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A day with a Morvidus student


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School work is starting to catch on and Adrian's socks shall make an appearance some other time.





"Come on Arty," said Mina as she snatched the blanket off Artemis. He proceeded to bury his head under the pillow. Mina rolled her eyes and took the pillow.


Artemis buried his head using his hands and Mina proceeded to jump on top of the boy, surprising him as she dug her knuckles playfully into his head.


Instead of obediently waking up like the ideal little boy, Artemis pleaded with Mina to let him sleep a little longer. He told her what happened to him last night starting with being forcefully invited into the Marchant's bedroom and ending with having to clean his room twice. He left out the part about being naked though.


Mina did not react as expected. She cuddled Artemis for a moment as a cold breeze came through the window. In her mind, she remembers the haughtiness of that powerful lady. The silvery hair taunting Mina to challenge her to a battle she would lose.


Quietly tucking Artemis back into the bed, Mina left the room without so much as a word. Artemis would have questioned the sudden silence from her but he was too busy falling asleep.


Outside the dorm, Mina walked to the back of the building, noting the leaves and branches on the pavement around the dorm. The large trees overshadowing part of the college still looked as healthy as they were in spring. Mina shut her eyes for a moment and sat down to enjoy the silence. No insects around, no birds chirping, and no kids making a ruckus (yet). Just silence along with the whistling of the wind and the sound of chimes someone hung outside their window.


"You worry."


"I should. You barely stood up to her." Mina opened her eyes then to look at Nexus by her feet. "Do you think she'll just leave if I asked nicely?"


Nexus flicked its tail, "No." Mina loosened her ponytail as Nexus curled into a ball. She tried to stroke Nexus and her fingers promptly went through the cat's body. Mina sighed and leaned against the wall, feeling the tension in her body disappearing.


The two just kept silent until the morning sunlight filtered through the leaves. Almost immediately colourful birds started flapping their wings and flying off to look for worms dumb enough to wake up early. A dog appeared. His yellow fur sparkling in the light. The noise was starting to build up around and inside the dorm as Mina opened her eyes again.


Nexus got up and walked up the walls of the dorm before the sunlight reached him. Mina waited a few moments before getting up and walking back into the dorm. She found a couple of seniors getting ready for some morning exercise though they looked at each other dreamily. Some birds flew out the door just as Mina started to close it. It was clear that the day was starting as a rooster crowed somewhere in the dorm. She passed the kitchen on the ground floor, with the fresh smell of coffee wafting throughout the place and making Mina wrinkle her nose.


Mina heard doors opening and greetings shouted in the hallway. A family of friendly white messenger mice scuttled down the stairs. Each one wore the official red bands used to identify them and each one of them carried rolled up letters of varying importance.


Mina came up to Artemis' level of the dorm and took a left pass the common room. A girl in bathrobes was weaving her hair into pigtails while peeking around the corner. When Mina came within twenty paces of the girl, she heard a scream coming from the boy's bathroom. The girl scampered off, trying to hide her smiling face and not noticing a flower falling from her head. Mina rounded the corner and met Vettor, clean clothes now dripping with perfumes, coming out of the bathroom. Mina just waved to him and kept walking before she fainted from the fumes.


Turning here and there until she reached the dead-end containing Artemis' door, Mina was quite surprised to see Ana Flavia Bessa fidgeting outside Artemis' door. Well not quite surprise but pretending to be.


Ana let out a yip as Mina tapped her on the shoulder.The little redhead gave a nervous greeting to Mina, knowing full well that Professor Storey is quite strict about who is allowed into dorm areas. Having confirmed that Ana was looking for Arty, Mina proceeded to conjure a little ice cube with a mischievous grin on her face.


"No wait! Could you wake him up later? Just tell him that I'll meet him in the library?"


Mina laughed a little, "Okay then. Group study right?"


Ana gave a nervous little laugh. "Yep! Group study."




One ice cube rub on the foot later, Artemis was sleepily chewing on a bun. The general mood in the dining area was still lively but the conversations were more on studies than adventuring. Mina was explaining to Arianna a particularly tricky spell when Artemis subtly threw the contents of his goblet (milk) onto the bushes outside. Hector Per Vittoria saw this and gave him a little nudge and grin. Artemis himself gave a shy little smile and went to get some orange juice.


Just as the Toran siblings were prepared to go out the dorm, Mina had Artemis practice his warming spell again and again until he was certain he wouldn't set himself on fire. The walk was uneventful except for Artemis and Mina helping a Second Year get his satchel back from a five-hand tree.


Reaching the door to the Venalicium Library, Mina told Artemis that she had to go and see an instructor first and he can find her in the Library of Longshade later. Artemis nodded and Mina hugged him and gently patted his back. Artemis still felt the salve on his back doing its work.


