I go through the same old ritual every day: wake up, eat breakfast, and go to find work. I am the youngest in my family of eighteen. Yes, my mother got busy... but she’s not the type of mother you’d think. She is called “The Black Widow” because she's a psychopath who killed each of her husband's every time she got pregnant. We’re not a ‘regular’ type of being. I say ‘being’ because my mom is a shapeshifter and she has interbred with all different kinds of species. Me? I’m not sure what I am.
So far I seem to be human; or at least, I have taken that form. But I haven't exercised my abilities yet. I have passed all of my language, mathematics, and history lessons for the past twelve years. The realm I’m from is called Mardi, which in Elvish means “home”. We speak Elvish because that is the dominant language here. My eighteen brothers are all different types of beings. I'm not going to name them off one by one - that would take all day. I have no sisters and all but eighteen of my brothers seem to despise me because I am the only girl. My mother wanted all boys, so I'm pretty much the maid of the house - I do all the chores, the cooking, the cleaning... you get the idea.
We live on the outskirts of a huge city called Coiv, which is pretty much the capital city of Mardi. I went to Coiv High School and now I am going to an academy that helps train me in my abilities, and reveal who and what I am. I want to know, out of curiosity. I'm kind of scared to know what I am, because if I am something like my mother then I’ll be forced to isolate myself so I won't hurt anybody.
My first day at the academy starts in a couple of days. I am really nervous. Many of the beings who attended the academy were people my mother terrorized and cursed. Luckily there was a wizard who reversed her curse.
My worst fear is that I will become her. I hope the students at the academy are nice. Well, I at least know one’s not a complete jerk. His name is Derrik. We went to Ciov together. He was dating another girl from Ciov named Sylver and I assume they are still together. Derrik and I grew up together even though his parents weren’t too comfortable with it. Derrik didn't care who my mother was. He was a very friendly person. He included me while everyone else excluded me. Do I have a crush on him? To be honest... kinda yeah, but he’s with someone else and I don’t play that way.
Sylver mocked me because I was a “Villain's Daughter”. That may be true, but my family does not define me. During all of high school Sylver would spread the word that I am the Black Widow's daughter and that I would always be bad because if it. It irritated me because that's not who I want to be known as.
My mother doesn’t want me to go the Academy for odd reasons of which I am not certain but when I turn eighteen tomorrow I’m moving out. My mother thinks so little of me she makes me sleep out in the shed. I bet she doesn't even know I exist.
“Good morning, George,” I greeted my oldest brother.
“Who are you?” he asked rudely.
“I'm your sister. Shajae,” I replied.
“Oh, you’ve grown.” He looked at me disgustedly and walked away.
Ignoring his rudeness, I continued with what I was doing. My youngest brother Jo walked up to me.
“Hey, Jae.” He reached around me to grab some food in the fridge.
“Hey, Jo,” I replied.
“Whatcha up to?” he asked me while I was walking out to the shed.
“Packing.” I attempted to open the shed door and he slammed it shut, nearly breaking my wrist.
“Why are you leaving? Is it the Academy thing?” he asked, while all of my brothers surround me.
“No, it's because I think I should be on my own. I'm almost eighteen, in fact my birthday is tomorrow, and I won't let any of you guys stand in my way!” I lied, because my mother and brothers hate the Academy and I didn't want them to destroy it.
“So, you really think that you’ll be okay out there? Like, what if something happens to you?” George asked, concerned.
“What does it matter to you guys anyways? You guys don’t care about me. You didn’t even know who I was ten minutes ago, George.”
“Jae, who said we don’t care about you?” Jo asked while holding my arm.
“Well, no one. It just seemed like you guys didn't cared about me. I'm still moving out, though.”
“Well, you sure got mom’s stubbornness, that's for sure,” George stated.
“We should celebrate!” Jo said with enthusiasm.
“You guys can. I’ve got to pack,” I said while turning to the door.
Looking at all of my brothers faces, I saw that they all looked sad and depressed. I didn't know that they didn't want me to move out. They do that sometimes - when I'm about to do something different they act all sad to make me feel bad, but this time it was different; like, really different.
After hours and hours of packing my brothers still lurked outside my window, in a non-creepy way. I could hear them say things like ‘is she really going?’. They have never shown this much care, to me or to anyone, for that matter. I was surprised. I was wrong. My brothers do care about me. Well, at least George and Jo. But still, they're better than nothing.
