The New and The Old - Chapter 5
I woke up at least a half an hour later than I should have in order to make it there on time.
So, I stood in front of my full length mirror and I struggled to remember Eredith's spell. I had taken a drawer full of wands from Grams side table downstairs as I tried to figure out which wand to use. After using the first few that turned on TV's and turned off lights I was already thinking about my christmas gift to Grams, a universal wand.
At the very bottom of the drawer was a labelled wand that had apparently been Eredith's first wand. It was fitting as I tried to use this one. It's slender, mahogany bodice fit nicely in my petite palm as I grasped it like a chef would a knife and attempted to let the words of the spell come to me.
Whiskers rubs against my legs, his scaly patches feeling strange against my bare skin. How did Grams not realize that she had a literal tiny dragon in her home?
"Prim and proper, dressed neat, from head to toe, and face to feet." I said, finally remembering it after saying different variants of it. The spell transformed me, giving me a high ponytail, a navy blue cardigan, and a pair of comfy cotton jeans. My hair was tied with ribbon that matched the cardigan. I throw on a pair of flats and Griffin's robe before running downstairs to catch a ride with Griffin.
I hop on and close my eyes and he takes off quickly, we're at the school in minutes.
Rushing into the dining hall I look around and see the table where Eredith's table is, her not there yet thankfully. I sit down beside the dark-haired boy with the stoic face that I'd seen before, now noticing his baby blue eyes. He plays with a brown ferret at the table.
Unsanitary, I think, Even for a magic school.
"Hey, Erie," He says to me with a smile and I realize he definitely thought I was Eredith.
I grimace a little, not knowing how to make it clear that I wasn't Eredith up until he goes silent and pale faced seeing Eredith behind me.
She's wearing an outfit similar to mine except her cardigan is blush colored and her hair is in a tight bun. The look on her face is pretty annoyed, was it the fact that he'd mistaken us? We did look alike besides my curly hair that was currently in a tight ponytail. And I could definitely see the resemblance given how the spell decided to dress me.
"I'm so sorry, Parker." He says, "Eredith never used to shut up about you, I should've realized who you are."
"It's fine. Who are you?" I ask awkwardly, distracted by his good looks to a degree where I don't even remember to properly ask his name.
"Argos Drathen," He grandly announces with a grin, "And you should stick around me to learn a thing or two about magic."
I raise an eyebrow. Unsanitary and presumptuous, I think, I'm sure we'll be the best of friends.
It was a particularly bad thing when even my thoughts were sarcastic.
He smiles at me but all I can focus on is his adorable pet ferret who stared right at me with his beady black eyes. The ferret was cute, as was the boy, but the ferret had better manners.
"What's the ferrets name?" I ask with a coy smile and Argos puts on an embarrassed expression.
"Bear." He answers shyly and I smile.
I tell him, "That's a really cute name."
I can practically see the tension lift from his shoulders.
"Thank you." He beams, his genuine smile so much kinder than his smirking or grinning. A little bit of the metaphorical ice between us seems to melt.
Maybe he isn't so awful. I think as Eredith shoves a book in front of me.
"I think this book'll help us out with what happened yesterday." She explains and I read the title aloud.
"Unexplained phenomenons of the Magic world?" I half-ask, half-tell. I also gawk at the sheer size of the thing.
She nods her head with an almost annoyed expression plastered on her face.
Argos leans over, close enough that I can smell the way his body reeks of basil. It's almost suffocating. His long locks tickle my arm which I pull away, wanting to avoid contact as much as possible. These enchanter guys really had something about them, I'd been pining over the wrong guys my whole life. It was as though their male qualities were enhanced in some fashion, like they were some kind of supreme breed of man.
His smile almost makes my skin itch like something was beneath it, he was infectious.
Eredith pushes the book closer towards Argos so he can read the page she's flipped it to, also. He raises an eyebrow when he skims it, reading the heading out loud. "Twin magic?"
She nods. "You should see what happens when we make contact."
"Well there go all my fantasies." A boy across the table remarks. It turned out Eredith's other friends had all been listening in.
Eredith sighs. "Meet us by the falls after breakfast and I'll show you what I mean."
I pull her close to me by the fabric of her robe, careful not to make contact, and feel a brush of electricity when lips brush her ear. "Can't we discuss this first? I'm not a circus animal."
Eredith confirms aloud to her friends, "By the falls."
