My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 65


I didn’t say anything about what happened until Sophie and Molly pried the information out of me.
“That’s brilliant,” Sophie said.
“I guess.” I shrugged. “But it’s only one cushion. Unless all of the dimensions look like this, it could change if we did run out of magic and then the Void Dimension did as well. It would change.”
“Daniel,” Molly said. “Don’t worry. The agency would intervene before then. You killed the weird lady and all the Gateguards, so the thousand wielders allowed out wouldn’t get killed. The universe is usually much easier to save than this. You just have to grab a bunch of books and get your butt outta there. The only reason that the books were scattered like that was that the wielders sent out got killed in various places. You can chill now.”
Molly grinned. “And… guys… it’s totally obvious that you’re nuts about each other… don’t lie.”
It didn’t help that Sophie and I gave Molly the very same glare at the very same time, because all she did was crack up.
“And anyway,” Molly said, “all the other dimensions are suitable for life. You survived in the Mirrorworld, didn’t you? The cats’ dimension is the next mirror after the Void Dimension, and heaven knows they’re not going to hurt us. Your job is more than done, Daniel. Let your guard down, do whatever you want, go out with Sophie…” This time I let Sophie glare, and Molly backed off. “You still have the same magic, whether you need it or not. You’re welcome anywhere, especially at the agency. I’ve already filed for the head agent to come here and build another agency under a cookie-shop cover. It’s about time.
“But I’m staying here to teach. I have to help with the new agency anyway. Hannah’s going to be the school nurse, and Angel will help her.”
Figured, I thought.
“But Alex is going to teach swordplay, and Ryder is going to teach fighting on a horse.”
“I think he enjoyed that,” I said. “But I didn’t destroy the Gateguards. I just stripped them of magic and sent them to the Void Dimension. But I made sure that they ended up underground when I put everything else in.”
Molly’s face lit up. “Great! We can use them for practice, since they’re something we won’t feel guilty about killing.”
I shrugged. “Whatever.” I really didn’t care what happened to them as long as they weren’t free and killing people.
“We really need teachers,” Molly said. “I –”
“I’ll think about it.” I dismissed the entire concept. This was Molly’s thing, not mine, and I knew it. She knew it.
I went to class. The bell had rung a long time ago, but I didn’t care. I could handle being late.
“Where were you for so long?” Ms. Dalio asked. I was watching Sophie. She wrote something on a piece of paper and held it up.
“I was saving the universe from imminent destruction,” I said with a straight face.
“Welcome back,” Ms. Dalio said cheerfully. A few students giggled. I sat down.
“Nice,” said the kid next to him. “You even came in costume. Some people would almost buy that.”
I just grinned.
“We’re watching a video today. Somebody turn off the lights.”
I grinned again. The lights were off, and nobody had gotten up.
“Well, that’s convenient,” Ms. Dalio said.
During that period, I fixed the TV, controlled a fight between two kids, refilled Ms. Dalio’s water bottle, and got all the normal work done (manually). She pulled me aside after class.
“I’ve never seen magic done so discreetly, Daniel. I would like to hear your story later.”
I frowned. “You believe me?”
“Yes, Daniel. Oh!” she said. “I thought Liana told you about me. Well, you confided in me. You know the rumors about me. They’re true. I am a faerie. Liana isn’t, though. She’s a mermaid. Even if I didn’t believe you, I would still be wondering who was doing magic. Usually Liana blocks hers so that crazy geek Mythology teacher doesn’t start after her as well. I wouldn’t hide this if that Mythology teacher wasn’t after me and kids wouldn’t start asking me to hypnotize their parents, but you can choose what you want to do. Just remember that these kids can’t hurt you unless you let them.”
“I’m protected.”
“Good. I wish I was.”
I raised an eyebrow, grinned, and walked out. She got the message.
Mrs. Eerdo found that she had shoulder pads on her desk, the kind from really old suits that you find at Goodwill. That day, the rumor proved correct that, in fact, she did eat them.
This guy called Dick, probably one of the Group, tried handing me a paper and saying, “Yours,” but I stopped him and handed it back.
