With a massive sigh, I flopped onto my bed, closing my eyes.

            “Good training session?” asked Celeste from the other side of the room.

            “I.  Am.  Dead.  I swear these extra lessons are going to kill me.”

            “Evnehfdyumsdlfkhrt?  How are you always done so quickly?”

            Glancing over, I watched her fuss over the strings she could probably barely see.  Colorful threads were tangled up in her hands, fading into invisibility as they trailed away from her fingers.

            “It’s much faster to unravel something than to create it,” I replied.

            Celeste glared at me as she tied a knot.  “Ilsdmfsjfnmldsfdksjnfgjsfklm,” she muttered.

            A small rope appeared in her hand.  She grinned in triumph.

            Snap.  The rope disappeared.

            “Gah!” Celeste yelled, throwing her hands up in frustration.

            I snorted as I tried not to laugh.

            “Shut up, Dax!” she yelled.  “I can do this, damn it!  I know I can!”

            As she tried again, I sat up in my bed.  Celeste created another rope.  Long golden threads hung off the rope she’d made.  It was sloppy; I could already see it beginning to come undone.

            “It’s terrible isn’t it?” Celeste asked.  Snap.  The rope was gone.  Celeste sighed.

            “You’re rushing it,” I responded.  I weaved my fingers through the air, feeling for the slick strings.  The vibrant colors of the threads appeared in my hands.  Bright blue mixed with deep red, glowing orange twisted with electric violet – they were almost blinding to look at.

            My fingers glided across the strings as I placed them into Celeste’s hands.  “Remember what our instructors told us,” I said as I guided her in tying the knots.  “Magic needs time.  It’s not a weapon by itself, but a tool to use when we have the time to plan.”

            A rope once again formed in Celeste’s hand, the tiniest golden thread hanging off the top.  “The more tightly woven,” I stated, “the longer it’ll last.”

            Celeste frowned at the rope.  “How is a former byte so good at this?” she asked as she placed it on the nightstand.  “Befidsnlfmsdlkghudslmfasdfihdsmvclkjufhiosdlmfsdjfhic.  And having the rare unraveling talent on top of that…” she shook her head.

            I remained silent.  I wasn’t sure what she was trying to say since I’d missed half of it.

            “Sorry, I don’t mean to sound jealous,” Celeste stated after a pause.  “But I am curious how you’re so good at magic.”

            Tilting my head, I thought about it for a moment.  It was a little strange that someone from the System, where magic was illegal, would be able to do it this easily.

            “I think it’s the colors,” I replied softly.

            Celeste raised an eyebrow.  “How’s that now?”

            “In the System, there aren’t many colors we’re allowed to have.  Black, white, gray or something in between.  Sometimes a bit of red on the nails or pink on the cheeks would be fine, but only females were allowed that kind of freedom.  If the System had it her way, she would probably even make the flowers gray.

            “But out here,” again I weaved my fingers through the air, staring down at the diverse threads that lay across my palms, “all the colors are allowed to be.  And with magic, you’re even encouraged to find new ones you never thought existed.  Seeing all that is the one thing I never knew I wanted so badly.

            “As for unraveling,” I dropped my hands, letting the strings drift back to their natural state, “I guess it’s because I know how easy it is  for everything to fall apart.”

            “That’s the most I’ve ever heard you talk,” Celeste commented.

            I scowled at her.

            “What?  It was all very interesting.  Imflskdsfhsdlmfdklsfdshuiflmdkcmlose.  Aldkmfeduhismfis, there’s plenty we Outcasts take for granted.”

            “Yeah,” I replied glancing out the window.  “Bytes have no idea what they’re missing.”

To be continued…

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