Mercy Chapter 19

Chapter 19

Previously ...

“Faith! I think we’ve found a way to flush Brand out!”

And now ...

“What? Really?” Faith exclaimed.

“Yeah, come on, our magic teachers will help explain.” Arwen said.

The two girls went to the magic building, and came into a room where several teachers were waiting for them.

“Arwen said you guys might have found a way to track Brand?” Faith asked once they were seated.

“Yes, dear, but to confirm our suspicions, we would like to to examine your memory of your encounter with him.” One of the teachers said.

“How can we do that?” asked Faith.

“Just focus on that moment, and we’ll recreate the image of him.”

Faith took a deep breath, and tried to recall her encounter with Brand. Soon, hovering just above the table was an image of Brand as she had seen him.

Arwen pointed at the markings on Brand’s body and asked, “Was I right?”

“Yes.” One of the teachers said.

“Right about what?” Faith asked.

“These markings. From the way you described them, we assumed they were glyphs, or summoning tattoos, like what you have. But they are much less ... complete than that. They are like ... crib notes for spells.” Arwen said, excitedly.

“Crib notes?” Faith asked.

“A way of cheating, my dear. A dishonest student would write probable answers to an upcoming test on their body, hoping to not be noticed.”

“So what does this mean for tracking Brand?”

“Such ... messy spellcasting leaves a trace, dear. A magic trace we can search for, and soon be able to find him, wherever he may be.”

“And it means one other thing. We believe it means Brand is not cooperating with Vendetta. He’s ... resisting, at least to some degree.”

“How can you tell that?” Faith asked.

“Because unless Brand is a fool, which I don’t think he is, he has to know those marks can be traced. Maybe not by you, but he has to know this school has magic experts who could do so.”

Faith asked, “Does this mean I should prepare to face him again soon? Like much sooner than his one year deadline?”

“Perhaps, Faith. But before you face him, we want you to be as prepared as possible.”

“So back to studying.” Faith said, with a sigh.

“You’re doing fine, hon. You’ll be ready before you know it.”

“Thanks” Faith said, blushing.

Shortly after Faith left the magic building and went towards Poe. As she walked, she set off a magical alarm she had left in her room to let Talia know she was on her way, in case Talia and her girlfriend were still ... “busy”.

By the time she got to the room, Talia was alone.

“Did you two have fun?” Faith teased.

“I don’t kiss ... or do other things ... and tell” Talia responded, and stuck out her tongue.

Faith giggled, and got ready for bed. She planned to spend some time in her dreamscape letting her family know what she learned about Brand, and while she could do that almost anywhere, her bed was the safest place.

Once in her dreamscape she spent time with Ava, her mother, and of course Fido. She updated them on what had been found out about Brand, and the renewed hope she felt that he could be saved if only Vendetta could be expelled from him.

Then she spent some time studying the Book of the People, hoping to learn more about how to expel an unwanted spirit.

After an hour of reading, she said her goodbyes to Fido, Ava, and her mother, and returned to her bed to get some sleep.

The next day, Faith tried to keep her focus on the here-and-now, and not think too much about Brand and how she could possibly help him.

Fortunately, she found her classes challenging enough to keep her focus, and the day passed without any real trouble.

That night, Faith decided to check on the Night Owls, the small group of students whose biology or powers meant they were up for part or all of the night.

She had just left Poe when she heard a voice call her name from behind her. She turned, and saw a young man in the uniform of campus security. She stopped, and waited for him to catch up.

He stopped a couple of feet away, and his mouth moved, but no sound came out.

Sensing his anxiety, Faith joked “Aren’t you a little short for a security guard?”

He blinked, and then said “Er .. no. I’m Richard. Student auxiliary security.”

There was silence for a moment, and finally Faith asked “Was there something you needed?”

“Oh! Er ... it’s just ... well, perhaps you needed an escort. You know, for safety.”

Faith looked at the young man, and even without touching his mind she could read him like a book. He was attracted to her, but intimated to the point he could hardly put two words together. “I Can look after myself.” she said, with a little mock anger.

“Of course you can! I ... “ He paused, and looked down at his feet. “Of course you can” he repeated softly.

Faith decided to take pity on him, and said, “On the other hand, company is always pleasant. Shall we go?”

The boy looked stunned, and finally stammered “Go? Er, ... I can come with you?”

“Well, only if you hurry up. I do want to meet with the Night Owls before the sun comes up.” Faith replied, while trying to desperately hide a giggle.

For a while, they walked in silence. Faith snuck a look at him once in a while as they walked, and realized he had a dazed expression on his face, like he was afraid he was dreaming and desperately wanted to not do or say anything that would end the dream.

When they got to the small building where the Night Owls held their meetings, Faith paused at the door, and said, “Thank you for your company, Richard.”

Then, impulsively, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and slipped inside the building, leaving the boy standing there with a hand touching his cheek as if he could capture the kiss and keep it forever.

Faith managed to get partway down the hall before she broke out into giggles.

“I guess being a pretty girl does occasionally have perks.” She thought, and then still giggling, she went into the room where the Night Owls were playing games.

The next morning, Faith told Talia about Richard, and both girls giggled.

“I think he would have done anything I asked, poor boy., It was ... a heady feeling, knowing I could do that to him.”

Then Talia sobered, and said, “Now you know a bit of the power a pretty girl can weld over a guy. Make sure it doesn’t go to your head. Abuse that power, and one day you might make a guy angry enough to lash back. Or worse, get addicted to that power, and become a truly awful person.”

“I ... dont want either to happen.” Faith said. “I’ll be careful.”

“Good girl.” Talia said, and the two girls hugged.

“Let’s get dressed and get some breakfast before classes.” Faith said, and the two girl went to do just that.

To be concluded ...

****



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