Lisha pulled her fingers from the ends of her gloves and tucked them against her palm as she followed the beaten trail between two piles of snow. The slush splattered side the sides of the path between the piles of snow and ice on either side of her. Hunks of ice swirled behind her as it settled back into place with her padding.

She pushed up her glasses up and peered around before settling them back on the bridge of her nose. The large circular lenses fogged over with her breath but a weak enchantment that caused the edges to glow rose warmed the glass up and the fog quickly cleared.

Around her, the brisk winter morning was anything but peaceful as a line of carriages, wagons, and horses made their way around the quad. Students of shapes and sizes milled around as they said goodbyes and “see you soon.” There were cheering, laughing, and last minute pranks to play before everyone left.

The holiday vacation was always a busy time as most of the students at the all woman's university went home for half a month—five weeks—for the holidays and festivities. In a matter of days, the university would be a ghost town with only skeleton staff and students who couldn't afford or didn't have a home to go to.

Lisha didn't plan on going home. It wasn't that her parent's place was far away—only a week by an eagle's flight—but the Great Barrier Cliff meant they had to travel to one of the passes and that added just shy of two hundred-day months just to get there and then another two hundred days to get return.

She knew that when she petitioned to leave her home country of Balkim and travel to Franome for schooling. It wasn't the great honor spiel that she gave her grandparents to justify the school but more of a desire to see the world outside of her own rigid society that was obsessed with castes and history than looking forward. Balkim schooling rarely taught higher level magics and none of them would ever consider having an entire program dedicating to summoning otherworldly beings.

Despite that, it still stung that she wouldn't see her mama or lala for another three years.

Her smile faltered.

“Lisha! Sha! Over here! Sha!”

She turned at her roommate's voice. Penelope was a bright and cheerful red-haired girl from the Haral Duchy, one of the southernmost duchies in the country. Her parents were minor nobility who would have rather their youngest daughter take up more delicate magic like enchanting and divination than summoning.

Penelope was slender, almost rail thin, even with her light jacket that had been left unbuttoned to reveal her silk top and traveling skirt. She didn't have much of a bust and usually ran around without a bra to support her.

Lisha frowned for a minute as she looked at her roommate. Penelope was dressed as if it was summer, with a short skirt that went to her mid-thigh and a blouse. She didn't even have a coat on, only a light jacket dangling open.

Suspicious, Lisha glanced around for the tell-tale sign of magic. The school allowed enchantments like the ones on her glasses, but frowned at anything as flashy as heating the entire body because of the impact it had on the surroundings; the enchantments also went through the school union who charged a hefty fee for even the most minor of spells.

When she saw a hazy over Penelope's right shoulder, she turned her attention and let her vision grow unfocused while opening herself up to the magical auras around her.

A fluttering of white wings and red spider with stubby legs revealed that Penelope had summoned a fire wisp to keep her warm.

Lisha rolled her eyes and hurried over. As she came within a meter, a wave of warmth rolled over her and she embraced her friend warmly. “You could get in trouble for that,” she whispered. “The RA always has you in her sight to strike.”

Penelope shrugged and stuck her hands into the pockets of her skirt. “What are they going to do, send me home?” She gestured to the pile of luggage sitting next to her. They all her family's crest on the front. “Besides, not like I'm going back to my room or back in the dorm again.”

“You mean, Her Royal Highness, the Resident Assistant Emily left this morning and no one is around to catch you?”

Penelope looked up and grinned. “Maybe. Maybe not. Besides, don't you get a little thrill breaking the rules?”

“No, no, I don't. I break they rules and they send me home. The dean already thinks I'm a spy for my country.”

“Please, you're the top of your class and take the best notes.”

“That's a low bar here,” Lisha said with a grin. “I'm usually the only one here because everyone else is sleeping in late and nursing hangovers. It's not hard to get to the top of the curve if I'm the only one showing up.”

Penelope's eyes sparkled. “I'm not sleeping, and you know that.”

Lisha felt her cheeks growing warm. She leaned forward. “Feeding your illegal tentacle monster isn't a good reason to be late for class either. That's what will get you kicked out, casting summoning spells in your room. Or Emily coming in to find you bare ass naked with something crawling out of your holes.”

“But he's so cute.”

“It's a fucking tentacle monster and you're addicted,” Lisha said sharply. More than once she had heard the wet slurping noises and moans that came from Penelope's side of the room.

Penelope smiled sweetly at her.

Lisha began to blush. She would have never broken the “no summoning outside of class” rule like that, but there was something about Penelope's late night transgressions that made it impossible not to get excited to herself. The soft gasps, wet slurps, and even the little shudder of noise of her roommate's orgasms had pushed Lisha to discretely finger herself at the same time.

While she wasn't a virgin, Lisha had been longing for the touch of a boy. It had been two years since she left home and joined the all-women university. Two years of not being kissed or touched intimately. No one to press their own fingers into her, no rough grip to hold her down while sucking on her nipples or neck.

“You're turning red, Sha,” Penelope said with a grin. “Thinking about doing a little summoning—”

Cheeks burning, Lisha shook her head and held her hands. “No! I wasn't doing anything.”

Leaning forward, Penelope pulled her into a tight hug. Her lips came intimately close to Lisha's ear. “I won't tell, I promise.”

Lisha shivered as her roommate's lips brushed her ear. She was aware of how close they pressed together, with her large breasts dwarfing Penelope's smaller tits with painfully hard nipples. The heat of the fire creature washed over them, adding to the prickle of sweat and the blush that burned on her cheeks.

“Or, you know,” Penelope said with a smile in her voice, “maybe you'll find someone to hit it off here and won't need a little ‘helper’ to get you through those. long. winter. nights… alone.”

Lisha's embarrassment was too much. She pushed her roommate back. “I-I wouldn't do that! You know that!” she stammered as she stepped away. Her foot hit the edge of the warming that centered on Penelope and an icy wind cut through her clothes. She froze, one foot in and the other out as she tried to calm her racing heart.

Penelope shrugged and grinned. “Just giving you options. The best part about my little ‘buddy’ is that he goes away when I'm done with him. No mess, no fuss—”

Lisha glared at her. “No mess?”

Penelope's monster was a gossamer spirit, which meant there was plenty of spider web sticking to everything on Penelope's side of the room. It was easy to mark out where her roommate had been enjoy herself from the moist spots and mats of webbing.

“Fine,” Penelope said still grinning, “there is a little mess, but he still goes away when I'm done with him.”

Her eyes slid to the sigh. “Damn, that's my ride.”

Lisha turned to see a carriage with Penelope's family crest on the side of it pulling up. It was long-distance carriage, with plenty of comfort for the hours of travel that it would take to return home.

The warmth increased as Penelope closed the distance and hugged her again, this time without the inappropriate intimacy. “I wish you could come with me, Sha. You would love to see the waterfalls.”

“I'm sorry.” Lisha hugged her friend back, the humiliation conversation already fading from her thoughts. “I just can't.”

“Yeah, my dad's an asshole. I just wish he would keep his mouth shut and let you be. Sorry, Sha, you just can't change old people like that.”

Next to them, the carriage stopped with a creak of wheels and a whiney of the horse pulling it.

Lisha squeezed once more before releasing Penelope. “Go on. Enjoy visiting home, have some adventures for the both of us, and maybe find yourself a boy.”

Penelope grinned. “Not going to happen, and you know it. Take care, Roomie.”

“Safe travels,” Lisha said with a wave.