A Trial of Fear (Part 3)

Zola rolled her eyes, then growled under her breath, “you love nothing and no one.”

“Well… That’s just cruel!” He bellowed before laughing.

The pair edged closer to the guild, the giant building singing of magic. As they entered hundreds of youths stared at them, their eyes full of mild panic and fear.

“They look like you…” Eloy muttered, scanning the young mages for potential.

Zola saw his knowledgeable gaze, the age in his eyes making her shiver. She wondered what he thought of her, would he pick her out of the crowd for her magic?

She shook herself, not wanting to become even more worried.

“I will find you later,” he ruffled her hair which made her growl, “don’t push yourself too hard.”

It was an order, and one she refused to obey.

Finding a vacant corner of the room, she sat down, letting herself fall silent.

It was time.

With a sigh, she went into her mind. Zola pushed out the worry, the fear and anxiety. Then, when she was completely empty of emotion, she looked for her magic. It tingled, feeling like tiny spikes gently grazing against her skin. Some said it hurt, but she didn’t think of it as a pain, it was more of a… Annoyance.

“The trial is starting!”

The yell made her lose concentration, her magic disappearing with a shudder. She gritted her teeth, the tiny spikes digging into her skin due to her lack of concentration. Come on Zola, she hissed, get it together.

Standing, she followed the mass of bodies into the giant hall that had been chosen for the entrance exam.

Although the crowd was filled with people her own age, she still felt isolated, her head only just reaching many of the mage’s shoulders. Zola deflated, her golden hair beginning to glisten with sweat.

“Good morning mages!” A voice boomed.

Everyone span, hitting Zola’s tiny form as they searched for the voice.

Idiots, she thought, the chooser would not be that easy to find.

“The test is simple, find me and you win!”

“But there is only one of you and thousands of us,” one of the youths screamed, angry at the contest.

The voice laughed, then hissed, “if that’s what you think then you have already lost!”

Suddenly the room disappeared, and thousands of bodies tumbled into a void of sticky darkness. They screamed, some voices shrill and others full of a husky fear.

Zola didn’t scream, but she did fall head first, her body dancing like a rag doll in the frozen air. Without a second thought she pulled out her magic, the thorns escaping her back in a mass of bark and leaves.

She created wings.

Born from the earth they pulled at the air until she gasped, their strength changing her fall into a glide. With a sigh she caught her breath, the looked down at her opponents.

She growled. Only a handful had stopped falling so far, but that wasn’t the cause of her anger, they were all staring at her with hunger.

Damn it, Zola, she thought, fearing that her display of power had been reckless.

Using her wings, she pushed up, but the others were too quick. A boy with dusty red hair had begun using bark claws to scale the side of the pit, the wood creating a shrill squeal against the rock.

 

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