Previously: Ceros merely stared down at them, imposing and immovable in his sudden fierceness. “That was for your own safety,” he said, matter-of-factly. “As for your question,” he pinned Irvin with a look. “What is missing, is the key to the King’s Armory, Mister Caldwell.” Ceros said, tiredly. “The only key to the King’s Armory, with not a single clue left behind.”
The final student retreated to their designated seat as Ceros clapped his hands for attention. The testing was now officially over.
It had certainly been a long, stressful day.
“All students who have not obtained a passing grade, please see me in my office to receive your report card. Please be aware that all grades are final and I can only recommend remedial classes. If you have questions about your grades, you may file an investigative report with the Student Council. Thank you for your attentiveness to your studies and your hard work. I hope the results were informative and well-earned. Dismissed!”
Cheers exploded from the eager students. Whistles, hoots and laughter filled the room from tile to top.
Ravina stifled the growl in her throat and waited for her row to clear. She’d hoped that leaving the Academy would be as easy as walking out of the door—considering that she’d packed everything the previous day.
A small group of unhappy students formed near one corner of the room. Ravina bit her lip, but made herself slink out from her seat and shuffle over to join them.
They were all waiting on Ceros to leave the hall so they could follow him to the office. No other Magical Institute would accept them into second year studies or remedial classes without some sort of proof for first year work.
Academy policy stipulated that all report cards were to be picked up in person by the actual student.
Ravina fell into step beside one of the older girls. For a moment, she wondered if it was true and whether Whitney had repeated a year or not, but the dejected slump of her shoulders, kept Ravina from speaking up.
They formed an awkward line outside in the hall as Ceros glided to his office, hand outstretched to open the door. A glowing bauble of light sprang to life in his palm, before a thin strand reached out, dancing across the giant dragon’s eye in the center of the massive door.
It flickered over the yellow-green scaled lid, before the halves parted to show a dull, golden eyeball swiveling to examine everything.
Ceros slipped inside when the door swung open at last. He beckoned for the first student and sailed around to sit in the majestic chair on the other side of his fancy desk.
Ravina watched the door close and quickly looked away. The dragon’s eye gave her the creeps and she’d always tried to avoid visiting Ceros’s office whenever she could.
Firstly, she wanted to know what had happened to the rest of the dragon and second—well, the eye always felt too alive. As if it knew more than mere sight.
It was the kind of feeling that made the space between her shoulders—twitch.
Ravina squirmed then, leaning back against the rough brick wall of the hallway. She rubbed one shoulder half on the roughness before her mind caught up to the action.
Her second-best set of school robes, but still. Taking care of them would make it last longer. She scowled and leaned forward a bit, smoothing one hand over the scraped fabric. The thinnest trickle of magic she could manage, slipped through her fingers to repair and smooth the robe.
A stab of white-hot fire flashed through her and Ravina jerked up to find that great golden eye fixed solely on her.
She cringed inwardly, inching towards Whitney, the closest one to her left. Another student shivered nearby.
“That thing gives me the creeps! I’m glad I don’t have to come back here—I’d rather go to Rizen Academy.”
“Good for you,” a sullen young man sniped. “The rest of us have some sort of ambition.”
The office door cracked open and a very dejected student emerged, the magical report card clenched in hand. She avoided everyone’s gaze, hurrying out from the hallway—almost as if she wanted to run.
The remaining students exchanged glances between each other, before someone ventured forward. The cycle repeated itself, a confident student entering and a hopeless one returning.
Ravina felt her stomach leap and twist again in another one of the fantastic dances of anxiety. This really was the worst.
Repeating a year of magic school wasn’t really that bad—but there were very few who ever did. Most would switch schools before repeating another year.
She twisted her hands in her sleeves. But this was the Royal Magic Academy.
It was supposed to mean something.
She wanted it to mean something.
Ceros’s office door cracked open again to reveal a puffy-eyed, snooty-faced young woman who glowered down her pointy nose at Ravina. Miss Belton. The other failed student from that first day.
