Please note, there was a commissioned mini-interlude posted yesterday focusing on Avalon and Shiori’s conversation after Avalon and Flick’s first kiss. If you haven’t seen that yet, you may wish to click the Previous Chapter button above.
About Seven Years Ago
“Hey, babies.” Sitting on the edge of the bed that her beautiful little girls were sleeping in, Larissa Mason gently reached out to brush the hair away from Sarah’s face. The ten-year-old shifted and blinked her eyes open, yawning briefly before blurting, “Mom, what–”
“Shh.” Smiling still, Larissa held a finger to her lips. “We don’t wanna wake up Daddy. Let him sleep.”
“What about us?” Sarah’s twin sister had rolled over by that point, burying her face against the pillow. Her words came out as a muffled protest. “Can we sleep?”
Of course, both of the girls had their own beds to sleep in. But more…
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The following is a commissioned mini-interlude detailing the conversation between Shiori and Avalon just after Flick and Avalon kissed for the first time. It takes place shortly before Shiori and Columbus left for Christmas vacation.
“You like Chambers.”
Of all the possible things that Shiori had expected Avalon to say to her when the girl had tracked her down in the room that she shared with Rebecca, that definitely wasn’t one of them. Although maybe it should have been, considering how unsubtle she was pretty sure she’d ended up being.
Her mouth opened to voice… she wasn’t sure. Confusion, maybe. Or denial. But when her eyes found Avalon’s, she saw the serious expression there and the words died in her throat.
Instead, all she actually managed at first was a somewhat weak, “Um.”
Yeah, Shiori, the girl thought to herself, that’ll convince Commander Busty McNinja you don’t have…
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“But hey, at least this time it wasn’t personal. He just hated me because I was a Heretic, not for anything particularly unique. Although the fact that that was kind of an upgrade was a bit sad.”
Agreed. It is sad that someone wanting to murder you just because of what you are is an upgrade to everything else.
The last major fight that I’d gotten into had been at the Wonderland mall. In that case, there had been a lot more room to maneuver than there was in this little classroom, crowded as it was with so many desks and tables. It might have been a good place to learn in (as far as learning from a genocidal psychopath could be good), but it pretty much sucked as far as gladiatorial arenas went.
But I was learning how to improvise.
Hyde was fast. Wicked fast. Not so long ago, he would have taken me completely by surprise as he lunged clear across the classroom in a single leap. But now, well now I had the reflexes of a werewolf.
He was still at the start of his leap when I began to react. Pivoting on one foot, I hooked the end of my staff around the…
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And all sympathy was lost. I hope they can mindwipe Doug, because him learning about a Stranger that could use magic and Wyatt’s competency may cause complications.
Barely a few seconds after I activated the emergency alert stone that Hisao had given us, it crumbled into dust in my hand. Stopping short for just a moment in the middle of the sidewalk just outside of the school, I stared at the dust while a thousand thoughts went through my head. Most of them centered around wondering what the hell had gone wrong this time.
I looked toward Doug, about to tell the boy to try his own alert stone just in case, while I used my phone to call someone. Before I could get the words out, however, the dust in my hand swirled up into the air, forming a cloud that expanded and grew. The dust cloud reshaped itself over the next couple of seconds, turning into the shape of a man. A moment later, the cloud solidified and Hisao was standing there.
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Whelp, circle of revenge continues.
Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Croc from Eden’s Garden posted yesterday. If you haven’t seen it yet, feel free to use the Previous Chapter button above.
“Have I mentioned,” Doug asked while the two of us jogged down the mostly empty street toward the school, “how weird it is that they’re sending first-year students to check out an active threat? I mean, isn’t it? This guy, if it’s him, he’s killing people. He’s killed people. And they’re trusting a couple first year nobodies to try and deal with it? What—why? Is it just how this Hisao guy does things or what?”
Well, I supposed that actually asking if this was Hisao’s ‘thing’ or a regular Crossroads plan was progress toward the Eden’s Garden substitute’s being accepted. At least Doug didn’t immediately jump…
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Wyatt probably had everything in the Food Court under enchantment. A little paranoia goes a long way… and its not really paranoia in his case, given his past.
“Uh, here’s your order, sir. Will there be anything else?” The scraggly-haired teenager who held the tray full of three cheeseburgers, two orders of fries, two large drinks, and an order of chicken nuggets stared at his customer with wide eyes. He had to tilt his head back to look the man in the eyes.
“No thanks,” the man named Croc replied easily while taking the tray. “This’ll be just fine.” He gave the boy a nod before turning to walk across the mall food court. The boy’s stare was obvious, as were those of several of the people he passed.
It was nothing new. Born a member of the now-extinct Calusa Native American tribe that lived around what was now Florida, Croc had always stood out. He was an enormous man to begin with…
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I know this was a serious moment, but I couldn’t help but laugh at: “Can I be your dork?”
As it turned out, we couldn’t go visit the town that the Aswang (if we were right) had targeted right away. Not because we weren’t allowed to, of course. Hisao assured us that getting out in the field was kind of the whole point of being a Hunter. Rather, we couldn’t go immediately because the other two, Russell and Harper, also asked to go see the town themselves. Hisao thought we should be on the same footing by all going at the same time, so he set it up for the next evening (Monday) to take the place of our normal Hunter track meeting. That way, no one got an unfair advantage by checking the town first.
That would happen tomorrow. Meanwhile, I had another appointment scheduled with Gaia tonight so that she could work a bit more on getting the anchor spell transferred from me to Vanessa…
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That first part was awkward. That last part was just gross.
“I understand that you had a rather important conversation this earlier today with Avalon and Shiori.”
Jumping a bit at the sound of the voice, I blinked up guiltily to see Gaia standing there. I’d been sitting on the bench beside her office door, waiting for her to get back. And apparently, I had been so absorbed with writing in my notebook that I hadn’t even noticed the woman’s approach. Though, to be fair, if she actually wanted to sneak up on me, it really wouldn’t have mattered how much attention I was paying.
“Errr.” Belatedly getting over my surprise at her appearance to notice what she had actually said, I found myself blushing even more. Coughing, I decided the safe response was to ask, “She told you?”
Smiling faintly, the woman gave a slight nod. “Yes, she was surprisingly open about it. Normally I’d have to coax…
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Nine hundred years old and he uses yoda and gaming terms. It took a minute for that to register.
“Where the hell is Katarin?” The question, voiced more like a demand, came from a boy with a long, dour-looking face and light brown hair in a shaggy cut. His nose was a little too big, but other than that, he was the type of average-looking who would actually be quite good if he took better care of himself.
Preston, that was his name. Preston Scofield. I’d never interacted with him directly, but I did remember that he and his roommate were the first two students to be called by their mentor at the start of the year.
Shiori and I had joined the rest of the Hunter track students out on the beach a few moments earlier.
I could see a couple of the Hunter students practicing the Kevlar spell that we’d been working on earlier with Carfried. He’d made sure that everyone in the class could…
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Bullet-proof clothes are always a plus, but that joke was terrible.
Please note that there was a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Haiden and Sariel posted yesterday. If you haven’t seen that yet, you may wish to click the previous chapter button above.
“Two months!” Professor Carfried’s excitable voice filled the Introduction to Heretical Magic classroom two days later. Friday. Like most schools, Crossroads came back from break with only a couple days of classes to go before the weekend so that students could ease back into the workload.
“For two months,” the man continued while standing in the center of our circle of tables, “you’ve been able to practice the spell that we started back in November. I gave you that extra time because the spell itself is hard to pull off. But by this point, you all should have been able to manage it. So.” Clapping his hands together, he smiled broadly. “How many of you think you’ve…
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