A Magical Potion is Needed!
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Pandora's Box is the fifty-fourth issue of the Winx Club Comic Series.
The Winx have been sent to Oskuria College as guest professors for Alfea and, unfortunately, the Trix were also sent in Cloud Tower's place. During their stay, the girls befriend a sheepish, bullying victim by the name of Harold, while the Trix find themselves under the attention of Torby and his gang, who try to impress the witches by sneaking them into the basement of the school where a mysterious box lies.
The story starts off at an old-fashioned train station, where a steam train is pulling up to stop. Once it does, the Winx exit the train, with Stella being the most relieved about it, believing that their train ride had been utterly terrible. Bloom urges for Stella to relax and claims that the kingdom, while old, still holds a certain charm. Stella becomes shocked at the thought of such large trains still existing on Earth and Bloom confirms that they were once the main mode of transport, as she heard from her mother. She further adds that such large trains used to run on steam-power, which was a major source of energy for many years, but Tecna cannot bear to imagine such contraptions running on steam. Bloom then urges for the group to find the exit as they have an appointment to make but, before leaving, Stella takes a moment to say her "good-byes" to the steam train. Just as she turns around to leave, a burst of steam blows past her, lifting up her skirt and grazing her skin, which soon angers the Solarian Princess, who is now under the impression that the train is mocking her. Bloom, once again, urges for the girls to leave and Stella catches up with the group, still looking angrily at the train.
The girls soon exit the train station and find an short old man waiting for them. Upon seeing them, the old man tips his hat and asks if they are the fairies sent from Alfea, to which Bloom confirms. The old man then directs the girls to his horse-drawn carriage as he explains that it will be his responsibility to escort them to Oskuria College, but the very sight of his carriage causes Stella to lament on their "suffering." As the Winx fit themselves into the carriage, Musa specifies the differences between carriages, carts and trains as Stella complains over how she was expecting a much shorter trip. Bloom then reminds Stella that them being sent to Oskuria College is actually a great honor and flashback to earlier that day, where Faragonda explained to them of how Oskuria College is an old wizards' school where the Winx had been chosen to go as pupils representing Alfea.
Faragonda also told the girls of how the boys attending Oskuria are rather serious when it comes to their studies and can be a bit too traditional. She then assured the Winx that they will make a great impression but, before the girls could leave, she informed them of how the kingdom Oskuria is located in is not a big fan of technology, which would force them into using a shuttle for only the first leg of their trip. She then tried to turn such news into a positive as the girls would be getting to see how people got around over 150 years ago.
Back in the present, Stella complains about the seats in the carriage being like cement but Flora finds something else to talk about: the view of Oskuria College that they find themselves approaching. They come to find the place rather dreary and stiff once coming to the courtyard. When Stella waves to the students in the balcony floor, they quickly recede, much to her confusion until informed that the faculty has a strict school rule for students not to be out while in attendance. The Winx were also greeted with the unwanted surprise of the Trix, who were also there for the same reason as them. Neither group is happy to see the other, but are then shown to their lodgings. While Stella mutters how incredibly stiff the Oskuria professor leading them is, a bespectacled student peeking out his door quickly shuts it. To their shock, Professor Ozeris calls him out and punishes the student with extra schoolwork simply for looking out. From in the room, three other students chuckle at his misfortune.
After being shown their room, the girls could only comment how incredibly strict the college is, and Bloom says they should count themselves lucky that their school of Alfea is nothing like Oskuria. Before they could settle in, a knock on their door sounds, where Bloom answers to find the same bespectacled student who got punished earlier. He gets shoved aside by three other students who immediately try to pick up the Winx. The lead student introduces himself as Torby and his two lieutenants. The bespectacled student introduces himself as Harold, who then gets chewed out by Torby saying "he didn't give him permission to talk." Torby orders Harold to stand watch at the door while he "sorts out the girls". The Winx were clearly disgusted by this jerk's arrogant attitude, Stella telling him straight out she hates guys like him. Torby is indifferent about it, saying he's meant for important things while Harold is meant to be his servant. He and his cohorts continue to try to hit on the Winx, but Stella had other ideas. She asks Harold to open the door for her, much to Torby's confusion. When Harold opened the door, Stella, Tecna, and Aisha immediately blast Torby and his two followers out of their room, clearly rejecting their advances. Stella politely sees Harold out as they still need to settle in before the rude intrusion. He leaves, saying to them he looks forward to their conference tomorrow. The girls saw how kind and diligent Harold is, nothing like Torby. Stella and Tecna hope the other students are nothing like the arrogant bully.
The next day, the Winx and Trix were in the college auditorium. Bloom was giving a lecture on the fundamentals of fairy magic. While the college students, especially Harold, were engrossed in her lessons, Torby and his followers brush off the event with disdain, obviously still sore about getting shot down by them the day before. They then plan to try to pick up the Trix next, feeling they'd be less finicky.
