Slicing for sides and heaving, magically, didn't work well. So he made a ramp down so he could slice across. It was still bloody hard work and took three days.
And then the weekend.
Gravel, he was a bit bemused to find, was delivered by auto trucks. Which he supposed saved a lot of questions. And made him glad of the ramp. Six truck loads and then level it. Then half the amount of sand, spread, packed down, leveled, holes fill, packed down harder.
Level. Half a meter higher than the base of the foundation.
If I have to put two bathrooms in the basement, I'm damn well going to get enough light in there for it to be useable.
He crawled home, for a long hot soak and slept the sleep of the hard worker.
Got up at three to drive to Versalle and run with the Black Horse Guard. Then switch to karate gear and face off with Guards. Trying to duplicate Rael's drawing out of Speed techniques. He must have gotten something right. Isakson, instead of beating him up, set him to teaching magic.
The new troops . . . So many guards injured and killed last fall. And even the dozen Guards that had been taken by the Cyborgs, only six survived the attack. Poor sods. Not trusted, but not fired or retired, because they want to keep an eye on them.
Guinea pigs, given unimportant duties, X-rayed every month . . .
So the Army's sent in twenty new men. And . . . did Onca say then ten a month until they're back at full strength? I'd better plan on teaching morning magic classes for the rest of the year.
"Right. Well, why don't I take everyone who needs lessons outside and we'll run through the basics and see who needs what level of training." Ice eyed to old crew. "Don't snicker, Scar, or I'll mention to Isakson that I have the perfect thing the advanced troops could use to practice Compass co-ordination and moving large masses."
Isakson raised his bushy white eyebrows. "Indeed?"
Rip grinned. "Well, technically, the Speed Team's off duty today . . ."
Scar snorted. "And I really ought to get away from here occasionally—I'm assuming this involves the old house you bought?"
"Yep. It's so old they don't actually know how old it is. Probably a few years after New Paris was decided on as the seat of the Empire's government. It is rumored to have been built by Mikel the Eye."
"Mikel!" A double chorus from Lucky Dave and Davos. The brothers elbowed through the crowd.
"We want to see it." Davos frowned. "Not that we have a clue what Mikel did after we turtled up for eleven centuries."
Ice grinned. "He fought through the entire War of Unification, and then got sent to every flare-up and crisis for decades after. And one day, crossing a street, he got bumped by a little old lady in a puny little electric car, hit his head just wrong and died instantly. He was the first Warrior buried in Paris."
Lucky Dave grinned wryly. "He would have thought that was hysterically funny. Horrible sense of humor, the Big Bro had."
Ice paused. "Right, I'd forgotten about that."
Davos snickered. "He was Dad's first son with power. There were, what? Seventy or eighty more of us . . . when Dad died."
Isakson snorted. "And it's a toss-up whether Mikel or Lucky Dave have the most idiotic vids made of them."
"And while we all want to see what Ice is up to," Major Onca eyed the crowd listening in, "let's wait until this fancy lunch with politicians is done, and then Guards who are off duty, may participate in or observe this exercise in moving large masses."
/// look for fill in on One Drive///
Then the parade arrived. Surprising, really, that eight cars was all it took to move two of the most important men in the Empire across town.
Ice, in his work clothes, got a few double-takes but most of the attention was on the house. And mostly astonished and appalled.
Keiq looked pale and worried. Glared when he grinned and winked at her.
Isakson laughed. “Now there is a challenge worth of a pack of Warriors! Scar, bring your squad. Lucky Dave, Davos, join us.”
Ice swallowed. “Isakson, assuming we do levitate it, can we also push it?”
The old Warrior flashed a grin. “We won’t know until we try, will we?”
“Umm . . . Foo? Do you think your guys can do a broad push? Not covering the whole side, but a strip running a good bit of the length, say from the center and three fourths of the way to both sides, just above the old ground line should be pushing on the ground floor that’s nice solid concrete sheet clear across the building.”
Foo’s team, grinning, followed him around to the back.
Ice put an illusion, a long red rectangle across the building. “We’ll raise it less than a meter, then it will need a shove. Gently—build up gradually and see if you can move it.”
Ice jogged back to the front corner where Isakson has his chosen team circling up and took the position nearest the house. Note to self: Don’t step back and fall into the narrow trench along the side.
He looked over at the spectators. “Keiq? If you could yell when we’ve got it? E-one and E-two, run messages if we don’t seem to be listening?”
Then he reached for Ick and Ux and lowered his mental barriers. Pulled power from the heat of the afternoon sun and passed it to Ick, received power from Ux and it stretched out into a spinning ring of power. Glorious and dangerous.
Ice held it carefully as he dropped his grip and reached behind him to touch concrete. Let his awareness flow out to feel the building, concrete and steel, as a whole.
