• Ah, the first day of high school, being a ninth grader. I even felt older just stepping in front of the building with James Madison Senior High it big old silver letters. But, I’m no ordinary ninth grader. I, Shay Michaels, am one of the Chosen Ones, a group of protectors that are the only ones that can save the Kingdom of the magical universe from the evil prince and princess, twin Seekers Mototo and Mina, the Seeker of Destruction and Death.
    You see, our story began when something in the forest outside our middle school a little while ago scared the fricken crap out of our math teacher, Ms. Jacklen. My friends and I, except for my friend Johnny, decided to go to the woods and check it out. But, Johnny disappeared, and at the end off school, Toby found his backpack outside the entrance of the forest. Now, we had two reasons to go in the woods, to find out what scared our teacher, and to get our best friend back. But, while entering the woods, we found Tahlia passed out by a tree, we then let her join our ‘searching party’ and we began setting up camp for the night. And while getting fire wood, Millie-this is when she was Sami and didn’t know about being Millennium- found an old box with five jewels inside. I found a note, and the jewels came out of the box, intertwining themselves into each of our hands, and that’s when the destiny of being a Chosen One was brought upon us. A day or so later, Haven found us, knowing we were the Chosen Ones, and brought us to her mother, Mimiki. And after meeting Mimiki, she tells us Johnny was Mototo, the evil prince and our enemy. Marlo went crazy and ran off, and Sami told us her mark disappeared, and held up the Earth jewel. It then intertwined in my hand, giving me two elements to control.
    Finally, Mimiki, Toby, Haven, Sami/Millie, Tahlia and I went to look for Marlo, and Toby and I got lost. As we tried to use a charm to help find everyone, our other new friend Prim pops out and tells us she was our guardian fairy and gives us a lesson on using charms. It helped us find the rest of the others, and then Marlo appeared. It would have been nice if she wasn’t our enemy too, she was actually Mina, the Seeker of Death. After a small ‘chat’ with Marlo/Mina, Mimiki explained to us the true story of the kingdom, and how the evil twin Seekers Mototo and Mina took over, and that the true ruler was their sister, the Seeker of Light, Millennium. It just so happened to be that Sami/Millie was Millennium, and that she was the true ruler.
    I know it’s a lot to take in, but I wanted to just explain what’s happen so far, I can be like that. Anyway, after that whole ordeal, Mimiki brought us home for the final days of school, and our parents even already knew about our fate, even Johnny/Mototo, Marlo/Mina, and Sami/Millie’s parents, who aren’t even their real parents! But, after explaining to my parents about Tahlia, they decided to let her stay with us, which is majorly cool since Tahlia and I are a lot alike. We tried having a normal summer, with the weekly powers practice, and here we are.
    The rest of the Chosen One crew was my since-birth-best friend, Toby Stone, and the newest member of the gang, Tahlia Johnson. Toby was the element of Fire, and Tahlia was the element of Thunder. I have two elements, water and earth, which made everyone vote me leader of the Chosen Ones. We just needed to find whoever the Chosen One of Wind is.
    Mimiki, our mentor and trainer, also being the mother of our awesome half-human half-elf friend Haven, told us to find the Chosen One quickly before Mototo or Mina attack. Well, Mimiki and Haven both suspect that this kid was around our age and to check to see if they went to our school and try to find them. Yeah, I just go in the office and say on the intercom ‘Hey, if anyone has a swirling wind mark on their hand report to the office immediately.’
    “Shay! Hey Shay!” I heard a voice call. I shot my head up and see Toby, Tahlia, and Sami/Millennium rushing up to me.
    Toby still had his gangly ‘just got out of bed’ orangey brown hair, bangs coming down and covering his eyebrows, big brown eyes, a American Eagle t-shirt, and jeans, plus a new pair of Nikes. But, he got a little bit taller. Tahlia’s thick wavy dark blonde hair, it was nicely washed, was really pretty looking, it had great shine as the sun blared it’s rays on it, she looked awesome with eyeliner, and she didn’t pile in on like those raccoon girls that think they look great, and was wearing a purple baby doll top, dark jeans, and new looking bright salmon Converse sneakers, I’ve only seen the girl in old t-shirts and jeans with dirty sneakers when we found her last summer. But I knew she looked like that already cause we picked out outfits together at home. Sami/Millennium, she tells us to call her Millie now, even got her name legally changed, looked so different than last year. Her hair went from red and frizzy to wavy and platinum highlights mixed with her red hair. She was wearing eyeliner like Tahlia, but instead of it being black, it was a smoky grey. She was wearing a dark olive green shirt made out of a slouchy like material, a silver belt across her waist, white jeans, and shiny silver flip flops.
