It only took two days for Eric to find a fourth room-mate: a young woman named Raine. Apparently she was really good looking. Lloyd rolled his eyes, reminding himself of his father.
“Great, Eric, her body sounds lovely,” Lloyd said, cutting off Eric's rant. “What's she studying?”
“Elvish Arcane Art,” Eric replied. Lloyd raised an eyebrow and whistled appreciatively: that was a notoriously difficult subject, requiring at least a decade of study.
“Smart girl,” he said.
“Hot girl,” Eric emphasised
Lloyd rolled his eyes again.
They were in Potions, and Gatworth was attempting to explain the usage of Dragon's blood in various potions and elixirs. Unfortunately, Gatworth often went off on a tangent, describing various elixirs and potions and their uses, rather than why Dragons blood could be added to them and what its use was.
“So when do I meet Raine?”
“She moves in tomorrow, so probably Saturday, when you move in.”
“When did I say I'd move in Saturday?” Lloyd asked with a frown.
“You didn't,” replied Eric cheerfully. “I decided.”
“Typical,” muttered Lloyd. It was already Thursday. Lloyd hadn't started packing.
While Gatworth rambled on about the many ways one could use Armstrong’s Elixir, Lloyd started to make a Webbing Potion. He'd taken to carrying a defensive potion around with him now. Just in case.
He had told Eric about the thief, of course. And, of course, Eric had been furious, demanding to be allowed to hunt the man down. Lloyd had refused, but Eric had been so adamant in protecting his friend that Lloyd had allowed Eric to teach him a few basic defensive routines. Lloyd had to admit, carrying around a pocketful of powerful potions made him feel pretty cool.
The potion took Lloyd the rest of the lesson, but he wasn't worried. Gatworth hadn't actually taught them anything useful anyway, and he'd never made a Webbing Potion before. It pulsed a sickly blue in its vial as Lloyd made his way to Languages.
That night, he was attacked again.
Lloyd's pixie ears sensed the thugs first, and by the time the three of them rounded the corner he was ready. He only had three potions on him, so he'd have to make them count.
Upon seeing him ready for them, the thugs slowed down, then shifted apart, ensuring that Lloyd could only hit one at a time.
“Go away!” he snapped angrily. “Leave me alone!”
None of them replied, they just continued to spread out, slowly trying to surround Lloyd.
Lloyd kept his back to the wall, dropping his University bag and readying the Hot Pot Potion.
“Last chance,” Lloyd yelled out, anger suppressing his fear. “Else I start throwing.”
None of them moved. How odd, thought Lloyd. Then he shrugged and threw the Hot Pot at the thug on the left.
The man tried to jump out of the way, but the vial burst on his leg, sending a rolling wave of fire out. The thug shouted in pain.
Lloyd had already spun around, kicking one of the remaining thugs in a move Eric had taught him that morning, and raising his arm to throw the next potion.
The third thug punched Lloyd in the gut, causing him to double over in pain, right in time for the mans knee to smash into Lloyd's forehead.
Lloyd collapsed to the ground, his potion rolling across the pavement. The man he'd kicked got up and, luckily, stepped right onto the vial. A gushing sound heralded the arrival of the gas, which quickly froze the mans legs in place. He swore and struggled to free himself.
Lloyd got up, a small part of his brain wondering why the third thug hadn't attacked him while he was down. Time to worry later.
Lloyd raised the last vial, squaring off against the last thug. The Webbing Potion glowed it's sickly blue.
The man seemed to nod lightly. Then, before Lloyd could move, he spun, kicked the ice encasing his friend, and fled. The ice shattered, and that thug fled too. Lloyd looked over to where the first man had been, but he was already gone.
This was definitely weird.
As Lloyd opened his door, he glanced up. The strangest shadow stood on the roof across from his: it looked like a rectangle with an odd circle-like shape on the top. Then it was gone.
* * *
Lloyd woke up on Saturday at dawn, like always, and ruefully got dressed. This was the last day his morning would start like this, so it was best to make the most of it.
He stepped out into the chilly morning air and walked down the street to his favourite tea-shop.
Lloyd happily nursed his cup as he watched London come to life. He drank in the sounds of English: most of the University spoke English, and most of the classes were taught in it, but Paris as a whole still spoke French. His world was about to change.
Eric arrived at midday, Leola in tow. She grinned and hugged Lloyd upon seeing him.
“It's been too long, Lloyd!”she cried, her crystal-green eyes sparkling.
“You saw me last Monday, Leola,” Lloyd replied with smile.
“Yes but that was nearly a week ago,” she said, waving one delicate hand. “I'm so glad you're coming to live with us!”
Lloyd peered over Leola's shoulder and saw Eric staring at her. He rolled his eyes.
“Come on, you may as well help, since you're here,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd had managed to pack all his possessions into just four bags. He was leaving the bed there: his father would pick it up later. Leola surveyed the room, unnecessarily flicking her dark brown hair so it caught the light. Lloyd rolled his eyes as he watched Eric's expression.
The three of them were soon crammed onto the train, Eric carrying three bags by himself, leaving Lloyd with one and Leola needing to carry nothing. Her charms never fail, thought Lloyd ruefully.
“So what's this Raine like?” he asked Leola. A rare frown marred her face.
“She's clever and smart,” was all she said. Lloyd rose his eyebrows: Leola, jealous?
“Well--” Lloyd clamped a hand over Eric's mouth before he could describe every visible part of Raine's anatomy yet again.
“I don't know,” Leola replied, shrugging. Lloyd frowned, so Leola explained.
“There's just something odd about her,” she finally said. “I don't know what.”
“Yes. She's always happy and upbeat. Never complains, she looks after herself and cleans and everything.”
“So she sounds like you.”
“No! She's not like me at all!”
Lloyd threw up his hands in defence “Okay, okay. Sorry Leola. I guess I'll see when we get there.”
“Yes. You will,” she replied darkly.