The Isle of the Lost (Page 26)
Very smart. Which meant Carlos enjoyed besting him. Just the other week they had been working on a special elixir, and Reza had been annoyed that Carlos had figured out the secret ingredient first.
Yeah, Reza was almost as smart as he was irritating. Even now he was raising his hand, waving it wildly back and forth.
Their professor, the powerful sorcerer Yen Sid, ignored him. Yen Sid had been sent to the Isle of the Lost from Auradon by King Beast to teach the villain kids how to live without magic and learn the magic of science instead. Carlos remarked once that it must have been a huge sacrifice for him to give up Auradon, but the crotchety old wizard shrugged and said that he didn’t mind and that he had a responsibility to teach all children, good or bad.
Yen Sid resumed their lesson by quoting his favorite phrase, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The secretive magician smiled from his lectern, his bald head glowing under the light, and his large, gray beard covering half his chest. He had traded in his sorcerer’s robes for a chemist’s white coat, now that there was no market in magic, and…well, no magic to speak of.
Reza raised his hand again. Once again, Yen Sid ignored him, and Carlos smiled to himself.
“Just because there is no magic on the Isle of the Lost does not mean we cannot make our own,” Yen Sid said. “In fact, we can create everything we need for a spell right in this classroom. The answer to our situation is right in front of us. From fireworks to explosions, everything can be made from…science.”
“Except, science is boring,” said one of the Gastons.
“And also, what’s that smell?” said the other Gaston, slapping his brother on the head. “Because—you know—beans are the magical fruit.”
“Shut up,” Carlos hissed. He wanted to listen.
Reza’s hand shot up again. Me, me, me.
“I’m talking about the magic of science,” Yen Sid said, ignoring both Gastons and Reza.
“Excuse me. Excuse me, Professor?” Reza couldn’t contain himself any longer. He was practically squeaking in his seat. Carlos snorted.
The professor sighed. “What is it, Reza?”
Reza stood up. “Irregardless, the irrelevancy of my classmates’ simplistical commentation bears no meaningfulness to this experiment, in point of fact.”
“Thank you, Reza.” Yen Sid understood, as Carlos did, that Reza had just said the Gastons were stupid. Which was news to no one at all.
Reza cleared his throat.
“If science is in fact magic, i.e., per se, could one then correspondingly and accordingly posit the postulate that magic is thus, ergo, to wit, also science, quid pro quo, quod erat demonstrandum, Q.E.D.?”
Yen Sid rolled his eyes. Muffled snorts and snickers came from the rest of the class.
“Yes, Reza. Science could be described, in fact, as magic. From certain perspectives. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Why don’t you start today’s experiment and find out for yourself—”
Reza’s hand shot up again. The whole class started to laugh.
Yen Sid looked at him sternly. “—like your classmate Carlos here, who, instead of wasting time with more talk, is halfway done with the assignment?” He raised an eyebrow at Reza.
Reza’s face turned red. The class laughed harder.
Today’s lesson focused on engineering. Carlos’s heart warmed as he bent over his desk and applied himself to the task of learning how to make a robotic broom that swept by itself.
It was the solution to his earlier problem. With this invention, he would be able to clean Hell Hall in a jiffy. He even had a name for it: the Broomba.
The Gastons grumbled, but Carlos couldn’t even hear them. Not when he was working. He tightened a screw on the motor of his broom.
This was the real magic.
By the end of first period, it wasn’t just Carlos who was happy to be back in school. Evie was glad she had decided to show up as well. For one thing, she didn’t see any sign of Mal; and for another thing, it was empowering to realize that while her mother might never think she was pretty enough, she was certainly pretty enough for her Selfies Seminar, which only a few students from Selfies 101 were allowed to take. As it turned out, she could have taught the class herself.
“These are amazing!” Mother Gothel gushed as she looked over Evie’s homework. The class had been ordered to produce a series of self-portraits, and Evie had spent the hours before Carlos’s party hard at work on her portfolio, taking pictures of herself. Beauty required effort, didn’t it? Wasn’t that what her mother always said?
And, since her mother had made her so aware of every angle and every trick of light and cosmetics, Evie had the best photographs. (Truthfully, this class was nothing; by the time Evie could hold a hairbrush, she had known how to make herself seem ten times more beautiful than she really was.)
It’s all smoke and mirrors, she thought, wincing at the word mirror. That’s how you get to be the fairest of them all.
She tried to ignore the other girls in the class, the step-granddaughters especially, who looked daggers at her.
“It’s as if you spend every second staring at your own reflection!” Mother Gothel marveled. “Now, that is a feat of self-centeredness!”
Evie smiled. “Why, thank you. I do try.”
“Your mother must be so proud,” Mother Gothel said, handing back the photos.
Evie only nodded.
After bombing on his Evil World History exam, Jay ducked to hide from an evil step-granddaughter, who waved to him coquettishly, making him late for his Enrichment class. He slipped into the shadows behind a statue in the stairwell.
It wasn’t as if he hadn’t enjoyed dancing with her last night; he liked dancing with her fine, and stealing girls’ hearts was practically a hobby. But it wasn’t as fun as stealing other things, since hearts came with too many strings attached. And it certainly didn’t pay as well.
Besides, Jay liked his freedom.
“Jayyyyyy,” her voice sing-songed down the hall. “Oh, Jayyyyy I think you might have something of my grandmother’s that I need back. I’m very, very angry at you, you bad boy,” she said, not sounding angry at all.
But Jay wouldn’t come out of his hiding place behind the statue of Evil Dragon Maleficent. The stone monstrosity, commissioned by Maleficent herself, took up more than half the landing between the school’s second and third basement levels, and had become one of Jay’s most reliable hiding spots. Soon his predatory dance date gave up the search.