Rainer arrived at the grand hall just in time. Tony was still carelessly snoozing in the same spot she had left him. Rainer quickly sat down, waiting for her turn.

She watched as a lady with silver hair wearing a long black gown conducted the exercise. She calls out students according to the names on the attendant list. Then another lady in white would take the student into a room where they would be given their final assignment.

Rainer watched how Tony slept comfortably on the well-polished wooden bench. She knew that they would not give her any significant tasks like the others because of her level of strength. Whatever it was, she just wanted to be done with this school and go to the human realm with her grandmother and Mindy and start on a fresh slate.

”Tony Stark, ”

Tony was next, and then Rainer. She was a little nervous, but soon it vanished when she realized that Tony was still sleeping.

”It is your turn now, Tony. ” ”For Petes sake, get your ass up from here, your next, ” Rainer elbowed him, as she kept her face to avoid getting caught. Tonys baby blue eyes snapped open; they were a striking contrast to his sleek blond hair.

”Thanks, Rainer, you
e the best. ”

He was combing his hair with his long finger as he walked into the room. Rainer kept a cool expression as she waited for her turn. Tony soon walked out, heading towards the other door that led to the exit. Other students didn need to leave through the door as they could teleport, but Tony used the opportunity to give Rainer an encouraging smile before vanishing. Rainer could only smile at his thoughtfulness.

”Rainer White, ” the lady in all black called, breaking Rainer from her thought.

Rainer stood up, walking with her head held high as she walked towards the big, furnished door. She walked into the room that was painted all white; it had only one window, which was a surprise given how big the room was; the only furniture in the room was just a big rectangular table, two chairs, and a shelf full of nooks; and there was a strange flag with the logo of a red fox and a red flaming flower. The room was indeed strange; it was big, but why was there so little furniture in it?

”Good day, Mrs. White, ” Rainer greeted as she took a seat,

”Oh, Rainer, just call me mom, ” The blond woman with deep blue eyes said with a polite smile on her face,

”Whats my assignment, Mrs. White? I don have all day. ”

The lady just chuckled at Rainers sense of humor. She brought out an old book and began going through it.

”Okay, Rainer Before I tell you what your assignment is, I have to tell you the little change that we, the school, have made. This year, we won be testing you all by mere strength or by the amount of magic one can wield. So this years test is quite different. Instead of fighting to the death or all those things, you guys would just have to buy some supplies for the school. ”

”So we
e going on a scavenger hunt? ” ”Patience, ” she sneered, earning a light chuckle from the principal.

”Call it whatever name you want, Rainer, but that is what it is, ”

”Why? Why stop something that served its purpose in the first place? ”And why do I feel like this new system of yours has more meaning behind it than you let on? ” Rainer gave the principal a suave look.

”This is the reason why I like you, Rainer: you never just accept things; you ask questions. ” You are the only person who can challenge me and honestly like it. But as you know, not everything lasts. Well, I mean, the system was already old, and in this modern age, wars are not likely to happen, and people are not just judged by their rough strength but also by their brilliance. So thats why changes had to be made. So tell me, Rainer, do you still need any clarification?

Mrs. White asked, sitting back in her chair. What she said was convincing but still suspenseful. Rainer didn say a word to Mrs. White, but one thing was very clear, even to Mrs. White, and that was that she was still very suspicious. She knows her stepmother very well, and nice is not who she is. Most times, Rainer asked the heavens why Mindy was born by a woman like Stella. Let them do what they want, but they better not hurt the people she cares about.

”So then, lets see what task you are meant to do. ” Mrs. White picked up a small glass bow that had a few plain white cards in it. Rainer questionably looked at Mrs. White and said, ”Pick a card, any card. ”

Seeing the annoying smile on her stepmothers face, Rainer quickly picked up a card, not wanting to spend even a second with her. She faced the plain card towards the direction of the sun. Abruptly, the white card changed to black, and words written with white ink began materializing on the card. Rainers eyes nearly bulged out seeing the words in the paper,

”What does it say, Rainer? ”

Rainer heard the annoying voice of Mrs. White, but Rainer couldn care less as she was having an internal tremor go on. Rainer looked at Mrs. White, who had a blank look on her face, and then back at the card before letting out a dry laugh. She laughed at her endless bad luck. All the cards were there, but this was the only one she saw to choose from. Now she was finally convinced that she was not meant to live a long life.

”Get a hand full of sand from the COLD DESERT, ” she said dryly.

”Oh, my rain, thats it. I don know what to say. ”

”Well, I do; why add such a dangerous task to the list? ” Everyone knows that no one can ever make it out alive of the desert. ”

”Maybe thats the reason it was added, to test the endurance of the person. ”

”Endurance, my ass. ”

She stood up and walked out of the office with so many thoughts buzzing in her mind. She had decided not to go along with this. Going to the cold desert was like going on a suicide mission. Rainer was going to her grandmother to talk; she just wanted to run away, but how could she?

Rainer hurled herself onto her track. She realized that not doing this meant staying here for an extra year. She had already told her grandmother and sister that she would take them away from here, and if she succeeded in doing so, she would leave here in less than a month. She had endured a lot for a long time; she wouldn let this simple test discourage her. her. She would endure this for the last time.

** ” ” ” ” ” ” ”*******

The road to the desert was indeed far; she needed to be quick with her task because nighttime was a very dangerous time, especially in the forest or desert.

