Chapter 2: Chapter 2: New Alliances

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 27

“For our second lesson of the day, we will be learning about controlling our magic,” Ms. McConnel says.

“This is because of me, isn’t it?” I ask.

“No, Alec,” Ms. McConnell says, “everyone here could learn a thing or two about controlling their magic.”

“I have incredible control over my magic,” Zeeke says.

“No, you have incredible control over one spell,” Ms. McConnell says, “your temper still controls much of your power.”

“I get mad sometimes, what’s your point?” Zeeke asks.

“A wizard cannot afford to lose control of their powers every time someone upsets them, magic is powerful and in untrained hands it can be very dangerous,” Ms. McConnell says.

“That temper thing… does that include me?’ Rex asks.

“It includes all four of you,” Ms. McConnell says.

“What about Alec?” Micah asks.

“Alec has never had a violent outburst of power,” Ms. McConnell says.

“He hasn’t?” Zeeke says.

“I couldn’t if I wanted to,” I tell them, “it would just explode in my face.”

“That’s kind of funny,” Rex says.

“No, it’s not, Reginald,” I say coldly.

“Will everyone stop calling me that?” Rex groans.

“Careful, Reggie, don’t get angry,” Micah teases him.

“I am not enjoying this class,” Rex says.

“Focus boys,” Ms. McConnell says.

“We’re listening,” Alistair says.

“In front of you there are three caldrons, each if filled with a potato and bacon soup, today’s lunch, your task is to heat it up without burning it, or leaving it to cold, so that you can eat it,” Ms. McConnell says.

“I have a question,” I say.

“Yes, Alec?” Ms. McConnell.

“If, hypothetically, it explodes, am I going to get in trouble?” I ask her.

“It’s not going to explode, Alec,” Ms. McConnell says.

“… right,” I say sceptically.

“Alistair, you will be working alone, Zeeke and Alec you are together and of course, Micah and Rex,” Ms. McConnell says, “this morning’s exercise revealed that this is likely to be the best pair up in order to make sure this class stays about controlling magic and doesn’t turn into another duelling class.”

“So, which spell are we using to heat it up?” Zeeke asks.

“You can use any fire spell you like, or the example on the board,” Ms. McConnell says.

Ms. McConnell flips that black board over to reveal a simple fire spell: Ignis Manus

I decide to use the example of the board. It’s a common spell that creates a small fire in the palm of the user, at least if it goes wrong, it’ll be a rather small explosion.

Ignis Manus,” I say quietly.

A small flame flickers in my hand. Small explosion pop around it.

“You weren’t kidding about these explosions,” Zeeke says.

“I don’t know how to stop them,” I tell him.

Ignis Manus,” Zeeke says with more confidence.

A small, but steady flame dances in his palm. We carefully hold our hands near the bottom of the caldron.

The others seem to be doing reasonably good as well.

“Good,” says Ms. McConnell, “now you need to maintain control as I create distractions around the room.”

“Why would you do that?” Zeeke says, “everything is going so well for once.”

“Magic isn’t only used in the classroom,” Ms. McConnell says, “it’s used in everyday life, it’s used in the battlefield, and you need to be able to control it under all conditions.”

“I’m barely controlling it in ideal conditions,” I say nervously.

The fire pops and crackles in my palm. Ms. McConnell makes a note of that, which makes me more nervous.

“Reginald, why do you go by the name Rex?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“Because I don’t like being called Reginald,” Rex says annoyed, the fire in his palm burns brighter, “just so we are clear, I think you are abusing this truth potion thing.”

“Well, unfortunately we have to wait for it wear off, as there is no cure,” Ms. McConnell says, “and it is an excellent way to test your temperaments and prepare you for the real world, people are going to try and get under your skin and annoy you Rex, that is how they get the upper hand in a magic duel.”

“I don’t care what your reasons are, I want the topic dropped,” he says.

“Understood,” Ms. McConnell says, “I will respect your boundaries, Rex.”

“You’re burning the soup,” Micah says flatly to Rex.

“Oh sh-”

“No cursing,” Ms. McConnell says, cutting Rex short.

Rex huffs.

“Don’t be a baby,” Micah says.

