Chapter 2

Errands

It had only been a day since Blue had dragged his new roommate –Jet, and his new friend –Elywin, into battle. He had been the only one seriously injured, but he still felt bad that he hadn't been able to protect everyone better. Blue glanced over at Jet who was performing a tarot reading again. He hadn't known Jet very long, but Blue had already figured out that Jet was the serious, quiet type. It was kind of nice, Jet reminded Blue a lot of his father in that way, but it was also kind of lonely. Blue had not seen Elywin since he had so kindly seen Blue to the healing rooms nor had he seen- or particularly wanted to see- Quan.

Blue pulled up his sleeve to look at the hand shaped bruise that had started to form there. The healers had taken the freeze burn away, but he had been told that the bruise would have to heal on its own. Blue frowned looking at the bruise, James would have been furious to know he let himself be injured so carelessly.

Jet looked up from his cards to Blue. He had gotten the exact same tarot reading about his new roommate three times now. One the day of Blue's arrival, one while Blue was in the healing rooms and just now again.

Blue caught Jet looking at him as though he were some kind of strange animal. He quickly pulled his sleeve back down to hide the bruise he'd been studying. Blue cast openly for a subject that might break the silence that had begun to grow heavy between them. "I've... Never known anyone who knew how to read tarot." He wasn't sure if it was a safe topic or not, so Blue decided to tread forward slowly.

Jet cocked his head to the side slightly, curious as to where Blue was going. "Is that so?" He prompted with equal care.

Blue nodded. "I don't know very much about it other than it's a form of divination." Blue shifted towards the edge of his bed. "Would you mind explaining some of the general basics to me?"

Jet was a little surprised by the request, after a moment of consideration he nodded. "I don't mind."

Blue crawled from his bed to kneel at the side of Jet's. It struck Jet that Blue had a good deal of innocence in him, the way he looked crouched by the bed made him look very much like a child. It also made him surprisingly cute, like a kitten watching some sort of fluttering creature.

"When you read tarot cards, you're looking at a possible outcome of the present and future in context of their relationship to each other and the past." Jet indicated the three cards on his bed sheets.

Blue listened quietly until the cards had been gestured to and Jet paused long enough that Blue felt it was okay to ask a question. Politely, Blue raised his hand to get Jet's attention. The light haired human rose an eyebrow at the strangely domestic mannerisms. "Yes?"

"What do these cards mean?" Blue pointed to the three cards laying face up in front of Jet. "Or, is it to personal?" Blue corrected quickly.

Jet shook his head. "I don't mind." Jet pointed to the first card "This is the Moon, it's in the reverse position and it's in the past. That means things aren't as bad as they seemed." Jet hit vaguely on the description, he didn't know Blue very well so he wasn't really inclined to go telling him his life story. "This is the Page of Pentacles, it's in it's usual position and it's in the present. It represents new opportunities." Jet indicated the last card. "And this is Temperance. It's in it's usual position and it's in the future. It symbolizes a need for balance in relationships." Jet watched Blue's expression of avid attention. It was really just as cute as him peering over the edge of the bed. Jet appreciated that Blue hadn't broken the barrier of actually getting on Jet's bed or being to close to him, it was a nice gesture whether Blue realized he was doing it or not.

"Would you... Read my tarot?" Blue asked, large green eyes suddenly catching the pair of violet that had been observing him so casually.

Jet really couldn't have said he was surprised, Blue was obviously interested in the new and exciting thing. "I don't mind." Jet replied coolly. He collected his three cards from the deck and shuffled them in carefully. After a minute or so of shuffling, Jet laid each of the three cards down in front of Blue, concentrating on the brunet and not on how the two of them might be connected.

"The past, The World. This card symbolizes change, going from one part of your life to another, it can also indicate achievement and the approach of new goals." Jet watched the emotions play across Blue's face and made a mental note never to let the poor kid play poker or any sort of card game where there was something to lose on the table. "The present, The Lovers, reverse." Jet paused a moment before continuing. "It's an absence in choice, false love or loss of trust in yourself." The white haired human pointedly avoided eye contact, unwilling to confront whatever question might have been raised that he didn't have the answer to. "And finally the future, The Ace of Cups. This card can represent love or the ways in which love can be used in situations. It also symbolizes a point in your life where listening to your inner voice is key." Jet neglected to mention that the Ace of Cups could also be applied to relationships, the white haired male was still trying to figure things out and he wasn't sure he wanted to let on to much information if Blue could be satisfied with less.

