“Wait, really?” Cassie asked. The scrawny, brown-haired girl stepped in front of her friend in a blood-red hoodie, Cherry. “The Academy said it couldn’t be done.” The pair of friends walked along the beach when Cherry made her unbelievable claim.
“Yeah. Not by them,” Cherry grinned.
“And you can teach me how?” Cassie’s eyes went wide with hope. Cherry nodded, but her grin faded. A black portal opened on the sand next to them.
“C’mon,” Cherry walked into the portal and disappeared. Cassie followed. On the other side of the portal, she stepped out onto a short hill surrounded by a lush, colorful garden. A variety of white flowers surrounded the hill with a band of orange flowers beyond the white ones.
“Where’s this?” Cassie asked as she admired the scenic surroundings.
“Just a place I know,” Cherry shrugged. She sat down on the hill and glanced up at Cassie to let her know she should too.
“What do you know about Ballisea?” Cherry asked the moment Cassie sat.
“Huh?” The change in topics confused her, but she trusted Cherry enough to know there was a point. “Uh, the only thing I need to know is ‘run’.” Cherry nodded.
“That’s a pretty good thing to keep in mind. Why?”
“Why… run?” Cassie asked with a chuckle. ” ‘Cause she’s unstoppable. The most powerful Unique ever.” Again, Cherry nodded.
“What if I told you that she used to be stronger? A lot stronger.” Cassie turned and stared at her friend silently. “The short version is, she accidentally split her soul into five pieces. She kept one, of course, so right now she’s about 20% as powerful as she was.”
“Whoooaaaa,” Cassie’s mouth dropped. “What about the rest?” Cherry pulled back her red hood revealing her snow-white hair.
“She’s #46, El Sol…,” Cherry said. “…the top Celestial. The other four were born into the rest of the Celestials. #14, La Muerte became someone named Vanilla. #37, El Mundo became Peppermint. #35, La Estrella…” she drifted off, but Cassie caught the pattern.
“Cherry,” she said. Cherry nodded. “And La Luna is…” Cassie asked. Cherry shook her head, her white ponytail swished back and forth with the movement.
“We don’t know who the Luna is yet, but they’re supposed to take the name Blueberry.”
“Oh. So.. that’s how you can do what they say can’t be done?” Cassie asked. “Because you’re Ballisea-lite?” Cherry nodded.
“My soul is a piece of hers, it comes with some great perks.”
“And you can teach me, even if my soul doesn’t have that piece?” Cassie asked. Cherry met Cassie’s hazel eyes. Golden stars glowed in Cherry’s eyes and she held her hands out with the palms facing up.
“I promise…,” she said. The palms of her hands began to glow with bright white light, then the glow in each palm changed color. Her right palm glowed with blue light and her left with red, then the colors cycled. Red transitioned to orange, then yellow; blue grew into white. The golden stars in Cherry’s eyes also changed color. Instead of the brilliant golden light, the stars pulsed with a rainbow of glows. “…you’ll be able to channel more than one star at the same time.”