“Fire wants to burn
Water wants to flow
Air wants to rise
Earth wants to bind
Chaos wants to devour
Cal wants to live”
“They all yelled in excitement. Tamara yelled because she was happy. Aaron yelled because he liked it when other people were happy, and Call yelled because he was sure they were going to die.”
“Win?" Call said, startled. It hadn't occurred to him that Master Rufus was expecting them to win the test. Not after a whole onth of sand. "We're not going to win." He was mostly concerned with whether they would survive.
"That's the spirit." Aaron hid a grin.”
“As he bent closer, he realized they were words -- words his wife had carved into the cave ice with the last of her dying strength. As he read them, he felt them like three hard blows in the stomach.
KILL THE CHILD”
“Maybe by the time they were in their Silver Year, Master Rufus would communicate complicated theories of magic by the lifting of a single bushy eyebrow.”
“That's the spirit." Aaron hid a grin. He was already wearing his armband, just above his elbow. Somehow he managed to make it look cool. Call had tied his around his forearm and was fairly sure it looked like a bandage.”
“You can't!" Aaron said. "Didn't you hear anything I just told you? You could die!
" Well, don't kill me," Call said. "How about our goal is not to die. Both of us. Not dying. Together.”
“So it’s not as bad as it looks?” Call ventured. “Oh, no,” she told him. “It’s just as bad as it looks. But I’m very, very good at my job.”
“You don’t know what you are.”
“Remember what your father said about magic, boy. It’ll cost you everything.”
“Yeah,” Tamara said. “An old bowling alley. There must be a town not too far from here. But how could Aaron be there? And don’t say something like ‘working on his score’ or ‘maybe he’s in a bowling league’ or something like that. Be serious.”
Call leaned against the rough bark of a nearby tree and resisted the urge to sit down. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get up again. “I’m serious. It might be hard to tell in the dark, but I have my most super-serious face on.”
“You shouldn't let it bother you," Drew said earnestly. "That's just babble. It doesn't mean anything. None of you are going to die and you're obviously not dead. For Pete's sake.”
“He heard Tamara scream his name, and Jasper yell, “We’re supposed to stay here,” but Call didn’t slow. He was going to be the apprentice that Aaron thought he was, the one who there was nothing wrong with. He was going to do the kind of things that got you mysterious heroic achievements on your wristband. He was going to throw himself right into the fray.
He tripped over a loose stone, fell, and rolled to the bottom of the hill, banging his elbow hard on a tree root. Okay, he thought, not the best start.”
“I’m just surprised your parents let you go online,” Call said. It was such a regular, non-fancy way to waste time. When he imagined her outside the Magisterium, having fun, he imagined her riding a polo pony, although he wasn’t exactly sure what that was or how it was different from a regular pony.”
“His uniform sleeve was burned away and his arm seemed to be glowing from the inside, like a piece of kindling in a fire.
Fire wants to burn, Call thought.”
“Call laughed bitterly. “So you didn’t come near me because you didn’t want to blow my cover, and all that time, I didn’t even know I had a cover? That’s freaking hilarious.”
“I see nothing amusing about it.” Master Joseph didn’t change expression.”
“Taking a deep breath, he got ready to die.
He hoped that Tamara and Aaron had made it past the Chaos-ridden, out the window, and back on the path toward the Magisterium.
He hoped that, since Havoc was Chaos-ridden, the Enemy wouldn’t be too hard on him for not being an evil zombie dog.
He hoped his dad wouldn’t be too mad at him for going to the Magisterium and getting killed, just the way he had always been warned he would.
He hoped Master Rufus wouldn’t give his spot to Jasper.”
“They scattered. THE NEXT DAY was more sand and more tiredness. That”
“All elements have a counterweight. Fire is the counterweight of water. Air is the counterweight of earth. The counterweight of chaos is the soul.”
“Aaron was wearing a T-shirt that was practically transparent with washing and sweatpants with a hole in the knee. His blond hair stuck up like duck fluff and he looked barely awake. Tamara looked tense. Her hair was carefully braided and she wore pink pajamas that said I FIGHT LIKE A GIRL across the front. Under the words was a screen print of cartoon girls executing deadly ninja moves.”
“covered he was gone at all.”
“What did the note say?” Tamara asked. Master Lemuel glowered at her, and Master North looked surprised to be interrupted. Clearly, neither of them knew Tamara very well.”
“Call’s stomach felt as if it wanted to curl up inside him like a kicked puppy.”
“Being in the infirmary when you'd gotten injured being awesome was totally different from being in the Infirmary for doing something dumb.”
“It's a myth that crazy people don't know they're crazy. Many of us are surely as capable of epiphany and introspection as anyone else, maybe more so. I suspect we spend far more time thinking about our thoughts than do sane people.”
“I love that girl, Bertie," he went on, when he'd finished coughing.
"Yes. Nice girl, of course."
He eyed me with deep loathing.
"Don't speak of her in that horrible casual way. She's an angel. An angel!”
“Nothing is ever quite enough. No matter who you are, there’s always something more to be had, which could be yours if only you were someone else.”
“It's so dark," he thought, "that I could sleep without closing my eyes; the night would be my eyelids--”
“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.”
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