Librarian Hagen Reed took care of most of the direction of visitors to the library. Occasionally Douglas was sent to retrieve a specific book or bring someone to the right section, but the rest of the time they went and got the books themselves. It wasn’t Douglas’ job to respond to initial requests… mostly because he couldn’t speak. Beyond that, people didn’t necessarily trust him to know his way around the library. Of course, if they had thought about it Librarian Reed never really told Douglas where to go, just the section people were looking for. Occasionally he would direct Douglas to a particular book but Douglas could also quickly flip through the records to find what section a book would be in. Library visitors weren’t allowed to touch the records, mostly for fear they might damage or misarrange them. Douglas was glad to be trusted with them, especially since it meant he could look up whatever he wanted. However, there was one drawer that Librarian Reed kept locked… which was odd, because Douglas had been all over the library and there weren’t any restricted sections. Well, maybe it was full of personal notes. Douglas knew what that was like… he only kept a few pages of his spellbook at the library with him at any time. He’d had to find a spell to make ink dry faster so he could put the pages in a bag along with a number of decoy pages. Not that anyone was looking.
Sometimes people were too stupid to remember where things were, so Douglas was tasked with guiding them. This was the second time this week he had to guide a particular trio to the same section for books they needed to use for their classes. Surely one of them could remember. No, they weren’t that stupid. They could read and speak two languages. Douglas frowned. That wasn’t a fair or nice thing to say. Most people who couldn’t read probably just never had a chance, it wasn’t that they were stupid… or at least, not very stupid.
As they arrived at the right place, Douglas gestured to the ladder that lead up to the section they wanted. It was in the same place as he’d put it last time, and easy to find. It wasn’t even deep in the shelves, they could almost see this place from the writing desks.
“What’s with that snarky look?” one of them… maybe called Zachary? said, frowning at Douglas. He spoke slowly in Bryrian, “You think you have any value here?” Zachary shoved Douglas into the bookshelf, “Remember, this is our school, just because we pitied you with some work doesn’t mean you have any status.”
Douglas was glad his face had turned around so they couldn’t see his look of rage. He clutched at his bag, preparing to take out his slate. Slate wasn’t extremely sturdy, but it had shown its worth beating on people before… but this time he didn’t do anything… even when the other two shoved past him even though there was plenty of space.
He meandered away towards the front of the library. He had several things to think about. First, it had apparently been obvious on his face that he knew they were stupid. If not that, at least something. That meant he wasn’t in control of himself as much as he should have been. He rubbed his arm. It might bruise. It wasn’t really that bad. He looked down at his right hand, which still didn’t work quite right. No, it wasn’t that painful physically… but not being able to do anything about it was the worst part.
To be honest, they were all older and bigger than him- he might not have been able to beat them up even if he had been willing to risk it. Either way, petty revenge was less important than keeping his position at the library. He needed to learn more magic, and there was only so much he could do on his own. Did Douglas think he could figure out all the mysteries of magic given time? Sure. He just wasn’t going to live for hundreds or thousands of years, and there were so many books here that even if each of them was written in a day he couldn’t possibly replicate them. Most of them were even decently insightful, Marcellin Metzger one of the most notable exceptions.
The worst part was that he couldn’t even complain about his treatment. Zachary was right… Douglas really didn’t have any status here. His complaints would meet empty air. Then things snapped into place. So that was how it worked. How people got away with it. He thought nothing could be done, so he would do nothing… no, that wouldn’t do at all. He came up with a number of ideas… all of them stupid and likely to get him into trouble. Instead, he just went to find Librarian Reed and tell him about the incident.
“I see…” Librarian Reed sighed after he was told, “Did they cause you any significant harm?” Douglas shook his head, but rubbed his arm. “What about damaging books?” Douglas shook his head once more. “I see. It is not that I don’t sympathize, but I can’t do anything with just this. While I have significant authority here in the library, I can’t just do things arbitrarily. Anything I do now would just be ignored for not being significant enough. Just avoid them for now.” Librarian Reed shook his head, “I know, it’s not satisfying, but sometimes it’s all that can be done. Avoiding conflict is best. If they do cause any real trouble, especially damaging books… do come tell me. I’ll take notes of any incidents. However, remember… first try to avoid them. If you provoke them I’m not going to be very sympathetic to you.” Douglas shrugged, holding up his hands. “Look, I know you… can read faster than they can, but your face is easy to read. I know you were just thinking of ways to get them in trouble on purpose…” Douglas’ eyes went wide, “… and I’m even more sure now. I don’t just read books here, I also read people. You need to follow the rules here too.” Douglas grimaced. Apparently he was the biggest traitor to himself. Well, as long as he didn’t have to lead them anywhere it wouldn’t be hard to avoid them. He’d rather be off by himself reading a book anyway… or even stocking the shelves. The entire library was so nice… the books even smelled almost new, and just walking through the stacks was wonderful. Douglas didn’t want to mess that up.