Chapter 15:

The Ploy to Take Reapra

Tetraprisma: Chromatic

“What are you proposing, Ms. Beta?”

“I’m saying that we should raid the spirits’ big city and take my brother back, that’s what.”

Milliheim, Aaron, and I were seated in the headmaster’s office. Aaron had taken me in to explain my idea so that maybe we could execute it.

“Mr. DeAndrick, how can you agree with this? She suggests we command an all-out attack on Reapra! Do you know what that would mean for Atlas?”

Aaron snorted. “When’s the last time we were on the offensive for once?” His low, scuffy voice still sounded like it was giving orders.

“The Atlas War. Since then, we’ve been a country of neutrality,” Milliheim replied.

“We’re in a war, sir. There’s no point in neutrality anymore if Sakira knows he can just overpower us with numbers.”

“And overpower us with numbers he will, if we invade the capital!”

I rested my arm on the table. “Not if he doesn’t see it coming.”

“Ms. Beta, I beg your pardon. My plans for the skirmish three days ago were invalidated simply because Sakira had more forces than we realized. Who knows how many are guarding Reapra?”

“He sent, like, all of his forces out for that. Maybe he kept his best ones in the waiting, but whatever, you get the point. How many sectors did he send?”

Milliheim fanned through some papers. “Let’s see… two-hundred and seven. Recon from some years ago suggested he had two-hundred and ten, total. Clearly, if he sent this many troops to a small battle, he must have many more in waiting.”

“How much of a chance are you willing to take on that?”

“Not enough to risk my student’s lives again.”

Aaron sat upright. “Headmaster, you have to be willing to risk lives. It’s a war. We’ll get nowhere without casualties.” I remembered something Aka said about Aaron’s disregard for his troops and winced.

“I suppose you’re right, DeAndrick. I’ve been a bit soft, haven’t I?” said Milliheim.

“I… don’t think that’s the right way to think about it,” I interjected. “We don’t want anyone to die. We’re just kids. It’s not soft to care for our lives.”

Aaron hmphed. “You clearly don’t have any military experience. First and foremost, we’re soldiers. If we die, that is a sacrifice we were willing to make by joining the military.”

My mind raced. That can’t be right. I didn’t choose to join the military, I chose to go to a school. Our lives shouldn’t be expendable.

“Regardless,” Milliheim continued, “your plan is to send a legion to the head of Reapra and attract the population so that a smaller stealth team can sneak into the base of operations and take back a subject or two from Sakira. Is that correct?”



“I’ll take this into careful consideration. DeAndrick, you’ll have to talk with me about it, alright? If it goes through, you’ll be leading the charge.”

“And who, might I ask, would be leading the stealth operation?” Aaron questioned.

Milliheim chuckled. “It only seems fitting that Sector 53 would head the operation. We’ve got quite a few capable casters there.”

“Who’s in Sector 53?”

“It’s led by Commander Sumisu.”

Aaron pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned. “Oh, Jesus Christ.”

“What, you don’t think we can do it?” I asked him.

“You’re in there too? That’s worse.”

“Hey,” I snapped, “remember who killed off, like, a hundred spirits during the skirmish?”

“You didn’t kill them.”

“Hey, they still ran off. That’s good enough.”

Aaron rocked his head back. “Not for stealth.”

“Then just train us.”

“I– train you in stealth?”

I did a double take. “Why do you sound so confused?”

“We don’t do that here.”

Milliheim looked up from his board. “We could. It would be quite beneficial for recon teams, as well as for Sector 53 if the project works out.”

“Dammit, Milliheim. I was already mad enough that Beta had one good idea. Don’t make me think she’s had another,” said Aaron.

“Why is Ms. Beta’s idea good in your eyes, DeAndrick?”

“Like she said, Sakira sent nearly all his forces that we know of to a small skirmish. His goal was seemingly to create the facade that he has more power than we thought. An attack on Reapra would essentially do the same thing, but in our favor.”

I gave him a glare. “So Kori’s a side quest to you?”


I didn’t have a witty response for that.

“Alright, you two. I’ll consider your plan with Ms. Copper. Scurry off to your classes.”

As we left, I kept my eyes away from the battle plans on the center table. I wasn’t about to make a blunder like that again. We closed the ornate doors behind us and sighed simultaneously.

“How are your classes going, Beta?” Aaron asked.

“That’s hella random.”


“You’ve never heard hella before?”

Aaron stifled a cough. “Of course I have.”

“You haven’t.”

“It doesn’t matter. Gaians like you have weird slang.”


A short silence. I heard Milliheim shuffling papers through the doors behind us. The doors were certainly more interesting than the blank wooden hallway we were staring at.

“Answer the question, though.”

“I’ve been in the hospital wing the whole time. I don’t have classes.”

“Oh, I see.” You definitely already knew that.


“I can help you choose,” he offered. There’s the bait.

I looked the other way. “Sorry, but I don’t want your help.”

“A lot of students would kill to have me directing their class choices.”

