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Cala staggered out of the burning building and fell to her hands and knees on the grass, coughing as she tried to clear the smoke from her lungs.

“Get up, Miss Winter.”

The headmaster was suddenly standing right in front of her. She stared for a moment at his expensive, handmade shoes before lifting her gaze up, past the tailored silk suit to his handsome but disapproving face.

“P-Professor Doctus,” she stuttered, “I can explain…”

“Later,” he snapped. “Get up.”

He took her right hand as she scrambled to her feet. She gasped at his touch – it was as if an electric shock had run through her body.

“This is only a brief respite,” he told her as he slipped the five golden rings from her fingers and thumb. “Under the circumstances, we have to risk your uneducated aid.”

She stared at him a little blankly, too busy admiring the way the firelight flickered across his gorgeous features to pay attention to his words.

“Now, Miss Winter. Before the halls burn down!”

She blinked.

“You have a natural affinity with beasts of cold and air,” he said, shaking her in frustration. “Summon some to put out the fires!”

She blinked again, then pulled herself together, calling out the words of the ritual to summon two frost giants and an ice dragon. The dragon hissed out cold breath to blow out the fires, while the frost giants held up fragile walls, lifted out singed classmates and crushed out embers in their bare hands.

Meanwhile, the professors tried to deal with the cause.

“I see it,” cried Professor Hollyhock. “It’s an elemental!”

Cala, sitting still to maintain control over her icy friends, tried not to fidget.

“It’s completely out of control,” Professor Doctus said, positioning himself next to the Mystic Arts tutor. “We must disperse it quickly.”

“If we do that, we won’t be able to trace who summoned it,” one of the other professors said, stroking his beard.

“Never mind that,” the headmaster snapped. “The safety of the school must come first.”

It was all her fault; she had spent the afternoon entertaining an old friend, a glacier pixie, and had then considerately tried to summon a little fire spirit to warm the room before her roomie returned. Somehow, her summoning got magnified and the resulting spirit instantly set fire to the carpet and the curtains. Everything else had gone up from there.

She pressed her lips together and tried to concentrate. Thankfully, it seemed that everyone was okay. She had made her mistake at the right time, while almost everybody was out at lectures.

In the aftermath, Professor Doctus thanked Cala with apparent sincerity as he replaced the five rings.

“We may be able to push you forward a year,” he said, “then these will be unnecessary. Thank you again for your assistance tonight.”

Cala blushed furiously, sure that her guilt was written clearly across her face. “Please, sir, don’t mention it!”

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: Three Word Wednesday this week offers the prompts “Affinity, Fidget, Mention”. For the occasion, I’ve brought back Cala Winter, who came out of a 3WW back in December for “New Girl” and reappeared during the festive season for “On The Fifth Day Of Christmas“)

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