Over and over the memory plays on repeat in my head. I even felt what he was feeling at the time which isn't something I had read could happen, so that could only mean I had also accessed empathy. I didn't even know they knew each other. The look on her eyes when the image cleared up, I had seen that look before, the many times that she spoke about my dad. Love.
I'm so caught up in my own thoughts that I don't even notice when Farrah or anyone else performed the psionic skill. I did notice when I came off the stage and Farrah tried to get into my head. I felt her trying to get behind the walls that gran had taught me to build. Thank goodness they were still intact even though my head was all over the place.
Before I knew it, my name was being called for the fourth test, manipulation. It was supposed to be an easy one, just do the metamorphosis we practiced. Change my hair, my eyes, anything. When I got to the stage though, my mind drew a complete blank. I just stood there, looking out at the crowd, begging the ground to swallow me whole.
Suddenly, the ring on my finger grows hot against my skin and I look down to see what's wrong with it. It's a good thing I did too, or else I wouldn't have seen it happening. Ever so slowly, my legs start sinking into the floor. In no time at all I'm up to my neck and sinking, my eyes wide with panic. Darkness surrounds me.
It's clear I've performed tunneling but what's not clear is how, or even how to fix it. I'm stuck in the ground of the gymnasium. The silence is deafening and the darkness is terrifying. Squeezing my eyes shut I beg to be taken back to the gym. Panic sets in when I come to the realization that I at be stuck like this forever and I chant harder.
"Take me back, take me back, take me back." I know I'm crying , there should be moisture in my face, but I feel nothing. I feel the ring burning into my finger again and I'm the blink of an eye on deposited in a heap,back on the gym stage. My lungs burn and my eyes are itching something fierce. Farrah rushes to my side, but the headmaster stops her. He indicates to the nurse who is standing off to the side and she helps me up and off the stage to check me out.
Not one to be deterred, Farrah follows behind us with the headmaster not far behind.
"Ms. Adams, while I hope you are ok, and I applaud your attempt at advanced manipulation, you will be awarded no score for this skill area. What you did was reckless." I simply nod and turn away from him. He makes his way back to his place in the stage to continue with the testing.
Once the nurse completes her examination of me, she places a bottle of water in my hand and leaves Farrah and I alone. "What the hell were you thinking?" She whisper yells at me. " I don't know what you saw in Crew's head, but since then you've been all over the place. Get it together, we have energy next and you need to be focused or things can go badly. " She looks toward the stage when her name is called and pulls me in for a quick hug before going to perform the metamorphosis that I should have performed as well.
Farrah was right, I needed to get my head in the game. We had come up with sort of a routine to do together, already getting approval from the headmaster to work together rather than alone for the energy portion of the testing. And it was indeed something we needed to be focused for or things could get messy. Like a lot messy.
from my place in the corner of the room I watch as Echo takes the stage. Asher had performed a duplicator spell, making a duplicate of himself. It was really good too, I couldn't even tell which was real and which was duplicate. Echo, still engorged from his potion, draws magic from the statue with relative ease and then he's gone. Cloaking, nice. Why couldn't I have done something like that. We're all waiting for his reappearance with rapt attention. Something like this has possibilities, would her reappear on the stage? At the door? In the crowd of students?
I'm looking around just like everyone else when I feel something caress my cheek and I'm frozen in place. "I'm glad you're ok." He whispers in my ear. I feel the distinct imprint of his lips on my cheek right at the corner of my mouth and I know my face is red. Just as quickly as he came, he's gone. I hear a scream and giggle and when I find the source I'm engulfed in jealousy. Echo has his hands around Etenia, his face buried in her neck. I shake off the feeling, all of it. The jealousy, the confusion, everything. My mind is fully on what Farrah and I have to do in a short while.
Turns out that short time was a bit longer than I thought since they left the both of us for last. In hindsight it made sense since we were doing it together, but it didn't have me any less nervous. We walk you are the stage and get ready for our fifth and final test for the day, energy.
Energy is when you take one form of energy and turn it into something else entirely. It's mostly used for defensive magic. Farrah and I had stayed up most of the night and put together something consisting of everything we had learnt so far. The only reason we did it this way was because neither of us were particularly outstanding in this field, only having mastered a few things.
Farrah walks to one end of the stage and me another. She looks to me for confirmation that I'm ready and I take a quick breath before sending a nod her way.
I watch carefully as Farrah builds her element of fire until it's the size of a basketball. She releases the ball and it comes barreling toward me at an ungodly speed. There's a collective gasp from the student body, and I even see the headmaster raise from his seat in my peripheral but I don't let any of that distract me. Just before the ball crashes into me, I extend my hands and capture it kid air. I watch as it floats between my hands, the heat producing beads of sweat on my brows. I hold it there while I recite the absorption spell in my head. Slowly, the fireball is sucked into my hands until there's no more. I look down at my hands, this always being my favourite part. My entire body is aglow, like a phoenix about to take flight. Taking my cue from Farrah, I say the conversion spell and send not only a bolt of lightning, but also a gusty of wind in her direction. The crowd gasps even louder the nearer it got to her since she was showing no signs of trying to stop it as I did. Even headmaster takes a few steps forward but stops short when the mini storm I sent her way is stopped inches from her body by the shield she had put in place. The lightning fizzles out and the wind circles her force field for a bit before completely dying.
We stand in silence, staring at each other, Farrah with a big goofy grin on her face at our success. Out of nowhere, the students scream out a raucous applause, some even whistling loudly. The sound of hands clapping together a deafening sound in the giant gymnasium. Farrah bounds over to me and engulfs me a warm hug.
It takes a moment for the faculty to get things back to a normal quiet level, and when they did they told us we could talk quietly amongst ourselves while they finished scoring and placing us. It was a tough day but all in all both Farrah and I were successful with what we set out to do. Well, except for my tunneling snafu.
As I listen to Farrah and the twins go on and on about how they hoped to get placed in at least a couple of the same classes, my eyes land on headmaster Cree. I'm brought back to the memory I tripped into and the questions start shooting off once more. His eyes meet mine and when he notices I'm watching he quickly turns his attention back to the table once more.
I'll find out how he knew my mother. One way or the other.