I roll my eyes and make an audible grunt of frustration.
"Something wrong, Jane?" Argos asks and I look over at him.
"Jane?" I question and he nods.
"I think it's a nice name for you. Being your secondary name and all." He explains and I nod, still not quite getting it but going along with it anyways.
The bell for the signal to get to class is dainty and rings throughout the room, it was time to head towards the falls.
We exit the hall, running out almost. A friend of Eredith's complains, I believe her name was Finlen. She exclaims that we'll be late. However, no one else seems to care, and I certainly didn't. My classes wouldn't start until the following week.
We walk towards the falls where I remove my robes and she does the same. Standing opposite of each other, she reaches out an arm. She takes a deep breath. The most we'd done is brush against each other, my stomach was wrenching in knots.
Her friends all watch with anticipation as we quickly and unceremoniously link hands, weaving our fingers together. Immediately my arm muscles begin to pulsate and it spreads throughout my body. It is the feeling of being struck by lightning, based upon what I've read. After the event, all I could do was read up on what had happened to my body.
There was a jolting, excruciating pain that passed through each contracting muscle of my body. And then it all stopped, my body stopped completely and a weight was lifted from me.
This time it wasn't just my hair that floated, this time we both lifted from the ground together. She stared me in the eyes, hers wide with fear. Was it strange that all I could think about was how she and I can literally never hug each other? Or have a secret handshake between sisters?
And then it all became clear as the adrenaline coursing through my veins slowed. Everything seemed to slow down just slightly as we floated there together, the world stopping as we were engulfed in a bright, white light. It felt almost like a bubble and when it popped we floated back down.
Words rung in my ears, a soft voice that said, "You're home where you belong. She's your home."
Chills ran down my spine as she gave me a sideways glance. Had she heard the same?
The ground approached quicker than I'd expected given how high up we'd been. Her friends stared at us and my face grew hot. Finlen stands with a smirk, I notice her above all the others due to her freakishly bright blue locks and her sharp teeth that were noticeable when her smirk turned to a grin. She sarcastically claps as we touch down, my heart racing and my breathing feeling like static; frazzled. Just like my brain felt, confused and racing with fried bits at the edges.
Finlen jogs over to Eredith as she collapses to her knees beside me.
"How about you don't touch your freaky sister again, okay?" Finlen says as she helps Eredith to her feet. I stand somewhat strong beside her. What had happened? Why did I get stronger while Eredith felt weak?
A fall breeze sizzled over my aching skin. Embarrassed by her friends sharp tongue and tired from the days work, I slipped away, unnoticed. Grams house was only a short distance away if I tried hard enough to teleport.
I'd found that in wishful thinking I'd found my best escapes. If I thought hard enough, my body fizzled away to nothing and I'd reappear before my new homes doorstep.
Luckily for me, it worked once more like a charm as my heart soared before my body did. Arriving at home, my stomach churned once my vision returned. I wondered what it looked like as I materialized out of thin air. I decided it was a painful feeling, I'd have to get a broomstick of my own soon. Especially since I had flight class as one of my first few in the semester.
I crouched down on the doorstep, trying to regain my balance. It was odd how having my Alec muscle pump away in my chest for only a few days had made me better at magic already. I found myself wishing for things and having them happen. Like when I wished that Argos would follow behind, and he did.
He appeared before me, standing strong despite having just teleported. Would I truly ever get used to the feeling of interdimensional travel?
"You've gotta work on your teleporting, you left a trail for me to follow." He tells me as he invites himself to sit beside me.
I admit, "I'm new to all this."
"I know, Jane." He says with reassurance and then adds, "Do you have any idea at all what happened back there?"
I nod my head no solemnly and add, "I don't think even Eredith knows and she's been studying this stuff for years."
"She's one of the strongest in our class." He confirms before adding, "But from the outsiders perspective it looked as though you drained some of the magic from her."
"But how?" I ask and he shrugs.
"Don't expect me to know," He sighs, "This is new territory."
"For everyone I suppose," I say with a sigh.
He leans closer and I notice the basil smell once more. It was fresh and soothing. Argos looks at me with twinkling eyes.
"You're a lot like your sister," He tells me, "Different."
"It's good to be different." I begin to argue as he smiles from ear to ear.
He confirms, "I know it is, that's why I said it."
Just as he learns slightly closer to me, the front door opens with a creak and is followed by a surprised gasp. Grams closes the door behind us, moving forward on the porch to just behind us.
