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HORRAY!! The sequel! :D I'm not anywhere close to be finished this story, only two chapters and a bit so far, but I just felt the need to put what I have up. For the beginning, I tried to give a little resumé of what happened in the first Mage story, without being repetitive. I think I succeeded.Kaze and Quinn are back, and taking lessons together. More fun stuff, new characters and old favourites to come eventually. I hope this is as enjoyed as the last one. Just a reminder: as in the last story, sentences in italics and quotation marks are telepathic thoughts.
“Welcome to all the new students at MWSI. During your stay here, you will learn all there is to know about your magic and how to use it. I am pleased to see so many old faces, back to face another year here with us. Study well and have fun.”
Quinn shook her head. The principal tried so hard to get close to the students, but most of them just ignored him. Only the new students hung avidly on his every word. The older students were, for the most part, talking amongst themselves about the new teachers. There were a few to replace teachers that had left last year and not come back. And then, there was that one, who looked a lot like last year’s casting teacher, Fighting Arts teacher and Latin teacher combined. He was drop-dead gorgeous, and the girls were all already in love.
They were surprised to find that his name was Kaze, which had been the surname of the aforementioned teachers who had mysteriously vanished at the end of last year. He had no surname or other name; he was just Kaze, rather like Quinn was just Quinn—or Harlequinn, but only a few people that she disliked called her that.
“And what will you be teaching, Kaze?” several of the girls asked him after the assembly. The poor man had been attacked by the female students the instant he left the auditorium. But he was friendly and courteous, and gave them a smile that would seduce the Devil.
“Sorry, girls, but I teach a very high level course, and I doubt any of you could keep up. Now, if you’ll excuse me—” He squirmed out of the throng of girls, and dashed for the safety of the teacher’s lounge. He knew that they would wait until he came out to ambush him.
“Mr. Kaze,” exclaimed one of the other teachers, surprised, “don’t you have a meeting with a student right now?”
“Yes, I do, but I just needed a moment to get rid of those girls. My student will know I’m late. She’ll be fine.” He flopped down in an easy chair. He loved the teacher’s lounge. It had the most comfortable chairs in the whole school. He had tried to create one in his private rooms, but it simply wasn’t the same, and no one would tell him where these chairs had been purchased.
What most students didn’t know was that Kaze had only one student. She had been at MWSI since the first year, and she had more power in her little finger than most students had in their entire bodies. She was a Free Mage, and so was Kaze.
Her name was Quinn.
“All right, Quinn, let’s begin.”
The girl braced herself. Kaze faced her, and released his power in controlled disarray. It roared fiercely around Quinn like a rabid lion, whipping her pitch black hair around her face, blinding her, crushing her body, trying to snatch her own powers away from her. It was more than strong enough to kill her.
But she stood firm. She gritted her teeth against the excruciating pain, and cautiously sent out her power, imagining the pain clinging to her magic and turning on her opponent. She could feel Kaze’s magic tugging insistently at hers, but she pushed it back. Sweat broke out on her forehead and on Kaze’s as they grappled magically, both of them trying to best the other, to beat the other down. For at least ten minutes they battled ferociously. Satisfied, Kaze told Quinn to stop.
“Very good,” he praised. “It’s nice to see you haven’t lost your touch. You practiced during the summer, I see.”
“Of course I did,” she replied. She gave Kaze a secret look that he gladly returned.
While the teachers all believed that Quinn had gone to visit her family during the summer holidays, she had actually gone back to the hidden mountain temple she had visited the previous summer, where she had learned to veil her mind. She had always had the annoying ability of reading other peoples’ thoughts, whether she wanted to or not. But the mountaineers had taught her to block them, and she loved them for it.
What the teachers also didn’t know was that Kaze had gone with her. He had the same mind-reading ability as Quinn, but he had learned to control it years ago. Unlike Quinn, he had been aware of his magic his whole life and had learned to control it much earlier on in his life. In any case, the mountain temple was a great place to meditate, and the monks also did martial arts. Kaze was very big on expanding his mind and his body, and had greatly enjoyed his time in the mountains.