“I told you that was yours. Do it.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Look,” Dick said, getting mad, “we give you stuff to do, you do it and give it back. That’s it. Got it? If you don’t, I’ll beat you up.”
“No,” I said. “Bring everyone you want. That is, if you’re not afraid of getting embarrassed when I kick your butt.”
He looked me up and down, saw how I was pale and skinny, apparently not much of a fight. “Heh. Everyone in this school will see it when you get jumped. Face it, dude. I’m not going to be beaten by some wimp with no tan, no muscle and no girlfriend. It’s no wonder…”
“I’m his girlfriend,” Sophie said, stepping in. “And if you don’t show your greasy face behind the grocery store after school today, I’ll take you down myself, and I promise you, that won’t be pretty.” Sophie pulled up the sleeve of her black cloak and revealed substantial muscle. She smiled cheerfully and walked away.
“See you there,” I said calmly, and walked away as well. Dick growled after me. I couldn’t help snickering. Then I realized that in the middle of that argument, a bunch of kids had crowded around us to see what was happening and had heard the entire thing. Good, I thought. Let’s get this over with.
I got through the rest of the school day, though I was watched closely through all of it. I didn’t want to be seen walking behind the grocery store, so I snuck into a bathroom and teleported there. Everyone was already there, but they were talking so erratically that they didn’t see me. I was feeling pretty satisfied to see that Sophie was already there, grinning, still in her full enchantress clothes: black cloak and purple dress (with jeans underneath, of course), and she was successfully creeping Dick out. So he didn’t see me when I came up quietly and flicked the back of his neck, hard. It would have popped a hole in a drink straw.
“The fight’s here, everyone!” I didn’t know who’d said that, but Dick was already curling his hands into fists.
“No weapons,” he said. Sophie took my staff.
“Give it what you have,” I said. He started trying to punch me, but got sort of surprised when I didn’t double over. I started doing flashy magic, stupid hat tricks that would make him freak out. Green-fire-grade stuff. Everyone started shrieking, but Dick wasn’t really hurt. Then I just used a pause spell and socked him in the nose, which bled. I removed the spell – might as well level the odds a bit or people would still call me a wimp – and I set his stupid-looking, baggy pants on fire. I put it out and went for his hand, grabbing it, twisting his arm, and breaking his wrist. I applied a fist to his temple, which was enough to make him go down, and I snapped out a quick kick to his side, not breaking anything but making it hurt enough. I backhanded his jaw, making it pop awkwardly.
“Do you want more?” I asked. He hadn’t landed a blow on me, especially with the protection spell still in place.
Dick just groaned, the hand hanging limply.
“If you want, I can heal you using the same magic I used to beat you up. But consider this a major warning.”
Dick didn’t respond. I turned to the crowd. “What do you think? Should I heal him?”
A few yes, a few no. Sophie stepped in and said, “Just his hand. Let him suffer if he can’t admit he wants help.”
I took the advice. I think Sophie might have gone in as well to do some damage of her own, but Dick’s underwear was already showing from the burn spots and I think she decided he’d had enough.
“That goes for everyone. If I say no, that’s the final word. Sophie will do the same thing, and both of us will defend anyone else you try that on. Do your own stupid work.”
The crowd muttered something and gradually dissolved.
“That’s that,” I said. “I should have socked one of those thugs a long time ago.”
“I don’t think you’ll have to do it again,” Sophie said.
But some people were gone, and here again the next day. When they tried the same, they found out the real meaning of the words “sudden wedgie.” I wasn’t going to put up with that.
Ms. Dalio pulled me aside in the hallway. “Daniel,” she said, “I saw the fight. And I’m pretty sure that you handed your staff to Sophie before you began. Are you actually… oh.” Ms. Dalio raised both eyebrows. “Daniel, somehow this doesn’t surprise me as much as I think it should.”
“Let’s just say that there’s not much I can’t do. I’ll tell you after school.”
She turned on her heel and walked away, in an “okay, do your thing,” gesture.
A nerd kid called Felix found me sometime later and asked if I would teach him magic.
“I won’t,” I said, “but I know someone who will. Meet me in the library.”
*    *    *
That was just the start.
