“One in the morning, all of a sudden instead of just the all-pervasive One, we also had god level magic syrup all over everything.” Arno eyed Xen. “You look surprised. Haven’t you felt the other gods . . . just being there?”
Xen frowned as he handed out sandwiches and drinks. “Usually, only when they’ve been summoned, and the collective subconscious is focused on them. I wonder if it’s an effect of the larger population, here? Or . . . The God of Just Deserts has a mile-plus-wide field of karmic justice . . . ”
Rael pondered that. “I didn’t feel it until you were close. So not all the way from Gate City. We can test that after my lectures.”
Xen nodded. “I wonder what it does? Make everyone spy on everyone else? Make real spies extra good at whatever they’re doing? I hope to hell it doesn’t show up on worlds I’m spying on. That could be . . . awkward.”
Several of the kids shook their head.
Sunny eyed Arno popping open his soda and pried at his. “I didn’t really feel anything. I just, when I woke up, I just felt ready to do anything.”
Exzy was watching too, and Rael opened his. Am I actually giving my baby one of these sweet bombs of Xen’s?
“Maybe it’s a Master of the Multiverse effect.” Arno’s eyes defocused. “Huh. I can see further than I could before. Of course, that could be age, too.” Grin. “I’ll check the next time you leave.”
Xen grinned too.
:: Heck no. He said that with a grin, not a bitter glare. He’s comfortable enough, trusts me enough to make jokes that could be taken wrong. ::
Rael sighed. I did not say that out loud. Nor telepath you.
:: From four feet away? Articulated thoughts of someone so strong are hard to not hear. :: Aloud he said, “Which will be tomorrow morning. People keep expecting me to write reports.” He bit his sandwich.
She glowered at him.
:: Quarter mile. Four hundred meters or so. Shall I buy a house down the block? ::
:: No. :: “That’s what you get for playing with Cyborgs.” Rael grinned. “Any hope of us getting copies?”
“Maybe. I’m spying, not playing, and there’s no way to tell if they’ve infiltrated any of our worlds. But I have got a grip on their government . . . I’ll make that a separate report, so it can go public.”
They munched, the kids compared progress on reports for various classes. Exzy fell asleep and was popped into a bubble, to the bogglement of the students.
“Don’t forget to call Jess.” Ryol gave her a firm stare.
“Yes, Mother.” Rael grinned, the kids snickered, Xen raised his brows.
“Potential Nanny, their old one. I don’t know If she’ll move to New York.”
Rael checked the time. “And now I need to get to class.”
The kids grabbed their packs and headed off in various directions.
Two lectures and she trotted upstairs to head home . . .
And Jues was arguing with Eshy in the hallway outside her office.
“. . . nothing I can do!” Eshy spotted her and shrugged. “You can waste your time trying.” He stomped off.
Jues turned and glared. “I would like to talk to you. Peacefully.”
“Right. Well, come in.”
:: Xen? Disappear. I have a suspect in view, and may bring her home to question on my own turf. ::
Jues followed her into the office. The bear got a scowl, the windows a frown. “So the room is actually . . . about six kilometers east of the campus?”
Rael blinked. “Nearly twenty. The windows are smaller on the outside and magnify the view.”
“Indeed? But it doesn’t dim the light?”
“Xen said something about augmenting it.”
A snarky smile. “So you don’t really understand it.”
“Oh, there’s a lot I don’t understand. I’ve been reading Madam Haig’s biography. Is she why you suppress magic, here at the school?”
“I do not suppress it. I teach control. Haig was a brilliant woman.”
And almost seventy years later, there’s still a wobble in your voice.
“Yes. Arguably one of the most influential people of the century.”
“You think so?” Suspicious glower.
“She changed the early magical education of close to three generations of Oners. I doubt there’s any of us unaffected.” Rael glanced at the door to the house. “And, of course, it’s suddenly personal.”
Snort. “Princesses having babies! Speaking of changing things.”
“Yes. There are going to be a lot of highly magical children . . . well, the first wave of them are college age now, and, as I just discovered, no where near enough teachers strong enough to deal with them.”
Jues smirked. “We all discovered that you aren’t strong enough.”
“Nor cautious enough.” Rael admitted. “So . . . Chancellor Adse seemed quite determined that the training of Warriors should be in the hands of the School of Magic. Has he mentioned any specific plans?”
Her eyes narrowed.
“If Madam Haig had lived longer, what might she have turned her mind to next? High school techniques for handling blossoming, or would she have jumped to the college level?” Rael eyed the other princess. “You knew her better than anyone. What would she . . . Oh, sorry.”
Jues wiped tears. “She always watched her boys. Such wonderful children! So bright and happy.” More tears, and Rael was steering her through the door, grabbing a bottle of . . . scotch seemed like a better choice than wine . . . two glasses . . .
Jues sat on a stool at the bar. “Their children all call me Aunt Jues. I so wish Haig could have seen her grandchildren. But Aggie and Illa were in high school,” Her voice went high, “when she was diagnosed . . . at least she saw them both blossom.”
Rael nodded sympathetically. “Seventy years ago . . . they didn’t have all the medicines and methods that we have now.”
Jues shook her head. “It had already metastasized, it was everywhere. I don’t think they could have saved her, even today.”
Rael poured, Jues reached for a glass and slugged it back.
Well, it’s not going to be hard to get her drunk and talking . . .