Rainer took her mini spell book and a bit and arrow with her. She wore a turtleneck shirt with jeans, black boots, and a glove to cover the marks on her body. She then cast a spell that teleported her outside her hostel. If it were other witches, they would have appeared at the forest front by now, but it didn matter as long as she got back quickly.

Finally, Rainer arrived at the forest. The forest was huge and full of colors and beauty, but it was weird how a desert could be so close to such beauty. Rainer headed north, to where the desert stood, with the help of her compass. One wrong turn and one may end up in the territory of the Lycan, which would lead to war all over again.

As Rainer kept teleporting, she wondered what the school needed the cold sand for. felt weird because the desert has always been off-limits after the long war that transported people between the witches and desert people. What kind of food was the school cooking? It seemed like the school was making a much stronger spell; no, it felt more like a curse, but for whom? That was the question that kept crossing her mind each time she got near the dark valley of poisons. People believed it was a mint while the reset said it was true, but all Rainer knew was that the dessert was dangerous.

Rainer wasn sure it was right for her to go to the cold desert, especially with all the deaths that have been occurring there, but a part of her wanted to see this desert for herself. It was already past noon, but it was still very bright, and she was not going to stay there for long, just long enough for her to get some sand and see the deserts beauty her grandma has always talked about.

Rainer had never gone this deep into the forest, but instead of fear, she felt terrified and excited. But as she walked towards the end of the forest, she felt an intense gaze on her, but anytime she turned around, all she saw were just trees. Rainer quickly opened her mini spell book and began reciting a spell,

She snapped her head to the left when she suddenly heard the snapping of a twig, but then she felt someone behind her, but when she turned, there was no one. A golden glow quickly passed through Rainers hazel eye, then suddenly a huge blast was realized from Rainer, which sent her flying toward a nearby tree.

Rainer hit her head hard on the tree. She opened her eyes to see Tony laying on the ground, which forced a scream to be turned out of her throat.

”Tony!!! ” Rainer screamed as she made her way towards Tony, who was crying out in pain. She placed his head on her lap as she taped his cheeks.

”Ahhh, Rainer ”I knew you hated me, but I never knew you would try to kill me one day, ” Tony said dramatically, which made Rainer promptly drop his head back on the ground.

”I would never try to kill you, Tony, ” Rainer said, getting up to her feet.

”You have a weird way of showing it, ” Tony said with a smile as he sat on the ground.

”Why are you shopping around anyway? ”

”I should be asking you that question: why are you going to the desert? ” Tony looked serious.

”Im doing my assignment, ” Rainer said as she walked away.

”No, you won go there. Don you know that that place is very dangerous? ” Tony said in a commanding tone as he held Rainer back by her shoulder. Rainer was a little taken aback by his actions. But all too soon, she snapped.

”Hey, I know, Im not a child that you can command. ” ”I also want to pass and leave this godawful school and start a new life, ” Rainer said, slugging Tonys hand off her shoulder before walking away. Tony ruffled his hair as he sighed in frustration.

”Ill come with you; Ill be your other pair of eyes; you know just to watch your back. ”

”I don appreciate that. ”

”Well, you have no other option because Im already following you, ” Tony said, but with no response from Rainer, ”I wondered why you chose that card over all the many cards in the box, ” he said, but he still got no answers from Rainer. They stayed like that for five long minutes without saying a word to each other. Rainer was doing fine, but Tony could barely contain himself,

”Rainer, I know you
e mad at me right now, but let me tell you this: I won stop helping you even though it ends us being friends; I would never stop helping you because you ate my best friend. So if you want to get mad, I don care. Youll actually be the one to start having wrinkles, while I will still look as dashing as always. ”Your call, ” Tony said with a shrug.

”Idiot, I should have killed you when I had the chance, then you wouldn be saying such nonsense, ” Raine said, trying to hide her smile, which Tony could see.

”Please take this, ” Tony said, removing a silver chain that was covered with little diamonds and that had a moon-like pendant from his neck.

”What are you doing? ” I planned on giving you this after our graduation, but I changed my mind. After our graduation, you would leave for the human realm while still having a responsibility here. I don know when we will meet again, so Im giving you these. Please use it to remember this, your idiotic friend. ”

”Isn this the last gift your dad gave you on your birthday? ”

”Yes, please don take it off; its special, and I won want you to have it; take this as my last gift till we meet again. ”

”Okay, but I have to also give you something. ” Rainer said, removing the red ruby earring, ”This is my mothers earring; use this to remember this grumpy friend of yours; Im really lucky to have you. ”

”Likewise, ”

Both friends walked together towards the desert. The deeper they walk, the more the environment changes, with the plants becoming smaller and smaller and the heat intensifying by the moment.

”I wonder why this place is called the cold desert while it is so hot; it should be called the desert of the Underland. ” ”We haven even reached there yet, and Im already feeling the heat. ”

”I agree with you, but its not that hot, you know, ” Rainer said, looking up at Tony, who was already sweating like a microwaved turkey.

”I, my lord Rainier! The heat has really gotten to your head; thats why you
e saying such things. ”You know what? I think we should just teleport to the desert and get the sand as fast as we can because, with the way Im seeing this, I don think Ill be able to make it to the desert on foot, ” Tony explained, sounding exhausted.

”Lets just walk a little further; I just want to admire the view; I want to savor this moment, ” Rainer said pleadingly.

”Yeah, savor this moment. ” ”Im pretty sure that it would be the vultures savoring our flesh when we
e dead, and Im really beginning to regret following you, ” Tony grumbled On and on as they walked, Rainer didn take what he said to heart because she knew that he didn mean it.

”Rainer, watch out! ”

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