initial term reached its final days, the academy subjected each
unit to one collaborative progress evaluation. The five new
recruits were tested, as one, in the field. Teamwork was
essential, physical ability was as necessary as magical
aptitude, and Molly had to talk herself out of bringing popcorn.
With Donovan and Yuki involved, she expected no less than a
most trials, this evaluation occurred in a clearing within the
Forest of Unspeakable Peril. The five participants received no
safety equipment. Instead, Prof. Weatherstone handed all but the
already-armed Kathryn a sword identical to the one Troy had seen
in his father's orb. Upon holding one in real life, however,
Troy made the natural observation: “This thing's a bit flimsy.”
called a smiter. Only affects something if it has a demonic
aura. And you want to hold it with the hand you don't use magic
with,” Weatherstone said.
we need to use the sword left-handed?”
at Troy and Yuki attempting to wield a sword with their
non-dominant hands led Kathryn to back away.
noticed. “Don't worry, Kathryn. Under normal circumstances,
those things won't cut through butter... unless it was demonic
Molly noticed Renee playfully extending the sword towards
Donovan. “All the same Renee, I wouldn't try it,” she said. She
was pretty sure it wouldn't have done anything, but knowing
Donovan she wasn't completely certain.
send out a few shadelings for you to fight. They are aggressive,
but they won't hurt you... much.” Weatherstone smiled. Troy,
Renee and Yuki frowned. “Just use what you know and show us what
you're capable of. Molly and I will watch and evaluate. Molly,
any words of encouragement for your students?”
blinked and said, “Hurry up. I want to get out of here.”
Weatherstone found a shady spot as six shadelings approached.
Shadelings were often considered a sub-evolved form of a wraith.
This was inaccurate, as wraiths are fictitious beings not found
on Earth. Still, the cloaked figures appeared to hover in midair
with only two bone arms to hint at a skeletal structure. Despite
their inherent spookiness, they weren't particularly harmful.
Shadelings weren't usually provoked into attack, but the
academy's game specialist was always good at agitating demonic
shadeling picked a different target. The one that chose Troy
received a blast of water in the face right from the get-go.
Besides knocking the shadeling backwards, the water did
absolutely nothing. Weatherstone chuckled in amusement and wrote
something down on her evaluation form.
did not have a nifty element attack yet. In fact, he hadn't
learned much more than the light ball/teleportation combo he had
come in with. So when one of the shadelings floated towards him,
his options were limited. The obvious tactic would have been
simply to stab the thing, but as Donovan's magic trigger used
both hands, he was holding the sword between his knees while he
cast a spell. He teleported behind a nearby tree and nailed it
with his sword before the shadeling could find him. A puff of
gray smoke burst out of the wound and the monster fell to the
ground, the smiter still lodged in its body.
works. Make sure to tell him that teleportation is easily to
counter in battle,” Weatherstone said.
he knows,” Molly replied.
meanwhile, was making good use of her swift feet and reflexes to
counter the attacks of her opponent. She found that the
shadeling was quite capable of avoiding her attacks with the
sword, especially as she was attacking left-handed, so she let
it come to her and ducked or strafed out of the way. Every so
often, she would resort to a mild warding spell that had been
taught in Weaving. While it only served to repel the demon, the
spell kept Renee safe until she could find an opening. Once she
did, she cast a flight spell. At her level, she was merely
hovering inches off the ground, but it gave her the extra
mobility to deke right while attacking the shadeling's left side
to destroy it.
Renee's impressive,” Molly said. “Very quick and very
Weatherstone nodded and made some notes. “Yes, but are you sure
she's patient enough for Weaving? An approach like that is more
appropriate for air-based Thrusting. Focusing on that, no one
would be able to touch her.”
sword, Kathryn had her own approach- she wrestled the shadeling
to the ground. She pinned it easily, but as she reached for her
staff to deliver the final blow, a second creature flew in and
struck her in the arm. While only doing minor damage, it let the
first throw Kathryn off and distract her while the second made a
beeline for Yuki.
