Second Hunt 16-06

Previous Chapter                                     Next Chapter

Scout made it to the room just as Avalon was starting to come to. My eyes snapped from the quiet girl coming around the corner, to my roommate as she gave a quiet groan and began trying to sit up.

Gaia was already there. She was still kneeling next to her adopted daughter with a hand on her face. The woman’s voice was soft as she said something quietly in a language I didn’t understand, but sounded quite tender. Then she added in English. “It’s all right. Take it slow, the threat is over now.”

“What–” Blinking a couple times, Avalon pushed herself into a slight sitting position. Her eyes went from me to Gaia and then back again before she muttered in an annoyed tone, “They tried again.” It wasn’t the kind of voice of a person terrified that some kind of conspiracy had attempted to kill her for what had to be the fifty-third time. Instead, it was the same sort of tone that I’d expect to come from someone who was annoyed that their roommate had taken the last of the milk. Exasperation. Annoyance. If Avalon was actually afraid of what was going on, she wasn’t really showing any of it.

I had to stop myself from rushing up to her. She’d been pretty much point-blank in front of an explosion that had knocked her unconscious for a decent length of time. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to… But no. Gaia was there. She deserved to be the one to check on the girl that mattered enough to her to adopt her, to do all of this for her. I cared about Avalon, but interrupting that right then would’ve been selfish.

It also reminded me of just how much the girl had to mean to Gaia. As old as the headmistress was and as much as she had seen over those centuries, she had to have lost a lot of people. But I had seen her expression when she came in to find Avalon unconscious after yet another attempt to kill the girl, and I saw her expression as she knelt with a hand on her face. I’d seen the anger and the relief. If Gaia wasn’t Avalon’s mother, it was pure semantics. She clearly cared about the girl just as much as if she was.

Moving up to my side, Scout looked at me questioningly. So, I whispered a quick explanation, “Bad guy fought Deveron for awhile and then got away just before Gaia showed up. She dismantled the bomb and fixed the hole.” Glancing to her and the blood on her uniform, I added, “Are you okay?”

She gave a quick nod at that, making a face before lifting her rifle pointedly. Then she focused on the wound in my arm and the blood there, and her face fell a bit before the girl whispered a weak, “Sorry.”

“Hey, no.” Shaking my head, I lifted my arm and showed her. “Healing already, see?” Restraining a grimace of pain as much as I could, I instead tried to smile. “It wasn’t your fault. I mean, deflecting bullets with a knife, who saw that coming? You were helping. I just… I’m glad Deveron showed up when he did.” My eyes glanced that way, and found the boy (or man) in question already talking to someone on his own communication pin. “He was… really bad ass. If he hadn’t shown up when he did…” Trailing off, I couldn’t help the shudder that passed through me. “It would’ve been really bad.”

Before Scout could respond to that, Gaia was standing up. She took hold of Avalon’s hand and helped her up as well. I could tell that the woman wanted to do more than that, but she stopped herself for the other girl’s sake. Then she was looking toward me. “Thank you, Felicity,” she spoke quietly, obviously more in control of herself by that point than she had been when she first arrived and actually called me Flick. “You have, as usual now, gone above and beyond what we should expect of our… our students.”

“Hey,” I tried to shake that off even as I cradled my broken and still healing wrist. “I didn’t do anything that Avalon wouldn’t have done for me. Except her way probably would’ve been a lot more competent.”

A slight, knowing smile touched the headmistress’s face then as she looked from Avalon to me and back again before speaking in an easy tone. “It’s very important that roommates and… partners be able to trust each other that much. I’m glad that you two are willing to go that far to protect one another.”

“She shouldn’t have had to,” Avalon spoke sharply then. “The bomb shouldn’t have gone off. We’re su-”

“We’ll discuss it away from this place,” Gaia interrupted, her tone gentle but firm. “For now, this exercise is over. We’ll go back to the island and have a… discussion with your entire team, together.”

“Um,” I hesitated before raising a hand. “Headmistress, what about the rest of the skeleblineists?”

The red-haired woman just blinked at me, head tilting a little. “I’m sorry, what about the what, now?”

