Chapter 27 - Magic Lessons & Life Lessons
She looked through the books on the shelf, pulling them off one by one and flicking through them because she didn’t have the attention span to actually read anything.
The door creaked open and she turned slamming the book shut.
Guillaume frowned looking her up and down as if he was assessing her.
“You’re early.” He said.
“So are you.” She replied and he smiled slightly.
“I wanted to prepare.”
“Prepare what?” She asked barely hiding the excitement from her voice.
“Sit down. You’ll see.” He said pointing to the chair. She put the book back on the shelf then did as she was told, tapping her foot nervously. He sat opposite her and she waited for him to pull out a candle, or a crystal, or anything but he just sat there.
She opened her mouth to speak but then he cut across her.
“Tell me how you use your Magic.” He said and she frowned.
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me exactly what you do. What it feels like…”
She looked confused and then shut her eyes trying to focus on what it was like. “I pull it to me. I normally have to remember what it feels like and then I just pull it. Like it’s in the air around me.”
“That’s not what you did with the Spectral though.” He stated and she nodded.
“No. but that’s different.”
“Tell me then.”
“When I fight them it’s like I invite them in, like I trick them, they absorb me, they engulf me, like a whale does a fish and then I destroy them from inside if that makes sense.”
He stared at her and she felt unnerved. “What?” She said.
“That’s the complete opposite of what you should be doing.”
“You should never let someone in, never let anything in because they will drain your Magic, they’ll drain you of everything.”
“Is that why it feels like I don’t have enough? Like I’m running out?”
“Yes. Your Magic comes from both you and from the world around you. You should never feel like you don’t have enough.”
“So how do I change it? How do I change what I do?”
“That’s what we’re here for.” He said smiling and pulling a small black Crystal from his pocket. “Jelric gave me this to use. I want you to focus with it.”
“But I thought only Magi need to use Crystals.”
“They do. But you need to relearn everything and this was the best we could come up with.”
“You’ve been speaking with Jelric?”
“Would I be a good teacher if I ignored him?”
“No I guess not.” She said turning her attention to the Crystal. “So what do I do?”
“Focus on it, feel it’s energy. Crystals are a receptacle so it should be relatively easy to do.”
“The last time I tried this with Jelric nothing happened.”
“That’s because you had a Spectral in you.”
“How do you know?” She looked at him.
“Jelric has told me everything.”
“Everything?” She asked worried about what secrets he now knew.
“Everything relevant to teaching you.”
She frowned looking back at the Crystal and closing her eyes. He was right she could feel it, she could feel the energy.
“Now, I want you to pull it, draw that energy to you.”
She nodded, bit her lip and did as she was told. She felt the warmth, the heat, as it melted into her and she gasped.
“I did it.” She said smiling but as soon as she looked away the heat dissipated.
“But you’re not holding it. You need to keep it in you. Keep that extra Magic inside.”
“Practice. Pull it in then focus on holding it.”
She nodded and tried again. This time she held it for a minute before it faded away.
“Good. And again.” He said and she nodded.
By the end of the lesson she could do it. She could hold the Magic within her even with Guillaume standing behind her, shouting, jumping and generally trying to distract her to force her to focus harder.
“How did you learn this Guillaume? Who taught you?” She asked and he shrugged.
“I taught myself. We all did.”
“So how come I can’t?”
“Some Fae seem to have it easier than others. Many who cross over do not make it past the first few years, they can’t learn to use their Magic and there is no one to teach them and they die.”
“That would have been me.” Alice stated.
“Yes. About half of us die and the other half survive. It is part of being Fae. We try to help anyone who crosses over if we can, we find them we teach them. We tried with you. We knew when you crossed but it was already too late by the time we got to where the place was. You were gone and there were too many people around for us to try and find you.”
“How did you know I’d crossed?”
“We feel it. We feel the change in the Magic. In the same way that we are made from the world, so we feel the world changing with the newcomer.”
“Oh. So if a new Fae comes will I feel it too?”
“Perhaps. If you know what the Magic feels like then you will.”
Alice sat back thinking. It felt like there was so much to learn.
“You didn’t tell the High King about the rest of the Fae.” Guillaume stated.
“No.” She said. “I deliberately left it out.”
She shrugged. “You saved my life, they did too. I wasn’t willing to put them in danger by highlighting their existence to him.”
“But I thought you were loyal to him?”
“I can be loyal to him but protect the Fae too.”
