A v a r i c e | T h i r t y
T h i r t y
❝Purple, it floated;
until it was coated.❞
I STAYED THE NIGHT AT CAIN’S cabin, something I was certain I would pay for in the morning by my parents. I would have to lie, saying I spent the night at the castle. Mother couldn’t be angry at me then, could she?
I’d gone back to my home, only briefly, in the morning with Cain so I could grab the little brown book he’d given me and then study it with him and my Latin book I’d gotten from Lilith. I had told this lie to my mother, expecting her to ask what the castle was like at night. Instead, I received a lecture of letting her know some way or another that I would be staying the night there so she wouldn’t worry so much about me. This woke up all who had stayed the night there, which included my father, Sarah, Gen, Zachariah, Michael, and Samuel.
They just seemed to make the situation worse, too.
All were clearly happy to see I was alive, giving me a hug each, before asking where I’d gone. “She spent the night at the castle!” Mother exclaimed, throwing her hands out to emphasize her annoyance.
Michael raised an eyebrow at that, looking at me. “With Cain?”
The second he said that, all hell broke loose. “You better not have shared the same room,” Mother berated me, beyond angry.
“We didn’t,” I sighed. “I’m not even sure he spent the night.”
Cain, right then, chose to make some noise outside. Mother narrowed her eyes at me. “He’s out there, isn’t he?”
I closed my eyes. “Mother. I swear to God, we did not share a room. We don’t like each other...like that.” Well, this was partly the truth.
Father stepped in at that, wrapping an arm around his wife’s shoulders. “Renee,” he said in a soothing voice, like only he could. “I believe Cerise is smart enough not to do anything...rash. We should both trust her.”
Mother looked up at him, clearly begging him with her eyes to side with her on this. Father didn’t let up, however, and Mother finally sighed, nodding and looking over at me. “Fine,” she said. “Go on. But I want you home before dusk, you hear me?”
I nodded quickly and escaped from the house.
“That took forever,” Cain commented.
I rolled my eyes with a huff. “You don’t even know that half of it.”
“Did you get the back?” Cain asked, raising an eyebrow at me. I nodded, pulling said book out to show him. I was carrying the Latin book, too. “And you’re sure that if we make the witch powerless, the lycanthropes will go back to being...human?”
I blinked at him. “Well, no. But you didn’t say I had to be sure. It’s our best shot at this. We just need to find the spell.” I sighed, looking down at the book and scroll through its many pages. “Which is easier said than done, I’m sure.”
Cain watched me skim through the pages for a second. “Don’t you have some sort of spell that will direct you to the exact page you’re looking for.”
“I...I hadn’t thought of that.” I paused, frowning to look over at him.
“Well, do you?” Cain prodded, an eyebrow raised.
I squinted my eyes in thought. “No, but I can find out.”
“How’re you going to do that?”
“Stop asking questions. You’re giving me a headache,” I rolled my eyes at him. “I’ll drop you off at your cabin-”
“I don’t need to be dropped off,” Cain grumbled. I ignored him and handed him the two books.
“-and then I’ll go find out what the spell is.”
Lilith opened the door even before I knocked, a wide smile plastered on her face. “Welcome, dear. How’ve you been? You haven’t visited me in a while. Have you practiced any new spells?” She motioned me to come in while she said all of this.
“I’ve been okay,” I nodded. “And yes, actually. I was forced to use ‘relinquo’ on lycanthropes a couple days ago.” I looked at her then, wanting see how she would react to the mention of lycanthropes. Lilith simply nodded. I sat down in my usually seat.
“Let me get you some tea, dear,” Lilith muttered, walking around her kitchen in the process of doing just that. “Yes, I heard that your family was attacked. I had to go into town the other day to get some fresh food.”
“And you didn’t come to visit?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
Lilith laughed. “Oh, heavens no. I was planning on visiting tomorrow some time. I figured your mother would be very busy after the accident.” She smiled at me, turning and setting a cup of tea down in front of me. I thanked and took a sip. It was just as horrible as normal. “So, I’m assuming you used ‘relinquo’ on the beasts?”
I nodded. “I did. And I had to use compulsion on the alpha.”
Lilith nodded, smiling. “Compulsion does just the trick, doesn’t it? It can really make a lycanthrope sit and listen to you.”
I raised an eyebrow at that, but I didn’t ask her about it. Lilith was constantly saying strange things like that, after all. “I’ve actually come to ask you a few questions.” I got right down to business once we were both settled. Lilith leaned back in her chair, drumming her fingers against the table.
“I was wondering if you could teach me a spell, one that will take me to the exact page in a book that I need.”
Lilith nodded. “I can do that. Let me go get one of my own books.”
Lilith got up, going into her back bedroom. When she came back, she was holding her big book of secrets, setting it down in front of her. She looked down at the book. “Advorto propheta,” she said, her voice silky. While she said this, using magic, her skin became soft, her eyes glowed, and everything about her seemed to shift into...beauty.
The book opened of its own accord, turning to the section on seers. Lilith looked up at me then. “Now you try,” she said, turning the book to face me.
I repeated what she had said in my head a few times and then looked down at the book. “Advorto,” the book immediately opened to the section on lycanthropes. I stared at it, and then looked up at Lilith. She blinked before returning my gaze.
