This story is by Esther Fallan, who was part of Write Summer camp for young writers. You can find all the stories by Write Summer writers here. If you’re a young write age 7 to 14 and would like to participate in Write Summer camp, you can find out all the details here.
Today was the day. The day I got to leave this musty, old castle, and go back to the shining castle of the School. I strode down the dark corridor, with moth-eaten, old tapestries covering the stone walls, and made my way down the steps to the entry hall. Once there, I grabbed my jacket, strapped on my sword, and waited for the rest of my family to arrive, so we could leave. In my head, I was planning the prank that I would pull on Jack for that nasty one last semester. Waking up in the air, on a magic beanstalk is not fun. I had to wait three hours before Fairy Godmother got me down. I had to get back at him. This prank needed too be perfect. Finally, like hours later, my family came down and got ready to leave. “Mordred,” I asked my older half-brother, who was a senior this year, “What took you guys so long? You guys were up there for, like, ten hours!” Mordred rolled his eyes. “It was ten minutes, not ten hours, little dude. Chill. We’re leaving now.” Yes! Finally! We all got into the spacious carriage and headed for the School. As we rode along down the path, my mind wandered and went back to last semester, the prank Jack had pulled. I had woken up, and the first thing I felt was the chill. There was a very cold breeze blowing. Disoriented, I’d satten up. ‘Where was I?’ I’d wondered. I had looked to my right. There was only open air and some clouds. I’d screamed and looked to my left. There was a huge, leafy thing. I’d recognized it as a beanstalk. “Jack!” I’d yelled, hoping he could hear my anger, “I’ll get you for this!” I had faintly heard laughter from the ground. I would get him. After three cold, crazy hours, Fairy Godmother finally rescued me from my leafy prison. Someone tapped me on the shoulder, scattering my thoughts. “What?” I asked my half-sister, Amy, that was 15 like me. She sighed dramatically, “Nothing. Just that we’re about to go through the portal. I thought you’d want to see.” Excited, I glanced out the carriage window, and, sure enough, there was the portal up ahead. All of the kingdoms in Majaland had portals, which made travel to other kingdoms, and in our case, the School, easier, and quicker. I watched with childish curiosity as we passed through the shimmery blue arch. Almost instantly, we arrived on the road leading to the School’s drawbridge. The road already had many other carriages and wagons on it, so I knew the wait would be long. I thought about the exhilarating feeling I always got going through the portal. I wonder why that always happened…
Chapter 2– Alex
“Alexandra!” I heard my mother yell as I accidentally dropped on of the many bags I was carrying. Sputtering apologies, I bent down to pick it up, and then slumped to the ground, as my mother kicked the back of my legs, and I collapsed. “Pick up those bags, and bring them to the carriage!” “Yes’m.” I stood up, bent, picked up the bags and walked the rest of the way to the carriage, where I put them in the back, then hopped up beside the driver for the ride to the School. I was excited to leave home again, but not very excited about going back there with all its stuck-up princes, ad prissy princesses. Especially three princesses. Slyvia, Repunzal’s daughter; Antionette, Snow White’s daughter; and Amy, King Arthur’s daughter. Those three were so evil! (I’m supposed to be evil, not them!) They always make fun of my black eyes, short hair, and super long legs. Being tall is not a trait I wanted, I just got it. There’s another thing at the School that super annoys me: the boys’ prank wars. They have this little war that consists of two gangs of jokers (The Beanstalk Gang and the Excalibur Gang) that play pranks on each other, to see who could do the Ultimate Prank. Most of their pranks also affect the rest of us at the School, including whole school punishments for whatever stupid thing they did. My magic mirror vibrated in my pocket, sensing another magical presence. My thoughts shattered, I looked up, and up ahead, saw the portal that would lead us to the School. Just ahead of us was Camolot’s Royal Carriage, in which King Arthur and his family were in, including Amy, and James, the leader of the Excalibur gang. My fingers tightened around my mirror. I quickly relaxed my anger and thought about my of Mordred, who was also in the carriage, my one, and only ‘friend’. He was like me, hanging in between good and evil. The only person who I could talk to about anything. Then my feelings turned sad. Mordred was a senior this year and would be leaving for whatever college or academy he chose next year. This would be my last year with him, until next year, where I’d go back to being a loner again. I quickly forgot my thoughts, as we went through the portal, and that familiar tingly magic feeling went through me. Just for the fun or it, I had some red sparks dance on my fingertips, then quickly snuffed them out. You never know who’s watching.
