18. Fate’s Chew Toy
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“So... Petra, will you be keeping the new body?” Clarice asked, looking a tad envious.

Slumped in my seat, I was busy stuffing food into my face. Being killed and resurrected over twenty times had made me work up an appetite. The new proportions probably didn't help matters either. It felt like I was sitting on balloons, and I missed being able to see my feet.

“They're supposed to shrink a little, but they won't go back to normal without magic, and the school won't cover it. It's cheaper if they just give me larger clothes,” I said.

Looking down at her minuscule chest, Clarice halfheartedly said, “Oh, that's too bad. I wish I'd been there with you.”

“You think we could have stopped him before he threw his candy?”

“Uh,” she looked around guiltily. “Yes. There's safety in numbers after all.”

Garth looked confused, he was also looking at my chest along with the other boys. “If Micheal hates you why would he give you a better body?”

My face turned beet red, and I ducked down lower in my seat.

“Petra was quite happy with her body before. Having it changed like that is embarrassing, especially with the extra attention it gets her,” Ella said, looking pointedly at each of the boys.

Garth had the decency to look embarrassed and focus on his food.

“Now,” Ella continued, “this is an attack on all of us. We need to retaliate or we'll be seen as weak.”

“We could get Ivy to attack him,” I said.

Our not so friendly werewolf, grinned around the large bone she was gnawing on, her tail wagging happily behind her. My leg twinged in pain at the sight of my former thigh bone.

“That would be satisfying, but unless he attacks Ivy first it would likely end with her in detention, or worse,” Ella explained. “In this case we need to be careful. Does anyone have a class with him?”

Raising her hand, Calci said, “I'm in Runes and Mystical Artifacts with him. He really knows his stuff, and was complaining that they wouldn't let him test out.”

“Does anyone seem to be his friend?”

“No. Most people seem to avoid him. He keeps talking about how good he is, and it annoys most people. Blood Wing started yelling at him in Runes and almost summoned a demon to rip him apart before Witch Hemlock broke things up. In Mystical Artifacts they were made to sit on opposite sides of the room.”

“Excellent,” Ella said. “His only friends seem to be Victor and his crew, who we also need to watch out for. We might be able to get two birds with one stone if we do things properly. Tomorrow I want everyone to be on their guard, and watch what Micheal, Victor and the rest of them do, who they hang out with, what they're good at, anything you can learn. I'll start questioning my contacts, and talk with Blood Wing. If she really doesn't like Micheal that will definitely help us.”

I really didn't like the smile on my roommates face. She looked like a stereotypical evil vizier, plotting a palace coup.

She leaned in a little, making sure all eyes were on her. “From here on out, we don't discuss our plans for Micheal in public. He has to know we're going to retaliate, we don't want to tip him off on how we'll go about it.”

We all nodded, and the topic changed to classes and teachers.


Back in the room I shared with Ella, I had just sat down at my desk ready to do my homework when Ella pulled a chair up beside me.

“So Petra, how do you like being a girl?” she asked.

“It's weird. And bouncy,” I said. Then my brain caught up with my mouth and I realized what she'd just asked and what I'd said.

She was going to be angry at me for not telling her. I struggled to find the right words to say, if I screwed things up she'd probably have Ivy eat me. Or hand me over to Micheal. I needed to be eloquent, suave, or at least pitiful. I could probably pull off pitiful.

“I- uh. I-I- I didn't want to be here!” I finally managed to get out.

Ella giggled. “Don't worry. I know things like this can be embarrassing, I did tell you about how some of my brothers and sisters aren't in their original shapes anymore and some aren't exactly human anymore. You've been a perfect gentleman about not leering or taking advantage of things by being touchy-feely. I am a little hurt you didn't trust me enough to tell me, but I understand wanting to keep it  quiet.”

“Thanks,” I said. The weight that had suddenly lifted from my shoulders, and I felt a huge sense of relief. “How did you find out?”

“Some things just added up. No makeup and no experience with it. Some girls don't like makeup, but you acted like it was going to kill you. How you act around people, especially boys, like you are trying to hide but also like you were envious. You aren't comfortable in your own skin. The looks you give girls. It all made me a little suspicious. But the big thing was your clothes.”

“My clothes?”

“On the first day you were walking around in clothes that didn't fit you, and weren't made for your body. Pranks are pulled on the first day so I believed what you said about Micheal messing with them. But I decided to check out your clothes after Micheal played his newest prank. Most girls wouldn't feel that bad about getting a body like yours, but you acted like it was the end of the world. So I decided to check some things."

