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Book 5: Sun & Air / Son &Heir

By MultiMapper
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Chapter 11 - Fires I Set

"You're still working on that Hindu mythology thing, right?"Lex asked as they walked.

"Yes. But meeting Linnaeus has given me some ideas about howto rig it to move more naturally." G said seriously.

"What are we going to have to do?" Lucky askedanxiously.

"Meet our teacher and see what they want us to do." Lex saidfrankly.

"Isn't Professor Woo our teacher?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"No. He's our teacher's teacher... or maybe our teacher'steacher's teacher. I really don't know how deep it goes. All Iknow is that Professor Woo is in charge of the department and hemakes sure that the teachers working under him are doing theirjobs right and teaching the students what they need to learn."Lex explained seriously.

"What do you think our teacher will have us do?" Lucky askedcautiously.

"Honestly, the first day or two, with us looking this age,they'll probably want to test us to see how much we already knowand how powerful we are." Lex said frankly.

"Should I show them Zah Zah?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"Yeah. I think Zah Zah will give them a pretty good idea ofwhat you're capable of." Lex said seriously.

"If you really want to learn Sorcery, then you need tolet your teacher know what you can do. They don't have to knoweverything about you, but they need to know what power youhave and how experienced you are with it." G helpfully added.

"I'm not used to having to decide who I can trust or how much.My mom always did all of that for me." Lucky said honestly.

"She sounds like a good mom, like she did a good job. She keptyou safe so that you could be here now, ready to take over makingdecisions for yourself." Lex said firmly.

"And if you're ever in doubt about what's right, you've gotlots of people who you can talk things over with. Just don'tthink that anyone is going to take over making the decisions foryou. We'll help to explain how different things work and maybelet you in on some things that you haven't heard of, but in theend, you'll decide what's going to happen to you next." G saidseriously.

"That's right. I'm going to be getting my own things sortedout. You figure out what you want and you can ask my opinion ifyou're interested in what I think about your choice." Lex saidfrankly.

"Okay." Lucky said nervously.

"I'm glad that's settled, because we're here." G said as heled the way into the Sorcery classroom.

* * * * *

"It looks like a regular room." Lucky said slowly as he lookedaround.

"Yeah. When I first started here, I was expecting somethingreally mysterious and witchy, but there isn't much around herethat would tip anyone off that it wasn't a regular classroom ifthey got in here somehow and snooped around." G said frankly.

"It's warded against that, isn't it?" Lex asked curiously.

"Yeah. As far as I know. Paul really knows more about thatstuff than I do. But if someone from outside the witchcommunity... or from outside 'our' witch community were to get inhere, I don't know if we have anything to defend against it." Gsaid frankly.

"I don't remember you thinking about stuff like this before."Lex said honestly.

"Yeah. I just thought about it since the work-study. Lookingat those barriers made me think about the ones we live with everyday." G said honestly.

"What's up G? Who are your new friends?" A boy asked as heapproached.

"Relatives. Tauru, these are my cousins Lex and Lucky. They'restarting here today. Guys, this is Tauru, my sometimes partner inSorcery." G said in introduction.

"What's a 'sometimes' partner?" Lucky cautiously asked.

"We get teamed up together a lot." G said simply.

"Yeah. Our powers mesh up pretty good, so we work welltogether." Tauru said casually.

"Professor Woo should be here any minute. Help me keep an eyeout for him." Lex quietly told Lucky.

"So, how did your mysterious project turn out? I heard thatthey nabbed a few of the Wizardry students for it too." Tauruasked G curiously.

"We went, did what we were told to, and got the job done." Gsaid simply.

"I don't know why I always think these things are going to bemore exciting than they are." Tauru said frankly.

"From what I've heard, excitement is what you don'twant when you go on a work-study." G said seriously.

"Yeah. Probably not." Tauru agreed.

"There he is." Lucky said quietly.

"We've got to go check in. We'll see you guys later." Lex saidbefore leading Lucky away.

"Cousins?" Tauru asked as the pair of younger teens walkedaway.

"Yeah." G confirmed.

"They look it."

* * * * *

"We made it." Lucky said happily as they approached ProfessorWoo.

