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02 June 2019 @ 06:26 am

“No. That would be Ra’d.”

“Ah. Yes. I’m not sure he’d be a good teacher. Or at least not for a huge class. Can you move to a larger room?”

“This is the largest room. I need to check and find out if the adjoining auditorium is empty—I think it is—then we can open up the partitions and link the screen in there . . . Ooof! I thought a few upper class students specializing in magic theory might want it. Not half the student body.” She forced her self upright. “Slight exaggeration. And how did you two do spend the day?”

“Exzy supervised my morning run from the backpack, and observed Advanced Sword Techniques. He then demanded breakfast, made a mess of it and joined me in the shower. Then he napped in the bubble until I escaped the office for lunch . . . which he also slept through, despite several dozen women squealing over his irresistible cuteness.” Xen grinned. “Then I got the call from Ryol—Urfa called me earlier. Do you need magical back up? He sounded a bit worried.”

Rael scooted over so he could sit, and snugged into his side while the baby patted her nose. “No, it’s just an overaged Princess with delusions of tyranny and an eighty-four years history of abusing her professorial authority. If the Teamer’s keep this up, I’ll ask Ikku if he needs an actual Comet Fall Wizard to come and work out with the boys. Okay?”

“Oh yeah. I will gladly come and take lumps for you, and promise to not break any of them unless they insist.” He grinned. “I could be your demonstration of how mixed works, while you talk.”

“Hmm. That might be useful.” She closed her eyes . . . and woke up still on the couch, sans baby and shoes, a blanket spread over her, and delicious odors from the packages on the table—the kitchen still not being in working order.

She got up stiffly, and stretched. “Tomorrow is, in theory, my easy day. We’ll just see how much trouble I’m in over the magic practicum.”

Familiar stiff waxed cardboard containers. “Did you go back to Embassy or are these from the Tavern?”

“Embassy. And I grabbed them after lunch. I was beginning to get the feeling you weren’t going to be wanting to go out for dinner this evening.”

“No kidding. We’re going to need a fast room for recovery, if I keep getting beaten like this.”

A quick flash of a grin. “Oh, after taking on thirteen in a row I suspect you’ll be getting a lot more respect . . . Wednesday? Yes.”

He produced plates and forks and started serving.

“Yes. Tomorrow I’ll try to organize basic practicum. Then I need to find out if those Team Trainees have much in the way of magical training.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “I have a nasty suspicion that Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be spent out at the practice field. I need office hours, I need time to grade papers and write tests, let alone grade them.”

“Fast room, coming up. Twenty-to-one enough? You do need to schedule some sleep time in there.”


Her run time was pathetic. The coaches just grinned. “We heard about you beating up the entire Advanced Martial Arts class. You might just have an excuse, today.”

Most of the kids close enough to hear that grinned. Wave glowered, and walked back to the track to run an extra lap. The coaches grins widened.

Arno and Ryol were looking innocent. Not saying a thing. The pair of them and the two other kids with them were four of the only six in the class to not challenge her yesterday.

Thank the One! That was not something I wanted to extend.

Home to shower, eat breakfast with the family before Xen and Exzy teleported down to Gate City, and from there to travel by ordinary means to Embassy in time for their morning run.

Then step through to the office, where even an hour early, there were half a dozen kids waiting for her.

“C’mon in. Let’s see what we can do about scheduling practice sessions.” Rael let them wander around, poking at the bearskin rug, while she set up for the day, displaying her schedule on half the wall screen.

On the other half, the list of kids and her notes from yesterday morning. She sorted them by class, then by the strength of their shields.

"Right. I've got six Juniors who need the very basics. Nine Sophomores, Ten Freshers. I’ll take them five at a time. Eight in the morning. Every day for one week. Then I’ll do the next five and so on. Forty-eight needing the standard basics. Eep! In five weeks, I’ll have seventy-three of you.”

