William had experienced a previous life. He didn’t particularly have any more happy memories than sad memories, and he’d seen about the same amount of people he would consider good as bad. Even though he hadn’t seen particularly more good in the world, he still liked to consider himself an optimist. Even if it wasn’t always true. In his current situation, he also tried to be optimistic.
Though, aside from being optimistic, he should also probably pay attention. Well, William felt he got the gist of what was being said. He’d been called by a teacher, and told to come to a meeting room. Of course he had gone. Inside, he found a collection of teachers, sitting behind a long table in an imposing manner, like an inquisition. The words the most imposing one in the center was now speaking summarized the whole situation. “Thus, now that the staff is no longer cursed, we feel that it should be taken care of by older, more responsible members of the Ostana Wizard’s Guild.”
Basically, they wanted Chris because he was awesome. William had memorized the faces and names of the teachers arrayed here. He had heard good things about none of them. However, they did have more authority than him, so he decided that he would take the easiest route. It could end poorly for him, but he decided to continue being optimistic. “Of course I would gladly give the staff to older and wiser people. I would like to inform those present, however, that the staff is indeed still cursed. However, I will respect the judgement of those present in the room, and leave it for you.”
Then, William whispered to Chris. “Do whatever you want. As always. Though, I’d like you to not follow me immediately if that’s what you want to do, because then they might think I just made it so that you would follow me.” William stood Chris upright. Normally, it would be a very precarious position, but Chris was capable of balancing himself. He’d done so in the display case as well.
William left the room with one last sentence. “Ah, one warning, I actually cannot control the staff, so I’m not sure what it will do.” William didn’t even have to lie about that. Then, he left the room, to absolve himself of responsibility. Also, to go find some teachers who were responsible and not greedy. Like Professor Phineas Pierce. Even Professor Farman, though he still didn’t “like” William, treated him quite well. He still gave William hard assignments though, but wasn’t unfair in his grading. William had no idea what was going on in the room. He didn’t know, but he was optimistic.
Inside the room, the most imposing, and arrogant wizard spoke. “It seems he has some idea of what is proper. Though he still needs more respect for his betters, we did not say he could leave.” This arrogant man was Geoff’s uncle, Ashfield Lockridge. “I trust that no one has problems with me claiming the staff?” The remaining four nodded. After all, Ashfield Lockridge had quite a bit of influence. The others were here at his request, to repay favors or to be owed favors.
Ashfield walked toward the center of the room where the crystalline staff stood. As he reached out his hand to grasp it, it fell away from his reach and clattered on the ground. He bent over to pick it up, but as he did so, one end suddenly came off the floor and hit his jaw. Ashfield Lockridge was knocked over onto his backside. The crystal staff had clattered back to its position of laying on the ground, and was no longer moving.
The four others in the room stood up at this, startled. “What happened? Is something wrong?” Meanwhile, Ashfield was more embarrassed than injured. Though, he was a bit dizzy, his chin wasn’t broken. He had just been unprepared for the staff to move. He thought maybe it had just bounced off the floor. Though he had heard rumors of the staff moving in the past, he thought they were exaggerated. Besides, that was because of the curse, and since that young William fellow had used the staff, the curse must be gone. At least, this is what he thought.
“Nothing’s wrong. The floor was just unexpectedly slippery.” Ashfield was an older man, though calling him elderly would have been too far. However, he had the typical fitness level of a wizard. That is, enough to walk around and occasionally go up and down the stairs of a tower, though not too many times in a day. He tried to hide his embarrassment with an impressive display. After a few seconds of chanting, a wind started blowing, wrapping around the staff, bringing it toward Ashfield. However, instead of going into his hand, the end hit his face. His nose, specifically. There was a loud crack, and Ashfield fell flat on his back.
The others could easily tell that something was wrong more than a bit of slippery floor, and rushed over to Ashfield to help him up. Blood was streaming from his nose, and it was obviously broken. While they were asking what was happening, one of them was careless with where they walked, and stepped onto the crystal staff, which then rolled out from under his foot. He, too, fell onto his back. However, he couldn’t be blamed too much for his carelessness, since the staff hadn’t been under his foot when he started to step.
William walked down the hallway. Following him were both of the professors he had gone seeking, as well as a few others. They chatted casually as they walked. Though, casual chats for Wizards were somewhat out of the ordinary. This particular discussion was about gravity magic. Though a pressure similar to gravity could be created, it was just a force pressing downward. Actual gravity magic could not, or at least had not been done. William suspected that this was because it would require increasing the mass of the whole planet. After all, that was where gravity came from, mass. Practically, though, since similar effects could already be created, it didn’t matter.
Shortly after they passed by the room William had been in earlier, five people staggered out of the door, in various stages of disarray. William turned to look, then spoke. “Oh my, what happened? Are you alright?”
Ashfield had a look of rage on his face. “Are we alright? You know what happened, you brat! You’ll be punished for this!” Inwardly, William smiled. He didn’t actually know what happened. At least, not exactly. However, he was optimistic. Seeing their disheveled states, he a feeling his optimism had been reasonable.
“Me? I have done nothing. I have been with these professors since you required me to leave my staff in your hands.” Some of the professors with William got looks of surprise on their face. William thought they were pretty good actors.
“That’s it! Your staff is what did this to us! You made it attack us!”
“My staff? You mean the one you required me to leave with you? The one you insisted wasn’t cursed, and I warned you that it still was? The one known as the Skull Splitting Staff, the Crystal Calamity, and ‘That damnable staff’? I don’t see what its actions should have to do with me.”
Professor Pierce spoke up next. “What is this I hear about you taking William’s staff? There was no such decision made by the council. Such shameful behavior from a professor.”
“What?” William pretended to be startled. “You mean, they just wanted to take my staff? How terrible!” At this moment, the door, which had been barely hanging onto its hinges, suddenly crashed to the floor, revealing the room inside. In the center, a crystal staff lay on the floor. Around the room there were signs of fireballs and other magic. William changed what he was going to say next. “Whoa. I didn’t know professors were allowed to use magic indoors. Even breaking the windows! Impressive.”
Ashfield yelled at William, “It was your staff that caused us to do that! I’ll-”
Professor Farman interrupted him. “Quiet. Using magic indoors is a very serious offense. In addition, you should know that staff has not caused one bit of trouble in William’s hands. You’d better be prepared to face your crimes at the next meeting. Now, be off. I’ll have no threatening of a student.”
Ashfield glared, but turned and walked, well limped anyway, away.
“He’ll get off just fine, won’t he?” William asked after he was gone.
“Probably.” Professor Pierce replied. “However, we’ll make sure he can’t blame anything on you. He’ll definitely have his hands full just defending his actions. Though, he’ll at least pay a big fine, at least several times the cost of the damages there.”
William sighed. He’d have to watch that family. He wasn’t sure if Geoff was involved with this or not. Although he was a jerk, he hadn’t done anything but being a jerk lately. William had thought maybe he had somewhat reformed from his bullying ways. Perhaps he had, but William would still watch him. It didn’t seem a coincidence, but there wasn’t anything Geoff had actually done this time, so William decided to let it go. Though, he didn’t plan go easy on the bruising or possible broken bones in any future duels.