The Impossible Wizard: Chapter 4
If you ended up here before reading the earlier chapters, you can return to Chapter 1 here
Orin had sent the kids and their parents home and led Adam and Terra from the cramped testing lab to a more spacious conference room. Clair had remained behind to check the testing equipment one more time. He doubted she’d find anything, but better safe than sorry. The door had barely closed when Adam and Terra started going back and forth about the best way to handle the revelation about Conryu.
He felt bad for the kid. Conryu was a good boy, and he hated to yank the rug out from under him all of a sudden, but the law was clear. Not to mention if he achieved even half his potential he’d end up as the most powerful wizard in recorded history. Orin couldn’t simply throw away that sort of resource.
As the argument continued Orin only listened with half an ear. He leaned on the windowsill and stared out over the city. Everything looked exactly the same as it did yesterday. Same skyline, same floating island, same everything. Nothing to indicate that the whole world had changed.
“We can’t let word of this escape.” Adam slammed his fist on the conference room table, drawing him back to current debate. “We’ll institute a total intelligence blackout. Keep it totally quiet, send him to the academy by special flight.”
“That’s exactly the wrong thing to do,” Terra said. “At some point the media will find out about Conryu’s existence. When they do we’ll be accused of a cover up which will make everything worse. We need to have a press conference and announce that a male wizard has been discovered. We don’t need to provide details, but we do need to get out in front of the situation.”
“Chief?” He turned to find Adam looking at him, hands on hips. “It’s your decision. What are we going to do?”
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned after fifteen years in government it’s this: a cover up is always a bad idea, except for national security issues. We’ll schedule a press conference for tomorrow afternoon. No questions, just a brief announcement.”
“The boy will have to be there,” Terra said.
Orin nodded. Conryu wouldn’t be thrilled, but she was right, he had to be there. Orin seldom had to ruin someone’s life and the fact that it was a young man he thought of like his own son made it even worse. He needed an antacid from the bottle in his desk.
The conference room door flew open and an old man with wild white hair wearing a tan cardigan and black pants rushed in. “Where is he? Where’s the boy wizard?”
Orin groaned. Just when he thought the day couldn’t get any worse. Leave it to Professor Angus McDoogle to make a liar out of him. “I sent him home, Angus. Conryu’s had a long, exhausting day.”
“You sent him home without introducing me? That boy is the key to proving my theory.”
“Your theory is garbage, Angus,” Terra said. “Conryu isn’t going to change that.”
“It is not garbage.” The old professor’s face turned bright red. “Despite what those narrow-minded fools at the Glasgow Institute might say. The Aegis of Merlin is a perfectly reasonable hypothesis.”
Terra shook her head. “You think the idea that Merlin was not only real, but that his spirit is watching over and protecting humanity is a reasonable theory?”
“I do and it is. When everyone said my theory was impossible what did they claim as the primary reason? That men couldn’t be wizards. Well, this boy puts the lie to that argument. If one young man has the potential to be a wizard then there’s no reason another one couldn’t have become a wizard fifteen hundred years ago.”
“Even if I grant you that another male wizard existed and served as the basis for the Merlin legend, that in no way proves his spirit somehow lingered beyond death to watch over the world.”
“Stay a skeptic if you wish.” Angus tried to smooth his white hair to no effect. “Now that I’ve got evidence to support the first half of my theory, it’s only a matter of time before I prove the rest of it.”
Terra drew a breath to launch into another argument, but Orin cut in. “You two can continue this argument on your own time. What we need to focus on now is Conryu. It’s up to us to make this transition as smooth and painless for him as possible. I’ll send word to some reporters I know and set it up for three tomorrow. Adam, see about security for the press conference. We’ll have it outside in front of headquarters so we can retreat directly back inside when we’re finished.”
Adam nodded and left the room to begin.
“What about me?” Terra asked.
“Try to think up some reasonable ideas for why a male wizard might have turned up after all this time. We can’t just drop a fact like that on the world without offering some sort of explanation.”
“I’ll get Clair to help.”
“Are you sure? She has certain political leanings that may make this difficult for her.”
Terra stood up. “Just because Clair was a member of the Le Fay Sorority at the academy when she was young doesn’t make her sympathetic now. She’s a professional. I’m sure she can set any personal feelings aside and do her job.”
“Fine, but keep an eye on her.”
Terra took her leave and Orin found himself alone with Angus. The bright-eyed Scotsman closed the distance between them. “When can I meet him?”
“I’ll introduce you tomorrow, before the press conference.” Angus grinned, prompting Orin to raise a threatening finger. “But only if you promise to stay on your best behavior. I won’t have you harassing that boy or turning him into the poster child for your pet theory.”
“No buts. You put so much as a toe out of line and I’ll see you transferred to the most remote outpost I can find. Clear?”
“Of course.” Angus spun on his heel and stalked out.
Orin watched Angus until the door closed behind him. Why did the crazy professor have to end up at his department? Orin’s lips curled in a bitter smile and he rubbed his throbbing temples. Was it bad luck or the spirit of Merlin?
I hope you enjoyed reading Chapter 4. You can read Chapter 5 here.
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