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They Said Sophomore Year Was Killer

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  1. Fairies at Cloud Tower

 

 

 

 

The auditorium of Cloud Tower was packed as the witches filed in, some chatting about what they did over break, some wondering what announcements would be made that day. Valkyrie just leaned back in her seat, her hands playing with the pendant Flora had given her. Crystal chuckled, nudging her.

“She’s really special if she can get you to wear her jewelry.” Crystal teased. Valkyrie just gave her a smile, a bit of red touching her cheeks.

“You’re just jealous it’s too late for us now.” Valkyrie teased back. Lucy shook her head, taking the seat by Valkyrie.

“I’m just glad we all had a safe vacation.” Lucy cut in. Crystal groaned.

“Mostly safe… There was a moment when I thought my brothers were going to try and kill my boyfriend…” Crystal crossed her arms. “Like, why are boys so ridiculous?”

Lucy and Valkyrie shared a look and shrugged. “As the lesbians in this circle, we have no idea.” Valkyrie spoke.

“Yeah… There’s a reason we deal with girls… Boys are a bit much.” Lucy teased. Crystal playfully hit them both.

“You’re useless to me. Both of you are just useless.” She snorted. A hush quickly fell over the auditorium as Ms. Griffin stepped up to her mic.

“Ladies, I’m here to inform you of a… Minor change in plans for the first part of this semester… We will be hosting a group of Alfea fairies. They’ll be here to learn a little bit about dark magic so they can better understand how beings like Lord Darkar work.” Griffin started.

There were a few hisses and boos and Valkyrie had to force herself to stay quiet in her seat, hands gripping her arms tight enough to leave marks.

“I know, I know… It’s not what you want to hear, but it’s for the best. Because we worked together to defeat the Army of Darkness and the Trix coven, we survived last year. If we wish to survive Lord Darkar this year, we have to work with the fairies again.”

“There will be no hexing or cursing of the fairies while they are here. I want to send them back to Faragonda in one piece… Do I make myself clear?” Griffin asked.

The room chorused with ‘yes headmistress’ and a few ‘fines’. She gave a bit of a smile. “Good. Now that that is settled, everything else will go as scheduled. Have a great first day back.” Griffin and the teachers began to file out, leaving the witches to wrap their heads around fairy exchange students.

Seeing this as her chance, Valkyrie made her way down to the center, mic in hand. She let her power fill her and a roar echoed in the room, silencing the witches. “Glad I have your attention, ladies, because I have a few rules when it comes to the fairies.”

“One. Pranks are fine. But they cannot impede the fairies’ work ethic or ability to fight. Two. No fighting with the fairies outside of the field. No challenging the fairies either. And three… Flora is off limits. End of discussion. Any questions?” Valkyrie asked.

“What if we don’t like your rules? What are you going to do about it?” A blonde witch asked. Elizabeth, Valkyrie realized, and a former friend of the Trix coven. Valkyrie smirked, raising her hand.

The witch began to screech, holding to her arms as her body turned red with heat. Valkyrie put her hand back down, and Elizabeth went back to normal, panting and holding herself. “If you don’t like my rules, tough. And I think I just answered the question about what will happen if you don’t follow my rules.”

“I’ll boil you from the inside out, turning your own magic energy against you. And if any of you try to hurt Flora, well let’s just say you’ll wish I only challenged you. Do I make myself clear?” Valkyrie growled out.

The other witches gave silent nods, a few helping Elizabeth up. “Good. Dismissed.” She watched as the witches began to scramble, all except for Crystal and Lucy who had their arms crossed.

“You know, for a hot second there, you really were Ms. Griffin.” Crystal shook her head. “Though the threats were a little more severe.”

“Yeah… And when did you learn that boiling spell?” Lucy asked. Valkyrie flushed and Crystal swore.

“Dragon knowledge?”

“Dragon knowledge.” Valkyrie gave a shaky laugh. “But I had to make them listen… And most witches only listen to power moves.”

“As long as you know to pull back before you actually kill someone.” Crystal warned. Valkyrie gave a solemn look.

“I know how to do that. Trust me.” She gave a wink. “Now I’m going to wait in the lobby for our fairies to arrive, you’re welcome to join me.”

Lucy smiled. “I think I’ll join… Just to see if Mirta’s with them.” Crystal rolled her eyes.

“You two have fun. I’m heading over to Red Fountain. Kota’s taking me biking.” She gave a grin. “And I’m beyond ready to see how fast those levibikes can go.”

“Just try not to wreck.” Valkyrie teased, hugging her friend. Crystal snorted.

“I’m not the one that’s danger prone.”

 

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Valkyrie and Lucy greeted the Winx as they arrived, grinning when they noticed Mirta and Morgan were in tow. “Welcome to Cloud Tower ladies, we’re going to show you the ropes.” Valkyrie smiled.

Stella wrapped her arms around herself. “Right… Quick question… Are the other witches going to do anything to us or can we relax a bit? Because I don’t feel comfortable letting my guard down in a place like this…”

Lucy snickered. “Don’t worry, Valkyrie’s got the whole school under her thumb. They know better than to mess with any of you.”

“Valkyrie, what did you do?” Mirta asked, crossing her arms. Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile.

“Nothing that anyone can prove.” She pushed her glasses up, clearing her throat. “Why don’t we start with a tour…? I know Flora, Morgan, and Mirta know the layout pretty good, but I’m sure the rest of you could use a guide.”

“As long as you don’t lead us into the dungeons, I’m cool.” Musa half-joked.

“I’m interested in seeing your archives… I mean, I know we were there before, but this time we won’t be on a time crunch.” Tecna pulled her database up. “I know it’d be helpful in our quest…”

“Please tell me I get a single room…? I’m going to need all the beauty sleep I can get in this place.” Stella complained. Flora shook her head.

“Oh Stella, Cloud Tower isn’t that bad. You should see the gardens and the courtyard, it’s actually really pretty.” Flora took Valkyrie’s hand. Morgan smiled.

“I know the potion’s lab is awesome. Aunt Zarathustra promised to show me how to make some blast-back potions.” Morgan gave a little cackle. “I’ll be unstoppable with those.” Valkyrie rolled her eyes.

“If you say so, Cousin.” She looked to Layla and Bloom. “Anything you two are particularly interested in seeing?”

“You guys have a gym? Because I know Alfea’s is pretty good, but I need something a bit more… Risky.” Layla asked. Lucy smiled.

“Oh we have a gym… And it could be considered risky… You can fly faster than Screechers, right?” Lucy questioned, trying not to laugh at the look Layla gave.

“I’m just interested in surviving… I can feel so much negative energy here and I’m mostly sure that it’s not just you…” Bloom gestured to Valkyrie. “But I guess Cloud Tower is where the most negative point in Magix is….”

“Don’t worry Bloom, you’ll be able to handle the negativity.” Valkyrie gave a wink. “Let’s start our tour…”

 

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The classrooms weren’t impressive to the fairies, but that was reasonable, given that most classrooms tended to look similar.

Stella actually enjoyed the kitchen though, surprised by the sweets and serving sizes. “How is it you guys seem to have better food than Alfea?” She asked. Lucy shrugged.

“I think it had something to do with Bittersmoke before he retired…” Lucy answered. Mirta hummed.

“I thought it was because of Discorda…?” The redhead scratched her head. Bloom frowned.

“Discorda?”

“The pixie that stays here… She’s… Famous for her sweet tooth. Which is exploitable if you need help with assignments.” Valkyrie explained. “But be warned, she’s not like most pixies… She’s… Very witch-like for something with wings.”

“Basically she’s Valkyrie if Valkyrie were any shorter and grew wings.” Morgan teased, giving a little shriek as Valkyrie shoved her.

“Let’s just move on…” Lucy laughed, starting the group toward the hallway…

Just as predicted, Flora and Morgan loved the potions’ lab and herbology garden, taken away by how efficient it was. “Papa would so freak if he knew Aunt Griffin was holding out on him.” Morgan gasped.

“I’m half tempted to cut my wings and transfer.” Flora joked. Valkyrie kissed her cheek, squeezing Flora’s hand.

“No need for all of that… I happen to like your wings.” Valkyrie teased, grinning as Flora nudged her back.

Layla enjoyed the gym. A little too much… It took most of the group to push her out, promising to bring her back later.

Stella had to admit the courtyard and gardens were lovely… “For dark realmers, anyway.”

The field had everyone’s attention. “How does it work anyway?” Musa asked. Valkyrie stood in the center.

“Simple, you fight a creature with a barrier surrounding you. The barrier goes down if you beat the creature or the creature beats you. You’re graded on how fast you can defeat the monster, what technique you used, if you improved from last time you faced a monster, and if your spells were effective.”

“Think of it as an alternative to the Magical Reality Chamber.” Mirta offered. Flora looked to Valkyrie, gesturing to the marks on her arms.

“I take it that’s how you get hurt?” Valkyrie gave a slight smile.

“Sometimes… Sometimes I’m a bit… In over my head….” Valkyrie admitted. Lucy snorted.

“Sometimes?”

 

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The dorms were the last stop. “Here’s the hall you guys will be on… Crystal and I are right there and Lucy is there.” Valkyrie gestured to the rooms. “So if you need us, we’re here.”

A meow came from the hallway, Cheshire sitting in front of Valkyrie’s room. Valkyrie sighed. “One of these days I’m going to figure out how you keep slipping out of there.” She warned. Cheshire just yawned and stretched, strutting over to Flora and weaving around her legs until she picked him up.

“He just wanted to say hello…” She showed Cheshire to Layla. “This is who I was telling you about, Layla… Valkyrie’s familiar…”

Layla frowned. “Familiars are similar to pixies… Right? A witch bonds with a creature and they sort of… Help each other?”

Valkyrie seemed to weigh that down, thinking of the words to say. “Sort of… No every witch has a familiar, but those of us who do… Tend to be more…” She paused. “Witches aren’t the most adept with emotional security… We’ve been conditioned for so long that emotions are sort of… Weak…”

“So familiars sort of help us with emotional support… They’re a bit of a new thing… But it’s to help us learn more about ourselves… If that makes sense…?” She swore. “My grandmother is so much better at explaining than I am…”

“Speaking of the pixies… Why didn’t you bring them?” Lucy asked, looking at Mirta, specifically. “I was kind of looking forward to showing Cherie around Cloud Tower.”

Mirta and the other fairies looked to the ground. “We felt it’d be safer for them at Alfea… In case some of the witches tried to retaliate…”

“Yeah, we weren’t expecting Valkyrie to… Take us under her wings…” Bloom half-joked. “I mean, we know she’s protective of us, but we figured she’d let Cloud Tower do its thing.”

“Oh I will. All I did was warn against actually doing something to hurt you. Pranks are fine… But actually trying to maim any of you?” Valkyrie shook her head, letting a little flame come to her palms. “Not going to happen.”

“Valkyrie…” Flora gave her warning tone. Valkyrie gave a sheepish smile.

“What? I just want to make sure we get you guys back to Alfea in one piece.” Valkyrie placed a hand over her heart. “Isn’t that okay?”

“Just don’t lose your temper.” Flora warned, taking her hand.

“So what now? Do we just hang out or…?” Musa asked.

“Explore if you want. Dinner will be 6, try not to be late because my mom does an internal head-count to make sure everyone’s there.” Valkyrie warned.

“Yeah… Aunt Griffin has a thing about making sure everyone is where they’re supposed to be… She’s… Protective. Not as bad as Valkyrie, but yeah…” Morgan added.

“And curfew?” Stella asked,

“Curfew is midnight, so as long as you’re in your room by then, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Get caught after curfew, and it could be a warning or a punishment, depending on who catches you.”

“Zarathustra is the worst, by the way. She can’t be reasoned with like some of the other teachers.” Lucy warned. Mirta flinched.

“Yeah… I once got caught sneaking in a late-night snack and she caught me… I had to stay up all night and help with the dungeon monsters.” Mirta shook her head. “Not a fan.”

“And tomorrow, we start our classes…” Layla shook her head. “Never thought I’d have classes at a witch school.”

“We never thought we’d host fairies either, but here we are.” Crystal told them, coming up the stairs. “But hey, don’t cause trouble, they’ll be no trouble.” She looked to Stella. “I’m mostly speaking to you because I remember you have a bad habit of trying to tell others how to dress.”

Stella gave a sheepish smile, twirling her bangs. “Can I help it if style is my passion?”

“Just try to tone it down while we’re here Stella, we don’t want to start anything.” Tecna warned.

“Yeah. Having witches gang up on you isn’t cool. Trust me.” Musa laughed.