"Were you expecting not to?" Professor Woo asked with areluctant smile.

"There were a couple times in Spelling where I wasn't toosure." Lucky said frankly.

"Not everyone wants to have a new person on their team." Lexquietly explained.

"I can't say that you won't encounter the same thing in here,but from what I've already seen of you, I have no doubt thatyou'll make friends in no time."

"Well, we're ready to get started when you are." Lex saidconfidently.

"Come with me." Professor Woo said, then led the way to agroup of teachers at the side of the room.

* * * * *

"Mr. Howlen, I'd like to introduce you to our visitors fromthe Witchcraft discipline, Lexington and Lucky Darroch."Professor Woo said somewhat formally.

"Do they have any talent for sorcery, or are they justtourists?" Mr. Howlen asked cautiously.

"Do you want to show him?" Professor Woo asked with asmile.

"Lucky, why don't you show off Zah Zah?" Lex cautiouslysuggested.

"But she's not an illusion." Lucky said uncertainly.

"No. But she's covered with one... and it's really impressive.You did a great job on it, you should show it off." Lex saidseriously.

Lucky undid a button on the belly of his jacket and the tinykitten appeared to climb out, as though she had been curled up,resting inside of Lucky until she was needed.

Mr. Howlen and Professor Woo watched as the tiny cat-likecreature scrabbled and worked its way up Lucky's arm until itcame to rest on his shoulder.

"What are we seeing here?" Mr. Howlen finally asked as Luckybuttoned his jacket.

"Based on what I saw earlier, I'd hate to imagine." ProfessorWoo responded warily.

"Hold on a second. Lucky can't be the only one showing off."Lex said as he stepped away from Lucky's side.

"Lucky, will you give me a hand with this?" Lex asked as asmall fireball appeared in Lex's palm.

It only took a moment for Lucky to catch on. He pointed at thefireball in Lex's hand, then turned his hand sideways.

As he did, the flame transformed into a gurgling littlefountain of water.

"Thanks." Lex said happily as he released the plume of waterto float into the air before him.

Very deliberately, he then made the five symbols of his spellas he internally incanted the portion of the spell that hetypically spoke.

As Professor Woo and Mr. Howlen watched, the water dispersedinto a light fog as it lifted into the air.

"That's not Sorcery." Lucky warned him.

"Not yet." Lex said with a grin, then began performing ahigh-level illusion that caught all who were watching offguard.

"Wait. You can't do that..." Mr. Howlen began to say, but thewords caught in his throat as Lex began to encase his foggylittle nuggle in a very precise and detailed illusion.

"You used mist as a framework upon which to suspend anillusion." Professor Woo said slowly as he interpreted what hewas seeing.

"Yeah. Well, I can't let Lucky have all the fun." Lex said ashis hands came to rest and he focused on his completed work.

The little horse was astounding in its complexity. The darkmane was reminiscent of Lex's own hair and the gray coat wassimilar to that of Lex's unicorn form.

"That's... you've created a fully animated miniature horsewith a spell cast in under a minute." Mr. Howlen finally said inamazement.

"Yeah. Well, I cheated a little." Lex shyly admitted.

"The difference between working smart and cheating issometimes nothing more than differing points of view." ProfessorWoo said frankly.

"Come over here, Boy. Stand on my shoulder like Zah Zah doesfor Lucky." Lex said to the tiny horse who was galloping awayfrom him in slow motion.

"There's no way you could have rigged and animated an illusionin that short of a casting." Mr. Howlen declared.

"That's why it's significant that he suspended the illusion onthe framework of a nuggle. It's actually quite ingenious. Thenuggle has the absolute minimum of physical substance upon whichto enact an illusion. Likewise, the nuggle has its ownproperties, that being the ability to move independently andrespond to rudimentary commands." Professor Woo explained.

"I see what you're saying, but I still don't know where the'nuggle' came from. The spell used to summon or create it didn'tappear to have any definition." Mr. Howlen said in a puzzledvoice.

"That's where I cheated." Lex said frankly.

"How would that be?" Professor Woo asked with genuineinterest.