At the end of the last school year, there had been a gargantuan incident that shocked the teachers to the core. The oldest Free Magic creature in creation, with enough power to destroy the Earth with the bat of an eye, had been sealed under the school since its creation. Last year, it had broken free. The teachers had known this, and they would never have been able to stop it.
So, they had sent out Kaze, their only Free Mage, to expand his powers. Kaze had known that he could never become powerful enough in the small amount of time they had given him, so he had split his being into four, each with different abilities and temperaments. Thus, the four had gone to different areas of the world to train, gaining significantly in power. When the time had come to join again, he had nearly run out of time. Quinn had helped him, trying to bring his quarters back together with her own, blossoming Free Magic.
But the creature had beaten them in the race for power. It broke its seal and attacked Kaze’s four sides. By some miracle, and with an unbelievable display of power, Quinn destroyed the creature and joined Kaze back into a single being. By the life and death experience they had shared—and by a rather affectionate quarter of adventure and passion called Hariken—Quinn and Kaze shared a special bond, intensified by their telepathic powers and common magic. They were two of five Free Mages to have ever existed, and were the only ones alive.
When the students and teachers had returned after the attack, both Kaze and Quinn had received medals for saving the school and the world. Quinn had asked that the teachers not tell anyone of the part she played in the attack, and they had agreed. In fact, Kaze had suggested that they not tell the students anything at all about the attack, and the faculty thought that maybe it was for the best. What the students didn’t know couldn’t hurt them.
So, Kaze and Quinn were heroes in the faculty’s eyes, and the principal gave Kaze special permission to teach the girl privately at her own level. However, the rules stated that no two members of the opposite sex could be alone in private, so the principal had agreed on the condition that the lessons take place in front of three or more teachers. More often than not, the entire faculty was present to see Quinn’s progress. Therefore, lessons always took place after supper and often ran until curfew. On occasion, they ran past curfew, and even the principal, who frequently observed her lessons, didn’t complain or correct the infringement of the rules. Quinn’s improvement was fascinating.
The teachers were still in shock: it had been Quinn’s powers, not Kaze’s, that had sealed the Free Magic creature Silirenkath that the girl had released on the Original one. It had been her power that merged Kaze’s quarters into a single being. While they were somewhat accustomed to the range of Kaze’s power—though its magnitude was a bit frightening at times—they found it rather unsettling in a girl as young as Quinn. Her basic lessons were more complicated than most of them could handle.
“Let’s try something a little harder today,” said Kaze, his eyes glowing with excitement. School had begun several weeks ago, and Quinn had learned and mastered several mind boggling spells. “Let’s try make your summon permanent.”
Quinn frowned curiously. “What do you mean?” Since the beginning, since the day she had come to terms with her magic, she had always summoned the same creature, an enchanting and deceptively cute winged kitten. In the four years she had been practicing her magic, it had never varied in size, shape, colour or power. That seemed pretty permanent to her.
“That’s not exactly what I meant,” he said, reading her thoughts. “I want you to give it life, in a manner of speaking.”
“Oh, I get it.” “But you’re not going to tell me how to do it, are you? You’re going to get me to figure it out on my own, am I right?”
Kaze smiled. “We’ll make it a project for this week.” “You know me too well.”
“Am I allowed to experiment on my own?” “That I do.”
“Hm, I’d rather not. This is highly advanced magic, and there’s no telling what might go wrong, and there are so many things that could happen. It would be better if I’m there to prevent any mishaps.” “But you’re going to do it anyway, so I’ll meet you in the field.”
“All right.” “How well you know me!”
“I think that’s enough for tonight. Have a good sleep, and I’ll see you tomorrow evening.” “How well indeed?”
They often had this kind of double conversation, one out loud, and one in their minds. A couple of the other teachers were telepathic as well, but they couldn’t get passed Kaze’s and Quinn’s barriers; their power was too great. No one ever knew what went on between them.
