I woke up the next morning, apprehensive. Mr Lambert having announced that this day would be devoted to training, it was therefore at seven o'clock that the alarm went off. Obviously, the fact that I was the son of fire hadn't changed the fact that I hated this hellish machine. After taking a shower, I rummaged through my wardrobe to find some dark sweatpants and a white t-shirt. Once dressed, I went down to the large living room where Ezequiel, Wendy and Malika were seated for breakfast. Malika, I thought. Wendy had told me the day before that she was the Water Girl. She was also the only one who hadn't demonstrated her powers, and the only one who seemed to really hate me.
- Hi everyone, I said.
- Yo, Ezequiel replied. So, your first night at the Manor?
- It was, thank you.
- You're not too worried before practice, Wendy asked me.
- No, it's okay. I smashed a guy in black and a werewolf in two days, so I feel ready.
- So much the better. But don't worry if you have a hard time at first. It's always like that when you don't control your powers.
I was boasting but as you can probably imagine, I was far from serene. There were pancakes for breakfast, blueberry jam as well as croissants. I took my glass of orange juice all at once before cutting into a croissant when Terence arrived in the living room.
"Callum, Mr Lambert is waiting for you in the garden," he said.
- I do not know where it is.
- That's okay. He asked me to take you there. I'll show you around the owner on occasion.
Not really wanting to keep the manager of the Manor waiting, I stood up, said hello to my friends and followed Terence. The hallway we walked through was identical to the others I had used before. The walls were always white brick, separated by wooden beams and pierced with windows every two or three meters. Fog still covered the forest, but it took on an orange hue with the sunlight.
- This forest is beautiful, I said.
- Thank you, Terence replied proudly. It was my grandfather who planted it.
- I explained to you yesterday that my power is to work on plants. I can accelerate their growth, transform them and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. My father and my grandfather have the same faculties and that is why the forest you see has grown so fast. It forms a natural barrier to protect the Manor.
I was impressed. The powers of the other Elemental children intimidated me and to be honest I was worried that I would fall short.
"You know," Terence said. It is also thanks to these powers that you can realize how spectacular the world around you can be. When I grow plants, it's like speeding up time if you want. In fact, most developments in plants escape us because they are too slow for the human eye.
As he spoke, we pulled into a veranda the size of a gymnasium. Brambles had grown on the windows, palm trees touched the glass ceiling, and flowers colouring the whole were scattered everywhere.
- This is the greenhouse.
- It's beautiful, I exclaimed.
- Thank you, I'm taking care of this.
- Did you do that?
- Yep. Come on, let's hurry, the gardens are outside.
We crossed the greenhouse lengthwise. Terence paused for a moment as a greyish orange flower had started to wither.
- Naturae, vitam invenit. He whispered softly, touching one of the petals.
Immediately, the stem straightened and the flower reopened, letting out its delicate scent. Terence stepped back, looking satisfied with his intervention.
- Waw, I exclaimed.
- It's nothing compared to what you are capable of, son of the water. Come on.
The garden was a neat lawn and the size of a football field. Cypress hedges surrounded it, and rocks resembling Easter Island statues were scattered here and there on the ground. Mr Lambert was waiting for me near one of the statues. He wore a grey sports outfit with his red sneakers and a white cap was screwed to his salt and pepper hair.
- Hello Callum, he said smiling.
- Hello sir.
- You can leave Terence with us. Thanks again.
- You're welcome sir, replied the son of nature. Good luck Callum.
The manager of the Manor looked at me for a few seconds before ordering me to sit down. It's gone, I thought.
"The first thing you need to understand," Mr Lambert explained to me, "is that being the son of fire, your power is essential to control fire and create it.
- It's super cool!
- If you want.
- But how do I do that?
- This is what you will learn. Tell yourself that this power is in you. You have since yourbirth, but you never used it. Hope you feel ready.
