Once the words ‘Rawhide Rampager’ left my mouth the summoning portal appeared. It was twice as tall as I was and three times as wide. Five minutes later a hulking humanoid walked out of it. It had arms that almost hit the floor. The things hands were misshaped and resembled giant hammers when he closed them. The link, I had with all of my summons, snapped into place and I could feel its anger.
It roared and my room shook. Shit! That was way too loud. I began to send it back but it fought to remain. It was the first time a summons resisted me. I struggled to keep it under control. Its fists swung about as it fought to break free. The walls and floor shook when they connected with his wrecking ball hands. Dents and cracks appeared in the solid stone. I wrestled against its willpower to make it leave. I was sweating so badly that my clothes stuck to me by the time I finally managed to force it back through the portal. When I relaxed, the sound of somebody banging on my door broke the now silent room.
I looked around my room. It was a mess. The room was sparse, so fixing the furniture did not take long but there was no hiding the damage to the walls and floor. The banging was now continuous. I opened the door, trying to look innocent. The person at the door was our dorm supervisor. She was a woman in her fifties with wrinkles that had begun to crease her face.
Right now, the older woman was frowning. She held a purple crystal and barged in without a word. I moved aside because if I did not I would have been knocked over. The crystal began to glow as she got closer to the center of the room until she was at the position I had summoned the monster in. I was so dead. The crystal flashed over and over as if screaming my guilt to the world.
It did not take much longer before I was sitting in her office. My secret about being a summoner was exposed and I had no doubt that the entire floor would spread the gossip to the whole school by tomorrow. I should have expected that Bella and I would get caught. If not for me being watched, I would have done it somewhere else. The room was simply too small with too many people around it.
I sat there lamenting my fate and what type of punishment awaited me. The name of the summons should have been a freaking clue. I just got complacent and too impulsive. My arrogance that I have never miscast before made me think it could not happen. Apparently, my race did not guaranty ‘Summoning Magic’ like it did for ‘Holy Magic’. It had almost broke free which scared me a little. It was massive and I was no melee expert. I had pinned my hopes on Bella and I have never seen her fight. The fact that Bella would not fight in the woods had slipped my mind until I almost got punched by the monstrosity I had summoned just a few moments before.
I did not have to wait long before the supervisor came back with a man I had met before and another I had not. The man I recognized was the one that questioned me about Amy and how I healed her. We did not end on a good note. I had forgotten his name since I planned to never see him again. The other had dark hair that was cut short with some grays running through it. Both of them looked unhappy to be here.
“We meet again, Alice. My name is Geoffrey in case you forgot it.” The man’s voice held displeasure so thick that it was almost tangible. I gave a weak smile. He looked over some notes he had on him and continued, “So you thought it would be a good idea to summon a grade three monster in your dorm? Did you not learn your lesson in the years…” He looked at me and then his notes, “…Year that you were learning summoning how dangerous it is? A grade one is dangerous enough and you tried summoning a grade three! What do you have to say for yourself?”
He must think I have always had summoning from how he was speaking. He looked at me waiting for a reply. What do I say? That I only just learned summoning? I was already on his radar as abnormal so that was not going to work. I decided to go with the classic, “I’m sorry. I will never do…”
He cut me off, “I believe you knew our rules and will be held accountable for breaking them. Take her away.” His cold eyes watched me as I was dragged away by two burly men that came in at his demand. I was taken to a cell in the guards building’s basement and tossed in unceremoniously. I suppose I could have fought them. I may have even won but then what? I probably should have read the rulebook because I truly had no idea what punishment my “crime” actually deserved. It could not be that horrible.
I had time now so there was no reason not to figure out how deep of a pit I had made for myself. I pulled out my school crystal and opened the rule book within it. I read it and realized that I should not be in a cell. For the first offense, I would be made to do labor for the school. The dirty and messy jobs nobody wanted, I guessed. I would also have any cost of repairs added to my school tab that I would need to repay. So, why was I even here?
I figured I would wait a while and if I needed to I would break out of here. My patience was wearing thin for this school so I was ready to leave. The only reason I stayed was because of the library’s knowledge but I had enough knowledge that I could build off of that. It would just be slower without the resources of the school.
I passed the time trying to split my aura. This was how group healing worked. The more pieces I could split it into would equal how many people I could heal at once. I finally managed to pull my aura into halves after a few hours passed. My head was throbbing from the strain, my stomach was grumbling from hunger and I was done waiting. I stood up only to have the door open. Shocked, I retreated the step I had just taken.
