“Umm…. Right. Things I cannot explain happened, but we need to get our morning exercises done before we lose anymore time. Aaliyah, cake and ice cream still don’t count as a meal. Sorry. Alma, Ai, Mai… Feel free to stay and watch if you wish.” I stated.
Alma sighed and said, “Don’t you think you should burn off some of that energy first, James. Though I could manage to keep shielding everyone as I work, it would be tedious.”
“Oh. Sorry. Care to show me that spell again? If I can manage to do something similar to what you’re doing, I could kill two birds with one stone. It was something like this, right?” I asked, surprised how easily I could pull magic from my body as I attempted to recreate what Alma had done from memory.
“That’s… about right, actually. You need to modify these parts like this.” she told me as she demonstrated. “Unfortunately, this sort of thing isn’t very well perfected yet, since no one has discovered precisely why variations of the spell work better for different people. This seems to suffice if you provide ample amounts of energy for it.”
“Let me try on Aaliyah for starters, and then we’ll go from there.” I suggested.
“How did you remember that?” asked Ai and Mai in unison.
Looking at the twins, Alma said, “Shush.” Then she turned back to me and told me “You may proceed, James.”
I was well aware that I wouldn’t have recalled anything but the smallest fraction of the spell before, but now I could recall far more. There wasn’t a trick to it. The part I had wrong was off simply because of the angle I had been at when first viewing the spell. I unleashed the spell on Aaliyah and was surprised when it vanished before I managed to feed any energy into it.
“Ah. Yes. You have to start the energy flow slightly before you release the spell. Your natural magic tends to overwhelm protections rather quickly, especially at the moment.” stated Alma.
I managed on my second try, gauging how much energy to feed into the spell off what Alma was doing.
“Perfect. I trust you can handle the rest then while I get back to work.” stated Alma, as she sat down on a chair that floated in behind her.
Looking at the other spells forming around her, I was betting that her laptops would be joining her shortly. I quickly repeated the spell I made for Aaliyah on the others, just before Alma let her own spells on them dissipate. Maintaining the flow of energy to that many spells would’ve been impossible for me before, but now I could manage, though it was a bit tricky.
Cosette proved to be a complete beginner at fighting, not even possessing a basic understanding of key concepts. At Alma’s insistence, Ai and Mai took over instructing her for me, so I could focus on instructing the others. Surprisingly, the twins were really gentle with Cosette.
By the end of the martial arts exercises, I stopped maintaining the spells altogether. I wasn’t feeling weaker exactly, but I could tell that I had used enough. There was this feeling I couldn’t quite describe that had changed, somewhat like I’d imagine an extra sense.
“I see it!” exclaimed Cosette.
I had been teaching Brenna and Emma a way to redirect fire back at attackers while Ai and Mai were still working with Cosette.
“Could your parents use magic?” asked Alma.
“No. At least, I never saw them using anything other than vampire magic.” replied Cosette. Suddenly looking around, Cosette asked “Who was that?”
“Who was what?” I inquired, motioning for Brenna and Emma to stop.
“That voice…” stated Cosette.
“His name is Adelmar. When you saw residual energy, he decided to try touching your mind.” stated Alma, not even looking up from her work.
Cosette looked horrified. Funny enough, the twins did as well.
“She is our cousin?” demanded the twins.
“No idea. This is interesting though.” replied Alma. “Letting one of us be turned has always been considered an abomination, but having a spy inside the vampire ranks could prove quite useful.”
“No. Absolutely not. Father didn’t want me involved with vampire politics anymore than he wanted me involved with your family.” stated Cosette.
Smiling, Alma asked “Don’t you mean our family?” Her numerous laptops moved to the side as she stood. “You don’t have to decide right away. Consider this though: Adelmar can be very generous to his family.”
Standing as well, Cosette glared defiantly as she said, “And his children? Theirs? I plan to live for a very long time.”
“There are risks. I won’t lie. Just consider joining us. If you care to join me for a chat sometime, I’ll gladly tell you more about our family.” claimed Alma.
I was disturbed that Alma was lying when she said she wouldn’t lie. Perhaps, there were some things she couldn’t share? The twins didn’t look pleased by this turn of events, but this was actually going over better than I expected.
Emma stepped up behind Cosette, touched her shoulder, and said, “I’ll talk with you about them too. I am, after all, part of that family as well.”
Alma wasn’t happy, but the emotion flitted across her face and was gone in the blink of an eye.
Cosette looked surprised as she replied “James hadn’t mentioned that.”
I wasn’t certain that I should get involved anymore than I had already, but I’d definitely advise against accepting Adelmar’s offer if asked. Perhaps even if I wasn’t. I couldn’t imagine all of that family being as accepting as the ones here, not with how the twins reacted to the news.
“Is telepathy common among Slayers then?” asked Jarod, who had hung around to watch after Brandon took off.
Smiling at him, Alma said, “No comment. James, is something wrong?”
Things clicked. When Jarod asked, I started wondering why he would think telepathy is common. I found Adelmar being a telepath somewhat of a revelation, even if he accomplished the feat through magic. The twins though. I should have noticed sooner. The way they looked at one another as if having a private chat through their eyes combined with how they moved together was too much to be coincidence. Even with my newly enhanced senses, they were too perfectly in sync. As a dancer, I should’ve known how difficult moving as they did would be. A lifetime of practice would give some credence to their adaptability, but they were too perfect. I should’ve known.
“Ah. Well, that can be discussed in private later if you wish.” stated Alma as if she were reading my mind.
Did she? No. There were too many times where Alma misjudged me.
“What are you talking about?” asked Brenna. “Is there a spell to communicate at range?”
“Yes, actually, but it’s exceedingly difficult. I can try to teach you eventually, but you’re not ready yet.” replied Alma.
She wasn’t lying. I wanted to learn that spell as well.
I suggested “Let’s stop here for today. We’ve become sidetracked enough that we might as well move along.”
No one argued, so I pondered for a moment what to do next. I wanted to talk with Alma more about telepathy, but the twins might want to be present if we’re talking about them. I wanted to talk with Cosette and warn her against Adelmar’s offer. I needed to get Jarod alone sometime and discuss my changes with him. As my best friend, he deserved to know what I could tell him. I was far faster now than I was a day ago, but I couldn’t be in multiple places at once. What should come first?