Elf Boy's Friends - Volume XIV

by George Gauthier

Chapter 10

Rainy Day Blues

"Wow, do you boys ever look woebegone and bedraggled, all sopping wet and dripping all over the floor," Eike said to Corwin and Drew as they came into their shared suite of rooms at their residential hotel.

"We got caught in a heavy thunderstorm, which you were lucky to avoid by leaving work early. We didn't finish up till our normal quitting time and so got caught in the storm." Corwin said, shaking his head ruefully.

"There we were walking home in picture perfect weather. I looked up and remarked to Drew how very wrong the forecast in the morning papers had been, telling him 'So where is all that rain predicted for today? Look at that -- blue sky'!"

"The words were no sooner out of my mouth than KABOOM!"

"The clap of thunder was so loud it might have been called up magically by Finn in his aspect as an avatar of Thor," Drew assured him earnestly, adding:

"We flinched like we were ducking enemy fire as during our combat days in Amazonia then spun around in alarm and saw that the western half of the sky had turned a deep gray, shading into black. Lightning flashed between clouds and ground accompanied by more thunder claps. Next came the strong winds of a gust front heralding the torrential downpour which followed. In an instant we were soaked to the skin, which wasn't too bad really, not in this heat, until hail the size of robin's eggs started to fall. Alas a thin layer of silk offers no protection from hailstones, and we weren't wearing hats so that hail drummed onto our noggins as well. We were forced to take shelter under a portico till the hail stopped then walked through a driving rain the rest of the way home."

Stripping off their wet garments the boys wrung them out, dropped them in the hamper for the laundry service to deal with, then took showers from which they emerged squeaky clean and smelling nice. Neither bothered with replacement clothing, preferring to remain nude or sky-clad within their quarters.

A little while later when the twins walked in Corwin exclaimed:

"Hey, you two just came through a hard rain. How come you aren't soaked like we were?"

Karel smiled and told him that he had held a shield of hardened air above and around himself and Jemsen.

"Raindrops and hail just drained or bounced off." Jemsen assured him smugly.

"That is so unfair!" Corwin grumbled.

"Unfair? How so? We each have our own particular magical gifts. It so happens that Karel is gifted with air wizardry which lends itself to creating shields of hardened air."

"Exactly right, Jem," Karel agreed, adding teasingly. "Anyway Corwin aren't you always bragging that ball lightning is as much a shield as a sword?"

"Sure I can raise it as a shield -- against weaponry," Corwin conceded, "but I cannot very well float a crackling ball of electricity along a city street lined with shade trees, street lamps, sign posts, awnings, and overhangs, never no mind the passersby."

Karel shrugged. "True enough," he allowed, "but then getting soaked is on you, isn't it?"

Next to arrive were Liam and Nathan who had left the naval shipyard at quitting time, well after Eike. Like the twins they were bone dry.

"What's your story?" Corwin asked incredulous. "I can see by your wet footgear that you didn't just step through a space rift but actually walked home. Rain is still coming down pretty hard so you two should be sopping wet like we were."

"Tut, tut, my good man," Liam chided superciliously.

"How could anything so mundane as mere rainfall inconvenience a weather wizard or a water wizard, much less someone like myself who is both? When it started to rain I simply exerted my will to control the raindrops as they fell, constraining them to stay outside a moving circle centered on the two of us."

"Seriously? You just told the rain where to fall or rather where not to?"

"Your lack of faith wounds me!" Liam gave back shaking his head with mock regret.

"Now honesty compels me to stipulate that, while what I said just now was nothing but the literal truth -- at least as far as it went -- it wasn't the whole truth. We really did walk within a moving circle shielded from rain, but I never claimed I had done it with magic. I simply held an oversize umbrella over us, one which we left downstairs in the lobby so as not to drip all over the floor."

Corwin shook his head, chagrined at how easily he had been gulled.

Moments later Axel materialized in their midst having teleported directly from the Institute of Wizardry and Magic. Since he had never stepped outdoors, Axel's clothes were bone dry.

"There's another one!" Corwin complained to no one in particular.

Perplexed at his reception Axel asked "What?"

Corwin's only answer was a dismissive shake of the head.

A while later Finn showed up high and dry explaining that he had elected to wait out the rain in his office and get some paperwork done.

The next day dawned bright and beautiful and found everyone in a good mood. The naval trio of Eike, Nathan, and Liam took a telekinetically powered streetcar over to the Bureau of Ships and the shipyard. Drew telekinetically propelled his and Corwin's bicycles to the offices of the Capital Intelligencer; Axel teleported back to the Institute.

Finn usually pedaled his sturdy quadra-cycle which was sized and built for a frost giant, but that morning he engaged the planetary magnetic field to propel it effortlessly along the streets to the headquarters of the Dread Hands of the Commonwealth. As for the twins, they went for a morning run then resumed work in their home office proofing the latest in their successful line of field guides.

All an all it was a quiet, pleasant, and productive day for this band of intrepid adventurers -- an untypically peaceful interlude in the often exciting lives these boys led. Soon enough there would be new lands to explore and perhaps scaly monsters to fight or desperate battles to win. But that was for another day.

Here ends the saga of the adventures of the Elf-Boy and his Friends on Planet Haven

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