Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Timely Celebration, Part One

Spike had been looking forward to her Astrology class all term. Should be a doddle, she thought, watching as the professor scrawled the current assignment on the board in the classic overhead backhand. The conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. The pen and ink drawings of the Roman gods flicked to mind in a grainy display. Hey, doesn’t conjunction mean . . . She blushed, distracted.

In the front row, a Ravenclaw was waving her hand madly, nearly falling out of her seat as she leaned forward, striving for the professors’ attention. “Yes, Miss Pascoe?” The professor sounded irritated, and no wonder. Belvina Pascoe seemed to make it a point to pick holes in any argument, find any flaws in rhetoric. It was a common trait in Ravenclaw, but what made her irritating was that she refused to be dissuaded by the facts.

Belvina stood by her desk, throwing a smirk over her shoulder to the rest of the class. “Professors, you do realize that the Conjunction happened last year, and will happen again next year, but does not happen this year. There’s no way for us to observe the conjunction from the Astronomy Tower. Could we please have another assignment?”

Spike mentally subtracted ten points from Ravenclaw for unnecessary passive aggressive tendencies, rolling her eyes behind a carefully placed hand. As the professors huddled together to determine the new assignment, a thought slowly came to her. She quickly jotted some notes to herself in her book.

Do I have to demonstrate possession of a time-turner so I can make them for last year, and then present them now?

Or, uh, make them NOW so they count for points, then go BACK and present them during the Conjunction last year and then come BACK to now, just after I cast them off (otherwise they’ll unravel) and -- oh, bother.

Where’s my Chronometrical Grammar text now that I really need it?

This idea was too good to waste.

Latisha Wyldsmythe was in her office, busily grading homework, when she was interrupted by a knock at the door. At this hour?? Opening the door, she looked up -- and up -- and up past the brightly polished brass buttons and intricate embroidery of a high-collared, boiled wool jacket to see a bemused smile and cat-slit pupils beaming down at her. A moment’s thought, and she recalled the monster’s name.

“Dimitri!” One of Spike’s minions. She had had to inform the firstie that, no, she had to sharpen her own pencils, and to leave her assistants in the Dungeon during class. Transfer students! But what’s he--

He bowed, clicked his heels together, and presented Professor Wildsmythe with an engraved invitation to the Inaugural Festival of the 2010 Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. “Thank you -- but--” She held up the invitation to show him that the time, date, and location were all blank.

He grinned wider, showing teeth like an anglerfish’s. He stepped back, gesturing to display a sedan chair borne by four hotties, stripped to the waists, oiled skin gleaming. “We gets you dere … when is time.”

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