Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chapter 53 - SCHOOL

When I entered my room, I discovered a man sitting at the table I had shoved against the wall near the bed that was shoved into the corner. The room was in utter disarray and I knew my mother would be appalled that I had a visitor here with it looking like this. Note, I said my mother would be appalled. I figure if someone was going to come into my room uninvited while I was away, he had to take what he found.

I had yet to close my door and decided to leave it open. I didn’t feel like being alone with a stranger in my room. Then my bur poked out its thorns, and in a moment of maliciousness, I decided to flex my magic and clean my room. My magic went around the room like a wave. Litter, dirty clothes and dust simply vanished. A few moments later, my bed was made and my bathroom sparkled. I thought the man’s eyes were going to pop out of his head.

I didn’t like this man and I soon discovered one possible reason; aside from the fact that he had invaded my personal space unannounced and had simply rubbed me the wrong way, he handed me a paper. It was a brief letter of introduction signed by somebody who was about twenty steps down the chain of command from the emperor, which was something I apparently was supposed to be impressed with. This man, Mr. Oliver, was my new English teacher. The man stood. “We’ll see about this. Our lessons will begin tomorrow,” he said stiffly, and then left, closing the door behind him.

I called the functionary who had signed the paper. “Listen dude, I may be a prisoner here, but I deserve to be informed when I am going to have a visitor. I understand you’re required to send teachers up here, but that doesn’t give them the right to enter my room when I’m not here.” The man began to bluster some sort of reply, so I hung up on him. I was in no mood for bluster.

Over the next two days, I met the rest of my teachers and my room became a classroom of one. Instead of me going from class to class at the sound of a bell, a parade of teachers came to my room every day. They kept me busy like none of my other lessons had. Until now, I could usually finish my lessons by early afternoon at the worst, but with this kind of structure, I was committed from eight o’clock in the morning until five o’clock in the evening, and then there was homework, which usually kept me at the table until midnight and sometimes well after.

My English lessons with Mr. Oliver were the worst, not because the lessons were difficult for me, but because Mr. Oliver and I seem determined to make life difficult for each other.

My best subject turned out to be math. Mr. Burns taught physics and for some reason the numbers were not just so much chicken scratching on a paper the way they used to be; they seemed to paint a picture for me. Basic math had always come fairly easy for me, but abstract math was well, abstract, and difficult to grasp. Now, either Mr. Burns was an excellent teacher or something within me had changed. Physics was now almost like reading a map and understanding where it was going to lead.

Mr. Cantrell taught biology and he managed to make it interesting enough to make it marginally pleasant. He didn’t cover just the standard creatures of earth; instead, he spent most of the subject on the different races that had joined the empire since we had colonized the first planet almost nine hundred years ago. The only race he didn’t cover was the one on the planet where I had learned my magic; then again, they hadn’t joined yet. Whenever the subject came up, he enjoyed any and all the tales I came up with.

Geography wasn’t all that normal either. Though it did cover the natural formations of all the different kinds of rocks, it concentrated on the formations of suns and their planets. I found it interesting only because it was new to me. Did you know that the speed in which a solar system formed had a lot to do with the types of rocks and elements that could be found on the planets?

Human history with Mr. Lincoln was droll and boring. The never-ending list of places and dates, names and life altering inventions, planet-falls and wars was tedious and I’m sure I didn’t do very well.

I also found economics boring. What did I care about financing, business or personnel? Mrs. Devon did her best to make it interesting and I liked her. It was obvious that it was something she was very interested in. Fortunately, there was a lot of math involved, so I did fairly well.

Miss Collins, my art teacher, was interesting too. Apparently, she had heard of my creative ability with my magic and would have dearly loved to see some, but she told me from the outset that we were not here to practice magic artistically creative or otherwise. We were here to do it all the hard way. The class was also a history of art and we covered the evolution of art through the ages. As we progressed from item to item, from form to form, she also had me try each thing so I was making things out of clay, chipping things out of rock, weaving things out of grasses or twigs or whatever, and painting things using different methods and styles. She even took me to a glass factory where they allowed me to make whatever I could out of the molten glass.

P.E. was my last course of the day and it was a fine way to end a day. Mr. Pries had me run a couple miles, with my guards in tow of course, then he had me do a set of standard exercises like jumping jacks and sit ups. Then, after about half an hour with the sword or staff, he had me lifting weights. Like Miss Collins, he had been informed of my magic and he made it clear that we were exercising my body not my magic.

In my room alone, knowing that someone was always watching, I decided not to do my water dance. I didn’t like being watched, and I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself.

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