My face pinked at that as I remembered that wasn’t their real name. “Err, sorry, I mean the… Strangers. I couldn’t remember the name, so I just—you know, skeleton-goblin-poltergeists. Skeleblineists.”

For a long, silent moment, Gaia just looked at me. Then she gave the faintest smile of amusement, almost undetectable before murmuring, “Fair enough. Now, as for what should be done about them…”

The woman trailed off, pausing as she looked away. I saw a momentary frown of concentration cross her face, and felt some kind of invisible yet almost tangible power pass through me. It was a little bit like feeling static electricity, and lasted for five seconds or so. Abruptly, the feeling cut out and there was a loud squealing noise from all around us. About five feet from Avalon, one of the skeleblineists popped out of the wall. On the opposite side of the room, another one appeared from the floor. And a third came out of the engine itself. None of them were attacking, however. They just popped half-way out, screaming in pain. Meanwhile, further off in the ship I could hear the cries of others echoing.

The terrible squeals only lasted for a second or two, until all of them were visible. Then all three of the ones I could see were reduced to literal ashes that fell to the floor. And considering the way the screams cut off everywhere else as well, I was pretty sure the exact same thing happened to the rest of them.

Gaia straightened, the by-then-familiar golden aura (the same color as my own, I noticed) briefly flaring up around the headmistress as she cracked her neck to the side. Then the woman nodded in satisfaction. “There. Now it’s finished.”

Okay, yeah. I’m pretty sure my gulp at that was audible from clear across the room. Or possibly even from the other side of the ship. “Oh, um. Thanks,” I managed weakly, my wide eyes darting to the girl beside me. For her part, Scout looked just as taken aback by the display of power. Which made me feel a little bit better. If she wasn’t used to it, having grown up around all this stuff, then it wasn’t just me.

By that point, Gaia was already gesturing toward the nearby hatch. At her motion, the broken doorway lifted up and set itself back into place before closing. Then the headmistress just stepped that way and opened it once more. Except rather than seeing the corridor of the ship, the open doorway revealed one of the Pathmaker portal rooms. She gestured for us to go. “You’ll find the rest of your team already waiting, I promise. As I said, we will discuss things once everyone is together and accounted for.”

So, Scout, Avalon, and I passed through the portal together. I resisted the urge to try to help Avalon. Not only was I really not feeling up to it considering the pain in my arm, wrist, and… well, pretty much everywhere, but I was pretty sure that if I had even tried to steady Avalon, she would’ve flattened me.

As promised, Columbus, Sands, and Sean were already waiting in the portal room. Wyatt was there too, standing beside the other security guy. When we came into the room, Sands went running up to embrace her sister, while Wyatt took a step my way before stopping himself. The poor guy looked like he wanted to tell the entire concept of secrets to go screw themselves as he stared at me intently for a moment before managing a slightly strained, “Oh—oh good, good, you’re all okay. No one d-died?”

Smiling faintly, I shook my head at him. “Nope, not… not this time. We’re fine, Mr. Rendell. Thanks.”

Vulcan had no such compulsions against showing how much he cared. The robot dog came bounding right up to me, barking until I obediently reached down to pet him. “Hey, boy. Did you take care of your partner? You keep him out of trouble, huh?” Smiling, I rubbed over his metal head vigorously.

My eyes moved up then toward Columbus. The boy was still soaked from his little swim when he’d been knocked out of the ship by the bomb, but otherwise he didn’t really look hurt. “You okay?”

In the back of my mind, that new power that I’d picked up was still cataloging every inanimate object that got close enough to me. I could sense what was in Sands’s pockets, as well as Scout’s and Avalon’s. As far as I could tell, it didn’t actually tell me what was in the extradimensional storage space like our weapon sheathes. It probably had something to do with the items technically being in another world.

“Yeah,” Columbus nodded to the security guy who’d saved him. “Thanks to Bennet. Think I swallowed about half the ocean when I got knocked out there, but I’m good. What about you? You look… bad.”

“Gee thanks,” I mumbled before sighing. “We’re alive. Despite their best efforts. That’s what matters.”

Professor Dare came through into the portal room then, followed by Gaia and Deveron. The blonde teacher looked more worn out than I had ever actually seen her. I could see a few cuts and bruises, her normally immaculate uniform had a couple holes in it here and there, and her hair had come loose so that there were random strands sticking out. There was even a bit of blood under the woman’s nose.

