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Mature story contains dark themes involving graphic violence and taboo topics that may contain triggers for sensitive readers. Please do not read further if this bothers you.

Rich Boy: Growing Pains - 28. Chapter 28

"I feel overwhelmed," Worthington admitted the Saturday after he had met the President at the site of the demon-controlled mage attack. He was back home in Clairville for the first time since he’d left more than nine days ago. Now he had a week’s worth of schoolwork to catch up, finals to study for, a Demon Lord to hunt down, and a mound of paperwork waiting for him in the office on the second floor of the Keep. That wasn’t even mentioning the meetings that were scheduled or the training sessions with the government mages.

"No fucking shit." Jamie laughed from where he sat on the other side of the desk, staring at the three piles of paperwork Worthington had two hours to wade through. "That’s why I’ll take the training sessions for you. I’ve already talked with Lowenthal, and he says that will be fine. Huntington’s plane doesn’t land in Phoenix for another two hours, and it’ll be at least two more for the drive up here. Kyle’s working with Stacy all day today, so you don’t have to worry about him."

"I still need to spend some time teaching Colin." Worthington sighed. "He’s been real touchy about being ignored lately."

"He likes working with Rob, let that blond bastard take care of him." Jamie snorted. "It’s not like Rob’s exactly running himself ragged."

"Rob’s barely further along than Colin right now." Worthington frowned.

"Let them practice fighting," Jamie suggested. "It should get both of them excited and hopefully wear them out."

"Fine, I’ll do that." Worthington sighed. His brother smiled and stood up.

"If you don’t watch it, brother, you’re going to collapse, and that will not be good for any of us," Jamie said before turning to walk out of the office. Worthington sighed and pulled a manila folder off the nearest pile, scanning through it briefly before signing off on the report. How Gerald Norman had let the paperwork pile up like this before dying Worthington would never understand.

"Sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Sinclair." Nick Wooten’s voice came through the intercom on Worthington’s desk phone. "The White House called again asking for that update on the hunt for the demon lair."

"Where the hell’s that file?" Worthington snarled in frustration, staring at the piles on his desk.

"Third pile on your right, about halfway down," Nick answered, calmly. "It will be in one of the Top Secret folders."

"Fuck, I found it." Worthington snapped after nearly toppling the pile over in order to find the one he needed. "Tell them I’m working on it right now and will have something later today."

"Will do, sir." Nick’s voice was efficient in its clipped tones, and the intercom went dead. As he read through the file, Worthington’s near-constant headache returned and started throbbing as he continued to read. At least this report would go a long way towards satisfying the White House that they were making progress.

He’d spent most of the last two days on the phones to various Adepts around the country that were willing to speak with him. As a result, he now had a good idea on how to summon the Ferdun, and let them into this world for a limited time. It was similar to demon summoning but far less dangerous to the mage in question. Kelvren had proved a surprising source of knowledge on the Ferdun and had given him quite a few pointers earlier in the morning, which he now wrote out to be added to the report. Two hours after starting it, he put the report in the ‘out’ box and buzzed Nick to come pick it up. The older mage would re-type Worthington’s notes into coherent order and then bring it back to him for his signature before it was faxed to Washington D.C.

Maybe he’d done too good of a job with the President at their little meeting. After the tour, and illusionary recreation of the attack, the President, had spent several hours in deep conversation with Worthington. They had talked about everything from the elven legend of Landis, that humans often called Atlantis, to the different paths that were most common to mages, and the differences between them. Now, despite only being seventeen, he was the ‘official’ advisor to the President on all matters relating to magic, and he had more piles of paperwork on his desk.

"How the hell am I going to learn anything new with this schedule?" He muttered aloud as he resumed plodding his way through catching up on the paperwork Gerald Norman had ignored. Worthington knew damn well that paperwork was evil and boring, but also necessary. Paperwork was what kept the wheels of the bureaucracy, such as they were, spinning. Nick Wooten was his chief assistant in all this new maze of paperwork and was assisted in his work by a team of six secretaries, all mundanes carefully bound with protective spells.

