Chapter 27

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            Kallai’s anger burned through her shyness, through her worry, and through her fear. She took a step forward, her head up, and her back straight for once. “What, in the name of the seven subjects, do you think you’re doing? That kind of spell would leave someone with scars and could even kill them!”

            Azaz glared at her, a sneer twisting his upper lip. “What would you know of spells, Magan. You’ve never been able to do one.”

            “I’ve memorized every spell we’ve ever been told about, and several we haven’t,” she hissed back. “I know every movement, every symbol, and every word any of you have learned. So, when someone uses a spell with effects as specific as an acid spell, I know it. I’ve spent years, taking everything you’ve dished out to me, ignoring the insults, bearing through the attacks, and that I can handle. What I can’t, is you daring to attack my friend. Someone you just met. Someone who hasn’t shown you any violence, and you still think a spell as destructive as the one you just used is fair?”

            The four behind Azaz shuffled, looking at each other, before their eyes went back to him. Azaz’s chin rose and he looked down at her. “You’re just the Spellless Wonder, so what gives you the right to tell me anything?”

            “Sparrow?” Shuu asked, a faint frown creasing his brow as he watched her begin to tremble again.

            “My name isn’t Sparrow,” she said through gritted teeth. “My name isn’t Spellless. My name is Kallai of House Magan, and you’d all do well to remember that!” Even as her lips stopped moving, Kallai directed the heat coursing through her veins, sending it flowing into her hands, where it just barely stayed inside the skin of her fists.

            “Well, we’ll see what you’re saying after this,” Azaz growled. He gestured at the four behind him before beginning a spell of his own.

            Kallai didn’t let him get far. She released her power, feeling fire explode out of her to envelop her hands in flames of yellow and orange. It was no effort at all to shape on hand’s power into a long line and then snap her wrist in Azaz’s direction.

            Her whip of flame lashed out as his feet, making him yelp and jump. He yelped again as the hem of his robes caught fire. He was forced to stop his chant and movements to frantically beat out the hungry yellow light.

            Eran’s words faltered as he watched her, his eyes going wide. Kallai didn’t give him a chance to find his courage, lashing out again with the line of fire she held. It narrowly missed his hand, making him twitch and stumble backwards, his face going dead white in the flickering light of Kallai’s power. She gestured with her other hand and a small column of flame erupted in front of him. Eran fell backwards in his haste to escape, turning to crawl-run away on his hands and knees before he could get back to his feet. The night had him swallowed in moments.

            The others, sweat visibly beading up on their faces, continued with their spells. Kallai’s eyes found Rachine next. She focused on her whipless hand, until the fire there folded into a ball. She drew her arm back and  hurled it straight at the other girl’s chest.

            Rachine dropped to her knees to avoid the fiery sphere, her hands over her head in an attempt to protect herself. Laji bolted then, but Kallai sent her whip to lick the end of her robe, just to remind her that Kallai hadn’t forgotten any of the things that had been done to her.

            Kallai swept a hand towards Makol, setting a circle of fire around him that had him jumping backwards to escape, breaking his spell before he could speak the word of engagement. She sent a rope of fire out to dart at him, never getting closer than a foot, but staying near enough that he could feel its burning heat. With a twisting snake of flame harassing him, it wasn’t long before Makol too, ran away.

            Azaz’s voice rose above the prayers Rachine muttered, still huddled against the ground. His words wavered, his hands shook and his eyes were wide in his face, but Kallai recognized the spell all the same. It was a swelling spell, and he’d set the target as the inside of her head. He was trying to kill her.

            Her breath escaped her in a hiss as her lips curled back into a harsh baring of her teeth. She brought an entire sheet of fire into existence in front of Azaz, letting him watch as it curved around him, until only the narrowest path remained free of fire. A path too small for him to fit through.

            Slowly, but fast enough that he would know what she was doing, Kallai had the fire pressing in on itself, so the glowing falls of yellow and orange marched closer and closer to Azaz. She could see him through the flames, shaking, sweat rolling down him and darkening his robes. It took the fire reaching within a foot of him before he turned and ran through the space she’d left him.

            At the last moment, Kallai pulled the flames back, letting him pass without setting him on fire.

            She dropped the fire circle, and let the fire on her hands sink back into her skin. She glanced around, but the path she stood in was empty, Rachine having escaped while her attention was on Azaz.

            A hand lightly touching her shoulder had Kallai flinching and jumping. She looked up at Shuu, who was watching her intently. Under his gaze, she began to tremble with a combination of exhaustion and fear. She’d lost control, attacked her fellow students, and overall, behaved in a way that was no better than what they’d done to her. Tears filled her eyes as she stared down at the ground, just waiting for Shuu to tell her exactly how disgusted with her he was.

            He tilted her chin up so he could see her face and grinned. “Good job,” he said, waving a hand in the direction her tormentors had fled in. “Not you again bother, I think. In public, again do, no one ever you bother.”

            Her mouth sagging open for a moment, her relief combined with every other emotion currently flooding her body and overwhelmed her system. Before she could fight against it, Kallai fainted.

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