Chapter 5: Yelsi

The next day when Antia and Freta went to the beach, Dreen accompanied them. "So what should we do today?" Antia asked.

"Do you even have to ask?" Freta replied.

Her friend laughed. "No. I guess not. So who are we going to get?"

Freta thought for a moment. "Councillors. We haven't hit them for a year. They might think we've stopped pranking them altogether and just think how sad they would be at the very thought. I know they're having a council meeting after lunch so we have a few hours to think of something and implement it."

Antia set her mind to thinking and a few minutes later had an idea. Grinning hugely, she said. "Time to earn your keep Dreen."

The man grinned in reply. "So what do you want me to do?"

"You mentioned changing your school's colour. Could you do a spell to change someone's colour and lay it on the councillors' chairs?"

"Hmmm. I can but what about the spells on the council buildings?"

"Don't worry they don't actually work or we'd have been caught long ago. Now come on. The faster we get this done, the farther away from the scene we can be."

Dreen laughed and followed the two girls. They led him through the back alleys of the city to the back of the council building. Motioning to him to follow, the friends climbed a large tree that grew nearby. They shimmied along one of the branches that spread out and very near the windows.

Freta went first, being the lightest. She jumped off the branch and onto the windowsill. Carefully, she pushed the window open and looked inside. Grinning at the other two she gave the all-clear sign before slipping through the window. Antia went next followed closely by Dreen. They crept down the corridors to the meeting hall, Freta still in the lead.

She opened the door slowly and peered in. Once again she gave the all-clear sign before proceeding. Once they got to the table, Antia motioned for Dreen to do his magic. Grinning, the young mage went to every chair, touched it and whispered something the two girls couldn't hear. It took him no more then five minutes before he returned to them. They used the same route out as in, this time Freta bringing up the rear.

Once outside, they made their way slowly back to the beach, stopping at shops to look in briefly and greeting the people they saw.

When they finally reached their haven, the two girls turned to Dreen who smiled at them.

"Blue, pink, yellow, scarlet, orange, purple, green and my personal favourite, black and white polka-dots. And the spell turns them completely. Their hair, skin and clothes. It will take two days to fade if they can't find a mage capable of breaking it and I made it very, very hard to break. What's even better is that it won't go into affect until they get up off of the chair."

The two girls grinned. They couldn't wait until afternoon. To take their mind off of the impending ruckus, the two girls grabbed Asdreen and began sparring amongst one another. That worked for about two hours but then they were all too tired to continue, so Freta suggested a swim to which the other agreed readily. They spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon in the water. Deciding the council meeting should be over by then, the three walked back to their houses, Antia promising to meet them at the beach the next day.

When they got back and saw Tillan waiting for them, they knew everything had gone as planned. "You three," she began "are very dangerous together."

Freta and Dreen exchanged innocent glances before the girl answered. "Dangerous? Us? Why would you say something like that?"

"Oh don't play innocent. Your father returned and is an eye-smarting shade of yellow. I know you and Antia don't have magic so you obviously had Dreen's help. Though I do have to say having Yelsi turned completely blue is quite an improvement."

"Oh I have to see this!" Freta said before running into the house.

"Aunt, can I talk with you for a moment. Privately?" Dreen asked.

Tillan was surprised and from the gleam in her nephew's eyes she knew this was serious. She nodded and led him to her room. It had as many protection spells as she could remember on it and she felt it was safe from any attempt to eavesdrop.

"So what's got you so worried you're being all formal?"

"It's those girls."

"Oh really? Can't handle the fact two girls can keep up with you?" She teased knowing that this wasn't the real reason.

Asdreen shook his head. "No. One of them, Freta I believe, has some strange power. The shields on the council building went down when we went in and went back up once we had left. Freta was the first one in and the last one out, so it's my guess that it's her, but I can't be completely sure."

Tillan ran her hand through her hair. "Damn. I knew they were getting around the shield I just didn't know how. I think you're right about it being Freta though. Those two told me what really happened when I was disgraced."

"What! Tell me!"

Dreen's aunt sighed. "Freta had some kind of vision, not of the future but of the past. It showed Yelsi getting warnings of the fire and then ignoring them. According to them I went haring off to confront her over it and I assume she wiped my memory of it clear so I couldn't report it, then made it look like I'd attacked her so no one would suspect a thing."

