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-Free as a Quetzal-

A screechy alarm clock suddenly woke Anael up; Elite Dragon hit the device hard as a reflexive act, accidentally breaking it.

Damn...” He whispered “I'll have to fix it later” He put his right hand on his head and his left on the bed table “My head... The bells are still singing on my head... Ouch!” He closed his eyes in a sign of pain “I need some painkillers...”

Then, he finally looked at the time: it was eight o'clock.

God dammit, I am super late!” Mumbled the Guatemalan with his eyes wide open “I had to go to school to see things about my current schedule!” He ran to his drawer and dropped his uniform on his undone bed “I wont take a shower, I'm too late for that! Where the hell I put my deodorant?” He found it and thrown on the bed, changing his clothes rapidly right after. “I should have remembered it...” He said while spraying the deodorant below his school shirt “If I had remembered that I had to attend to school today, I wouldn't have gone to the beginning of the celebrations! Now the city will be crowded and going there will be almost impossible...”

He put his half-moon necklace, grabbed his backpack and rushed through the door downstairs. He left a note for his sister on the kitchen with her breakfast and got some strawberries for himself. After that he left the house and ran to his school.

On the way, he kept mumbling at himself, looking at his watch compulsively as if he wished time would stop or turn back in order to make things easier for him.

Damn, damn, damn!” He whispered lecturing himself “I hope the teacher's still there... I don't have his cellphone...”

He was so distracted that he didn't notice that another person was coming on the exact opposite direction of his, and he bumped into the person so hard that caused her fall. For he was stronger than regular people, he could stand on his feet as if nothing happened. He was about to say something rude when he notice that he had pulled a girl down, and for that he felt terribly embarrassed.

Perdonadme!” Begged Anael, bending to help the girl “I didn’t mean to tumble you...” The girl held his hand and the Guatemalan slightly blushed and the young lady laughed discretely at him.

She was a few centimeters shorter than Elite Dragon; she was chubby, copper-skinned with dark, straight long hair tied in two long pigtails. Her eyes were wide as Anael’s, but dark brown like oak’s trunks. Her mouth was a bit fleshy, and her smile was perfect: white and with no teeth out of place. She was wearing the female school uniform: a short-sleeved white shirt with the school emblem and a navy blue corsair pants.

“Y-you seem new ‘round here…” Anael said clearly shy “C-can I help you?”

“Oh, yes!” Said the girl with an embarrassed tone “I'm new on this town,and I had been transferred to Escuela San Marino, which people told me it is up on that street... Could you please confirm if I am following the right path?”

“W-well, I think the one who gave you this information made a mistake.” He showed the school emblem on his chest “See? I study there, and it is only a few blocks down on this street. I can guide you, since I had to go there anyways... Well, if you don't mind...”

“Thank you so much! You are such a gentleman!” thanked the girl, holding his hands tight.

Anael's face went from copper to red in a matter of seconds; the Guatemalan felt his heart beating faster, and he tried to cover the embarrassment as they walked through the blocks. He noticed that the girl had a bit of red in her cheeks as well.

“My name is Consuelo Cardenas” Said the dark-eyed girl “I came from Quetzaltenango*, I don’t know if you’ve been there before… You are…?”

“A-anael Moon’Seeker...” Answered Elite Dragon “Nice to meet you!”

“I say the same” Answered Consuelo with a smile “I'm going today just to have a tour on the school and get the schedules... I'll start as a student after the holidays...”

They walked without saying much things, for they seemed quite shy among themselves; as the school was getting closer, Anael tried to break the ice, and for him that was something normally difficult to do.

“You said you came from Quetzaltenango...” He started with reddish face “When did you arrive?”

“I arrived few hours before the All Saints' Day's celebrations started...” Said the girl equally shy “The only reason they move in was to get me accustomed to the idea of studying on the capital's University... They are kinda planning big things to my future, you know?”