I woke up in the early morning with boxes acting as my bed. Realising that I had fallen asleep packing, I stood up and finished my last box. I heard familiar voices outside.
“She’s doing what?!” my mother shrieked.
“Yeah, she told yesterday,” George said calmly.
“It's the Academy! If she finds out what she is then she’ll-” I didn't hear the rest of her words because George cut her off. She pried herself through my door.
“Where do you think you’re going, young lady?!”
“Hello, Mother. It's good to see you too.” I said, continuing my work.
“That didn't didn’t answer the question!” she said impatiently.
“I’m moving into an apartment in the city, and there's nothing you can do about it because I’m eighteen,” I blurted out with confidence.
“Oh, so you think you know everything now that you’re eighteen. Let me tell you something, honey: you will never be the person you dream to be. You will never be happy and -”
“You know what, mother?” I interrupted. “Your bitter words aren't going to stop me from living my life. I know that there are going to ups and downs but I'm strong enough to overcome them. No, I don’t know everything, but I am willing to learn. So, Mother, I bid you a good day.” I walked confidently to the nearest Coiv bus stop and waited for the bus.
The bus arrived and I was as excited as ever. I was the only one aboard… Gee, I wonder why.
“Good morning,” I greeted with a kind gesture.
“You are the first person I have ever seen waiting at this here bus stop,” the middle aged bus driver said with her eyes wide open.
“Well, I'm glad I'm the first. How long will it take for us to reach the Academy?” I asked politely.
“About thirty minutes, depending on traffic,” the kind lady replied.
“All right. Thank you very much.” I turned to find a seat.
The views were exquisitely breathtaking. I wasn’t aware of how close I was to the city. I saw the beautiful mountains, rolling hills and endless trees.
The Academy has dorms and one-bedroom apartments. Across the street there is a diner hiring. I'm thinking about getting a job there.
I walked to apartments on the Academy's campus.
“Welcome to the Academy, ladies and gents! If y’all are lost, then find someone with a black polo shirt and name tag! Have a great day!” the voice on the intercom said with much enthusiasm.
“Hi there, young lady. May I help you?” a man in the aforementioned attire asked me.
“Hi. Yes, I need to find apartment thirteen.” I showed him the map.
“Oh yeah, I know there that is. Here, follow me.” He led me to a golf cart and drove me to my apartment before giving me a pair of keys. Staring at the closed door, I thought of how different life was going to be. I finally unlocked it and took a look around the apartment. Liking everything I saw, I set all of my stuff down and my eyes alighted upon a note.
“All Academy Students, please come to the main training room and meet the new students that you will be living with! Thank you,” the note read. On the back was a map directing me where to go to find the training room. I departed and began trekking toward my destination.
“Jae? Oh my... Is that you?” A familiar voice came from behind me. I turned around rather quickly, and accidentally knocked over the speaker.
“Oh my gosh, are you okay? I am so sorry.” I stopped suddenly, surprised to see a familiar face. “Wait... Derrik? Is that you?” I asked.
“Yeah, it's me. Derrik. How long has it been? Like a year?” he asked, brushing off his pants.
“It's been only three months! Now I know why you took Algebra 2 twice,” I teased him.
“Ohh! Burn!” he laughed, understanding my rude humor. “So how have you been?” he asked in a more serious tone. We started walking towards the main training room again.
“I’m great, thanks. What about you?” I replied.
“I'm great as well. You’re looking good. Have you lost some weight?”
“Nope,” I laughed. “Did you?”
“It hurts that you ask such a question,” he said with his cute smirk.
“How are things going with you and Sylver?” I finally asked.
“Oh, well... I caught her cheating and broke up with her,” he answered, staring at me with those sky blue eyes.
“Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry,” I said sympathetically.
“Nah, don’t be. She still thinks we’re together, but in all honesty we aren't. It's okay, really it is,” he said, extremely calm. He seemed cool with it.
“No one, especially you, deserves to be treated like that.”
“Thanks, Jae,” he said, smiling at me. “Ah, here we are. The main training room.”
We walked into the main training room and the first person we saw was - you guessed it - Sylver.
“Hey, baby.” She flung her arms around Derrik.
