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Book 1: Fuoco e Acqua

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Stella was understandably distraught when she was told that her ring was destroyed the day before. 

 

“We’re really sorry about it, Stella,” said Bloom, as she tried to comfort her.

 

“Yeah, it was totally an accident,” Musa added, “We didn’t mean for it to be crushed by those witches.”

 

Stella sniffed, and wiped the tears from her eyes, “I-It’s okay you guys, I don’t blame anyone of you for what happened.”

 

“But it was a priceless artefact, passed down your family for generations! How will your parents take the news?” Bloom asked.

 

“I’m pretty sure Daddy’s going to be furious,” Stella admitted, “But I don’t think he’s going to take it out on me. He’s a very understanding person.”

 

“I sincerely hope so,” Musa bit her cheek.

 

At the same moment, Flora and Tecna entered the infirmary.

 

“Any luck?” asked Bloom.

 

Flora shook her head, “No, it's as if he doesn’t want to be found.”

 

“You know, to be honest, I can’t really blame him,” Tecna admitted.

 

“Why?” asked Musa.

 

“Do you remember the first time we saw him covered in blood?” Tecna asked, and when everyone nodded, she continued, “We didn’t know how he came to such a state. But yesterday, we were all present when he literally pulled the blood out of Icy and Stormy. If I want to be very honest, it was extremely unsettling to see such gore happening in front of my eyes. He probably remembered what he did when he regained consciousness, and thought it was best if he kept his distance for supposedly traumatising us. If I were in his position, that would have been a logical decision.”

 

Bloom was quick to jump to Midoriya’s defense, “Even so, it’s not like the Trix didn’t deserve it! They threatened to kill Stella if we didn’t hand over her ring.”

 

“But there was so much blood though…” Flora shuddered at the memory.

 

“I think we should all take a step back here,” Musa interjected, “There is no doubt that we are all affected by the Midoriya’s gruesome torture of the Trix. But, and I want everyone to be very honest here, does this change the way we see Midoriya?”

 

The Winx all glanced at one another.

 

“This doesn’t change how I see Midoriya as a person and a friend,” Bloom said first, “Bloody or not, he is not a monster to be reviled.”

 

“I’m with Bloom on this,” Stella went next, “I don’t care what Midoriya did. The fact of the matter is, I was saved thanks to his and everyone’s actions yesterday. If anything, this totally bumps up my view of him as a friend and roommate!”

 

“What about you, Flora and Tecna?” asked Musa.

 

The tanned brunette swallowed, steadying herself, “What he did terrified me, but I firmly want to believe he is still the good friend that we spend time with together, share jokes with and learning to become true fairies with. And you’re right, Musa, he did it to save Stella.”

 

“It’s illogical to let superficial emotions get in the way,” Tecna remarked, “Midoriya only used this new blood-bending power to punish the Trix, not to hurt us. And I’m significantly certain that he will never use such painful torture on us no matter the disagreement or conflict. Shunning him is not only stupid, but potentially dangerous if we consider all the possible factors.”

 

“Then I think we should all go look for him,” Bloom declared, “We need to make it clear to him that we are still his friends and we don’t think any differently about him.”

 

“But where do we start?” asked Flora, “Tecna and I have checked pretty much the entire campus for him.”

 

The Winx eyed one another.

 

“What do people do to take their minds off of things?” asked Tecna out of the blue.

 

“I guess they do the things they love?” Musa replied.

 

“Midoriya loves to hang out at the library…” Stella recounted, “And perhaps the gym?”

 

“We just came back from the library,” Flora said, “He wasn’t there.”

 

“Then we should check the gym,” Bloom concluded, “If he isn’t there, then we’ll split up. Hopefully we can cover more ground that way.”

 


 

Together, the Winx arrived at the Alfea gym. Judging from the lack of noise, their initial thought was that it was empty. But upon stepping inside, everyone quickly noticed a familiar green-haired teen sitting at the other end of the gym, near a rack of dumbbells doing bicep curls, completely unaware that his privacy had been broken.

 

Bloom glanced at her friends, and nodded. Leading the group, they approached their fellow Winx carefully.

 

“Hey, Midoriya.”

 

Said teen jumped, almost dropping the dumbbell. But when he turned around to face the one who called him, all the blood drained from his face and his eyes became stricken.

 

“B-Bloom-san…”

 

“We were looking for you,” the redhead made sure she had a reassuring aura.

 

“I-I see,” Midoriya swallowed, quickly putting the dumbbell back onto the rack, “Well...I should get going then…”

 

He tried to move past the Winx, but Bloom stopped him, “Midoriya please, tell us what’s wrong. We promise that we are not angry with you or anything.”

 

Midoriya had an uncertain look, “You sure…?”

 

The Winx all nodded resolutely, though no one expected Midoriya to suddenly release the waterworks, “I-I thought y-you all repulsed me. I o-only realised that e-everyone saw w-what I did t-to the Trix w-when I woke up i-in the i-infirmary a-and overheard Nurse Ofelia t-talking with H-Headmistress Faragonda a-about it. I-I thought n-none of you would w-want anything to d-do with m-me because I a-allowed myself to a-act so monstrously. I t-thought - ”

 

Midoriya was cut off when Bloom suddenly hugged him, “No! None of that is true! Midoriya, don’t think for a second that is true! We don’t think any differently with you. You are still our friend, and that’s all that matters.”

 

“Totally true!” Stella added, throwing herself into the hug, “You saved my stupid ass and taught those horrible bitches a lesson they’ll never forget! A little bit of blood ain’t gonna change anything between us!”

 

Musa, Flora and Tecna quickly joined the hug. Surrounded by the care of his friends, Midoriya smiled wobbly, tears threatening to spill again, “You guys...I really don’t deserve you all.”

 

“Oh hush, just be loved by all of us,” Musa chuckled.

 

Any doubt left behind was quickly flushed away, and Midoriya was basked in his friends’ supportive warmth, reminding him firmly that he truly deserved them all in his life.

 


 

Like always, life re-settled into a new normal after that little hiccup.

 

Well...almost normal.

 

The day after the Winx reaffirmed their strong friendship, Midoriya was called to the Headmistress’ Office during the middle of potions class. Entering with a budding trepidation that he had done something wrong, Faragonda welcomed him in, reassuring the trembling lad that he was not in trouble. Instead, she wished to discuss with him about his blood-bending powers.

 

The entire meeting would take almost an hour. Faragonda asked several leading questions, and Midoriya responded truthfully. After some consideration, the headmistress came to the conclusion that such deadly power was only triggered under particularly strong negative emotions. While she couldn’t test this theory without potentially endangering a life, Faragonda instead focused her attention on how to mitigate the possibility of accidental outbursts.

 

In the end, she proposed weekly sessions where she will guide Midoriya on how to control negative emotions better, thus giving him a stronger hold over the blood-lust swirling in the deepest recesses of his mind.

 

Midoriya readily agreed to this.

 

When she released him, it was lunch-time, so Midoriya went to join the Winx at the first-year table. Reassuring them about his meeting with Faragonda was nothing to worry about, he took his seat and the conversation shifted in a different direction.

 

“Actually, remember that question I asked last night?” Musa enquired.

 

“What question?” Tecna asked, swallowing her food.

 

“The one about why the Trix were so desperate to get their dirty fingers on Stella’s ring?”

 

“Oh yeah, that.”

 

“I’m curious too,” Flora added.

 

“Do you know why, Stella-san?” asked Midoriya.

 

“I...actually have no clue, to be honest,” the blonde put her fork down, “All Daddy told me was that the ring was passed down from the first Queen of Solaria to her daughter, the first Princess and heir to the throne. And that only princesses are able to wear it and utilise its full power.”

 

“Maybe the library has some clues?” Bloom suggested.

 

“We do have a free period before Professor Pachola’s lesson,” Tecna remarked, “We better make full use of it.”

 


 

“Here it is again,” Bloom noted, her eyes catching on a page in the thick tome she was reading.