"My original casting of the spell left the definition out,because I expected an undefined cloud of mist. All I can figureis that the nuggle was brought into being as a manifestation ofmy animal transformation." Lex said seriously.

"Like summons like." Professor Woo said with a knowingnod.

"Right. And then, when Lucky summoned his nuggle, he had mineto look at as an example and he had the advantage ofalso having a horse animal form to draw upon." Lexexplained.

Taking that as a prompt, Lucky created a fireball, turned itto water, made three signs, then gestured as his water flamebecame a faint ghostly horse made of mist.

"After that, our other teammates made two more nuggles. Theyfailed at first, but after including the equu-nonum in theobjective phase, they made theirs take on a similar shape toours." Lex said, then reached to his shoulder and ever so gentlypetted the tiny horse.

"Are you going to keep him?" Lucky asked curiously.

"Yeah. I think so. Paul has Ginh Zah, G has Mah Zah, you haveZah Zah, so I think I'll go ahead and keep Zephyr." Lex saidwarmly.

"You're going to need to learn to do the water spell foryourself, so you won't need me to do it for you." Lucky saidseriously.

"Remind me later and I'll get you to show me how you doit. I don't think I could do it Paul's way, but I might be ableto manage yours." Lex said honestly.

"So are these examples of your Sorcery abilities?" Mr. Howlenasked cautiously.

"Yes and no." Lex said honestly, then explained, "This isn'tall sorcery, but everything has some sorcery in it. Maybe that'sthe most honest way we can tell you about who we are. We're notjust the one thing."

"I can see the sorcery at work on your nuggle and Iacknowledge the skill in your crafting. I'm not as sure of whatI'm seeing when it comes to the cat." Mr. Howlen saidhonestly.

"Show him, Zah Zah." Lucky said as he took her down off hisshoulder and kept firm hold of Zah Zah's lower torso.

At that, Zah Zah seemed to explode, lunging directly towardMr. Howlen.

Both he and Professor Woo backed away several steps as theinky scribbled horror hissed and clawed in their direction.

"I think she doesn't like being in front of people. It makesher angry." Lucky quietly explained.

"What the hell is that?" Mr. Howlen squeaked.

"No. I didn't put any hell powers in her at all. I didn't knowhow to when I first made her. Zah Zah is mostly basic." Luckyexplained.

"What you're seeing now, that's what Zah Zah actually lookslike from her earliest version. The pretty little kitten thing...that's Lucky's sorcery covering her." Lex said frankly.

"That was a beautifully crafted spell. Although I suspectedthat the cat was somehow an illusion, I had no idea what type ofcaustic horror it was masking." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Come back now, Zah Zah. Get back in your skin and I'll letyou stay out for a while." Lucky said in a coaxing voice.

The too human eyes looked around distrustingly for a moment,then the cat-beast began to withdraw into the tube of kitten furthat Lucky was still holding.

Lex turned his head and focused on Zephyr before saying,"Don't get any ideas."

The little horse bobbed his head once, possibly inagreement.

"Good boy." Lex said with a gentle smile.

* * * * *

"So, Mr. Howlen, do you think you have anything to teach theseboys?" Professor Woo asked knowingly.

"From the look of it, they might have something toteach me." Mr. Howlen said with a chuckle.

"Yes. I can easily foresee a circumstance where things couldwork out that way." Professor Woo said frankly.

"But, while they appear to have considerable skill, I wouldlike very much to expose them to some of the other, lesser known,disciplines of Sorcery, if only so that they can have a chance toconsider them before their visit with us is concluded." Mr.Howlen said seriously.

"So you won't have us doing the same thing as everyone else?"Lex asked cautiously.

"If you have an interest in creating and rigging an illusionin preparation for animation, then I will be happy to cover thatwith you. However, I get the feeling that the two of you haveother questions. If I may, I'd like an opportunity to helpyou discover what those questions are and possibly guide you tofind the answers." Mr. Howlen said intently.

"Yeah. That sounds like what we need to be doing." Lex quietlyagreed.

"Don't you want to?" Lucky hesitantly asked.

