Parvenu: [5] Son & Heir/Sun & Air

Chapter 16 - The Better Butter Batter

"Paul! Can you give me the text of the diagram for the negative flow?" Lex asked loudly, to be heard a few tables away, over the sound of the train.

"Yeah. It's just a quasi-elemental shift. Easy-peasy." Paul called in return as a glossy whiteboard appeared with a detailed explanation of the spell.

"Thanks. I just wanted to be sure that I got the linkages straight." Lex responded.

"For every in there's an out, for every give there's a take." Paul carefully explained.

"I'll keep that in mind." Lex said loudly, then turned his full attention to the spell in front of him.

* * * * *

"It's just like I thought." He finally said, then touched one finger to the spell diagram on the tablecloth to add in the symbols of his formula.

Zephyr carefully looked over the addition, then bobbed his head in agreement.

"It looks like we've got the basic elements covered fairly well. Any of us can summon those. We've got the vessel objects for both enchantments and now we have a way to magically power it that should work in just about any circumstance." Lex mused aloud.

Zephyr vigorously shook his head to show his emphatic disagreement.

"Why not? What did I miss? If a mundane person puts it on, it will go inert. If a magical person puts it on, it will use their personal reservoir of magic. What other states are there to consider?"

Zephyr crossed the tabletop to the edge of the diagram, where the Lapis Lazuli and silver brace were sitting, waiting to be used.

Very carefully and deliberately, Zephyr put one forehoof into the brace, then looked expectantly at Lex.

"Duh! A part-time centaur should know better. There's no way the 'changey' will work on me if I don't rig it to account for a quadruped." Lex said slowly.

Zephyr looked him in the eyes for a moment, then took off in a slow-motion gallop toward G and Paul.

"You know, this would be a lot easier if you could just tell me what you were wanting to say." Lex said frankly.

Zephyr didn't respond or even alter his course.

Paul and G stopped what they were doing and watched as Zephyr silently approached.

"Did you need something? What's going on?" Paul asked hesitantly.

"You'll have to ask Zephyr. He's doing it all on his own." Lex said frankly.

G was obviously surprised by Zephyr's choice to fly to him and land on his shoulder.

"Hey. What are you doing there, Buddy?" Lex asked cautiously.

Zephyr turned and looked Lex in the eyes for a moment before purposefully looking down at the table between G and Paul.

"Is that Linnaeus?" Lex asked uncertainly.

While the Wizard's Light drawing did have multiple arms and legs, it was much thicker around the middle than Linnaeus and didn't have any of his more refined identifying features.

"Only in the most general sense. This is kind of a doodle that we were working on to help G with a project that he's trying to rig." Paul explained.

"I think that Zephyr wants for me to make adaptable clothes for your dodecapedal guy here." Lex said speculatively.

"I'm sure he'd appreciate that." G said hesitantly, then added, "But since he's a Hindu god, he can probably make whatever clothes he wants for himself."

"Yeah. But what if we rigged the changey so that it could adapt to Linnaeus or G's Hindu god? Wouldn't that be an awesome feature to include?" Lex asked with a smile.

"You mean like the makeup mirror in the car?" Paul asked curiously.

After a moment, Lex quietly admitted, "I don't see the connection."

"A feature that you don't need doesn't add value to your spell. If you're planning to have multi-armed, multi-legged creatures wearing your adaptable clothes, then yeah, that's great. But if not, then any time or trouble you put into making your clothing adapt is all wasted." Paul said seriously.

"Yeah. If you don't use it, then it just makes your spell more complicated to cast with no benefit. It's bloat." G added.

"Hey, I'm with you. Zephyr's the one who's pushing for clothing that's adaptable for everyone." Lex said in his own defense.

After a long quiet moment listening to the clackity-clack of the train running down the tracks, Paul finally said, "It sounds to me like Zephyr may be thinking three steps ahead of us. He's not thinking about making something that's practical for your project or even to get you a better grade. I think he's planning on copyrighting your spell and living off the proceeds for years to come."

"What? Do you think that I won't be able to earn enough to keep hay on your plate?" Lex asked teasingly.

Zephyr flashed him a dubious sideways glance that was epic in its proportion before looking away.