After we went through ‘check-in’ we made our way to the ballroom, where we’d receive the ‘Welcoming Speech’ that we heard every single year. Our parents left us at the entrance, and Amy, Mordred, and I made our way into our room. I went over and sat by my gang, Amy sat by some of her friends, and Mordred made his way over to his friend Alexandra le Fay, who, I guess, prefers to be called Alex. I don’t know what he sees in her, she’s kind of a freak, and also the daughter of my dad’s sworn enemy, Morgan le Fay. I greet my gang in our special gang manner, a series of hand signals, and a salute. Adam high-fives me, Alec fist-bumps me, Bam (whose real name is Marco) slaps me on the back, Colton gins, and Cole hands me one of his arrows. I should probably explain here. Adam in Prince Charming’s son, Alec is Flynn Rider’s son, Bam is Aladdin’s son, Colton is Wesely’s son, and Cole is Robin Hood’s son. They’re all members of my Excalibur Gang and my best dudes. After greeting them all, I sit down between Colton and Alec and settle in for the same old speech I’ve heard every year since I’ve started here. The Headmaster, a short dude with graying hair, but a hot temper, starts with the familiar words, “Welcome back to another year at the School of Majaland!” I yawned and tuned out the rest, instead looking around at all the other kids. I saw Jack and his Beanstalk Gang, and glared at them, scowling. I really needed to get back at him. Thinking up ideas, I imagined Jack dangling above the moat, covered in tar and feathers. ‘No,’ I told myself, ‘That won’t work. Where’d we get all those feathers?’ I kept thinking. What about fake spiders in his bed? I heard that Jack has a case of arachnophobia. But, wait, someone already did that. What about magic fireworks in his room that set off when he was asleep? Already been done. Dang it! Why couldn’t I just think of something!? I glanced around the ballroom frustratedly. What could be good enough? Then it hit me. What if we did a double prank? We do an average prank, just to get him off his guard, then strike with the big one. That’s a great idea! Now to plan.
After all the required stuff we had to do, I hightailed it to the ballroom to save seats for Mordred and I, preferably near the back. I hit the jackpot. The two in the way back row, in the left-hand corner, near the exit. A couple of minutes later, Mordred and his two evil step-siblings walked in. Amy waltzed over to her prissy friends, while James made his way over to his no-good gang. My scowl at those two suddenly changed into a smile as Mordred strode up and sat next to me. He let out a breath, then turned to me and said, “Be glad you don’t have any siblings. Helf-siblings or not. Those two are annoying.” “I get you,” I reply, “Those two annoy me all the time, and I’m not even related to them!” “I’m really sorry about Amy, but, you know, the best thing to do is ignore her and her friends.” I nod, digesting his advice. I open my mouth to say something back, but the Headmaster clears his throat, and it’s time for that boring old speech again. Sighing, I slump back in my chair and mess with my black cloak. The familiar coarse texture is comforting as I face this boring speech.
When the speech finally ends, Mordred and I stand up and part ways, him going over to his classmates, and me trying to get to my dorm without dying. I make it to the door, but then I bump into someone. They turn, and I see it’s James Pendragon, just my luck, the leader of one of those dumb gangs. I scowl at him and try to push past him, but he stops me. “What do you want?” I ask, annoyed. James looks a bit startled, at first, but quickly regains his composure. “I wanted to ask you something.” “What?” He’s about to speak, but then his friends call him, and he says ‘goodbye’ and leaves. I just roll my eyes and make my way up to the third floor on the girls’ half of the dorm tower, to room 333, my dorm. Once inside my room, I sink down on my bed and sigh. Why do I have to be at this stupid school? The only good things are, that I get to see Mordred, Villanous classes, which are for kids like me, who are raised to be villains, and sword-fighting. The only goal I really have this year is to make the sword fighting team, even though it usually only allows royal boys. I ‘m pretty handy with a sword, just don’t like teamwork. Oh, the joys of being me… I push all my thoughts out of my head and just lay there, staring at the ceiling, hoping sleep would come, without those torturous dreams.
