Eyes closed. Deep breaths. Feeling my mind drift away from the physical world, retreat into itself.
I felt around for the gate to my true power. Before I left for the Academy, I’d spent a month forcing the majority of my magic into a sealed-off part of my mind. Now, it was time to open the release hatch, let it all out.
I guess I should probably explain the whole “I’m a mortal god” thing now.
Essentially, I have a mortal body, but my spirit, my mind, is that of a god. I don’t know how that happened. Maybe I got tired of incorporeal life and decided to be rehatched as a mortal. Or maybe two gods loved each other very much, and decided to impregnate a mortal with their offspring.
Anyway, I’m a fire god, which means I have power over not just actual fire, but the element of fire, which represents energy, inspiration, love, passion, and leadership. Useful for energy work, love spells, healing…
I braced myself, and opened that mental door.
It was like popping a balloon: all that concentrated power came rushing out, into the rest of my mind. I could feel it now. A wave of raw energy, penetrating every recess of my mind. Awaiting my command.
I opened my eyes. Smiled. I had almost forgotten how good it felt.
I placed my hands over Lilly’s wound. Took a deep breath and started the spell.
I call upon the healing
power of fire,
to seal this wound.
Save Lilly’s life.
I will not let her
be a sacrifice.
I could feel my power flowing into the wound as I repeated the spell. Before long, the bleeding had stopped, and the wound began to close itself up. I forced myself to stop before it could vanish completely. Lilly would expect to see some damage. I needed–I needed an explanation for her. One that wouldn’t involve telling her I’m a god. She wasn’t ready for that.
“You can tell her I brought medical supplies,” Lucifer suggested, “That I managed to close her wound with cyanoacrylate glue.”
“Yeah. I guess that could work. If I told her it wasn’t too bad.” I stood up. “Hey, why didn’t you bring a first aid kit? Or, for that matter, just call 911 ahead of time? If you knew this was going to happen, then…”
“I did bring a first-aid kit. I even brought surgical supplies that I could have used to treat her.”
“What.” I stared at him in disbelief. “Why didn’t you tell me that!? We could have saved her without attracting attention.”
“That would defeat the purpose.” He laughed. “Why do you think Lilly got this injury?”
“Um… because Ms. Slaphappy is a homicidal maniac with super-charged tenure?”
“No, no, no. She got injured for this. To force you to use your true power in order to save her precious life. To force you to expose yourself to your enemies. The chain of events has now been set in motion, Aleister. Do you understand now?”
“You’re saying this was planned out? Just to manipulate me?”
“Not just to manipulate you. It was also…” Smile. “Fun. So much fun. Laughing as you were assaulted by your insane teacher. So much fun. And there is always more fun around the corner.”
An involuntary shiver ran down my spine. He’d told me we’d have “fun” together… was this his idea of “fun”? Setting me up to be tormented by a crazy teacher? Having Lilly gravely injured just to force me into more danger?
I tried to control my anger, but I could feel it boiling up. With my powers now fully unleashed, it was too much to handle.
“Now, my dear Aleister, we suggest we get going. Staying in one place would be quite… unwise now. Your spell, and the very act of releasing your power, has already set off alarms. They will track the source to the Academy, and there, they will find you. But as promised, I am willing to protect you, keep you one step ahead of the hunters.”
“No way.” I clenched my fists. “You’re not looking out for me; you’re feeding off my suffering. Manipulating me. I always wondered why angels hate ‘cubi so much. I thought it was just out of fear, of those old rumors about sucking out people’s souls. But it’s not. It’s because of people like you. Using your powers for your own twisted fun at someone else’s expense. You give a bad name to your entire species.”
“And you, my friend, are just full of anger right now. At what? Some ‘cubi who tricked you into saving your friend? Tsk tsk tsk, Aleister. You know that won’t do. Your power is all about emotions. The more power you have, the harder it is to stop from burning something down in a fit of passion. Can you control that? At a school where you are taught to confirm? To mindlessly serve a deity? You had such trouble with Ms. Slaphappy. Your training has only just begun, Aleister. Can you survive it?”
Yeah, so… that’s about when I punched him in the face, lit him on fire, and may have bitten off a chunk of his wing. So, um, let’s just end the chapter there, shall we?