Tin the Mage

Tin had watched in full silence when the big guy towered over Milly, his shadow covered her from the sun.

“So you think you’re tough eh?” the giant, who had seemed so tall back then, said.

“You broke the school’s rules,” the girl reminded, sitting on her butt, her hands supported behind her. Tin could hear the breaking in her voice when she spoke.

She was terrified. So was Tin.

“You should’ve minded your own business,” Giant advised, looking down at Milly, his eyes filled with disdain.

Milly made no attempt to reply, instead she wondered where Tin was and hoped he would come to her rescue. Unknown to her, he was only yards away, hiding in a bush silently, safe from the bully’s wrath.

Tin wanted to help her. But what could he do to help? Giant was taller than him. Bigger than him. And knew more spells than he did. Nothing he do would defeat his magic school senior, Tin managed to convinced himself. He continued to observe behind the bushes while controlling his panting so he wouldn’t be heard. The school tyrant closed the distance between Milly and him with a single step.

Tin could see the gleaming in Milly’s eyes now, controlling her tears. She was scared. But she didn’t want to allow the bully the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Tin watched as the tyrant did all sorts of nasty things to her. Insults, beating, and burning parts of her beautiful blonde hair was only some of the things he remembered. He really wanted to help, he told himself, but there wasn’t much he could have done against a big-boned fellow student whose report card is marked with ‘F’s. No, nothing at all.

Tin still remembered her face clearly when Milly had laid on the ground, her head tilted to the side and saw Tin in the bushes, looking at her. It was shock, then of being betrayed, and finally disappointment. Who brought more tears to her, the bully or Tin, she did not know.

And for a single moment, Tin had thought she would give him away. Tell the bully his location so that he too would suffer his torment as she did. But she quickly turned her head back, as though afraid to arouse Giant’s suspicions and revealed her friend’s location. When Tin realized this, guilt rose in him.

Tin continued to stay at his spot, unmoving. He was young. Young and pissing in his pants. His legs felt weak. But he knew it was not his legs that were weak but his heart. He couldn’t help her. Just couldn’t…

When their magic school senior was done with her and left her alone on the field, Milly struggled to get on her feet. Both hands on one side, she tried to push herself up slowly. But her body was bruised and ached when she so much as moved a limb.

With the bully gone Tin could feel the composure returning to him. He scrambled from his sanctuary to her, his feet kicking at grasses and dry leaves, making noises he dared not just moments ago.

Saying nothing at all, he reached to help her up. He didn’t know what to say. Or perhaps he knew nothing he said would have mattered.

Milly did not so much as glance at Tin when he held her arm before shaking him off lazily, as though she was too weary to say anything to him. But her message was clear.

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