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And then they were studying, then they were cramming, then they were taking tests and finishing projects, and then they were finding their grades and packing up to head home.

Student: Cloudius Cloud            GPA: 3.67        Cum: 3.33
Class    Teacher    Grade
Defense II    Ash    A
English I    White    A-
Science I    Temple    A-
History of Magic    Sear    B
Items    Timms    A

Commendations: “Excellent worker. Perfect safety record.” –Timms
“Excellent at magic defense.” –Ash

“I’m not just good, I’m safe. Safe. Wait till I tell Mom and Dad.”

“They’ll wonder if it’s really you,” said Daphne.

“Especially when they see the GPA!” He got up and did a little dance.

Student: Daphne Golden        GPA: 3.87        Cum: 3.79
Class    Teacher    Grade
Defense II    Ash    A-
English II    White    A
Science I    Temple    A
History of Magic II    Sear    A-
Weapons    Timms    A

Commendations: “Excellent work with swords. Safety almost up to Cloud standards.” –Timms
“Our best sword fighter and good on defense.” –Ash

“Almost up to your standards. Huh.”

“Oh, come on, Daphne, you beat the heck out of me,” said Arnulf.

Student: Arnulf Shmoke        GPA: 3.27        Cum: 3.50
Class    Teacher    Grade
Defense II    Ash    A
English II    White    C
Math I    Ash    B-
History of Magic II    Sear    A-
Pentonics    MacMorris    A

“No commendations.”

“How’d you get an A in Pentonics?” asked Daphne.

“He gave everyone an A. I think he just didn’t want to get in an argument with Ash.”

“Wonder why not.”

“Struggled in English. Sear was nice to give me an A– in History.”

“Yes, well,” said Ahir, “Ash and Sear gave us their private commendations. And you’re supposed to be comforting me, you know.”

Student: Ahir Shaheen        GPA: 3.67            Cum: 3.83
Class    Teacher    Grade
Defense II    Ash    A
English II    White    B
Math I    Ash    A
History of Magic II   Sear   A-                                                                                                                                                                                        Illusions I    Shag    B+
Pentonics    MacMorris    A

“I just sucked,” Ahir summarized. It sounded charming in her slight accent.

“Oh, you did not,” said Angelica. “You did fine.”

“But for me. Look! I got two Bs!”

“Sweet stuff,” said Arnulf, “you had other priorities.”

“Yes, and what were those?” She gave him a severe look, then they tilted their heads with the skill of much practice and kissed. “Not that I mind the trade, really.”

“I was thinking of looking into Brutus and the, um,” said Arnulf.

“You guys,” said Angelica. “You’re raining on my parade here. I beat both of you!”

Student: Angelica Aliyev        GPA: 3.89            Cum: 3.83
Class    Teacher    Grade
Defense II    Ash    A
English II    White    A
Science I    MacMorris    A-
History of Magic II  Sear   A

Illusions II   Shag    A
Items    Timms    A-

Commendations: “They call her Killer.” –Ash
“Three way tie for best illusionist.” –Shag

“We… are the champions… of the world…” sang Angelica, Rachel and Cloudius together.

“Okay, you guys,” said Tom, “settle down.”

Student: Thomas Hexane        GPA: 3.83            Cum: 3.56
Class    Teacher    Grade
Defense II    Ash    A
English II    White    A-
Math I    Ash    A
History of Magic   Sear   A-

Pentonics    MacMorris   A
Items    Timms    A-

Commendations: “Oddly effective with light spells, and surprisingly good at quiets.” –Ash

“What did she mean by that?”

“She meant,” said Angelica, “that you make up for not being a killer in magic combat by having lights and quiets and things.”

“It means you’re good at lights,” said Ahir. “I thought that was clear.”

“She means despite the fact that you never shut up,” said Cloudius, and they started hitting each other with Tom’s pillows.

“Ah, the kids,” said Angelica. “Tom, you have a visitor.”

He looked up. There was Beep Finger, a tomboy from Fort Wayne with long frizzy brown hair. “Hey Tom,” she said, as he desisted and Cloudius hit him a couple of more times, “I was just taking off for the summer and I wanted to give you my address.”

Tom jumped up. “Hey you guys,” he said to the others as he went to the door, “you’re all coming to Maine to visit this summer. Got that? Hey, Alicia.”

“Call me Beep,” she said, giggling.

“Yeah. Beep. Want to go get some ice cream?”

They were off down the stairs before anyone else could invite themselves along. The others looked at one another. Eva hopped down and pursued her boy.

“Ice cream sounds good,” said Arnulf. “Somewhere other than where they’re going.” He stood up and helped Ahir up.

“Interesting year so far,” said Ahir. “Write me, okay, Angelica?” She smiled at Nulf. “Let’s go get something, um,” and she trailed off.

“Sweet,” said Arnulf. They smiled back at the room and took off.

“Okay, that’s it,” said Angelica. “No more of that for the rest of the school year. That shouldn’t be hard, should it?”

Steps on the stairs produced Jen Chang. “Just got my grades,” she said. “Straight As! Did you get straight As, Cloudius?”

“Not quite,” he said. “But I’m very safe. Timms said so.”

“You’re very safe and buying me a large shake.”

Blushing, Cloudius got up and headed over the legs of Ange and her friends. He smirked back from the door, then smiled at Jen Chang. “Okay, it’s on me.”

“It certainly is,” said Jen, taking his arm.