The Neophyte

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Dark Magic


The police confirmed that the skeleton belonged to Mrs Ryans. They sealed off the house for further investigation. The detective assigned to the case interviewed me, asking why I was in her bedroom. I described to him all that had happened. He jotted down in his notepad, never reacting or emoting to my recount.

“How close are you to Mrs. Ryans?”

“Not close, detective.”

The man nodded and scratched his pencil onto his notepad. Then he pocketed them in his pants and eyed me for a second.

“Come with me for a moment, Mr. Embers.”

I followed him to the side of the road, away from the scene. His blue eyes squinted then exhaled. “There are numerous reports on djinn activity. People have been using them, communicating with them for their own gain.”

I kept quiet and he continued, “More people are dying. Just last week, a student hung herself in her room. My—” his voice broke and quickly patted his coat for his cigarette pack. He pulled it out of his jacket pocket, took one out and lit it up before continuing, “my daughter used to go to school with her.”

I nodded. “This is grim news, detective. I will alert the other two Sages.”

I returned home after that, weary and drained. The paramedic advised me to go to the hospital to check on the suspected broken rib. I ignored this and decided to heal it myself. I locked myself in the bathroom and removed my jacket and shirt. There was a bruise the size of my fist on the middle-left of my torso.

“Tristan,” my mother called out from the other side of the door. “Are you all right?”

I placed my palm on it and channeled the healing spell. In mere minutes, the aching dulled and then disappeared. I sighed and put on my shirt.

“I’m fine, mama,” I opened the door.

My mother held her hand to her chest, her green eyes watching me. My father was drawing the day curtains in the living area.

“Well, I’m glad you’re staying with us for the week,” she said and placed her warm hand on my cheek. “I’ll go make some dinner.”

“I’m not hungry,” I told her and planted a kiss on her cheek. “I’m going to sleep now. The djinn drained my energy. Goodnight, mama.”

I made my way up my old bedroom. It was left untouched and maintained well. I threw myself on the bed and I fell asleep immediately.

* * *

A piercing scream startled me awake. I sat up and reached for my wand upon instinct. It sounded like my mother. I raced to my parents’ bedroom across the hallway. My father rushed down the stairs from his office on the third floor.

“What happened?” He asked, eyes peering the darkness of the corridor.

The bedroom door was closed. From downstairs, Robert climbed his way up, eyes wide in frantic horror.

“The garden!” He yelled. We followed him to the garden at the back of the house.

It was past midnight. Robert was a relatively collected person but at that moment, he was visibly shaking. In the middle of the garden, in the dead of night, we saw something we did not expect.

“Delilah?” Robert uttered.

She was in a white gown, her material state shifting and morphing. It was desperately trying to look human but my father and I knew it was not.

“Do you have your wand with you?” I asked my father. He nodded silently, our eyes still fixated on the djinn.

“Go back inside, Robert, and look for my wife. Make sure she’s okay.” My father instructed.

Robert dashed into the house. My father and I readied our stances.

“You think someone sent her?” He asked. “She looks a”

“She does not look like a wandering djinn. Someone definitely sent her.”

I stepped forward and raised my wand. Just as I was about to cast my spell, I was flung backwards and crashed onto the glass window behind me. My father screamed my name as I landed. It happened so fast.

The djinn was nowhere in sight. My father held me up and returned my wand. We scanned the garden but could see nothing. Whatever it was, it hid in the dark very well.

“This thing is clever,” he said, “its moves are strategic and calculated.”

Scrubbiro!” I chanted a Practical spell and banished the fragments of glass from my clothes and hair.

From a distance, a silhouette moved between the trees. I spotted it and pointed my wand towards it.

Frozium!” I cried out as a sheet of ice shot out.

It caught the silhouette and fell. My father and I jogged towards it as it struggled to recover. When it did, its face shone in the moonlight above us.

“Dean Ryans?” My father blurted. I could not believe my eyes.

Dean Ryans was sixteen when his sister, Delilah, mysteriously died. He was a young, scrawny Spellcaster who was trained by my grandfather. He was one of my grandfather’s most favoured students due to his steadfast attitude and quick-learning. He and I used to play together when we were young.

Dean brushed off some ice from his black coat and red curly hair. He wore a pair of black-rimmed glasses and had grown in stature as well.

“Mr. Embers,” he greeted my father before turning to me. He grinned that boyish grin when he was amused. “Good to see you too, Tristan. My, have you been working out?”

“What were you doing in my garden, Dean?” My father asked, his voice curt.

Dean was catching his breath. His olive green eyes darted between my father and I, a slight smirk on his face.

