Luella watched Dandelion’s little face grow animated with excitement as they approached the fair. She smiled to herself. Took a lot of convincing to persuade Simeon to let them come to the magic realm on Spooky Day this year, but it clearly paid off – her cousin was just as giddy about their visit as she was, albeit for a different reason.
“Lulu, look! The pumpkins!” The boy bounced next to her.
“Pretty spooktacular, huh?” She nodded absent-mindedly, scanning the fair grounds.
It didn’t take her long to spot Morgyn, even though the young spellcaster didn’t look quite like she remembered.
“Can I go look at them?” Dandelion was pointing towards the pumpkins.
“Of course,” she nodded. He didn’t wait long to run off.
Luella pondered what to do. She couldn’t run to Morgyn the second she arrived, that would be far too obvious… Besides, Morgyn was with Aine, and Aine was still scary to her, even though Luella was no longer a little girl.
She decided to find Simeon. He was watching Dandelion from the distance. “Looks like the little one is having a good time,” he said stiffly.
She found it funny how awkward Simeon was around children, even after all this time. He’d grown fonder of her as time went on, but Dandelion was still too little for Simeon to really know how to talk to him.
“It’s his dream came true,” she replied brightly. “Thanks again for having us along.”
She noticed Morgyn was gone, as was Aine. Where did they disappear to?
“Aine’s apprentice has settled in well.” Simeon noted, as if he’d read her thoughts. “Although I trust you won’t be showing the portal to anyone else? We do protect the realm for a reason.”
“Do you think I shouldn’t have?” She turned to Simeon.
He sighed. “I think Morgyn clearly was in desperate need of proper training. The amount of raw magic he possesses is… unusual. Even Aine has not taught anyone with quite as much of it, apparently.”
Luella was confused. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? Then again, this was Simeon she was talking to. Always serious, always solemn. But he knew a lot, so she might as well try to find out more.
“How would that happen, Simeon? The raw magic, I mean. Morgyn didn’t even know anything about spellcasters when we met.”
“Magical ability can skip a generation, sometimes more, even in powerful spellcaster families.” He said.
“Like with yours, right?” Luella remembered. “You said your father didn’t have any magical powers, even though your grandmother was a sage. And you’re a sage, so…”
“They say the longer the magic stays away, the more concentrated it can get when it eventually returns to the bloodline… but those are rumours.” Simeon seemed ready to move on from the subject. Luella was not.
“But if they’re rumours, then how come Morgyn-“
“I think you should not be focusing on Morgyn so much.” Simeon interrupted her. “You’ve done the right thing by helping him, but perhaps it would be best to leave it at that.”
His words irritated her. “Why? Can’t I have friends?”
Simeon was surprised by her outburst. He took a moment to respond.
“Luella… I’ve known Aine for thirty odd years now. She does not take on full-time apprentices. The only reason she would keep someone this close is because she considers them a threat.”
That was dumb. A threat? Morgyn was completely lost and alone when their paths crossed. It was so like Simeon to be so paranoid.
“I’m going to go find Dandelion.” She snapped, leaving before Simeon could continue his stupid lecture.
She found the boy with Haruka. The mischief sage was casting spells in the air, making him giggle.
Seeing him so happy improved Luella’s mood slightly, though she wasn’t sure what she thought of Dandelion being on his own with the sage.
“Well if it isn’t the princess,” Haruka greeted her. “What a rare occasion.”
“I’m not a princess anymore.” Luella corrected her mechanically. Best not to think of that old life. “Hey Dandy, I saw a bowl candies back there, why don’t we sample some?”
“Yeah!” He squealed, dashing in the direction se gestured towards.
“Luella, a moment.” The mischief sage stopped her before she could follow him. “I have a proposition for you, and who knows when you’ll come by next…”
“A proposition? What are you talking about?”
“Did you know elves have quite the disposition for mischief magic?” The sage grinned.
“Simeon’s grandmother was an elf, and she was the sage of practical magic,” Luella pointed out.
“Very well, let me put it differently. Elves are said to be talented at most kinds of magic, so they can excel at whatever they put their mind to… although mischief might be the most closely aligned.”
Luella wasn’t sure where Haruka was going. “Why are you saying all this?”