Artemis stopped in his footsteps right away as a Ramsbladder Treefrog jumped over his head and onto his bag. Artemis recognised the frog as Colin, Ana's familiar. Artemis said hello to the frog and proceeded to walk towards the grand staircase, avoiding the look the librarian was giving Artemis or Colin hiding in his bag. He swallowed hard; the librarian has a very low tolerance for potential trouble makers and familiars in the library that may or may not be related to potential trouble makers.


The frog made a noise as Artemis took the stairs leading to the underground section of the library. He walked back up and chose the stairs leading to the top of the tower.


He was greeted by a wonderful view. And blinding light. Perhaps someone should have pulled the window curtains.


Click here for background music.


Sunlight poured in through the large crystal clear windows. Old wooden bookcases were stacked from top to bottom and lined the painted stone walls of the upper-library. The smell of old books was largely gone due to the burning incense, though sometimes the incenses actually smelled worse than the old books. Students were sitting at long tables, enough for dozens, absorbed in their studies and discussions. Quills scratched on papers and books were stacked rather precariously. This of course causes the librarian to suddenly appear and threatening to ban the guilty students from the library.


Some students had thick books in front of them with many bookmarks. Others were reading from even thicker notebooks with scratches in them. A Fifth Year even had an old stone tablet in front of him. In front of him through a thick and clear bubble.


Some of the students looked up as Artemis walked by. Whether they were scared or annoyed, most of them begun to whisper to their friends. They were pretty much afraid of another mishap from Artemis and had already cleared a space around Ana, who was sitting alone at the corner of the study area.


This didn't stop some people from making fun of the two. Some joker had named them The Fire and her Coal. You know. Those two had that private moment at the start of the school year? She has red hair and he has black hair? Both of them could cause an explosion just by sneezing? Hello?


Artemis said hello to Ana but strangely she kept silent. She suddenly got up just as Artemis took a seat. Ana gave Artemis a look that said Mild Annoyance and she walked off in a huff. Artemis followed like an obedient little puppy. They passed many of the bookshelves and cases, weaved around the library in a random pattern and even walked around the same study carrel twice. Finally the two stopped at one of the library's more interesting sections. The History of Socks.


Ana crossed her arms and glared at Artemis. All he could do was stand there and blink until Ana sobbed. When Artemis asked Ana why she was crying, Ana tearfully replied "Vettor!"


"Vettor?" Artemis felt a headache coming.


"He *sob* he sprayed mud at me! *Sobbing harder* He even laughed at me and called me names!"


As Ana cry her eyes out, Artemis was confused. Why would Vettor attack Ana like that?


Ana suddenly stopped crying and got mad. "When I tried to defend myself Vettor just said how clumsy I was and fell into a mud pit."


With Ana's tearful face Artemis shakily replied "Oh. Emmm..."


Ana suddenly spoke with fury. "I want to humiliate him! I want something so bad to happen to him that he'll never show his face again let alone play a prank on someone. You'll help me right? You said you would do anything to help me!"


Artemis felt torn. Vettor is a dumb prankster yes, but he is also a pretty nice guy. Even worse, he was the first person to approach him in the Academy. And then there was that one time Vettor squirted water at Artemis' face and Mina nearly murdered him until Artemis laughed it off. But Ana here is so similar to him. Both are considered cursed, both are dangerous to be around with. Both of them just want to get rid of their stupid curse. And both felt that Vettor can be a jerk sometimes.


Artemis tried to think of an excuse to get away first but Ana just kept coming up to his face. He had to take a few steps back to breath properly until Ana started to become angry and started accusing Artemis of lying.




The poor boy turned around and saw Ana Flavia Bessa standing there with bewilderment. Artemis turned back to Ana who was looking guilty for a reason. The newly-appeared Ana looked over Artemis' head and gasped "Irene!"


"Irene?!" thought Artemis. The Ana in front of him grimaced and raised her wand. A quick flick and Ana suddenly peels back and there stood Irene Oxina. As Artemis whimpered at Irene's fist-cracking, Ana hurriedly inserted herself between her two friends.


"This kid is going to help you? He can't even help himself." Irene looked directly into Artemis' eyes.


"Irene! I told you I trust him! Stop antagonizing him!"


The slightly crazy Irene took a few deep breathes before admitting that maybe she was going a little overboard back there. "But if Vettor actually did do all that to Ana, what would you have done?" said Irene towards the boy, poking his chest so strongly Artemis winced.


Thinking for a moment Artemis finally replied, shakily "I would have stopped him." To which Irene chuckled a little. She started to walk away but not without telling Artemis "If you don't, the other girls might."