 

The Winx all looked up from their books.

 

“Well, don’t leave us hanging girl,” Musa pushed, “Tell us the 4-1-1.”

 

“Okay,” Bloom nodded, “According to the book, the ring is so powerful because it was forged directly from the energy released by a sun during solar flares, which the realm of Solaria uses as its main power source. However, what’s really interesting is that some scholars say the ring is extra unique because it’s made of the same cosmic power that created these two legendary creatures called the Great Dragon and the Mystical Phoenix.”

 

She turned to Stella, “Do you know about this?”

 

“Well yeah,” the blonde nodded, “I know all about the solar flare stuff, but the other stuff makes me think I should have it reappraised.”

 

“I think the part about the Great Dragon and the Mystical Phoenix is the main reason why the Trix were after the ring in the first place,” Midoriya put forward.

 

“But what do we know about these two creatures?” asked Tecna.

 

“That’s the thing,” Bloom closed the tome, “When I looked up the Great Dragon and the Mystical Phoenix, all I found was a reference to a restricted book and it would only show me one four-line paragraph. It’s said that although there is no proof of this, and that it is only a myth, the Great Dragon is supposed to have created the entire magical dimension. However, there was no information about the Mystical Phoenix.”

 

The Winx glanced at one another, unsure of where to progress from there. 

 

Tecna checked her watch, “Whatever it is, we should put away the books now. We only have ten minutes before the start of Professor Pachola’s lesson. If we don’t hurry we’re going to be late.”

 

The books were put back into their original places, the Winx gathered their things and departed from the library. Bloom and Midoriya took the back of the group, where the latter noticed the redhead had a pensive look.

 

“Penny for your thoughts, Bloom-san?”

 

“I gotta find out more about this Great Dragon and Mystical Phoenix,” she replied, “Maybe there’s a way to convince that restricted book to let me read more than a paragraph.”

 

Midoriya was about to reply when an unfamiliar voice suddenly made the Winx stop in their steps, “The Great Dragon and the Mystical Phoenix?”

 

Everyone turned, stiffening as Faragonda approached the group.

 

“Y-Yes,” Bloom struggled to find her words, “W-We were researching about the Ring of Solaria, and they came up a few times in several books. W-We were curious about them, t-that’s all.”

 

Faragonda nodded serenely, “Come with me back to my office, Ms. Bloom and Mr. Midoriya. I might be able to tell you both something about what you seek.”

 

Bloom and Midoriya glanced at one another, before turning back to their friends. Tecna gestured for them to go, so the pair quickly chased after Faragonda, who was already some distance ahead.

 


 

“So what is it that you want to know about the Great Dragon and the Mystical Phoenix?” asked Faragonda as she and the two students sat down.

 

“Ever since the Ring of Solaria was destroyed,” Bloom began, “we wanted to know why the Trix were so desperate to get their hands on it.”

 

“And when these two creatures were mentioned,” Midoriya continued, “we believed that they were the key for the Trix’s motives. But we couldn’t find any other information other than that paragraph from the restricted book.”

 

“I understand your predicament, you two,” Faragonda steepled her hands together, “Even I don’t know the full contents of the book that you mentioned. However, at one point it did show me two chapters. From what it revealed to me, it described the beginning of the magical universe, which was created by an immense solar explosion. And from that fiery starlight an enchanted dragon was born. The dragon then used her fire to create all the different realms and planets that made up the dimension we know today.”

 

Bloom and Midoriya nodded.

 

“However, when these worlds were created, they did not immediately become the bearers of life that we see everyday. No, instead they were monstrous places - barren, cracked earth, hellish temperatures and volcanoes that were constantly erupting, spewing magma and poisonous gases into inhospitable terrains unsuitable for even the smallest life-forms to make their home. That was when the Mystical Phoenix was created. Born from a similar explosion of solar energy that created the Great Dragon, the phoenix is not the same as the fiery avian we know today. He was brought to life when a chunk of ice from the cold reaches of the universe melted with the fire to create water, which became his physical embodiment. The phoenix used his tears to cool down the fledgling worlds, allowing the beginnings of life to form and spread. At the end of their journey, the dragon and the phoenix arrived at a world that would become Domino, the centre of the magical universe. They made it their home, and eventually became one with the very planet itself.”

 

“Amazing…” Midoriya was awed.

 

“That is so cool!” Bloom exclaimed, “Where is Domino? Is it real?”

 

The temperature of the office suddenly plummeted, and Faragonda took on a sombre expression, “It was, Ms. Bloom. However, Domino doesn’t exist anymore.”

 

“W-What?” Midoriya gasped, “But how?”

 

The headmistress adjusted her spectacles, “It is said that a coven of evil witches went to Domino seeking the powers of the dragon and phoenix for themselves. When they failed to get them, they destroyed the entire planet.”

 

“Oh no!” Bloom cried.

 

“What about all the people?” asked Midoriya worriedly.

 

“We don’t know,” Faragonda admitted, “Though what is evidently clear is that Domino has remained empty and in ruins ever since that fateful day.”

 

Silence befell for a moment.

 

“Before I let you two go, I need to ask you, Ms. Bloom,” said Faragonda, “How did you get into the restricted section of the library?”

 

Bloom winced, thinking she might be in trouble, “I-I’m not entirely sure. I was just thinking about looking for information about the Ring of Solaria when the gates opened. Out of curiosity I went inside and the book came to me.”

 

Faragonda leaned back, eyes deep with understanding, “Then you were meant to go in.”

 

Bloom turned a questioning glance at Midoriya, who returned her confusion at the headmistress’ cryptid words with a clueless shrug. Then, the school bell rang.

 

“You two better hurry along,” said Faragonda, “I don’t want you to be late for your next class.”

 

“Thank you, Ms. Faragonda,” said Bloom, as she and Midoriya stood up, “And thank you so much for enlightening us.”

 

The headmistress nodded, and dismissed the two teens. Once they were gone, she stood up from her desk and walked to the window, gazing out with a deeply pensive look.

 


 

Bloom and Midoriya later passed on the revelations to the rest of the Winx in the privacy of their dorms when lessons finally came to an end for the day. While they were shocked and saddened about the destruction of Domino, the point of the matter was that they were still nowhere near to finding out the true motive of the Trix, or what the powers of the Great Dragon and Mystical Phoenix were - the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears, as they dubbed it.

 

In the end, it was decided to put everything on hold for the time being. It was almost time for dinner, and there were other priorities such as a quiz on Practical Spells the next day that was worth a significant percentage of their grade. 

 

So life carried on for the Winx.

 

And across the lagoon at Cloud Tower, the same was happening for the Trix.

 

Icy and Stormy were still sore from their recovery after Midoriya’s blood-bending torture the day before, and were, naturally, in very foul moods. It didn’t help that they had to lie through their teeth to explain why they were in such near-death states, and the healer still eyed them with a little suspicion when they were dismissed.

 

“I hate this! I absolutely fucking HATE THIS!” Icy screamed.

 

“All that trouble only to have the ring destroyed, and getting our asses kicked,” Stormy whined, wincing from her aches, “Can this get any worse?”

 

“Actually, I don’t think so,” Darcy suddenly said, piquing the other two witches’ attention, “The ring may have been destroyed, but that doesn’t mean that the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears we are seeking aren’t just infused in the ring.”

 

“And where do you suppose we should start looking for the source of these powers then?” Icy snapped.

 

“I might have an idea,” Darcy continued, holding down the urge to slap her fellow witch, “You know those Whisperian Crystals that we were given at birth? We could-”

 

“Ugh,” Stormy rudely interrupted, rolling her eyes, “You mean those useless children’s toys?”

 

“Can’t you come up with something better?” Icy demanded.

 

“If you would let me finish you motherfucking whores,” Darcy hissed, “We could use the crystals when they are connected to locate any great source of power, including the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears.”

 

Icy and Stormy glanced at one another.

 

“Then why didn’t you say that earlier?!” Icy snapped.