Kathryn shouted, shoving the first aside with her staff and
running after the second. But she couldn't reach it before it
reached Yuki. Fortunately, seeing the shadeling strike Kathryn
prompted Yuki to conjure a potion. It exploded at just the right
time, sending her would-be assailant flying backwards and high
into the air. Seeing this, Kathryn drove her staff into the
ground and vaulted up to reach the creature. She grabbed the
shadeling by its cloak and heaved it to the ground.
“Excellent!” Weatherstone shouted as Yuki poked the downed
shadeling with her smiter to finish it off. “I'd like to see
more of that.” Even Molly clapped in approval.
didn't have much time to celebrate. Just as she reclaimed her
staff, the first shadeling that she was working on caught up and
resumed the attack. While their match continued, Kathryn didn't
notice a new foe approach her, despite the water dripping from
its soggy cloak.
see it, but he was too far away to reach it and his ranged
attack didn't do much on it the first time. Thankfully, he too
had learned flight, and he lifted himself off the ground and
charged in. The rate of movement for such spells depended on the
amount of energy the user invested in it, so Troy went all in to
reach the shadeling before it got to Kathryn. He held his smiter
in front of him, piercing the creature as he made contact.
problem- Troy wasn't stopping. Rather than continue past the
dead shadeling and try his sword's luck against the large oak
tree in front of him (which was almost certainly not demonic),
Troy pushed off, releasing his sword as he changed direction. He
failed to control which direction, however, and he found himself
flying uncontrollably into the air and backwards. Once he
regained his bearings, Troy assumed this change in direction
would cause him to slow down and float safely to earth. He was
completely wrong, but his faith in this theory led him to be
more concerned about doing some damage while he was up there.
The most serious threat at the moment was the shadeling Kathryn
had been dealing with. Eager to help out, Troy took a page from
his father: he wound back, concentrated on a wind gust and sent
one towards Kathryn's opponent.
was decidedly weak, it surprised the shadeling long enough to
give Kathryn the upper hand- and the kill. The problem was that
Troy did not float down as he had expected: he fell like a rock.
As he was about fifteen feet in the air at the time, the fall
would have done far more damage than any shadeling could have.
Troy braced himself and prayed that the infirmary had a magical
fix for compound fractures.
was no need. As soon as Troy began falling, Renee dashed across
the field, slid feet first and made a valiant effort to catch
him. She was close enough; Troy fell into her arms, and then
onto her, and then onto the ground. Bruises? Absolutely, but
nothing serious. No broken bones and Troy was in a compromising
position with Renee, with no way Molly could hold him
responsible. He'd take that any day.
One shadeling remained.
While it had been tied up with Renee for most of the battle, she
had abandoned it to go catch Troy. It decided to charge after
Donovan. This was a problem, as Donovan had stupidly failed to
retrieve his smiter from the first shadeling he had killed.
Donovan wasn't even prepared to cast a spell; instead he
extended a hand towards the shadeling and gave a 'come hither'
wave of the fingers.
So it did. Recognizing
that Donovan was not prepared to fight it, and that Donovan
probably didn't realize he was not prepared to fight it, Troy
jumped to his feet and fired a water spell at the shadeling.
As it turned out,
Donovan was in full control of the situation: “Blaine,” he said.
“Sir!” Blaine said. The
first thing he saw was the shadeling charging at them, so he
quickly figured out what Donovan wanted. He launched a mighty
Blaine's air spell and
Troy's water spell connected at the same time. The forces behind
them combined and swirled around the target, trapping the
shadeling in a dense tempest of water and wind.
Molly and Weatherstone
were dumbfounded. Not because of the tempest; that was dumb
luck. Molly buried her face in her hands and muttered, “You
think he'd know not to summon outside help during a skills
nervously and tapped her pen on the clipboard. “I'll say he...
is able to trust in his friends.”
“No...” Molly reached
over and covered Weatherstone's hand. “Do not encourage him.”
