Chapter 3

After receiving his 'quest' as the school liked to call them, Arlen spent the few more minutes until his first class of the day discussing the morning's experiment. Arthur said he was of two minds over the explosion that had rocked his student's lawn. On the one hand, it proved that the finished spell would be powerful. On the other, it proved that the incomplete version was already powerful.

Amazing what could be done in a single morning.

"What exactly are you hoping to accomplish, Young Wizard?" The curiosity was obvious in both the dog's voice and posture.

Arlen explained that he was planning to use the spell on his plants if he could finish it before the week was out.

"There are... less violent ways to hang up the trowel, you know."

"No! I mean… The sunlight spell and raincloud spell are needed to maintain magical plants, so you can plant them almost anywhere. Like how everyone has a few pots in their dorm room." Arthur nodded slowly, accepting the point.

"I take it you're attempting to modify those spells somehow?"

Another explanation followed: Genevive Ghostwalker, Arlen's mother, had sent him cuttings from the family orchard so he could have fruit fresh off the tree again. It had been a surprise and he didn't have anywhere to plant them yet, so they were potted in his basement with his tiny reagent garden. Some of the saplings were delicate and needed more attention than he could give with his current coursework and projects taking so much of his time.

Professor Wethersfield understood immediately, "So you're trying to put a long term plant-care spell together to keep them healthy inside while you get the outdoor spot ready?"

"Yes," Arlen nodded, "if I'm not careful, some of them will die and I can't ask for replacements. They have to leave extra branches on the trees in case of accidents, you know."

"And are they going to need this spell after you're done migrating them, or is it just for while they're inside?"

He recalled the memories of his family's horticultural lessons, "Most of them will be fine once they get into the ground proper, and the rest won't need special attention for very long afterward. I'd likely be able to handle those personally, especially if I don't replant my garden while I'm working on them."

The teacher thought silently for a moment before advising Arlen to stop by the library after his second class. He would inform Professor Argleston of the situation and reserve some material on commercial botany practices.

"After all," he grinned, "you can't be the first wizard who didn't have enough time to manage all your plants." Arthur gave his student a wide, wolfish grin as he started walking towards the tunnel to the commons.

"I imagine that this, like most problems, will be solved in no time at all once we have the wisdom of others to refer to. Now you'd better run; your first class is starting soon."

Arlen stowed his new deck and made for Professor Wu's classroom when a sudden thought made him turn back.

"Excuse me, Professor?" Arthur paused and looked back across his shoulder.

"Yes, Young Wizard?"

"Should I still work on my solution or just leave it alone?" The Marleybonian brow creased thoughtfully.

"Let's see what Harold digs up and we can plan it out from there. Either way, I would advise you to keep it up as a side-project. Perhaps we can make it a joint effort with the upper-level students in Moolinda's class."

Arlen nodded. "Alright, I can work with that. Thanks, Professor! I'll see you at third."

"You're quite welcome."

Arlen headed off to his first class of the day.

Arthur disappeared into the dark tunnel.

Bartleby watched the two go and rolled his large, magical eyes.

"Nobody ever thinks to ask the magical tree that sees all if he knows any good spells."