My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 46


I wasn’t sure how we planned, exactly, to take Raven’s book. But Molly did a spell to find her, one I hadn’t seen before. I needed to try it later, to make my own magic stronger. I have a feeling that if I’m beaten down to second place, then the replacement won’t be a good one. So I don’t have any plans for being any further down the list. I hope that if I am beaten, it will be by Sophie.
I was thinking about that when I found out I was being shaken.
“Errgh!” Sophie said. “Your daydreams are harder to shake than your actual dreams!”
Molly described the area where Raven lived. I teleported us there, and this time I was feeling a little too odd to worry about magic – well, at least for the reason above. I don’t know what it was, but the area just kind of worried me. I was getting a weird feeling from the spot, and I don’t think it’s because I’m around Hannah too much. Speaking of which, Hannah herself looked a little queasy…
“Can you stop that for this battle?” Sophie said.
“Chill, Sophie,” Molly said. “Raven’s not a threat, though she’d like to think that. Daniel’s just got a lot on his plate.”
I instantly wondered if Molly had been replaced – wasn’t she a “Daniel is EVIL” theorist about, say, a few days ago? When did she start taking happy pills? Maybe she was just in a good mood because were were going to steal something from a shapeshifter, or maybe she was feeling better now that the quest was almost over, or maybe she’s just less hostile to people who share her wielder the same way kids who were the same age were likely to be better friends.
I had a vague idea now of how to get the book. Looking around, I realized that everyone was waiting on me to come up with something. “Don’t follow me,” I said, and climbed the ladder to Raven’s tree house.
I hid in an invisibility spell and used magic to muffle my footsteps to silence. Raven was asleep, but her dogs weren’t. Fortunately, they couldn’t detect magic, though Raven herself had twitched when I’d done the spells. I was lucky Raven didn’t have cats.
Speaking of cats, Messenger had followed me up despite my request. The dogs looked straight at her without seeing her.
I opened Raven’s chest as quietly as possible and took the book. Messenger seemed to think about hurting the dogs, but decided against it to protect the hidden mission. I jumped down the ladder and landed on my feet. You climb trees like I do, you learn that.
But we had the book – that was the big thing. It seemed too fast a job getting these books, and now we had to go and do The Big One. Not only the one in the biggest Gateguard camp, but also the last one. And the one we might get killed on. And the one that I was feeling a sense of warning against.
We fled from the area and rested miles away. Hannah and Ryder took all of the books in their packs and even had to use a few extra bags. Sophie gave them directions to the school librarian’s house, a place even I didn’t know the location of. Hannah and Ryder waved to us, and Ryder teleported out. Mage told me that Wiz couldn’t teach Ryder a thing, but he picked up Mage magic well. Ryder was very updated on news, he said, and didn’t need books to stay informed, just word of mouth. As they left, I felt stress, fatigue, and panic weighing down on me at once.
I realized three things at the climax of our story. Well… maybe not just three. I hadn’t been sure if this was just a story or not, but now I was absolutely certain that it was both. I realized that information was just simply information, and its format, whether book or speech, only determined how long it lived… but not how long it was true.
Most importantly and probably worst for me, I realized that I was a thirteen year old boy who wasn’t some kind of amazing jock who could fight everything, just a thirteen year old boy who’d been nothing much more than a nerd with a staff. Give or take a little magic, I had an ominous feeling that there’s something in the future that I’ll be too vulnerable to, and it’ll put everyone else in danger as well – even more danger than I’ll be in. I didn’t like it.
As everyone else set up camp, I sent a spell to aid them in my place and climbed a tree instead. I slept there instead that night with only a protection spell.
*    *    *
I woke up to the face of Cat. “Knew you guys would catch on to this sometime,” she said, obviously referring to the whole falling-asleep-in-a-tree thing. Hannah and Ryder were back, and I was feeling sort of depressed. Only by magic did I keep going. I felt like I was almost being controlled by the magic and not really doing anything to help it. Sleeping in a tree did have some poetic quality, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t tired as heck. I didn’t know how Cat did it.
