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Most storytellers do not know the beginning of their tales. Even more do not know when to end the story. But, when does a story truly start or end? Does it start with the birth of the character and end with her death? This is not true for all stories, especially not for Jupiter Ashlin Blackstone.
A white haired woman stopped in her journey throughout the first Nightscape mansion, she looked no older than thirty. Two children, with dark black hair, ran down the hallway towards her and laughed as they gripped her dress and grinned up at her. She smiled down at them before removing her dress from their grips.
“What is it you need children?” she asked them gently, walking along with them trailing behind her.
“Please tell us a story Grandma Ester!” They chimed together as she entered her large sitting room and started pulling up a chair. She nodded in understanding and sat down comfortably in her chair.
“Well then, shall I tell you about Venus, the second, or maybe Mars, the fifth…” She trailed off at the thoughts of the second and fifth bosses of the Nightscape Family. The children exchanged similar looks and the girl pulled out a picture frame with three people.
“We want to here about Mother Jupiter, the first!” They exclaimed, placing the picture frame in Ester’s lap, causing her to give a surprised look. Where had they gotten this picture from? She smiled down at them and gripped the picture tightly.
“Which story would you like to hear?” They both brightened at her response.
“All about her great fights!” The boy shouted enthusiastically, punching his hand into the air.
“About how she fell in love with Father Alexander!” The girl sighed dreamily and cupped her face in her hands, thinking about the romantic duo. The boy looked over at her sharply.
“Why would we want to hear such a sissy story about love?!” He asked her loudly before tackling her to the ground and fighting with her about which story sounded better. Ester waved her hand over them and they were pushed apart from each other.
“There will be no fights in this house,” She reprimanded them calmly before letting down the strong wind force between them. “I shall tell both stories,” She said with finality. They smiled at her and nodded happily before running off to find their cousins and siblings. As they ran out of the door, a woman came in and leaned on the doorframe, smiling at Ester. Her hair was bright red and shined golden in the faint candlelight of the sitting room. Her eyes were light brown, fringed with green. She strode in and kneeled before Ester, kissing the ring on her finger that had the constellation Aquarius imprinted on it.
“It is good to see you again, Grandma Ester,” She said, getting up from her kneeling position. Ester nodded and looked down at the picture.
“Thank you for coming to see me, Cassandra,” She responded, running her fingers across the picture frame with deep longing, like she wanted to just fall into it and be with the people in it. Sighing, she placed her hands over the picture and looked up at the tenth boss of the Nightscape Family, Cassandra Blackstone Nightscape, or better known to the outside world as Mercury.
“The children love to hear about Jupiter,” She commented, crossing her arms and looking back at the door that the children had just exited through. She could hear them, even from her spot in the sitting room, running around and gathering each other up. One of the many perks of being part vampire, she supposed.
Ester looked down at the picture again and tears formed in the corners of her eyes. In it were two boys and one girl. The girl looked just like the woman before her, only her expression was solemn and a bit sad. The boys on either side of her could have passed as brothers besides the small differences in their wild black hair and their eyes. While one had black, the other had emerald. They all seemed so happy, even the somber girl in the middle seemed happy. Hearing the children start to make their way back, she quickly wiped away her tears and placed the picture on a nearby table.
They all burst into the sitting room, laughing and yelling, pulling cushions over to Ester’s feet. Cassandra smiled and help them, taking away Ester’s chair and replacing it with many pillows and cushions so that she may lay with the children instead of stare down at them. Before long, everyone was settled down and one or two children had cuddled up to Ester. Cassandra smirked at them all and waved goodbye before leaving silently.
“Now then, where to start…” The clear eyed woman started. A few boys around her told her to start in the middle of a fight while girls asked for her to start during a romantic encounter between â€˜Mother Jupiter’ and â€˜Father Alexander’.
“I’ll start on the day that Jupiter and Alexander actually met each other. It was a clear and sunny day, only a week before school was going to end…”
Jupiter glared fiercely at the boy next to her out of the corner of her eye, hoping that the intensity of her stare would cause him to spontaneously burst into flames and die a slow and painful death.
But she wasn’t really that lucky it seemed. No matter how many time she trained under Ester to control the fire element within her, she could never really set fire to random objects just by staring at them.
The boy next to her, Alexander, was a Dhampir and as far as she knew, a threat. She couldn’t tell if he was thinking of just fitting in with the humans around him or walking into the next classroom and slitting Leon’s throat. She didn’t really have to worry about either Leon or Morveen, being werewolves gave them great speed, but she did have to worry about Tyla, Aunnie, and Kashine over at the middle school. She quickly stood up and walked to the front of the classroom, her classmates cringing away from her instinctively.
“May I go to the restroom?” She asked her chemistry teacher emotionlessly, extending her hand to take the hall pass. Mrs. Roberts handed over the pass and gave her a wary look before going back to the lesson at hand.
Jupiter could understand why everyone kept their distance from her. Despite the name sounding gothic, the town of Nightscape was, in Jupiter’s opinion, sickeningly bright and happy. Everyone wore the most annoying shades of bright color they could find, except Jupiter herself.
