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An Unfortunate Soul

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Brakebills was relatively peaceful, as much as a magic college could be, with students milling about. Most of the lowerclassmen were in class at the moment, learning the basics of magic. In one particular room was Quentin Coldwater.

In that same room was the Beast.

Dean Fogg was on the ground with blood pumping out of his eye sockets and his hands were mangled. The students were frozen, looking forward. The teacher had been boring them to the point where they couldn't help but wonder if death was achievable by sheer boredom. They weren't expecting that their professor would end up dead and quite missed his droning voice.

Now their stinging eyes were either straining to see what was happened or looking the other way. It was understandable that they wouldn't want to see what the man would do next.

The Beast approached Quentin slowly, deliberately. "Quentin Coldwater," he said slowly, "There you are."

(There was no response, of course, he was just as frozen as everyone else. Oddly enough, that didn't include the Dean.)

A hand now gripped Quentin's fragile little neck. "Let's just nip this all in the bud." Though no one could his see lips through the insects, they would swear that he was smiling.

The time spell allowed for bodies to be moved by whatever could move. The Beast enthusiastically raised the young man up into the air until his shoes couldn't touch the floor. He let go of Quentin's neck, reluctant to not be able to feel the fluttering pulse, to ignite his pointer finger. The spell created something between a laser and a small flame hovering just barely off of the thing's finger. The Beast could see the panic and horror in the magician's eyes and reveled in it. "You're a useless little thing aren't you? I bet any of your peers could've at least tried to break the spell. They wouldn't succeed, but you're just sitting there like a log! It's hilarious. Why don't you just give up? You're not very special, you know."

(If Quentin wasn't suspended in the air against his will, each word would've made him flinch bodily. But, because he couldn't, he was stuck feeling the bruises on his neck form.)

Two very important things happened when the Beast stopped speaking. One, the Dean successfully passed the watch to Alice. In the same moment, the Beast shoved his ignited finger into Quentin's right eye. A pulse of magic rocketed from the watch too quickly to measure in human terms, which meant that Quentin's screams could be heard next door, as well as the thud his body gave when he hit the ground. Thankfully for him and his left eye, Kady was able to move quickly and attacked the Beast. It didn't have quite the effect she would've liked, but Alice took over. She pushed him back into the mirror he came from and Penny took the liberty to shatter it.


 Someone's hands were on his shoulder. They were trying to pry his hands away from his face. Face? Quentin thought distantly. Blood was making his hands wet and sticky. Pain was radiating from the spot with the most blood. It felt like someone had put a hot metal stick in his eyeball. He realized momentarily that was pretty much what happened, and with that realization came a fresh wave of all-encompassing pain. His blood was smeared across his face like the tendrils of white-hot agony that spread through him.

He hoped that death was less painful than this, and that it would take him soon.

The same person that was still trying to move his hand was now calling his name. No, they were yelling it. "Stay with me, Quentin! Don't you dare fall asleep!" The voice screamed. Their hands were warm but thankfully lacked the coat of blood that was present on his own hands. They were daintier than his own, too, which made him believe that it was probably Alice. "The professors are coming, just stay awake."

Despite his sudden exhaustion, Quentin stayed curled up on his side, his muscles coiled tight. Alice was no longer yelling, but her voice had an undertone of panic. The right side of his face pulsed with pain again and his breath caught in his throat. Her fingers found their way to his hair and she shushed him gently. She pulled his head into her lap in small, hesitant increments.

"Let me see, Quentin. Please." At this point he could barely hear her. His hands fell away from the burning mess that was his face. She must have taken it as a sign that he was going to let her examine him. He didn't care at this point. His consciousness was fading, anyway. Nothing mattered anymore.

"Shit." That was someone else's voice. A man. "Can they—"

"I don't think anything could." Alice said. "Quentin, are you still there?" Fingers touched his neck again. He flinched internally, but his muscles no longer cooperated. "Crap. Quentin! No, any spell could push him over." She scolded someone he couldn't see. "It's going to be alright, Q."

And then he was gone.


 Alice, Penny, and Kady were interrogated. The teachers had arrived along with medics and had carted off Quentin and the Dean. The three students were shaken thoroughly.

"What did the Beast say, Alice?" Professor Sunderland asked her gently. "What did he say to Mr. Coldwater?"

Kady barely let the medic put the butterfly stitches on her forehead before she was recoiling from his touch. "Look, can we just leave this room?" Her patience had officially run out. They'd been waiting to leave for almost half an hour. Every time she closed her eyes, all she saw was Dean Fogg and Quentin writhing on the floor.

Before Sunderland could answer, Alice asked, "Is the Dean dead? And Quentin?"

"The healers are doing their best. They should recover well. Mr. Coldwater should wake up tomorrow." The professor said quickly. "Now, what did it say?"