“Bennet,” she addressed the other security guy, who was staring at her with probably as much surprise as I was. “Please go and find Risa. Ask her to join us here, assuming nothing else has gone wrong.”

The man glanced to the headmistress, who nodded. Then his eyes darted toward both me and Avalon for a second before he spun on his heel and hurried out the other way with a quick, “Yes, Ma’am.”

Once he was gone, Wyatt didn’t wait any more. He practically sprinted to cross the distance before he was hugging me. Actually, the poor guy was literally lifting me off the ground. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he babbled. “I didn’t want to turn off the escape-port, I wanted to use it, but she was still in trouble and the escape-port wouldn’t work with her and I was trying to fix it, but if I let you go then she wouldn’t have anyone and I couldn’t do that to you or her and I didn’t want to do any of it, but I had t-”

“Wyatt, Wyatt,” I quickly interrupted while he continued to babble. “I’m okay! We’re okay, listen, I can’t—Wyatt, I can’t understand you. What do you mean, escape-port? What happened? Talk slower.”

Visibly taking a moment to calm himself, the man swallowed hard. His pronounced Adam’s apple bobbed a couple times before he pushed on. “I provided security measures for your mission that would have pulled you out of danger. Somehow, they… they blocked the effect on Avalon’s. Yours was still working, but I deactivated it. I left you in danger so that you could protect her, all because my measure failed.” His voice was getting higher by the end, and he turned abruptly toward Gaia. “Headmistress, I accept any punishment you give me for the unacceptable failure. I’ll… I’ll resign right now if you wish.”

“No, Wyatt.” Gaia shook her head. “Don’t you understand? We owe you our thanks, not condemnation. If it wasn’t for your security efforts, Avalon would already be… The assassins would have succeeded.”

The poor guy looked taken aback, mouth opening and shutting a couple times. “I—they would have?”

“Yes,” the headmistress nodded. “And Felicity here most likely would have been killed as well.” Her gaze softened. “You are correct, the person who attacked Avalon was able to block the spell that would have brought her out of danger. But even then, they were not able to take her anywhere. I detected several attempts in that room to leave with her. Obviously, their primary intention was to leave with Avalon, most likely so that they could… eliminate her in private without any of us to stop them.”

Gaia had a hand on Avalon’s shoulder, her voice soft as she continued. “Because of your security enchantment, none of those efforts worked. Which meant that they had to attempt to…” she swallowed just a little. “… kill her right there. That also required breaking through enough of your enchantments to even make the attempt. Between those efforts and their ongoing focus on preventing your retrieval spell from simply whisking Avalon away from them, the attacker’s attention was split enough that they were unable to put their full effort on the fight with Felicity. If they had, I believe she would be dead now.”

Well, that made me cringe. I’d thought fighting that masked assassin had been hard enough. But knowing that their attention had been split multiple ways and they hadn’t been fighting at near their full ability? Yeah, that thought made me want to whimper. Clearly whoever these people were, they were far over the level of a few first year students. Looking to Wyatt then, I managed a weak, “Thanks.”

“Does… does that mean they screwed with my bombs too?” Columbus put in. The poor guy looked about as guilty and stressed out as Wyatt had. “Because I swear I checked them before I put them in my pack. They should’ve been fine. The timers worked when I was testing them before the mission.”

I checked them as well, Mr. Porter,” Professor Dare assured him. “I would not have allowed you to go out on a mission like that with active explosives unless I was confident that they had been assembled correctly and were safe. When I looked them over, they were. Someone interfered between the time that I did my inspection, and when you attempted to use them. Which indicates a disturbing level of access, as well as enough knowledge of what your mission was to assume that they would be used.”

Before anyone could say anything to that, the door into the rest of the building opened once more and Professor Kohaku entered. Her gaze took all of us in, clearly inspecting for any lasting injury before she gave a long sigh. “Again?”

“Again.” Gaia sounded just as annoyed before turning her attention to us. “We will talk more of this later. For now, I must ask you to excuse us while we… discuss what has happened and what we are going to do to prevent it in the future. As for your grade for this mission…” She looked to Professor Dare.

