Sea of Worms
Publication Year: 2020
Print Length: TBA
Sea of Worms marks an important turn in the life of Mojori, a student of the arcane arts. Young “Mojo” serves a ruthless spell-dueling champion who travels the worlds going from tournament to tournament.
During his apprenticeship and schooling at the Academy of Arcane Arts, Mojo learns the secrets of magic, encounters exotic creatures and advanced technology, visits fantastic places and gets into delicate situations. He records his own epic adventure in journal format, including lore, maps and plenty of illustrations (in color on the eBook only)
Excerpt . . .
INCIDENT AT DRUPER'S BAKERY
6th of Decensure, 6856 AE (Feast Day)
Feast Days are the one day of the week Master Madduk lets me sleep in—mostly because it’s also the day he sleeps in. There are no classes on Feast Days, but I still have homework and chores—plenty of chores. After I finish, if Master isn’t mad at me for something (I suspect he invents reasons to be mad at me), he sometimes teaches me a new arcane technique or principle.
When not teaching me something new, he observes me practice. Making fun of the way I cast spells is one of his favorite hobbies. He’s harsh—I would never treat anyone like he treats me—but he knows his stuff. He’s helped me refine my talents.
Not sure why they don’t teach the same stuff at the academy, but Master seems to enjoy pushing me very hard, so maybe what he teaches is too advanced for academy students—or too dangerous. I often get hurt during his lessons, which rarely happens at the academy—usually only when a student is horsing around. Maybe the academy is worried about lawsuits or they just don’t get a kick out of hurting people like Master does. It’s difficult to know when Master is pushing me for my own good, and when he’s just being cruel, or trying to trip me up so he can criticize me. Hopefully tonight he’ll teach me something that doesn’t leave burns or bruises!
This morning we ran out of eggs, so Master woke me up early and sent me to the market. So much for sleeping in. Getting out of the house is usually a good thing, so no complaints there. I stopped by Druper’s Bakery to pick up some pastries (Master has a powerful sweet tooth). Druper doesn’t care much for Master, but he’s always nice to me. I don’t get Druper’s jokes and he whistles too much (and he’s really, really bad at whistling). Other than that, I like him. Master usually sends me there a couple times a week for fresh bread and sweets.
The pastries and a hearth loaf were waiting for me when I got there. My guess is Master sent ahead an arcane message to let Druper know I’d be coming by. Master has said some pretty harsh things about Druper behind his back, but he refuses to go to any other baker. They’ve known each other for many years, and Druper always gives me an apologetic look when he sees me. He knows Master isn’t good at sharing, so he usually leaves out an extra pastry for me at no charge.
As I was about to head home, I heard a commotion outside and took a peek out the window. An arcane apprentice like myself flew past on a personal floater. I don’t know if he wasn’t paying attention, or just lost control, but he slammed right into Druper’s sign. He hit it so hard one of the sign’s rusty chains broke, which is a good thing, sort of. Had the chains been new, they might have decapitated him.
Everyone ran over to get a better look. I recognized the kid at once. It was Greyson, the son of Jarlynko, a powerful mage who lives on the north side of the city. Recently, Jarlynko entered the arcane dueling circuit, an arena Master excels in.
Greyson was fortunate a holy adept of Mithra was passing by and healed him. The adepts of the goddess Mithra are a good lot—bastions of peace in the empire, but you probably already knew that. They didn’t charge him even a copper for the service, either.
Last year, Greyson was an Eighth Year at the academy and Jarlynko was a professor, teaching Advanced Magic Mix—the art of making magical edibles. There was an accident in class and two students were injured when an arcane muffin blew up. The students were goofing off, but Jarlynko was blamed. He’d already gotten into trouble twice before for being reckless—though he appealed each count.
Stories were floating around about him, and it really bothered Greyson. He was frequently teased about it at the academy. Jarlynko got into a big argument with Dean Malaster about the incident (always a bad idea) and was removed from the faculty. The next day Jarlynko pulled Greyson out of the academy and home-schooled him for the remainder of the year. Greyson’s a jerk, but I kinda felt sorry for him. I can’t imagine having Jarlynko as a father. Then again, most people can’t imagine serving under Master Madduk! (My friends call Master “Mad Duck,” but never to his face!)
Greyson wasn’t so bad when he was at the academy, but something has happened to him. He turned into a huge jerk after his father pulled him out. We were almost friends once, but not after he changed. The few times I’ve seen his father since, Jarlynko always seemed to have a serious attitude problem. Master doesn’t like him, and hopes to face off against him in the dueling arena one day. If that happens, it’s bound to go very poorly for Jarlynko. There’s no way he’s good enough to beat Master.
