Wednesdays in the Institute interchanged every other week. The week prior, Mel had Art, which he did not really have a single inkling of what they did then. He remembered that he gave Michelangelo’s David a far nicer package than the artiste ever did. Yes, yes, different time, large cocks were seen as barbaric and brutish while nice and tidy little peckers were seen as civilized... In truth, that really hasn’t changed, but you should still honor the man by giving him a package that will be remembered for centuries. Not just some little twig and grapenuts; at least give him half a bull’s and each one the size of a peach. That’s not asking much, was it?
This week, though, he had Spiritual lessons with the lovely Professor Negei. Mel always wondered why most teachers were female while most students were male... After meeting Professor Negei, he sort of understood. Sort of... kind of? As long as he didn’t think about it too much, it made partial sense.
Her pale skin glowed in the center of the dark room. It was almost as black as pitch, saved from being an umbral abyss by purple fire sparking from soft blue rocks dotted every five or so feet in her domain. Unlike the other teachers, she did not wear robes but tight dresses, showing off her full, voluptuous form. Today, she chose the deep violet dress, trimmed in brass around her pale collar bone before diving between her supple chest. On the right one, there was a symbol, a jagged, black snake wound into a lemniscate biting its own tail. It seemed to ripple and pulse with each beat of her heart, the skin it laid on absolutely flawless, from the tips of her perfectly manicured toes, untouched by any sock or heel, up her pristine, clear legs and their tantalizing thighs, rolling the skirt just enough to make one look, passed her toned arms and their delicate ends, all the way to her heart-shaped face with its full, black-glossed lips and brilliant amber eyes and its long, wavy black hair.
However, as Mel sat at his desk, waiting for the other students to show, he did not truly care for that buxom beauty nor how she looked at him. Though those yellows sparkled, seeming to have such warmth shine through, he felt nothing but a chill coming from those topazes, and dreaded, prayed for others to show. Soon. Even Brin and Saliim were on edge, sitting incredibly close at the desk nearest to the door. Though it was only three feet away, that was still too far for comfort. Even if he could pry that obsidian desk out of the ground, even if he could hit her with it, there was no doubt in his mind that she would have him if she truly wanted him.
For Professor Negei was no ordinary, beautiful, ageless woman... but a monster. Mel was taught, time and again, that the other races were not to be called such, that each had their societies, their customs. For that thing, and all the Infernis, he would gladly never know otherwise. They exist solely to spread pain, to weave their way into every part of a culture, of society... and tear it apart. Dissension, schisms, corruption; these were the three skills they excelled at. In fact, he remembered there were at least forty other students in this 500-seat classroom once upon a time, now reduced to him, Destiny, New Jersey, and Penelope. And he feared for any woman that was under her gaze. Men were easy; she would seduce them, do... whatever it was she needed to, and they were gone. Women, straight women at least, she was not so gentle with, but were harder to see in the same company with her.
Penelope burst into the room, breaking the Infernis’s gaze. The fires in the room turned white hot as she glowered at her, watching her the entire time as she sat at the desk right beside M-
No. She didn’t.
That caught Mel off-guard. He was so used to her taking that desk and scooting it up right against. Instead, though, she walked almost halfway back in the rows of desks and sat against the opposite wall, glowering at him. Maybe it was because she did so but the flames settled, no longer illuminating the jagged cove they resided in nor the brackish water splashing away in the back. Mel hoped that it was simply coincidence, but the rime that condensed on the back of his neck, stiffening it, forcing it to turn back around, told him that was very much not the case.
Professor Negei stood before him, “smiling”, if you want to count those rows upon rows of razors gleaming down at him from the light of her eyes smiling. To him, it felt more as if she just wanted her lips peeled away, ready to bite down and consume him whole.
“Is everything all right between you two?” She said, her voice its natural, gritty, shredding tone. If the others were here, especially New Jersey, she would be trying to hide that unholy gurgling with something soft, like velvet or a deep purr. However, she knew that ship sailed long ago for Mel –mostly thanks to Penelope being there. She never seemed to blink, those yellows simply gliding between him, Saliim, and Brin. “I take it one too many?”
“It’s a short story but not one I would really care to tell,” Mel said, but he knew she wasn’t really listening. Her nostrils were flared, smelling his voice and its essence, tasting for itself the truth in the words, themselves.
Those yellow buttons flashed white, the clear sclera turning red with each other pulse, until she huffed, and sat on the desk.
“H-hey-” Saliim began, rising to her feet.
“I mean him no harm,” the professor said, though Mel could have argued otherwise with how she ran those purple-colored fingertips through his hair. She hummed, and fanned her other towards Brin. “We haven’t been properly introduced. I am Professor Olivia Laroux Val Il Barena Negei of the Rutoom clan.”