After the lectures were over, the Winx were greeted by Harold, thanking them for the enlightening lecture. Bloom appreciates the words and points out how much he loves studying and learning. He then tells them how he hopes he could one day become a teacher at the college and have his portrait on the great hall of professors. Bloom encourages Harold to follow that dream and hopes he succeeds as well. The moment is ruined by Torby who demands Harold to make sure he got good notes and to do all his and his followers' homework for them. As Harold leaves to do what he was told, Stella is appalled how those jerks order him around like a packhorse and asks him why he lets them do that to him. Harold attempts to justify their behavior, though weakly, saying that he'd be allowed to hang out with them if he does what Torby says before going on his way. The Winx could only sympathize with Harold's situation, disgusted that those bullies take advantage of Harold. Bloom says it's unfortunately a common thing. They then see said bullies talking with the Trix, Musa commenting how Torby has found someone actually enjoying his company.
Torby brags to the Trix about how he's the "boss" of the school due to his position as being the son of one of the college's biggest benefactors. Icy then asks if there's anything even remotely interesting about this dreary boring college, which one of Torby's followers let slip mention of Pandora's Box. This piques Ivy's interest and tries to dig deeper about it, Torby saying that particular relic is off limits. When she challenges his courage, he gets angry and tells how the box is not for amateurs and even the professors are afraid of it. It is then revealed that the box was used to seal away a huge demon many years ago by the college's founder. The Trix then goad Torby to lead them to where Pandora's Box was stored, which he reluctantly agrees to.
At midnight, the two groups meet and prepare to head to the college's basement. Torby had also forced Harold to come along, which Icy then questioned who he was. Harold naturally objects to what they plan to do, causing Torby to threaten him if he doesn't do what he says. Dejected, Harold leads the group to the basement. After unlocking the door to the box's room, they are now in the presence of Pandora's Box. Icy then schemed to try and enslave the demon within to be the Trix's follower, and Torby is surprised when she attempts to use a spell to open the box. He gets restrained by Darcy and Stormy as Icy uses her spell, but it backfired on her. Suddenly, strange ancient writing appeared at the box's base, catching Harold's attention. The group was forced to retreat for now, but Harold quickly copies down the writing before leaving the room. As they quickly head for their rooms, the Trix plot to try again at a later time once they're better prepared, thinking the box will be the key for them to rule over Magix. Meanwhile, Harold goes off in another direction, heading for the library to research the writing he found on the box.
Two days later, Musa was teaching in a potions class their methods of potion brewing, which the Oskuria students get absorbed in. As opposed to the Winx's table, an explosion from the Trix's table got everyone else's attention. A volatile mixture exploded in Stormy's face, much to Icy's amusement. Harold is shown to be asleep at his desk due to spending the last two nights awake researching the writing from before. He is rudely woken up by Torby, who angrily orders him to do his and his friends' homework for them. The Winx were disgusted at what they had seen, Stella asking Harold why he lets those jerks walk all over him like that. Harold just says he's not a fighter and is only good at studying, he couldn't fight off someone like Torby, though Stella did offer to give Torby a magical beatdown herself. Harold quickly declines it but is more worried about the box, catching the girls' attention. Before he could go further, he quickly left when he noticed Icy giving him a look.
Later that night, Harold was in the library, nearly finished translating the ancient writing seen on Pandora's Box. Once he translated the whole thing, what he found horrified him. At the Winx's room, Stella was still seething about the hardships Torby and his lackies put Harold through before Bloom tells her Harold will be fine as intelligence trumps muscle power. Before they could get ready for bed, Harold frantically knocks on their door. He informs them of what happened the night he was dragged along with Torby and the Trix to see Pandora's Box. What Harold found out was that any failed attempt to open the box would strenthen the demon locked away in in it, and for that reason no one has ever tried. When Stella asked why Harold never went to the professors about this, it's because then he would have to reveal he went down there and would get punished for it. He also warns that the Trix plan to attempt to try to open the box again, which Bloom declares they won't let it happen. However, they find at that moment the Trix leaving their room to do just that. The Winx and Harold quickly follow them to try to stop their plan.
The Trix arrive in the room with Pandora's Box and use a spell to open it. Unfortunately, they succeed at releasing the giant demon from within. Even more unfortunately, they underestimated how powerful the demon is and it attacks the three witches, much to their shock and horror. The giant demon then bursts out from the basement through the rest of the college, alerting the faculty and students. Bloom and the others quickly transform into their Enchantix forms and face off against the giant demon, but it proved to be too powerful for their attacks. As the Alfea Fairies fight off the demon, Harold quickly gets out his notes on the box's writing and figures out a way to contain the demon. Getting out his wand, he assists the Winx in using a spell to ensnare the demon and absorbs it back into the box, this time sealing it forever. The faculty were impressed at Harold being able to translate the ancient texts on his own, deeming it a scholarly undertaking, thus the headmaster appoints him the new headmaster's assistant.
A few days later, Bloom informs Harold that she and the Winx are preparing to leave for Alfea. She congratulates Harold for achieving his dream of becoming a high well-respected authority in the college and getting his portrait in the hall of professors. Stella also adds in that now Harold is the headmaster's assistant, he'll never have to do Torby and his followers' homework for them ever again, and Harold comments that nope, they'll just have to study like everyone else, which is even a worse punishment. Said three bullies could do nothing but get angry and indignant at the whole thing.
- Dragon Fire - Used by Bloom to try and defeat the monster in Pandora's box.
More coming soon...
- The Winx Club
- Alfea Staff
- Oskuria College Staff
- Oskuria College Students
- Pandora's box is very heavily based on the Greek myth.