The next morning Marvin found himself sleeping through his alarm clock, even going through the trouble of deactivating it on his phone when it forced him to consciousness. After having spent a day fighting mythical creatures, discovering magic is real, and dealing with the school population of Jeene High, he was not in a very school-going mood.
So of course a cry of ‘Marvin Joseph Perlie’ interrupted his slumber.
It always managed to surprise him when his grandmother’s shouts would reach his room on the second floor of the house when she was in the kitchen in the first.
Nevertheless he exited his room, going about his morning routine as if nothing had changed. Except something had changed. He was now a member of the International Defense Association, and while Marvin was certain he still did not understand the full implications that held, he was certain they would be obvious soon enough.
Which was the main thought he has even during breakfast. If this whole thing turned him into a large danger magnet. And that lead to the next question: should he tell his grandmother about this? Was that even allowed?
“Oi! Oi, Marvin!” his grandmother snapped her fingers in front of his face breaking him out of his thoughts.
“I-I’m sorry grandma! I must have zoned out. You were saying?” If there was one thing he knows for certain, is that he couldn’t, he wouldn’t, let this whole situation lead to his loved ones, or his relationships with them, getting harmed.
“I was just telling you that a friend of yours, Adam he said his name was, called and said you’d scheduled for him and his mother to come pick you up and go to school together?” asked his grandma, a small smile on her lips
“Adam?” he paused briefly, remembering Chiron’s words. If Adam was a part of this secret organization, then perhaps the other guy that stared at Marvin back in school was as well. Maybe they were aware of him talking to Marly and that’s why Adam was talking to him. “Yeah, we talked about it yesterday. I’m sorry I forgot to tell you, but with the whole changing school ordeal, my mind’s been all over the place.”
“Well, if anything, I’m glad you’re having more luck making friends in this school than the last one.” she stated, a sad smile decorating her face, making Marvin’s heart melt
“Everything was perfectly fine in my old school grand-”
“You shouldn’t lie Marvin. You’re not very good at it either way. All I want is the best for you, but I will support you in whatever you want to do, don’t forget that.” The sincerity in her voice made the young man falter, not expecting that type of conversation so early in the morning.
For a moment he wondered if she had figured out that he was keeping something from her, but before their conversation could continue, a car horn interrupted them. Checking his watch Marvin saw that it was nearly eight o’ clock. Saying goodbye to his grandmother, Marvin grabbed his bag and left the house.
What awaited him outside was definitely not what he was expecting. He thought there’d be a black car, with tinted windows, most of all discreet. What he found however was a bright orange convertible with the roof down. Adam was sitting in the back seat and a lady that looked absolutely nothing like him, except for their hair color, was driving on the front. If he was being honest, her appearance wasn’t anything overwhelming, she looked like a typical caucasian woman in her thirties.
Getting in the backseat, he and Adam exchanged good mornings, all while the lady in the front simply stared back at Marvin, as if appraising him.
“Mrs Lacetro, I assume?” Marvin’s voice trembled under the woman’s hard gaze, but he decided to hide it as best as he could. The indignant scoff she let out at that was answer enough for Marvin, but apparently she wasn’t didn’t see it that way.
“As if! I’ll let that slide, because I’m certain you don't know who I am. Hell I’d be surprised if you even know what a werebeast is. My name is Kara Snow, and we’ll get to know each other very well in the years to come.” replied the woman, Kara Snow, and started to run the car, apparently not in the mood for discussion.
“Don't mind her, I hear she's not a morning person. For what it’s worth, I’m glad you made it this far bro. Though I gotta admit, I thought for sure you were bad news when I first saw you. Guess this is where you prove us wrong.” said Adam, a brutal honesty in his words that hurt more than Marvin would have thought.
“Yeah, well, there are some explanations needed first, I think. Apparently you’re a werebeast? What even is that?” asked Marvin in retaliation. If his first day in this school was one where he was deceived by virtually everyone who spoke to him, his second was going to be one where he got all the answers he was owed.
“Werebeast is a being that can alternate between human, and what I like to call ‘weremode”. Basically a mix of a humanoid and animal figure.” Adam simply raised his left arm, his skin being replaced with jagged light blue scales, the pupils in his eyes replaced with lizard-like ones.
“So you’re basically a lizard person. What’s running the Earth like?” Remembering the reaction he had the day before when Chiron and Marly basically turned his life upside down, Marvin decided to have a little laugh with himself. Adam looked understandably confused at this, which for some reason did nothing to dull his fun.
What he did not expect was for their driver to let out a laugh as well.
“Oh, If you make it, I am so going to enjoy your apprenticeship, Marvin Perlie!” shouted Kara Snow, revealing-most likely accidentally-that she’s going to be the one to teach him magic.
What Marvin’s more interested in however, is the ‘if you make it’ part. That didn’t sound as fun as her tone of voice seemed to make it out to be.
Deciding it best to not question that right now, the dark haired boy found it best to tackle things as they come before he can get his bearings in this new world.
Although he could already feel himself losing every piece of confidence he had, as he realised that he knew absolutely nothing about this situation he got himself into.
Some time passed before they arrived at school. The scene there was similar to yesterday; a large wave of students entering the building through the front gates because, in Adam’s words, almost nobody cared enough to be at the school earlier than necessary.
