Tina was extremely happy to notice that the headache had gone during the night. Yesterday was extremely exhausting. She went from test to test, only interrupted by lunch, dinner and bathroom breaks. Worst of all, the food portions weren't big enough to cover her energy consumption while constantly working, leaving her famished when she was finally brought back to her cell.
She was aware the proper name was ‘security bedroom’, but that was just a meager attempt at sugarcoating. On the bright side, the guards were helpful enough to bring her a generous amount of supper when she asked them.
The scene with the principal and the girl, Ms. Acorn, had been forever burned into her memory, filed under the rather specialized category ‘weird fetish porn I have been forced to watch’. That tag would hopefully not see any more use in the future. Fortunately, the rest of the school seemed fine enough: Ms. Acorn appeared to be a very unique flower, at least when it came to her choice of clothes. Tina had seen no one else dressed as jailbait, or for that matter anything that reminded her of Ms. Acorn’s fake catholic school girl outfit.
More than the punishment the principal had handed out, something else was bugging her about the scene. Why would the principal hand out a punishment to a girl that obviously enjoyed it? She had a solid clue; during the punishment session, Tina had caught a signal from the principal: that the principal felt that Ms. Acorn was overacting. The two of them were staging a play of some sort. But for what reason? Surely, there had to be more to it than just demonstrating corporal punishment, at least since it reminded more of porn than punishment at the end?
The scene had also left her with some very conflicting feelings. While she had effectively been watching porn, she had both felt disgust and arousal. It was like walking into the dentist’s office and finding a pair having sex in the waiting room: even if it would normally excite you, the awkwardness of the situation would prevent you from fully enjoying the scene.
At the same time, Tina couldn’t deny that the glimpses she caught from Ms. Acorn had felt oddly stimulating. She found herself genuinely curious why Ms. Acorn found it so thrilling to get her ass spanked red. One of Martin’s girlfriends had asked to be spanked once. He had made a very half-hearted attempt, but she had stopped him pretty quickly because he was so obviously uncomfortable with it. This was the first time Tina had actually seen someone being spanked and enjoying it. Now, she was wondering if she ought to test how it felt herself, preferably in a very private place all alone.
Her current locale was private in name only. At least that would change soon: according to the information she was given, she'd be placed in the dormitory today — they just hadn't been able to ready a room for her at such short notice. The guy that informed her was just a messenger. He wasn't lying, but she was reasonably sure the people in charge, most likely including the principal, just used it as an excuse to bug the hell out of her new room, or something along those lines. After all, they were still wary of her being a spy.
In some respects, she was behaving a bit like a spy. It was undeniable that she was infiltrating the place and hiding her background. But if that was enough to be a spy, a huge part of the world’s population would count as spies.
She had been forced to make a choice when writing the tests: conceal her knowledge enough to pretend to be a fourteen-year-old, or reveal everything she knew. She had, after all, gone to the university, and still retained a lot of that knowledge, albeit with plenty of holes where time had partially eroded her unused memories.
If the point was to stay as incognito as possible, the wise choice would be to conceal her knowledge. But how much effect would it really have? Now that she had made the huge blunder of revealing her name, that was probably all the agents needed to notice her if they even glanced at this place.
On the other hand, if this hiding place was successful, she might be living here for months, possibly even years. At some point, she would either go insane from being taught topics she already knew, or reveal her knowledge at a later time. Doing it later would give rise to all sorts of awkward questions. Why not reveal it immediately?
There was also a sliver of hope that standing out would reduce the suspicion that she was a spy. After all, it was rather likely she would want to leave at some point, and that would be so much harder if she was watched constantly.
In the end, she had done her very best on the tests, acing several of them so hard they had to dig up harder tests for her several times. That was one of the reasons the endeavor had taken the entire day.
Just like the day before, a guard entered with her breakfast soon after she entered the bathroom. He informed her that a meeting was set up with the principal at 8 o’clock. She thanked him and watched him leave. Yay. Not exactly a person she looked forward to meeting again. She felt a shiver; hopefully, the principal did not have anything unpleasant in store for her.
