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16+ Language

The Last Spell 18.2

by SilverNight


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Mireya cleared her throat. “Has anything here caught your eye so far?” As if they’d been paying attention to the artifacts at all.

Dawn considered. “Not really. It’s hard to know what might be of use when I can’t tell what everything does.”

“Cyrin would be able to tell, but it’s hard without them,” Mireya admitted. “I might manage to recall what kind of magic some things have if they pointed them out to me last time.”

“Do you recognize anything?”

“Um…” She hadn’t so far, so she scanned the displays further out until she spotted the Projection mirror a few aisles down. “I remember that big mirror over there. It was pretty boring.”

Dawn went over to see it for herself, and Mireya turned her attention to a small potion rack. She hadn’t seen any artifact labeled with a description so far— the knowledge of what everything did had been guarded by the stewards— but the glass vials had thin strips of paper fastened around them. She carefully pinched one of them to see if there was writing on them. The ink was faded and difficult to read, but she managed to make out the Ren word on the label, one she knew well enough that she didn’t even think about the translating. Canticle. The old term for Chant magic.

“Yeah, it looks just like a regular mirror,” Dawn called. “I don’t see anything special about it.”

“Well, it’s not completely boring,” Mireya said, looking at another bottle. “It doesn’t show people in its reflection.”

“I can see myself in it.” Dawn sounded confused.

Mireya paused. “You can?”

“Do you want to take a look?”

Mireya left the potion rack behind, trying not to seem too hurried when she walked over. Dawn stood in front of the glass, her fingertips nearly brushing the pane, like she wanted to touch it but didn’t want to leave fingerprints on its clear surface. Her reflection reached back, just like it would in a normal mirror. But when Mireya stood by her side, she did not appear in the glass.

“Well, I can see why you thought it didn’t show people,” Dawn commented.

Mireya sniffed. “Maybe it’s got something against me. This is a rude mirror.”

She watched Dawn’s smile spread in the glass reflection. “What did you observe about it?”

“All I heard from Cyrin was that it had Projection,” Mireya said. “I think we took its effect at face value.”

“There’s got to be some reason someone artificed it this way.”

Mireya leaned closer. The frame was made of gold, but textured with roughened bumps, like the surface of a cave wall or the side of a mountain. Her gaze trailed over it until she spotted a familiar symbol at the bottom, and she paused.

“What is that?” Dawn asked, having noticed it too.

A star with eight points, etched in the gold.

“It’s a star,” Mireya said. “But it’s also the symbol we associate with magic.”

“Oh, that makes sense,” Dawn said. “Because you believe magic first came from space.”

Because it did come from space. Mireya just nodded. “Right.”

She looked at the symbol for a moment longer before the realization hit her, and she gasped a little as she backed up.

“This is an Aptitude Mirror,” she said, reverence in her voice. “The ones that reveal whether you’re a mage or not.”

Dawn’s eyes widened. “Really?”

Mireya nodded fervently, blue hair shaking in her face. “There aren’t any more of these that still work— outside of here, I guess. Your reflection shows up normally if you aren’t a mage. If you’re a Minor Mage, your reflection gets a glowing outline. If you’re a Major Mage, you don’t show up in the mirror at all.”

“So that’s why I’m here, and you’re…” Dawn pointed a finger at the space where Mireya’s reflection should be. “Invisible.”

“Exactly.”

“Wow,” Dawn whispered. “Did Cyrin’s reflection have the glow?”

Mireya stilled. She hadn’t seen his reflection in the mirror, and she doubted he had either. They’d thought it reflected a room without people, after all. Had they both missed it, or was the mirror’s enchantment wearing thin? Both explanations were plausible enough, and at least one of them had to be true. Neither of them really sat well with her.

“I guess it must have,” she said. “We didn’t look too closely because we were both distracted with seemingly more exciting things.”

Dawn nodded. “It’s cool that we found this. It’s wild that this could be the only one that still works.”

Mireya examined it one last time. “The method of making these used to be common knowledge in Renvara, but… well. When the world lost this place, it lost millennia.”

Dawn stepped away from the glass. “I can tell you think about that a lot.”

Mireya shrugged. “Maybe.” You have no idea.

Dawn bit her lip as she moved to the displays further down the aisle. “Is that what you want? To see magic have that kind of power again? I don’t know exactly what we’re doing with the First Spell, but—”

Dawn cut herself off with a screech as she leapt back, knocking into the artifacts behind her. Mireya couldn’t see what was on the other side of the stands, but instinct kicked in anyway. She got a running start, moving in front of Dawn and sliding to a stop on the ice, with a fist up even though she was mostly sure it wouldn’t have been the kind of threat she could punch.

Well, she could punch the skeleton, if she wanted to, because it was now relocated on the ground just in front of them. It just wouldn’t accomplish much.

“Dawn? Dawn!” Leilan hollered, still on the other side of the vault. “Are you okay?”

“She’s fine,” Mireya called back. “Just a scare.”