Asdreen whistled. "That's crazy. It's a good thing Yelsi doesn't know anything about Freta or I wouldn't give her much of a chance of living to see her eighteenth birthday."

Tillan nodded. "That's why I'm glad you're here. You can help protect her. Though if you protect her you will have to protect Antia as well because there is no way to separate one from the other. They're totally devoted to one another."

"I noticed." Dreen said. "I have to admit to being a bit jealous at first. I've never had a friend that close, but then they just accepted me as their friend and got me to join them. I've never had anyone just decide to be my friend that quickly."

"Huh." His aunt commented. "Those two have never had any real friends other then one another. A few of the others who looked up to them or wanted to try and stop them from pranking tried to be their friends but they just ignored them. This is the first I've ever heard of them accepting an outsider. Consider yourself honoured, though it is a dubious honour and one I fear will turn out to be very dangerous to have."

Dreen shrugged. "I don't mind. I'd rather be friends of theirs and be in danger then be one of the stuck-up traditional mages who screeches at the sight of something new."

Tillan smiled slightly at that. "Well that's something. We'd better go head for the dining hall now or all the food will be gone."

Asdreen jumped up, helped his aunt up and then half-running, half-dragging her led the way to the dining hall. Dreen was almost always hungry.

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the brilliant blue figure sitting at the head table. Tillan peered around him to see what had made him stop and blanched. The two of them sat down at the back table out of sight. Neither wanted to attract Yelsi's attention.

Unfortunately, the seer obviously had other plans. After dinner Dreen was called to Oirli's, Freta's mother's, rooms. When he arrived he found Yelsi, Councillor Pismar who was Freta's father, and Oirli all waiting within.

He bowed respectfully to the assembled adults. "You wished to speak with me?"

"I've heard rather interesting reports about you Asdreen." Yelsi began, obviously in control of this conversation. "There are two conflicting rumours about your departure from the Mage Academy. One indicates you finished training in record time. The other is less flattering and says you were kicked out. I was interested in which was the true story."

Asdreen smiled politely. He was going to give away nothing that was not common knowledge. "If you were to ask my instructors they would tell you that I completed my training a year ago. They kept me another year so as I it would seem less like I had been kicked out, but of course rumours start all the time and I am helpless to prevent them."

"Indeed." The seer replied. "I hear you are living with your aunt here?"

"Of course. My instructors felt it would be prudent for me to remain with a senior mage at least for another year or two. They decided it would be a good idea for me to learn how a working mage operates before I struck out on my own."

"Your instructors were wise indeed. So you are learning from your aunt then?"

"Yes. She has years of experience and knows the ways that I learn best. I feel more comfortable being taught by a relative then of a stranger."

"So you will not consider training with another of the city's mages? I only ask because you must know that your aunt's credibility is not high at this point and I'm worried that people might believe that any misdeeds she has done, you too will be thought capable of those same indiscretions."

"That would be a problem if I planned on remaining within the city after I complete my year here. I have been hoping to return to my own hometown and work there, so my status here is of little importance."

Yelsi thinned her lips in a mockery of a smile. "Well you seem to have everything well thought out and I see no reason why things shouldn't unfold that way. Should you ever change your mind about studying under another mage, please come see me and I will be happy to set you up with one."

"Of course my lady seer. I thank you for the kind offer and your interest in my affairs honours me." Asdreen said bowing to Yelsi while inwardly retching at the stupid and simpering words he was forced to use.

"You are a fine young man and I'm sure you will be a credit to your teachers. I have pressing business so I must bid you farewell." The seer said nodding to her hosts before sweeping out of the room and out of the house.

Oirli and Pismar turned to stare at Dreen in disbelief. The young mage grinned. "Not very nice is she? Acting like she owns the house. Oh and don't worry about my aunt's, 'misdeeds' I believe was the term she used. She's a good person and had been wrongfully convicted."

Asdreen was halfway through the door before he turned around and addressed Pismar. "Oh and Mr. Slaster however did you turn yourself that brilliant shade of yellow? If you give the dyers the secret I'm sure they'd pay you well for it."

Freta's father cursed and Dreen withdrew to his rooms grinning from ear to ear. Yelsi probably though he was some kind of kiss-ass. Not that he cared. In fact it would probably be all to the better that she thought him foolish. It made her just that much more likely to underestimate him.