“Shut up, Mikey,” Rex grumbles.

“Don’t call me Mikey,” Micah scolds him.

The two of them begin to squabble back and forwards, the fire in their hands getting bigger.

“I don’t think they’re learning much about control,” I whisper to Zeeke.

“You seem to be doing better though,” Zeeke says, pointing at my hand.

The pops and crackles have simmered down to a fizzle and the fire in my palm moves more fluidly.

“I hadn’t noticed,” I tell him.

The lights in the room start flickering on and off.

“Miss, that is really annoying,” Alistair says.

The cat must agree with him, because she jumped off the table and stalked out of the room. Alistair’s eyebrow twitches.

Next, a wind blows through, blowing out all our fires.

“… I was doing so well,” I complain.

We relight our fires just for the wind to blow back through.

“Ms. McConnell, please, we are trying to concentrate,” Alistair says, annoyance thick in his voice.

“Are you to tell me you couldn’t before this simple spell if we were outside?” Ms. McConnell asks.

Alistair’s flame turns from an orange to a blinding bright yellow, the previously soft dancing fire looked more like a blow torch.

“I am perfectly capable,” Alistair says.

“Then a little wind is not an issue,” Ms. McConnell says.

“You’re enjoying this aren’t you?” Zeeke asks her.

“I will admit, it is a little fun to annoy you kids for a change,” Ms. McConnell says, “I’m sure the four of you remember the hell you put me through in your first week together.”

Rex chuckles awkwardly, Micah flushes pink, Alistair avoids eye contact and Zeeke looks at the floor.

“What did you guys do?” I say shocked.

“I disappeared for three days,” Zeeke says unwillingly.

“Stupid potion,” he curses.

“I turned Rex into a dog for an hour,” Alistair admits, whether he wants to or not.

“I may have bit Alistair, and Zeeke during that hour,” Rex says.

“I might have tested a few potions on the members of the class… and Ms. McConnell,” Micah whispers.

“… you guys’ suck,” I say.

“Oh Rex, don’t forget to mention the two of them needed stitches,” Ms. McConnell says, “or that everyone was blue for a day Micah, or that Rex wasn’t the only one to fall victim to one of your spells Alistair, or that I was under investigation during those three days for negligent care because the school thought you escaped Zeeke.”

“You guys really suck,” I say.

“It hurts more, because we know he means it,” Rex says.

“Stupid potion,” Zeeke repeats with a pout.

I couldn’t help but laugh a little at that. Along with my laughter came bright sparks and crackles from my palm.

“Oops,” I whisper.

“Magic mimics the user,” Ms. McConnell, “when you are calm, your fires are calm, when you are angry, your fires are angry. When you concentrate, your powers are under your control, and when you doubt yourself, your powers tend to do the very thing you worry they will do. You must be calm, confident, collected and you must concentrate your power, or like Rex and Micah here, the bottom of your soup will be burnt, or like Alistair, you may have burnt a hole in your caldron with a beam of fire, or perhaps like Alec, there might be a few burnt spots on top from sparks.”

“The only reason Zeeke did so well is because you didn’t annoy him,” Rex argues.

“Actually,” Ms. McConnell says, “you didn’t burn the bottom of your soup till you got into an argument with Micah, and Alistair only burnt a whole in his caldron when his abilities were questioned due to his own complaints. Alec burnt the top when he laughed at Zeeke… these where all self-inflicted.” 

“I’m not so sure about that,” Rex mumbles, “I’m pretty sure you started it.”

“Did I?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“Yes!” Rex says.

The bell rings and Ms. McConnell smiles.

“Soup time,” she says.

Alistair puts a bowl under the hole in in his caldron, while his cat, Chloe laps up the soup that has already spilt on the floor.

Zeeke and I scoop the burnt bits off the top and eat the rest straight from the caldron with our spoons.

Micah and Rex did the opposite, scooping their perfect top out of their caldrons and eating out of a bowl, leaving the burnt soup in the bottom.

“This felt more like a cooking class then a magic one” Zeeke says.

“Well, cooking is a skill you’re going to need one day as well,” Ms. McConnell says.

Well, she isn’t wrong.

