The Isis Institution for Intrepid Intellects. Established in 94 A.D., it has seen the greatest minds that the world will never truly know but have saved it on more than one occasion pass through its halls. Who is allowed in is very specific, but not by the usual standards of barring. The color of one’s skin nor their sex, not their creed nor class nor age; none of these mattered. In the slightest. The school transcended such boundaries, such primitive limitations, the moment its realm opened to ours and allowed the first seven into its world. Janice Llorwyn, Luke Amon, Pontius Dominus, Anice Reven, Nicholas Mirrodin, Azani, and Sor Khan; they were tested, pushed to their limits, and became the first Council of Magus for I4.
Centuries passed. The Millennium was nineteen years old, and I4 still stands strong... if blackened a touch. The dean, Benjamin Llorwyn, sits behind his desk, his hands flat on the aged mahogany top. It was not just any mahogany, though. This specimen was acquired from another realm, where the trees were as tall as the heavens, lined with razors that sought flesh. Their cores burned with the fires of a thousand djinn and were just as sinister, needing tempered over ages, generations, before they were able to be polished and used for something as extravagant as that desk! It was not only an exceptional desk, but the desk of the most powerful person in the entire known multiverses!
But what did the most powerful person in I4 have to contend with? What threat mounted on the other side of the table, that could plunge the multiverse into chaos as they knew it? Only the greatest of threats to life. To civility, harmony, and good sense:
Mel Llorwyn was in one of the three plush chairs across. Their frames were not made of the same mahogany that the desk was blessed with but simple spruce from the surrounding forest. Their cushions were, also, not as fine as that polished top nor the winged chair the dean sat in. That was purposeful. It was meant for the young magus to feel uncomfortable and shift and feel guilt creep into their bones and gnaw them from the inside. Mel, though? He was never one to really care. He simply sat there, returning Benjamin’s bored stare. Behind the old man, though. Through the stone window untouched by any glass, smoke and screams rose around it. The black wisps attempted to pervert his sanctuary, but were stopped by an unseen force, curling, flattening against before continuing into the starry sky, long lines drawn through the heavens to each, creating arcane patterns that spanned the world above.
Neither of the two men stirred an inch as an explosion rumbled below, as more screams and smoke accumulated. Instead, Mel yawned, scratching his head and its shaggy brown hair. It was in that awkward transitional phase between being a hobo and becoming actually long and able to be tamed. He had wide, green eyes, yet if they ever saw more than half the world was anyone’s guess. They always stared at the world as if it was paint on the wall starting to chip. His nose was snubbed but had a wicked crook at the end, matching his grandfather’s. As did his chin. Though that’s where they parted ways; Mel could only grow stubble on his chin and keep a rather curly mustache, whereas Benjamin had a full goatee that screamed, “super villain”.
Another explosion shook the foundation of I4. Which finally made Benjamin sigh and clasp his hands together on top of the mahogany desk instead of feeling its perfection under his palms. When he needed to relinquish the clandestine approximation, that was when he was getting serious.
“Mel,” he began. His voice was strong for his age, bounding around the room, but it held no malice nor irritation. Instead, it was simply inquiring. “What did you do this time?”
“Why does it have to be me? Could have been Gene,” He said. The dean didn’t respond, the next explosion his insistence. “Okay. It was me. I thought the tacos were a bit bland, so I spiced them up.”
Benjamin simply sighed again, and one of his hands was allowed to grace the top of the desk again while his other pinched his brow.
“You have detention for the rest of the month. You will also aid Philip in cleaning the lavatories.”
Another explosion rumbled the room. It shook the bookshelves around, piled with accolades spanning across the many generations of Llorwyn, heaped with large, leather-bound tomes on those mahogany shelves. The statue behind Mel, a four-winged dragon bearing down on a group of knights on horseback, rumbled, and the two parties separated, opening to reveal an arch beyond leading to a set of steps. An older, frumpy woman came trotting in, wearing white robes. Her squash-shaped face was curled into several rows, glaring down at Mel as she pushed passed, leaning on the table, tainting it with her sausage fingers.
“What’s the tally, Miss Klan,” Benjamin asked.
“Forty-seve... forty-eight,” she said. “None of them life-threatening, but they won’t be able to sit for a week. If lucky.”
