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The Magic of Programming

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The chatter of the classroom was lively, Class A of the 6-11 Year Olds' Level buzzing with excitement.

 

K.O. wanted to be prepared and was reading ahead for the next lesson. He caught Dendy doing something else, rummaging perhaps, in her hackpack.

 

"Aren't you gonna study, Dendy?" K.O. asked, facing her from his armchair.

 

"I have done adequately last night, K.O.," Dendy replied, not eyeing him.

 

"Oh!" Curious, "is something wrong with your hackpack?"

 

"Nothing of the sort," She continued. "In studying ahead last night, it got me thinking."

 

"Oh?"

 

"Yes, most especially about the unpredictability of life."

 

"Ah," K.O. then looked back at the open book in his hands, trying to make sense of the words that seemed to describe the lady from the book's pictures.

 

"How did you arrive to that lesson?"

 

"It's an old legend K.O.. Though it is one I am not familiar with, it is one that is easy to learn from."

 

"Well, I'm happy you got that figured out, Dendy!"

 

"Until Miss Quantum tries her worst again,"

 

"Yeah, that's true."

 

"Although, that should not be a problem!"

 

"Why?"

 

Before K.O. could reply, out came a knocking and a jolly "Ho ho ho!"

 

"Good morning, children!" Greeted Principal Claus, who walked into the room with a smile.

 

"Good morning, Principal Claus!" The students greeted back in glee, albeit out of sync.

 

"It has come to my attention that Miss Quantum won't be available to teach you kids some time,"

 

K.O. and Dendy perked up, suspicious after what happened the last time Miss Quantum was unavailable.

 

"She's quite ill, and she will take a long time to recover." Principal Claus continued. "Heeding the complaints from last time, we've decided to take a substitute from our own staff!"

 

Backing out to give way to the mystery teacher, "Children, please welcome Professor Crowe!"

 

From outside stepped in Professor Crowe, a giant bird with black feathers and long legs. He wore glasses with those dangling strings, as well as a white polo and an old-timey vest. He wore big brown shoes too. In his hand-like wings were a bunch of papers and books.

 

The students began to chatter amongst themselves in awe.

 

Crowe nodded at Principal Claus, who then left him at this new class.

 

"Good morning, children. My name is Dr. Edgar Crowe," He placed down his things on the desk, "But you can call me Professor Crowe. I am after all, a professor of Lakewood Public."

 

The students felt intimidated by the aura of this new teacher—new, boring, bookish, and too old for them.

 

And yet, calmer, more patient, and friendlier than the air that Miss Quantum carried.

 

"If any of you heard of me, you'll be happy to know that I regularly teach certain classes for the 13-17 Year Olds' Level." He chuckled, "which means you kids have nothing to worry about!"

 

He then picked up one of the books on the desk and flipped the pages, "I know Miss Quantum specializes better in Science and Mathematics, but since I'm the teacher now, we'll be dabbing on more towards Language, Literature and History!"

 

Some kids groaned while some cheered in interest.

 

"There!" He remarked finding the perfect page.

 

"Now, before we begin, I want to establish, um, a class covenant!"

 

"What's a covenant, Professor Crowe?" Asked Genesis.

 

"Good question!" He adjusted his glasses, "A covenant is another way to refer to an agreement. That means one or many persons agree on a set of things."

 

"Isn't that kinda like a bunch of rules?" Snarked Nanini.

 

"One can say it is, but I say it is a covenant," Crowe replied back in a chipper tone.

 

"Now, as for the terms..." He began to pace about the classroom, eyeing each and every student.

 

"I will allow you kids to do anything, and I mean anything in my class, whether it's sleep, leave, or use the restroom, even without that magical PP Pass,"

 

The children gasped collectively and began to chat amongst themselves.

 

K.O. thought that was too good to be true.

 

"Heck, even eat and play!" He paused, waiting for the children to calm a little.

 

"But only if you children agree to these conditions! Are all of you kids listening?"

