Chapter 22

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            Humming, Kallai brushed her hair, not caring as she usually did that it made her hair even puffier than normal. She put her brush carefully back down onto her nightstand, then felt for the heat inside of her, letting it ignite the end of one finger. The sight of the flames had her grinning. It hadn’t been a dream. She really was a fire mage.

            Her face now split by a massive grin, she danced over to her desk, checking the box as she did every morning for a letter from her cousin. She wasn’t sure if he’d have time to write back, since she had sent him a letter right before she’d gone to bed-

            Kallai’s smile grew at the sight of the folded paper inside. She plucked it out and dropped down into her chair, opening it as soon as her back hit the wood.

            Dearest Kallai,

            I hope my letter finds you well. In that, I’m hoping you’re feeling as yourself. The letter I received from you last night… I must ask, were you perhaps dreaming, or under the effects of some kind of spell? Kallai frowned, then ignited a finger on her free hand again, just to be sure of it herself. I ask only because what you described…

            Even in all my research, I have never come across more than a passing mention of elemental magic. If what you’ve said is true, if you have some kind of power over fire, it would be the magical discovery of the century! The research, the new spells, and the magical discoveries that could be made would rival those that the steam engine has made, and continues to make, possible. She shook her head over her cousins obsession with the engines, even as she felt a shiver at the thought of how her and Shuu’s magic could change everything. She wasn’t sure she wanted to be studied, and she could almost guarantee that Shuu wouldn’t want it either, especially since he didn’t seem terribly fond of Magi.

            But as exciting as the potential developments could be, I still find myself worried about this Shuu person you’ve become involved with. Are you sure you can trust him? Kallai’s frown deepened as she gently rolled her shoulders to try and relieve the tension there, wincing slightly at the brief flare of pain she felt. A stranger, even one who is a capable mage and who likes you, could still be dangerous. I know you don’t take risks often, or with the greatest care, but, more than anything else, I don’t want to see you get hurt. She sighed. She loved Sevilen dearly, but at times, he worried worse than she did. She knew Shuu. Knew that he wouldn’t hurt her, not when he’d had more chances to than anyone else. Not when he was teaching her how to defend herself against others.

            Please, keep me informed as to what’s happening, and if you find yourself in danger, or are afraid, use the emergency defuser I gave you, then send me a letter. I can make it to school in less than half an hour, so you won’t be in danger long. Kallai smiled, though part of her wanted to know what exactly his emergency defuser did. He’d given it to when she’d started in Orange, but never told her what it did. Of course, knowing Sevilen, Kallai expected it to be something equally surprising, creative, and horrible. She’d never had the courage to use it, even just to find out what it did.

            Ever yours,

            Sevilen

            P.S. Surrender, I have you surrounded with no escape.

            Kallai folded the letter back up, making a face after glancing at her Siege board. Her cousin was right. He had her properly surrounded, with no hope of escape. She’d have to concede the match so they could start a new one. Smiling slightly, she grabbed a clean piece of paper and her quill, starting her reply.

            Dearest Sevilen,

            I hope you’re in good health and in good spirits. Don’t let the government harass you too much. And don’t worry about me. I know what I’m doing. Shuu’s really nice, and a good person. And I’m doing so much better with magic because of him. I think I might even be able to pass the exam for my license. I’d love to work with you as an equal, instead of as an assistant.

            Next time we meet, I’ll show you the magic I’ve learned, so you can see for yourself. If you do find anything out about elemental magic or mages, or even people being able to create fire from their body and stuff, then please let me know. I want to know everything I can about what I can do.

            Kallai paused for a moment, tickling her chin with the end of her quill as she thought. Please tell me if there’s anything I can do to help you, either with your experiments, or anything else. You know I’d do anything for you.

            Always yours,

            Kallai

            P.S. This new game won’t be so easy for you to win. Right knight to black three, and spy to blue three.

            Gently blowing on the ink to dry it, Kallai considered trying to use fire to do the job. Almost immediately she thought better of it. While it might work, there was also a high likelihood of her setting the paper on fire too. She’d rather any experimentation be done with Shuu beside her.

            With the ink finally dry enough, Kallai carefully folded the paper up and put it into the box before standing. It was finally late enough that breakfast would be out. As if it agreed with her, her stomach let out an audible growl that had her smiling as she unlocked her door.

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