Kyle did call the cops. He didn’t want the Archmagi to sweep the incident under the rug. That made for a very long night followed by a few long days of police questioning. When they told the police what had happened they immediately detained him and Jessie for further questioning.
In the end it didn’t lead to anything. Kyle’s story matched Jessie’s and the evidence discovered in the under ground medical facility. The police couldn’t think of anything that could have killed Thomas, who they eventually only identified via genetic testing, other than magic. Kyle knew magic, of course, but the police simply didn’t seem to believe he could have used it against an Archmage to such dramatic effect. Having attempted to use magic against Thomas, Kyle agreed completely.
When he was eventually released, a lawyer representing Archmage Charles met him almost immediately outside the jail and asked if he wanted training. The lawyer didn’t really specify what sort of training, but he didn’t really need to. After reaching some basic agreements, Kyle was very happy to accept.
* * *
Jessie got out of jail before Kyle. The police held her overnight, so they could question her the next day. Still, once they’d looked into her background and learned she didn’t know any magic, they’d been fairly certain she couldn’t have killed Thomas. They’d actually said as much, “given the state of the body we feel magic was used, can you tell us about the spell?” The officer who’d asked that question had been at the scene of the crime. He hesitated before saying “body” and had kind of a sour expression on his face. Given the state of the massive crazy magic blender Jessie had seen going for Thomas she expected “body” was something of a misnomer. She’d described things to the best of her ability, and that seemed to answer their questions, though it did so in a way they obviously didn’t like.
Jessie spent the next couple of days going nuts, both figuratively and literally. The police wouldn’t let her communicate with Kyle in any way so that was stressful. Kyle had grown on her even before he managed to rescue her from a malevolent Archmage, and now she felt she owed him. She wasn’t exactly sure where things went next, but she didn’t want to see him locked up.
Kyle had been worried the Archmagi would try to hush up the whole incident. If they had, they’d done a terrible job of it. The news spoke of little else for the next week. The event was analyzed from angles political, economic, social, and just plain stupid. Oddly enough, the conclusion generally reached seemed to be that Thomas had always been a bit of a jerk, but his actions weren’t necessarily representative of the Archmagi in general. There were a lot of stories from the illusion industry to back up the “always a jerk” thing, but perhaps some subtle media manipulation was behind the latter part of the conclusion.
Jessie contacted Suma, and her friends at the club, and let them know she was alright. Suma had been really worried and was glad to hear from her. From other Prime Meridian workers she learned the club had been sold and was temporarily shut down. She wasn’t certain what that meant for Dwennon, but she did receive an email that said, in it’s entirety, “Thank you. Your debt has been discharged.” There was also a couple of thousand dollars deposited in her bank account anonymously. She took that to be a sort of TIP.
The literal going insane was a bit harder to deal with. Whatever had been done to her body was still going on. She could constantly feel a sort of buzzing somewhere in her mind. It was magic, of course, it was like she’d been locked in the “on” position shortly after Thomas had worked his spell on her. At first that had been lucky as it was the only way she’d managed Yorick’s Sheep Finder. The problem was, if she didn’t focus the power somehow, it seemed to swirl away into a spell her body was now constantly performing on its own. She was an Enchanted.
The enchantment made her crazy strong, impossibly fast, and lit her senses on fire. It also made her burn to use all that strength and power, and gave her strange ideas about what she should do. She found herself doing sit-ups and push-ups while she watched TV in her hotel room. She went nuts on the hotel fitness equipment, and jogged for hours when there was nothing better to do. Once she did a standing jump from the street to a dumpster and only stopped herself from doing a few more jumps on it just to see how high she could go when she had a flashback to watching Servant do that.
She found herself following random people on the street and only managed to stop each time because she had no real reason to watch them. Her interest was somewhat predatory; though not like she wanted to attack them. More like…. More like crazy magic had messed with her mind and body. She lost a lot weight, and got very tired of the scent of vanilla.
