“Excuse me, but where is the...where is Madame X?” A girl approaches Evren, looking down at a scrap of worn paper in her hands. Her fingers were long, pale, nails painted white. He looks up at her face. Her red hair was cut boy-short, sticking out in all directions. It suited her oval face, which was dotted with freckles.
“Madame X?” Evren smirks. “Why her? She can’t talk. She won’t talk. Go find another witch.” He crosses his arms across his chest and settles back into the cafe’s chair. The girl looks at him stubbornly, then shoves the paper in the pocket of her iridescent white cloak. “I don’t care,” she says, “You’re taking me to her.”
Evren looks back up at her. His spellbook tumbles off of his lap, thudding to the floor. He sighs, sweeping it into his backpack. Hopefully, she didn’t see the inscriptions on the cover. “Why do you want to go there anyway? I know she’s pretty, but she also lives in a creepy ass castle surrounded gnarly trees that are dead year long. Most would avoid it, you get what I’m saying?”
The girl frowns at him, and steals his chilled hibiscus tea, sipping it loudly. “It’s none of your business as to why I would like to visit her.”
“The trees though! Don’t they creep you out even a little?”
Another loud annoying sip. Evren snatches back his cup. “Nope,” She says, grinning. “Gnarled up trees are gnarly.”
He groans. “Oh my Gods,”
She laughs and pulls his cloak’s dark hood over his eyes. “Let’s go,”
He pushes it back. Evren’s cheeks are aching from how he’s smiling so much. His cheeks aren’t used to this. “Why should I come?” He asks the girl, “You’re not even paying me to guide you. I need to pay rent.”
The girl looks over her shoulder at him. She was already at the entrance to the cafe, not bothering to wait for him. “20,000 gold,” she yells back at him. Evren’s eyes go wide.
“Are you serious?” she’s out the door, and he can see other people eyeing him, on whether or not he would take the job, or if they could snatch it for themselves. Evren stuffs his books and laptop into his pack, grabs his drink, and run into the street. “Hey!” He yells after her. “What’s your name?”
She stops and spins around. He almost crashes into her. She looks down at him, her face close to his. “I’m Freya. What are you called, boy?” Her gold eyes are mischievous.
“Evren,” He breathes out and looks away. She backs away, smirking, and starts sprinting.
He chases after her, grass kicking up from his sneakers. “Wait, Freya!” Evren curses underneath his breath. She’s not even going the right way.
5 years ago
Madame X glided through the market, picking up produce, letting fall gold bits here and there. The citizens smiled at her as she swept by, her dark hair flowing behind her. You could say that she was a sort of peacekeeper in this city. People came to her with their problems, and she tried her best to aid them, whatever the problem was. Unless it went against her moral properties, of course. Once word got out that you were rejected by Madame X, everyone shunned you. If you were not worthy of the righteous Madame X, they thought, you were not worthy for anybody else.
And besides, no one would dare cross her. She knew all their secrets. Mrs. Jones cheated on her wife with her brother-in-law. Mr. Brown, the richest farmer, invited poor girls into his bed with his flashy wealth. Ms. Wang murdered her father to inherit his massive fortune and become the most influential heiress for miles.
Madame X smiled a small smile. So many secrets, so much power. Her magic protected them all, but it could easily turn on them too. They were right to be wary. They were lucky she was comfortable in this seat of power, total control over their lives, yet humble enough that she didn’t need anything more.
Her light eyes flashed at the sight of Charles, a young man training to become the city’s engineer. He noticed her standing at the tailor’s stand and waved. Madame X made sure her face was expressionless before she glided over the engineer’s house. “Hello Charles,” she said politely, her voice ringing like silver bells. Charles glanced back up at her to flash her a quick smile, then returned to his sketches. “Hello, Ravyn. How are you doing? I have not seen you lately.” There is a reason for that, Madame X thought, then replied: “Please refrain from calling me that. My name is Madame X, that is what everyone knows me by.”
Charles set down his blue pencil. “Come on, Ravyn. ‘Madame X’ sounds so old and stuffy!”
Madame X scoffed. “Thank you for your compliment.”
Charles set a hand down on her arm. “It was a joke, Madame X,” Madame X glared at Charles’s hand. “Do not touch me.” Her voice was low, dangerous. It made goosebumps rise on his arm, and he removed it. “Sorry,” he mumbled and returned to his sketches.
Madame X turned away. “Is there any reason you wanted to see me, Charles? Or did you just want to aggravate me?”
Charles’s voice spoke from behind her. “I’m interested in continuing my magic lessons.”
Madame X stiffened. “Are you sure you are there for the magic?” She said coldly. “My home is full of valuable treasures and precious books of wisdom. That is common knowledge. Perhaps you visit to plot another plan.”
“Of course not!” Charles protested. “Do you really think of me like that?”
“You never really know anyone,” Madame X said, and walked away without looking back.