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Parvenu

Book 5: Sun & Air / Son & Heir

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2021 MultiMapper.
All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter 12 - Three Faces North

"Where do we start?" Lex asked cautiously.

"Since none of us has encountered this type of thing before, I believe the first step should be research. All three of us should look for whatever instances we can find of created beings being made and how their personalities and overall minds were constructed." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Would you have that information here?" Lex asked cautiously.

"We might. Given the instances of self-aware illusions that we know of, there might be an established methodology for constructing an artificial consciousness that we can follow." Mr. Howlen said carefully.

"Is that what we're doing? Constructing an artificial consciousness?" Lex asked with concern.

"I suspect that that may be what you've already done. What we're going to attempt to do now is look at what's been established and take corrective action, where possible and when necessary." Mr. Howlen explained.

"So you're not going to get rid of Zah Zah, you're just going to help to fix her?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"At this stage, I can only tell you what I'm intending to do. That might drastically change as more facts come to light." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

"I get that we're not doing an exercise from the book. Here in real life, there may not be a 'right' answer. Even if we do everything exactly right, things still might not end up the way we want them to be." Lex said gravely, apparently for Lucky's benefit.

"The truth is, if Zah Zah were stable and Lucky weren't in any danger, I would prefer to avoid this project entirely. You shouldn't look upon this as being one of the amenities of attending this school. I'm choosing to aid you in your quest because I believe it is the right thing to do." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Wait. Back up for a second. What do you mean that Lucky's in danger?" Lex asked anxiously.

"If this creation of Lucky's is an extension of his psyche, then we have to tread very carefully in what actions we choose to take toward it." Mr. Howlen said frankly, then glanced to find Lucky listening intently.

"And what if Zah Zah's not a fur ball full of daddy issues? What if she's just a magical cat with an attitude problem?" Lex prompted.

Lucky looked from Lex to Mr. Howlen and waited expectantly for an answer.

"Then we need to find out what went wrong with her creation and set it right. If she has even the slightest spark of sentience, then I want to give her every chance to have the best possible life." Mr. Howlen said honestly.

Lex glanced to his shoulder, then asked, "Does that apply to Zephyr, too?"

"If at any point I get the sense that he's self-aware and capable of independent thought, then yes, it will apply to him." Mr. Howlen said emphatically.

"You know, I never really had a thing for horses before, but Zephyr's growing on me." Lex said with a smile at the tiny horse perched on his shoulder.

"I think it's G who doesn't care about horses. You and him are different that way." Lucky said seriously.

"Yeah. G's thing has always been circuses in general and clowns in particular. I don't get the attraction. They don't do anything for me." Lex said honestly.

"Sometimes there are traits and themes that run in families. But just because your brother likes something doesn't automatically mean that you have to as well." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

Lex smiled at him, then said, "Yeah. I guess it's that 'living in the shadow' thing again. Maybe I need to call Obby and get reminded of what it means to be myself."

"You've mentioned him before. I don't know who that is." Lucky said honestly.

"He's a shadow demon... a really great guy. I know you'd like him." Lex said with a warm smile at the memory of a kindred spirit.

"Yeah. I'd like to meet him." Lucky said frankly.

"So, are we ready to get to work?" Mr. Howlen asked seriously.

"Sure. If you'll tell us what we can do, we're ready to put in the effort." Lex said confidently.

"Lucky, why don't you dive into the magic mirror spells and see if you can find any all-seeing oracles that aren't captured spirits? See if they give any account of how a consciousness was formed in the mirror." Mr. Howlen said decisively.

Lucky didn't wait to be given further instructions. He hurried immediately to the section of the large room that housed the Sorcery library.

"Lex, I'd like for you to investigate the ascension of lesser creatures and lower lifeforms. See if you can find how their minds were altered, or destroyed and reconstructed to grant them sentience." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Are you planning to do that to Zah Zah?" Lex asked with concern.

"I'm not planning anything at this stage, I'm just trying to gather all the possible pieces so that we can take a long look at what we have to work with and collectively decide what to do next."

"If you end up destroying Zah Zah, it's going to wreck Lucky. She's more than his pet, I think she's also his closest friend." Lex said frankly.

"I suspect that if I were somehow able to destroy the manifestation of Zah Zah here and now, that Lucky would simply recast her... possibly not even consciously." Mr. Howlen said gravely.

"What are you saying? That she's unstoppable?" Lex asked cautiously.