    I took another look at my outfit, a black and neon pink zebra stripped t-shirt, a cool black jacket where the sleeves went to my elbows, denim knee shorts, and new World Industries white and green skater shoes. I also was wearing black eyeliner, mascara too, and had a XOXO black designer purse slung on my shoulder. I looked back at my friends.
    “Don’t get use to this look,” Tahlia said.
    Millie nodded, “Yeah, it’s a first day, you always dress up. I normally wear graphic t-shirts and jeans.”
    I smiled, “Now, let’s go. And try to seem like ‘normal’ ninth graders.”
    “Like that’s possible,” Toby snorted, causing the rest of us to laugh.
    I looked at Toby, just a quick glance, and realized he’s probably lonely, being the only guy in the group. Johnny/Mototo went evil on him, and Charlie, who was never in the first part of our story, sad, moved from Virginia to Missouri, St. Louis I think. I sometimes hoped that the one Chosen One we were searching for was a guy, so Tob wasn’t the only one.
    My first class I had it was just me, Tahlia had History, Toby and Millie had Science. So, I entered the English room, and the only kids there besides me were two other kids, twins. One was a boy, the other a girl. The both had jet black straight hair, the girl’s went past her shoulders and it was in two low braids. The boy had long hair too, well long for a guy were his bangs and ears were mostly covered, not like to his shoulders like a girl or an emo dude. The girl was wearing a dark pink baby doll shirt like Tahlia’s, except she was wearing a black vest, blue jeans, a purple Aeropostle jacket over her shirt and vest, and black flip flops. The boy was wearing a light brown Aeropostle t-shirt, jeans, and brand new Nikes. Their eyes were both bright amber.
    The girl looked up as I looked around the room, I heard her voice, “Hey.” She greeted me with a sweet smile.
    I returned the smile, “Hi,” she put my stuff in the area of four desks that they were at, “You mind if I sit here?” It was by the window, and I liked seats by the window.
    The boy grinned, “We don’t care, do we, Artemis?”
    “No problem, Nico.” The girl, Artemis, said.
    I sat down, they did the same, sitting in the two desks across from me, and when I looked up, two pairs of similar amber eyes were looking at me.
    “So,” I looked at the girl, “You’re Artemis,” I turned to the boy, “And you’re Nico.”
    They both nodded, moving their heads in unison. I mean, do all twins have to do that? It’s weird, but kind of cool.
    I nodded, “Got it, I’m Shayla Michaels, but it’s just Shay.” I never really was use to being called Shayla anymore anyway. ‘Shay’ just stuck, with everyone, not just friends and family.
    Artemis nodded, then smiled. She began to say something, but the stampede of anxious and rambunctious ninth graders piled into the room. Then, a lanky man in a collar shirt with the sleeves rolled up, black slacks, and dress shoes entered the room. He had thick blonde hair and dark green eyes. Three crow’s feet were on each side of his face by his eyes, and he seemed like he was in his thirties.
    He grabs a green Expo white erase maker and scribbles his name on the board. It read ‘Mr. Derr’ and the sound of the cap being popped back on the marker echoed through the classroom.
    “Hello class,” Mr. Derr said in a casual normal voice, “I’m Mr. Derr, your English teacher, now pull out your notebooks and we’ll get right down to work.” After a chorus of groaning and complaining kids, Mr. Derr cleared his throat, “First, we will be passing out worksheets for you to fill out about yourselves. Then, we will read them in front of the class.” Another chorus of groans and complaints echoed through the class as Mr. Derr passed the pieces of paper out, then a chorus of zipper being opened and Velcro being opened rang through. After the sound of pencils dropping on desks ended, it was replaced by the quiet noise of writing.
