Chapter 14 - The Beast in the Smoke

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It was midnight by the time Alana got to the Atrium.

She could barely wrap her head around everything that had happened. One moment she was in a room full of floating ghost-like people — and the next moment, she appeared right outside Eldress Narani's office.

It was almost midnight by then, and Alana's Coven Ceremony was in a few minutes. 

Running around a giant castle at high-speed was actually a very good exercise for your leg muscles. 

At least this time she was smarter, considering that she used her map.

Alana thought she'd be early for her Coven Ceremony, but apparently everyone was already waiting for her.

Well, you can't expect a girl who found a secret pit with creepy gold eyes and translucent ghosts to be exactly on time to a weird witch ceremony, right?

Eldress Narani was standing on the podium, giving a speech when Alana rushed into the open-air amphitheater. 

The whole place was beautiful, really, with a glass canopy that let the light of the stars through,  gold tiered seats that formed a semi-circle around a tall podium on a stage, and shimmering lanterns hanging from the sky. 

And for some reason, all the students were wearing red, blue, green or silver tunics, and sat in four colorful groups.

Too bad Alana didn't have the time to take it all in, because the moment she entered, she felt a hand rest on her shoulder, and steer her towards the seats.

"What— huh?" Alana stuttered, earning a few glares for cutting into the Eldress' inspiring speech about the Coven Ceremony traditions.

"As you all know," the headmistress was saying. "This ceremony is sacred. Covens are traditionally known as a group of witches." Eldress Narani smiled at Alana as she interrupted.

"The covens you are —or will— be placed in are your family. You share the same magic in your blood. Regardless your gender or race, your coven will support you and grow with you." 

Roaring applause rang out from the audience. 

Alana twisted around to see who was behind her as she was placed in a vacant seat near the front.

"Shh," a familiar, snarky voice hushed her as she was about to say something. "Can't you keep your mouth shut for a while?"

"Mora?"

The witch rolled her eyes, white streaks in her blonde hair glimmering under the gold light as she sat down next to Alana.

"Obviously," Mora said, in her crisp, British accent. "Missed me?"

For once, Alana was actually glad  to see the snarky witch who brought her to the school. Everything was so confusing, just seeing a familiar face gave her comfort.

Alana nodded, violet eyes blinking back tears.

Her day had been a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, and Alana barely had time to breathe. Being separated from her family and friends, being taken away from the world she knew...

And now... the magic she would use now and forever was about to be decided. And... the group people she would spend her life with for the rest of her years was being decided, too.

What if I don't fit in?

"Long ago, the ancient witches and wizards had many more powers, such as teleportation and mind-controlling," Narani's authoritative voice cut through Alana's worries. "But over time, as our people married the non-magical community, our powers became more and more diluted."

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