The previous Sassy Saturday post, Princess meets Warrior, can be read here
This post here is another special one because it introduces a new heroine: Kallen Selios.
The source was a girl standing by the banquet. She wore a sky blue dress that fell to a scalloped hem at her knees. Beneath were long socks and leather boots. An attached hood concealed her face. All four articles possessed hand-sewn runes. Thanks to Basilard's test, he knew this girl was prepared for every possible status aliment, but it couldn't explain her effect on him personally.
Ever since entering this room, he felt peculiar; a nagging anxiety and fragile hope mixed together that felt different from pre-contest jitters. The sight of this girl and her laughter amplified it. He felt a clicking deep inside him; the same “unknowingly parched” sensation from his first drink of mana-rich water. Warm and euphoric, but it paled in comparison to this.
“And you! You're no academy student!”
The girl chugged a drink. “Thank The Trickster for that. I never liked wearing all that pink. It would look good on you, though.”
The silver-haired snob boiled with anger. “Where is our honor if they're letting dropouts enter our prestigious contest!? Next, they'll be letting demons in!”
The girl slammed her cup on the table. “You're free to think what you want about demons, but allow me to correct you on my credentials.” She threw back her hood and forest green hair fell to her shoulders. Mixed with the green were irregular strands of golden-brown; they looked like Annala's, but reminded him of Tiza's grime streaks.
Silver Hair stepped back as if from a monster. “I know you . . . you're Kallen Selios.”
Kallen held her head proudly. “Satisfied?”
“I am,” he replied coldly. “I, Getis of Darwoss, heir to the county of Darwoss, have been forced to compete with a lab rat.”
“I am a field agent,” Kallen hissed. “Not a lab rat.”
Getis sneered. “Not anymore, apparently.”
“Then what do you call it?”
Kallen crossed her arms. “I was a voluntary participant in theoretical therapy. I single-handedly delivered Proof of Concept! I changed the world just by existing!”
“It is my sincere hope that my change will be a positive one.”
The academy mages clustered to Getis' side and glowered. She froze. The ones behind her shoved her as they passed. She death-glared each of them in turn before focusing on Getis. Smirking obnoxiously, he shrugged as if to say, “I gained this popularity just by existing.”
What's the story with Kallen Selios? Eric asked Kasile.
She works for the International Community Dedicated to Mana Mutation: collecting data, testing equipment, bringing in specimens, etc. In short, she does grunt work so professional scientists don't have to, but she's proud of it.
“I hear elves administered your 'therapy.' Even took you to their village for it.” Getis pointed to his natural silver hair. “Do you think you're one of them now? Or are you just desperate for attention?”
Kallen picked up a clump of golden-brown hair. “I was collecting data from a mana storm. There was this hole in my suit and Fog leaked in. I can—”
“So the lab rat mutated again?”
“I'm NOT a lab rat!”
Eric frowned. What about the “lab rat” thing?
She's a victim of the Siduban Chaos Explosion; one of many. The treatment for mana mutation back then was . . . still in the experimental stage.
From a patient to a grunt in eight years . . . All because of a chaos explosion.
Lady Chaos works in mysterious ways . . . or maybe she makes it up as she goes along. No one knows. We can discuss it later. Right now, I have to introduce the contest._______________________________________________________________
A Mage's Power, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, are available for purchase at: http://smile.amazon.com/A-Mages-Power-Journey-Chaos-ebook/dp/B00AVMAISG
To learn more about the heroines of A Mage's Power, visit Tvtropes at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/AMagesPower.