Majgen Ch. 013byellynei©
The water was soothing and warm as it ran down her hair and face. Majgen held her breath and enjoyed the massaging drumming of water droplets on her head. She often closed her eyes while showering in Baglian's apartment, even when water was not running down her face. She was still uncomfortable about the full wall mirror.
A few weeks earlier, Ottearon Weissme had let her return to Baglian.
She and Baglian had easily slipped into their old routines. As Majgen had anticipated, Baglian had recovered from his feelings of guilt regarding drugging her with grane and handing her over to Ottearon Weissme.
'Femaron Baglian is so easy to be with,' Majgen thought as she stepped away from the streams of water to smear soap on her body. 'Though I suppose not many of his previous students would agree with that.
'For me, he is the best teacher I ever met, and also the only mentarion who seems capable of tolerating the daily loss of privacy.'
Baglian was also a very demanding mentor, who required his students to strive for excellence in every aspect of their training, but Majgen did not mind. She wanted to learn as swiftly and as thoroughly as possible. She longed to gain the skills needed to work therapeutically as a mentarion.
'Femaron Baglian has five hours of intense empathic activity in him per day, my empathic stamina is strong enough for me to be empathically active indefinitely,' Majgen thought. This was a trait possessed by all mentarions with potential of Syvaron and above.
'I am Niaron potential, or above. Even if I will never be allowed to graduate, my potential can be utilised, if I learn how to use it.' Having tested her power against Ottearon Weissme, who was placed in the high end of Ottearon potential, she knew that Femaron Baglian's estimate of her potential had been right.
'After all, that was the reason they originally chose to assign me to Femaron Baglian. They thought that because he was arrogant, he would automatically take credit for all my work, without even being told to do so. I guess I was lucky they didn't know him better than that.' Majgen smiled bleakly at the irony of someone believing Femaron Baglian would even consider taking the credit for someone else's work. 'He considers his own skills to be supreme. Femaron Baglian would think that if any other person's doings was credited to him, he would appear less skilled than he is.' She stepped back under the water to wash the soap off.
'Not that he is entirely wrong: he is extremely skilled, and his self-discipline is nearly inhuman.'
Majgen and Baglian's relationship had not developed into any degree of friendship, neither of them wanted it to.
Majgen respected her personal teacher professionally. She appreciated how his skills enabled him to help people. She was thankful that Baglian didn't suffer under the loss of mental privacy, which was inevitable if she was to be trained by him. After more than half a year of sensing Ottearon Weissme's personal conflicts; it was a relief to live with someone who had no conscious conflicts with himself. At least not on an everyday basis.
'I was right that coming back to Femaron Baglian would make my training progress faster. It is far harder to follow Femaron Baglian's training programs than it was Ottearon Weissme's, but the hard work pays off. During these first two weeks back with Femaron Baglian, I've learned more than I did in my the last two months with Ottearon Weissme.'
The soap was rinsed off, but Majgen stayed under the running water, relaxing. Baglian wasn't home, and she had no pressing duties to attend to; Baglian had decreased his demands on her education in non-empathic areas. Now, they both knew she would be allowed to perform mentarion work while still a rank 10 student, so neither had a strong motive towards her gaining the full knowledge expected to be held by a graduated mentarion. The prime priority for both was to raise her empathic skills to a level that would allow her to perform mentarion tasks.
Majgen didn't hear the shower door open, but she sensed the presence of another empath as soon as one stepped in. She spun round to face the intruder. Blood rushed to her face when she saw a man dressed in Firearon uniform looking back at her.
"Hi there," he said, as if talking to naked showering strangers was the most natural thing in the world, "Where is Hiro hiding?"
"Femaron Baglian is not home," Majgen replied and raised her arms to cover her breasts.
"Oh," the Firearon ran his eyes over her body. Majgen raised her mind shield.
'How did he get in here?' she wondered, 'Baglian never keeps the apartment unlocked.'
Majgen expected the stranger to leave the bathroom now that she had informed him Baglian was not to be found there, but instead of leaving the Firearon leaned his back on the wall next to the door.
'This short black-haired beauty is an empath of mentarion strength.' Loke had sensed her emanations a fraction of a second sooner than he had seen her with his eyes.
