Going Through the Motions

“Alright Leah one more time.” Leah let out a sigh as Nick sat there in a chair reclining. They had spent the last hour in this manner. Leah would cast a spell, and Nick would tell her what she was doing wrong. He never got up, and he never demonstrated. Even though these were spells he had previously mastered through trial and error.

“Why don’t you show me?”

“How much of a demonstration do you need? Never mind, fine I’ll show you.” Nick stood up from his seated position, and stepped forward. He extended his arms for show in an overly exaggerated way to show her each step. “First off, this is a blue spell meaning you need to tap into a source of blue mana.”

“I know.”

“Uh uh, if you want a demonstration you have to let me explain everything. I know it’s annoying, but it helps the process. So just take a seat”

“Fine.” Leah stepped around her teacher, and took his seat with her arms crossed ready to hear the basics again.

“Blue mana is often associated with water. Hence its several representations in the card game. Once you find a source, whether from an ocean, river, or anything you draw from that. Depending on your source and talent as a mage can greatly affect the potency of your spell.”

“Okay so what effect will it have on this spell?”

“Well it’s simple it affects accuracy. If I don’t fully know what I’m doing, or I’m not using enough power then what I’m trying to achieve will be much worse. Just watch.” Nick stepped back further from the blond girl to give her a comfortable amount of space to appreciate his work. Even if the hand movements were unnecessary for him it was good for her to see the first stages.

Then his first copy appeared next to him, and it was a poor copy indeed. his clothes were the wrong color, his hair was not long enough, and his eyes were blue. These features alone made telling the difference between the two easy.

“Who’s that handsome devil?” The correct Nick said.

“You know who it is, but I bet she can’t tell the difference between us.” The copy spoke in a slightly too high tone.

“You’re kidding right?” Leah asked in disbelief. Nick feigned being hurt by her comment with his right hand over his heart.”

“Of course.” He then quickly dismissed the awful copy. “The point is…”

A new copy spawned next to him. This one was much better than the last. If she hadn’t seen the new copy spawn, she would have had much more trouble telling the difference between the two. “With the right blend of power and finesse you can build an excellent copy.”

Leah stared blankly at first. Not saying anything just studying the method.

“Okay.”

“Now show me.” Leah wordlessly stood up ready to cast. Slowly, a Leah copy faded into view next to her. It was also a vast improvement to her previous attempts. “See, covering the basics again can help.”

“Yeah yeah.” She responds with a wave of her hand.

“Now for the real test.”

“What?”

~#~#~#~

It’s been weeks since Ezra had woken up at Laquatus’ feet. It seemed such a long time ago. Ever since he was fully rested and healed he’d been practicing nonstop at the capital. He swam down another long hallway in the depths of the undersea palace. Taking a left he swam by two guards patrolling.

“Hey what’s the rush?” One yelled as he swam by.

“Sorry, I’m gonna be late if I don’t hurry.” He called back to the two. He rounded the next corner at full speed dodging servants and other guards. He came close to running into a group of decorative shells. He was eager for the new lesson. With each lesson he remembered a little more about himself. As much as it saddened him, he learned the fate of his home town of Tidehollow.

His mind slowly drifted to the memories of what happened, and felt a small chill in the back of his neck at the thought. Luckily, he arrived at his destination before he drifted to much into thought. Ezra knocked on the door which quickly opened for him.

He swam inside the room. No light shinned. The darkness was almost unnatural. He looked around, but the place was bare. He could hardly see. Cautiously, Ezra extended the head of his cane forward casting a small light spell on it. slowly the darkness gave way to light. He was on edge. The whole scene made him feel like he was being watched.

Then it happened. A heavy blow smashed downward. Ezra couldn’t see it, but his paranoia paid off. He swam deeper inside as it crashed into the ground. The door slammed shut. A new spell came forth from his cane. His illumination quickly turned into rays that engulfed his invisible attacker. The rays swirled around it showing the once invisible being. With its outline showing, he was better suited to fight it.

“Dammit Turg, really? We go through this every day.” The glowing toad dropped its invisibility. It still glowed from the spell, but it didn’t seem to notice.

“I know, but I get bored.” It croaked back to him.

“Where’s master Laquatus?” Turg gave a yawn.

“He’s almost here. He’s just getting your next lesson.”

“That doesn’t sound foreboding at all.” He commented sarcastically.

“I can’t imagine why you would think such a thing my apprentice.” A voice echoed from the doorway. The door swung open to reveal Laquatus. “Turg get the cage outside.”

Wordlessly Turg swam to the doorway past Laquatus, and came back dragging a cage. This cage contained a hunched over merman holding the bars. He looked pathetic and pale, as if he hadn’t seen the light of day in months. Turg then opened the cage once it was placed in the middle of the room. He locked the merman in irons connected to the floor, but it didn’t look like it was necessary, since he looked thoroughly broken, and beaten for that matter.

“This is one of the prisoners from our dungeons. This one in particular has been sentenced to death. I offered instead of killing him, asked if I could use him for our sessions.”

“What will happen to him when we’re done?”

“Well if your learning has gone as expected Ezra then he will likely be set free as a new man.”

“And if not?”

“Why then his mind will be destroyed from the process, and this will have been the worst torture he has ever experienced. And death will be the greatest gift we can offer him. Either way, the man he was will be dead forever.”

Ezra looked uncomfortable at the prospect of being this man’s torturer. He was silent for a good moment as the prisoner cowered before them. But if he could save the man from death then this method could be preferable.

“Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Perfect! Now let’s begin. First, what we’re going to do is wipe his memories to make him a new person…”

~#~#~#~

Nick and Leah casually walked down the hallways of the former student center. They walked by the carpeted cafeteria which had turned into a social area of sorts. Inside they caught a glance of students practicing rudimentary magic with each other, while some simply socialized over some food and books. Even off to the side it looked like a couple were having lunch together. It amazed Leah how life simply continued.

“Okay and stop.” Nick suddenly said.

“What are we doing?”

“Testing your progress, my office is around the corner. Remember, we spent hours doing paperwork. We had to spawn an extra room just to fit it all. Tom is stuck there doing…”

“Okay I got it.” She cut him off. He was easy to work with and learn from, but sometimes he just knew where to prod to annoy you. Sometimes Leah wondered why she is still working for him. Her rotation had ended days ago after Tom’s return. I guess it’s because he’s the only one that shares my field of magical study.

“Alright then. What we’re going to do right quick is create doubles of ourselves. Since I’m not technically allowed inside the office…”

“Maytee threatened to shoot you if she caught you inside there.”

“Besides that, my double will sit outside. If you can make them think the double is you then we can go on to the next step of the lesson which is creating doubles of other people. Alright, any questions?”

“Nope, I understand.”

“Okay then let’s get this over with right quick, so we can begin our next lesson.” Oh god, he’s saying right quick a lot he must be nervous.

“Great.” Leah began casting first.

~#~#~#~

“That’s enough for today Ezra. You seem to have a good grasp of the technique’s we’ve covered today. We won’t need to repeat the lesson tomorrow. Now Hyveral do you remember why your here?” Laquatus faced the prisoner who was no longer chained to the floor.

“Y-yes. I’m a volunteer. I was suffering from severe nightmares that kept me from sleeping.

“Good. You do remember. Now if you don’t mind come with me and I will escort you to your room so you can rest. You’ve had a long day.” Laquatus took Hyveral by the arm and swam with him, guiding him through the doorway. “Now Ezra our session is over, but study the scrolls Turg is bringing before our next lesson.”

He called back to him.

“Yes sir.” As his master swam out Turg swam in with a stack of what looked to be about fifteen scrolls in its arms. It dropped the scrolls in front of Ezra which then just floated in front of him. “Thanks Turg.”

“Don’t mention it.” It said gruffly before it swam away as well.

“Let’s get started.” Ezra said to himself before he grabbed the first scroll with his webbed hand.

~#~#~#~

“Ah!!!” A scream then a crash is heard before Leah’s double rounded the corner into the office.

“What happened?” She asked them. Then she saw. Inside the once organized office were piles of paperwork that simply collapsed on the two hapless mages. Zach was under one pile with only his exposed hand twitching, and a few feet away was Tom scratching the back of his head.

“Sorry Zach, I guess you were right about not stacking the papers so high.”

“This would be my luck. Get me out!” He yelled from under the piles of paper. The Leah clone ran to aid the two. She grabbed stack after stack before the Lackey First Class was free.

“Why did you guys take the papers out of the filing cabinets? They were organized enough that you would have had half the work.”

“I thought if we had them out all at once we would be done faster.”

“Jeez you two are gonna be the death of Nick if he sees this mess.”

“What the hell have you two done?!” Nick yelled from the doorway.

“It’s okay Nick I can explain.” Tom began.

“You’ve only been doing this for two days!” Nick began to take a step inside.

“Nick don’t you dare. You know you’re not allowed in your office.” Nick took a step forward towards the door then began to shudder. He grabbed the doorway to support his weight. I coughed then began to breathe heavily. “Hold on I got you.”

She caught Nick before he fully collapsed, then threw his right arm over her shoulder, and began to carry him away.

“Wait let me help.” Tom said.

“No you’ve done enough. Clean up this mess and finish your job before you give him a heart attack. He’s only 21 you know.”

“Alright.” Tom looked downhearted. He almost got out of his paperwork, but still he hoped he didn’t hurt Nick.

“I’m going to take him to Sandra for some rest. You just keep working and you can visit him in a few hours if he’s still there.”

“‘Kay” The Leah clone then carried the Nick clone away.

~#~#~#~

Outside the door Nick and Leah hid, and did all they could to keep from laughing. Nick cast a spell the let him hear the conversation of the Tom and Zach as they left to hear the results.

“Jeez I hope Nick’s going to be okay.” Zach said first.

“Yeah, he looked pissed though.”

“Yeah.”

Nick and Leah were outside now listening from his cellphone. They were still cracking up.

“Wait! That’s it! Zach, get me as many yellow and brown crayons as you can find!” Tom suddenly announced.

“W-what?” Nick said before he busted out laughing. Leah was quick to follow.

“Why?” Zach asked.

“You’ll see. It’s my new sure fire way to get all of this done in no time!” Tom declared.

“Oh no he said it. He’s got some bad idea he thinks is going to work.” Leah said still cracking up.

“At least he doesn’t want a barrel of weasels again.”

“True.”

“We need to hide. We can’t let them see us till later.”

“Right, so the lesson’s over?”

“Yeah, good job by the way. I’ll see you tomorrow, same time?”

“Yeah, bye Nick.”

“Bye.” They both split ways to hide, but made it hard to be unnoticed since they were still laugh to themselves about the incident.

~#~#~#~

Ezra scoured the texts given to him. The lesson had already been a long one, but he needed to persevere, he only had eight more spells scrolls to learn from. His eyes began to hurt and blur from reading so long.

The boy rubbed his eyes, to clear them of their haze. His temples likely throbbed from a headache. He thought he could escape his fate, but he was wrong…

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