“Simeon says you are quite bright. It would be a shame to waste your talents on whatever he can teach you when he has spare time to visit you… I on the other hand, am looking for an apprentice to study here with me. Can’t let Aine have all the fun.”
“Simeon wouldn’t let me do that.” Luella told her. It took ages for Simeon to allow her and Dandelion to visit at Winterfest, she couldn’t imagine he’d be happy with her coming over to the realm every day…
“And what authority does Simeon have over you? If you were my apprentice, that wouldn’t really be his call to make, would it?” Haruka tilted her head. “Simeon can be such a spoilsport… He means well, but he has long forgotten what young love feels like…”
Luella felt her cheeks flushing instantly. “I… don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“So you haven’t taken an interest in a certain untamed magic apprentice?” The mischief sage winked at her.
“I… I’ve only met Morgyn once. We don’t really know each other.” Luella managed to say.
“Seems your meeting left quite an impression on him regardless, he has been asking about you.” Haruka told her nonchalantly.
“He has?” Luella stopped herself. “Um, I meant-“
“Clearly I was mistaken, I understand that now.” Haruka nodded with a smirk. “But even with Morgyn out of the equation, are you really telling me that you don’t find practical magic a bit… boring? A young girl full of dreams, your imagination can take you wherever you want… so why not consider your options?”
Luella didn’t know what to think. It was a lot to take in. Of course she wanted to learn about other kinds of magic. And getting to go to the magic realm every day…
But Dandelion would be all on his own. As where you, when you were his age, she reminded herself. Besides, she would still come home to Sylvan Glade every night…
Morgyn was asking about her…
She realised she’d been quiet for far too long.
“Why would you even want me to be your apprentice anyway?” She asked the sage.
“I’m not getting any younger, dearie.” Haruka replied. “I need to think about who to pass the torch to, and I quite like the idea of being succeeded by an elven princess. Makes me feel like royalty.”
Luella’s eyes widened. Being a sage was for serious people, like Simeon. Then again, perhaps that wouldn’t apply to mischief sages. So much to think about…
And Morgyn was asking about her.
“I don’t need an answer straight away, sweetheart. You know where to find me. Now, I believe your little companion has eaten the entire bowl of sweets…” Haruka gestured in Dandelion’s direction.
Luella grunted. So much for getting him to go to bed at a reasonable time tonight. “Dandy!”
“Try and catch me,” her cousin giggled, sprinting away.
Brilliant. She tried to ignore Haruka’s amusement and ran after him.
Just as she was about to reach him, she bumped into someone. To Luella’s horror, the sage of untamed magic was towering over her.
“Some may say it’s rather rude to only say hello to two of the sages when you visit their home.”
Aine’s voice made her think of fingernails scratching a chalkboard, a sound so awful she still remembered it from her childhood in Syeldell, back when her teacher used it to get her attention.
“I’m sorry.” She uttered quickly.
“I am not some.” Aine continued. “But I do not like feeling left out. I overheard your conversation with Haruka.”
Luella dreaded to think just how much the sage had caught.
“I understand she is offering you an apprenticeship, something Simeon has still not formally done for you.” Aine continued. “But I wouldn’t want you to think your options are limited.”
Luella stared at her. Was the sage really saying what she thought she was?
“Simeon said you don’t take on apprentices.” She repeated what she’d just learned earlier that night.
“That’s clearly untrue. I believe you are acquainted with my current apprentice.” Aine pointed out. “Although you are right that I would probably not be keen on having two apprentices at the same time, long-term. I’d rather spend my time on just one, the one with the most potential.”
Luella tried and failed to hide her shock. “But… is it not true that Morgyn has more raw magic than anyone you’ve taught before?”
“Sounds like one of my fellow sages has been awfully chatty.” Aine’s tone was icy. “It is true, and has its positives and downfalls. Certainly makes his elemental magic rather… potent. So yes, Morgyn is the most naturally gifted spellcaster I have taught to date. But of course, I have not yet had the pleasure of teaching a high-born elf. Perhaps you could give Morgyn a run for his money. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone.”
“I… I don’t know about that.”
“You wish to waste your time on a magical discipline dedicated to replicating menial tasks? Or one that’s nothing but glorified practical jokes? Be my guest.”
