March 16th, 2020

_Warrior at Large_ part 9

***

Lunch was burgers on the patio, somewhat enlivened by weak, uncontrolled magic flares from the younger teens, followed by barely controlled brute force magic from the older teens, and alarmed parents running around, not helping much.

Ice studied the situation and tapped four boys and motioned them out into the maze garden. "Aren't you guys getting lessons? You're all high Ones and you're about to become quite dangerous." Not to mention aggressive assholes. Rael's been saying that repressed magic may be half the problem with the unbalanced "rape" genes . . . if not all of it. And these boys are close to being a problem.

"Sit. Let me show you a few tricks." Ice folded up, sitting cross-legged on the lawn. He pointed from kid to kid. "Have I got you guy sorted out? You're Wkto, Work Out, right? Emvo, Move? Ulti, Lit. And Yzpy, Zippy?"

He ignored the adults watching from a distance.

"Put your hands flat on the ground, and imagine all that built up energy seeping away. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Picture a mirror that can reflect thoughts. A two sided mirror that can keep your thoughts in and other people's thoughts out . . ."

All standard basic training this batch ought to have had a couple of years ago. He ran them all through it. At seventeen and eighteen, they picked it up fast. And then a bit of power collection, and trickling power to their mental shields.

And releasing power.

"Right. That's enough, you guys need to recharge your electrolytes. Go raid the sodas and snacks."

"That was interesting." Arc eyed him. "I hadn't realized the kids weren't getting trained."

Ice nodded. "Nobodies' kids are getting trained anymore. It's that 'Natural Child' craze taken too far."

"Bah." Axgi frowned as the kids galloped past. "That's how we were raised and we turned out all right."

Ice paused . . . "Most kids do pick up the basics, but sometimes a few nudges in the right direction helps."

Keiq bit her lip. "They did pick that up quickly, didn't they?"

"Typical High Oners, easier than the college students, actually. They haven't been forced to repress their abilities."

Arc raised his eyebrows, "Are you teaching college students?"

"I get roped in to help with the younger students at the Directorate School whenever I go for advanced training." Ice shrugged. "The boys are the worst, their repressed magic tends to bring out rather aggressive tendencies."

Zweg sniffed. "We never repressed our boys."

Yeah. I noticed only Azek has managed control without repression. The other three must have gotten slapped around by teachers until they repressed their magic. Not that any of them give off creeper vibes. Just . . . bullying, especially of their little sister.

Ice nodded. "The point of these exercises is to develop self-control, so there's no need to repress natural talents. The younger boys have barely felt the One, so they might try a bit of meditation, and listen in on what their older cousins and siblings are learning."

Lots of dubious looks.

"I'd offer to teach the girls, but One only know what you lot would think, so . . ."

"You lot!" Indignant tones from platinum blonde Jiiv.

Avvw's wife. Avvi's mother? I think. I'm losing track again!

"You all seem to living in a very negative mind space. Must be exhausting." Ice looked around. "Well, I think I need a drink myself."

Keiq grabbed his elbow and led him away.

"Oh, so he's a souse as well." Kewl's sharp voice behind them.

Ice started snickering and Keiq thumped her forehead with the heel of her hand.

"Keiq? Did you get much training? I don't think many people did, before Rael stormed the place."

"I got enough to boost my natural lie detector talents. Nothing like what I've seen you do."

"Pity. And I suspect Ink wouldn't send you to Rael for training." Ice grinned. "I wonder what she'd think about Ajki's Lie Detector?"

"I'm not even close to being as strong as you are!"

Ice grinned and grabbed bottle of something red. "And maybe another burger, so they can tell me I'll get too fat to be a gigolo . . . Do you think that might work?"

"No!" Keiq sputtered into laughter. "They've got you firmly categorized in their minds and it's going to take a lot to shift them."

"Hmm . . ."

"Whatever you just thought of, don't do it."

"I'll just think wishfully about it."

"About teaching us?" Elk looked hopeful.

"You feel like you've just touched the One, grasped power or whatever you want to call it. It'll b a few months to a year before you can really do anything. You can listen in on lessons, might help later." Ice looked around, but didn't spot Azek or Kyws.

"I don't know what training your parents have, and whether they'll allow me to teach you. I don't know if the older boys' parents will allow a second lesson. They don't understand that repressing magic—or any talent, really, can result in behavioral problems. Lost tempers, aggression, bullying, and such, usually."

Elk glanced toward his older cousins. "That would explain why they've changed, wouldn't it?"

"Yeah, and they've barely started. Well, maybe more tomorrow, with the younger boys listening in. The girls?" Ice looked at Keiq. "I suspect I'd better not even mention them again."

Keiq nodded, as a cheerful cook whisked up to hand Ice a plate.

"And I'd better start working out more often. You're a bad influence on my bachelor diet."

The cook snickered. "We'll feed you to keep you around. Finally! A boyfriend for Miss Keiq!"

Miss Keiq hit her forehead again.