Chapter 37 – New Feelings
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I have to run.

I knew the mages were skulking around, but why were they here at school? I quickly pushed my seat back, and it clattered to the floor as I scanned all around the inside of the library looking for an exit. One of the mages had just walked in the front entrance, and the clerks didn’t even react! Hello?! A creepy dude with a cloak and a magic staff just walked right past you!

A lump formed in my throat as I watched the mage, the same one that we had encountered on Sunday, peer around the library. His stare seemed to catch on a few of the other students sitting around, and my heart began to race as he crept ever closer to spotting me. If I snuck around the bookshelves near the back, he might not see me as I made my way around to the exit. The problem was… I shuddered as I imagined what would happen if he caught me.

My gaze flicked down towards the books scattered around on my desk. My textbook, my pencil case, and my all-important workbook. Since I had been sick the past few days, I needed a bit of time to catch up, so I was studying in the library.

Well… I usually studied in the library during lunch anyway, since I never had anything better to do, but… no, was it because I was sick? Or something else?

“Found you.”

The mage’s voice snapped me out of my train of thought, and I lifted my head up to see him staring at me. His blood-red eyes were filled with hatred as his eyebrows creased. The sclera shifted from white to black as he took one step towards me, the red of his irises matching the red glow seeping off of him.

My legs felt like they were filled with lead as he stepped ever closer, his menacing glare rooting me to the spot in fear. The red glow of magic seeped further off his cloak, slowly spreading further and further around him. The library was desolate, save for us two. Wasn’t it filled with people just before?

Mustering up as much energy as I could, I tore my eyes away from his, looking back down at my schoolwork materials. Should I take them with me when I run? My hands were shaking, so I didn’t trust in my ability to quickly pack them up. If I tried, I might have given the mage enough time to catch me.

If I left them here, however, would I be able to get them back? He’s from another world, so… would he even know what they are? I didn’t know what he would do to them, so I–

“Too late.”

My gaze snapped towards the sound of the mage’s voice, and I jumped back as I found him standing right in front of me. My heart began to race as he slowly reached out towards me, and my skin crawled as his hand got ever closer. The blood drained from my face, watching his long black claws stretch out, making straight for my throat.

“Flora!” Emily’s voice suddenly rang out from my side, and I peeked towards the noise to see her bounding forwards. “Run!”

“I–” I tried to move my body as she sprinted in my direction, but both my arms and legs refused to budge. What was I supposed to do? Closing my eyes as his black claws encircled my throat, I held my breath, fearing the worst. 

“Get away from my friend!” A blast of wind rushed past me, sending me stumbling sideways. I opened my eyes, quickly scanning around to try and make sense of my situation. Emily… I knew she would save me. She was standing in front of me, with fire swirling underneath her dress as it engulfed her tail. She looked so strong, with her hands on her hips and her fox ears standing upright, small wisps of flame popping up and fizzling out along the fur.

A gentle breeze kicked up around the inside of the library, causing our uniforms to flap about. I glanced in the direction the wind was coming from to see Zoey strutting forward, her hair glowing and fluttering behind her. “I’ll take it from here,” she said, smiling at the two of us. “And you can make sure our little spirit queen here is okay.”

Wait, what did she mean? Confusion and bewilderment set in as I watched her walk towards the mage, her confidence increase with every step. She held her hand out in front of her, and the air pulsed as she sent blasts of wind towards the mage, causing him to stagger backwards each time.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay.” Emily turned around, stepping closer to me as she blocked my view of the mage. “Zoey can take care of him. You’re safe now.”

Relief flooded through me as I listened to her voice, and I rushed forward, wrapping my arms around her. I just felt so… safe, when she was around. I couldn’t quite explain why, but…

“Woah, was it that scary?” As I closed my eyes, burying my face into her shoulder, I felt her hand softly touch my head. I squeezed her a little bit tighter in my arms, focusing on the sensation of her gently stroking my hair. She liked doing that, ever since… thinking about it, I couldn’t actually remember when she had started doing that.

