Prologue ~ Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~
Ch 13 ~
The special designation on her arm had to mean something, but so far he’d had no luck in finding out what. Independent study was encouraged, but the information Ravi needed for his research into the designations was restricted. A handful of others had it, more girls than boys, as far as he could tell. The designation set them apart from the others; maybe the medical team had some way of knowing ahead of time if someone was going to survive tespiro. But no, that couldn’t be right either. Halsey had a proper designation, as had at least one other of Ravi’s classmates who returned to their element.
There were gaps in the seating of Ravi’s class now. The class was split almost in half between those who had undergone tespiro and those who had not. The gaps resulted from those who were sequestered in the infirmary while they underwent their transition.
“It’s the waiting that I can’t stand,” Zephyrin confided to Ravi as they left the classroom.
Yet another of their classmates was missing today. This time it was FE-03-21, better known to his friends as Kennet. To nip the rumour monging in the bud, the instructor made it his habit to begin each day with announcements as to who was missing and what their prognosis was. It appeared that Kennet’s transition was proceeding normally.
“I know what you mean,” Ravi said, rubbing his forehead.
“You still have that headache? What’s it been, three days running now? Maybe you should talk to someone in the infirmary.”
You’ve had a low-grade head ache for three days now, Nereida’s voice whispered through his mind at the same time. And don’t try lying about it, I can feel it. Maybe you should tell one of the medical staff about it.
“I’m fine,” he snapped.
Zephyrin shot him a sideways glance but said nothing.
We’ve been told over and over again to report anything out of the ordinary. These headaches are out of the ordinary. My instructor says—
I don’t care what your instructor says. I’m fine!
Fine! Suffer then!
Ravi sighed. “I’m sorry I snapped,” he said, both out loud to Zephyrin and mentally to Nereida.
“It’s probably nothing.”
“On the other hand, it might not be,” Zephyrin told him.
Two more girls were missing from our class today, Nereida offered, trying to lighten her brother’s mood. Pavati and Dhara.
Dhara was an earth potential, wasn’t she?
Mental laughter flooded his mind. And here I thought you never noticed any of the girls.
Nereida . . .
Sorry, brother, I couldn’t resist.
Well try harder next time.
Pain spiked through Ravi’s head suddenly. He stopped in his tracks and leaned up against a wall to keep himself upright.
Ravi! What’s wrong?
“Hey, Kairavini, are you all right?”
“It’s nothing, I’m fine.” Already the pain was receding. He pushed away from the wall and continued on, Zephyrin trailing behind him.
Ravi, something’s not right with you, I can feel it. You need—
You need to mind your own business!
He could feel his sister’s shock, but was not in the mood to placate her. “Hey, let’s stop by the dining hall first. Suddenly I’m dying of thirst.”
Zephyrin grabbed his arm pulling him to a stop.
“What are you doing?” Ravi demanded as his friend felt his forehead.
“You’ve got a fever,” Zephyrin said. He reversed direction and began dragging him back the way they’d come.
“Let go of me!”
“No! You need to go to the infirmary and I’m going to see that you get there.”
Thank the gods you have such a good friend.
He’s lost his mind, Ravi argued.
“This is ridiculous,” he said out loud. “I’m perfectly fine.”
“Then you won’t lose anything by a quick trip to the infirmary,” Zephyrin said grimly.
“Zeph, you’re being unreas—” A wave of nausea swept over him, sending him to his knees. Zephyrin let go of his arm.
Ravi looked up at his friend. “I don’t feel so good. I think you’d better go get some help.”