“Wow. That’s a mouthful,” Brin said. “You can simply call me Brin.”
Once more, the professor wasn’t really listening but smelling her words, giving her a sad smile as she continued to play in Mel’s hair.
“Poor lass. So much sadness in you, hidden behind saccharine brevity. Though I suppose it’s better to act happy and from it bring yourself hopefully a little joy than be bitter and hateful towards those around you.”
“I feel that was aimed towards me,” Saliim said. “Am I to take this as a direct assault?”
“But of course not, my dear. I am simply stating an opinion; if you are so easily offended by opinions, then perhaps you should ask yourself why that is.” The Infernis eased herself off the desk, but did not let go of Mel’s hair, letting it slide through her fingers. Though it was but a gentle pull, it felt as if she was trying to drag him right out of his seat and behind the podium, possibly under it, but she let go all the same. It wasn’t long before the other students arrived, New Jersey being last. He walked in backwards, his hands inflecting fast, and wheeled about. Right into her. His hands, once so mobile, so free, went still against either side of her magnanimous chest. In fact, the only movement they did was to bend away, but that didn’t seem to matter to Professor Negei. “My oh my. You always did have a hands problem, haven’t you, Rizolli?”
“S-s-sorry, m-ma’am,” he stammered out, hands trying to fly away. She tried to grab at them, making him reel and sidle through the room and rows that much faster until he was along the fourth, skittering backwards. His eyes were wide, hands shaking so much, the only noises to be heard were his panting... and Professor Negei’s sniffs.
She tittered as she walked behind the podium again, leaning far over it. Her eyes fluttered between New Jersey and Mel, raising her chest a little, allowing them to see a touch more down her dress... Neither dared to look at her, looking at the left and right walls respectively, instead.
“Alright, class,” she breathed out. “Now that everybody’s here, let us commence. The last time we met, we hit a snag with understanding how willpower and one’s drive affects the summoning of spirits and manipulating the fabric of reality.”
“Hey, to be honest, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense,” New Jersey said, and even his hands were aimed away and never did stray towards her. “I understand in its use to protect yaself, but your sayin’ we can brute force time and space?”
“In simple terms, yes. Remember Newton’s Third Law, ‘For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.’ Time and space are always affecting you, with every second the equal reaction. With a strong enough will and enough push, you can tip the scales in your favor. Such is the way if you are messing with the Cycle.”
She sighed, and her hands glowed bright blue, veering on white. The energy spread from them, casing them both in the shimmering mass, before its edges took on a crisp, sharp outline. She spread her hands, fanning them to her side, and so to did the orb expand, taking the entire room into its splendor. It was only a fraction, a second, just long enough for Mel to blink, and the next moment he was smothered in her chest against the front of the room. Her mark pulsed fast by his eye, her breath reeking of hot spices and sweet fruits, but he knew it might as well have been the putrescence of death. Three pairs of feet stomped as they rose, but Mel was let go and could only see Brin and Saliim that stood and started towards them.
Professor Negei hooked a nail under his chin, forcing him to stand beside her by the podium, and Brin and Saliim both froze in place, seeing the fear in his eyes.
“An example.” She stated, letting Mel go. He rushed back over to his desk, practically throwing himself in it, while Brin and Saliim stayed standing, shielding him. “Time and space don’t necessarily affect Infernus as it does other, grounded species. I only have to use one-twentieth of what most modern human mages need. However, I had no true reason to do that either.”
A lie. Mel knew all too well that was a bald-faced lie. She was testing the waters, checking for weaknesses, and had a grand old feast of it.
Professor Negei leaned on her podium again, tapping her chin, and bit her lip.
“You have all been doing your meditation, correct?” She said. “Breathing exercises? Hand motions? Balance training? Have you all been practicing channeling? Have you purged your systems recently?” Her eyes darted over to Mel. “And I don’t mean your physical ones.”
“The cumehameha is very spiritual, thank you,” Mel grumbled.
“I bet it is. Truly an enlightening one, that frees you of such a burden.” She clacked her teeth, making him jump a touch in his seat, and she tittered more as she looked back towards the rest of the class. “Today, we are going to try to summon our spirit animals, the easiest and most crucial practice a Spiritualist will ever learn. I’m simply thankful no other student joined in the last two years.”
“I’m not apologizing.”