With the shadeling
trapped, Donovan smirked at it and began his gesture. “Now...
prepare to be destroyed,” he uttered, circling his palms around
and casting a spell.
It was the same mild
warding spell that Renee had used before. It merely disrupted
the shadeling and knocked it out of the cyclone.
Troy's jaw dropped. “You
just did him a favor!”
Indeed, dizzy as it was,
the shadeling was ready to resume its attack on Donovan. It
raised its arms, reared back... and promptly got clobbered in
the head with a staff.
“You guys make this way
too complicated,” Kathryn said, using Troy's sword to pierce its
Weatherstone clapped as
she and Molly emerged from their vantage point. “Well done, well
done, well done,” Weatherstone repeated, walking up to the group
to presumably say something more useful. Troy and Renee,
suddenly feeling the effects of their collision, slowly joined
Kathryn and Yuki around the instructor. Donovan lingered in
“Very good work by all
of you. I did notice a few things though. Stuff to think about
between sessions.” Weatherstone turned to Troy. “Troy, I must
say I'm impressed. Again, your water blast is coming along
nicely and you had good presence to help out Kathryn and
Donovan. Your flight isn't quite ready for battle yet, but
that'll come along. Did I see an air spell in there, too?”
Weatherstone smiled in return and added, “That surprised me. I
would, however, focus on your natural element before worrying
about the others. That's more sophomore material. But yes, very
good. Molly obviously trained you well.”
Kathryn grinned. “Yeah,
way to go, Molly.” Molly turned her head, annoyed.
“I suppose I should have
used some magic in there, huh?”
“No, you were fantastic
out there. From your records, you seem to have a focusing issue.
Normally this is a problem, but because you have so much energy
it's channeled into your movements and strength. I wish more
magi could fight like that.”
Kathryn narrowed her
eyes. “You know, if you're looking for bodies to beat up demons,
there's an army base next door.”
momentarily, then answered, “Trust me, we don't want to go in
that direction.” She looked up at Yuki. “Yuki, I know you didn't
get to do a lot.
You're a Crafter and
would be in more of a support role, so that's okay. I'm sure
you'll get your chance to shine in evaluations more likely to
severely injure one of your teammates.”
“Yes, ma'am!” Yuki said,
The instructor turned to
the next student. “Renee?”
Renee saluted. “Yes?”
“Um... not that much for
you actually. Good work handling the shadeling, good work
breaking Troy's fall... I'm not so sure about putting you in as
a Weaver though. I think you might be better suited for
Thrusting, but that's more for Molly to look into down the
Renee wasn't sure how to
respond. She ended up dropping her arms to the side. “Oh. Okay,”
Donovan.” Weatherstone looked up, but there was no Donovan.
Blaine remained, and he
grinned nervously. “Uh... Donovan stepped out. Would you like me
to take a message?”
After blinking in
disbelief, Weatherstone finally said, “That's... all right. I'll
just leave his notes for Molly. Does anyone have any questions?”
No response. Half of
them were still in awe of Donovan's gall for leaving early.
Weatherstone said, “Make sure you all keep practicing. You all
know the rules about using magic outside the academy?”
“Yep! Don't get caught!”
“Precisely. I guess
that's everything. We need to get ready for the next group, so
you are free to go.”
Molly was already
halfway to the path leading out. “Excellent. Let's start packing
so we can beat the traffic out of here.”
She did not bother to
wait for the others, all quite exhausted and not able to keep up
with Molly's brisk pace. Knowing Molly, they probably wouldn't
want to anyway.
As they left,
Weatherstone turned and shouted into the thicket. Unknown yards
away, the the game specialist was securing the next batch of
shadelings. “Smittle! Can we bring the next group in?”
She heard a nearby
shotgun blast, several bird-like creatures flying away from said
shotgun blast, then Smittle shouting, “Just about!”
