Ow, Clara thought, as she kneeled to the ground. Her back, arms, legs, head, (everything really) hurt. How she got in this position, she had no idea.
A week earlier, she had been making breakfast with her younger brother. As they mixed the batter for some waffles, they finally discussed the big changes that would affect both of their lives.
"I cannot express my excitement with you going to Wizard Academy!" squealed Will, her 7-year-old brother. For his age, he seemed to have a big vocabulary. Like Isabelle.
"Yes, it is a big change in this household. For instance, who will take care of you? Or Pa? You know how ill he's been. And he has not gotten better. It's been 7 days and 6 nights, Will. I mustn't leave, for I will miss harvesting from the apple trees, picking strawberries on the field, and you, Will. For you are my dearest brother, and my only one. Nothing could ever change that. You are the light that pushed me forward in the darkest times, and I must help you with your schooling. You will be heading off to a new class, with new schoolmates, new teachers, and new subjects to learn. I mustn't leave. I will not allow myself to do such a thing."
"But you must, Clara," argued her brother, "For you won a scholarship to go there! You have always wanted to go to such a prestigious school. Wizard Academy is what you have been dreaming of since I was a young child."
"You are still a child, Will. For you haven't yet to turn thirteen, like I have," Clara said, smugly, "You do not know what it is like to be a wizard-in-training. You are neglected for your life, women in this position have been called witches, they are not treated right, and Town Representatives want to use you for their own personal, selfish reasons. Why should I doom myself to such a thing? No, shan't."
"Clara, stop this nonsense!" her Pa scolded, "This is the one thing you've ever wanted since you turned 6, you mustn't decline the scholarship to the most prestigious school in the whole wizard community! You cannot, I forbid you to do it! You've earned the right to attend Wizard Academy."
"As for Will and I," he continued, "We will manage fine on our own. If we ever need assistance, your aunt is here to help us get back on our feet."
Clara teared up, "Pa-"
"I've heard enough. Pack your bags, Clara. Your dreams are about to come true."
That's how she ended up here, in the middle of a field, with a boy a year older than her, blasting bolts of deep, rich purple light at her. As she struggled to get up, the boy held out his hand towards her.
"C'mon, get up idiot," Zach said, teasing.
Clara hesitated but held his hand as she felt him pull her up. They had met the first day at school, at the assembly that followed the train-ride here. She was lost in the hallways and stumbled into Zach. They both dropped their books and hurried to grab their schedules.
The next day, they had found that they both picked up the wrong schedule, and headed towards the office to make the swap. Zach introduced himself to Clara, and they had become inseparable since then.
The day after that, Clara found herself struggling with her class, Spells 101. Her teacher called upon Zach to tutor her, and help her improve. The next four days went horribly wrong.
The first day, Zach sent a blast of light towards Clara, who grabbed a mirror from the wall behind her and blasted the light towards him, hitting Zach, whose nose bled.
The second day, Zach tried again with the blast, twisting Clara's ankle from the run. Thankfully, the nurse healed it (breaking Mr. Thompson's wrist in the process).
They gave up the third and fourth day and got scolded by Clara's teacher, Mr. Callum, for not doing what he asked.
Which was why they were here, in the field, Clara standing up, and Zach still holding her hand. They pull away nervously and blush in embarrassment.
"Look," said Zach, face turning back to its slightly tanned state, "If we don't get you to learn how to defend yourself with spells, we're BOTH gonna get detention."
"I know," said Clara, "But I cannot do it. I've been trying, so, so, hard!" She covered her white face with her bare hands. She couldn't let Will down. She wouldn't.
And yet, no matter how hard she tried, she could never seem to get back up after every fall.
"I know you have," said Zach, tucking a strand of Clara's short, curly, chestnut hair behind her ear, "Believe me, everyone wizard starts this way, maybe not with spells, but maybe in disguise, or plant magic, or something else. But you got this! You can do it!" be paused for a second, "I know you can."
She eyed him, looking at her as if he expected so much of her, Clara Singer, a normal father, living with her brother and father, with no special talent what-so-ever.
She could hear Will now, saying, You can do this, Claire! I know you can!
She clutched her fists and pointed her wand to his face.
"Now, now," Zach said, "Don't aim at the face!"
"You know I only play by the fair rules," Clara said, determined to win this battle.
"We'll see about that after I send you to the nurse's office again"
Clara felt her emotions pour out of her, her anger at her father for forcing her here, her anger at her mother for leaving her at age 6, anger at Will for being the most annoying, but sweetest brother ever, and anger at Zach, for annoying her more than her brother did. She felt her emotions set a spark inside her, as she raised her wand, and muttered the incantation under her breath.
Instantly, a blue burst of light blasted towards Zach. He clearly wasn't ready, so he didn't have the time to dodge.
The next day, Zach came out of the nurse's office with a bandage over his eye.
"Sorry about that! You were right about the 'Don't aim at the face' thing" Clara said.
"It's all good, wizard," he said. Right then and there, Clara knew her father made the right choice of sending her to this school. She didn't need any skill. She was a student after all. That night, she dreamed of all the adventures she would have with her new friend as wizards.