"Sometimes you have to decide between what you want to do andwhat you should do. When you do what you should, there'ssometimes this feeling like the trap snapping shut on you... Ijust felt that." Lex said frankly.

"So, did you not want to do sorcery?" Lucky askedconfusedly.

"Yeah. I really do. But we've just decided something reallybig, and a few years from now, we're probably going to look backon this exact moment as something that completely changed ourlives." Lex said seriously.

"Maybe. But I don't care too much about that." Lucky saidhonestly, surprising all present.

Before any of them could ask, Lucky continued, "I don't existin tomorrow or yesterday, so I try not to think too much aboutthem. Right now is all I have and all that I can change, so Ihave to do the best that I can with what I've got right in frontof me."

"You're going to have to think about the future at some point.Otherwise you won't be properly prepared for things when the timecomes." Professor Woo cautioned.

"I'll do what I have to, but I still don't like thinking aboutit." Lucky said honestly.

"I can't think of anyone with a better handle on the futurethan Dad. So I'm not going to worry. I trust that Lucky and Dadwill work it out." Lex said assuredly.

"Excuse me, Professor Woo?" A female voice timidlyinterrupted.

"Hi, Indra! How is everything?" Lucky asked happily.

"It's fine, Lucky. How are you?" Indra asked warmly.

"I think everything is turning out the best that it can be."Lucky said with a smile.

"What can I do for you today, Miss Boheme?" Professor Wooasked respectfully.

"Dr. Williams needs to see Gwayne Darroch for his postwork-study evaluation." Indra said simply.

"I believe I see him near the window with young Mr.Montenegro." Professor Woo said seriously.

"This shouldn't take too long. As I understand it, there arejust a few lingering questions that really need to be resolvedbefore the entire incident can be counted as closed." Indra saidseriously.

Professor Woo looked concerned at the statement.

"Remember where I came from." Lex said simply.

Professor Woo nodded, as he watched Indra make her way acrossthe classroom to where G and Tauru were quietly talking.

After a moment of discussion, Indra led G back across theclassroom, then out the door.

"So, is everyone happy with the arrangements that we have madefor your sorcery education?" Professor Woo asked seriously.

After a moment to consider, Lex finally said, "Yeah. Iam."

"Me too." Lucky immediately chimed in.

"I look at this as an adventure. I became a teacher in hopesof having experiences such as this." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

"Good. If any of you realize that things aren't workingout to your satisfaction, be sure to contact me so that we canreevaluate and give this project of ours every opportunity tosucceed." Professor Woo said seriously.

* * * * *

Mr. Howlen led the boys to an empty spot where they couldspeak more or less privately.

"So, what are we going to do first?" Lex asked curiously.

"I think that before we get into anything too intensive, maybewe should touch on the projects the rest of the class havealready completed. That will just give us a sense of where youare in comparison."

"Which projects?" Lex asked cautiously.

"If you already have any animals crafted, you could show usone of those." Mr. Howlen said simply.

"What about..." Lex asked as he pointed at the little horsestanding on his shoulder.

"As impressive as that is, I would like to see an example ofyour ability to cast a standard illusion, not one masking anexisting physical form." Mr. Howlen explained.

"I can do a hedgehog or an otter, if you want." Lex saidcautiously.

"Yes. Whichever you prefer." Mr. Howlen said easily.

"Lucky, do you want to do it with me?" Lex asked with asmile.

"Yeah!" Lucky said happily.

Lex moved so that he was facing Lucky, affording him the bestpossible view.

Mr. Howlen watched as the boys began to cast their 'standard'illusion, slowly at first, but with increasing ease as theyexactly mirrored each other's movements.

Both boys seemed to be enthralled in the spellcasting, notonly casting their spells confidently, but almost joyfully.

When the pair finally stopped, two otters faded into being,one beside each of the boys.

"If there were a synchronized spellcasting competition, I'mpretty sure you guys would walk away with it." Mr. Howlen said,sounding to be impressed.

"I think we'd have an unfair advantage in a competition likethat. Lucky's a magic mimic." Lex said as he knelt down to lookat his newly created otter.

"Do you mean that I'd have an unfair advantage like tallpeople have an unfair advantage at basketball?" Lucky askedcuriously.