“Sylver, I'm not your ‘baby’ anymore,” Derrik clarified.
Then she noticed me and, smirked unpleasantly, commented, “Oh, it's you again. I thought that you would be with your mom, ruining innocent lives, not to mention all of Mardi.”
“You're more malicious than she is,” Derrik defended me.
Seemingly unable to respond, she huffed and stalked off, flipping her hair like a dramatic actress from a cheesy movie. Ignoring her, we walked to the center of the room to listen to the instructor.
“Welcome, new students! Ready to find out who you are?” The crowd cheered enthusiastically. “Today we will let you settle into your dorms or single apartments and get to know your training mates! Ages twenty through twenty-five are in the back left corner by Bob, and eighteen to nineteen please come with me.” We followed the instructor, Heather, to a big room.
“All right,” Heather said. “Here are your schedules for all of your training sessions. I will call you by name and you will receive your schedule.” She started calling us off one by one, and I ended up being last.
“Get used to being last, Miho, because that’s all you’ll ever be!” an evil voice roared behind me. I turned around to discover that it was just Sylver.
Feeling like a boss, I retorted, “Oh, Sylver, you’ve got to stop talking about yourself like that. Guys like girls with confidence.” The big bad wolf huffed and walked off once again, defeated.
“Miss Miho?” said a calm voice.
“Yes?” I answered.
“A word?” The tall stranger who had spoken, a man with glasses and dark hair, guided me into an office. “Please, have a seat.” Oh, boy. I’m in trouble on the first day? This can’t be good. I sat down in the designated seat.
“Miss Miho, I’ve done some research on your academics at Coiv. I must say, I’m quite impressed. Well done.” The stranger seemed intrigued, looking at my files with interest.
“Thank you, sir.”
“What are your plans after the Academy?” he asked quickly, almost cutting me off.
“Finding a job and keeping my mother out of my life. It's best for everyone, trust me,” I stated.
“Why’s that, Miss Miho?” he asked.
“It's a long story. I should be getting back to my apartment.” I tried to avoid the question.
“I'll give you enough time to settle in. Now, tell me dear. Why is it best for everyone that your mother stays out of your life? Who is your mother?” Dang it, now I have no choice. I have to answer it now.
“I’m afraid that if I tell you then you will kick me out the the academy.” He looked at me, practically leaning in to hear my thoughts. “My mother is The Black Widow. Before you freak out, I don't want to be anything like her. I want to be normal and help people.” I said on the verge of crying.
“It would be unfair for us to kick you out of the academy for your parents’ past actions. They don't make you who you are. You make you who you are,” the kind man said with a friendly smile. He walked me to the end of the hall and had a staff member bring me to the lobby. Derrik met me there.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked, concerned.
“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks,” I replied to his question.
“Wanna grab something to eat?” he asked, placing his hand on my back gently.
“I have to unpack and settle in. Thanks, though. Maybe tomorrow,” I stated, trying to be responsible. He walked me to my door.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then, Jae.” He smiled and then winked at me.
“See you,” I said, trying not to blush... but I did anyway.
“You’re too cute, Jae.” He laughed and walked off. Months went by so fast. I'm beginning to feel different, but in a good way.
Who I am
After months and months of training, my results still come back blank, except for one, which said “see the instructor now”. Who am I? When am I going to find out? I don't know. All I know is that I need to see the instructors in the office.
“Will Miss Shajae Miho please come to the office? Thank you,” the voice on the intercom said. Why does it feel like I've been called to the principal's office? Oh boy, I can't afford to be in trouble. Not right now, anyways. I walked to the office.
“What's going on? Are you in trouble?” Derrik looked really concerned as he walked with me to the office.
“I don’t know,” I clearly stated. I motioned for him to stay put and headed into the office.
“You, uh, wanted to see me?” I asked, extremely scared.
“Ah, Miss Miho. Please have a seat.” I did as requested. “Your training here at the Academy has been exceptionally successful.”
I tilted my head the way curious dogs do in movies. “But I thought that the results were coming back blank,” I stated.
“In the training room we made them blank because we’ve never had a trainee with so much going for them,” they clarified.
“What do you mean?” I was on the edge of my seat.
“Miss Miho, the test indicates that you are a dragon that can switch in and out of human form,” they stated.