Blue took a moment to think about all Jet had said. The cards were pretty vague, but no form of divination was trusted if it was concrete. "So... I just.. Take those readings and try to use them to my advantage?" Blue wasn't really certain on the purpose of a divination without a question. Jet nodded, his soft white bangs brushing across his forehead and cheeks. "That's really all you can do. Nothing is set in stone and no two readings should be the same." Jet decided against saying they wouldn't be, since he had gotten the same reading three times. Blue nodded and rose from his place at the side of Jet's bed. "The lovers and the ace of cups.." Blue twirled so he was facing his potted plants. "I wonder what it means..?"

Blue left Jet after receiving the tarot reading. He had not pressed for more information about the cards, his own or Jets. Blue imagined any deeper meaning to be found could only be discovered by the person it pertained to. Jet didn't know his past, so any reading would have to be a little vague. Blue left his room and went searching for the garden. he already miss the wind in the grassy field and how it went close enough to the mountains he could hear the ocean beyond he would never been so far from home and never for so long.

Jet was unsure what to think about Blue. The boy seemed full of life and energy, but there was a reservedness about him that made him polite and companionable. Jet pulled out the card he had repeatedly seen, The Page... What connection could Blue have for him? What purpose did this strange new person, with his polite mannerisms and his oddly heroic tendencies and his strong connection to childhood, have for his life? Jet looked at his side of the room, it was far from empty but it had a kind of mature study look to it rather than a bedroom. Jet looked over at Blue's side of the room, since his roommate had unpacked the room had exploded into color. His bed was covered in polka dots with a striped toy rabbit, a far cry from the standard blue that had been there previously. Blue's dresser had books of old folk-lore held in place with colorful statues. There was a lacquered and painted jewelry box sitting slightly forward on the dresser. On the window sill there sat several grass wrapped pots. Where Jet's half looked lived in, Blue's half looked like a home, Jet mused that it likely looked like Blue's home.

Blue entered the cool garden from the open hall corridor. There was a pleasant breeze but it had no familiar fragrance to it. This place was completely new and he couldn't help but wonder how long it would take for the smells in the garden to become familiar to him.

"How is your arm?" The sharp commanding voice took Blue by surprise and made him jump. Blue turned quickly to find the stern face of the feral from before. Quan was looking particularly intimidating, with his jet black hair pulled back flat against and smooth against his head and those fierce red eyes with narrow pupils.

"Oh! My arm is much better." Blue recovered himself quickly after the arched brow from Quan.

"Good." Quan stared at him for longer than Blue was comfortable with. At length, he could stand it no more and broke eye contact and the silence in one sentence.

"Thank you for doing that the other day. I know it must have put you at risk to protect me like that." Blue tried to direct Quan's attention away from his face. He had never been subject to feral scrutiny before.

"What are you doing here?" Quan, apparently finished with studying Blue, ignored his feeble attempts at gratitude, demanded in his usual authoritative attitude.

Blue bristled a bit at the abrasive question. "I'm sorry?"

"Fairemoire almost never allow their kind to attend an academy."

Blue blinked. "One child from each generation is allowed to go to the academy in my village."

Quan stared at Blue, a look of consideration coloring his features. "So, they sent the half-breed to learn how to die?"

Blue was taken aback by Quan's harsh words and terse way of thinking. "That wasn't the reason why they sent me at all. I was sent because between the two of us, I was thought to have the most to positively gain."

Quan looked at Blue as if he was trying to understand a foreign logic. "And what were they trying to make you learn?"

Blue smiled his wide endearing smile at Quan. "If I knew that, I wouldn't need to be here."

It was Quan's turn to be taken aback. His fierce face gave way to the smallest, barely noticeable smile, but as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. "You had better make sure you have a weapon next time you charge head first into battle."

