HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 298

Eric touched his chest and the paste crumbled to dust. The rune was gone. Eric laughed, grinning ear to ear.

“Your father would be ashamed of you,” Galdrar said.

“I can live with that,” Eric said, and turned to Carmen. “You can send him back now.”

“Gladly,” she said. “You might want to step back, Angela.”

Angela released Galdrar and moved away from the wizard. Carmen made a hand gesture, more complicated than before, and pointed at the floor. A black vortex appeared at Galdrar’s feet, and he fell through screaming.

“Was that really necessary?” Eric asked.

“No,” Carmen replied, “but it was funny.”

She waved her hand and the vortex disappeared. Angela spoke the word of power again and returned to her natural form. She picked up Galdrar’s wand.

“What should we do about this?”

“Keep it, if you like,” Carmen said. “He’s got plenty more where that came from, and you can’t really do anything with it without training and an innate talent, anyway.”

“I’m surprised you don’t want it for yourself,” Angela said.

Please,” Carmen said. “I have no use for such crude instruments. My power is far too refined.”

“And just how do you plan on using your power, now that you’ve got your grimoire back?” Eric asked.

Carmen crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow.

“You’re not planning to renege on our agreement, are you?”

“No, of course not,” Eric said. “A deal’s a deal. I’m just curious, is all.”

“Well, you can rest easy,” she said. “The days they speak of in stories are over. I have tenure now. I don’t need to take over the world.”

“Fair enough,” he said, chuckling.

“Anyway, I think it’s time we were off,” she said.

She zipped up the body bag and gathered her things. The three of them headed out the door. Maryam stood in the hallway with her arms crossed.