Tuesdays became Mel’s favorite days at the Institute. Not because Restoration magic was his favorite -in fact, some days he deduced it wasn’t a real form of magic to begin with; it was a hodgepodge of spells and techniques from Primal and Spiritual that were either too simple for the complex array Spiritual magic demanded or too controlled and didn’t fit in with Primal’s emotional, instantaneous drive- nor was he really any good at it. No, it was all because it had his favorite teacher, Professor Torrid. If he could help it, he was always first in class, but times have been tough as of late, what with the sudden passing of somebody he assumed was close but was now a foggy outline just on the verge of the abyss that was his cavernous mind. Oh, and his whole new burden-turned-burdens, which one was now primed and ready to become comedy gold.
Professor Torrid, also, was the closest room to him, just down the stairs and to the left of the stairwell’s entry. Kind of helped to not be late when it was literally a drunken fall out of your house... Today, thankfully, he was the first one in. The first to be graced by Professor Torrid’s face...s. The first beamed at him, her orange eyes brighter than the sun from yesteryear. Her corn-colored hair seemed to leap with such fire and warmth rising from her tanned, rounded cheeks. The second one was its usual droopy self, half its gaunt, pale face hidden behind raven hair, but they still managed a small smile as he took his seat up front before them. The third looked ready to snap into some meat snack with a beard that made many an Amish man envious. Their white hair was held back from their face by a thick, red bandana, as well as woven into four thick dreads. Their robes always reflected their personality, today donning a blue, white, red pinstripe set, split vertically under each neck. They only had one sleeve, though, the red torn off for the black, bulging bicep underneath. Their front, also, suffered, straining so much to keep their twin sets of lady bits inside, each as big as Mel’s head, while all three were easily five feet above him, each on a separate neck.
“Good morning!|Oh, hi...|Who said you could bring another guest, brother?” They said. The happy one looked to the bearded one, giving them a dirty look. “There’s always room in this class.|It doesn’t matter; no one takes it seriously, anyways...|We still need to show some pride! We can’t let them walk all over us.|Have you thought about asking?|It looks to be another succubus... Another mishap?|Did you not learn from the first one, brother?”
“In my defense, I was asked to,” Mel said, and gestured to Brin, catching her jaw before it fell completely to the ground. “Say uh...DUH to Professor Torrid, Brin.”
“Nice to meet you!|Hi...|Are you ready for some knowledge, sister! Because when you are in our domain, you are either prepared or feel the PAIN!!!|Don’t mind them; they’re a bit cranky in the morning.|Just waiting for that coffee to kick in, then I’ll be able to run train on these developing minds! Oooh yeah!|Could you please lower your voice? I already had a headache...|You can go back to sleep a little if you like.|No... The energy drink perked me up. Do we have any ibuprofen?|It’s bad enough I allow this body to be polluted by that B-vitamin toxic slime; I ain’t allowing any other substance!|And you’re still yelling...” They all sighed at the same time, and the sunny one smiled once more while the raven-haired blushed, embarrassed to be seen fighting in front of the students, and the last one flexed its arm, pointing at Mel. “Are you ready for the knowledge, brother!”
“Ye,” he said, and raised his hand in time to clasp theirs, smacking with such force that Mel could have sworn his chest hair grew four times thicker just from the contact.
Professor Torrid finally noticed Penelope beside, and let go of Mel’s hand, pointing at her next.
“What about you, sister? Are you ready to get down-and-dirty with trying to bring the light to those in need? Are you ready to heal the gnarliest wounds and mend nature!”
“I can’t hear you!”
“That ain’t no way to show your excitement! Scream as if you are getting it from the person of your dreams, locked in ecstasy and intimate bliss! Bellow your answer as you feel them tease and coax you to that ultimate height, oooooooooh yeaaaaaaaah!|Oh, dear Lord...|I have to agree; that’s a bit-”
“Yes! Yes! Oh, God, yes!” Penelope shrilled, clutching her chest as she looked not-so-subtly over at Mel, too busy looking at his desk to notice. It glowed blue, showing his notes, which were mostly doodles and other, lewder doodles.
“Now that’s what I like to hear, sister! Once the others show up, we can begin truly learning!”
“I don’t think they will be,” Saliim said, and ruffled Mel’s hair. “Melly here sort of... exerted himself in Primal class yesterday. Most were reduced to little more than shreds.”
