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  • Writer's pictureCasey Truly

Sorce: Birth of Echo (Preview) Pg. 7

“I like your enthusiasm!”

The other students gather around me and make a half circle. Jessie finds her way next to me again. “Hey.” Jessie says.

“Hey.”

“I’m sorry if I, or Nathan, said anything to upset you.”

“It’s fi-“

“Alright! Welcome young Sorces, to the Crystal Fields. These crystals are very special, can anyone tell me why?” Master Uphraeus looks around at the students. Only one has her hand raised.

“Yes, Ms. Barian?”

“The Crystal Fields have been a place to practice sorce for generations. Some even say that the school was founded on the field itself.” Laurie says.

I recognize her humble-bragging tone and roll my eyes. The kind of tone she might use with me when she knew she was right, but would let me figure that out after she said it.

“Uhm. Well, yes Ms. Barian. But I was looking for something a bit more specific.” Master Uphraeus says.

Jessie raises her hand.

“Yes, you! Miss?” He tries searching for her profile on his tablet.

“Jessie Zirdi.” Jessie says.

“Ah, yes, Ms. Zirdi. What say you?”

“Is it because of the crystals sir? These sorce crystals are tear-drop shaped and found naturally here on Sirrus. Unlike most sorce crystals that are artificially made by sorce users, these crystals have an above average concentration of sorce held within them and are capable of storing it in large quantities.”

“Excellent Ms. Zirdi!”

I take a glance over at Laurie. I know her pride took a hit there. She’s 0 and 2 for questions. Sure enough, she’s playing with her ponytail. Then that guy she’s been with comes up and pinches her sides. I tried that once; I know what comes next. A slap in the face… But not this time. She actually laughs, then wiggles away… and she has stopped playing with her ponytail…

“To be more clear, Ms. Zirdi; this place is also a sorce field. Much like the one we came through to get here. Except this one has a different use. The crystals can store, channel, and amplify sorce. Making them an effective source for… sorce!” Master Uphraeus continues.

Master Uphraeus has a huge smile on his face. A single student chuckles out loud and without missing a beat, The Master points off in the direction he hears the laugh.

“I always get at least one.” He chuckles to himself then walks next to one of the crystals.

“Today, you will start by weaving your own sorce into the crystals. As you do, you can bend the light around these crystals as such.”

Master Uphraeus places his hand over one of the crystals and it begins to illuminate a brighter blue. As he moves his hand around, the light changes and becomes green, then yellow and red.

“The point of this exercise is to control your sorce output by not overcharging the crystal. You’ll know when it’s overcharged when it becomes a deep orange color. You’ll want an opposite effect to complete this exercise, the crystal should have a fractal look to it with multiple colors. And be careful. Too little and nothing will happen. Too much…”

The crystal glows just as before cycling through colors, then turns a bright orange and begins vibrating. A small shockwave of orange light explodes from the crystal, making some of us students at the front lose our balance. Master Uphraeus remains firm.

“And that happens. That will knock you right on your bums!” Master Uphraeus really got a kick out of that one with a boisterous laugh.

“Luckily for you all, these crystals have been programmed to release before any fatal build up happens and we all end up swimming with the whales.” He takes off his glasses and wipes them.

“Now. You’re welcome to practice by yourself or with a partner, but no more than two people per crystal. Everyone has to pull their weight. Consider this your first assignment. Dismissed!” Master Uphraeus gestures towards the open field all around us.

“Ah there you are!” Nathan says.

He spots Jessie and I as everyone is chattering and breaking off by themselves or going off in pairs. I notice Laurie walking off by herself.

“Well, the Master said three to every crystal.” Nathan looks at Jessie.

“He said solo or groups of two. Were you not paying attention?” Jessie says.

I see an opportunity to get out of this conversation before I get dragged into it. Maybe I can catch up to Laurie and see if she’ll want to partner up. I slip away as the crowd is still shifting. I spot Laurie walking over to a slightly more isolated crystal from the rest of the field. As I make my way over to her, I notice the guy she’s been with all day approaching her from the side. I’m not gonna reach her before he does.

“Laurie!” I shout.

She turns around and sees me. Her reaction is confusing. She gives a half smile and politely waves, like she barely knows me. The other guy turns his gaze to me as well, still approaching her. She notices him and he says something to her. They have a small conversation as I’m still walking towards Laurie, but my walk comes to a slow halt. This guy is clearly trying to say something about me without me hearing and it’s pissing me off. Laurie looks slightly irritated and points a finger in his face. That shuts him up. Her narrowed brow and gaze turn my way. I’m close enough for her to speak at an average level.

“Charlie please. Now’s not a good time.” Laurie says.

“Oh…” I reply.

“Okay that’s… yeah. Maybe we can talk tomorrow?” My voice has a quiver in it that I don’t like. “Charlie…” Laurie says.

Her angered face turns to concern and sympathy.

“I think you need space… to move on.”

“I didn’t realize we weren’t going to be on speaking terms. Is it because of this guy? Did you-” I say. “Charlie!” Laurie shouts.

I recoil a bit and a few students in the area notice the loud roar. I feel like a stray puppy, begging for scraps below the table, and everyone can see it. Laurie takes a deep breath.

“Listen, I’ve got too many things on my mind right now. I can’t deal with this.” Laurie says.

“So, I’m assuming this is your new boyfriend then?” I say.

“Charlie, that’s none of your business. Just leave.”

“What’s your name?”

Looking over at this guy who probably has a few inches on me, but I’m not intimidated.

“Rhody.” He says.

He says it with confidence, his voice is somewhat deep but I can tell it’s artificial. He’s trying to be intimidating. Now we’re having a stare down, except I’m not really staring him down, I’m actually trying to figure out who’s standing behind him. It’s a shadowy figure that looks about my height. I can’t tell if my vision is blurred from the sun, but my heart beating out of my chest giving me an unforgiving rage. I notice Laurie recoil and Rhody take a slight defensive posture. I feel a hefty weight on my shoulder. I turn my gaze for a moment to look and see it’s Master Uphraeus’ hand on my shoulder. I look back and Rhody is standing there, smug as all hell and the dark figure is gone.

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