Inés and Serena left the garden, walking past several young mages and, eventually reaching the commons area.
“Inés?” a voice cried out. The two turned. She was a red-haired girl with lots of freckles and bright green eyes.
“Enya,” Inés greeted. “Good to see you again.” The two girls hugged for a moment. “How are things with Max?”
“Sh… he and I broke up,” Enya said. “After everything we just decided it’d be best for both of us but we’re still friends.”
“I see,” Inés said. “Everything else going okay?”
“Certainly,” Enya said. “And what about you? Still romancing a bunch of ladies?”
“I have some sweet loves back at the temple,” Inés answered. “And one travelling with me.” She put an arm around Serena.
“That sounds like you,” Enya laughed. “You know, they still talk about you. They say you romanced teachers and students alike and that you one made love to all the girls on the third floor of the dormitories in one weekend.”
Inés burst out laughing. “That’s even worse than the rumours they used to spread when I was actually going here.” She shrugged. “Oh well, at least they’re flattering. Although Sylvie would be pissed if she heard that.”
“I know,” Enya said. “It would be fun to see the look on her face, though.”
“Why would Sylvie be mad?” Serena asked.
“Because Illyana’s room is on the third floor,” Inés answered. “At least it was while we were studying here.”
“It still is,” Enya confirmed. “So, where are you headed for your graduation trip?”
“Drahaven,” Inés answered. “Sylvie’s here too. We got partnered up.”
“Really?” Enya asked. “I’m surprised you haven’t killed each other yet. I wonder why you two were chosen as partners.”
“I’ll bet that it was to evaluate how well we can work together,” Inés said. “Diana probably wants to know that our differences won’t be a problem. So, anything new around here?”
“A lot of the same stuff,” Enya said. “You haven’t been away tat long, you know. A couple of the younger students have been trying to find out what Michael looks like. They’ve set up a rotating watch on the showers and they even tried to break into his room.”
“Have they had any luck?” Inés asked.
“None,” Enya answered. “He always seems to find out where they are no matter how much magic they use to help them hide.
Inés turned to Serena. “Michael is a student here who always wears a heavy cloak complete with hood. People have been curious about him since before we studied here.”
“The only other student he really talks to is Illyana,” Enya added. “He keeps mostly to himself.”
“I actually had some girls try to get me to pull back his hood,” Inés said.
“Did you manage to do it?” Serena asked.
“I didn’t even try,” Inés stated. “I don’t have any interest in what he looks like and he doesn’t bother anybody so going after him just seemed mean.”
“There are also some weird guys in town,” Enya continued. “They claim to serve the true God.”
“By ‘true God’ do they mean Zeus, one of the titans or what?” Inés asked.
“I’m not sure,” Enya said. “It’s all very vague.”
“And then she screwed up with the heat on the spell and turned the water into mist,” Illyana said. “The whole area became sweltering. I had to conjure some ice around me to keep cool. I can’t confirm it, but, supposedly, some of the other students started taking off their clothes.”
Sylvie laughed. “She always was a bit absent-minded. I remember her screwing up a demonstration during the welcome assembly.”
Illyana nodded. “That was when she was supposed to create a fine mist for a rainbow and she put too much power into it, drenching everyone, right?”
“Yeah,” Sylvie said. “Were you there?”
“I wasn’t,” Illyana said. “But my mother told me about it. Hey, Sylvie.”
“What is it?” Sylvie asked.
“I know that you can’t stay long,” Illyana said. “But can you at least sup with us tonight? It’ll just be you, me and my mother.”
“I’d like that,” Sylvie said.
The two of them heard a tapping sound approaching. Sylvie looked over. An elderly mage with dark robes and a walking stick was heading over.
“Well, well,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see you this soon, Miss Sylvie.”
“Professor Mord,” Sylvie greeted. “It’s good to see you.”
“Oh, don’t flatter me,” he said. “I’m intruding, I know. Don’t worry, I’ll leave soon.” He reached into his robes and pulled out some scrolls. “I have the materials you requested, specially enchanted to read themselves when you recite the proper spell.”
“Thank you, Professor,” Illyana said, accepting the scrolls.
“Any time, Kiddo,” he said, walking back the way he’d come.
Serena listened as Enya and Inés talked. They were trying to include her, she knew, but she felt like she was intruding. She watched as an elven woman with light blue hair and piercing brown eyes and a young human man with dark hair approached.
“Luc!” Inés called out, waving.
“Well, well,” she said. “If it isn’t Miss Inés.”
“So sweet of you to remember,” Inés said. “I guess I left you with a good impression.” She winked.
“It’s hard to forget a girl who lounges naked on your desk after dragging in a bunch of flower petals to your office,” Luc said. “Please tell me that you aren’t going to try any crazy stunts in a futile effort to seduce me this time.”
“Hey, I’ve matured a lot,” Inés said. “Of course, if you want to find out just how much, we can stop by your chambers.”
“I’ll pass,” Luc stated. “Max, good luck.” She walked away, leaving Inés hanging her head in embarrassment.
“Thank you, Headmistress,” the young man stated. He looked at Inés with a cocky grin. “Guess you’re still too young for her.”
“Shut it, Max,” Inés snapped.
“It is good to see you,” Max said, holding out his hand.
“Likewise,” Inés said, shaking it. “So, what were you talking to Luc about?”
“Jealous?” Max asked.
“Sounds like someone wants me to punch him,” Inés stated.
“I give, I give!” Max declared. “Truth is, I have a mission. Actually, I could use your help. If you’re going to be in Wicadia for a while.”
“We’re on a pilgrimage,” Inés stated. “But part of it is helping people who need it. Tell me what it is, and I’ll decide if I feel like helping out.”
“Not right now,” Max said, looking around. “Meet me tonight at eight. The old spot. Enya, I’ll count on you to keep everyone else busy so that I can talk to Inés alone.”
“Sure,” Enya said. “But I’ll expect something for my trouble.”
“No problem,” he said.
“I’ll bring along my partners,” Inés said. “They deserve a say in whether we stick around and you’d better not hit on either of them.”
“Understood,” Max agreed.