“Oh my gosh... I'm dangerous. How do I get rid of this?” I was worried.
“You simply can’t get rid of who you are, Miss Miho. You are the first person here to be a dragon. We can train you to use your ability for good and not to hurt people. We know that's important to you,” they confirmed.
“How do I turn into a dragon?” I questioned.
“You should know. You’ve been in dragon form,” they told me.
“I have? When?” I asked.
“Yesterday. You thought about things you felt protective of, and then you turned into a dragon.”
“I don’t remember...”
“We have it on tape,” One of the people said in the room.
“May I see it, please?” I asked politely.
“Yes,” they showed me in my dragon form and I watched amazed. How many times have I done this? If my mother knows why hasn’t she used me for bad? Many more questions like that roamed in my mind. Will the citizens of Coiv think about a dragon living amongst them? I worried. I felt an urge to move out of there as fast as I could.
“Excuse me.” I said while sprinting out of the room. I saw Derrik and ran even faster to try to outrun him.
“Jae, are you okay?” I zoomed past him, “Hey wait up!” he ran after me to see if I was okay. All of the sudden I saw the earth in a different perspective. Was I floating? No, I was flying! I rose up and up and up until I could see all of Coiv. I saw Derrik, he wasn't fearful or trembling. I heard him faintly say ‘Jae, come down’. So I flew down to earth on all four legs. I stood way back because I didn't want him to be afraid.
“Woah, Jae! You're a dragon? This is the best thing yet! My girlfriend's a freaking dragon!” He shouted to basically all of Coiv and started laughing.
“Wait, did you just say ‘girlfriend’?” I asked, going back into my human form.
“Oh yeah, I did!” He grabbed me by the waist and hugged me firmly. “We’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple of days now. Don’t you remember?” he reminded me.
“Oh, sorry. I'm not used to being called that. I like it, it's just going to take some getting used too, that’s all. Plus a lot has been on my mind. What results came back for you?” I asked him.
“Oh, I’m just a human, I guess.” He seemed disappointed.
“Just a human? You are the best human being I have ever met! You are the reason I survived high school. I love you, Derrik. You are the best boyfriend I could ask for, and then some.” I looked at him straight in the eyes and hugged him. He grabbed my cheeks gently, kissed me right on the lips, and lifted me off the ground. I was speechless, not just because his lips were on mine, but all of the emotion rushing through my body made it hard to find words that described what I felt.
“Was that okay?” Derrik asked, concerned.
“The kiss? Yeah, it was okay,” I said, blushing.
“You’re so cute, you little blusher,” he teased about my red cheeks. We headed back to finish the rest of our training for the two year program.
On Our Own
Well, it's graduation time. I only found out that I was a dragon about a year ago. It's crazy how fast things go by. Derrik and I are finding an apartment off campus in Coiv, and we are planning on living there for a while. Yes, I know it's a big step in our relationship, but I think that we’re ready. Months later we found a two bedroom apartment downtown Coiv.
“Hey, baby. How are you?” He greeted, hugging me from behind and kissing my neck.
“I’m good, thanks. How’s the new sheriff of Coiv?” I asked, feeling really sexy.
“Stressed. There are threats from all over other realms. Like, realms with Giants and Goblins. I don’t think that my team is strong enough to fight beings like that.” I rubbed his shoulders and grabbed him a bowl of warm soup. “Here, honey. Love you.” I kissed him on the cheek and let him eat. I left in a rush, suddenly sensing something.
“Hey, where are you going?” he asked me with his mouth full.
“I'm gonna fly. I sense something.” I left with a serious look on my face.
I went to our roof and changed into my dragon form, and I saw danger coming our way. I released a roar and Derrik came to see what was going on. He heard the enemy chanting. “Men, assemble yourselves! We got danger!” he shouted into his walkie talkie.
The men ran toward the enemy but were immediately wiped out. Terrified, I froze there. Stuck in shock. But suddenly my dragon instincts kicked in.
“Everyone, get out of the way!” My throat turned yellow and orange, and I scorched the enemy with my flames. The survivors retreated, but I showed no mercy. I followed them to their homeland and scared the living daylights out of them until the land was ash. Now I know what I was made for. Now I know who I am. Now I know what I’m capable of, and I love it.
Or is it...?