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02 April 2018 @ 04:54 pm

Sergeant Gallup sent a smirk his direction. “Your native girlfriend was out all night, last night.”

Jack stepped up closer to the old battleax. “She is not my girlfriend. She is here for a special project, and she can go wherever she likes, whenever she likes. Got that?”

She stepped back, looking shocked. “Just kid . . . Yessir.”

He looked beyond her, where Arrow was stepping out the door, yawning.

“Did you get what you needed last night?” Good lord, she’s practically glowing, and sexy? Oh hell yes. Surprised it took me this long to notice . . . or is it a spell? Is she trying to control me? But even braced and resisting, his mouth went dry as she ran her finger down her neck, no chain to be seen.

“Yes. Now I need to practice.”

“Right. Come on.” He turned and got back in the gyp. “I know just the place.”

Off the grounds of the camp, he turned north. The ground rose, and the soil thinned, with rock outcrops and finally a broad rock shelf.

“No one comes out here. So you can practice in private.”

She nodded, squinted at him. “How many hair color spells did you drink? I think your hair follicles just gave up altogether.”


“Well, you were brown haired, so I’ll just kill the black, red, and blonde spells. Don’t worry, it’ll grow back.” She waved a hand his direction.

He leaped back.

“You’re too emotional, right now. Go away so I can concentrate. Come back in, oh, five hours should be more than enough.”


Jack leaned back in an attitude of relaxation, watching Arrow as she studied the gate to Earth.

From a distance. She said he was still too emotional just now to be comfortable around.

Emotional? He ran his hand over his scalp and tried to imagine he was feeling stubble. She says my hair will grow back, but she never told me it was going to fall out in the first place.

He caught Lieutenant Higgin's eye and shrugged. "It's my own damn fault for testing magic potions."

"I'm sure it'll grow back, sir. And the new clothes look good."

Damn ass kissing toady. "I just hope I've quit growing. I'm wearing my winter boots, and they're pinching a bit. Who'd have thought a potion to make you taller would also make your feet grow?"

The Lieutenant bit his lip. "Well, it's not really magic. I'd guess it must regress the growth plates of the bones a tad so they have a bit of a growth spurt. So everything gets bigger." He sounded a bit wistful.

Jack wasn't about to mention the potion that would cure the boy of his insecurities. He ran a hand over his head again. "Sounds logical." He huffed out an irritated breath, as Arrow stood up and walked back to them.

She tried for three days, and couldn’t open a gate up on the rocks.

Arrow looked irritated. "I see how they are made, now. I probably could make one. But I don't know where it would go."

“Can you close a gate?”

“I know how that’s supposed to work. I’ve never actually done it.”

But how do we test that? Damn the Oners, I should never have listened to them.

Maybe a little extra inducement?

“Once you can make gates, perhaps you can go back to that Earth and rescue your mother?” Jack blinked at her stiffened back and narrowed eyes. What did I say wrong? “I suppose you’re used to being wild and free. Do this one job for us and . . .” He broke off at her bared teeth.

“Free? Around my mother? Ha! You don’t know abuse and neglect until you’ve seen a witch at work. When I walked into the prison and was separated from my mother . . . then I was free.” Glare. “Everything I do to regain power, everything I do for you, is so I can stay as far away from my mother as possible!”

Jack jerked back from the roiling mix of searing hatred and icy fear in the girl’s eyes . . . pouring off her like a visible wave. He swallowed. “Sorry. Yes, I’ll be very careful to not bring you to anyone notice . . . not that she’ll get out for years.”