Lex was surprised by the question, but cautiously responded,"Magical advantage shouldn't be used to win competitions. I guessif you were going to go up against another mimic, then it mightbe a fair fight but it wouldn't be right for you to benefit fromsomething that you didn't earn." Lex said seriously.

"Well, I wasn't going to, but I don't think it's wrong to takewhat you were born with and make the most that you can out ofit." Lucky said reasonably.

"Maybe it's one of those things that should be done inmoderation. Take the advantage when it's for something good, butlet someone else take the win sometimes, just to be a good sportabout it." Lex said consideringly.

"Yeah. I guess if I go up against a sick orphan that I canthrow it if it'll make him feel better about himself." Lucky saidwith a playful grin.

"You know, the people around here are probably going tounderestimate you." Lex said frankly.

"Yeah, I know." Lucky said with a smile as he petted Zah Zahon his shoulder.

"Good job on the illusions. Neither one of you happen to havecreated a self-portrait, have you?" Mr. Howlen askedcautiously.

"I think I could probably manage one if I had to." Lexsaid with a smile.

"I probably can't." Lucky said seriously.

"Sure you can. I've already got yours mostly crafted. Rememberthe recipe that I use..." Lex said frankly.

"If you need time to prepare, we can do something else." Mr.Howlen offered.

"No. We've got this." Lex said confidently, then cast theultra-short, ultra-compacted version of the 'Cousin Lex'definition spell that was rapidly becoming his dominantidentity.

To the practiced eye, the grace and elegance of hisspellcasting spoke of carefully honed skill at manipulatingforces with intense precision.

"Very nice. I believe you could give G a run for his money,since he's the undisputed class champion in illusionary selfportraits." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

"I won't take that away from him." Lex said as he waved hisarm and dispelled his self-portrait.

"I didn't mean to suggest that you would." Mr. Howlen hurriedto assure him.

"Can you help me make mine?" Lucky asked hopefully.

"Yeah. Standard definition. Do it with me." Lex said as hebegan to go through the longer form version of casting anillusion.

Mr. Howlen watched and appreciated the strength and confidenceLex exuded as he led Lucky through the long and complicatedspellcasting.

Lucky, for his part, kept up with Lex's expert level ofspellcasting every step of the way. He didn't stumble on any ofthe words, the gestures were performed confidently and expertlyin every detail. If he didn't know that Lucky was seeing thespell for the first time, he would be ready to swear that the twoof them had practiced their parallel spellcasting multiple timesin preparation for their display.

When the pair finally stopped all movement, there were threeversions of Lucky standing around Lex.

"That's astounding. This level of casting is what seniorsorcerers get paid to do professionally." Mr. Howlen saidfrankly.

"Then I hope that G is ready to earn some money, because Idon't plan on doing this any more than I have to." Lex saiddarkly as he dispelled his casting of 'Lucky'.

He felt something wet on his ear and turned his headsuddenly.

The tiny horse on his shoulder was looking back at him, notquite wearing an expression, but Lex nonetheless assigned it ameaning.

"I'm not going to stop casting you, Zephyr. I just don't planon casting illusions professionally." Lex gently explained.

"How's my copy of me? Is it good enough?" Lucky asked Mr.Howlen hopefully.

"The quality is superb, but since you didn't cast it byyourself, I don't know if it can be counted as a fairrepresentation of your skill and ability." Mr. Howlen saidcarefully.

"I can't make something out of nothing. I have to havesomething to start with." Lucky fought to explain.

"Why don't you dispel this and recast your self-portrait yourown way, then it will be one hundred percent your skill and yourmagic being used." Lex suggested seriously.

"Yeah. Okay." Lucky said determinedly as he followed Lex'sexample and waved his arm as he dispelled his previouscasting.

"I don't understand..." Mr. Howlen said slowly.

"Just watch." Lex said seriously, then stepped aside so thatLucky could be the entire focus.

* * * * *

The first thing that caught Mr. Howlen's attention was thatLucky wasn't using a standard spell, either in spoken or gesturalterms.