 

"Yes, Professor Crowe!"

 

"Good!" He stood in the front, very still.

 

"First, no Power Battles, no fighting of any kind! I don't mean just physically, but academically and morally too!"

 

The children stopped their cheering.

 

"I know a few of you are definitely going down a villainous path or are being forced to, and I know the rest of you hero kids don't like them so much. As much as you guys don't get along, I will not tolerate such petty division in my classroom, understood?"

 

No response.

 

"Am I understood?" Crowe raised his voice.

 

"Yes, Professor Crowe!" The children replied back in fear.

 

"Second, treat the teacher, or whoever is speaking with respect. There is no room for insecurity in my classroom. If one wants to speak up, comment, or criticize, interrupt politely. Please."

 

The students nodded.

 

"Third and last," Crowe leaned against the desk, arms crossed with an air of authority, "the most important! Break it and I will fail you—no one is allowed to use their powers."

 

The students gasped in offense. All of them were panicked and in trembling chatter.

 

"What?!" K.O. exclaimed.

 

"But our powers make us who we are!"

 

"My powers help me do good in school!"

 

"Ahem!" Crowe cleared his throat in a way so piercing the students had silenced themselves.

 

"These are the terms of not just my class here with you, but every class that I have handled. I have failed and dropped many students. If any of you disagree, you are free to drop out and take your education somewhere else."

 

Dendy raised her hand.

 

Crowe acknowledged her. "What's your name?"

 

"My name is Dendy, Professor," She stood up in respect. "And I must ask a question."

 

"Proceed, Dendy."

 

"If there is anything I know about established agreements, it is that they serve a purpose, a purpose that benefits the parties in question." She adjusted her goggles, "I cannot in good conscience agree until it is clear to everyone why these are the rules—terms, I mean—that you have set in place."

 

"Thank you for your voice, Dendy. You may sit down," Professor Crowe then began his explanation, looking directly at his students.

 

"Firstly: We obviously know that fighting or causing anger amongst others is a thing that while it raises our spirits in its own way, may allow room for undesirable things to grow within us."

 

He began to pace, "In better words, it's not as fun. Fighting isn't fun when it's gonna make you feel bad later."

 

The teacher noticed that the students seemed to disagree with his point, or maybe they're just angry they won't get to fight.

 

He inhaled, pacing to the opposite direction, "Secondly: Regardless of who you are, of your gender, of your beliefs, of your status in life, or of your alignment, everyone has the right and deserves the right to shine, and express themselves! To prevent what brings about bad feelings--You won't like it if no one could see you, hear you, or feel you while you're just standing there, right?"

 

A number of the students nodded.

 

"Right," He then walked back to the front of the desk.

 

"As for that last one, why," He cleared his throat suddenly. "Which of you kids have their powers figured out? Like, fully aware that they have obvious powers?"

 

K.O. and Dendy raised their hands, alongside most of the class.

 

Professor Crowe noted the few lone students, many of them embarrassed.

 

"You can put your hands down," He then walked towards one of students, a teal axolotl child wearing a yellow shirt and golden bangles on their antennae-horn things.

 

"What's your name?"

 

The child sunk lower into their seat, flustered.

 

"You don't have to be scared. What's your name?"

 

"L-Leslie, Professor Crowe,"

 

"Nice to know you, Leslie," He put a comforting wing on their shoulder. "Why do you look so worried?"

 

The child could only focus on the stares of their classmates.

 

"Is it because of your lack of powers?"

 

Leslie nodded slowly. "Nana said so."

 

"Oh?"

 

"But I'm scared, P-Professor,"

 

"Why?"

 

"Well, it's just that bad things happen whenever Nana realizes she's wrong. If I do have powers, erm, eventually I have to hide them."

 

"Oh dear," The teacher immediately caught the situation, "I'm sorry about that. Know that I don't intend to shame anyone's powers, or lack thereof, okay?"

 

They nodded, calming down.

