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6: New Year, New Trouble, New Resolution

“A lot of people are going to have a lot of things to say about this,” I said as I eyed the statue standing in the newly opened Valor square of Firewalt.

It was actually a combination of different statues really. It showed all of us defenders standing back to back in a circle with our weapons drawn, actually all the other defenders except me. I was standing on a pentagram made in the circle they had formed, kinda like I was soaring above everyone with Stan looking up at me while handing me a flower- what in the world was the dragon lady thinking doing something like that?

“Now, this is something you don’t see every day,” said someone behind me and I turned to see Kendra. She was wearing a green shirt, black jeans, red cloak that really complemented her hair; and of course, a big smile like always.

“Do you know the kind of trouble that will erupt, especially for me, when everyone knows about this?” I asked as I walked towards her. I could just imagine Stan’s reaction above everyone else’s- just thinking about it made me shudder already.

“Nothing’s gonna happen,” she replied with a dismissive wave. “I love it and I think everyone will. It shows our dedication, courage and teamwork in helping you, the face of magic.”

Wow! She putting it that way really made it sound nice, admirable even. “But why is Stan giving me a flower? He and I are not lovers, remember,” I queried; she seemed to know a lot so I thought she might be able to answer that.

“It’s not a dating flower, silly,” she replied as she smacked me lightly on the arm. “That’s a Lotus flower and it symbolizes life in the magic world.”

“Isn’t Oliver and my Mom supposed to be the ones who gave me life?”

“The Lotus is for the rebirth you underwent last year,” she replied and rolled her eyes which prompted a laughter from me; and that resulted in more eyes rolling and more laughter respectively.

“Victoria said you’re hopeless when it comes to magic theory and obviously she wasn’t kidding,” she said as she took her leave but stopped and came back to say, “By the way, Ms. Firewalt wants to see you, now.”

“What in the world for?” I asked with a perplexed look. I wasn’t told that there was any meeting scheduled and I didn’t think there was something urgent that Francesca and I needed to discuss.

“Go find out for yourself,” was all Kendra replied me before she ran off, cutting my chances to get another word out; guess she already had enough of the Q&A for one day.

Well, there was nothing else to do, I had to go find out what the dragon lady wanted.

I walked into Francesca’s office to see her dressed in a pink sweater and black jeans. Her hair was let down and she was concentrating on what I think is a cookbook- a lot casual, are we?

“If you asked me here to give you dating advice, I’m sad to say you’ve come to the wrong place;” I said in order to get her attention; plus that was actually the real truth. I was really bad at relationship advice.

“I’m happy to see that the year hasn’t taken away any of your widely inappropriate remarks,” she said as she looked up and smiled at me. “Please have a seat.”

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” I asked after I complied.

“Oliver told me that you already know about Trichloris’ rumored return,” she said and I saw her face take on the ‘I’m all business’ look that’s so conversant with her- I guess we’re down to business now, aren’t we?

“Yes,” I replied. “I learnt about it two days ago”. Among other things.

“So, how have you been holding up?”

“What do you mean?”

She gave me a look like I was being unserious. “A man that you thought you killed was rumored to still be alive and you’re not concerned?” she asked, getting up from her seat and moving closer as if the change in position was going to convince me to say otherwise.

“There’s nothing to be concerned about, it’s only a rumour,” I reinstated firmly. “Besides, he was the one who almost killed me last year so he has no right be in the revenge seat.”

“But you and I know that Trichloris doesn’t think in the same manner as we do. He’s evil, ruthless, and would stop at nothing to get what he wants,” she said as she touched me gently and stared straight into my eyes.

“And my downfall is one of the things on his to-do list,” I added; that was what she was going to say anyway. I got up and started pacing but as usual, got easily tired of it and sat down back.

“I want you to know that I’m here if you need anything, even if it’s just to talk or otherwise,” she said and gave me a reassuring nod.

“Thank you”, I replied and kissed her hand. “But I can take care of myself. Trichloris doesn’t scare me.”

“But he should, Troy,” she said as she got up from the seat so fast it tipped over. “You know what happened when you faced him alone last year.” She seemed to realize that she was losing the ‘business’ look so she calmed herself down and tried again. “What I’m saying is that you should be careful and not do anything stupid,” she said. “That’s all for now.”

“Have a nice day, Ms. Firewalt,” I said as I took my leave- it seemed rather appropriate for that talk we just had, right?

I got out of the office and made a rethink of what we had just discussed. Trichloris was dangerous and although most of what we did last year was defensive against the evil he himself conjured, he would still want undying revenge against us; I especially.

Well, he might be all powerful and dangerous; but if he came looking for trouble, I would give it to him; and in abundance too. Of course, there was a big chance that he was dead. But with every passing moment, my spirit was telling me I might just be surprised.

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