The blonde woman smiled just a little. Her injuries had already healed, though there was still the blood on her clothes and the rips through them that showed just how much she had been through. “I would say you all scored quite well, if we discount the… interference. Had things continued the way they were progressing, you would have sunk the ship, as we hoped you would. You displayed admirable teamwork both before and after the interruption. So I would say you’ve earned top marks, given everything that happened.”

The headmistress squeezed Avalon’s shoulder, looking like what she wanted to do was pull her back into a hug right there. “Yes. Very good indeed.” Clearing her throat, she nodded to Wyatt. “Mr. Rendell, if you could ensure that they arrive safely back at their dorms?”

So, we trudged out of the portal room together. Everyone else looked utterly exhausted. In my case, most of the pain had faded, and I wasn’t even tired. Mostly I felt numb. I wanted to hug Avalon and not let go. I wanted to know who the hell had tried to kill her again. We knew why they were trying so hard, but not who. I wanted her to be safe, and happy.

And I wanted to talk to my father.

******

So I did. After spending some time with Avalon in our room and making sure the girl was really okay (hopefully without pushing her too far), I eventually left. Thanks to my new pendant, I didn’t have to obey the curfew anymore. Which meant that I could wander the grounds after hours, talking to my dad on the phone. Not that I told him that I was out, and especially not why. As far as he knew, I was in my room, and just needed to talk.

Eventually, he had to go to bed, so I switched to the private phone and talked to Asenath. Finding my way out behind the main building, I took a seat on the grass and watched the jungle in the distance while I told the vampire girl all about what had actually happened that day, and how worried I was. She listened while I vented about how angry I was that our security and safety had been compromised again, and how worried I was about Avalon.

There wasn’t much that the girl could do, obviously. But she was a really good listener, and didn’t try to cut in. She let me say what I needed to without interrupting, which let me get my head on straighter than it had been pretty much since the attack started.

Finally, I sat back and looked at the sky with the phone to my ear. “Thanks, Senny. Sorry for talking your ear off. I just…”

“Needed to talk to someone,” she finished. “I get it. Don’t worry. I just wish there was more I could do.”

“Trust me, you’re doing enough,” I assured her. “Just… don’t let anything happen to my dad, okay? I… I couldn’t take that. Not now.”

Her voice was serious. “You have my word.” Lightening her tone a bit, she added, “And hey, could you ask Shiori what her favorite kind of pie is before Christmas break?”

Chuckling in spite of myself, I nodded absently. “Yeah, I’ll find out. But I thought you didn’t cook.”

“I don’t,” she retorted. “But Twister does.”

We talked a little bit more. Now that I had the ranting out of my system, I was able to laugh a little bit and just enjoy the conversation. Eventually, I let the other girl get back to what she was doing and hung up. Then I just sat there under the moonlight, watching the jungle and the stars.

About ten minutes passed like that before a shadow fell over me. Opening my eyes, I turned slightly to find Gaia standing just above me. “Err, sorry, Headmistress.” I quickly started to get up.

“It’s all right, Felicity.” Gaia extended a hand down to help me. “I hope I wasn’t interrupting?”

My head shook. “No, ma’am. I was just… thinking.”

“Yes,” she agreed quietly. “I’ve been doing a lot of that as well. And I believe it’s time that I began taking your training more seriously.”

I blinked at that. “Err, ma’am?”

The woman’s voice was somber. “We both know and understand how much… pressure you are under, Felicity. We know what you’re facing, what you have already faced. Between those threats and the ones you have put yourself in to protect my… Avalon, I would be a failure if I did not come to you now and offer… if you would accept it, additional training and schooling, during some of the hours that you now have available after curfew.”

My mouth opened and shut. “You… you mean you want to give me extra lessons, extra training… yourself?”

“Would that be acceptable?” she asked in a quiet voice, watching my reaction.

It took a moment to find my voice, but I finally bobbed my head up and down rapidly. “Y-yes, ma’am. Really, anything you can do, any… any training you can give me, I swear, I’ll do the best I can.

“God knows I need the help.”

Previous Chapter                                     Next Chapter

Advertisements

27 comments

  1. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of this arc. Aside from, of course, any more mini-interludes that get done before the next one starts. If you’d like to see which ones are upcoming (there’s been a couple additions to the list), you can do so by clicking right here.

