Final Exam, pt. iii

When I return to the window the figure has reversed the binding spell and banished anything it might have summoned. If a deity was involved I’m not certain I would have been able to dismiss it so easily. Dean Matthews is looking up at my window from under a leather hat. He easily slings the muscular shape of my opponent six feet up onto his shoulder. I assume he’s unconscious from the unweaving of his binding. I can hear his voice as though he’s behind me in the room. I fight not to turn around.

“You should be asleep.”

“Sir, it’s a good thing I wasn’t, sir.”

“You’re not one who strikes me as the kind to be nervous.”

“I respectfully disagree sir. I’m not one to let my nerves be obvious.”

“Get some rest. I’ll see to Jonathon’s disqualification.”

I nod down below and turn away from the window. The violent retching has left me tired, and the nakedness means I can just crawl into bed. I’m trying to remember Jonathon, but the most I can pull is that his senior specialty is infantry, focusing on up close debilitation and elimination. That explains why he fumbled on the binding spell: he’d be better skilled in covert approach. Probably also why I didn’t know he was there until he started the incantation. I remember Allison talking about him as my head hits the pillow. Something about dreamy in tight shirts… wanting him to “covertly debilitate” her… they’re specializing together…

I wake up to a stock song on my phone. I left it on the desk last night. My eyes open slowly, I roll over and my phone is vibrating against my desk. There’s a knock on my door.

“Evan? Are you up? It’s almost time.”

I have to work my jaw a couple times and swallow before I can respond audibly. “Yeah, I’m awake.” I throw on a pair of boxers, and open my door. Allison and Chase are at the door. Both of them look down and then up. The good thing about short hair is that it isn’t all over the place.

“What?”

Allison responds while Chase is just staring at me. “You don’t have time for a shower. Get dressed, eat some trail mix if you need to eat, but skip it if your stomach is upset.” She wrinkles her nose at the smell from last night’s trash-can incident.

“Shit…” I walk over to my closet, “Come in guys.”

“I’ll stay right here thanks.”

Chase walks over and wraps his arms around me as I’m pulling clothes out of the closet to wear. I pause for a second, smiling. “Heartburn?”

“Jonathon tried a binding. I responded. Dean Matthews rebounded my response. And yes, heartburn.”

“No way, really? What time?”

“Early, two a.m. or some such.”

“Is he still competing today?” Allison asks.

“No. Dean Matthews disqualified him last night.”

“But you got away with just vomiting?” There’s a certain solidarity that I have apparently stepped in the middle of. I need something to wake me up, and coffee is out of the question since my stomach is still displeased.

“I was defending my chances for today. If I did get in trouble no body’s mentioned it yet.”

Chase is still nearby. Quiet. He hands me a stick of gum as I pull my shirt over my head.

“It’s caffeinated. Since you can’t use magic.”

The benefits of people who know me as well as they do.

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