That was probably what made them dislike her, her attire and personality. She wore gothic clothing and associated with no one outside of the Nightscape family in the manor. Her attitude was cold a reclusive and everyone knew that, so they kept away from her.
Then there were the rumors. Ones like she had killed a kid in her previous school in France and Ester had run away to Nightscape to escape the police. Those kinds of rumors. Her favorite one so far was the only one that was true.
That she lived with all manner of dark creatures and associated with the supernatural mafia and the human mafia.
She had laughed unexpectedly the day she heard that one. It was so true that she was sure someone had found out her secret, but it was impossible because no human could pass through the barriers around Nightscape Manor without explicit permission from herself or Ester.
Of course, the kid who had come up with the rumor had been investigated mercilessly through mental torture and in the end, they came up with what it really was. A rumor.
Sighing and entering the bathroom nearest the chemistry room, she turned on the water and splashed it on her face. Staring down into the sink, she watched the water go down the drain. She didn’t know what that Dhampir’s intentions were, what was she supposed to do? Clenching her fists, she pushed away any thought of Alexander killing her family and tried to calm down.
Her aura, which was laced with her flame attribute, pressed at the edges of her own mental barrier, trying to get out along with her fury. She started pushing back even more thoughts of Alexander, ones of him killing her adoptive mother, Ester. It was only when her inner eye produced a vision of Ester’s cold and lifeless eyes staring at her that she let the barrier loose mercilessly.
Her aura flooded the hallways and suffocated all of the nearby teachers and students. It slunk through the hallways, finding new victims to burn to a crisp. Jupiter faintly heard the yelling outside the bathroom, but it was nothing compared to the rage she felt at the thought of the Dhampir not far away. She was closer to him now, only a few more feet and she could kill him easily and swiftly, leaving nothing behind but his broken and beaten body.
Then arms clamped her own to her body and held her still while another pair forced two small pills into her mouth and down her throat. Her aura retraced like a wounded animal and sealed itself inside her again, becoming nothing more than a flickering speck of light in her soul. She became slack and almost collapsed onto the linoleum floor, gasping for breath that would not seem to come to her.
The arms gently lowered her to the ground where she regained her breath before looking up at her saviors. The understanding golden eyes of the werewolf Morveen stared down at her. Looking in front of her, she saw Leon giving her a worried look.
“That look is unnatural on you, Leon,” She commented, giving the mischievous boy a light smirk. He grinned at her usual attitude and got up, Morveen and Jupiter following suit. She walked over to the sink once again and cupped her hands under the still running water. She lifted her hands to her lips and let the cool water poor down her throat.
“It’ll be okay Jupiter, he’s not going to hurt us. I think we purebloods can take on a little half-breed,” Morveen told her calmly, leaning on one of the stalls. Leon nodded at her.
“Yeah, I’ll go straight to the middle school after school ends and I’ll get the kids and bring em’ home.”
“Besides,” Morveen cut in, looking at her through the mirror. “Even though it may not seem like it, you know why he’s really here,” Jupiter nodded and looked away from the intense eyes. “Rumors have flying about in the supernatural world about you Jupiter, everyone’s talking about how you take in dark creatures with no place to go.”
“Yeah, I went to the witch’s market recently and people wouldn’t leave me alone,” Leon commented, crossing his arms and looking out the entrance to the bathroom. “They know that you took in Morveen, Aunnie, and I.”
“I know, everything I’ve ever done has only caused trouble for everyone at the manor,” She said, laughing bitterly. “I’ll talk to Alexander about what he’s doing here. If he needs a place to stay, then I’ll take him in, if not…” She let her threat trail off as they all exited the bathroom and went their separate ways.
“You can talk to him during English, but you’ll make up for it at home by studying with me for an hour,” Morveen informed her, bringing down her hopes of getting it easy in English. Slumping her shoulders and walking to her chemistry class, she realized that no one had calmed down since her explosion earlier. Mrs. Roberts was cleaning up spilled chemicals with two students helping her. The others all talked about what had just happened and threw her suspicious glances as she went back to her seat.
Alexander seemed completely calm about what had happened. Deciding to actually engage in conversation this time, she looked over at him briefly, trying to come up with a good start for a conversation. It seemed he was one step ahead of her.
“Your not scared about what happened earlier?” He asked mockingly, knowing she was the one who had started the large surge of raw power. She narrowed her eyes at him in a good imitation of Morveen’s strangely dignified glare.
“Didn’t feel anything strange in the bathroom,” She responded curtly, turning her glare up to the innocent white board. It didn’t seem to do anything against her glare besides sit there.
“It was merely a child’s temper tantrum,” He whispered gently into her ear, causing her to snap her head in his direction and slap him. He looked vaguely surprised at her actions.
“Don’t you dare call me a child again, Dhampir!” She hissed at him, the volume of her voice below that of a whisper. Either way, if she yelled it or whispered it softly, he would hear it and the malice that was laced with each word.
“It was then that the mother and father of our beloved family came to meet. Even if on uncertain terms.”