Cordelia did not particularly want to visit the magic realm. But it was time to stop putting her head in the sand. She took a deep breath as she climbed the steps to the HQ main entrance.
As luck would have it, of course it was L Faba she ran into as soon as she walked through the door. The mischief sage’s reaction at seeing her seemed to match Cordelia’s own.
“You. How desperate, crawling to Morgyn yet again. You’re like a cockroach.” L Faba spouted.
Cordelia wasn’t sure how to respond to that. She didn’t really have the energy to bicker with the sage, nor was she keen on lingering in HQ, lest Simeon appear and add something else about how unwelcome she was.
“I… I’m pregnant.”
For a moment, L Faba just stared at her. Cordelia couldn’t recall ever seeing the mischief sage shocked, even at the news of Morgyn’s death.
“What? That’s impossible.” The elf stuttered.
“It’s… complicated.” Cordelia really didn’t feel like getting into this, with L Faba of all people. After all, she barely even explained the situation to Dandy. “Is Morgyn here? Or Micah?”
Faba raised an eyebrow, but surprisingly, she ended up volunteering the information without question. “Second study room on the left.”
Cordelia could feel L Faba’s eyes on her as she made her way to the archway.
She found the untamed magic spell flicking through some old tome. They put the book down as soon as they noticed her.
“Cordelia, what a pleasant surprise.” Morgyn smiled.
She suddenly wasn’t sure what to say. Best get to the point. “I.. you got what you wanted. It… worked.”
“Truly?” Morgyn looked up at her. They seemed… Happy? Eager? Anxious? Cordelia couldn’t quite decipher their expression. “Have a seat.”
“So… what happens now?” Cordelia’s throat felt dry. A million questions were running through her head. But Morgyn answered none of them.
“What would you like to happen?” The sage deflected.
“I don’t know.” She had plenty of concerns weighing on her mind, one more prevalent then others. “Will you… take the baby? To the magic realm?”
Cordelia felt so stupid. Yet another question she should have asked before ever saying yes. She never really thought about having children. But at the same time, now that there was a child growing inside her, the thought of the baby being taken away made her sick, and not the morning sickness or blood craving kind.
“No.” Morgyn told her. “Simeon is already on my back for not taking my position seriously, I can’t imagine he would be impressed with a crying infant in HQ.”
The sage sounded incredibly casual about the whole thing. Still, a sense of relief washed over Cordelia.
“So… I get to keep the baby.” She re-iterated, just to be sure.
“Obviously. You are the mother.” Morgyn said with a hint of impatience in their voice.
“What about you?” She asked uncertainly. What part did Morgyn envisage playing in the baby’s life, she wondered?
“Every child deserves a fairy godmother of sorts, don’t you think?” The sage grinned.
Cordelia blinked. Fairy godmother. Her entire life was turning upside down, and Morgyn was acting as if it was all a practical joke of some kind.
“Morgyn… I think the child might be a vampire.” She tried to get them to focus. “I’ve been craving blood. Can’t really stomach normal food anymore.”
The sage’s expression finally turned more serious. “What have you been eating? You do need to take care of yourself.”
“I’m… fine. I have this… fruit.” She wasn’t sure of how much to elaborate.
“I see.” Morgyn didn’t seem particularly surprised or require more of an explanation. Did everyone but her know about Dandelion’s invention?
“The baby, though…” Cordelia reminded them of the matter at hand.
“The baby can’t be a vampire. At least not in the same sense Micah is.” Morgyn said. “Think about it, vampires don’t age. If the fetus was undead, it wouldn’t start growing at all.”
Cordelia tried to wrap her head around it. “So you think he child will not want blood?” She asked.
“I did not say that. There ought to be a reason why you’re craving it, after all.” Morgyn mused. “The most likely outcome is the child being a hybrid of some kind. What that will look like in practice remains to be seen, I suppose. They’ll be completely unique.”
The sage looked excited by the prospect. Cordelia did not share the sentiment.
“Is Micah here?” She asked. At least she could discuss the blood craving issue with him, she told herself, trying to ignore the butterflies the thought of seeing him gave her. It wasn’t real, Cordelia reminded herself.
“No. He’s been avoiding me.” Morgyn admitted. Even Cordelia could tell their attempt at a jovial smile was fake this time around.
But instead of trying to figure out what that meant about Morgyn and Micah’s current relationship, Cordelia’s mind filled with worry for the vampire.
“I thought he was with you in the magic realm… if he’s not here, then where is he?” Her mind shot back to the group of spellcasters at their doorstep back in the summer. It wasn’t safe for Micah to be wandering the Glimmerbrook woods on his own…
“I’m sure he has reasons to be wherever he is. It will be fine.” Morgyn cut her off.
“The last time you said that to me, you ended up dying!” Cordelia’s voice shot up a few octaves.
