Chapter 30

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            Sitting at her desk, brushing her hair one handed, Kallai opened her letter box. She grinned at the sight of the folded paper inside. Eagerly she pulled it out and spread it on the wood in front of her, leaning over to read it, still running her brush through her frizzy mane.

            Dearest Kallai, it said, making her shake her head, smiling. She didn’t even know why Sevilen bothered. It’s not like the letter could go to anyone else, what with the box keyed to her. Still, her cousin was often oddly strict about certain social conventions, especially considering his complete disregard for others.

            I can’t help but be concerned about what you wrote me yesterday. While certainly, I can hardly condone the abuse you’ve suffered by your colour-mates, I’m worried about what you described having done yesterday. While I know you, more than anyone, would never harm someone maliciously, I am afraid of how your fellow students will see you from now on. You don’t want to isolate yourself even more. Don’t make enemies you don’t have to, even if they deserve it. Kallai nodded, her cousin’s words echoing what she’d already felt. As she knew, pushing someone too far would only cause them to snap, as she had. And she certainly didn’t want to inflict the same kind of terror she’d felt for so long on others. Well, she couldn’t deny she’d had daydreams of doing something like that, but she’d always felt guilty afterwards, as if the thoughts were actions.

            That had her nodding. The guilt she still felt, the sour twisting of her stomach at the thought of what she’d done, that was the sign she had that she was still herself, that she hadn’t become like one of her tormentors. As long as she regretted it after and tried to avoid it happening again, even if in the heat of the moment she enjoyed it, and as long as she remembered what it felt like to be that scared, she’d be alright. She wouldn’t turn into a bully or a monster.

            On a happier note, I’ve had some small success in creating a magic weapon that can be used by anyone. It will, if completed, require recharging, but so far it does fire spells and this version hasn’t exploded or fallen apart yet. Of course, the spell has so far just dropped from the muzzle, instead of racing forward, but I expect with a few more tweaks, I can fix that. Kallai grinned. Sevilen, thought protesting that his own research was far more important, had taken to the magic-tech experiments like a duck to water. If it was unusual, if it hadn’t been done before, the more likely it was that her cousin would like it.

            I look forward to the day you graduate, the day I can steal you away for an assistant. Already I have a list of projects for you to help me with, as soon as you have finished school. So please, don’t go accepting any other employment offers. At least not until I’ve given you mine in person.

            Stay strong and know I’m always here for you,

            Sevilen

            P.S. Magi to black six and King to yellow two

            Smiling, Kallai set the letter to one side, put her brush down, and grabbed a piece of paper. Dipping her quill into her inkwell, she began her reply.

            Dearest Sevilen,

            Please don’t worry about me. I’m quite alright and I won’t become like those who have targeted me. Their talk has never bothered me much, I’m just trying to make them stop the physical attacks. Everything else I can handle.

            I am doing much better at magic, both what Shuu has been teaching me, and my normal classes. I feel that I might even surprise you, with what I can do now.

           I’m glad your experiments are progressing! I hope this weapon of yours is completed soon and that I can see it. The idea of merging technology and magic is fascinating, and something I would love to help you with. So you don’t need to worry about me accepting another offer, in the high unlikelihood that I were to receive one. Please don’t hire another assistant until I can compete with them fairly for the position.

            Always yours,

            Kallai

            P.S. Kiss your Magi goodbye. My right knight to black six and my scout to red four.

            Carefully folding the paper, Kallai popped it into the box and shut the lid. She stood then, knowing breakfast was just being served, and not wanting a repeat of the day before. Humming slightly, her cousin’s words bolstering her spirits, she hurried outside, her stomach already growling.

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