When the open day came, Rana made sure to dress in a clean uniform. As she sat in lessons with her classmates, she picked a loose yellow thread off her collar and watched people file into or past the classroom, who in turn watched them at work.

It was unusual, trying to have a lesson when there were so many other people in the Hall. The corridors were packed as the younger professors and graduates acted as guides for small groups of people, whereas other’s simply wondered around, drifting into rooms where they could watch lessons being taught or researchers could demonstrate what kinds of new magic were being developed. One project that was getting a lot of attention was alchemy based, where they were trying to change a sheep’s wool into something softer, to make a warmer, more comfortable blanket. Projects like that would help everyone, not just the mages, and that was an important part of the open day.

Despite the dampness of the autumn outside, the second years escaped the crowded dining hall in favour of the open sky and took lunch outside, cradling bowls of steaming soup in their hands.

“I’ll be catching up with you later, I’m spending the first afternoon lesson with Professor Carmen.” Rana said.

“Astronomy? Why? We’re timetabled for an Illusion lesson.” Celia said.

“Something he said a little while back didn’t sit right with me so I’m investigating it and showing him. This is the only time he’s free so we’re going to have a one to one lesson.”

“Is he teaching you, or are you teaching him?”

Rana smiled. “We’ll see. I’ll catch up with you later.”

An hour into the session, Rana pointed at the illusionary star chart she had created to demonstrate her point. “So you were right when you said these weren’t in a line, but I think they were, sixteen, nearly seventeen years ago. If you look at stars charts from before that,” She switched the illusion to the one she meant, “They aren’t in the same position. Close, but not exactly.”

1370996“Stars don’t move.”

“Most stars don’t move, but I think these ones do.”

Rana heard a familiar voice floating up to her from the door to the large classroom they were using. “And in here we have an astronomy lesson happening. Since we believe that magic is linked to the stars, you can see why we have a great interest in studying them.” Sophia explained to the group she was with.

“Why is that student on the ceiling?” Someone in the group asked.

Sophia turned and looked up at Rana, and then put her hands on her hips.

“Good question. Rana, why are you on the ceiling?”

“It’s easier to point out which stars I’m talking about from up here. Since quite a few of them are so close together, it helps to be specific.” Rana tilted her head up so that she could better look at Sophia, who pinched the bridge of her nose, and didn’t look impressed.

“Okay, next question. How are you on the ceiling?”

“I broke gravity.”

Sophia sighed, giving her a hopeless look.

“Hey, if the universe didn’t want me breaking all these rules of magic then it wouldn’t make it so easy for me.”