Somehow Margaret found the time to make pastries along with her seamstress work. It wouldn’t be correct to say they were the best he’d ever tasted- if that were the case, he’d rank those by Countess Irieby’s chefs at the top, the Bakers in Pendle second, and Mararets and third… and last. However, the enjoyability of eating them was separate from the taste, and that was up there with the few times Anna had swiped a few of the pastries and taken them out behind the bakery to eat sitting on crates stacked there.
At the current time, Douglas had taken over all of the repairs to clothing, leaving Margaret to handle other seamstress work. It wasn’t such a large volume of work that Douglas couldn’t handle it all… and it certainly didn’t take that long. Magic worked fast, though it could also be quite tiring. However, Douglas could feel how much he had grown. A half dozen repair spells per day were no big deal now… not that that much work usually flowed through Margaret’s place. Instead, it allowed Douglas to only show up every day or two, while spending more time at the library. He didn’t actually get paid more at the library since there wasn’t really more work to do, but he got to spend more time reading and writing.
There were a few magic related questions Douglas wanted to ask… but his sister wasn’t anywhere around and his father was… well, there was no one for Douglas to ask. Sure, there were all sorts of wizards around him, but that didn’t actually mean he could ask them. He wasn’t supposed to be able to do magic, after all, so having questions about it was weird.
Douglas did keep track of what books the older wizards read in the library and what the checked out. He had to do that from a bit of a distance, but as long as he was carrying around a bag of books and looking like he was doing work nobody really paid much attention to him.
There were a couple of oddities even among the wizards. Two of them carried staves- enchanted staves- into the library. Such staves were only useful for one thing- magic. That might have been obvious but the point was that they weren’t used for support. Neither of the wizards who carried them were old enough to need one for support. More importantly, the general rules of the library forbid practicing magic and along with that bringing wands or staves into the library was forbidden. That was theoretically true even for full wizards who weren’t students… but maybe it wasn’t. None of the actual wizards besides those two had tried to bring a staff into the library, and Librarian Reed had seen them but not made any comments.
Douglas hadn’t immediately made the connection. He knew wizards used staves, but it seemed normal to bring them into the library until the thought about it. Then he followed one of them into the library. This particular man didn’t seem to be a professor at the academy- at least, none of the students addressed him as such. Douglas also didn’t see him walking around between the buildings in the morning or evenings, instead coming every few weeks from outside and only entering the library, as far as he could tell.
There was one difficulty with following along behind someone in the Endless Library… and that difficulty was the ease of being spotted. There weren’t exactly places to hide. If he could see them, they could see him. Deep in the back of the library, the man stopped and pulled out a book… and from a quick glance, Douglas could tell the book had no import whatsoever. However, he turned and saw Douglas, “What are you doing back here?”
Douglas wasn’t good with lying… or rather, he wasn’t good if he didn’t have a prepared lie. In this case, he did. He used his chalk to write on his piece of slate, “I have a book to be returned to the runeology section.” Douglas pulled out that book to show the man, then continued on past him. Just in case, he actually went and returned the book… though he wanted to read it more later. He also happened to have a dozen other books, mostly thin volumes for convenience, that would give him a good excuse for going to any section of the library.
By the time he walked back through the area where the wizard had been, he was gone. He could have gone anywhere in the time Douglas was gone. The only thing Douglas learned was the man would check to see if he was being followed. Maybe there was an extra forbidden section of books Douglas hadn’t found… he was pretty sure he’d been everywhere, but there were so many shelves to walk by it was hard to keep track.
However, Douglas was still curious, which meant he had to finish putting together a spell he had been working on. It wasn’t new or anything, just his own version of a simple- but difficult- spell. Simple in idea, anyway. Invisibility was just not being seen… which didn’t sound hard. It was even manipulating light, which was basically the first thing he’d learned. That was where it got hard.
It required precise manipulation of light… depending on the circumstances. If one wanted to hide an inanimate object against a known background, it was almost child’s play. However, to hide something moving against a background that was also moving? That was much more difficult. The first could be accomplished by a simple set projection of light not including the figure that was unwanted… of course, that was if lighting didn’t change.
The basic form of a true invisibility spell involved bending light around the user, which came with a handful of complications. First, at what distance did that invisibility apply? It could be a sphere, approximately a two meter diameter. That would mean if a wizard was careless they might stick their arms, or a staff, or a trailing piece of clothing out of the magic “bubble”. Even then, it only worked when walking down the middle of a hallway or parts of the wall would… well, usually they’d just look like blackness. Trying to make the light flow directly around the user was thousands of times more complicated… and there was still the problem of feet. Feet touched the ground, and thus it was dark underneath them. That was the same with any surface that the wizards was touching, like placing a hand on a wall. Then there was the fact that moving the light around the wizard meant they couldn’t see. Douglas had accidentally discovered this during early practice, though some of the books he had been looking through also mentioned it. Still, he didn’t need to be perfect. He just needed to not be noticed… and for that, the patchy and sometimes dim lighting of the library could be perfect. As long as nobody was looking for whatever specific flaws he had to leave in his spell, it could work.