Ana sigh a little and apologized for Irene's extreme behaviour. Artemis had nothing to say except explaining just who the other girls were and what they were planning to do to Vettor. Ana was surprisingly quiet about it.


The two moved to a far-off study cubicle and started to plan out a way to solve Ana's problem. Suddenly they realised that they had no idea where to start.


"Can you think of a reason for your curse?" asked Artemis when he glanced at his bracelet. Ana's face went blank for a moment but she shook her head. Cautiously Artemis asked "Are you sure you are cursed?"


Ana looked very surprised. She replied "Yes" and proceeded to list all the accidents that have happened from the last month alone. It went on for quite a while until Artemis had to politely stop her. Artemis had spent about ten minutes suggesting where to start their research but none of them sounded good. Or practical.


Cuddles popped right out of Artemis' bag and drew a scary looking stick-figure of a monster holding a book while wagging a finger. Ana and Artemis spent a while figuring out who or what the figure represents. After a long stifle giggle from the two, Cuddles immediately jumped out the window to explore the school with Colin.


With renewed passion, the duo decided to find the librarian for help. They were understandably spooked when the librarian suddenly appears behind them. After assuring the elderly librarian that they were not doing anything kinky, Ana politely asked if she knew a book that could help the duo with their research.


With a crooked smile, the librarian snaps her fingers. A book titled Curses for Friends and Foes: a Compilation of History's most Villainous Curses floated into Artemis' hands. The librarian gave a nod and stalked off into the darkest recesses of the library but not before commending Artemis for helping Ana. He felt happy and somewhat afraid of the librarian now.


They both sat down and prepared a new plan. They would compare the few symptoms of Ana's curse with any listed in this book and then research further on how to break that particular curse. "I know that sometimes (read: Most of the time) my spells tend to act differently than intended. And that's putting it mildly." Artemis agreed with this theory since he had been watching her for a while now. The conversation turned awkward when Ana asked "You've been observing me?"


Artemis was blushing. "I - I just look around me every time we have practice." Ana was not convinced, "So you always look around you and most of the time you watch me practice magic in class? Is it because explo -" Stammering now, Artemis tried to reassured Ana, "No. No! It's not because most of the time your spells could cause a small accident … No wait! I mean sometimes when I feel sad I think of – Wait! What I mean is your hair is – No! I mean – I me –"


By this point Artemis was a blubbering mess until Ana hushed him with a finger and a smile. He calmed down sufficiently for the two to start their research, completely unaware of the eavesdroppers who had heard plenty.

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Ah this is like riding a public train. You almost always find glimpse into other peoples lives, though when I eavesdrop it is *mostly* unintentional... *cough*


Poor boy. Or.. well, stricktly speaking he gets himself into a lot of the hassel, but he has his heart in the right place. Which is refreshing :)



Also your librarian is much cooler than mine,.. humm I got to showcase a badass librarian next time I think..

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  • 2 weeks later...

Continuing on from last time. We follow protagonist Artemis as he tries to help Ana Flavia break her curse.




Hours later, Ana and Arty closed the book. Their eyes strained from reading and skimming the book from front to back and back to front. They looked at the single sheet of paper on the desk. On it were the words "Incendere= Burning Curse. Negare = Refusal Curse and Reddere = Reflection Curse." Over 50,000 words in that book and only these few words.


Still, the two mages high-fived each other weakly and leaned back on their chairs. The sound of creaking wood prompting the two to straighten up immediately. Artemis took out a small bag of Sour Dropsfrom his pocket and shared the candy with Ana.


"Well it looks like we have to do a whole lot more research on these curses," sighed Artemis. But Ana cheerily replied "At least we know that I'm not affected by anything too dangerous. A lot of these curses listed here are really evil." Artemis nodded at this, but he was secretly disappointed that he couldn't find anything about his curse.


"So which one do you think we should research fir - *stomach rumble* Oh …" Ana's face reddened as the rumbling stopped. Artemis blinked incredulously causing Ana to think "Oh my stars! Did I just?" Ana blushed and shrugged and then suggested that they go for lunch. Artemis shook himself and stammered out in agreement.


Then the chairs they were sitting on suddenly broke and both went head over heels. A loud "shhhhh" erupted.


The way to the Dining Hall was quite deserted. Either students had been eating while studying or they were starving themselves just for a few extra minutes of study time. Artemis could finally see the tiny cracks on the floor and dust floating through the air. He stopped for a moment to read a poster. The same poster from yesterday saying a human-sized beast had escaped the menagerie. Nervously, Artemis continued his walk after reading the part where the creature prefers children. And eats clothing meaning it won't leave clues behind.


