The waves of laughter of the bar that was two blocks from the female dormitories accompanied the intensive crickets' singing, along with the last voices of Hearthstone students preparing to sleep or stay awake for tasks or for mere pleasure that were in the same building and the next to them increased the feeling of void among Clio and Corey, who after receiving Miss Braelynn's daily visit, cleaning up the remains of clutter in their flat and preparing a cup of black coffee along with a few tea cakes, went up to the roof along with the bunch of letters that Mr. Austen and Delaney Eyston - Corey’s biological father- had exchanged for about 10 years or so after their school life.

beautiful, orange, and roof image

"We should have brought our respective canteens"
"We have school tomorrow"
"And?"
" And I’m the one in charge now, so we’re going to stay sober."
"Good luck with that soberness, gligín"
"Ah come on! Cut it out, I already said that I’m sorry about the parchment!"
"Our three restless nights are now in the hands of a smarty ass because of your ineptitude…"

Corey just sighs since she knows it’s futile to discuss against Clio and also that it was partially her fault that the next week they won’t have anything for Mr. Austen´s class after all and the fact that now Dorcan and probably the rest of the group of that night knows that Corey Eyston has something to do with Viola’s friend; Clio.

It was time for a change of strategy and review of information. Corey unleashes the packet of carts carefully so they wouldn't fall apart from the rooftop leaning them in the plate where the half-eaten snacks remained, taking into consideration the chronological order Mr. Austen had arranged since that day in the history class for a simple reason, the letters were all written in code.

alphabet, code, and symbol image rune, sign, and symbol image

It looks like they writted in a substitution cipher code were the ones who repeated more where the double letters in the English language like “O” or “L” along with a 1=Z substitution so it was quite simple yet laborious if you're not used to reading backward, also the number of the repetitiveness of symbols like crosses, triangles, crossed out circles, and feet drawings between letters was absurd, to the point where it couldn’t make any sense until one stressful day in history class the main theme was about the complots of Queen Elizabeth I.

crown and red image reign, mary, and adelaide kane image

That ringed a bell in Corey’s mind immediately to then finally after classes rushed towards their flat to grab every single book they owned and the few borrowed from the library that had a cipher or antique alphabet in it.

"To think that they would use the same cipher as Mary, Queen of the Scotts along with some doodles"
"It must have been easy since the letters they wouldn’t know could be easy replaced with a symbol from Catachan"
"The crosses meant the church, the triangles the mountains and hearts are for the academy...but what about the feet?"
"Maybe a shoe store? Everything is so simple-minded"
"That’s...very unlike him"
"Agree"

Both reread the letters with their respective translations, explaining the places where they used to meet in secret to speak together with their group of "rascals", as they called them. They recount their past adventures in every word, exploring the empty tombs of the cemetery, following priests to blackmail their lascivious glances at the female students of the academy, escaping through the woods by the tyranny of those who thought their actions were blasphemous and buying books from the bookstore near the church to also visit a friend of the villa. All the content reminds them of the terrified and concerned look of the boys in the literature classroom. In all honestly, it wasn't as if they were being watched, it just happened that the places they ended up looking through their binoculars from any other building ended up coinciding, implying that what they grabbed that night contained information from those places, giving some confirmation. However, it was too early to claim victory. That night in the library they had both found several hidden books that contained information about ancient runes, witchcraft through the years, rituals towards different gods and the most important of all, a book with information about several old students who must now be about the same age as Corey’s parents and Mr. Austen; as long as the faces and names crossed out didn’t mean death.

Temporarily removed art image

"Louis's father has the access to death records for over 100 years from this place, we could compare them with the names in our diary"
"Do you think she could have deciphered it?"
"If she did, I'd love to meet her in person"
"Stop, your laugher is creepy"

Clio ignores her commentary and laughs maliciously to the feeling of meeting someone who could decipher something than even all the Eyston’s brothers and cousins couldn’t understand together, making Corey’s sighs in deception and pettiness about their probably soon encounter with Adélaïde if they wanted to get the diary or better, an ally.

𝙉𝙚𝙭𝙩 𝙙𝙖𝙮. 𝙃𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝘼𝙘𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙢𝙮, 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙨𝙨. (𝟭𝟬:𝟬𝟳 𝙖.𝙢.)

actors, actress, and chandelier image

Ok, that's all for today.- Mr. Samuel signals to the students who were on the stage with a satisfying smile.

Adélaïde comes down from the stage along with Judith talking about Mr. Samuel's recommendation about the school newspaper.
-It's hard for me to imagine you as a journalist.-Her friend arches an eyebrow while creating a distorted image in her head.-Are you sure?
-I don’t know,.-Confess with a half smile.- But it can’t hurt to give it a try.- She refuted.
Judith smiles back until she realizes her things weren't on the theater seats.
-Is it a joke?- Judith asks aloud to which Adélaïde answers by lifting her shoulders.