"Ooh! Burn." Paul said with a sympathetic cringe followed by a laugh.

"Seriously. I'd really like your advice before we go any further." Lex asked firmly.

"I don't know. If you're going for the grade, I'd say to keep it bare-bones and simple. If you're looking at making charms your main focus after school, then Zephyr might be right. Something like this could get your name out there and open some doors for you with the more experienced practitioners of the craft." Paul said slowly.

"Dad already said that he'd like to have some clothes like this. To be honest, I'd like to have a jacket that I could always have with me, but dispel when I don't need it, especially on warm days." G said frankly.

"One of my lab partners, her name is Amelia, she gets six arms when she goes full out with her magic. I bet she'd appreciate having a coat to wear that she didn't have to remember to activate every time she transformed." Paul said speculatively.

"So even if the implementation turns out to be a little generic, the idea behind it holds enough appeal that we might be able to get Zephyr started on amassing his fortune." Lex said, finishing with a loving glance at his tiny companion.

"Paul, didn't you get a copyright or trademark or something on one of your spells?" G asked curiously.

"Yeah. It's not that big of a deal though. I just came up with a spell that translates your magical inner monologue into typing. It's pretty much the same thing as the numerology workbook answer spell, except that you use an enchanted keyboard instead of enchanted paper." Paul explained.

"So, have you made tons of money off of it yet?" Lex asked curiously.

"I've made some, but Dad's handling all of that for me. He said that for right now we're just going to build up some capital and wait for a good investment opportunity to come along." Paul said seriously.

"I feel like I'm being a slouch, just going to school and learning what I'm supposed to learn while you two are coming up with fantastic new inventions that will change the world." G said frankly.

"You're the heir to the Darroch estate, the oldest son. If you never earn a penny of your own money in your entire life, there's still no chance that you'll ever have to do without." Paul said as a statement of fact.

"You can take your time and learn your lessons the traditional way so that you can go into whatever field of study that you want to after school." Lex said in support of Paul's analysis.

"You guys are heirs too..." G began to feebly protest.

"You're the first. Whatever gets distributed, you get the first helping." Paul said simply.

"Which is just how it should be." Lex was quick to add.

"I don't think Dad sees it that way." G cautiously stated.

"He might not. He may see us as all being equal. I won't pretend to know what's going on in his head. I'm just saying that you were here before any of the rest of us. You get first dibs." Paul said firmly.

A whinny from Zephyr drew their attention down to the table and the generic diagram of the multi-armed and legged creature.

"Right. Back to work." Paul agreed.

"Do you guys want to help me rig the spell on the Lapis to allow the 'changey' to work on multi-limbed creatures?" Lex asked hopefully.

"Well, my first instinct is to say no, since I don't have any talent for charms. But you said 'rig', so it sounds like something that might end up helping me on my Sorcery project." G said honestly.

"And even if it doesn't, you'll at least be able to give your Hindu god a nice jacket to wear." Paul finished with a smile.

"I need to get the tablecloth..." Lex began to say when Paul held out a hand in that direction and the tablecloth flew directly to him.

"What the hell was that?!" G asked in surprise.

"Just a little bit of the psionic force thingy that I learned from Corabeth." Paul said frankly.

"It's beginning to worry me; how powerful you're getting." G said frankly.

"Beginning? You're kinda late to the party. Most of my classmates and lab partners are already freaked out by me." Paul said honestly.

"That doesn't bother you?" Lex asked curiously.

"No matter how things went, I was never going to be like them anyway. I didn't grow up like them and at the core of myself, I'm not the same as they are. I'm fundamentally different. The best way I can think of to handle it is to be who I am and try not to be a dick about it." Paul said as he handed the tablecloth to Lex.

"Give me a second to put this away and we'll help you." G said quickly.

"No. Please don't. If you'll explain what you're doing with the rigging here, it may end up coming into play with the 'changey' alterations I'm going to have to hardwire into the spell."

"Yeah. Okay. And maybe you can help me get this rigging sorted out. The way I've got it now, the movement is too robotic."

"Zephyr and I will be happy to help you with that."

* * * * *

"Did you feel that? We're slowing down." Paul said suddenly.

G and Lex both looked up from the diagrams of rigging that they had been working on for over an hour.

