“What is this place?” Everett thought to himself. He looked at his surroundings, not realizing that his body was emitting a soft white glow while black spirals of the same substance circled.

Everett thought back to was just said to him. “You, Everett Theodore Pitch, are the son of Pathos, the Greek god of emotion.” The thoughts circled in his mind, making him completely and utterly confused. Son of the greek god of emotion, he thought, what does that mean? Everett knew his father was never around, and he knew his mother didn’t really know anything about his father, but… a greek god. It made no sense. Now he was at this school for people like him. It made his head hurt just thinking about it.

He looked down at the map of campus. “Where is my room?” He whispered to himself. All that his schedule said was Pathos 79. “What’s that supposed mean?” He sighed in exasperation, leaning against a boulder that he was walking by. Everett removed his glasses and began rubbing his eyes in an attempt to clear his head.

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She tugged her ball cap down onto her head. She wanted to be sure the new arriver could read it: Orientation Queen. Satisfied with her appearance, she practiced her winning smile as she walked to the gates to pick up the newest student.

She saw him bent over a map, no doubt hopelessly lost. And those were some thick glasses he was wearing. Maybe his hearing wasn’t too shabby, though.

“Newbie!” she shouted as she walked up. The boy startled and jumped, but she held out her hand anyways for an introduction. She was used to that kind of reaction, if she was being honest.

“Welcome to Imitheos Institute. I’m Rae, daughter of Khione, your guide and mentor. Now, keep up. I’ll show you where your room is first so you can drop off your personal items, then we will move on to tour the actual campus. If you get lost, just head to the mess hall. You can’t miss the haunting aroma.”

Rae took off at a brisk pace, trusting that the boy would stop gaping and catch up soon enough. She found that the best tactic with new students was to act like this was normal. A little normalcy after being told you are the child of a Greek god could go a long way.

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Everett’s legs were tired. Following this crazy girl around was so exhausting. He was too focused on keeping up with her, he could barely pay attention to the different places she was pointing out. Eventually, overwhelmed by the twin cramps in each side, he stopped.

“All I wanted to know,” he said panting, “was where my room is.” He said rather loudly in an attempt to get her attention.

She halted a few meters ahead and turned around, a smirk on her face. “Just wait till training tomorrow. You’ll have amazing calves like mine in no time. Now come on, your room is just a little further, if you can manage one more flight of stairs.”

“I don’t need calves like yours to go up a flight of stairs,” he muttered under his breath as he followed her. Everett sighed. This girl, Rae, was just adding to his rapidly increasing confusion. Wouldn’t they pick someone who would be a little more understanding, or attuned to the trials and emotions he and the other new students were facing. That thought only brought more questions to his already thoroughly confused mind.

Caught up in his confusion, the white glow and black spirals returned, he tripped up the steps, gouging a shallow score on his shin. He hissed in pain, the white glow turning completely black. Rae turned at the sound. She was going to help him up, or say something along the lines of, “Stop whining, ‘tis but a scratch,’ but she just stood there gaping when she saw the glow of black.

“Not even a hand?” Everett asked sarcastically, totally oblivious to the black surrounding him as he laughed. When he looked up at her, and saw her gaping he stopped laughing.

“What?” He asked as he stood up, the black fading back to the white with black spirals from before. The change only made Rae more surprised.

She tilted her head as she took in the sight of him. “That’s unique,” she finally said. “Think you can make it the rest of the way? There’s a first aid kit on the wall.”

Everett nodded cautiously as he hobbled up the last few stairs, putting most of his weight on the railing. Once on the second floor, he sat down in the hallway.

“So are you gonna patch me up, or do I have to do it?” He asked somewhat jokingly, as he looked up at her.

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Rae removed the kit from it’s hook on the wall and knelt down next to him to dig through it. She pulled out first a menacing looking needle. Would she need to stitch it? She glanced at his cut. No, it wasn’t that bad. So she returned the needle and extracted gauze and a bacterial killer spray. She was no Apollo kid, but she knew the basics.

“This might sting,” Rae said as she already began applying it. Everett inhaled sharply but managed to withstand it, so she moved on to securing the bandage.

“All done,” she said, sitting back to admire her work. “Now next time I know better than to trust you can handle a flight of stairs. Shall we continue to your room?” She stood and extended a hand to help him up. He seemed to think about it for a bit, but he took her hand and accepted her help in standing up.

Rae blinked. He was glowing again. It was a soft purple this time, more of a lavender. She shook her head and forced herself not to stare. “Well, I’ll let you see your room. It’s just a few doors down on the left. Room 79. Here’s a key. I’ll be out front of the building when you’re ready to continue.”

