Chapter 40

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            Kallai settled back into the padded back of the chair, relieved that her cousin’s strange vehicle had finally settled into a constant speed so she was no longer being shoved backwards by the force of their acceleration. She glanced at Sevilen, wondering what it was he was thinking. He hadn’t explained anything further, just set about using spells even she was unfamiliar with, scribbling down notes and dropping them into the assorted black letter boxes, each with a different coloured slash carelessly painted on the tops. As soon as he’d finished that, and without any kind of warning, he’d herded them back outside and into his contraption.

            Beside her, wedged against the far wall, Shuu glowered, his arms folded over his chest. He’d watched every move Sevilen had made around his lab, a frown slowly growing farther down his face with every passing minute, until it had finally reached this state. Catching sight of the expression, Kallai laid a hand on his arm and tried to smile reassuringly. He looked down at her for a moment before snorting. “Your plan,” he said, eyes going to Sevilen, his face only a trifle looser. “What it is?”

            “Hmmm?” Sevilen said, rousing himself out of his staring off into space daze. “My plan? Didn’t we already discuss it?”

            Shuu drew himself up, glaring. Kallai headed him off before he could say something rude. “No, you just said we had to trust you, then you started doing magic, then you made us come in here again.”

            “Oh! My apologies, I’d thought we’d…Ah, I appear to have let my excitement carry me away again. My plan is rather simple. I intend to present both of you as the kind of impressive people that are better to have as allies than enemies. Currently people only know to fear you, but if we are able to show how your abilities will be useful, not only for the magical community and its advances, but the country as a whole, you should be quite untouchable.”

            “How that you going to do are?” Shuu demanded, a light breeze wrapping itself around him as his blue eyes narrowed.

            “I’ve invited some of the Councillors, some high-ranking Magi, a few merchants and industrialists, a General I’m familiar with, as well as the headmaster. With those noteworthies as witnesses, information about this new magic, your magic, will spread. Something like this could revolutionize everything, something I intend to emphasize, and as long as logic prevails, you should be accepted with only minor difficulties. I’m hoping, with the still limited successes with our magic-tech experiments, I can use the potential in a different type of magic to add to the mix in our favour.”

            Kallai blanched. “I-in front of all those people? We’re going to have to do magic? Wha-what if we fail? What if we just make things worse? What if they decide to arrest us right there, just because they think we’re dangerous?”

            Sevilen reached over and took one of her hands and squeezed it. “That won’t happen. It’s why I requested that we meet in public, on relatively neutral ground. The school’s main tower, to be precise. Besides, if they try something like that, I have every intention of threatening to stop my work, or worse, work for one of our rival countries. The military especially is too dependent on my experiments to allow that. But that’s just the worst case scenario, dear one. You two will be impressive enough that no one will think of anything except how they can court you into helping them.”

            Shuu snorted. “If the worst happens, my winds away us will take. Far, far away, where no Magi are. Then my people we will find and among proper mages we will live.”

            Kallai looked from one to the other, seeing the concern for her written on both their faces, one gentle, one defiant. She forced a smile onto her face for them, trying to fake confidence as she was getting half used to. She trembled inside and hoped, more than she’d ever hoped even to have magic in the days before Shuu, that everything went well, that they were accepted. Because if they weren’t…Kallai wasn’t so sure they’d be able to escape so easily.

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