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The Last Spell 6.2

by SilverNight

Even with Shane’s prediction that Leilan and Kaja would already be informed of the explosion, he was still surprised to see the news coverage playing on the screen when they got to the suite. Kaja was eating from a bowl of potato chips and sitting on the couch, keeping her eyes on the action after a brief nod of acknowledgement at their entrance. However, Leilan stood up to give them each a hug. This wasn’t an unusual action for him, but Shane got the feeling that the Heir of the House of Compassion was squeezing him a little tighter than normal.

“Looks like there’s trouble in town,” Leilan remarked, gesturing at the footage.

“We were there, actually,” Kasumi said. “Right when it happened.”

“I’d say it was more drama than trouble,” Dawn added.

Kaja glanced away from her viewing to look at Kasumi curiously. “You saw it?”

“Yeah, we should have waved at the cameras or something.”

“You mean, you should not compromise national security and the identity of future leaders by getting needless attention,” Leilan said, but mostly as a joke, and there was interest in his voice.

“Whatever.” Kasumi held out a hand. “Chips.”

Without looking, Kaja grabbed a handful from her bowl and flung them in her direction. Kasumi only managed to catch about two of them.

“What in the world made you think that was a good way to share food?” Shane muttered, as Dawn scrambled to pick up and throw away the fallen chips, and Kasumi quickly ate the two she’d caught. Leilan shook his head, looking too tired to criticize.

“Anyway,” Kaja said, wiping her mouth and turning down the volume. “All five of us are here. What did the mayor have to say?”

“It’s not great news,” Shane said, taking a seat on a different couch. Dawn went for an armchair, while Kasumi took a cushion and sat on the floor. “Long story short, there’s more and more crime in our capital, and more and more of it involves magic. With some rather excellent timing, we just saw an example in person on our way back. It’s out of hand.”

“I think we need a little more detail than a long story short,” Leilan said slowly.

“Besides that, the mayor is also an incompetent idiot,” Kasumi added, to which Shane and Dawn gave hesitant nods of agreement.

“That’ll do,” Leilan said, with some resignation in his voice.

“Sounds like Skender’s not great at enforcing our laws,” Kaja said, still half-watching the news broadcast. “It isn’t just Crystal City, though. This problem exists across all of Aphirah, especially in our largest cities.”

“It would be great if we could control magic,” Kasumi mused, crossing her legs and folding her hands in her lap. “But as much as we want to, we can’t exactly regulate nature.”

“I don’t know about that being good,” Leilan said, frowning slightly. “Most magic doesn’t get used in crimes. There are perfectly lawful and helpful uses for it.”

“I mean, ideally we’d cherry-pick between what we control and what we don’t.” Kasumi shrugged. “But again, not exactly possible.”

“That was a dangerous situation,” Dawn said softly, drawing everyone’s attention to her. She looked bashfully at the ground, her dark braids spilling over her shoulder as she pulled her legs up to her chest. “I think magic’s a wonderful thing to have, and limiting access to it would also limit our potential for creativity and innovation, but that scared me. The blast could have ripped through a city block, with the force of an earthquake and the power of a wildfire, if that other mage hadn’t contained it. It could have been a disaster.”

“I know, that’s terrifying to see,” Leilan said sympathetically. “I’m very glad it wasn’t worse.”

“I might have to process it sometime.” Dawn cleared her throat. “I don’t think it’s sunk in how close that was yet.”

She glanced up after saying that, her gaze flickering between each of them. When her eyes met Shane’s, he thought he saw something expectant in her expression, then disappointment when no one said anything. Was Dawn hoping for someone to agree with her? Aside from the suddenness of the explosion, Shane hadn’t been too fazed by it. Sure, he’d been in danger at that moment, with very little protecting him from it, but he’d had worse—

Oh. She’s newer. This could be her first time being threatened.

It wasn’t his first, but he remembered that. He wasn’t about to dismiss someone else’s experience of it.

“Me too,” Shane agreed, and he felt a little better at seeing a slight wave of relief pass over Dawn’s face. “It’s hard to get more dramatic than that.”

“We can take it easy for a little bit,” Leilan suggested. “All we have left planned for tonight is dinner. Let’s be grateful for our heroes and process things at our own pace.”

“Do we know who either of the people were?” Kasumi asked, pointing to the screen but looking at Kaja.

Kaja shook her head. “No one’s been identified yet.”

“We sent Favia after the one who started it,” Shane said, and he immediately saw Leilan’s eyebrows raise until they were almost hidden in the bangs of his red-dyed hair. “I mean, she went after him herself. She said it was her duty.”

“You walked back alone?” Leilan asked incredulously.

“It was either that or wait around for a bodyguard here to get to us, which isn’t exactly safe either,” Kasumi argued.

Leilan sighed. “You really were fortunate then. Acelin would have gotten you if you’d told them.”

Shane rubbed at his jaw. “You know, we’re not at so great risk that we can’t be anywhere on our own. We’re Heirs, not six-year-olds without critical thinking skills.”

“True,” Kaja agreed, setting her bowl of chips to the side on her armrest. “If Shane holds that opinion, that’s how you know it wasn’t even the slightest of a threat.”

The other three all turned to stare at her, which Shane was glad for, because it meant they missed the red flushing his cheeks. “You can just call me paranoid next time,” he muttered.

He saw Kaja pause in the middle of grabbing a handful of her snack, just a moment of hesitation before she spoke again through a mouthful. “Not my intention,” she said, which was just about as close as she got to apologizing. “Maybe more like… cautious. Keeping an eye out for stuff. It’s not bad that you’re always on the watch.”

“Kaja,” Dawn said in a reprimanding tone.

Kaja huffed. “I haven’t offended everybody today, believe it or not. I’m pretty sure I didn’t insult Marius.”