In the Dining Hall, students were either quietly enjoying their meals or talking about the exams.


Lunch consisted of pea soup and yesterday's chopped beef. This lead to Jere spouting a lame joke that left everyone in the vicinity moaning loudly. This did not discourage him from cracking more jokes until Kurt Henning gave him a little shock from his wand. While everyone laughed at the sight of Jere pouring soup on Kurt's head, Artemis' eyes wondered around the hall until he saw Prudence watching him. She pointed two fingers to her eyes and then pointed them at Artemis. Artemis chewed slowly and tried to prevent himself from talking too much to Vettor next to him.


And then Artemis thought, maybe he could create an elaborate plan to have Vettor rescue the girls from a dangerous situation thereby earning their trust and stop this stupid prank war. Or it may backfire and both sides may come after him.


Cante sat next to him and Artemis quickly remembered to tell him about Philippe. "Huh. Didn't expect him to find out about the prank so soon. But this just makes the next phase more fun!" And Cante left with his lunch before Artemis could mention what Philippe may be planning something worse.


The afternoon passed by fairly quickly. A revision on Revision techniques, a review of his Botany notes and a reminder on the general physiology of mammals.


A few of the more active boys were moaning "This is so boring!" all the way and had decided to take frequent breaks. Irene Oxina rolled her eyes and said "Boys!" and returned to discussing with the other girls. Ana stifled a giggle when Artemis looked at her. The quiet atmosphere in the library had nearly cause Artemis to fall asleep due to the lack of it last night. He decided to pop another Sour Drop into his mouth and was forced to share it when Vettor nudged him with his elbow. The bag came back empty after everyone had their share.


Four o'clock and the studying stopped. The boys set off to have some fun and the girls decided to … do whatever it is girls do. Honors decided to stay behind since she wanted to read a little more and Piccolet was forced to help the librarian put back a few stacks of books due to a book he borrowed last week being frozen in a chunk of ice. It didn't matter how he tried to explain the damage (Aymeri and Lambert) the librarian was adamant that Piccolet should take responsibility.


Finally alone, the Artemis and Ana walked towards the more private and dangerous section of the library. "Maybe we should start with the Burning Curse. Sounds more dangerous than the others," suggested Ana. Artemis then set off to look for a book he should not know about, named The Ways Our Foes Glow / Burn. He had to explain to Ana that he peeked at the book once when Mina put it down for a minute. Climbing the ladder up and reaching for the book, a ward activated somewhere and Artemis found his hands flinging back as he reach for the book. He nearly fell off the ladder had Ana not steady it.


Ana sighed. "I knew it. The more dangerous books are warded somehow. First Years can't touch them and only Third Years or higher are allowed."


The two sat on the floor, hands on their knees, thinking. Ana tried using a wand to prod the book down but was shocked for her actions. Artemis would have tried to precariously balance a few books so they would push the book off the shelf when they fall but chickened out when the librarian stalked pass. Ana would like to ask a senior for help but they all look so serious right now.


Artemis kept staring at the book, as if he could move it with the power of his mind. Imagine his surprise when the book did move little by little until it fell off the shelf into Ana's hands. They both looked at where the book was and saw Colin, Ana's froggy friend. And also Cuddles who looked a bit dirty with dirt on his … everywhere.


Cuddles dropped onto Artemis' hand and slid into his bag without first cleaning himself.


Artemis was busy getting Cuddles to come out and clean the dirt off himself while Ana thank the familiars and read through the book. When she was done reading, Artemis had given up persuading his familiar and just left him in there.


"Good news and bad news," said Ana. "Not the right curse?" asked Artemis as he checked that Cuddles wasn't shaking dirt onto his things. "No and thank the Stars for that. So what now?"


Artemis suggested the Refusal curse. "Maybe we can find something in the Negation section of the library." Ana agreed and both set off immediately until Lambert Cobo jumped them. "Hi there! I couldn't help but notice that you are both researching on dangerous curses." Artemis held his breath, was Lambert going to rat them out?


"Now I know a thing or two about curses and I think you both are going the wrong way. Negation is about cancelling out something out. What you want is Rhetoric, which is the art of polite refusal, which is about negotiating for the best results, which is getting something you want without giving away something you don't want given away. Luckily as a student of both Negation and Rhetoric, I can help you two."


Lambert puffed out his chest and struck a pose. Ana said in a tired voice "What do you want?"


"And here we are. Negotiating for something you want." Lambert sped up his proposal when Ana walked just a little closer to him, very well aware of her status. "I just need Artemis here to trade me something he just made recently. A certain Invisibility potion."