She stepped back and leaned on the table . . . Grabbed her comp. “All right. Eight is reserved for Very Basic, juniors first. I can free up nine o’clock across the board . . .”    giving me time to run over if needed, and still be on time for Advanced Martial Arts . . . although I may not need to go every day . . .

By the end of the morning, she had them sorted out and scheduled for a once a week class for pointers and exercises to do on their own time. So much for office hours.

“In five weeks, when I’ve finished the Very Basics, I can shift classes down to eight.” Rael leaned back and eyed the top three students. “So. Dare I hope that all three of you have overlapping holes in your schedules?”

Milo’s bruises were yellowing, which was not a whole lot of an improvement to his looks. He rolled his eyes. “Late, unfortunately. How about Monday, Wednesday, Friday at five?”

Rael sighed. “Right. Let’s try it.” They’ve got good shields, mental, physical and energy. And they can collect power. They’re going to be better than Joke and Lenny really quickly.

She closed up the office for lunch . . . checked her messages, and reversed direction to lunch with Urfa.


“And I’m willing to bet I’ll be adding another class to get the Team Trainees up to speed magically, before I can start using their regular days to teach them how to add magic to their Martial Arts.”

His eyes gleamed and Puur laughed out loud.

“Fortunately Joke and Lenny looked competent. I’ll just spot check them . . . doesn’t it seem odd that the theory teachers have so little practical training or experience?”

Urfa nodded. “Major Eppa was always grumbling about his recruits—and he got the best, most magically competent men in the army—not having been properly trained.”

“They got trained up fast.” Rael shook her head. “But PhD’s in Magic Theory, who can hold fairly good shields and subconsciously pull power? Ridiculous. Qamar’s starting to look average instead of blocked.”

Urfa thought that over. “Or blocked by her training. Damn. No wonder XR gripes about our graduates.”

Rael nodded. “We ought to consider cycling Teamers through here as coaches.”

Puur snickered. “I think you just want Ra’d to come beat up the trainees.”

“Oh, now there something I can dream of. But I think, well, not that he’s not a good example, but his patience with fools and rapists is minimal.”

“True.” Urfa eyed her. “So what are you doing for the rest of the day?”

“Going back to my office to . . . let’s see. Update the syllabus for Advanced theory. Talk to Joke and Lenny, and make sure they don’t have any problems I need to help with. And I suppose I should find out what the School of Magic actually teaches in their basic practicum, so I can stay reasonably in step with them.”

Urfa grinned. “Round two?”

“I was actually thinking about talking to Ebsa and Paer about what they . . . well, I suspect they already knew it all, but they had to take the class, so they’ll know what was taught.”

“Good idea. Let the School of Magic do some thinking before they do anything stupid.”


She walked back across campus, thinking.

Mental shields, gathering power, then the basic mental spells. Sleep, yawn, cough, laughter, hiccups. And the emotional ones, as well. Fear, panic, lust. I wonder how far I can get with them, in just a week?

She stopped and focused as someone stepped into her path. Professor Jues.

Oh great. A public confrontation.

“I’ve been looking for you!”

Rael tried to look surprised. “Really? Whatever for?”

“You bitch! You hacked the University computer!”

“Er, actually, no. Hacking is illegally accessing a computer. Since I have Presidential Access, I can legally get into any government owned computer. And the University of the Empire is entirely government owner.” Rael smiled, well, showed her teeth. “So no hacking involved. I know it must be infuriating to have the unaltered, preliminary grades approved as final, but . . .”

“How dare you undermine the School of Magic! We are the arbiters of who is worthy to be trained in the use of magic.”

Rael wrinked her nose and scratched her scalp. “Worthy? I don’t think . . .”

“Of course not! It’s for the One!”

Rael tucked her chin in and eyed the woman. Ignored the passers-by who were slowing and not passing by.

“I don’t think it’s serving the One to not train the students most likely to be out in the Multiverse in potentially dangerous situations.” Rael wrinkled her nose. “And while the School of Magic does a good job on theory, magic practicum is rather weak.”

“Weak? I’ll show you weak, you . . .” Jues started pulling power.