Daniel woke up the next morning, finding himself in his own bed. He had a
momentary headache when suddenly his head was flooded with information. He
closed his eyes and lay in his bed trying to adjust his brain to the new
world he had just begun to experience. First, he could hear the breath of
his roommates: Tony's was short and uneven; Nick's was quiet and slow;
Owen's was the deepest and had perfect pace. From the way they breathed, an
image of them lying on different positions came into his mind. Daniel opened
his eyes and took a quick look at his roommates. They were exactly as he had
imagined. It also surprised him that he could see every hair on his
roommates' faces, even the finest ones on the smoothest parts of their skin.
The texture of the sheet and the fine details on the wall also appeared as
clear as would be seen under a microscope. He closed his eyes again. This
time he put a little effort in it. The breath of students in the other side
of the building came into his ears. Some of them were mumbling in their
sleep, and some were snoring very loudly. The feeling was surreal and funny
at the same time.
The birds in the garden had started singing already. What surprised Daniel
was that he could also hear the morning breeze touching the petals of the
flowers. He looked out of the window. Instead of seeing a red cloud of
flowers, he saw individual ones with their unique shapes. He saw a bee
buzzing on a flower, and its wings were batting much slower than he had ever
seen. What he saw filled him with joy and awe. He felt like jumping and
shouting, but he managed to keep everything inside.
Then he heard Nick's breath become shorter and his eyelids start to
flutter. Daniel knew that he was waking up. Owen was also waking up, but his
breath remained the same and his heartbeat didn't change. Daniel wondered
whether that was part of the reason why Owen was so good at combat.
He got up from his bed. He had this sensation that his body was much
lighter. It was like every movement made perfect sense. On the table were a
few books and robes. Lying on the robe was a little sword just like the one
Professor Alverdine had.
"Those are yours," said Owen, seeing Daniel look at the books and the
robes. "That's a sweet sword."
Daniel picked it up. It had a familiar feeling like they had known each
other for a long time. Daniel turned it around. On the back of the sword was
a tiny engraving Kane Ray. That was his father's name. That meant that his
father had been in the school and was an immortal too. Daniel had actually
thought about that. Whoever had kidnapped his father wouldn't have been
interested in a mortal.
"Try it out," Owen looked excited already.
"Oh, I don't know how," said Daniel, afraid that Owen would laugh at him.
"Here, let me show you." Owen took the sword from Daniel's hand. The sword
seemed to become alive with the touch of his hand.
"Arminanu," the sword flew out of Owen's hand with the charm he cited. It
grew to the size of a skateboard. He jumped on it. With a swing of his
waist, he flew out of the window. After a circle on the top of the trees,
Owen flew back into the dorm room.
"Sweet." He jumped down from the sword, looking totally enamored.
"What's all the excitement?" Tony sat up in his bed, wiping his eyes.
"Just a freaking sword," said Nick.
"Cool," said Tony.
"Go on, try it," Owen encouraged.
"Arminanu," Daniel cited. The sword moved a bit in his hand. He cited
again. It flipped and jumped like a stranded fish. However hard he
concentrated, the sword never stayed in the air for more than a second.
"He's supposed to learn it from a real teacher." Nick threw open his sheet,
and his body sprang out the bed like an arrow. Daniel had a feeling that
Nick was jealous of Owen and was trying to show off his natural flying
"You did great," said Owen to Daniel, oblivious to Nick's jealousy. "It
takes practice. Let's go get something to eat-I'm so hungry. I can eat a
"So, apparently flying or weapon controlling is not my power," Daniel
"What classes do we have today?" he asked, picking up the books on the
table. They were much lighter than they used to be, but not so light that
strength would be his special power either.
"History and mortal studies," said Owen. "Those two are the only mandatory
courses. You can pick the rest. I have transformation and combat-you should
pick them too-but of course, only if you are interested in the classes."
Daniel put on a robe and took the two books for the courses.
"So what's your power?" asked Owen on their way to the dinning hall.
"I'm not really sure yet," said Daniel, afraid that it would never come to
him. "I can see and hear much better than mortals, but I bet everyone here
can do that, right?"
"Wait, how much better?" asked Owen.
"See that crane in the lake," Daniel pointed at a crane in the lake that
was about half a mile away.
