As soon as Zachary came around the corner, Douglas ended his shield spell. As he did so, he soundlessly invoked a few magic words to try to push the tracking mark away from him, just to make sure it didn’t stick to him. He couldn’t very well leave it on him while invisible- while they likely couldn’t pinpoint him exactly it would be clear he was invisible if he was standing in an empty alleyway. Of course, the alleyway wasn’t quite empty- the thug was still there, and he turned to look as the three entered the side street behind him. Douglas slipped past him invisibly as a conflict suddenly arose- various surprised then angry shouting he didn’t care to stick around for.
He stepped quickly along the back streets, barely holding onto his invisibility spell. His head ached, not just from the magic but from holding two spells at once for a time- then one spell after it should have likely expired. As he stepped out onto a larger street, his invisibility spell collapsed. He looked around but didn’t see anyone, so he picked up his pace and started back towards his apartment. His room was just a bed and a writing desk and a tiny standing closet where he kept a few pairs of clothes. The bed wasn’t particularly soft, but he collapsed onto it and was unconscious almost immediately.
In the morning his head still hurt… but not quite as much. Of course, he could certainly not have been counted as avoiding using any more magic. He was supposed to leave as much room to memorize spells as possible, so he ate a breakfast of cheap bread from a nearby stall and started back towards the Endless Library. Then practicality hit him, and he went back to his room and his spellbook. He memorized several spells. Maybe he wouldn’t need them, but if he did need them he would probably die. He wasn’t necessarily sure what Zachary had been intending, but an attempted assault out in the city certainly didn’t speak of anything good, and they wouldn’t want him to speak of it… though it was possible they hadn’t planned that far.
He stopped for a second helping of bland but filling bread and his headache felt somewhat better, though his head was about a quarter full with his rememorized spells. Hopefully what he had left would do- Librarian Reed would understand. He just hoped it wasn’t actually urgent… or that he could still manage.
Instead of approaching the library, he sent his message spell ahead. Then he felt it get stopped by the gates. Of course it did. The library wasn’t the only part with magic wards. He should have looked at the wall to figure out how to bypass it. He would, once he got a chance. He just didn’t want to risk going within sight of the gates right now. He should have woken up sooner so he could catch Librarian Reed outside.
That left invisibility. He wasn’t sure if the gate would dispel it as he walked in or what. The Library would certainly track him- there were a terrifying number of enchantments all over that place. Well, invisibility would let him at least see what he needed to.
His invisibility spell wasn’t meant for full daylight- if anyone was looking where his feet were they could likely see some shadows. In fact, it was probably possible to pick out where he was if someone was looking for an invisible person… so he was also going to hide behind things as much as possible.
Douglas carefully approached the gate, and saw what he feared. Zachary and Peter were standing at the gate, waiting. Since they were allowed to be anywhere on the premises or around there, the guards didn’t seem to be planning to remove them. Theoretically, the guards should move to defend Douglas if the two young mages tried anything, but practically it would be too late- even if they did help. Douglas wouldn’t be able to communicate with them fast enough to do anything.
Looking around, Douglas didn’t see Harvey- the third member of the posse. He turned around, looking behind him- because that was always where people seemed to appear. He was relieved when Harvey didn’t seem to be there, or anywhere around.
Douglas grumbled internally. Why weren’t there any other entrances? Of course, if there were more, they would be watched too. Practically, Douglas understood that the whole point of having just a single entrance was that it was harder to sneak in. Douglas looked at the wall. Even if he could climb it- which he seriously doubted- attempting to go over it would likely result in something unpleasantly magical happening.
He could go up to the gate and run if his invisibility was dispelled… assuming it didn’t come with any other consequences. He could maybe reach the library doors and get Librarian Reed involved, and then they would have to explain how he was invisible. It wasn’t worth getting Zachary in trouble if Douglas and Librarian Reed ran into difficulties too. It was entirely possible that Zachary and his cronies could weasel out of the situation too.
Douglas couldn’t stand invisibly forever- he was still somewhat magically drained from the previous night- so he went to find a mundane hiding spot from which he could watch the gates. At least his invisibility lasted long enough for that. Then he watched… and waited. He would prefer to get to Librarian Reed sooner rather than later… but if he didn’t show up Librarian Reed might come looking for him. Either that or Zachary and Peter would leave. They had things to do as well. Though if they left… he wouldn’t be sure they weren’t hanging out in front of the library. Seemed like he needed to memorize another invisibility spell. Unfortunately, at the moment he didn’t know one. It had been burned out of his head. That meant he had to construct a new one. He had a lot of practice with that sort of thing… and nothing else to do, so he started on it. About ten minutes into piecing it together he saw Librarian Reed come out through the gates. He said something, waving his arms, and Zachary and Peter scurried away.
Douglas waited a few moments before coming out, and within a few moments Librarian Reed had spotted him. Douglas breathed a sigh of relief. It was amazing how hard it was to be within sight of safety and yet not able to reach it. Now he had to explain everything as quickly as possible. He pulled out his slate to start writing, but Librarian Reed stopped him, “In a moment. Let’s head into the Library first. I can tell you have much to say.”
As they walked past the gate, Douglas glanced back at the wall and the magical ward he was going to figure out the details to later. He needed to know if he could have just walked through invisibly… and if he could, he wondered if he should mention it. After all, he didn’t really care about the academy being safe, just the library. Before that, however, they entered the library and went into Librarian Reed’s office. Douglas started furiously scribbling on his slate.
Librarian Reed nodded. “I see. Continue.” Eventually, Douglas explained everything that had happened. “I understand. Unlike before, you will not need to wait so long to have justice, though we won’t immediately be going for revenge. First, there are other things we must do.” Librarian Reed went over to a cabinet, where Douglas could see a tea set, and came back holding a spoonful of sugar. “Eat this.” Douglas ate it. It was sweet and not much else. Far too sweet, but that was only for a few moments before he swallowed it down. “I know pure sugar isn’t particularly… exciting… but it is good for when you have exhausted mental energy. I would also make sure you get proper meals any time you do much spellcasting. You might not feel hungry, but eat anyway. Now then, while you recover a bit more, I’ll explain the plan…”