Picking up the phone, she scanned through the list of teachers and their respective staff room numbers in disbelief. Li Jia An was a teacher in this school? The Li Jia An? Of all people, never in her wildest dreams would Raella expect to be reunited with Dr. Li, also known as Songbird. From what she could remember, Songbird had an exceptionally sophisticated demeanor. She carried herself with poise and elegance, wasting little of her time on things she could care less about. One would easily assume she was a businesswoman or a high ranking CEO, not a teacher. However, the longer Raella pondered about it, the less surprised she was; songbird was intelligent, frighteningly so. Moreover, her firm grasp of knowledge on magical science made her even more qualified to be a teacher. Realizing that she's been standing motionless for a few moments too long, Raella quickly dialed the number.
"Dr. Li? This is Raella, I just called to remind you that we arranged a consultation in the classroom, thank you!"
Without waiting for a reply she rashly hung up. Since she was still unsure of Dr. Li's identity, she refrained from addressing her as Songbird... for now. Taking a few steps back, she clasped her hands together and focused all her attention on the threads of magical energy surrounding her. Spinning the drifting tendrils together, she whispered a few lines of chants and conveniently summoned herself to the classroom.
There in her full glory stood Jia An. Her gargantuan onyx wings were even more lavish than Raella remembered; her wingspan could easily occupy the breadth of the room.
Without warning, Raella leaped from her summoning circle and crashed onto the teacher, tightly embracing her for a brief moment before releasing her. Normally Raella wouldn't dare approach her in such a boisterous manner but this time she just couldn't help it. After all, Jia An was the first familiar face she saw in the foreign land of Starlight Academy.
Her office phone rang. It was a second one that she used purely for work purposes, when parents and students needed to contact her as an acting school official. Her personal number was far, far from reach and only available to her coworkers, friends and family. It was no surprise when the WorkTone was dialed and Jia An, in the quiet of her classroom, sighed before picking up.
She'd time only for a quick, "Dr. Li speaking," before a voice blared over the speaker. Jia An flung the phone bodily from her ear, catching it with her powers before it could fall. She wasn't made of money. Phones were expensive!
Before she could get a word in edgewise (and was already regretting the decision to see Raella), the line went dead and Jia An froze. Chills shot down her spine. The air was tense, decidedly so, and Jia An's hands were clasped very firmly behind her back. She felt like a man on death row awaiting the firing squad; she was that apprehensive about it. She'd never signed up to teach! All she wanted was to explode some things in a lab in the name of science!
And yet, here you are...
As Raella thrust herself onto the teacher, said teacher's heart sped up a mile a minute and just as Raella's arms came around her, Jia An blipped a metre away, eyes cold steel. She fixed blank stare onto the student; she looked younger — had she shrunk? The girl was still taller than her, but the Jia An of this world was much more relaxed and her temper was much harder to rouse. She supposed, with an internal laugh, that she'd gotten much too lazy. Still...
"I would advise against that, Miss Laurie," Jia An reminded the student. Her voice was languid, her tone easy. Her entire body language spoke of a general apathy towards the behaviour of her kids. She was teaching high schoolers and college-aged creatures, after all. She expected a measure of self-restraint. They were past the reprimanding age. Jia An even managed a shrug! "Have a seat. You came for a consultation on — Physics? Chemistry and its Magical Applications?"
Her arms enclosed itself around thin air, throwing Raella off balance and causing her to fall unceremoniously to the floor. She... she can teleport?!!! Sitting upright, Raella stared blankly at the teacher for a few short moments, digesting this new information. She'd never seen the woman teleport before. It felt different... impressive to say the least and so much more efficient as compared to summoning. Oddly enough, this was another aspect which gained Raella's respect. From the start Raella could tell the teacher was never built for combat; the energy around her somewhat resembled that of a bay - a zone of still water. Threads of magic seemed to meander aimlessly, never circling her as densely as they would powerful creature. However, there was something about Songbird which made her come off as predominant. However, while Raella did respect her, she found amusement in treading along the boundaries of Songbird's tolerance. "I would advise against that, Miss Laurie,"
Right, as usual, Raella had forgotten about the teacher's lightweight. Sheepishly putting a hand behind her head, she flashed an apologetic smile. "whoops." The calm response of the teacher put Raella slightly on the edge though. The Songbird she knew would have been fuming. Well, internally at least. Anyway, it wasn't like Raella was opposed to this new development; might as well test her patience while she's at it. "Have a seat. You came for a consultation on — Physics? Chemistry and its Magical Applications?"