Geoffrey stood in the doorway with an arrogant look plastered on his face. A chill ran down my spine. It was not a friendly look. My mace was taken by the guards when I got here but I still had Pumpkin and my bow that was stored in my cloak. Neither would do me any good in a confined cell though. I waited and he finally spoke, “Alice, I am pretty sure you can raise the dead and you will either work for me or I will make you suffer until you change your mind. People will pay a lot for such a service and if you cannot, well there is another service people will pay for.” His gaze moved up and down my body as if to make his point clearer.
“I see. So that is why you locked me up. I figured you had ulterior motives but you cannot make a student vanish without questions being raised… probably.” Ok, I was not positive so I was already forming a plan that involved me summoning up some beasts and doing a prison break. It would be the first time I tried summoning multiple creatures at once and I was not sure if it was even possible for me to do. It also took me a long time to summon so I hoped he would leave me alone in the cell. My summons took five to ten minutes for each and while others might have learned to summon faster, I had not put any effort into learning that skill.
“Ha, ha, ha, do you think all those students I killed were guilty? I do not know why he wanted them dead but it was easy to add their names to the list. But then you should be worrying about yourself. After all nobody will even know you are here much less come to save you.”
I just nodded. I did not need people to save me. I would save myself. Of course, if any handy heroes wanted to drop by I would not shun their help. My growing anger seemed to agitate Pumpkin but before I could say anything he slammed the iron door after telling me to think about it. He did not seem in a hurry to break me which reinforced his words that nobody knew I was here. My plan of summoning probably would not work. He obviously knows I can do it so… Well worst case scenario is I will still be trapped or pummeled by the things I summoned. Cracking my knuckles I chuckled. Let me see if they can contain the raucous I am about to unleash. With that thought in mind, I began to cast…
I summoned the thing that got me into this mess, a Rawhide Rampager and let it go to town. I wanted it to rampage and I found that it did not fight my control like last time. It punched the door off its hinges sending it flying into the opposite cell. The stone rained down as it ran through the opening making the doorway even bigger after that it broke out. Yells could be heard from down the hall and it ran in that direction.
Looking at the list, I scrolled down trying to find something useful in tight corridors. Shrieking Mounds? Probably not mobile. Mana Leeches? Probably needs water. Magma Rats? That might be interesting. I heard screams and the clash of weapons hitting flesh and the impacts as something large hit the walls. I could feel its anger and pain and knew I needed to pick a new monster quick. I did not give it too much thought since I did not know what any of these things were and what they could do. I quickly selected “Shifter” with the thought that maybe it could teleport us out.
A grey fog floated out of the portal. I ordered it to teleport us out of here but was disappointed when it did nothing. Use your power, damn it! When I thought that it floated over to me, hovering a few inches off the floor and when it touched me it began to change. It started with its color. It went from grey to a flesh tone. Then it grew solid. By the time it was done a naked girl that could be my twin stood next to me. I pulled out some spare clothes from my cloak and helped her to get dressed.
The link I had with her was very solid and when I focused I noticed that the sounds echoed. It took me a second to realize that I was also hearing through her ears as well as mine. When I shut my eyes I could see out of hers. She seemed like the perfect spy or assassin. The connections from both my summons were distracting and made it harder to maintain control of them.
My plan was to try and use her as a decoy while I slipped away. The Rampager was still fighting but my connection I had was growing fainter as it took damage. I was not sure if it was almost “dead” and sent back from wherever it came from or if I would soon be fighting a pissed of monster that had broken free. Just in case it turned around I summoned a “Thousand Headed Annelid”. I had no idea what it was and moved back. It sounded big and I hoped it could block the hallway while I hid myself away in the cell my door broke through.
Much to my surprise the portal that appeared was only an inch around. Then another one appeared. Soon the room was filled with tiny portals and the soft plops could be heard. Little wiggly worms could be seen moving about on the floor. The portals went away and the worms began to twist about themselves, forming a longer version of itself. This repeated over and over again until there was a giant “worm” before me.
It was not what I expected but it gave me another idea. I could tunnel out of here. I did not waste any time and ordered the worm into the adjacent cell. We began our slow tunneling operation. I had to stick close to its tail or risk getting crushed as the tunnel tended to collapse shortly after our passage.
I had to be quick since my mana was depleting quicker than I thought it should have. I had a headache from trying to control all three at once, so I pushed my concern about mana cost to the back of my mind. I would think about it later when I was not about to be tortured, used as slave labor, or sold to a brothel. Priorities.
I felt the earth shake. The dirt moved and rained clumps of dirt onto me. Until finally, the tunnel opened up. A giant worm, made of thousands of tinier worms, emerged from the newly formed tunnel. I could hear screams of “Monster” and “Attack” as I walked out behind it. I let the worm get destroyed by the over enthusiastic boys that were “Protecting” the girls around them. It allowed me to slip away unnoticed.