Artemis frowned. This was his first successful Invisibility potion and he knew how dangerous if it were in the wrong hands. But seeing as Ana and he did not take Rhetoric classes and he had no desire to read a ton of books, Artemis took out the potion Cuddles secretly handed to him. "It only makes your body disappear though."


Lambert grasped the tiny vial rather greedily. "Oh don't worry, I'm not drinking it. Now, follow me and I shall reveal to you the Refusal curse, love-birds!" said the boy airily. Ana and Arty looked at each other and decided to follow the boy very closely. He kept trying to insist on personal space but Ana and Artemis ignored his words. He looked a little scared but luckily for him no accident had occurred.


Handing the two a book titled "Tactics Discovered at Port" with a little help from Piccolet; the skunk ran off before anything happens to him. Ana opened the book and stamped her feet in dismay. Artemis and Piccolet looked and thought they needed glasses. What should be writing in the book is like someone chose to draw strings into it. Ana handed Artemis the book and he slowly looked at each word on the table of contents.


He was barely able to make out the words Negare fifteen minutes later and was rewarded with equally lousy hand-writing on the subject. It took him a half hour to translate the words with Piccolet's help. As predicted, this isn't Ana's curse. Sighing, Artemis said good-bye to Piccolet who gave Artemis a little praise for helping Ana. A little red in the face, Artemis found Ana having a delightful conversation with Llarina de Avuel. He shook his head as Ana faced him.


Ana excused herself and followed Artemis to a more private area. "So that means only one curse left. Hey. Are you all right?"


Artemis felt his eyes straining and he wanted to just sleep on the floor. He said a simple "Yes" but his yawn gave him away. Ana took pity on Artemis and suggested that they continue after dinner. Artemis was not in a position to argue as Ana kept pushing him out of the library.


The sleepy boy stood in the hallway as he thought of what to do next. Artemis immediately started thinking of different ways to phrase his question on the Reflection curse as he walk towards the Library of Longshade. Maybe he could say he read about it and was curious. Or maybe an instructor mentioned it and he was curious. Or maybe his knowledge was challenged but he didn't know anything about the curse. And was curious.


Entering the Library of Longshade was like entering a dungeon. You have to wade through overflowing stacks of paper, evade falling objects from bookcases and the ceiling. You also have to be careful not to startle the book spirits lest they attack you. Artemis gasped a little as a rat the size of a dog slipped away. He gulped but continued walking towards the middle of the disaster area.


Right there was a fiery redhead girl, a cocoa-bean brained brown haired boy, a brown haired serious-looking (and according to the girls, cute) boy and a raven haired perpetually smiling girl.


Razputin was arguing about the possibilities of a portable harpsichord with Arianna while Aron was skimming a scroll with Mina. Arianna was just about to respond to Raz's childish name-calling with a similarly childish name when she spotted Artemis tugging his shoe out of some sticky sugar-goo.


Raz followed Arianna's gaze and shouted "Hey Artemis!" causing the librarian to step out of the shadows and shush him. She stalked right back into the shadows.


"Brrr… She gives me goose bumps," said Mina as she put a hand around Artemis. He sat next to Mina after greeting her friends meekly. Artemis yawned and blinked his eyes sleepily. "Hey! Remember that time when Ari here yawned and she nearly swallowed a fly?" laughed Raz. Arianna glared at him and then said "bed-wetter."


A quick laugh at Raz's expense and everyone was back to studying. Artemis was fidgeting a little as he tried to act natural. Mina could see Artemis wanted to ask her something so she pretended to have him help her replace the books onto the shelves. Far away from the rest of her gang, Artemis nervously asked "Sis? What do you know about the Reflection curse Reddere?" Mina dropped a book but quickly put it back. She frowned and put her hands on Artemis' shoulders. "Now what did I say about curses? I told you already. Leave the research to me and concentrated on enjoying your life here."


Artemis almost didn't want to say anything but had to reveal to Mina that "I was just helping Ana research her curse." Artemis looked at Mina rather sadly but then yawned again, she softened and said "How about you go back to your room and I'll see what I can find?" as Artemis yawned again. His eyes were closing as Mina laughed a little.


After enduring an embarrassing kiss in front of Mina's friends, Artemis walked all the way back to the dorm. He was greeted by the sight of three seniors pulling a goat away from the tapestries. Artemis rubbed his eyes and continued up the stairs. Eliana, Beatrix, Mairgrete and strangely Joana were discussing the latest fashion trends. At the other side of the common room were Malthezar and Uliva talking about snakes. Creepy.


Taking a left after waving to everyone, Artemis met with Hector and Vettor who were trying Girars' new recipe for a cake. They looked a bit green.


