Misadventure Number Three
“Well, tell him to open the gate again and herd them back where they belong.” Rael clicked off, and could feel her cheeks heating at the regard of everyone at the table. The monthly meeting of the department heads. No one seemed to mind a rather ordinary meeting being interrupted.
Chancellor Urfa grinned. “What happened this time?”
Rael sighed. “Despite being warned, his teacher told him to stop lying about being able to open gates. He got mad, she dared him . . . so he opened a gate to a dinosaur world. Apparently she has a half dozen baby Mayasaura running around her classroom.”
“Well,” There was a ton of amusement straining to escape Urfa’s mild tone. “Hopefully Exzy won’t be tossed out of this school, too.”
A chortle from down the table. Professor Ivy, the head of the History Department, seemed to consider Rael’s nine year old child the best form of entertainment around. “But I predict it’s not going to last much longer.”
Rael threw her hands up. “I’m running out of schools! Nobody can cope with a kid who is capable of doing anything.”
A sniff from the Magic Department. “Send him to his father.”
“And miss all the fun?” From the Head of Languages.
Rael growled and looked back a her report. “So. As I was saying, it looks like we’ll have eighteen seniors on the Team Track next year, so I’d like to add six of the top juniors to the advanced class for compass work . . .”
Exzy sighed in relief as the front door closed firmly behind his mother.
“School sucks.” He informed the empty room. Empty house.
Three days suspension! Yay!
Miss Gear seemed shocked that I didn’t fight it, didn’t try to blame it all on her. Did she think I wanted to be in school?
He trotted out to the tiny back yard and sat in the sun. All I’m going to do is look. I mean, maybe they’re all dead. Maybe that was a horrible idea. Plus it’s been over two years. The big rats are probably getting old.
He bit his lip and thought about the Wine. My bottle’s from Rip Crossing. It’s got the Wine of the Gods, the Elixir of Long Life and probably other stuff, but they aren’t von neumans, so since I’ve used so much and refilled so much, the other stuff is probably gone.
Of course it might not work on rats.
There’s the horse one and the dog one . . .
I ought not experiment on smart animals.
A faint rustle from above.
Squirrel are rodents, aren’t they?
And they say there are mice and rats around, you just never see them. Until they’re everywhere.
He trotted into the kitchen and found paper cups, a bottle of wine, half empty, a dropper, and a funnel. He checked his bubble, the bottles were clearly labeled. A bit in each cup. A bit of wine funneled into his bottles to top off his supplies. In fact he need to top off his Wine of the Gods.
He eyed the inch of wine left in his mom’s bottle. Shrugged and added water. “That way she won’t think I’m a wino or something.”
Then back to the back yard to sit and feel for living things in the bushes, and in the house, and call them to him. Nice big—for backyard wildlife—glows reluctantly leaving the shelter of the thick landscaping. He threw a stun spell. Reached wider to call more . . .
Things started hitting his face and he opened his eyes to a buzzing swarm of thousands of flies. A grasshopper came arrowing in . . . He threw out the anti-chiton spell hastily and they all turned to goo and dropping out of the air. On his head and down his shirt, into his cups of elixir.
He jumped up and ran around shaking them out of his hair and clothes.
Knocked over the horse elixir. He grabbed it with a yip of dismay . . . there was enough left, no problem. He picked his way over to the larger animals. Two squirrels, three black rats, two mice, a mole, and the neighbors’ cat.
He separated them out and put them in a network of shields.
“Horse elixir for one squirrel, one rat, one mouse, and the mole.” He dripped a bit into their unconscious mouths, then shifted to the other side of the patio. “Dog elixir for one squirrel, two rats and one mouse.”
He eyed the cat. Scrawny and old. It had taken awhile but the cat had decided that Exzy was suitably well trained in the proper petting of cats and visited regularly. Exzy eyed him, and decided he wasn’t an experimental animal.
Then he went inside for a good book to read while his experiment played out.
A good history book, not the kid’s version they had to read in fifth grade.
When he walked back to the back door, the birds were feasting on the dead flies, and a crow was trying to get at the stunned mole. It gave up and eyed the cat . . .
“Don’t even think about it!”
The little birds fled in a flurry of wings. The crow snatched a big fat grasshopper and flew up to the top of a tree.
Exzy swept the flies off into the little bit of lawn they had, and sat down in the sun to read while the animals recovered.
The cat raised his head, stretched and relaxed in the winter sunshine.
The squirrels regained consciousness next, staggering about, recovering, and racing frantically around their invisible cages. Then the rats . . . backing into corners, then exploring a bit before scuttling into their corners again.
Exzy sighed. “I can’t tell if it doesn’t work, or if it works and doesn’t hurt you.”
They all scurried about, looking for a way out.
After two hours, Exzy released them all and gave the old cat a dropper full of dog elixir. And got scratched and given a dirty look.
The door opened behind him. “Oh, hi Mom. See? I’m here. Reading history.” A quick glance . . . the paper cups and dropper were pretty much out of sight, by the planter.
“But not your history text.”
“It’s boring and simplistic.” Exzy perked up at the sight of the bag in her hand. “Lunch?”
He grabbed the book, slipped the dropper into his pocket to wash out later, and dropped the cups into the trash without his mom noticing anything unusual.
After a really good deli sandwich—I should stash a dozen in my bubble—he was alone again as his mom went back to the university, grumbling about two classes and “those idiot women who’ve never fought in their lives.”
Poor Mom! Stuck teaching martial arts to the girl students. Of course she also teaches the advanced class, magical theory, advance magical practicum. And some lectures sometimes in other professors’ classes about stuff she was in the middle of.
He hunted through the kitchen and finally gave up and programmed the fab for cookies.
If the Rats of NIMH are still alive, I can sprinkle the cookies with the Dog Elixir and leave it for them.