"No. I'm not saying anything. This is all speculation based on my observations. I could be completely wrong. I just want to voice these possibilities so that you can keep them in mind as you're searching for spells to help resolve our situation." Mr. Howlen said carefully.

"What is our situation?" Lex asked cautiously.

"We appear to have a matter construct of an animal with unnatural self-awareness, lacking any sort of control, self or otherwise." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

"When you put it that way, it doesn't sound too good." Lex reluctantly admitted.

"I suppose if the goal were for us to find a worthy cause for you to work on for a grade, you could have done a lot worse." Mr. Howlen weakly offered.

"Do you want me to do crystal balls too, or do you want me to leave them for one of you?" Lucky asked as he emerged from the bookshelves with a book open in his hands.

"Why don't you go ahead and take them? I would expect them to operate basically the same as the mirrors." Mr. Howlen said consideringly.

"Lex. I was just thinking that we know someone who knows about people like... you know... made people, like Zah Zah." Lucky said with a glance at Mr. Howlen.

"Who's that?" Lex asked uncertainly.

"Mah Zah. Since she knows about fighting forms and stuff like that, she might know something about making Zah Zah more real acting too." Lucky said seriously.

"Yeah. She's come through for us before. We'll have to talk to her about that when we get home tonight." Lex said slowly.

"You know someone who's versed in the mechanics of creating artificial beings?" Mr. Howlen asked cautiously.

"Mah Zah knows some things. I don't know if she knows anything about this, but if she doesn't, she might know someone else who does and be able to put us in touch with them." Lex said speculatively.

"Is the person you're talking about also a created being?" Mr. Howlen asked cautiously.

"No. Actually, she's a demon." Lex said simply, then slowly asked, "Do you have something against created beings?"

"No. Not at all. I just thought that because their names are so similar that they might have been created similarly." Mr. Howlen explained.

"I guess that makes sense." Lex relented, then explained, "Zah Zah was named after Mah Zah and Ginh Zah, Paul's demonic wizard familiars."

"You lead a very different life, don't you?" Mr. Howlen asked slowly.

"You have no idea." Lex chuckled.

Lucky nodded his agreement.

"Regardless, we have work to do. Lucky, you're investigating mirrors and orbs. Lex, you've got the lesser creatures being elevated into sentience. I'm going to be investigating instances of fully sentient creatures being created directly." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

Lex and Lucky nodded their agreement to the arrangement.

"Then let's hit it. If none of us has a miraculous breakthrough, we'll plan on meeting back here fifteen minutes before the final bell so that we can compare notes." Mr. Howlen said decisively.

"Right." Lex said as Lucky nodded his wholehearted agreement.

That being said, the group went their separate ways.

* * * * *

Lex located a bookcase with several books that had promise for containing the information he needed. As he diligently worked his way through the shelves, he wasn't able to find much that had to do with elevating lesser beings.

In those few instances where intelligent animals were mentioned at all, nothing was said of 'how' they came to be. From a storytelling perspective, they simply conveniently 'were'.

There was an anthology of antiquated fables and lore that Lex was initially going to bypass, since it seemed unlikely to have anything relevant to their realm. But in the end he decided to at least leaf through them on the off chance that they might have something inspirational, if not informative.

Lex skimmed through one strange tale of how the faerie people of a distant land lived for aeons in peace and tranquility until unscrupulous witches came into their midst and befriended them as a prelude to betrayal.

Lex was surprised, since he was used to reading stories where witches were the heroes or sometimes the unfortunate victims. Although mundane people had an annoying habit of telling stories about evil witches, they tended to be so far-fetched that they couldn't be taken seriously.

Just as Lex was about to close the book and move onto something else, a particular phrase caught his eye.

He literally froze in place for a moment, then carefully looked back to prove to himself that it wasn't his eyes playing tricks on him.

As he carefully read the page in front of him, he once again saw the phrase that sent a chill up his spine.

'The Children of the Sun'.

* * * * *

After a glance at the clock to assure him that he had time to take a brief detour in his investigation, Lex began to dive into the text to try and unearth the whole story.

Since the story was about the faeries, it focused mostly on things from their point of view. Likewise, the author or authors of the various stories seemed to assume that the reader was already familiar with certain things, many of which, Lex had little or no knowledge of.

The tale of the faeries that was told was epic in its scale, but the small bit of information about their adversaries was difficult to piece together.

As near as Lex could tell, a small band of witches, 'the children of the sun', so called by the faeries, professed to come in peace and announced their intention to live in harmony with the indigenous people and the land.

