Patreon reward for Zeelo, of himself getting transformed into a carbuncle.
Should Have Studied
“And so by using the standard umbral formula you will understand why it is important to…” The voice of Professor Tremar droned on throughout the lecture hall. Zeelo felt as if he could barely keep his eyes open. It didn’t matter how interesting or important the material might be… Tremar had a way to make everything sound dull and uninspiring. Zeelo made out something about magic circles and that was his last memory before being out of it.
He slept through most of the lecture and yet it felt like his blissful sleep came to an immediate end as the shouting of Tremar’s voice suddenly jostled him awake.
“ZEELO!” The elf stormed down the aisle between the various desks, his purple robe swirling about him. “I would think you of all people would know the important of paying attention given your current predicament!” The professor slammed a heavy tome down onto Zeelo’s desk!
“Gah!” Zeelo jerked back. His robe, or at least what he was using as a robe nearly slipped off his shoulders from the sudden movement. In truth, it was merely an adult sized sweater. Right now however it currently fit him like a robe. That was because of the ‘predicament’ that Tremar had referenced. Compared to everyone else in the room Zeelo looked a bit out of place. Being a small eight-year-old child with shaggy brown hair and wearing only an oversized sweater he didn’t quite fit in with the other robed students in their early 20s. No one would believe that Zeelo was technically the oldest student in the class… Or at least he had been. But there had been a small accident in his Time Magic class last month when he had mispronounced the syllables of a slow spell.
Coincidentally, Professor Tremar also taught that class.
“Sorry!” Zeelo squeaked as he shrunk into himself aware the rest of the class was staring.
“If you can’t stay awake for classes like an adult maybe daycare would be more your speed?” Tremar spoke in that condescending tone of voice that only elves could manage. “Stay after class today. Everyone else… Dismissed.”
The lecture hall emptied pretty quickly. Though some might have been curious as to Zeelo’s fate, they mostly just wanted to be as far away from Tremar and his voice as possible.
“Zeelo, since you couldn’t get the information through a proper lecture, I’ve decided that a more practical exercise may be in order.”
“What are you going to do to me?” Zeelo squirmed in his seat.
“What? I’m not going to do anything?” The question caught Professor Tremar off guard. For the briefest of moments, the general air of haughtiness was absent. But, it was only for a moment. “It’s about what you’re going to do Zeelo.” The professor dropped his tome on Zeelo’s desk.
“I don’t get it.” Zeelo looked at the book and then at his professor.
“Today’s lesson was on how to properly summon a basic carbuncle familiar.” It was amazing how even when being patronizing Tremar’s voice never gained any tone or inflection. “So, here’s the book, read the chapter. Then summon a carbuncle. You will not leave this lecture hall until you’ve successfully summoned one.”
“That’s not fair!” Zeelo protested. “What if I can’t get it done tonight?”
“In that event, you’ve already proven that you can comfortably sleep at your desk.” Tremar started for the classroom door.
“Oh come on!” Zeelo protested.
“Goodbye Zeelo, have a good night.” Tremar never looked back. “Oh and keep in mind… I will be checking in on you hourly to check your progress. And verify you haven’t left.”
“Ugh…” Zeelo slammed his head against the table. “I can’t believe I’m paying 5,000 gil a semester to be treated like this.” Zeelo looked towards the door. He wondered just how punctual Tremar would be on checking in. If it was going to be every hour exactly on the hour, it’d be easy to slip away and get back on time.
He shook his head to distract himself from the thought. It was probably better to just try and get the work done than risk getting in more trouble. He opened the book to the specified chapter and stared at it. That… That was certainly a lot of formulas. He recognized some of them… But many of the symbols were completely alien to him.
“Well I see no way this could backfire at all.” Zeelo rolled his eyes as he considered his current body. Still, it wasn’t as if he had a choice. He stood up and held out a hand as he attempted to gather aether into it. He then quietly spoke a chant under his breath as he tried to call out to another plane where familiars dwelled.
Wait… What was the formula for call again?
Zeelo nearly stuttered, which would have been bad as that would have caused the magic to go out of control. Who knew what would happen then? Still, he was slowly approaching the end of the chant, and he’d need to shout the proper word for call. It was call as in too beckon, not call as in to name… But he wasn’t 100% sure which word was right. Well… 50% chance.
“NOMEN!” Zeelo gave a shout as he released the aether from his hand. He felt it flow all around him in a vortex of magical energy… And then nothing. No carbuncle, no magic, not even a hint of a sparkle. “Awwww dang it… It was nutum.” He shook his head. “Guess I’ll give it another shot…” Zeelo held out his hand again preparing to give it a second try. He froze though as he realized a small minor problem.
His hand was green. Or more accurately covered in green fur.
“That’s not… normal…” Zeelo muttered. For a moment he was stunned, then he noticed that the fur was now growing in over his forearm and spreading up to his shoulder. “Ah dang it not again!” He definitely got the spell wrong! It looked like instead of calling a carbuncle he had named himself one!
Zeelo suddenly felt the back of his shirt lift up as three fox-like green tails burst from the end of his spine. Yup, he was definitely turning into a carbuncle.
“Okay, okay don’t panic.” Zeelo muttered. “There’s a way to reverse this. It’s not like the last time something like this happened it was permanent or anything…” Except for the fact he was still an eight year old. That hadn’t worn off or been reversed. Ok, maybe time for a little panicking.
