Late for an important date

Started by Stitches at Apr 10, 2021 7:50 PM
7 Posts

4 Posts

Stitches couldn't seem to remember which classes were taking place today... So he started packing his colorful messenger bag with as many items as he could load into it. Some of them weren't even textbooks. There rolled up parchments, bags of snacks, a handful of random bells, a small stuffed lion, and an ant farm amongst the chaos. Struggling to snap the bag closed, he finally got it and let out a shout of joy.

Then he heard the telltale ring of the tower bells and he looked up, his eyes going wide and shaped like Xs.

"Oh! Oh no! I'm not... I'm not gonna make it!"

He looked around the room for his roommate but he was no longer in the room. When... when did he leave?

Hurrying, Stitches jogged out the door and down the hall. Too bad his dorm room was on the third floor, or he could have been pardoned the misfortune of tripping down the stairs and rolling unceremoniously down to the bottom.

Everything in his bag scattered all over the landing.

Stitches lay face down on the floor.

"I'm late..." he said to the bugs in the floor sadly.

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Celeste was in a hurry herself, having been so caught up in her reading that she'd lost track of the time. She was in such a rush that she might have stepped on him if he hadn't spoken: a student, at the foot of the stairs, lying flat on the ground, and looking utterly defeated. "Hoo-who?" she said, in surprise. "Oh dear, you poor thing." With a motherly sort of clucking noise, she stooped down and set about getting him on his feet and dusting him off with her feathers. Her students would wait for her. And if they didn't, well, she'd just have to tell her brother that today they were all doing independent study. The welfare of this little fellow came first. "Late, did you say? If you're enrolled in my astrology class, then you're in luck. I'm running a bit behind myself. But either way, let's just make sure you're not hurt, and then I'll help you gather up your..." Celeste trailed off, glancing over at the rather random debris. Was that an ant farm? "Your things. Are those your ants? I think they're about to escape."

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"A huh huh!" Stitches let out a bashful laugh as he was helped to his feet, then stared up at Ms. Celeste. Oh. He hadn't expected to see her there, for some reason! Shocked and stunned, he didn't know what to say so he let out another bashful laugh before scuffing his toes on the ground.

"Oh, well... Astro..." He had to think about it, the bigger words sometimes escaped him. Didn't he have a class with her? He knew her face. Her voice. She was Ms. Celeste, after all! Oh!

"You're the star lady!" he remembered aloud. The looked back down when Ms. Celeste brought his oft-wandering attention back to his things. Specifically, the ant farm.

"It is!" he said cheerfully. "And they're... they're...!"

There was a small crack in the corner of the ant farm now and it looked like a couple of small black ants were making their escape. Oh no! He quickly ran around the ants, trying to scoop them back into the farm. "They're going to get lost!"

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"That I am!" Celeste smiled as she bent to help gather his books, getting a better look at the student as he rushed around. "Hootie-hoo! I remember you now. You're a teddy bear, aren't you?" A living toy. Such things were unusual, but not entirely unheard of. His enrollment had raised a few eyebrows amongst the faculty, but Celeste hadn't thought much more about him since. To think he was in her class, and she'd barely noticed! Now that she had him in front of her, she had to admit that she was intensely curious about how he came to be the way he was. Specifically, what kind of spellwork had been involved, and whether an owl who dabbled in many mystic arts might be able to replicate it herself one day. But she could hardly press the issue here and now, right before class. Especially not when the poor thing was worried over his bugs. "Stiches, isn't it? So yes, we should both be in Astrology class right now. But never mind, they can't very well start without me, can they?"

The rest of his possession collected, she moved to help Stiches coral his livestock. "It looks like you've got them now, so don't fret. And even if you've lost a few, ants are very good at getting themselves anywhere they want to be. As you'll know if you've ever tried to keep food away from them." She chuckled warmly. "I'm sure they'll be fine." Her brother, on the other hand, might just need to take a sick day if they wound up in his office, but Celeste figured that was fairly unlikely. No need to borrow trouble. "Anyhoot, is the ant farm actually broken, or did the lid just pop off? I can mend it for you, if need be."

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In a world of organic animals, Stitches' existence was quite unusual and he was only vaguely aware of it. He knew there was a difference between himself and say, somebody like Bluebear. She was so self assured and Stitches was, well, he wasn't not assured. But he wandered the world almost as if in a dream, seeing the world in a way that he only occasionally realized was not how the rest of the world saw it. He couldn't say one was right or wrong. Just different. He was accustomed to different.

"Yes! That's me!" he said proudly, because Ms. Celeste remembered him. His smile was fond as he looked up at her from where he had been trying to sweep his ant friends into their farm. They weren't running quickly but they were still awfully fast for somebody with nary a finger on his cloth paws. After a moment, the pair of them had finally managed to gather the ants back where they belonged. There was a small crack in the ant farm itself, however.

"Oh oh, you're right!" he agreed, his temporary fears of losing his friends uplifted by Ms. Celeste's comforting words. "All I have to do is leave out some snacks and they'll come back! But what do we do to mend it?"

He lifted the ant farm and turned it so that Ms. Celeste could get a better look at the contraption.

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Celeste couldn't help but be charmed by him. His concern for the little bugs was quite sweet, if inconvenient. "Well, that's true," she agreed, "though if you do leave something out as bait, you'll want to keep an eye on it so it doesn't get thrown out. There's time for all that later, though. For now," and as she spoke, she pulled her star wand from her cloak, "we have an ant farm to fix. With magic, of course. Mending things isn't my area of expertise, but all the same, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Just hold it right there, please." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, centering herself. Then, with a graceful swirl of her wand, she muttered a few words of an incantation, then lightly tapped the star-tip to the side of the ant farm.

Annnd... nothing happened. Frowning, Celeste quickly gave it a second, sharper tap, and the crack mended itself, as if cowed. She fluffed her feathers, preening a bit. "There we are! Right as rain. Shall we walk and talk? We probably should at least attempt to make it to class."

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Stitches was already thinking of all the things he leave on the ground for his ant friends. They liked mostly the same things that he did, from chips to sweets. And of course, he always had some on hand. Before he could go digging into the depths of his bag, however, Ms. Celeste told him that was for later. Her biggest concern seemed to be the crack in the ant farm's wall. He leaned forward and watched her rapturously as she began to her incantation.

Huh? Nothing?

Stitches opened his mouth in surprise.

Then... with a harder tap of the wand...

It was fixed!

"Yay! Thank you!" Stitches clapped in excitement. Oh, right. Class. He had totally forgotten that he was late for that! With everything gathered up, he looked back at the handful of small black bugs that seemed to have escaped--his friends, oh no! But... hopefully they would be safe and not get stepped on. They were ants, after all. They were probably going to move to the walls and find cracks... New homes, maybe...

"Yes! Yes! I'm so late," he cried. "I'm making you late now, too!"

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