One month felt like an eternity and also a very short time. Douglas kept himself quite busy, but he wished he could go back to the library. The books he’d accidentally borrowed quickly ran out. However, he did manage to learn a lot about tailoring. He wasn’t an expert by any means but he could throw thread and fabric together into a piece of clothing… or just fabric, if he wanted to. He could connect fabric however he wanted after all. However, even just looking at it made him suspicious, so he always tried to use thread now. Keeping his own clothes perfectly maintained was one thing but it was better not to have anything suspicious come out of a tailor woman’s shop if he could help it. It was actually more work to do in a way that wasn’t quite perfect, but that was how things had to be.
At the end of a month- plus one day, to be sure- Douglas returned to the Endless Library. The guards at the gate still let him in, which was a good sign. Then it was just a short walk around the corner to enter the library. It still took a handful of minutes walking by the outside of the building to get to the entrance, though Douglas wasn’t particularly rushing. Instead, he was thinking about what he would say to Librarian Reed, especially apologizing for the incident… and unintentionally borrowing the books. He could lie about the books, return them to the shelves where they came from… but it didn’t seem right. Besides, it was entirely possible Librarian Reed knew he had them. Douglas also kept an eye out for anybody he didn’t want to run into… but fortunately they wouldn’t really be up at this time. While several of the more studious wizards were up at dawn, the others were the exception and wouldn’t generally enter the library until after a late breakfast, at earliest. Douglas wasn’t sure if Zachary and his posse were still banned from the library. He hadn’t heard a time frame on that.
As he entered the library, he was once again struck by the magnitude of it on the inside. Outside, it was just a big building- he couldn’t really see the windows at the top or the most important part- the books. He sought out Librarian Reed… though it was not hard to find him, as there was a student attempting to check out some books. Librarian Reed placed his hand on one of the books and there was a flicker of magic… so small that Douglas didn’t think the student noticed it. “What are you checking out these books for?” Librarian Reed asked.
“I need them for my studies, of course,” the student answered.
“I see. That’s interesting, because only one of these books relates to a class you are in.” Librarian Reed waved his arm, “You’re banned from the library for a month. I shall be bringing Zachary Hunnisett’s attempt to bypass the library ban up with the enforcement committee. If, after the month is over, you attempt to assist him a third time, I shall make the ban permanent with regards to you as well.”
“But- but I-” the student began to stammer out excuses.
Librarian Reed looked down at the student over the bridge of his nose, “You will not convince me otherwise. I am well aware of the many hours the books spent in his quarters- and those of his friends. You’re lucky to get off with a month.” Librarian Reed waved his hand, “Now go.”
Those actions didn’t make Douglas any less nervous. Librarian Reed could be ruthless… but Douglas still had to do this. Librarian Reed’s eyes turned to Douglas as the student wizard left, his head nodding in acknowledgement. Douglas pulled the books out of his bag and pulled out his pre written confession. “I am very sorry, after the incident I had these two books in my bag to read over at the desks and took them out with me on accident.”
Librarian Reed took the books, turning them over in his hands, “Did you read them?” Douglas nodded. He started to write on his slate, but first he had to wipe it off. It was not a quick way to communicate by any means, and Librarian Reed didn’t wait for him to finish this time. “Well, go put them back. Someone else might want to read them, and they can’t do that if they’re not in the right place or properly checked out.” Douglas went to return the books, then came back. He was thinking of more things to say, but upon his return Librarian Reed gestured to a pile of books, “Reshelve all of these.” Douglas scurried to do so. He knew the library like the back of his hand… except he hadn’t studied the back of his hand, so that wasn’t really true. It didn’t take long to put all the books back… and then he was given more tasks. Douglas was kept busy the entire day, after which Librarian Reed handed him his payment. Nothing more really needed to be said, and Douglas went off to look for a few books that he thought he might need based on Librarian Reed’s recommendations- and he was very careful not to accidentally leave anything that didn’t belong in his bag.
Hagen Reed sat in his office studying a book. Since he didn’t have to do all the shelving himself, he was left with more time for the important things. He should have gotten an assistant much earlier. However, none of the students were up to the menial work of reshelving and sorting books… and nobody else was really capable of the job. Douglas had been a nice find- though of course Hagen had been found by him instead. Regardless, he’d seemed to be a young scholar… or perhaps very minor noble. He could read and quickly took to the library. Of course, it wasn’t long before it became clear he wasn’t just looking for work. The amount of magic books the kid read indicated he was more than just a mute young scholar. Hagen even considered the idea he might have been pretending his muteness, but instead it was the more unlikely option… the kid could actually do magic. Of course, it wasn’t strange to see teenagers at his age that could do magic… this was the Endless Library and the attached Academy, after all. Hagen Reed even had knowledge of being able to use magic without speaking- and he’d learned a few simple spells from one of the books in the lower levels. Douglas was a hard worker… and he was also focused. That meant when studying magic he didn’t exactly notice people watching him… though he did usually sit off in a corner where nobody could really see much without approaching. Even so, over the years Hagen Reed had caught glances of his spell writing method… and he found it nearly indecipherable- yet it clearly worked for him.
He would have preferred Douglas came without trouble, but he supposed the trouble would have been happening anyway- Douglas just happened to be the most vulnerable looking target. He did allow for a good opportunity to deal with the troublemakers after quite some time of dealing with their bullying. It wasn’t the most elegant solution- as Douglas’ patchy hair could attest to- but it had worked well enough, even if that meant Hagen had to deal with more problems because of it.
As he finished writing a few notes, he felt wisps of magic seep under his door. He prepared to activate the defenses of his office, but the magic must have come from inside the library… and a moment later, he saw the magic coalesce into light in the shape of an arrow. The execution smelled of Douglas’ magic- partially literally- so Hagen Reed stood up to follow where the arrow was pointing.