"I think Dad's about to switch tracks. There's a cutoff up ahead." G said speculatively.

"Won't that take us into 'The Crag'?" Lex asked uncertainly.

"No. Dad's probably going to take us to the Rolling Hills." G cautiously reasoned.

"What's 'The Crag'?" Paul asked curiously.

"It's like this one hill just cracked open and there's a mineshaft that goes down into the middle of it. Dad took me down there once." G said uneasily.

"It's not a place you'd want to go if you're claustrophobic." Lex added.

"Why would you want to go down there?" Paul asked slowly, certain that he was missing something.

"You wouldn't!" G stated emphatically.

"G's probably right. When we get to 'The Crag', there's another switch that'll take us to the Rolling Hills. It's nice there... a perfect place for a Pegasus and a unicorn to frolic." Lex finished with a smile.

"What about a demon and a clown?" Paul asked uncertainly.

"That's a little harder to visualize, but I guess you can frolic there too, if you want to." Lex assured him.

"So, you think we're going to camp out in the Rolling Hills?" G asked cautiously.

"Since Dad brought the sleeper car and the dining car, I think we're going to live in the lap of luxury while enjoying the beauty of nature there. But that's fine. After everything else, I think I'm ready to kick back and relax for a while." Lex said frankly.

"I hope so." G said sincerely.

"You really don't like 'The Crag', do you?" Paul asked with concern.

"What's to like? There's a dark hole that leads deep into the earth. There's nothing to see, nothing to do, it's completely dark, completely silent... It's absolutely horrifying." G finished in a low, disturbed voice.

Paul and Lex exchanged a look but didn't go so far as to confirm that they were thinking the same thing.

"So, do you think that you're ready to test drive the spell for the brace?" Paul asked, more to change the subject than his idle curiosity.

"No. That's going to hold the spell for the matter construct. I'm pretty sure that Lucky's going to have to do that one." Lex said seriously.

"Have you tried doing it?" Paul asked curiously.

"No. But I haven't shown any talent for the alchemical manipulation of elemental matter." Lex said honestly.

"Neither did I... until I tried to do it." Paul said frankly.

"So, what? Is this a redefinition of the 3-D plotter spell from numerology?" Lex slowly asked.

"It started out that way, but it's been redefined and reworked so many times since then that it's hardly the same thing anymore." Paul said as he brought up a whiteboard with the spell written on it.

"Do you really think that I'll be able to cast it?" Lex asked uncertainly.

"I have no idea. But I know that it won't hurt anything to try. This has all the coordinates and definitions filled in for you." Paul said honestly, then thought to add, "And if you can't cast it, then you can try again with Lucky's adaptation of the spell."

"Just hold it right there while I try to do the casting by itself, without the enchantment." Lex said anxiously.

"I'll throw up a quick protection diagram anyway, just in case." Paul said seriously.

As Lex and G watched, a glowing pentagram formed on the table.

"I'm leaving the field in the center open for you. It's completely protected, so you don't have to hold back." Paul said seriously.

"Thanks. I feel a lot better knowing that this isn't going to blow back on us." Lex said honestly.

"I don't think it would have anyway, but it's best to be safe." Paul explained.

"I'm just going to muscle through this. Don't try to stop me if I goof it. I'll probably know that I did it and I'll fix it when I tie the whole thing together at the end." Lex said carefully.

"Go ahead. You've got the Brynnhollow Barrier Crew here. We've got you covered." Paul assured him.

Lex smiled at the assurance.

* * * * *

"I didn't think about it before, but after all the definitions and redefinitions, I don't have a clear image of what it should look like without an illusion." Lex said as he looked at the bizarre fluidly warped cylinder that his spell had created.

"That's not a problem. In Sorcery you have to worry about visualization. This is more of an Alchemy spell than anything else. As long as you get the definitions right, it should do what you want it to." Paul said instructively.

"So, is this what it's supposed to look like?" Lex asked uncertainly.

"Why don't you put it on, changey it, and light up the illusion? It's solid matter now, so you should be able to manipulate it and hang an illusion off of it if you want to." Paul casually suggested.

"I just followed your spell. I don't even know what it's supposed to be." Lex said frankly.