I directed a few kids to Liana, but when they got good I had to intervene and ship them off to Molly and her school, which was in the neighborhood. I also promised to cover their exit from normal school if they did so, which more than sealed the deal. I ended up teaching at the agency anyway, but only after school. A ton of kids showed up, and Ms. Dalio and Mr. Monito as well. He was a Shapee, one of the good shapeshifters. Sheesh. I was wondering exactly how much magic had been stuck away in secret in my town.
There were wielders from other dimensions, even, and now that the borders were unguarded, tons of wielders came to see magic demonstrations and things that I or someone at the agency could teach them. Oh, and the fact that the most powerful wielders were there teaching was also a big selling point.
Hannah and Angel both ended up as nurses for the agency there. They seem to be enjoying that. Ryder has about fifteen horses around here, most of them from the trip. Students oohed and ahhed over the fact that they were used to save the universe. Really, all we need now are T-shirts.
Cat has now put her unique fighting style in writing, with illustrations, in a book called Catfight. She’s figured out how to influence when she turns catlike, but she’s still pretty random. She teaches fighting, and now hand-manufactures her own weapon, a leather glove that has metal claws on the end of each finger, which are designed not unlike her claws.
Sophie teaches with me, in the same class. It’s helpful because she always seems to know what’s going on and our class is big enough to split between five teachers. It seems Mage has found a way to talk more clearly so he’s understood better, and more and more spy mages show up around here. I can still work with nothing in my hand, though. Mage says that it’s because I’m just so far out of the normal range that I’ll probably be the best the rest of my life, and I’ll have all the responsibility. But it’s a heck of a lot more exciting than school, and if I end up doing something major again, I’m going to take a bunch of my best students with me. And I will have an unstoppable army – who cares if they’re all teenagers?
For the record, Sophie is my girlfriend now. At least Molly stopped bugging me. Khorabelle detached herself from me, and the only other boy in the room when she’d heard the news was Alex TNV (the nerd vampire), who is her new crush now. He’s trying to avoid her night and day. It must be a harpy-girl thing, because last I checked, she hated him and his greasy everything. Either that or she’s got a serious case of something. I slipped the Psychiatrist book into her room, but I don’t think it’s helped outside of driving her nuts. It is now the school counselor, and it doesn’t matter if you’re French because the book tells you your problem in twenty different languages with at least six different connotations for each. Isn’t that something.
Don’t tell anyone, but I really wish that there was something I needed to do. It feels out of place otherwise. I wait in hope that one of my students will grow violent or something and try to usurp power so that I can stop them. Or that something will happen. In the meantime, I’m catching up with Molly on weapons use and fighting styles. Then I’m going to spend a bunch of time around the Psychiatrist book, in hopes of learning Spanish. And probably a bunch of other languages with it.
But as adventures go, that was bloody, violent, dangerous, foolish, and completely and totally awesome. And none of us even got killed.
But anyway.
I have learned one thing from reading every book in a library, and that is that a story ends when there is nothing left to tell until later. And right now you’ve heard all of our adventure, and I can’t keep small talk going much longer, so I guess this is…

The End

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Daniel Zephan
Sophie Inez
Molly Fletching

This entry was posted on Friday, June 18th, 2010 at 2:27 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.

One Response to “Chapter 65”

  1. Writer
    10:16 pm on November 10th, 2011

    Famously, I rarely remember my characters’ last names. Amanda is an Unger and Lila, Leo, Maya, Nikki, Jaymi and Brian are Petersons; Zoe’s name is Zoe Maye Heraldson. The rest of my characters? Who knows.

    The connection between Daniel Zephan and the Zepha tribe, therefore, is… not purely coincidental. It’s a neat sounding set of syllables. That’s the connection.

    Just a little backstory.

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