Look on the Bright Side

Another scene from my latest story with Keenan.  This one is taking place at his day job: a professor of potionscraft.  It was inspired by a phrase prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (on the plus side).


Keenan was beginning to regret that he’d ever applied for a teaching job.  It wasn’t surprising to him that the younger students would melt a couple cauldrons or blow up their potions.  In fact, he planned for it.  He made certain that the potions they worked on – no matter what insane mistake they made – wouldn’t produce anything deadly or exceedingly dangerous.

However, he expected a bit more from the older students.  They should have been able to handle follow simple directions by that point.  As he watched green mist rise from Chloe’s cauldron, he said, “What the actual…” he cut himself off before he cursed in front of the children.  “Bartholomew, get rid of her potion.  Do it now!”

Chloe looked up at him in shock when her potion vanished.  “Why did you do that?” she asked, sounding hurt.

“Because I didn’t want to die,” Keenan replied, mimicking her tone.  He pointed at the blackboard, where he’d written their directions.  “I bolded it, Miss Howell.  Did you still manage to miss that I said not to mix the kitsune tears and the dragon blood together?  Did you not see the line that said to be sure to add the sunstone in between them?”

“It wouldn’t have really killed anyone, though,” one of the very bright students said.  She had wild hair and Keenan couldn’t recall her name.  Frowning, she added, “Would it?”

“You, no,” Keenan said, waving at her and her classmates together.  “Me?  Quite possibly, but I’m allergic to the potion Miss Howell made.”  He looked over at her and smile.  “Keep your notes, Miss Howell.  You were unsuccessful in crafting the Sunshine Elixir, but you perfectly brewed a batch of Fielding’s Head-clearing Solution.”

“Which would kill the professor,” one of the other students quipped.  He gave her a playful wink and added, “Well done, Chloe.”

She favored him with a glare and then looked at Keenan.  “Do I have enough time to try again, sir?” she asked.

“By all means,” Keenan said, nodding.  “This time, be sure to add the ground sunstone before you add the dragon blood.  Yes?”

“Yes, sir,” she said.

“So… kitsune tears and dragon blood… that’s all that’s in the Fielding’s Solution?” the star pupil said.

As Keenan nodded, he recalled that her name was Sophie Price.  “That is correct, Miss Price,” he said.  He settled back on the edge of his desk while she wrote it down.  Glancing at the other students, he added, “You should all write that down.”  If students had to make potentially hazardous mistakes, at least he could use it as a teaching moment.


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