Author's notes: As always, updates are rather sporadic or random. Lately, I've been editing previous chapters of my other stories, and that's still a work in progress. This chapter will have a character that was meant to be in the other story but I could never put in (and already late to do so).
Chapter 12: A New Problem
The incident from yesterday's P.E. class, as well as what happened next, was still fresh in Nicole May's mind. As soon as they got back to the apartment, Mrs. Stewart was waiting for them inside. She was very furious at Avegaille after hearing about the news on what happened to her. Nicole May just sat by a corner, watching Mrs. Stewart lecturing Avegaille for almost an hour about not staying up late and taking care of her health. After that, Mrs. Stewart returned to her cheery self and bid farewell to both of them, and left the apartment.
Currently, Nicole May was walking by herself, on her way to school. Avegaille was supposed to be walking with her but after what happened yesterday, she refused to step out of her room. Nicole May even tried getting some help from Jane but even she couldn't convince her little sister to leave the room.
"She's really hopeless, huh?" Nicole May muttered to herself and sighed exasperatedly. She stopped walking and held on to her head with her hand.
"Who are you talking about?"
"Huh?" Nicole May quickly turned to the direction of the voice and saw Aubrey, now in front of her, waving her hand at her.
"Good morning!" Aubrey greeted, putting down her hand and grinned at her. "You look like you were mulling over something serious. What's happening?"
"Oh… it's just my roommate. Avegaille refuses to get out of her room and I'm shuddering at the thought of her mother coming over later again if she finds out that her daughter skipped school for today… The lengthy lecture yesterday was already too much, even for me," Nicole May explained wearily. "Then again, Jane told me she would make up some sort of excuse to the principal on why her little sister couldn't come to school today."
"Miss Stewart, our homeroom teacher?" Aubrey slightly tilted her head to the side. "Ah yeah, she did mention yesterday that Avegaille was her little sister."
"Yeah… anyway, do you know any effective ways of getting a Level 10 shut-in witch to leave her room?" Nicole May asked.
"Eh… I'm not really good at that sort of thing… even worse if their magical level is even higher than mine," Aubrey replied hesitantly, stepping back a few steps away from her.
"It's fine… I'll figure something out." Nicole May turned away and stared at the sidewalk path ahead. The school was only a few blocks from where they were standing.
Suddenly, a black limousine zipped past by them from the road and made a screeching halt in front of the school's entrance. A lot of students suddenly started gathering around the fancy vehicle. Aubrey quickly pulled Nicole May's arm and dragged her along with her, checking on what was the commotion about.
The door by the furthest back of the limousine opened by itself and a girl who had slightly curly and long blonde hair stepped out from the vehicle. She looked around and the students surrounding her suddenly started squealing gleefully. Both Aubrey and Nicole May stared at the scene happening in front of them with exasperation. Then, the girl, who had everyone else's attention, slowly walked towards the school building. The door of the limousine closed by itself and immediately left. Some of the female students tailed behind the girl while the male students started whispering among themselves. Nicole May could overhear some of the male students' conversation.
"She's that new transfer student, right?"
"Yeah, the daughter of a famous actress and rich businessman…"
"Melissa Harrington, right? Her family just moved in here yesterday from New York, yeah?"
"Seems like it. The private schools in this town refused to accept her enrollment, from what I've heard."
"Well, this is going to be interesting…"
After that, the group of male students left the area. Nicole May turned to Aubrey, in which she shook her head in response back to her.
"What a show off! Rich kids like those are the ones I hate the most," Aubrey remarked bitterly. "Come on Nicole, let's go inside before the first bell rings!"
"R-Right…" Nicole May slowly nodded her head and Aubrey pulled her arm again, dragging her with her until they got inside the school building.
"Eeeh?! Why are you here all of a sudden?!" Nicole May winced at the person right next to her seat. She could not believe what she was seeing now. Avegaille was sitting on her assigned seat, staring at the whiteboard in front of the computer lab.
There was still around thirty minutes or less left before the first class would start and the other students were not yet around. Aubrey was sitting by the front of Nicole May's seat
Avegaille didn't even move and just kept quiet. Before Nicole May could get closer to her and attempt to grab her shoulder, the door slammed open and Jane quickly rushed inside.