8th of Decensure, 6856 AE (Moon Day)
Sun Day was pretty mundane—just the usual homework and chores. If nothing exciting or newsworthy happens, I won’t waste your time—I promise! Moon Day through Bank Day I attend the Arcane Academy of Addica. I’m taking seven classes this semester: four magic classes (Potions III, Arcane Theory IV, Complex Spells, and Runes II), and two mundane classes (Elvish II and Geometry II). I also have two study periods: Magic Lab and Career Studies.
Magic Lab provides a controlled environment to practice our craft and review arcane concepts. Career Studies is a blend of special events like field trips, guest speakers, community projects, public speaking, presentations, career projects, and free study time. But it’s mostly free study time, on account of budget constraints. I always do as much homework as I can during this class, but a surprising number of students just goof off. Considering how expensive it is to attend the academy, it amazes me how many students don’t take full advantage of it. They just don’t realize how lucky they are, I guess.
Today is Moon Day, which means I have Geometry II and Complex Spells class before lunch, followed by Potions III.
Most mages never get beyond making potions and basic spellcasting, so that’s why there are three classes for potions. Potions III is a long class, but it’s my favorite! Even so, I’d rather the academy offered a Complex Spells II class like they used to, before I enrolled.
Four years ago (shortly before my father fell ill), there was an arcane accident in a Complex Spells II class, and a professor and three students died in the explosion. The city of Addica gave the academy a lot of grief over safety, and threatened to shut down the academy, at least during their investigation. The academy’s board of directors resisted, citing a nine-hundred-year-old sovereignty agreement with the kingdom, in exchange for granting special access and training for soldiers and court mages.
Master chairs a seat on the board of directors and insisted the class was too important to drop. He spoke with the parents of the deceased students and somehow convinced them to drop their claim. (I wish I knew what he told them—Master is NOT a people person.)
Dean Malaster and Master have never seen eye to eye, and there was a heated argument. Malaster had gone behind the council’s back and personally threatened to remove the Kingdom of Addica’s special privileges if they shut down the academy. The provincial governor of Addica backed down. Then, one of the academy’s top contributors threatened to drop support for future campus improvements. Dean Malaster was able to rally the other chairs and agreed to cancel the class anyway.
I feel bad for those who lost their lives during that accident, but I’m glad Master offered to teach me that course himself after graduation. (And that means extending my indentured servitude to pay him back for the mounting debt my family has incurred due to my training.)
As for Geometry II, it’s important for casting spells, since half the work is memorizing arcane theorems based on geometry, so I guess you could say that Geometry II is a magic class, too.
Shapers shape magic into proper forms that interact uniquely with special runes to produce magical effects. There are specific formulas that not only affect whether your spell works, but how it manifests, and the spell’s parameters—range, duration, and so on.
When you have someone like Master ready to make your life miserable if you get less than an “A,” you tend to get good grades. I’m not condoning Master’s ruthless approach, just sayin’ he does know how to motivate me, and I do like the results (just not the bruises). For the record, Master never hits me. I know he’s wanted to a few times when I’ve disappointed him, but he never has. That would be so wrong. Instead, he abuses me with words and absurdly hard magical exercises that often leave me hurting. Needless to say, I look forward to being out on my own.
I’m currently getting a high “A” in Geometry II, so I wasn’t too worried about the test we took today. I studied a little here and there and think I did pretty well on it. I was the first one to finish—unless you count the Bleeker boys, who never finish their tests and are failing the course. They tend to answer only a few questions, and then spend the remainder of class getting into trouble. Ironically, from the way Professor Horsby talks, what questions they do answer are always correct.
I’m almost always the first to finish and turn in my tests, and doing so today gave me enough time to write this morning’s journal entry. Maybe I should have spent the extra time poring over my answers, but when I do that, I usually change something and end up getting it wrong. I don’t fuss over questions I don’t know the answers to. Sometimes you can nail it with common sense, but most of the time you either know it or you don’t.
I have an excellent memory and hate second-guessing myself, so I usually go with my instincts. I’d have done even better on that test, but Master forced me to focus on my custom spell for Complex Spells class over reviewing geometry.