Apparently, in less than a dozen generations, the offspring of the children of the sun, referred to collectively only as 'the witches', broke the covenant of their ancestors and eventually drove the faeries completely out of the land of their people.

"Lucky, just what are you?" Lex muttered as he puzzled over the ancient fable, which appeared to be hiding the truth from him in plain sight.

"Your first day at school and you're already talking to yourself?" A voice interrupted.

Lex turned and smiled at the sight of G.

"Actually, I was talking to Zephyr." Lex said as he indicated the tiny horse standing on his shoulder, then explained, "He's a very good listener."

"I can imagine." G said with a grin, then stepped closer to examine Lex's artistry as he muttered, "That is some beautiful work... really outstanding."

"It's one of those things where everything just seemed to fall into place. When that happens, you can either fight it or roll with it." Lex said happily.

"You've named him Zephyr?" G asked curiously.

"Yeah. I thought that since you have Mah Zah and Lucky has Zah Zah, that it might be nice for me to have someone around, you know, for company." Lex said awkwardly.

"Believe me, I know what it's like to be lonely."

"Yeah. I was there. I remember." Lex assured him.

"Right. I just got done with Doctor Williams and thought you'd want to know how all that went." G said frankly.

"Oh, yeah. So what did he say? Am I going to be getting new brothers and sisters every time you create an illusion?" Lex asked somewhat playfully.

"I'll leave the brother and sister making to Mom and Dad. Doctor Williams still isn't sure about what happened to create you, but he seems reasonably certain that it won't accidentally happen again."

"Good. Because it would seriously mess with your school stuff if you couldn't create illusions anymore." Lex said honestly.

"But until he's figured out exactly what happened, I'm forbidden from holding any ancient relics of elemental power." G said with a grin.

"Darn. There go my plans for the weekend." Lex said playfully.

"So that's about it. I need to get back to Tauru and see what he's been able to accomplish without me the last few days. I just thought you'd want to know." G said frankly.

"Yeah. Thanks for that." Lex said sincerely, then quickly asked, "Could you look at something for me before you go?"

G looked down at the book in Lex's hands, then asked, "Is this what had you talking to your horse?"

"Yeah." Lex admitted, then continued, "While I was researching for our project, I came across this faerie legend."

G bent down and lifted the front of the book to get a look at the title.

"It tells the story of how a small band of witches took over an entire realm and drove the faeries out of their homeland." Lex cautiously explained.

"You'll need to keep in mind that this is a collection of fables from a foreign realm. If it happened at all, it happened in a whole other time and place and probably within a completely different magical paradigm." G cautioned, then further explained, "The important thing to keep in mind when you're reading one of these things is that what this describes not only didn't happen in this realm, it probably couldn't."

"What about... what if the invading witches brought their own magical paradigm with them?" Lex asked cautiously.

"Okay... speaking hypothetically... if there were a way to do that, then I suppose that a small group of witches could go into a faerie kingdom or an underworld domain or even a celestial realm and have access to magics that the natives of the land wouldn't." G said consideringly.

"And the natives likely wouldn't have any defense against it, either." Lex said thoughtfully.

"I guess not. I mean, eventually they would. 'Necessity is a mother' and all that. But to begin with, they wouldn't be able to defend against new magic that they themselves couldn't wield... theoretically speaking of course. I have no idea what happened in that book you're reading." G hurried to explain.

"It doesn't matter what happened in that instance. I'm more worried about the overall situation that it proposes." Lex said frankly.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" G asked with honest concern.

"If you could be there to listen when I'm ready to talk it out, that might actually help me a lot." Lex cautiously suggested.

"You can count on it." G assured him.

"Oh, yeah, there was one other thing." Lex hurried to say before G went back to his lab partner.

"What's that?" G asked attentively.

"I was wondering if you'd mind if I borrowed some of the Lapis Lazuli from the stuff Mom left behind... I mean, your mom, you know, M's stuff." Lex verbally fumbled.

"Yeah. I guess. You'll have to ask Dad, but I don't think he'll care. It's not doing anyone any good in the storeroom." G said honestly, then cautiously asked, "What for?"

"Lucky and I have a project in Basic and I thought we could use a chunk of Lapis to house an enchantment." Lex said frankly.

"If I remember right, Mom left a bunch of that charm stuff when she bailed on us. If you've got a use for it, then you should use it." G said seriously.

"It won't stir up too many bad memories for you, will it?" Lex asked cautiously.

"Maybe a few, but that was a long time ago. It's probably time for me to deal with it and let it go." G said more quietly.