“I see...” Said the Guatemalan with a shy smile “I think you will like it here... There are certainly plenty of things to do, and I'm sure you'll get along with people just fine!”

She gave him a smile and turned her looks to the school building in front of them. She kept walking at Anael's side in order to figure things out. Then, she saw a wall which contained some pictures of Elite Dragon in his Capoeira suit together with his master in some Capoeira public demonstrations.

Cobra capoeirist, huh?” She said with a fascinated smile “You seem pretty famous on these corridors, don't you?”

“D-do I?” The Guatemalan boy seemed even more nervous and embarrassed than before “Uhm, I guess I didn’t know that…” Then, he tried to cover his embarrassment “Well, Uhm… If you need any help, like, getting into classes or asking certain teachers about how things work here… You can talk to me and I’ll help you, okay?”

“Okay! Thank you so much!” She said holding his hand tighter, yet in a friendly way “Well, I don’t know which class I study… Where can I have this info?”

“Look on this parietal” Said the green-eyed Guatemalan pointing to the wall to their left “Here we have the list of all classes from Elementary to High School. Take a look”

“Class 8-1…” She said thoughtful “Which is the according room?”

“Oh, that is my class!” He replied with a discrete smile “Follow me, I can show you where it is…”

Anael guided Consuelo through the right corridor of the building; class 8-1 was the third door counting from the beginning. The girl entered on the room and took a look on it. Then, she looked back to Anael with a smile.

“This place seems very,very nice!” She said with excitement “However, I need to talk to the principal... Could you lead the way?”

Anael answered with a smile and led the way to the principal; his office was located upstairs, and it was the central door of the main corridor of that floor. Mr. Otto Hernandez, which was a man around his 60's, a bit overweight, copper-skinned with dark eyes, was the principal of Escuela San Marino. His hair was short, straight and white, and his face had the signs of the years gone by: rugs and old man's expressions. He seemed much more like a grandfather to the students than an authoritarian, tyrant principal.

“Come on in” Said the man “What can I do to help you?”

Hola, se├▒or HernandezSaid Anael politely “I am here for two reasons: this is Consuelo Cardenas; she came from Quetzaltenango and will begin studying here on the next week, and she needs to get things done.” The Guatemalan girl smiled at Cobra capoeirist “The other thing which brought me here is a chit chat that I need to have with Mr. Zelaya... Is he still here?”

Well, you are a very lucky young man, Moon'Seeker” Answered the principal with seriousness “I have just seen Mr. Zelaya on the teacher's room. As far as I know, you were supposed to talk to him much earlier than now... Go there, apologize and them talk to him. Get your work done, Moon'Seeker.”

Gracias, principal!” He said a bit embarrassed, yet smiling at the old man.

Now, let's talk, young lady...” The principal began talking to Consuelo in order to solve her situation.

Anael left before he could hear anything else, rushing to the teacher's room, which was the second door counting to the left of the principal's chambers. The Guatemalan boy stood in front of the dark green door ready to knock it. His hand, however, stood paralyzed just a few centimeters from the wood, for he was thinking about all lecture he was going to receive. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and knocked thrice.

Then, he opened the door, and his teacher was awaiting for him with a serious and slightly enraged countenance.

You had asked me to come here to talk to you this morning at seven o'clock, if I am not mistaken...” Said Mr. Zelaya with discrete anger “What in the world is your excuse?”

Alejandro Zelaya, simply referred as Mr. Zelaya by his students, was a medium-height (around 1.75m tall), thin, mulatto young man, who was around his 30s. He had dark blue eyes and medium, straight dark hair. He was wearing a gray overcoat with golden buttons and other minor details, a white polo shirt underneath, a pair of black pants, dark-brown moccasin shoes and a Panama Jack beige hat. He was drinking a cup of coffee while waiting for Anael's answer. Mr. Zelaya was Anael's History and Geography teacher.