I really wish someone other than Professor Mullins was teaching Complex Spells, because that stuff is so important, and he just puts me to sleep. It’s an advanced class so I need to learn it if I’m going to become an archmage one day. Most of the time, Professor Mullins makes it as boring as potting plants—and it shouldn’t be. It’s my hardest class, and he just drones on and on like a construct repeating its commands—slow and emotionless. I had him for Simple Spells when I was a Fifth Year (my first year at the academy), and I couldn’t stand him then, either.
He could learn a thing or two from Professor Loris. She teaches Potions III, and knows how to make magic fun—like it was meant to be!
I’ve only seen Professor Mullins perk up a few times, like when someone delivers a parcel, or when he sees Melinda Swagger in the halls (I think she works in the office as a secretary). The other day she came into Complex Spells class to bring him a parcel and he nearly fell off his chair. I think his tongue went numb. (It could have been the magic mix bagel he was eating, if whoever made it didn’t get the recipe right, but I think it was because of her. It’s obvious he likes her.)
Mullins always gets excited when he receives a package. Some shapers frown on purchasing magical components, insisting shapers should make their own, but Professor Mullins says there’s no shame in buying what you don’t have the time or talent to make. It’s true that making magical components and magic items requires both a great deal of time to make, but also a certain amount of craftsmanship. Mullins has never come off as the creative type. Even so, I wonder if he orders so many packages hoping Melinda Swagger will bring them to his class. Who knows?
Sometimes he shows us his latest arcane gizmo, but not this time. Whatever it was, he opened it with his back to the class and then rushed over and locked it up in his cabinet before anyone could see it. He was in a good mood until the other students wouldn’t stop bugging him about what he bought.
Today’s going to be different. The class is all about Complex Spell demonstrations. I knew it was coming, and I’ve been preparing for my demonstration for the past two weeks. But I just heard the bell for class, so I’ll tell you more about it later!
The academy needs to hire biomancers to cook our lunches! Most of those artificers are terrific cooks. They aren’t just good at baking in potent magical effects, they’ve also trained how to cook with magic to improve the flavor. Even their spells smell terrific! I don’t think the cooks in our cafeteria are biomancers, much less shapers. Lunch was edible. I’ll just leave it at that. No wonder a lot of students fill up on cookies as their main course.
Now then, I know my demonstration was in the morning, not in the afternoon, but the afternoon was uneventful, and I promised to tell you all about my demo, so here goes:
My Geometry and Complex Spells classes are on opposite sides of the campus, which means I had to rush like mad to avoid being late for my demonstration. Worst of all, I saw Priia in the halls and couldn’t do anything but wave as I ran by. I never see her running to Complex Spells class, so she must have found a shortcut—maybe through the greenhouse?
Complex spells class was amazing! I mean, it was nerve-racking and could have been disastrous, but it wasn’t. I was ready. Master made sure of it, as if his reputation was riding on it. We met at the dueling practice arena in the center of the academy. It’s a shallow amphitheater marked off just like a real arcane dueling arena, only smaller. It was built directly over a long-buried amphitheatre that predates the academy. Many of the classroom doors face the arena, and there’s an open-air passageway around it, so at any given moment there are usually a few students milling about, or one or two professors or hallway monitors walking along the perimeter.
Drop-down bleachers can be moved into place magically over the first-floor walkway to provide additional seating. Thankfully, the bleachers were empty and stowed high above, out of the way. There is the second-floor walkway, and the faculty office balconies higher up, including Dean Malaster’s office on the third floor. Casting spells in front of a class is one thing, but with so many potential eyes on the arena, it’s no wonder some students get queasy just thinking about dueling.
During class, I avoided looking up, in case anyone important was watching. I didn’t want to add stress to an already difficult assignment. I can’t imagine performing a complex spell in front of the whole academy, but I shouldn’t have to worry about that until finals week in late Maaz. By then, I’m bound to be quite a bit better at it.
We weren’t doing anything hazardous today. I mean, messing up a spell can always be hazardous, but we had plenty of space and the spell wasn’t directly offensive in nature. We were expected to abide by posted safety rules, as always. School policy prohibits the casting of spells in classrooms, restrooms, or halls without permission. A couple boys got caught casting spells in the bathroom last semester and were promptly expelled.
I thought I was going to be stressed out, casting such a hard spell in front of the class. It was Master Madduk’s idea. I was leery of doing it, but he helped me prepare, and my spell went off even better than I had hoped—better than when I performed it for Master. For me it was a big deal! My first public, custom, complex version of the Telekinesis spell. Custom spells are harder, at least at first. Eventually they get pretty easy, I hear, but a complex spell is hard enough as it is. Everyone clapped except Braxian, an annoying grey elf who’s never liked me, and the Bleeker Boys, who probably slept through the whole thing.
