Xen nodded. “I’ll go check again next week.” He flashed a grin at Rael. “Since there was only one brief magic duel. And you beat up the Teamers.”
Humph! I don’t need a protector.
“Unless I wind up twiddling my thumbs waiting on the city building inspectors.”
Rael snorted and started reading. Nice straightforward mission statement—no wars, reasonable tariffs, reasonable monetary exchange rates, extradition treaties—and then procedural details. Two reps from each polity, choosing one to become the head lion tamer. Voting procedures, powers, titles, working groups . . . “Looks pretty good. So . . . have you started building yet?”
Orde chuckled. “We have a plot of land. We have lots of opinions as to architectural styles. Everything from Cubic Black Basalt to Greek, by way of about six different styles. I’m so tempted to get that batch of sewer builders back and just turn them loose. It would be easier to deal with the lamentations of the offended than deal with the competing proponents.”
In Advanced, she announce that there’d be a quiz Monday. “I need to check that that you’ve all got a grasp through Chapter Thirteen. So. Review. The. Entire. Book. I am not looking at details and numbers. I want to see that you have grasped the principles being taught.”
In Comet Fall Magic . . . She grinned toothily “I’m sure that by Monday you will have all read the first three reports. My lectures are going to assume that you’re reading that supplemental material. Test Friday.”
She clicked to her first slide. “Now. The Mage gene is the most variable of all the genes. Fourteen centuries later, we don’t know if the differences are deliberate experimentation, an artifact of multiple company each developing a slightly different version, or natural mutations.
“The most common version is called the Blood Mage . . .”
“Oh good, you’re early.”
Rael raised her eyebrows, then bent to scoop up the crawler.
“Your parents will be here in a few minutes.”
“And Raod, and the whole entourage.”
“Oh, guards, limos and so forth?”
“Yep. I talked to Icks. They’ve got a hotel block laid on and the whole deal. He says your mother is horrified by the expense.”
Rael snickered. “Oh yes. Although she’s had over a year to adjust to the new reality. I suppose this may be the first time she’s gone traveling with Raod, though. Even when Raod and Ox go home to Montevideo they don’t have to rent a dozen hotel rooms.”
As she spoke, he stepped to the front door and opened it. “Welcome to the construction zone. Come in.”
It really wasn’t that big of a parade. A lead car, a trailing car, the smallish limo in the middle.
And no doubt an outer perimeter and some advanced scouts for this new, unknown, location.
Rael recognized them all and stifled a wave of homesickness. She stepped out of the way, back to the office door and waved in the first four. They spread out, scanning for problems, and like as not leaving a few microbugs behind.
She hugged her mom, with Exzy holding out his arms and diving for her. “Gam!”
“Oh One! You’re talking! Look at the size of you!” He mom shot a panicked glance toward Rael.
“Fast rooms, he’s in the vicinity of ten months old.”
Her dad chuckled, and hugged Rael. “We shouldn’t be surprised, the way you managed a pregnancy in ten days.” He braced himself and stuck out a hand. “Xen, good to see you again.”
“Sir, my pleasure. Umm, would you like a tour of the work-in-progress?” Xen stepped back and the horde shifted inward. “We’re doing it all by the book, apart from the fast room, which is completely removable, and the door to Rael’s office. I had quite a bit of fun and showing off for the Paris house, but as she’s pointed out, it’s pretty much unsalable due to the . . . odd bits and completely lack of permits that were probably required for some of the work.”
Icks snickered. “We’ve all taken the tour. The windows are weird but the instant hot water must be nice. And two more houses on the street are being renovated. It’s no longer borderline slum, and the inspectors are paying attention, now.”
He father nodded. “Most likely they didn’t care what you did, fifteen years ago, so long as it looked good. Now . . . Well, selling it could be interesting.” He looked around. “Which room is going to be Rael’s office, and what’s odd about the door?”
Rael giggled. “Let me show you . . .”
“Bear! Momomkillabearanbigbirds!” Exzy pointed and his grandmother toted him back to the entrance hall.
Rael grinned and crooked a finger at Icks. “You liked the house? You’ll just love this.”