Blue stared with surprise at Quan, he would have never guessed that such a harsh person could be so caring about a stranger. "But I don't use weapons, I'm a diplomat."

Quan's eyebrows raised. "Is that so." The feral near snorted, a soft almost coughing noise as he turned to leave.

"Wait!" Blue reached towards Quan, but did not try to touch him. "How did you know I'm a half-breed?"

Quan snorted pointedly. "I can smell it." With that' the feral prince left Blue standing alone in the garden.

Blue was left with a strange feeling. Quan acted like a harsh person, but Blue thought he might be a very kind person once the fangs and claws were no longer being bared, if only Quan could cultivate a little tact. Blue wandered into the garden. It was a pleasant day and classes would start the day after next, he wanted a few moments to be alone in nature and to become more familiar with so he wouldn't feel so lonely away from his trees and his mountain.

Quan left the half-breed with an unsettled feeling. He had never thought that a fairemoire could show bravery our that a human could display wisdom. He had always assumed that a half-breed would display only the worst qualities of his parents species, but Blue showed only the positive points. It made Quan curious to what negative qualities Blue had. Quan returned to his form room but found the door locked when he tried to enter. Quan frowned and pulled out his key stone. Quan held it to the door, his anger rose as the stone remained inactive.

Quan threw the stone hard against the opposite wall and stormed toward the fighters dorm hall guard. "Thala!" He cursed in his own language at the young eledant hall guard. "Why am I locked out of m own room?"

The young eledant was unphased by Quan's out burst."Name and room number?"

"High prince Quan Valentciae. S07M2A2." Quan stormed to where the guard was sitting.

The hall guard picked up a large leather bound ledger and flipped casually through the pages. "I have you down as moved as of this morning. You are currently listed as transferred to C06M1C2."

Quan's pupils dilated until he looked like a lion ready to attack. "WHAT?" Quan roared and raced from the hall guard, through the fighter dorm and into the rogue class dorm. He quickly found the room he had been moved to.

Quan wrenched the door open, ignoring the violent crack as the door connected with the wall. Nearly black with rage, Quan's eyes settled on the human sitting in the bed nearest the door with a look of fear and shock that quickly morphed into annoyance.

"Are you going to enter our room that way every time? It's rather over dramatic, don't you think?" Eleywin kept his voice steady despite the nervousness climbing up his spine so strongly that it was a chore just to keep from shaking.

Quan leveled Elywin with a murderous look. "This is not our room. This is not even my room. This is the room of an overly effeminate human." Quan spat nastily.

"You shouldn't be so hard on yourself." Elywin tossed a keystone to Quan. "You're not that effeminate by human standards."

Quan stormed over to where Elywin was sitting. "Look human, you are a first year so I don,t expect you to realize this. Teammates are being announced tomorrow. Doesn't it make sense to pair teammates up in chambers?" Quan's eyes had regained some of their blood red color and began to sparkle with pleasure as Elywin's already pale skin drained of the rest of its color.

"S-so that means...?"

"You are only going to have two teammates to move as pawns." Quan straightened to make himself tower over Elywin. "And you are changing room sides."

Blue had finally found a tree with branches thick and dense enough that he could sit comfortably and away from casual notice. He breathed in the soft scent that seemed to permeate the gardens. The Academy was so high in the air that much of the seasons were artificially maintained. It would have been fall in Blue's home town but here it seemed to be a mild spring and the scents of honey nectar flowers, fruits and other plants he did not recognize were thick but not overpowering.

"Blue. Blue Willian?" The strong, almost masculine voice of Fides broke through the gentle quiet of the garden like the unmistakeable sound of hoof beats.

Blue bent himself down so he could see past the leaves easier. "Miss Fides?"

Fides gave him an amused look. "What are you doing in that tree?" Her voice held the lightest hint of mirth as she crossed her arms over her broad chest.

Blue lowered himself from the tree and landed a few feet away from Fides. "I was just... Adjusting to my new environment."

A look of pity crossed Fides' features and she placed a hand on Blue's shoulder. "Home sick already?"

Blue nodded. "A little."

