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The Last Spell 24.2

by SilverNight


“But how did Sparrow find out where the First Spell was before anyone else did?” Leilan asked. “Why the two of you specifically? And how did he find us now?” He coughed. “That’s a lot of questions, I’m sorry.”

Mireya raised a finger as she addressed each one. “Who knows, he has it out for us, and…” She paused. “I don’t know. He might have forced a friend we talked to earlier to share with him.”

“Clarity wouldn’t do that,” Cyrin argued. “She doesn’t have all the information anyway.”

Slowly, the Heirs all glanced his way.

“Who’s Clarity?” Dawn asked after a few long moments of silence.

“She’s an Alchemist,” Mireya said. “She’s our friend, and essentially a third teammate, but she still works for Sparrow. She… she didn’t leave his employment when we did.”

Leilan looked to Cyrin. “What would Clarity know, and why wouldn’t she share it with him?”

Cyrin bit their lip. “She heard that the First Spell was in a safe, and she has our location shared with her. That’s all. She could have gotten our hotel from that, theoretically, but Sparrow could have found out without her help just fine. He would already know we’re in Storm City if he was aware of the First Spell’s location, so he could have sent his people over right away. They could have followed us, tracked us, whatever.”

“And you’re sure she didn’t share anything you told her?” Kasumi asked. She seemed more alert now, sitting up on her couch. “Because she’d be a useful ally if we tried to get it back from Sparrow.”

“Of course not,” Cyrin said, their gaze darting to Mireya. “She may be— not yet ready to leave Sparrow behind, but she’s our friend, not his. She wouldn’t do that to us.”

Mireya nodded after a moment. “I do believe we mean a lot more to her than Sparrow does.”

Shane cleared his throat, raising his hand. “Hold on. Are we getting it back from Sparrow? The alternative would be kind of scary, but… That sounds like another heist to me.”

“Do we have much of a choice?” Dawn asked.

Leilan cleared his throat. “Well, the five of us might. We’ve technically reached the end of our deal that we swore to, because we did get the First Spell, and it wouldn’t be hard to meet up again to finish what we started if Cyrin and Mireya went on and managed to steal it back. But,” he added, looking around at all of them, “it’s also possible for us to go on. We’d have a few days before we’d have to show up to the celebration in Starlight City for the Houses’ anniversary, and maybe it would sit better with some of us to go through with it.” He glanced at Cyrin and Mireya. “Because while we’re opposed in a few ways, I think all of us find a greater enemy in Sparrow than each other.”

“You’d be right about that,” Mireya said. “And I wouldn’t mind a larger team against Sparrow.”

“We could extend those Chant vows,” Kaja suggested. “Just add that it now goes until we get it back from Sparrow.”

“Is everyone okay with this?” Leilan asked.

He was surprised to see that not only did everyone nod fairly quickly, but there also seemed to be little reluctance to it.

Cyrin stood, removing a small cluster of magic from their MagicBox. “Leilan, care to do the honors again?”

Leilan nodded as he stood, holding out his arm as he had done for that first meeting at the table in the Arcade. There was no way he could have known he would be doing another vow of equals willingly only a few days later.

Giving him a slight smile of encouragement, Cyrin twisted the spell into a swirl of Chant, and they each placed a hand in one of the curves. The thief snapped his fingers.

“I, Cyrin Troy, re-enter into oath.”

“I, Leilan Akamai, re-enter into oath.” Now that he had the ability to use his real name, his oath already felt more compelling.

“I vow on behalf of myself and Mireya to honor my most recent oath to Leilan until we have retrieved the First Spell from Sparrow,” Cyrin said. He seemed very familiar with the language of magic oaths. “We will continue as the defenders of the Heirs until this new deal has ended.”

“I vow on behalf of myself, Kaja, Dawn, Shane, and Kasumi to continue to pledge our help to Mireya and Cyrin until the First Spell is in our hands again,” Leilan said. “I reaffirm that we will follow them where needed until they no longer need us.”

Cyrin nodded. “This I swear.”

“This I swear,” Leilan echoed.

The Chant spell winked out.

“Before we make a plan,” Leilan said, lowering his hand, “we need to talk about something else. There’s been an astronaut following us around.”

Mireya looked startled. “Yes! I’ve seen him too.”

“Oh, thank the Saints,” Cyrin sighed. “I was starting to think I’d hallucinated them.”

“There’s a what following us around?” Shane asked, eyes wide.

“When I woke up from the gas, there was an astronaut watching us,” Leilan explained. “He— you said he, Mireya, right? He didn’t seem to do much, just sort of examined us. Cyrin saw him too.”

Kaja shook her head. “Well, I think you hallucinated him.”

“No, because I’ve seen him before,” Leilan said. “In the Arcade, when we were looking for Favia. I was with Dawn and Kasumi, and he was just in the crowd. I think he noticed me, but he slipped away before I could point him out.”