 

Darcy growled, “You weren’t paying attention, you little bitch.”

 

“Alright, alright,” Stormy interjected before a fight could break out, “enough, let’s just focus on getting this done. And before we go, may I suggest we do it in the forest? There are too many power sources in Cloud Tower.”

 

“Good point,” Icy nodded, before turning to Darcy’s closet, “Knut!”

 

Said ogre tumbled out, releasing a cloud of noxious gas into the room, “W-What is it?”

 

The Trix gagged at the smell.

 

“Fumigate the room, and hurry up!” Icy ordered, “We’re going to the forest.”

 

“Y-Yes, your evilness! Right away!”

 


 

One week would pass without major incident. Stella slowly got accustomed to using magic without her sceptre, but having used it her entire life meant it took a lot of getting used to physically feeling magic for the first time in years. While her grades took a tumble during the Practical Spells quiz, the Winx were determined to not let their friend lag behind. Every day, they would practice utilising magic with Stella and run through the curriculum to help her catch up.

 

It was slow-going, but it at least helped the blonde to maintain a good foundation.

 

The Trix also seemed to keep their distance, though Midoriya wondered if it was only a matter of time before they attempted to strike again. If their actions in Stella’s kidnapping were any indication, not even blood torture is enough for them to learn their lesson.

 

Then came that particular Friday.

 

At breakfast, Faragonda suddenly stood up and called for the dining hall’s attention.

 

“Everyone, I have an important announcement to make, so please listen up,” she began, “With the exception of morning classes, all lessons in the afternoon will be cancelled for everyone today.”

 

There was a great whoop of cheers as all three year-levels, save for the Winx. As this set-up was similar to the time the first-years had that outdoor lesson in the Black Mud Swamp, they quietly waited for the other shoe to drop.

 

“However, as is a tradition every year at Alfea, each and everyone of you will be assigned a challenging task, that must be completed without the use of magic,” Faragonda continued.

 

The response was mixed. The first-years in particular looked aghast at the idea of doing something without magic, while the second and third-years seemed rather nonchalant about it, presumably having experience in such an exercise before.

 

“Ms. Griselda will facilitate the delegation of the tasks starting from the end of lunch time. The first-years are to see her first by dormitory at 1pm, second-years at 1:15pm, and third-years at 1:30pm. I hope everyone will do their part to take this seriously, for this is an important lesson for everyone that magic cannot be taken for granted. And, after all, I hear that there are multiple sales, concerts and events happening in Magix tonight. So if you all do a good job this afternoon, consider the evening your reward. That is all I have to say.”

 

Faragonda sat down, and conversation picked up again among the students.

 

“I wonder what we’re going to be doing?” Bloom wondered.

 

“Beats me,” Musa shrugged.

 

“I just hope it won’t be that difficult,” Stella pursed her lips.

 

Difficult or not would turn out to be very relative for the Winx when the afternoon rolled in and it was their turn to meet with Griselda. The head of discipline eyed the group with her typical stern severeness, which to the Winx’s credit, they did not flinch or wither under.

 

“For you all, your task would be to maintain the general upkeep of the classrooms, lecture halls and staircases,” she told them.

 

‘At least she didn’t tell us to clean the entire campus…’ Midoriya thought to himself.

 

“As Headmistress Faragonda said earlier, you will not be allowed to use magic in your task,” Griselda continued. She clapped her hands three times, and a swirl of magic was produced. Out of thin air, a series of brooms, mops, buckets, clothes, cleaning liquids and dustpans materialised. “These will be your work tools.”

 

Tecna raised an eyebrow, clearly haven’t seen such items before, “Huh, what strange objects…”

 

Midoriya and Bloom were mildly surprised that their tech-savvy friend had never heard of cleaning supplies before, but then rationalised that there were more high-tech methods of cleaning on Zenith. 

 

Tecna pulled out a device and began typing in it, hoping to get a better understanding of the tools presented to them, only for Griselda to push down the lid with a finger.

 

“I forgot to mention, you are not allowed to use technology either.”

 

“But why?” Tecna asked back.

 

“Don’t worry Tecna,” Musa chuckled, “Let us neanderthals teach you the ways of the past.”

 

That got the Winx, sans Tecna, laughing. Tecna scowled, “It’s not funny. You’re all being irrational.”

 

Griselda wasn’t affected by the joke, “Everyone, I will be conducting an inspection later this evening, and everything better be clean. Now get going.”

 


 

The Winx split up into two groups. Flora, Tecna and Midoriya went to clean up the staircases, while Bloom, Stella and Musa went to start with the lecture halls. They would meet up later to clean the classrooms together.

 

With the first trio, they went to the main atrium to get working. Tecna was still eyeing her bucket, broom and cleaning liquids with apparent confusion.

 

“Do you want us to show you how to do it?” asked Flora.

 

“No, that won’t be necessary,” Tecna shook her head, picking up her bucket and pouring out the contents, “I’m sure I’ll be able to figure out how to use these primitive instruments.”

 

“Are you sure?” Midoriya pushed, an amused grin appearing at the sight of Tecna putting the bucket onto her head like a hat.

 

“Of course!”

 

“Are you really, really sure you don’t want our help?” Flora had a teasing edge to her urging.

 

“Don’t worry you two,” Tecna replied firmly, “I can handle this situation.”

 

The fairy of technology picked up a broom, felt up the bristles, and to the amusement of Flora and Midoriya, raised it up and began brushing a painting that hung on the wall.

 

“See? I think I got it.”

 

“Oh yes,” Flora replied sarcastically.

 

With the irony completely going over Tecna’s head, she continued brushing the painting even harder, until suddenly, it was knocked off its hook and sent careening to the stairs below. There was a loud shattering of glass, and the splintering of wood. Midoriya sweatdropped at the ruined painting lying in pieces at Tecna’s feet.

 

“Oops...I may have done something wrong.”

 

Flora chuckled exasperatedly, “Do you want our help now?”

 

Tecna sighed, “I...suppose I do.”

 

Midoriya checked their surroundings, before releasing a stream of magic. The glass and frame re-pieced together, and the restored painting was levitated up to its original spot and left there as if nothing had happened.

 

“I can’t believe that we’re forced to do this!”

 

“Yeah totally! Why should we do this menial work anyway?”

 

“Did you hear that?” Flora asked her friends.

 

“That sounds like Dahlia and Amaryl,” Tecna replied.

 

Putting their cleaning equipment down, the trio hurried to the door and peered outside. True enough, it was Dahlia, Amaryl and another girl called Tamara from their class. Their own cleaning equipment lay haphazardly and abandoned off to the side.

 

“Why don’t we just leave this to the losers to finish? The Winx seemed so determined to get their jobs done anyway,” Tamara smirked.

 

“I like that idea,” Dahlia laughed, tossing the bucket she was holding to the side, “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

 

The three girls quickly made a dash for the front gates across the courtyard, leaving Flora, Tecna and Midoriya to stare in disbelief and outrage.

 

“I can’t fucking believe them!” Tecna swore.

 

“I am truly at a loss for words,” Flora frowned.

 

“Flora-san...Tecna-san...I need you two to hold me back,” Midoriya growled, his eyes flashing red, “I will not be held responsible for what I do if you don’t.”

 

The two girls quickly grabbed the seething male and led him back into the atrium. They waited for the bubbling anger to cool down before letting go.

 

“I can’t believe that after so many incidents, Dahlia and her friends still haven’t learnt their lessons on being decent people!” Midoriya ranted.

 

Flora sighed, “I know, it’s a travesty.”

 

“Let’s just forget about them,” Tecna crossed her arms, “If Griselda finds out that they are skiving off, we’d better stay as far away from the coming explosion to not get caught in the crossfire.”

 

“But will Griselda only punish those three?” Midoriya pointed out, “What if she punishes the entire first-year cohort collectively?”

 

“Hmm,” Tecna rubbed her chin, “You do have a point there.”