"Just let me know if there's anything that I'm doing that brings back something painful for you. I really don't want that. It's just that, the more I think about it, the more I get the feeling that I could actually be pretty good at charm magic... the way it works kinda makes sense to me."

"Good for you. I never had an interest in it, myself. Paul has the interest, but absolutely no talent. He has to have Filipe help him to be able to do much of anything. If you can find a way to make it work, you've got my full support." G said seriously.

"I won't know until I try, but I'm interested, and I'd like to see what I can do with it."

"I guess this is going to drag you out of your 'air only' rut." G said with a smile.

"I didn't realize that I was in one." Lex said hesitantly.

"Would you ever think of an air elemental needing a charm of any kind?"

"No. I guess not." Lex said uncertainly.

"What I'm saying is that you're more than the label you wear. I think this is what makes a person real."

"Charm magic?" Lex asked with a faux innocent expression.

"No, you goof. I mean being a person with your own interests and ideas, not conforming to any list of requirements because your species or elemental affinity demands it. If you want to do charms, then do charms. Leave the tiny twisters to the air practitioners who have no imagination or soul, to speak of." G said passionately.

"I never thought of it that way." Lex said quietly.

"I know you didn't. But that's what makes it so special that you still decided to color outside the lines. Now instead of being an air elemental trying to find his way in the world, you're a person with a whole world of possibilities open to you." G said seriously.

"I guess it all depends on how you look at it, but hearing you say it does make me feel more secure in my personhood." Lex said introspectively.

"Well, good." G said with a smile, then declared, "I need to get back to Tauru before he tries to rig our illusion all by himself."

"Yeah. Thanks for stopping by to let me know how it went. At least I won't have to worry about getting any new brothers and sisters all of a sudden." Lex finished with a smile.

"Don't count Mom and Dad out just yet. You've seen how they look at each other." G said with a grin before hurrying away.

Lex smiled at the thought, then went back to reading the story of the conquered faerie realm.

* * * * *

"Lex, could you look at something for me?" Lucky asked as he approached.

"Sure. Did you find something?" Lex asked as he set his book aside.

"I don't know. It looks like it could be important, but they talk in circles so much I can't really tell if they're saying anything or just double-talking to make it sound like they know what they're talking about." Lucky said sourly.

After a moment of reading, Lex hesitantly said, "I'd guess from looking at the way this is written that their assignment must have been required to have at least a minimum number of words."

"But do you think there's anything here that we can use? This stupid thing just goes around in circles forever." Lucky said frustratedly.

"You're the one researching mirrors and orbs. If you decide that this thing doesn't tell us anything useful, then that's it. We won't look into it any further." Lex said seriously.

"Yeah. I guess I'll keep reading, at least until I know that it doesn't tell us anything to do with Zah Zah." Lucky said in resigned acceptance.

"That sounds like a good way to go." Lex said frankly.

"Did you find anything that will help us?" Lucky asked curiously.

"I don't know yet. I found a story that talks about the children of the sun, but so far it hasn't really said anything that we don't already know." Lex said seriously.

"Is that it?" Lucky asked as he looked at the book Lex was holding.

"Yes. I need to look at it a little bit more, just in case it has something important in it. But from the way it looks so far, it's just a story." Lex said frankly.

"I want to read it anyway. Even if it's just a made-up story, if it's about people like me, I want to know what it has to say." Lucky said honestly.

"Yeah. I can totally see that. When I'm done, I'll keep the book out for you." Lex said seriously.

Lucky looked at the book that he had brought with him, then down at the book in Lex's hand before hesitantly asking, "You don't want to trade, do you?"

"Not a chance." Lex said without hesitation.

* * * * *

At the appointed time Lex, Lucky, and Mr. Howlen arrived in the conversation area of the classroom.

"Did either of you find anything that might help us?" Mr. Howlen asked curiously.

"I found a book with some stories that Lucky might enjoy, but I really didn't come across anything that told how 'elevated' animals or creatures had their intelligence raised. If I had to guess, I'd say that it's something that's tied up in the god powers." Lex said frankly.

"I think the majority of those I discovered were also created by gods." Mr. Howlen admitted.

"All the mirrors and orbs that I found were otherworld beings who were trapped in dimensional pockets for eternity or the spirits of the dead who had been bound to an object on the earthly plane." Lucky said uncomfortably.

"It sounds like hell on earth." Lex said frankly.

