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The Legacy of Androva Series

New Book, New Series, Fifteenth Chapter 💘

Another weekend, another chapter of Spell Tracker 😊. Luca and Devin finally confront their feelings toward each other, (just a reminder that this book's romantic sub-plot is m/m), and Devin learns a little more about what Luca is trying to do. Of course, Luca can't tell Devin anything about the magical dimensions, but he (Luca) is caught off guard when he realizes exactly what kind of magician Devin is. You can catch up on earlier chapters via the New series label at the top of today's post, and thank you very much for reading!

15 A Few Questions

I felt for him. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen years of friendship rocked to their foundations by the L-bomb, and to say that the fallout tended to be complicated would be understating it.
“I’m sorry. Pretending it never happened isn’t a great plan, though,” I said.
“It wasn’t my plan,” he replied, folding his arms. “I hate it. I feel as if my best friend was lying every time he told me it was OK to be gay. I mean, he clearly has no intention of coming out, does he?
“And I don’t know how to behave around him. Like, every time I touch him, even by accident, he might be thinking I’ve changed my mind or something.”
His voice was rising and his emotions were flooding the small space. Fear, resentment, relief. I was glad. I might finally be able to help him.
“And Mina is being so nasty,” he went on. “She used to be popular because she was fun to be around—can you believe that? But I can’t call her on it. I know how much she’s hurting.”
He fell silent, and I waited, wanting to be sure he’d finished.
“Well? Can you help them, or not?” he said. His arms were still folded, the muscles tense.
Tenuo,” I said softly. “I can help them. But only if you let me help you too.”
“I’m not the one that needs helping,” he protested. “If I wasn’t worried about them, I’d be fine. What… what was that word you just said? I feel like I want to sigh with relief, but I don’t know why.”
“I banished the fog. Temporarily.”
“Oh.” Devin frowned. “I didn’t ask you to.”
“Stop being such a martyr. The three of you are completely mixed up in this. I have to help you too.”
He glared at me. “What the hell happened to free will?”
“What’s your problem?”
“I don’t have a problem!” He got up and walked to the door.
“Stop. Stop.” I went after him, grabbing hold of his arm.
“Let go of me.”
“Make me,” I said, without thinking.
Devin turned around and leaned into me, until we were touching from chest to knee. I clutched his arm even tighter. I think it’s the only thing keeping me standing.
“I don’t want to be your assignment, Avi,” he said. “I want to be…”
“Yes?” I prompted.
God. I want to be the person who can do this.”
Oh, shit. All I could do was kiss him back and hope that my enthusiasm didn’t put him off. His hands were in my hair, twisting my head to find a better angle. It felt like every single nerve ending I possessed was burning with the need for more.
“I can’t,” he said, in between kisses.
“C-can’t what?”
“I can’t stop.”
I pushed him against the door with my body. “Do you want to stop?”
“No. Please.” He pushed back and that was it. At that moment, all my training might as well have happened to someone else. I wasn’t a guardian. I was earthbound. And I wanted.
We didn’t really do much of anything, but it was no less amazing for that. At least, for me. Afterward, Devin leaned his head back against the door, closing his eyes and screwing up his face in an expression that was half a smile and half embarrassment. He huffed a laugh.
“What’s funny?” I asked.
“I saw that going differently in my head.”
“What do you mean?”
He opened one eye. “Uh… slower?”
I started laughing and he joined in, until we were both laughing too hard to stand up. We sank to the floor, holding on to each other.
“In my defense,” said Devin, “this is the first time I’ve done anything like this, and you are…” He squeezed my upper arms. “Well, look at you.”
“I’d rather look at you.”
So much for that non-romantic vibe I was going for.
Devin moved his hands down until his fingers were linked with mine. His emotions surrounded us with something that was all the colors of the rainbow, soft, and beautiful. I’d never experienced anything quite like it. I can feel his magic. He’s a Light Mage too. Oh… wow. No wonder.
“What happens now?” he said. A gray thread of fear began to weave its way through the rainbow, like barbed wire slicing through the softness.
“Don’t,” I said.
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t be afraid.” I was suddenly overcome with the desire to protect him.
“I’m not afraid. I just… I don’t know what to expect. We can’t exactly date, can we?”
“You’d do that? With me?” I couldn’t keep the grin off my face.
“Are you kidding? I’d love everyone to know what great taste I’ve got.”
I ducked my head, nervous that the longing would show on my face. He makes me wish I was earthbound. I’ve never wanted that. Not since I started my training and understood what guardians did. For a few seconds I humored myself with a fantasy of being earthbound again—including having Devin as my boyfriend, and the chance to do whatever the hell we wanted together.
“I know,” said Devin, letting go of my hands. “I know we can’t. Look, will you be honest with me if I ask you a few questions?”
I lifted my head and nodded. “As long as it doesn’t interfere with your life path choices.”
“How do you know if it will, or it won’t?”
“I’ll be careful.”
He frowned. “Do you know what my choices will be?”
“No. I could look, but I haven’t so far.”
“Why not?”
“Well… I don’t want to. Despite what you might think, you’re not my assignment and I can help you without it.”
Suddenly I had a terrible thought. You’re a Light Mage. Your life path will eventually lead where mine did. I tried to keep the knowledge from showing on my face.
“What about Gabe and Mina?” he asked.
“It depends. I don’t have a connection with them like I do with you. I’ll probably have to look.”
His eyes widened. “We have a connection?”
“It’s a guardian thing. Remember the moment you figured out what I really am?”