    Since that’s the end of this arc, we’ll be having another vote for the donators to determine who the interlude will focus on. If you’re on the list, expect to get that e-mail within the next couple days. And if you’ve ever donated and have not e-mailed me at ceruleanscrawling@gmail.com in order to be put on the voting list, please feel free to do so if you’d like.

    What else, what else…? Oh! Right, we’re still up in the top ten of Top Web Fiction! Thanks, guys. Our ongoing weekly voting continues by clicking right here if you’d like to, of course. But just keeping our little story up so high, so consistently is amazing.

    Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed this arc. The next bit of story will settle down a bit after a whirlwind couple months of pretty constant activity over a relatively short time span. We’ll be seeing some more actual classes and other interaction as we move through Christmas and into the new semester. Hope you stick around for the ride. 😀

    And today’s tags are: Asenath, Avalon Sinclaire, Columbus Porter, Felicity Chambers, Flick, Gaia Sinclaire, I Swear To God – If SOMEBODY Doesn’t Ask Dare What Happened During Her Fight – I’ll Scream., No No No – Gaia. You’re Supposed To Wait Six Books Before You Start Taking Flick’s Training Seriously., Professor Kohaku, Random Security Guy Who Now Has A Name: Bennet, Sands, Scout, Sean Gerardo, Virginia Dare, Wyatt Rendell

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eell, I can’t wait to see what kind of kickass stuff Flick learns from Gaia. Maybe the animal summoning spell? I really want to see what Flick’s animal is. Though certainn people will undoubtedly not be pleased.

    But hey, maybe Flick will finally tell Gaia about Fossor’s plans on and after she turns eighteen, because I still think she hasn’t told anyone that particular detail since her team and maybe Shiori.

    I Swear To God – If SOMEBODY Doesn’t Ask Dare What Happened During Her Fight – I’ll Scream.

    So what happened during Dare’s fight?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eell, I can’t wait to see what kind of kickass stuff Flick learns from Gaia. Maybe the animal summoning spell? I really want to see what Flick’s animal is. Though certainn people will undoubtedly not be pleased.

      That’s part of the plan.

      So what happened during Dare’s fight?

      lol, I meant a character asking IN CHARACTER. Which I suppose means I’m talking to myself. >_>

      Liked by 4 people

      1. But now I’m actually curious…

        Now that I’ve made a note of it, someone in-story is sure to ask her about it. Feel free to remind me if we go too long without a discussion about it.

        Like

    1. Pretty sure she knew that since she was teasing Avalon back in their mini-interlude

      Am I the only one who thinks Bennet was the one to sabotage the bomb? He’s the only one that I can think of that had access to it and knew what the mission was beforehand.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, special training! Not that many people get that from Gaia herself I’d bet. I wonder what will she teach her. Advanced combat? Spells? Or maybe she’ll get her Nocen to gaiin fighting experience and powers at the same time….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Quick typo that I noticed: ” I wanted to know who the hell had tried to kill her again. We knew why they were trying so hard, but not why.” Probably supposed to be “but not who”.

    Really liked seeing Gaia and Flick both being super worried about Avalon, but giving her space because they know that is what she wants. And Gaia giving Flick pretty much the thumbs up when it comes to the whole “dating my daughter” thing.

    Also, I guess now we know how Flick was able to take so many levels in badass and became the whirling deathmachine we saw in the Nicholas Petan interlude. I can absolutely see personal training sessions with the Headmistress giving her a leg up in that department.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Quick typo that I noticed: ” I wanted to know who the hell had tried to kill her again. We knew why they were trying so hard, but not why.” Probably supposed to be “but not who”.

      Whoops, thanks for that!

      Also, I guess now we know how Flick was able to take so many levels in badass and became the whirling deathmachine we saw in the Nicholas Petan interlude. I can absolutely see personal training sessions with the Headmistress giving her a leg up in that department.

      Yeaaaah, that should help on that front.

