" An Error In Spelling "
© Jeremy Kidd, 1993

     Master Fahrell had always said that Jarith's over-active libido would be the end of him someday. And it almost was.
     It wasn't that the young mouse-apprentice was engaged in the act all the time (much though he would have liked it). He just spent a goodly portion of his time thinking about it. Not that he didn't try, however. Jarith had the misfortune to be the only rodent student-mage in the academy. To make matters worse, he had developed a crush on a fellow student.
     Merry was aptly named. The young female ring-tailed cat was cheerful, intelligent, and flirtatious. She was also exceedingly beautiful. Jarith spent a lot of time day-dreaming about her. Most of his free time during the day was spent wooing her. Much of his free time at night was spent fantasising about how he would consummate his love for her . . . and masturbating.
     Jarith's other misfortune was that his attentions towards Merry, and her slowly growing affection towards the gentle, unassuming little mouse, had come to the attention of some of Merry's other suitors. Older, more senior students at the academy. As an already somewhat skilled apprentice, and as Master Fahrell's student, physical violence upon Jarith was an unwise course of action (he had already singed a rather temperamental fox's tail with a minor lightning spell). However, older, more devious minds knew there were more subtle ways to be freed of Jarith's presence. And as the adage goes; "Youth and vigour will usually lose out to age and treachery."
     Master Fahrell had set Jarith to learning Minor Summoning, a low-level, but very useful spell. With it, small demons and lesser elemental could be summoned for various mundane tasks. But the Binding and Warding components of the spell were meticulous, detailed and very important. Jarith had been daydreaming about Merry, and flubbed them. The small Air Elemental he had summoned had broken free and made a horrible mess of the laboratory before Master Fahrell had been able to banish it.
     Justly unhappy with his apprentice, the old wizard had set Jarith to cleaning up the lab, and when that was done, had sent him to his quarters to continue practising the spell (presumably to save his lab from being destroyed again.).
     Jarith groaned and closed his eyes "I am never going to get this right!". He had been trying, unsuccessfully, for some hours to do the summoning spell. He had wisely inscribed a small pentacle of binding on the floor or his cluttered room, to contain anything he summoned, should he fail to properly do the Warding and Binding components again. He was glad he had. This would be his seventh try. It was tiring, but he was determined to get it right. He set the book down and stood up and stretched, relaxing, collecting his energy for the next attempt. Unbidden, thoughts of Merry slipped into his mind. His imagination grabbed her image and ran with it, creating wild fantasies of passion and pleasure, of her laying against him, purring. Of Merry wrapping her tail around him, her legs around his waist as they . . .
     Jarith smacked himself in the head "You fuzzy moron! That's what got you in trouble in the first place!" he grumbled to himself. Shaking his head in self-disgust, he strode back to his work-table, plopped himself into his chair, and picked up his book.
     An almost electric jolt shot up his arm. With a yelp, he dropped the book. "What the . . . ?". Eyeing the book mistrustfully, he reached out and gingerly touched it again. Nothing happened. Jarith snorted. "Hunh. Must have been a build-up of some kind. Well, it's gone now.", He returned to his seat, opened the book and leafed through to the spell. Jarith blinked, and reread the spell a second time. "Oh, for pity's sake! You mean i've been mispronouncing those two syllables all this time?". He glared at the page "How could I have missed the `*' over the `|' and the `+' under the `@'?". He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "No wonder it hasn't worked all along, stupid. Well, I'll give it one last go, with the right pronunciation, and then hit the sack."
     As soon as he uttered the last syllable, Jarith could tell the spell was different. He watched in satisfaction as a tiny ball of reddish energy formed in the centre of the ward. Slowly, it began to expand. Jarith waited patiently for it to form into whatever the entity wished to look like on this occasion. But it didn't stop growing. Jarith frowned, and glanced back at the book. Yes, he'd got the pronunciations right, this time. He looked at the ward. The ball of energy had expanded to almost touch the edges of the ward-spell. Even as he watched, the energy touched the ward-lines. The wardstones at each junction of the pentacle shattered explosively, spraying fragments of stone everywhere. Jarith had the common sense to duck for cover behind his desk. Dust and stone fragments rained down on him. Thinking to himself that he had never flubbed a spell this badly before, he ventured to peek over the top of the desk. His heart skipped a beat.
     The creature standing, nay towering, in what remained of the warding circle, was like nothing Jarith had ever seen. It certainly wasn't any air elemental! At least seven feet tall, hugely muscled, it could have been called a tiger. Except tigers rarely had nine-inch long lower fangs, or jet-black eyes. Or two tails. Jarith blinked. Make that tigresses. She sported two sets of breasts, a rather generously endowed upper set, and a more moderate set just below the first pair. Even as the alarm bells began to ring in the back of Jarith's mind, her eyes lock with his. Jarith whimpered.
     "Are you the one who dares summon me?". Somehow, she managed to make a bass voice sound female.
     "M-m-meee?" Jarith squeaked.
     The demoness frowned, and made a peremptory gesture. Jarith suddenly found himself standing in front of her. His nose came to just below her ribcage. "Yes, you, little mortal."
     "W-w-well, yes. I mean, no!! Er . . . uhm . . . sort of?".
     The frown deepened "Which is it then? Did you, or did you not perform the summoning?".
     Jarith gulped "Uhhhh . . . I did perform a summoning, but it was to summon a minor air elemental! Certainly I never intended to summon anything like you! Whatever you are . . . er . . . ma'am?".
     She glared at him, and Jarith swore he could feel his fur begin to smoulder "The incantation to summon me is very specific. While it's basic components are like any other summoning spell, even a fool couldn't miss the variances in intonation." .