 

“Maybe we should tell her,” Flora suggested, “That way we’d protect ourselves from the blame.”

 

Tecna and Midoriya assented to that.

 


 

Meanwhile, in one of the lecture halls, the other half of the Winx were hard at work cleaning the rows of seats.

 

With one notable exception.

 

“Stella, didn’t we agree that you were going to clean the floor?” Bloom wiped her brow, casting an irritated look at the prodigal blonde from her spot wiping down the seats.

 

“Just a sec, Bloom,” said Stella distractedly, too busy filing her nails, “I gotta get my nails just right.”

 

“Oh for fuck’s sakes, Stella!” Musa snapped, “How does getting your nails right equate to getting a job done?!”

 

“Well excuse you,” the blonde huffed, “I don’t want to break a nail.”

 

“We are breaking ours!” Musa was inching ever closer to losing her shit.

 

Bloom sighed, “Leave her alone, Musa. She’ll get to work when she’s ready. We’ll just do what we can in the meantime.”

 

The redhead uncapped a bottle of orange-coloured detergent and poured a generous amount into a bucket of water. Then Musa stomped over, “But that’s so unfair! Why should you do someone else’s work?”

 

“Alright! Alright!” Stella scowled, “I’ll do it. Just teach me how to clean the floor, ‘cause I’ve never had to do anything of the sort before- .”

 

The blonde was suddenly cut off when a splash of soapy water drenched her to the bone.

 

“H-Hey!”

 

The culprit, Bloom, smirked, “Sorry, could you repeat that?”

 

“Good one, Bloom!” Musa snickered.

 

“Oh yeah? Well I’ve got some for you too!” Bloom chuckled, throwing the rest of the water onto Musa, kicking off a water fight that would carry on for several minutes. Water was flung left, right and centre, shouts and squeals echoing as all three girls got soaked like drowned cats. 

 

Eventually, all three girls collapsed out of exhaustion. And that was how Flora, Tecna and Midoriya found them when they came to check on them several minutes later.

 

“Whoa, what happened here? A typhoon?” asked Tecna.

 

Stella came back to the world of the living, “Oh, nothing much. Just working something out, am I right?”

 

Bloom chuckled, “Yeah…”

 

“That’s right!” Musa sat up from her sprawled position over the lectern. Then she noticed the repressed angry look on Midoriya’s face, “Uh oh, I sense something happened on your end?”

 

Midoriya huffed hard, “Fucking Dahlia, Amaryl and Tamara decided to play hooky and run off to Magix instead of doing their fucking tasks.”

 

“Wait what?” Bloom started.

 

Flora wrapped a comforting hand on Midoriya’s shoulder. Tecna continued, “We brought this up to Griselda, and while she said she’ll deal with those three, she made us do their jobs as well.”

 

“What?! But that’s so unfair!” Stella exclaimed.

 

“Well somebody had to do it,” Flora sighed, “But still, what in the world did you three do here? This place is a wreck!”

 

“At this rate, we’ll never get this part of the job done,” Tecna remarked.

 

Stella suddenly had a brainwave, “Hey! What do you say we ask the Specialists to join us?”

 

“Yeah, we can do that,” Flora said, “And then when we get caught we’ll be grounded till we graduate.”

 

“Well I think it’s a great idea,” Bloom rebuffed, “They can help us with the cleaning!”

 

“But isn’t that cheating?” Tecna questioned, “And the whole grounding business?”

 

“No it isn’t,” Bloom shook her head, “Griselda said no magic or gadgets. She did not say no additional help.”

 

“We’re just taking advantage of her words,” Midoriya added, “If she tries to say otherwise, we can hit back by claiming she wasn’t specific about the rules in the first place.”

 

“Of course!” Stella agreed, “And when we’re done cleaning we can throw a nice party!”

 

“I thought you’d be interested in the sales happening in Magix?” asked Tecna with a raised eyebrow.

 

“I would be, if I hadn’t already gotten the clothes ahead of time,” Stella giggled, “Being the Princess of Solaria does have its perks, you know?”

 

“In that case, I think it’s a great idea!” Musa punched her fist into the air.

 

“Quick! Let’s call them to see if they are free,” said Flora.

 

“On it,” Midoriya nodded, whipping out his phone and typing in Rykios’ number.

 


 

Across the lagoon over at Cloud Tower, the students and staff were tucking in to dinner in the expansive, multi-levelled dining hall. It had a glass roof, and each level had multiple circular platforms where tables and chairs stood. Conversation echoed and overlapped each other, though some voices could be heard louder than others.

 

“Ugh!” Stormy groaned loudly, slamming her fist onto the table, “Those Whisperian Crystals were as good as trash!”

 

Several heads turned, including a pair of freshmen witches seated two levels below the Trix.

 

“Fear not, Stormy dear,” Icy smirked, “Though the crystals were not completely accurate, we did narrow down a possible source at Alfea.”

 

At the mention of the college of fairies, one of the freshmen witches, a shy girl with short burgundy hair named Mirta, looked up from her meal. Her friend, Lucy, also looked up, her attention piqued.

 

“But what if the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears aren’t in Alfea?” asked Darcy.

 

“Then we’ll just trash the place,” Icy cackled, “Powers or not, we are still the three most powerful witches in the realm. Plus, it’s not like we’re not up to causing chaos wherever we go, am I right?”

 

Mirta didn’t like what she was hearing, and stood up.

 

“Why do we hate the fairies of Alfea so much? I mean that just sounds extremely petty and old-school.”

 

All eyes turned to Mirta, including the Trix. Icy sneered, “Who is this wet-behind-the-ears freshman talking to me?”

 

“I’m just saying,” Mirta pushed forward, “in some ways, I think Alfea’s kind of rockin’.”

 

A moment of silence.

 

Then Stormy snorted, and  burst out laughing - a cruel, derisive laugh. Like a row of dominoes falling, the other witches began laughing too. In a matter of seconds the entire dining hall (save for Lucy and the staff, who merely watched on with thinly-veiled contempt) was laughing at Mirta, who winced under the mocking response.

 

“Who let this wicca wannabe in here anyway?” Stormy pretended to wipe away tears, standing up and leering down at Mirta with a sickly-sweet tone, “You’re just so alternative, so cutting edge. Why don’t we open Pandora’s Box and love each other...not!”

 

Mirta felt the beginning of tears prick at her eyes.

 

“Aww, look at that,” Darcy lilted, “the poor thing is embarrassed.”

 

She clicked her fingers, and an indigo blob of matter appeared at Mirta and Lucy’s table. 

 

“Let me help you save face.”

 

Before Mirta or Lucy could react, the blob expanded and shot towards the former. It encircled Mirta’s head, cutting off her airflow. Falling to the floor, she scratched and grabbed at the blob, desperately trying to pull it off her before she suffocated. Lucy rushed to her friend’s side and tried to help.

 

“It’s not funny! She can’t breathe!”

 

Darcy clicked her tongue, “Stupid freshman, everyone knows that Goo Blob only lasts a minute.”

 

Sure enough, the glob vanished from Mirta’s head only seconds later, finally allowing her to breathe. As she coughed and hacked, Lucy was quick to help her up and sit her back down to compose herself.

 

“Attention witches! I have an important announcement to make!” the sudden echo of Headmistress Griffin’s voice silenced the raucous laughter as she appeared before the school, “Thanks to some bumbling fool the Magix Stadium has been double-booked for some wretched music concert that the fairies and specialists will be attending tonight. As such our ‘Money for Monsters’ fundraiser event has been forced to move to the Magix Elementary School auditorium, so plan accordingly!”

 

Griffin turned on her heel and disappeared, her grumblings about stupid fairies trailing as she went. The Trix turned to one another with devious glee.

 

“Tonight’s our night then,” Icy cackled, “With the entire school empty, it will be ours to destroy!”