"Well, I just wanted to talk to you about the battle you were injured in."

Blue winced a little, expected to be scolded. "Yes?"

"Did you purposely forgo using protective magic on yourself or have you not yet learned any?" Fides inclined one thick arch, she knew Blue had the ability, he had activated the magic inside his pendent with no issues so the question remained, was he cocky or reckless?

"I haven't learned any... My father didn't know that sort of magic and my mother only used magic items..."

Reckless then. Fides nodded. "What you did was very brave. But it was equally careless." Fides put her larger, muscular hand on Blue's head. "Diplomats must keep themselves safe to protect others." She felt a soft pang at the guilted expression that crossed Blue's features. "Now, it's a little early, but how about I teach you some of the basics?"

Blue brightened immediately and gave her a sweet, almost childish smile. "Please!"

Fides stood about a foot away from Blue. "Eledants and fairemoire share wind as a mother element. We thus can understand and teach one another." Fides stood with her feet together and her hands clasped in front of her diaphragm. "The easiest shield to make is, unsurprisingly, the easiest to break. But it requires so little energy that an attacker can exhaust themselves just breaking through a simple shield repeatedly." Fides inhaled, spun her hands counter-clockwise and exhaled. As she breathed out, a wall of spinning air appeared before her. "Give it a try."

Blue nodded and put his feet together. He inhaled deeply and clasped his hands in front of his diaphragm.

"Keep calm and relaxed. The magic is a part of you, let it move through you like wind in the trees."

Blue released his hands and spun them counter-clockwise.

"When you exhale, breath the magic, let it flow out in front of you and follow the current you made with your hands."

Blue exhaled and felt his own magic flowing through him like a warm, subtle breeze. The magic collected and pooled in his hands before bursting forth to create a spinning shield like the one Fides had made. "It worked!" Blue cheered and the shield flickered. "Ah!"

"Concentrate Blue. Do not close the pathway." Blue screwed his face and focused until the shield was steady again. "You will need to practice until you can shift your focus without breaking your concentration." Fides moved her shield with her hands, changing its shape and placement. "But, once you know how, the same technique can be applied to every spell you learn."

Blue nodded, keeping his eyes on his own shield as he spoke. "And I will be able to protect others with this kind of shield?"

"As well as combine with other diplomats." Fides pushed her shield into Blue's, surrounding him with a vortex of wind, barricading him on all sides. Blue was amazed by the feeling, it was like his own power had been doubled. He had expected the two shields to fight and class rather than merge so compliantly. Blue had known Fides must have been skilled and strong, but he had not realized how talented she was, or how much magic loved space to roam. It flowed through her shield, into his own and into him before cycling back out again. Fides pulled her spell away from Blue so he would be able to hear her. "Now, I'll teach you how to dispel a rival mage." Without dropped her own shield, Fides reached out with her hand towards Blue and twisted it clockwise. Fides inhaled and closed her hand. Blue yelped as his shield vanished as if it had never been. He was left with a tingling in his fingers and a soreness in his arms. Fides retracted her hand. "Did you feel how I did that? Try to dispel mine."

Blue held out his hand towards Fides and began turning his hand.

"This time take the magic with you. Feel it tangible in your fingers like thread and pull it away from me. Breath the air in and take it from me."

Blue concentrated until he could feel the magic that danced and twirled to make up the shield. He gripped the strands with his fingers and inhaled deeply, he felt the magic rush into him and nearly stumbled backwards.

"Easy there. My magic is thicker than yours, and there is more of it. Don't try to absorb it all at once, next time act as a conduit and let most of it pass right through you." Fides flexed her fingers to chase away the tingling that happened whenever someone dispelled magic. "Are you up for a little practice?"

Blue nodded enthusiastically. "I am!"

Fides smiled. "Then make your shield. Let's practice some concentration." She exhaled and held a ball of air in her hands, spinning and twirling with an eagerness to be free.

By the time Blue returned to his dorm, Jet had already prepared for bed and was performing his tarot. He looked at Blue curiously, Jet noted that he looked exhausted but happy. Jet almost had a mind to ask, but thought better of it. Blue had missed dinner, so Jet had brought a plate of food with him from the dining hall..

