By far the weirdest hallway in the Boarding House for Unusual Witches was the Hall of the Famous. The long hall connected the dormitory and living spaces to the classrooms. Oil paintings of past headmistresses hung on the walls. Busts of famous alumni lined the edges of the red carpet runner. My first day there I knew I’d be among them. I just didn’t know that it would be like this.
I make a face as the sculptor shapes my nose. He sighs again. “Please, keep still.”
It was ridiculous really. I didn’t do anything bust-worthy.
I’d time traveled. Dangerous. I shouldn’t have done it, but I was successful. I saved the library of the boarding school from burning down. Let me clarify, I overheard the plot to burn the library because I had slipped out of bed after hours. I ignored it, thought it was a joke. When the library went up in flames, I broke into the headmistress’s office, shrunk the Wheel of Time (a highly important magical object), stole it, used it to go back in time, and stopped the girl who set the fire by beating her up instead of telling on her.
Yet, seventeen-year-old me gets to stand there having a bust made of my face while the other girl loses her powers. I purse my lips. The sculptor stands up. “I think we need a break.”
If the school wasn’t paying him so much, he would’ve quit.
As the sculptor washes his hands in the art room sink, I step out into the corridor. The girl, Angela, is in the headmistress’s office receiving the enchantments that will suppress her powers. The corridor is empty. Casting an invisibility spell over myself, I hurry to the headmistress’s office up in the West Tower.
The door is sealed. I feel the magic as I reach for the doorknob. I mutter an unlocking spell in vain. The headmistress has doubled security since my break-in. I close my eyes and reach out through the door to Angela’s mind. “Angela, I’m here to save you.” I repeat it over and over.
Then a faint voice whispers back in my head, “How? It’s too late. The headmistress has already started.”
“Help me unlock the door.”
“I don’t have much magic.”
“Just help.” I try the unlocking spell again and I feel the spells falling away. The door swings open.
The headmistress stops mid-spell. “What’s going on here?”
I step into the room. “Angela’s only seventeen. You can’t take her magic away.”
“She almost committed a federal offense. That library contains original books that don’t have copies.”
“I committed multiple offenses: breaking and entering, burglary, meddling with time, assault. Do the ends really justify the means?”
The headmistress smooths her emerald robes. Her mismatched eyes (one blue, one brown) narrow. “Would you like your powers bound as well?”
“I think that Angela should be given a warning, ma’am. I’m sure this has scared her straight.”
“Ends never justify the means, but intention is always important. As courageous and stupid as it was for you to argue on Angela’s behalf, my decision is final. Leave before I have you removed.”
Angela’s pale face and wide eyes try to convince me to stay, but I’m selfish. I didn’t save the library for the sake of knowledge, I saved it because I’d hidden a family heirloom in there hoping that someone would find it. Eventually someone will possess that dangerous crystal. I leave Angela to her fate.
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