Well... I overslept...” Said the Guatemalan with a deep sigh of regret “I meant no disrespect towards you, Mr Zelaya...” He slowly approached towards the teacher, who calmly drank his beverage “Like, yesterday was my birthday, and the All Saints' Day celebrations started pretty early and my friends wanted to get me there as a group celebration... I know it may not justify my lateness, but could you forgive me?”

Well... I'll think about that.” Replied Mr. Zelaya politely “Speaking of the holiday, I may go to the celebration this year...” He looked at the Guatemalan, putting his cup down and filling it with more coffee from the thermos bottle. “So, we were discussing on the other day about mystical things... Mostly Mayan mythology...” The poured a cup for Anael, who accepted and put it in front of him “Then, you asked me about my private life...”

I've heard that you are a fortune-teller... And your deck is related to Mayan mythology” Said Anael with seriousness “Well, both of us know that this holiday is full of legends; some are good fortune and others... Are bad...”

Kid, I do not know what you are going to ask me” interrupted the teacher in a smooth tone “However, you have to know that my fortune-telling deeds belong to the past. I don't do such thing anymore.”

You are the only person I know which can help me...” Said Anael elusively “My Capoeira master is not a fortune-teller nor a Shaman, and yet he knows a lot about our culture, he is not up to the task I'm going to talk to you about...” He held his Shaman-Stone tight “When Consuelo, the new student that arrived today, said she was from Quetzaltenango, I haven't remembered it. Then, I've just realized that a weird thing happened on this town during the All Saints' Day celebrations...”

...And you believe that this event may be related to some Mayan ancient legend...” Completed Mr. Zelaya “...Also, you think that I may discover more about that by using my abilities as a former fortune-teller...” He drank a bit of his coffee “Then tell me, kid: why do you want me to do this for you? What is the thing behind this?”

Like... Do you believe on me?” Said Anael surprised “The misfortune had been divulged by the authorities at night... and they are going to do another news about that...” Anael drank a bit of his coffee.

I'm only asking you that in order to trust you... And to understand some things about the person that I thought I knew...” Answered Mr. Zelaya drinking more coffee “You seem to be hiding something. Something big, perhaps, and it is really afflicting you...”

Sorry for not being completely honest, teacher” Said the Guatemalan with sorrow “But I cannot tell everything... The only thing I can is the fact that I've been haunted with nightmares about what happened in Quetzaltenango, although I'm not completely sure about how they really affect me...”

Well, when you are ready to confess everything, I'm all ears” Answered the teacher calmly “So, what do you want from me?”

Anael took a deep breath and then proceeded talking “I need you to read what awaits for me in the near future, and what awaits Guatemala in the near future as well. I know it seems too much, but can you do that?”

The teacher didn't answer; he opened the left side of his overcoat an put his hand inside of a hidden pocket, taking a Mayan deck out of it, placing the cards on the table. Then, he looked at Anael with a decided countenance.

Shuffle these” He said “Then give them back to me. Let's see if I still know how to get things done.”

Anael obeyed, and gently shuffled the Mayan deck; he cut the deck seven times and, when he finished the shuffling, he gave the cards back to Mr. Zelaya, who was ready to do his part. The man got the cards and spread them in front of him as a huge fan, and started picking some cards. Anael felt his heart beat faster in pure anxiety.

The young fortune-teller chose three cards to start; as re revealed each, he gave Anael his interpretation “Whichever is your degree of involvement on this issue, boy, believe me: things are going to get tough” He said revealing the card of Mayan God Hurakan* downwards “Usually, this card would mean good fortune; however, its meaning differs on this position. Also...” He revealed the second card, the Mayan deity Xiquiripat** “... You and whoever is involved as well will pay a high price. One of your friends may die...” He said with a hissing voice. He got three more cards to continue his foreseeing event; when he got the others, he continued to reveal the hidden pictures “The card of Vucub-Caquix*** means extreme danger; regarding to what happened in Quetzaltenango, and the next card, the Hun-Came****, means that the ones who came from Quetzaltenango and will cause more havoc in our land have to come from Xibalba and are coming for the massacre.”

