Chapter 10:

Meanwhile: Events Beyond Our Control (A Challenging Foe & A Vexing Conversation)

Theodora Plays to Win (With Cheat Codes)

Callum exits the castle. In seconds he’s crossing through the city. He can feel the body’s magic being depleted as he moves. Teleportation takes a lot of energy. It’s a miracle he’d found a body with such a large magic reserve in the first place. He zoomed through the streets and made it to the city gates within a matter of minutes before running into a snag.

“Whoopsy daisy” A large mace like object swung at him like a baseball bat nailing him to the ground, “we’ve got a trespasser.” He was a man in shiny blue armor. His hair was parted and slicked down on both sides and he had a short stubby nose. Other than his size, the man was unremarkable and even below average in the looks department. His skill, however, was the real deal. No one should have been able to hit Callum, let alone see him as the rate he’d been moving. He’d somehow spotted Callum coming out of a jump and predicted where he’d reappear. Contact with a rune was required to activate it, on top of mana. Callum theorized that Bayer leaves were the result of some kind of rune magic based on how they worked, but that was neither here nor there.

“I have somewhere I must be. Let me up.”

“That suit of yours looks a little too nice for you. And your smell and complexion tell me you’re not exactly from the rich side of town. In fact, I smell village trash if I’m not mistaken. And my nose never lies. So, tell me how’d you come by such fancy shmanshy attire? You seem like a hurry-scurrying little rat, so I’m not letting up until you give me an answer I want to hear.” The armored man grates Callum against the ground with his mace.

The teleportation rune that Callum had carved onto his body had three flaws. One, distance. The user could only move up to 100 yards. Two, the user could only move up to a hundred yards straight ahead. Three, the user must have a clear sightline of their destination.

The armored man swung Callum straight up into the air. Callum took that moment to activate the rune. He turned his head to the sky and disappeared. The armored man smirked and swung his club, but it didn’t hit anything. “Huh?” Callum reappeared a hundred yards higher in the sky. As he fell he set his sights on the outer wall and just barely managed to land on it, teetering on the edge.

He waved at the armored guard. 

The soldier's face tore into a hungry grin, “Remember the name General Qwerty Siscon, you little brat. You’ll never be able to get in here again. Damn it!”

Callum teleported again. He was now in the densely packed woods and the sun was getting low in the sky. “A half-dozen more jumps and then I’ll lay down a protective rune and take some time to recharge.”

Callum jumped into the sky and began jumping forward. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. He was a fair distance away from the capital now. One more jump and he’d be on the ground. Six.

He disappeared and didn’t reappear. The sun set, the moon rose, and he still didn’t reappear. The night wore on and the sun began to rise once more.

As dawn approached, Callum finally reappeared just as a carriage was passing by. “Are you alright little boy?” A fat man in a burgundy vest asked.

“I’m fine. Where did you come from? You weren’t here a second ago, I would’ve noticed.”

“You appeared in front of us. What are you doing all the way out here? Ugg, you stink!”

“Someone interfered with the rune magic. The only one who could do that would be…”

“I’m sorry for disrupting your trip, I’ll be on my way.” Callum bowed and ran off into the forest. He opened a telepathic link to Bessos. Bessos, I need you to find Theo, now!

He continued running, an increasingly painful feeling welling up in his stomach.


“Madame Overseer, there’s a problem.”

“What is the matter?”

“We’re getting backed up on the Reaper floor.”


“The portals have closed.”

“Closed? Closed how? What do you mean, “Closed?”

“The exit portals have all closed. All but one. And there’s another, related problem.”

“Something else?”

“It seems inconceivable but objects are being pulled into the exit portal.”

“They’re being pulled.”

“More accurately they’re being sucked into the exit portal.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Only souls should be able to cross through the exit portals, but there isn’t technically anything that says inorganic objects can’t cross through as well.

“That’s not the issue here.”

“I’m only reporting the situation.”

“There’s only one person who could interfere on this level…”

“What should we do?”

“Temporarily put a stop to Reaper activity. Recall everyone back here. See if you can seal the entry portals. And find out which exit portal is still open. Now!”

The Reaper exits the room. The Overseer turns in her chair, “Why are you doing this?” A vexed expression crosses her veiled face.

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