She handed him his key and scampered back down the steps.

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She lied. It wasn’t a few doors down. That much was pretty obvious though, when the sign on the wall said Rooms 43 - 85, but that wasn’t what bothered him. He knew, somehow, that she was lying about what side of the hall it was on. When he reached his door it was on the right.

“How?” he began, stopping the thought before it made things worse. He was confused enough already. So ignoring the questions in his head, he put the key in the lock and opened the door.

It looked like a kid’s birthday party gone wrong. There were six different sections of the walls. Each section was painted a different color of the rainbow, though they combined Indigo and Violet together and just had it painted purple. Also each section of the wall had a different stage mask, representing emotion. There was white carpet on the floor, which Everett had to admit was pretty nice, a white dresser in the corner, a white desk, a white bookshelf beside it, and a white bed, with crisp white sheets and a solid white comforter.

Everett spun in a circle as he took it in. “They sure like their themes,” he said to himself, before putting his things away. He folded his clothes neatly, and put them in the dresser, got his coloring books, sketchbooks, and other various fantasy novels, and arranged them on the shelf, and lastly, threw his old knit blanket on the bed.

Sighing deeply, he walked down the hall, down the steps, and found Rae. “What do we do now?” he asked.

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Rae flipped her hair over her shoulder and consulted a clipboard. “Everett Theodore Pitch,” she read. “That sure is a mouthful. Even Everett is a little tricky on the lips. I think I’m gonna call you Theo.” She didn’t ask, but rather stated it as fact from here on out.

“Now, let’s get a move on Theo. I’m only going to slow down a little because of your injury. Next I’ll show you where your classes are and other facilities made available to you.” Rae babbled on and on. It wasn’t her job to make sure he understood. It was her job to welcome him and give him all the information. She didn’t glance back as she took off at a barely discernible slower pace.

“As you’ve probably noticed, the school is in an isolated area. If you couldn’t already tell by the trees everywhere, we are in the middle of a forest. Within the grounds you are relatively safe, but I ward against going anywhere past the gates and stone walls around the perimeter without a teacher or older student with explicit permission to do so. Any questions?” she asked, not actually pausing to allow him to ask anything before continuing. “The classrooms are all located at the south end of the grounds. If you’ve ever been to a conventional school, then you’ll notice these aren’t conventional classrooms. Most are located outside and a few are underground. Buildings are… unreliable with some of our master classes offered here for technique. If you check your schedule you’ll see the names of of your classrooms and all of them are clearly identified so I won’t take the time to show you where you’ll be going tomorrow. There are many more places we have to see first.”

Rae pushed on to tour the other facilities, starting with the stables and ending with the armory. “Your transcripts don’t say if you have a main weapon so I will give you a minute to pick one out. Don’t worry too much about it. Most students new to weaponry change their preferred weapon within a week of lessons. It’s just smart if you have something to work with at your classes. So go ahead and peruse. You have seven minutes before dinner, and I’m never late for that.”

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“Uh…” Everett said as he looked in awe at the racks of actual weapons. He walked up to a spear that was set against the wall and ran his finger along the cold iron head.

“These are real,” he said turning to Rae.

“Uh-huh,” she nodded, as if encouraging a child.

Everett nodded absentmindedly as he scanned the room. He paused, as his eyes caught on a sword hanging on the wall. It was simple enough with a creme-white hilt, a light tan crosspiece, and perfectly sharp edge. He reached for it hesitantly.

“Can I?” he asked unsure.

“May I,” Rae corrected, her meaning completely escaping him. When he glowed white with spirals, Rae blinked again. Everett quirked his eyebrow.

“The correct way to ask is, may I. Not, can I,” Rae clarified. Everett shook his head out of exasperation. “Yes, you may take the sword.” She seemed to put emphasis on the word may.

Everett turned around and reached for the sword. Once he had the hilt in his hand, he swung it a few times, and then brought it to his face to look at the blade.

“It’s nice?” he said, more like a question than anything else.

She shrugged. “I’m not much of a sword person myself.”

“Well, what kind of person are you?” he asked smiling.

“I’m more of a catapult person,” Rae stated as she shrugged. “But I guess that’s a pretty good sword. Steel, I think.”

Everett nodded, grabbing a black leather scabbard. “I assume I need one of these?”

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Rae checked her leather banded watch and gasped. “We are going to be late! Grab whatever you need now and let’s go!” She grabbed Everett’s arm before he could buckle the scabbard around his waist, then drug him along as she took off at a sprint.