"I didn't realize you brought company, Parker." Grams says warmly, "How about you two head inside and I'll make cocoa when I get back from the market?"
"That sounds awesome, Grams." I say with a smile as Argos and I move on opposite directions so that Grams can get through. She pushes up her floppy sun hat and looks behind at me with a smile.
"Head inside, it's starting to get cold around here." I nod and open the front door again, gesturing for Argos to move inside. He obliges, looking around the house.
He comments, "I haven't been here in a while. I used to be here everyday, actually, but ever since Eredith started taking advanced classes and moved into a dorm I haven't seen Grams."
"She's wonderful, isn't she?" I say with a proud grin and he nods.
"Your whole family is, actually, based on who I've met." He remarks and I raise an eyebrow.
"Who have you met?" I inquire and he grows sheepish, shuffling back and forth. He pulls up a nearby chair and takes a seat, pulling out one for me as well. I sit and look to him for a response.
"Well, you, Eredith, and Grams." Argos tells me, "Based on you three alone I think your family is wonderful."
"You've only just met me!" I exclaim and he chuckles.
He smiles, "That's the beauty of it, I've got so much to learn."
Argos sure was a charmer, sitting in my home and flattering away with words smooth as silk. What was his goal from all this?
I'd literally just met him this morning, and now he was in my home. His pocket jiggles from Bear, who seems to be having a good time in there. He carried Bear with him everywhere, it seems.
"Is there more to this?" I ask with a twinge of fear in my voice.
He chuckles, "What's your favorite color?"
"Blue." I tell him, looking at his baby blues and confirming my favorite color.
He smiles, "Same as Erie's."
I try not to roll my eyes. He seemed a little obsessed with my sister. I wondered if in return he could tell me more about her. She seemed like an interesting woman to hear about, it was strange that I knew nothing about the girl with my face.
"How long have you known my sister?" I ask and he instantly scrunches up his eyebrows, trying to remember.
"I believe only three years now, but we're pretty close." He admits and I decide whether or not to probe deeper. Carefully, I interrogate him just slightly.
"But you two are so close?" I ask and he nods.
"Your sister cares about me in a way that no one did for quite a while." He stands up to stretch and as his head nearly bumps the ceiling I realize how tall he is. At least six foot, it was an attractive quality.
I think carefully before asking, "But you have so many friends from what I saw?"
"Those people aren't good friends," He sits back down as he tells me this and the chair creaks, struggling beneath him, "They're almost like acquaintances, they don't care about me. I met the one Finlen through Erie, she's a nasty elf. And the rest only cling to me because of my magic."
"What a bunch of losers," I tell him with a sympathetic smile, "You seem like a cool guy."
"I am a cool guy." He confirms with a beaming smile. He giggles a bit as the ferret crawls out of his robe sleeve. "Looks like Bear wanted to say hi."
I smile and look at Argos, "Do you mind if I pick him up?"
"Go ahead." He tells me as I scoop him up and hold him close to my chest. Bear cuddles close, seemingly enjoying the scratchy material of Griffin's robe. I didn't like the scratchiness but Griffin was right, the scent of him was reassuring.
"I think he likes me!" My voice nearly a shout with excitement.
Argos nods. "I don't see that often, he's a grumpy little guy. He likes to protect me."
I look Bear in his bead like eyes and then up at Argos, "How can such a cuddly little guy protect you?"
"He's reassuring." Argos admits, "He's been with me for a while."
I nod as I listen, stroking Bear's back with my pointer and index fingers. He makes a funny little sound as I pet him.
"So what room of the house are you in?" He asks and I shrug.
"It's probably Eredith's old room," I stand and hand Bear back to Argos, "Do you wanna see?"
Argos nods and we plod towards the stairs together.
"Tell me about you." I broadly suggest, "You're in my house, I might as well learn about you."
"Only if I get more insight into you." He smirks, I can tell from behind him with the way his ears perk up and wiggle. It's an odd trick of mine, I'm good at recognizing expressions from all angles.
"Do you wanna play twenty questions?" I suggest and he nods.
"Awesome idea, I'll start?" He asks and I smile.
I take the lead when we get to the stairs which we jog up and then I lead him into my room. He nods, looking around.
"I like what they did with the place. Erie had the walls black." He chuckles, "I've seen that girl go through a few phases."
"Makes sense." I tell him as he flops down on my bed and pats a spot beside him. How kind of him to invite me to my own bed.
I plop down next to him. "Your turn," I say while fussing with a strand of my hair. I hadn't bothered to fix my ponytail after the incident at the falls.
"Favorite book?" He asks and I grin.
"Hamlet, Shakespeare. Have you read it?" I ask and he nods as I say it.
"It's one of my favorites too." He smiles as there's a knock at the door. I jog downstairs quickly and Argos follows, standing at the top of the steps as I open the door to see Finlen and Eredith, both fuming.
"You left to do what? Lie about?" Eredith interrogates, storming into the house. Out of the corner of my eye I see Argos dash downward, hopefully returning to my room and hiding in my closet.
"I just needed some thinking time." I explain and Eredith glares with a fury as I do so.
Finlen smirks from beside her, looking up at me in a way that felt like she was looking down on me, her gaze was particularly condescending. Elves have particularly expressive faces, making this so much worse. Her gaze was like fire in her eyes.
"Well your thinking time scared everyone off. Do you have any idea what happened out there?" She asks and I nod my head no.
"Something that I hope never happens again." I tell her and she nods surprisingly in agreement.
Grams walks through the door, giving Eredith and Finlen a surprised gaze. "More company, Parker? My, you sure are popular today." She tells me and I realize I'm a goner. Or, Argos was a goner. Most likely she'd kill us both.
"More company?" Eredith raises an eyebrow and I look nervously to Grams, who doesn't get the hint.
"Your friend Argos stopped by!" She explains and Eredith's face goes red. It would've been funny if I wasn't utterly terrified of her and what she was about to say.
Argos comes walking down the stairs and sighs. "You caught me, I wanted to get to know your sister."
She seethes, "I know how you are with pretty girls."
Argos sighs. "I wouldn't do that to Parker," His voice is hushed and insistent, "She's special."
It was almost funny how they thought I couldn't hear them.
"I have classes tomorrow that I've gotta get ready for," I tell them both, looking at Argos in particular, "Could you all please leave?"
Grams chuckles. "That's no way to speak to guests, they're all invited for dinner!"
She picks up a wand and extends our table to make room for three extra guests.
My night was shaping up to be an impressively awful one and it was only noon. Finlen stares at me with hungry eyes and a grinning maw full of sharp teeth. I begun to wonder if elves always have sharp teeth.
"How about you hang upstairs until dinnertime, okay gang?" Grams asks and I suppress any number of attitude filled facial expressions. I loved her dearly but she didn't understand social cues.
Eredith bounds upstairs and opens what used to be her old room, stepping in and commenting, "How did I know they'd give you my old room?"
"We shared a womb and we share a face, why not give me your old room?" I say and Eredith nods.
"A fair point," She flops down on my bed, "We don't have to stay if you don't want us to."
I think, Could you please leave?
Everything had been tense between Eredith and I since the discovery of what happened if we made contact. Would it always be that way?
Argos and Finlen stand in the doorway and Eredith looks at them, "Could you two wait out in the hall?"
They look to each other and then back at Eredith, nodding yes right before she uses her wand to close the door. She crosses her legs as I join her on the bed.
"I assume you wanna talk about today?" I guess and she nods. My mouth is taut as I make an uncomfortable expression.
"Judging by what I know," She tells me while holding out her hand, "Maybe it'll stop after such a large explosion of power. Something can only be a powder keg for so long."
I shrug and hold out a hand, touching mine lightly to hers as a spark of electricity jolts off our skin and slams into the wall, leaving scorch marks in the shape of what looked like a tree. It was a nice addition to the blue walls, but definitely a sign that Eredith and I wouldn't be high fiving any time soon unless we wanted to kill an innocent bystander.
Argos opens the door and pokes his head in, "Do I smell burning?"
Eredith nods, "We tried contact again."
"You're obsessed," He comments, fully opening the door and strolling in, plopping down beside me. The aroma of fresh herbs assaults my nose. Why did he always smell like herbs?
Finlen walks in after him, her petite frame dwarfed by the size of my door. All the doorframes in the house were tall, as though Grams expected to be accomodating giants or orcs. She opts to turn her wand into a wooden stool and sit on that instead of up on the bed with us. She then removes a deck of cards from the inside pocket of her robes and begins shuffling them with one hand.
"Don't you have night guard duties tonight, Finlen?" Argos asks, clearly hoping she'll leave.
She scoffs, "And miss a home cooked meal? Hala can handle it herself tonight, it's not a full moon." She comments and then adds, "But tomorrow is so I'll have to tomorrow for sure."
Argos nods and then sighs, probably envisioning punting Finlen far away. Based on what I knew, I was aware that the two had a bit of a past. And it was a constant power struggle for Eredith's attention.
At some point during a stimulating conversation about Magicless things, I ended up falling asleep and awakening just in time for dinner.
The smell of mac and cheese casserole woke me from a great nap and when I woke up I found that only Argos was still there, also passed out beside me. I shook him awake and headed downstairs to find everyone already at the table and two spots across from each other open. We took our spots across from each other at the table and Grams said grace again.
Everything was fine up until the dinner conversation shifted my way.
"Excited to start classes tomorrow, Parker?" Daisy asks and I shift around in my seat.
I force out a, "Yea totally," before resuming my meal.
"Did you get your schedule yet?" Grams asks and I shake my head no.
After such stimulating conversation, the night is finally over. Eredith and Finlen wait outside as I say my goodbyes to Argos. He gives me a smile and admits, "It's been nice spending time with you, Jane. We should do this again."
I shudder, would Eredith tag along every time?
"Definitely." I lie and he smiles. His smiles were so genuine and frequent.
"I'd best be leaving before Eredith puts a broomstick up my bum," He winks at me, "Catch ya later, Jane."
I give him a grin and a wave goodbye before heading inside and straight upstairs to get a full night's rest.
And just as I was sound asleep, I was jolted awake by the sound of a bloodcurdling scream. Chills ran down my spine as I recognized the shrill outburst to be one of Wila's. I jolted out of bed, springing to the door and down the hall, opening her door with force. The room was bright. Wila refused to sleep in the dark, as I came to find out.
She was curled up in a ball, with her nose tucked in between her knees and her back against the edge of the bed. Her body was quivering and her pupils nearly consumed her irises.
I sat down lightly beside her and she immediately rested her head against my shoulder, her dainty hand wrapped around my other shoulder. Her sobs were loud and raspy, every sound emanating from her seemingly pained.
Her nails dig into my shoulder and I wince slightly.
"Was it the dream again?" I ask and she nods, her forehead rubbing against my right shoulder as her nails probed the muscle beneath my skin. No doubt it would be red and sore the next day.
I glance at a clock to see it was two in the morning. I had my doubts about getting any more sleep after that.
"It was closer..." She says through sobs. I only then notice that she's drenched, her wet and matted hair against my pajama top was soaking through cold to my bones.
I reached up and over to feel that her mattress felt like a sponge picked fresh out of water prior to being squeezed.
"Show me." I say, feeling brave. Was it normal to need courage for things such as this? These days I felt like I needed courage every day to do anything here.
She clutches me tighter and my mind is overtaken.
The cold chills my bones once more, this time I'm beneath its waters which slam my cold and burning skin. How was I freezing but on fire at the same time?
It was the pain of running ice water over a burn or to take a too hot shower after playing in the snow all day. Chills run down my body as I try to warm myself, going to rub my arms and looking down to see my fingers were webbed. Who was I?
I try to look around, the air escaping my burning lungs as I look straight ahead and I notice again that bright red seaweed swaying in the aggressive tide. It was right beneath a piece of a building, with a proper roof and all just slightly detached and only barely holding on. It hadn't been there long, the only sea life growing upon it was the swaying red seaweed.
Dare I go closer? I couldn't. I was trapped against the other side of something, a wall of sorts. Bubbles floated out from under the piece of the building and I notice that in the darkness, figures swim towards the seaweed. Only a single ray of light illuminates the festive greenery, and I can see better and I realize it wasn't seaweed at all; it was long, ginger hair swaying in the ocean tide.
I gasp as my vision is no longer clouded by the overwhelming sights of Wila's dreams.
"Wila," I say, "Please tell me you know other redheads."
She pulls away from me, glaring accusingly, "That's all you have to say? Parker, something is seriously wrong."
I nod in agreement. "Do you want me to stay here with you?"
She looks at me, her eyes softening slightly, "Would you?"
"Of course." I tell her and we drag down her soaking wet blanket. She taps it with her wand and it dries instantly. To which I smile as we get comfy together on the floor, me still holding her tight for reassurance.