One of the first things they had done last year before the teachers and students had come back was to create a secret meeting place in the forest. Using their combined powers, they created a null-field—an area that couldn’t be sensed or found by physical or magical means, through which no magic could be detected. Then, they created two portals that opened in their rooms. That way, they could meet in secret, and no one would be able to find them, or even know that they left their rooms. No one could know what intense magical workings they were casting in there.
Quinn no longer cared what the other students thought of her. She hardly ever saw them anymore, and she never heard their thoughts unless she wanted to, which didn’t happen often. Sometimes, she would see them in the practice rooms while they had a class of Fighting Arts. Quinn never had FA anymore: she didn’t need it. But she had gotten permission to use the practice rooms whenever she wanted, as long as she didn’t disturb anyone if there was a class in session. As much as possible, she tried to train when no one was there, but sometimes it was inevitable. In that event, she kept her training simple, so as not to shock anyone with her skill.
“Hey, Quinn, are you going to the field today?”
“Mm, I think so. Just let me sleep a bit, then I’ll meet you there, okay?”
Quinn closed the link, but they were always connected. Quinn never felt alone anymore: all she had to do was think, and Kaze would be there, inside her mind.
She yawned widely. “Argh, I’m exhausted! Need sleep!” She flopped down onto her bed and instantly fell into the deepest of sleeps.
She had had this dream many times before. She recognized it immediately. Comfortable enough in its familiarity, Quinn let it run its course.
It’s not like I have a choice in the matter, anyway.
She woke as she usually did after the dream: rested but confused. It was such a strange dream. She could never figure out what it meant. It was so odd that many people wouldn’t think it could possibly mean anything; but Quinn knew better. One of these days, she would have to ask Kaze about it. She could easily meditate before going to sleep, entering a state that wiped her mind of all thought; she wouldn’t dream if she meditated. But for some reason, she didn’t want to. There was always a small hope in the back of her head that the dream might be longer or that something might be explained. It never changed. She was always strangely rested afterward.
She climbed out of bed and stretched. She glanced at the clock and was satisfied that she hadn’t overslept. Kaze knew that she only needed two hours to refresh herself, and he would now be waiting for her in the field—which is what they called their hideout in the forest.
The amount of magic Quinn had was so great that it rarely depleted. It kept her going even when her body was on the verge of collapse. So far, she had spent the school year feeding off her magic. She knew it would catch up to her later and her body would pay the price, but for now she wanted to see how far her magic could support her.
Giving her hair a quick brush, Quinn opened her closet and pushed the clothes aside. Staring right at the back wall, she spoke a strange, lilting word. Then, she strode confidently into her closet and straight at the wall. She passed right through it as though through water. Instead of ending up in the next-door dorm room, she found herself in a kind of chamber in the middle of the forest that seemed to be made of dark blue glass. Kaze was already there.
“Have you been waiting long?” she asked.
“Not at all,” he replied with a gentle smile. “You’re right on time.”
“Oh, good.” She shivered as Kaze’s magic reached out to touch hers.
“I really missed you,” he said softly, embracing her with his magic.
Quinn sighed comfortably, the power around her familiar and welcomed. “You see me every day. You saw me a couple hours ago.”
“That’s not what I mean,” he said in her mind, softly like a whisper, his arms now emulating his magic. He rested his chin on her shoulder, pressing their cheeks together.
“I know,” she replied in the same way, leaning back against him, threading their fingers together. Magic sizzled warmly around them.
“The principal would flip if he knew about this place,” Kaze said humorously, glancing around the room.
“He’d flip even more if he knew about us,” Quinn retorted. “Of course, the students all know, or think they do, but our dear principal would like to believe that his faculty obey the rules, and don’t have affairs with students.” Her eyes twinkled mischievously.
“Ah, but I’m not having an affair, precious student.” His eyes were shining with the same light. The blue of the field’s walls brought out the blue in his eyes like nothing Quinn could describe. She loved the field, if only to see Kaze’s eyes. “I’m having a relationship. There’s a difference.” He leaned in and tenderly kissed her on the lips. “Affairs don’t last,” he whispered finally, letting her go and pulling her into the centre of the glass room.