Zeelo quickly flipped through the pages of the book looking for a formula to reverse that. Of course there was still the problem that he couldn’t understand half of them. A lot of this stuff wasn’t going to be covered for months in class! Zeelo could start trying them at random… But that had a chance of making things worse.
Zeelo’s ears began to twitch as they grew out into long rabbit-like ears almost as long as his body.
“Okay, trying random spells it is.” Zeelo picked one and quickly held out his hand, well it was more a paw now, as he began to gather aether again. He prepared to cast… But he realized the formula he picked he didn’t know how to pronounce half the words. That one was out. Maybe he should try the same formula that caused this, but used the word for man in place of carbuncle. That might just fix it. He knew that one! Vir!
Zeelo began to chant again as he felt his already giant sweater growing even bigger on him. It wasn’t going to stay on much longer. Most of his body was covered in fur now. He felt a sharp pinch on his forehead as a small ruby formed and began to shine. The change was almost complete. But he was nearing the end of the chant, all he had to do was shout the word.
“Squeak!” Zeelo gave a shout; or tried to at least. But all that came out was a high-pitched animalistic squeak. “Squeak! Squeak! Squeeeeaaaak!” He couldn’t say the words! He felt the aether leave his paw and go wild. A burst of wind erupted all around him, lifting all the desks up and throwing them against the walls with a series of loud clangs. Considering how everything else was going… It could have been worse.
Zeelo shrunk down smaller and soon found himself tangled up in his own sweater. He growled and struggled to squirm his way out of it. Once free, he realized that he was now standing on all fours… And was barely bigger than an average house cat. The change was complete.
“Squeeeeeaaak!” Zeelo realized he needed to get help, someone else to reverse the spell. He quickly ran for the door and jumped up grabbing at the doorknob. This resulted in him hanging off the doorknob from his paws; and having no way to open the door.
Curse you lack of opposable thumbs!
“Squeak…” Zeelo fell down onto his bottom in front of the door. There was no way he was getting that open himself. But… That didn’t mean he couldn’t still get help! If he made enough noise someone would come investigate. He began to paw and scratch at the door, hoping it would get the attention of someone outside.
It took awhile… But eventually his plan worked. The door swung open, and who stood there but none other than Professor Tremar.
“Squeak!” Zeelo’s eyes lit up. He had never been so happy to see that blowhard in his life. He ran in a circle around his legs squeaking and trying to explain the situation. Not that there was anyway for Tremar to understand Zeelo’s excited chirps.
“He managed it within the first hour?” Tremar stared down at the carbuncle shaped Zeelo. “But I see he didn’t bother to dismiss you after he was done.” The professor glanced around the room noticing all the damage. “Did you do all this? I’m going to have words with the young man and-“ Tremar froze as he spied something else; Zeelo’s blue sweater laying on the floor.
“Squeak!” Zeelo was filled with hope again. That had be a giveaway to what happened! Tremar would piece it all together now and help him change back to normal and-
“I don’t even want to know why this is on the floor.” Tremar shuttered. “Is he just streaking across campus now?” And with that the professor turned away from the sweater losing all interest in it.
“Squeeeak!” Zeelo didn’t understand how he couldn’t get it! It was obvious! Especially when there had already been a similar accident in the past! Zeelo grabbed his own sweater with his mouth and dragged it across the floor trying to get Tremar’s attention.
“Oh right you…” Tremar muttered. “I suppose we should get you dismissed before you cause anymore trouble. He held up a hand.”
“SQUEAK!” Zeelo’s eyes grew wide with terror! No! Absolutely not! Do not want! But it didn’t matter how loud he squeaked in protest since it wasn’t as if Tremar could understand him.
“Dimitte.” And with a single word spoken Zeelo was gone in a burst of light.
Said light had blinded Zeelo himself. When he could see again he found himself in a completely different area. Well, at the very least he was relieved that he still existed. He didn’t actually know much about how familiars worked. He knew there was another plane of existence… But he didn’t know if they had a physical form there, or if they were just aether floating around waiting to be called. Right now, he was really happy to just not be aether. But where was he?
It looked like a forest… But all the vegetation looked like it was made of emeralds. He was far from alone. The forest was teaming with other carbuncles. Emerald carbuncles, topaz carbuncles, ruby carbuncles, even moonstone carbuncles! It was an entire rainbow of jeweled critters! There were many types he didn’t even know existed!
The carbuncles paid him no mind as he appeared. None of them seemed realize he was any different… Only that he was a bit smaller due to his young age.
“Squeak…” Zeelo laid down on the crystal glass. Despite being some kind of gem, it was somehow soft. Then again, it was another plane of existence. The rules didn’t have to make sense. Zeelo laid around, unsure of what to do… When suddenly an object crashed into him.
“SQUEAK!” It was a ruby carbuncle, around the same size as him. It had pounced upon Zeelo and the two were suddenly rolling around in the grass.
“Squeak!” Zeelo objected, and quickly squirmed away. Then he looked back at the ruby carbuncle, noticing it was leaning fore on its forepaws, its tails held high swinging. It was just a cub who wanted to play and had just found someone his own age to play with.
“Squeak!” The ruby carbuncle stepped forward and bopped Zeelo on the nose with his forepaw.
“Squeak…” Zeelo seemed hesitant at first… But it wasn’t like there was much else he could do. For now, maybe he should just do something to take his mind off of everything. Hopefully, someone would eventually summon him back and he could find a way to explain things then.
For now, he lunged forward and tackled the ruby carbuncle.