“Don’t try to get up too fast, Magister.” Phaenomena’s voice, tired and relieved. “You’ve been out for almost two days.”
Callimachus blinked, taking in the brightness of the rukh fluttering through the odd little Arabian nest of a room, the neutral expression on Ja’far’s face, the quiet smirks Malachy and Tiburon were trading, and the grin on Simon Cavins, as he sat sideways, curled up against a pile of tasseled cushions. “We’re not dead.” Which means they want something.
“No, you’re not,” Simon agreed. “Aladdin was very insistent that you not be dead, by the way. Pulled out some totally unfair stories about Sinbad and a certain assassin… well, I suppose those were fair, but that assassin didn’t go after children in Sinbad’s care. So I’m still very angry at you. Very.” He took a deliberate breath. “But when you thought you were dying, your last act was to try and warn us what the Shays were capable of. And that… that makes me think you deserve a chance. I’m holding you to that archive access, by the way. We’re learning a lot.”
Callimachus winced. He’d spent centuries gathering those tomes, carefully sorting false information from true-
“You could learn a lot, too. If you wanted.”
Which meant Cavins had his complete and undivided attention, and the man knew it. Grrr.
“From what your companion tells us, all you’ve really wanted was to bring magic back to the strength of the legends,” Simon went on. “I think you saw what we’ve managed of that.”
The alchemist nodded, not trusting his voice.
“I have magicians in this school,” Simon stated. “Magicians, and magoi-users, and people who just want to know enough about magic to treat it with the respect it deserves: a difficult, intricate art that can help us all do what might otherwise be impossible.” He pointed at Callimachus, then Phaenomena. “Magician. Magoi-user. I want to hire you.”
“To work with… teenagers,” Callimachus stated, almost hoping he hadn’t read the man accurately.
“And younger children. And a few adults, as we pick them up,” Simon agreed. “I did say I was still angry at you. What’s redemption without a bit of penance?”
It made a frightening amount of sense.
“Aladdin’s a very nice kid, but he still has hopes anyone can be redeemed,” Simon mused. “I wasn’t at all sure about you, but Boston demonstrated that you at least have standards.” He grinned. It had an edge of teeth. “Though it also demonstrated that you have problems with the ideas of restraint, appropriate limits, and innocent bystanders.”
Ja’far snorted at that one.
Callimachus almost winced at the burning irony. When the man who’d played Sinbad the Sailor thought someone needed a refresher on restraint….
“Lucky for you,” Simon said gleefully, “I just happen to have a facility devoted specifically to teaching mini-psychopaths how to function in the world at large without getting arrested. Much.”