Ready isn't quite the term I would have used, but after seeing what Terence, Wes, and Ezequiel could do, the urge to experience my power was stronger than anything. So I nodded.
- Good. Now approach the brazier behind me.
I did indeed see a brazier, placed in the centre of the garden, behind Mr Lambert's back. I walked over and knelt down.
- Now, resumed Mr Lambert. Stretch your hand towards the flames. Don't worry, they won't eat it on you.
I obeyed and brought my right hand to the fire. After two seconds, waves of heat reached me and went up to my arm. This feeling was pleasant. The waves reached me on a regular basis. Rising and falling inside my arm, to the rhythm of a heartbeat.
- You feel something, asked Mr Lambert.
- Yes, pulsations. It looks like a beating heart.
A flash of satisfaction crossed the dark eyes of the manager of the Manor.
- That's exactly it, Callum. You perceive the Flame. It is from this energy that your ancestor and all his descendants drew their power, like you.
- This is insane!
- Yes. Now focus on the statue in front of you. I want you to lift her with the help of the fire and hold her off the ground for a few seconds.
I looked at the statue. It looked like a five-meter tall moai and I had read in a book that these statues, found on Easter Island, weighed an average of thirteen tons. I had no idea what to do. Fortunately, M. Lambert came to my aid.
- You have to say "Ignis". It means "fire" in Latin.
My teacher's precision didn't help me any further. I still didn't know what kind of energy I needed to generate, or even how to create it. For lack of anything better, I kept one hand outstretched towards the brazier and pointed the other towards the statue and focused on the pulses from the blaze now roaming my entire body.
Absolutely nothing happened. Mr Lambert remained impassive, but his gaze was quite explicit: I had to try again. I took a deep breath and then repeated harder.
Still no reaction, neither from the flames nor from the statue. Go, I thought. I could do it and I wanted to be successful.
The flames began to stir and grew in intensity. It looked like a gust of wind had revived them. But there wasn't the slightest breeze. I still felt the heartbeats, but they resounded louder in months. I could hear my heart and that of the flames in the brazier beat in unison. As Mr. Lambert had said, something in me was awakening and I felt like a void was filling in me. No words would allow me to describe how I felt at that moment.
- IGNIS !!!
Flames appeared in my hands and the statue shook before it began to rise, lifted by the fiery ropes that came from my hands. I still couldn't believe it was me doing this.
- Repeat after me, cried Mr Lambert with a hint of concern in his voice, "Extinct"!
The strings of fire immediately let go of the statue, before fainting into the palms of my hands. The moai fell vertically to the ground as if nothing had happened. I put one knee on the ground. My heart was pounding and I was breathing heavily. Mr Lambert handed me a bar of chocolate.
- Eat, it will do you good.
- Thank you.
- I must admit that you impressed me, my teacher said, sitting down next to me. You put out a lot more energy than I expected and above all, you were able to keep it under control.
- Pretty good, isn't it?
- Indeed. But you've only scratched the surface. You should know that at their current level, the Seven Elemental Children have mastered three spells: attack, defence, and regeneration.
- Are you going to teach them to me?
- That's what we're here for.
Mr Lambert snapped his fingers and part of the lawn split open, revealing a grey metal lion. His red eyes lit up when he saw me. I looked at the manager, hoping he wasn't going to do what I was dreading.
"You're going to face this magnificent machine," he told me.
And if. He had done exactly what I dreaded.
- Is that a joke?
- Not at all. I'll tell you the incantations for each of your spells, but you'll have to deal with the lion.
- Are you sure I'll be okay?
- No. But I think that's how you learn best: in a situation of danger. This method has paid off with others, so I have no doubt that it will work with you. Do you feel ready?
Not really, I thought but something told me this answer wouldn't change what was going to happen.
- Yes, I lied. I'm ready.