Empaths weren't usually whimsical about nudity.
Most mentarion-strength empaths were discovered before reaching the age of seven, and in empathic sub-societies children were raised with a greater understanding of natural urges - not simply because adult empaths mostly understood those matters better than non-empaths, but also out of simple necessity. If empathic teenagers, in general, ran around with a strong confusion regarding their developing sexuality -- as was so characteristic for non-empathic teens -- direct chaos would ensue, caused by the effects such teens' emanations would have on other empaths.
Non-empaths could neither feel nor be affected by emanations.
Empathic youngsters were protected from sexual abuse by law same as non-empathic ones, and adolescent empaths were as likely to experiment with each other, as the non-empathic teens. There was a marked difference, however, in their attitude to the restrictions placed on them by their elders. Young empathic teens understood that when sex was forbidden to them, it was not because sex was taboo. They knew it was because the natural development of a youth's sexuality could be obstructed if engaging in an active sex-life too early in their sexual development.
When Firearon Loke met a naked female mentarion in Baglian's bathroom; he saw no need to run out as if her naked body was shocking to him - which would have been the proper reaction had the naked woman not been an empath.
"I see that the ever voracious Hiro, has opened his eyes to new hunting fields. Or should I say old." Firearon Loke gave Majgen a mischievous grin. "Haven't seen him go after flesh as young as yours since his own was equally fresh."
Loke ran his eyes over Majgen's body again, with interested scrutiny.
"I can see the attraction, though." Loke moved his eyes to hers. "If you appreciate Baglian's moves, you should consider checking out those of his teacher. I may be ten years older, but I stay fit." He winked at her. Even though his words were playful, he was serious about the offer they implied.
"Get OUT!" Majgen yelled.
"What's wrong?" Firearon Loke was genuinely puzzled.
"Get out right now, or I swear I'll blast you unconscious." Majgen was serious. Her anger was unmistakable in her emanations.
'What's her problem?' Loke wondered to himself, even as he decided to do as she demanded, having obtained the entirely accurate impression that the young woman was preparing to mind shock him for all she was worth.
With the intruder out of the bathroom, Majgen turned off the water, dried herself, and dressed, as fast as she could, all the while keeping an eye on the bathroom door.
By the time Majgen got out of the bathroom, Loke had made himself comfortable in Baglian's living-room, had settled in a couch where he watched the viewer while eating a bag of cookies from Baglian's kitchen.
When Majgen found him there she recognised him from Baglian's memories.
'He is Firearon Loke, the mentarion Baglian studied under as an Etaron.' With this knowledge came understanding of how he had come into the apartment. Baglian had given his former mentor, and current friend, a key to his Drom apartment years earlier.
Loke studied the, now dressed and less agitated, young woman.
"Why are you wearing a tenth ranked student uniform?" he asked.
"Because I am a Tenth Ranked Student, Firearon," Majgen replied formally.
"And why are you a Tenth Ranked Student at your age?" he inquired.
"May I offer you a hot beverage, Firearon?"
"You just ignored a direct question from someone of higher rank." Firearon Loke stuffed a cookie into his mouth and started chewing before speaking on with a full mouth, "that's not very mentarion-like."
"Mentarions who are not very mentarion-like, sometimes choose not to rise so high within the mentarion rank system," Majgen countered, walking to the drink cabinet to make Loke a hot drink. She had figured out which drink he would like to have with his cookies, even though he himself was not aware he felt like one at all.
"True. But staying at student rank 10 is a bit exaggerated."
"Some consider student rank 10 quite appropriate for someone as troublesome as me, Firearon." Majgen, who had her back to Loke, knew very well that he would be able to sense a discrepancy in her emanations regarding those words.
"Are you troublesome?"
"I can be, Firearon," Majgen said enigmatically, weaving her words carefully, adapting to the unusual circumstances. She was not afraid of being punished by Firearon Loke for avoiding his questions. Femaron Baglian, her personal teacher, was one rank higher than Loke, so Loke couldn't legally harm her.
She had no intention to share politically sensitive information with the Firearon. He had no means to punish her, so she was not afraid of dancing around his questions -- which she did, like a pea would dance around a plate if someone tried to fork it rather than scooping it up.