    While we were working, I heard something being slipped into the shelf under my desk, on top of my binder. I looked up and meet Artemis’s bright and deep amber eyes. She mouthed to me ‘Read it when you’re alone’. That meant she wrote the note. I looked at her, meeting her eyes, and nodded. Artemis nodded, then looked over as the bell rang. Kids began scrambling around to pack up their stuff so they could leave and get to their next class.
    Soon, I was the last one in the room, the teacher was even gone. The note on top of my binder was calling for me. I picked it up, and in Artemis’s handwriting, which is really nice, read.

    We are one of you
    P.S. If you don’t believe me, check your right hand

    I was about to do what the note told me, but it was too late. A new set of kids piled in, and I rushed out of the room to get to my next class.
    When lunch came, I offered that Nico and Artemis sit with us. I introduced the twins to everyone and said they would join us for lunch. Toby agreed quickly, probably glad that Nico was there. Tahlia and Millie also agreed, giving me looks that I didn’t really understand.
    As we all set our trays down, I was preparing myself for Artemis talking about the note. But, she said nothing about it, she just talked about what middle school she and Nico went to, and a bunch of stuff.
    Every time she would shoot a look my way, I would freeze up and make sure I kept the note secure in my jeans pocket.
    Finally, as Artemis reached over to grabbed a spoon Nico had gotten for her, that’s when I understood her note.
    The sleeve of Artemis’s jacket went up, showing her hand. There was a mark on her hand; it was light blue wind gushes across her palm and the top of her hand. It was the mark of the Wind Chosen One.
    I looked at Nico, and grabbed his arm, looking at his hand, the Earth marking was there.
    How is that possible, I thought, I have the earth mark. I let his hand go, and mouthed ‘Sorry’, and he nodded as if he understood. I looked at my hand that should have the earth marking, and it was blank! All I saw was skin. What the hell was going on here?!
    I remembered the note, and looked at Artemis and Nico, the two missing Chosen Ones that we have been searching for.
    About two seconds later, “What?!” Tahlia shrieked, looking at Artemis and Nico, “You two are the Chosen One?!”
    Toby’s eyes widen, then smiled, “At least I’m not the only dude.” Was all he had to say what that?!
    Millie looked at Tahlia, “Tahlia, calm down and shut up! What if someone hears you?” That would probably not be very possible, the cafeteria was large and loud, there were probably at least six hundred kids here at Lunch D.
    Artemis sighed, then looked at her brother, then back at us, “Yeah, we are the Chosen Ones.” She looked at her mark, “We were just walking around, and these jewels came at us, and these marks were in our hands. And during English, I notice you, Shay, had a mark like ours, so I thought that if you knew about our marks without me actually telling you, Nico and I could get some answers.”
    Nico nodded, agreeing with his sister, “Yeah and we’re sorry that we didn’t just tell you, but someone may have over heard.”
    I shrugged, “Naw, its ok. If I was in the situation, I’d probably do the same thing.” It was true; they’re probably just as confused as Toby, Millie, Tahlia, and I were when we found our powers.
    “Don’t worry though,” Millie said, “We were all confused too, we have someone for you to meet.”
    Nico looked at Millie, “You mean Mimiki? We’ve met her, and even explained who you really are, Millennium.”
    Everyone’s eyes widen, no one usually called Millie by her full name, just Millie. Millie blinked.
    “Well, then it settled,” I announced, “The Chosen Ones have been found, so we are fully capable to face whatever comes our way. Right?”
    “Right,” a chorus of all my friends, and new friends Nico and Artemis, said, each of them nodding their heads.
    I nodded, “Great, now we just have to get through the rest of the day. Wee, high school, fun.” I sat down, and everyone began eating again.
    I then realized something, if Nico was earth, how come I had the mark, and if Artemis was wind, why did Millie get the mark?
    “Hey,” I said, everyone shot their heads up, “Nico, before I met you, I had the marking for earth. And Artemis, before we met you, Millie had the wind marking. It confusing me that we weren’t the Chosen Ones for those powers, but we held the markings.”