Entering their classroom, it took all of two seconds before the large guy from yesterday came over to Marvin’s desk, looking down on him as if he’s some nuisance he has to get rid of. A sigh was heard from Adam, who mouthed a ‘hang in there’ to Marvin, just as the other boy began to speak
“Let me introduce myself. I am César Boitumelo Smith, member of the noble, albeit boring-named, Smith family of warriors and soldiers of the IDA. You must be Marvin Perlie.” His tone was civil enough, and a charming smile decorated his face. His eyes however, his green eyes glistened with the feeling of superiority that Marvin hoped was not going to manifest itself in any sort of hostility towards him.
“That’s what they tell me. Now you must be some sort of werebeast. Human and ogre hybrid, right? responded Marvin, considering his attempt at challenging the man with a name so ridiculous it could only come from the mixing of people of very different backgrounds.
“Heh. Let me make it clear where you stand, shortie. This isn’t something that we do for fun. I was trained by the best of the best. I know I am strong enough to face any enemies. You, on other hand, are not. You’re trying to play it cool, act neutral, but your eyes. Your eyes betray you, because no matter what anyone has told you, you know that this is the big leagues, and you don’t belong here. ” Cézar’s gaze was fixed on Marvin, a grin having formed on his face. It was clear Adam was worried about Marvin, who, in spite of the anxiety these words added to his stress levels, attempted to meet the hostile gaze evenly.
“Think about this CB. You don’t want to cause a scene.” whispered Adam, looking at the larger man with hostility
“He doesn't get to just barge in after everything we have been through.” said Cézar-or CB as his friends apparently call him-in an even lower tone of voice. Marvin also noticed the hair on his arms became much more pronounced, his nails started looking more like claws, and his eyes began looking suspiciously like the Vaewolf that had attacked him and Marly the previous day.
Before he could untangle the sheer brutality of the larger boy’s words, the bell rang signalling the start of the class. Cézar let out a low, dog-like growl, reverting to his completely normal self.
The rest of the day went as normal. Marvin didn’t have any contact with either Cézar or Adam during the day, and didn’t even see Marly until lunch.
It was then that she just came up to him, grabbed him and his food, and dragged him to the seat next to her at her table. Cézar was sitting there with her, as well as three other people, two girls and one guy. All three looked to be quite rich judging purely from their lunches, which appeared considerably higher quality than anything else in the school.
“Everyone this Marvin, Marvin this everyone. Could you leave ol' Marv, CB and me to discuss some private matters, guys?” asked Marly sweetly. And if Marvin didn’t know better, he’d assume it was genuine, and she was this nice all the time. The rest of the people on the table did leave, albeit reluctantly, and once they were gone, Marly shot both of the guys a look that would kill if it could.
“What in the name of God is wrong with you people? Can't you get along? There are only four of us. We need to stand together!” she began, speaking quietly “Or else we’ll-”
“Stand together-right! Because we’ve done such a good job of it in the past! Instead of telling me that, you should try convincing Adam. We don’t even know where he is.” challengeed CB, struggling to keep his voice even
Looking at the both of them, it was clear to Marvin that there was a story there, and it did not have a happy ending. However it wasn’t his place to intervene.
Not his place.
Maybe Cézar-whatever-Smith was right. Maybe these people have been through so much, a mess of a human like Marvin, who still wasn't convinced this wasn’t just some elaborate drug induced hallucination that he had while out cold in some hospital bed, would not be a good mix into this equation.
“Listen Marvin. I’m appealing to the logical side I hope you have. You remember the Vaewolf. I tried to take it on all by myself and how did that go? I nearly got us both killed, and the only reason we survived was through luck.” said Marly, and she was not wrong. He got so close to the beast, he could actually smell its breath. If the ring didn’t work for him either he, or Marly, or both of them would be dead right now.
“What can I do though?” In all honesty he wasn’t sure he could do anything to help. He barely knew anything about anything regarding this world.
The heterochromatic girl sighed in response. “I am what’s known as a Dhampir, A half-human, half-vampire creature. Adam and CB are werebeasts. We aren’t half bad at the ass kicking part of the job-for beginners especially-but as you can see, we’re not really that good at the whole talking thing. You at least are on good terms with two out of three. And I’m sure the fourth won’t back down when the time is right. So in that sense, you are integral in the group being united. Or whatever twisted abomination of united we can be.”
“O-Okay then. I assume the two people I’m on good terms with are Adam, and…”
Producing a pen from the pocket of the shorts she was wearing, Marly wrote down a bunch of stuff down on a handkerchief, before handing it to Marvin.
The actual writing consisted of two phone numbers, one cell and one landline he assumed, and a social media tag.
“Is this some sort of way of telling me you’re the other person I’m on good terms with, and Cézar the prick that will stay out until the last minute?” joked Marvin, hoping to get a rise out of said guy who has gone suspiciously quiet.
“If we must be stuck with you, we’re stuck with you. Doesn’t mean we have to enjoy it. Also, just call me CB. I hate both my names.” responded CB.
“But it doesn’t mean we can’t try. ‘Us magic folk gotta stick together’ isn’t that what you said yesterday?” asked Marly.
This was...interesting. Even if CB seemed to want nothing more than to have him disappear under mysterious circumstances, aka kill him in the most painful way possible, he gets the sense there’s more to him than meets the eye. As for Marly and Adam, they had made quite the effort to be nice towards him, even if it was out of necessity, so the least he could do was to try to reciprocate that gesture. Not that actually minded.
If all went well, they could even turn into good friends. But before he could look so far down the road, there was whatever test waited for him at the end of the week, and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t anxious about it.