“So.” The girl said as the flames lit her face. Several people were screaming, rushing to put out the fires quickly enveloping the library. “I really screwed up this time, didn’t I?”
“Yes, Ms. Arthur. I believe that’s an apt description. What possessed you to think that summoning a Dretch to guard your room would be a good idea?”
“Well, Master, I figured after summoning a Lemure, a Dretch couldn’t be much harder. I just wanted to practice my summoning technique a little bit.” The girl stopped for a second, looking up to the middle aged man standing next to her, then back at the flaming building. “If I may ask, Master Magarus, how are we going to fix this?” Catalina turned, looking back to where her master had been standing, only to see that he had disappeared. “Correction; how am I going to fix this?” The young witch watched as more people rushed in, quenching the fires with summoned water. She thought for a moment, trying to remember her master’s lesson on minor demons. “Right. Dretches. Immune to electrical charges, and nearly so against the other elements. Tough hides that repel weapons, but a weakness to iron, as well as the standard holy objects that work against most demons. Well,” Catalina sighed, “I guess I can always try dropping something heavy on it. I’d better find it first, though.” Taking a bucket of water from one of the others extinguishing the blaze, Catalina wrapped a blue scarf around her face, doused her robe, and rushed into the burning library.
The room swirled with black smoke and burning paper as Catalina entered. Several shelves were on fire, dropping scorched books to the floor and scattering grey ash around the room. Catalina labored on through the heat, thankful that her damp robes were holding up against the heat. As she went deeper into the library, however, Catalina could feel the water evaporating away from her robes. Time was running out. Finally, after several minutes of searching through the smoke and ash, Catalina thought she could see something on the balcony to the second floor. A figure, about 4 feet in height, stood over another, laughing with delight.
That must be it. Catalina thought to herself. And it seems to have someone with it. Maybe if I could just… Catalina’s thought was interrupted by a wisp of smoke caught in her throat. As she coughed, the figure at the top of the stairs looked up, and saw her. The small figure leaped down the stairs, giving Catalina only a moment to react. Just before the demon struck, a bolt of light shot forth from Catalina’s palm, knocking the beast back into a burning bookshelf. As the books collapsed on top of the monster, Catalina breathed a sigh of relief and ran over to the person at the top of the stairs. There, his robes stained dark red with blood, lay a man only slightly older than Catalina. After a moment of looking, she recognized him; a maven named Jamal who she had met in basic conjuration class. She had hated him.
“Who is that?” Jamal groaned, his eyes squinting through the smoke as he looked up at Catalina. “Another one of those beasts here to finish me off?”
“Don’t count on it.” Catalina responded. “I’m here to deal with the thing that hurt you. Now hold still, or this’ll hurt a lot more.” Catalina took the end of her robe, which had begun to dry and singe, and tore it off. Once Jamal’s wounds were rudimentarily patched, Catalina helped the man to his feet. “And remember, Tell anyone I helped you out in here, and the Dretch will seem like a scared baby kobold compared to me. Got it, Jamal?”
“Mask your face, but you can’t hide that personality. Catalina, is that you?”
“Maybe. Now shut up and let’s get out of here. Was there anyone else with you in here?”
“No. I thought I could handle it by myself. It was just a Dretch, you know?”
“Yeah, I know.” Catalina said. Sorcerers. No idea what they’re doing. She thought to herself, ignoring the obvious hypocrisy of her thoughts.
“So what made you run here to help me?”
“What did I just tell you? I knew I could handle it. Besides, I may have been made to by Master Magarus.” Suddenly, a loud crashing sound from behind startled the two. Jamal ran for the exit, clutching his wound, as Catalina turned. Behind her, slumped over but standing, was the demon. It lunged toward her, and Catalina was forced back into a wall. Burning timbers fell around the two, as the Dretch laughed. Panting with pain, Catalina drew a small silver shovel charm out of her pocket and whispered a few words before throwing it at the demon’s feet. The monster only had a moment to react before the floor beneath it gave way, causing it to plummet into a freshly made pit. More timbers fell from above her, and Catalina began to cough more. With the last off her strength, Catalina pulled another shelf down onto the pit, burying the demon beneath another pile of flaming books.
“That…ought to do it…” Catalina coughed, and collapsed onto the floor.
* * *
Where in the world am I? Catalina thought to herself. And why do I feel so heavy and cold? Her eyes opened into a massive grey expanse, rain falling towards her face. Lifting herself up, Catalina looked around while pushing a strand of wet black hair out of her face. She was outside the library, which was smoldering behind her as a cold spring rain came down around her. She was soaked from head to toe, and around her were several others dressed in the formal robes of the Arcanamirium, including Jamal and Master Magarus.
“Are you alright, Catalina?” Jamal asked as he pushed his way up to her. “I…I’m sorry I ran, ok? I should have helped you out back there.”
“It’s alright, Jamal.” Catalina said. “You probably would have just gotten yourself killed anyway in the state you were in. Now, could someone get me a blanket and explain to me what’s going on? It’s really cold out here.”
“Ms. Arthur, while you valiantly ran in to help your friend Jamal, I went back to my office to pick up some things.” Master Magarus said, coming forward. “By the time I’d arrived, you’d already run in. Unfortunately, summoning rain is a bit trickier than summoning a minor demon, so it took me a few minutes. I am glad to see that you are alright, however.”
“Oh yeah, the demon. What about it.?” Catalina asked.
“Taken care of.” Magarus said. Helping the girl to her feet, he continued. “You did very well, for an apprentice. You’re a very resourceful girl, Ms. Arthur.”
“Thank you, Master Magarus.” Catalina said with a coy smile. “”You’ve been a great teacher.”
“Speaking of which, Ms. Arthur, we will have to discuss your ‘summoning techniques’ in my office later.”
“Right.” Catalina said with a sigh. “Though I was really hoping you’d forgotten about that…”