“And I don’t expect you to.” She held out her left hand, and, in it, another bright blue orb started to amass. Brin and Saliim pressed their backs as hard as they could against Mel, tense as well, clawing at his desk just in case that orb even got near him. However, instead, the orb simply lazed a foot out before her, still a few feet from the first row of desks, and turned a greasy black. “The process of summoning your spirit animal is rather simple,” she explained. Her eyes were closed, hand still held out towards that fetid pool, growing and shimmering. “It’s much like introspection, looking into one’s self for answers, but it’s the idea of finding yourself, your id, and giving it form. Call to it... summon it... into reality!”
She closed her hand, and yanked back through the air. The orb flashed white, but was gone as it faded. In its place was a tiny, green dragon. It had no scales, its hide completely smooth, and, if it wasn’t for its tiny legs, lanky arms, or four sets of spindly wings, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a scarf. It seemed to simply swim through the air, easing itself onto Professor Negei, petting its head.
“I have confidence you can do it,” she assured the class, then lowered her other hand. Another spark of bright blue escaped it, and the desks and chairs disappeared into the floor. She instructed them to give each other enough space to work, though that didn’t stop Mel and New Jersey from staying rather close to each other, as well as Saliim and Brin made it a habit of always staying in front of wherever the Infernus paced.
However, Mel wasn’t sure that he could.
Sure, he tried those exercises, but they were so... so boring! Meditating was a waste of time; she explained that trying to keep your mind empty was a waste, since you would always be thinking of keeping it empty, but nailing it down to one thought was, also, close to impossible. He tried to focus on his breathing; what happened? He blasted a hole through his wall. Focus on a symbol? Suddenly Ghostbusters made real, or, worse, night of the angry tits. Just... flopping around, attacking people with their mammaries of steel and hearts of coal. The other exercises weren’t much better, either. He got some entertainment out of the focus training with a crystal ball, but was told to never to do that again... Not his fault the energy ended up exploding in another dimension and almost wiped it out. He was simply doing as he was told.
As he was now... how the hell was he supposed to know what kind of shape his id was supposed to be? Half the time, he wondered if he had an id. Once you realize that you breathe manually, that you can always see the bridge of your nose or are holding up your jaw all the time or can’t find a proper place for your tongue to rest or even that your hands curl a touch when idle, all bets are off! It’s even worse when certain words and phrases can easily change what your internal monologue was. For instance: Good news, everyone! You are now hearing this in a crotchety old man’s voice for some possibly awful situation. “Get to the choppah!” Now you are hearing this in a buff ex-governor’s voice. He’ll be back, you’ll see.
In fact, the most fun he had with voices was because of a silly spoof he saw online years ago; he can never hear murder the same way again. But that’s not going to help him now, was it? He can’t exactly kill the professor (though he bets she would love for him to give him a little death; the thought sent another chill down his spine, and he was almost a bona fide woman), but that seemed more likely than him finding out who- no, it’s wh... wait. Could it be a who?
Something clicked in his mind, and he held out his hand. A deep, red orb formed inside it and lazed out towards the professor’s podium. It bobbed there once, twice, thrice, and... continued to bob because he didn’t close his eyes yet! He was sort of afraid to, in truth; what if she used that window to get him? He might have gotten by with the skin of his penis with Penelope the other night, but there’s no getting away from an Infernis.
Mel looked over to Penelope, and saw that she had summoned hers: a dog. He was never really good with breeds, but it looked to be one of those with the long, golden hair... Like that one dog that would purposely push the kid down the well then go get help so that it could get all the credit and be counted a hero. Really, that dog was arguably more a dick than many a cat, but he doubted this one would do him any favors. The two seemed lost to their own little world, talking, chatting away, as did all the other students save for him.
Saliim and Brin pressed firm against Mel again as Professor Negei approached him. She looked between him and the orb, lip pursed.
“Are you having trouble,” she asked. “Is there anything I can help you with?”
“Nuh,” he said. It was now or never; everybody else wasn’t paying attention, too lost in themselves. If she wanted to, she could... simply... take him... He closed his eyes, and gave his maximum effort, envisioning who his spirit animal was in that ball of red. He counted back from twelve, imagining the final number, the bell that comes with it, and felt the tug, the need to jerk!
He pulled his hand back, and opened his eyes, seeing none other than Ryan Reynolds before him... He was shorter than he expected, easily three feet under him, and, even in this chain of events, simply looked around as if mildly annoyed. He wore a bright blue shirt, tucked into a pair of black pants, with only socks on his feet.
Mister Reynolds looked around the room, at the people talking with strange animals that were actually talking back, as well as at the two busty succubus that flanked Mel before focusing on him.
“Okay. Where am I, and who gave me the good shit?” He said.
“Mister Reynolds-” Mel began, but he shook his hand furiously.
“Call me booboo bear.”
“Then call me Ryan, and hurry up and tell me what is going on.”
“Ryan, you are at Aye-yai-yai-yai. I brought you here through the power of black magic fuckery as you are my spirit animal.”