    Nico and Artemis exchanged looks, then turned back to me, “Well, Mimiki explained saying that when the Chosen Ones for certain elements aren’t there when the jewels are discovered, the jewels would sometimes find the nearest magical bearer, and only would leave the bearer if they held evil and dark magic, or the true bearer was near.” Artemis said.
    That’s why Marlo’s mark disappeared, I thought, because it knew she was evil, that she was actually Mina. I nodded, letting what Artemis told me sink into my brain.
    After lunch our next class was band, and surprisingly everyone was in band, including Artemis and Nico. Tahlia, Millie, Toby, and I all agree to take band, so we have at least one class together. Plus, band seems awesome, I love music. It was the first day, so the teacher, Mrs. Bourn, let us sit where ever, but telling us tomorrow we have to sit with our instrument sections. Tahlia and I played the sax, Toby played percussion, Millie played the flute, and Artemis and Nico were clarinets.
    I was actually really happy Artemis and Nico were in band, which meant everyone was together. We could find it as a meeting place besides lunch; both band and lunch being super loud.
    I retied my shoe, and glanced at my friends. It was strange though, as soon as I met Artemis and Nico, we just clicked and became friends in an instance. Same with Toby, and Millie, and even Tahlia. Maybe since we were chosen to be the Chosen Ones, and to basically protect Millie and help her get the throne back, we already had a connection, and it was destiny for us to be best friends. Or maybe it’s because we’re all really alike.
    I looked at the band teacher. She had soft brown eyes, like a caring grandmother, thought Mrs. Bourn didn’t look a year over thirty, wavy brown hair that went to her shoulders, perfect looking skin, and a smile that could make any one happy. She was wearing a soft brown tunic dress that hit above the knee and soft gold gladiator sandals. A wide silver bracelet was on her right hand, and a wooden bead necklace was around her neck, it even had a feather as a charm.
    She had a great boho fashion sense, and made her seem twenty year old college student and not a high school band teacher.
    “Ok, everyone, these next four years will be great,” Mrs. Bourn said, she would probably be the only teacher I would have for four years, “Now, when you introduce yourselves, say your name and what instrument you play.”
    After going around the room, and when about fifty kids saying their name and instrument, the bell rang and we all left.
    “I thought that it was going to be like middle school where woodwinds and brass was separated.” Millie admitted, who had taken band in middle school. We all did, even Tahlia, who went to a different middle school than us before she somehow got lost in the woods.
    Artemis and Nico nodded in agreement, I’m guessing they took band too. I then realized I don’t a lot about them, just that they are two of the Chosen Ones, they’re in my English Class, they both are like me, and took band. Tahlia, I don’t know a lot about her either, she doesn’t really talk about herself that much, or about life before we found her in the woods. I don’t even know what happened to her parents.
    Now, the last class of the day was Gym, and we just had to walk around the track and talk with friends since it was the first day.
    “So, after school we go to our place,” Tahlia said, “Right Shay.”
    I nodded, it was already known that Tahlia lives with me and my family, but Tahlia still goes by her last name since my parents are just her foster parents and not her legal guardians. Tahlia fit in really nicely already even my little brother, Connor, someone else that wasn’t mention in the first book, got along with her. And all he did was play Xbox and play football, basic stuff for a thirteen year old dude.
    Artemis and Nico exchanged looks and smiled at us, “We can’t wait to see your place.” They said in unison, which was so weird! It kind of creep me out.
    Millie nodded as well, putting the platinum highlighted red hair of her behind her ear and escape onto her face.
    “Then it’s settled,” Toby announced, sticking his hands in his pockets as the rest of us continued to walk around the track.
    “Agreed.” Nico said.
    Suddenly, the other kids in my class began running toward the school building, and at first I thought it was time to go, but I didn’t hear the screams coming from a group of girls, or saw what was causing the screaming.
    I looked up saw a cross breed between an eagle and a lion through the thick trees near the track. It had bright red eyes the color of fresh blood, and they were looking at us like it was ready to attack.
    “I think we found out what gave Ms. Jacklen that mental break down,” I heard Toby say.
    I looked at everyone, “And I thought we’d be ‘normal’ freshmen.”