“Alright, off you run, go enjoy lunch time,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Back down the staircase we go,” Zeeke says with a sigh.

“At least we will never get fat,” Rex says.

“Being fat isn’t a bad thing, Rex,” Micah says.

“Right, you are Mikey,” Rex says, throwing his arm around Micah who ducks out of the way.

“Don’t call me that, Reginald,” Micah says.

“… I will never forgive Ms. McConnell for this,” Rex says dramatically.

“Yes, you will,” she shouts from the top of the staircase.

“Stop eavesdropping!” Rex yells back at her.

She doesn’t reply.

“I guess she stopped eavesdropping,” I say jokingly.

Zeeke shrugs.

We finally reach the bottom of the stairs and make our way outside. Everyone stares at us, and people who had previously been my friend glare at me. Rex and Zeeke glare back, maintaining eye contact with the on lookers. Micah looks at the ground instead. Rex throws his arm over Micah’s shoulder, who makes no attempt to sidestep or dodge this time. Alistair holds Chloe tight against his chest.

“Ignore them,” Zeeke says, “there’s probably a thousand rumours going around the school by now, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“But I-”

“They aren’t going to let you explain,” Zeeke says, “no matter how close you were.”

“Cheer up, buttercups,” Rex says, “the sun is shining, and our favourite spot to sit is wide open!”

“That’s because everyone is too afraid to sit there,” Micah says dully.

“And we will use that to our advantage,” Rex says.

The five of us sit under a tall tree, with beautiful branches going off in every direction. Chloe jumps off Alistair and into the tree. She finds a nice branch to rest on. Her soothing purrs overhead.

“I’ve always wondered what sitting over here is like,” I admit.

“It is the best spot in the school,” Zeeke says, “it’s probably the only advantage to having everyone think Alistair is going to turn them into a mouse or Rex is going to knock their teeth out.”

“A mouse is a terrible idea,” Alistair says, “Chloe would eat them, and I’m sure those idiots would upset her stomach.”

“That’s your concern? Not that they would be, I don’t know, dead?” I point out.

“If I turned them into a mouse, it’s probably because I want them dead,” Alistair says with a shrug.

“Remind me to stay on your good side,” I say.

“Don’t worry, even if you piss him off, he won’t turn you into an animal,” Zeeke says.

“Won’t I?” Alistair says menacingly.

“No, you won’t, remember what Ms. McConnell said, if you turn one more student into an animal, she’s sending Chloe back home to your parents,” Zeeke reminds him.

“That would be a problem…” Alistair admits, “since I never told them Chloe exists.”

“Wait, I thought you needed parent permission to have a pet on the premisses,” I say.

“Chloe is not a pet, she’s a familiar in training,” Alistair says, “and I do have parent permission… forged parent permission.”

“You what?” I ask.

“I’ve forged most of my parent permission slips,” Alistair admits.

“And your parents never noticed?” I say.

“Never,” Alistair says.

“… Chloe is a regular cat… right?” I ask.

Alistair chuckles.

“Of course she is, I’m not just holding some random person hostage, Alec,” Alistair says.

“Yeah, that’s more up Zeeke’s ally,” Rex jokes.

“What?” I say, shocked.

“I have never held anyone hostage,” Zeeke says, “I accidentally got locked in a storage cupboard with someone. That is completely different.”

“I’m confused,” I admit.

“When Zeeke and another student went missing at the same time, the school thought he had kidnapped them or something, turns out, they were following Zeeke to see what he was up to and shut the door behind them, looking the two of them in,” Micah explains, “so if anything, it was the other student that held Zeeke hostage.”

“Why would someone do that?” I ask.

“No one trusts us,” Rex says with a shrug.

“And you shouldn’t trust them either,” Zeeke says, “even if you were friends before, people are going to treat you differently now, most of the students here would do anything to get the five of us expelled, that includes you.”

“A lot of the parents disagree with the class too, they only let it run so that we aren’t in classes with their kids,” Rex says.

“My parents don’t even know the class exists,” Alistair says.

I’m getting the vibe his parents might be neglectful… or stupid. Before I could dwell on it, a paper plane came zooming at my face. Zeeke caught it with his hand.