I tried to prank Jack today, but he saw me coming and laughed at me. I’d groaned internally, hitting myself for giving myself away, and stalked back to my room. It was the day after ‘check-in’ and the welcoming speeches, so we had three free days before classes began. These days were for studying and resting-neither of which any of us did. A lot of boys were out on the ‘battlefield’, a field where we could practice sword-fighting and battle strategies, and tactics. As I sulked in my room after my utter failure, there was a knock at the door. “Who’s there?” The door opened and Colton strides in. “You want to go to the Battlefield? You’ve been challenged.” That jerked me out of my daze. “What? Someone challenged me? Who?” Colton shrugged. “I don’t know. He was tall and wearing battle armor. I couldn’t see his face.” Interesting. “You gonna accept?” I shrugged. “I guess. It’s the honorable thing to accept, so,” I thought for a moment. “I accept.” Colton smiled and handed my Excalibur, my sword, that my father had given me. I sheathed it in the sheath around my waist. I put on some protective gear, my gray cape, and grabbed my helmet. “Let’s go,” I told Colton, and we headed for the Battlefield.
When I saw my challenger, I gasped. He was tall, lean, and wore black armor, with a green dragon on the chest plate. The helmet was also black and had two wicked-looking horns sticking up out of the top. My challenger must be one of the villain kids. I drew Excalibur, the sun glinting off of the silver blade. I had put my helmet on when we’d arrived, so I was ready. My challenger reached up and drew two twin swords from the crossed sheathes on his back. The hilts were midnight black, and there were dragon’s eye gems in the middle of each. The blades were dark grey, and it looked like they radiated darkness. Come to think of it, there was a slight cloud of smoke surrounding my challenger. I shuddered. This dude was scary. Colton took charge, spouting off rules. I rolled my eyes. His dad taught him how to be an expert swordsman, so he knew all the rules and many different fighting styles. Finally, halfway through his monologue, my challenger growled, “Just get on with it.” Colton jumped, then said, “This is not a fight to the death,” I rolled my eyes, obviously. “Whoever gets the five points first wins. Remember, you score points by getting your competitor to step out of the marked circle. If anyone of you hurts the other, then you automatically forfeit. Ready?” I bent my knees adapting my preferred fighting stance. “Set?” I raised Excalibur. “Swordfight!” screamed Colton. I lunged toward my competitor. A large group of students had formed a loose circle around the marked circle and were yelling and screaming. I slashed Excalibur toward my challenger, but he blocked it with his twin swords in and ‘X’ fashion, before dancing away, behind me. I twisted around, growling. No villain kid was going to best me. I lunged, doing a flurry of quick strikes. He blocked every single one. I got angrier, and lashed my sword out, broadside toward him. He blocked it with both his swords and, to my dismay, pushed me right out of the circle. “Point 1,” Colton pointed at my challenger. I glowered. This fight was not going how I’d planned it. We started again, and my challenger scored three points, while I scored one. Gritting my teeth, I faked right, and went left, pushing him out of the circle. I now had two points. After two more rounds, I had three points, and my challenger had four. If he got this next round, he’d win. I swung, he blocked. I thrust, he parried. Finally, we sent a flurry of quick strikes at each other, and I heard Colton say, “Match over.” I looked down and realized I’d stepped out of the circle. I’d lost. I sheathed Excalibur shamefully. What had happened? My challenger sheathed his twin swords and then strode toward me. I took off my helmet and shook hands with him. Then he removed his helmet.
When I took off my helmet everyone, including James, gasped. James even took a stunned step backward. “You?” he asked breathlessly. I smirked. “Were you expecting someone else?” His mouth was gaping open. “You might want to shut your mouth,” I add, “You don’t want your tongue to dry out. That would be a shame.” James snapped his mouth shut and scowled. He looked absolutely livid. Jack came out of the crowd and approached us. He spoke to James, “Dude, you just got beat by the freak girl.” James’s eye filled with green fire. “Shut your mouth, jerk!” he snapped. I didn’t really like Jack’s comment either, so I lit his hair on fire, with my magic. James snorted as Jack ran around wildly, trying to put his hair out. I smirked and snuffed it out with a wave of my fingers. Jack felt his hair, making sure it was still there, then glared at me and sauntered away, his stupid gang following him. I turned to see James staring at me in awe. “How,” he asked, his voice filled with wonder, “Did you do that?” I grinned. “Magic,” and with that, I strolled off, carrying my helmet in one hand.