“Sounds about right,” Mel said. “Usually what happens to me when I eat Taco Bell.”
Miss Klan was about to turn on him. The look in her eyes was very... lynchy, but she was halted Benjamin’s hand, waving her off and sending her to fulfill her duties.
Mel started to stand, but stopped as Benjamin kept his hand raised, pointing at him.
“We need to discuss your behavior as of late, Mel,” he said.
“What if we don’t?”
“I’m not getting into this type of argument with you again, lad.”
“What if you do?”
Benjamin sighed, nails digging ever harder into the space between his eyebrows, turning it absolutely red.
“As a Llorwyn, you have a certain... expectation about you.” He put his hands on the mahogany desk again. “You are named after the current-sitting Council Member, as well. Everyone expects great things from you. Not this... tomfoolery.”
“Well quiddit... I’m just having a bit of fun. What’s so wrong about that?”
An explosion answered for Benjamin, and the busty woman that had been sitting quiet the entire time by Mel finally made her presence known, scoffing as her spaded tail flicked.
“How did I get stuck with this idiot,” the succubus, Saliim, grumbled. Her purple eyes smolered with such rage as she glowered at Mel. Her dark, almost obsidian form was barely kept modest by a skin-tight red tube top and a long, flowing white skirt, ending just before her feet, which they ended in three, shimmering claws. Her arms were folded, the red runes along them and around her naval flashing with each agitated heartbeat, paled by her short, red hair. Though it was a contest as he simply shrugged.
“Don’t look at me,” Mel said. “I was simply trying to make a tea biscuit into a shoe. Suddenly, succubus.”
“Who tries to make a tea biscuit into a shoe to begin with!”
“That doesn’t sound normal to me. You have any idea how expensive shoes are?”
“No, and neither do you!”
“True enough, but what weirdo doesn’t like a little shoe with their afternoon tea?”
She looked ready to bite his head off with her perfect teeth in her perfectly round face with her perfect nose and ears, but once more Benjamin halted any form of hostility by waving it off.
“Once we find out the exact incantation that was used, you shall be released,” Benjamin said. “Until then, you simply need to fulfill your duties.”
“What duties! He asks me to do such... strange things... Not even the fun strange! Last night, he asked me to peel a light bulb.”
“And she did,” Mel said.
“Then the day before he asked me to make raincoats for the rats-”
“Ah-ah! Raincoats AND matching booties. It’s going to rain soon.”
“It never rains here!”
“And how do you know?”
“Yes,” Benjamin said. “How do you?”
“I haven’t seen a cloud in the sky for the last three months.”
“So you assumed that meant there was no weather?”
“I see clouds right now,” Mel said.
“Smoke isn’t clouds- I me- you know what I mean. It was asinine. There was NO reason. It has never rained here and will NEVER rain here.”
“Thus why we need to take steps.” Mel glared at the window, at that sky, taunting him, mocking him with its perfection. “One day... I’m onto you, you sumbitch. One day...”
Benjamin sighed again, bordering on murder by breath, and waved his hand their way, dismissing them. He let go of his brow, a bit of purple energy glowing in between his fingers, and the chair was consumed in it, turning it around to face the window. Just as another explosion rocked the institution.
Mel made his way out, followed by his trusty servant, down the flight of stairs and through the rippling wall at the bottom. Where he was met with two of his favorite things: screams and fire. He picked his way carefully through the rabble. They were holding their stomachs and robe hems; even the women had them hoisted, not caring if they were seen in such a sorry state as they rushed around trying to find a stall. They didn’t even care if it was intact anymore.
But Mel paid them no mind. He simply hummed as he continued through the courtyard, traversing from the dean’s tower to the rest of the school. The main hall was empty, cascaded in color from the six great crystal chandeliers that dotted the expanse, all dwarfed by the stalactite hanging in its middle. It seemed to pulse, as if it were alive, its many shards watching after Mel as he waltzed passed the eight long tables. Each was able to sit three-hundred people easy, but his destination was beyond, to the northernmost stairwell.
They went up three flights before coming out on a box corridor, housing eight, shimmering portals. He lumbered to the third on the left and waited for it to solidify into a giant, red eye.
