I'm Austin, Austin Usoro. I'm an outsider, a misfit, and obviously not a fairy. That's it and that's the end of the story. Wait...
I might be an outsider and a misfit, but it's not your abilities or how others define yourself that truly defines who you are, it's how you define yourself.
Before last summer I lived a perfectly normal life except for the fact that I had to lie about both my father and my brother. I had friends, almost everyone loved me and I was pretty good at school work, but everything changed when two letters; one addressed to my brother, Phoenix, and the other to me, arrived by mail. We had been expecting one (the one to Phoenix), but two was something. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you the most important part of the story.
My father is a fairy, yes, a one with a pair of wings and pointy ears, but he is taller than those in stories. My brother is dad's son with the same wings, pointy ears, eyes, hair, and everything while I am mom's son.
That was why I had to pretend like my father and my brother are living separately which was nonsense in my opinion. People would have loved them. But grownups think differently and my parents are grownups. They didn't even send Phoenix to school which was okay by his side because anyway he had to go to a school for fairies when he is eleven. So, I taught him everything I learned in school, and I have to admit he was even better than me at almost all the subjects. Now, back to the story.
As expected Phoenix's letter was the acceptance letter from Νεράμαγεία (which is pronounced as nerámageía), school of fairy magic. To everyone's surprise, I also had got an acceptance letter from Νεράμαγεία. I thought it was some kind of a joke, and I bet my parents too thought the same because they wrote back saying that they might have made a mistake only to get a response reminding them that they had to abide by the law, which was nonsense again.
My parents thought it was better to move to Fairand which is a hidden village only fairies live in. So, I had to leave behind my friends and all and go to a place I was sure I wouldn't fit in.
We moved there a week before the start of the new year (for us it is the first year) at Νεράμαγεία. First, I thought I would be able to make at least just one friend, but I knew I was completely wrong the first minute I stepped out of our new home. The children who were playing outside ran inside and those who were looking out through windows shut the windows and drew the curtains. Therefore, I stayed inside the home for the rest of the week.
After a long and boring week, the brief and brisk morning of the first day of school arrived. Even though I was certain that nothing would be better but worse, I pretended that I was happy and excited. I knew exactly well if I tell my parents that I am frightened and I don't want to go to Νεράμαγεία, they would never send me there, but I didn't want to bother them with any of that.
Parents were not allowed to come inside the school. So, Phoenix and I had to go inside alone. I saw Phoenix turn around and wave at our parents, but I didn't dare, for one thing, I was crying and for the other, I didn't want to change my mind.
Νεράμαγεία is a magnificent place, but I was too busy hiding myself from others to marvel at the beauty. I was surprised to see that not all fairies had wings (to be honest, I was rather relieved than surprised), but sure enough, everyone had pointy ears. The best thing was that no one was paying attention to me. They were busy looking at ancient buildings and making new friends.
While I was completely lost in hiding myself, I missed Phoenix. I looked around to see whether I could find him, but he wasn't anywhere near. Hence, trying my best not to get noticed, I walked into the crowd of first years. Luckily, I didn't need to go far.
I was just about to call Phoenix when I heard a voice behind me. I spun around to find a good-looking fairy boy decently dressed in a white shirt and a black trouser smirking at me.
"What are you doing round ears?"
I didn't even have time to think of what to say when I heard another voice behind me. At first, I thought it was Phoenix, but to my surprise, an even better-looking fairy boy came past me.
"Leave him alone, Damon."
"Is your tail too long that it can't mind its own business?"
That was when I noticed the boy who came to my rescue had a tail.
"A tail is better than a pumpkin head."
The argument was interrupted by the voice of a lady fairy (whom I thought might be a teacher) who was giving an announcement in the front. (That was a great relief to me because I didn't want any fights on the very first day at school.)
"Make a line in the order I call your names."
Phoenix was next to me because we share the same surname, but for some reason, we didn't talk. Then the fairy motioned us to follow her. We followed her inside what looked like the main building and into the main entrance hall. It was big and welcoming. There was a table set at the rear end of the hall and it had five bottles kept on it: one filled with soil, one with water, one with fire, and the other two were empty (at least that was what it looked like). Then the fairy came to a sudden halt and turned to us.
"The bottles you see here are each filled with one of the five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and space. When I call your name, come to the front and touch these bottles. One element will choose you, and that would be your element. Each element has a house of its own and you'll get sorted into that respective house. The five houses are Terra(earth), Aqua(water), Ignis(fire), Caeli(air) and Locus(space)"
Then she started calling the names one after the other. When someone had touched all the bottles, she would say which house he,she would be in. I looked carefully at the bottles to find out how the elements respond, but I couldn't see any motion or anything.
Finally, my name was called and I walked towards the table half wishing for the elements not to respond (because if that happens, I could go back to a normal life again). First I touched the bottle of soil, then that of water, next the one with fire and after that the bottle filled with air, but there was no visible change. I thought either my wish had come true, or the changes aren't visible. (But I preferred the first one.) So, seeing a light that I might be able to go back home I touched the last bottle.
For a split second, I thought the whole building had collapsed but turned out it was only the bottle. The moment my fingers touched it, it had exploded with an ear-splitting sound.
Bewildered I looked at the fairy who had been calling our names. She smiled at me, wrote down something on the long roll of parchment with the names on it, and called "Usoro P.". Still shocked I walked to the side where sorted ones were waiting and somehow managed to get to the back amidst the murmurs. When I got back to my senses, the blasted bottle had magically reappeared (at least that was what it looked like), Phoenix had got sorted and there was someone else at the table. When I was looking around to find Phoenix, someone nudged me. That was the boy who had rescued me before.
"That was cool."
"But I didn't mean to do that. By the way, thank you for rescuing me from that boy."
"You mean Damon? Oh, that was nothing. Never mind him. He's a bit of a pumpkin head. By the way, I'm Lyle."
"Austin Usoro, right? When your name was called, I wondered what "A" stood for. Anyway, do you happen to know the other Usoro? Damon's new friend?"
I was surprised by the last sentence (How could Phoenix become friends with someone as mean as Damon?) and was wondering what to say when the lady fairy spoke again.
"Now, I'll call each of your names along with the house you are in. Those who are in Terra go to the front right corner, those in Aqua to the front left corner, those in Ignis to the back right corner, those in Caeli to the back left corner and those in Locus come to the middle."
Phoenix was at the back right corner along with Damon, and Lyle was with me in the middle. There were only four in the middle: Gus who looks exactly like a fairy in a storybook but taller, Aidan who has a pair of wings that matches his flaming red hair, Lyle and I. (This isn't something new to our house. Relatively the number of space fairies had always been less and there even had been years where none got sorted to our house.)
We had to wait until the lady fairy who later turned out to be our "Fundamentals of Elements" Professor come back after taking the others to their respective house dormitories. Then she took the four of us to our dormitory. At the dormitory, we were welcomed warmly and grandly. I have to admit that that has been one of the best days of my life.
Now, it has been a week since I first came to Νεράμαγεία and I have started loving here. I even have friends now: Lyle, Gus, and Aidan.
Also, that one week taught me that it's okay to be an outsider and a misfit if that means staying with people who allow you to define yourself and accept you as you are!