Blue's eyes landed on the food and he realized just how hungry he was. "Oh Jet... Did you do this for me?" Blue faced Jet.

Jet nodded. "I never saw you come back. I thought you might have missed dinner."

Blue's face washed with emotions that finally settled on a very grateful smile. "Thank you so much!" Blue sat carefully on his bed and ate the food with care. He was well aware how he could hurt himself if he ate as quickly as he wanted to.

In the morning, Blue awoke first. Padding around the room, barefoot and silent as any cat, he tended to his orchid bulbs with care and dressed in his usual attire. His thigh high leather boots, fastened on with a leather thong ensured he had minimal protection to his legs, and the flowy tunic he wore meant he would never have to worry about magic overheating him or his movements for channeling being restricted. By the time he was fully dressed, Jet had woken and was dealing his morning tarot. Blue stole peaks here and there, but did not question his roommate further. He did however, take note of the card he had seen Jet pull before. 'What did Jet say the Page meant?' Blue paused, but all he could remember was something about opportunity. Blue affixed the broach his mother had given him, it seemed like it had finished recharging after the spell he had pulled from it during their battle.

"We had better go." Jet's low, calm voice cut into Blue's concentration. It was pleasant and captivating for the rarity of its presence.

"Better go?" Blue lit up. "Are you going to take me somewhere?" Jet gave Blue a curious look.

"I would like to know who all my partners are. I thought you might follow me." Jet had gotten dressed shortly after finishing his tarot reading and stood at the foot of his own bed.

Blue smiled and hurried to the door. "Thank you!"

Jet was struck again by how remarkably cute and kittenish Blue was. Jet lead Blue from the dormitories to the Great Hall and into the auditorium through a large archway without a word. Hung on the wall was an enormous sheet of cloth. It spanned the circumference of the entire room and held small cloth photos of all the students who were being assigned or reassigned to teams. Blue looked for his own face and found it surprisingly hard to see among the sea of other faces. Jet seemed to know precisely what he was looking for and where to find it. He didn't look up once as he pushed his was through the crowd with Blue following clumsily behind him.

Blue tried to pick out his face from the wall as they walked, he was so distracted that he nearly collided with Jet when his roommate came to a sudden stop. Blue was shocked the moment he looked back up and instantly recognized four faces. At the top of their tier was Elywin's softly smiling face, a line ran down from his image and connected to two branches. One one branch was the scowling face of Quan, while the other branch forked again, one arm leading to the stoically expressed Jet and the other arm to the gentle smile of Blue himself. Blue looked over at his roommate, now also teammate. "Did you know?"

Jet shook his head. "Only you."

Blue looked back up. "Why only me?"

"Two to a room, four to a team. Only you."

Blue nodded, he couldn't be mad. He hadn't thought to ask Jet and in the few short days he had known him, Blue had already learned that Jet was not much of a talker. Blue crossed his arms over his chest and let out a puff. "This is going to be difficult. Quan and Elywin are already on poor terms.."

Jet looked over at Blue, it was a good thing he was already thinking about team dynamics, but it was going to be hard for all of them. Quan was a feral and feral hated all humans. It wouldn't take long for him to try and alienate his entire team if he couldn't overcome his prejudices. Especially when half his team was human. "I think he'll like you though."

Jet gave Blue a surprised look. "What?"

"Quan I don't think it's humans he dislikes, I think it's a personality he associates with humans. When he realizes you aren't like that, he'll be more fond of you."

Jet hardly had time to think of a response before he heard Elywin's voice behind them.

"Blue! Jet!" The both turned to see Elywin forcing his way through the crowd with Quan offering no help.

"Stop yelling." Quan complained irritably.

Blue smiled and waved as the other two approached. "Do you think this is because of us?" Blue asked when Elywin had gotten close enough.

"I don't know, I don't think our teamwork was very strong." Elywin crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back on his foot.

Quan shrugged. "It doesn't matter." He looked at Blue and rose one sharp, pointed eyebrow. "I suppose I'll be your weapon next time you charge head first into battle."