Suddenly, the voice of Mr. Samuel is heard from the stage picking up part of the scenery used for the class along with the backstage team.
-The things of the ones who participated in the stage are behind the scenes.- He throws some keys at a red-haired student who was close to him.- Can you support bringing the things? They are in the largest locker at the end of the hall, near the dressing rooms. Oh, and take four more with you to help you bring them.-The teacher notices the disapproving face for the exploitation of the ginger one to then smile slyly.- Oh well, I thought to give extra points to the humble students who supported their comrades of theater but ...
Before he intuited, the teacher was interrupted by the stomping on the wooden floor running behind the scenes.

After a few minutes, a group of more than six students were handing out their classmates' belongings at the theater entrance. In the case of Adélaïde, when it was her turn to receive her things, she realized that behind the boy who gave her the briefcase was the blonde girl who had angered Miss Calison in etiquette class, handing over the respective sweaters; a girl in a navy blue uniform who is easily mistaken for a black one in the dark.

blazer, uniform, and private school image accessories, black, and edgy image

The sentence in the notebook echoed loudly in her head as she saw her: "the girl covered in dark ocean waves", but her friend forces a wake-up call from her intense concentration saying that they were getting late for the next class, which that she considered something irrelevant when it was more important to find her blackmailer. However, she sighs resignedly and walks heavily towards Judith, who realizes that a sheet of paper was starting to fall out of the briefcase.
-Careful.- she says as she points to the corner of the paper, drawing her attention.
-Oh, yes.- She stars to folded to put it back by force without opening the briefcase until she sees that what was inside it’s not her handwriting.

Adélaïde stops in her tracks to desperately unwind the paper to see its contents.

"Braelynn started to check the letters we send as well the ones our flatmates sends. Consider this information as an invitation and gratitude for taking care of the diary. If you want to know a way to avoid that, I'll wait for you today after the curfew on the roof of the eastern feminine bedroom. Sign: The girl in dark ocean waves".

She abruptly turns to see the blonde girl to encounter with an empty space and a few students behind her.

Again.Gone without a trace.

aesthetic, harry potter, and hogwarts image

But now she was offering help more than a threat. Still, several questions were crossing her mind in mere second. What is that about Miss Braelynn checking the letters of other students? Had she been overconfident about her plan? Braelynn discovered that Judith was helping her? And most importantly, is she telling the truth, or is it just bait to ensure her attendance? She needed to feel some sort of advantage about this situation but any of the options were out of her control, causing a rush of stress that her friend immediately notices provoking to shake her.
-Ade, what’s wrong with you?- She asks almost screaming from the worry.
But Adélaïde just looks at her astonished and realizing while looking to Judith’s eyes what would happen if that was true.

Judith will be prejudiced by her actions.

-It’s nothing. I just remembered that I have to do something tonight.- She gives a reassuring smile.
-Do you need help with that? -Asks to receive a shake of her head.

“I hope not”

𝑬𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒏 𝑩𝒖𝒊𝒍𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈. 𝑭𝒆𝒎𝒂𝒍𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒅𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒓𝒅 𝒇𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒓 (𝟏:𝟎𝟎 𝒂.𝒎.)

building, cloudy day, and doorms image

Because the back door of the building was open, Adélaïde felt a combination of panic and happiness about her current situation. Part of her did not want to believe about the letter review but at the same time, she felt the adrenaline rush of facing the one who had caused her so much anxiety every time she saw the damned notebook. So, at a silent pace and adjusting her jacket from the cold, she begins to climb the stairs of the building that had both students asleep and some who didn’t stop talking with their flatmates. Giving the black-haired girl an advantage to get to the attic that gives a direct way to the roof window, which was also open.

window, nature, and grunge image

As she slowly passed the threshold to feast on the smell of oak trees that the wind carried with it, the sound of conversations fading away and the night view of the town with the night sky partially covered in clouds, she met the presence of the blonde she had seen several hours ago in class, wearing a white button-down blouse along with a long beige skirt and matching socks holding a crystal canteen containing red wine.

-Welcome, did you have trouble getting here?- She asks with a warm smile to receive her.
-... No, not at all.-She answers cautiously.
-Corey Eyston.- Takes the canteen and begins to pour the contents into a glass of wine that she had on her right, near a long black jacket and a headband.- Would you like a little? - Makes gestures to get closer to her place. To which the girl accepts while gulping in doubt of every action, so she doesn’t drink from the glass until she sees how her companion takes a big gulp directly from the canteen.
-I can assure you that is not altered.- The girl smiles with a bitter smile.- Oh well, it can be a little heavy if you are not used to drinking.- She looks directly at the bottle to take another sip, but now smaller.
Seeing Corey wait silently looking out towards the horizon, Adelaïde decides to take a small sip of what she could now confirm was wine and an expensive one.
-Did you stole it?- She asks accusingly, causing the blonde to laugh out loud before answering.
-Are you asking If I “did” stole it or more from “where”? - Her right-hand covers the mouth to contain her laughter in vain.
Embarrassed, realizing that Corey could read her intentions quite well besides her carefree appearance she averts her gaze and start to look in her jacket for the notebook. When turning back to her with it she sees that the platinum-blonde was doing the same and rummaged in the black jacket as well to bring out a few photographs, a torch, and a skinny notebook compared to the one Adélaïde had in her hands.
-Ask- Coreys says in a neutral tone.