Majgen started brewing a hot, cold, sweet, combination dessert drink, with her back to the Firearon.
"What are you doing in Hiro's apartment?" he asked.
"I am the personal student of Femaron Baglian, Firearon." This question she did not need to avoid.
"So you and Baglian aren't banging hips?" The Firearon's words woke a rather graphic image in Majgen's head.
"No, Firearon, me and Baglian do not engage in sexual activities with each other, Firearon Loke," she said, and concentrated on the beverage she was preparing, trying to force the last remnant of the unpleasant image out of her head.
'She knows my name,' Loke noticed.
"Wanna bang hips with me then?"
Majgen nearly dropped a full bowl of sugar into the brew, she was not accustomed to anyone making advances to her, especially not in such a direct manner.
Loke perceived her answer long before she gathered sufficient composure to reply.
"No, Firearon, I do not."
"Not that I blame you," Loke said honestly, "I probably got kids older than you."
"Probably?" Majgen asked, wanting to turn the conversation away from herself.
"Yeah, you know, mentarion duty, keep the empath gene pool out there. I sperm-banked when I was a late teen. I probably got around a thousand kids by now." Loke digged deep in the cookie bag to find a hazelnut cookie while talking. "Heck, maybe you are my kid."
The viewer caught Firearon Loke's full attention for a while, as one of his favourite comedians took the stage. This gave Majgen the opportunity to prepare his beverage without further distractions. It took her about ten more minutes to complete the complex layered beverage known as 'Eleven Layers of Heaven'. In first class restaurants it was expensive; in lower class restaurants it was not available. Majgen had learned to make it during her time as a caterer's youth worker.
She placed a table in front of Firearon Loke, who was too absorbed in the stand up show to pay attention to her. She placed the drink in front of him and went to make herself an ordinary fruit tea.
With tea in hand Majgen seated herself in a couch next to the one Loke sat in. Loke's favourite comedian was closing his act.
By the time the comedian waved his hands and walked off stage, the Firearon was cracking with laughter. Majgen was not used to seeing such unrestrained behaviour in a graduated mentarion, but she enjoyed his uninhibited laughter. Eventually it dampened to the level of giggles, and he noticed the beverage in front of him. His eyes went wide with surprise.
'Like a little child,' Majgen mused to herself. She had caught many of Baglian's memories of Firearon Loke. Apart from him walking in during her shower, and his later referrals to hip-banging, Majgen was happy to have been given this chance to meet the unusual Firearon.
"Eleven Layers of Heaven! Where did you get this?"
"I made it," Majgen replied honestly. Loke eyed her with wonder as his empathic senses verified the truth of her words. He pulled the table closer and attacked the drink. An expression of pure pleasure spread over his face, as he tasted how expertly his favourite delicacy had been prepared.
Majgen smiled to herself while sipping her cup of tea.
'I still got the knack for it,' she thought.
"It's a shame you aren't interested in sexual intimacy with me," Loke said, startling Majgen back into embarrassment. "After giving me a drink like this, you would have earned at least twenty minutes of oral action."
Loke analysed the change in Majgen's emanations closely.
"You really are quite a prude aren't you?" he asked.
"By Femaron Baglian's standard I am, Firearon Loke." Majgen couldn't think of another way to answer his question.
That reply caused Loke to laugh again.
"By Hiro Baglian's standards I am a prude," Loke explained, "I remember once, when Hiro was a Trearon, and was stationed close to where I was, he called me long range audio-visual and I could see these three gorgeous identical triplets standing around him. Hiro seems to be able to reel any female in once he sets his mind to it. Well anyhow, he had brought these three triplets home and he asked me to..." Loke stopped there, realising that the full story about Hiro and the identical triplets wouldn't be appreciated by present company.
Loke didn't know Majgen had perceived his memory of the incident as soon as he had started talking about it. Her cheeks weren't just burning because Loke had been about to tell her a dirty story, she was embarrassed because she knew what he had been about to say next.
"Well, point is," Loke said, "Hiro asked me to do something and I said no, so he called me a prude."
Loke turned his attention back to his delicious drink, while waiting for the young woman to regain her composure. After a few minutes of watching the viewer and drinking in silence, the unusually shy mentarion seemed to have recovered from the story Loke had almost told, so Loke talked again.