Blue smiled up at Quan. "I'd prefer you be my shield."

Quan snorted. "Diplomats."

"Attention students." All four boys turned their attention, along with everyone else in the auditorium, to a platform held above the hung cloth on the auditorium wall. There stood a woman of refinement and grace, her race was clearly mixed but she appeared to have a good deal of fairemoire in her. Her belt length hair was braided back with cords of metal woven into her hair, the robes she wore did not disguise the armor beneath and the sword on her belt was a clear reminder that she was not to be trifled with. Slightly behind her stood three other individuals, all displaying various features of trained combatants. "You now know who your teammates are. These people are vital not only to your survival but to your understanding. Please treat them accordingly and remember: You are stronger together than you could ever be alone." As she said this, she glanced backwards at the three behind her and they stepped forward, creating a wall with nothing more than their presence.

Blue glanced at each of his companions. Could he really get two loners to work on a team? Could he get a personality like Elywin to let go and rely on the instincts of others more? Blue had never understood the political position of eledants and fairemoire so acutely.

"Classes start tomorrow. I trust you will be mentally and physically prepared for the challenge." With that, the headmaster left her students to spend the rest of the day as they liked.

Blue wanted to say something, anything, but all he could do was watch as Quan, Jet and Elywin walked away in different directions. What was he to do...? A little disheartened, Blue followed none of his companions and instead went alone his own way as well. Blue sought out the library and found it with relative ease. He hoped that some of the books inside might shed light on his problem, perhaps something about how the eledants handled relations between the nations. Blue was afraid fairemoire tactics would be useless to him this time.

The library was far larger than Blue could have ever imagined, a far cry from the personal library his mother kept. The library itself was large enough for a full grown dragon or giant to stand without discomfort and there were floor to ceiling bookshelves as far as Blue could see. As he passed, he noticed most books came in multiple translations in a wide range of tongues, including the almost dead fairmoire language. Blue's fingers itched, he would have liked nothing more then to sit and read all the old world stories of his mothers people. Blue wondered if they had tomes about Adohla, the first fairemoire. Blue breathed in the smell of the books, giving himself a moment to compose his thoughts before he set to the task he had come to the library for. Blue rolled his shoulders and began searching for all the books he could find written in the common tongue about eledant war history. It wasn't difficult for him to find several books that seemed like they might suit his purposes, and even by others that he recognized as being well respected even outside of their own kingdoms. Blue found one book labeled "The Human and The Feral" written by one of the old eledant kings that seemed especially promising. When Blue tried to pull it free from the shelf, another even older book also came loose and fell to the floor below with a resounding 'thus'. Blue winced and knelt down to check the book for damages. The book had opened and within displayed a picture of seven armored individuals with depictions of the Seven Dragon Goddesses behind them. Blue's hand stilled on the page, there was a single caption for the picture written in all thirteen languages and every tongue that had ever been. It read simply "Guardians". Blue's hand smoothed over the other pages, everything else in the book was written in the dragon tongue. Blue closed the book gently and added it to his small collection, he would ask the librarian if there were any translated copies of the book that clearly wanted him to read it. Deciding he had more than enough to keep him occupied outside of his studies, Blue made for the front counter. There was an old fairemoire who Blue was certain had not been there when he came in. To say that a fairemoire looked old was to say something indeed. He looked like a two hundred year old human, which meant he was probably a good deal older than most trees.

"Did you find what you were looking for, me-adolha?"

Blue smiled at the endearing term. It was a pet name almost exclusively allowed to the elderly, it had come from the dragons and had been modified from the most famous and revered of all fairemoire. "Yes, thank you An-hanei." Blue decided that if the old man could use an endearment meant for the elderly, he could use one typically used by the young, usually children. "Although, I wonder if you might have this book in either common or fairmoire?" Blue put the heavy tome on the counter and pushed it forward.

The old fairemoire took the tome and looked it over carefully. "Hmmmmm... No, this had never been translated. It is about the Goddesses, written by the oldest dragon scholar when he was still young. He never offered a translation at the time, draconic was a well known language then."

Blue frowned softly. Translating it on his own would be almost impossible. "I really wanted to read it..."