“C’mon,” she urged when he started to lag. “I know a shortcut. Don’t tell anyone else about this path, okay?”

The boy just barely managed a nod before she yanked him off the path and down a small incline into the thick of the trees. Rae didn’t let go of his arm, even when she felt him smack into a tree.

It wasn’t so much a path, though. Rae led them through the dense pines at a dangerous pace, but she seemed to know where she was going. She had practically lived in these woods, truth be told.

Then just as quickly as they had entered the forest, they popped out of the tree line onto a path only a few meters away from the mess hall. Her dark blonde hair had twigs and needles stuck in it, but despite her wild appearance she was beaming.

In the distance a clock tower chimed the hour. “Oh no! We really are late!” This time she left Everett behind as she sprinted ahead and up the steps to the mausoleum style dining hall.

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“This girl is crazy,” he had thought to himself, multiple times throughout the day, but mostly as she had drug him through the woods. Now as Everett watched Rae run up the steps, a few cuts on her arms, he noticed that his own arms were also peppered with small nicks. The almost constant glow emanating off him turned black, as he noticed just how many there were. After the few moments of hesitation, Everett walked up the stairs to the Mess Hall. His eyes widened at the building standing before him.

The entryway was supported by columns on each side made of granite. The doors were grand and covered in gold colored leaflets. It was the epitome of traditional greek architecture, and a beautiful building in itself.

Eyes still wide, Everett walked in. What awaited him was complete and utter chaos. There were already at least a hundred students chatting amongst one another, each one trying to talk louder to the one next to him. He looked around the room, trying to gauge some idea of what he was supposed to do. While he was sweeping the room, his eyes found Rae, as she was at the very front of the line to get her meal.

Everett leaned against the wall. He still had no idea what he was supposed to do, so he contented himself to watch the people. He actually found it quite interesting. Some kids he could have mistaken were just normal people like the ones he used to go to school with. But then there were some that hinted at the unusual heritage they came from. He saw one boy controlling the liquid in his cup so that he didn’t have to lift it to drink. Another wasn’t even a human, but a turtle using its utensils like the people around it. Or was it actually a human? A girl on the far side of the hall was staring hard at a dinner roll, forcing it to rise and fly across the tables and hit another student in the back of the head. It was all so… cool.

“Mr. Pitch,” said the headmaster, who explained the school to him just a few hours earlier. “Would you please follow me this way?” The headmaster guided Everett to the side of the room. Everett followed, expecting to be told what he was to do, but he was shocked by what happened next.

“Students,” his voice rang out through the hall, as all eyes turned to him. “I would like to introduce our newest student, Everett Pitch.” Everett was surprised as the headmaster pulled him in front of everyone. Unbeknownst to him was the burst of tie dye glowing around him.

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On normal circumstances, none of the students would’ve paid attention. They would’ve clapped to be nice, and then continued with their meals. This time though, when everybody looked at the new kid they went quiet. After a few seconds of silence, one student spoke.

“He’s glowing,” he said abruptly, and soon enough those words were being whispered over and over across the room.

“Big deal,” Rae said, conking the boy who had spoken first next to her on the head. “He glows and you make flowers grow out your ears, James.” She shovelled a spoonful of pasta into her mouth as she used her foot to scoot the boy down the bench. Then she swallowed and patted the space next to her. “You can sit with us, Theo.”

“Theo?” the boy who had just been moved questioned with a snort. “You’re the worst Orientation Queen ever. You don’t even know his name.”

But Everett answered to the name nonetheless, eager to be out of range of everyone’s stare. He sat down, nervously glancing at the person on each side of him as his tie dye glow faded to grey. One stared mercilessly, the other stuffed her face and smiled at him.

Rae reached past Everett to snatch the tray away from James just as he was about to take a bite. “Hey!” he complained.

“You can go get another tray,” she said, sliding the meal in front of Everett who hadn’t gotten in line for food. “It’s his first day,” Rae reminded the brooding boy.

Then to Everett she said, “Now’s your chance to ask questions. I’m exhausted and don’t plan on staying up late so if you have any concerns before you start tomorrow, speak now or forever hold your peace… Until tomorrow.” As she spoke, she stole the roll off of his plate.

“Was I glowing?” he asked in a hushed voice.

“Really? All the questions you could be asking and you ask that? I thought that was already established, Mood Ring,” Rae said with a chuckle, answering his question at the same time. “You are kinda like a mood ring, though, aren’t you? I mean, I’ve noticed that your glow changes when your emotions seem to as well. And your bio said you are a son of Pathos, so it would make sense…” She trailed off as if in thought, but actually she just got up to go get dessert then.