And, today, it was…

“Jack, you’re going to be first on point,” King Fergus stated. “Antonio gave us this idea, and I think it’ll be marvelous if you guys can pull it off.” King Fergus pointed to the pond about a football field away. “You’re going to pick up that entire body of water and spread it wide and thin, and then raise it above all of us.” Our jaws dropped, including Jack’s, which wasn’t a good sign, since he was supposed to be the expert. “Then, you’re going to hold it there for as long as you can.”

Jack swallowed grandly and shut his gaping mouth, staring at the large — yes, large — pond. “You’re serious?”

“Yes,” King Fergus stated. “This is your test for funneling. The others will have their test, too.”

Uh-oh. A glance at King Kincaid showed he was grinning, and my eyes gradually traveled back to the King directly in front of me as I asked slowly, “What did you do during your training?”

King Fergus smirked and pointed to the pond once more. “I created that with a small earthquake. It’s extremely deep.” He turned his grin on Jack. “Lots of water in there.” He paused, and then added, “There’s also fish, so don’t drop them or Pearl, Lily, and Ezra will be running around trying to save them while you fill the pond back up with water.” His grin widened. “Have fun.”

The Kings left us so as to sit on their lawn chairs in the shade. They hadn’t given us a whole lot of instruction. Just said to push once we were all touching Jack. Thank you very much, Kings. We were left to figure it out ourselves once more.

I would like to “push” them. Into a shark’s tank. Silvered. Surrounded by Coms.

“Quit scowling,” Ezra grumbled, lifting a hand, where it hovered in front of my face before he fisted it and quickly lowered it. “Plotting their demise isn’t going to help right now. That comes later.” His eyes dipped to my lips, then back up. “You’ve got tomato sauce on the corner of your mouth.”

I snickered, wiping it away. “I’m not the only one.” The spaghetti today for lunch had been wonderful. Three bowls wonderful.

Ezra glared, rubbing at his mouth. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought it was funny.” I smiled, chuckling. “The Vamp with red-something on the corner of his mouth.” A few students had stared in the hallways, making it a hilarious inside joke, one-woman style.

He finished swiping with the back of his hand, smearing red over his mocha skin, and glowered at the evidence before bending toward me so we were eye-to-eye, and whispering, “I’m meticulous when it counts, and you know it.” Yes, he was. He never let a bead of blood drip. He grinned. “I’m going to get you back for this.”

Thankful he was keeping my mind off my worries, I pointed at his nose, careful not to touch him. “Just try it.”

He chuckled softly. “Oh, I will.” It sounded very much the threatening promise.

I had better watch my back. He could be pure evil when he wanted to be.

“Can you all begin, please?” King Kincaid called loudly.

Ezra and I turned our attention to him.

He was staring right at us, his lips thinned.

King Venclaire was sitting next to him, also staring at us, but with a particularly amused mien, since he had been able to hear our whole conversation.

Jack and Pearl were also talking, bickering, actually, about the best way to push.

King Kincaid stated, “You can talk later.” His voice held a little growl.

Ezra and I turned our faces back to each other, wearing blank expressions.

He swiftly straightened, moving to stand next to Pearl.

Ugh. King Kincaid and King Venclaire still thought we were doing the deed. It was annoying, to say the least. Ezra and I couldn’t even have a conversation without them watching us, making sure our “love affair” wasn’t too obvious. If Ezra wasn’t one of my best friends, I probably would have thought it funny but, as it was, it was more irritating than anything.

Pearl motioned for me to come over, so I walked the couple of steps to them, listening as she said, “I thought about this last night when we were babysitting. We’re supposed to push, right? Well, there was this one brat I wished I could have pushed my will on, but I figured the parents wouldn’t appreciate it, so I didn’t.”

I motioned for her to get on with the point, so she clarified, “I think that’s it. We’ve all pushed our will on our subjects at some point this year training with the Kings. That’s all we’ve got to do. Focus our will on the task, even if it is foreign to us.” She paused when we stood mute, only blinking. “Think of it as if you were an Elemental for this task. It’s not just Jack that’s supposed to raise the pond. Our power is supposed to help him raise it. So, just push your will, thinking as if you had his power.”

I debated that internally.

Jack said, “This is hard. I still don’t see how you’re going to think like me.”

“Oh!” I knew this one. “Talk out loud. Tell us what you’re thinking. We’ll copy it.”

“Be specific,” Ezra stated slowly. “Otherwise, we might picture one thing while you’re picturing something else entirely.”

Jack’s lips slowly curved until he was grinning. “That might work.”

“One more thing,” Pearl quickly murmured when we began turning toward the pond. “Push slowly at first. Anytime we’ve increased our power, we’ve had to do it slowly. I don’t see how this is any different.”

“We probably will, anyway, trying to break through that haze of perfection,” I mumbled, nibbling on my lips, all my nervousness hitting me again now that we were about to begin.

Jack whispered, “You’re going to do fine.” He sounded like he believed it.

Rolling my shoulders, I nodded, ready to see if I was screwed. “Thank you.”

Ezra rolled his index fingers in circles. “Let’s raise this pond.”

We turned toward said pond we needed to raise.

We rapidly made our link, the sensations uncomfortable at first, but then, heavenly.

Jack raised his arms, saying, “Imagine picking it up by the outer edges, like it’s a pizza. It’ll droop at first in the middle, but then imagine the water running like a faucet, but opposite. The water going up, but only until the top levels off flat, so it’s no longer drooping. We should see all the water at that point. When that happens, imagine the outside, not the inside, stagnant. Not frozen, but just absolutely still in place.” He inhaled deeply. “Push.”