“To shreds, you say... oh, dear.|What brought that on? Do you need somebody to talk to, Mel?|Violence is not always the answer, brother! Sometimes you need to simply find an ear or six that will listen!”
“I was asked to be a little serious. That’s all,” Mel said, and let the notes fade away. “So... can we get started or-”
“Sadly, we won’t be able to do much without the rest of the class.|I don’t like teaching the same thing multiple times...|How about some basic practice, then! Routine practice and a balanced diet are the tools to building a better life!|What do we test with, then...” The three heads looked to each other, and simply stared, locked in each other’s gaze until, as one, they thundered out of the room. Saliim let her hand fall from Mel’s head onto his shoulder, her free hand laying on the other, caressing, soothing it as the party watched after. Their steps could be felt yards away, their rumbles dull, but were quick to grow again, bouncing the forty desks in the tall, wide room, dwarfed again as they returned. In their hog-sized-yet-very-dainty fists they carried four steel pails, filled with small field critters. They scooped out one, a pale blue frog, croaking for its life until with a solid thump it went still. They deposited it on Mel’s lap, where he could see it was still breathing, if a touch labored, and even had a buddy as the giant put three others on his desk. “Basic concussion and internal bleeding. We’ll start with that then I’ll painlessly break their appendages for you to mend.|How can you painlessly break a body part...|Because magic! Oh yeah!|We have this argument every time, you know.|And it’s still never a good enough answer...|What part of magic don’t you understand!|Crush our lungs then and see how ‘painless’ it is, even as we mend it...|But we can mend because of magic! Ooooh YEAH!”
Mel couldn’t help but smile, hearing the giantess argue with themselves. It was like listening to his own thoughts, except in the flesh, and it was funny. It really was; they were all the same person, and yet each had their own beliefs and ideals that made them clash and want to tear each other apart but they couldn’t because they were them, so they were forced to find compromise lest it lead to mutually-assured destruction. If more people thought like them, actually put themselves not only in their shoes but every other stance and tried to fight their way to an answer where everybody is content, then maybe, just maybe, the world would have their jetpacks and hoverboards by now –and, no, not those two-wheeled pool-dowsers that made for surprisingly hot and kinky porn.
But he had to focus; these frogs won’t live by themselves. Awfully selfish of them; their lives were at stake, and it depended on him to save them... How desperate do you have to be? But he did need to practice, so he started with the middle frog. He called them... Jim. Jim was a strong boy; he didn’t need more than a touch of green in his old noggin before he was flipped over and trying to hop away. He would probably have better success if both of his eyes were in their sockets, the left swinging away, quickly fixed. The next one was Jeffrey. Mousy one; even near death he was trying to hop away, sliding on his back towards Mel’s lap. Saliim continued to rub his shoulders as he healed Jeffrey, whom, upon being taken care of, showed his gratitude by hopping right into her face. She shouldn’t have gasped, but her screams were muffled.
“Are these frogs safe?” Mel blurted.
“As long as you wash your hands, you should be fine.|Don’t let them make contact with your tongue...|These frogs are prime predators of this Veil! The Runic Acid Frog! They glow pale blue with the aetherfire that flows in them, secreting into the smoothest oil on their skin that even puts my lotion to shame! One drop can desolate an entire town in the real world!”
“So... Saliim shouldn’t be trying to deepthroat it.”
“Oh. No. She’s fine. It only affects humans.|Normal humans;those with gifts only get a mild rash if they don’t wash their hands.|Humans, though, burst into flames! Like great geysers of holy light shooting into the heavens, returned to their creator in glorious imaculation!|That’s not even a real word...|But it sounds cool! Oh yeah!”
Mel paid attention, but also watched as the succubus sprinted around the room, clawing, pulling at the frog in her throat. It continued to try to delve ever deeper inside, which made him wonder why her gag reflex didn’t... oh... right... But, she managed to snag one of its feet and yank it out. She growled as she glared at it, flailing in her grasp, reaching for her face and almost seemed to be trying to fly... but... she looked up, and saw that Mel was watching. The anger that had crossed her brow, the fire that smoldered on her back... forced itself to snuff out. She... gently... stomped back over, and lobbed the frog onto the table, her hands once more on Mel’s shoulders, though her head dipped by his nape, blowing against it.
He turned his attention back to the table, ready to deal with another frog. This one he named Pablo. He always liked that name, Pablo, and this frog seemed to fit the bill. It was completely chill, not caring in the least that it was internally bleeding and had a major concussion. It was simply leaning back against another frog, still ribbeting in slow, jive blurps, and seemed to look away as Mel touched it.
