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TS33: Look Into

Jove had the impression Tan was avoiding him. The jaguar did not meet him before South’s class, and was avoiding eye contact as everyone stood around waiting for class. Jove wasn’t sure if he should push the issue, and decided that before class was not the right time regardless.

The class was going to be unusual. Jove and everyone he asked had gotten a message stating there was no need to change for class. In addition, the upperclassmen were absent. All except for one very apologetic bear.

“I should have known something was wrong.” Julius had started to repeat himself. “I grew up with magic; I’m a fire mage; I should know when a spell is making me angry.”

For a moment, Jove wondered if Tan was avoiding Julius. He took a breath, “It’s alright. We all make mistakes.”

“I’m going to dedicate myself to relearning the basics. So that I won’t try to hurt you again.”

Thankfully, South walked into the room and cut short anything else Julius had planned to say. He had two scimitars strapped to his back as he approached. “I was planning on waiting until next week, but since at least one student is capable of entering the Abyss I decided to move up this class. Most of the upperclassmen have already had this safety lecture, so I excused them from class.”

Jove blushed. “Julius, haven’t you done this before?”

“Yeah, but I’m here to protect you.”

Jove buried his face in his hands, took a deep breath and sighed. He looked at Chris, but the wolf showed no reaction to a second protector being there. For a moment, Jove hoped this was from some sort of revoker power, so he could learn to turn it off.

South drew both of his swords. “As we mentioned earlier, the Abyss is a place with no magic. Spells only last a few seconds there, and you only bring a few seconds of magic with you. Today, we’ll be overstaying our welcome so I can show you what to do if you run out of magic and can’t get back. We’re not going to go into how to get there. At this level of skill, the only real way you’ll get there is an upperclassman prank. Those of you who grew up in Atlantis might be able to cross over by the end of the Summer. Some of you may never develop this specific skill. Regardless, the time to learn how to deal with being stranded is before it happens.”

South made a few sweeping motions with his blades, similar to when he first opened a portal to Atlantis for Jove. Reality cut, revealing a translucent doorway that opened into a similar looking but empty version of the gym. “The transition can be disorienting, you’ll still have your magic, but it won’t regenerate if you use it. Don’t worry, that will come back once we return.” South gestured for students to pass through the doorway.

“Are you sure it’s safe?” Mug asked. “What if we don’t regain magic when we return?”

“Yes,” answered South. “We have faculty making sure the trip is short and safe and I’ll be there with you. Plus, out of the millions of mages who’ve travelled to the Abyss, there are no cases of peoples magic not returning.”

Slowly the class stepped through. Jove stopped his jaguar friend, “Tan, is everything okay?”

Tan nodded, “Yeah, my parents tried getting rid of Rai by dropping me into the Abyss before. It didn’t work. We’ll be fine.” He turned and walked through the gate without another word.

Jove wanted to clarify his question but Julius pushed him through the gate. The bear offered, “No need to be scared, you’ve been there before.”

The change was different from last time. On Wednesday, he was focussed on defeating the Vorax that possessed Mark. The ache he felt was the same as when he returned to his own world. His lungs were processing oxygen again, not the elemental air of Atlantis. Jove was not aware of his magic going away. Around him, the others reacted differently.

Julius was fighting to stay still and calm, but he was pursing his lips, uncomfortable. Tan seemed to be doing well, although Rai seemed closer to the surface. Aden looked decidedly weak, color draining from his lips, nose and the tips of his ears. Not unexpectedly, Chris showed no sign of reaction or discomfort. Alone among the group, Elsa looked relieved. Perhaps because the atavist inside of her was dormant in the magic dead environment.

South walked through the portal and it closed behind him. He looked around. “Before you panic, let me explain a bit about what you’re feeling. The Abyss does not drain your magic. It simply does not replace the magic you use. The problem is that without special training, most mages subconsciously use magic to enhance their abilities. As such, you go through your reserves in a matter of seconds. If you take some of the Abyss based courses in your later years, you’ll learn how to hold onto your magic longer.”

South smiled and walked across the room. Jove noticed some small differences in the room. The circular bleachers were not uniform, some of the seats were deeper and some shallower than others. The windows and ceiling were spaced differently, as if the gym had passed through a funhouse mirror. Jove remembered how he had covered several dozen feet in a few steps when he was here last time.

South pointed out a purple badge that was attached to the wall, something that was not in the actual gym. “The Abyss resembles Atlantis in many ways. However, distances here are distorted, some longer, some shorter. The reason we are here is so you know the emergency escape routes in the event you lack the magic to return. The routes are noted by these purple signs. We’ll be heading to the drop point nearby.”

Most of the students had recovered. Aden still looked pale, but he was able to stand. Tan, no, Rai was helping him. Jove wasn’t sure how long it would take, or if he would notice when his magic faded. He walked over to Aden, “Is everything okay?”

“It’ll pass, I guess I’d been using magic to keep my asthma at bay.” He smiled slowly. “I wasn’t expecting this. I’m sure there are ways to fix this.”

Julius interrupted, “I know a few methods, but nothing that works here. Do you need to go back?”

Aden glared at Julius, and pushed Rai away from him. “I’m fine.” The rabbit’s voice wasn’t supernaturally stern, but the glimmer of his venator nature was definitely there.

South called, “Okay everyone, let’s get going. Don’t get separated, if you want to explore, you’ll need to sign up for that class.”

Rai hung back with Jove as people started to file out of the room. “You know, Tan isn’t saying something because he’s praeda.”

Jove looked at the red-eyed jaguar, “I don’t understand.”

“He likes you. More than I do. Maybe as much as Chris does.”

Jove blushed, and looked at the quiet wolf. “Chris doesn’t like me that way…” He felt a pang of guilt at talking about Chris like he wasn’t there. Jove asked the wolf, “Do you?”

The wolf did not nod or shake his head. He said simply, “Haven’t you noticed? All magic likes you.”

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