Artemis was already imagining the softness of his bed as he took another turn. He saw a rather hazy image of a fluorescent pink Philippe entering the bathroom. Artemis blinked and rubbed his eyes, thinking he was imagining things.


Finally he reached the one door at the end of the long corridor. Artemis fished inside his trouser pocket for the key and inserted it into the keyhole. He opened and then closed the door and locked it before flopping on the bed, thankful that nothing bad happened to him. Except for Cuddles spreading dirt inside his bag.




Jere: Hey! What's the difference between chopped beef and pea soup?


Artemis: What?


Everyone else: No! Artemis why?! Oh gods!


Jere: Because everyone can chop beef but no one peas soup! Ba-da-bing!



Good Night!!

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  • 3 months later...

It has been 3 months since I updated this. Well, better late than never.tongue.gif Enjoy the next part.




Arianna and Aron were waiting patiently by a door.


Razputin ran by and shouted "Don't just stand there! Help me!" This was immediately followed by a Third year Vernin girl shouting "Come back here you RAT-PUKE-TIN!!"


Aron sighed, "This might take a while." Arianna was quite clearly enjoying the scene as Raz ran around the dorm room of Claudia Vil, the chaser. Mina come through the door holding a pack of crunchy dried beef, salted and peppered to perfection. "Are they done yet?"


"She's gonna cut my head off!" was the answer Mina received.


Fifteen minutes earlier


Mina walked up the oak stairs, feeling the craved wood and smelling the scented candles throughout the Vernin dorm. The whole place reeks of rich people smell.


Brilliant paintings and sculptures. Marble tiles and soft carpets. Personal bathrooms! Mina shivered a little as she imagined the sums of money the school must have spent on the Vernin dorm. Or how much Vernin makes selling their brilliant inventions and artwork. She walked pass many doors and caught a glimpse of a First year creating a sculpture out of discarded banana peels. Mina also saw that the bed in the room had pictures and drawings made out of meat sauce and even a tree made out of used napkins.


Mina let out a breath as she reached the door of Claudia Vil. A polite knock and a few seconds later, a click sounded and the door opened itself. A gust of cool air caused Mina to shiver a bit and after a second, she stepped into the chilly but large and magnificently opulent room. Beautiful curtains, mahogany desk, soft linens, coffee-maker. Basically everything a rich kid needs, everything a rich kid gets.


In the centre of the room, lying on a pile of soft pillows was a girl dressed in an enchanted robe to keep warm. A Third year with long black hair tied back to look professional and the curve of her eyebrows make her look less menacing. In one hand was a file; in the other was a beautiful cup filled with imported tea. Next to the girl was the white fluffy cat named Sir Muffy the Magnificent the Fourth. Spy, Stalker and Spoiled. The cat too.


The girl named Claudia looked up and smiles with an air of professionalism and smugness. "Hello Mina. What brings you back into my humble little office?"


Little office? An elephant could almost fill the room. "Evening Claudia. Just looking for information on this." Mina handed a little note to Claudia. Claudia's eyebrows raised a little and she handed the note to Muffy. The cat went towards the cabinets and stepped on a hidden button in the walls, causing the cabinets to be rotated 180 degrees, revealing the actual cabinets instead of the fakes containing recipes for jelly.


While Muffy was searching for the information, Claudia started making small talk. "So, the Reflection curse? The book was accidentally destroyed last year right? Someone, and I think I know how, messed with a Book Spirit and started setting fire to the place." Mina did not reply, Claudia is so vicious she can use anything you do, say or even think about, against you. Claudia took another sip of her tea and watched her cat jumping from cabinet to cabinet. Mina was calm until Muffy drops a folder onto Claudia's lap. She took a breath and offered "750 pims and one pitcher of Crazy Fred's Awesomely Fruity Mixed Veggie Juice." Claudia scribbled a few notes before saying "No deal" without looking up but with a clear smile on her face.


Mina was puzzled. "No? What do you mean no? That's your regular price plus extra." Claudia took a piece of paper from Muffy's mouth; she smiled and toyed with the paper. "Come now Mina. Do you know how much this information costs? Last I heard, now only Fourth years and above are allowed to read about the curse. And if someone were to leak out the word that someone was trying to …"


Mina held up a hand, she politely excused herself and walked towards the door. Looks like it was time for "Plan B." Claudia was unfazed until Arianna and Aron pushed a bounded and gagged Razputin into the room.


Fifteen minutes later


Aron was examining the expensive decorations, "I wonder how much she paid for this", as he shook his head at a painting of a painting of a riverside cottage. A crunching sound was made as Mina shared her snack with Arianna, "You should see how much she can buy in half a month."


