So as I mentioned back in November, in preparation for the “World of Miscast Spells” posts, I was combing through old files and happened upon a partial scene that I cut from the book… and I have no idea why. That is, I have no recollection of the events leading up to my not using this scene. So after rediscovering it, I thought, “This is pretty good stuff, and it does a nice job of explaining the different types of human magic. Maybe I can cram it back into Miscast Spells before the release?” Except that I couldn’t cram it in; it sort of falls somewhere in chapter 9, but that chapter already had a good flow that would have been disrupted by this scene. There were several parts of this scene that are covered elsewhere in the book. Additionally, I don’t really go into human magic that much in the rest of the series (though I do mention the idea of “obliteration” a little more in the second and third book). So I couldn’t use this scene officially, but I like it too much to scrap it entirely, so I’m making a gift of it to all, my loyal and maybe new blog followers. Happy belated Valentine’s Day! I hope you like exposition (which is not a type of magic.)
Emmaline sat on the library floor and attempted to flip through the pages of Flora, Fauna, and Fungi of the Goblin World with her paw, but the pages kept sticking. She considered asking Bostwick for help, but he and Sebastian were busy helping Millicent with a levitation spell and looked busy. She tried turning the page again, but ended up going too far, to the entry on kyos, which appeared to be a species of wildcat.
She heard a laugh from above her and looked up to see Delilah watching her from the top shelf.
“Oh, Emmaline, your struggles are so adorable, but now they’re bordering on pathetic.” She jumped off the shelf and floated to the ground, then snatched up the book from beneath Emmaline’s paws. “What were you looking for, anyway?”
“Mostly information on curses, and a few other things.” Emmaline glanced at Sebastian, who was gesturing with his paw towards a book that Millicent was levitating.
“Hmm?” Delilah asked, following the rabbit’s gaze. “Yes, you do seem to be in the same predicament, don’t you? I suppose we could ask Sebastian about which books he looked in and found useless, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past, hmm?”
“That really won’t be necessar—” Emmaline began, but Delilah had already dropped the book back to the floor and flounced over to the cat.
“What do you want?” he asked her disdainfully.
“I was just thinking about pulling your tail,” Delilah said, “but I wouldn’t want to distract Millie from her lessons. So what are you learning about today, Millie my dear?”
“Levitation,” Millicent said, floating the book across the table.
“You’re already pretty good at it,” Bostwick said. “Why don’t we start on Restoration.”
“What?” Delilah asked, vaguely affronted.
“Restoration means fixing irreparably broken things.”
“If they are irreparable, then they can’t be fixed. By definition. How ridiculous!”
“You have no right to call anything ridiculous,” Sebastian said, lashing his tail.
“And anyway,” Bostwick said, placing an undone bowtie on the table, “I’m talking about things that wouldn’t be reparable without magic.”
He took a pair of scissors from within his top hat and cut the tie neatly in half.
“Oh, poor ignorant Bostwick,” the queen said, “we’ve long since had a way of fixing that. See, there are these things called ‘needles’ and this stuff called ‘thread’…”
“I know how to sew,” Bostwick said, growing annoyed, “but with magic, you can make it seem as it was never damaged. All right, Millicent, have you done this sort of spell before?”
“I read about how to fix broken glass, but I’ve never tried it.”
“It’s not too hard. Just focus on the part of the tie that’s been cut, ignore everything else, and will the loose threads to twine back together and become one.”
Millicent picked up one half of the tie in each hand and looked at them uncertainly. She held the cut ends together and concentrated. After a moment, the two ends grew together into one piece, but the cloth was dark and uneven where they had been joined, as if it had been burned.
“What happened?” she said, disappointed.
“That’s the spot that was effected by the most magical energy, so it causes a burnt spot in the material. When you’ve had more practice, you’ll be able to cast this spell more precisely.”
“Weird,” Delilah said. “So what’s next? Sawing ladies in half? Conjuring rabbits?”
“It’s a little early for that,” said Bostwick. “And I thought we should go slowly, focusing on the basics of each class of magic. She’s already mastered Manipulation...”
“Come again?” Delilah said, raising an eyebrow.
“Don’t look at me like that. Melieh chose the names.”
“You mean to say that he named his spells? What utter nonsense!”
“It’s a classification of different types of spells,” Bostwick explained. “There are six classes altogether.”
“Oh, wait,” Millicent said, “I know this, um… There’s Restoration, Conjuration… and, levitation…”
“Levitation is actually classified under Manipulation along with a few other spells. Basically, any spell that moves something without touching it is considered Manipulation.”
“Shouldn’t it be ‘Telekinesis’?” Delilah asked.
“Well, technically. But that’s what it was called before humans really knew what they were doing with magic. They changed the name to fit with the other magical classes,” he said, then addressed Millicent. “So you’ve named three. Do you know the others?”
Delilah waved her hand in the air and cried, “Ooh! Pick me. Defenestration.”
“Why would we have a spell for that?”
“Reflection, Translation, Rotation, and Dilation,” she said with finality.
“Oh, I remember now!” Millicent said. “Transformation. Like turning a flower into a handkerchief.”
“Yes,” Bostwick said, glaring at Delilah.
“And there’s making things disappear…”
“Obliteration,” he provided.
“That’s no good,” Delilah scoffed. “Obliterating something would make it not exist any more. You can always get the things you’ve vanished back.”
“Look, it’s not supposed to be a perfect description, it’s just a name to lump spells under to make them easier to remember, all right? And before you ask, there are a few spells that don’t fit under any class.”
“Whatever. So what’s the last classification?”
“Illusion,” Millicent said, pointing to her green hair.
“That doesn’t match the others,” Delilah said, pouting her lips.
“It doesn’t have to match!” Bostwick said. “The point is, you have to get the basics of each type of magic down before you can do more complicated tricks. Obviously.”
“I see. So, what’s up for class today, Professor von Dogsbody?”
“Don’t call me that.” he said flatly.
“What? I thought humans liked professors. Millie,” she said in stage whisper, “that’s the word, right? Professor? Not Prophesier or something?”
“I meant von Dogsbody,” Bostwick said.
“Hmm? But that’s your name, silly.”
“Hmm? Yes? Let me guess, there’s some familial curse associated with the name? Yes? The first born son will die before his eighteenth year?”
“No. It’s just the stigma associated with being a von Dogsbody.”
“Stigma? Millicent asked.
“It’s a long and complicated story, but basically, a long time ago, the von Dogsbodies were a family of servants. Apparently they were specialists at whatever they’d do, from gardening to cleaning or whatever else. Some of my classmates at the Academy said their families still employed von Dogsbodies.”
“I see,” said Delilah. “So you come from an old family; nothing wrong with that.”
“An old family… of servants.”
“But there’s nothing wrong with being a servant,” Millicent said. “I like cleaning and cooking.”
“It’s fine if that’s what you like doing,” Bostwick said, “but being a von Dogsbody… well it’s not the last name a person would choose willingly.”
Millicent became absorbed in the tabletop and muttered, “I guess not…”