“I also saw him in the Arcade,” Mireya added. “He was in the store buying something when we were picking up artifacts the next day. I chased after him.”

Dawn shook her head, smiling faintly with amusement. “So that’s why you dashed off and left me to pick up those Force rings.”

“If I had said hey, there’s an astronaut over here who’s giving me weird vibes, I’m going to run after him, you’d just think I was really bad at finding excuses to bail,” Mireya said, and Dawn laughed.

“What happened with him?” Kasumi asked, leaning forward.

“He bought this device from the shop,” Mireya said. “It was small, with an amount of stored power that seemed outrageous for that size. I tried to talk to him, because I could sense it and I was curious, but he ran off. I followed him up to the roof of the Fortune, and all of a sudden, he just… disappeared. He was still there, but invisible. He never even cast a spell.”

“A power device,” Kaja mused. “Like—”

“Yes, almost exactly like this battery,” Mireya said, taking out the device from the vault. To Kasumi and Shane’s shocked expressions, she added, “We found it on the stand for the First Spell. It made no sense.”

Shane shook his head. “Why is no one sharing these things when they notice them?”

“Sorry,” Mireya said sheepishly. “Anyway, it was almost the same. Dawn suggested it was for ‘the new spaceship’, which is what gave you all away, by the way. I showed this to Clarity, and she agreed, except for one detail. She said that we’d have optimized the design to be better than this one, so this was too large for a new ship. But it could belong to a much older one.”

“And was the one from the astronaut smaller?” Kasumi guessed.

Mireya nodded. “Exactly.”

“Is he… trying to get back to space?” Cyrin asked. “And was he in the Permafrost’s Fall somehow?”

“I have no idea why he would have left an old space battery there, and no idea why he’d want a new one,” Mireya said. “But I have a theory that he got the old one from the spacewreck.”

“That’s plausible,” Shane said. “Well, about as plausible as it could get.”

Leilan cleared his throat. “Mireya, have you ever seen anything like the battery the astronaut picked up, aside from the one you’re holding now?”

“Nope,” Mireya said. “I thought this one here was cutting-edge technology, but it looks clunky and obsolete compared to the other one.”

“Then I might have some information to add to this puzzle.”

Shane groaned, leaning forward and burying his face in his hands. “Saints.”

“I agree with Shane, actually,” Kaja said, pointing at him. “We need to learn something about communication.”

Shane pinched the bridge of his nose as if he had a headache. “Never thought I’d hear you say you agreed with me.”

“You can savor it, but don’t start expecting it to hear it again.”

“Point taken,” Leilan apologized. “There’s this family that is in close relationship with the Houses, supporting government projects.” He looked to Cyrin and Mireya. “Do you know the Cardozo family?”

“The family line that last had control of the House of Wisdom?” Cyrin asked, leaning forward.

“That very one. One of its members, Marius, is our friend,” Leilan continued. “He called me in Amber City because our families were making it his problem that the five of us were missing. One thing he mentioned was that his family had just gotten one of the prototypes for a new device stolen from them before they could get a patent or more of them produced.”

“Did he say what type of device it was?” Dawn asked.

Leilan shook his head. “He did not, but it could have been a battery. Maybe I could ask him, if it matters to this. If it was valuable, and it was stolen, it seems plausible enough that it would have ended up on the black market in a place like the Arcade fairly quickly.”

Shane’s headache looked like it had passed over to Cyrin, because they closed their eyes and sighed. “This mess is a fucking spiderweb.”

Maybe it is,” Kaja said. “We could be drawing it all up. Whatever’s happening here, though, I’m thinking one thing. We don’t know that we can trust this astronaut.”

“Exactly,” Kasumi agreed. “We can’t tell what side he’s on yet.”

“He helped me, though,” Mireya said. “When I was on the roof. I had the dumb idea to charge at him when he was invisible to see if he was still there, and I nearly fell off when I tripped on his foot. He caught me and pulled me back on the roof.”

Leilan nodded slowly. “That’s interesting. Maybe he’s not out for us, because of that and of how he could have done anything to the four of us who were passed out, but didn’t. We don’t know that means he’s an ally, though, or an enemy of Sparrow. We don’t know if he’s dangerous. I think we should proceed with caution if we see him again. Has everyone got that?”

There was a series of nods.

“I think we’re ready for a plan then,” Cyrin said. “Dawn, can you take care of those plane tickets again?”

Dawn grabbed her tablet from the coffee table. “On it.”

“Alright.” Cyrin rubbed at their eyes. “So— no, wait. I think we need someone on coffee duty too if we’re to get through this.”

“I second that,” Shane said, getting to his feet and rushing to the kitchen. “Seven cups of coffee to make up for what will probably be seven hours of missed sleep, coming right up.”