The levitation spell rolled out, weak until it cupped the bottom slab, then he added power. More at the back, then more everywhere. The back lifted, the house tilted . . .
Ice equalized the power. The whole building floated.
Someone said it was high enough, a voice yelled at Foo to push . . .
Ice felt a quiver through the concrete, but it didn’t budge.
He felt Foo’s team pushing, and used that as a guide to push with them. The rough concrete slid past his fingers and crept slowly forward.
Must keep it UP!
Keiq’s voice, “Ice you’re getting it too high. Relax a little, slowly.”
He lost contact with the house, as the gap in the side wall moved past him.
He held focus. Keep the house up . . .
“Ice, a little lower!” Keiq’s voice was a little high.
He shifted more power to the push, less to the levitation. His outstretched hand found the wall on the other side of the gap.
“That’s better.” Footsteps running away. Running back. “Slow. Down. Stop. Pushing and let it drift forward. You are nearly there.”
A whistle. “Stop. Set it down slowly . . . Stop, dammit. It’s in the right place let it sink back down. Damn!” She ran away again.
Foo isn’t pushing? Oh, I need to stop . . .
The house jolted. Stopped. A tinkle of falling roof tiles . . .
Oops! Maybe I should . . . let whoever that is push it back a bit . . .
Heavier footfalls. A man’s voice. “Ice you need to set the house down now. Really. Do you need to ground out your power? Like in your lessons? Let it go slowly, seep away . . .”
The house touched the plastic water barrier pressed it into the sand, compacting everything beneath it . . .
And the last of the power frayed away. The compass broke, everyone staggering away a bit.
Ice headed for the front.
The front edge of the hole was smushed in a bit.
The President strolled up. “Fortunately it was high enough that it hit below the window wells.”
A sigh from Ox as he joined them. “And someone,” a glower at Izzo, “pushed it back before you started lowering it.”
“Ahhh . . . Thank you?”
Keiq poked him. “You . . . you! I can’t believe you actually did that!”
Ice started grinning. “It worked! It actually worked!”
A laugh from Isakson. “Ice, are those dirt cubes you have out there? Shall I put the guards to work filling your hole?”
“Yes, but don’t bock the drainage. I need to get it further from the house and line it with those concrete slab chunks I’ve piled up over there.”
“Right.” He thumped Ices’s shoulder. “Good job. Everyone is reevaluating the utility of Compasses.”
“Well . . . I did have ulterior motives, above and beyond advanced magical training.”
A snort from Ox. “Fortunately most of them were off duty.”
Everyone looked back toward the road at a raised voice. Feminine. Angry.
Ice bit his lip. “I think that may be the head of the local Historical Society.”
Izzo grinned. “By all means, let her in.”
“Oh . . .” Ice swallowed a curse, as Madam Due was escorted around the curve of the driveway. He walked over to the ute and got the level and the flashlight.
Walked back to where Madam Due had stalled out, staring at the house.
She looked away to glare at him. “What have you done?”
“Leveled the house, and put a gravel and sand pad under it, as well as a moisture barrier.”
“You . . .” She straightened. “To start with, you do not have a permit. You did not have the approval of the Enclave Association, nor did you get the prior approval of the Historical Society!” She turned back and stared at the house. “And . . . that’s impossible.”
“The laws on which the regulations involving the renovation of historical buildings are based, specifically and clearly exempts Warriors. The building permit regulations exempt do-it-yourself projects. And the Enclave charter relegates the restoration of historical buildings to the Historical Society.” Ice shrugged. “So I invited some friends over to use the house for magical practice.”
Izzo strolled over. “Worked beautifully, don’t you think?”
Due glanced at him, froze.
“Mr. President, may I present Madam Deuc of the ??? Enclave Historical Society? Madam Due, President Izzo.”
Izzo grinned at her pole-axed expression. “A pleasure. Astonishing, isn’t it? I, of course, mostly watched. The Guards would have gotten a bit upset if I’d lent a hand.” He looked innocently around as Ox walked up.
And then Lucky Dave joined them. “Wait till you see what we did to the drainage.”
Madam Due choked. “You’re . . . you’re . . . I’m with the Historical Society. We want to make sure Mikel House is restored properly.”
“Not to worry. My brother’s old house is in good hands.” Dave looked back again. “He always loved Oliver’s house in Makkah. It looked just like this one will look when Ice is done with it.”
“Bro . . . Oh, yes . . .” She looked at the house.
With wide panicked eyes.
“I have to go now.” She backed away, turned and ran.
Lucky Dave snickered. “She runs pretty good in high heels.”
“I think you guys scared her.” Ice shook his head. “Now, what were you saying about the drainage?”