“We can’t have you bringing more of your friends back here,” Raina said, and the hooded figure scuttled backwards until his oversized hood fell from his head and a branch from a low bush snagged it, slashing it and holding him in place. He began to whimper. Raina was about to levitate him for easy transport back to the cave when she realized he wasn’t just whimpering. He was reciting a spell. She listened carefully, recognizing it just in time.
After “And for every thought in this one’s head,” Raina interrupted with, “The opposite shall be done instead.”
If not for that clever bit of Spell Splitting, Raina would very likely have been the victim of the Spell of Oblivion, in which the words replaced by hers were, “Emptiness shall take its place instead.” Her quick thinking not only saved her from the fate that she’d seen so many suffer—the loss of one’s own thoughts and worse, the suggestibility to do whatever the performer of the spell desires—but her counter-attack would cause this particular HOP to do the opposite of whatever he wanted to do. Before long, he would be able to train himself to think the opposite of what he wanted to do, so there was no real harm done. But the adjustment would take a while. For now, since what he most wanted to do was to escape from Raina, all she had to do was start heading back to the cave, and he followed, shrieking as he stared wide-eyed at his limbs, utterly dismayed at their disobedience of his every impulse.
“What’s the matter?” Raina couldn’t help taunting him. “Working for Thornton’s not all you hoped for?” With a confused look, the HOP threw his arms around her affectionately, and she hugged him back, chuckling. What he wants to do is strike me. “Thanks for the hug! I needed that!” she teased him.
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