"Actually, hell might not be so bad in comparison. Imagine being trapped for eternity behind a sheet of glass, without hope of ever moving on to what comes next." Mr. Howlen said distantly.

"What does come next?" Lucky asked curiously.

"Surprisingly, different things for different people. There's a whole course of study that focuses on that and leads you to find your own answers. All I have to tell you on the subject is that it's something. The 'nothing' that you describe within the orbs and mirrors is a fate that is horrifying to me." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"But none of the magic mirrors or all-seeing orbs were created beings capable of independent thought?" Lex asked to be sure.

"From what I've read so far, most of them are trapped djinns. Whoever did that to them must really trust in their magic because djinns are some of the last beings I'd ever want to make mad at me." Lucky said honestly.

"They'll be mad at you no matter what. If a djinn is ever nice to you, it means that he's trying to trick you into doing something that will end up destroying you." Lex warned.

"That's a bit of a generalization, but probably one that will serve you well if you ever encounter a djinn in person." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Have you ever seen one?" Lex asked curiously.

"Yes. Only once. From a respectable distance, of course." Mr. Howlen said frankly, then asked, "Lex, were you not able to find any useful information about elevated creatures?"

"Most of what I found didn't say how or why they were able to think or speak. The rest were shapeshifters who were already sentient, so it didn't really help." Lex said frankly.

"As I said earlier, most of what I found were instances of beings created by gods... usually as part of a dubious creation or origin myth." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Yeah. I was wondering something about that." Lex reluctantly interjected.

"What was that?" Mr. Howlen asked curiously.

"The God, it doesn't matter which one, creates one man and one woman. How can they populate a world or even an expansive area, starting with just the two of them?" Lex asked cautiously.

"If everything is as it appears and no further magic is used, then I'd say that they can't." Mr. Howlen said simply, then asked, "Did you come across such a myth that caught your interest?"

"Well, yeah. The new people weren't created... at least, not in the story that I read, but they arrived in this new place and had so many kids that they ended up taking over the whole realm."

"From whom?"

"What?"

"If they took over the place, did they wrest control from another group of people?"

"Yeah. They drove away the people who were already living there." Lex said uncomfortably.

"That may resolve your earlier question. The need for genetic diversity would require more than a pair of people to populate a world, but breeding with an indigenous population could create an abundance of offspring that could, by some standards, be counted among the invaders' number."

"And if they were from two different species of people, then their kids might be something different from either one of their parents." Lex said speculatively.

"I hadn't thought of it, but yes. I suppose that's possible." Mr. Howlen said consideringly.

"Did you figure something out?" Lucky asked cautiously.

"No. I was just reasoning through some stuff." Lex said seriously.

"Do you have time to try doing Paul's water spell?" Lucky asked hopefully.

Lex looked at the clock, then asked Mr. Howlen, "Are we done? Or did you have something else for us?"

"No. I think we've all had a productive day and made good first steps on our project."

"Good." Lex said happily, then turned to Lucky and said, "Tell me what to do."

"Make a fireball." Lucky said simply.

"I'm so weak with fire, even that's kind of pushing it." Lex said frankly as he created one little plume of flame.

"Don't do it, but do you think you could turn that flame into a little tornado if you wanted to?" Lucky asked in a leading tone.

"Yeah, sure... I guess so." Lex said uncertainly.

"Good. Then all I need for you to do is do that, but the other way." Lucky said confidently.

"I have no idea what you're telling me to do." Lex said honestly.

"I'm going to show you the moves and the words now, but when it's time to let go of the magic, go opposite what you would do with air... go away from the air. Go toward the water." Lucky said firmly.

"I don't think I have any water." Lex said honestly.

"Air has water all its own, but you have to look for it." Lucky said seriously, then added, "Plus, Paul gave you some more water on top of that. He tied it into who and what you are. Find it."

"Okay. Show me what to do before I lose this." Lex said anxiously.

Mr. Howlen watched curiously as Lucky led Lex through an intricate and bizarrely foreign spell. Any resemblance to familiar magic was purely coincidental.

It seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to complete, but eventually Lucky came to a stop and waited for Lex to finish.

As soon as Lex uttered the last word, the little flame twisted and convulsed one time before becoming a little fountain of water.

"That's yours." Lucky declared.

When Lex looked at him uncertainly, Lucky explained, "That's your water."

"I hear the words that you're saying, but I don't think I'm getting what you're trying to get across to me." Lex said honestly.

"It's like Zah Zah. She's not something made by me. She's made from me." Lucky said imploringly.

