“James.” came some distant voice. “James!?” The voice sounded urgent. “JAMES!?” exclaimed Alma.
Alma… I lost track of my thoughts, turning from what I was reading to see her. Wait. Nothing was in front of me. Alma looked… worried.
“Is something wrong!?” I asked, standing and moving to her.
She seemed relieved as she grabbed my hands. “What have you been doing? I haven’t heard from you in days. By the end of the second, I asked Mila to contact you, but she claimed that you seemed to be sleeping. She failed to mention that you were sleeping at a desk.”
“Sorry to offend you, Lady Pendreigh, but my master was indisposed.” replied Mila.
“I’ve heard quite enough of that, thank you.” stated Alma, sounding annoyed.
I could feel her magic pulsing through her body. How angry was she?
I gently squeezed her hands as I said, “I truly am sorry for worrying you. I’ve been working something out.”
“Oh? Something for our wedding?” she asked, smiling at me.
“No. Sorry.” I replied.
“Please, don’t be upset.” I begged. “I don’t even know what day we’re on now. I hope I didn’t miss any clients.”
Mila quickly assured me “No, master. Don’t worry. Your schedule was cleared ahead.”
I sighed in relief and said, “Well, I’m thankful for that at least.”
“But what has kept you so preoccupied?” demanded Alma.
“I can finish Jarod’s suit. There are still some things I’d like to refine more, but he’s going to be thrilled!” I exclaimed.
“Finished? What do you mean?” she asked.
“Oh. Remember how he had asked me to enchant his suit for him? I know how now.” I told her.
“I already showed you how such a thing could be done.” she replied.
“What?” I asked. Oh. I remembered what she had shown me. “No. That would never do. The enchantments as you do them can never hold on their own, and the spells you demonstrated are too inefficient.”
She looked offended as she said, “And you can do better?”
“Sorry. Please, don’t be mad. I really can do better. Far better.” I insisted. “Give me a couple hours, and I’ll show you.”
“Now what are you doing?” she asked.
“I need to stop in my forest for a minute, and then I’ll get to work.” I explained.
“You expect this to take you a couple hours? Let me watch.” she commanded.
“I can’t, not yet.” I replied.
She was frowning at me, obviously displeased.
“I promise this will be worth the wait.” I told her before kissing her hand. “Please, just a little longer.”
She rolled her eyes, but a smile tugged at her lips for a moment. “You’ll pay if I’m disappointed.” she warned.
“No doubt. See you soon.” I told her. I only took a step before turning back to her and asking, “Would you do your best to protect everyone’s minds for a bit?”
“How much are you planning on absorbing?” she asked.
I smiled and said, “You’ll soon feel it.”
She took off, hopefully to help the others.
I ran to my forest and then waited several minutes, pacing in my impatience. There was so much to do. Fey had started gathering around me, so I started making spells to protect them a bit as well. Then I pulled at the energy around me, drawing all I could to me. I moved, casting spells to protect fey I saw as I went, and then I pulled more energy to me before repeating the acts several more times.
I took off to the garage, jumping down inside, since Mila had already lowered a lift for me. I smiled, seeing Jarod’s suits. He really did amazing work, and Mila had fabricated extras for me, one for everyone. I was only going to enchant one for now though. I started, layering spell after spell into the suit and continually feeding them all energy as I worked. Then I started working on the big spell.
In the past few days, ― Had it really been that long? ―my understanding of magic had grown tremendously. I knew the meaning behind a great many of the symbols formed to make spells after seeing them repeated over and over and over again. I eventually was able to piece together what I knew as Aaliyah had hinted, creating a spell capable of creating other spells.
In addition to feeding the spells in place, my spell would react to a large number of triggers, creating spells based off the templates within it to further strengthen the wearer or redirect dangerous magic. Heat applied against the suit would automatically be redirected toward the ground. Strong winds would pass around the wearer. Well, both effects actually varied by other conditions. If the wearer’s body temperature were to change after donning the suit, the spell would help balance it. If a breeze created by the wearer were to affect the suit, the spell should still work.
That last part might not work quite as intended. Despite the vastness of the database, certain symbols only appeared once, and I had to make guesses at their purpose based off their use. Whatever the case, I’d be able to refine my spells more in time. With Jarod’s permission, I’d be able to get a suit to all of my employees and make use of them in our sparring sessions. Then we could test both the suit and its enchantments with relative safety.
All other thoughts left me as I focused on the trickier parts of the spell. More and more concentration was needed as I held the enormous creation in place till completion. I checked and double-checked my work, making sure everything was in place. When released, I sensed nothing from the suit. I waited patiently, smiling as I watched energy drift into the suit and disappear.
In my research, I came across a spell for hiding residual energy. I had attempted to refine it further with knowledge of other spells I found. From what I saw, the spell worked perfectly. Despite the enormous amount of magic this suit could contain, the only sign of it would be residual energy disappearing when coming in contact with the suit.
“You did receive Jarod’s permission for this test, correct?” I asked.
“Of course, master, though I failed to mention that we were testing the magic of the suit and not the suit itself. Knowing Jarod, he probably is guessing at our purpose, but he didn’t say.” replied Mila.