 


 

Back over at Alfea, with the sun setting and most of the school (save for the Winx and a few stragglers who didn’t want to leave campus) in Magix spending a well-earned evening out, a certain band of Specialists came zooming in on their leva-bikes towards the front gates. Bloom and Stella were there to meet them, and bring the Specialists inside, while the rest got ready for their arrival.

 

Musa pulled out a mop from a bucket, and slapped it to the floor, “My philosophy is - everything goes better with music, even cleaning floors.”

 

Flora hit the play button of a high-tech music player, and an uptempo pop song began echoing throughout the atrium. It was also at the exact moment that Bloom and Stella led the Specialists in. Immediately, curiosity gave way to confusion.

 

“Wasn’t this supposed to be a party?” Riven groused.

 

“It will be,” Midoriya replied, coming forward with several mops in hand, “as soon as we finish cleaning. Head’s up!”

 

He tossed each Specialist a mop. Brandon caught his haphazardly, as did Timmy. Sky and Rykios caught theirs smoothly, the latter throwing a nod back at Midoriya. But Riven didn’t bother catching his, letting it clatter to the floor.

 

Midoriya eyed the fallen mop, “You know what?” He flicked the bird at Riven, “Fuck you too.”

 

Flora turned the volume wheel, “Let’s crank it up!”

 

Musa spun her mop, “And get this cleaning party started!”

 

What followed was something akin to organised chaos. Everyone (sans Riven) combined working to clean up the atrium while having fun together. Bloom and Brandon danced and mopped at the same time. Sky guided Stella on the proper way of mopping. Musa attempted to get Riven into the groove of things, but the boorish redhead was not having it, much to her annoyance. Tecna and Timmy got into a playful clash of mops, while Rykios chased Midoriya around in a game of cat-and-mouse, using their mops as improvised scooters.

 

The last pair’s fun came to an abrupt end, however, when Midoriya’s mop suddenly slipped on the wet floor, throwing him forwards. With a shriek, he hit the floor with a loud thud. Rykios swore under his breath as he rushed up to the green-haired teen.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“Just peachy, Rykios-san,” Midoriya replied with a chuckle.

 

Off to the side, even Kiko was having his own fun, copying Rykios and Midoriya’s game by sliding around the wet floor like an ice-skating rink. 

 

With (mostly) everyone’s effort, the atrium was cleaned in just under half an hour. Keeping away the cleaning equipment, the group got ready for the real party. While the Specialists snuck down to the kitchens to grab some snacks and drinks, the Winx went to change into more party-like clothes.

 

Once everyone was back in the dorm, the party was underway.

 

“The cleaning is finito and it’s time to get this party rockin’! DJ Musa is at the table, so let’s see…”

 

Musa sifted through her music playlists, smiling when she found the right tracks, “Tunes for the east wing!”

 

One of four music players started playing.

 

“The west wing!” 

 

The second hit it up.

 

“The north wing!”

 

Followed by the third.

 

“And the south wing!”

 

The last player slid into the scene, and it was time to dance!

 

The Winx and the Specialists converged into the middle of the common room and burst into moves. Laughter and cheers echoed as everyone worked their stuff. 

 

“You go, Stella!” Bloom cheered.

 

“You too Bloom!” the blonde replied, before realising something, “Wait a sec, why are you dancing with me? Get on over there, I know you’ve been eyeing Mr. Blondey all night long!”

 

Bloom blushed, “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about...”, choosing instead to divert her attention to Rykios and Midoriya bumping their butts together in time with the music.

 

Stella elbowed her friend, “Pointless gawking is only gonna get you so far, Bloom! Don’t be afraid to get what you want, so ask Brandon to dance with you!”

 

Meanwhile, out in the empty courtyard, the Trix materialised out of thin air with a loud crack of Stormy’s magenta lightning. They immediately heard the music echoing faintly in the quiet night.

 

“Ugh, what is that hideous noise?” Darcy scoffed. She looked up, the only set of windows with the lights on catching her attention, “It seems to be coming from up there.”

 

“I thought you said the school was going to be empty?” Stormy questioned Icy.

 

The witch of ice rubbed her chin, “It seems I was mistaken. Let’s go see who it is.”

 

Altogether, the Trix levitated up from the ground towards the lit windows. Hiding behind the balcony, they peered into the room.

 

Icy sneered, “Of fucking course, it’s the blasted Winx and those lousy Specialists.”

 

Unaware that their party was being spied on, Timmy tried to start up a conversation with Tecna as they watched the others dance, the only pair not doing so save for Rykios and Midoriya, who were by the tables getting themselves drinks.

“Would you like to dance?” the bespectacled Specialist asked.

 

“Oh...well,” Tecna replied a bit haltingly; not used to face-to-face conversations, especially with those of the opposite sex, “Dancing isn’t really my thing, and besides...I don’t know any dance steps.”

 

Timmy adjusted his spectacles, easily reading her body language, “Well I know an easy solution to this. Step one: don’t dance. And that’s all you have to do.”

 

It wasn’t the best joke, but Tecna laughed nonetheless. 

 

Then Riven had to go spoil things.

 

“Whoa Timmy,” the maroon-redhead scoffed, “Keep falling like that and we’ll have to start calling you Timber.”

 

Timmy flushed in embarrassment. Tecna glared, “Don’t listen to that bastard, Timmy.”

 

Before Riven could bark back a retort, a full cup’s worth of soda was flung at his face. Midoriya stood in front of the spluttering redhead with his own glare, “That was fucking uncalled for, Riven. Next time, keep your dirty mouth shut if you can’t find it in your nonexistent brain to say anything decent.”

 

Rykios quickly led the irate teen away from any possible explosion, “You shouldn’t waste your drink on him, Midoriya.”

 

“It’s fine, we have a lot of soda anyway.”

 

Riven had all the mind to give Midoriya a taste of his fist, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to get a punch in without Rykios handing him his ass in retaliation. The dark-skinned Specialist has always trounced him in hand-to-hand combat and weapons spars at Red Fountain, so while Riven was impulsive, he had enough brains to know that getting into a fight with the one Rykios cares about the most is not the best idea. 

 

And let’s not forget the Winx would desecrate his corpse should he attempt anything either.

 

So he remained where he stood, doing what he did best - brooding alone.

 

Until Brandon approached him, “I’m having fun. What about you?”

 

Riven scoffed, “That makes one of us.” He headed towards the balcony, “I’m going to get some air.”

 

Realising that they were about to be discovered, the Trix disappeared from the balcony, teleporting back down to the courtyard just as Riven stepped out.

 

“That was too close,” Icy muttered.

 

“Should we go?” Darcy asked cautiously.

 

“Because of those fuckers?!” Icy snapped, “Absolutely not! I want the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears. And I would rather freeze in the ice of Hel before I let a group of freshmen pixies get in my way!”

 

“Me too,” Stormy agreed, “When we get our hands on them, we’ll be so powerful they’ll be naming entire realms and worlds after us!”

 

“So let’s conjure the Whisperian Crystals,” Icy said, “They’ll lead us straight to the source of the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears.”

 

“But what about the fairies?” Stormy asked, “Are we just gonna let them party like they are all that?”

 

Darcy had a response to that, “I’d say we summon a Cretian Minotaur from limbo and have him crash their party.”

 

“Absolutely despicable idea, Darcy,” Icy assented, “But first, the Whisperian Crystals!”

 

The Trix stood in a triangle shape, and summoned their respective dark powers. From translucent spheres, the crystals were produced. At first glance, they appeared to be nothing more than pretty perfume bottles with threads of light encircling them, but were among the most powerful weapons a witch could use. The Trix raised their hands as one, the crystals rising together in a triangular formation.

 

Together, they chanted the incantation, “Energies of the Chaos unite.  Form the Whisperian Triangle. Let the many cease to be, and bear one power unto me!”

 

On their command, the three crystals became connected to one another by crackling bolts of magenta electricity. They came together, and formed a shining orb of light. The orb then began travelling away from the Trix.

 

“Let’s go!” Icy commanded, and they quickly flew after the orb.

 

“It’s going through the wall,” Darcy noticed.

