To get caught up – go here.
I’m actively working on a title. I know what I want it to convey, but the right words have yet to line up. I’m hoping by next Saturday? Thanks for your patience and your support!
(Also? The story is taking a PG-13 turn in the future. Please plan accordingly.)
Jackie spun and winced at the sudden sharp lights. A student stood open-mouthed in the doorway. The whites of her eyes showed around irises as dark as ink. Before the Mage could react, Jackie was in motion. No time to pick and choose! She grabbed at the various seed packets strewn on the counter-top and then dove below the cabinet table.
She hadn’t brought a weapon, and she was sure leaving a Mage harmed would be a terrible idea, anyway. Stealing from the Mansion was enough to get her a life sentence in The Barrow. A wounded Mage would give them the excuse they needed to come after the entire Thieves’ Guild. Being in trouble with the Guild was why she was here; she didn’t need them turning her over to Medlare’s Wave Guards.
As she stuffed seeds into her multiple pockets, she considered her options. There were only two doors out of the lab. One was taken by the Mage, and the other led to the classroom. They were on the fourth floor, and while all the windows were latched against outside intrusions, Jackie was inside now. She scowled at the idea of those forty feet. They were going to hurt – assuming she got the chance.
Why wasn’t the girl attacking her? She strained to listen for danger around her own ragged breathing. She was sure her heartbeat was audible. It felt good, even though it was simultaneously the worst feeling in the world. Hearing nothing, she crept toward the end of the table to see if it was safe to run.
Sharna froze. A thief! She ran through a list of possible spells to use and fretted. What if they didn’t work? Would a failed spell put her in danger? Maybe it was better if she went and got help? Her stomach rolled over on the pickles.
She tiptoed forward and to the right to see where the thief had gone. It felt like she was stalking a mouse who might run up her leg at any moment. Why hadn’t the intruder run? As she rounded the corner, the thief peeked out. They locked stares. No one moved for a brief second, and then they both moved at the same time.
“Hold!” Sharna yelled.
The thief kept running, and Sharna swore. She took a breath to try and clear her mind, and tried again. “Hold!” She directed all of her focus on the floor. It was tile, made of crushed stone, easy to clean, cool to the touch. A popping sound split the silence.
As the thief disappeared through the classroom door, Sharna saw a pair of leather slippers embedded in the floor.
I’m going to be in so much trouble.
There was no sound from the classroom, and when Sharna worked up the nerve to push open the door, the room was silent and empty. The window was open, and there was no sign of the thief. Why would anyone want to steal seeds, anyway? The Mansion had plenty of valuable artifacts and art. It made no sense, and now she was going to have to do something about it. She was suddenly tired.
The cool night air washed over her. She was clammy from fear and exertion, but the breeze was cleansing. The way she saw it, she had two options: she could pretend none of this had happened, go to bed and act surprised in the morning, or she could wake Mistress Nora to report what she saw. If she reported it, she’d have to explain why a yellow-robed Mage had been bested on her own turf. If she went back to bed, she would be a liar and be helping a criminal.
She sighed. Neither of those were pleasant, but if she were going down, it would be with her honor intact, if not her dignity. She went to wake the Mistress.
(see you next Saturday!)