The she in question was still madly chasing Raz around the room, knocking down the furniture, stepping on the bed, spilling Claudia's expensive tea. "You will pay Razputin! You will pay! With interests!" Raz was starting to slow down, "I …told you I … was sorry!" Claudia made a jump and brought Raz painfully to the ground. She expertly gripped Raz's hands behind his back and twisted them while screaming "That was limited edition! Custom made! A Shadow-elf Huntress with actual silver bow and arrows! I won ten Proving Ground tournaments with it!"


Arianna had to hold back Claudia with a choke-hold while Aron pulled Raz to safety. Mina whispered to him, "Thanks for doing this for me. I'll buy you all the cakes you want later." Raz gave her a big frown.


"Satisfied?" asked Mina as Claudia managed to throw Arianna onto the bed. Claudia calmed down enough and said, "No! He still owns me 25 malins for my avatar."


As the shouting went on and on, the gang was unaware that someone was spying on them.


A boy with copper hair and fun-loving features was straining real hard to listen through the door. Knowing that the bartering would go on for a while, he retreated back down the stairs and met with the former bully Kong and another boy in the room.


Grinning his goofy grin, the boy told Kong everything about the shouting going on in Claudia's room. "Like a bull chasing a rat! And all because of a little Proving Ground avatar. Ha ha."


Kong was not exactly satisfied, "Are you sure they aren't talking about last night Copper?" Coppernicus, being the boy's actual name, did not stop his grinning and said "Nope, just something about researching a curse. What happened to you last night anyway?"


"I would like to know too," said the other boy sitting in the room, Koopernicus. Kong stared right pass the boy's thick glasses and into his sharp blue eyes. The boy just blinked freely and was, like Claudia Vil, smug beyond believe.


Kong snapped "None of your business!" as he returned to reading a book in order to hide his reddish face. Kong couldn't stop thinking of Mina secretly selling Claudia info on what happened last night so he threw down the book and snarled "Come on. Let's go find something fun to do. I'm getting sick of reading books. Where're the girls?"


Coppernicus happily trailed after Kong with Koopernicus following a second later, "Gina's probably going after Professor Preeman for some study advice. Colette was in the library reading about birds. Reading about birdies. You know what would be funny? If the librarian dressed up like a huge parrot and squawked all day!"


Coppernicus had a giggling fit but Koopernicus just shook his head; the kid Coppernicus is a bit loopy most of the time and it's a wonder Kong tolerates him.


"You know what would be better? If all the instructors dress up like birds and flew around the school!"




Mina was not exactly rushing back to the dorm after finally getting the rather unhelpful information from Claudia. She couldn't help but think to contribute more to Artemis' search for a way to help Ana.


Reaching the door into Artemis' room, Mina stuck the room key she copied into the keyhole and unlocked it. She opened the door and saw Artemis. Her face turned into a scowl. "Arty!"


The boy was drooling onto his pillow and he didn't remove his shoes let alone his school robe which was wrinkly now. Cuddles was worst, dirty all over and still he is sitting at the desk drawing a picture with charcoal. Cuddles turned to look as he heard the door close and found Mina wearing a pretty annoyed expression on her face. She crossed her arms and lifted one eyebrow as if to say "Do I have to drown you in soap and water again?"


The toy made a guilty pose and climbed out the window. Mina shook her head and began to clean up the desk. After having cleaned the drool off Artemis' pillow (bleugh!) with some quick magicking, Mina removed Artemis' shoes and school robe. Mina was draping the blanket over Artemis as a cold wind blew into the room. She hurriedly closed the window, briefly admiring the view, but suddenly felt a presence in the room. Mina spun with her wand out and came face to face with a ghost. The transparent man's clothes were slightly out of date and he had the look of 65 years old with a healthy head of short hair. He smiled happily and opened his arms for a hug. "Mina!"


Mina beamed and said "Grandpa!" She didn't bother to return the hug of her Grandpa Maximillian Zeus "Handsome" Toran. Touching ectoplasm is always an unpleasant feeling, something Aron can confirm with his ghostly familiar, Tina.


The ghostly man walked / glided over and sat down on the bed. Mina sat on his left as Grandpa Max looked at Artemis.The boy snored lightly, unaware of the presence of his grandfather. "Ah. My two favourite grandchildren." Mina smiled and felt comforted. "Did you locate any new artifacts, Grandpa?" Grandpa Max laughed "Not this year. I had to teach your cousins Advance Magics and boy you should see the mess they made." Mina smiled a little at the thought of her snotty cousins blowing each other up.


