Kallai made it to her new lunch spot under the tree and gratefully dropped her lunch onto the ground there. She leaned back against the tree trunk, and away from the constant stares and whispers, was able to shake as much as she wanted. Her stomach was a tight, sour knot, her insides felt like they’d been liquefied, and Kallai was sure everyone could see the sweat that dampened her back and her palms.
A muttered word she didn’t understand along with the swaying of the branches announced Shuu’s arrival. He sat down across from her, grinning. “This morning, very good was,” he said, untying her lunch cloth without asking. “Everyone now of your strength and fire do speak.”
She shook her head, her arms still trembling faintly. “They’re still talking about me?” she whispered, biting her lip. “I thought they’d stop, they’d leave me alone. People are going to be looking for revenge! If this keeps up, they’re going to start looking for new ways to get to me, new things to do. What if they break into my room and attack me when I’m sleeping or something? Isn’t there a way I can just disappear, so they ignore me, so no one notices me? I mean, I spent the whole morning pretending that I didn’t notice what people were saying, even though I was scared. I’ve just been pretending to be something I’m not.”
He laughed and ruffled her hair. “If confident you do act, people you confident are will believe. The longer you do act, the more natural it will feel. You power do have, enough to any threat or situation back, so you to worry not do need. Besides, fire mage you are. Confident always should be. Other students only now it see. Soon, all will know, and all you will respect. And even if not respect, definitely they alone you will leave.”
Even with the confident way Shuu spoke, and his clear expectation that there was nothing the others could do that she couldn’t handle, Kallai still felt like a fraud. She might be able to use her fire to keep people from touching her, but how long before they found a spell to counteract that? She bet she could find one in a day or two, so what would stop the others from doing the same? This new way of doing things, this projecting confidence and acting like she wasn’t Kallai, the Spellless Wonder, kept her shaking. Any moment it could come crashing down, and she’d be in an even worse position. Being quiet and enduring was best.
Shuu, who’d been munching his way through the apple he’d found in her lunch, shook his head at the expression on her face. “Not fear do, Sparrow,” he said, tossing the apple core out of the branches, hitting a nearby tree. “Strong you are. And even if others you try to do harm, I myself here am not do forget. If ever out of your depth become, I happily you will help. Friends we are, no?”
That got a smile out of her, small though it was. Kallai knew Shuu’s strength better than anyone here, knew that he could probably beat every student and every teacher there, even if they all attacked him at once. And if it ever got really bad, she knew he could transport them both away in an instant, with magic she doubted any Magi could trace. “If we run, where would we go?” she asked.
He didn’t seem bothered by the change in tack, only shrugged. “Wherever we want. Whole world there to explore it. My home first to find, the war to win, but then… If my people among you stay, more elemental magic you can learn. Eventually fire mage your training to finish needed, but that not for years would be. My people, a great city built. The heart of it the Song Tower is. Holes throughout tower are, so wind in and out comes, singing as it does. Also, we in and out of holes do fly. You it would like.”
As Shuu continued to describe his home, the forest that surrounded the mountain they’d built their city on, and the way they flew everywhere, Kallai couldn’t help but smile. She really did want to see his home one day, and if she ended up there because they’d been forced to run, well, at least that was better than being a magicless Magi student.
YOU ARE READING
Kallai has a tendency to make things explode. Not on purpose, but every spell she's ever tried has gone up in a puff of smoke. Literally. And being the only mage in school who can't actually perform a spell has left her at the mercy of those looking...