20 ♦ Alistar

25 5 4

Wizardhood, Second Street,
Red School of Magic,
Outside Melody-Harmony Sanctum


Seven Verdant
Mages Arrive

When I notice Violet Mages exchanging heated yet quiet debate with Red Mages, I wave the gentlemen behind me to pick up the pace, knowing the young women—Ovelia, July, and Ambrella—will see the boys moving, then also hurry to keep up.

On the other side of Second Street, Sun Mages are also closing distance to the Melody-Harmony Engine, hurrying towards the Violet Mages and Red Mages at the sanctum double-doors; and why wouldn't they rush closer?

They want to hear the juicy banter between the Violet Mages, and the Red Mages, as much as I do. Perhaps—since Sun Mages run the Wizardhood's deeper operations—they're probably even more interested in overhearing the good stuff.

"I just don't think we should be so quick to tear more holes in Space-time," Chante says.

I recognize Chante from a hybrid studies class I had her in, albeit a few years ago, when she was still a freshman at the Violet School.

I remember her bursting through the classroom doors, worn and panting, seconds before I started lecture.

I admired how willing she was to sprint from Seventh Street to Third Street, twice a week, just to attend my lectures. Elochildren weird me out, but Chante seemed like a good kid.

Ambrella steps closer, breathing hard, obviously not a runner, asking between gulped breaths, "Who are they?"

So I gesture to the Violet Mages from several yards away, where we won't interrupt the muddling conversation.

"That's Chante, an elochild who primarily practices enchantment magic," I tell her, "and Kara, a continued education student; and the bouncy-hair twin is Nalowei, while the straight-hair twin is Macadera. All of them are excellent people."

"Where's Aleria?" Ovelia asks.

As she steps forward, July lifts an arm to stop her. "Let's let Lord Alistar approach first. We're only his guests here."

The two young women exchange a glance I don't understand. "Never mind that power crap," I tell them. "Ovelia, go ask them whatever you want. If they give you lip, I'll back you up."

Lord Hahn comes up to me just as Ovelia bumps past my shoulder, opening her arms in greeting at the Violet Mages—but not the Red Mages. I can't help but enjoy her clear display of who she trusts, who she doesn't trust; and really, who trusts a Red Mage?

I try to listen to what she's saying, yet Lord Hahn's whisper is too close to my ear. He drowns everything out: "Where's the Cyber School?"

"Or the Tangerian School," I whisper.

"You don't think Lord Vay didn't invite them on purpose?" Hahn asks.

I smirk, but I manage to hold in my laugh. "Is that a thing that can happen on accident?"

July is the only one who overhears us, her eyes widening, darting about.

Ambrella's distracted by the three young men, who've been taking turns trying to flirt with her, despite the hints she drops about not being interested in them at all. I think to tell them to knock it off, when she snaps, "I'm too busy trying to learn about a doomsday device to entertain you. Sorry, boys."


The Ominous Din

As the hum of the Melody-Harmony Engine sweeps out from the end of Second Street, into the festivities of barbecued corn and dancing first-year wizards, I know students will drink and make love, play games and laugh, then fall asleep soundly tonight, thinking we should be in good cheer;

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