This morning has been good, although it would be much better if this cold would be gone with the wind and leave me along, because I damn sure need a good night’s sleep, and I’m tired of heading off to bed and coughing up a lung for twenty minutes as I try to relax. It’s a total pain in the ass, let me tell you.
But that’s neither here or there. At the moment there is writing as done at the coffee shop down the road from my apartment . . .
But pink smiles ain’t gonna cut it if I don’t have something to keep you interested, right? We left off with Jessica figuring out that Erywin is doing a write up on Kerry, and while one might assume that it’s because Kerry’s doing a little gender changing in private, it’s really a far simpler matter–
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Why do you say that?” Though she’d told Coraline and Deanna that she suspected Jessica would figure out the student in question, she kept her face straight, not giving away anything.
Thought the Formulas instructor was good at hiding her thoughts, she was nothing compared to an expert at transformation magic when it came to keeping their feelings invisible. “All of the students in that class have already attempted those spells—with the exception of two, and one of them informed me that she’ll feel more comfortable being taught this lesson by ‘someone else’.” Jessica finally showed a faint smile. “Really, Kerry’s the only student you’re investigating. It might be someone else, but I’d guess not.”
Erywin considered saying nothing, then reconsidered for several reasons. As a coven leader Jessica was responsible for a fifth of the students, and in her weekly dealings with her witches she found it necessary to keep secrets. Perhaps they weren’t always devastating secrets, but students felt Jessica would keep them once they were told.
There was also a persistent rumor Erywin had heard for years, that during her years as a runway model Jessica had supplied information to the Protectors, particularly during her travels through Japan and Korea. Every time Jessica was ask about this rumor, the reply was the same: either no, or that she’d already answered the question and her answer remained the same. Even Helena, with her friends in the Guardians, could find out if this rumor were true or false, though Helena didn’t find this all that unusual, as the Protectors and Guardians were notorious about keeping their own contacts and spies to themselves.
It was entirely possible that Jessica was telling the truth about not spying for the Protectors, and every no uttered without elaboration was the truth. It was also possible that she had done something for them, and continued to hold onto the idea that whatever the job it remained between her and her handlers. Either way, Jessica knew how to keep things to herself—and, as Erywin saw it, if the Mistress of Transformation were the one who’d first noticed these things with Kerry, or any other student, she’d have come to her with her suspicions and said nothing to anyone else.
Erywin still needed to confirm that she had nothing to fear. “I trust you won’t say anything?”
“You know I won’t.” Jessica set her unwavering gaze upon the fellow coven leader. “We both know how to keep secrets—though I think you’re are far deeper than mine.”
Erywin wasn’t about to get into a discussion of which of her secrets were deeper than Jessica’s. She suspected that the transformation instructor was referring to last school year’s Kansas City operation undertaken for The Guardians. “Now’s not the time to get into that.”
Jessica gave the comment a single, quick nod. “Agreed. Getting back to the original question—anything in particular you’d like me to watch?”
Jessica does the process of elimination, and if there hasn’t been an issue with her older, already known students, then the subject of Erywin’s scrutiny must be one of the two new students–one of whom has indicated they want someone other than Jessica to teach them how to do gender changes. One might wonder why Annie is saying she only wants Kerry teaching her this spell, but we won’t try to figure that one out, not now.
Now we get into the questions, and for the first time we learn about Kerry’s gift:
“Have you noticed anything?” Erywin figured the day before that if Jessica did figure out the name of the student, she may as well ask her about any in-class issues.
“Nothing at all. Kerry’s been the model student, just like in every class.”
“How’s his Mimicking coming along?”
“As expected. I have to teach him the basics of personal transformation first, then show him how to apply that to Mimicking.”
Erywin didn’t know a lot about transformation magic—it wasn’t one of her stronger subjects as a student—so Jessica’s last statement came off as a bit confusing. “I don’t get it. I thought being a Mimic meant he could just duplicate another person.”
“In time, yes.” Given that most witches didn’t actually understand the finer points of transformation magic, Jessica enjoyed educating people. “A Mimic interfaces their aura with the aura of the person they want to copy, and once those changes are applied to their aura, they can pull them down, so to speak, and apply them to their physical form.” She shrugged. “That’s it in simplified form.”
If that was the simplified explanation, Erywin knew it was actually far more complicated. “Why go through the aura?”
“Because our auras are a astral representation of our physical forms. A Mimic can reverse that, and make their physical form mirror their astral one.”
“So why teach Kerry everything else about transformation magic?”
“Because he still has to know the how of changing himself and others. It’s all about taking the template in your aura and applying it correct.” A grin slowly formed. “A great Mimic will eventually be able to take parts of another person and apply them wherever they feel on themselves once they have total command of the gift.”
For the first time since she’d hear that Kerry was a Mimic did she get what was involved with his gift. “I understand now. Thank you.”
Jessica gave an approving nod. “You’re welcome.”
Magic ain’t that easy, even when it looks easy. There’s a lot more to mimicking that just “copying” another person or their parts, though we’ve seen that Kerry could do hair with easy at least a year ago, and he could even do the hair change to others–just ask Annie and Erywin. Still, it sounds as if one must know how to transform correctly before one can put all the parts together the right way.
This leave Erywin to ask one last thing . . .
“I don’t want to keep you from lunch.” Erywin stood but didn’t immediately head for the door. “Would you be interested in help with this where necessary?”
Jessica leaned forward against her desk. “Helping you with due diligence?”
“Sure. I mean, our last trans student was also pretty good with transformation magic, and you were the one who brought him to my attention—” Erywin shifted her weight to her right leg. “I’m not saying there’s a correlation, but something could pop up in class next month, and you’ll be right there.”
“Of course.” Jessica stood and came around her desk. “I’ll be happy to help.”
“Good. I’ll want access to the videos of the gender change class before they go out on the public server.”
“You’ll have that.”
Erywin started to turn for the door and caught herself to ask one last set of questions. “Has Kerry done a full mimic of anyone?”
Jessica’s response was a tiny head shake. “No, not yet. The week before we do the gender flips I’m going to have him mimic one of the boys—”
“Then do one of the girls the following class?”
“I’ll have him try change on his own before he does a mimic, but . . . yes. One of the girls the follow week.”
“Thank you. I’ll keep in touch. And enjoy your lunch.” Erywin left the office and exited Ceridwen Coven tower. Rather than use her teleporter to head for her own office in Mórrígan Coven tower, she chose to walk the inside of the Pentagram Walls back. It would give her time to think, to plan out how she was going to analyze the information, how she wanted to make certain of everything before she took the step of speaking with Kerry alone—
His life has already changed a couple of times in the last year and a half, and all for the better. Erywin stepped out of the wall and under the enormous arch of Founder’s Gate. I want to be absolutely certain before I speak with him that we’re looking at another change that’s good for him.
At the end we learn that Jessica help with the last trans student at the school, she’ll make certain Erywin has access to all her video before the school sees it, and that she wants to be damn sure she has all her T’s crossed and I’s dotted before she decides to call Kerry in for another “talk”–especially because she’ll probably want to speak with Kerry alone, and won’t that set well with the Chestnut Girl. You betcha!
The most important thing here, however, is that Chapter Twenty-Three is finished. Yep, it was a short one–
The next two chapters are almost all flying, divided between Annie and Kerry. Annie is up first, however, and she’s about to do something that no other B Level has even done . . .
It’s gonna be great.