     The mouse shivered. "I promise you! The spell was supposed to be for minor air elementals! It's in the book!" he waved at towards the table.
     The tigress-demon snapped her fingers, and the book was in her hand. The pages turned, unaided, and then stopped. She peered at the page, then squinted a bit. A slow smile spread across her face, and she began to chuckle. "It would seem you have fallen victim to a spelling error . . . of sorts."
     Jarith stared at her "What do you mean?"
     She held the book out for him to see. It looked the same as before. She muttered something, and the page shifted minutely. Jarith was horrified to see the two accents he had "missed" earlier, disappear. "Your book has been tampered with, magically.". There was grim amusement in her voice.
     Jarith slumped despondently. He was caught. Meaningfully or not, he had summoned her. And he knew without a doubt that she was far beyond his meagre power to control. "What is your price." he whispered.
     Daemonic laughter boomed, rebounded from his walls, shaking dust from his ceiling. "My, you're quick to give in! Most often they make all sorts of pitiful threats or pleas. What kind of a mage are you?"
     "I'm not." he sighed "I'm an apprentice. That's why I was practising the summoning. I kept getting, er . . . distracted. That's why I didn't notice the change in the spell book." anger flashed in him for a moment "Who would want to do that to me?".
     The tigress nodded "Indeed. Simple enough to divine, though." She held up a hand, palm up, and murmured a string of words. With a soft pop, the image of a tiny wolf appeared in her hand. Jarith recognised it instantly as one of the older students. One whom he had been vying with for Merry's attention. It was only when the figure whirled, looked into the demoness's face, and collapsed with a tiny scream, that Jarith realised that it was no image. She picked up the limp form by the scruff of the neck, between her thumb and forefinger. "Why would he want to do this to you? Did you bed his woman?".
     Ears flushing furiously, whiskers twitching with embarrassment, he replied "No. He and I are both interested in the same girl."
     "Ah. I see. This wouldn't happen to be the "distraction" you mentioned earlier, would it?"
     Jarith's embarrassment deepened "Ahh . . . yes."
     She nodded, amusement sparkling in the black depths of her eyes. Still carrying the inert miniature wolf, she walked over and sprawled on his bed. It groaned under her weight. "You asked about my price. Usually, a service of some sort is performed before I exact my price. Do you have anything in mind?"
     He stared at her, nonplussed "A service?"
     She nodded again "Perhaps vengeance upon this pitiful worm?" she nuzzled the unconscious wolf, running her tongue over him. "He doesn't taste too bad. I could eat him like this, just as a minor favour to you."
     "No!!" Jarith was horrified "I mean, sure he pulled a vile trick on me, but I couldn't just kill him!"
     A wicked grin crossed her face "But it'd be me eating him."
     Jarith glared "It'd be the same thing."
     "Hmmm . . . perhaps you'd like to have your lady friend?" she motioned, and Merry was in his arms. The ring-tailed cat was completely nude, and staring at him with huge, frightened eyes.
     "Jarith," she mewed "please, what's going on?".
     The tigress waved nonchalantly "I could even have her lust after you, begging to fulfil your every fantasy" Suddenly, Merry's expression changed, became something sultry and hungry. She wrapped her arms around his neck and rubbed against him, her body soft and sleek and warm against his. Jarith stared at her, mouth working silently. Every dream, fantasy, desire he had ever had about Merry boiled to the surface. She smiled at him from behind half-lidded eyes, and slowly ran her tongue over her muzzle. Her scent filled his nostrils. She ran a hand down her body and cupped a breast, gently teasing the nipple. The mouse shivered.
     "No." Jarith whispered.
     The demoness arched an eyebrow "Hmmm?".
     "No." he stated, a little louder this time, his voice somewhat strained "Much though I want Merry, I don't want her like this. Not this way." He gently, firmly pushed the little cat away. "Please, put her back the way you found her, where you found her.". Merry vanished, as she had appeared, with a flick of the tigress' wrist. Jarith slumped suddenly, feeling rather weak in the knees. "Please, there's nothing I want. ".
     Suddenly, he was kneeling at the demoness' feet. She was smiling down at him, the light of mischief gleaming in her eyes. "Oh yes, there is something you want, little mousie. Two things, in fact. And I grant them. Now there's only the payment to extract.". Jarith looked confused, and a little frightened. "Don't worry" she purred "You'll like your . . . gifts. Now we'll take our due, and be gone."
     "We?" he squeaked. He felt something touch his knees. Looking down, he could see two black-furred hands protruding from the floor, resting on his knees. As he watched, a head grew out of the floor between the hands. A neck and torso followed. The black she hell-cat smiled at him with acid green eyes. Even as her looked up to the tigress demon, he could feel another hell-cat flowing up out of the floor behind him. Powerful arms wrapped around his chest, and a tongue like liquid fire caressed the inside of his ear. When his eyes met the demoness', her muzzle was inches from his. She smelled of brimstone, and musk.
     "We haven't had a toy mousie in a long, long time." she purred. His clothes dissolved with a gesture.
     Jarith closed his eyes when he felt the muzzle press between his legs.

     Jarith woke with a start, heart pounding. Someone was holding him tightly, and showering his cheeks and muzzle with kisses. Terror gripped him, as he forced open his eyes.
     Merry. She was ecstatic, babbling "You saved me! You could have done anything you wanted, had me any way you wanted! But you sent me away and banished that horrible woman all by yourself! Oh! You're wonderful! And gallant! Oh Jarith!". She flung her arms around him and lay her head against his chest.
     Jarith held her to him gently, the warmth of her nearness buoying him up as he stroked her back.
     It was one spelling mistake that he never regretted.

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