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2: Secrets and a Sanders

“Hit!” called Victoria as she rested the sabre right on my chest.

“That’s thrice in quick succession,” I said as I took a stance on the starting point all over again. “You should go easy on me, I’m still learning, you know.”

“I am going easy on you, Troy,” she replied and removed her mask to give me a wide smirk before donning it again. Very funny, huh Vic? Let’s see when you’re not winning again.

I groaned in frustration as I prepared for the next round. Who knew magical fencing could be so hard? It looked so easy when watched from afar; just control the sabre with your mind and try to hit your opponent. I should have known it was going to be tricky, easy as pie things always were.

“Stop thinking about the sabre so much as feeling it and you’ll get it, it’s not rocket science,” she instructed and controlled her sabre into the attack position.

“You’re starting to sound like those old men in the training hall who only quotes the things they see in books. You and I know those instructions aren’t practical,” I replied and got my sabre ready too. Victoria giggled in response, no doubt picturing the way far-from-happy face of one of those old men in a reaction to my “blasphemous” statement.

We were about to begin when the door suddenly swung open and I reflexively thrust the sabre in that direction, almost getting the head of the intruder- how many times have I warned that it was a bad idea to scare a man with a weapon? People just never listen, do they?

“Master Troy,” called Maggie, one of the house helps, as she eyed the weapon now buried firmly in the wall just a few inches above her head, “your father’s arrived.”

“Thank you, Maggie,” I replied with a smile and she turned to leave; but the conversation wasn’t quite done yet.

“Hey, Maggie,” I called after her, “I think it’ll be for the best if we don’t tell anyone, especially Grandpa Blake, about this.” I pointed to the sabre still in the wall. “He might not take lightly to me almost taking your head off.”

“Of course, Master Troy, I completely understand,” she replied and made a zip gesture across her mouth before leaving.

Thing is, grandpa Blake warned everyone strictly against performing magic in the house without the necessary precautions, which included a barrier to prevent you know what almost happened back there; and trust me, an eighty year-old master magician going ballistic was not something you wanted to see.

“Too early to start keeping secrets, don’t you think?” said Victoria as she came to stand next to me and survey the pinned sabre.

“It’s not a ‘secret’ per say, just a ‘don’t get grandpa angry’ thing,” I replied and removed the sabre from the wall; covering the wall expertly with a repair spell I learnt specifically for moments like that.

“Anything you say, Sanders,” replied Vic with a really mocking laughter on her face. “Anyway, let’s go meet Oliver, now shall we?”

“Yeah, let’s.” I was ready to do anything to get out of that conversation and, of course, the crazy ‘You’re a bad grandson’ feeling that was starting to take root in the pit of my stomach.

“Where’s everybody?” I heard Oliver ask Morris, the butler, as Vic and I turned the corridor towards the front door.

“All here,” replied Grandpa Blake before I had the chance and I turned to see Stan, Yvette and him enter from another portion of the house.

“Don’t I get a hug?” asked Oliver as he stretched out his hands like Santa Klaus come early.

“How old do you think we are, Oliver? Two?” I said as I joined them, giving him a ‘Come on!’ look. He really should stop thinking about things like that because they weren’t going to happen. Instead, I opted for a mature handshake instead.

“You’re right, Troy, you’re matured now,” he replied with a grin and suddenly began to squeeze my hand so hard in the handshake that I feared they were going to break. “Matured enough to get punished like a man.”

“Jeez, Ollie! That hurts.” I yanked my hand out of his.

“That’s the point,” he said, grinning with satisfaction. He went on to greet Stan, Blake, Victoria; but stopped completely when he saw Yvette.

“I don’t believe we’ve met, have we?” he asked as he gave her once over scrutinizing look- Oh-Oh! I don’t see this ending anywhere near good.

“No, we haven’t, Mr. Sanders,” she replied. “I’m Yvette Quentin, a friend of Stan’s. I attend Blackhead.”

I saw Oliver’s eyes widen when she mentioned Blackhead, but he quickly hid it and smiled instead. “So nice to meet you, Miss Quentin,” he replied- Yeah! I’m very sure we’re about to find out just how ‘nice’ it was.

“Stan, I want to see you in the study,” he said and I immediately turned towards my escape when he added, “You too, Troy.” Damn, I was so close to escape.

“I have a feeling that meeting will include the words dark and Blackhead,” Victoria whispered to me. “Good luck getting out of this one, Sanders.”

“Alright, let’s get this show on the road,” said Stan and I nodded affirmative. Yeah, let’s.

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