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TS37: Copy Testing

“Tan, wait up.” Jove ran after the jaguar as class let out. “Please.”

The jaguar paused a moment. He turned, and red eyes looked at Jove.

“No,” the fox ordered, “I need to speak to Tan. I need someone who knows magic.”

Tan blinked, and glared at Jove with blue eyes. “Are you sure you don’t want to ask Chris or Julius?”

“I’m sure.” He took a breath, “It’s about what I might have done to you, and you are the only one I can talk to about that. Plus I owe you an apology.”

“How are you getting away from Julius?”

Jove wasn’t sure. As if to respond, Chris walked past. He had a hand on Julius’ shoulder and was prodding the bear past Jove. Chris was saying, “You’re not getting out of this. If you’re going to protect Jove, I’m going to make sure you’re worthy.”

Jove stared for a few seconds, then swallowed. “Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“How does he know?” Tan asked, “How can I compete with that?”

“It’s not a competition.” Jove sighed. “We’re friends. At least, I hope we can be. After this week, I would be surprised anyone wants to talk to me.”

“Why wouldn’t I want to talk to you? Sure, you’re dangerous, but you haven’t met my parents.”

“I can…” Jove looked around, “Can we talk somewhere else? I’m not sure I want to say this in public.”

“What are you talking about? What did you talk to South and Azarias about?”

Jove pulled Tan into a nearby open classroom. He closed the door. “Tan, I can affect people’s magic directly. Something Merlin did caused South’s magic to freak out and I calmed it down.”

“You used Calm the Wounded Mage?” His eyes went wide. “You used that to force Rai or myself to the surface.”

“I don’t know.” Jove felt a rush of embarrassment and shame. “I might have. I didn’t realize that’s what was happening.”

“That’s why I like you so much. You’ve made me feel weak.”

“Tan, I’m sorry.” Jove wished he could get rid of the tears in Tan’s eyes. He made a conscious effort not to boost Tan’s magic though. “I will learn to stop.”

Tan looked at Jove. “How many have you done that to?”

“I really don’t know. I thought you might be more aware of how your magic was supposed to be. I mean, Aden can’t really tell if I’m doing it or not. Chris couldn’t tell me, and Julius…”

“If you are controlling his magic, he’s confused it with his own sense of honor.” Tan slowly nodded. “I am the only one who can really help you with this. Except maybe South or Azarias.”

“They have other things on their minds. Apparently a council mage will be coming to evaluate me. Probably just wants an excuse to dissect me.” Jove shuddered. “There’s something else. Something from Erickson’s class, and I don’t want to ask anyone else. I need someone I can trust who can cast a very simple spell.”

Tan nodded. “Jove, we’ve only known each other for a week. What makes you think you can trust me?”

Jove blushed. He knew he could trust Tan because Rai had said Tan liked him. He took a breath. “Again, Julius might freak out. Aden can’t control his own magic like you can control yours. Chris, I’m not sure, maybe he could help me, but his being hobbled might cause problems. And while I like the teachers, I’d rather not bother them with a hunch. Plus,” Jove took a breath, “plus, I want you to know that you’ve been helpful. You’re not ‘just another friend’. You’re Hevothotan, a friend I can rely on and I trust you.” He looked down, “It’s myself that I don’t trust.”

Tan let the moment hang in the air, awkward and confused. Eventually he asked, “What kind of spell?

“Something easy. The kind you’d show someone for their first spell.” He thought a moment, “Although, if it’s something you could sustain, like a light spell.”

“Why would you need that?”

Jove blushed, “I’m going to try to borrow it.” He looked to the side, avoiding looking at Tan. “I might be able to use spells other people cast. I thought an easy one would be best and one that lasts would give me a few tries.”

“I’m not sure what you mean.”

“Just cast it like you were showing me how to cast it myself.”

Tan took a long look at Jove. “Okay. The speech part is to generate the energy of the spell. It provides the spark of creation. The gesture sculpts the energy. It’s fairly simple.” Tan took a breath and said in a slight, sing-song voice, “Drip.” As he did, he cupped his right hand upward. Joe watched as simple water energy flowed down Tan’s arm and puddled into water in the palm of his hand. “Most new water mages can cast this after a few tries. It’s the first spell I actually learned.”

Jove cupped his hand as Tan did. “Drip,” he said. Nothing happened.

Tan started to say something but Jove cut him off, “Just maintain the spell.”

Jove closed his eyes a moment and willed himself to feel the spell Tan was using. He focussed on the way Tan’s energy flowed. Jove let his body follow the motion on its own. “Drip.” The gesture felt practiced, Tan had spent hours making sure he knew this spell before moving onto another. He was meticulous about the basics, and for a moment, Jove felt all of that inside his motion.

“You did it!” Tan let his spell go and leaned forward to look at the water in Jove’s hand.

With the spell no longer there, the confidence Jove felt faded. His hand shivered the strain of the spell suddenly very heavy in his hand and all down his arm. The spell broke, dropping the handful of water on the floor.

Tan looked at Jove. “I don’t understand, maintaining that spell is the easy part.”

Jove’s head hurt like he’d been up to late. “It wasn’t my spell. It was yours. It couldn’t exist without the original.”

Tan steadied Jove. “My spell? You copied my magic.” He shivered, “You can do what I can do?”

“I suppose.” Jove’s headache faded almost as quick as it started. He realized he was relying on Tan’s strength, the way Tan wasn’t drained after casting. “I don’t know how it works. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

Tan shivered and pulled away. “Any spell I learn, you can copy. You’ll be able to copy all of my magic.” He was fighting to keep himself still. “You can control my magic. I’ll be the copy.”

Jove reached for his friend, “Tan, it’s okay.”

“Don’t touch me!” Tan shrieked and backed away. He forced himself to calm down, “Just, I need time.” He was still shaking, “I’m sorry.”

“Tan, I didn’t mean to upset you.” Tan’s panic was infectious. Jove’s heart was racing, pounding in his ears.

“I’ll be okay,” Tan headed for the door. “I’m going back to the room. I need some time to myself. This will pass.”

Jove didn’t want to let his friend leave without being certain. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. We can talk about this tonight.” He paused at the door, “And no talking to Rai about this!”

Jove watched his friend go, then it hit him. He’d used elemental magic. He was more than a null and more than a revoker. In any other circumstance, that would have been a major relief. Jove sighed. He’d feel better once he knew Tan was okay.

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