After talking for a couple of hours, Lone finally decided to leave the elven camp with Sophie, much to Rewal'eh's displeasure.
To get her permission to leave, Lone was forced to use his new skill, Illusionary Dome, and he reassured her that he could maintain an illusion over their cabin on the beach.
Thankfully, from their talks, Lone had discovered that Golden Foxkin were naturally talented in Illusion Magic, or at least that's what the legends about his species said.
Once they were back in their cabin and Lone had set up the Illusionary Dome, Sophie flopped down onto the blankets that littered the floor and sighed. "Why couldn't we stay with those people, Lone? They seemed nice."
Lone smiled wryly. "I don't trust them. They were nice, but I feel like we stand to lose more if we stuck around with them for too long."
A fluffy tail found its way into Sophie's arms. The girl grinned happily as she squeezed it. "I don't understand why though. Wouldn't we be safer with them? They seemed strong, and besides... I don't wanna become 'breeding material'."
Lone laughed. He stopped what he was doing and ruffled Sophie's hair a bit roughly. "You don't need to worry about that. With me here, nothing like that will ever happen to you. Remember? We have the Summoning Room."
Sophie pouted before she fixed her hair and glared at Lone with her lifeless eyes. "I do remember. I was just testing you!"
"Ahahaha... Of course you were, Soph, of course you were." Sophie's colourful personality was like a breath of fresh air to Lone. "Anyway, we can't let people know about our special powers or that we're not from here. Not until we know more about this world, at least."
Lone had left his family home when he was sixteen after his parents divorced, and everyone he had ever met after that either treated him with pity or disdain. The only person that Lone even remotely got along with - ignoring his online friends - was his little sister, Hazel, who also happened to be his prized student.
"Lone?" Sophie tilted her head as she cuddled a few of his soft limbs.
Shaking his head, Lone replied, "I was just thinking about Earth."
"Why? Did you leave behind something important?" Sophie asked as she scootched closer to him. To Sophie, Altros was the same as Earth. Both planets were just as alien to her, so she wasn't experiencing any homesickness like Lone was.
"Kinda. I have a little sister, but knowing her, she's doing fine. She was always stronger than I was," Lone explained.
Sophie's eyes opened wide. "Stronger than you?! Did she have ten tails or something?! Your family sounds scary!"
Lone burst out laughing. "I already told you that I wasn't a Foxkin before we came here, didn't I? You really do have the memory of a goldfish."
"Is that a good thing? What's a goldfish? I feel like you're insulting me..." Sophie frowned as her brows creased. Clearly, she was thinking very hard.
"Don't worry about it. You're cute, and that's all that matters, right?" Lone chuckled as he ruffled the girl's hair once again.
"I guess," Sophie replied with rosy cheeks as she returned her focus to Lone's tails.
Hazel arrived at high school fifteen minutes late today. She practically ran into her first lesson of the day, History, after missing homeroom.
"Sorry I'm late!" She bent over and caught her breath before raising her head. "I was busy posting u-"
"Posting up missing person flyers, yes, yes. Please, Hazel, sit down and unpack your things. I'll hand in the necessary paperwork for your lateness during first break, so see me then," the teacher, a spindly man with glasses and straight black hair, said in a slightly dismissive tone.
"... Thank you, Mr Black." Hazel did as she was told and sat down next to Alisa, a short blonde girl with extremely long hair.
Alisa silently passed a note to her. Apparently, it was a handout from homeroom announcing that Mr Black was now taking over full time for Mr McCullen since he hadn't been found for more than two months.
Hazel scrunched up the note and shoved it in her skirt's pocket. Clearly, she was intent on binning it at the first chance she got.
First and second period came and went. During first break, as promised, Mr Black helped Hazel fill out the late form before he told her that she needed to relax a bit.
Apparently, he understood her pain, but it had already been two months, so it was time to let go and accept the worst. Hazel just half-heartedly replied before she left the teachers' lounge.
The double period lesson of English bored Hazel beyond belief. She wanted to return to the more important task: finding her brother.
Hazel was peacefully eating a sandwich by herself in the school's courtyard. Her mind was busy mapping out her route for posting flyers after school when her train of thought was interrupted by a hand coiling around her shoulder.
Looking to her left, Hazel could see the smiling face of one of her classmates from History, French, Computing and Business Management, Ben.
Ben was somewhat of a jock. Short brunette hair, a well-groomed beard, muscles, rich parents, the boy had practically everything that he could want at his age.
"Yo," he greeted as he entwined one of his fingers into Hazel's hair.
Hazel's felt her stomach churning. "Sorry, I'm busy." She then tried to stand up but found her wrist being gripped by Ben.
"Why are you in such a hurry? There's still thirty minutes until fifth period. Wanna skip the rest of today's classes with me? My folks are at their vacation home in Milan, so I've got the house all to myself. Oh, and don't tell anyone I told you, but I also stole the wine fridge key from the old man before they left." Ben winked at Hazel and tightened his grip on her wrist.
'This dirtbag! There are hundreds of other girls flocking around him! Why does he have to bother me?!' Hazel felt powerless.
She started weighing her options. On one hand, she was half of the mind to just slap a few teeth out of his skull before telling on him, but she figured that wouldn't do her any favours. On the other hand, her only other visible choice was to follow along with his insane demands. That, she did not want to do.
"Hey, loser, leave the girl alone. Can't you see how jittery she is? Sheesh. Is there an afterschool class on how to become rapey or something? All of you douches somehow nail it perfectly without fail," a loud and fed-up voice said from across the courtyard.
Now that all of the attention was beginning to centre on him, Ben let go of Hazel and scratched the back of his head a bit sheepishly. "I just wanted to comfort her. Y'know, since Mr McCullen's disappearance hit her so hard and all that... Haha... Ha..."
The other boy who had spoken up for Hazel, a fifth year - one year higher than Ben and Hazel - Scott, brushed his fingers through his gelled up hair and spat on the ground. He intentionally flexed his bodybuilder-like muscles and looked down on Ben. "Sure thing, Sport."
Ben audibly gulped. This wasn't the first time that Scott had shone a light on him. In fact, he'd actually beaten him up once before, somewhat traumatising the fifteen-year-old playboy.
"Sorry. Looks like something came up," Ben said apologetically as he got up and left.
Hazel could hear Scott's deep sigh. "Seriously, just 'cause you're pretty, he goes and picks on you. I wouldn't be surprised if he thought you were an easy target since you're all upset about Mr McCullen. Kids are so fucking thirsty."
'You're a kid too!' Hazel noted mentally before she rolled her eyes. "Thanks, I didn't know what to do back there."
Scott gave Hazel an inquisitive look. "You should have just slapped him. Show him who's boss, and he acts like a bitch real quick."
"T-Thanks, I'll keep a note of that..." Hazel was starting to feel uncomfortable again.
Scott just shrugged and sauntered off. With that peculiar encounter behind her, Hazel finished up the school day and returned to her task of posting missing person flyers.
As the night was ending, Hazel finally returned home and flopped down onto her bed after some light dinner. "Big Bro... Where are you? A person like you doesn't just disappear without anyone noticing..."
Tears spilt out of the teenaged girl's eyes as she buried her face in her pillow. Hazel missed Darren. She missed him so much that it hurt just thinking about him.
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- The Scottish Slothy Sloth
Bio: Hey there, nice to see you. I'm just an ordinary man who enjoys writing, which is great since it's my full-time job now thanks to the support from you guys over on Patreon! I hope you enjoy my novels if you read them, and if not, I hope you enjoy looking at my profile.