The conversation was all happily about the various disasters her cousins got into, especially Cousin Diana accidentally releasing the cobra on Uncle "Harrumph!" Hephaestus and Cousin Helena turning Uncle Horus' priceless tapestry into taffy. The conversation grounded to a halt when Max asked "So what is this rumour I heard from my otherworldly friends that you going to fight some powerful old witch from another realm?"


Mina flinched. She tried to think of a bluff but seeing this is her grandfather, a man she is right to love and fear, she decided to tell the truth. And at that instance, the years became obvious on Grandpa Max's intangible face.


Silence followed for a moment with the old man looking at the ceiling and Mina looking at Artemis snoozing away. Grandpa Max finally chuckled a little, snapping Mina out of her stupor. "Ahh Mina. Strange that you always get into these troubles whenever you are in this school." Mina took a moment to think about it and laughed along with her grandfather.


On her first month here without a familiar, she tangled with the illusive wild panther of the Imperial Reserve, which turned out to be Nexus. For six months during her First year, Mina had to share a room with 'That stupid hot-headed redhead!' which ended with both girls in detention involving ten dozen eggs, a small forge and nails. She became friends with Arianna after that. For the entire First Year, Mina had to put up with the most hapless prankster ever, ending with another boy having to rescue Mina and the boy. Mina became friends with Razputin and Aron by Spring. And add to the mix the silly adventures she went on with her new best friends.


Her second year was also unforgettable. The raid on the hidden pirate cove, the discovery of an ancient tomb buried right beneath the boys bathroom (don't ask), and training Nexus to assimilate into the human population cumulating into unleashing five deadly creatures on the Aranaz dorm. And also discovery that Aron had been transformed into a were-creature and the amount of frustration that followed.


Most of the time Mina managed to handle the situation, but the more dangerous situations she had overcome were thanks to her ever watchful grandfather. And now she needs his help to defeat this Mistress of the grey wrinkled skin.


Grandpa Max hummed a little ditty rather calmly considering the danger Mina was in. He summoned Artemis' silver bracelet, with a bit of effort, from under the pillow. It floated rather shakily and just before it reached him, the bracelet's power kicked in and was repulsed by Max's energy. Max smiled and said "That's my girl. Always really good at Magic." Mina made her way to the bracelet on the other side of the room and made sure to keep it away from her grandfather. "Not too sure about that son-in-law though. Especially with that glint in his eyes."


Mina giggled. She remembered the tale of how her father had tried to reach for her Grandmother's diamond-tip wand and found an empty suit of armour grabbing and devouring him.


Max laughed along with his granddaughter and asked "So, Mina, I assumed you will be needing help again?" Mina avoided his gaze as she answered "Yes."


She looked up again her grandfather stood in front of her. He was smiling with pride, "Then you shall have it." The instant Grandpa Max kissed her on the forehead, Mina fainted but before she hit the ground Max gently lifted her with a twirl of his finger. He settled her onto the bed next to Artemis and watched the two for a moment. The winds howled were howling again outside and the old ghost turned to the middle of the room before calling out.


"Nexus…" Silence.


"Nexus." Silence again.


"Come now Nexus! You are not deaf," said the warlock with a bit more force. Nexus appeared but without the usual look of contempt in its eyes.


"Ah there you are," said the man as he flashed a bigger smile than Mina's. "So? How goes my granddaughter's training?"


"The girl is doing quite well, considering she is a descendant of your impressive daughter" replied the cat-thing very politely. "Forgive me for not appearing immediately to your summons. I was busy examining her friends for ways to increase their potential. They will benefit her greatly when the time comes."


The old ghost stepped closer, causing Nexus to take a few steps back to remain a respectful distance. "If you prefer, I would like to try a few unconventional methods to make the boy there more … adventurous. Sir."


Max looked towards the window as Cuddles climbed onto the window sill. "Well hello there little one," said Max. Cuddles and Nexus gave each other the evil eye, causing Max to laugh at the silly rivalry between the two. He reached out and patted Cuddles as the toy assumed an aggressive pose at Nexus, who was preparing itself for an attack. The toy looked at Nexus as if to say "He likes me better" and the cat glared back with deadly intent.


Having enjoyed the love between Cuddles and Nexus, the old ghost Max tried to stroke Artemis' hair but his hand just went through the boy, causing Artemis to shiver a little. Max sighed and turned to Nexus who was having a glaring contest with Cuddles, he got down to one knee and answered its request "Do whatever it takes to help them. That Mistress will regret taking revenge on me by attacking my family. And my granddaughter Mina will teach her a most humiliating lesson." He reached out and patted Nexus, who was quite surprised at this show of affection. "Make sure she is at her fullest potential before the battle won't you friend?"


A sudden gust of wind and the ghost disappeared leaving Nexus to look towards the siblings again and say "Yes,sir."



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