“That’s a skeleton,” Dawn breathed, hands curling around the edges of the stands on either side of her. “That’s a—”

Mireya had forgotten, for a moment, that she was working with people who might not have such a familiarity with death. Not Cyrin, with all his unlikely escapes and the static humming in his ears, so closely acquainted with and haunted by it. Not Clarity, the clinical scientist underwhelmed by everything, desensitized to the violence of the criminal underworld. Not her, left behind by death no matter how many other people she saw it take.

“It’s not gonna hurt you,” she said, in a tone that she hoped was reassuring. “Cyrin and I saw it when we first came in through the shield last time. It’s alarming, but not dangerous.”

Dawn swallowed. “Right. It can’t hurt us.” She almost didn’t sound convinced.

“Right. If it tries, I can still punch it.”

With a nervous smile, Dawn tore her gaze away, looking around her. “I, uh, think I knocked something over.”

Mireya turned to see that the stand she’d bumped into had a toppled stack of small, pearly-white stones that were now scattered over the display and the ground nearby. She frowned, picking one of them up.

“Rocks seem like a strange choice for an artifact,” Dawn said.

Mireya shook her head slowly, rubbing the smooth stone between her fingers. “These are spell stones.”

“They’re what now?”

“Spell stones.” Mireya immediately swept up a small pile of them, neatly stacking the rest. “Minor Mages can charge a spell to them, and then non-mages can use them to activate the magic for themselves.” She took the handful of stones, placing them in a pocket of her coat. “Holy shit, I haven’t seen these in so long. I hope we can use them.”

“You’ve seen them before?” Dawn asked.

“Oh, yeah, these still exist. They’re just crazy hard to come by because the artificing process is a trade secret that only a few know.”

Dawn nodded appreciatively. “They sound special.”

“I keep asking my Alchemist friend to try and make some for me, and every time she reminds me that I need to fund her if I want her to take on a new magic project.” Mireya pouted. “It’s just rude.”

Dawn laughed. “You’ll have plenty of money to drop on funding soon enough.”

“Nope. I have these now. She’s missed her chance.”

Mireya saw Dawn’s grin spread wider, and in that moment, she nearly made a casual remark about how nice her smile looked. It wasn’t cheeky like Dante’s, but it had a soft shyness to it, a gentleness in the way her lips curved. Before she could actually think of a casual way to say that, though, Kaja’s voice rang out triumphantly across the vault.

“We found it!”


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Fri Jul 07, 2023 11:46 pm
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Spearmint says...



Spoiler! :
Ooh okay so the intrigue is increasing... is Mireya Saint Mireya? Is Cyrin a Major Mage? :0




SilverNight says...


Spoiler! :
all I can say to you is :D



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Fri Jun 30, 2023 7:45 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey again silv! In honour of the last day of The Great Tortoise Race I'm going to try and get my way all they way to 20.2... wish me luck!

Let's jump right in!

Mireya cleared her throat. “Has anything here caught your eye so far?” As if they’d been paying attention to the artifacts at all.

*snorts* as though Mireya isn't hoping the answer is that she's caught Dawn's eye

She carefully pinched one of them to see if there was writing on them. The ink was faded and difficult to read, but she managed to make out the Ren word on the label, one she knew well enough that she didn’t even think about the translating. Canticle. The old term for Chant magic.

The pace here is pretty slow which I guess is fine (like, I'm enjoying reading it and it's nice to have a break from the tension) but shouldn't there be more of an urgency to get out? Or have they got loads of time?

“I can see myself in it.” Dawn sounded confused.

Mireya paused. “You can?”

Oooh intrigue! Now is Mireya special or is Dawn? (Obviously the answer is both, but you know what I mean).

“Oh, that makes sense,” Dawn said. “Because you believe magic first came from space.”

Because it did come from space. Mireya just nodded. “Right.”

I love this lore, and the fact that they believe two different things makes it feel really realistic. I'd love to learn some more of the magic's origin whether it be through these two or otherwise.

“I guess it must have,” she said. “We didn’t look too closely because we were both distracted with seemingly more exciting things.”

Ok I'm obsessed with this as a plot twist and I must know more immediately.

I think I liked Dawn and Mireya exploring the vault even more than when Mireya explored it with Cyrin because so much is being explained in layman's terms now (and I have a better understanding of the magic in the story to know what's specifically cool). I do feel like they could be searching a bit quicker though - Mireya seems just as content to spend time down here as last time and I'm not sure there shouldn't be a sense of urgency somewhere.

See you for chapter 19!

Icy

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SilverNight says...


*snorts* as though Mireya isn't hoping the answer is that she's caught Dawn's eye


You're so right about this

I do feel like they could be searching a bit quicker though - Mireya seems just as content to spend time down here as last time and I'm not sure there shouldn't be a sense of urgency somewhere.


This is probably true! They probably could be a little more urgent, but they're getting too distracted by each other so I'll look at that.



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Sun Jun 18, 2023 5:32 pm
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Abcdefg1 wrote a review...






SilverNight says...


Thanks for the review Ari! :)




I feel like it will be absolute hotdog water, but oh well. It's just a draft.
— Charm