At the start of the class, Professor Mullins placed a boulder at one end of the arena and had the students take turns casting the complex version of the first order Telekinesis spell at it. I was one of the last ones to be called—I was beginning to think I’d have to wait until the next class session to get my turn, and was nervous and wanted to get it over with. The boulder was too heavy to lift by casting the simple version of Telekinesis. None of us were remotely ready to cast second order spells, but a complex version of a first order would do the trick.
If you can pull off the complex version correctly, some of the spell’s aspects can be beefed up (like the maximum weight you’re trying to move) without having to increase the amount of magic required to cast it. I’ve been casting simple first order spells for quite some time now—longer than most of the other students, except a few like Braxian and Priia, both of whom are as good as me—maybe better. I’m certain Braxian thinks he’s better.
A few of the students chickened out or weren’t paying attention to the instructions and cast simple spells. As expected, the boulder didn’t even budge, much less rise up off the arena floor. Most of the students attempted the complex version, about half failing miserably. A few managed to raise up the boulder a few inches, but then it came crashing back down as the spell fizzled due to mistakes during casting. Braxian, Priia, and a few others lifted the boulder up perfectly and held it in the air for the spell’s duration.
I cast a custom version, simulating the appearance of a small mythrul dragon I’d seen a sketch of in one of Master’s books. My dragon flew across the arena, hovered for a moment above the boulder, as several students gasped and others cheered, and then it reached down with its massive claws and hoisted the boulder into the air. The dragon was illusion, but the force exerted was real, and the boulder remained aloft for the full duration without a hitch!
It took me twice as long to cast as the other students, since it was a custom spell—a full six seconds. I got marked down a little for that, even though speed wasn’t part of the test. Thankfully Professor Mullins gave me extra credit for customizing it, so I wound up with a great grade! In time, I’ll learn to cast the custom versions just as fast as the regular ones.
Customized spells are laced with a minor illusion that makes the spell seem to be something other than what it really is. Well, it’s fairly easy to see right through this kind of illusion—you aren’t really fooling anyone, but it still makes the spell look and feel much cooler. You can completely customize a spell’s non-critical aspects, including appearance, smell, sound, and even taste. These alterations start to become more convincing at higher orders—at least to those who don’t have arcane sight. But under the right conditions, even the primitive versions are believable, at least at first.
Spells customized in this way don’t change what the spell actually does. A fireball is still a fireball even if it looks like a snowball or a swarm of wasps, but it’s still very cool. When used wisely, a customization can be very advantageous, so I hope to customize all of my spells one day.
I ran into Priia again as I was leaving school. She told me she saw several members of the administration watching my demonstration from high up on the balconies. I’m so glad I never looked up, as I probably would have choked. She mentioned Malaster. I wonder who else saw me, and if word will get back to Master on how well I did? Master isn’t the type to pat you on the back or give you a break just because you’re doing well, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.
I don’t know what Priia thought of my demonstration either. It was hard enough to cast the spell knowing she was watching. I still can’t tell if she likes me or not. Knowing my luck, she probably goes for jocks like Braxian. Hopefully she’s different, but we’ve hardly said two words to each other outside of class. Every time I try, I just—I dunno. Talking to girls is harder than spellcasting!
Master didn’t come home until early evening. I thanked him for helping me prepare for my Complex Spells demonstration and started telling him how it went. I only got a few words out before he stopped me to announce that dinner wasn’t going to cook itself. Figures. I thought after pushing me so hard that he would want to know how I did. I guess he really doesn’t care. I’ve always suspected that, but, well, I was hoping he might have had a change of heart, after pushing me so hard to succeed. I dunno. Best not to think much about it, I guess.
By the time I finished my homework it was time for bed. I’m completing this entry from under the covers thanks to a Light maki. Minor powers like this maki never last more than ten minutes, but they’re so easy for me now that I can just cast another once it fades out.
Master conditioned me to be able to absorb magic. Of course, I would never store large amounts of magic within my body. That would be too dangerous, and that’s what a spell template’s for anyway. Maki require very little magic to perform, unlike full-blown spells.
Maybe after this, I’ll do some sketching—just a little—I need to get some sleep so I’m not falling asleep in class. Unlike the Bleeker Boys, I actually like going to school. But sometimes, I just want to draw—or write. I love drawing even more, but they both allow me to express myself creatively, so either’s fun. And I don’t get enough fun. Thanks to Father, I’ve had some great art and language tutors. I think sketching is the one activity Master doesn’t mind me doing in my spare time. He actually likes my pictures and maps. It’s nice to know something I do pleases him, at least.
