Walking silently out of his kitchen, he willed Imogen through their empathetic link to change into her feline form, to which he got a lazy vibe followed by a content feeling. Walking to the door through the den, he looked out the peephole to see who was outside at this hour. Samuel gasped in surprise when he saw the bushy red hair of a familiar Witch, her rectangular glasses peeking through the hole right back at him.
Sighing, Samuel unlocked the door and opened it up, before receiving a crushing hug in return. Coughing up some of his pastry, his friend backed away slowly to allow him to clear his throat before scooping him back up into a hug.
“Hello Mia,” he said with a smile, thinking about where he’d left his Weekly Wiccan; Mia was liable to burn the thing if she caught sight of it, seeing as she was no longer a columnist for it.
“Oh Sammy, you’ve gotten even thinner! Have you been eating? What about those nutrition potions I made you, you should be out of them by now right?” She asked, looking him up and down in his black jeans and shirt and black socks.
She, on the other hand was wearing a pleated skirt with red leggings and a red long-sleeved blouse, with an undershirt that buttoned up her neck all the way under her chin. Her hard soled shoes, each bearing a buckle, clacked as she walked into the house, handing her coat to Samuel as she headed towards the kitchen.
“Have you made coffee? I’ll make coffee.” She said as she passed him, causing him to chuckle and shake his head. Moving to hang her fur lined coat over the back of the couch, he turned to follow after her.
She was already at the coffee pot, filling the filter with grounds while sprinkling a little bit of powder into the mix. When she caught him staring she just smiled. “It’s for your own good!”
“Mia, I’ve told you I don’t need to gain any weight. I’m perfectly happy the way I am,” he said, settling into his chair.
“Nonsense,” she said, closing the filter and pressing the on switch before spinning on the spot. “You just need a bit of sun, some more weight on your bones; we’ll have the girls all over you.”
“And why, pray tell, would I want the girls all over me?” Samuel asked, leaning his head onto one hand.
“Well because you’re the infamous Black Warlock of course!” She stated as if it were obvious. “Once we get you into shape for cameras, we’re going to do an exclusive interview which we can sell to the Weekly Wiccan. Before they gave me the axe all I could hear about was how badly they desired an interview with you.”
“I don’t want to be given any special treatment just for surviving…” Samuel said, shaking his head.
“You survived a Class I encounter! A Class I! And the people you saved said they witnessed you using magic from all of the schools, not just the standard invocations that you Warlocks tend to live by.”
“The vampire was weakened from going so long without blood,” Samuel said, putting his head in both hands. “Anybody could have handled him.”
“Well how come the three Wizards and the one Witch, all ten years your senior or older, couldn’t handle it, hmm?” Mia asked, smiling as the coffee pot dinged, signaling it was done making its delicious brew.
“I don’t know, they tried their hardest! Maybe they weakened it enough for me…”
“That still doesn’t explain how you were able to use Wizard and Witch skills-”
“Okay that’s enough!” Samuel all but shouted, interrupting Mia’s line of thought. “I’ll tell you like I’ve told all the others, it was a fluke. I got a lucky shot in and pierced its heart. Imogen helped quite a bit as well, allowing me to parry the creature’s attacks.”
“Sammy…” Mia said softly, turning to pour a cup of coffee for the two of them. “You’re going to have to come out of hiding eventually. Going to a normal school and moving to a big city will only keep your fans at bay so long.”
“I did it to stay safe Mia, don’t you understand?” Samuel growled, accepting his cup of coffee black. “I spend every day pouring over my Grimoire, hoping to become better, to cram more spells and invocations into my head. I spend hours brewing potions and creating reagents for ritual spells, and for what? Just to live in fear some other monster will come stalking for me, to prove it’s stronger than me?”
“I… never thought of it like that.” Mia said, stirring a spoon in her own mug.
“No, nobody ever did. Nobody would ever understand, except for maybe the Ravens…” Samuel said, shaking his head.
“You’re not thinking…”
“No Mia, I would never join the Ravens. I like having a life to live after all. While they may be safe in their hideouts and bunkers, all they do is train to become better monster hunters. Part of me respects that, and part of me is envious. The other parts think they’re insane.”
Mia laughed her, voice musical. As a Witch she used her voice to gain command over a certain element and all of the aspects that go along with it. Mia was a fire-user, with an emphasis on heat waves. While it may not sound dangerous, the fact that she could make air erupt into fire with only a few moments of focus made her a dangerous adversary when she chose to be. She also brewed potions and prepared reagents for rituals that Wizards research and perform. Without a Witch’s natural affinity towards magic, a Wizard’s academic views on the arcane would be futile.
Not that Wizards were solely reliant upon Witches. Witches used materials found by Warlocks in the field, as they were the only ones capable of harvesting and keeping ingredients magical thanks to their invocations. Wizards in turn studied the magical world and made it possible for Warlocks to have invocations at all, while Witches were required by both to prepare potions, reagents and ritual stones. The three groups all relied upon one another, which was why the Witches Guild was headed up by one of each specialization. They monitored the money that flowed in and out of the magical community, and published the Weekly Wiccan so all the magicals were kept in the loop about what was happening around the world.
Sipping his coffee, Samuel contemplated what he was actually doing. He’d abandoned the mystical world to go back to his parents’ home, removing their memory wipes to remind them they had a child, but not enough to actually have them visiting. If a monster with any form of classification were to learn of his parents, they’d use them against Samuel as best as they could, hoping the practical strangers would give them some sort of edge over the Black Warlock.
Huh… Black Warlock. Really need to get that title dropped before it catches on, he thought as he stared at Mia drinking her coffee. So what if I can use all three schools of magic? Why is that anyone’s business but my own?
Looking up at the microwave to check the time, his eyes widened as he noted the time was nearing seven thirty. Tiffany would be showing up anytime now, and he hadn’t even had a chance to create Claire’s Cloak. Opening his senses, Samuel reached out into the ethereal plane and sought out the specter dwelling within his home.
Yes? It thought at him, turning from its dark corner in the attic.
Could you please stall a young girl coming up to the house, nothing to extreme, just enough to buy me five minutes. Samuel telepathically said, winking before pulling himself back to his body. Opening his eyes, he caught Mia staring, adjusting her glasses.
“Projecting? When did you learn how to do that?” She asked, trying to sound nonchalant. She was failing.
“No Mia, you aren’t going to write an article on me.” Samuel said, sounding tired.
“But the public has a right to know!” She said, stamping her foot and pouting.
“And I have the right to my privacy, a right I’m not giving up to have you hired by the very rag that fired you. Go work for one of the lesser presses. Black Beacon Press puts out a magazine every week covering celebrities, sounds right up your alley.”
“The only celebrity I’m interested in interviewing is you!” She growled, clacking her mug of coffee down before crossing her arms under her generous assets. “What would it take to get that kind of interview?”
“I don’t know, but can we talk about this later? I have a guest coming here soon and she’s a normal person. I’d like to keep it that way,” Samuel said, smiling as best he could with his ghoulish features.
“Well fine! But you better think about letting me do the inevitable interview, or I am so burning your ass!” Mia growled, stomping over to the pantry. Pulling a key from her pocket, she stuck it in the pantry door, shrinking to fit the lock. Turning, she locked the door before waiting a few moments and unlocking the door, opening it up to reveal a crowded street. Turning, she smiled at Samuel and winked.
“Remember, you owe me.”
“Fine, just get going!” Samuel cried, feeling the vestiges of life walking briskly up his driveway.
“I’ll talk to you later. I have to go job hunting.” Mia said, heaving a sigh, stepping through the door to the other side before pulling the door closed.
Just as the light faded from underneath the door, he heard the sharp rapping of knuckles on the front door, somewhat familiar to Mia’s incessant knocking. Loping out of the kitchen, Samuel made his way to the front door, opening it without checking with a simple twist of the knob.
“Oh, hello there!” A cheerful voice said, digging into his brain. “I’m looking for Samuel Graves, do you know where he is? Is he your big brother?”
Samuel turned to look at the girl with a gimlet eye. True, he might be short, but there was no reason to treat him like a child. Samuel looked over at the couch, where Mia’s coat still sat, and sighed before inviting Tiffany inside.
Tall and blonde with blue eyes and a clear complexion, she was the standard of beauty at any age, her voice melodic and her words seemingly kind. But Samuel had been through this before: they were nice until they figured out they had to deal with the freaky outcast. Not that Samuel did anything to help them deal with him, as his nature was akin to that of a sickly porcupine.
“Actually, I’m Samuel. It’s a… pleasure to meet you Tiffany, face-to-face at least.”
“Oh,” she said, looking him over. “Are you a Goth kid, because our school has a large Goth community, just so you know.”
“Delighted to hear it. Now when does school start?” Samuel replied tiredly.
“Eight-thirty!” She chirped, folding her hands over her short skirt.
“So we’re going to what, walk around campus on my first day looking at all the pretty buildings. For an hour?”
“Well, I didn’t know you had a car, so I set this up a little early.” She replied, somewhat embarrassed.
“Well let me finish my coffee and brush my teeth at least. Come on in and take a seat.” Samuel turned and made his way into the kitchen from the hall, listening to the soft footfalls of the girl behind him as she followed. Taking a seat at the old table, he picked up his coffee mug and took a long sip, before looking at the immaculately dressed girl with her long golden locks.
“You a cheerleader?” He asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yup, co-captain of the team!” She chirped.
Yeah, this was going to be a long day.