Aine paused for a moment. “But what I could teach you is the magic school that gives you almost unlimited power. Untamed magic can defy near anything in this world – and beyond. It can even bring the dead back to life. Anything you can dream of, it’s all likely to be possible with untamed magic. But of course, the choice is yours.”
And with that Aine disappeared.
Luella’s head was spinning. She felt utterly overwhelmed. She could count the number of times she’d been to the magic realm on her fingers, and out of the blue, not one but two sages were offering her full-time apprenticeship in the realm? Why did Simeon keep all of this from her?
She caught up to Dandelion, barely paying attention to his enthusiastic babbling about the roller-skating rink.
“Why don’t you give it a try?” She prompted him. She just needed a moment with her thoughts.
It was then when she spotted Morgyn leaning against a wall nearby. All of the messy thoughts evaporated right away. The untamed magic apprentice waved at her.
“Well if it isn’t L Faba.” Morgyn greeted her. “Took you a good while to finally stop by.”
Luella didn’t feel like explaining that she didn’t have Simeon’s permission to the realm come any sooner, that would make her sound like a child with a curfew. But she didn’t have to be that anymore, did she? She had options now.
“You look different.” She said instead of acknowledging his comment.
Wait, would that offend Morgyn? Luella wasn’t sure.
“I mean, you look good.” She corrected herself, instantly regretting that too. Why did she say that?
“Thanks. I know.” Morgyn gave her a half-smile.
Thankfully, that wasn’t all he had to say. “You look good too.” He told her. “And you didn’t even have to change… So what do you think of the fair? Though I guess it’s old news to you, huh?”
Well now she definitely couldn’t say the truth, that everything at the fair was overwhelming and that nothing in the magic realm was old news. She nodded.
“I’m mostly here because of Dandelion.” She gestured towards her cousin on the skating rink.
“The little elf?” Morgyn asked. “You know, I’ve heard the fair is not even that big of a deal anyway. Apparently, the real worthwhile stuff is at the magic realm graveyard tonight, it’s the only night of the year you can get powers from old spellcasters buried there. We could go have a look… if you want to.”
Of course she wanted to… but it wasn’t really possible.
“I should really stick with Dandelion.” She uttered lamely, glancing away.
“Oh.” Morgyn’s face fell. “Right.”
An awkward silence fell between them.
“I will be around a lot more from now on, though.” Luella added quickly, determined to turn the conversation back around. “I’ll be an apprentice, like you.”
Morgyn perked up. “Oh really? Are you going to be studying with Simeon? He is your uncle or something, right?”
“No, we’re not related.” She frowned, still feeling mad at the thought of her exchange with Simeon earlier. “And I’ll definitely not be studying with him. Practical magic is pretty boring… a bit like him, I guess.”
The young spellcaster chuckled. “I mean, I wasn’t going to say… but that’s a relief. Does that mean you’ll be joining Aine and me, then?”
How did Aine not scare he hell out of Morgyn, Luella wondered?
“Actually, I’ll be learning from Haruka.” She replied.
“Huh. Mischief magic?” Morgyn paused, as if he was thinking of how to formulate his thoughts. “No offense, but… I feel like you could do better. I bet you’d be amazing at untamed magic.”
Luella couldn’t decide if that was an insult or a compliment.
“Of course I would be.” She replied teasingly. “You probably couldn’t handle it. I’m doing you a favour, really.”
Morgyn let out a laugh. “Lucky me then, I guess.”
“I better get back to Dandelion.” She said to Morgyn, as much as she didn’t want to go.
“Sure. I’ll see you around.” Morgyn gave her a nod. “Hey, L Faba… It’s nice that you’ll be around more. Even if it’s to study mischief magic… I suppose it’s not that bad of a magic school.”
“Thanks. I know.” She replied, twirling around.
She headed straight for the skating rink, before her blabbermouth decided to add something else. And to tend to Dandelion, of course, she reminded herself.
“Who was that?” Her cousin asked her.
“That’s Morgyn Ember. He’s an apprentice here.” She explained. “Actually… I’m going to be spending a lot more time in the magic realm from now on. I will be an apprentice too, you see.”
Dandelion looked up at her. “Why?”
“You wouldn’t understand, Dandy.” She sighed. “At least not yet… This is a secret, ok? I… I’m in love.”