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From SpellCasting to Catastrophe: A Comprehensible Guide to Making the Most out of Your Study Break - @lianakhimdy on Instagram

3rd Place

From SpellCasting to Catastrophe: A Comprehensible Guide to Making the Most out of Your Study Break - @lianakhimdy on Instagram

It was supposed to be a study break - an afternoon walk to shrug off the stress of dreaded upcoming transmutation and spellcasting exams, the influx of essays detailing the nuances of magical beasts and plants, and last but not least, the final project explaining the ethics surrounding the burning of phoenixes.

The weather had looked promising, too. The seasonal chill in the air meant that tourists would be flocking to Librarya City to witness the dragons migrating back east from their summer caverns, and the blossoming man-eating flowers scented the air with their mysterious aroma. Strangers ducked in and around shops, stalls, and alleyways, the general conversation creating a lively hubbub that floated in the atmosphere and settled on the city.

Today, the warmth of the fire in the Study Hall had not been enough to keep Lo from the great outdoors. Today, Lo had promised herself a break from the mind-numbing facts and boring statistics. She was sure that she'd never need this information in the real world, anyways. Today, with the connection of her headphones into her phone, she set out for a day of relaxation and exercise, opting for a walk in the nearby forest.

Lo made her way out of the city, nodding her head to the rhythm of her lo-fi music, matching her steps to the steady beat of the background noise. As she listened, she mentally reviewed the names of each magical plant she passed, only moving away from the beaten path to avoid a few man-eating flowers and to pet a friendly dragon hatchling before waving to its tired mother.
 
After a few hours, Lo decided to make her way back around sundown, already loathing the thought of sitting back down to study.
 
"BEHIND YOU!"
 
That being said, Lo did not sign up for this.
 
Lo instinctively rolled out of the way as a momentary column of fire incinerated the grass where she stood moments ago. Nearby, she heard a scream, and fading footsteps were the only telltale sign of the other person moving to relative safety.
 
Lo sighed. It was supposed to be a study break. Now, it was just her against - whatever this thing was. She turned for a better look, and gasped at the large, bright yellow eyes that glared back.
 
The giant creature towered over her, orange body craning to get a better view of its next potential meal. It slinked in a circle on all fours, pointy ears flat against the top of its head and striped orange tail flicking from side to side. The creature leaned in, and Lo caught a glimpse of sharp canines within its salivating maw.
 
Lo drew her pen from within the folds of her sweater, ready for battle. The creature hissed, batting at the new item in her hand radiating magical aura.
 
Wait a second. Lo knew this creature. Specifically, this creature was mentioned on chapter sixty-nine, page one-thousand-four-hundred-and-twelve of her Magical Beasts textbook.
 
Large furry body and orange, striped tail. Check.
Glowing yellow eyes. Check.
Fire breath. Definitely Check.
 
Felancatis Fuedoras. Lo mentally applauded herself for the quick recall. (If she could remember it now, she'd definitely remember it for her exam.)
She had studied for this. Felancatic Fuedoras, or Cats for short, were known for their extremely sensitive ears.
 
Lo smirked to herself, disconnecting her headphones and turning her phone volume all the way up. She had a plan.
 
She summoned magic into her pen, scribbling two lines of spells into the air. The writing was almost indecipherable, but it would have to do.
When the Cat lunged at her again, mouth open and claws at the ready, Lo pressed play on her music. The spell took immediate effect, amplifying the volume of her lo-fi playlist a hundred-fold, the beat reverberating throughout the forest and echoing from the mountains. The Cat immediately collapsed, large paws pressed against orange ears.
 
Gotcha.
 
Lo hastily scrawled two more lines of a hex on another part of the air, the magical words warping around the Cat. Before her eyes, the Cat began to shrink, collapsing in on itself until it was barely bigger than the size of Lo's shoe.
 
Satisfied, Lo reached a tentative hand out to the furry creature, surprised when it let her stroke its orange coat without hesitation. It clawed its way up her sweater and eventually settled onto her shoulder, closing its eyes for a nap.
 
Well. That was an adventure.
 
As the sun dipped below the horizon, Lo tiredly staggered back to the village. No one commented on her new pet as it slept soundly on her shoulder. Maybe she should give it a name?
 
"Fifi," she muttered to herself as she crept back into the Study Hall, "Lo and Fifi." That had a great ring to it, right?
 
Huh. Maybe all that studying came in handy, after all.

 

(Voiceover by Maggie Ross)

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