“That will be a difficult path to walk.”
“I think it probably will be.” Alice replied.
“Jelric has not told him either.”
“He kept their existence quiet. The High King may find out from other sources but for the moment they are safe.”
“That surprises me about Jelric. He acts like he would die for the High King.”
“Perhaps he has changed his opinion slightly.”
“What do you mean?”
Guillaume shrugged. “Things have changed it for him.”
“Like what?” Alice asked concerned. If there was one thing they needed it was Jelric. If they lost his allegiance it might all start to crumble and then they would be lost.
“Like the order the High King gave his brother…” Guillaume said meeting her eye with a hard stare.
She looked away feeling herself redden. “You know about that?”
“I know everything that is relevant.” He stated.
“How is that relevant?” She snapped.
“It is to your Magic.”
“I did not mean to offend you or cause you hurt.”
She shook her head slightly. “Then what did you mean?”
“I did not mean to bring it up. But at least now you know I know and you have my support.”
She looked back at him and gritted her teeth. When would she be free of that whole saga she wondered? It had happened so long ago now and yet it still kept coming up. It still kept haunting her. And every time she thought she had moved on something was there to remind her and drag it all back. She sighed.
“It was a long time ago now and I’m over it.”
“As you say.” He said gently. “Perhaps we should leave this for today and pick up tomorrow?”
Alice nodded. “That would be good.” She got up to leave and paused at the door. “Thank you Guillaume, for teaching me. For agreeing to.”
“You’re welcome.” He said with a smile.
Alice walked back through the Castle towards her room. Footsteps echoed behind her and she glanced back and then stopped confused by who she saw.
“Mira?” She said and then ran and hugged her. “What are you doing here?”
“I came with the High King. They said you were sick.”
“I’m fine honestly.” She stated. “But the High King has been here for days. Where have you been? I haven’t seen…” She looked at her face. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?”
“It’s nothing.” Mira replied but Alice could see something was wrong.
“Tell me Mira. Are you sick? Has something happened to Ridley?” She saw her flinch at the name. “What’s happened?”
“It’s over.” She said and she looked away at the ground.
Alice shook her head hardly believing it.
“It is. It has to be. His father is on his way and he is bringing Ridley’s bride with him.” Mira stated.
“It’s okay. It’s what was always going to happen. I knew it. I knew it was a fantasy and it wouldn’t last.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be. Please, I loved him but it is over. It had to be. I had to walk away.”
“You walked away?”
“What choice did I have? His bride is literally arriving any day. I’m not going to just stand there and watch it. And I’m not willing to be his mistress. His bit on the side. I can’t just be that and I can’t do that to his new bride either. I loved him and now it is over.”
Alice hugged her hard and felt as Mira gave into the sobs.
“I’m so sorry.”
“Just promise me something.”
“That we never talk of it again.”
“Agreed.” Alice said though she had a horrible feeling that avoiding Ridley would be a completely different matter. He was still Fain’s second in command and with everything that had happened there wasn’t anyway they wouldn’t still see him around. Perhaps she had been stupid in encouraging Mira in the first place she thought. Stupid and reckless, because it wasn’t like she even understood the rules of this world even now. She’d encouraged her and now Mira was heartbroken on top of everything else.
“Why don’t we go back to my room?”
Mira nodded. “I’ve been hiding. I didn’t want to see anyone for a few days.” She admitted.
“Oh Mira.” Alice said and gave her another hug. “You’re going to get through this. I promise you.”
She opened the door and they walked into her rooms. Mira gasped at the sight of them.
“This is where you’ve been staying?” She said wiping the tears from her face.
“Yes and it’s your room too now.” Alice stated. “Come on, let me show you around.”
They walked through the rooms, with Mira admiring each one and then they went to sit by the fireplace. Mira picked up Alice’s stringlet and plucked a string.
“I don’t think I’ll ever play one again.” She said sadly.
“Don’t be silly. You love playing it.”
“I know but it just reminds me of him.”
“Then we need to unremind you.” Alice stated and she sat beside her. “Pick a song, any song. We’ll work our way through.”
“I can’t think of any.”
“Fine, then I’ll pick and you can just sing along.” Alice said and she took the stringlet and played the first song that came into her head; ‘Dumb Blonde’ by Dolly Parton. Mira started singing after the second verse and by the time she’d finished she called the next song and then the next. Mira ran to get her stringlet and then they carried on.
Fain walked into find them both sitting, half laughing, half crying as they sang and mixed up the tunes into a random mashup. He stood in the door way and Alice saw him and smiled at his confused face.
“Keep going.” Alice said to Mira. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
“Hi.” He said as she walked up to him.
“Hi.” She said back.
“What’s going on?” He asked glancing at Mira and then back at her.
“Can we rain check tonight?”
“What does that mean?” He asked confused by her weird phrase.
“It means Mira needs me right now and I don’t want to leave her on her own.”
“Ridley is getting married.”
“His bride is due to arrive any day.”
“Ah.” He said looking back at Mira. “How is she taking it?”
“Better than I expected but not great.”
“Then don’t let me keep you.” He said kissing her lightly.
“You don’t mind?”
“Not at all. I’m sure I can occupy myself for an evening.” He said and she smiled watching him turn and go.
He walked into the study knowing that his brother and Jelric would undoubtedly be there.
The High King raised an eyebrow but said nothing as he poured himself a drink and sat down across from him. He nodded at Jelric to continue what he was saying.
“As I said, there have been no attacks and we have felt nothing since. Have found no trace since…”
“Good.” Uther interrupted and Fain frowned.
“Found no trace of what?” He asked looking between them.
“Niseri.” Jelric replied.
“You’ve been looking for her?”
“Our Magi’s have.” Uther stated. “And it appears that our Fae Girl was correct. She has taken her Magic away. Has stripped her of it.”
“I saw her do it.” Fain said.
“Did you feel anything?” Jelric asked and Fain shook his head.
“I felt nothing. But I saw how she reacted. How she screamed.”
“Good. I hope that bitch screamed. I hope it hurt.” Uther growled.
“But you felt nothing. No Magic at all?” Jelric persisted and Fain frowned.
“You have been half-Fae for enough months now that your Magic should be growing.” He stated and Fain gritted his teeth. He’d felt no different, he’d felt no Magic and if it wasn’t for the fact that he and Alice could communicate in their heads he’d be inclined to say it hadn’t happened. That he wasn’t half-Fae at all.
“You have no powers?” Uther asked fixing his eye on him.
“Are you sure the girl did it?”
Fain glared at him.
“I can feel it.” Jelric replied. “I can see it too. The Magic in you.”
“And yet you have no powers..” Uther added. “Perhaps we should try to bring them out?” He looked at his Magi to see his reaction.
“No.” Fain snapped. “I’m not something you can experiment on.”
“You were the one that fucked her...” Uther said and Fain scowled at him.
“Don’t speak of her like that.”
“I forgot that you’ve turned all sentimental since she’s been in your bed.” He said smirking.
Fain rolled his eyes. Jelric shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
“Have you ever even encountered a half-Fae before? Have you ever even heard of it actually happening?” He asked Jelric to try diffuse the conversation.
“No. I’ve read about it. I know it happens but it’s a complex thing.”
“So he might not even have any powers?” Uther questioned, turning to look at his Magi again.
Jelric shrugged. “It is hard to say. It could be that their connection is all it is or it could be that it just takes longer. We just have to wait.”
“What connection?” Uther asked narrowing his eyes.
“We can communicate, in our heads. And we can feel each other’s emotions too.” Fain said before Jelric could speak. He didn’t want Jelric making it sound anymore than what it was.
“That’s interesting.” Uther stated.
“Is it?” Fain said meeting his gaze.
Uther looked at him but said no more. He didn’t want to argue with him and could see Fain was already being defensive about it. Still, it was an interesting option to be aware of.
“What about Indrya? Have we had no word about her?” Fain asked.
“Nothing.” Jelric stated. “It’s like she disappeared into thin air.”
“Good riddance I say.” Uther muttered and Fain shook his head slightly.
“I don’t like.” He said. “Whoever has taken her obviously had their reasons…”
“Hopefully they threw her in a ditch somewhere and did us all the favour.” Uther said. Fain shot him a look. “Don’t pretend that you care. With what she did. After nearly killing my son...”
“You don’t have to tell me.” Fain replied calmly. “But I doubt we’ve heard the last from her.”
“Whoever took her is welcome to her.” Uther stated and Fain gritted his teeth. It felt like Uther was blinded by his hatred for her. She had been a detestable person and deserved everything she got but that didn’t mean they could just forget about her. Whatever was going on his gut told him it wasn’t over.