PART SEVEN: BACK TO SCHOOL
Through the intervention of the Messenger of the Creator Purity, Imani Kanda’s life was finally starting to get back on track. The Charlize Rivers Magic Middle School’s Student Guidance Counselor resigned and even went as far as to make a public apology to the Kanda family for what her actions had led up to. The former Principal of the school had stepped down and a new Principal was appointed in his place.
The school opted to settle the case the Kanda family had against them privately. The settlement saw to it that Imani would receive a full scholarship for the rest of the year once school resumed after the Litha festivities.
Imani was looking forward to being with her best friends from school again namely; Hannah and Abigail. She was excited about continuing her studies although she had a lot to catch up on. Her parents had asked her countless times whether she was truly comfortable with the idea of going back to that particular school to which Imani always happily responded that it was the ‘best school ever’ and she would like to continue studying there until completing Middle School.
Oracle Emica was, however, convinced that her parents were making a terrible mistake in getting Imani readmitted into the school. She and Imani’s mother got into frequent squabbles over the issue with Emica insisting that Imani Senior should have put her foot down and decided to enroll Imani in another school.
Emica argued that as wise as the Savior was, young Imani was still just a child and sometimes would reason in that way. It was therefore Emica’s opinion that the older Imani and her mate needed to enroll Imani into a different school.
The squabbles had escalated to a point where Emica and the older Imani could not speak to each other nor see eye to eye but the Litha Festivities saw Emica turn around and both women were able to overcome their differences acknowledging that the only reason they had fought in the first place had been because they had the Savior’s best interests at heart.
On the day of Imani’s return to school, Emica and Nobu were present just as they had been present during her first day. They were as reluctant to let her go as her parents were but Imani was relatively more confident on that fateful day than she had been during her first day.
Abigail and Hannah rushed to hug her the second they first laid eyes on her. Abigail was particularly emotional on seeing her best friend, crying and lamenting about her fear that Imani would leave the school permanently and never come back. Her two best friends brought her up to speed with everything that had happened since she had left school in spite of the fact that they had already done this in advance whenever they went to visit Imani.
The rest of the class and its teachers were all happy to have Imani back and she enjoyed her first part of the school day fully immersing herself to each new concept learned wholeheartedly. During lunch break as she and her best friends settled into their favorite table, she noticed Aerlin was searching for her so she ducked her head so that she was not spotted.
“Imani, what are you doing?” Abigail whispered to her innocently.
“Isn’t it obvious, Abigail? She’s hiding from that Alison boy,” Hannah stated confidently.
“Is that true?” Abigail asked Imani.
Imani shamefully nodded. “I can’t let him see me,”
“Why don’t you want him to see you?” Abigail pressed on.
“It’s… it’s hard to explain,” Imani offered.
“The Alison family is bad, Abigail. That’s what my momma told me. He must be really bad if Imani doesn’t want him to see her,” Hannah explained.
Abigail nodded, satisfied by the explanation given by Hannah, but Imani simply smiled meekly. She knew better than to reveal the real reason she was hiding from Aerlin as it would give her true mission away to her friends and put their lives in danger.
“He stopped looking, by the way,” Hannah stated matter-of-factly after a few minutes later after confirming the fact.
Imani breathed a sigh of relief but still ate her lunch whilst ducking her head to avoid Aerlin’s detection. She had a relatively mundane lunch time experience until when the first afternoon period bell rang and as she rushed towards the bin to discard their trash, Aerlin finally caught up to her.
Imani looked away from her Protector for as long as she could.
“Still scared of me after all this time, Imani? Or would you prefer I call you Charlize instead?”
Imani was so shocked to hear the name that she dropped the trash she was holding onto the ground. She hastily squatted to pick it up and Aerlin helped her while whispering, “I remember everything, Imani.”
“How… how did you get your memories back?” Imani asked in shock.
“A Messenger of the Creator restored my memories,” Aerlin offered.
“Oh,” Imani stated, her mouth slowly forming the shape of the first letter she had just pronounced. She lingered for a few moments before dashing back towards her classroom, leaving Aerlin staring in her wake.
Imani was unable to fully concentrate then when she knew that her Protector remembered about their shared past lives. She sought to get away from him but he inevitably caught up to her as she headed towards the parking area long after her best friends were gone.
“You can run, Imani but I will always find you. This time, I won’t let you die. I won’t let you trick me like you did before,”
“If you really remember, then you know why I had to trick you,”
Aerlin shook his head. “You took away my choice, Charlize. I watched you die and I couldn’t do a thing to stop it. I felt so weak and helpless but this time, I swear on my life, I will not let you out of my sight. I will protect you until my last breath,”
“My name is not Charlize. I am Imani. What happened in the past won’t happen again. We will get stronger and defeat the Entity,”
Aerlin looked at her worriedly. “We don’t know that for sure, Char. I know you and I know that when and if it comes to it, you will sacrifice yourself for the greater good,”
Imani blushed at hearing Aerlin so casually refer to her by the nickname he addressed her by in their past lives together. She had always found it incredibly intimate when her Protector used the name and was surprised that it still felt that way even in their current lives.
“You still like it when I call you Char, don’t you?” Aerlin asked her jovially.
“That’s not my name. I told you to call me Imani,” she responded indignantly.
Aerlin chuckled. “Okay, you’re the boss, I guess,” he said shrugging. He was, in his current life as in his previous one, as casual as ever when assured of Imani’s safety but memory served the Savior well on how quickly her Protector could change from relaxed and teasing to vigilant and protective should she come under any threat.
“Imani, darling, it’s time to go home. Hello Aerlin, how are you?” spoke Imani’s mother.
“Good evening, Mrs. Kanda. I am well, thank you. And how are you?” he responded politely.
Imani Senior smiled brightly. It made Aerlin lean in closer. “I am very well, young man. Did you have a great day at school, honey?” she asked her daughter.
Imani smiled and nodded.
Emica and Nobu soon came up to them with the latter happily chatting with Flint.
Aerlin bowed reverently on seeing Oracle Emica.
“It is an honor to meet you again, Oracle Emica,”
“Oh, the pleasure is all mine, young man. I’m sorry but have we met before?”
Aerlin nodded. “Not just now in this life but from before… When you were Oracle Miranda,”
Emica was stunned to hear him mention her previous reincarnation’s name. “You have your memories back?”
Aerlin nodded. “A Messenger of the Creator restored them,”
“Oh, isn’t that wonderful? It’s good that you can remember. Take good care of your charge then, Master Aerlin,”
“I will, I swear,” he stated. He turned to see his own parents nervously standing on the sidelines waiting for him. He said goodbye to his charge and her family and merrily skipped towards his parents.
“So, your Protector remembers who he once was,” Emica spoke to the Savior.
Imani nodded. “It is the Creator’s will that he should remember. A storm is coming and we all need to be prepared,” she responded ominously.
TO BE CONTINUED…
As Imani so ominously has predicted, dark days lay ahead. What shall become of the Savior of the Dark World? Only time can tell… Links to previous parts in the series are listed below;