"If you think it’s bad now, wait until next month when Stacy really starts moving on the paperwork for that new school," Nick said as he entered the office and Worthington groaned aloud.

"You know, at this rate, I might just blow my own brains out." Worthington laughed bitterly.

"Which reminds me, Mr. Weatherby has told me to schedule you some time at the range next week," Nick said. "You haven’t done any practice shooting in three weeks, and barely touched your dwarf rifle since then. He’s worried your shooting skills will deteriorate, and your weapon will run out of the magical energy that it needs."

"I keep it in my room and handle it nearly every day." Worthington frowned. "Fine, set up the range time for me, and tell Weatherby if he wants to tell me this stuff, to do it himself on our morning runs."

"He won’t mention stuff like that on the morning run where the men might hear," Nick said firmly. "At least, that’s what he was thinking when he told me that."

"You shouldn’t be reading his mind like that." Worthington frowned. Nick was fully trained and raised in the Dark path.

"Calm down boss, I just read it from his surface thoughts." Nick laughed as he picked up the three files in Worthington’s out box and headed back to his own office nearby. Three secretaries would normally sit outside Worthington’s office, but Nick had his own now, as did two of the more senior secretaries that worked with him on Worthington’s paperwork and business.

"Greedy bastards." Worthington murmured to himself as he picked up another report and read the current prices the dwarves were charging for the demon-killing ammunition. He made a note about speaking with Lokar regarding the pricing and signed off on the current invoice before putting it into his out box. For three hours, he kept working before he was interrupted again. One pile was completely moved to his outbox, another half of a second pile was gone, and he was eyeing the third pile, proud of his accomplishments when Nick walked in, his arms loaded with another pile’s worth of material.

No, after Nick went back out, he came back with another stack of files and documents that formed two piles compared to the one and a half that Worthington had cleared. With a sigh of defeat, he took the top file off the pile, and opened it up to read the typed version of the notes he’d made earlier. At least by the time Nick had returned with a cup of coffee (and three more files), Worthington had that document ready to go out, and Nick took it with him.

When Huntington arrived, Worthington was ready to call it quits for the day, but he knew he couldn’t do that just yet. She was wearing a pair of designer jeans, a white blouse and a short blue jacket that accented her slim body. The smile on her face when she saw his office was full of sympathy.

"You seem to be buried here." She said with that smile still on her face.

"If you think this is bad, you should see the pile of homework in my room upstairs." Worthington frowned as he spoke.

"It’s a good thing to keep the two separated." She advised him. "Still, you seem to be doing an adequate job for someone your age."

"I had a college-level vocabulary by the time I was twelve," Worthington said proudly as he looked at her. "Filling out reports is not that difficult."

"Having some good staff certainly helps." She added. "The President was quite impressed with your show-and-tell routine in Anaheim last week."

"I certainly hope so." Worthington frowned. "Poor Brandon has barely recovered from the power drain and missed two days of school after that."

"I know." She said with a smile. "If anything, I think that impressed him just as much as the actual presentation. We all have a better understanding of the limits, and the capabilities of real mages, not just those who were trained through the old program."

"Your people did an astounding job, from their starting point," Worthington said graciously, and honestly. "The difference, as I told the President, includes that I first started showing magic at around the age of six, and I’ve been in training ever since then. Growing up with magic is a far different life than what most of the people in your program experienced. Coming to magic late in life presents its own hurdles."

"We get that now." She agreed. "It also explains why female mages seem less capable than male in your world."

"It is one of the reasons, but by the time they enter middle-age, there is little difference between them and their male counterparts." Worthington pointed out.

"Are you recovered enough for what you plan to do tomorrow?" She asked him, moving to the point of this little meeting and her presence here. "Can you keep control of these… things?"