“Well, I don’t intend to keep him in suspense for long. Let’s get this one to Alma. Mind summoning her to her chambers?” I asked.
“As you wish, master.” stated Mila.
I jumped onto the rising lift and jumped from there to the surface level before running to Alma’s wing. I couldn’t keep myself from smiling, despite my efforts.
“James? Are you finished? You would not believe the amount of energy I had to expend simply to maintain my spells. I dare say half of the state might have been affected by you.” she stated in a rather accusatory manner.
“I can’t help being myself.” I told her, though I did feel a touch guilty. I still didn’t believe affecting the minds of others was right, but I knew of no way to isolate my effects. Perhaps if I did more research…
“Did you fail?” asked Alma, staring dubiously at the suit. “You don’t expect me to wear that, do you?”
I pushed some nearby energy toward the suit and watched Alma as it disappeared. She seemed… slightly quizzical.
“Yes, I do expect you to wear this. Aside from Raine, you’re the most durable person here.” I stated.
“I would have suggested Cosette to be your guinea pig, since she might actually get some use from this thing.” retorted Alma.
I failed to suppress a smirk. If my spells worked as I thought they would, Alma was in for a surprise.
“I’ll wait for you out back.” I told her.
“Race you there.” she teased, dashing off to change.
She did beat me, much to my surprise. Stopping in front of me with a look of shock on her face. I could’ve ran faster, but I would never match her speed with the suit’s enhancement.
“This accelerates the mind as well as the body.” she muttered. “Oh, James… this might well be addictive.”
“Mind if I try a few spells against you?” I asked.
She took a defensive stance and smiled.
“No, don’t defend yourself. The suit should handle these by itself.” I told her.
She crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. I quickly created a spell to attack her from four directions with fire. The flames seemed to be sucked under her feet.
“If you wanted to test fire, all you needed to do was ask.” she stated.
“No! Don’t!” I warned, thankful when I felt her magic stop. “You should be able to affect yourself with spells that the suit would stop from others, so you could probably burn it off and ruin our tests.”
“I see.” she replied.
“Try running without your usual spells.” I suggested.
She acquiesced, and my magic seemed to be working. She wasn’t displacing the air. I didn’t sense any heat as she passed me. I created a spell to reduced friction under her feet, but she didn’t seem to slip.
“What was that!?” she asked.
Oh. Oops. I quickly explained “A variation of one of the spells you use when you move. I created a slick spot in the grass, and the suit countered nicely.”
Nodding, she said, “Mind showing me that spell? I only caught a glimpse.”
“Sorry. I can’t show you any of what I used in the suit until we’re married. Aaliyah gave me access to a… spellbook of sorts.” I explained.
She frowned but nodded again. Then she said, “This is absolutely remarkable. I don’t believe I could keep up with Raine for an instant, but I feel stronger.”
My smile broadened as I told her “I think the suit will work for Raine as well, though I’m not certain. Hopefully, she’ll give it a try when hers is enchanted.”
“Did you prepare your own?” she asked.
“No. Not yet.” I replied.
She sighed and then asked “Whose then? Surely not Jarod’s when he’s not even here.”
“No, but I plan on doing his next and delivering it to him in Japan. I only finished yours.” I admitted.
“Only mine!?” she exclaimed, obviously surprised by the idea.
“Well, yes. The spell which holds everything together is… complicated. I’ve done nothing but work toward this for days.” I explained.
“I’ll be quite interested in seeing this spellbook once we’re married.” she told me.
The way she had said “married” made me smile even more. She sounded quite happy with the idea.
“You won’t find the spell in there. I made it.” I announced.
“James, experimenting with magic is dangerous… You should’ve asked for help at very least.” she chided.
I nodded and said, “I remember. I just… “ I stopped thinking about why I had just gone through with it. I hadn’t even asked Aaliyah if I had things right. “I felt really confident in it. I know each part very well, having been quite careful in my design. Most of the time I spent enchanting the suit was spent on that one spell. It’s enormous. You won’t believe the size of it. Just creating it is a bit of a strain for me.”
“I can’t say that I’m surprised given the amount of energy you must have used, but I’ve never heard of a spell that massive without global implications.” she stated.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I can’t actually tell you much until we are wed, but I will say that there have been only a few spells of such magnitude created in the history of mankind, at least to my family’s knowledge. One such spell was used to create Poenari Island.” she explained.
The idea of creating an island was amazing to me, but I had to wonder what affect that spell had on the world. Currents could have shifted, a large mass of water was displaced. The sea level must have risen some. I didn’t know the specifics, but I believed the effect on the ocean might well have altered the weather of the world to some extent. Of course, there were ways to counter the side effects if they were predicted ahead of time. Well, even after they were felt, some could be reduced.
“James, is there anything else you’d like to test?” inquired Alma.
“Oh. Sorry. Yes, actually.” I told her.
I wasn’t sure how long we spent goofing around, but I was at a much larger disadvantage than normal when we started sparring a bit. I didn’t mind. I was just excited to see my spells worked. Jarod was going to be thrilled!