28. Hope
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It was our fourth day of classes at Doom Valley Prep School. I'd been killed and resurrected over twenty times, nearly permanently died at least twice, and probably more than that, gotten into two fights, been transformed again into an even sexier girl, blew up the face of my teacher, ended up naked in front of class, got a concussion in potions class, set my dress on fire, nearly destroyed the magic classroom with a spell gone wrong, almost got detention once, and then got a week long detention the very next day, I think that was pretty impressive even for Doom Valley.

Trudging along to breakfast, I didn't feel as confident as I had the night before. Sure my friends were going to try help me, but I was doing detention everyday for a week in a high level combat class. What could they possibly give me that would help?

Taking a seat, I saw that Rocks For Brains was sitting by himself. He didn't look up from his enormous bowl of something. Barbarina on the other hand managed to hit me right on the temple with her elbow.

“Ow! Watch where your going!” I snapped.

The barbarian looked back long enough to smirk and say, “You're going to die. Shame I won't be able to get your scalp a second time.”

“You OK?” Garth asked, sitting down beside me.

“Yeah. Just not feeling confident about my detention,” I said. Turning to look at him, I saw he had a nasty bruise on his cheek. “Oh, you got hurt.”

He shrugged. “Yeah. Barbarina managed to punch me when I took her down. It's not bad, only hurts when I talk.”

I gave him a hug. I wouldn't normally give a guy a hug, but having been hugged so often by my friends, it had sort of become a habit. And my feeling were all over the place, so I just went with it. Very awkwardly and hesitantly he wrapped his arms around me, which felt almost as nice as getting hugged by my girl friends.

We didn't hug for long, but by the time we were done everyone else was there. The girls were grinning, while the boys gave Garth a thumbs up. I didn't know why it was such a big deal, we'd just hugged. Naomi and the girls hugged me all the time.

“Good morning everyone,” Ella said. “Boys, how is Victor doing?”

Gold looked away from Clarice, who had been feeding him a piece of fruit. “Ah, he's not doing that well. Rock For Brains told him to leave Petra alone, or he'd stomp on him. A lot of the other guys are muttering about getting some revenge on him.”

The princess grinned like a cat. “Excellent. If you'd be so kind to pass on the word that the first person who punishes Victor in a suitably painful or humiliating way will gain my favour, it would be appreciated.”

We all shared a look. Ella had never talked that way before, she'd always sounded sophisticated and confident, now she sounded like royalty ordering an execution. But this was Victor we were talking about, if anyone deserved it, it was that psychic creep.

Looking around I noticed that Victor wasn't sitting at his usual table, instead he was a far one with his back firmly against the wall. Micheal was beside him, the little freak didn't look so good. His skin was greyish and as he ate a breakfast sandwich I saw his hand was wrapped in a black bandaged with what looked like red runes all over it. That couldn't be healthy.

My mood lifted at seeing my two biggest enemies brought down to size.

“Now that our enemies are mostly dealt with, the important thing is protecting Petra from her detention. We don't want to see her killed or maimed. So today try to come up with anything that might help her survive, buy enchanted items from other classmates, make potions of healing, invisibility, shielding, or whatever you think can help. I'll cover all expenses, and I'm willing to discuss favours during lunch or class with anyone,” Ella said.

“Petra and I can make some quick healing potions in class,” Calci said. “They won't be very strong, but they'll help if she sprains an ankle or something.”

“Very good, Calci.”

“Maybe we can... borrow one of the shield pins from combat class. That would really help,” Naomi said.

“We have to return those after class,” I pointed out.

“You had yours stolen last class. You couldn't return it and you didn't get into trouble.”

Ella grinned. “If you could steal one for each of us, that would be very helpful. But for right now try to just steal one of them. And Petra should do it, she's already got detention, it's expected that she'll attempt to protect herself. They likely won't punish her as much as someone else.”

“Wh-” I started to say only to stop and think about it. I already had detention, what more could they do to me? And this was my problem, if anyone should get in trouble trying to help me, it should be me. Sure most people at Doom Valley would probably want to make someone else take the responsibility, but I didn't want to be here. I wanted to be a hero. Well it was time I started acting like one.

“Good idea,” I said. “I'll do it.”

“Are you sure?” Naomi asked.

“Y-yes. I can do this.”

Everyone but Ella gave me worried or disbelieving looks. The princess just smiled and nodded in respect. It helped make me feel better about my decision.


In magic class everyone watched me as I went to my seat. They were whispering to each other, and snickering or giggling evilly. I wanted to hide, or better yet run away, but I couldn't do that. It was time for me to act like a hero. With my chin up, and my chest pushed out, I pretended that everything was right with the world.

Mage Malacoda came into class making everyone quiet down. “Today class we're going to practice your dispel shield. You can try to dispel a magical spell as it's being cast, but usually only the best mages can accomplish that quickly enough to matter. If you're about to get a blast poison gas to the face, which will go through most shields, remembering the exact words to counter it is rather difficult. Repeating them perfectly in time to stop it is almost impossible. So it's best if you set up a dispel shield before you are under fire.”

We spent the first half of class going over the spell, breaking it down into its basic components, and learning how they were connected. Then several minutes were spent going through the motions and the words. It was very thorough, but it was also one of the more important spells we could learn, so I was happy to spend the time on it.

I partnered up with Garth just like last time, hoping that this time things would go better. “So who should go first?” I asked.

“How about you try the spell first, that way if you get it wrong we can work on it some more,” he said.

Nodding at his logic, I carefully cast the spell and felt a tingle that told me the spell had worked. Now to see how well it worked.

Muttering some words, Garth cast his minor wind spell.

I felt the wind hit my dispel shield, and then it began to whistle. I found myself picked up by hurricane force wind, and thrown right into Calci. We both went down, landing on top of her partner, and slid along the ground into the wall.

Getting to my feet, I helped Calci up who was more confused than hurt. Her partner wasn't so lucky. The girl was out cold from having been used as a sled by a heavy dwarf and myself.

“What happened?” I asked.

Mage Malacoda shook his head and rubbed his eyes, like he couldn't believe what had just happened. “You've managed a one in ten million feat, Petra. Somehow you made a dispel shield that increases the power of a spell.”

“Uh-huh. I don't know how I did that.”

“Neither do I,” he replied. “Now you and Calci can get Lauri to the nurse. It looks like you've broken her.”

We each grabbed the unconscious girl under an arm and started making our way out of the classroom.


The nurses office was much like I remembered it. The centaur nurse sighed when she saw me come in. “You're back so soon,” she said dryly.

“Uh yeah, but it's not for me this time. Our classmate fell and got hurt,” I said.


“Well we were kind of blown into her by a spell gone wrong, and she softened our landing.”

The nurse facepalmed. “Fine, put her on the table.”

Calci and I did as we were told, then stepped back. The nurse moved in to look her over, her large horse body pushed me to the side. Glass rattled as I moved. Looking back, I saw that there were several potions on the counter.

As casually as possible I grabbed a few of the smaller ones, shoving them into my pants pockets. “Well if that's everything, we should get back to class,” I said.

“Yes you should. Tell your teacher she's out for the day,” the nurse said, not bothering to look at us.

“Will do,” I said, motioning for Calci to move quickly.

Once we were in the hallway, Calci gave me an odd look. “What was that about? I wanted to see what would happen.”

“I got some help for tonight,” I said, taking a potion of something halfway out of my pocket.

The dwarf broke into a grin and stroked her small beard. “Great work, Petra, there may be hope for you after all.

With a new found bounce in my step, we headed for class.