She took the opportunity to eat her breakfast hot before returning to the bathroom again. Just as she was about to pick up her brush, she noticed something peculiar. There were no hairs on it. She had a tendency to forget cleaning her brush after each time, and instead did it before brushing her hair the next day. It was in the exact same position as yesterday, sans the strands of hairs that should have been there. Why?
The answer was rather obvious: Someone had removed the hair. But for what purpose? If the intent was to clean her room while she was away, why would everything be at the exact same place she left them yesterday, including her dirty panties on the bathroom floor? A proper cleaning person would probably pick that up. In other words, whoever did it wanted her not to notice it, and yet they still found it necessary to risk it to secure a few strands of hair.
She could think of at least two uses for hair strands: DNA testing and ritual magic, if that was a not just a magical myth. The first sounded significantly less ominous than the last; maybe they wanted to check her DNA against some register of known criminals. In that case, wouldn’t it be more likely that they instead took her fingerprints? Or maybe they had? She had slept very soundly; most likely due to exhaustion, but could she have been drugged?
The possibility of her hair being used in some magic was a much less pleasant thought. She felt a chill in her very core. Caroline had told her that it was extremely hard to affect a dampening individual with magic, but not completely impossible. Could it be that it was easier if the caster possessed hairs, nail clippings or anything else that used to be a part of that person?
This line of thinking lead down to a rabbit hole of paranoia. A quick decision was needed: Confront her jailers or try to ignore it. Thanks to her ability to detect lies, she would know if the answer she got was truthful or not. But what she was told a lie? She would either have to swallow it or reveal her own set of abilities, which she really wanted to keep as her secret trump card.
Bottom line, she needed to ignore it as best she could. Easier said than done. If someone had gone through her items, they would also have found her vibrator. What had they thought when they found it?
The shower tempted her with another attempt at masturbation, but she already knew that its alluring embrace wouldn’t lead her to the promised land. It might have been better if a part of her brain wasn’t distracted by the possibility that someone was watching her, but she ultimately doubted it would make a huge difference.
At 8 o’clock sharp, she stood in front of the principal again. “Good morning, Mrs. Dowsley,” Tina made a quick bow. She considered and quickly discarded the option to make a curtsy instead. It just felt too… girly. Just like she had yet to wear a dress or skirt since her inauguration into the female ranks.
Unlike yesterday, there was a hint of a smile on the principal’s face rather than her near-constant frown. “Good morning, Ms. Tina,” she greeted her. “Please have a seat.”
She opened her laptop, clicking a few times. “To say that your results yesterday are impressive is an understatement. I would really like to know who taught you and what exactly their methods were. But like yesterday, you are probably unwilling to reveal anything?”
Tina gave a slight nod to the rhetorical question.
“I suspected as much,” the principal noted, but she didn’t seem angry about it. “As for the reason I have called you here today: You wrote that you are proficient with a violin. I would like to hear for myself.”
She pointed towards a violin case lying next to her desk. Tina had wondered about it when entering, but opted not to ask. At one of the tests she had written yesterday, she had been prompted to write down all conventional and unconventional skills she possessed. Examples included skills in computer games, handicraft, orienteering, cooking, poetry writing etc. Seeing the opportunity to play the violin on a fairly regular basis, she had written it down, among other skills she could think of.
The violin was adult sized, which she was technically used to as Martin, though her venture to the instrument shop revealed that her shorter stature somewhat impacted her skills. But an hour practicing had bridged a lot of the gap.
“Please give me a minute to warm up first, Mrs. Dowsley,” she asked politely as she picked up the violin. The minute turned into two and soon three as she also needed to tune the violin.
After testing around a bit, she started playing a serious work. Since the intention was to make a strong impression, she decided to start with a famous piece intended to provoke feelings: The theme from Schindler’s List. She recalled how much the movie had emotionally affected Martin when he first saw it, and ever since then loved the melancholic melody.
On the surface, the principal appeared to be unaffected, but Tina could detect a slight fluctuation in her feelings; the song definitely touched her.
As soon as she finished the long, final note, she transitioned into a significantly faster and more challenging melody: The third movement of Summer, “Presto”, from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She internally cursed as she made several mistakes in the most difficult parts. Martin had known how to play it pretty much perfectly, while Tina was obviously lacking in some areas.