The next thing he noticed was that Lucky didn't appear to beusing sorcery at all. In fact, he didn't appear to be using anyform of magic that Mr. Howlen had ever seen or even heard of.

The spell was slightly longer than when Lucky and Lex had casttogether, but it was the completely foreign style of spellcastingthat was most perplexing.

In a grand crescendo of movement, Lucky finally finished hisspell as his creation took form before them.

"What is it?" Mr. Howlen cautiously asked as he looked at theillusionary construct.

"It's mostly the same as what I made when I was casting withLex. This is just made a different way." Lucky explained.

"This is what Lucky's magic really is. He has the ability tocopy my magic and cast the same spell that I'm casting when I'mcasting it. But when he tries to cast it again on his own, hecasts it using his own kind of magic that no one else has." Lexsaid seriously.

"Or maybe it's what everyone else has. Remember, Paul can castmy spells too." Lucky cautioned.

"Yeah, but Paul is the exception to a lot of rules. I'm goingto wait until we have a few more things settled before I startthinking that we've figured it all out." Lex said seriously.

"Regardless, it looks as though you are both capable ofperforming at the level of the rest of the class." Mr. Howlensaid confidently.

"I was actually hoping we could do a little better than that."Lex said honestly.

"Don't worry. We're getting there. I just wanted to make apoint of establishing that the two of you won't be missing out onanything if you depart from the standard course of study. You'vealready achieved their level of mastery." Mr. Howlenexplained.

"Now you're talking." Lex said with a smile.

"What are we going to be doing?" Lucky asked hopefully.

"I don't know yet. This was all dropped on me rather suddenly.I haven't had time to develop a lesson plan." Mr. Howlen saidhonestly.

"Then don't plan it. Just show us what else there is insorcery besides illusions." Lex said frankly.

"The types of magic I show you will have to be limited to thetypes of magic we can each access." Mr. Howlen slowlyexplained.

"I have air and Lucky has whatever he can copy. That soundslike we'll be able to do just about anything." Lex saidsimply.

"Do you think that Lucky would be able to copy someone who'sranked at the highest levels of their magical field?"

"Probably not. From what Doctor Williams said, Lucky's goingto keep getting stronger over time. To me, that means that hemust be at his weakest right now." Lex said carefully.

"Considering that he was able to cast a fully realizedself-portrait illusion on his first try, I'd say that he'ssufficiently empowered to be able to learn most anything that Iwould be capable of teaching him." Mr. Howlen saiddiplomatically.

"So you don't think we're too young to be here?" Lex askedwith a grin, obviously not believing it to be so.

"At first glance, I think you appear to be too young totake on this level of responsibility. But after talking to you, Ibelieve that, with a certain degree of understanding on my part,you will both be capable of performing at a level commensuratewith your peers." Mr. Howlen said carefully.

"I don't like how you're using wiggle words to not say whatyou're pretending that you're saying." Lex said seriously.

"I'm trying to say that I believe in you and am willing toteach you. I just don't want for you to get the idea that becauseyou have some impressive skills, that you don't have anythingleft to learn. Actually, you appear to be at a good point, rightabout where your classmates are. If you want to stay competitive,you'll need to keep after your training." Mr. Howlen saidfrankly.

"We've got Paul and G at home, impressing people all over theplace. We'll keep on top of things just so those two don't leaveus in the dust." Lex said frankly.

"Don't make the mistake of basing your performance on others'achievements. Use them as a measure, of course, but then defineyour objectives for yourselves. Otherwise, you risk spending yourhigh school career and beyond in someone else's shadow. Don't letthe comparison to your brothers be your only driving force." Mr.Howlen warned.

"I have a friend named Obby who will make sure that won't everhappen. You could call him an authority on stuff like that." Lexsaid seriously.

"Given your circumstance, I still think it's worth keeping inmind." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

"We'll watch out for it. But in the meantime, Lucky and I aregoing to compete against each other, too. That should help us tokeep it real." Lex said with a grin at Lucky.

Lucky nodded his confirmation.

"I suppose that's a more realistic criteria to use to judgeoneself. At least you'll be working toward the same objectives."Mr. Howlen said cautiously.