 

He bent down and whispered to them, "If you'd like to talk more about this, you're free to speak with me after class, alright?"

 

Leslie nodded, knowing they finally found someone to vent to.

 

"Alright, I'll be blunt," Crowe, away from Leslie, began to pace around the students. "Powers aren't everything. Life can be a lot more interesting when you try to face it without them,"

 

"In fact," He went on, "folks who don't have their power realized, or just outright don't have any powers, why, they're just a little bit happier than the rest of us."

 

"How come?" Asked Bobo, the rest of the students eyeing him in concern.

 

Professor Crowe paused in his pace and faced Bobo.

 

"What's your name?"

 

"My name is Bobo."

 

"Okay Bobo," The teacher was standing next to K.O.'s place, his feather-fingers tapping on his desk. 

 

"What is it you like about your powers?"

 

"Uh, I dunno. It's funny?"

 

Everyone laughed.

 

"I see," He stopped his tapping. "But, erm, what exactly are your powers to you? What do you think of them?"

 

Bobo actually paused in their motions to think.

 

"Do your powers seem to be valuable or important to you in any way?"

 

Bobo blinked. 

 

"Oh my Cob, they don't. They're just...funny." They looked directly at Professor Crowe, "Professor, am I useless?"

 

"Nonsense, Bobo! You can still be the person you want to be even if your powers don't play out in your favor!"

 

"So I can still be a hero?"

 

"...yes! Don't let anyone define you, Bobo."

 

Almost pecking K.O.'s face, "what about you? What's your name?"

 

"K.O.,"

 

"Okay, K.O.," Crowe twisted himself to fully face the boy. "Same goes to you! How important are your powers?"

 

"Well, very important, Professor Crowe sir," K.O. replied immediately, feigning confidence.

 

"How so?"

 

"Well, my powers are a part of who I am, just like everyone else. They've been really helpful for fighting villains and protecting the people I love!"

 

"Yes yes, how noble!" He tapped on the table again. "Now, if you were to get disempowered, what would you do?"

 

K.O. remembered his father.

 

"I," He thought of his Mom's old friend Doctor Greyman. 

 

The boy was rendered speechless.

 

"Yes?"

 

"I don't know."

 

"Really now?"

 

K.O. was slowly getting irritated at his feelings of discomfort, "I really wouldn't know, Professor. I would never expect it, honestly."

 

Professor Crowe gave K.O. a soft look, mistaking that violet twinkle in the boy's electric copper eyes for a sparkle of confidence—a confidence that seemed to betray the boy's tone of uncertainty.

 

"Well, that's why I want you and your classmates to learn how to deal with it when it happens." He smiled, then continued as he walked back to the front.

 

"Are you satisfied, Dendy?"

 

She hesitated to answer when they locked eyes.

 

"...yes, Professor."

 

"Alright!" He clasped his wing-hands. "So, is that a deal, kids?"

 

"Yes, Professor," The students responded in an obedient tone.

 

K.O. suddenly noticed Genesis change in color. She was seated right next to him. He never knew she could take on a human form so easily.

 

She was frowning, dropping all of her catty traits.

 

"Good! Now," Professor Crowe picked up his book, "time to start our first lesson!"

 

The children were too hesitant to chatter, to murmur amongst themselves, scared at this unpredictable teacher of theirs. He was capable for a substitute, but he had a homey, domineering energy that overshadowed the intimidating challenge of Miss Quantum.

 

"Please turn your textbooks to page 19."

 

K.O. gasped when he realized it was the future lesson he was having a difficulty studying.

 

He looked back up and saw the word "LUCK" written on the board.

 

"Do any of you children believe in this?" Crowe pointed at the word on the board, using some sort of marker-chalk pen thing. "If you believe in luck, raise your hand."

 

None of the students did.

 

"Huh, something's new 'bout this generation," He muttered to himself before clearing his throat. "Whatever, our lesson is going to involve some pretty interesting ideas about luck!"