Magic. She has magic. That’s it! If she can make me invisible, then I can prank Jack, maybe even let her do some magic for part of it! I grinned, but then frowned. I can do it myself. I snuck out of my room, headed for Jack’s, with some supplies, but guess who I met in the hallway? My old friend, the Headmaster. Seeing the stuff in my arms, he reached out and grabbed a firecracker. “Mr. Pendragon,” he started in his lecture voice, “Fireworks are not allowed in this fine facility.” Unable to stop myself, I retorted, “It’s a firecracker not a firework, Headmaster, sir.” The Headmaster glared at me. I shrugged, an innocent expression on my face. “I’ve had about enough of your sarcastic comments, mister. Let’s see how you, and the rest of the school, like cleaning duty.”
After a day of cleaning duty, with the rest of my classmates, who almost all hated me, I decided to ask Alex for help. I didn’t know where to find her, so I went and found Mordred, he probably knew where she liked to hang. If I was lucky, she might even be hanging with him. I hoped I was lucky. Really hoped, wished even. I needed her help, or I would consider forfeiting this prank war to the Beanstalks, which I did not want to do in the least. So, I went to find Mordred.
After the whole sword-fighting thing, I’d gone back to my room and slept. The next day I found out that James had been caught by the Headmaster with a firecracker, that we all had to clean the school as punishment. After all that, I’d gone to talk to Mordred, which I was still doing now. “Argh. Your half-brother is so annoying sometimes,” I complain to Mordred, while I made sparks dance across my fingertips, “Why is he such a mischief-maker?” I make the sparks dance up my arm, then heard someone say, “Who’s such a mischief-maker?” Startled, I snuff the sparks out and leap up in a fighting stance. I find myself face-to-face with, speak of the devil, James Pendragon. I groan and slump back to the ground next to Mordred. “What do you want?” I mutter. Uneveared, James tells me, “I need your help with something.” Curious. The James Pendragon needed my help? I chuckled lightly. “What do you need?” James glances at Mordred, then looks back at me. “I’ll tell you, alone,” he looks pointedly at Mordred. Mordred rolled his eyes, tells me, “See ya,” and takes off. James waits until he’s out of earshot, then asks, “Can you make me invisible?”
He tells me his plan, at first I think he’s insane, but then I think he’s a genius. “So will you do it?” he asks at last. I think. This could be a great way to get back at Jack, but it’s really risky, and my magic might run out, but then again… “I’ll do it.” James’s grin could light up continents. “Great. Tonight at 9:45, meet me by the boys’ staircase.” I nodded and left, to go eat some food, so I’d be all fueled up for tonight. Boy, this would be fun. I grinned at the thought of Jack screaming his head off as really weird things happened. This was going to be, as James called it, epic.
At 9:45, Alex met me by the boys’ staircase, and made us both invisible, except to each other. We moved silently up stairs and down hallways, towards Jack’s room, with maniac grins on our faces, looks like I wasn’t the only one excited to see Jack get what’s been coming to him. We reached the fourth floor of the boys’ dormitory tower, and then we saw him. The Headmaster. Startled, Alex bumped into a wall, and, for a split second, we weren’t invisible anymore, then she quickly fixed it. The Headmaster looked quizzically at us, then blinked and moved on. Alex and I let out twin sighs of relief. That was close. We looked at each other in surprise, then grinned.
The Headmaster shook his head and blinked. He thought he’d just seen Alexandrea le Fay and James Pendragon in a hallway on the fourth floor of the boys’ dormitory tower. He shook his head again. He must be seeing things. He kept walking.