"It's a sleeve." Paul said simply.

"Do you need any help with the illusion part?" G cautiously asked.

"No. I see what I'm doing now. It just didn't make sense there for a minute." Lex said confidently.

"Go ahead." Paul encouraged.

"You ready?" Lex asked his tiny companion, who was once again on his shoulder.

Zephyr bobbed his head once, then focused on the cylinder.

"So I take the matter construct, enact the changey, then overlay the illusion. Is that it?" Lex asked to be sure.

"I could have sewn you a jacket in the time this is taking." Paul playfully teased.

"Go ahead." G encouraged with a grin.

With that, Lex put his arm into the cylinder, up to the elbow. As soon as his arm was in place, he enacted the 'changey' to cause the pseudo-matter to magically conform to the shape of his arm within the constraints of what fabric would naturally do.

While the construct didn't look 'glossy', it still had an overwhelming sense of being 'unreal'. Otherwise, the shape ended up being just about what he was intending.

"Nice work. And that's coming from the guy who adapted the matter construct spell into its current form." Paul said seriously.

"Thanks." Lex said timidly, then went ahead with his spellcasting to form the illusion encasing the construct.

Zephyr carefully inspected the illusion and finally gave it a decisive nod of approval.

"So, you can cast the matter construct, the change spell, and the illusion, so logically, the next thing to discover is if you can perform an enchantment." Paul said reasonably.

"Yeah. That's actually the biggest unknown in the whole project. If you can give me a minute to get set up, I was thinking that I could go ahead and try to enchant the brace." Lex said as he picked up the tablecloth with his spell diagram on it.

"If you'd like my advice, I think you should try to enchant something small and unimportant before you do anything to the jewelry that you're planning to use for your project." Paul said seriously.

"And think about Lucky. If this is a team project, then he should be part of your casting of the actual spell." G added.

"Yeah. I know you're right. I just don't want to mess with having to find a new charm." Lex said honestly.

"Paul and I can help you with that." G said confidently.

"We can? What are you thinking?" Paul asked cautiously.

"Remember that thing you did at dinner with the spoon? If you can do that again, it'll give Lex something to enchant." G said as he walked to a built-in cabinet at the side of the room and unlatched a drawer.

"Is that okay with you?" Paul quietly asked, sensing that Lex was a little overwhelmed at the pace that decisions were being made.

"I don't know what type of spell to enchant it with. I wasn't prepared for something like this." Lex said honestly.

"If you think about it, you're going to be severely limited on what you can enchant it with. All I'm going to be able to make is a featureless blob made out of a singular component metal, probably silver. That's going to mean moonlight, star fire, or an elemental flow." Paul said frankly.

"You've really learned a lot about this in a short amount of time." Lex said in an impressed tone.

"If I've got all this power I can call up, it's best if I learn what I can do with it." Paul said simply.

"Here you go. Is one enough?" G asked as he placed a spoon on the table before them.

"Since we don't have a clear objective, I guess anything is fine." Paul said honestly.

"Actually, could you hold on for just a minute while I try something? I've got an idea but I don't know if I have the ability to make it work." Lex asked hopefully.

"Just let us know what you need for us to do." Paul said simply.

"This'll either work or it won't. Either way, it'll just take a second." Lex said, then began forming hand signs as he simultaneously spoke the words of his spell aloud.

After a moment, Paul said, "Hey! You learned Corabeth's 'Wall of Force' too!"

"It's an air-based Wizardry, so it would make sense if Lex could use it." G said easily.

When Lex finished enacting his spell, the spoon moved about four inches across the table, then turned itself half-way around before coming to a complete stop.

"Perfect!" Lex said happily.

"Is that what you were trying to do?" Paul asked cautiously.

"Yeah. I can't do like Corabeth and make the big walls of force, but I wanted to see if I could exercise some fine control with it. The spoon ended up doing exactly what I wanted it to. That means that when you do your 'Devil Fire' thing and make the metal molten, I should be able to 'Wall of Force' it into the shape that I want it to be." Lex excitedly explained.

"'Devil Fire'?" Paul asked with a grin.

"I only saw you do it once and I don't think you ever said exactly what spell you were using." Lex said reasonably.

"'Devil Fire' is close enough. Are you ready?"