"Stop right there! Don't touch that!" Jane interrupted, in which Nicole May suddenly turned to her. "If you touch that, that clone's going to disappear!"
"Wait, w-what? A clone?" Nicole May stared at her blankly, unsure of what was going on.
"Hahaha! As expected of a Level 10 witch!" Aubrey exclaimed and continued laughing.
Jane poked her head outside the classroom and looked around to make sure no one was coming. Then, she went back inside and locked the door.
"Ahem, as I was saying, I was able to negotiate with the principal in regards to the somewhat legal usage of a clone just for today. I told Avegaille she could make a clone of herself and she agreed to it," Jane explained. "The condition though is that she still has to remotely control it from where she is at… so it's practically lifeless unless she starts putting in things for it to do."
"Erm… is this… really okay?" Nicole May asked, pointing to the clone who was now sleeping with the head resting on the table.
"That shrimp's gonna get a mouthful once I tell Mom about this…" Jane grumbled and quickly took out her smartphone. Then, she went through her contact list and dialed out her little sister's number. The phone started ringing until someone picked up.
'…What now?' a lethargic voice could be heard from the other line.
"Hey shrimp, just because you're allowed to use a clone of yourself to school doesn't mean you should be making it sleep during classes! At least put some effort in keeping it alive, you understand? I'll tell Mom about you not going to school today if you keep this up!" Jane yelled furiously over the phone.
'Your class hasn't even started yet… I'll make sure the thing is awake by the time everyone else is around…' Avegaille rebutted apathetically and after that, she hung up from the other end.
"Really now…" Jane muttered exasperatedly. She put the smartphone back in her blazer's pocket. Then, she walked towards the door and unlocked it. Once she opened the door, a group of students were already waiting outside. Her left eye twitched while trying to smile at them. "Oh, sorry for the wait. I'm was doing some preparations, you all can come in now."
Some of the students shrugged while some stared at her blankly and then, all of them slowly walked inside the classroom. There was at least five minutes left before classes officially started and all of Jane's students were already inside. Then, the door opened and the school principal, Mrs. Jones, walked inside. All of the students kept quiet, staring as well at the student following behind the principal. Both Nicole May and Aubrey recognized the student right away and started cringing.
"Mrs. Jones!" Jane quickly got up from her seat and walked closer to the principal. "Is there something you'd like to discuss with me in private?"
"Oh, it's not that, Miss Stewart. There's a new student that I am assigning to your class starting today," Mrs. Jones replied and stepped to the side for Jane to see the new student. "This is Melissa Harrington. She transferred to this school as of today. Please make her feel welcome."
"O-Of course!" Jane exclaimed nervously. After that, the principal left the computer lab. She turned to Melissa and tried smiling at her. "I'm Jane Stewart, your homeroom teacher and computer teacher as well. If you have any questions, feel free to approach me."
"Pleased to meet you," Melissa politely responded in return. She looked around the lab and spotted an unoccupied seat by the front row. Afterwards, she walked towards the spot she found and sat down there.
The bell finally rang, signaling the start of classes. Jane looked around the classroom, making sure everyone was present. Unlike other teachers who would call each student to check attendance everyday, Jane had a good memory of anything she sees for the first time. She didn't need to do any future attendance checks for her classes after doing it once. Then, she saw the clone that her little sister set up was sitting up properly, staring lifelessly at her.
'That shrimp is really gonna get it once I see her personally…' Jane thought to herself, trying to suppress her temper while facing away her students. She took out a remote control for the projector that was mounted on the ceiling, which was in the middle area of the lab. She pressed a couple of buttons until it lit up, projecting a slideshow image by the whiteboard. Then, she pushed another button on the remote and the lights inside the room all turned off. The image displayed by the projector on the whiteboard was much clearer now. She turned back to her class, clasping her hands. "All right class, today we'll be discussing the different parts of a computer and as well as the operating systems available that make them run as how we'd like…"
"This is so painfully boring…" Avegaille stared at the laptop screen in front of her, that was on the dining table. She was still wearing her pajamas, this time it had black and orange cat silhouettes printed all over it. "Why did Jane have to suggest this whole ordeal to the principal anyway?"