A BURNING SECRET
9th of Decensure, 6856 AE (Field Day)
Darby and I walked to school together, as usual. He’s very shy, at least until you get to know him better. I met him shortly after moving into Master’s house, and we hit it off right away. We have some of the same interests. He likes reading stories and is good at making board games. Sometimes we’ll play one of his games over lunch. I have a lot of ideas and sometimes he uses them, but mostly I draw the characters he puts in the games—cute, furry little monsters and such. Lately, he’s been in a rut, so this morning I brainstormed game ideas with him. Don’t know how much help I was, but it sure perked him up.
Lately, he’s been working on an idea for a chariot race game. I told him I thought it might be neat if the game had combat in it as another way to win. We came up with ideas for caltrops, special wheels with spikes that could shred your opponent’s wheels, enchanted wheels that could make you go faster, but at the risk of an accident—oh, and chariots with more resilient chassis. We even made one with a repeating spear chucker on it.
Darby had made a small list of skills players could buy for their charioteers, and I came up with a few new ones. He got really excited, and started coming up with a bunch more ideas, including options for different types of arenas, some with traps—my favorite was the Water Chariot arena. I hope he does that one, because I can’t wait to draw some sharks! Hopefully, by the time this journal gets published you will have heard of Darby and played some of his games. I’m getting pretty good at making games myself, but he’s amazing!
We don’t have any classes together, but I see him at lunch whenever he doesn’t skip it to go to the library. I worry about him sometimes. He’s just barely passing his Enchantments class, so I try to help him when I can. He’s really smart but gets distracted easily.
I ran into Braxian on the way to my Elvish II class. His lackeys weren’t with him, for which I was grateful. (They are annoying on their best day but are even worse when they travel in a pack. They rarely miss an opportunity to make fun of me for being a skree, and call me things like purple penguin, and other equally ridiculous names.) If Braxian’s aunt wasn’t one of the academy’s top financial contributors, those bullies would’ve been kicked out a long time ago. Darby and I make a point to steer clear of Braxian and his goons whenever we can, but it’s not easy.
Alone, Braxian was almost tolerable this time. The high elf actually complimented me on my custom Telekinesis spell—sort of. He said my spell was non-derivative. Then he turned around and said the custom spell was nothing he couldn’t do, but that he didn’t want to show off and make everyone feel bad. That’s Braxian. I didn’t tell him Master insisted I do the spell as I had, or that I was secretly hoping to impress everyone, especially Priia. What I did say was that I thought the original spell’s effect was uninspired. I shouldn’t have gone there, and I shouldn’t have been so loose with my words. I knew better.
He reminded me that all spells were designed to be minimalist in nature to allow for greater customization without making the complex versions beyond the reach of those capable of casting the simple version. Actually, while the less complex spells are called “simple,” that’s just a classification—there’s nothing simple about spellcasting!
Anyway, he was right, of course. He also reminded me that when the elves invented the Telekinesis spell they intended it to be efficient, not “needlessly flamboyant.” (Did they really invent it? I’m not so sure. It might have been one of the gods.) Sometimes he really rubs me the wrong way, and I’m not as good about disguising that fact as I should be. Master is really good at rubbing people the wrong way and pretending that words don’t hurt him—most of the time. He has let loose his anger from time to time in the dueling arena, and when he does, there’s no disguising it. I felt like launching an arcane missile into Braxian’s face, but I would never do such a thing, of course.
Braxian complains about Master sometimes, too, claiming he doesn’t duel honorably. When he says stuff like that, I usually remind him that my master won whatever match it was (he usually does), and if there were any concerns about his techniques, he should bring them to his attention, not mine. That always shuts him up. I know he’s afraid of Master—most are. It’s not like I agree with Master’s techniques either, but I don’t enjoy being in the middle of it all.
Today, Braxian “informed” me that I lacked the finesse that only a high elf can bring to the table—the finesse to be a truly great shaper. What a jerk! I’ll show him I have finesse. I’m sure I’ll be casting second order spells before him—and I’ll become a more powerful shaper than he ever will. I may not be an elf, but I am a skree. And I’m being taught by the best!