Nodding her head, Raella quickly stood up, swiftly brushing off the creases and folds on her dress. Once she made her way to her seat, she fished out a few worksheets from the absolute mess residing under her table.
"Well... I do have a few questions on Chemistry and its Magical Applications but..."
Pausing for a moment, she thoroughly contemplated if she should voice her next sentence. While she did have a few questions, Raella already understood the concept for the most part and could easily figure it out herself. Now, her real intention was to get her hands on some chemicals which she had been yearning to acquire.
"I kind of really like the smell of ammonia and I love the colour of potassium permanganate can you please tell me where I can obtain them?"
Whether Songbird was able to understand and make sense of her rapidly fired words was one thing, approving this odd request was another. Perhaps Raella should have disguised herself as a staff to get this information; there was literally no way in hell she'll let Raella know where the chemicals were kept. Regardless, it was worth a shot.
@lee just saying but i actually love the smell of ammonia and the colour of KMnO4 IS SO FRICKIN PRETTY ASDFGHJKL
“Miss Laurie,” began the teacher, ”I cannot in good conscience allow children to be running around with chemicals of any sort. I’m sure you understand.”
Jia An gestured vaguely in the direction of the board. She too sat, across from Raella. She was perched on one of the desks, legs hanging towards the ground while her behind sat firmly on the tabletop. Her wings were folded neatly behind her back, hands brushing whatever lint that had come loose from her sweater off. Feet were crossed at the ankle, swinging idly back and forth. Jia An managed a smile at the formal speech — she'd practice with it whenever her lab had to do presentations or answer annoying news anchor questions and it was perfect for Raella's situation.
Hell, she could even do the Serious-Science look if she wanted. Luckily though, Jia An was much too laid-back for that sort of thing at the moment. The teacher steepled her fingers at Raella's request and looked apologetic.
Spoiler alert: she wasn't.
"Besides," Jia An shrugged and flared her wings to the sides. "I haven't any lab sessions booked, and —"
At this, she paused, and fixed Raella with a meaningful stare.
"— As this school's lab technician, usage of lab materials must be cleared by me, or another chemistry teacher." Good luck getting Finch to give her the Stuff, Jia An figured, because while she hadn't actually seen the other chemistry teacher, any self-respecting Responsible Adult wouldn't let a student go ham on the Things. "Now, your questions?"
"I cannot in good conscience allow children to be running around with chemicals of any sort. I’m sure you understand.”
Resisting the urge to curse, Raella could only let out a dissatisfied sigh. Any flicker of hope within her extinguished with that one sentence. Despite having expected this reply, Raella couldn't help but feel an ounce of disappointment well up within her; she seriously wanted the Things. But alas, such is the reality of life. Making her way over to the teacher, Raella's footsteps were draggy and her tail limp, sweeping the floor dejectedly behind her. Plopping herself down on the desk next to Songbird, she kept her wings at a half extended state due to the space constraint.
"I just can't seem to understand this aspect of organic chemistry."
Pausing, Raella flipped to the marked questions in the worksheet, gesturing wildly to emphasize absurdly of it.
"The question is asking about the conditions for the manufacturing of margarine from vegetable oil. I know it's hydrogenation and all and your notes state the required temperature is 200 degrees celsius but a quick google search says it's only 60. Also, I don't really understand the concept of the electrochemical cell, like, which is the cathode? "
Just thinking about made her let out yet another sigh. Well, at least she'll soon be clarifying her queries. While Raella knew Songbird wasn't the only chemistry teacher in the school, as much as she'd hate to admit it, she trusted Songbird the most. Not only were the notes she provided life-saving, but her teachings were also precise and never irrelevant. Straightening her back, she completely folded her wings and ajusted her posture. With her previous playful banter gone, she focused all her attention on work.
"Ms Laurie," said Jia An again, because Raella was flipping viciously through her notes and Jia An was wondering how she'd gotten a hold of them so quickly. Jia An was also wondering how Raella had pinpointed her in an empty classroom, out of the tens of others in the Academy. The girl had some serious magic. And also serious lack of —
— Alright, she wasn't stupid by a long shot, but she wasn't really thinkingeither. "Was this not covered in whichever school you were in before transferring?" Obviously it hadn't been, or Raella wouldn't be asking her now, but the question was rhetorical in nature and Jia An did not expect — or want — an answer. She moved before Raella could get a word in edgewise. From her position on the table, she slung herself upright. One of the markers at the far end of the board blinked into her waiting palm.
