We all head to the unlabeled building, to see what we can find out. Inside is an ornate lobby, and steps up to several doors. The boys check out the sides, and find other doors that lead to spiral staircases. Heading up one side, we find another hallway and small lounge. The hallway has several red curtained alcoves, and when we investigate, we discover that we’re in a large theatre. This top level has private boxes behind the curtains.
Looking down, we notice that the stage has a large chalk circle and an
large empty metal basin. Remy takes a look and says it is for wizard duels. The boys look around the other booths as I head down to the stage for a closer look. The chalk circle is really runes, and Dalish says they’re for binding, containing, uniting.
Backstage is pretty standard theatre stuff. Nat and Dalish find stairs down to changing rooms and prep areas for the stage. I head up to the main balcony while they look downstairs. When Nat leaves the stage we all hear a voice. “Hello. Make me laugh.”
The boys take turns telling jokes and getting boo-ed off the stage. The stage doesn’t respond to me, no surprise, so I head downstairs and use the make-up to leave silly messages on the mirrors. By the time I make it back upstairs, Nat has gotten a new spell. Something about Hideous Laughter. The rest of them give up.
As we start to head out, Professor Weest and the Groundskeeper come inside. They say they have to get ready for tonight. The boys all have questions about how they get all that mana here, and they remind us about our lesson in mana physics. Then they tell us we are allowed, but should not come to the duel tonight.
We hurry back to dinner and I warn Maribeth that adult wizards are coming to campus tonight. Remy and Gerhardt decide to go to the duel.
Nat and I head outside of campus to look around again. Dalish heads up to the observatory. Nat and I check the area we think they send the mana over the wall to, it’s full of run-down and abandoned buildings. The opposite side is populated and full of people. There doesn’t seem to be an area where mana could fly over unseen, so we head back around.
Nat and I find a nice tall building where we can watch unseen. It’s not a great building, but it should be safe. I climb up to the 3rd floor pretty easily, but Nat falls a few times. We find a front window to watch the wall. Klyce shows up around midnight, and I send him a message to tell him where we are. He acknowledges and stays at street level.
Eventually, three men walk by and slip into a building just a few doors down. I let Klyce know and he heads over to investigate. Unfortunately, something catches his foot and he falls noisily to the ground right in front of their hiding place. A man comes out and Klyce pretends to be crazy, rolling around in garbage. The man yells at him and pulls out a gun! Klyce charges him and gets shot! Oh NO! I have to help! I have to… throw a rock… I…
Another shot, and a fog bank appears. There is shouting and running, but we stay put. I stare at… BOOM!!! Nat is shouting at me, there’s fire, we have to go. Nat tells me to jump out the window, with a small push, I do. He follows and we float down to the ground like a dream. Am I flying? Am I dead? Why is everything on fire? What happened?
Nat pulls me away and we go to the school gate. There’s blood here. Klyce. Klyce was bleeding. Klyce got shot, but he made it back inside. He’ll be alright. Nat rings the bell next to the gate and a servire arrives.
“No. Nope. I don’t want in that bad.” I tell Nat and turn to walk away.
“Sorry, wrong door.” Nat tells the creepy little thing and follows me.
I take Nat back to my home and up to the loft in the stable again. The stableboy is sleeping and doesn’t notice us. Nat shares a secret before we both go to sleep.
The next morning we head back to school. Finding Dalish, Remy, and Gerhardt, we tell them what happened. Nat says one of the men had an M tattoo. The fire spread wide on that side of the school, and 50 people died! The news thanks the professors and the fire brigade for stopping it from going even further. They don’t know what caused it yet. The boys go looking for news of the M, and I go up to the dorm to study.
Maribeth actually comes over and sits with me in the common room. I message her about last night. The fire and the dead. Maybe they’ll stop now. We sit and study together for the rest of the day.
At breakfast, Monday morning, Dalish and Klyce tell everyone about the Maggia – a crime syndicate. We all decide to stop investigating. This is way more than we should be dealing with. We have to protect our families. But if Malden asks for help, inside the school, some of us still might. Maybe.