"I can see her eyes, but that's the best I can do," said Owen.
"I can see the fine feathers above its eyes."
"No way. Do you know you've got eagle eyes? That's just a stupid name. Your
eyes are way more powerful than some old eagle's-and how much better can you
"I can hear the sound when the crane pulls its leg out of the water."
"No way!!! You've got bat ears too-this is so cool. Few people have either
of the powers, let alone both. This is so freaking cool. You know, no one
will be able to fool you now."
Owen looked so excited that Daniel couldn't help but think that his powers
were something special too.
The dinning hall was busy. There were rolls and rolls of delicious food.
Behind the food stands, however, were not human beings. They were like
robots in mortal world, but they were more doll-like-their faces were
porcelain, and their bodies were wood. They took orders and acted
automatically. For a minute, Daniel couldn't take his eyes off the woodmen,
even though he knew it was rude to stare.
"This is one of Professor Alverdine's brilliant ideas," said Owen, but he
didn't elaborate. The food seemed to have captured all his attention.
They held their trays and looked around. There were groups of students
scattered all around the dining hall. When they passed a group of girls,
Daniel heard someone call his name. It was Michelle waving at him.
Daniel mumbled "hey" back and found a table that was a safe distance away
from the girls. Their giggling, however, was still as loud as if they were
sitting at the same table. Daniel could hear every word they said. One girl
was whispering to Michelle's ear that she thought she only liked older boys.
"Your face is turning red," said Owen, looking up from his plate. "Girls
are weird," he mumbled with a full mouth.
All the conversations kept flying in Daniel's ears. A group of boys were
talking about fighting a dragon. Some were talking about stealing some magic
fruit in the forbidden garden. A few girls were talking about flying to a
mortal city to check out the latest fashions. Daniel started to feel that he
was getting too much information. He was afraid that his brain was going to
overflow soon with all these useless information. It also made him
uncomfortable hearing what wasn't supposed to be heard by him, even though
he wasn't trying to eavesdrop.
The first class they had was history of immortals. When Daniel and Owen got
to the classroom. Most of the seats were taken. There were about thirty of
them. Nick and Tony were sitting together. Owen led the way to the back the
classroom. "I have been sitting in the back since I got to school," said
Owen. Close to them was a girl sitting alone. She had shoulder length hair
that covered most of her face. She sat in a very upright position with her
knees pressed together. Right before the class began, a monkey man slid into
the door. He had the face of a monkey although his body was more like that
of a human being. He walked upright. His steps were very careful and quiet.
He also found a seat at the back of the classroom. Daniel could tell that
although this was not the first time that the other students saw the monkey
man, his presence still provoked curiosity.
The history teacher was a middle age man. His name was Tim Haldan. He had a
very interesting face. His eyes were small, and his mouth was protruded. It
reminded Daniel of a mouse. He talked really fast and seemed to really enjoy
the topics. When he talked, there were pictures that appeared on the screen.
People were moving on the screen like a movie.
"That's the reflection of the pictures in his mind," Owen whispered in
They had already covered the first two chapters. The third chapter was
about the flood.
"Every mortal history book talked about a pre-historical flood. Western
religions recorded the flood. In the east, the story was recorded as
folklores. I believe the flood was at the end of the ice age, when the ice
began to melt."
Professor Haldan continued to talk about the eastern myth about two kings
trying to deal with the flood. The first king tried to block the water by
using magical clay and failed. The second one used a different method. He
managed to dredge the rivers and lead the water out to the sea.
"According to our history. Those two kings were actually immortals. At the
very beginning of the human history, Immortals were allowed to participate
in mortal politics to help society develop. That was the time when mortals
and immortals lived together in harmony"
Daniel had heard about the stories, but had thought that there was some
exaggeration about the powers those two kings had. He felt like he had just
opened his eyes and found himself standing at the doorstep to a completely
new world. It was similar to the experience that he had had this morning,
but in a different sense.
After class, Professor Haldan gave Daniel and the girl each a small box.
There was a hole in the front of the box.
"These are the notes of the last two classes," said professor Haldan
kindly. Daniel was glad to find that he wasn't the only one who was new and
Looking through the hole, he could see that it was actually a film of the
last two classes with professor Haldan's talking in the background.