"I have a fairly certain understanding of what I’m doing, and should have no problems keeping control," Worthington said. "Can something go wrong? Yes, of course. We’re dealing with intelligent non-humans who have an appetite for human souls. To them, we are just another food source, and so dealing with them is always dangerous. Fortunately for us, in this case, there’s something they want more, and we’ve got that at hand now. Somewhere in this stack is the payment voucher to the elves and dwarves for their help in the matter. Thankfully they’re not going to hold us up waiting for me to find it and sign the damn piece of paper."

"The paperwork is important." Huntington smiled. "It makes the wheels of the bureaucracy keep spinning."

"I know." Worthington sighed with amusement at her comment, so similar to his own thoughts. "I just wish there was less of the damn stuff."

"Don’t we all." She laughed. "If this works, how soon will you be ready to move?"

"Two weeks, unless they make their move before then," Worthington said with a frown.

"Are you sure we can wait that long?" She asked.

"We have no choice." Worthington shrugged. "The fact of the matter is that we only have a limited number of mages and a limited number of troops. Weatherby is still rebuilding his mercenary corps. Both of us agree that we need at least forty-eight combat personnel, and we have to all but steal them from active duty ranks as it is. That paperwork I got done this morning. Those men will get sent over by Tuesday for detached duty pending their official discharge."

"The invoices for the equipment from the dwarves?" She asked.

"I got them out before you showed up," Worthington said without smiling. He wanted to smile, though. Under his bargain with the dwarves, he got a portion of all sales through Clairville, and the prices they were charging the government for armor and weapons, as well as demon-killing ammunition, was astronomical. Even his rather small cut of that would keep the administration functions of Clairville running for two years. "They will be back on your desk before you’re there."

"Good." She said with a shake of her head. "As expensive as that stuff is, it is apparently the best. The Secret Service tested some of the armor after your last battle with the demons in the mountains, and ordered some of it for their Presidential detail, as well as for the President himself to wear under his regular clothes in high-threat environments."

"Just don’t try to pry the secrets of its manufacture from the dwarves." Worthington laughed softly. "They nearly hamstrung me for just thinking it where they could pick up the thought."

"I’ll remember that." She nodded. "Why two weeks if you’re getting the men this week?"

"They need time to train with the weapons, and with unarmed combat that isn’t really taught in the services," Worthington said. "The DR-4 – that’s the dwarven rifles – they operate a bit differently from standard issue weapons in the services, and require some practice to get good at using them. Also, Weatherby has ordered an assortment of bladed weapons coated with the same metal as used in the special bullets. We learned in the last encounter that demons like to close for hand-to-hand combat, and you can’t always guarantee killing all of them before they get that close. The bladed weapons will penetrate demon hide, and so we need to refresh the soldiers on techniques with the available bladed weapons."

"Was that in your report?" She asked.

"No," Worthington admitted. "It’s in one of the supplemental reports somewhere in these piles. The truth is I’m behind, and catching up is going to be a bitch."

"Do what you can." She said with a frown. "Just don’t let trying to catch up with paperwork slow down active operations. Everyone from the President on down is very anxious to not let demons get a foothold in our country. They worry that if that happens, it won’t be long until they have to deploy National Guard and regular troops inside our own borders to guard against them, and then your secret’s going to be out."

"We are quite well aware of that, Ms. Huntington," Worthington said in a stone-cold voice as he gave her a flat stare. "None of us have any desire to see the demons gain a foothold. I remind you, if it does happen, it will be mages bearing the brunt of the damage, and we know that quite well."

"I know you do, Mr. Sinclair." She said firmly, but once again, there was a hint of sympathy in her voice. "I won’t deny that I still wake up in cold sweats sometimes from nightmares about mages misusing magic, but I feel a lot more comfortable about all of this after having met you, and seen you demonstrate some of the things you can do with your powers."

"Thank you." He said with a nod. "I have this belief that if people know mages, not as a group, but as individuals, it is a lot harder to hate them."

"You and every minority group in this country share that belief." She laughed lightly at him. "It is true, as far as it goes, although you often run into ‘Worthington is okay, but I don’t know about the rest of them!’. Luckily for you, we’ve been dealing with government mages like the late Benjamin for years, and everything you’ve done so far only increases our comfort level with magic. Have you made any progress on how to find untrained mages who are not part of the existing networks of Light and Dark families?"