Donovan did not need
Weatherstone's evaluation. He was disgusted enough by his
performance. Or rather, the fact that it didn't completely
overwhelm the performances of his peers. He was a mere
contributor, not the all-out power he had expected. Furthermore,
Troy had felt the need to help him, as if Donovan didn't have
full control of the situation. This steamed Donovan to no end,
and it was all he could think about as he walked along the
Actually, walk wasn't
the correct word. Donovan was hovering, to be precise. As
limited and unwieldy as an elementary flight spell was, all
Donovan cared about was that it looked impressive when used in a
mundane situation with no other mental diversions.
An approaching student
took notice of Donovan. The student appeared to be confounded at
Donovan's ability to defy gravity so easily. He walked up to
Donovan, and took a moment to phrase his question.
Donovan stared back at
him with a manic wide-eyed expression sure to intimidate the
student further. The student didn't notice, instead asking, “Are
you chewing gum?”
Eyes narrowing, Donovan
replied, “Why do you ask?”
The student shrugged.
“It's the only reason I can think of for why you're hovering
He was referring to the
deceptively difficult ability to fly and chew gum at the same
time. It was a drill practiced by MST sophomores to better
manage flight, often to hilarious and/or deleterious results.
Not knowing this,
Donovan simply used his 'leave my presence' glare. The student
scoffed and used his 'whatever, mister' head shake and walked
Donovan proceeded on.
“Blaine. Bryce,” he called out.
“Sir!” they answered.
He gave no order. His
minions just walked behind him and waited. Silence continued,
the only nearby human utterance coming from a random passer-by
laughing to him-or-herself at Donovan's flying.
“Sir, did you need us
for something?” Blaine asked.
“If you're not going to
give us a command, I need to get going. I have things to do
today,” Bryce added.
But saying that and
actually leaving were two different things. Bryce continued to
walk alongside his silent master.
Eventually, he gave up
and changed the subject. “Why are you flying? You know that
expends more energy than walking, right?”
“Walking is just as
easy, just as fast, and burns more calories,” Blaine added.
“Join me, away from the
oppressions of gravity!” Donovan shouted dramatically.
Blaine and Bryce looked
at each other, shrugged, and cast their own flight spells. Bryce
used his crystal to do so, and spun it around continuously to
maintain his elevation.
In a grim voice, Donovan
summarized his frustrations: “My progress coincides with my
rivals. That must end if I am to defeat them.”
Blaine moaned. “I don't
have to kill Troy again, do I?”
“Perhaps later,” Donovan
replied, “For now, I must advance beyond my training.”
“Sir, that would require
more training,” Bryce answered.
spun around in midair to face his minions. Of course, not being
adept at that flight spell, his momentum carried him back
around... and around again. After two or three revolutions,
Bryce and Blaine stopped him. Undeterred, Donovan continued, “I
just need to learn your secrets.”
He turned sharply to
Blaine. “Blaine- as a Thruster, you are no help to me.”
“Very good, sir,” Blaine
Donovan's head darted at
Bryce. “But Bryce can teach me more advanced magic. You are,
after all, a Weaver like myself.”
Bryce fidgeted. “Well...
yeah, technically. I tend to specialize in circles actually.”
Donovan raised an eyebrow and Bryce quickly added, “Uh, maybe
when we get home. But I could teach you an energy projectile if
“Yes...” Donovan hissed.
“Okay, go through your
trigger slowly and I'll tell you when to stop.”
Donovan did so, putting
more effort into being slow and dramatic than usual. Once his
palms faced each other, Bryce halted him.
“That's your hold point.
If you stop there and just put energy into it without a specific
spell... well, you'll see.”
Remember back when
Kendrick attacked Blaine, Bryce and Troy? The energy ball he had
created for the occasion closely resembled the one Donovan was
now creating with Bryce's help. Donovan's was much smaller, but
as he held the position and put more power into it, the ball
began to grow. Bryce wisely took a steps back.
Blaine was already
bracing himself. “Uh, sir, you don't want to make it too big
until you can handle it.”
“Which, we should point
out, you can't,” Bryce added.
But Donovan continued
on, pouring energy into the ball, widening the distance between
his hands to accommodate such a large mass of power. It reached
the size of a volleyball... then a basketball... at beach ball
range, Bryce winced and said, “You, uh, might want to let that
Donovan himself could
feel that he was losing control, so with a feral scream he
finished his trigger and launched the monstrosity straight
forward. Straight at the administrative office building, where
all of the academy's highest-ranking officials, wisest
professors and cutest secretaries gathered to facilitate the
education of thousands. Donovan, severely winded from the energy
he had expended, watched in anticipation to see just how much
damage he could do at full power.
Instead, the ball
bounced against the brick facade harmlessly and crashed to the
sidewalk in front of it. It had shrunk considerably along the
way, and was a mere baseball when a student passed by and picked
it up. He tossed it in his hands a couple times, then fired it
back at Donovan.
Donovan stood upright
and placed his hands on his hips, sneering at the returning, and
still-shrinking, energy ball. Rather than catch it, he let the
now marble-sized sphere bounce off his chest. He barely felt it.
Whatever was left of it rolled towards Bryce, who rubbed it out
with his foot.
Bryce looked up at
Donovan and smiled. “And one of these days I'll show you how to
blow stuff up with it.”
Donovan furrowed his
eyebrows and leaned in towards Bryce. The angry glare caused
Bryce to stumble back in fear.
muttered. And Bryce cowered.
had little sentiment as she packed her bags. In one of her
handbooks, she had read about the melancholy students often
acquire upon preparing for the inevitable return to reality
after each term. The book advised guardians to use the time to
stress the importance of practice and keeping abilities fresh
until the next term, which was (and the book actually said this)
'only five short months away.' Molly was well-prepared to
regurgitate this to any of the others that may feel sorry about
leaving, but she herself was anxious to get out of there and
head back to the leisure of running her own high school.
she was just glad the first term was over with no major
incidents. Molly did not hide the fact that she was angry at her
unit being admitted so early, and dreaded some massive
catastrophe that would befall the academy as a result. The three
weeks had turned out about as well as she could have planned it,
save Yuki falling into their lap and Troy's stubborn insistence
on not being a total failure. They were all still there, the
academy was still there, so Molly could consider round one a
opened her bedroom door and walked in; Molly correctly assumed
that only Renee would have the courage to do so without asking.
Renee smiled and asked, “Can I come in?”
nodded and continued to pack. Renee found a chair, leaned back
and said, “So do we have to trust them to send our stuff back
Molly replied, more concerned with a missing binder on her desk.
they'd help us pack. It's exhausting. Kinda depressing too.”
lighter next year,” Molly replied, finding the errant binder
across the room. She narrowed her eyes at it and fired off a
spell, raising the binder into the air. Molly guided it into
box, rubbed her hands together, and wordlessly continued packing
was not lost on Renee, who leaned forward and grew a big smile.
“Would my dear older sister like to help me pack?”
it,” Molly grumbled, “You have a bag or two. I have an office.”
sighed. “Look at it this way- eventually, you'll be able to
levitate things to your heart's content.” A chuckle later, she
added, “Unless you switch to Thrusting.”
interested about the subject, Renee replied, “That professor
seemed to think it was a good idea. I suppose the rapid-fire
approach would be better for me, don't you think?”
Weatherstone's biased towards Thrusters. Professors tend to
favor their own field.” Molly shook her head. “I found most of
her comments pretty meaningless. That whole drill was just a
means of encouragement. One of those things could have
disemboweled Yuki and she'd still pass us.”
was all Renee could say in response.
sat quietly as her sister continued to pack. There were no
further tricks to the process- Molly arranged the necessary
belongings in the box with maximum efficiency and minimum magic.
The same cold look remained on her face throughout. In watching
her, a thought struck Renee, one that had been lingering in the
back of Renee's mind since their arrival.