“Micheal wanted to make me his perfect girlfriend. He gave me some candy that was laced with something that made me a girl and almost brainwashed me so I'd be in love with him,” I said.

She looked disgusted. “Creepy. Now we really need to take him down. You know this does explain why Victor couldn't mess with your brain.”


“Yes. When he used his powers on me, I thought he was the most handsome guy around. I wanted to be held by him and feel all safe and warm in his arms.” She shuddered at the thoughts. “You don't like boys do you?”

“Not like that,” I said.

“Right. He thought you'd be like most girls and tried to do the whole 'love me' whammy. Since you're not into that, your brain revolted.”

That made a lot of sense. “I did see him as the type of guy who girls would fall over themselves for, and hated him for it.”

“Exactly. Unfortunately Micheal has probably told him that you used to be boy. So if Victor comes after you, he'll hit you with something that makes boys want to follow him. He'll be the leader of the pack, and if you follow him you might get to be almost as cool as he is,” she explained.

“I really don't want that to happen,” I said.

She put her arm over my shoulder. “Don't worry, you're my friend, so we're in this together. We're going to take Micheal down so hard that Victor and everyone else will know not to mess with us.”

“Yay!” I said, trying to sound hopeful.

“And if you can come back home with me over the winter holiday, I can get my Mom or one of my fathers healers to change you back into a boy. If you still want to by then.”

My jaw dropped. Going to the Imperial Palace of Arp, and not just as a tourist but a guest. I might be able to see the Mad Immortal Emperor in person. And I could become a boy again. I wouldn't have even dreamed that that was possible a day ago. The most important place I'd ever been to was the Black Tower where the current Grand Leader of Seven Springs ruled the city, while the Parliament Buildings were being rebuilt for the seventh time in a decade.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“Of course,” she said, giving me a quick hug. “You haven't tried to back stab me, stab me in the front, lie to me, poison me, or use me for some plot, you're the best friend I've ever had. A little foolish, but it's a nice change from dealing with my siblings, children of the aristocracy, servants and bureaucrats. I've never been so relaxed around someone who isn't my mother.”

I was reminded once again that Ella and I had had very different life experiences so far. “I haven't had to worry about any of that until now, Ella. But I can truthfully say you're the best friend I've ever had too.”

“I'm glad to hear it. Now lets get our homework done. We've got a lot of work to do tomorrow if we want to take down Micheal and Victor.”


Sir Grieve looked around at the other teachers, checking to make sure everyone was there. “We've had a successful first day of class. One senior student managed to send himself to a hell dimension when he tried to summon a demon. Our envoy is currently negotiating his return, they say we should be able to get him back with most of his soul intact. There is a group of sophomore students who are planning on stealing the exam sheets for their subterfuge classes.”

“I know all about it, I was the one who told them how to do it,” Bob said. “They didn't know it was me, of course. I'll see how far they get and grade and punish them accordingly.”

Nodding, Sir Grieve continued. “The caretakers have been informed of the eldritch entity infestation in your classroom, Malacoda. Some students who were late for class are dealing with it now.”

As if on cue there was a loud scream from down the hall.

“We may need some more students,” he said, making a note of it on his notepad.

“Angel Slayer, you'll be happy to know Ameth has finally crawled out of the lava field. She's a little more scorched then usual, but she'll be with you for class first thing in the morning. Try not to lose her this time.”

“Lucky me,” the Orc said.

“We're in discussion with the Dark Necromancer to have a group of Juniors attempt to steal his Jewel of Madness. He wants to test his security system, and has assured us that his traps will only maim and not kill the students unless they get very unlucky. I'd like a list of potential students for this project by the end of the week. That's the important parts. Would anyone like to add anything?” he asked.

Mage Malacoda raised his finger. “I'd like to join in the betting pool concerning Petra.”

This got everyone's attention, the mage never bet on the students. Curious, Sir Grieve said, “Very well, what do you think will happen to her?”

“She'll survive the year, suffering lots of humiliation, but somehow surviving and even overcoming all obstacles,” the mage said.

Laughter erupted around the room. All the teachers knew about Petra, and no one thought she'd last very long. No one that incompetent could survive Doom Valley Prep School.

“Very well, if you want to toss your money away, I'll put your prediction in the pool,” he said.

Lady Plague turned her unnerving eyes on her subordinate. “Why are you so confident in this girl?” she asked.

Malacoda grinned. “She's Fates Chew Toy.”