Chapter 47

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            Kallai blinked again, surprise slowing her tears. Without her prompting, Shuu sat up, then hauled himself to his feet. She swiped at her tears, taking deep breaths to try and finish off the last few hiccupping sobs choking her, and struggled to her knees. She glanced up at movement in front of her, flushing slightly as she saw that it was Shuu’s hand. She accepted it and let him pull her to her feet.

            He didn’t release her hand then, but walked slowly towards where the adults were obviously still discussing them. The two soldiers who’d been hovering over them fell into step behind as they strolled over. Kallai kept glancing at Shuu, not liking the fact his face hadn’t regained any colour, his eyes still too bright for her comfort, his expression…haunted. Still, he had promised he wouldn’t stop caring about himself, and with everything that had just happened, she supposed it was natural that he was still…

            She bit her lip, then focused on getting herself under control, rubbing the last of the wetness from her face, knowing the fact she’d been crying would still be obvious in her pink eyes and tear-stained face. Their footsteps slowed even more as they approached Sevilen and the crowd, drawing gazes from several of the people. No one immediately shooed them away, so Kallai focused on what was being said.

            “…and how else are we supposed to discover if there truly are any more of them?” said the headmaster, tossing her head. “That…boy is the only one who seems able to tell if someone is afflicted with the power or not.”

            “It should be simple enough, after a few experiments, to create a spell for the detection of the elemental magic,” Sevilen said, voice carefully neutral. “A simple modification of our current spell to detect Magi power would work, once we are able to isolate the difference. It may also be that there are others, besides my cousin, who have been mistakenly identified as Magi. It would explain why children from families who have consistently produced Magi have occasionally appeared to have little to no magic. I would even go so far to say that, perhaps, the families with the strongest magic bloodlines are far more likely to have the ability to produce elemental mages.”

            Kallai frowned, wondering if that was true or not. She glanced at Shuu, who was studying Sevilen and the other speakers with an intensity she’d never seen before. She immediately turned her attention back to what people were saying.

            “…then the boy is the only person capable of teaching elemental mages, seeing as he’s the only remaining one. If what you and the girl have said is true, Magi Magan, then it would seem that he’s the only one with real knowledge of the magic, how it works, and how to teach it to others. Without him it won’t be possible, without enormous difficulty, to train anyone else identified as an elemental mage,” said one of the Councillors, both eyebrows up over her green eyes. “That would make him very important. More important than you initially indicated when you invited us here.”

            Shuu’s hand tightened around Kallai’s. She looked at him, noting the way his eyes widened and his mouth formed a small o momentarily. Then he frowned, deep furrows appearing as the fingers of his free hand drummed against his leg. Finally, he turned to her, seeming startled when he found her already facing him. His gaze burned into hers for several seconds before he finally nodded and dropped her hand

            “Of my people, of the Horisha, I the last am,” Shuu said, interrupting Sevilen’s reply as he took a step forward, chin held high.

            Heads swivelled to look at him, probing looks running up and down him as he in turn swept them with his gaze. “Perhaps only trained elemental mage I also am. I not know. Knowledge of my people, of my culture, of my language, and of our magic I not to be lost will allow. This knowledge will survive. I of it will make sure, your help with or without. My people and their magic in me do live!”

            Kallai felt his words, like bellows to her anger, fierce desire to protect him, and her long-time wish to have somewhere to belong. She stepped up beside him and grabbed his hand again, glaring at the people, feeling flushed with both her power and emotions. “Shuu’s not the last elemental mage. I’m proof enough of that. And I’m going to help him preserve the knowledge, whatever it takes. And if that makes us your enemy, if that means we have to leave this country and settle somewhere else, then so be it.”

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