With The Magus gone to Gods know where, I admit I began to panic. This girl would die horrible and I couldn’t do a thing about it. My healing powers wouldn’t even begin to touch this.
I needed a wizard.
There were exactly two. One was gone. The other, a wet-nosed newbie, lived at the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign. A couple of hours away flying at a safe speed.
Torrie’s only hope.
I input the campus coordinates and let the autopilot kick in. “I’m sorry, Torrie. The one I wanted to bring you to left. I need to take you to Urbana-Champaign and it’ll be a bit of a ride. You up for it?”
She nodded at me and tried to smile.
She’s a brave kid.
We changed course and headed toward the edge of Chicago.
The wind picked up.
Damn. Aeromancer must be a quicker healer than I thought.
I pulled out my trusty old brand-new blaster and scanned the skies for incoming.
And saw exactly nothing. I must be getting paranoid in my old age.
Of course, it’s not really paranoia if people are actually trying to kill you.
Wonder of wonders, the trip to the U of I campus proved uneventful, if you call the magical rapid aging of a teenage girl uneventful.
According to the database on my bracer, one Stephanie Unger lived currently lived in the Busey-Evans Residence Hall on campus. An all woman dorm.
Wonderful. Nothing like charging in to a dorm full of women to get the police, or worse, called on you. No help for it though.
Night fell before we got to the hall. I am so going to jail sooner or later.
I changed over to ground mode and rode up to the front entrance. I cradled Torrie in my arms and strode up to the door, using my foot to “knock”.
I decided to try the “nice” way first. I was not filled with confidence, but stranger things have happened.
The door opened and a young woman, not more than twenty opened the door. Before she could say anything I asked for Stephanie.
The door slammed in my face. From the look on the woman’s face I would be seeing security before Stephanie.
I should make it clear. I believe women have a right to be safe and keep anyone out of an area set aside specifically for them.
That being said, I also believe that the girl’s life I was trying to save superseded that prior belief. Plus, I have no problems being thought a wiener.
Wiener? Really, Jules?
I sharpened my vision and saw campus security making its way toward me. So I did what any reasonable person would do; I kicked in the door (hoping no one was on the other side) and started screaming my brains out for Stephanie.
Women screamed, yelled and generally treated me like they should. I kept screaming over the tumult.
Finally, a petite blonde I can only describe as “perky” showed up. I figured it was Stephanie as she had a ball of some undoubtedly nasty magic ready in her hand.
“Don’t fire!” I yelled. “Open your senses and scan this girl!”
All I can say is bless those that don’t use violence as their first, second and last resorts.
I say her eyes glow briefly and a look of confusion cross her face. She strode up to me and held out her hand with an authority unusual for anyone that young.
I certainly don’t have that aura and I’m older and more experienced.
The other ladies calmed somewhat as she spoke to me. “Did you do this to her?” Her arched eyebrow promised many unpleasant things if I were to blame.
In a rush I laid out who I was and what was going on. Stephanie is very quick on the uptake, and I must have looked suitably desperate, for she just nodded. “Wait here,” she said.
She smoothed things over with security and came back into the common area. “Follow me. No male is allowed in the halls without an escort. Do what I say, when I say it. Got it?”
She led me up the stairs to a lab area. “Put her in here and wait out in the hall,” Stephanie said. “I’ll see what I can do.”
So that brings me to now. I’m sitting in the hallway and waiting.
Wait. She’s coming out.
“Oh, no. Please, tell me you can fix her.”
Stephanie: “I’m sorry. I’ve never come across anything like this before. Even if I had, I don’t think my power is strong enough to counteract it. When I tried, the process seemed to speed up. She doesn’t have much time if you want to say goodbye.”
Torrie: “She can’t fix me, can she?”
Torrie: “You promised to fix me.”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Stephanie: “Who did this to her?”
“I have no idea. But when I find out…They. Are. Dead. You want in? I have a feeling I’m going to need some magic on my side.”