After the close call with the Headmaster, James and I made it safely the rest of the way up to Jack’s room. 443. Time to prank. I grinned at James, and he opened the door. Jack was in his bed but jumped up when he heard the door open. “Who’s there?” he asked cautiously. I snickered at what he was wearing. Unicorn pajama pants, and a white shirt. So much for his bad-boy reputation. James was covering his mouth and shaking with silent laughter. I slammed the door, and Jack ran over to look at the door. James tripped him, and he fell, hitting the floor with an ‘oof’. Struggling not to laugh out loud, I moved over to his bed, and placed a firecracker in it, while James dug around and found another pair of Jack’s unicorn pants. We tiptoed back to the door, and wait until Jack had finally gone back to bed, then I snapped, igniting the firecracker. It went off, and Jack started screaming like a hellion. Using the chaos as cover, James and I snuck out. We made it one floor down. Before we broke out laughing, then shut up quickly as the Headmaster rushed by us, toward Jack’s room. I grinned at James, the felt a little dizzy. My magic must be running out. I started swaying, and my teeth started chattering. “Alex?” James asked, his emerald green eyes full of concern, “Are you okay?” “Magic. Ran. Out,” I managed to get out before I fainted.
Alex fainted, and I rushed to catch her. Her magic had run out, and, it looked like, so had she. Good thing this was my floor. I carried her to my room, 335, and laid her on my bed. I didn’t know what else to do. Shoving Jack’s unicorn pants under my bed, I snuck out of my room, to Mordred’s. Thank goodness he was in the room next to me. I knocked on his door urgently. “What’s the matter?” he asked, seeing my panicked face. “Alex,” I gasped out, “She’s hurt.” “Where?” Mordred demanded his dark eyes filled with worry. “My room.” Mordred led the way and rushed to Alex’s side when he saw her. I quietly shut the door and knelt next to him. “What happened to her? She’s out cold, and her pulse in light.” I grimaced, I didn’t know it was that bad. “Her magic ran out.” “How?-Nevermind, don’t answer that. I don’t think I want to know.” “Can you heal her?” I ask hopefully. My brother has a bit of magic, that might work. He sighed. “I’ll try, but no promises.” He put his hands on Alex’s back and I saw a blue glow transmit from my half-brother’s fingers to Alex. After about three minutes, I saw Alex gasp, and sit up. I couldn’t help myself, I reached out and gave her a hug, then I gave Mordred a hug, grinning like and maniac.
The next day everyone walked into the Ballroom, and Jack’s unicorn pants were flying from the flagpole. James and I exchanged a knowing glance as everyone laughed and pointed. When the Headmaster asked whose pants they were, and Jack raised his hand, James and I fist-bumped. I even sent some sparks over to James. He grinned and I snuffed them out. Our prank was a success. Jack was embarrassed, the Excalibur gang won the prank war, and all was good, except for a slight downfall, the Headmaster. For the ‘Unicorn pants on the flagpole’ thing, the whole school had to, again, clean. In the middle of all this, the Majaland School Board came and fired him for mistreatment of students. Everyone whooped and hollered as he left. We’d be assigned a new one, as soon as the School Board could find one until then all classes were canceled! James and I high-fived as we passed each other, and I noticed the note he’d slipped into my hand.
Battlefield @ 6.
I turned and sent a spark to him. Green signaling ‘got it’. James turned and grinned at me. I grinned back, before heading to my room to get ready for the meeting.
I met James at the Battlefield, as planned, but he had also invited his Excalibur gang and Mordred. “Alex,” James started, after introductions and ‘hellos’, “I would like to ask you a very important question. Would you be honored to become a member of the Excalibur gang?” I gasped. Really? He wanted me to join his gang? “Umm… Sure.” James grinned, as did everyone else. “Kneel down.” I did as he said. He drew Excalibur and touched my shoulders, then my head. “Alexandra le Fay, you are now dubbed a member of the Excalibur gang. You may rise.” I rose, smiled at James, who sheathed Excalibur, and shook my hand. “Welcome, Alex,” he said, a gleam in his eyes. “Thanks,” I replied.
Three years later, the Excalibur gang is still as tightknit, and mischievous as it used to be, except for one difference… Alex walked towards me after sword fighting practice. “Good job, girl,” I told her, kissing her lightly. “You’ll definitely get that scholarship to MageSteel Academy.” She grinned. “Thanks, Jay. I think you will too. Ready for math class?” she adds, smirking. I groan. “Don’t remind me. See you later.” “Bye.” We kiss, then part. I’m still in shock, however all this happened, I’m glad it did.