"Yes." Worthington smiled. "Actually, the idea was Kyle’s. I have a few people working on the dirty details and putting together a proposal before we send it up the flagpole and see what people think, but it shows a great deal of promise."

"What is it?" She asked with interest, leaning forward in her seat.

"Kyle suggested that we go to schools ostensibly to talk about drug prevention or something similar, and we use a big-name sports or movie star as the main presenter," Worthington explained. "Certainly we won’t get everyone every time we go to the schools, but with about fifteen to twenty teams of one to two mages, with a few assistants, we can visit most schools. Instead of trying to test every single kid for magic, we’ll use a device similar to those wards we use at the entrances to Phoenix. It will ask anyone hearing the message to raise their hands at a certain point in the program. Those who do get a prize, probably something like a hundred dollars and the device asks again once people have seen the prize money to raise their hands."

"Interesting." She said with a thoughtful look. "You’ll still miss a few, but that should get most of them, including those who are part of the families."

"Probably not those," Worthington said with another smile. "That’s the beauty of it. Children from mage families that hear it are going to be very suspicious, and they’re going to be able to understand it’s magical in nature. They won’t reveal themselves in that situation, most of the time. Yes, they’ll tell their parents and families, but we can deal with that through normal channels. In fact, spreading the word we’re doing it beforehand will result in most kids from mage families knowing not to raise their hands when they hear the voice."

"Yes, I can see that, or they’ll keep their kids home that day." Huntington thought out loud. "I take it you’ll try to hit every school each year?"

"That’s the goal if we can do it." Worthington shrugged. "If it is approved, I’d like to start a test program here in Arizona and some of the nearby states within a few months. We can have it running by March."

"The first students for your new school?" She laughed.

"Yes." Worthington smiled. "I figured between Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Southern California. We should end up with a fairly good first-year crop of students."

"Yes, that is likely." She agreed. "I remember you saying that there isn’t a ‘Hogwarts,’ but from what I’ve seen you’re building one now."

"It won’t be anything like that." Worthington frowned. "Reality is far different from fiction. Yes, we will be teaching magic at the school, yes it will be a boarding school, but there won’t be moving pictures or staircases for that matter. The curriculum won’t be focused solely on magic, either. All the standard courses that are taught in regular schools will also be taught here, but there will be extra lessons on top of those."

"Sounds like the students are going to be kept too busy to get into too much trouble," Huntington said with a very slight smile.

"There will be plenty of opportunities for them to get into trouble," Worthington said with a broad smile. "Another good thing about this location is that they will get to become acclimated to non-human species by interacting with the town here. They will grow up, essentially, understanding that there is more to this world than most people will ever know or understand. Hopefully, they will also develop a much better appreciation of non-humans."

"You will not, of course, keep them unaware of the government program either," Huntington said in a firm voice.

"The students will know all the options available to them," Worthington said in a firm voice. "They will all be taught by Dark and Light mages, and occasionally by Grey mages like myself or Jamie. In addition, they will meet, and get to know government mages as well, and will understand what they do in our society. These young people will have a better understanding of all the options available to them than any other mage in the history of the world."

"It’s a grand dream you have, Worthington." She said with a shake of her head. "I only hope that it can work. Certainly, we will be much more comfortable with a standardized curriculum and with knowing not only who are mages, but that they have received a strong sense of ethics through your school."

"There is a lot of resistance from both Light and Dark families." Worthington reminded her with a shrug. "They do not like change, and this is a massive change from the existing order of things. At least they know that they cannot stop it from happening, although I doubt they will participate willingly."

"We can live with that for now." She replied.

"It should almost be time for dinner," Worthington said with a slight smile on his face as he stood up from his desk. "Would you like to visit your room before heading down? I feel the need to freshen up a bit myself."

"I think I will thank you." She said with a smile as she also stood up. The Keep was far less crowded already, with about a third of the government mages having moved out into houses in Clairville itself. They still practiced their magic in the Keep’s basement, but most of them preferred to live out in the town, usually in houses of their own.

