Chapter 25: Release
When Corrie started to bring herself into trance, she realized that she was glad to have her friends there, even if she had argued that they didn’t need to come. Not that she expected an attack, but the faeries were obviously up to something weird, and if something happened while she was still in trance, she could be helpless. She couldn’t move while still in trance, not unless she wanted to fall down again, but Dawn and Edie could easily keep an eye out for her. It wasn’t likely that she’d need them, but it was better to have them there anyway.
When she was fully in trance and opened her eyes, she was surprised and interested by the view. Everything around them sparkled. Yes, everything sparkled normally when she was in trance—it was all the magic in the living things around them. And the magic building, of course, had plenty of magic in it from use over the years. But right now their immediate area seemed even more sparkly than usual. She’d seen the magic building in trance from the inside just last week, and it hadn’t looked like this.
But this was probably normal. The spring semester magic students probably got to practice outside—after all, they had done so for air magic, and it hadn’t exactly been nice weather that day. Maybe this was where they always practiced and the ground and walls had become saturated with magic. It was something else to ask Professor Lal about, if it came up.
Now, though, she had work to do. She turned her attention to Paul. He was still standing there calmly, but now instead of just seeing what he looked like, she could see his magic, too. It was a dull blue mass near the top of his chest, looking like a ball of spaghetti with tendrils that waved feebly. Were those tendrils attached to her? No, that was his own magic, all inside of him, like her own glowing ball of power. His was similar except for the tendrils, but the light was foggy, and it was smaller.
She couldn’t see anything else that looked like magic around him, though, other than what was naturally in the earth. She frowned, wanting to walk around him to get a clearer look, but she knew it wasn’t possible. She tried to speak, but her throat was dry, so she swallowed and tried again. “Paul, can you turn around slowly for me?”
Her voice came out small and breathy, but Paul nodded and held his arms out from his sides before turning around in a slow circle. She thought she saw bits of mist being thrown from his body, but that might just have been ordinary mist. The campus did get foggy. And they didn’t seem to end up anywhere, just disappeared.
“Okay,” Corrie said quietly when he’d finished turning. “I think I need some help. Dawn, can you do something for me?”
“Of course,” Dawn said quickly.
“Go stand between us and look at us in trance? There has to be something connecting us in some way, but I can’t see it.”
“Sure.” Dawn stepped in front of her and positioned herself between the two of them. Corrie couldn’t see her face, but Paul was frowning. Dawn paused, then turned her head around. Corrie could hear her taking several deep breaths, then she turned around, took a few more, and nodded. Finally she walked back to Corrie.
“I can see it,” she said. “I’m surprised you can’t. There are five glowing lines connecting your body and Paul’s.”
“Really?” Corrie glanced down. “I can’t see a thing. Maybe because the spell is on me?”
“Maybe,” Dawn said. “I could try taking it off you.”
“Show me where they attach,” Corrie said. “I’ll try it myself first.”
Dawn touched five points on Corrie’s body: each of her hips, each of her shoulders, and the middle of her forehead. Corrie thought she could feel a tingling in each spot afterward, but she might have been imagining it. Still… she thought she could do something with that.
She connected herself to her own inner magic, then reached for an imaginary line coming from her right hip. She took it and pulled hard, hoping she didn’t set anything on fire. There was a sharp pain, like she was pulling out a splinter, and it quickly vanished.
The pain, she was sure, wasn’t imagined. She must be doing something. She tried it again with her left hip, with the same result. She did her shoulders, repeated it for her forehead, then turned to Dawn. “What do you see now?”
Dawn closed her eyes briefly, breathed deeply, and then opened her eyes again. She grinned. “It’s gone! I think you did it.”
“Awesome! That wasn’t too hard.” Corrie turned to Paul. “Okay, let’s see if this worked!”
She took a step toward him at the same time as he took a step toward her. Neither of them were thrown back. There was no resistance. She must have broken the spell.
She grinned at him. “There you go! We’re not connected anymore.”
“You mean we’re not separated,” he said, taking ground-eating steps toward her with his long legs. “This is great. Thank you, Corrie.”
She took a step back before he could touch her. “Just remember, I’m only doing this to help you. I’m not interested in you romantically and I haven’t been in a long time. It’s just not fair that you should have this spell on you.”
He nodded. “I know. And I appreciate it.” He put his hand in his jacket pocket. “Let me do something to help you in return.”
Corrie started to shake her head and tell him that it wasn’t necessary—she really would prefer not to talk to him anymore—but he wasn’t listening.
He pulled his hand out of his pocket. He was holding a stone knife. Without a word, he leapt toward Dawn, knife in his outstretched arm.