      Like

  5. Hm. Gaia’s training offer got me thinking about something: Just how much of what makes Heretics deadly is learnable skills, vs individual powers?
    I mean, on the “powers” end, you have the classic “power variety” issue from superhero comics: imagine someone with magnetic powers trying to teach a telepath, or vice versa. And given how it seems that many Stranger/Alters seem to provide randomized “buffs” to the Heretics that kill them (as opposed to the Peridles, which give *everyone* healing factors — why the difference, I wonder?), just how much can Gaia teach Flick about Flick’s unique power package?
    Not that Gaia doesn’t have a *lot* to offer. Just from sheer experience, Gaia is a treasure trove of tactics, strategy, even politics (and anyone who thinks Flick *won’t* have to wade into *that* cesspool at some point is deluding themselves). And given that Heretics collect buffs over time, Gaia must have an impressive breadth of them by now. Which, combined with her depth of experience using them, gives her a good starting point for training Flick “via analogy” on powers they don’t share, but Gaia has (or is familiar with) one that’s similar enough that important lessons carry over. Not to mention, if Gaia gets stuck on that front, what are the odds that she doesn’t *know* someone (who knows someone, who knows….) who has the same, or very similar, buff who can offer advice?
    (as an aside: Heretic social networks must look, to a classical sociologist, rather like a 3-dimensional solid looks to a Flatlander; sorta tesseract-y. Heretics have families, and politics, but also connections across those “grains” formed between people who have drawn similar, or complementary, power sets from the grab bag)
    (Aside^2: Gaia’s job must be one *hell* of a headache, sometimes. Trying to manage a curriculum where the students’ skills are constantly evolving in directions that, at best, have a significant random component… standardized tests? As if! At least at the Xavier Institute, student powers only changed rarely, usually during some major crossover event or an author changeover)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And given how it seems that many Stranger/Alters seem to provide randomized “buffs” to the Heretics that kill them (as opposed to the Peridles, which give *everyone* healing factors — why the difference, I wonder?)

      I would guess that the Peridles just don’t have anything else to get.

      And given that Heretics collect buffs over time, Gaia must have an impressive breadth of them by now.

      Gaining powers from defeated Alters is the power granted by the particular way that Humans are exposed to the Reaper’s blood in the Heretical Edge and the Garden’s apples. All non-Crossroads and -Garden heretics obtained their powers from being exposed to the blood of an Alter, since that’s how Humans were designed. I’m almost certain that Gaia is not a Crossroads or Garden heretic, since there was no note about an aura resulting from her killing every Skeleblineist on the ship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m almost certain that Gaia is not a Crossroads or Garden heretic, since there was no note about an aura resulting from her killing every Skeleblineist on the ship.

        Yes there is. It’s brief, and it should probably day “her” or “a” instead of “the,” but it’s there.

        Gaia straightened while the golden aura briefly flared up, cracking her neck to the side before nodding in satisfaction. “There. Now it’s finished.”

        Also, way back in her interlude, Gaia specifically talked about “our” Heretic sense to Joselyn, including herself. I’m 99% sure that Gaia was already a Heretic before going through the Heretical Edge, and that the Reaper power stacked on top of the powers she already has.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. As Hendy said, the aura is definitely there.

        Yes there is. It’s brief, and it should probably day “her” or “a” instead of “the,” but it’s there.

        I used ‘the’ instead of ‘her’ to avoid saying ‘her’ twice in such a short time (from ‘cracking her neck’), And a sounds, to me at least, like Flick isn’t familiar with the concept of it happening. She knows it happens and knows it’s Gaia’s own aura. Thus, ‘the’. To me, saying ‘a golden aura briefly flared up’ disconnects it more from actually BEING Gaia’s.

        I dunno, it just sounds in my head more like Flick is just noting a by-that-point familiar thing happening using the instead of a. I could easily be wrong.

        Edit: Changed that bit a little. Now it says:

        Gaia straightened, the by-then-familiar golden aura (the same color as my own, I noticed) briefly flaring up around the headmistress as she cracked her neck to the side. Then the woman nodded in satisfaction. “There. Now it’s finished.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Very good thoughts. And yes, the sheer randomness of makes it a bit difficult to perfectly teach. They try to structure it as much as possible, and the teachers themselves have a lot of experience/power to draw off of. But to a certain extent, they have to just do the best they can. Also, if someone gets a really random power that the teacher has no experience with and could be dangerous, they can pull in another heretic who DOES have experience with it to sort of tutor them.