After a quick shower, and changing into a clean set of the dwarven-made leather pants and tight dark gray shirt, Worthington headed down to the main level of the Keep and entered the great hall that was set up for dinner. It was a noisy room, and quite packed today with humans, dwarves, and elves mixing at the various tables that had been set up around the room.

Worthington sat down at the main table that was always reserved for him and other VIP that might be there. Governor Lokar sat in the seat directly to his right, with Huntington already seated on the governor’s right. Olara was there tonight, although Kelvren was elsewhere, and she was seated to Worthington’s direct left. Weatherby and Lowenthal were both seated at the head table, as was Jamie.

When Worthington took his seat, the hubbub of conversation died down, and Worthington stifled a sigh. Sapha had explained that this was a dwarven tradition. All the people in the village, and any visitors could dine in the Hall of the Lord for their area. Worthington didn’t think of himself as a ‘Lord,’ but in dwarven custom that was what he was, and so he was obligated to provide dinner for any who came to his Hall. He did not have to attend every dinner himself but was expected to follow certain customs when he did attend.

"Welcome to Clairville Keep," Worthington said as he remained sitting. His voice was loud enough to reach the entire hall. "We bid you good tidings and thanks for all you have done today. Let the bounty you provide be returned in some small measure, and may the food and company you have tonight fortified you for tomorrow’s travails."

Dinner that night was a standard four-course affair, with a chicken dish in a white sauce as the main entrée. The food, as always, was very good, and Worthington let himself relax as he talked to the Elven princess for most of the night. Lokar was spending a great deal of time talking to Huntington, and so they said very little to each other.

After dinner in the Hall came several hours of socializing. While the household staff cleared the tables, several bars set up in the corners of the room served drinks (which were not provided for free and usually recouped the actual cost of dinner for all the people who ate in the Hall). Worthington stayed for an hour, socializing with several of the town’s inhabitants, getting to know them a little better before he headed back up the flights of stairs to his room.

Normal, mundane homework occupied his time until it was nearly midnight. As was most often the case, his bed was empty that night. Still, his dreams focused more on his personal interactions with Kyle than troubling dreams of juggling too many balls at the same time.

The sky was just beginning to lighten in the east when he woke up and began to stretch before getting dressed in a sweat suit. This morning there were thirty-three people waiting in the entry area to the Keep, all dressed and ready for the morning run. The run was mandatory for the mundane mercenary personnel and government mages at least four times a week. Nick Wooten and Dakota Ungashick were there as well after Worthington had suggested to them that their participation was desirable. They were standing in a corner of the room, talking to two of the female government mages that had arrived at Clairville after being recalled from their previous assignments.

"Let’s get this show on the road," Weatherby called out after two more stragglers showed up and they all headed out in a group for the three-mile run.

After they returned from the run, Worthington went back up to his room and showered before getting dressed in another of the dwarven-made outfits. Breakfast was waiting for him in his office on the second floor, and he ate the ham and egg sandwich while tackling the stack of ‘urgent’ paperwork that Nick had arranged for him sometime after dinner.

By eleven in the morning, he was finished with that stack and had actually made fairly good progress with the less-urgent paperwork before Nick stuck his head in the door and told him everyone was ready. With a sigh, Worthington got out of his chair and followed the slightly older man down to the main entry where a group of fifteen people were waiting.

"You sure we don’t need more men?" Weatherby asked as he nodded to the team of five soldiers armed with DR-4 assault weapons.

"I’m sure," Worthington said with a glance at Jamie and Brandon, who were standing next to each other, between the soldiers and eight government mages that would be observing this event. Huntington stood next to Jamie, talking to him quietly, while three of her assistants waited behind her. The rest of the group included some elvish and dwarven mages that had chosen to go along and ‘watch’ what Worthington had planned.

