No one is going to look at my mail and say that Native must be the source of that leak!
And now, two Purps? Rael thinks they’ve been here for decades before Earth tried a couple of infiltrations through Tall Trees. So it has nothing to do with me at all.
Dog hustled up and joined him in the elevator on the way out. They didn’t speak, as they walked out in to the last winter dusk. They’d barely made it back to the office in time to report in. And now it was past the rush hour, the sidewalks nearly empty.
“Ice . . . what do you think? Snag some more DNA samples?”
Ice shook his head. “Not without a warrant, and there’s no grounds . . . Hell, Dog, there’s not even a crime.”
“Espionage . . . well, sabotage of the One’s magical potential. Surely that’s enough to budge even you off your squeaky-clean legalities. Right?”
“Wrong. And you know it.” Ice walked a little faster.
“Rael did it.”
“Rael scavenged through her own garbage, on her own property, and it was still . . . borderline.” Ice hunched his shoulder. “Dog . . . let’s just do it hard way.”
Dog sighed. “Because no one will give you the benefit of the doubt? Yeah. Shit. So, what can we research while we’re in town?”
“Families? Didn’t a bunch of them go to college here?” Ice perked up. “Let’s grab a table at Fresco’s and eat while we research their educational history.”
Tuesday 9 Muharram 1417 yp
A week and a half of early practice every morning, and she was done with the Very Basics classes. And very busy with all the students split among eight classes, Tuesdays and Thursdays. At least I have helpers. But it’s time to organize the rest of the semester. And hopefully Ajki will leave Dog and Ice here.
“So. I have sorted you guys out by ability, and split you up accordingly. I’ll be running four level-one classes, three level-two classes and three level-three practices. Monday through Thursday. Everyone gets two sessions a week. Check your messages to find out what your level is, check the class grid on my site. Sign up for all of them that will fit your schedule. Then I’ll decide which session you’ll be in, so I’ve got a reasonable number of students in each. If you can’t make any of the classes at your level, come talk to me.”
A tentative hand raised in the back. “What if we’re not very good?”
“A lot of you are quite young, and also late developers. If you want to wait a year, to see if your magic comes in stronger, that’s a legitimate choice. And probably a really good idea for the freshers. Umm . . . if so, come to the practice field Friday morning, and I’ll run you though a good practice routine to do on your own.”
Please! Because I don’t want to be brutal, but half of you kids are pretty . . . mediocre. And probably always will be.
“Next week is midterms. So there will be no practice Thursday. Use the time to study. There will be no practice next week, as you will be being tested who knows when or where.” Rael grinned at them. “So. Take your time and pick a session that will suit your class schedule, and I’ll see you according to the new schedule either on Monday the twenty-second, or Tuesday the twenty-third.”
By the time she’d repeated that six more times, she was whipped.
And looked at her top group. “You three, plus six kids who took techniques last year, and the top six kids I just worked with will all be my level three groups. I hope you can all make one or another of the of the classes, otherwise we’ll go late again, or early Fridays.
“You are all at an awkward stage where your ability to damage things or people exceeds your control.” She waved a hand. “Not that you aren’t trying to control what you do, but you are getting so much stronger both gradually, and in sudden leaps, that you don’t realize how much you have to throttle down to only do the bit you want to do, because your power keeps changing.”
Milo winced. “Yeah. Lost my temper a bit and kicked the bureau. Going to cost me, to replace it. And my clothes. And I just kicked it!”
“Kicked it? What shape is your shoe in?” Rael eyed him. This isn’t good!
“Fortunately I was barefoot.”
“Right. Well. Let’s work on that this evening. Or rather, work on not doing that. So, shoes off and, umm, you may need to stand on them, to keep your feet from freezing.”
It took most of an hour to get Milo to gather power in tiny bits, and to slowly bleed off any build up, to let it radiate slowly away. To only project his shield from his left hand.
“Mind you, if you concentrate on it, you’ll be able to project from anywhere . . . or set up a shield completely disconnected from your body. But probably not this year.”
“You can damage yourself, holding too much power, but it’s more likely to come out in dangerous uncontrolled spontaneous bursts.”
“Like when I kick the furniture?”
“Yep. Or just get pissed at something. So the trick is to hold so little power that otherwise perfectly harmless feelings or actions can’t flare.”
She grinned. “So what’s the purpose of all this left handed drill, you ask? If you get really busy, like in the middle of a bison stampede, and you slice without thinking about it—it will automatically be a left hand slice. You won’t have to concentrate on that, when you don’t have the time or attention to concentrate. Which is why I’m going to drill you that way, and only that way. Fancy stuff later.”
Fun and Kev had been quietly following along, and she nodded her approval. “Keep in mind that I don’t worry so much about most of the other students. But you three are very powerful, and getting more powerful daily. For you three, controlling your power and controlling the energy you are hold is extremely important.”
They nodded, looking a little intimidated.
“Don’t . . . doubt yourselves, the way the School of Magic undermined your belief that you could do magic. Just be cautious because you know how powerful you are.”
They shifted, a bit wide-eyed.
“If you have a problem, come to me immediately. Right now? Put your shoes on and go get dinner.”
She eyed Dog and Ice.
Dog left hand sliced about three meters.
Ice beat him by about half a meter, grinning. “And no nasty left over power to flare. Just a trickle straight to the mental shields. And I haven’t had a headache for weeks.”
By the time they got back to the office, her practices were already half-full, and she had a note from the senior Team Trainees asking what level they should sign up for.
“Oh . . .”
Dog grinned. “We’re off for Paris. Hopefully the Director will send us back in two weeks, because your schedule is insane.”
Rael sniffed. “You’re just afraid I might rope you in to help grade the midterms.”
They gave her synchronized expressions of horror and departed.