“Well, I didn’t kill anyone at the skirmish, so if that says anything…”

He didn’t have a witty response for that.

“Uh… just let me know if you need help, then,” he suggested.

“Cool. I won’t.”

We went out separate ways— him towards the cathedral, me towards the hospital wing. Marissa had woken up, but she hadn’t gotten around to healing my arm yet. Hopefully I wouldn’t have to wear the sling for much longer.

I found myself wandering the hallways again, only vaguely trying to find the hospital wing. After all, the school looked massive from the outside. Multiple floors, twisting hallways, a grand cathedral— what’d be the point of all that if they didn’t use it?

Since Milliheim’s room was on the second floor, I’d have to find the staircase I used earlier. I was a little lost, though, so I’d just rely on some good old blind stumbling. I found a small lobby where a few students were hanging out, which connected to a staircase. A shame my little adventure had ended so soon.

I decided to sit down on one of the couches. I’d have loved to think the cushions were magical, but they clearly weren’t. They were still comfortable, though.

…I’m terribly sorry about what happened on Sunday. I wasn’t planning to–

I stood up immediately and hastily made for the stairs. I wanted this adventure to be over as soon as possible.

Really, Shiera. I said I was a man of my word. I meant it. My troops didn’t heed my words, and–

Oh, so you’re a man of your word? Then why the hell didn’t you save me from those spirits like you said you would?

That’s right, dumbass! Remember that?! ‘If you’re ever in danger, I’ll take over your body and save you’ my ass!

I made it to the bottom of the stairs and found them to lead to the arenas. I knew where I was going now. It was foolish to run from something inside me, yet here I was.

But no, you just said ‘screw it, she won’t be useful to me anymore anyway’ and left me to die! How’s that for a man of your word, huh?

I found the hallway to the hospital wing’s white tiles and took the turn tighter than a racecar driver. Cat got your tongue, huh?!

I’m trying to decide whether I should let you feel prideful or crush your spirits.

I totally crushed your spirits out on the battlefield, so have a go at it, why don’t you? My inner tongue was more forked than a snake’s.

Nevermind. I’ll be planning for the war. Call my name if you decide to berate me so.

In your dreams!

I found the vitals room where Marissa was staying and opened the door with a fast shove (with my working arm). “Hey, Marissa!”

Marissa jumped in her bed. “Aaah!”

“Hi, so, heal me please.”

“You could at least get me, like, a get-well-soon gift!”

“I got shot in the arm, no one brought me anything.”

“I would have brought you something, but I was unconscious because I got shot in the chest!”

“Just heal yourself!”

Marissa flopped over. “But Aubrey gets me chocolate in the mornings.”

Maybe I should have stayed injured for longer.

“Whatever, just heal me. You’re getting chocolate from Aubrey anyways.”

“Fine,” she huffed. “Show me your arm.”

I laid my disabled arm on the side of the bed.

“I can’t heal you through the shirt.”

“Oh.” I unstrapped the sling and rolled my sleeve up. The wound was weird-looking— the bullet had been removed from the crevice of my arm, but the wound it’d created remained. Nerves were firing off.

Marissa laughed. “That’s not even that bad!” she chuckled. “I can heal that in a minute!”

She placed both her hands on my arm (which hurt) and began concentrating magenta magic into the wound (which also hurt). “Ow, shit.”

“It won’t hurt for long.”

The wound started closing itself— muscles intertwining, skin stitching itself back together. I’d endured worse pain, but damn. “When– OW, DAMMIT!– did you learn magenta magic? I thought you used cyan.”

“I’m a medic. I have to know healing magic in case of emergencies. Healing’s the only thing I know about magenta,” she explained. Ow.

“Is there any way to, like, make it less painful?”

“Yeah, but that usually takes multiple people.”

“Then why didn’t they do that to me?”

“Most of our medics are out in battle.”

“That’s stupid.”

I looked back at my wound, which had stopped hurting by now. It was stitched over completely, and the scab formed over it was even disappearing. “Hey, I can ask a stupid question, right?” I asked.

“Aubrey handles stupid questions better, but sure.”

“How the hell does all this magic shit work?”

Marissa took her hands off my arm and tossed the sling off to the side. “I’m in honors spellcasting and I honestly don’t know. I think they cover that senior year.”

“So you don’t know anything?”

“I know that it has something to do with conscience. But that’s it.”

I groaned. “Thanks a ton.”

“For the healing or for the info?”

“Wha– it was sarcasm.”

“So you aren’t thankful for the healing.”

“Hey! I am thankful!”

“Say thanks.”


“Yay. Now tell Aubrey she forgot my chocolate this morning.”

I closed the door on Marissa’s room and looked down the hall. I knew I would have to take actual classes soon. Perhaps I’d get Aubrey to help me pick my classes. Or maybe I’d do it myself. Whatever the case, I felt confident I’d have more experience under my belt by the time I was next called to battle.

I tightened my belt and began to make my way to the lobby. I was a student of Atlas Institute of Magic, and I was going to act like it.

Slashed Ink.
Steward McOy