Ethelwine: School Of Magic

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Chapter 32

Not too long after, dinner was served. The quartet laughed and had a great time over a piping hot stew. Any tension was, at the very least, suppressed by the fun the evening held.

“Myyy my. This has been great, hm? Spending time as friends over a nice meal,” Ted folded up a napkin and lightly tossed it down on the table. “Almost all of my interactions are dedicated to Ethelwine or the boy’s group of friends! I’ve not shared an evening like a long time.” It was true. Much of the elder Irishman’s recent years had been spent alone, focused on work.

“Couldn’t agree more my friend! With the business of life, a fun filled evening is just what we needed.” Gabriel exclaims taking a sip of whisky. “We will have to have more dinners together while I’m here, don’t you agree floarea mea?”

Sor glanced up from her food, her eyes flicking over to Ali then to her father and forced a smile on her face “Of course Papa.”

“And we certainly will!” Teds voice was full of elation. “Now, son. Might you and your friend let Mr. Dalca and I speak for a while. We still have to fit business into all of this pleasure.” He nodded to Ali, who didn’t look up from his plate.

He was wide eyed but clearly trying to hide it. “Uhhh Yeah, cool. We’ll go hang out in the basement and wait for Bart to get back.” He looked over to Sor for confirmation, and then to Gabriel for his confirmation as well.

Gabriel’s face turned serious and he nodded his head at his daughter indicating she should leave “Go on Sorina.” Knowing better than to protest Sor glanced at Ali and stood to her feet placing her napkin on the table. Smiling at Ted she thanked him for the meal. No matter how much his son annoyed her, she could never be rude to the older Irishman.

“I can’t believe Trevor didn’t want to come to this.” Hope finished her corn dog and was people watching.

Bart set his finished corn dog stick down on the table. “I can.”

Hope looked at him crestfallen. “Yeah, he hasn’t really been up for doing much since the dance huh? I noticed it during break. I didn’t realize he liked Rena that much.”

Bart fisted crumbs off of his scarf. “Neither did I. I mean he said a little bit about it but it just seemed like a crush. I told him just to not make it awkward, they’re still friends.”

Hope laughed. “Might as well told him not to breathe. He always makes those kinds of things awkward for himself. He seems like a big strong soldier but he’s really just an overgrown teddy bear that happens to be good with guns.”

Bart stood and Hope followed his lead. They walked through the crowds as they window-shopped. “I’m sure he will be fine,” Bart said half-heartedly. “I think he just needs to meet someone else.”

Hope ran her hand through a wind chime At one of the shop tents. “That’s a great idea. Maybe you could be like his wingman. Please just don’t let him go with Ali.”

Bart laughed. “Yeah definitely not. But I’m not sure how I would help. I mean I know I’m charming but how would I pass that on to another person?” He smiled. “And I’ve never been great with girls. They confuse me.”

Hope slipped her arm out of his and laughed. “Yeah that’s for sure. You’re terrible at taking hints.”


Hope smiled and walked into a old pop-up book shop without answering.

Ali and Sor began walking towards the stairs in silence. Ali managed to catch the tail end of the conversation as they went. “Sorina is a lot like her, you know? Same spirit and kindne...”

Ali took a deep breath and pretended like that never happened. He hated to hear talk of his mother. It always felt like a dirty secret, exposed to all within a hearing radius.

Sor quickly went down the stairs, the basement wouldn’t be too bad, at least there were things down there to keep her from having to have a conversation with Ali. “So umm I’ll just hang out at my desk, I have a plant I want to work with.” She mumbled out to Ali walking towards the desk with one of her Neptune Fly Traps sitting in a black pot.

A smile formed on her face as she pulled out a couple of pencils, a notebook, and a ruler from her desk. “Hey there little guy.” She cooed, taking a pencil holding it over the plant watching its mouth and body grow, completely swallowing it.

Ali didn’t respond; he had his own thoughts to work through. He sat on the couch and flipped on the tv to watch the tail end of some Stronghold tapes. Sitting in silence was something like torture to him, but he didn’t know how to get out of this situation.

