Curiosity has killed more Adepts than all the dark mages combined, Sejanes reminded himself. Still… I’ll never get a better chance to Look. Blinking slowly, he invoked Mage Sight.
Himura wasn’t there.
Illusion, betrayal – no! Think, you idiot. Yamato. Subtlety. Look again, and wait.
And there it was. A whisper in the energies where a human’s life-force should be, subtle as raindrops in a stream.
Incredible. Sejanes extended a tendril of his own magic, tracing near, but not into, that flicker of disturbance. Hawkbrothers can make themselves appear as part of the forest – which means you can find them, if you know to look for trees where no trees should be. Himura’s wind and water and one thin thread of fire….
In the physical world, he felt the hitokiri watching him with narrowed eyes.
Focusing his attention on two levels at once, Sejanes rubbed his palms gently together, slowly pulling them apart in a glimmer of blue mage-light. Held the shimmering sphere a moment longer, then blew on it as if puffing on dandelion seeds.
The light bobbed on his breath, floating like a soap bubble as it wafted near red silk. Circled flame-bright hair, tracing an eddy in the magic around Himura too faint for even Mage Sight to sense. Hesitated.
And settled into Kenshin’s upraised palm, limning cupped fingers in bright azure.
Sejanes frowned. “You don’t have Mage-Gift.” You can’t. You can’t possibly. He’d felt the magic in Yamato blaze as the very earth convulsed. A trained mage could survive it, if they were careful and lucky and never, never tried to tap a ley line once the ground started to give way. A child – no. Impossible.
“I do not,” Himura agreed. “But energy is energy, Sejanes-san.” Fingers cupped, he closed both hands about the little light. Shut his eyes, drifting into the meditative contemplation Sejanes had seen at a tea ceremony.
Or before the first stroke of a duel….
Blue light glimmered, shifting through violet to crimson to faint, perfect pink-
And a breeze blew over them both, wafting blooms of pure light from Himura’s hands to his.