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A v a r i c e | T h i r t y O n e

T h i r t y O n e

❝This wicked witch must rule no more,

Lest her powers grow and take o’er.

Be rid and shed the light of humanity,

And grant this horrid witch her amnesty.❞

WITH THE BOOK IN FRONT OF me, on Cain’s table, I said, “Advorto,” and thought to myself “powerless witch”. The book didn’t move as fast as the last one, which scared me at first into thinking perhaps I hadn’t done it correctly. But, right before I tried saying it again, the book flipped open.

Cain, standing over my shoulder, raised his eyebrows. “That’s useful.”

I rolled my eyes at his bland response and grabbed the book with opened page. It was close to end of the book, but far enough that it would’ve taken Cain and me - sorry, me - at least another day to find it.

“There’s a spell and a potion.” I told Cain, turning around to face him. I’d forgotten he was right behind me, far too close for comfort. I would’ve backed up, but the table was in my way. Cain looked down at me, meeting my eyes, and took a step backwards.

“That makes sense. It’s a powerful enchantment, isn’t it? To make a witch powerless?” Cain said, and looked down to the book, letting his eyes skim over the pages.

I shrugged. “I’d imagine, probably.” I nodded.

“Is this in Latin?” Cain asked, frowning. He walked to my side to get a better look.

Once again, I nodded. “Magic is in Latin to make something more powerful, and, in turn, more beautiful,” I explained to him. Cain nodded slowly, backing away from. I read the pages, too. There were a few words that I didn’t know, but I could easily just look them up in my Latin book.

“And you can read that?” Cain asked, raising an eyebrow at me.

“That,” I said, going over too his coffee table and picking up the handy Latin book, “Is what this is for.”

Cain nodded, scrutinizing the book’s cover, written in one of my ancestor’s handwriting. “Alright,” he said. “Do you need any help with anything?” He looked up at me then, raising an eyebrow speculatively.

I shook my head. “Once I finished the potion, we need to somehow get it to Marquise Trill.”

“That’ll be easy,” Cain commented, shrugging. “We can just go to visit-”

“Visits have been disabled,” I announced to him with a sigh. I sat down in on of the seats in his main room. Cain sat in the one across from me.

“Oh,” he said very simply. I nodded. “Well,” he stood up, “Then that is what I can help on. I’ll get the castle blue prints and then we can go from there.” I nodded in agreement, standing up myself. This just made the situation awkward. Cain frowned at me, probably wondering why I stood up as if to shake his hand, or give him a hug. I quickly sat back down.

“I’ll see you when you come back, then,” I said, looking anywhere but at him.

Cain nodded. “I’ll see you later,” then he left.

I worked on translating for most of the day. I really didn’t need to know what the words meant (I didn’t think), but I did need to know how to pronounce everything. Once I got that finished, I was able to turn my attention completely on creating the potion.

The instructions were a bit puzzling when it came to this. Instead of giving specific amounts, it would say something like “a dash” or “a pinch”. So, before I dealt with those, I got out the ingredients that were “a leaf” or “a flower”.

No surprise, sage was a part of the potion. Two leaves, to be exact. I hovered my hand over the bowl of herbs, reciting what Lilith had told me to say, “Da mihi sage.” The plants in the bowl shook, moving around and making room. The sage, covered in a beautiful bright blue light, flew from where it had been, only releasing itself into my hand. I grinned down at the bowl. That was pretty terrific.

I did this again and again. The potion had a lot of ingredients, I imagine because it was a pretty powerful spell.

I got out the last herb ingredient finally, with still plenty left in the bowl Lilith had given me. Now, I needed some water. I searched around in Cain cabin, looking for any water I could possibly use. No water, but I did find his water bucket. I picked it up, carrying it outside. I would have to get the water myself, then.

A few steps away from Cain’s home and I was surrounded by lycanthropes. I trudged on, trying my damnedest to ignore them. They growled and swiped at me, too far away to do any harm. I wasn’t certain where there was water in the woods - and I wasn’t about to take my chances to look, either - so I instead walked to town to get some water there.

“Cerise!” Edward was surprised to see me, as I was him when I’d reached the well towards the middle of town. “How’ve you been?”

I shrugged. “I’m alright. And you?”

Edward nodded. “I’m good.” He smiled brightly at me. “Can I help you with that?” he nodded to the bucket. I shrugged, letting him take over. Edward was carrying a paper bag full of something - I wasn’t sure what exactly. Probably vegetables for his family’s dinner.

“How’re your siblings? And your father?” I asked carefully.

Edward began to hoist up the bucket full of water now. “They’re doing as well as they can, I suppose. Father hasn’t been truly home for a couple of days now. He’s either at the castle or the bar. My sisters are taking it horribly, as I’m sure Ralph and Lenny told you,” Edward glanced over at me speculatively. I nodded. “My brothers are keeping themselves busy.”

I sighed, glancing up at the sky. “I’m sorry, Edward.”

Edward pulled the bucket the rest of the way up, setting it on the stone. He turned to face me. “Sorry for what?” he asked, his eyebrows furrowing.

“For Lydia and your mother.” I said, trying to look him in the eyes. I suspected Edward was hiding his true feelings about the entire ordeal. He couldn’t actually hate his mother enough to want to see her executed, no matter how much he said he did.

Edward shrugged, looking down. “It’s not your fault.”

“Are you going to the ball?” I asked, grabbing the bucket from him. It was heavy, tugging my arm down, but I managed. I had nearly forgotten about the ball altogether because everything that was going on. But, now that I thought about it, the ball was going to be here within only a few days. No wonder my mother wanted me home.

Edward sighed. “I haven’t decided. I think so, though. I want to...say goodbye before it happens.”

I raised an eyebrow. “They’re letting your family say goodbye?”

Edward nodded. “Right before they take her up, a guard will be taking us down to her cell. We only get a few minutes, but they’re allowing us to say goodbye. They don’t usually do that, either.” Edward smiled sadly at me. “So, yeah. I’ll probably go.”

I nodded. “Well, thank you and I hope to see you there.” I smiled back at him, turning to leave.

“Cerise!” Edward called after me. “I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done for our family, and everything you’ve done for Lydia.” Edward nodded at me respectfully. “And be careful. You’re like a sister to me, and I don’t want to lose another one.”

I smiled at him. “I promise you, Eddie,” I looked into his eyes, “you won’t.”

Edward deserved so much more than what his life was giving him. First his sister died, and then his mother was prosecuted for witchcraft. I shook my head. Life certainly had an interesting turn of events.

When I got back to Cain’s cabin, I set the bucket of water down next to my pile of ingredients. I started a fire in his fire pit, got out a pot, and put half of the water I’d gotten into it. The instructions had said that the water should match the amount of ingredients, so that was about it. I waited until the water began to boil before inserting the herbs, one by one.

I’d put one in, stir, put another one in, stir, and so on. It took a good few minutes, and then I got the little brown book to read through the spell it gave me to say while mixing all the ingredients together. Well, all the ingredients but the purple flower.

“Pessimus iste dominabitur eu amplius,

ne vires accipere incrementum.

Carere luca et sanguinem humanum,

et diri mala ei impunitatem concedere.”

With the spell finished, I glanced down at the pot for any kind of reaction. The potion glowed a dark blue, emanating blue steam as it boiled. I smiled. I did it right, then. The book had said that that would be what would happen had the potion and spell been done correctly. I turned away, setting the book down on the table and receiving the beautiful purple flower.

Although Lilith had mentioned before I left that the potion only need a few petals, I didn’t want to take my chances that it wouldn’t work. I was too nervous, too unsure of myself as a potion maker and spell caster. So, I crumpled the entire flower into the pot, stirring it in. Strangely, with the addition of this flower, the potion became a soft lavender color, glowing all the same.

I grabbed one of the many jars Cain had gotten out while he waited for me. I grabbed the biggest of them and scooped the potion into it. Once the jar was full, I closed it and set it on the table and got two more jars that were smaller, but would still do the trick. I filled them up, topped them off, and put them beside the large one.

There was a knock at the door. I went over to it, opening it up to find Ian standing there with a smile upon his dirty face. “Why, Cerise,” he said. “What a surprise! What’re you doing here?” I politely opened up the door, motioning for him to come in. Ian did so, making himself at home by taking his hat off and setting it on the coffee table, plopping himself into a chair.

“I’m helping Cain with something,” I said, making sure to stand in front of the potions. Ian nodded, pursing his lips in thought.

He pushed himself up to a stand. “What have you got there?” he questioned, nodding towards what was behind me. I stiffened, pressing my body closer to the table. Something was off about Ian, but I wasn’t sure what exactly. He looked the same, and he’d been his jolly old self not too long before, but now he was different.

“Nothing,” I answered, and smiled at him. “Would you like some water?”

“I’ll have whatever is behind you.” Ian said instead, a wicked smile crossing his face. I swallowed hard and was quick to grab one of the potions before moving to the side, letting him see everything there. With his attention diverted, I quickly stuffed the potion into the pocket in the front of my apron.

“What’re these?” Ian murmured, bringing one of the potions up to his face so he could look at it. Ian smiled again, but it wasn’t his sweet smile. It was something sinister; evil. Ian, still bent slightly, looked over at me, letting the potion drop to the floor and shatter. “Oops.”

It didn’t matter to me, really, even if he got rid of them all. I still had the pot full of it, which was for the most part obscured from his vision. Still, I needed to pretend like it was effecting me in some way. So, every time he dropped a potion and it shattered on the ground, I flinched, glancing away.

Ian seemed to enjoy watching me do this. “Hmm...“he said after he’d broken all the potions. He turned to the ingredients I used. He picked them all up and carried them to the fire pit, burning them all up so they were of no use to me. I held my breath as I watched him do this; not because of the ingredients, but because of the pot with the rest of the potion.

I let it out when Ian turned away, but I was too soon.

Ian quickly turned around, looking into the pot. He looked over at me smiled. “Why, what do we have here?” It was then that I realized something was truly, truly wrong with Ian. This was not him. For I was certain that Ian would never intentionally grab a burning pot - and not even wince while doing it - and spill out the contents of it onto the floor.

His hands were red from the burning metal, but he didn’t even care. Once he was finished getting rid of all the potion, he turned towards me and pointed at me with a red, swollen finger.

“Now you. You, Cerise, are next.”

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