The history class had proved to be more interesting than he had expected.
The mortal studies was more focused on the modern mortal life. The mortal
studies teacher was an enthusiastic young woman called Lindsay Morwen. It
seemed that many students were having trouble with the class.
Daniel heard a student complain about the course: "My parents told me, at
their time, mortal studies was more like a joke. Now it's so much harder.
Who needs to know how a computer or a car works."
To Daniel the course was relatively easy. After all, he came from the
mortal world. And things made more sense after his powers were released.
After lunch, there was a one-hour break. The sun was bright, and it was
beautiful outside. Some of the students went to the animal house to play
with their pets. Owen's pet was a fire-spitting lion. It was still a cub and
looked like a puppy.
The lion jumped on Owen when they entered the animal house. He put his two
front paws on Owen's legs. Standing up, the lion was only up to Owen's
"His name is Fireball. Got him from my folks for my last birthday." Owen
was stroking the lion. Fireball was now lying on his back, playing with his
"You can pet him too," said Owen.
Daniel reached out and stroked Fireball's belly. The lion quickly let go of
Owen's hand and stood up. He became very defensive, and his nose started to
"Don't mind him," Owen turned to Daniel. "He's like this when he gets
Daniel stood up, feeling very uncomfortable himself. He wasn't sure whether
he should stay or not.
Fireball soon became himself again. He started biting and tugging on the
hem of Owen's robe.
"I think he wants a walk," said Owen to Daniel.
They walked to the lakefront. On the way there, Fireball sometimes ran off
chasing a deer. Sometimes he jumped on the feet of a passing by students as
if they were his prey. When he thought he was too far away from Owen, he
either ran back or stopped to wait for him to catch up.
"He doesn't mind the other students," said Daniel, feeling like an
"Don't sweat it, he'll get to like you," said Owen reassuringly.
The sunlight was very warm and bright at the lakefront. A few students were
chasing each other on their swords. Under the trees, some students were
listening to music coming from a sliver box.
"The next song was from a secret admirer to Barbara Sonel in the fourth
year," said the girl in the box. "It's the famous love song from the
immortal play Sam and Samantha, Love Visits by Night. Who doesn't remember
the famous scene when Sam fly's his sword to visit Samantha by the cover of
night to see his forbidden love? How moving! Well, I'll tell you this-I've
seen our Barbara's secret admirer fly, and it'd be better during the light
of day if he gets up the courage to visit Barbara. So here is Love Visits by
"Ah, that's harsh," said Owen with a smile.
"That's the student radio station," he said. "They broadcast immortal news,
mortal news-oh, and school news too. There are also some entertaining
"I heard that they used to broadcast all around campus. Everyone had to
listen to it, like it or not. After a lot of complaints, they changed it to
wireless. I don't really understand how it works, but we had a few
technoheads in the school who have a natural talent for this kind of stuff."
"Could you show me the library?" said Daniel. It had been on his mind for a
while. "Only if you don't mind," he added quickly.
"Sure," said Owen. "Let's take Fireball back to the animal house first."
Fireball seemed to understand what Owen had said and let out a whining
The library was a square building on stilts. It had an open-air garden in
the middle. Steps led up to the front gate. Two open corridors connected the
gate with the side wings.
"The side wings are where the books are kept," said Owen as they walked up
the steps. He stopped at the corridor. Then he lowered his voice. "I heard
that Miss Leventis's brain is like a huge database-Miss Leventis is the
librarian. She can tell you where the books are and what the books are about
off the top of her head."
The sidewalks led to the study hall. There was only one entrance. Inside
the study hall were rolls and rolls of desks. The library looked very
old-fashioned. There wasn't even a computer. Only a couple of students were
in the library.
Miss Leventis was a middle age woman. She wore a very plain robe and sat
behind the check out desk looking bored.
"Shouldn't you get ready for the class?" asked Miss Leventis when she saw
"I'm just showing Daniel the library," said Owen politely. "He's new to the
"Then I assume that he needs to go to the orientation," said Miss Leventis.
"Yes, ma'am" said Owen.
The book is available at barnes and noble, amazon online bookstores.
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Author's blog: 360.yahoo.com/gcgustopher