9.7

Nilien held her pencil in front of her and practiced floating it. It bounced along in front of her, sometimes dipping down into her hand, sometimes lifting up further than she’d really meant to.

Ember was still a little miffed and walked behind Nilien, so that you do not hit me on the head again, it informed her, since you are being so very irresponsible with that thing.

“I thought you wanted me to practice and get better.” She was teasing Ember, she knew she was, but she was feeling so giddy she couldn’t help herself.

About the history of Lugrazia! And about geometry! Not about how to best drop things on one’s kind, suffering familiar’s head! Why would you even do such a thing?

“Well, first, by accident, second, I apologize. I did not mean to hit you on the head, third, Ember, I can lift things with my mind! I could lift a tree with my mind! I can lift you with my mind!”

No, no thank you. Do not attempt to lift me with your mind. For one, you are not strong enough yet. For another I do not wish to be lifted. For a third, do not be ridiculous.

“I’m not being ridiculous at all! I bet I could lift you eventually. Perhaps not today, no, but one day, I will carry you with nothing but my mind.” The pencil bounced and twisted in front of her.

You hardly carry me with your arms. Why should this be different when you can lift things with your mind? Ember was grumbling and growling in Nilien’s mental ear, but the actual irritation had gone out of the fox’s tone. It is good that you are happy about magic, but I could wish it was a less aggressive sort of power.

“Just because I dropped a ball on you doesn’t mean it’s aggressive. It’s just more so than, ah, looking for magical marks. Or trying to find one black ball in a bowl of white ones.”

Dump the bowl on the floor, and then you will have all of the balls, Ember offered practically. Likewise, carry your pencil in your bag, and you will not have to lift it with your mind. On the other hand – you are a Rune, and it is good to know where your skills lie. There you go. Dance a pencil around. As long as you do not drop it anywhere near me.

Ember had given up its sulk, it seemed, and was walking alongside Nilien now, watching the pencil bounce and sending the occasional fond look upwards.

“I will attempt to not drop anything else on you,” Nilien assured her familiar. “I really am sorry. It just, well, I finally figured it out, and it clicked… excessively. And now I can float – well, pencils. And balls.” She smiled at her pencil. “It does seem a little silly, doesn’t it? To be so happy about a-”

Her pencil clattered to the floor. Nilien bit back a couple very un-student-like words. “Oh, no! And I was doing so well!”

At least you didn’t hit me, Ember pointed out. Catch it, it’s rolling away! Ember pounced, but the pencil was gone.

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