“Yeah, I’m not likely to forget. It’s the reason I can touch you, you said. I still don’t get that, by the way,” he added.
“It’s because I let you see the real me. And the observer creates the reality,” I said. It was one of the first principles of magic. If you don’t believe it, you can’t see it.
“The observer… I’ve heard that expression. In Physics. Give me a minute…”
The tip of Devin’s tongue poked out of the corner of his mouth while he concentrated, as it had before. It was really distracting.
“I said my knowing didn’t change anything, but I never thought it might be about seeing. You’re talking about that famous double-slit experiment, aren’t you?” His face lit up.
“I get it. You… the light… it’s a particle when it’s being observed and energy when it isn’t. So I can touch you, but everyone else gets an electric shock. The way it was for me the first time.”
He sat up on his heels. “Wow. That’s… like… awesome.”
“I’m glad you think so. I’m finding it a bit inconvenient,” I said.
“Didn’t you know it would be like that?”
“No. I think the physical covering I’ve got now must be like a conductor.”
“Right. The dimension thing.” He hesitated. “Can I ask my questions now?”
“You already asked a lot of questions,” I pointed out.
He shook his head. “Not the… not the important ones.” His fingers curled into fists, like he was bracing himself to speak. “Why are you here? And when are you going to leave?”  
I stared back at him. I don’t want to leave.
“If you can’t answer the first question, then at least answer the second one. I know you won’t stay. I just want to be prepared.” He bit his lip.
“I’m here to help someone. I have an arrangement with… I have an arrangement. The timing is at his discretion. I think I have five more weeks.”
“You think?”
“Where he is concerned, I can’t be sure.” Reflexively, I touched my phone as I spoke.
“Who is this ‘he’?” asked Devin. “Is it the person you’re helping?”
“No. The person I’m helping is Cass.”
“Cass? As in… my sister, Cass?”
I saw no harm in admitting it. Devin might know some things that would make it easier for me to understand her life path. Assuming I ever get up the nerve to attempt to look at it.
“Are you sure she wants your help?”
Devin’s emotions had become impossible to read. There were so many layers to the way he felt about Cass that I couldn’t hope to understand them without using a spell.
“I thought you hardly knew her,” I said, frowning. “Your emotions are all over the place.”
“That’s none of your business,” he said, shifting backward.
“Hey.” I held up my hands. “I’m not going to analyze them. I’m just stating the obvious.”
“Whatever.” He turned his head to the side.
“Devin. However you feel about her… whether she wants my help or not… Cass is almost out of time. She…” I thought of what would happen to her if I failed. Although I swallowed a couple of times, the lump in my throat refused to go away.
Now I’m crying. Shit.
“Avi…” Devin was looking at me in disbelief. “I’m sorry. Please don’t…” He raised a hand to my face and his thumb brushed my cheek. “Your tears look like ice crystals.”
I took a shaky breath but still didn’t trust myself to be able to speak properly. Of course I’m going to fail. Even Devin thinks she’s past helping.
“I’m sorry,” repeated Devin. “I was being a dick about it. You can do whatever you want.”
“Thanks,” I managed.
“Is she…?” He paused. “Is she going to hell or something? She’s not that bad.”
I gave a rather hollow laugh. “There are worse things than hell. I can’t explain,” I added, before he could ask me. “I just have to get her back on her life path.”
“Can you at least tell me what the hell—” He broke off, wincing. “Sorry, bad choice of word. Can you tell me what a life path is?”
“I don’t know. Your free—”
“Yes, I get all the ‘free will’ stuff,” he said, interrupting. “But I’m not asking about my life path, am I?”
I shifted into a more comfortable position and wiped my eyes. “No. But even if I only explain the mechanics, that might still compromise your choices.”
Devin moved forward on his knees and sat next to me, leaning his shoulder into mine. It was nice.
“What’s the worst thing that could happen?” he asked.
“Um… as long as I don’t tell you about your path… as long as I keep it vague… I guess the worst is that you’d have to start over. The lessons from this life wouldn’t count if you knew you’d have another chance…” My voice trailed off. “Shit. I guess I just screwed that up for you. I’m really sorry.”
He tensed. “I’m not… I’m not going to the thing that’s worse than hell?”
“No.” I was quick to reassure him. “No, of course not.”
“Then why can’t Cass start over, too?”
She already has. “Each life path only contains so many chances to learn the same lesson. If you turn your back on it, over and over, you accumulate enough shadow to be vulnerable to… well, to something very dark.” It’s part of the contract. And no matter how powerful a magician you are, the contract always prevails.
“So,” he said, recovering quickly, “there’s one life path and you reincarnate your way along it.”
“Yes,” I replied.
“What kind of lessons? Who decides what they are? You make it sound like we’re all the servants of some evil mastermind.”
“No way can I even comment on that,” I said. You decide, Devin. Every magician decides for themselves what they want to learn. Being earthbound is like attending the best school in existence.
“What happens when you make it to the end?” he asked.
“Definitely no comment.”
“Are they interdependent? You said Mina might be doing something for someone else…”
“I shouldn’t have. I must have misspoken.”
“Yeah, right,” he said. “I get the feeling you’re not going to tell me anything else. What about Cass? What’s the lesson she won’t learn?”
“Er… I don’t actually know.”
He moved around to look at me. “What? You don’t even know?”
“Not yet.”
“But… how many lessons are there even? You can’t just guess.”
“I know that,” I said, making a face. “I’m not stupid.”
“And even once you know, you have to help her make the right choice without telling her what that is? And she’s made the wrong choice for several lifetimes already.”
“Yes.”
“And you have five weeks.”
I shrugged.
“Plus, it’s Cass. No way,” he said. “It’s not going to happen.”
Yeah. You said it.

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