It wasn’t until the third day that she was contacted by a lawyer representing “Charles the Archmage” with an offer of aid. When she spoke to him she found he was working with Kyle who had tipped him off to her situation. He couldn’t directly remove the spell from Jessie’s DNA because if there was a spell for writing DNA back to normal he didn’t know it. What he knew was a spell that wrote magic into DNA. That, he said, would be good enough.
Jessie only agreed because she was certain she was going insane. Fortunately, he was as good as his word. He wrote a several spells into Jessie’s DNA things she could direct the magic into other than the one Thomas had put on her. The one she usually used was kind of interesting. It made any container that should contain 1 cubic into a container that held .9862347561 cubic meters. It burned a lot of power and kept the enchantment Thomas had put on her at bay.
Charles given her some other useful things. Some self defense stuff, rapid healing, and a few other odds and ends. It all seemed a bit unnecessarily 007 to Jessie, but she found she didn’t mind. She’d been attacked far too frequently lately, now she “pitied the fool” who’d choose to mess with her.
* * *
Kyle and Jessie sat at the end of the pier on Charles’s Caribbean island. The water was crystal blue and as warm as a bath. The sea was calm as far as the eye could see. There were a few clouds but they looked like cotton puffs drifting on the wind.
Kyle looked over at Jessie, “You’re looking better.” He ventured. That was actually a tremendous understatement. Jessie was wearing a daring bathing suit, sporting a glowing tan, and seemed to have toned every last muscle in her body. Kyle expected if she wiggled her ears some sleek and glistening muscle would flex with the motion. It was a nice change. For a while she’d looked a bit like a cancer patient and smelled like a sugar cookie soaked in Everclear.
“And I know where the nearest sheep is!”
Kyle couldn’t help but laugh. “Did you really have him put that in?’
“Nah, I thought about it, but I had him put this in instead. Jessie held up her hand and a row of eleven lights flickered into being above it. Kyle knew the spells, each one of them had been invented using Tekhnikos Lux they weren’t even close to the most efficient spells the technique could manage. He’d cast hundreds of light spells simultaneously before selecting those. That was the standard approach to selecting a set of spells for use with Tekhnikos Oratio.
He summoned magic, a far far faster process after the past months of training, and then twisted his hand into a sign language letter. A light appeared above Kyle’s hand, and the same color light above Jessie’s palm flickered out. She grinned at him. “It seems like you’ll be able to call any time.”
“Yeah, and you can turn on just one of them.”
She nodded. They were quiet for a bit. Eventually Jessie looked over at him, “You’re looking like a tool.”
Kyle would have liked to object, but he was in fact looking like a tool. Charles had him wearing what he assured Kyle were traditional apprentices robes. Kyle gave it 85% odds that the robes were actually some antique graduation robes Charles had purchased on-line. The Archmage seemed to love practical jokes. It didn’t matter, Kyle was following the man’s instructions to the letter and he was learning rapidly. If that meant he looked silly it was a trade he was willing to make.
“So how much longer until you’re a mighty Archmage and you can wear trousers again?”
“That is apparently a difficult question. Charles will teach me what he thinks I need to learn to keep me from being a danger. That should only take a few more months, but I’ll never be an Archmage until I prove myself.”
“And how’s that done?”
“So what are you going to do in the mean time, oh not terribly mighty apprentice mage?”
“Aside from, ‘What Charles tells me to?’ I hear there’s an opening in the illusion industry. Lots of small firms are growing these days. Apparently spells were being suppressed across the board. It’s pretty easy to develop a light spell even without the Tekhnikos.” Kyle swept a foot through the water. He’d worn the stupid robe, but he had rolled it up and taken off his shoes. They were in the Caribbean after all. It was hot.
“Really? Thinking of going back into business?”
“Yeah, and I could use an assistant.”
Jessie swept a strand of hair off of her face and grinned, “I might be available. But you’re going to have to pay me more. I’ve got previous industry experience.”