"Zephyr? Do you already know what my plan is?" Lex asked seriously.

The tiny horse on his shoulder gave a single, decisive nod.

"He can read your mind?" G asked uncertainly.

"I'm not sure how it all works. I think he can when he bothers to, but he doesn't know everything that I'm thinking. He just peeks in there when he wants to know something." Lex said comfortably, obviously not bothered by Zephyr's ability.

"I guess since he's made from your water, he's kind of part of you, even when he's separate." Paul said speculatively.

"Yeah." Lex said seriously, then stated, "We're ready when you are."

"Right." Paul confirmed, then picked up the spoon as a pentagram appeared on the neighboring tabletop.

Lex hurried to move to the next table and prepared himself for the spell.

"Do you need for me to do the words or gestures for you?" Paul cautiously asked.

"No. I can barely pull together enough fire to light a candle. There's no use in me learning a high-level fire spell like that." Lex said honestly.

"It's a lot more than fire. It's fire manipulating the earth, being constrained by air and water. I use fire in it the most, but all of the primary elements come into play." Paul explained.

"If you need me to do something with air, I can definitely help with that. Otherwise, you can just do it silently." Lex said frankly.

"Naw. I was just offering in case you wanted to see the full version... for inspiration or continuity or something." Paul said as he started performing multiple spells simultaneously.

As G and Lex watched, the spoon began to glow, then to melt.

"Hold it right there for a second!" Lex said suddenly, then began murmuring a spell as he simultaneously performed a succession of hand signs.

At the same time, Zephyr leaped off his shoulder and began to gallop in a long slow arc above the spell diagram.

"What are you doing?" G asked curiously as he watched.

"That's a whole other version of Corabeth's wall of force." Paul said speculatively.

"It looks like he... no, like they're using the Wall of Force to shape the metal while it's still fluid." G said speculatively.

"I think Lex is shaping it while Zephyr is forcing the metal to rapidly cool to fix it into place." Paul said carefully as he analyzed what he was seeing.

"What do you think?" Lex asked, somewhat breathlessly, after completing his spellcasting.

Paul and G looked at the strange, angular piece of metal that had been formed and it was finally Paul who said, "It looks kinda like a quartz crystal."

"Good. That's exactly what I was trying for." Lex said as he reached toward the chunk of silver.

"Watch out. It might still be hot." Paul cautioned.

"It's fine. Zephyr already took care of that." Lex said confidently as he picked up the talisman.

"So, does that mean that you're ready to enchant it?" Paul asked curiously.

"Yeah. But let me use the diagram on the tablecloth. I want to be sure that I'm getting the symbols and formulas just the way I want them." Lex said seriously.

"Go ahead. Just remember that we're here if you need us." Paul said as he watched Lex place the silver crystal into the central field of the spell diagram.

While Lex was inspecting the diagram to be sure that everything was in order, Zephyr likewise was walking around the tabletop, examining the symbols and formulae, to verify that each thing accurately represented what they were trying to do.

"G, I should be able to do this myself, but if you notice me faltering, I'd appreciate it if you'd jump in and help me out." Lex said quietly, revealing some of the anxiety he was feeling.

"Me? I've never made a charm before and I don't even know what spell you're trying to enchant it with." G protested.

"Yeah." Lex said with an impish grin at him, then spread his hands expressively over the spell diagram as he began a low chant.

"Hey! That sounds familiar." Paul said uncertainly.

"Yeah. To me too." G agreed.

Zephyr had once again taken flight, galloping in slow motion round the circumference of the table.

"That's the spell for the enchantment, the outer casing for the real spell." Paul quietly explained at the transition between spells.

"Yeah, but that other, I think it was a spell definition... Something that I've already done. I just can't remember when." G said slowly.

"Same here." Paul quietly agreed.

As Lex moved into the next phase of his spellcasting, he began to incant the spell he was attempting to contain within the silver quartz talisman.

"That's the ice house spell!" Paul said suddenly.

"There's no way you're going to be able to contain a spell that big in a charm. It took me and Paul, each with an ancient relic, to pull it off." G hurried to explain.

Lex fought to contain his smile as he continued his spellcasting.

