It was of the utmost importance that I get this message across to Gemma. Stubborn though she was, I had to convince her about stopping those visions. The fate of the Rakshana was in my studly, able hands.

At least, that's what I kept telling myself as I hauled my too-muscular-for-my-own-good body up the rope I had tied to the tree outside her window. It was a good thing I was so quiet about this, otherwise we'd have had problems. I took a quick rest on the branch, and also the opportunity to go over my notes one last time. I had it narrowed down to three.


If you do not cease having these visions right now, I will personally make your life a living nightmare. And I mean it.

-You Know Who

Miss Doyle,

I know we haven't gotten off to the best start, but at the same time, I know that your stubbornness and obvious dislike of me is your way of hiding your true sensitivity. Also, you're definitely a spring, so perhaps you could consider using a bit less rouge. Just my opinion. Anyway, please try to stop these visions, for the good of everyone.

Thank you.

Dear Gemma,

Since you usually do not heed anything I write you, I have decided to be a bit more creative. Enclosed is a poem.

'There once was a girl who had visions

Without the Rakshana's permission

She played with the magic

And oh, this is tragic

She made Kartik fail his big mission."

Even you should be able to comprehend that. Have I made myself clear?


After a bit of careful deliberation, I decided to go with the third. The rhyme scheme was clever, if I did say so myself. Satisfied, I tucked the other two letters into my coat and put the lyrical one in my front pocket. With a leap, I was on the narrow ledge behind the window-frame. A few quick twists of my knife, and the lock was again forced open.

Silently, with the grace of a deer wearing silk slippers, I artfully dismounted the sill and made my way to Gemma's side of the room.

"Hmm. Shall I put this one on her desk, or on her pillow? Or perhaps under her pillow? What about in her shoe…oh, wait, she's got her shoes."

This inner debate continued for a moment. To keep myself busy as I thought, I short-sheeted her roommate's bed. Then it came to me. The perfect place to hide the message!

I edged over to the vanity and sat down on the pouf. Carefully, I wedged the folded paper between the frame of the mirror and the glass itself. I almost had it in…what was that? Shaking my head impatiently, I assumed it to be one of the servants going about their business and carried on.

But there it was again.

There was definitely a noise coming from someplace nearby. Instinctively, I prepared myself to fight.

Wait for it…

With a loud crash that startled even me, something large careened in through the window and rolled onto the hardwood floor. There was a resounding crack as the visitor's head came into contact with it. I was up and ready by now, watching to see if the person was even conscious. They were sprawled, facedown, legs akimbo, dark cloak tangled over their head. I stood there in disbelief. Who could have followed me here?

The head jerked, and soon after, the hand yanked off the cloak. My mouth hung open.


Sure enough, he straightened, proud grin on his face as though he expected me to reward him with a crumpet.

"I have found you!" His gold eyes sparkled in triumph.

"What are you doing here?" I hissed.

"You are always wandering off." He shrugged. "I became curious, especially those times you came back without your shirt."

"You shouldn't be here!" Was all I could think to say. Of all the people who could have tracked me without my knowing, Ithal? This was so ironic, I found it almost insulting. Ithal didn't know the difference between a maple leaf and a rock, but he could follow me unseen?

Clearly I had some improving to do.

"Ithal, we have to get out of—what are you doing?" He had made his way over to the chubby one's—Ann, I believe it was—bed and began bouncing cautiously. His face broke into a rapturous grin as he stood up and began jumping harder. Ithal began to giggle, like a young gypsy girl being courted, and threw himself back down. The bed creaked under his weight in what I'm sure was a cry of despair.

"Get down from there!" My patience was already worn thin, and I wasn't about to be caught thanks to him. Reluctantly, he dismounted the bed, glowering as he did so.

"You need to learn how to have fun, Kartik," he said in his rough English.

"I was fine until you got here," said I, through gritted teeth.

Taking no notice, he sat himself at the vanity and glanced curiously at the scented waters, brushes and cosmetics.

"What are these things, Kartik?" He gestured at the wide array.

"Those are what the ladies use to beautify themselves." I tried to pull him off the chair, but he merely looked confused.

"Bee-you-tee-fy. I do not know what this means. Do you mean to say butterfly?"

"It means to make them look pretty."

"Ah!" His face brightened in understanding. "I wish to 'butterfly' myself, then, too." Before I could stop him, he had picked up the brush, and after examining it a moment, dragged it across his cheeks, making little red lines with the bristles.

"I do not like this thing." He tossed it to the side and curiously sniffed the perfume bottle. Ithal shook it, but couldn't figure out how to actually open it, and it was also thrown back onto the tray. By now I was forcibly pulling his arms, but he would not be moved.

"Ah!" This seemed to be his word of choice as he pulled out the powder-puff. He looked at it a moment before thrusting it onto his face, covering it in the fine white talc.

"Ithal! I mean it, we have to—…" Before I could get the words out, he had thumped me in the face with the powder-puff as well. I released my grip and coughed spastically. Upon coming to my senses, I could see Ithal grinning again, like a child would at their mother when they've done something clever.

"Kartik, Kartik, you are a butterfly!" He clapped his hands in delight.

By now, I could hear footsteps and voices. The familiar voices of the gossipy schoolgirls, back from their outing.

"Ithal! We must go, now! We are going to get caught!"

"But I wanted to see Felicity." His mouth turned down in a pout, but the effect was ruined slightly by the powder all over his face.

"If we get caught, you will never see Felicity again, because we will both…be…dead!" I was breathing hard now, confident that I had gotten my point across.

Ithal cocked his head and stared in confusion.

Letting out a huge sigh of frustration, I shoved him off the chair and to the window. The whole time, he was protesting about how he wanted to see Felicity. Nudging open the frame, I was able to get him out headfirst, but his feet hooked around the sill and he refused to move further.

This was hardly tactful, as he was now hanging upside-down from a huge window.

Exhaling loudly, I thrust my palms against his rear end and pushed for all I was worth. Finally, I ended up getting him all the way out, where he clung to the tree branch for dear life. I shook my head and climbed onto the ledge, looking back just to be safe, powder-puffed and all.

Oh no.

As luck would have it, there she was. Leaning up against the door frame, shaking in silent laughter.

As I scrambled out the window and down the rope behind my bumbling 'friend', I realized she would probably never take me seriously again.

Once on the ground, Ithal stomping off to camp without me, I glanced back to see her, arms folded casually across the ledge, trademark smirk across her face.

I sighed. "There'll be no living with her after this."

Yes, the last line is a quote from PoTC.

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