we met the volunteers and I just wanted to find out why. You’ve been avoiding this line of conversation since that day and I want to know what’s wrong with you. How am I supposed to help if I don’t know what it is that is the problem?” Hunter retorted. His deep Spanish accent, that Arabella had persuaded him to keep, laid on an under-tone to his argument that would have most people scared. However, Arabella was completely used to it.
She lowered her golden eyes and caught sight of an old, green notepad in his large right hand.
“Where did you get that?” Arabella rushed. It came out as a mush really, her husky voice tripping over the words in a rush to get them out with emphasis. Her pulse had begun to thunder in her ears, only it sounded like this constant drone rather than an actual beat.
“It was on your bed. Who’s Tristan?”
“That is none of your business. Now, how much did you read?”
“Just the first few pages. Who are they?”
Arabella looked away from his stormy grey eyes to the window against the opposite wall. The sky outside was a hot pink, terracotta, baby blue and pea green. It was an awful combination but it still looked quite good. Arabella hadn’t told anyone about her family. Not a soul knew about them. It should have been quite obvious that they were siblings since they had the same last name, however, not many people knew her last name either. Only Peter and Eloise called her by her last name and that was when others weren’t around.
Arabella wasn’t prepared for people to know about her family. To know about her loving two brothers: Tristan and Robin. Or her fragile mother: Ariana. Her little sister: Isabella. She certainly wasn’t ready for them to know about her father, the one who would come home and beat her, just for the fun of it. So she didn’t tell him. Not right then anyway. She just stood and stared at the peculiar sky outside and finally heard him leave.
Things had been going just swell between them. They were getting a long just like old times. It was so nice. She knew that this would set them back some time. But what was she supposed to do? Just blurt out her past to him! Not a chance, if Arabella had learned anything in her long and somewhat tedious life, it was that: everything should be on a need to know basis (well, in her eyes it should. But hell, she has been wrong before).