My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Phoenix: Chapter 54 (Phoebe)

I managed to dodge the questions just then. I didn’t particularly feel like talking about my own near-death.

Xavier said that Leslie had somehow turned up while he, Mark and Key were looking for me. I requested a full backstory.

So he told me how he’d woken up with my wand on his face, how he’d used the wand and my feather to successfully do magic, how he and the others had come after me on the pegasi and met Leslie, who was apparently a shapeshifter Epselan instead of a sheep. I decided to inquire about this later. Then he gave a really detailed description of the fight: how he’d been injured trying to shin kick the assassin’s gun out of his hand, how Mark had gotten shot, how Key had punched one of the assassin’s teeth out.

I found myself feeling increasingly guilty with each passing sentence. But I knew that if I said this to Xavier, then he’d stop and try to make me feel better. And I wanted to know what happened.

Then I gave my description of the phoenix’s acts after Xavier’s crowd left. I still wasn’t totally sure if I’d dreamed half of it, but it was a better explanation than anything else I could give.

When I got to the part where the phoenix told me that a part of my human self had been killed in the struggle, Xavier threw down his crutches and started cursing and pacing in anger. I could tell that it was painful, but I don’t think he cared.

“Don’t hurt yourself!”

“Don’t hurt myself!” he stormed. “I…”

I could tell what was going on inside his head. He was angry, but there was nothing alive to blame or to swear revenge against. There was nothing he could do, and nothing to take his anger out on.

“Xavier!” shouted an auburn-haired girl who looked about Daniel’s age. “I thought you were just going to eat lunch!”

“Hannah,” Xavier muttered. She doesn’t get it! She’s just going to chivy me away!

“Leslie’s with Currey,” Hannah said to me as she shepherded Xavier away, collecting his crutches. “And this one…”

For a minute, I thought Xavier’s last words were spoken oddly. I decided I must have imagined it.

I left for the stables. I wanted to know how Leslie had gotten herself into this mess just as much as I didn’t. There was a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was about ready to hurl.

The Agency felt alien. Xavier had somehow changed. Mark was, like Xavier had said, probably throwing some cherry Kool-Aid at the ceiling or something and giggling as it splashed onto his bed sheets in the infirmary. Key, he’d said, was going bonkers with nerves. And Leslie was here. I just couldn’t trust Leslie. She appeared in all the wrong places, but you couldn’t blame her for it because then they turned out to be the right places… but then you had no idea how she got there and you were suspicious about her motives for being in that place at that time so conveniently.

You couldn’t trust her.

But I was guessing that she, at least, hadn’t changed.

And I needed that.

You see, in a way, I had just died, and something else seemed to have died with me.

Mark had watched me not-die once already. Had I lost a piece of human then, too? If so, how could I be in a half-and-half form now?

Why had Daniel’s spell gone wrong, and why had I woken up first? You’d have thought I would be the most damaged by a bad spell.

 

There were some logical inconsistencies in this.

I realized that as I was thinking this, I was almost heading the wrong way. I adjusted my direction and continued my thought-rant.

This was so confusing. Part of me was angry and wanted to race to Daniel, to Leslie, to the nearest person who could possibly explain what was going on and shake the answers out of them. Part of me was upset and guilty and ready to cry, preferably not in front of anyone else. Part of me was exhausted and hungry and would rather lay down somewhere, anywhere, and sleep for several days.

Shakily, I pulled the dragon whistle out. But I couldn’t even raise it to my mouth before the phoenix grabbed my shoulders and carried me off. Meanwhile, I fell asleep as I stood.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 12:30 pm and is filed under Phoenix. 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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