Periodically, he’d look over to see what Sor was doing, and then turn away again when she would return the glance.

Sor did her best to focus on the plant in front of her but the silence in the room was maddening. Her eyes wandered over to Ali who stared intently at the screen in front of him then back over to her plant.

She sighed softly and continued writing notes. She then held the ruler over the plant “You’re a hungry thing tonight, aren’t you? Here you go.” She giggled loudly watching the plant magically grow 12 inches higher then wrote down her observations, feeling eyes on her she glanced up to see Ali looking at her with a raised eyebrow “What?” She asks, slightly embarrassed he heard her talking to the plant.

Ali smirked. “Nothing, I’m just amused.”

Sor rolled her eyes and continued to write.

“Not in a bad way!’s interesting! I’ve not seen anyone get a plant to respond so lively before.” Ali hopped up from the couch and made his way over to the work station. “What made you love plants so much, bean?”

Sor pursed her lips, studying him for a moment, seeing that he was genuinely curious she set her notebook down and sighed “Growing up my parents were always so busy being vampire hunters. Being an only child meant I was sort of neglected, I know they didn’t mean to but that’s just how things happened. I was alone for most of my childhood and spent my time learning about magic through my father’s extensive library.” She smiled thinking of the large library in her home “One day when I was around seven I discovered my mother had abandoned a garden in our backyard and took to reviving it, with magic of course.

From then on, I devoted my time to that garden, I learned about all the flowers and plants that grew there and how to care for them. And I just fell in love with everything about it. My plants were a constant in my life with my magic, the little amount I knew at the time, I could keep them alive and I’d never be alone again.”

She paused and picked up her notebook once again turning to Ali with a sheepish grin “That makes me sound kinda weird huh?”

“Oh, it’s beyond weird.” Ali laughed imagining a tiny Sor with plants for friends. “But it fits you well, aye? Weird doesn’t have to be bad.” He flashed a reassuring smile towards her as they shared a laugh.

Maybe that’s all it took to get things started back to being friendly again.

She proceeded showing Ali her Neptune Fly Trap and leaving him in awe. She grew more relaxed as the room grew less tense. After awhile she turned to him with a raised eyebrow “Want to go for a walk? I heard it was supposed to snow tonight and I love the first snowfall. Besides, I don’t want to be stuck down here for the rest of the night.”

Ali didn’t respond merely stared at her with an unknown look in his eyes. She figured he was shocked that she had wanted to spend time with him especially how things had been between them for the past few weeks.

She grinned and walked away from her desk towards the stairs of the basement then turned to Ali who hadn’t moved “You coming?” This was good, she willing going to do something with him and was actually trying to keep things going in the right direction.

“Yeah sounds good to me.” Ali quickly threw on a coat and wrapped his thick hair up in a knit beanie and followed her up the stairs.

The pair stepped out into the cold and walked the streets towards the downtown scene, laughing and playfully sharing the world around them. “Our fathers are going to be sooo mad that we left out. But it was a good call.” The snowfall was starting to pick up, making the journey an incredible sight.

“They’ll get over it.” Sor replies then reached her hand out letting the snow fall into her palm and giggled.

The two walked in comfortable silence before Sor spoke again “So I told you why I’m a weird plant lover, but what about you? Surely the great Alister O’Malley has something to share?” She turned around and dramatically gestured to him with a teasing smile on her face.

Ali laughed off her statement. “Wellll, I love long walks through the streets of Greenland and romantic comedies,” he said with a wink. “There’s a lot to me! What are you really asking me here?”

Sor rolled her eyes with a smile and nudged him with her shoulder “I don’t know! Why don’t you tell me something you haven’t told anyone before.” She grew nervous after the words came out of her mouth. She hoped it wasn’t too weird of a question.

Ali stopped walking and thought for a second. There wasn’t much about him that he wasn’t open about.

Outside of one major detail - one that’d he’d only ever shared with Bart. And even then, it was given in parts. In this moment, however, with inhibitions down, he threw caution to the wind. “I noticed you looking at our family photos earlier. Probably looked a little empty, aye?”

Sor nodded her head “Uh yeah. I didn’t see any of your mom. Did she...” she trailed off not wanting to finish her question.