After a moment of listening, Paul slowly said, "You're contributing the essence of air and I assume that Zephyr is adding the essence of water. The presence of them combined should actually sit well in a fire-forged pure earth element charm."

"But what's the spell? It's not the gazebo that we created." G asked curiously.

"He hasn't said yet... I think he's about to define the effect." Paul said quietly.

There was a long moment as Paul and G concentrated on the spell that Lex was casting.

"What are you, a Batman villain?" G suddenly asked.

Paul burst into laughter at the indignant question.

As soon as Lex was done casting the spell, he said, "The only way a villain could use this to take over the world is if he was determined to do it one square foot at a time. If this thing works at all, the area of effect will be measured in inches."

"So what does it do?" G cautiously asked.

"Flash freeze. If you need to cool something down quickly, you can use this charm instead of having to plod through the long version of the spell." Lex said frankly.

"Wouldn't something like that have a high magical cost?" Paul asked with concern.

"Yeah. It wouldn't be very practical if you were wanting to make a snowboarding run. But if you're just chilling a Coke down for a friend on a warm day, it shouldn't be too costly." Lex said seriously.

"Did this help you at all with what you're working on for school?" G asked curiously.

"First, let's see if it works. The point of this is to prove whether or not I'm capable of enchanting an item." Lex said as he turned the charm over in his hands to examine it carefully.

"From what I can see, everything looks good so far." Paul said seriously.

"What should I freeze?" Lex asked uncertainly as he looked around.

"Hold on. I've got just the thing." G said suddenly, then dashed away before anyone could ask what he had in mind.

Paul glanced at Lex, then cautiously asked, "Have you thought about changing your appearance?"

"How do you mean?" Lex asked cautiously.

"I mean, instead of looking like G, maybe you could look like an aged-up version of Cousin Lex." Paul said speculatively.

"What good would that do?" Lex asked curiously.

"I can just see a situation where you and G being identical might cause a misunderstanding." Paul said honestly.

"For example...?" Lex cautiously asked as G rejoined them.

"If you went on a date with Corabeth, I'm sure she wouldn't want to go with a little kid and if you went as G, someone might think he was cheating on me." Paul said seriously.

"Do you really think that's going to happen?" Lex asked anxiously.

"Well, I haven't had a premonition about it or anything. But it just seems that the longer you run around being G's identical twin, the more committed you are to it." Paul explained reasonably.

"What are we talking about?" G cautiously asked.

"Lex slightly altering his appearance so that he won't be mistaken for you as easily." Paul said simply.

"Actually, it doesn't bother me either way. If someone mistakes us, then we can do the big 'twin reveal' thing. Very dramatic. It'll be like something from a TV sitcom." G finished with a smile.

"You know what? It's none of my business." Paul said frankly, then looked at Lex and explained, "I saw something that might cause you a problem down the road and I warned you about it. Whatever you do or don't decide to do about it is totally up to you."

"I'll think about it." Lex said sincerely, then looked down to G's hand and asked, "Is that for me?"

G held up the can of Coke and said, "Yeah. We've got cold Cokes in the fridge, but I got this one from the cabinet. It's nice and room temperature for you."

"Is this the kind of test you had in mind?" Paul asked to confirm.

"I didn't actually have anything in mind. But since this is the example that I used, let's go ahead and see what happens." Lex said cheerfully.

G carefully placed the Coke on the table, then backed away, leaving Lex an unobstructed path to his target.

"You ready for this?" Lex asked his Nuggle, who was still on the tabletop.

Zephyr reacted by leaping into the air and galloping in slow motion, eventually coming to rest on Lex's shoulder.

As soon as Zephyr was in place, Lex held the silver quartz charm in both hands and aimed it at the can of Coke.

"Let's do this!" Lex said, then a strange mist seemed to roll forth from the crystal, compounding as it went, spraying more and more slowly on and around the can of Coke before finally engulfing it and coming to a complete stop.

There was a long silent moment as everyone watched to be sure that the spell had reached its conclusion.

"Do either of you happen to have a pick-axe with you?" Lex asked cautiously.

"You might want to take a look at regulating the power on that thing." Paul carefully suggested.

"It just did a major drain of my magic, all at once. I probably won't be able to use it again for an hour or so." Lex said seriously.

