Little Cottonwood Cyn
July 14, 2005
“I did really well on my math test,” said Matt, throwing his towel over his shoulder. “I am sure that I did well enough to get three math credits. It was the one I was worried about. My very last test is the English one and it should be enough to get me graduated.”
“That’s good,” said Luc as they walked from the bathroom to the gym, in their skimpy wrestling singlets. His was red; Matt’s was orange. “I think this test will get me my BAC. France’s education system is so different than America’s.”
They crossed into the gym and saw Andersen standing there. Smith was always the rougher, more outdoorsy type. If he was there, then the activity would take on a more serious and perhaps more dangerous tone. They were probably learning a new technique, nothing serious. “Stand in the triangle between the three circles,” he said.
There were only the three circles on the mats of the floor. Matt decided that since the circles were arranged in a triangle, that the space between them was what Andersen meant. He stood there and the boys all gathered around him.
Andersen walked softly normally. But with the springy mat material that kept his boots from banging loudly, he might as well have been a ninja. Matt was surprised that Andersen was dressed up with his duster on. Usually in the gym, he went without it. He didn’t normally even wear his boots.
“Gather round, boys. I hope you have your staffs with you.” He looked and saw the matching hue of the stones and the singlets. “Hold them out and I will load a new override.” They all held the heads of their staffs toward their professor, who tapped them each, with his larger, shiny black stone. A flash of mana light transferred with each tap.
“Matt, stand here,” he pointed to a space along the edge of one of the white circles in the mats. “And Luc, you stand here.” He pointed to another spot on the same circle. He turned clockwise and arranged the twins on the second circle over, then placed Justin and Nehto on the third circle. Matt noted that they were all lined up around the supposed triangle between the circles in order of their bunks.
“Place your staffs in the circle behind you and stand up straight.” Andersen was firm, but it wasn’t hard to tell he had a kind heart. Matt preferred this teacher to the other two, though Smith certainly got your attention from the get-go.
The teacher slammed his staff into the padding of the mat and his glossy black crystal flashed an almost incandescent, white light. He raised his hand and drew a circle in the air. All six boys levitated, pinned, as it were, in the air.
Matt could not move his body or his face, only his eyes could follow as his favorite teacher drew a large bladed weapon from his duster and thrust it into Matt’s ribcage. It was a Mexican machete, and the point went all the way through him, coming out the other side.
Matt rolled his right eye down and could just see the end of the handle. He was almost too surprised to scream, almost.
Anderson wiggled the blade then pulled it out. Blood gushed. He very calmly walked over to and stabbed Owain, and then Nehto. Everything went gray, and then black.
The first thing he heard was sobbing. It was Luc. “Wake up, Matty!” he heard through the weeping. “Come back, mon Ami!” He felt hands on his arm and chest shaking him.
He felt tears drop on his face. He opened is eyes and saw his colleague kneeling over him. Blood was everywhere on the mats, but none on him. He reached for his right side where he expected to find a gash the size of the Grand Canyon, but nothing. He didn’t feel any pain and he no longer felt faint.
He sat up and looked around.
“You stabbed me!” yelled Owain, leaping from the mat toward Andersen. He reached out his hands as if to grab the teacher by the throat. But he wasn’t fast enough; Andersen slammed his staff and all the boys were pinned in a circle in the air around him.
“Gentlemen,” he said calmly, “no one was permanently injured. No one was ever in danger of dying.”
“I saw Angels,” said Nehto. “They told me to stay since it wasn’t my time and that Justin would be able to heal me. I watched from over there.” He indicated with his eyes as he was unable to move anything else.
“And that’s precisely why we do this lesson on healing here under controlled circumstances.” He walked calmly around the inside of the circle of boys.
Joel, Justin, and Luc were ashen. The last two still had tears drying on their faces and Joel looked madder than Matt had ever seen him.
“I gave you all a new mana override,” he said looking at the former victims. “The first three healers have already used them. We will now switch roles.” He then proceeded to stab Luc, Joel, and Justin.
Fountains of blood spurted clear to the center of the triangle. Andersen’s duster was drenched and one by one the eyes of the three boys fluttered and the screaming stopped. Luc’s blood flow slowed to a patter and then slow drips. Matt smelled strong urine from the boys on either side of him.
“They’re dead, you Sadist!” cried Nehto. “Let us heal them!”
The pattern holding them in the air released and they all dropped to the mats. The unconscious boys bounced heavily.
“Quickly,” shouted Andersen, “get and read the pattern description. You need to slam the staff and tap your colleague while you say ‘Muti suthi a’did!’” He repeated the key phrase. “And hurry!”
Matt had already grabbed his staff by the time the teacher had finished. He found the pattern in his crystal’s directory and slammed the staff. He tapped Luc on the chest and called out ‘Muti suthi a’did!’”
What happened next was almost as surprising as the original stabbing. Luc began to inflate as if he were a balloon. What started out as a limp, six feet tall boy, turned into a soft, ripply cylinder ten feet long with a three-foot radius. Luc now resembled a circus balloon.
Then something particular happened. The cylinder began to deflate with the sound of a balloon being held by a rude nine-year-old. When the farting noises stopped, Luc was lying there, whole. The sickly gray color had been replaced by the proper olivine skin tones he normally had. The blood and urine on his skin and singlet were gone, too, as were the tears and snot on his face.
Matt shook his colleague’s shoulder and said “Reveille-toi, mon vieu.”