It was already noon and if Avegaille was at school right now, it would be lunch time. She was staring at what the clone was currently looking at. A small portion of the laptop screen was reserved for the commands she would type in for the clone to execute. She currently set the clone to stay at the library and had it take a nap there until the next class would start. She couldn't even take her eyes off the screen in case anything happened to the clone or if someone she didn't know tried interacting with it.
'Hey Avegaille, where are you going? Come on, let's have lunch together!'
Avegaille's eyes widened upon seeing who the clone was facing right now. Seeing Phil's face on the laptop screen made her very uneasy and flustered. The thing was, only Jane, Nicole May and Aubrey knew about the clone and none of them even bothered telling the rest about it. The other problem she had with the clone she made with her magic was that it couldn't speak. She started typing a new set of commands on her laptop for the clone to execute.
'Haha! Okay, let's go then!'
Avegaille sighed with relief upon hearing Phil's response. She kept watching the screen until she could see that her clone, who was trailing behind Phil, had finally arrived at the cafeteria. She could hear some sort of commotion by the other side and immediately made her clone face the direction where the noise was coming from.
Aubrey was suppressing her laughter from what she was looking at. Next to her was Nicole May, who froze up on her spot and was speechless. In front of them was the new transfer student, Melissa, whose hair and some parts of her uniform were now in a complete mess from the chowder that accidentally flung into her. Some trays and bowls were all scattered on the floor from the collision that happened earlier.
"Argh! My hair's a complete disaster now! How dare you do this to me?!" Melissa screamed furiously. "I swear, I will make your life miserable, whoever you are… incompetent weirdo who can't even watch where you're going!"
Some of the students inside the cafeteria kept quiet while the others were chuckling at what they were witnessing.
Nicole May suddenly frowned upon hearing that and stared at Melissa back. She couldn't stand being insulted like that, especially by someone arrogant like her.
"I'd like you to try," Nicole May taunted. She folded her arms across her chest and smirked at her. "By the way, I have a name, you know. It's Nicole May Rustford. Don't you ever forget it."
Melissa's eyes suddenly widened and her face turned pale. She immediately stepped back from her. Then, she ran out of the cafeteria, and some female students quickly followed her. The rest of the students started whispering among themselves, glancing at Nicole May occasionally. Elizabeth, Emily and Phil quickly approached the two who were still standing by the mess. Avegaille's clone was the last one to arrive, standing quietly next to Emily.
"Whoa, what just happened there?" Phil asked Aubrey upon getting close to her.
"Um, well, listen to this. Nicole was just about to get to the table we were all supposed to sit at but then, Melissa suddenly got in the way. Instead of giving way to Nicole, she blocked her and when Nicole lost her balance, all the food she was carrying on her tray flung onto Melissa!" Aubrey explained and started laughing hysterically.
"The rich kid… of all people…" Emily sighed as she slowly shook her head.
"Melissa's just an ordinary human being, she can't actually do any harm to Nicole here," Aubrey rebutted and held on Nicole May's shoulder.
"I wouldn't be too sure about that…" Elizabeth muttered and looked around the cafeteria. Most of the students had moved on from the commotion earlier and went back to eating their lunch.
"I'll keep an eye on her, just in case she tries something funny on Nicole," Aubrey said and puffed out her chest.
"Eh, I'll join as well. Can't be too relaxed over this, especially since we're dealing with someone who has money on their side," Emily remarked and turned to Nicole May, grinning at her.
"Thanks guys… I'll be fine, really…" Nicole May said sheepishly.
"I really have a bad feeling about this…" Elizabeth muttered to herself. She turned to Avegaille, who had been quiet all this time. "This is definitely not going to end well… you agree with me, right?"
The clone just furrowed its eyebrows and nodded in agreement with what Elizabeth said.
"I really can't be just imagining this but remember when I said that I did heard of Nicole's name before?"
It was already after school and Aubrey was walking together with Phil, on their way home. They had already parted ways with the other girls as their homes were in a different direction from theirs.
"Yeah, I remember that… so did you figure out where you heard it?" Phil asked in return.
"I can't be too sure but it was on the news around a few months ago…" Aubrey pondered.
"Well, that's not very helpful then… we need more information than that," Phil retorted, turning away from her.
"Come on, I'm trying my best here!" Aubrey protested and pouted at him.