Three vans waited for them outside and drove them to the main gates of Clairville, where they disembarked and began the hike eastwards, up into the surrounding mountains. He could see the school site to the north, with the walls of the building already started, and the grounds being cleared by a team of elves, singing the trees to new locations so there would be plenty of playing fields for games of soccer, football, baseball, and other sporting events. A fairly large football and track field was also being built.

"How far do we have to go again?" Huntington asked with a frown. She was dressed in jeans and a blouse again, as well as good, solid hiking boots.

"Just about two miles." Worthington smiled at her.

"Didn’t you already run a few miles today?" She asked him with a frown.

"Yes, but we need to keep in shape, so two miles shouldn’t be too rough on him," Weatherby said with a grin. "We wouldn’t want him getting soft now, would we?"

"No, anything but that." Lowenthal joked while a few of the people around them chuckled.

"You didn’t make the run this morning," Worthington said to Jamie, who grinned at him.

"I’m not as much of a fitness fanatic as you," Jamie said with a smile.

"Brandon, I thought you at least would be there," Worthington said to his dark-haired Channel.

"Yeah, well, I knew we’d be hiking again today, and it all seemed a bit much for me." Brandon shrugged. "Sorry, I’m just not as much of a workout maniac as you are."

"More like a glutton for punishment." Jamie laughed softly.

"I get no respect," Worthington complained good-naturedly, and they all laughed together. It took close to an hour at the slower pace they set for Huntington and a few of the others who weren’t used to much physical exercise, but they finally reached the small clearing the elves had recommended for this venture. Everyone took their places in a half-circle behind Worthington as he took a deep breath. "Are we ready?"

"I guess so." Jamie frowned as he stayed a pace behind Worthington. "Are you sure you should do this alone?"

"Yes," Worthington said as he took a pocketknife out of his pants pocket and opened the blade while moving further away from everyone else. With a grimace, he lowered the knife to the palm of his hand and sliced across the width of his palm, making a fist as the blood welled up from the cut. Focusing his mind on what he was about to do, he called up his mage power and began to walk in a circle, letting drops of blood fall with each step he took.

Some mages would speak aloud what they were doing, but Worthington knew that it was not necessary. What was important here was the magic and his blood setting the limits of what he wanted to do, and what was going to happen. When the circle was complete, he let out an audible sigh before flooding his power into the circle.

White light flared as he completed the circle and set the power inside it for creating a doorway between the planes of existence. The air above the circle rippled like the shimmer of heat off of pavement in the Phoenix summer, and Worthington took a deep breath before closing his eyes and letting his mind flow into the circle.

He was surrounded by darkness, like floating in deep space, surrounded by pitch black with only the shimmering of stars around him. Far below him was the green light that represented his home plane, and he fought a sense of vertigo as he scanned the stars all around him. Even after hearing the explanation of the elves, who had studied this vast expanse for centuries, eons really, he felt tiny and insignificant.

Not even the elves with all their immortality had explored all these planes of existence represented by the twinkling lights. Kelvren had said that they would often spend centuries here, in the gulf between realities, learning what they could of the different planes, but no one had ever finished visiting them all. Still, the elves had given him the knowledge of what he sought, and he began to look for his destination.

The twinkling orange glow of light that was the center of the Eye of Varnan was right where Kelvren had said it would be in that endless gulf. From there it was easy enough to find the blue-yellow twinkling light that represented the plane he sought. The trick was to approach it without garnering attention from any demons that might be watching, or traveling to his own plane. They lived in the orange glowing plane near the Ferdun plane, and so he approached quickly, choosing speed over stealth, where stealth was all but impossible.

He touched the blue-yellow plane that was the Ferdun home, and he reached out with his power to create an exact match of the circle that was waiting in front of his physical body. When there was a circle of matching power touching the Ferdun plane, he retreated to his own green plane and reentered his body. Opening his eyes, he saw the rippling of the air in front of him now shared the blue-yellow color of the Ferdun plane, and let out a sigh of relief.

Now they had to wait, and there was no telling how long it would take for a Ferdun to see the portal that now existed. Power flowed from him for an hour, and he began to worry that no one would appear before he exhausted himself. Then the air rippled again, and there was a burst of red light from the portal as something crossed over.