“I was just testing out some spells, Mr Embers, sorry ‘bout that.” Then he turned to me, “So, you’re a Sage now, huh Tristan? I’ve always known you’d be that good. You are Sir Williams’ grandson after all.”

I did not return a smile. There was something off about him. My father lowered his wand and pocketed it back into his jacket. My fingers tightened mine.

“You scared us all,” he said. “Why don’t you come inside?”

“I think he’s better off here,” I said. An alarm went off somewhere inside me. Something was not right.

Dean narrowed his eyes for a split second then turned to my father. “I’ll make my way home, thank you for the offer Mr Embers.”

“Did you return from the city because you heard about your mother?” My father asked, good-naturedly.

“No,” I cut in. Dean eyed me a look as I remained fixated on him. “He has been back a while now.”

“Tristan?” My father was confused.

Dean locked his jawline. I continued, “Mrs Ryans has been dead a long time. Dean, on the other hand, has been up to no good.”

His aura began to radiate. At first it began with the Untamed red, then it shifted into a colour I had never seen before from a mortal; the Unholy black. The green shade in his eyes also darkened to match his aura.

Ignatus Liquidus!” He yelled, pointing his wand towards us. Flames shot out and projected directly on us. Somehow I had predicted it and quickly cast a protective shield around my father and me. The spell reflected off the shield and ‘returned to sender’, as Wynona called it. The flames bounced back to him but he ducked, causing a mini explosion.

My father and I watched as one of the trees caught fire from it. I had never seen such a spell that could potentially kill a human.

“Stay here in the shield, I will stop him,” I said before stepping out. My father made no objections.

I turned back to Dean and warned, “You do not want to fight me.”

Dean smirked. His aura was so strong but it did not pulsate. “Gornius Attaccus!

Materialising from my peripheral vision, a large black shadow lunged towards me. Dean let out a laugh as I jostled with a fairly large djinn. Its strength was twice the usual kind and I was pinned within minutes.

“Tristan!” My father yelled. He left the shield to help me.

Big mistake.

A lightning bolt shot at him from Dean’s wand. The wind picked up at this point and my father was flung backwards. He crashed onto the back porch.

I cried out to him. I shut my eyes and channeled my energy into the oblivion spell. I was about to cast it when a swift, dark mass flew past me and right into Dean. The djinn let go of me but I cast the spell anyway. I watched it get suck into oblivion and got up off the ground.

Robert had summoned a Vampire to help. He had been watching the whole thing unfold from the window discreetly. He came rushing down to help my unconscious father. Dean was throwing every spell he had in his arsenal onto the Vampire. I took two steps forward and waved my wand towards him.


“No, Tristan!” My father yelled from behind. He had come to.

Dean took the chance the second I got distracted. He realised that I was about to set him on fire and then disappeared out of sight. The Vampire looked around and then shook his head at me when he couldn’t find him. We headed over to my father and Robert.

“Thank you,” I said to the Vampire.

“Anytime. Is your father all right?”

I turned to my old man who was still on the floor, head on Robert’s lap.

“It hurts a lot,” he croaked. “Cast me the healing spell and I’ll be off my merry way.”

My father had a peculiar way of hiding his emotions by masking his fears with jokes.

“I’ll call Jessie. He is capable of doing the heavy-duty healing.”

We brought him inside the house. I asked Robert to check on my mother while the Vampire and I brought my father to my room. It was best that we keep this from my mother, or at least let her sleep through the night undisturbed.

“Did that man’s aura turn black?” The Vampire asked. “I didn’t know that was possible.”

“It’s not supposed to,” I replied. “I’m going to consult the other two Sages on this. I think you might need to warn Lord Voltaire.”

* * *

I stayed for a week longer than I planned. I made sure my father was a hundred percent before I began packing. Jessie had been his nurse for the past two weeks. He even told me that I was to be back at the Academy soon to train a new Spellcaster.

“Another Lord Voltaire recommendation?” I asked. “Last I heard, that turned out to be Dean Ryans. And look what he did.”

“Dean is different,” Jessie replied. “Besides, this girl is promising. Her stubbornness reminds me a little bit of you.”

We were strolling in the garden where the duel took place two weeks before. I sat on a bench and Jessie joined me.

“I have not the heart to leave just yet. How urgent is this?”

“Not urgent but it is your duty.” Then he looked at me, “Your father is in good hands. Lord Voltaire has sent his elite Vampires to safeguard your parents’ house.”

I clasped my hands together and wove my fingers. Then I looked into his blue eyes, as deep as the ocean. “Okay, I’ll return to The Academy by tomorrow.”

We left the garden and I began packing. I had work to do.

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