SpellMaster Petrushkov grounds Clarinda for her careless use of elemental air magic
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SpellMaster Petrushkov stormed into the exam hall, the stomp of his boots echoing like thunder from the walls. “Who?” he bellowed? “Who was it? Who did this?”
Clarinda hid in her carrel.
Petrushkov glared at the frozen Fangustin and glowered at the suspended students. When he scowled in Clarinda’s direction, she did her best to be invisible and frozen like everyone else. She didn’t think she’d fooled him, though.
Raising his hands over his head, he gave three sharp claps and uttered a long incantation in words that Clarinda didn’t recognize.
Ms. Fangustin and the students blinked and peered around in bewilderment. Clarinda, looking out the window, saw suddenly revived people stumble, disoriented birds smack into trees, and the gargoyle sniff in confusion at the hydrant.
The Master loomed over the carrel where Clarinda hid. “You!” he growled. “It had to be you. The fire in the dormitory.”
His massive paw grabbed her and lifted her bodily out of the carrel. He held her up to his face like he was examining a loathsome insect. “But what I don’t understand is this: No novice has that power. That was a Level One spell. Fortunately, it was highly localized.”
He shook her like a terrier shakes a rat to break its neck. “HOW DID YOU DO THAT?” he roared. “You were only supposed to translate the spell, not perform it.”
She plopped back in her seat when he released her. Oh. So that’s what those last few runes meant.
Petrushkov studied her carrel and pointed to the ingredients box and flask. “Where did you get those? They are not supposed to be in your carrel.”
Clarinda blinked in confusion. They weren’t? “Ah, they were just here. I had translated most of Question 4 and they were on the shelf. I thought everyone had them.”
“Where did you learn the spell to do that? Material transposition is not taught until Level 2.”
“I didn’t use any spell,” protested Clarinda. “They were just there.”
It was the SpellMaster’s turn to look confused. “Autonomous substantive creation? Wait, were they in your carrel when you sat for the exam? Or did you just find them when you went to work on Question Four?”
“Um, I don’t remember seeing them when I first started the exam. But when I came to the last question, they were on the shelf when I needed them.”
For a second, Clarinda thought she saw an odd expression in Petrushkov’s eyes. Fear? Uncertainty? Amazement? He swelled like an over-inflated balloon, and she drew back from the expected explosion. But it was not directed at her.
“Ms Fangustin! You are the fourth-level master. You are expected to maintain control of your class. You and this-- this-- this-- STUDENT will report to the Discipline Committee. I will inform you of the time and place.
“And you,” he turned to Clarinda, “you are grounded, effective immediately, and suspended from all classes and activities, until further notice. Go to your room this instant.” With his back to Ms. Fangustin, he gave her a slow and obvious wink.
Petrushkov spun about and lumbered out of the exam hall, leaving in his wake a shocked and silent class. The students looked at her with what she thought was fear and loathing. And Ms. Fangustin.... If looks could kill, Clarinda would have shriveled and died on the spot.
Back in her dorm room, Clarinda threw herself face down on the bed and closed her eyes. Last time a month detention. This time totally grounded. Surely she would be suspended. Her imagination tormented her with wedding bells and that horse-patootie Darrel. She tried not to cry, and failed.