- Good. For your three spells, you have to start by saying "Ignis". This allows you to summon Pyromagic. Your attack formula is "Hastam ardere", your defence formula is "Armis cadens" and regeneration is "Medicus coruscare".
After that, I figured these Latin formulas would be the most he would give me. I cracked my fingers and Mr Lambert snapped him with a smile. Immediately, an electric shock went through the metal lion and the lion began to come alive. He seemed to gauge Mr Lambert then turned his gaze to me. Once his sighting, the metal lion slowly stepped forward, then began to run. It's gone, I thought.
The metallic feline jumped towards me and I jumped aside to avoid its charge. Unfortunately, he turned before attacking me with surprising agility. I tried to avoid him the same way I did the first time, but the lion had learned the lesson and kicked me with his paw that knocked me hard to the ground. I cursed before getting up.
- I remind you that you have powers, said Mr Lambert. Use it.
He was right, that was the point of this training. The iron lion was coming back to me. As I had done before, I raised my right hand towards the brazier, but the flames inside were extinguished. Shit, I thought. The lion robots mouth split open and a jet of flame escaped. Driven by a hunch, I raised my left hand towards the flames before shouting:
- Ignis! Armis cadens!
In an instant, a shield of fire appeared between the robot and me. The flames mingled but did not reach me. I was impressed and the metallic lion looked like it too. As if my defence had angered him, he roared and claws sharp as swords (literally) came out of his paws. He rushed towards me again, I tried to roll to the side to avoid him but I hadn't reacted quickly enough and the mechanical feline had time to slash my arm.
"Don't just dodge or counter his attacks," Mr Lambert shouted at me. Attack him!
No jokes, I thought. The Silver Lion charged me once again, but this time I was ready! Raising one hand again towards the river and pointing to the robot in the other, I focused on how I had felt when I had used my power before yelling:
- Ignis! Hastam ardere!
Like facing Black Dawn, a fire lance came out of my hand to strike the mechanical feline which shattered and shattered into pieces. The spear collapsed in a gust of wind. Seeing the molten silver debris strewn on the ground, as well as Mr Lambert's satisfied expression, I deduced that I had passed the practice.
- Congratulations Callum. You did very well. The others, what did you think?
I turned around and saw Ezequiel, Wendy… Anyway, all the Elemental kids coming out from behind the hedges bordering the garden that had served as the training ground.
- I say he assured, exclaimed Ezequiel, slapping me on the hand.
- Thank you.
"Not bad indeed," Wes added. For someone who's never used their powers before.
The Son of Earth approached Mr Lambert.
- I think he's ready to join the team, sir.
His statement was immediately approved by Ezequiel and Terence, then by Wendy. Hazel and Nina nodded before being joined by Malika.
"I agree," agreed Mr Lambert before turning to me. Callum Ashad, son of fire, you are now a full member of the Elemental Circle.
- Which means that you will help us in our missions from now on, added Nina.
- Your missions, I asked.
- Yep, Ezequiel replied. Our parents and ancestors before they used their powers to protect life on Earth. Today, it's up to our generation to take up the torch and your arrival is a game-changer because the Circle can only unfold its full power if the eight Elementals are united.
I understood what Ezequiel was trying to tell me. As embarrassing and pretentious as it sounds, my presence on their team was essential. Surely I should have felt flattered, but I wasn't at all. I didn't know what to say to them at all.
- You know Callum, I understand how you feel, Hazel told me, putting her hand on my shoulder. For me too when I arrived it was a revelation. I didn't know my power or the Elements when I arrived. But I joined the Circle and now I fulfil my role as Metal Girl. If you stay with us, you will understand that being an Elemental is wonderful.
I did not know what to say. I was just beginning to discover the world of the Elements and barely mastered my power. However, Ezequiel, Hazel and the others already seemed to consider me one of their own. It all sounded crazy, but what I had seen the last few days and especially what I had shown could no longer allow me to doubt: I was an Elemental.
- It works, I said. I'm in.