Green energy flowed down his fingers, into the frog. Its head started to glow, making its beady, black eyes shine and reflect Mel’s face, staring back into them. He seemed... drawn to those specific black orbs, unable to look away from their deepening chasms. In fact, he was spellbound, lost in their mystifying beauty as they seemed to grow and grow, swallowing him, easing him into the darkness of the abyss, the pale green energy and the blue skin gone.
He blinked, and realized Pablo was no longer a frog. In fact, he wasn’t sure if Pablo was ever a frog. Instead, he was simply holding the head of Pablo, which was not a frog but a water beast from the Mesozoic era, the rest of its body outside the hall while its long, gray neck stretched the extent of the room.
“Could you give me about tree-fiddy?” Pablo said.
… Mel raised his hand.
“Professor,” he called out. “My frog accidentallied into the Loch Ness monster.”
“Oh dear. I hate when that happens.|I was watching, though. He was simply healing it...|Somebody tampering with my student’s work! Somebody gonna pay!” Professor Torrid stomped up to the beast and punched it right in the mouth, knocking it out cold. Its neck thumped onto the ground while its head made a solid thud on Mel’s desk, picked up as the giantess worked their way back to the body. “Class is dismissed. I need to report this to the dean.|There’s a conspiracy afoot...|Nobody messes with our favorite student! Or else they face the wrath of my forty-inch python!”
They continued to bicker and gripe as they carried the seventy-foot prehistoric beast away, but Mel felt a bit down... His favorite day was ruined. Why... He sighed, and stood, heading back up the stairs to his room.
“Hey!” Penelope cried out, giggling as she touched his shoulder. “You left without me.”
“So I did... what are you doing here?”
“Well... I thought... since we had so much extra time that we could hang out.”
“Do we have to?”
“I mean, no, but-”
“Too late.” He stepped through his door and lumbered over to the couch, there his controller already materializing... but the door didn’t shut fast enough, allowing Penelope to slink in. He sighed wearily, booting up the western presequel as she pestered him with questions... and wondered why he spent so much time looking at the back side of horses –until one decided to answer the call of nature, that is.
“Ew... Why did they put that in?” She said, giggling. “Surely they could have put that money elsewhere.”
“But then you wouldn’t be able to appeal to the less-than-1% of people who love horse shit,” Mel said, scoffing. “I am so triggered right now that you don’t give those people a thought. Like... how could you? How can you be so thoughtless? In fact... Saliim!”
“I want you to make me a tuna fist.”
“A... a what now?”
“Dammit, woman! Time is of the essence!”
“But... I don’t-”
“It’s too late. Now you must do forty air-guitar solos.”
“I don’t understand!”
“Go pick up the guitar over there by the wall and start strumming!”
“But there is no guitar there!”
“I know it’s not the latest model, but old is gold. It’s already tuned!”
“But there isn’t a guitar there.”
“On it,” she said, hopping off the couch and zooming towards the corner by the door. She picked up the metallic flying V with copper strings and a handmade mahogany fretboard and started wailing like no tomorrow.
Stopped as Saliim swiped the air guitar away.
“Hey! I had t-”
Saliim slammed her against the wall, and gave a... lukewarm performance. Her technique was superb, but she didn’t have the true heart behind it, making it sound soulless. However, she did do it, which saved the world from a horrible nuclear meltdown for another day... or was that the soda he had her drink while singing Christmas songs to stray kittens that were conjured when he tried to make said soda fly to him, instead rolled on their backs. They were perfectly fine, thankfully, but now he had to find homes for at least twenty-nine of them- nevermind! They exploded into confetti and a giant, brass key.
Saliim picked it up, eyebrow twitching furiously, unable to hide her irrititation anymore as she glared at Mel.
“One more thing,” he said, drawing it out, and the vein in her temple was almost black with how angry she was.
“I swear to the Dark One-” She began.
“Have this glass of MILK!”
A simple, plain, clear glass filled with the white beverage floated up to her. She gave it a hard stare the entire time, lazing the entire way, wavering before her until she wrapped her hand around it. She looked between him and that cold drink, him then the milk, milk then him, again and again until, at last, she simply shrugged, and tossed it back-
“But first make sure to use the key on it. Otherwise, it’ll knock you out,” Mel quickly added, just as she finished swallowing.
And she collapsed to the floor, leaving Brin to safely join him and Penelope on the futon. Just as the horse shat again.