“It was–I… I didn’t know what to do–it was really scary!” I bawled, crying from relief. The feeling of finally being safe in her arms had turned the tears on like a waterworks, and I felt her uniform get slightly damp under my face.

“Hey, you’re making my uniform all wet.” Her voice had a melodic half-joking tone to it, and she softly caressed my back as I clung to her.

“I don’t care!” I wailed, rubbing my eyes along her clothes to try and dry them. Why was I such a crybaby now? I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried that much.

“It’s fine,” she cooed. “Take all the time you need.”


After what felt like an eternity of clinging to her, I pulled away, my eyes widening as I spotted the two dark patches that had formed on Emily’s shoulder, thanks to my crying. 

“S-sorry, um,” I immediately apologised, looking around the room frantically as I tried to figure out a way to dry her clothes. Those were some… large tear stains I had left there. There’s something I can… I knew that I had dried her clothes at some point in the past, but… the actual method I used escaped from me. How did I do that, again?

“It’s okay,” she said, the biggest smile adorning her face. It felt like she was beaming as she stared down at me, and… was there a hint of pink on her cheeks?

I felt a blush rise to my own face as I watched her ears twitch adorably, her eyes glinting slightly as they caught the light from the nearby window. She took a step forward, the huge smile being replaced with something that looked a little more… tender? It always surprised me how she didn’t look ferocious when she was grinning, and her fangs were showing through. Somehow… she just looked cute like that. This expression, however…

“You’ve had it rough since your transformation.” She reached out, and I squeaked as she cupped my cheek with her hand. What was she doing?! Her cheeks turned further pink as she gazed at me, and… was it just me, or was there a longing look in her eyes? She leaned further forward, using her thumb to gently caress my cheek as she continued. “It’s okay. I said I would help you get used to being a girl, and…”

What was she… I felt a fuzzy power spread through my body as I slowly became more aware of the situation. Her face crept ever closer, and her eyes seemed to shine and glow with a multitude of colours. Or… was it me that was glowing?

“If I’m being honest…” She averted her eyes for a moment, her breathing turning a little bit raspy as her face shifted from pink to red. “You’re… really cute now.”

My heart instantly began to race. Not from fear, but from… if I was being honest, I didn’t know what feeling it was. The outside world seemed to dim slightly as Emily turned back to me, her ears twitching nervously. Her face was so close to mine! I could feel her breath on my lips, mingling with mine as I gazed at her eyes, unable to look away. The amber of her irises was so pretty, too… the way it subtly changed depending on where she was, and the way it caught the colours that shone off my hair… I couldn’t calm down. She continued inching ever closer, her lips almost pressing against mine, and then–


My eyes shot wide open, and I bolted upright in bed, my heart beating a million miles a minute. An explosion of what felt like electricity swirled around my body, warming me up and cooling me down at the same time. Small wisps of spirit energy flickered out of my body, lighting up the still-dark room as I stared at the blank wall in front of me.

Wh-wh-what was that?! She just… she was about to… Was she about to kiss me?!

I quickly reached around behind me, grabbing a pillow and squeezing it. I usually slept on the pillow that I had brought over from my old house, but the bed I was sleeping on already had a pillow, so Melissa had kindly left it there for me, if I ever needed it. In this case, it was already getting good use.

What even–what was that dream?!

My heart kept thumping in my chest as I clutched the pillow, though the electricity in my arms and legs faded to a gentle tingle. My face felt extremely hot, but my body started to cool down as I tried to steady my breathing. 

Why did I… I was acting like such a spoiled child! Why did I just hug her like that?!

I shifted my legs restlessly as they buzzed, the strange fuzziness lingering as it turned into a more gentle glow. The small spurts of energy escaping from my body slowed, fizzling out until the room was once again dark, save for the soft light shining off of my hair. 

I don’t… why did–I don’t get it…

I lifted the pillow up, burying my face into it and groaning as I tried to play back inside my head what had happened in my dream, looking for any possible explanation for the way I had acted. My eyes went slightly damp as I remembered the encounter with the mage, the anxiety from that time dully attempting to grab hold of me.

