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Magi’s Path: Chapter 81


The bath was busier than normal with Samuel, William, and Hemet joining them. The staff were lounging in the tub when they entered. Quilet nodded to the magi. “We’ll be out before you finish washing.”

 

“The tub would be snug, otherwise,” William laughed.

 

“If you think this is snug, you should consider the other tub,” Steva chuckled. “Seven more women are in the clan hall right now. We’ll be bathing before you every day to make sure there’s plenty of room.”

 

“As long as it’s just for the room,” Hemet said. “The clan has never allowed it to be for other reasons.”

 

Gregory shook his head, having been distracted by the thought of all the women in the other room. “It doesn’t,” he confirmed.

 

“The tub can hold seven comfortably, or maybe nine if we get friendly,” Gin said as he took a seat and washed himself.

 

“And there are now fourteen women in the clan hall,” Steva grinned.

 

Enough, Steva,” Zenim sighed. “Come on. We need to go help with dinner. Velma could use our help.”

 

Gregory was about to sit when the door to the room opened. Seeing Elder Lightshield standing there with his hand on the doorframe, Gregory went over to help him.

 

“Thank you,” Lightshield said. “And for those who have been speculating on the women’s room, none of you know that their bathing chamber is twice as large as ours.”

 

“Ha, he just broke all of your comments,” Ravol laughed at Steva.

 

“He did,” Steva admitted. “Ah well. It was fun watching Greg try to imagine them all in the tub.”

 

Gregory flushed as he helped Lightshield to the washing bench.

 

Gin chuckled. “Well to be fair, I also had a thought or two. Any man who still has an interest in the opposite sex and a good imagination would have. It’s just worse for him because he’s young.”

 

“Young…” Hemet sighed. “Ah, those were the days. Weren’t they, Linus?”

 

“The old days,” Lightshield chuckled. “Of course, I was still aged when you were a novice, Hemet. As for you rejoining the clan, accepted. I know you stepped away to help your business only and, as it turns out, you helped our members before they were our members.”

 

“I was a little surprised when you told me you’d be accepting them. It’d been twenty years and all of a sudden, you had a sudden need to accept new members, brought Bishop back from the fringe, and got Dia to take over the clan hall. All very peculiar.”

 

“Not peculiar at all,” Lightshield said. “You know I am dying. I want to leave the clan with hope.”

 

The room was silent at his casual phrasing over his health declining.

 

“I will not be dropping dead today, so stop with all the looks,” Lightshield said mildly.

 

“Sorry, sir,” Steva said, getting out of the tub. “We’ll go help with dinner.”

 

“A man in his last years always wants to leave a mark for people to remember him by,” Lightshield said as the staff dried off. “Mine will be the apprentices and novices of this year and later. They will carry on the clan ideal for generations, and that… that makes me want to help them all the more.”

 

Hemet washed the soap off him and stood. “That is ably said. I will do it by making sure Ling can follow in my footsteps. She will do what I used to do for the clan.”

 

“If she can do even half of what you did, she will be highly praised by the clan,” Lightshield said.

 

“You still hold out hope for Aether returning?” Samuel asked.

 

“As it was, as it will always be,” Lightshield replied.

 

“Hmm,” Samuel said, thoughtfully as he rose to head for the tub.

 

“Almost done,” Lightshield said. “If you would help me to the tub, then, Gregory?”

 

“Of course, sir,” Gregory said, finishing up his own washing.

 

~*~*~

 

Dinner was a lively affair with all the new members and instructors in the room. Small talk dominated the table until the meal came to an end.

 

Lightshield cleared his throat and raised a hand and everyone went quiet. “Thank you. Gregory, you and your wives have been excused from class tomorrow so that you may go see about your rewards from the tournament. Novices, your new schedule starts tomorrow, assuming you are staying in economics class.”

 

“We will be. Victoria still needs to pass the class, sir, and our seniors did, as well,” Nessa said.

 

“Doing as they did is not a bad plan,” Lightshield smiled. “You will go far that way.”

 

“Thank you, sir,” Nessa smiled.

 

“As for training with them, you will have a few months, but they will not be here for your next tournament. They will be going to the border of Buldoun. Use this time to learn from them wisely.”

 

“We will,” Daciana said quickly.

 

“Ling, Clover, I have faith that you will be going as well, on your own merits,” Lightshield said. “I have informed the council that we have more apprentices to go to the event.”

 

“We’ll do our best, sir,” Ling said, bowing her head while Clover beamed.

 

“I know,” Lightshield replied, his eyes twinkling. “Now, a small toast— to our new clan members, to our returning clan member, and to the instructors who will help shape you. Aether’s Guard welcomes you all, and we thank you for making us richer and stronger.”

 

Everyone raised their cups to his toast and drank.


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