10.1

Ember and Nilien had been going back and forth about magic since they lost her pencil. Ember was of the opinion that Nilien ought to be cagey about what she told Lorque, while Nilien was of the opinion that Lorque was going to notice her being cagey, considering Nilien was not all that good at being sneaky at all.

By the time they got to the dining hall, they had agreed – well, they hadn’t really agreed so much as Nilien had declared that she was just going to ask people. Ember, of course, thought that was an awful idea, but Ember did not have to attempt to lie to its friends.

(Did familiars have friends? Nilien wondered who she could. Probably not Ember…)

She was feeling a little nervous as she sat down next to Lorque, and she was certain it showed. She poked at her food with a fork. “Do you know how you can see some magic things, some spells?” she asked Lorque. “Not like identifying, well, poison,” she whispered that part, “but how I can see the tracking spells?”

“Magic sight, yeah.” Lorque nodded. “Are you still working on that in your magic class?”

It was nice of Lorque to pretend it was just another session of magic class. “No, we moved on to moving objects today.” She lifted her fork with a very careful application of magic to show them.

Careful, Ember couldn’t seem to help but say, Do not drop it on anyone’s head.

“Ember is still annoyed with me because I bounced a ball off of its head when I was first learning,” Nilien told the table, not bothering to hide a little smirk. She had felt bad… when it happened. After Ember had complained ten or twenty times, she no longer felt bad. “But I didn’t really hurt it – or anyone. But I don’t think we spent long enough on magic sight, even though I was really getting somewhere with it. I don’t know if you can tell what sort.”

“You didn’t get some other sort of spell stuck to you, did you?” Riva frowned in worry. “That can get dangerous really quickly. Especially if it’s something that slowly builds in effect – I was just reading about something like that in the library the other day.”

The girl is made of books, Ember complained.

“No, nothing like that,” Nilien assured her. “I look every day. Twice. More that that, when I spend a lot of time around other people. I’m being careful. But I just know there’s a spell there, when I find one. If it was something else… how would I know? Is there a way to know?”

Riva leaned forward. “Have you been finding more magic? Are you getting things dropped on you again?” she hissed. “Did you have Ember track it again? Ember can track magic, right?”

“I just want to know if there’s a way to tell what kind of spell something is,” Nilien protested. “There has to be, right? That’s how Professor Vaudelle knew I had a tracking spell on me? Right?”

“You have found something else! What is it? Do you have another spell on you?” Riva’s voice was getting more and more excited and louder and louder. Nilien tried to vanish into her chair.

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