Without Kaze saying anything, Quinn knew what he wanted from her. She sat down in the grass, crossing her legs, and closed her eyes. With the ridiculous ease of extensive practice, she fell deep within herself—a place she could only reach through meditation. Her breathing slowed evenly, making it seem as though she was asleep.
“Concentrate your powers,” Kaze instructed softly so that he wouldn’t break Quinn’s concentration. “Focus on your summon. Channel your thoughts into a physical image. Picture its biological pattern and everything it would need to be able to live.”
A spectral image of a pure white winged cat appeared in front of Quinn. She experimented with the image instead of her actual summon. That way, she would be able to give it life in front of the other teachers—since she wasn’t allowed to practice alone, which the other teachers would believe if she just showed up to her next class with a live summon in tow. Besides, if she made any mistakes now, they could be corrected in the future, since it would only be an image.
As a temporary spell, summons didn’t require bones or organs; they were made with solid objects such as leaves, dust or water, and bound together and given shape by magic. But holding that shape was a strain on the one who cast it. To give it life would not only take a lot of magic, it would take a lot of careful planning.
She needed to give it bones, or it would collapse. The shape in front of her vanished, and a skeleton appeared, bone by bone, becoming the exact replicate of a kitten. She thought to strengthen the bones, making them no thicker, but stronger than iron. After all, a summon was most often used for battle, so it needed to be as strong as possible. She then proceeded to add the bones of the wings. They weren’t quite the wings of a bird, but more like the wings of a gryphon.
Kaze was watching her progress closely.
Next, came the vital organs: brain, heart, lungs, and digestive system. Without these, her summon would die shortly after being given life. But this way, it could live as long as she took care of it like she would a pet: feeding it, cleaning it, exercising it, etc.
Then came the muscles, without which it wouldn’t be able to move. Quinn carefully laid the muscles on the skeleton. It was looking more and more like a cat. She added tissue, skin, fur, feathers, eyes, and every last detail to make her summon as perfect as possible.
The image gave a loud meow and took flight.
“Excellent!” Kaze exclaimed, clapping his hands once. “You’ve almost got it. There were only a few anatomical flaws, but you have the right idea. You’ll have the rest of the week to figure out what they are and how to fix them.”
“Blood!” Quinn cried, slapping her forehead. “I forgot the veins and arteries!”
“Yes, you did,” Kaze said amiably. “But don’t worry too much about it. You’ll do fine.”
“What time is it? How long have I been doing this?”
“About nine hours, give or take,” Kaze replied. “It should take about twelve hours when you do it for real, give or take.”
Quinn stood and stretched stiff muscles. Her body felt tired, drained. The feeling was similar the one last year, after fighting the original Free Magic creature and Silk—Silirenkath—except that last year, it had been a thousand times worse. She aught to have known that this working would tire her out extensively, which coupled with her depending on her magic instead of sleeping and eating properly just exhausted her even more.
“You can still get another eight hours of sleep, if you want.” Kaze knew how her body felt.
But Quinn shook her head. “I want to get some FA in before class.”
“Eight hours worth?” Kaze asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Perhaps,” said Quinn cheekily. She would never last that long, and they both knew it.
“Want some company?” What he really meant was that he would join her to make sure she was all right and didn’t hurt herself.
“Only if you want to be beaten.”
“Oh, really? Well, we’ll just see about that!”
“Let’s go, mighty sensei.” She gently shoved him toward the portal to his room.
Kaze caught her hands and looked deeply into her eyes. Both of them were trapped, lost in the swirling colours of each other’s eyes. The eyes of a Free Mage were excessively captivating, irresistible and magical. It was easy to lose one’s self in them. Simultaneously, Kaze and Quinn leaned in for a kiss. As was their relationship, it was chaste, loving and full of affection.
“I’ll meet you there,” Kaze said softly, and stepped into his portal.
|Project S-001, I||Shadowcat: Chapter Two|
|Apocalypse||Ashes and Dust|
|Mage II: A Higher Power; chapter 7||Shadowcat: Chapter Three|