The Phoenix Ring(9)

By: Alexander Brockman

"That boy over there is named Eric, he is so close to becoming a wizard, and that over there is the target area, and- oh, hi George!" George was a huge boy, at least four inches taller than Aidan. He had the beginning of a beard, and muscles bulged under his robes. However, when he spoke it was a surprisingly high voice that emanated from his throat.

"Hey, Tim, who is this, a newbie?"

"Yeah," the smaller boy replied, it was odd that Timothy's voice was deeper. "His name is Aidan. He just got here today and Malachi wanted me to show him around.”

George glanced at Aidan's notebook. "You still writing everything down? Here, I can help with that."

So saying, the boy raised his staff, which was made of stone with a small red ruby encased on top, at Aidan and mumbled some words. Aidan was half expecting to get blasted off the face of the earth, but he was not expecting the itching that came into his ears.

Aidan slapped at the side of his head, and then the feeling was gone.

"There," George said, "That will make it so that anything you hear and want recorded will be written in your notebook."

"Th-Thanks," Aidan stammered.

"It's no problem. Come on Tim, I want to show you something I found over here."

"K, I'll be right back Aidan, try to introduce yourself to some people. That girl over there might be the worst mage in the world, but she's sweet, and the masters aren’t against relationships. Her name is Angela. Good luck." he said, and then followed George to somewhere else in the room, where he was hidden from sight by a group of mages that were frantically trying to extinguish a flaming staff.

Aidan, for lack of a better thing to do, began to walk toward the girl named Angela, who had somehow managed to make a lily grow on top of her head. She was pretty. And then the lily exploded, and her hair was on fire, and Aidan realized that now was probably not a good time to try flirting. Instead he looked around at the building.

He had heard of great arenas in the dwarven kingdoms, where warriors would fight jotuns, or ice giants, for fame and glory. Its size alone made it far more impressive than any building Aidan had been in. Also, the walls appeared to be impervious to anything. Even when a rock that could have come from a catapult slammed against it, it showed no sign of stress.

Suddenly, Aidan felt a breeze above his head, and looked up in time to see another, prettier girl flying haphazardly astride a staff. As Aidan watched, something fell from her neck and she fell to the ground.

Aidan looked at his feet and saw the thing that she had dropped. It was a crystal of some sort, sky blue and attached to a cheaply made necklace. It was a beautiful thing, almost as nice as its owner, and Aidan slowly reached down to pick it up.

Right before his finger touched it, something collided with his face.

He was thrown onto his back and looked up to see the girl that had dropped the necklace.

"Are you mad!?" she yelled

Aidan leapt up to his feet, nose dripping blood.

"Listen, I'm sorry, I didn’t know that you were so protective over your stupid-"

"You idiot, it isn't just a necklace! What kind of sorcerer are you?"

By now the rest of the mages had stopped what they were doing and were forming a circle around the two. Aidan began to feel the anger bubble over inside him.

"Really, all I know is that you dropped the necklace, and where I come from if someone drops something then you pick it up and-"

He was stopped short as he had to dodge her fist. She didn't look so pretty when she was trying to murder him.

Next she tried to hit him with a surprise uppercut, but he caught her fist. Years of brawling at the orphanage with boys older than himself had shown made Aidan a far better fighter than any of the mages in the room.

He threw her arm away and the rest of her followed. She jumped back to her feet, this time with a scepter in hand, when Aidan felt someone pulling him away. At the same time, another girl was pulling his opponent out of the impromptu fighting ring.

"I had that covered, you know," Aidan said to Timothy.

"Yeah, you did great beating up one of the weakest mages here. Oh, and she's a girl. Now shut up and follow me."

Aidan had a tart reply planned, but he closed his mouth and fumed silently. His mother would have given him a thorough lashing if she knew he had ever touched a girl, let alone gotten into a fight with one.

Also By Alexander Brockman

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