Chapter Three

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I decide to kill time in the library while Miah goes back to class. There's a big bulletin board in there, toward the back of the stacks, with all kinds of flyers and posters and stuff. The librarian, Miss Minchell, is pretty cool, and she actually lets the students put up whatever they want, so the library bulletin board is more than just posters about sports tryouts and after-school clubs; it's actually interesting.

I'm about to go wander through the stacks when the word "Magic" catches my eye on a piece of paper half-obscured by a flyer for an old summer camp. Curious, I peel away the layers and read the flyer to myself. "Wanted: Magic. If you want to make a little extra money, I am willing to pay for spells." Part of me wonders if it's a joke, but for some reason, another part of me is excited. Checking to make sure nobody's watching, I pull the flyer off the bulletin board and fold it up, tucking it into my planner. I'm pretty sure it's from last school year, considering it was underneath a poster for a summer camp, but the flyer caught my interest, and I want to think about it some more.

It doesn't mention casters or scribes, so I'm willing to bet whoever wrote the thing is a normie. Most normies don't really know how magic works; they think people like my family are witches or voodoo priests or something like that, and they tend to stay away. But clearly, someone in the school is willing to pay money for magic.

A flicker of an idea catches hold in my brain, and I stare into space, the wheels turning. What if I wrote spells for the normies? As far as I know, normies can't do magic, even with a real spell, so how would they know the difference between that and my defective ones? At least it would give me something to do while Christina studies for her Threes; I just know that the harder she works, the more disappointed my parents are going to be in me, and I'm sick of sitting around at home doing nothing. True, writing spells for normies would probably disappoint them, too, but maybe I could earn a little money with my half-assed magic. It's either that or babysitting for kids with more magical abilities than I'll ever have, since most places around here won't even consider hiring anybody who isn't sixteen yet. I like the idea of working for myself a whole lot more than sitting for casters and scribes, especially since I've never really liked playing with kids. Christina, of course, sat her way through our neighborhood and occasionally still babysits for her favorite families; they adore her. Everybody adores her.

Carefully, I tuck my planner back into my bag with the flyer concealed inside it, toying with the thought. Mom and Dad will probably disown me if I do what I'm considering, at least if they find out, but then again, it isn't like I'm their number one priority. They're much more likely to focus their energy on their perfect daughter as she gets ready to get a perfect score on her Threes. I glance around the library, feeling almost as devious as if I'd just stolen a book, but nobody is around and nobody has noticed me standing in front of the bulletin board for way too long.

Desperate to distract myself from the bizarre idea that's taken hold of me, I wander to the front of the library to see if Miss Minchell is around. She's usually at the circulation desk, unless she's in her office cataloging books or something; I helped her a little bit last year, and I hadn't made up my mind yet about doing it again this year, but now that I'm in the library and remember how much I like this place, it seems like a good idea to see if she wants a volunteer again. I don't know if Miss Minchell knows about my family; I mean, she'd have to be blind and deaf not to, I guess, but she's never said anything, and she's never treated me any differently from any other student who wanders through her domain. Because of that, and because of how quiet and peaceful the library is, I'm constantly drawn here, even though I've never been a big reader.

Miss Minchell isn't at the circulation desk, but when I poke my head around the door to her office, she's there, sitting in front of her computer, a pencil clamped between her teeth as she stares at the screen in concentration. Gently, I wrap my knuckles on her door, and she holds up one finger silently. A few seconds later, she looks up, and a gentle smile spreads across her face.

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