“Let me take you down to the school doctor. You shouldn’t be walking too much on that ankle, even with a little repair work, and your familiar isn’t big enough to be much help, any more than mine is.” She flapped her hand at Ember. “Don’t glare at me like that, you. You’re a perfectly good familiar, I’m sure, and if you got her away from that tree, well, good for you. That’s being a very good familiar. Still doesn’t mean you can carry her.”

Ember looked away, muttering incoherently in Nilien’s mind. Nilien, in turn, stifled a giggle.

“I appreciate it, Professor. Thesri helped me get over here, but it was slow going.”

“I can imagine. Your ankle looks pretty banged up.” The professor offered Nilien an arm, and Nilien took it, trying not to lean too heavily on her. “We don’t have too far to go, though. Just down the hall and around the corner.” The professor smiled playfully down at Nilien. “We like our students to be able to find the doctor, and to be able to find their way back from the doctor when they’re done.”

Nilien smiled cautiously back at the professor. “That seems like a good thing, especially considering how easy it is to get lost around – oh, dear. Lorque and Riva.” She put her free hand over her face. “Ember? Could you go stop them, please?”

Now I’m your errand fox?

“Please? I don’t want them to get into any trouble because of me, although it’s been a long time…”

All right, all right. Ember shook its head. There’s no need for the sad face and the whimpering voice. I’ll go. It nodded at the professor and darted off through the halls.

“They’re good friends, to help you with this, even it if might not have been the best plan.” Professor Vaudelle watched Ember dart off. “I hope your familiar can warn them.”

“Me, too.” Nilien limped slowly along. Her ankle was feeling less horrible, but it still hurt to put weight on it. “We really thought Heldira would come after me. I mean, why put on a tracking spell…”

“Perhaps she had some reason to believe she should send someone else, instead. Or perhaps she simply had other things to do today. That does happen, you know.” Professor Vaudelle chuckled. “Once, when I was in school, I set up this very elaborate trap for another classmate – and then when the time came to pull it, I found I had forgotten all about it, engrossed in,” she cleared her throat, “a quite interesting book. The trap went off but it didn’t go quite right, and it was quite a mess, but nobody ever tied it back to me.”

“You got away with it?”

“That and quite a few other things, back in my day. But that was a long time ago, and very few of the teachers are still here, thankfully. And here’s Dr. Alaroq‘s office.” Professor Vaudelle patted her arm. “You’ll be quite good at the sight, you know, once you have time to have some practice. I’d hate to see you get into too much trouble.”

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