… He gave a silent “ah”, nodding, and held up a finger.
“So, uh, I just have one question: WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?”
“I couldn’t think of anything else that would be close to being my spirit animal.”
“Obviously. There’s nothing better than me for being a spirit animal, but why was I brought here. Aye-yai-yai-yai?”
“It’s actually four I’s. Short for the Isis institute for Intrepid Intellects.”
He huffed, and put his hands on his hips.
“So, we’re in a magical Mexican suicide-bomber boot camp... Are there at least good tacos? Burritos?”
“After I spiced them up, you could say they were a true jihad on the senses.”
“That sounds fucking amazing. However, as much as I would love to stay and see the rest this acid trip has to offer, I was with my family. It’s game night; we were about to play some Scrabble. You can always bring me back in, oh, eight hours.”
“Yes, but, sadly, I can’t let you leave with memories of this place.” Mel could have done a simple memory wipe spell, but how could he pass up an opportunity like this? Since now he knew he could summon people to be spirit animals, what’s stopping him from having multiples? And who said they had to be real?
“What are you doing?” Mister Reynolds said as a ball of black energy formed beside him. There was a strip of white down its center, growing even before Mel shut his eyes. In fact... he opened them, and imagined the suit, the car, the facility. He pulled as much as he could until there was a solid face, though belonging to another man; he wanted the fictional character. He wanted the Man in Black.
It sparked, and Mel yanked back. From it, an older gentleman stumbled into the room. He looked a touch disgruntled, but regained his composure. He didn’t look any less grumpy, however, and took in his environment.
“I seem to be back in Isis Institute for Intrepid Intellects,” the agent said, and held out his hand to Mel. “I take it you are the one that summoned me.”
“I am,” Mel said, shaking it, and the gentleman was just as quick to let go. “This isn’t your first time here?”
“Trust me, slick, I’ve seen more than my fair share of this lovely little institution. The amount of times you dullards almost pissed off the wrong Artorian Prince or decided to play with bugs.” He shook his head, and put his hands in his pockets. “So what can I do to help?”
“We have one of the common rabble here in needing of a memory wipe-”
“Now hold on a second,” Mister Reynolds said, all the while the agent removed his hands from his pockets. The older gent reached into his breast pocket, pulling out a thin, silver tube. “I can keep a secret like no other, and hopefully this won’t be the only time you summon me.”
“You brought him here, slick?” The agent said.
“He was my spirit animal,” Mel said.
“I see they do things a little differently now. Usually it’s tiny animals they can speak their feelings to.”
“Were you about to say something about my height?” Mister Reynolds said.
“Yes. Very much.”
“Got to hand it to the kid on that one,” the agent said, and put on his sunglasses. Mel created his own pair, as well as a pair for Brin. The tiny tube in the gentleman’s hand popped open with a soft whir.
“Oh no! I watched those movies thousands of times. You a-”
The agent waited for Mister Reynolds to blink twice before hitting the button, and a bright flash of light consumed him and the wall beyond. Professor Negei had moved on, so nobody was caught behind it or really paying it any attention. The agent put the device away before also pocketing his glasses, pointing them at Mister Reynolds.
“What was he about to do before you brought him here?” The agent said.
“He was about to play Scrabble with his family.”
“Right. You had a dizzy spell in the living room and had to sit down a moment. All of this was in your imagination as you sat there and waited for it to end... Send him home, slick, then let me be off.”
Mel did exactly as the gentleman said, and was once more alone at the front of the classroom. Aside, you know, Brin and-
Saliim lunged at him, pulling him into her arms.
“Well! Hello, handsome,” she said, caressing his face. “Why have you summoned me? Your wish is my desire.”
“Saliim-” Mel began, cut off by her coo... and a sudden realization at what just happened.
“A mind-reader, at that? You must be a powerful master of incredible skill... and impeccable tastes.” She almost moaned as she wrapped her leg around him. She finally noticed Brin behind, and sneered. “I don’t do threesomes, and I don’t share. Send her away or I leave.”
“Easier said then done.”
Saliim scoffed, and unwound her leg from him, stepping back.
“Fine. Then farewell.” She tapped her foot... hummed... looked at her arm as if there was a watch... until she finally couldn’t handle it anymore. “Okay. What the hell? What have you done?”
“I’m afraid to say you’re bound to me.”
She huffed, crossed her arm... but looked him over, as well as looked back at Brin.
“I guess it wouldn’t be so bad,” she said. “You seem strong for a human, and you must have had reason to summon me as well.”
Mel... simply chuckled, becoming a full belly guffaw as all eyes were on him again, listening to his maniacal bellows.