“Cerise,” she said carefully. “You’ve become a lot more powerful with your time away. Your fight with the lycanthropes...all that exertion on your powers...they must’ve grown.”
“I don’t even know the Latin word for ‘lycanthope’.” I said in astonishment.
Lilith frowned. “There could be a number of reasons. You clearly must’ve been thinking about lycanthropes, a secret urge to turn to that specific page. You don’t necessarily need the Latin term, as I’ve told you before. Your power has grown to the extent of which you don’t need Latin for easy things, and you can simply say it in your head.” Lilith smiled, almost proudly at me. “Also, lycanthrope in Latin is ‘lycanthropus’, which is clearly very similar.”
I nodded. I was still amazed. I hadn’t even realized I’d been standing. I took a seat again and looked down at the open page. “May I?” I questioned, glancing up at Lilith.
I instantly read what it said. Most of the stuff I knew, such as what they were and what they were made out of it. There was more, however, that I didn’t know. For instance, the mystery as to why they could shift into human form and why they didn’t stay in it.
It turned out, they didn’t want to stay in it. Even with their humanity still intact. They only ever used their human form to prey on humans and for celebrations. I suppose when the alpha morphed, he was going to prey on me. Along with that, they could only stay in their human form for a short amount of time, about 1/4 of the day. Staying in it exhausted them, making them weak.
Lycanthropes hated to be weak.
More information was given next, describing how to create one. I quickly turned away. I didn’t want to see how to create one. Lilith, noticing I was finished, took the book back. “What were your other questions?” she asked me carefully, shutting the book.
I sighed, resting against my chair. “They aren’t so much questions as just letting you know what’s going on.” Lilith nodded, waiting for me to go on. “I’m going to make the witch powerless, and hopefully that will save the lycanthropes from being killed off. To save the humanity in them.”
“The humanity?” Lilith murmured slowly. “Interesting.”
“Do you think it’ll work?” I asked.
Lilith shrugged. “There’s really no way of saying, truthfully. I’ll help however I can, though. If you need any sort of herbs, or help with pronunciation.” Lilith smiled. “Sadly, my book doesn’t have the spell, otherwise I’d help you. And I don’t believe it’d be a simple one, either.”
“What if it was in potion form?”
Lilith nodded. “That’d work. You would just have to get it to Marquise Trill before her execution, that’s the difficult part.”
“Why would it be difficult?” I frowned. Couldn’t I just visit her whenever? Down in the dungeon? Had they changed the rules or something?
Apparently, they had. “No visitors allowed,” Lilith told me the bad news. “I was thinking of visiting her myself, as I knew Lydia and I felt bad seeing her like that...“Lilith trailed off and shrugged. “The guard let me know that now that she was truly imprisoned, there were to be no visitors. I they’re worried that because she’s a witch, she’ll use someone to get out.”
I sighed. This made things a lot more difficult. “Alright.” I nodded. “Cain and I will figure a way about that.” I said finally, determined. Lilith raised a perfect eyebrow, but she didn’t comment about Cain. She just simply raised her tea to her lips, taking a sip. “What if she isn’t the witch?” I questioned. “How will we know?”
Lilith stood up. “I actually can help with that. It won’t show until after she’s...executed, but it will do the trick.” Lilith went to her cupboards, going through them and searching for something. What, I wasn’t sure.
“I used to be quite interested in witches when I was your age, fascinated on everything about them. While during this time, I acquired an herb that, when fed to whoever you think is the witch, will show you if they truly are or not. You can put it in your potion.” Lilith pulled out a beautiful purple flower. She had said that she got it more than forty years ago, but it was clearly still alive and well. It wasn’t wrinkled up in the least.
Lilith must’ve seen that I was looking at this particular feature of the gorgeous flower, and smiled. “It has a spell on it, my dear. It will last forever.” She handed it to me. “When you are making your potion, crumple the flower into it.”
“What will it do exactly?” I questioned, taking it from her while standing up.
“If she is a witch, her blood will be black. If she is not, her blood will be normal.” Lilith sighed. “I would suggest just simply pricking her, but I’m afraid you can’t stay in her dungeon for too long. It would be best to just get out as quickly as possible. But if you are able to, do it quickly.”
I nodded. “Thank you.” I turned to leave, my questions answered now.
Lilith stopped me from going anywhere, however, insisting to make up a basket full of herbs so I would have everything I needed for the potion. She then taught me a spell for picking out the exact herb I needed, similar to the spell on turning the page, and a spell on moving things to anywhere in my line of vision.
Finally, I was able to leave. I carried the basket of herbs, the beautiful flower sitting atop them all. While I walked, lycanthropes surrounded me. I wasn’t even bothered by them, however. I had my cloak on. They couldn’t get to me, kill me, even if they tried their hardest.
Reaching this conclusion, they left me alone to walk in peace to Cain’s cabin.
Cain turned and smiled when I walked in, noticing all that I was carrying. He had been sitting on the couch I’d slept on while I’d stayed the night here, separate from where he’d slept in his room, but he stood up when I came in. He frowned slightly. “What’s all that for?”
“This,” I said, hoisting the basket up onto his counter, “Is for the potion. So let’s get to work.”