“Back already, sir?” It said, its voice a shriek yet a whisper all at once.
“Yeah,” Mel said. “Limp biscuit dick.”
The eye blinked, became solid stone, and opened to reveal a rather mundane room. It was more at home in the housing projects of a backwoods town than in that school, but the way the walls shimmered, the way the computer with its anime-spattered front of obscene females (both boy and girl varieties) in either improper or no attire shimmered and faded to a crystal ball before returning to its luster, showing, emphasizing how the two worlds clashed. He had a futon set up in the right corner, giving way to the four-poster bed that was supposed to be there, but the couch-bed squeaked all the same as he sat on it and picked up a game controller. The device across the room, set below a large TV, beeped, and he was lost to the world of shrinking horseballs once more.
Saliim slumped beside, shaking her head, her arms still crossed before her.
“Where did my life go wrong?” She said. “What did I do to deserve this? Any of it?”
“I unno. What did you do?” Mel said.
“I was just... living my life. Enjoying the flowers, listening to the screams of the tormented, and then, the next moment, I am in Hell.”
“And now, here I am, watching someone wrangle a woman, tie them to the back of their horse’s ass, them drag them as wolves chase after while preparing TNT!” She growled, and her eyes were once more filled with fury, glaring him down. “What did you do?”
“Well, you see, it’s part of the game. You can hogtie someone and put them on the back of your horse or you can simply hold down the button and dr-”
“You know what I mean, dumbass!”
“Well, the tricky part is keeping the button held and preparing the dyna-”
“How did you bind me?”
“I unno. Like I said, I was trying to make shoes for afternoon t- h-hey... great. Now I’m gonna have to try that all over agai-”
She tossed the controller and it met-then-embedded itself into the console. Both faded into a wisp of smoke. As did the TV. She gripped his shoulder, her nails digging in, drawing a bit of blood from both his... and her shoulders. She let him go just as quick as her black blood hissed on the ground.
“I want my life back,” she whimpered, tears welling in her eyes. She looked at him, begging, lip trembling. “Please... release me.”
“Fine... I’ll try the spell again.” He stood, and walked to the door on the other side of the room.
“Wait. Didn’t your grandfather tell you not to do that!”
“Yeah, but how will we know it doesn’t work if we don’t.”
“On second thought-”
“No no. You’re right. You’ve been here three months. It’s about time we tried SOMETHING.”
He stood at the edge of that room. It rippled thrice, showing three different rooms, until it settled into the pantry. He walked in, retrieved a box of tea biscuits, then returned to the futon, placing exactly three on the table that rose before it. Three. No more. No less.
He cleared his throat, black fire rising around the biscuits, and began to chant. One might assume it was in an otherworldly tongue, but truly it was just gibberish. The room rumbled as the biscuits shook, crumbling under the power forced upon them, until, with one great flash of light, three large pyres rose to the ceiling, consuming them.
And leaving a new succubus in their place.
She was a touch smaller than Saliim, but her chest was much larger, barely contained within a golden blouse. Her ice-blue hair was tied into two pigtails, and her red eyes gleamed with wonder and intrigue as she looked upon his room.
“Thank you, mortal, for summoning m-” She began.
“Shut it, Brin,” Saliim exclaimed, whimpering as she rubbed her own forehead. “Why me?”
The succubus known as Brin finally noticed Saliim, and looked between her and Mel.
“Two of us? Oh my... what sort of... wishes do you have, mortal?”
“You shouldn’t have said that...”
“Well,” Mel said, tapping his chin... then snapped his fingers. “I know! I want you...”
“Yes?” Brin said, leaning in, licking her lips.
“Replace your left knee with Helen Keller.”
Her smile faded. “What?”
“Replace your left knee with Helen Keller.” She simply repeated her question, all curiosity and wonder gone from her eyes. “Just think of the applications.”
Brin looked over at Saliim, still shaking her head. Realization finally crept on the naive succubus’ face.
“What have you done?” She said, her voice, her soul broken.
“I was just trying to make shoes for afternoon tea! Why doesn’t anybody get that?”
Saliim patted the couch. Brin slumped into it, simply watching as Mel conjured another TV and console out of thin air, continuing his shenanigans.