I had completely forgotten about the mages… we haven’t seen any of them since Sunday. Aren’t there meant to be multiple mages, too? I’m worried about the spirits… Aeriel should be fine, since she’s with Grace, but Mira…

Lowering my pillow again, I scanned around the room, trying to find where I had left my phone. The first edges of sunlight were peeking in through the window, outlining the curtains with the faintest hint of a yellow light. Spotting it in the corner of the room, the charger plugged in to the wall socket just below the windowsill, I lifted up the blanket to slowly slip out of bed.


My legs felt like they were made of jelly as I tried to put weight on them, almost crumpling to the floor once I had slipped off the bed. I wobbled upright, attempting to regain my balance as I fell back onto the mattress. The strange tingling that had gone on in my legs had made me lose all my strength, and I flopped onto my back, gingerly trying to pull energy out of my core so that I could start floating.

I can’t even walk… Fine, if I can’t walk, I’ll float.

As I slowly and shakily floated off the bed, I rolled over, trying to twist upright. The last time I had floated was on Sunday, back in the shopping centre, so I felt somewhat out of practice as I wiggled my way into a comfortable position in the air.

At least… this way I don’t have to worry about my legs not working!

I made my way over towards where my phone was lying on the floor, forming a small ball of spirit energy next to me to light my way there. It took me a few tries to pick it up, as the first few times I reached out for it, my hand went straight through it.

Right… the weird materialisation thingy–I know I did it before…

Finally managing to pick up the phone, after what felt like several minutes of groaning and failing, I flipped the screen open to check the time. Twenty past six… there’s still a lot of time before I need to get ready for school. Navigating to my inbox, I read through the texts Grace had sent me once again.

She never said what it was that she found… does it have to do with the whole ‘portal’ thing? Everything was a bit hectic when we moved everything to Emily’s place, so it completely slipped my mind to go and check the backyard. Was there some remnant of the portal, or something?

Laying my phone back down on the floor, so that it could continue charging, I floated back to my bed. It was still quite early, so even if I didn’t go back to sleep, I figured that the extra rest would be useful.

That would be… actual concrete proof that something had happened. So far, all we’ve had to go on is a few dreams, and these crazy transformations that all of us went through. If we could find a way to reopen the portal, maybe…

Slipping under the covers, I tossed and turned as I pulled all of the spirit energy I was using to float back into my core. The same fuzzy feeling from earlier resurfaced, and I struggled to get comfortable again.

N-no, that’s probably a bad idea. The portal was small enough the first time, and there’s already been enough magic that’s been sucked through into this world. Plus… how would we even do that? If I’m remembering my dream correctly, the mages were the one that opened the portal, and they had to hijack an already existing one!

I paused for a moment, halfway through my train of thought as I realised just how silly everything seemed.

Look at me, realistically thinking about this crazy fantasy stuff as if it’s just… normal. What has my life even come to?

As I wriggled around in bed, still trying and failing to get comfortable, the sound of the window latch made me pause. I lifted my head up, staring at the curtain, and watched as it slowly billowed out, accompanied by a small, energetic voice.

“C’mon–just a bit… there… I’m inside!” Mira’s head poked around from behind the curtain, and she scanned around the room, her expression instantly brightening up as she spotted me. “Mum!”

Her soft voice abruptly cut off as she tumbled ungainly into the room, landing on the floor with a gentle thud. She quickly scrambled upright, dusting off her dress and scurrying towards me.

“I’m back,” she quietly exclaimed, glancing for a moment in the direction of Emily’s room. “I had an adventure!”

“Welcome back… Mira…” My voice was a little croaky as I replied to her, thanks to how dry my throat was. I need something to drink…

“Um–can I…” As she approached the edge of my bed, she hesitated, shifting back and forth on her feet as she averted her eyes. A slight redness rose to her cheeks, and I blushed as I found myself comparing it to Emily’s flushed face from my dream.