Do you like this?”
paused and looked up at her sister. Not changing the expression
on her face, she replied, “What? Packing?”
looked down. “This whole magic thing. This should be kinda fun,
was still no change in Molly's face. There was no response
either. Molly stared back at Renee, unable to answer the
only look into the eyes of Molly Pearson for so long. After a
prolonged silence, Renee turned away and glanced out the window
for an ocular breather. Something outside caught her eye and she
stood, mumbling, “What on Earth?”
turned around and the two sisters approached the window. A
miniature cyclone, just fifteen feet high, swirled across the
lawn and straight at their dorm.
would be a tornado,” Molly answered dryly.
Apparently, it wasn't a very strong tornado as it dissipated
upon reaching the dorm, doing zero damage to the building. Its
only residue was a very frazzled Bryce splattered against
Molly's window. Understandably confused, Renee and Molly stared
at him for a minute, before Renee hesitantly waved her hand.
lacked the coherence to return the greeting. Instead, he began
to slide down the window. Molly tapped the glass once, executed
her trigger, then reached through the glass to pull the poor
minion in. Renee helped him into a chair.
okay?” she asked, even though he quite clearly wasn't.
moaned for a while, before finally assuming that one of the
Renees circling in front of him was real. “Hey, you guys got a
Crafter now, right?”
aspirin would be more reliable than Yuki,” Molly said. She dug
through one of her boxes and retrieved a bottle of pills. She
always stored a bottle of magi-strength pain relievers in her
desk; after three weeks it was almost empty.
the pills from Molly, Bryce said, “I hate it when Donovan makes
Blaine kill me.”
glanced out the window, fairly impressed. “Blaine did that? He
has good aim.”
did Donovan run off to anyway?” Renee asked Bryce.
wasn't happy with how he did so he went to get stronger.”
folded her arms. “And how did he figure to do that?”
showed him how to make an energy ball.”
insane?” Molly exclaimed, “Do you know how dangerous that is?”
many Mollys bearing down on him, Bryce leaned back in fear. “I
didn't show him how to use it destructively! I'm not stupid!”
unhappy but calmer, Molly replied, “But a neutral energy ball is
nodded. “Hence having Blaine kill me.”
chuckled and stood up. Those pills worked fast and he felt sober
enough to make it to the door. He did not count on Renee
stepping in front of him.
Bryce!” She smiled sweetly, clasped her hands with his, and
batted her eyes. “If you're feeling better now, would you like
to help me pack?”
shirked and snapped back. “What do I look like, your butler?”
“Speaking of which, Bryce, tell Donovan that he needs to start
packing as well,” Molly said, already loading another box.
opened the door, waving a dismissive hand at Molly. “Oh, I'll
take care of it. He's just going to make Blaine and I do it
the door behind him. All Molly and Renee could do was look at
each other in mutual bewilderment.
the members were accounted for and all the bags were packed,
Molly used her spell to send the latter back to Ohio. The former
still relied on the van, which Molly was determined to direct
the group towards as soon as possible.
are you leaving?” Kathryn asked.
they haven't quite worked that part out yet,” Yuki said, keeping
a brave smile. “So I was told to stay put until they figure out
if they want me here or if I should go back home until the next
Molly said, totally uninterested. “Well, let me know what you
find out.” She headed for the door and cried, “Let's go!”
other four said their token farewells to Yuki, some sincere
even, and followed their guardian out of room 202, out of Hall
D, and out of their first term at Central Academy.
time, at least, they were able to teleport across the parking
Thankfully, Molly had used her powers of manipulation and
extortion to force a highly-skilled Crafter to fix the van's
stereo. A little alchemy plus a Circuit City trip had done the
trick. Molly's problem on the ride, however, was the incessant
chatter about the term at Central.
gushed about the whole experience to anyone who would listen.
Unfortunately for Molly, that included Renee, who pleasantly
shared her own stories. Although it was not exactly as Renee had
imagined it, Central did ultimately teach her magic and the
resulting mishaps were enchanting enough. Even Kathryn joined in
the conversation here and there. While she got very little out
of the whole magic thing, she certainly enjoyed the social
nature of Hall D and admitted to having her share of fun tales.
for a response to a direct question, Molly said nothing. She had
nothing to contribute to stories of good times and misadventures
because she had none. All that separated this term from all the
others she had attended was the additional work associated with
bringing recruits along. The three weeks had been a busy,
deadline-fueled day at the office and she loathed talking shop
after the fact.
itself was uneventful. After several hours they pulled into L.
B. Gould, Ohio and retrieved their bags at the Pearson
residence. Anyone who didn't live there was on their own to get
reached his house late in the evening, but not late enough to be
forced into giving his mother a full report of the trip over
dinner. The MST provided students with a full synopsis for their
alibi of choice, complete with doctored photographs. Troy
struggled, however, to explain his enthusiasm for the three-week
'cabbage harvesting hoedown' he had attended. He also cursed
Molly for 'accidentally' selecting the wrong alibi on his form.
Thankfully, his mother seemed to be merely pretending to show
interest for his sake, so he survived. Troy really wanted to
talk about the whole situation with Dad, but figured that coming
back from a three-week absence with a sudden interest in the
topic would probably make his mother a little suspicious.
magic bug still hadn't left him when he resigned to his room.
Before going to bed, he decided to do some trigger practice. The
academy highly encouraged students to practice the exercise of
repeating one's trigger gesture 10-20 times successively. It
served as a means of perfecting the mechanics of the trigger
through daily repetition. It also allowed students to practice
magic without actually performing magic, which real-life
circumstances often prevented.
Somewhere around repetition #18, Troy's mother knocked on the
door, but Troy was too focused on his practice to notice. She
creaked the door open and said his name. Troy, startled,
accidentally sent a spurt of water from his finger to his bed.
He turned around and smiled nervously, hiding his hands behind
mother narrowed her eyes just enough to make him nervous. But
she wasn't there to see what he was doing. “Kurt's here to see
you,” she said.
okay.” Rather than risk any further inquiry, he ran out. His
mother eyed the wet spot on his bedsheets, chuckled to herself,
then followed Troy downstairs.
anxious look on Kurt's face, Troy knew it wasn't a friendly
visit. Some worry in his voice, he asked, “What's up?”
some shoes on. I'll show you,” Kurt repied, looking up to Troy's
mother to silently ask for permission. Ellen nodded and less
than a minute later Troy and Kurt were out the door. They ran to
the sidewalk and jogged about fifteen feet before Kurt stopped.
here,” Kurt replied, running behind Troy's garage. Confused,
think anyone was watching, but I don't like to take chances,”
Kurt explained, putting his left hand on Troy's shoulder and
elevating his right. Troy recognized Kurt's trigger and closed
opened them, he saw only a set of exit lights above what he
assumed were doors. Kurt remedied that quickly with a light
ball. Although the concentrated light couldn't illuminate the
entire hallway, Troy realized that he was at school and in front
of the door to the garage.
opened the door. The light spell still couldn't effectively show
them the entire room, but Troy immediately knew something was
wrong by the smell. Grease and grime and oil were normal in the
garage, but the scent of all three were now overwhelming Troy's
nose, where they combined into one contemptible odor. The
additional smell of smoke, charred metal and burning rubber
joined the cauldron of fragrance.
happened?” Troy mumbled, reaching for the light switch.
Kurt stopped him. “I don't think there's a gas leak, but I don't
want to find out. Here-” Kurt threw his light ball into the air
and cast another spell. The ball burst across the room, casting
a dim light over the whole garage.
revealed the damage in high definition. Kurt's old Corvette was
now a pile of smoking scrap metal. Canisters holding every kind
of hazardous liquid were open, spilling their contents across
the floor. Entire sections of the ugly gray walls had been
smoked into an even uglier black. Even the metal ceiling was hit
with a large, mysterious symbol that glowed a deep violet
against the dim lighting.
hands started to sweat as he surveyed the damage. His heart was
already pounding by the time he reached the bulletin board to
his immediate left, but it almost stopped when he saw a note
pinned to the board with a dagger.
Kurt whispered, “It's Kendrick.”