I knew I had passed the entrance exam the moment I completed it. I knew that I’d be accepted to the Royal Academie of Magiks. What I never dreamed was that I’d get a full scholarship, with room and board, and a small stipend to cover books and other expenses. On the last day before classes began , as I dropped my stack of just-purchased texts onto the small desk in my tiny but private – something I’d never experienced before growing up in a household of twelve – room, I felt an extreme sense of satisfaction. Things were going perfectly, all my dreams about to come true.
There was a pleasant little knock on my door frame.
“Come in,” I said.
“Congratulations, Tomas! Congratulations again,” said Professor Crumpadon as he came in the room to shake my hand.
“Thank you,” I said, surprised to see him.
“Well, this is a nice spot, even better than you had over at the course,” he smiled. “I am so pleased with how well things turned out for you.”
“Yes,” I said. “Thanks for your help. If it hadn’t been for you, I might not have come.” I had, in fact, decided not to, until he showed up at our door, looking for me, on account of my application to the Academie. Top ranking application, I might add.
“You’re very welcome, and now, I’ve come to ask you if you might be willing to do me a little favor in return.”
I didn’t like the sound of that. I would be starting school tomorrow, and would be very, very busy with my studies. “What did you have in mind?” I asked.
“Seeing as how you’ve done so very well with my entrance exam preparation course, I was wondering if you might be willing to come with me on some little recruiting excursions. I go about to the various primary schools in the city and let the students and faculty know about my training course, for any who might have their eye on the Academie. If you could come along and perhaps say a few words of praise for my training course, perhaps let them know what you’ve achieved, I would be much obliged.”
I stared at him. “You invited me to come and take your preparation course so that if I did well on the entrance exam, I could endorse you.”
Professor sputtered. “Well of course that’s why I did it. Why else did you think I’d go hunting up talented young wizards from all over the countryside?”
“But you didn’t tell me,” I said. “I thought…” I didn’t know what I thought. I thought Professor had invited me because he thought I had potential. Because he thought it would be a shame if I turned down my chance to take the entrance exam.
“I’m only asking. I think it would be ungrateful to you to refuse me, but if you feel you don’t want to help me in return, after all I’ve done for you.”
“All you’ve done?” I asked. Had he been there all those days and nights I spent practicing magic in my room, until mother nearly despaired of me ever doing my chores?
“You said yourself you wouldn’t be here without me,” he said.
Maybe not, but I wasn’t going to have him take all the credit for my success. “Perhaps not, but I’m afraid I won’t have time to do what you’ve asked. I have my studies to attend to.”
“Very well,” Professor said, his voice turned cold. “Good luck to you, Tomas.”
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