No, it’s not the same… she’s just shy and embarrassed. She really is like a kid… my kid, or something.

I lifted up the covers of my bed, swirling out a thinly-spread pool of spirit energy next to me. She’s been away from me for ages, so she probably needs to recharge. I don’t know if this will help, but…

“Th–thank you… Mum…” After a moment of looking on in wonder, Mira dived into the bed, curling up next to me like a cat. “I’ll…”

Her voice trailed off as she settled down, her body soaking in the spirit energy I had left for her. Her eyes slowly flickered shut, and her breathing gradually steadied as she tried and failed to stay awake.

“I’ll… tell you about my adventure… later…” Within just a few moments, she had fallen asleep next to me, her sleepy breathing echoing around the room.


I have a bunch of stuff that I need to tell her, too.

Gingerly shuffling onto my back, I stared at the ceiling, the warmth from Mira’s fire affinity making me just a little bit sleepy too.

I need to introduce her to Amelia, at some point… preferably in a place where Amelia won’t be startled. She’s still getting used to everything, after all.

Yesterday evening had been fairly quiet, after Zoey’s slightly strange reveal. She clarified soon after what she meant by being able to “tell how plants feel”, but that only added to our confusion.

“It’s like–I don’t know… like, the plants in Elena’s office,” she had said, awkwardly flailing her arms around. “It startled me when it first happened, but… I just looked at it, and I could tell like–the condition it was in, whether it needed water, or sunlight… or whether it was happy.”

During her explanation, Amelia had been listening with great interest, her face turning a little pink at the mention of how Zoey could tell a plant’s mood.

“You okay, Amelia?”

“I-I’m fine!” she was caught off guard by Emily’s sudden question, flinching and fidgeting with her hair as she tried not to look at Zoey.

The rest of the evening we had spent just relaxing, until Melissa arrived. She gave both Zoey and Amelia rides to their respective houses, so it was just us three for dinner.

“I’m sooooo curious about what’s going to happen.” Emily had been a little restless as she saw them off, staring out of the window at Melissa’s car, her tail swishing back and forth.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Zoey just said that she can tell how plants feel. Amelia is a dryad, so she’s basically a plant and a person, right? What do you think is going to happen when you put those two together?”

Her restless energy had continued throughout dinner, to the point where she wouldn’t settle down even as we went to bed. Isn’t she worried about Amelia? She has to tell her dad about… the whole dryad thing… and what about Caitlyn, too…


The same worries from yesterday vaguely tried to resurface in my mind, bogged down as drowsiness swept over me. I hope everything went well for her… and she figures out something she can do to hide her vines… maybe with makeup, or something? I don’t know anything about makeup… though… maybe Emily would? I should ask… My thoughts trailed off into nothingness as sleep overtook me once again.




“Time to wake up!”

Emily’s voice floated in through my door, energetic as per usual. Shaking off my previous drowsiness, I gingerly climbed over Mira as I made my way out of bed. The curtain she had pushed aside as she came in through the window was still in the same spot, and the sunlight streamed in through the gap beside it.

Too bright…

Shaking my head vigorously in an attempt to wake myself up, I took one look back towards Mira, still curled up in the same position as before. She showed no sign of moving, so I stepped towards the door, intending to quietly slip out towards the kitchen.

“Oh, morning.” Opening my bedroom door, I found Emily standing just outside, seemingly waiting for me to get out of bed. She was standing extremely close, and I almost collided with her on the way out.

Instantly upon seeing her, the image of her gently cupping my cheek jumped back into my mind. I stumbled back as the memory of her face inching ever closer replayed inside my head, and I felt my cheeks instantly heat up, the same almost electric sensation from earlier returning.

How… how am I supposed to face her after a dream like that?!

She spun on her feet upon seeing that I was awake, strolling off towards the kitchen without a care in the world as she called out behind her. “Come on, we need to go pretty soon.”

Wait–don’t just leave me here with all these new feelings that I have no idea how to deal with!