I found out that I couldn’t teleport any of us to the map area. Neither could Molly or anyone else. But Molly knew the area like no one else, and she knew where the area was.
I was too tired to drift off in thought during the trip, and Sophie, whose job seemed to be keeping me awake, kept commenting on how I was almost harder to wake now than I was.
Angel lagged right behind me, and at the time I thought it was to make sure I didn’t actually stay behind anywhere. But then I started feeling better, and she rode forward. I realized she’d done magic on me, and I was feeling much better.
My thoughts had lifted as well as my mood, and I stopped being worried about the quest ahead and wondered how the heck we’d deal with school. What would we say? “We were out saving the universe from destruction and had to ward off a bunch of trigger-happy black cloaks and a weird woman with anger issues?” It seemed as awkward a topic as Health class had been when I left. Well, maybe not that awkward.
I left it, deciding I’d deal with it later. I didn’t want to think about what my social status would be when I got back, not that it could get any worse. At least if people pinned me for using magic, they couldn’t stick me with any more homework out of fear. Hmm… what would happen if I didn’t keep it a secret? I saved the question for later, preferring to try again at focusing on the situation at hand. I could think of anything but.
We rode on. As I looked around, I noted that none, let me repeat, none of our party members were over eighteen. Molly was one of the oldest, and she was fifteen. I looked at our weapons – we were all too obviously going to use them soon. I had no doubts about the capabilities of my own staff or Sophie’s wand, but Hannah’s wand couldn’t block a thing (with it being a stick) and Ryder had a horse whip. Ryder was mostly here because he’d had a book and some horses that we could ride when the car ran out of gas. (We still had them, and a few more that I’d gotten by teleport a while back. By my magic, the horses went where we went, even if we accidentally left them somewhere. They’d always find their way to our camp unharmed even if we’d teleported.) Other than that, Ryder was only here because he wanted to be, not because he had a special use to us.
Come to think of it, the reason that most of the party members were here could only be explained by Angel’s theory – that they were looking for life to follow. That, and they had nothing else to do.
Not only did Hannah and Ryder have… unusual “weapons,” but Molly only carried a dull machete that was good only for casual dueling and hacking wood for fires and to get it out of the horses’ way. It couldn’t really be used in a fight. Molly also carried a simple staff with a huge amethyst and a few dangling owl feathers. It ran along the same lines of structure as mine, but looked completely different. But I couldn’t see Molly using anything but a really sharp blade.
Khorabelle didn’t have a weapon at all, unless you counted her ferocity with makeup. And I don’t. Cat had only claws and teeth – she didn’t have a weapon either, not really. Angel had something similar to Hannah’s stick, and it didn’t look very sturdy. She wasn’t a wielder, but she could do Earth magic because of her Chikian ancestry. Alex had – shudder – a dull pocketknife. And Keith still had the piece of PVC pipe that the fairies gave him.
Knowing that Mage and Tress couldn’t fight at all, nor could they do magic in book form at all, we needed the group – all ten people – to have the best weapons possible. If we couldn’t block physical attacks as well as magical, we were in major trouble.
Was I the leader? I was certainly here the longest, next to Sophie, and the most powerful. Maybe I was. Maybe not. I’m not sure if we even have a leader. Any case, I had to be the one to initiate this.
“Wait,” I said. Everyone stopped. I raised my staff. “We need better equipment. My staff is all right, and Sophie’s silver rod can block an attack, but Keith isn’t going to fight very well with plumbing equipment or whatever that is, and Hannah’s not going to fight with a stick alone. Molly, you need something sharper, and Cat and Khorabelle don’t have a weapon at all. WE need to set up camp right here and teleport to Cat-land.”
“No,” Sophie said. “The Kiri don’t make weapons. They don’t fight. That’s why Keith only got PVC pipe. They don’t have anything else.”
“Then we need to quickly teleport to somewhere in the Mirrorworld, because everyone knows about their weapons, which we don’t even have to pay for.”
This plan was met with approval by everyone. “Camp” was set up right where we were, because the horses were tied to it by our spell. I put a spell around the camp and teleported out.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 1:30 pm and is filed under Mirrorworld. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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