 

“Not a problem,” Icy drawled, snapping her fingers, “Pass us through us!”

 

A swirling tunnel of glowing blue energy appeared before them. The Trix phased through the wall harmlessly, entering into the atrium where the Winx and the Specialists had cleaned before their party.

 

Touching down, Icy turned to her fellow witches, “Ready to crash those little pixies’ party?”

 

Darcy and Stormy nodded. With the orb of light shining above them, the Trix joined hands and formed another triangle. Icy chanted in an ancient language, “Inyat ye soronum, mythos konos factos!” before switching back into English, “Creature lost in the maze of mayhem, cross the void!”

 

From their feet, a black aura rose, before the floor disappeared into a swirling mass. From the infinite depths of limbo, rose a towering and horrendous minotaur. It had thick blue skin, four massive arms with fists double the size of large boulders, and blood-red hair all over its body.

 

It let out a loud roar, stamping it’s hoof angrily.

 

“Pretty cute, don’t you think?” Icy smirked.

 

“Totally,” Stormy crooned.

 

“You know what to do, big guy,” said Darcy, and as if following her order, the minotaur let out a grunt and raced up to the Winx’s dormitory.

 


 

Completely ignorant of the coming danger, the Specialists were in the midst of telling the Winx of a particularly exhilarating training session they underwent the year before.

 

“...even after all that, there were still ten Frost Giants left,” Timmy recounted.

 

“Wow! You guys must have been freaking out!” Bloom was amazed, inching ever closer to the edge of the sofa she was sitting on with Brandon. Stella cast a subtle wink to Midoriya, discreetly gesturing towards the pair.

 

“We rightfully were,” Sky nodded, “Those things have biceps the size of oak trees!”

 

Flora, though, was a little suspicious, “Frost Giants are usually very friendly…”

 

Midoriya raised an eyebrow, “Did you lot do something to provoke them?”

 

“We didn’t!” Sky defended himself, “We were just very unlucky to encounter a particularly temperamental herd.”

 

“Hey, do you want the last sandwich?” Stella offered the platter.

 

“No thanks, Stella,” Sky politely shook his head, “Though I am kinda thirsty.”

 

“Oh! No worries, I’ll be right back!” Stella put the platter down and went off to get a pitcher of juice. She returned with said pitcher in hand, and went to pour some into Sky’s offered cup.

 

That was when the entire dormitory shook, as if an earthquake was rolling in. Rykios immediately wrapped his strong arms around Midoriya. Flora almost lost her balance and grabbed the sofa end to steady herself. Stella dropped the pitcher, quickly holding onto Sky’s arm, while Musa, who had been standing up to change the music, held onto the table to stop herself from falling. Riven was not so lucky, falling onto his bum the moment the tremor rolled in.

 

“W-What’s going on?!” Midoriya squeaked.

 

“Maybe a dragon got loose?” Flora put forward.

 

“Can’t be,” Timmy shook his head, “We just maintained the security gates at the stables in Red Fountain. There’s no way one of them could have escaped.”

 

“I’ll go check outside!” said Stella.

 

As she went to the balcony, she scanned the surroundings, “Well...I don’t see anything. Maybe someone left their TV on?”

 

Tecna wanted to point out that leaving an electronic device on couldn’t possibly cause a noticeable tremor when a teacher’s desk went careening right out of a classroom window across the courtyard from the dormitory, splintering into pieces on the ground below. 

 

Stella flinched back, “Or maybe not…”

 

Riven, who had gone to the balcony as well, whistled loudly. All five leva-bikes which were parked below rose up to the balcony, and the Specialists all hopped on. They quickly rode across the courtyard to investigate the disturbance, leaving the Winx to hurry out of their dormitory to catch up to them.

 

“This way, Winx! C’mon!” 

 

They caught up in record time, joining the Specialists in the classroom.

 

“What’s the deets?” asked Musa.

 

“Half the wall is gone,” Brandon remarked.

 

The damage spoke for itself. As the blonde Specialist noted, half of the wall was demolished, and the rest of the classroom was completely trashed, as if a tornado had gone through it. Desks and chairs were thrown all over the place, light fixtures hung limp and broken, and the blackboard had several dents marring its surface.

 

“What kind of creature could have done this?” Timmy wondered.

 

“Something big, and extremely heavy,” Tecna replied.

 

“Oh yes, tell me something we don’t already know,” Riven scoffed.

 

Tecna, along with the rest of the Winx, scowled, “Fine, it’s a little over three metres tall, and weighs more than a tonne. It’s fur or hair is bristly and not at all soft. It walks upright on two legs, has horns alongside multiple clawed limbs or appendages, and it gives off a foul odour akin to rotting compost. Are you satisfied now, Riven?”

 

Riven was both affronted and astonished, while the Winx laughed at his expense.

 

“Need some ice for that burn, dickhead?” Stella snarked.

 

Another tremor, this time stronger, prevented Riven from biting back. 

 

“Okay, that’s it,” Brandon muttered, turning to his comrades, “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!”

 

The Specialists all unsheathed their weapons, and hurried deeper into the building.

 

“Wait! We’re coming with you!” said Bloom.

 

“No,” Riven shook his head, “Stay out of this and go hide, little fairies. This ain’t a job for you.”

 

The Winx all stared at Riven in disbelief and outrage as he rushed after his comrades.

 

“Is he fucking serious?” Musa bit out.

 

“Whatever, we shouldn’t be wasting time with that motherfucker,” Midoriya pushed down his anger, “MAGIC WINX!”

 

The Winx transformed, and flew off in a different direction. Just missing them, the Trix followed the orb of light in the opposite direction. They watched it closely, immediately noticing an increase in it’s speed.

 

“We must be getting close to the source,” said Icy.

 

It appeared so, until all of a sudden, the orb just stopped.

 

“Why did it stop?” Darcy wondered.

 

Suddenly, there came a noise that clearly wasn’t the minotaur they just sicced upon Alfea.

 

“Someone’s here,” Stormy hissed.

 

They didn’t need to worry (except for Icy) as the noise was just from Pepe, the little duckling that had somehow managed to follow them from Cloud Tower.

 

“Quack quack, Mommy!”

 

“Oh, it’s just that duck,” Darcy sighed in relief.

 

Pepe waddled up to Icy, and hugged her boot lovingly. Icy growled, “I...HATE DUCKS!”

 

She let out a scream, and yelled, “Ice Coffin!” Pepe was immediately encased in a cube of ice, and sent sliding down the corridor with a well-aimed kick.

 


 

In a different section of the campus, the Specialists entered a room where they believed whatever was trashing the place was last inside of, which was the second-year potions laboratory. Despite it being in near-total darkness, it was not difficult to see that the lab had been utterly decimated. And judging from the lack of noise, the creature was no longer hanging around.

 

“Give us some light, Timmy,” said Sky.

 

“Sure thing,” Timmy nodded, fishing out a torch from his pocket. Pressing a button, a shining orb of light shot out of the torch and brightened. The trashed state of the room was illuminated for them to see.

 

“This thing’s a wrecking machine!” Brandon exclaimed, Riven grunting in assent.

 

Rykios looked up, noticing a giant hole in the ceiling, “It went up there.”

 

“This thing’s got jump too!” Sky remarked.

 

“Then let’s get moving,” said Timmy.

 


 

Meanwhile, the Winx were flying down another hallway towards a set of stairs.

 

“It’s gotten really quiet…” Flora remarked.

 

“Maybe it went away?” Bloom tried to be hopeful.

 

“Doubt it,” Midoriya shook his head, “The air is still really unsettling.”

 

“Maybe it’s from all the food you scarfed down?” Stella tried to lighten the situation with a joke as the Winx cleared the stairs and headed down the corresponding corridor.

 

“It’s not from food -” Midoriya retorted.

 

“Everyone be quiet,” Musa suddenly ordered, “Do you guys hear that?”

 

The Winx glanced at one another.

 

“I don’t hear a thing,” Stella shook her head.

 

“Perhaps if we all had sonar hearing like Musa we would,” Tecna replied.

 

Musa would have retorted that her hearing was just as normal as everyone else’s when she suddenly flew into something hard, and had bristly fur.

 

Her eyes widened, “Um guys...I think I just hit the ass of our party crasher!”

 

The hulking mass of muscle turned around, and from the moonlight coming through the windows, it confirmed Musa’s worst suspicions. The Winx huddled together in fear as the minotaur advanced upon them, letting out an almighty roar and sending spittle all over Stella, who had the unfortunate luck to be caught in the front.

 

“Oh that is fucking disgusting!” the blonde screamed, “You’re so gonna get it!”

 

Stella unleashed a ball of light at the minotaur, but it didn’t do anything other than enrage it further. Stella quickly realised her mistake, and tried to back away.

 

“Run!” Tecna screamed.

 

The Winx all booked it, flying as fast as they could down the hallway as the minotaur chased after them. Again, they just missed the Trix as they phased up from the floor.

 

“I don’t get it,” Stormy remarked, “It’s like the powers keep moving.”

 

As they flew, Flora looked back. The minotaur showed no signs of slowing down, so she released her magic, “Vine Wall!” . A thick wall of vines shot up from the floor to the ceiling, blocking the minotaur. But it ultimately served no barrier as the minotaur demolished it with its horns, and continued its chase. One by one, the Winx hurled all kinds of attacks on the minotaur, but they either bounced off the creature or made it angrier. 

 

“Musa-san! Watch out!”

 

Musa, who was at the back of the group, realised the minotaur was catching up fast and about to gore its horns through her body. With a yelp, she did a mid-air backflip, her feet landing on the minotaur’s back. Kicking hard, the monstrous creature was sent careening forward from the inertia, crashing onto the floor with a great rumble.

 

“Now that’s my kind of party,” came a grating, yet welcome voice, “Looks like we got here just in time.”

 

The Winx all sighed in relief as the Specialists came out of the darkness together.

 

“Good backflip, Musa!” Brandon flashed a thumbs-up. Musa smiled in appreciation.

 

The minotaur picked itself up, and Riven came forth, “Hey you with the ponytail! If you want a real challenge, get your fat butt over here!”

 

Not giving the creature a chance to attack, Riven charged the beast, swinging his blade wildly. Amazingly, the minotaur dodged all the attacks, and charged at Riven, forcing the Specialist to jump back to avoid the four fists promising serious injury.

 

“I think you need a hand there, bro!” Brandon rushed up with his sword and shield.

 

“Just focus on protecting your prince, squire boy,” Riven retorted, getting back up.

 

“Hey! Don’t hog all the fun!” Sky brandished his sword.

 

“Leave it! I can handle thi-”

 

Riven was too preoccupied with arguing with his comrades to notice the incoming fist. All it took was one powerful punch for Riven to go careening through a window and hitting the floor of the adjacent classroom hard, the impact knocking him out instantly. The rest of the Specialists were unable to retrieve their comrade as they were forced to fight the minotaur head-on.

 

“You know,” Stella remarked as the Winx watched the boys butt heads with the beast, “they’ve bickered so many times it’s not even funny anymore.”

 

“It’s all about machismo and masculinity,” Tecna rolled her eyes, “One thing I don’t understand about the male sex is their constant need to one up one another, like who is better or who is stronger…”

 

“But we should also take note that Riven is usually the instigator,” Midoriya pointed out, “I mean, it’s not anyone’s fault that his little Riven is the smallest out of all the guys, but that doesn’t give him the excuse to take his insecurity out on the others.”

 

“Oh my god Midoriya!” Bloom mock-gasped, pretending to be scandalised. Stella and Tecna laughed until their sides ached, while Musa let out a loud “Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!”. Sweet, innocent Flora merely tilted her head in confusion.

 

“What’s a ‘little Riven’?”

 

Stella and Tecna completely lost it, doubling over from their laughter. Bloom placed a hand on the confused brunette’s shoulder, “We’ll explain it later if you’re up to it.”

 


 

While this was happening, the Trix chanced upon Riven’s unconscious body.

 

“Well well well,” Icy drawled, “What do we have here?”

 

“He’s not the source of the Dragon Flame or the Phoenix Tears,” Darcy noted, before adding a touch of relish, “Though there is an ungodly amount of dark energy coming from this boy. Can we take him home, Icy? Please?”

 

Stormy was not amused, “Why do you have to fall for every lug that has a frown on his face?”

 

“Now’s not the time for play, Darcy,” Icy rubbed her chin consideringly, “But with his dark energy, we’ll have a use for him in the future. In the meantime, let’s continue looking.”

 


 

Back outside, the Specialists were losing ground to the minotaur. Sky had blood steadily streaking from a gash in his temple, Brandon had multiple bruises and a split lip, Timmy was barely standing with a limp and Rykios was down to one hand after the other got busted up by the beast. Riven was still unconscious in the classroom.

 

“We’ve got to do something!” Bloom exclaimed.

 

“Any moment wasted is a full percentage point lost in the possibility of all them getting out of this fight with their lives!” Tecna estimated.

 

Midoriya glanced down the hallway they were in. Now that he thought of it, it looked extremely familiar. If his guess was correct, the hallway would lead towards the atrium, overlooking the first floor where they had spent the earlier part of the evening cleaning.

 

“Everyone, we need to get the minotaur’s attention,” he said.

 

“What do you plan to do?” asked Flora.

 

“Hopefully to send the beast careening down to the first floor below,” Midoriya replied, “A fall from a significant height may be the only way we can knock this thing out without getting hurt ourselves.”

 

“You got it, Midoriya!” Musa nodded, before flying towards the minotaur, “Hey bull snot!”

 

The minotaur looked up from just about to turn Sky into a bloody pulp.

 

“Speaker Shock!”

 

Red soundwaves shot out of Musa’s outstretched hands, turning into two large speakers that blasted loud rock music right into the minotaur’s ears. The beast roared loudly, and charged straight towards the Winx.

 

“Everyone get back!” Midoriya ordered.

 

The Winx all pressed themselves against the walls, except for Midoriya.

 

“Water Slide!”

 

Two gushes of water burst from his hands and coated the floor, running down the length of the hallway towards the banister overlooking the atrium. The minotaur failed to notice the slippery conditions, the loss of traction and the high speed of its charge sending the beast sliding down the hallway straight towards the banister. As it was, Pepe the duckling was wandering aimlessly, unwittingly right in the path of the incoming minotaur. Pepe barely had the time to quack in horror as the minotaur rammed into him, taking him along with it as it crashed through the banister and hurtled down towards the first floor. There was a loud crash and rumble, followed by a dust cloud that reached up to the glass roof.

 

The Winx rushed towards the ruined banister, peering down at the minotaur sprawled over the cracked remains of the first floor. Whether it was dead or conscious it was unclear. Either way, the Winx returned to pick up the Specialists, make sure that they were able to walk, and as a group, all trooped down to the first floor to inspect the lifeless beast.

 

“Where did this thing come from?” Flora wondered.

 

“The creature preserve?” Riven guessed.

 

“Except that the Magix Creature Preserve has no record of minotaurs under captivity,” Tecna pointed out.

 

The answer came when Pepe managed to squeeze himself out from under the minotaur’s body, stumbling about before collapsing into a heap on the floor.

 

“Look!” Stella pointed, “Isn’t some bitch we know being stalked by a duck?”

 

“Icy!” Bloom scowled.

 

“That means the Trix are somewhere in Alfea,” Flora concluded.

 

“But why would those bitches come to our school and sick a minotaur to trash the place?” asked Musa.

 

“Because they are extremely petty, that’s why!” Stella proclaimed, “They must be super pissed that my ring got destroyed and decided to take their anger on us innocent fairies!”

 

“I think there’s something more to it than that,” Midoriya noted.

 

“Whatever this is, it can’t be anything good,” Bloom pursed her lips, “I think we should go Ms. Faragonda’s office, utilise her All-Seeing Crystal Ball and see what are the Trix really up to.”

 

Her suggestion was immediately met with opposition.

 

“But that wouldn’t be right,” said Flora, “We cannot go into Ms. Faragonda’s office if she isn’t in there.”

 

“I concur,” Tecna agreed, “It’s strictly against the rules. We could even be expelled if we’re caught.”

 

“True,” Bloom nodded, “But we are virtually the only ones who could do something to protect our school. If anything, let’s see if we can contact Ms. Faragonda and inform her of what’s happening in Alfea.”

 

Reluctantly, the group assented to Bloom’s suggestion. Together, they all trooped up to Faragonda’s office. Pushing the door open, everyone stepped inside. The office was dark, and there was no sign of the headmistress. The Winx split into two groups - one would find ways to contact Faragonda, while the other would use the crystal ball to track the Trix’s movements. The Specialists took to barricading the door with whatever furniture they could find. 

 

“This won’t be much,” Sky noted, “But it’s the best we can do.” He turned to Midoriya, Stella and Musa, “Any luck finding the Trix?”

 

“No,” Midoriya shook his head.

 

“There are like a billion places one could hide in Alfea,” Stella pointed out.

 

The brunette specialist turned to the other group, “How about contacting Faragonda?”

 

“No luck on our end either,” Tecna shook her head sadly.

 

Near the door, Riven’s ears picked up noise just outside of the door, “I think they’re coming.”

 

“Quick! Everyone hide!” said Bloom.

 

Everyone scrambled to find a hiding spot. Midoriya and Rykios took to concealing themselves behind a large potted plant.

 

“Are you okay?” the dark-skinned specialist whispered.

 

“I think I should be asking you that, Rykios-san,” Midoriya whispered back, “How’s your hand?”

 

Rykios glanced down, “Could be better.”

 

“Everyone, be quiet,” Bloom whispered from her hiding spot behind Faragonda’s desk.

 


 

Outside the office, the Trix eyed the orb of light closely. It was pulsating wildly, its glow brighter.

 

“Interesting,” Icy noted, “The Whisperian Crystals are responding strongly. That means the Dragon Flame and the Phoenix Tears are somewhere in this room.”

 

She looked around the seemingly empty office, “But I don’t see a thing. I guess we’ll just have to trash the place and do a thorough sear-”

 

That was Bloom’s cue, “You are not trashing anything!”

 

The Trix startled as the redhead jumped out from behind the desk, “Hit the lights, Riven! And do your stuff, Midoriya!”

 

Said specialist flipped the switch, bathing the office in light. Midoriya jumped out from behind the potted plant and released a rope of water. Before the Trix could react, the rope wove around them and bound them tightly. Everyone else came out of hiding.

 

“L-Let us go!” Stormy screeched as she tried to fight against the binds.

 

“Not until you tell us what the fuck are you doing here!” Bloom demanded.

 

“That is a question I want to ask all of you.”

 

Everyone jumped at the familiar, stern voice. To his credit, Midoriya did not release the water rope.

 

Faragonda entered, “Up until a moment ago I thought this was my office?”

 

Bloom quickly applied damage control, “I know it looks bad, Ms. Faragonda, but I can explain.”

 


 

One hurried explanation later, and Faragonda was fully caught up with the events that had transpired that evening. Faragonda grimly asked Midoriya to release the Trix, containing the three witches in an impenetrable orb, doing the same for the minotaur just as it was beginning to stir. 

 

She then sent the Winx and the Specialists down to Nurse Ofelia to be patched up. Once everything was done, everyone gathered at the courtyard. The minotaur was hooked up to the specialists’ leva-bikes to be taken back to Red Fountain temporarily until a permanent solution could be decided.

 

“Thanks for everything, Brandon,” Bloom smiled apologetically, “Sorry that the party was interrupted and we had to fight a minotaur.”

 

“Actually, I had a really great time,” he replied sincerely, “And there’s never a dull moment with you and the Winx, is there?”

 

Bloom could help the bashful blush from spreading through her cheeks.

 

To the side, Stella approached Sky with the intention of bidding him farewell. Acting on impulse, he reached out and gently grabbed her chin. “Come here, beautiful,” he whispered coyly, pulling her closer to kiss her cheek. Stella was so stunned by the intimate act that she almost forgot to breathe, at a loss for words only to smile as a response.

 

Over with Tecna and Timmy, things were a little more awkward. 

 

“So...I hope tonight is one for the memory…” Timmy rubbed the back of his head.

 

“Oh yes,” Tecna nodded, pushing down the blush threatening to colour her cheeks, “I’m quite sure of that.”

 

With Midoriya and Rykios, the air was sweeter.

 

“You fought bravely against the minotaur, Rykios-san.”

 

“You and the Winx were no pushovers either. You guys pretty much saved our asses.”

 

Midoriya scratched his cheek shyly, “That’s true.” He glanced down at Rykios’ bandaged hand and wrist, “I know Nurse Ofelia did an exemplary job fixing up your hand, but will you be okay regardless?”

 

He did not expect Rykios to wrap him tightly in a strong hug, “I’ll be fine, Midoriya. It’ll take more than a minotaur to finish us off.”

 

Slowly, Midoriya returned the hug, “Just...take care of yourself, okay?”

 

“I will,” Rykios threaded his uninjured hand through Midoriya’s locks, “You as well.”

 

Finally, even after everything that has happened, Riven was still his usual caustic self.

 

“Next time you decide to throw a party,” he said to Flora and Musa as he put on his helmet, “try to make sure there’s some fun involved?”

 

Both girls flinched, quickly scowling with Musa flipping the bird at the maroon-redhead. 

 

After checking the minotaur was securely attached to their leva-bikes, the Specialists hopped on and took off into the night sky, carrying their cargo with them. The Winx waved them off, Faragonda waiting for the boys to disappear from sight before turning to Griselda.

 

“We must remember to send Headmaster Saladin a glowing letter of gratitude for the help his boys gave us tonight. It was so good of them to come when the Winx told them that there was a minotaur loose on campus.”

 

She then turned to the Trix, whatever softness in her expression evaporating as she gave them a stern glare.

 

“As for you three witches-to-be, you took things way too far this evening! I don’t know what is going on between you and my students, but it ends tonight! Am I clear?”

 

The Trix barely held down their snarls as they were properly reprimanded. Pepe kind of ruined the image by kissing his “Mommy” lovingly, completely unaware of the situation.

 

“I will be transporting you to Headmistress Griffin’s office with an official letter of complaint. I trust that she will discipline you accordingly, and let me make this very clear, I will follow up. Have a nice trip.”

 

Faragonda snapped her fingers, and the Trix disappeared in a burst of blue light.

 

She then turned to the Winx, “I must commend you all for keeping a level head and dealing with the situation bravely and resourcefully. Taking on a fully-grown minotaur is no laughing matter.”

 

The Winx cheered and high-fived one another.

 

“At the same time,” Faragonda continued, “in the future, you might want to party first, then do the cleaning. At least, that’s how we did it in my day, and I don’t think times have changed that much.”

 

The teens chuckled at the joke.

 

“That aside, I’m sure you all are exhausted,” Faragonda smiled warmly, “I think it’s time you all head back to your dormitory for a good night’s rest.”

 

“But what about the damage done to the campus?” asked Midoriya.

 

“You need not worry, Mr. Midoriya,” said the headmistress, “Everything should be back to normal by next Monday. Now off you go, I’m sure you want to be well-rested for whatever fun you want to indulge in over the weekend.”

 

The Winx were agreeable to that, so after thanking Faragonda, they retreated back to their dorm for the night. 

 

Once they were gone, Griselda turned to her colleague, “Do you know why those three witches were in Alfea in the first place?”

 

“I have an inkling,” Faragonda nodded gravely, “But it’s not good. I’ll explain it to you in my office.”

 


To Be Continued.