 

Crowe put the marker-chalk pen in his pocket, "The lesson we have concerns a popular legend that has existed and cycles around the early decades of every century in history."

 

The children oohed and aahed.

 

"Most Maizefolk are very familiar with this legend, actually. Yes, those," He faked coughed and made air quotes, "corny weirdos have a culture. We—erm, they, r-rather, have quite the impact on our planet's history!"

 

"Legend tells of a beautiful, blinded maiden, who had no feet but wheels that let her spread fortune wherever she went. She gave aid and advice to anyone she crossed. Anyone who disagreed with her or rejected her help was cursed with unfortunate circumstances! Those who listened, who said yes to her fickle words, were blessed until the end of their days."

 

The students were in awe at the mystic nature of the legend.

 

"The maiden was known as Lady Luck, a force, or a being, some say a deity, who mastered all of chance and fate, destiny and the events that happened in due course."

 

"Man, it's a shame she's not real," Nanini spoke up.

 

"Oh ho ho, but there are testimonies out there, little imp, many that occur in century-long gaps, of sightings of Lady Luck, and what she brings."

 

He began to pace about in front, pulling out his marker-chalk pen.

 

"Historians throughout the years have been arguing about her alignment. While most Maizefolk believe she is a non-aligning force like themselves and their idol Cob, Lady Luck is said to be a mystery. No one has known her personally, or knew her long enough to gather an impression."

 

He drew a horseshoe on the board, "she has been testified to have helped heroes, notably the famous Detective Oliver Once-Over!"

 

"Oh oh oh! My mommy told me about him! He was famous for stopping a pyramid crime scheme in like, um, around the early 19XY days,"

 

"Well said, K.O.," Crowe was impressed at the boy's knowledge. "He said in one of his salvaged journals that he credits Lady Luck as one of the forces that helped him take that scheme down!"

 

He then drew another horseshoe, this time upside down, intersecting with the first one.

 

"And yet, she has assisted villains too, like Embroidery Hurley, a villain from 178X known for serial kidnapping animals and using their fur to keep up with the fashion trends at the time."

 

The students cried out in terror, gasping at such a gruesome sounding villain. Doesn't help that most of them are animals.

 

"Oh calm down, she's dead already!" Crowe snapped. "Lady Luck's so-called magic helped Embroidery Hurley hunt down rarer animals, a number of which she was responsible for having gone extinct."

 

"Now, as a little recitation, I want to be able to hear from all of you," He then paused in the front-center.

 

"What would you do if you came across Lady Luck?"

 

As K.O. watched his classmates, he tried thinking of an answer. The lesson made a lot more sense to him now, but the idea of Lady Luck seemed so unexpected to him.

 

No one can predict whenever she'll come. She never seemed to have gone to everyone anyway. There's a reason why she's a figure of legend.

 

"I suppose that if I met Lady Luck," Suddenly it was Dendy's turn, "I would ask her for help in my development as a person, on how I would be with my friends and family in the future. If she can affect my life in the long term, I find it imperative to be in her graces, in that I'll be able to live happily in such an unpredictable life."

 

"Eloquently spoken, Dendy," Professor Crowe smiled at her. "Your turn, K.O.,"

 

"Uh," he stood up from his chair, still haven't thought of an answer.

 

"Take your—" The school bell suddenly rang.

 

The kids began to cheer.

 

"Before you leave, let me remind you of that pair project you're due tomorrow,"

 

They all groaned in response.

 

"I know I know," He glanced at the clipboard attached to the table, "Your power study on enhancements and enchantments...? Yes. We'll be continuing our recitation next meeting, and be ready for an essay activity too!"

 

The students were muttering to each other, suddenly stressed out by the workload by this new teacher.

 

"Alright, you're all free to go." And Professor Crowe was blown away by the rushed stampede of the students leaving the classroom.

 

He sighed, cleaning up. "Just when your life is hard enough. May Cob have mercy on these poor, poor children."