Chapter 90
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Damien polished off his pancakes within a few minutes. They were fluffy and soft, with more than their fair share of syrup. The food wasn’t quite as good as his mother’s cooking, but they were better than anything he’d had recently for breakfast – when he had it at all.

He wiped up the last bits of syrup with a slice of banana and popped it into his mouth, letting out a satisfied sigh.

Sylph, who had received a heaping plate of bacon, eggs, sausages, and toast, finished off her food and sat back in her chair with a sigh.

“That was amazing,” Damien said. “I can’t let myself get used to that or I’m going to become fat.”

Sylph nodded, rocking back in her chair. “We’ll stick to more basic meals in the future. It’s not good to get used to fancy stuff like this.”

They stared at their plates for a few moments. Then Damien pushed his chair back and stood up. Sylph did the same.

“What now?” Sylph wondered as they walked out of the mess hall. “We could get back to training, but we might want to wait a bit since we just ate. I don’t fancy tasting my food a second time.”

“Agreed,” Damien said. “I was thinking – if we want to make a door, we should try to get some hinges or something, right? I can carve it out of the stone, but I don’t think we want a giant hunk of rock that we have to shift out of the way every time.”

“That’s a good idea. I can go back to the general store and find out if they’ve got anything while you do the door,” Sylph suggested.

“That works.”

The two of them split up. Damien headed towards the mountain while Sylph headed back into campus. He reached their room and silently walked by Mark and the Grays’ rooms. Damien walked into the farthest room he’d created squinting in the darkness.

He grabbed the chalk from his bag and walked up to a wall. A few minutes later, a freshly drawn rune circle lit up with faint blue light. Damien gave an approving nod.

Any suggestions on making a door?

“It’s a slab of rock,” Henry said. “What do you want me to say?”

Fair enough.

Damien cast out his net of mental energy, lighting up the room with strands of Ether. He started to gather it, then paused.

“Wait. I don’t need to make light if I keep the Ether visible,” he realized.

“Except you won’t be able to see what you’re doing very well,” Henry pointed out. “Do you want a lopsided door? You haven’t learned to filter out the Ether from your sight when you don’t want to see all of it. Stick with your scribbles for now.”

Damien grunted, drawing several motes of energy into himself before allowing the lines of Ether to fade away. He pressed the energy through both of his palms, creating two dark orbs, and got to work.

He started by carving a large square of the stone away from the wall. Next, he carved its edges away until all that was left was a wide circle of stone that barely fit through the doorways without brushing the ceiling.

Damien brushed the stone dust off and turned around to start dragging the door towards the outside of a cave. He leapt nearly a foot into the air when he realized that Sylph was leaning against the doorway.

“Seven planes,” Damien cursed. “I didn’t realize you got back already.”

“It’s been over an hour,” Sylph pointed out. “How long did you think it would take me to buy hinges?”

“Fair enough,” Damien sighed, his heart still racing. “I lost track of time I guess. Were you able to get hinges?”

“I was,” Sylph said, jingling her bag. “And some runed screws as well. They’ll put themselves in so we don’t have to buy tools.”

“That’s very convenient,” Damien said. “Good thinking.”

Sylph just nodded. She walked over and helped Damien roll the large wheel of stone through their room and towards the entrance.

It was a bit difficult getting it to squeeze between their beds, but after turning Damien’s mattress on its side, they were able to just barely get it through the room and to the mouth of their cave.

“Let’s roll it in front of the entrance,” Damien said. “Then I’ll grind away the rock need until it fits.”

They did as Damien suggested. Around two hours later, Damien had carved the stone down to roughly the shape of their cave’s entrance. The process was considerably harder than he’d thought. When he started moving too fast, he carved away rock he needed to keep. By the time he was done, there were several spots where he’d carved away too much stone. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a better door than a curtain.

Damien sat back, wiping his sweat and dust covered forehead with the back of his arm. He jumped for the second time that day when he saw Mark, Nolan, and Reena all standing beside Sylph and watching him.

“By the – why is everyone so sneaky today?” Damien snapped. “Can’t you be louder when you show up or something?”

“Sorry,” Nolan said. “You looked very concentrated, so we didn’t want to bother you. You’re making a door?”

“Yep,” Damien said, sighing. “And I don’t think I’m on the market to make another. Sylph, do you have the screws and the hinges?”

Sylph nodded. “I’ll go on the other side, and then we can push the door into position. I’ll put the hinges in on my end.”

She stepped past the door and into their room. Together, she and Damien slowly slid it into its proper place. Damien, Mark, and the Gray siblings watched the door for a few minutes as dull buzzing noises came from the other side.

The stone shifted. Damien stepped back as it swung open, scraping slightly on the ground.

“It worked!” Damien exclaimed, only half believing it himself. Then he sneezed as some of the dust got into his nose. “And now I need a shower.”

17