29. Best Laid Plans
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I couldn't focus on my classes. The jars I'd stolen sat heavily in my bag, and I was certain that any minute the nurse would come and call me a thief. I wasn't sure what the punishment for stealing from the infirmary was, but it was probably worse than detention.

What exactly I had stolen was still unknown. There hadn't been time to read the labels, so for all I knew I could have something that would cure dragons pox, or an ingrown toe nail. Or one of them could be a regeneration potion that would regrow a heart before you died from blood loss. Since I had risked my neck getting them, it would have been nice to know if they were worth it.

“Petra,” Ms. Parch, the history teacher and goddess of written history, brought my attention back to class. “What was the cause of the Siren War?”

“Uh,” I said intelligently, trying to buy time while recalling what I'd read the night before. “The scholar Rutherford the Foolish, made a dictionary of their language, which was a blasphemy to the sirens. So they hunted him down and every copy of the dictionary that had been made.”

Ms. Parch nodded, which made a weird sound of old parchment rubbing against itself. “Very good, you are paying attention.”

Not wanting to risk getting another question, I started writing down her lecture about the war. It was actually kind of interesting, the Sirens had attacked in small groups over four years, stealing and burning every copy they could find, even if it meant burning down buildings and people who didn't get out in time. It had finally ended when the last dictionaries had been handed over in exchange for the Sirens returning to their home on the Ever Eastern Mountain and staying there.

When class was finally over, Ella and I headed to the cafeteria. “Did you get anything useful?” she asked.

“I picked up some potions from the infirmary. I don't know what they are yet,” I replied.

Her eyes lit up. “Very good. And you weren't caught?”

“The nurse didn't say anything. She was too busy looking after a girl Calci and I kind of, broke.”

“Broke?” Ella asked, looking confused.

“I tried to make a dispel shield in magic class, and mine actually amplified the spell.” I looked down at my feet in embarrassment. How many times would I have to screw up in magic class before the teachers realized I was an absolute failure. “Anyways, I was thrown into Calci, and we both landed on top of her partner, knocking her out.”

“Do you remember how you did it? If you can do it again it might make helpful spells even more powerful.”

I hadn't actually thought of that. The wind spell Garth had cast had become a hurricane, what would happen to a healing spell cast through it? “I don't really know what I did wrong, but I can try to do it again.”

“Tonight after your detention, we'll invite Calci over and you can practice. It won't help you much for the detention, but if we can get it working it will be really helpful in other situations.”

“OK!” I said, feeling a bit better about my incompetence.

I got our usual table while everyone else got food, including mine, and took the four small jars out of my bag. When everyone was there, I quickly told them how I'd gotten them, and then started reading the labels.

“Pickman's Elixir of Healing,” I said, putting a putrid green bottle to the side. It was clearly a good one.

The next looked like cloudy water. “Krueger: Essence of Dreams, what is that?” I asked.

“It helps a person sleep and gives the good dreams,” Gold said. “My mom uses it a lot.”

“That could be useful, but it might be better to save it for later. There won't be much of a chance to make someone drink it in a fight,” Ella said.

Putting the sleep aid to the opposite the healing potion, I read the next one. “Invigorating Voorhees. Oh this is definitely one I want.”

“What does it do?” Clarice asked.

“It doubles your strength and endurance. It's popular in Head Breaks Rock games.”

There was one last bottle, the smallest one. “Myer's Ointment of Fortitude.” I looked around wondering if anyone had heard of it.

Everyone looked a little confused. Calci read the label, then opened it up and gave it a sniff, wrinkling her nose at the smell. “This says you rub it on yourself to make your skin tough enough to take a blow from an ogre.”

“Nice,” I said, not believing how lucky I'd gotten. There had to be a catch somewhere. “With these I could survive detention.”

Ella was looking over at Rocks For Brains, with a curious expression. “I think we should invite Rocks over, he looks lonely.”

We all looked nervously at the half-giant. Sure he was no longer working with Victor, but he could accidentally kill any of us, except maybe Calci and Ivy, with an accidental nudge. “Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes. You two will probably be facing off against other students, not each other. Having him working with us, and you, will be helpful. Especially if he drinks the Voorhee's stuff. Lets face it Petra, doubling your strength won't do much. But doubling his, he'd make almost anyone worried.”

“That's a good point,” I admitted. “So who is going to invite him over?”

Everyone looked at me. Well everyone except Garth who was looking at his food. My stomach dropped as I realized there was only one good candidate. “Right, should have guessed. I'll go get him,” I muttered.

All eyes were on me as I walked over to Rocky. There was a lot of whispering as well, a few smirks, a lot of concerned looks, and some money passing hands. I really wished everyone would just ignore me, like they had at my old, ordinary school.

“Hey Rocky,” I said.

The big half-giant looked up in surprise, then he got a goofy grin on his enormous face. “Pretty Petra. Hello!”

“Would you like to eat with me and my friends?”

He grabbed his tray and got up so fast, the table flipped over nearly crushing me. Fortunately I'd become quick on my feet and managed to jump back in time.

“Sorry,” he said, before awkwardly holding his tray and putting the table back in order.

“Don't worry about it, just try to be more careful. You'll do better next time.”

We made our way back to my table, and the number of concerned looks had doubled. Students moved between tables talking quietly to each other, motioning at us or Ella as they did. This probably wasn't good, but there wasn't much I could do about it.

Taking my seat, Rocky sat on the floor at the end of the table, smiling shyly. “Hi,” he said, giving everyone a tiny wave.

“Hello Rocks For Brains, it's nice to finally meet you,” Ella said. She introduced all of us to the half-giant, and then got down to business. “Rocks For Brains, we're talking about your detention, and I think we have something that will really help you and Petra. Since we're friends now, you'll want to protect Petra right?”

“Yes! I help soft Petra. She is nice and pretty.”

I blushed in embarrassment. I really didn't like being called soft, or pretty, no matter how accurate it was.

“That's great!” Ella said, clapping her hands together. “Then we'll definitely help you, so you can both be safe. Petra found some good potions that will help you.”

Ella kept talking through lunch, making sure Rocky understood exactly what he had to do and how I'd help him. He happily nodded along, giving me shy looks and blushing every time I looked at him.

Garth hurriedly finished his food and got to his feet. “I've gotta go. Need to get some things ready for my next class.”

“OK, have fun,” I said.

“Yeah, sure,” he muttered, ignoring everyone else as he headed for the door.

Not sure what his problem was, I shrugged my shoulders, and listened to Ella talk.


Nurse Sharon stomped her hoof in irritation.

Working at Doom Valley was always interesting, but usually it was interesting to other people, not her. Most people were smart enough to want to stay on her good side. But it seemed one foolish student had decided to make her part of their plots. She knew who the culprits were, the freshmen that everyone was interested in had to have stolen the potions, no one else had had the opportunity.

She considered getting one of her homunculus to drag the girl kicking and screaming back to the infirmary. Shaking her head she decided not to bother. She'd have to explain that they'd stolen from her and that would be embarrassing.

Looking over the mislabelled potions that were spread out on the counter, she took a quick inventory of what was left. Someone had enchanted the labels to jump between bottles, so she wasn't sure what exactly was what without a thorough study. This type of thing was an occasional problem, the seniors would dare each other to pull a prank, and the supply room was one of the safer places to pull it. Fortunately she had a good idea of what was missing.

Sharon started to smile. If she was right, the little thief was going to have a very big surprise when she tried to use her ill gotten goods. It might be worth taking time out of her day to watch Master Grieve's detention, she needed a good laugh.