Chapter 26

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            Arms spread wide, a mocking smile on his face, Shuu watched Azaz chant, his eyes following the rapid, slashing hand movements of the spell. Kallai too, was watching her tormentor, listening closely to his words as she tried to figure out what spell he was trying. She’d thought it was another explosion spell, or the light dagger conjuring one, but already the words had deviated from the ones for those. Knowing Azaz, she assumed it was something nasty, but the words he was using…

            As the boy’s arms flew up and out, the last movement before he spoke the word of engagement, Kallai recognized what he was doing. It was an acid spell. It would burn through cloth and flesh, the liquid not stopping until it hit earth or stone.

            Kallai blanched and felt time slow down as her heart sped up. She opened her mouth to shout a warning, turning her head towards Shuu. She could see Azaz opening his mouth of the corner of her eye, and knew there was no way Shuu would be able to react in time. Tears welled up as she wished, with every last piece of her, that she could keep the spell from reaching her friend.

            Warmth surged up inside of her and exploded outward before she could stop it. Even as Kallai watched, shimmering red-orange light encircled Shuu, who had his arms up and his hair waving in a way that told her his winds were close by, leaving him looking like he was coated in blood.

            The bright green liquid splashed into the red and sizzled. A harsh, burning scent rose along with the thick, oily looking smoke that poured out of where the acid hissed against the transparent wall of red light. In seconds, all that was left of the liquid was the stench that rolled over them.

            For a few heartbeats, there was no sound except Kallai’s pants, her heart still pounding in her ears. Shuu, who was slowly relaxing out of a defensive pose, looked the red encircling him over. He nodded, his eyes finding Kallai. “Good shield it is. More practice you do need, but in an emergency, even now you safe will be.”

            She swallowed, then turned to look at Azaz. He was still glaring, his fists clenched, his jaw tense. She knew he’d try another spell. He always did. But this time, this time he’d used something dangerous, something that could cause permanent damage. Bad enough that he always felt the need to attack her, but now he’d gone after Shuu. After her only friend. This time, he’d gone too far.

            At first, Kallai couldn’t identify the hot feeling that roared in her stomach, heating her blood up, and making her shake. The edges of her vision went red as more and more of her was consumed with the emotion that had risen from Azaz’s treatment of Shuu. Treatment of someone who was a complete stranger to Azaz, except that Shuu knew Kallai. As her feelings reached volcano like properties, her hands folded in on themselves tightly, until they were trembling.

            That told Kallai the truth. For the first time in years, she was well and truly angry.

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