“May as well have.” Ali coldly finished her thought for her. “She was a normie. And the magic life was too much for her...Pap wipes her mind of all this and went back to life as normal. I’ve not seen her since.” Ali breathed in the cold air and kicked at a small build up of snow. “It’s his fault, really...I’d never tell him that. But that’s the way it goes, aye? I love my father with me whole life. But he’s no super hero.”

Sor was quiet, taking time to process what Ali just told her. She couldn’t imagine that happening to any one of her parents, sure because of them she had a lonely childhood but at least they remembered her. Ali’s mom has no memories of her son or Ted. It was so....sad.

Hope kissed Bart on the cheek while they walked. “What was that for?” He asked her.

“For bringing me here.” She said with a happy grin on her face. “Why don’t we head back to the basement to see how the dinner went? I’m freezing anyway.”

“Sounds goo-“ There was a loud screeching roar that sent a chill up Bart’s spine. The crowds all looked around murmuring trying to find where the sound came from.

Just then, a large winged creature flew over the crowd so fast that they barely had time to glimpse it. Bart only saw it’s large body and wide wingspan as it soon disappeared off in the distance.

Bart’s jaw tightened as he tried to catch another glimpse at whatever it was.

“What was that?” Hope said as she looked in the sky. The crowds were all murmuring but they soon all returned to their activities.

“I’m not sure.” Bart murmuered without taking his eyes off of the dark sky. “But we should head to the basement now.”

“Have you ever thought of trying to find her? Just to see how she’s doing?” She asked after a minute of silence.

“Nah...’ it’s best not to go poking our heads in the normal world’. That’s what Pap says. And he’s probably right.”

Sor nodded her head and faced Ali “Well thanks for telling me that Ali.” The cold wind blew her blonde curls away from her face “And I just want to apologize for being so defensive about Kaiden lately, I know none of you guys, except for maybe Rena and Hope, really like him. But I want us to stop with the fighting and be friends...again.” Her bright green eyes stared up at him, hoping he’d agree with her.

Ali sighed rubbing the back of his neck and and responded, “Look...I don’t take back anything I’ve said about the guy. But I’m sorry for the way I did it. I should have kept my issues with him strictly with him and...I didn’t do that.” He scrunched up his face, embarrassed by his apology. “I just don’t like the guy!” He said in a way that showed he was joking.

Sor pushed his shoulder as they walked again.

“Plus, I think...I think you could do much better.” He continued to walk on.

Sor opened her mouth to respond when a loud screech echoed in the air causing the two to halt in their steps. Her eyes widened in fear recognizing the sound, vampire.

She quickly pulled a stake from her jacket pocket and glanced around searching for the creature. She was momentarily thankful her father had made her carry them with her. Suddenly she could see the quickly approaching figure behind Ali.

“Ali watch out!”

He managed to duck just as the creature flew full force towards her. Before she could make a move it used its large legs to send her flying a few feet back, hitting her head on the grassy ground. She let out a groan as she tried to sit up. Her head was spinning causing the world around her to become slightly blurry.

She could hear Ali call out her name in panic. The creature stood before her crouched lowly, with its large wings extended, letting out a hissing sound.

Vampires get uglier and uglier every time she sees one and this one was the worst she’s ever seen. It fangs were bared and saliva was dripping onto her coat as it loomed over her. She held in a whimper as it grew closer nearing her neck. Clutching the stake in her hand she waited for the perfect moment to strike.

Her eyes flickered over to see Ali making a move towards the creature “Ali don’t!” She warns causing him to stop moving.

With her head still spinning she focused her attention back at to the creature that was now directly over her with it’s enlarged fangs nearing her neck.

Weakly but swiftly she managed to lodge the stake into its side causing it to let out a loud ear-piercing shriek and rise to its feet.

Before she had time to react, she felt its large sharp nails scratch across her neck and chest. A loud pain-filled scream erupted from her mouth as tears fell from her eyes. The vampire stumbled back weakly, the stake still in its side, then with one more loud screech it took off into the air, leaving Sor bleeding on the ground.

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