Chapter XVII: Invidia (6/11)Mature

By the next day, Tayna and Andrel had been filled in on the conversation with Mrs Calibrase, and found it just as strange as Will did. Their teacher clearly knew something, yet for whatever horrible reason - forbade herself from telling them or letting Will find out for himself.

It only irritated him more to know - who were the men of the Evil Eye? 

He tried to push the question aside as he concentrated on his classes, learning about hybrid creatures, transmuting ash into phoenixes, then enlarging objects in 'Ritual & Spells'. Most of the day's excitement came when the class learnt that they would be introduced to their new teacher in Psychic Skills to replace useless Wilbur.

The classroom was situated in the Main Building, at the top of a huge attic. It was full of wooden support beams, walkways and staircases which ran alongside the perimeter, the two floors were stacked so high and dense with boxes of equipment and furniture that it was like an oppressive swamp of knickknacks.  However, the third floor was their classroom, and it mirrored a cosy penthouse more than anything.

Heavy, navy drapes were artistically looped along the walls, tied with bows of thick, golden cord. Storage furniture such as cabinets, drawers and cupboards were full of every magickal object like crystal balls, incense holders and limited editions of tarot cards. There were no desks in the room, instead there were four-seater sofas arranged around the room, and in the centre, a grand antique rug where rows of cushions were arranged. Psychic Skills was a subject they all wished to take seriously, however due to Wilbur's amateur prophecies, the class had become something of a joke.

It was all about to change with the arrival of their new professor.

As the class all arrived, they saw that for the first time, the drapes had been thrown open to reveal two huge windows, flooding light into room and showing the astonishing amount of dust and cobwebs. Standing in front of the windows was a young teacher - who was, judging by the reactions of Will's female classmates - attractive.

His face was strongly boned, his hair was dark and curled just behind his ears, whilst his beard was stubbly in a way that was more charming than unkempt - like Scrawlish's beard in which he seemed to use as an emergency tissue. He wore a long overcoat over a shimmering blue waistcoat, a crisp white shirt and black pantaloons.  Nervous over introductions, the class stood in a row at the back of the classroom.

Their teacher extended his arms welcomingly and said, 'please, come and sit.' His voice was deep, fluid with a kind of bred sophistication. The class seated themselves on the cushions before him.

'As you might be able to tell, by my height, lack of fur and possession of legs, my name is not Wilbur.' A couple of girls laughed flirtatiously through the attentive silence. 'I am Professor Hellshaw, call me this, or Sir. I suppose I should mention a few things about myself, but to be frank, there really isn't much to tell.

'I am not a fan of introductory lessons, so I thought I'd launch into a practical. Now, does anybody know what this is?' Hellshaw took a tool from the table behind him, it resembled a forked twig - upon seeing it Tayna's hand shot up.

'It's a stang,' she said astutely, 'it's used for dowsing. I've used one myself.'

Hellshaw met her with a dazzling smile, she blushed. 'Did you succeed?'

'I don't know, I wanted to use it to find an arix hidden under my bed - I was led to the school treasury instead.'

He laughed, 'I'd say that's a bonus, you found much more than an arix, in fact, a couple million. Well done, Tayna.' All of the Elementals were pleasantly surprised, Hellshaw was the first teacher not to title them.

'For those of you that don't know,' he explained kindly, 'stangs are used to find objects that you are looking for, a process known as dowsing. In order to help you understand, I thought I'd turn this into a little game.

'There are three tools which all, supposedly, lead you to desired objects, the stang, a dowsing crystal, and metal dowsing rods. There are objects hidden all around the attic area, put yourselves into groups of three, each choose an object and let's have a little treasure hunt.'

The game was an enjoyable one, quickly becoming a fast-paced competition within the groups. In Will's team - Tayna was the overall winner - finding every item using the dowsing crystal and a map. Whilst others in the group used the crystal and raced around the attic, Tayna sat on the floor with the map, marking the locations of the objects, then summoning them to her with her Air magick without having to lift a finger.

They all left class feeling happy and entertained, approving of Professor Hellshaw and finding him a much better teacher than poor Wilbur the domovoi.       

The End

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