Kasumi blinked. “Wait, you saw Marius?”

“He’s on vacation here and happened to be on the same plane as us, in a seat right next to our two,” Leilan said. “We caught up while waiting in the Amber City airport. I have some duty-free confectioner’s marshmallows from there for you, Dawn, by the way.”

Dawn beamed. “You’re the best.”

“How’s Marius doing?” Shane asked. “It’s been a while since I last saw him.”

“He’s doing well,” Leilan said. “He told us he’d be at the House anniversary gathering in a week, so we’ll all see him then.”

The communicator on Shane’s wrist buzzed, distracting him before he could reply. “It’s a call from Favia,” he said, starting to take his earbuds out of the compartment in the side of the device.

“No, put it on speaker,” Kasumi said. “I’m curious to see what she’s learned.”

Shane nodded, turning up the volume and accepting the call. “Shane Hawking, in the presence of all other Heirs, speaking.”

“I take it you got back safely,” Favia said. Her voice was measured and even, but there seemed to be a tinge of worry pulling at it. He heard noise in the background of her audio, sounds of idle but loud conversation.

“Yes, we did.”

Kasumi cleared her throat. “So, what did you find? Did you catch the suspect?”

There was a pause, and Shane could imagine her glancing around a room, deciding on what to say. “I didn’t,” she said after a moment. “I followed him to a casino on the opposite side of the ravine, but lost him there. I’m not too concerned about that, though, because this seems to be bigger than an explosion.”

“A bigger explosion?” Kaja asked, leaning forward.

“What? No, a—” Favia sighed. “There’s something more important here. It seems like everyone in this casino knows why the explosion happened. From listening, the news in the air is that it was a fight between the two involved, with the suspect making an attempt on the person who contained the magic.”

Shane scowled. “Why were they fighting?”

“The victim knew something,” Favia said. She paused again, and this time, the silence carried more weight. “There’s some information they have, valuable information that people would want for themselves, or never getting out. It’s something we’d probably want to know and make sure no one else knew.”

Shane could feel the anticipation building as the other four Heirs pressed in around him, and he held his wrist further out to them all.

“What kind of information, Favia?” Leilan asked.

“It’s going to sound a bit unbelievable.”

“It’s okay, tell us,” Dawn urged her. “We won’t dismiss it.”

Even though the device’s speaker, Shane couldn’t miss the awed rattle in the deep breath that Favia took before she went on.

“The First Spell has been found,” she whispered, with all the reverence that such a statement demanded. “And two people know how to get it.”

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235 Reviews

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Reviews: 235

Mon Feb 13, 2023 2:02 pm
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4revgreen wrote a review...

In this chapter, we see the characters discussing a news report about a recent explosion in the city that was caused by magic. They discuss the increasing crime rate in the city, which is partially attributed to the use of magic. While some of the characters suggest that it would be helpful to control or regulate magic, others argue that there are plenty of lawful and helpful uses for it.

Dawn seems particularly affected by the explosion and expresses concern about the potential danger of unregulated magic. When she doesn't receive much of a response from the others, Shane picks up on her discomfort and agrees with her, acknowledging that it can be difficult to process such a dramatic event.

Throughout the chapter, the characters nicely reveal their different perspectives on the issue of magic and its use in the city. Leilan, for example, is sympathetic to the idea that magic can be both helpful and harmful, while Kaja seems to be mostly interested in keeping up with the news coverage. Kasumi is more concerned with identifying the perpetrators of the explosion, while Dawn expresses her fear and concern about the potential danger of unregulated magic.
This chapter cleverly added a lot of depth and characterisation to these characters.

Overall, the chapter highlights the complexity of the issue and the different ways that people can feel about it. The characters' differing perspectives illustrate the difficulty of coming up with a simple solution to a problem as multifaceted as crime and magic.

I'm getting sooo infatuated with this work!

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Sat Dec 17, 2022 9:44 pm
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Shady wrote a review...

Review Number 9 and I am not even going to give a half-hearted effort this time at an intro. Perhaps a quarter-hearted effort? Whatever this counts as... Let's goooo....

It wasn’t his first, but he remembered that. He wasn’t about to dismiss someone else’s experience of it.

“Me too,” Shane agreed, and he felt a little better at seeing a slight wave of relief pass over Dawn’s face. “It’s hard to get more dramatic than that.”

Aww, this was great! I think I have subconsciously been holding the Heirs at arms' length cause y'know Eat The Rich and all that xD I just kind of assumed they'd be turning into the antagonists sooner or later. And I still maintain that as a possibility. But some of them seem really chill, and this cemented that I like Shane, solid dude. I also really like Leilan and Dawn. Still trying to get a read on Kaja and Kasumi, though they both seem a bit brasher/more entitled than the other three.

“The First Spell has been found,” she whispered, with all the reverence that such a statement demanded. “And two people know how to get it.”

Ohohoho this is JUICY. This further goes to illustrate what I said in part one about this being a good way to tie all your characters together. Like, this is getting really satisfying to see how both parts of how this story is woven together. And I'm really interested to see how it goes! I have a lot of questions about what this 'First Spell' is -- obviously I'm assuming it has something to do with the Pit and/or Ring -- and why the Heirs are concerned with it and what this is going to mean for Cyrin and Mireya. Are they going to get commissioned? Assassinated? Time will tell ;)

Looking forward to chapter seven! On my way there now!

~Shady 8)

SilverNight says...

ayeeeeee I'm glad it has that satisfying effect XD

also ugh my reply to the review before this is supposed to be the "oh yeah it's all coming together" meme but for some reason the picture is wayyyy too big and I did not mean for that to happen XD

Shady says...

hahahah ur valid

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
— Søren Kierkegaard