“And so we find the defendant not guilty for lack of proof tying him directly to the sabotaged potion. Case dismissed”
Samir barely heard the hammer hitting the gavel, nor did he dare look up at Theofyr, who was surely smiling arrogantly in his direction.
Goldentongue rarely felt frustrated or angry, for he often chose the nonchalance route when life kicked him in the sack. But this time, he couldn’t contain the darkness slowly building up inside his heart. How Theofyr could get away with sabotaging potions provided by the Academy to the Mewling Quims, he raged, slowly getting up and walking aimlessly outside the Academy’s courtroom.
- Hey Samir, Nasah quipped, locking step with his moody friend. Things could’ve been a lot worse if Rhea drank the potion during combat. Even if Theofyr got away with it, we should consider ourselves lucky that none of us died from his hatred of you.
- I know, Naz, Samir replied, ignoring the gentle barb from his friend. But that sack-less turd won, and I can’t—I won’t allow that! Thanks a bunch for returning me to normal though. I’ve been a sexy, irresistible woman for a long time, and I’ve had my fill for quite a while with this trick.
- Oh, it’s nothing. Glad I could help.
- The offer’s still on the table, you know. When I activate the ring, I don’t feel any pain, so you can study the undead without actually opening up a real undead, which would solve at the very least part of your moral leanings, whatever they are.
- Yes I know, Samir, and I will take you up on the offer should I have time for it, surely.
Nasah didn’t mention his reluctance was more about the thought of dissecting an always-talking & joking Samir, making quips about his anatomy and being the general pain in the rump all throughout an otherwise interesting exercise.
Samir soon left his friend for his quarters, still seething. Once in his room, sleep was long in claiming him, for he was restless, wracking his brain for a plan to extract vengeance on his eternal foe.
The next morning, as Samir was absent-mindedly putting on his scholar robes with the help of a Mage Hand cantrip, Samir’s thought were back at the Family crypt he was recently in, the one with the blue tiles. As he was thinking of ways that he could have avoided being struck by the tiles and able to grab the magic coin underneath the trap, he came upon a realization that shook him to his very core.
Aside from a reluctant mage, he was also a charming rogue, proficient with his hands. In fact, most of his pranks relied on his deft hands when nobody was looking.
- What if…
Samir started running toward the library, an idea slowly forming into his head.
- There it is! Samir squeaked in delight, stabbing an old tome with his finger, giggling. ‘Ranged Legerdemain’ it is called! A trick used by mischievous tricksters in the past! I’ve found my way to get back at Theofyr!
Samir ignored the angry looks cast his way, accompanied with multiple shush sound from surrounding students and ran off the library, singing a bawdy tavern song along the way.
-Nasah! Samir roared, barging in Nasah’s classroom, interrupting the teacher. Come! Quick!
- Young man! The teacher intoned, How dare you interrupt my class with—
- How dare I? Well, just like I did, dear teacher! Now Nasah! Come with me? Bah!
Seeing his comrade’s horrified look, he relented.
- Ok, I’ll see you after class then… but hurry!
And with that, Samir turned tail, leaving a flustered teacher blubbering at the empty air.
- Alright. So it’s a deal then? Samir asked, his trademark grin back, to the despair of all.
- Ok, fine. But I do not want to know what you will be doing wearing the body of Theofyr tonight.
- Deal! Samir laughed, activating his cursed ring.
- Silence! Theofyr intoned to the class bravely.
He’d finally concocted a potion able to change the tone of his voice somewhat (albeit if taken daily) and was back to his old, arrogant ways.
- The brewing you are about to witness is something that has not been attempted in the past three thousand years, the half-man droned on, wallowing in his self-importance. Now, Kohila, he pointed toward a nervous assistant, you were present in this room the whole night to guard my ingredients from low-born rascals, yes?
- Y-yess, Lord Theofyr. N-nobody who wasn’t allowed to came in this room last night, she repeated (as requested the night before by her master himself, who kept talking to her while always looking over her shoulder inside his lab, grinning), confused.
Theofyr nodded slowly, satisfied.
- Let us begin then. The first ingredient is a Goblin Mummy’s toe, to be burned over an open flame within the cauldron, so as to catch the resulting ashes. See the movement of my wrist? Gentle clockwork movements with pauses every eight breaths only! Pay attention, now, you sniveling worms! The ashes will not be as potent without this technique! It took me three years of research to locate this technique for this particular potion, so the least you could do is be appreciative of my effort by listening intently, you hear? He roared, finding pleasure at the nervous looks cast his way.
The class continued this way for a while, Theofyr arrogantly explaining each steps that slowly brought him to the final ingredient, a potion he had concocted himself the previous week, so as not to share the whole recipe to the low-born crowd watching him.
- And now for the final ingredient, a secret one. What? Do you honestly believe that I would’ve shared the results of years of research with the likes of you, he sneered. Consider yourselves lucky that you have learned ancient potion brewing techniques not seen for three millennia!
Despite the assurance from his worthless assistant, Theofyr still felt apprehension while pouring the last drop into the cauldron. Samir was never late in his retributions towards his multiple attempts at killing him. And this time he had nearly succeeded in killing the whole group of his friends. He shook his head, sadly. Perhaps next time he’ll have another go at providing these pathetic arcanists with their just deserts.
No explosion. Theofyr sighed in relief despite himself. If an occasion to get back at him was ever a proper time, now would have been it, after all.
- And now, he intoned, you will witness a transformation when I drink this potion. If my theory is correct, and it is most assuredly so, I should be able to have a dragon’s firebreath at my disposal at the very least once every moon cycle, and that, for as long as I live! He screamed, triumphant, feeling an unfamiliar warmth building up in his gut.
- Let us reduce this mannequin to ashes, he said theatrically.
He advanced slowly towards the wooden dummy, beaming with pride and looking at the class, the warmth getting hotter and hotter within him. Something stopped him in his tracks though: leaning on the door, arms crossed and grinning mischievously, a mirror image of himself was looking back at him, expectant.
- What is this, he screamed, turning towards his double. How is it poss… YOU! he pointed, accusatory. What have you d—
That was the moment the dragon’s breath came out of Theofyr, uncontrolled, and coming from the wrong orifice no less!
The last thing Theofyr saw as he was frantically trying to remove his burning pants, was a knowing smile from his double, just before he disappeared outside his classroom. Then he passed out from the pain.
- Come in, Draktooth calmly said, at the door.
- Hey! Master Dee! You wanted to see me? Samir asked by way of introduction.
Draktooth, sighed, smiling inwardly.
- Yes I did, young Samir. There is a trial coming up against you for the incident that happened in Theofyr’s class. The poor lad cannot stop farting jets of flames from his arsehole and, given the ancient roots of the potion, I’m afraid a solution is far from being found soon.
- I fail to see how the court will find me guilty, Master. You know, the whole lack of proof directly tying me to this and the fact that I didn’t do anything, of course.
- Of course you were not involved, Student. However, Theofyr, for all of his flaws, do have a clique of supporters whose backgrounds surprisingly involve nobility, you know. In fact, one of his lackey’s familiar happened to be ‘lost’ in the laboratory when Nasah performed a spell on you, which turned you into a replica of our dear friend. Now, the court will have no choice but to perform the same spell on you and your ring, to see if the mechanics work. My guess is that it will work nicely, yes?
- What ring, Samir asked innocently.
Draktooth raised an eyebrow.
- Ok, ok, fine! I’ll take the blame and face the music for that that lava-shitting prick’s current situation, Samir mumbled.
- You risk being found guilty of attempted murder on this one, lad. The penalty of which is death.
Samir didn’t answer, shuffling his feet.
- I’ve been following you and I know of your future plans of opening a house of secret-trading in the guise of a bordello or a tavern. In fact, this might help me a lot in the long run, so I’m inclined to help – nay – to invest in you for this. Give me the ring.
Reluctantly, Samir provided his prized treasure.
Draktooth snatched the ring from Samir’s hand and swept up to the middle of his study, where some form of clawed hand sat in the middle of an intricate table covered by a finely crafted red velvet tablecloth.
The Master of Illusions dropped the ring in the hand’s palm and quickly stepped back before it closed around the ring. The clawed hand started to vibrate softly, red light coming out of the numerous cracks of its desiccated skin. Suddenly, a globe of darkness appeared above the hand, about three feet in diameter and in which strange runes floated within, lazily moving around in strange, chaotic patterns. Draktooth brought forth a potion from his person and quickly drank it. He then proceeded to grab a pair of spectacles framed in what Samir thought was weird green bones engraved with words from an unknown language. Taking a deep breath, steeling himself, Draktooth then took the pair of golden tongues lying beside the hand, scanned the runes and when he located what he was after, grabbed the wanted rune and dragged it out of the globe, not without tremendous effort. Once outside its confines, the rune started to vibrate violently, but Samir’s master quickly brought it to the ring on his left finger, making the rune disappear inside it. Sighing in relief, Draktooth slumped down on a nearby chair, exhausted.
- You can now take back your ring, young one. The hand is satiated, so you are safe. I’ve removed the part that allowed you to abuse this ring so freely, so when the prosecution will try to test your ring, it will fail and your innocence, or rather, the lack of proof directly linking you to Theofyr’s predicament, will become a reality. You owe me one hell of a favor for this, child.
- Yeah, I get that a lot lately, but I believe that this neat arcane exploit, which you’ve infused into your own ring, should be fair payment, yes, Samir said, smiling and wiggling his eyebrows knowingly.
Draktooth barked out a laugh.
- I suppose it is, ha!
- Master? How will I achieve what I set out to do which you seem to approve of now that I cannot change ma appearance at will?
- Oh? The Academy has items that can arrange that, Student. Oh, it is far from being as potent as what you had, but I believe you could manage with this quite well.
- Really, Samir excitedly squeaked. Well, that’s great! I’ll go to the Academy’s Depot right away, with your permission, of course. Oh, and I would also like to save from gold by visiting our party’s friend in Whadi, a poor sod who’s enamored with Rhea. His armors have a quarter of its original pricing cut for us, and I would like to own a Mithral Chain Shirt for my next mission. I’m kinda tired of being stabbed all the time…
- You have my blessing for this, but do not loiter in the city for too long, young trickster.
- You got it, boss! Samir said, already at his Master’s doors.
Mistress Septi, a young acolyte said, slowly entering the High Priestess’ quarters. Septi, exhausted from the past weeks’ events, sighed, resigned.
- What is it, Vognu?
- A member of the heroes of Whadi is here, Blessed. One of Hasdrubal’s Mewling Quims that the bards keep singing about. The shy one, Eydan if my memory serves. He was not present during their trials against the leader of the blessed warriors, but our agents confirms his status as one of their members. He said that the Academy is sending him somewhere far on a secret mission of some sort and that he would like to know that should any rewards would have to be bestowed upon his party, that he could have his share right now, so as to have further funds to help him on his next journey for the Academy.
- Yes indeed, a voice boomed from Septi’s entrance.
Eydan simply stood there, smiling.
Where have I seen that smile before, Septi thought, rising as she acknowledged Eydan’s presence with a bow. Wasn’t he the shy one of the group? Eydan simply kept smiling and winked at her with a silly blue hat on sitting his head.