Zenith – Part 8

When Emily woke up the next day she was ready to take on the world. At least once a week she had a dream much like that one that left her feeling more rejuvenated than she had any right to be.

Ged had a point I guess, Emily thought as she took her morning shower, I have been a bit haphazard at times with my magic. She dutifully washed her hair and got dressed considering how to satisfy Ged’s demands without giving him the pleasure of victory. As no solid plan came to her, she did what she did every morning and went out to collect her drug of choice.

Coffee in hand she sat down on a park bench with her thoughts. As she ran over dialogs in her mind a bearded man barely caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. It wasn’t the beard, or the unkempt clothes that she noticed, but instead there was a slight glimmer that she practically felt emanate from him. He must be a mage.

This mystery mage was on the move. He looked vaguely familiar as if he was in some dream, but Emily was certain she didn’t know him, and she knew all the mages operating in this part of town. Something was wrong, so Emily decided it was time to follow.

He moved like a mage. He seemed to skip steps as he walked. Suddenly he would swap sides of the street, but it was never something that would catch someone’s eye if they weren’t looking for it. Emily followed a bit behind, her knowledge of Space making it easy to follow without directly watching him move. She watched the shift of space he left behind and followed with plenty of space so as not to let him notice he was being followed. She followed past the parks and down a path between two university buildings. She was being careful, but didn’t notice the lack of people in this path.

She barely had time to dodge out of the way of a ball of fire rolling at her as she turned a corner. She huddled on the other edge of the corner. A sound seemed to come from nowhere, “Do not follow me if you value your life.” It was a whisper but not from nearby. Emily peeked around the corner again to see if her target was still there. She only saw a bright light fade out to reveal an empty corner. There was a quickly fading fold in space present, Emily was tempted to follow but decided to take some heed to a warning, one punctuated by a fireball, and turned back

She entered Ged’s hall about ten minutes later to find it sitting empty. Emily decided she would just sit down and wait for him to return. Thirty minutes passed and she began to feel sleepy. She never did finish her coffee this morning and things got exciting fast. She closed her eyes and succumbed to to a slumber.

—–

“Emily! It’s the middle of the day and you’re sleeping?” Violet’s voice scolded her. Emily turned around to see Violet standing with her hands on her hips. “Don’t you have something to do young lady?” A small smile peaked on Violet’s face. “Or did you just miss me?”

“I just had a run in with the strangest mage. I thought I knew everyone in my part of town but this one…” She trailed off not knowing how to describe him.

“Jiro,” Violet responded losing her smile, “it must be.”

“Jiro? I’ve never heard of him.”

“He isn’t part of the Society. Be careful Em.” Violet stepped forward and gave Emily a hug. “I need you to stay safe. Now I think someone is calling you.”

Emily was suddenly aware of a male voice shouting “Hypatia!” all around her.

—–

“Hypatia! Wake up! This is a formal hall, not your dorm room!” Ged was still angry. Emily sat up straight, eyes wide open.

“You are correct sir! I’m very sorry,” Emily pleaded with Ged.

Ged sighed, “at least you came back. I hope you spent some time thinking about what you’ve done.”

“I have sir. But I also had a strange interaction on my way here this morning. I think it is more important right now.”

“Oh really? And what could be more important than the unraveling of the universe?”

“I ran into a mage that I didn’t recognize. He tried to blast me with a fireball after I followed him.” Jiro, said a voice in Emily’s head.

Ged’s frown became more of a frown. “You’re sure you’ve never seen this mage? There are plenty who don’t come to our standard meetings regularly.”

“I have made a point to know who operates here, Ged.” Ged squinted his eyes at the mention of his name. “You yourself told me to. And I do listen to what you tell me.”

“Tell me everything that happened this morning,” Ged commanded, and Emily obliged.

—–

“I see. At least you didn’t follow him further. Maybe you have learned something from me,” Ged sighed. “I’d advise not getting near this man in the future. He is very dangerous.”

“Is he Jiro?” questioned Emily.

Ged’s eyes snapped to Emily, trying to analyze her face. “How do you know that name?”

“I don’t know. It’s almost as if it came to me in a dream.”

“Do not speak it with anyone else present you hear me? It might be him. But we cannot afford to panic any other mages. If it is him all the more reason for you to NOT engage.” Ged closed his eyes and an alien vulnerability showed in his voice, “I can’t take it.”

“Something about him felt familiar. Even how he folded space had a familiar signature. But I didn’t recognize him. How is this possible?”

“It doesn’t matter Hypatia. If you see him again, get away. That is all you have to know.”

Emily sighed and stood up, “Alright.”

—–

“I think it was him,” Stated Violet, “I think he cut me off.”

“Who are we talking about?” asked Emily.

“Jiro. That’s why he’s familiar to you.”

Emily sighed and shook her head. “Great now my subconscious is trying to comfort me and make excuses.”

“Excuse me?”

“I know this is just a recurring dream of mine. It’s nice to have, but I’m starting to see through it.”

Violet smiled, “You’re a mage, Em. Do you still think I’m dead?”

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