"Are we done with the testing for a minute? Can we sit down?"Lex asked hopefully.

"Oh, yes. Of course." Mr. Howlen said as he led them to asection of the room that looked more like a traditionalclassroom, except that instead of rows of desks, they hadgroupings of them, where a small number of people couldcomfortably hold a conversation.

* * * * *

A few of the other conversation areas were occupied, but Mr.Howlen and the boys were easily able to find one that wassecluded enough that they wouldn't disturb anyone else.

After sitting down, Lucky attempted to take Zah Zah down offhis shoulder, but she let it be known that she was having none ofit. She hissed and made a half-hearted attempt to claw him.

"You don't control her?" Mr. Howlen asked curiously.

"I used to. She used to be more of a puppet than anythingelse. Uncle D showed me how to do some animation things to makeher look more like she was alive, and I've been making changes ofmy own ever since." Lucky explained.

"But she doesn't listen to you when you tell her what to do?"Mr. Howlen asked cautiously.

"No. I mean, maybe. Sometimes she does what I want her to, butthat might just be what she would have done anyway. I can'treally be sure." Lucky reluctantly admitted.

"We might need to look into that." Mr. Howlen said withconcern.

"Why? Are you an expert on created life?" Lex askedcautiously.

"No. Not at all." Mr. Howlen admitted, then explained, "Butthe behavior of this... manifestation... is troubling. It'sunhealthy. I'm afraid that if it's allowed to continue, that itcould cause Lucky lasting damage on a psychological level... orpossibly even on a physical one."

"Have you decided what kind of magic Lucky and I are going tobe studying?" Lex quietly asked.

"No. We need to look at the possibilities and decide which ofthem will have the most potential benefit for you in the longrun." Mr. Howlen said reasonably.

"Well, you're right about one thing. Something's wrong withZah Zah. If you make her our project, we can get a grade for itand have the time and tools and library and stuff to do itright." Lex said seriously.

"And if I don't?" Mr. Howlen cautiously asked.

"I guess we'll work on some stupid book work thing that noneof us really cares about so we can get grades to prove that wecan take tests and memorize answers." Lex said frankly.

"Maybe it won't be as bad as you're thinking." Mr. Howlenhesitantly offered.

"And since we won't be doing anything to fix Zah Zah, we'lllet you babysit her on the weekends, to give Lucky a break fromalways having to take care of her." Lex said with a teasinggrin.

After a moment to consider, Mr. Howlen slowly said, "If we dothis, it will almost certainly stray outside the confines of theSorcery discipline."

"Good." Lex interjected.

"We're not Sorcerers, we're people." Lucky explained.

"That's what we were trying to tell you at the beginning,'We're not just the one thing'." Lex said firmly.

"Are you really sure about this? If we decide to commit tothis project, not only will your time and attention be devoted toit, but your grades will also be connected to the overallendeavor." Mr. Howlen cautioned.

"Go big or go home." Lex said simply.

"I think Zah Zah is going to end up being worth it." Luckysaid confidently.

"I hope so, because it appears that she's going to be at thecenter of all our lives for the foreseeable future." Mr. Howlensaid frankly.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

Another great chapter!

Wow! Another situation where we have to wait and see if goodor bad things will happen. I think they call that acliffhanger.

I will say that it doesn't surprise me that a teacher,obviously an adult would be scared or at least worried a bitabout just what Zaa Zaa is.

Adults tend to come to conclusions based on preconceivednotions that aren't necessarily accurate.

I have the feeling that he would much prefer that Zaa Zaawould no longer exist.

I also have the feeling that Lex and Lucky will do whatever ittakes to make sure that she keeps existing.

It seems to me that people of all ages, but especially adultsjudge people or other beings by their appearance, and decide tolike or not like them, or be scared of them, based on very skimpyevidence, almost immediately.

That happens in real life, too. Sadly.

Just look at how often people are judged simply by the colourof their skin or their size and or their general appearance.People will often cross to the other side of the street ifsomeone comes along who is somewhat scruffy looking.

Getting back to the point I was going to make before I wentoff the deep end, here.

I bet Paul, or D would help.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher