Chapter 13

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            Snicking the lock into place, Kallai’s shoulders slumped as she sighed. She absently rubbed one forearm, knowing she’d have another blue-black bruise there come morning, after Azaz had finally caught her after breakfast. Still, it could have been way worse than being tripped a couple of times. Breakfast, given that it was served during an hour period during which they, and the teachers, were free to drop in and out of at any times, meant nothing bad could be done to her for long.

            She smiled, taking pleasure in having made it safely back to her room after dinner without having had to run at all. If she was likely, she’d be able to eke out the rest of the week in the same way before one or more of her groups of tormentors got bored and came to hunt her down.

            Kallai had only just finished piling her school books onto her desk when the rushing sound of air had her spinning around the stare. With no thought to the papers she had scattered about the room, a miniature whirlwind appeared in the middle of her room. In moments, it disappeared, leaving a familiar redheaded figure standing in front of her.

            She stared. She hadn’t known he could get into her room. Then again, he had sent her back there and gotten her blanket out of her room before, so it shouldn’t have been the total surprise it was. But as Kallai continued to look at Shuu, who was studying her room with evident interest, she remembered the rules. “Shuu,” she said, her voice low as she hurried over to him, her hands hovering over his arm without actually touching him. “You can’t be here! We’re not allowed to have members of the opposite sex in our rooms!”

            Shuu met her gaze, then snorted, eyes going back to one of the glow globes that lit her room. “If someone comes, I disappear will. My winds of approaching people warn me will. Safe it is. Too much you worry.”

            Kallai could only shake her head and watch as Shuu wandered over to her desk. He only glanced at her bookshelf, his eyes lingering on the bright blue letter box Sevilen had made for her, eventually holding a hand over it for a few seconds before moving on. Eventually, his gaze found her textbooks. He opened the topmost one, her spatial magic book, and began to flip through it.

            He finally stopped on a page near the middle of the book, his eyebrows slowing rising as he read the page. He looked at her, tilting his head forward so he was looking down his nose at her. “This spell,” he said, gesturing to the open book. “You not can do?”

            Flushing, she moved over so she could see what he was talking about, not that it would actually change the answer. When she got close enough to see the page, Kallai saw that the spell was one for moving objects you couldn’t see from one spot to a different spot that you also couldn’t see, a double blind spatial transfer. She ducked her head, eyes on the stone floor under her feet. “No,” she whispered. “I’m fine with the theory, but every time I try spells, they end up exploding on me.”

            Shuu went perfectly still and straight before slowly turning to stare at her, his movement just visible to her through her hair. “The spell explodes?” he asked, eyes intent on her.

            Kallai nodded, biting her lip.

            He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. “No magic you had I thought. Magi spells not able to do, very weak you must be, I guessed. Useless mage I thought. But if spells exploding are, then no problem there is.”

            It was Kallai’s turn to stare at him, her head tilted up just enough that her hair slipped to reveal one eye. She wanted to ask what he meant, but didn’t dare, not with the way Shuu was frowning, one finger tapping against his mouth.

            But he continued without her having to do anything. “With a spell that so low level is, no surprise it exploding is. Any mage more than average is, this spell would make explode. Those whose magic strong is, weak spells will overwhelm. Simple fact is, spells for weak mages are. Mages who every drop of magic must conserve. Mages who, spell’s reinforcement on must rely, for spell to work, because power they lack. If spells this low you overwhelming are, of average power at least, you must be. Power not wasted must be. You, how magic to use properly I will show.”

            All Kallai could do was continue looking at him, her mouth sagging open.

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