The Lone Demon Rides Again

Jervan sat nervously in the waiting room. On the low table was a copy of "Better Tombs and Dungeons." He picked it up and started thumbing through it. The article on tasteful decorating using skulls didn't interest him. Dr. Wraith's column on sex after death wasn't much better, but he forced himself to become engrossed in it. A small puce demon appeared, hovering in midair. "The Headmaster will see you now," it announced. Great, Jervan thought, first he gets me into trouble, then he disappears. I swear I'll turn him into a... The Headmaster was an imposing man with graying hair. "Have a seat," he said, pointing to a rickety wooden stool. "I assume you know why you're here." Jervan nodded. "I know that Demon familiars are hard to control, the Creator knows how much trouble mine is." As if on cue, the puce demon appeared and promptly started throwing papers around the room. The Headmaster pointed his hand at the imp and sent a small fireball flying in its direction. The creature promptly disappeared. "But yours is too clever for his own good," the Headmaster did not even skip a beat. "I can tolerate him sneaking into the girl’s dorm and sewing their under-tunics together, I can even accept the fact that the girls were wearing them at the time, but this I cannot allow." "Putting magical Epsom salts in the lunch soup is a very serious affair. The latrines are overflowing, both literally and figuratively, the Healers are swamped and I personally have never had a more severe… headache in all my fourteen hundred years." Jervan stifled a grin; one can not look properly contrite while smiling. "What are we going to do about this?" the Headmaster said. "Forget it?" Jervan asked hopefully. Although he didn't care for his familiar, he didn't want the imp to be punished by the master of demons, who could be absolutely hellish when he wanted

to be. "For now, I think that you should clean the pits out. They need it very badly." "Me?" then he added a belated "sir." "Yes, and get that mauve excuse for a Demon to help you." * * *

"I hope you're happy," Jervan said disgustedly. "No more practical jokes, I swear." The demon placed one small mauve hand over his chest. "Never?" "Never! By the way, there's a centipede crawling up your tunic." Jervan looked down, panic stricken. Grinning madly, his familiar lobbed a handful of waste from the bucket, hitting Jervan squarely in the face. The demon loved it when Jervan turned that particular shade of crimson, it was very becoming. Knowing what would follow, the demon withdrew a fat cigar from his jacket. Jervan's lightning bolt lit it very satisfactorily. "You swore..." Jervan spluttered. "You can't expect me to go cold turkey." the demon replied puffing contentedly. "Besides I needed a cigar." * * *

The next morning, the students woke to find the faculty tied up and hanging upside down in the grove of trees that surrounded the school. Naturally, just like every time something went wrong, Jervan received a summons to go to the Headmaster's office. On the way there, his familiar appeared, his mauve face creased with worry. "I didn't do it this time." the demon said. "I swear." "Sure and cows fly." "Well they did when the Mage Eckmar lost control of a levitation spell." "Shut up." "And then there was the time when..."

"I said shut up!" "I just try to be helpful and..." Jervan threw him a glance that would have shattered stone and the demon retreated into hurt silence. "Why did you try this? You just did a good joke." "I didn't. Really, do you think I'd do something so… crude?" "Well..." "I mean I do have standards," the demon said in a dignified manner. And then it was time to wait in the outer office again. Jervan swore he saw more of this room than he did his own. The puce demon summoned them into the Headmaster's office. "Well Maurice," the puce demon said. "You decided to come this time." "Yes, Seymore." Jervan's demon said in an ugly voice. "Maurice?" Jervan asked incredulously. "If you ever call me that again, I'll remove your toenails through your nose." the mauve demon said in a sickly sweet tone. "Jervan," the Headmaster said. "No, don't say anything. I know your demon didn't do anything this time. Don't look relieved, you're not off the hook. Your demon started all this, now every familiar in the school is trying to top him. Not only did someone tree the entire faculty, someone turned on the sprinkler system the girl's dorm. You know what water does to a witch. They almost melted a matron before she got her umbrella out. A year's supply of spiders was released in the kitchen. I have no idea what we'll do for spider's legs now." "Sir, I promise that my demon will never play another practical joke while we're at the school." Jervan said, clapping a hand over the demon's mouth. "No, you don't understand, you've got to prove that no one can top your demon in practical jokes." Jervan looked puzzled. "I want you to prove his supremacy. If he does something no one else can top, maybe we

can get some work done. It’s unorthodox I know, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you know how competitive the demons are. He has to show everyone he is the best, or all Hell will break lose here." "Yes sir." Jervan's familiar chose Hovel Economics to open the "Prank Off." Mrs. Hagga was teaching basic survival skills for single witches and warlocks when it happened. She was in the middle of making Potluck Stew (so named because it was made from whatever was lucky enough to get close enough to the pot to be put in) when a certain mauve demon erupted from the middle of the greenish stew and said "Hello." Mrs. Hagga fainted dead away, never having had her food talk back to her in more than a figurative sense. "I wish I didn't have school anymore so I didn't have to live through all these practical jokes," Jervan said as his familiar picked pieces of green stew off his jacket. "Wish you didn't have school," the demon smiled, showing his impressive set of pointed teeth. Jervan groaned at the sight of the grin that portended inevitable doom. The demon then promptly disappeared mumbling something about spells for moving things. "What have I done?" Jervan wanted to cry. "I should have listened to mother and run off to join the circus." Jervan saw his demon only three times over the next two weeks. Each time when he appeared, he looked at Jervan giggled insanely and disappeared. Jervan dreaded what the demon might do. He had a penchant for the exotic. Then it happened. At precisely ten in the morning on a Saturday, the school fire alarm went off. The moment the students had evacuated, the building gave an odd sort of squawking sound, sprouted legs and lurched its way over the far hill. Jervan's familiar appeared above his shoulder. "I couldn't figure out a way to make school be over, so I decided to get rid of the school." "Well, I must admit that no one can top this. By the way, how did you do that?" "Oh, I just got some help from a little old lady named Baba Yaga."

Both demon and master were doubled over with laughter when the Headmaster walked over to speak to them. "That was a good one, now can you get my school to come back and sit down?" He had a plaintive note to his voice. The demon tried to answer, but he was laughing too hard to speak. The End?

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