"Where is Hiro anyway?"
"Femaron Baglian is..." Majgen took a moment to find the proper phrasing. "...out for the evening, being voracious, Firearon Loke."
Loke rewarded her use of his wording -- for Hiro Baglian -- with genuine laughter, but didn't lead the conversation further into that topic.
"You were discovered late, weren't you?" he asked instead.
'He came to that conclusion, because he considers me sexually inhibited - for an empath.'
"Yes, Firearon Loke."
"I was thirteen, Firearon."
Loke had expected her to be an unusually late discovery for a mentarion, but thirteen was far later than he could have imagined.
"It must have been hard to join the empathic world at such a late age." Suspecting that the topic might be sensitive, Loke was careful not to phrase his words as a question. Her emotional response to his words proved his suspicion right.
"Well, now I understand why you are a Tenth Ranked Student."
Majgen looked at him with surprise.
"Well... I mean... I know it's a sensitive topic to you... But since you are mentarion strength, and in tenth ranked uniform as an adult... and uhm... considering how shy you are about... ah... talking about intimate matters." Loke paused to find a less awkward way to get around the topic without embarrassing the young woman too much.
"I just mean, with all this added up, it is obvious you were placed on anti-empathic drugs for a couple of years, while your sexuality settled."
"So you like stand up comedians?" Majgen abruptly changed the subject, not only because she wanted Loke to hang on to his false assumption of why she was still a Tenth Ranked Student; she was genuinely uncomfortable about conversations relating to sexual matters, especially when the topic of such a conversation was herself. Loke acceded to her obvious desire to change the direction of their talk, and began to converse the young lady on matters of comedians and humour.
Within the mentarion minority a rebel at heart like Firearon Loke was extremely unusual. His hair was a mess. His uniform was untidy and wrinkled - even torn in several places.
'Femaron Baglian always suspected that Firearon Loke's bad hair days were not accidental,' Majgen thought to herself, 'but he never knew for sure.' She giggled as she acquired images from Loke's emanations of the methods he used to keep his hair in such extreme disarray.
Her secret entertainment was well hidden by the amusement Loke knowingly inspired in her with his jokes and funny accounts of the world of comedy. Loke was quite a comedian himself; his play with words caused Majgen to forget her earlier discomfort. Soon he had the young woman falling into fits of laughter, like a little girl. Within half an hour Majgen's stomach was hurting from the unaccustomed strain of laughing heavily. But this gave her no regrets: she was happy, overjoyed, and most importantly: not lonely.
From comedians the conversation moved to movies and then, as Firearon Loke praised the beverage she had made for him, to drinks and delicacies. Firearon Loke began recounting experiences of buying hand-mixed drinks: vividly painting detailed pictures of his experiences.
Alongside his words, Majgen also followed his actual memories of the events he described, they came to her through his emanations.
"What's so funny? I didn't get to the punch-line yet?" Firearon Loke asked when, for the fifth time in a row, Majgen's sense of humour started bubbling too early in one of his tales.
Majgen didn't know how to reply without revealing how much she could sense from his emanations, but one of Loke's own assumptions came to her rescue.
"You knew of this incident from Hiro before I came?"
To this Majgen could honestly nod yes. She had absorbed Baglian's memory of that particular story too. She had also, however, gained Loke's memory of it now, and it was his memory that had caused her giggles. Had Loke paid heed to her premature laughter when telling a story she hadn't perceived from Baglian, she would not have been able to explain it inconspicuously.
From that point in the conversation Majgen blocked Loke's emanations out of her mind - as she had learned in her time with Baglian. Her purpose: to not inadvertently reveal her special perceptive abilities.
Loke had noticed a discrepancy in Majgen's emanations when she nodded. He could sense she was not directly lying, but he could also tell something was amiss.
'There is something odd about her,' he thought, as he continued to other tales from the world of beverages, cafés and restaurants. 'She is a warm and immediate person, though. Not your typical mentarion. She seems to suffer even more under the limitations of the mentarion ways, than I do.' Loke had the distinct impression that Majgen was not used to laughing freely, as she did with him.