As it died, I felt the pressure from maintaining all three ease a little. I felt dizzy and nauseous and was glad for the reprieve. I do not know why they did not guard against my summoning. All it would have taken was a guard with a crossbow and before I could even get something, I would have been a pincushion. The time it took to get a summoned monster was a huge flaw that most people knew about so I doubted they were ignorant of it.
I left the Shifter to walk down the corridor and watched the fight once I got to a place I could be relevantly out of sight. The Rampager was on the losing end but there were guards scattered about showing it had done its best. I released it and with a roar it faded out of reality. But not before it hit a guard that had relaxed when he saw it fading into a portal. Its slack mouth twisted up and I thought it might be its form of a smile.
The shifter ran back down the hallway at my command. It rattled the doors and a few guards were soon chasing after her. It did not take long before she was tied down and placed on a chair surrounded by a half a dozen guards. Their swords were out and ready to stab. It looked like she would be there a while so I gave her an order to not speak and stopped paying attention. I had no idea what type of language it had so it was safer to have her say nothing.
I left my hiding spot and made my way to the dorm. I needed to check on Bella. I needed to make sure she was ok. I would make my escape from this crappy school once I knew she was ok. I just hoped the penalty for failing to complete the quests I accepted for the tournament would not be so bad.
“Lord, I do not understand why you had me reveal myself. I could have killed her if you wanted her dead or if you wanted her truly captured I could have held her under guard. Now she is in the process of escaping, dozens of guards have been injured and she knows about my secret. It has taken generations to get somebody from the family into this school. Would you have gotten the vial if I had not been there? Let me go back and …” Geoffrey cut himself off there since he could not fathom what his Lord was thinking. While his Lord was tolerant, he could not overstep his bounds too much or he would not walk out of this room. Frustration of his life’s work going down the drain on a whim had made him bold so he had asked too many questions already.
“You put her into the special cell and she escaped without tools or skills?” a soft endogenous voice asked Geoffrey.
“Y.. Yes of course I did as per your orders. I also agitated her and left no guards around her. I followed your plans. I would not dare to do otherwise. While she got out of the cell I heard she was soon captured after. Should I reduce the guards and let her escape again?”
“Yes let her escape, then reduce any exposer of this and then retreat back to the manor. I will have another keep watch over her. She may be the one we have been searching for but I cannot cage her or she will not grow into what I need. Your actions should motivate her in the right direction.”
“As you command, Lord.” Geoffrey, happy to be of such use to his Lord, replaced his frown with a smile. They had been looking for a special person for over a decade and while he had heard of other possible candidates ,but if his turned out to be THE one he would be rewarded for testing her. His Lord was as generous as he was cruel, success was all that mattered.
I quickly made my way to Bella’s room and knocked like there was not a bunch of guards trying to cart me away for some overlord wannabe to enslave me. When the door opened I rushed into the room. Bella looked at me as if I was crazy. “Oh thank the Gods, you are safe.” I hugged her as I screamed into her ear. I may have been overly excited.
“Why would I not be fine and where did you disappear to? I waited for you for over half a day but you never showed up.” Bella asked and then playfully cupped her ears protectively.
I did not smile. I spent the next half hour telling her what happened to me today and my plan to escape this crazy place. I also checked on the shifter I left. I had felt her pain through our link and found the guards hitting her to get her to talk. She was in another cell and untied. A guard slapped her one last time before they all left.
I could hear guards talking on the other side of the door but there were no more in the cell with her. I dismissed her once I knew she was alone. I would not leave her at the mercy of the guards for no reason. Let them torture themselves thinking about how I escaped. I realized after I did it that my uniform would remain there so I could only imagine what those stories might be.
Bella broke me out of my reverie as she said, “You should not leave. I can only shudder at how powerful they are outside of the school if they are this powerful here. What about going to the principle?”
I hesitated, “I do not know who to trust. So far students, teachers, and now guards have attacked me. The only people I trust are you, Lilly and the prince’s group. You have all been by my side helping me when I needed it. I may be abducted if I do not leave soon so I need to come up with a plan.”
We discussed it into the night. There were only a few people I trusted so my plan was rather simple. Bella was right in saying I would probably be in more danger outside of school. I could not even handle the local bully of my town. The Duke had shown me just how badly I was outclassed socially so I needed allies with social status. To get them, I planned on competing in the tournament.
My plan was to lay low until it started and then show up. I would have liked to just go up to Lucas and offer my services but he, as well as Gideon, were always surrounded by a group of girls. Getting past them would be like going into a tiger’s den with a steak tied around my neck. They did not like others trying to get close to their idols.
Sun Tzu, I am not. Maybe I should have studied the military books instead of medical ones.