Ignis Manus,” he whispered.

The paper plane went up in flames immediately. Two students poke their heads out from behind a wall and scramble away quickly.

“Why did you set it on fire?” I ask him.

“These things never have anything good written on them,” he says coldly.

“Those guys need to find newer and more creative ways to bother us,” Micah says, “the planes are getting old.”

“I can’t believe people treat you guys like this,” I say.

“Get used to it,” Alistair says, “you’re one of us now.”

“Just try not to get locked in any cupboards,” Rex says jokingly, trying to lighten the mood.

“Stay away from cupboards, got it,” I say with a smile.

“Are you two mocking me?” Zeeke asks.

“Maybe a little bit,” Rex admits.

Zeeke pushes Rex playfully and the two of them laugh about it. I look over at all the other students. My old friends whispering and staring. Alistair is right. I better get used to it. Maybe it won’t be that bad, at least now I’m friends with everyone in my class… even if it is a class of five.

The bell rings and we head for the south wing. Ms. McConnell is standing at the bottom of the staircase.

“We’re having our lesson outside today,” Ms. McConnell says, “I thought I’d save you the climb”.

“You are a merciful teacher,” Rex says dramatically.

“No trouble during lunch?” Ms. McConnell asks, “I was worried the potion from our first lesson might give you some challenges.”

“Nah, we’re all good, miss,” Rex says.

“Is the potion even still working?” Zeeke asks.

“I’m not sure… Zeeke, why do you have one green eye?” Ms. McConnell asks.

“Magic explosion,” Zeeke answers.

“What?!” Rex yells, “you told me you were born that way.”

Zeeke shrugs.

“Is it real?” Rex asks.

“Of course my eye is real, it just changed colour you idiot,” Zeeke says.

“I cause explosions every day,” I point out, “my eyes have never changed colour.”

“Well, Zeeke was messing with some dangerous spells,” Ms. McConnell says, “let that be a lesson to you all.”

“Speaking of lessons,” Zeeke says, “what are we doing this lesson?”

“Trust exercises,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Didn’t we do that this morning?” Rex says.

“That was about honestly and integrity,” Ms. McConnell says, “this lesson we are working on unity and teamwork.”

“Why?” Micah asks.

“Lots of witches and wizards work together, its how great magic is achieved. There are many spells out there that require entire teams of witches and wizards to pour their magic together to achieve something wonderous,” Ms. McConnell says, “teamwork is an important part of our culture, and essential if you ever want to join or create a coven of you own.”

“Okay, but what if you want to be more of a solo act?” Alistair asks.

“You might change your mind one day Alistair,” Ms. McConnell says, “you are far to young to be limiting yourself and your practice.”

“But most of us here have achieved great things on our own,” Alistair argues, “I’ve almost mastered transformation magic, Micah is already inventing potions that have never been thought of, Zeeke can walk through shadows-”

“But nothing Alistair, we are learning to do magic as a group, and to do so you must first trust each other fully and completely,” Ms. McConnell says.

“I have a concern,” I interject.

“Yes, Alec?” Ms. McConnell says, “go ahead.”

“What if I make everything explode?” I ask.

“He has a point,” Rex says, “he can barely control his own power, if we all linked up, the explosion probably would take out half the school.”

“No one is going to blow anything up,” Ms. McConnell says, “… I’m going to put a forcefield around us just in case.”

“I know that would contain the blast and all, but what is we get hurt?” Micah points out.

“Alec’s explosions have never hurt anyone,” Ms. McConnell points out, “now let’s begin.”

Integumentum circulus” Ms. McConnell says with conviction.

We were immediately encased in a protective circle.

“We’re going to start light with an exercise the non-magic school use, it’s called a trust fall,” Ms. McConnell explains, “we’re going to do it without magic the first time.”

Ms. McConnell explains the activity to us.

“You will each take a turn being the catcher, Alec, you first,” Ms. McConnell says.

“Why me?” I ask.

“Alphabetical order,” she answers simply.

Alistair is the first one to have to fall back. He crosses his arms over his chest as instructed. As he falls back his knees bend, and his arms fly out. I catch him in my arms and stand him back up.

“Alistair, you need to keep those knees straight, and your arms folded,” she says.

