The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Twelve)
"Oh?" said the monster, leaning down until its face was just an inch from the principal's. "And what if I say no?"
"In that case, I will have no choice but to expel you from the premises, myself," Mrs. Pembrooke said. She showed neither fear nor concern about the creature's proximity from her face.
"And just what can a puny human like you possible do against the likes of me?" the creature asked, baring his fangs.
In response, Mrs. Pembrooke snapped her fingers, and a loud, deep wind gust sound was followed by gold chains bursting from the walls and floor. The chains wound themselves around the creature and held him at a painfully tight grip. Pinned down, the creature could only scream and yell. He tried to break free, but his brute strength was no match against the power of those magic chains. Mrs. Pembrooke sent the creature on his merry way with the next spell. A magic circle appeared beneath the creature's feet and he was pulled in. I had no idea where the magic circle led to, and when I asked Mrs. Pembrooke later, she wouldn't say.
"Now, with that done, I have some work I need to finish," Mrs. Pembrooke announced. "But before that, Mr. Lin, when you have time, please come by my office. There is something that I would like to discuss with you. Would that be acceptable?"
"Uh . . . Sure," I replied.
"Hm?" went the teacher. "Did you say something, Mr. Lin?"
He was still oblivious to all the magic stuff happening in his classroom.
"No," I answered the teacher.
"I'll leave the rest to you, Mr. Fa," Mrs. Pembrooke said. "If you don't mind."
Greg put one hand behind his back and one arm across his stomach before bowing like a fancy butler to the principal.
"It would be my honor," he said. Even though I've seen him act like that while he worked at Delilah's coffee shop, I still had a hard time getting used to this side of Greg. It's probably because he was always dressed and talking like a depressing Goth around me.
Which personality is the real one? I wondered as I stared at my vampire stepbrother.
After Mrs. Pembrooke left (which she did by walking literally through the door), Greg walked over to Reginald and pointed at him. With his pointer finger, he drew some kind of jagged pattern in the air. There was a low, wooshing electric-like hum, the kind of sound that a sci-fi, futuristic machine would make when suddenly turning on. Reginald suddenly went slump. His head tilted to the side enough for me to see his eyes go out of focus for a moment. Once Greg's form dispersed into a swarm of bats that flew out the gap left from the door being left open a crack, Reginald snapped out of his stupor.
"What was I doing again?" he said aloud.
I've spent a lot of my free time reading comic books, so I know a memory wipe when I saw it. I got to be honest. I was a bit shocked. There was no reason for Greg to do something like that. I mean, the guy can already see monsters and magical creatures like I could. So he must know that magic existed.
Greg came back in his human form. He didn't even look Reginald's way as he made his way to his desk. And when the teacher asked him if he was okay, Greg just gave him a half-hearted "Yes".
Later after class was over, I stopped Reginald to talk to him about the bullying monster and the vampire. Reginald remembered the monster, but he had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned a vampire.
"Really?" he said. "There was a vampire here? All I remember was that big guy coming into our classroom. Speaking of that guy, I'm glad he's gone. But where did he go? He suddenly disappeared."
I opened my mouth to reply, but then closed my mouth. I thought it was better not to say anything since he didn't remember. So I just shrugged, told him that I'd catch up with him, and then left.
The poor guy looked really happy while talking with me about the monster. I was probably the first one he met who could see monsters like he could, even though there were at least three people that I know of who had the same special sight. That just made me a bit angrier. When I next saw Greg, I glared at him. He just stared back coldly before walking away without saying a word.
School was over when I made my way to Mrs. Pembrooke's office. I wondered what she could want with me. Maybe it was related to the Eripmav.
I knocked on the door and waited for the principal to answer before letting myself in. Mrs. Pembrooke sat behind her desk, hands clasped together over stapled sheets of paper.
"Please have a seat," she said to me. I obliged.
"Mr. Lin, it has come to my attention that you can now see the magical beings beyond the Veil that separates the human world from the magic world," she said. "That was why that abhorrent coward was bothering you, is that not so? My apologies for allowing that to happen. Normally, people like that would not be able to set foot inside of the school. But security has been taxed by the recent invasion of the Eripmav. Because of that, I can no longer guarantee that it won't happen again. Do you understand?"
I nodded, although I only got half of what she was saying.
"As such, I believe that you should learn some magic spells so you can defend yourself."
My heart started to race with excitement. Did she say what I thought she said? Learn magic? Me? Like real magic?
"Wait!" I said. A thought had crossed my mind. "What about Reginald? Can't he see through the Veil too?"
"I offered to teach him some magic a long time ago, but he declined," Mrs. Pembrooke said.
"What? Just like that? And you didn't do anything to change his mind?"
"I asked him again to see if he would change his mind, but his answer didn't change," Mrs. Pembrooke said. "I try to respect the free will of my students, so I didn't press any further. And it's not like I was looking to make him an apprentice. I just wanted to teach him some self-defense spells so he could better take care of himself. The same goes for you. Frankly, even if I was looking for an apprentice, I would rather recruit one straight out of the military, or law enforcement at the least. A lot of the work that magicians do require a certain amount of grit."
"What would I have to do?" I asked.
"It's not hard," Mrs. Pembrooke said. "There are a lot of things that regular humans already do to ward off annoying pests and malevolent fairy creatures."
"What? You mean like wearing your shirt inside out, or throwing salt?" I said.
"The inside-out shirt's a ridiculous myth," Mrs. Pembrooke said. "But salt can disrupt magic, which would give magical creatures an allergic reaction."
I made a mental note to myself to keep a bag of salt with me whenever I go out.
"But a more effective means of protecting yourself would be a simple barrier spell, or maybe make a rune stone with a ward of protection on it," Mrs. Pembrooke continued. "I believe your brother, Gregory, can help you with that. Norse runes are his specialty."
I remembered back to when he drew in the air with his fingers before Reginald fainted. Could that be what Greg drew? I wondered. He seemed to know a thing or two about magic, but I was a bit on the fence about having him as a teacher.
"Yeah, I think it'd be better if I learn it from you," I replied.
Mrs. Pembrooke's right eyebrow arched.
"Suit yourself," she said with a shrug. "But unfortunately, I don't have time to properly teach you. Instead, I will give you this."
She pulled a small book bound in fading blue leather out from her desk and handed it to me. I flipped through the yellowing pages of the book, my eyes just barely registering the neat print handwriting.
"You will have to master everything on your own, I'm afraid," said Mrs. Pembrooke. "But it shouldn't be too difficult. These are very low tier spells, after all. If you're having trouble, I'm sure either your brother, or his friend, Mr. Douglas, can help you."
I don't know about that, I thought.
I thanked Mrs. Pembrooke for the book and left.
As I was walking down the hall, I spotted April and Greg talking. Seeing them together gave me an unpleasant feeling in my stomach for some reason. What could they be talking about? I wondered as I slowly walked up to them. Since it hasn't been that long since school ended, there were still a lot of kids like me hanging around. This was good for me, since it gave me the chance to try blending in with the crowd as I approached them.
The closer I got, the more I realized that this wasn't some friendly chat between friends or anything like that. April looked a bit distressed, and Greg looked almost as cold to her as he was to me. Finally, I got close enough to hear Greg say:
"Sorry, but this is something that you'll have to decide on your own. I can't help you with that."
Glancing to his right, Greg spotted me. I tried to act inconspicuously (I think that's how you use that word) and turned away, whistling. I didn't think it was working, because April and Greg were both giving me funny looks.
Greg turned away, rolling his eyes. "I have to get going," he said. "If you need to talk to Delilah, just use the card she gave you. All you have to do is say 'I have a case' and it'll take you straight to her office like the first time around."
"Okay," April said softly. "Thanks."
Greg looked back at me for a moment and without saying a word, left me and April alone in the hall. April and I watched him go.
April and I stood side by side by her locker. We didn't say anything for what felt like forever. I have to say, I had never felt more awkward. I sometimes glanced sideways to April. And she sometimes glanced sideways to me. But neither of us held eye contact for longer than a second. We always turned away the moment the other noticed our stares.
"So . . . " I said, finally breaking the silence. There was something I just had to ask. "What were you and Greg talking about?"
"It was nothing," April replied hurriedly. "What about you? What did Mrs. Pembrooke wanted with you?"
I knew that April's talk with Greg was not nothing and that she was trying to change the subject, but I didn't think it would be a good idea to press for details. So I let it slide.
I took out the book that Mrs. Pembrooke gave me and handed it to April.
"Mrs. Pembrooke thought that it'd be a good idea for me to learn some magic spells to better protect myself," I said. "So she gave me this spell book."
April's eyes widened and some spark returned.
"What? Really?" she said. She stared at the notebook in her hand in astonishment. "This is a spell book?"
"Y-yeah," I stammered.
"How come she gave it to you?" April asked. She was eagerly flipping through the pages. Her eyes rapidly took in everything the book had to offer.
"Well, it looks like I've got magic eyes now," I said.
"What? No way. Really?"
"Yeah," I said. I could feel my cheeks pull up into a grin. If there had been a mirror, I'm sure I would have seen my face wearing a big goofy grin. I was glad to see I was able to bring April out of her funk, even if only temporarily. "I can see magic creatures now that no one else can. Not all of them are nice, though. So, I need to know how to take care of myself if I ever meet those not-nice magical creatures."
"I see," April said. Her eyes were glued to the book now. I don't think she was listening anymore. "Hey, this spell sounds cool. I wonder what it does."
"Huh? What spell?"
Before I could stop her, April spoke a foreign language and a familiar deep hum reached my ears. Do all magic spells make that sound? Her hands lit up with a brilliant pink, and the next thing we both knew, the notebook that Mrs. Pembrooke had taken the trouble to give me caught on fire.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Eleven)
Jay must deal with a new bully.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Thirteen)
Jay learns some magic.