The old man laughed, a dry wispy sound, as though his breath had caught in leaves. "Well me-adolha, it is lucky then that I know draconic. Isn't it?"

Blue beamed at him. "You'll translate it for me?"

"I will read it to you." He replied calmly. The old man placed the book to the side. "But not now. You have plenty to study for the moment. You're going to be a diplomat, correct?"

Blue nodded. "I've a feral and two humans of opposite temperament on my team."

The elderly man nodded. "This will definitely be insightful for you." He pushed forward The Feral and The Human. "Now, me-adolha, what is your name so I may sign out these books to you?"

"Blue Willian."

The man looked up and rose an eyebrow. "Willian is a human name."

Blue shrank back a bit. His uncle had warned him that not all were kind to those with mixed blood. "My mother gave me my fathers name because that sort of thing is important to humans.."

The old man studied Blue for a few minutes. "Well, you know me-adolha, your mother did not neglect our language. I see many of these books are in the ancient tongue."

"You may lay that with my father. His scholarly nature, he insisted I learn formal and ancient forms of all the languages I speak."

A strange smile spread over the man's lips. "I see why a woman of our kind might be attracted ti a human like that."

There was something about the old man that Blue was starting to dislike. His smile for one thing seemed to edge on dangerous. "Y-yes.. Well, I'd better go. I want to do some reading before classes start tomorrow." Blue quickly gathered up his pile of books and left. He did not look back to see if he was being watched.

"Blue!" Elywin caught him not to far from the library.

Blue was still feeling uncomfortable from his encounter with the librarian but tried not to let it affect his expression. "Elywin." He greeted with a little less enthusiasm then usual.

"How is your arm? I'm sorry I haven't looked for you, I've had to deal with some annoying business."

Blue smiled defensively. "Oh, it's alright, please don't worry about it. And my arm is much better, thank you."

"I'm sorry about what happened, I shouldn't have assumed about what you did and didn't know and you got hurt as a result."

Blue shook his head. "No, I was careless and put myself in danger." He smiled warmly at Elywin. "Let's work together so none of us are hurt again in the future."

Elywin huffed. "I don't think Quan will be so easy to handle."

Blue's smile faded slightly. "Maybe we shouldn't try to 'handle' him,, maybe we should just trust his instincts a little more? He has more expeience then either of us and knows his own abilities well, maybe he would be willing to work with us if he could help with strategy before the battle?"

Elywin frowned. "Ferals only ever want to be offensive, what good could he do?"

"Maybe if you didn't treat him like a category, he might surprise you." It was a bit on the harsh side, but Blue was feeling off kilter and didn't feel like hearing anyone reduce someone else to a handful of rumors. "Excuse me, I have something I need to attend to." Blue moved around Elywin and headed quickly back to his dorm.

"Don't treat him like a category? But isn't that just what he does to us?"

Jet was not in their dorm when Blue returned. Somehow it felt lonely coming back to an empty room. There had always been someone at home, even James had occasionally been there to greet him. Even though Blue did not know Jet well, his company was far more enjoyable then being alone. None the less, Blue settled into the plush sheets of his bed and pulled the rabbit James had given him into the crook of his right arm. He opened The Feral and The Human and began reading. He tried to keep his emotions out of it, but the eledant manner of handling seemed so violent. The general urged that ferals only responded to shows of power, but Blue was certain he had seen a strong response in Quan in reaction to Blue's pacifism. He was only a few chapters in when Blue discarded the first book and took up the second.

He found the next book only slightly easier to stomach but not quite so clearly written. The second book seemed to focus more on how human and feral societies worked, how they were different and how they were similar. It offered little by way of how to handle them together but rather offered an understanding to guide someone to mediate between them. Blue still disliked the almost careless stereotyping that seemed scattered throughout the book. It seemed to him that much of the worked liked and encouraged making broad, sweeping statements about every species and even every kingdom. Blue wondered if he should consider himself shielded or sheltered.