“Sorry miss,” he says, his head low.

“It’s alright to be afraid, Alistair,” Ms. McConnell says.

“I wasn’t afraid,” Alistair snaps.

Next is Micah. He looks at Ms. McConnell and back at me and then back at Ms. McConnell.

“If he drops me, I’m holding you personally responsible,” he tells her.

“I’m not going to drop you,” I tell him.

“You better not,” he says.

He falls back, but like Alistair, he knees bend. I catch him easily against my chest and stand him back up.

“See?” I tell him.

“I survived…” Micah says, sounding shocked.

“Even if I didn’t catch you, you wouldn’t die,” I point out.

“Alright boys, no squabbling, Rex, your turn,” Ms. McConnell says.

“I’d like to point out that Rex is taller and bigger than me,” I say.

“Yeah, what if I crush him like a bug?” Rex asks.

“Admittedly, I am not very strong,” I warn them.

“You’ll be fine,” Ms. McConnell says.

Rex folds his arms over his chest and closes his eyes with a shrug. He falls back. I brace for impact with my arms out. I stumble a bit, but I was able to catch him and stand him back up.

Finally, Zeeke, he wastes no time standing in front of me, he closes his eyes, crosses his arms, straightens his legs and falls right back into my arm without a word or a flinch.

“You guys are a bunch of babies,” Zeeke says as I stand him back up, “as if Alec would let any of us fall. He’s the nicest one here.”

“I am?” I ask.

“Without a doubt,” Rex says.

Alistair shrugs.

Next it was Alistair’s turn to catch everyone. It was rather uneventful. In fact, everything went well until it was Micah’s turn to catch Rex.

“He’s going to let me fall,” Rex tells Ms. McConnell.

“Micah is not going to let you fall Rex,” Ms. McConnell says.

“When he lets me fall, I want you to know its your fault and feel guilty,” Rex says, narrowing his eyes at Ms. McConnell.

Rex folds his arms over his chest while maintaining his glare and falls back. Micah side steps out of the way and Rex hits the ground with a loud thump.

“Micah!” Ms. McConnell shouts, “why did you let him fall.”

“He’s big, heavy and annoying… and he said I was going to let him fall,” Micah says.

Is he… offended?

Rex lays there with his arms still folded, pouting dramatically.

“I don’t understand you two,” Ms. McConnell says shaking her head.

The lesson continues, and Rex catches everyone, including Micah.

“Some of us are loyal,” Rex says sassily to Micah.

“If you were loyal, you wouldn’t have doubted me in the first place,” Micah says.

“I said loyal, not stupid,” Rex says.

On Zeeke’s turn there is some hesitation.

“Zeeke, buddy, we love you but, you can be a bit of an ass,” Rex says.

Zeeke raises an eyebrow.

Despite the fears the others have voiced, I stand in front of Zeeke, fold my arms and fall back. He catches me easily.

Zeeke catches everyone, except Rex.

“Pfft” Zeeke laughs when Rex thumps to the ground, “it was just as funny as when Micah did it.”

“This might be why Rex thinks you’re an ass,” I whisper to Zeeke.

He shrugs.

“… the only people who have successfully passed the exercise are Alec and Rex,” says Ms. McConnell, “and I’m being lenient with Rex.”

“This is the first and only time I’ve ever been top of the class,” I say.

“Probably because there was nothing for you to blow up,” Rex jokes.

He’s probably right though.

“I don’t even know if we can continue with the lesson knowing that two of you are willing to sacrifice Rex,” Ms. McConnell says.

Zeeke shrugs but Micah shuffles uncomfortably.

“You are both on lavatory duty,” she says, “class dismissed”.

She waves her hand, and the force field goes away.

“What do the rest of us do?” I ask her.

“What ever suits you,” she says.

Alistair strolls off with Chloe.

Rex comes up to me and pats me on the shoulder.

“Wanna go watch Micah and Zeeke clean the bathroom?” Rex asks, grinning wide.

“You’re enjoying this aren’t you?” I ask him.

“Better than any revenge I could have come up with,” he admits.

 


Submitted: October 21, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Ian M. Haddock. All rights reserved.

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