The principal strongly disagreed with Tina’s condemnations of her performance: She looked genuinely thrilled. Tina wondered if she should launch another melody, but the principal stopped her.
“You may consider me very impressed, Ms. Tina,” she said with a smile, “I had not expected that there would exist a fourteen-year with such skills anywhere in the world. I thought it was only possible to acquire such skills after years and years of practicing.”
She wasn’t wrong on that part: It was for all intents and purposes cheating for a fourteen-year-old to possess twenty-five years of practice.
“If anything, you made a grand understatement writing that you were merely ‘proficient’ with a violin,” the principal continued, “In fact, our music teacher may not be able to teach anything to a virtuoso such yourself.”
“Calling me a virtuoso is a serious exaggeration, Mrs. Dowsley,” Tina disputed the principal’s statement, “there are a lot more skilled people than me in the world.”
“I don’t doubt that, but at your age? I find that unlikely. And with such skills already, I can see an even greater potential in the future.”
Tina felt a bit embarrassed at the praise. She said nothing.
“The school orchestra will be raised to new levels with your inclusion,” the principal continued heaping on the praise. “In fact, I will introduce you to them personally.”
Well, at least she got her wish to play the violin granted. In fact, she may have gotten a lot more than she bargained for.
“I hope you find the violin to your satisfaction. Please keep it for now.”
Tina wholeheartedly thanked her and returned the violin to its case.
“I also have another reason why I asked for your presence today,” the principal revealed. She pointed to a small box on the edge of her desk, motioning for Tina to open it. She did so, discovering a ring and a necklace inside. The necklace was a fairly thin silver-colored chain with a pendant formed like a pigeon taking flight, a single white stone set into its eye. The ring was similarly silver-colored and contained a Celtic-inspired pattern.
“Put them on,” the principal asked, or maybe demanded.
The ring slid on easily enough, but Tina struggled a lot with the lock on the necklace. She had never worn a necklace like this in her entire life, nor in Martin’s life for that matter. In the end, the principal had to help her.
“Very good,” the principal said as she took her seat again. “You may freely change the pendant, but not the necklace itself. From now on, you are required to wear at least one of the two at any time, even while taking a bath or sleeping. Taking off both or ruining either triggers a silent alarm. Once alerted, we will do everything in our power to find you as quickly as possible. Think of it as a safety measure; you can use it to call for help in an extremely subtle fashion.”
Tina doubted that was their only purpose; she would bet any amount of money that their features also included keeping a watch on her. Was this standard procedure for all students, or was she a special case, being a potential spy and whatnot?
The principal explained how removing both outside an emergency was a grave offense. “I should also not need to point out that revealing this information to anyone outside the school is strictly forbidden.”
So not strictly limited to Tina, then. That was probably a good sign, though it still left a foul taste in her mouth. She could tell that the principal worried much more about what she would do compared to what someone else would do to her.
Were the necklace and ring using magical or mundane means to alert and tracking location? Since the principal expected it to work with Tina, probably mundane means of some kind. Wouldn’t that require a battery of some kind, as well as regular charging? How about reach: Would it only work in the vicinity of the school, or anywhere? Considering she was not the world’s resident expert of cutting-edge technology, she had no way to tell.
If the nature of the items were magical, how would that work with her dampening field? Maybe it only needed to send a tiny signal, and that was fairly reliable despite the dampening field? Or that the creator had somehow managed to work his or her way around the dampening effects. Her powers worked like that, and she doubted her powers were completely unique in their nature.
“I understand, Mrs. Dowsley,” she acknowledged the commandment.
The principal smiled at Tina. It was a bit unnerving how much better mood she seemed in today compared to yesterday. Was this the effect of the test results alone, or had something else happened?
“Your new room will be ready shortly,” Mrs. Dowsley explained, “Your new roommate, Ms. Acorn, will be waiting for you outside the administration building to show you around.”
Tina felt her insides churn. Was this how the principal treated people she liked? How about a regular, non-masochistic roommate instead?