Traffic flowed smoothly through the global capital, and the shuttle van made good time from the Dawn’s Light outpost to the Thelos Academy. A lieutenant assigned to Thelios City, dressed in civilian clothing, steered the van through the city streets while Theis and Rett went over last minute plans.
“It isn’t that we don’t love her or worry about her. She’s our daughter – of course we worry about her.” Ronald Harris seemed tense. We tried to get her back, but eventually we came to realize that there is nothing more we can do to prepare her for leading her own life. She’d just run away again if we brought her home.”
“She’s a surprisingly…” Patricia Harris paused as she searched for the right word, “…capable girl – far more so than most girls her age.” She let out a nervous laugh. “Heck, she’s far more capable than most of the Academy students.”
Theis paused the recorded interview, frowning slightly in thought. “They knew about her magic. They didn’t want to come right out and say it, though.”
“They knew she was different in some way.” Everett replied. “But they may not have known what to call it and likely worried that others would think them crazy if they admitted it. Nobody else in Evelyn’s family has demonstrated magical talent.”
Theis studied the image of Evelyn’s parents thoughtfully. “Emergent magic usually isn’t that strong. To do what we saw in the vid means Miss Harris has had a lot of practice and has incredible focus.”
Rett snorted. “She has five older brothers. When she was younger they would let her tag along with whatever they were doing and try to teach her some about it. Soon she started challenging them – trying to prove she was just as capable as each of them. Her oldest brother was accepted to Thelos Academy shortly before Evelyn submitted her application.”
“Strong magic, strong will, and feels a need to prove herself?” Theis shook his head slightly. “That could be a dangerous combination.”
“We’re here, sirs,” Lieutenant Marks announced as she turned the van into the Academy campus and passed through the gates leading to the residence for visiting faculty.
Theis closed the interview vid, turned off his tablet and tucked it into his valise. “Any last words of advise, sir?”
Rett shook his head. “Get settled in. We’ll do a comms check once Keri and I get to our temp base. Other than that, keep your eyes open and get known.”
Keri Marks stopped the van before a gleaming metal and glass building. She hopped out and came around to the passenger side to open the door for Theis. “Here you are, Professor. Do you require anything further of me?”
Theis took a deep breath and emerged from the van. He reminded himself that he was a professor and not a newly promoted guardian commander on his first undercover mission. Professor Theis looked up at the building and seemed slightly distracted before looking to the shuttle driver. “No, thank you very much. This is quite adequate.” The shuttle van pulled away as he glanced around the campus some and then head for the doors.
Checking in took longer than he had anticipated. The Minoan custom of eschewing surnames caused some minor havoc with the reservation system, but Theis had anticipated this and was able to help the clerk find his record. That was when they discovered that he’d been assigned quarters that were in the middle of renovations.
“I am so sorry, Professor!” the clerk stammered, his cheeks flushing. “I do have an apartment available, but it hasn’t been stocked yet. If you wish that one, we can deliver supplies to you within an hour.”
Tired after the long journey from Laconia and eager to get settled so he could finish reviewing the information about his quarry, Theis just nodded. “That’s fine. I’ll take anything with a bed and a shower.” He took the passcard offered him and made his way down the twisty halls to what had to have been the most inconvenient unit in the building. “This is where they put the unimportant visitors,” he chuckled to himself as he found the door. He tapped in the passcode from the card on the door controls and entered his new home for the next several months.
He frowned when he realized the lights were on. Why would they leave the lights on in a unit they weren’t anticipating using? He heard a sound from behind a closed door and silently crept towards it. Suddenly the door slid open and a young woman stepped out of the bathroom. She yelped with surprise when she nearly ran into him.
Theis nearly yelped too when he realized he was standing just a few feet from Evelyn Harris.