dark, aesthetic, and black image

-What is this?-The girl frowns her eyebrows full of doubt while the other just put the photographies on the rooftop and grabs the torch with her right hand to points out the images.
-Proof.- Her index finger tapped the letters that Miss Braelynn was opening in the photo in her office at open window.- You and I are in her watchlist since the first days, I can guess. I've been called several times at her office and I stumbled with some list in her desk while she was distracted a while back.- She looks directly to Adélaïde’s eyes.- In there you were on the fourth level and I was the second in the first column. The other column had details about us and personal notes. Can you guess what said in yours?-Corey smiled sympathetically and her classmate paled slightly.

lips, pale, and aesthetic image alone, big, and eyebrow image

-Thanks to you we wanted to take precautions with our letters.- She continued in a tender tone in consideration.- And since you really took care of our dear belonging we decided to help a little.- She points out to another photo with a delivery man lifting a small package.- So since…
-Wait.- She interrupts her to point out the notebook.- Before that, are you going to ignore the fact that I read your diary?- She declares showing her own personal strategy. Faking understatement of the content of the notebook but of course, the blonde didn’t know that and limited to take a new sip of the canteen that looked almost empty at this point. Adélaïde showed discomfort and offense on her face but before she could say something else a quite tipsy Corey was looking at her direction with shocked but empty eyes and asks.
-By any chance, did you understand it?- To which the dark-haired girl looks seriously at her companion to demonstrate confidence in her without words, despite thinking about what to do in case her strategy didn’t work. But to her surprise, she sees how Corey's face started cover itself with her own hair and at the same time with both hands demonstrating a vulnerable posture and giving Adélaïde some confidence about her advantage until she begins to hear the blonde laughing in front of her.

-I knew it.- She says with a heavy and rough accent compared to the previous one.- I knew that there’ve must be someone in this damn academy who understood us.
-Us? - Asks worried while realizing that at a point of the conversation Corey started to talk in plural.
-It's a pleasure to meet you. Call me Clio.-The girl blonde with an ecstatic smile invades the personal space of Adélaïde to touch her face.- You’re truly beautiful, no wonder you got the attention of an older one. Your bone structure is so good that it’s making me want to use you as a model.- But then, Clio sees how the expression witnessed wasn’t of someone who read the content of their diary, that described in full detail why they were like that, their struggles, their deepest desires, their demons, everything.- Why are you looking me like that? Didn’t you say that you understand the content?- The smile disappears leaving a cold and threatening tone instead, making shiver the being in front of her.- Did you lie to us?

beauty, eyelashes, and fashion image

But the confused person in front of Clio couldn’t completely process what was happening in the first place so she decides to back up while sighing in disappointment.- You shouldn’t lie to the ones who are helping you, you know?-Her index finger points out the previous photo.-Apparently, Braelynn only checks the letters we gave her to then handing them to a deliver man so we thought that maybe it could be a good idea to start giving her a "trap card" to distract her while you sneak your letter with the postman aside. In any case, we can help you If Braelynn gets suspicious by telling you in time so instead of a letter, you can send a package, those don't even need the name and just the address. So you better start telling your dear friend to take precautions unless she wants to be in the watch list.- With mockery in her words, Clio stands up to grab the black jacket and pull back the bang that was annoying her. Snatches the notebook from the hands of a confused girl and proceeds to read the content.
-This is why you are on the watch list?- Finally, ask Adélaïde.
-Ding ding ding.-Applause with sarcasm.- That’s right, the column next to us said that Corey Eyston suffers constantly of paranoia causing several misconducts, but they couldn't be more wrong. And, our enemies are similar to yours in some aspects.- Grabs the photos to put them in Adélaïde’s hands.- Tell me, how many people have asked you if you are crazy about dating your teacher, hm?
-Well…-Adélaïde stops while remembering her life after being discovered and even before that.
-I’ll say this.- There was no smile any more but instead, a confident aura surrounds the platinum-blonde.- As fellow “freaks” of modern society, we should help each other. Corey and I agree on offering you any information you need in exchange for keeping the diary and our little secret. Of course, we will do the same with yours.
-Why?
-’Cause Braelynn checks our briefcase several times a day.- Now looking to the horizon her expression softens a little.- And also we know what it is to be in a golden cage, we are trying to get away just like you.
Adélaïde’s gaze goes to Hearthstone slowly but Clio couldn't see her expression about the conversation, so she limits to light a cigarette to end with:
-So, it’s a deal then?

blue, cigarette, and smoke image

______________________________________________

Recommended songs for this chapter:

  • Dorian by Agnes Obel.
  • Wrath by Lucas King.

Note: “gligín” is an Irish Gaelic insult to refer an immature and irresponsible person. Means "idiot".

Again, one of my longest chapters so far, but it was an important part so I hope you have enjoyed reading the chapter~

Don't forget to follow the Dark Academia Club to know the story of everyone!

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