After a moment to consider, Lex slowly asked, "So if I made Zephyr out of my water, then he'd be made from me instead of made by me?"

"I'm trying to describe something I don't have the right words for, but that's the best way I know to tell you the difference between your magic and mine." Lucky explained.

"Well, it's different. I got that much for sure." Lex said frankly.

"Do you want to cast Zephyr again, using your water this time? Then you'll know what I'm talking about." Lucky said cautiously.

"I didn't realize that I lost him when I was trying to conjure the water." Lex said honestly.

"Perhaps you should wait for when you have more time." Mr. Howlen suggested.

"I probably should, but the only way I'll understand what Lucky's trying to show me is to go through with it." Lex said, then without waiting for approval or rebuttal, he began performing his spell to create his foggy little friend.

When Zephyr resolved into being this time, it was in his fully realized form with the complete illusion in place.

"You're not casting the illusion. How did it come into full being like that?" Mr. Howlen hesitantly asked.

"Zephyr knows what you expect him to look like, so he tries to be that for you." Lucky easily explained.

"Does Zah Zah do that for you too?" Lex asked cautiously before starting his spellcasting.

"She knows what I expect her to look like, so she looks that way. If she didn't do that, she'd still be scribbles with red dots for eyes." Lucky said frankly.

"That appeared to take next to no effort." Mr. Howlen observed.

"I just did the nuggle. The water took over from there and put everything else where it needed to be." Lex said slowly as he confirmed what he was feeling.

"But Zephyr isn't just a project that you worked on now, is he?" Lucky persisted.

"No. He's my buddy." Lex confirmed, then continued by asking, "So before, you used the magic Paul showed you, but didn't put 'yourself' into it. Am I getting that right?"

"Yeah. I guess so." Lucky hesitantly confirmed, then continued, "When I left with Mom and Star, I had lots of time to work on Zah Zah. I kept trying different things and working with her until I finally figured out how to make different things work."

"You did a great job... I mean, with the illusion you've created, I couldn't tell that she wasn't a regular cat... well, except when she explodes into a scribbled nightmare." Lex said frankly.

"I just learned the illusion when I got here and saw how G did his illusions. Once I saw how that worked, I was able to make something like it and wrap it around Zah Zah so she wouldn't feel ugly and like people were staring at her." Lucky said timidly.

Mr. Howlen seemed to be about to say something, but Lex motioned for him to hold back before asking, "Is that how Zah Zah felt?"

"Yeah. But even when she's pretty on the outside, she still feels ugly on the inside. I think maybe that's why she's so angry all the time." Lucky said seriously.

The sound of the bell ringing precluded any further interrogation.

"You two have a good weekend. Be sure to write down any questions or ideas that you come up with for our project. We'll look them over together and tackle them on Monday." Mr. Howlen said seriously.

"Do you mind if we take this book with us? Lucky wants to read it." Lex asked hopefully.

"Just be sure to bring it back. Knowing how the school does things, it may very well be one of a kind." Mr. Howlen said frankly.

"We'll be careful with it." Lex assured him as he gathered things to prepare to leave.

"Zah Zah and Zephyr can't leave the classroom with us." Lucky said quietly.

"Oh yeah. Thanks for reminding me. I'm going to have to get used to that." Lex said seriously, then turned to Zephyr and regretfully said, "I'm going to have to let you go for now, but I'll call you back as soon as I get home."

The little horse leapt off his shoulder in slow motion, then began to slowly gallop away as he dissipated.

"Now that you can call on your water, you can bring him back up whenever you want." Lucky said happily.

"Maybe. I might need for you to show me that spell a few more times before I can do it on my own. It's so different, I'm not sure that I can remember it all."

"The water will remember most of it for you. It just has to know what you want to do and it'll help you try to do it." Lucky said with certainty.

Lex shared a concerned look with Mr. Howlen before hurrying to fall in step with Lucky so that they could meet up with G at the classroom door.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

I always wish each chapter were longer.

I always learn something new and important, but then the chapter is over and I have to wait till MM has thought of something more to write.

The wasn't really a cliff hanger, but I still feel like I want more. I guess that is what keeps us coming back to read more whenever there is a new chapter.

It holds our interest. We really care about the people we start to think of as friends and even family.

I mean, I would really like to hug Lucky and let him know that he is very much loved and that he has people who truly care what happens to him. He seems to feel so alone, and unimportant.

Even though he is wrong in thinking it, people need to keep letting him know that he is important and that he is truly loved.

We will all be here, waiting for the next installment.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher