A blast from Beginning of a Hero here. It’s weird going back to the first 3 books, which were written way before the others. The style is visibly different at times, but I can’t tell if I improvement, weakened, or simply changed. Anyway, this is a fun scene with the original mischief makers in the same place. This would be before the group’s first source of common sense, Aedyn Karwyn, joined up.
Fizzle’s bump-like horns perk up and he sniffs the air, his tail whipping in excitement. He looks around, his bright eyes falling on Selenia, who is ignoring the hovering drite. It is not until the drite flips in the air that the headmistress goes out of her way to walk by the table and toss an apple high into the air. With a happy squeal, the tiny dragon catches it with his tail and peels the skin off with his hind claws.
“Forest quiet. Big evil in trees. Getting bigger,” Fizzle says, his stomach rumbling louder than Luke could have imagined. The drite finishes off the last of the pie, devours the peeled apple, and inhales the peel through his pursed lips. “Many aminals moving away. Fizzle safe because Fizzle can disa . . . dista . . . not be seen. If they find Fizzle then Fizzle make them go poof.”
“Go poof?” Luke asks.
Nimby swallows a forkful of mush before explaining, “The little guy knows some pretty big spells since he’s really old. I saw him use the so-called poof spell on a giltris. I actually felt sorry for the oversized leather belt. The real name of the spell is disintegration. The problem is that the little guy doesn’t always aim and the spell is incredibly destructive.”
Luke turns to the entrance in time to see an out-of-place figure wander into the cafeteria. It is a rotund, little man with greasy, black hair and dark red eyes that are twice the size of a human’s. His graying beard is neatly trimmed, but it is as greasy as his hair. Several scorch marks are on his shirt, which used to be blue before getting covered in oil and grime. Thin-rimmed glasses hang from a shirt pocket, looking like they have been dropped and stepped on hundreds of times. Nobody else pays much attention to the gnome as he grabs a plate and sits on a lonely stool in the corner.
“Good food. Too noisy. Fizzle be in forest. If Fizzle find news on big evil, Fizzle let Luke know. Bye-bye.” The drite disappears in a shimmer of golden magic. The last sign of him is a soft rush of wind from his wings as he darts out an open window.
“I got a copy of the first year list from Kevin,” the halfling whispers, leaning under the table as if he is picking up a dropped fork. “I told him I wanted to contact the parents of a few troublemakers in my class. The copy is enchanted, so it will turn to dust by the morning or if I try to copy it. There are one hundred and eighty three kids with their names, hometown, age, and a parent or guardian’s name on file. The other first year students have been handpicked by Selenia, so it can’t be one of those if she is in the dark. It shouldn’t be too hard to track down this heir now.”
“We’ll see about that. I have martial arts with Selenia after breakfast followed by blacksmithing, so going over things will have to wait until lunch,” Luke explains, pausing to wolf down some food. He groans and drinks some water to help with the sudden stomach cramp. “We should bring in someone who knows more about monsters and . . . evil things than we do. If the big evil in the forest is what we’re up against, I would really like someone with knowledge on our side. I was thinking of talking to a half-elven priest I saw when I got here yesterday. Priests are trustworthy as long as their god is good-natured. I believe he had a sun emblem on his clothing. Do you know who I’m talking about?”
Everyone is startled by a high-pitched shriek of surprise cutting through the wall of conversations. Luke and Nimby turn to see a wooly sheep standing on one of the tables. It wanders in a tight circle, stopping to bark like an angry dog at a red-haired girl, who is keeping her plate away from it. The sheep growls at the student until Selenia gets to her feet and hurls her empty cup at the animal. The cup strikes the sheep, causing the animal to disappear in a faint glimmer of sparkles. Several students laugh about the illusion and their conversations slowly return, most students whispering about the mysterious beast. Selenia glares in the direction of the gnome, who is sifting through his breakfast like nothing happened. Without looking up, he blows the headmistress a kiss.
“What happened?” Luke asks, staring from the gnome to Selenia.