Anael felt his voice failing; he was more than scared, hoping that his teacher would be wrong. However, he doubted of that thought, and bit his lip before asking what he so desperately needed.

“Is there any hope?” Asked Elite Dragon quite breathless “I mean, is there anything on your cards that may work as a turning of offense?”

“Let's see...” Said the thoughtful fortune-teller, revealing the fifth card “The Camazotz***** card means that those creatures are related to darkness, and they may strike with full throttle at night,maybe acting on a deeper place, in which we can gain or lose control rapidly: nightmares... It can also mean curse and other bad fortune to those involved in the events” Then, he took a deep breath before revealing the last card. “Kid...” He revealed the card of Mayan God Kinich-Ahau****** with a mischievous smile “The hope or lack of it... Is something that you'll have to figure out by yourself.” The teacher got his cards back and put them back to their place in his overcoat; after that, he got Anael's class schedules, giving it to the Guatemalan “Whatever is your problem, kid, look deep within and find the strength to face it. Have a nice holiday.”

“I wish you the same...” Said Anael in a weak tone of voice, trying to cover his feelings up.

The Guatemalan walked slowly towards the door, putting the papers inside his backpack. When he left the teacher's room, he started running with his eyes strongly closed; it was possible to see some tears in his eyes. Consuelo saw him running and tried to get his attention, but Anael didn't listen her voice.

Anael didn't know why he felt so scared; he had no clue of his tears, and why those ancient gods frightened him so much. He stopped running near of the place in which he met Consuelo. He put one of his hands on the wall near him, and the other hand he used to snap his fingers and conjure his Jade Communicator. Then, he pressed the red button once, held it for a while and released it.

Come on, come on...” Said the Guatemalan with anxiety and a slightly weeping voice “Answer, dude...”

He waited for a few minutes, which seemed eternal to him, hearing his heart beating faster than ever, before the according Knight answered his call: Thalas didn't wake up early on holidays – the earliest time he did on a holiday was waking up at ten o'clock.

Bonjour!” Said Thalas through the device with a sleepy tone of voice “Anael, is that you?”

Sorry for waking you up so early, Thalas” Said the Guatemalan in agony “But I need to talk to you and all the Knights as soon as possible. I have just received some pretty bad news that are related to all of us and I need to talk about this... I...I am going to pick up Altagracia at home and... And then... Then I proceed to your home, understood?”

Of course” Said the French Guatemalan in his usual calm voice “I'll call Maya and ask her to come by. Meanwhile, try to calm down, okay? I bet it is not that bad as it seems...”

Anael ended the call, hoping that his friend would be right. To say the truth, the emerald-eyed boy wished he had told his teacher the truth about being Elite Dragon, the leader of the Blue Moon Knight, and that he felt scared about beginning a new round of fights. Sometimes, Anael wished he had a regular life...

To Be Continued...

*Hurakan: Mayan God of wind, fire and thunderstorms. He is usually represented as a cobra, meaning the death and rebirth of the world;

**Xiquiripat: Mayan demonic deity which inhabited Xibalba (Mayan underworld), to which was attributed the bloodshed occurred on Mayan society;

***Vucub-Caquix: Along with Hun-Came, a demonic deity which was Xibalba's lord;

**** Hun-Came: Along with Vucub-Caquix, it is one of Xibalba's lord and judge of the Council;

***** Camazotz: A vampire Mayan myth, a terrifying Bat-God which was aggressive and feared by the Mayans. Maybe inspired in an extinct chiropteran which inhabited the Yucatan Peninsula;

****** Kinich-Ahau: One of Mayan Sun Gods, he is represented as a fire bird on daylight. When comes dawn, he inhabits Xibalba as a jaguar. He was one of the governors of Xibalba.

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