"As you can see," Jia An drew the enthalpy change diagram for general hydrogenation. "The activation energy required for hydrogenation is very high." She labelled the arrow for activation energy and enthalpy change, Ea and delta H respectively. "Catalysts will do the trick to bring down this amount of energy needed, but!" And here was the deal — while Dr. Li Jia An was not normally a very talkative person, she was first and foremost a Nerd with a capital 'N'. Explaining things was in her blood. Not even Raella could temper that enthusiasm she had for her work.
Jia An set the marker down. "A higher temperature yields a higher rate of reaction. Ergo, higher temperatures mean more margarine produced in the same amount of time. It depends on the individual company and team, but temperatures hover around 150 - 200 degrees celsius from what I know."She took a breath; her tone was languid and unhurried, but the words flowed quicker than they ever had before with Raella. "Of course, said temperatures must be economically feasible and past a certain point it would simply be too silly to heat a substance up well beyond where it needs to be. Now while I'm glad you're questioning what you learn —"Fixing Raella with another look, Jia An turned to face her, wings once more folded neatly behind her back as if they had never been out in the first place. "— Questioning your other sources would also be ideal."
It wasn't that Jia An had no confidence in herself. Not at all — she knew her work was solid, and different countries taught differently. Hers was just what she had learnt. "Understandable? Or shall I clarify once more?" By all means, Raella was a smart girl. Just a smart girl Jia An didn't happen to like very much. If Raella was clear, she'd move on to the student's next question.
As Jia An continued to explain the minute details of the process, Raella couldn't help but zone out marginally. Hey, it wasn't her fault; Songbird was teaching things which were just a little out of her syllabus. Raella was still listening though, the information just wasn't fully registering. Instead, her attention was now completely on the teacher herself. The smooth arch of her wings, her petite frame, the absolute passion which she held for her work all contributed to her unique character. Raella was in awe to say the least and held a genuine respect for the teacher.
Besides, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to irk Songbird and what better way to do so than flirting with no romantic intentions whatsoever.
When Jia An turned to face her, Raella allowed the corner of her lip to curve upwards into a lopsided smirk. Narrowing her eyes ever so slightly, she placed her elbow on the desk and rested her chin on her palm. One leg crossed over the other, she locked her gaze onto the teacher before her, her wings extending outward in a smooth curve.
"Understandable? Or shall I clarify once more?"
"Yeah, I understand."
Swiftly keeping her wings once more, Raella sent a small gust of breeze toward Songbird. With the chair pushed back slightly, she then leaned over the table, inching closer to the other woman. As she did so, strands of hair slipped off her shoulder, curling down the side of her neck. Voice dropping a few octaves lower, she spoke her next sentence in a soft purr.
"Perhaps you can educate me on other things too."
I SERIOUSLY CANT FIND THE COLOUR YOU USE FOR YOUR WORDS LOL
"Ms Laurie," deadpanned An for the third time that instant. "I would gladly educate you about the wonders of highschool physics, seeing as you aren't privy to the lack of charge in the air. I fear you misunderstand the concept of attraction. You're not a child; act like it." An had no degree in physics, yes, but she'd gotten her A in the subject back in junior college and, being a new teacher, was only taking the first and second high school grades for the time being.
She knew all Raella wanted to do was to get a rise out of her, but Jia An was a) far too lazy for that sort of petty thing and b) at least a good ten years older than the student. As far as she knew, it was taboo and probably illegal to be involved in illicit relationships with students back in her home country; she now bore with her this mentality and hence offered Raella no quarter. Jia An would not be fired for one act committed in unscrupulous mind.
She did not flinch when Raella drew near, and she did not push herself away. An levelled her stare at her wayward student with a raised brow.
"As for your second query," said An, as if nothing had ever passed between them, "I can only advise you to go back and read your notes. The cathode is the electrode at which reduction occurs."
Ah, her advances were shot down almost immediately, not surprising really. With a sigh, Raella sat back down and leaned onto the chair. Placing her hands behind her head, she relaxed her wings, allowing them to droop, brushing against the floor slightly as they did so.
"You're not a child; act like it."
Curving her lips upward, she raised her eyebrows at the teacher, her expression morphing into one of playfulness.
"Still a child at heart, Doc."
Her tone contained a hint of challenge though she doubted the teacher would respond. Kicking off the floor lightly, she pushed her chair backward before standing up, stretching her wings.
"Anyway, that's all I got for now, thanks for this consult, I really appreciate it"
After giving Jia An a parting bow, she then sprinted toward a conveniently open window and leaped off. Embracing the feeling of a free fall, Raella extended her wings at the very last minute, gliding just above the ground. Potent wind surrounded her, granting her a sense of freedom as she flew back to the dorms.