      (as an aside: Heretic social networks must look, to a classical sociologist, rather like a 3-dimensional solid looks to a Flatlander; sorta tesseract-y. Heretics have families, and politics, but also connections across those “grains” formed between people who have drawn similar, or complementary, power sets from the grab bag)

      lol, indeed. And their families can be rather enormous for some of the older ones. Some don’t really keep perfect track of their descendants, while others constantly keep an eye on even the completely clueless Bystanders. There’s an entire political game going on behind the scenes of protecting one’s Bystander descendants while they remain clueless about what’s going on. See how Flick is trying to protect her father? Imagine that spread over the descendants of several hundred years.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. “Okay, yeah. I’m pretty sure my gulp at that was audible from clear across the room. Or possibly even from the other side of the ship. “Oh, um. Thanks,” I managed weakly, my wide eyes darting to the girl beside me. For her part, Scout looked just as taken aback by the display of power. Which made me feel a little bit better. If she wasn’t used to it, having grown up around all this stuff, then it wasn’t just me.”
    Me: And that was a semi-casual exertion of her strength as well. Hopefully it will never prove necessary, but seeing Gaia unleash her full power, no restraints, in battle would likely be both jaw dropping and supremely terrifying.

    “You displayed admirable teamwork both before and after the interruption. So I would say you’ve earned top marks, given everything that happened.””
    Me: I’ll admit that would be a nice morale booster. “Before everything went to crap, you were performing most excellently”.

    “” I would be a failure if I did not come to you now and offer… if you would accept it, additional training and schooling, during some of the hours that you now have available after curfew.”
    My mouth opened and shut. “You… you mean you want to give me extra lessons, extra training… yourself?”
    Me: Incoming DBZ Abridged training montage. It want this to happen so much.

    Nice update Cerulean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me: And that was a semi-casual exertion of her strength as well. Hopefully it will never prove necessary, but seeing Gaia unleash her full power, no restraints, in battle would likely be both jaw dropping and supremely terrifying.

      Seeing Gaia actually TRY would indeed be… yeah. *shudders*

      Me: I’ll admit that would be a nice morale booster. “Before everything went to crap, you were performing most excellently”.

      *snickers* You know, whatever works.

      Me: Incoming DBZ Abridged training montage. It want this to happen so much.

      DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODGE!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, Gaia’s certainly impressed by Flick’s efforts in trying to save Avalon.

    Got a chuckle after seeing Gaia being both confused & amused by the name Flick made up to call the Knockengerwichts because their proper name was too much of a tongue-twister for her to want to deal with.

    Though I agree with Flick that whomever the assassin was was powerful enough to wipe the floor with her even while being distracted by trying to overcome all of Wyatt’s security precautions (and possibly also giving Dare a real run for her money) yet at the same time, it was those same precautions that kept them from taking Avalon away & slowing her enough so that they couldn’t kill Flick & Avalon before Deveron made his way in there.

    Suppose Flick’ll be relieved to find out that her team will be getting a good grade for this mission, because before the outside interference that required faculty intervention to deal with, they were well on their way towards achieving what the faculty considered an optimal resolution for this scenario.

    Hmm, wonder just what sort of pie Twister’s going to bake for Shiori- if that’s going to be part of the Christmas arc, hope for once that there aren’t any interrupts by hostile forces.

    Oh, and most interesting at the end- Gaia’s aware that not only is Flick running into all sorts of problems, but also has certain extra pressures (wonder how much the Headmistress knows about the Fossor problem,) and because of that, is going to offer her some special one-on-one tutoring- wonder just what Flick will be learning from Gaia, and guess that whatever it is, it’ll be part of how Flick ends up becoming the badass we saw when her future version drop into that mess where Petan’s army got into a fight with both Seosten & Fomorians.

    Her gaze took all of us in, clearly inspecting for any lasting injury before she gave a long sigh. “Again?”

    “Again.” Gaia sounded just as annoyed before turning her attention to us.

    Suppose it would be rather frustrating and a sign that this problem is going on for too long when someone can just take a look at Flick’s team and just realize that there was another attempt to kill Avalon.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s