"Sure… sure you are," Phil said nonchalantly, lifting up his hand and waving it casually.
Aubrey just puffed out her cheeks while still pouting at her cousin. Then, Phil turned back to her and grinned while chuckling. Afterwards, Aubrey paused for a bit and furrowed her eyebrows.
"It was odd really…" Aubrey murmured. "As soon as Nicole mentioned her full name to Melissa earlier, that girl immediately backed away and left quickly… what if she knows something about her that we don't?"
"Surely you're just imagining things…" Phil stopped walking and stared at her skeptically.
"I have an idea, let's use a spell on her! We can go through her memories that way!" Aubrey exclaimed ecstatically and quickly ran off.
"Oh no… this is not good at all…" Phil groaned and held his head with his hand. He looked around and Aubrey was nowhere in sight. He started running as well, in an attempt to catch up with her. "Hey, wait up!"
"I'm home!" Nicole May shouted as soon as she stepped inside the apartment. It was almost six in the evening when she arrived. She looked around and saw Avegaille sitting by the dining table, with the laptop in front of her.
Following behind Nicole May was the clone, which had its hands full with various textbooks and review materials. The clone put all of the things it was carrying on the dining table and stood still.
"Hey, aren't you going to say something like 'welcome back' or something?" Nicole May jabbed at Avegaille while she closed the door behind her.
"What is this? Some sort of a foreign cartoon scene?" Avegaille asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow.
"You're really hopeless…" Nicole May grumbled, and her left eye started twitching. She walked closer to her, pulled out a chair and sat down on it. "Anyway, you would not believe what just happened today!"
"If this is about you provoking that ordinary human, then, yes, I've already seen it…" Avegaille said apathetically, pointing to the clone standing next to Nicole May.
"Gah! Speaking of which, what's up with this… thing?!" Nicole May asked, turning to the lifeless clone and frowned at it.
"Why don't you touch it? I don't need it anymore…" Avegaille suggested lethargically.
"With pleasure!" Nicole May immediately pressed her hand against the clone's shoulder. As soon as she touched it, the clone started dissipating until it was gone.
Meanwhile, a faint light surrounded Avegaille and after it disappeared, she felt a sharp pain swelling up on her head. She immediately held on her head, trying to endure the pain. Nicole May heard her grunting and quickly turned to her.
"Hey, should I call Jane right now?"
"No, don't… I'll be fine…" Avegaille grunted and slowly turned to her. The pain on her head eventually subsided and she sighed with relief. "This is just… a side effect of a clone merging back to its original body…"
"That's really rough… anyway, you mind explaining this whole cloning business with me?" Nicole May asked curiously.
"What exactly do you want to know about it?"
"Uh, well… let's see… oh, I got it! Why is that your clone couldn't speak and why do you have to control it with a device? Like that!"
"It's because of the restrictions that the council imposed while staying here in this world… they have no qualms about cloning yourself in the alternate universe but in this world, it's very troublesome… especially if a clone embedded with a free will of its own would start rebelling from its creator," Avegaille explained. She looked down at the laptop that was on the table and sighed. "Even though they said I could only do this once in a school year, I am never doing this type of cloning ever again… it's just too much work…"
"So, are you going back to school starting tomorrow?" Nicole May asked, smirking at her as well.
"Not like I have a choice…" Avegaille turned her attention to the pile of books and papers on the table and sighed heavily. She grabbed one of the books and started flipping through the pages. While she was reading through the pages, her stomach started growling.
Nicole May chuckled upon hearing that sound and immediately got up from her seat. "I'm going to cook dinner then while you're working on that."
"Sure… thanks…" Avegaille muttered, looking away from Nicole May and her cheeks started turning red.
Nicole May stared at Avegaille surprisingly. She wasn't expecting her to say something like that in return. "Hey, maybe there's hope for you after all…"
"…What's that supposed to mean?!" Avegaille asked irritably, turning back to her and pouted. She was more flustered at this point.
"Nothing, forget what I said," Nicole May said nonchalantly. She walked towards the kitchen counter while humming happily. Seeing Avegaille getting all flustered was enough to keep her going for the rest of the night.
End of Chapter 12
Next chapter… uh, let's see… hopefully soon.