The sage ignored her tone. “And it did turn out fine, didn’t it?” Morgyn said brightly.
“Fine!? What if he dies, Morgyn? You know how the spellcasters feel about him…”
The sage looked irritated, but they seemed to be making an effort to keep the smile on their face. “I’m sure he doesn’t need to be babysat at all times. Save that enthusiasm for the child. Don’t worry about Micah. In fact, you shouldn’t worry at all. It’s not good for the baby.”
“Look, worst case scenario, if he does die, as you suggest – which I doubt – I’ll just bring him back.” Morgyn concluded. “Resurrections are much simpler with me around, after all.”
She studied Morgyn’s face. Was that what the sage thought, she wondered? That nothing had any consequence, even death?
It suddenly occurred to Cordelia how little she actually knew Morgyn.
Micah passed the waterfall and sped towards the cottage. Haruka’s lights were on. For once, perhaps his visit would not be entirely disruptive. He even restrained himself from opening the door using his vampiric powers, forcing himself to knock instead.
“What now?” The retired sage asked without looking up from her knitting. “Morgyn couldn’t have possibly gotten themself killed again already, that would be a bit much even for them…”
She looked up when he didn’t offer a response. “You’re on your own today.” She noted. “I take it that means you won’t be shoving voodoo dolls in my face for a change?”
“I’ve been hoping I could get some advice. On mischief magic.” Micah said.
“Surely speaking to the current mischief sage would have been a shorter trip for you.” Haruka pointed out.
“L Faba isn’t exactly my biggest fan. Or anyone’s fan.” He added with a shrug.
The old sage frowned. “Really?” She sighed. “Have a seat. Let’s hear it, then.”
Micah sat down, pondering what to say. He wasn’t sure where to start. Ultimately, he decided to get straight to the point. Clearly, playing mind games was what got him into this whole mess.
“I need to know how to break a love spell.”
Haruka’s brows furrowed briefly before her strange smile returned to her face.
“It’s impossible.” She told him matter-of-factly.
That couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be. He couldn’t have come this way for nothing. Would Morgyn have straight up lied to him, Micah wondered?
“No. It has to be possible. It has to.” He repeated.
She shook her head. “Being stubborn won’t help you this time. There’s no way to shake a love spell. Only way you can rid yourself of it is if you die. Of course, whether you can consider that freedom is debatable.”
Micah refused to accept that. Think, he willed himself. “That can’t be right. For starters, I’m dead already. If death frees you from the spell, then why did it even work on me at all?”
Haruka’s lips formed a crooked smile. “Maybe it didn’t.”
It felt as if somebody smacked him in the face. Morgyn’s words echoed in his head.
It was the two of you that decided to cut to the chase. Would almost seem as if you’ve been dying for an excuse to do that, don’t you think?
Micah assumed Morgyn had only said that to rile him up. Did they actually have a point?
Haruka seemed to take pleasure in his discomfort, allowing herself to indulge in a long pause. She finally broke the awkward silence.
“Then again, maybe it’s more about dying on the inside. Who knows…”
“You should know!” He snapped at her. “You were the mischief sage!”
“Look at me. How old do you believe me to be? Wait, don’t answer that. It’s rude to guess a lady’s age… Suffice to say it’s been a long time since I’ve cast any love spells, that’s for sure.” She cackled.
Micah could barely stop himself from clenching his fists in anger. “So that’s it, then. You die, or you die on the inside. No solution that would involve neither of those? Or is this some kind of a dumb riddle?”
He hoped it was, for Cordelia’s sake. As he’d told Haruka, he was dead already. On the inside as well, perhaps. Or at least close to it, he corrected himself, refusing to acknowledge any possibility that the spell may not have even affected him at all.
Either way, it would be a small leap for him. But Cordelia was so full of raw emotions, so fragile, so beautifully human…
“I’m not sure what you were expecting.” Haruka brought him back to the present. “You did come to the old mischief sage for advice.”
“You’re right. Should really know better then ask sages for help by now.” Micah hissed in frustration. “All you’ve got is half-truths and contradictions. Morgyn claimed it’s possible to break a love spell, simply through the power of will, for instance.”
“Did they, now?” Haruka smirked. “And what exactly gave you the impression Morgyn knows a great deal about love spells, or indeed, love?”
“They know enough to cast the damn spell.” Micah retorted mindlessly.
Somehow, the remark seemed to throw her off. “Morgyn’s dabbling in mischief magic? Love spells, of all of them? That’s… unexpected.”
“Unexpected, why?” Micah asked. But it seemed Haruka was done volunteering any kind of information.
“Clearly I’ve been away from the magic realm for too long to be able to give you any insights into the sages’ motivations anymore. Now, as charming as it is to have guests, I think I have seen quite enough of you lately. You seem skilled with the door, I’m sure you know how to let yourself out?”