Elvish II started with a lesson (today’s was on Colloquial Expressions of Manner, which was bangy hard). After that was twenty minutes of Elvish only. I can’t even go to the restroom unless I can ask in perfect High Elven! I hate that elves are allowed to take that class (they’re just looking for an easy “A”). The native Elvish speakers are so much better than the rest of us, of course, and look down on us scornfully every time we mess up. I’m not horrible at speaking Elvish, but it’s not my forte either. All classroom instructions are given in Elvish, and with so many ancient, arcane texts written in Elvish, I kind of have to know it. And it’s one of the graduation requirements, so yeah, it’s a must.
Magic Lab was cancelled today. Everyone was talking about it, but no one seemed to know what was going on—not the students, anyway. There were rumors floating around, but the professors were shooting them down as fast as they popped up. The sign on the door told us to go to the library instead, so I spent the time doing my Elvish II homework (lots of memorization). I passed by the lab at the end of classes. There was a strange smell in the hall and the lab doors were still locked. Dean Malaster was walking by and hurried me along.
Tonight, I managed to finish off my homework and chores well before bedtime, so Master agreed to give me an arcane lesson. He didn’t have to. The whole reason he enrolled me in the academy was because it was cheaper than paying him the full amount for my apprenticeship.
Master doesn’t always agree with the academy’s methods, however. He likes to keep tabs on what they’re teaching me, and still teaches me some things on occasion. I always learn more from him than anyone else, so I have to give him some credit. If only his lessons weren’t so painful! If I want to be the best, I have to put up with such challenges, unfortunately.
Because Father can’t pay him any longer, Master treats me as an indentured servant and forces me to do whatever he wants. The other day he made me scrub the entire first floor of the house with a small brush and pail. He has me sweep and mop it regularly—it wasn’t even dirty, he just was in a mood. He also charges me room and board, and for any accidents I have, or property damage he can blame on me.
Tomin, my friend from Potions class, thinks I’m bangy for sticking around. He says he’d have run away by now. I asked him where he would go in my situation (not that I was thinking of running away—that’s bangy, and it’s dishonest too—my family still owes Master money). Tomin said he’d live up on the roof of the academy or in one of the towers the academy isn’t using anymore, and then sneak into the cafeteria at night to eat. I’ve never been in the academy after hours, but I’ve heard stories about things moving in the night. If even one of them’s true, I wouldn’t want to be there after dark (not because I couldn’t see what’s coming—I’m a skree, after all). Doesn’t matter, I’m not running away, but if it ever gets too bad, maybe his parents will let me sleep over there sometimes.
It’s been a couple years since I’ve cried in front of Master. Sometimes I’d cry when he treated me poorly or “inadvertently” hurt me during a lesson (usually he blames me for it). Crying only made it worse. As usual, tonight’s lesson was a combination of verbal abuse, unrealistic expectations, and advanced maneuvers I’m not ready for (he never listens, so I don’t know why I bother protesting). After such a lesson, I often go to bed with a few arcane burns or bruises on my hands and arms, as I will once I finish writing this entry.
Tonight, Master made me push past my safety threshold again. Still not quite sure what I was supposed to learn from that bangy exercise. I cast more magic tonight than ever before. I’ve seen shapers do it in the arena—I’ve seen Master coerce them into pushing past their threshold. It’s frowned upon at the academy, and with good reason—it can get you killed.
But the night wasn’t all bad. Even without the burns, I’m not sure if I could sleep—my head is buzzing with an arcane secret Master revealed during my training—a secret he swears he will melt me into a pile of goo over if I share it with anyone. He’s not serious—at least I don’t think he is. It’s hard to tell sometimes, but the trick was nifty.
I can’t wait to try it out in front of Braxian and see his reaction. I won’t cast it close enough for him to be able to tell how I’m doing it. First though, I’ll need to heal up some and keep practicing. I don’t want to blow it in front of that jerk—he’d just make fun of me to his friends and it would get all over the school. Maybe I’ll just show Priia. She’s nice, at least when she’s not pretending I don’t exist.
I’m glad the burns won’t be visible with my clothes on—well, the one on my hand will be, but if anyone asks, Master said just to tell them I hurt myself while cooking dinner. I hate lying, but I don’t want any unnecessary attention or questions either. Maybe I’ll ask the academy nurse for ointment, but I can’t tell her what happened. I know Master has some, but if I ask him for it, he might charge me or make fun of me. It’s not worth it.
Master shouldn’t be putting me into these situations. The burns are driving me nuts. I know he said they aren’t that bad, but they sting. I look forward to the day when my indentured servitude is over and I can leave Master for good.