What do you wish, human? A snarling voice asked in his mind as a creature as large as a full-grown Irish wolfhound appeared in the circle. It had dark scales instead of fur, long claws each as big as Worthington’s hand, and yellow glowing eyes as it snarled aloud and turned around in the circle for one complete revolution until it stood once again, facing Worthington. Drool leaked out of its mouth, falling with little sizzles on the ground below it. You have not paid the price of an innocent soul from a youngling, so I will not take you anywhere.

I have not brought you here to ask for travel. Worthington said mentally, and he could hear Lowenthal whispering what was being said to Huntington.

What do you wish, then? The creature demanded with a sound much like a dog’s yip escaping his throat. We do not like this plane. The demons have made us carry their servants here many times, and only offer the barest of offerings for our work. Do not seek to put a halter on us, or you will find why the demons fear our anger.

You do not like this plane, but you like the felines. Worthington retorted

We do not like them. The Ferdun bayed aloud in a form of laughter. They are good food, but we have only had your tame ones as of late.

You hunger for the hunt of wild felines? Worthington asked. There is at least one within a few miles of where we stand now.

You would let us cross over and hunt the creature? The Ferdun’s mental voice was anxious, and his long tail was arched excitedly towards Worthington as the drool dripping from its mouth increased.

I would, for a price. Worthington said.

We cannot carry you where you wish to go without the life of an innocent. The Ferdun snort was purely mental. That price we always demand.

I wish information, not travel. Worthington said. Many days ago, you took many mundane humans from one place to another at the behest of those who serve demons. What I want is to know where they went.

Easily done. The creature snorted. Allow us the hunt, and we will give you that information. A favor we will grant for each cat we kill.

Done. Worthington said and opened a door in the circle. The Ferdun leaped out, followed by six more of the creatures, all baying at the top of their lungs as they ranged out to hunt. They stopped at the edge of the clearing to sniff around, ignoring Worthington’s watchful gaze.

It was nearly an hour before they returned, all seven of them covered in blood and looking well satisfied. Huntington jumped slightly as they appeared into the clearing, and the six followers headed back into the circle while their leader faced Worthington. The creature came up to his chest and would make a formidable opponent.

Our time on your plane grows short, human. The Ferdun leader said. I am Goshis, remember that name. Here is an image of the place we took the humans. It was a good hunt, with more than one cat at the end. A mother and her mate, guarding their den and young. It was a short fight, but a good one and they managed to claw a few of us. It has been many years since we hunted like that. Five more favors you may ask of us, although if you wish to travel, you must pay that price separately.

If the demon-controlled mages travel again, I wish to know. Worthington replied.

Done. The creature laughed as it reentered the circle and disappeared. With a sigh he let the power of the gateway go, and slumped to the ground weakly, his mind playing over the mental image the creature had given him, of where the demon controlled mages had taken their victim.

This was not going to be easy.

Copyright © 2018 dkstories; All Rights Reserved.

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I agree this was a very excellent chapter. It’s taken me a while to get it read due to the fact that I’m working temporarily and I have some crazy hours, I just happened to get off early tonight because of the cold temperatures where I’m working which is outside. I’m surprised that Worthington accepted the job of the head of the government mage program after the last director was killed in a plane crash that may or may not be an accident. I hope that his new job won’t get him into trouble with his education as he has stated he is still a high school student. Now that he has the location of the mundane humans that were taken so a plan can be made so that a rescue operation can happen. I’m sure that after what he just went through he’s going to need at least a couple of days rest before he gets back to full strength again.

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Excellent chapter! Worthington is taking to his new job with a vengeance. He is building the new school, developing new programs to identify untrained mages in schools and creating new relationships with creatures who dislike the Demons nearly as much as the humans. He will become more powerful and will be able to negotiate with other adepts to hopefully create a better life for all magical beings and live successfully along side mundanes. The deal with the Ferdun could be quite helpful in the battles with the Demons. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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