“You should save yourself the trouble,” she said, with a sniff. “He won’t care if you’re a scholarship student or anything. He absolutely doesn’t care-“
“Thanks,” Ravina ducked around her and into the office. She tried to ignore the fact that the puffy eyes had been rather red.
“Shut the door please, have a seat,” Ceros said briskly. He looked up from checking something off on his list and squinted. “Ah. Miss Lucien.”
Ravina eased into one of the giant plush chairs. It felt like it would swallow her whole and she didn’t dare scoot back to lean into it. “Is—is it really bad?”
“Repeating a year.”
“Ah,” He removed his magical glasses and set them atop the student list. “That would depend on the student. Some prefer to take an alternate course of study when repeating, while others enjoy the second time more than the first. You can always miss something and it never hurts to practice.”
Ceros chuckled. “In the eye of the beholder,” he said. “Now then, sign here, would you?” He drew out the report card from the jewel-studded lock box atop. “Though I am curious—what made you pick that spell?”
Ravina made herself shrug. There wasn’t a logical reason to it, really. She’d simply felt like making something useful and the one person in her life that deserved to benefit from it—her father. “Seemed like fun, I guess.”
Ceros scoffed. “Fun? My dear girl, fun is shimmering moon dust turning your fingernails different colors and changing the sounds your boots make when you walk. A basic summoning spell is pure laziness!”
Ravina’s head snapped up. “Excuse me? I put weeks of testing and practicing into that spell. It may be a basic—but a human could use it—and that takes talent. Not every spell is human-accessible.”
Ceros frowned. “That was the basis for your spell?”
“You purposely created a basic summoning spell around the idea that a human could cast and manipulate it?”
Ravina’s brow furrowed. She’d explained as much during her presentation—hadn’t she? “My father’s—“
A loud crack of magic was the only warning before High Magician Maurous appeared inside of the office, his arms outstretched. He shook himself all over, then gathered himself together, stepping down from an invisible platform.
“Ceros,” he grumbled. “Stupid portal. Can’t you keep this place clean?”
“Cleaner than yours,” Ceros threw back. “I’ve told you not to ‘port in like that. Didn’t you find her?”
“I’ve searched every resort for that infuriating woman and she’s nowhere to be found,” High Magician Maurous snapped. “I would thank you to at least remember that I do make use of the contacts afforded to me? She hasn’t been sighted in nearly three weeks.”
“Surely she left a schedule…?” Ceros trailed off. He looked away.
High Magician Maurous glowered at him a beat longer, before turning the scorching look on Ravina. His look soured.
Ravina lifted his chin and met his look squarely.
Ceros sighed. “Whatever it is you need, it can wait. Student consultations are meant to be private and-“
“She’s picking up a report card. What’s private about that?” High Magician Maurous seated himself in the second arm chair, viciously scraping it back against the floor to widen the distance between the chairs.
“That’s not the point-“ Ceros began.
The office door shuddered violently and every single shining trinket in the room, quivered. The air grew stale as a smoky scent filtered on in.
Ceros was out from his desk and around the corner in a single breath. His pale blue eyes glowed faintly as he stretched a hand towards the door.
It reacted to his command, a thin pulse of visible magic. A disgusting slurping sound filled the room before the dragon’s eyeball emerged—facing inward.
Whatever Ceros saw in its golden gaze, made him purse his lips and scowl back at Ravina. He pressed a hand to Maurous’s shoulder, keeping his fellow magician anchored in his seat. “Sign the card,” he barked. “And hurry it up.”
A/N: Ahhhhh–sorry for the long wait guys! I swear, I did not sit on this chapter to nitpick at plot points, I simply didn’t have the time to write it up this past week, until now. As usual, it is NOT edited, but I will try to go over it again for typos (probably this weekend). Thanks for your patience, I really hope you’re enoying this full little world. I had fun thinking up of how to make Ceros’s office a bit creepy, but still magical. Stay tuned, there’s plenty more of Ravina and Co. to come–Happy reading!