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Mon Sep 18, 2023 12:11 am
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Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

I can now say I've officially read all the parts of the Last Spell that come before this one! I'm so upset at myself for falling behind, because I'm absolutely enamored with this story and cannot wait to continue reading. So, be prepared for some reviews coming your way, I suppose!

I really liked how they're all coming together in this part; even though there's still a conflict between their different beliefs about how the First Spell should be used, it's nice to see them unifying over their common enemy of Sparrow. At this point, I am curious about Sparrow's own motivations. Obviously he wants power, but I'm not sure we've heard what he'd want to do with the First Spell specifically. Obviously it offers him a lot of control, but I'm curious if there's anything particularly despicable about what he wants to use it for, or if he's just looking for it for most of the same reasons everyone else is.

Another thing I liked was that they finally addressed the astronaut in the room; that's honestly been one of my favorite recurring plot points in this story, probably because I'm such a sucker for mysteries. I liked how the reveal went a little along the lines of "you see it too?" There was definitely comedy in realizing between them it's been a shared experience, and definitely reinforces the mystery surrounding his involvement!

Specifics

“She heard that the First Spell was in a safe, and she has our location shared with her. That’s all. She could have gotten our hotel from that, theoretically, but Sparrow could have found out without her help just fine.


Ok, as much as I love Clarity (always support a woman in alchemy!!), I still don't trust her. Given all that Cyrin has offered her, she seems very reluctant to actually leave Sparrow, which makes me think she prizes her work above all else (which. understandable. and seems in character, too) or that Sparrow may have some sort of leverage on her apart from everything he offers with employment. I feel like a lot of what we've seen of her has been from Cyrin (and to some extent Mireya)'s perspectives, and those are bound to be a bit biased. So even though they said she wouldn't sell them out, I'm not sure I'm ready to eliminate that option quite yet.

Shane cleared his throat, raising his hand. “Hold on. Are we getting it back from Sparrow? The alternative would be kind of scary, but… That sounds like another heist to me.”


I was starting to think that that heist went a little fast for the story to be over that soon—I should have known that you, of all writers, would find a way to put not one, but two (honestly three at this point, if we count the one at the beginning with just Cyrin and Mireya) into the same story.

Overall: great work, as always. Off to read & review the next part!




SilverNight says...


Plume!! Thank you so much for the review, this is lovely and valuable feedback. I'm so glad you're enjoying the story!! <3

I was starting to think that that heist went a little fast for the story to be over that soon%u2014I should have known that you, of all writers, would find a way to put not one, but two (honestly three at this point, if we count the one at the beginning with just Cyrin and Mireya) into the same story.


I do give myself away as slightly heist-obsessed, don't I XD



Plume says...


I'm not complaining -- I'm a big heist fan myself ^-^



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Tue Aug 08, 2023 8:10 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



I will pace myself, and won't read all the parts you've posted in one go... but the temptation is very hard to resist! (Especially when I stop mid chapter)

“But how did Sparrow find out where the First Spell was before anyone else did?” Leilan asked. “Why the two of you specifically? And how did he find us now?” He coughed. “That’s a lot of questions, I’m sorry.”

Ok Leilan is me. I like how this leads to a good clarification on what the different characters know, because as the reader we've shifted perspectives a bit and it's hard to remember who knows what. Now we all almost know everything? All big life altering secrets aside, obviously.

“She heard that the First Spell was in a safe, and she has our location shared with her. That’s all.

Urrm... that's ALL? Feels like quite a lot, my friend.

“You’d be right about that,” Mireya said. “And I wouldn’t mind a larger team against Sparrow.”

What benefit have the heirs given them so far for her to think this? They caused chaos in the last heist by joining. They've been able to provide money and lodging, but what use does Mireya think they'll be when facing Sparrow?

Shane shook his head. “Why is no one sharing these things when they notice them?”

I love Shane <3

“Point taken,” Leilan apologized. “There’s this family that is in close relationship with the Houses, supporting government projects.” He looked to Cyrin and Mireya. “Do you know the Cardozo family?”

This seems a bit unfair because I didn't get the impression he was holding information, more like he's only just made the connection and is sharing it.

They're definitely gelling more as a team now, and I like the vibe of them all being more on the same side. Leilan's conclusion about the device Marius was talking about felt like a little bit of a stretch, and the proceed with caution warning about this astronaut felt a tiny bit arbitrary (perhaps they could conclude that they don't have time to go chasing an astronaut?) but all in all this was a good summing up chapter. I'm looking forward to seeing what their plans are to steal the First Spell back... they don't seem as daunted by the idea as I would expect!

See you for chapter 25 :)

Icy




SilverNight says...


Hey Icy!! Thanks for the review <3

They've been able to provide money and lodging, but what use does Mireya think they'll be when facing Sparrow?


Just between you and me, Mireya's reason for wanting them around is 90% Dawn XD




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