It took Damien half a dozen more tries before Henry finally voiced his approval of an attempt. The rune flickered in the air before him as he pressed his palm against it and channeled the ether through his arm.
He pictured the black hole that Henry had made several moments ago and focused on the how the spell worked. Energy twirled around his palm, twisting inwards. There was a hiss as a ring tore through the air before him.
Its edges wavered and flickered like light from a candle, and Damien could see the Ether leaking out of it in strands of golden light. After a few moments, the spell collapsed.
“Not bad,” Henry said. “Do it a few hundred more times. It’ll help your cultivation since it’s repetition, and you might get a decent grasp of the spell by then as well.”
Thanks, Henry. It’s great to have such a supportive teacher.
“No problem,” Henry replied cheerfully. “In fact, if you want to thank me, why don’t we go get some books from the library? The competition is over, so you don’t have an excuse. I can even read them myself in one of the rooms you built, but you need to check them out. The library’s got so many runes on it that even I wouldn’t be able to steal from it without alerting someone.”
Damien sighed and rubbed his forehead.
I was being sarcastic, but I suppose that’s a fair enough request. Do you at least know what books you want? I don’t really want to spend the rest of the day in a musty library, especially when I can learn just about anything I need to from you.
“You’re spoiled,” Henry said. “And don’t forget my magic is probably out of date from the perspective of your fellow mortals. Don’t forget that it’s been four thousand years. If you want the newest magic, you’re not learning it from me.”
Magic is magic. I want to learn everything I can, and there’s nothing wrong with starting with the old stuff. Four thousand years is nothing for you. You live for so long that it’s basically a second to you. I can’t imagine things have changed so much in a relatively short amount of time.”
“You’re wrong,” Henry said. Damien’s shadow shifted slightly. “I don’t just live a long time. I am immortal. There is no death for me, nor was there a beginning that I can remember. I simply came to be. And, despite that, humanity changes faster than you could ever comprehend. The news of today is the history of tomorrow. Four thousand years… much can change in less time.”
Right, fine. We’ll go to the library. I just hope you’ve got something picked out. We aren’t staying there the rest of the day, and I notice you’re avoiding the question.
Henry cackled. Damien suspected that he would have been rubbing his hands together in glee had Henry had an actual body. “Fantastic. There are a few books that we can start with. A history of the school and the continent. Information about what you’ll be learning each year. A bestiary of every known monster. And whatever that book that the lunch lady was reading.”
I suppose that makes – wait. What? Why in the Seven Planes do you need that book?
“Humans put a lot of culture into their smut,” Henry said. “You never know what you’ll learn from it.”
I’m not checking out Love Making for the Uninitiated and Lustful.
“We’ll see about that,” Henry said, chuckling. “Chop chop. You’ve got a lot more practice to do today, and you don’t want to waste too much time getting your little old companion his books.”
Damien rolled his eyes and let out a sigh. He strode out of the room, nodding to Sylph as he passed her on her bed.
“I’m going to the library,” Damien said. “Need anything there?”
“Not at the moment,” Sylph replied. She raised an eyebrow. “What do you need there? New spells?”
“Nah. I’m just… getting some light reading, I suppose,” Damien replied.
Sylph shrugged and returned to meditating as Damien headed down the mountain towards campus.
It was a little over an hour and a half before he returned – and half of that time had been spent arguing with Henry. Damien stuck his foot under a small hole at the bottom of their door and pulled it open, balancing a tall stack of books in his hands.
He slipped inside, nearly dropping them as the door bumped him on the back as it closed. With a grumble, Damien waddled over to his bed and dumped the pile onto it.
“Light reading, huh?” Sylph asked, glancing at one of the books that was easily twice as thick as his head.
“My companion decided that we needed to get every volume of ‘Dredd’s Daemons and Monsters’. Don’t ask me,” Damien said, sighing. He didn’t even bother hiding it from Sylph at this point. She already knew that Henry was physically present, and she hadn’t ratted him out yet.
Damien picked up a small pile of the books and brought them through the training room before setting them down on the ground in the farthest room. He headed back to his bed and collected another batch, ferrying them over as well.
“Multiple trips. Really?” Henry asked.
I got them here in one trip. That’s good enough.
Henry just scoffed. Damien grabbed the last few books. Among their number was one titled Love Making for the Uninitiated and Lustful. Damien set it on the ground next to the other books and shook his head.
“There,” he said aloud. “Your books.”
“Fantastic,” Henry replied. “You need to make me a room so that I don’t have to worry about getting discovered. But, for now, just keep your roommate out. I could just wait until she’s asleep, but I feel strangely drawn to start immediately, despite how illogical that is.”
It’s called being impatient. Human emotion.
“Well, I don’t like it,” Henry said, the glower apparent in his tone. “It makes me feel antsy.”
We don’t like it any more than you do.
Henry grunted. Damien’s shadow peeled away from his feet, rising up from the ground like a ball of darkness. Two tendrils emerged from it as eyes blinked to life all around Henry’s form. Henry picked up a book and brought it closer to himself as Damien stepped out of the room.