Blue barely noticed the time passing, he hadn't even realized the light crystals start to fluoresce in response to the dimming sunlight. He came back to himself when he heard the doorknob turning. Blue looked up from his book to see Jet returning, his hair was wet and his face looked damp, but Jet looked as stoic as ever. "Welcome back." Blue greeted cheerily, putting the book down on the bed. He may not have been use to living with a roommate, but he saw no reason to treat Jet any less than he would treat a cousin staying with him.

Jet seemed taken aback by the greeting. "...Thank you." He walked over to his bed and sat down. Jet watched his roommate with curiosity as he began settling in. Blue was interesting, he seemed as perky as ever, even taken so far from home, he kept such a sweet face. Jet pulled one of his books from the stack by his bed, it was a relatively thin book focusing on glass molding techniques.

Blue watched with some dejection as Jet declined to engage in small talk. Not that Blue needed to speak constantly, but he liked to chat occasionally and wanted to learn more about Jet. Blue picked his book back up again and tried to focus, determined not to become a bother to his quiet roommate.

Jet didn't even bother looking up from his book. "If there is something you want to say"

Blue jolted, he hadn't expected Jet to speak to him again without prompting for the rest of the night. "Oh.. It's nothing specific... I just thought it might be nice to get to know you better." Blue flashed a sweet smile. He already knew more about Quan and Elywin then Jet and he was living with Jet.

"Is that so?" Jet gave Blue a curious look. It didn't feel like Blue was fishing for specific information, not did he seem to be pointlessly vying for attention.

Blue nodded slowly, he wondered if it was the wrong way to approach the topic. "Well, we're going to be on the same team, so I thought it might be helpful to learn a little about each other..." Blue fidgeted a little.

"You seemed to complement us without knowing anything more then our names at the time." Jet didn't mean it to sound so harsh, but Blue had performed remarkably without knowing anything about him or Elywin or Quan.

Blue shifted and unconsciously gripped his arm where the bruise was still healing. "I could have done better." His voice was soft, ashamed for doing, in his mind, so poorly.

Jet closed his book. "I'm a second year that specializes in fire." Jet pulled the subject away from the battle to try and brighten Blue back up.

Blue let his eyes go back to Jet. "Why were you only assigned a team now? Shouldn't they have put you in a team your first year?"

"Only calculators, diplomats and aids are put into teams in their first years. Everyone else studies individually for one year before joining a team."

Blue cocked his head to the side. "Why is that?" His naturally curious nature was taking over as Jet spoke to him in the longest sentences since the tarot reading.

"Calculators, aids and diplomats all learn better through practice. Their skills are put to best use only in a group. Offensive students need to learn how to control their weapons before risking the lives of their companions." Jet watched the emotions playing over Blue's face. Really, he was such an open book.

"Why would the academy pair a feral with two humans? Even if our battle a few days ago was impressive, they have a library full of books on how the two species are incompatible. Even my village has the saying "as inevitable as ferals and humans" for when something is bound to go wrong."

Jet shrugged. "Usually they base teams on demonstrated or theoretical skill level. Fides was watching our battle, she probably had a heavy hand in our team arrangement."

Blue flopped childishly backwards on his bed. "Elywin and Quan hate each other."

Jet watched Blue with a hint of amusement. "They will learn to get past it. Hate does little good in battle. Quan would know that by now."

Blue looked over at Jet, his soft brown hair falling around his cheek and neck. "Hate does no good. It is a poison that eats at the hearts of those who foolishly feed it." Blue's eyes were sad, as though he wished he could cure the poor souls who experienced hate.

Jet gave Blue a very long, strange look. "You cannot take hate from the world."

Blue shook his head and looked up at the ceiling. "But I can take it from people, if I offer them something better in return." Jet watched Blue for some time. What was it Blue planned to offer that could be so much more appealing then hate to those who were so deeply involved in the strong emotion? What would anyone take if they were truly consumed by hate? And how was Blue going to take away all that hate by himself?

Jet watched Blue until it seemed his roommate had fallen asleep. Jet stood then and walked over to Blue, he took the books from Blue's bed and stacked them in front of the nightstand, noting the few books written in the common tongue before carefully wrapping Blue up in his blanket and retreating to his own bed. "Good night... Page."