"How much trouble do you think it will be to regulate the power usage on it?" Paul asked seriously.

"I can see why you get all the extra credit assignments." Lex chuckled.

"It's not that I don't care about you, but you're obviously fine and there's a good chance that if we work on this right now, we can fix it, so you'll be able to move on with your project." Paul explained in his own defense.

"Do you know any power regulation spells, right off the top of your head?" Lex asked teasingly.

"A bunch. Take a look at this one." Paul said as he brought up a fresh new 'white board', already filled with writing.

"Okay. Leave that there for me and let me open this thing back up." Lex said as he forced himself to walk to the table with his spell diagram.

"You're walking like a little old man." G observed.

"I bet that if you cast a spell with this thing the way it is now, that you would too." Lex said frankly.

"Should we do something about the Coke can?" G asked as he looked at the frozen structure.

"That thing's frozen so solid that we probably won't be able to chip it off the table for a day or two." Paul said seriously.

"Okay. Zephyr, you ready? We're going to have to cast this together." Lex asked seriously.

Zephyr bobbed his head one time, then bounded off Lex's shoulder and began to gallop in the air above the rim of the spell diagram.

"You and your created construct are performing simultaneous spells in two different primary elemental disciplines. Even though I don't know of any rules saying that it can't work, for some reason it seems like it shouldn't be able to." Paul said slowly.

"There are things that you can do because you're a Cambion. There are things that I can do because I'm an elemental. I say we just accept it and leave it at that." Lex said seriously.

"You've got a deal." Paul was happy to agree.

"Good. Then let's do this. Quick and dirty." Lex said, then began his chant to unseal his previous spell so that he could make amendments to it.

G and Paul watched Lex and Zephyr critically.

In the end, both appreciated the skill Lex used and the aid that Zephyr provided. The spell would have been too demanding and unwieldy if Lex were forced to perform it on his own. He would have at least needed spell components to reinforce the structure and power to his spell, if not the participation of Paul and possibly even G to balance the forces that he was working with.

When Lex finally finished his spellcasting, he had to stop and catch his breath. The spell seemed to run his personal magical reserve exceptionally low.

"Well? Did it work?" Paul asked curiously.

"I think so, but I'm too weak to try it out." Lex reluctantly admitted, then cautiously asked, "G? Would you mind?"

"I guess not. But I don't know how it works." G admitted.

"Point it at something and 'want' for it to be frozen. The charm should take care of the rest." Lex explained.

"I was able to handle the Mikael Spear. I should be able to handle this." G said as he reluctantly accepted the silver quartz charm from Lex.

"Paul? Can you magic me up a target?" G asked with a grin.

"I'd love to." Paul said as a red and white 'bullseye' appeared before them, floating in mid-air.

"I never realized just how literal you take things." G said uncertainly, then pointed the silver quartz charm at the target and firmly said, "Freeze."

Within the span of a heartbeat, the 'bullseye' was encased in a thin coating of ice.

It held in place for nearly a full second before dropping to the floor with a resounding 'thud'.

"Nice!" Paul said in appreciation.

"That's what I was trying to do." Lex said expressively.

Zephyr was perched on Lex's shoulder and appeared to be likewise pleased with their accomplishment.

"I guess now we can say, without a doubt, that you can enchant a charm." Paul said with a smile.

"Do you mind if I keep the tablecloth?" Lex asked hopefully.

"It's yours, as far as I'm concerned. And if you ever need another one with a fresh diagram, all you have to do is ask. I won't mind at all." Paul said firmly.

"Once I've gotten a few more things worked out, I'll probably end up making a mat for myself, with all my little secrets and tricks woven into it. But I think this should get me by in the meantime."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

The more we see of Lex's abilities, the more I am impressed.

In fact. All the boys seem to be able to compliment each other's abilities and knowledge, and work with one another as a team to do what seems to be more than the sum of their individual parts, so to speak.

I love the way we have learned some new facts, such as that deep hole in the ground that G doesn't like.

I somehow have a feeling that we will learn more about it, and that it will somehow play an important part in the lives of everyone involved.

Obviously that could be a good or a bad thing.

I love to speculate and see if any of my strange ideas take hold and somehow find their way into a story.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher