Dinner was light-hearted, with Mia laughing at every one of Samuel’s stories regarding his hunting stories. She was particularly interested in the story where he’d handled a group of zombie in South Africa, killing them before they spread their magical curse to others. It’d been one of the stories that had spread his stories as “The Black Warlock” due to the fact it was an act performed in Africa. The story hadn’t changed when people had caught sight of him and learned he was white, it’d even grown bigger when the magical world realized he was just a kid.
They drank the wine and had fun, with Mia being overly flirtatious and Samuel ignoring the overt attempts to woo him. She was a shapely young woman who had an allure about her, no doubt, but he knew she wasn’t someone he could have a healthy relationship with. She was too infatuated with her desire to work on his “Black Warlock” persona, becoming his publicist of sorts.
Not that Samuel was really one who wanted a healthy relationship. He despised being around people in general, the magical community being only marginally less obnoxious than the rest of the world. And the worst part was that he kept doing what he felt was right, which was saving people, and it just made him more of a hero to the average Magical. Hell, he’d seen a small article in the Weekly Wiccan offering a prize for information on him; he praised the God’s he didn’t believe in that Mia hadn’t seen those ads, or he might have reporters trying to get a Key to his home.
“… and so I told him that spelling my name would only get him so far, he really had to dig in there to get me going,” Mia said, pouring herself another glass of wine. Samuel shivered as his temperature control charms washed over him, forcing him to reach up to his button ton withdraw a minute amount of energy.
This caught Mia’s attention. “Hmmm…? Going to cast a spell are we?”
“Just something to sober me up a little, akin to a cup of coffee and a cold shower,” Samuel smiled at her before wiggling his fingers and muttering the spell, his eyes suddenly focused and his head no longer foggy. “Promised a little boy that’d I would see about his Banshee problem tonight, remember?”
“Oh my, has it already been that long?” Mia said, looking at a small wristwatch she had facing her palm. “I guess I should get changed if you want my help in dealing with this creature, shouldn’t I?”
Samuel smirked. “It’s a far less formal hunt than I would gather your current attire to be. Plus, there are Mundy’s about so we can’t be too flashy.”
“Does that mean you’ll be changing out of your attire? I have a spare bedroom you can use,” Mia purred.
“One likely with scrying spells layered over it no doubt. Sorry, I plan on just shedding the robes. I have some decent clothing on underneath.”
“Oh poo,” Mia said, tossing her napkin atop her plate. “I suppose I’ll go change. Meet you at your place in fifteen minutes?”
“That should work,” Samuel said, standing up as she did. He walked over and grabbed her wrist, pulling her into a tight embrace. “Thank you for pulling me out of my shell this evening, it’s nice to not be held on a pedestal all the time.”
“You’ll always be the scrawny little twerp I met in Moscow all those years ago, no matter how infamous you become,” Mia said, kissing him on the cheek. “Now unless you’re going to help me change, off you go!”
Samuel chuckled and wandered over to the pantry he’d entered from, pulling out the key to his home and unlocking the door after three turns. Walking from the heady cinnamon scented room to his chilly kitchen was a stark contrast in realities, but Samuel took it in stride. Looking around his kitchen, he saw an open pizza box, noting the toppings to be anchovies and jalapenos.
“She let Imogen order,” Samuel sighed before picking up a slice and biting into it. The dinner at Mia’s was filling but he was about to expend a good amount of energy, extra calories wouldn’t hurt.
Walking into the living room he was greeted to quite a sight. The couch had been pushed up against the bookcase and two rigs had been rolled out in front of the bust of Alfred. On them were Imogen in her imp form and Belle, wearing hip hugging shorts and a sports bra, both doing yoga. Taking another bite of the pizza, he listened to them for a moment bicker, Imogen telling Belle how to get into a certain pose before allowing her to stay in it for the requisite amount of time.
“Busy, are we?” He announced himself, almost laughing as Belle, whose shapely rear was pointed in the air, fell flat on her face in surprise while Imogen flitted up into the air.
“I was showing Belle how to do the exercises you do!” Imogen exclaimed, flapping towards Samuel with her eyes on the pizza. “She said if I showed her how to enhance her abilities I could have more fishies and peppers!”
“Imo, you know those exercises are for advanced trainees only,” Samuel gently chided while Belle, who was blushing furiously, pulled on her pants over her boy-shorts and buttoned up her top. “How was she tonight Belle? Does she deserve a treat?”
“Y-yeah, I guess so.” Belle said, refusing to make eye-contact with Samuel.
“Calm down, it wasn’t anything I haven’t seen before, or did you not get to the section in this week’s edition about Hannah?” Samuel asked.
“She… yeah, it’s like she was built to show off. She’s not like me, who needs sun and make-up to look okay,” Belle said, her fingers buttoning her sleeveless top quickly.
Samuel hummed and walked past her. “I have some spare clothes you can wear if you want to join me on the hunt tonight. A Banshee is a Class III threat so it’s not for the faint of heart, but it’d do you some good to stretch your magical legs, so to speak.”
“I’ve had them for less than a day! Why should I be handling any kind of threat?” Belle asked, looking at Samuel imploringly.
Samuel sighed. He gave the remainder of his pizza slice to Imogen, who happily began taking large bites from it. “There are five classes of threats, the lower the number the lower the threat. Class I creatures are what you should be handling right now, fresh ghosts and wisps, maybe a lantern wraith or a Demifuld.”
“Demifuld?” Belle asked, placing her hands on her feet, bending forward to stretch her legs.
“A creature that feeds on body heat. They look like quilts or comforters and will generally find a way to be sold or picked up to be used. They’re not exactly deadly but they leave people weak from the lack of heat. Handling them is typically an easy task, thus they’re classification.”
“But a Banshee?” Belle asked.
Samuel sighed. “A Banshee is a corporeal manifestation of a young woman who died a virgin while in the grips of intense sorrow or pain. There are rare times when they are male, which makes them more dangerous, but I digress. They can scream, which stuns and can kill the weak of heart, and they sing to lure people to them. They enjoy lulling people to sleep with their songs before slipping into the homes of their victims and stealing their breath.”
“Their breath?” Belle repeated.
“Yeah, they lean over the face of the victim and inhale the health from the victim. Over the course of a few weeks, a Mundy will slowly die. Mundy children are especially vulnerable targets as Banshee’s prefer purity over anything else.”
“And children are pure? So they prefer virgins over, um, others?” Belle asked, crossing her legs to lean her elbow on her knee, face resting in hand.
“Children are pure because they aren’t weighed down by adult thoughts. Sin. Karma. Whatever you want to call it, most dangerous magical entities prefer children as an energy source. And no a virgin is no necessarily pure to a Banshee.”
Belle looked over at Imogen who was gnawing on the crust of the pizza slice, her tiny claws tearing at the bread to manage small bits into her mouth. “Is… is that normal for her? I had to keep the pizza from her after she placed the order. I can barely stand it…”
Samuel began walking up the stairs, undoing his long cloak. “You’ll grow used to it if you get a familiar, almost all of them have a strange appetite for something. I know a Wizard out of New York who has a collection of Wolf Spiders that serve as his familiar. He eats pretty much only meat and lives in a burrow between two buildings that isn’t even on the map.”
“How does he get anything?” Belle asked, standing up.
Samuel shrugged. “I often buy venom and spider silk from him, and he doesn’t really like the modern world too much. He prefers his home cool and dark. He doesn’t have electricity or plumbing, just a door that allows him access to the magical world and several dozen keys for the various places he can visit.”
“He sounds creepy,” Belle shivered, walking over to the bottom of the stairs.
Samuel smiled. “That’s because he is the very definition of the word creepy. If it weren’t for the fact, he was nearly as old as the rocks in the backyard I’d swear he was a Gruul. That’s a class IV creature that lives with vermin and revels in filth. They’re ranked so high because of the fact that they love eating rotting meat and will often kill a person and let them, um ripen in their lairs, creating a stench that makes more people come and investigate. They can become quite effective at killing if given the time to grow.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Belle asked as she followed him upstairs.
Samuel stopped at the landing and smiled nervously. “Because since I’m going to be the one teaching you, I figured I could give you nuggets of information like that every day. Then, maybe I won’t have to file for an Apprentice license.”
“A what?” Belle asked.