“I knew we should not have let him leave,” Simeon droned as L. Faba paced. She gave a mirthless laugh at his insipid comment.
As if they could “let” Untamed Magic do anything. Of the three of them, Morgyn had the most magic. Simeon was just a witch with an immortality potion, puffed up but ultimately worthless in the face of pure magic. Meanwhile, L. Faba had been casting hers out, using it for excursions and activities like opening portals to restaurants and changing the color of her hair.
She had been so stupid! Morgyn had always encouraged her to solve a problem with magic. “Faba dear, soon we’ll be infinitely powerful and in a permanent form. Why delay?”
Now, she understood. Morgyn’s preference for staff and spas and mortal assistants was not so they could flirt or socialize, it was to conserve magic so that when they departed this place, they had more than enough to ensure Simeon and L.Faba could not come after them directly.
And if you couldn’t go after Morgyn directly, you might as well not go at all.
“We should elect another Sage in his absence, someone to fill the slot. I have some very powerful witches from the top covens—”
“Oh Simeon, do shut up!” L. Faba snapped.
She glanced down at her magical globe, it glowed and sparkled, signaling a power spike in Britechester. You haven’t gone far, have you, Morgyn?
They needed to elect another Sage like they needed a hole in the head. What would another Sage do, except force L. Faba to be surrounded by even more sniveling witches? They wouldn’t help with…
“On second thought Simeon, talk to Bjorn,” L. Faba commanded, her tone distracted. “Get a list of the most powerful witch families and invite them here for a summons.”
Simeon nodded, a zealous glint in his eye. “This will be as I recommended, a strong witch to replace the wayward Sage.”
The lights flickered, threatening another round of darkness. L. Faba cast an anxious look towards the stairwell. Regardless of the tales they fed Simeon, Sages were never elected, they were born of magic and there were only ever three.
She mourned Morgyn’s betrayal but the thing that worried her wasn’t galavanting around Britechester, it was locked in the Magic HQ basement.
At the table, William fixed them all with a disapproving look. “So, let me see if I can wrap my mind around this. Caleb and Deacon took a field trip to a basilisk den with nary a weapon between them,” he glared at Vlad and Alice, “You two spent a good portion of the evening engaged in a lovers’ quarrel and your plan, insomuch as I can understand it, was to throw your enemies a party and offer a favor that you were too knackered to negotiate—”
“In my defense, I was actually poisoned,” Caleb huffed.
“Yeah and by the time I got my head on, the keg was tapped,” Deacon added.
“Shut up!” William snapped. He pointed at Vlad and Alice. “Your plan went sideways and you thought that perhaps you’d maintain a low profile by unleashing the holy smite of a god?”
That wasn’t completely accurate. Vlad cleared his throat, prepared to explain.
“I am not finished!” William thundered. “You are Alice’s weapon. Literally. And if it were her will for you to rend the world in two, you would do it. Would be powerless to stop her?”
Vlad bristled. He didn’t like Alice being described as something that needed to be stopped.
“Well?” William demanded.
“Yes,” Vlad bit out. Though it was more complicated than that. In that moment, he had been more Phobos than anything else. Alice’s will was righteous and came with the promise of bloodshed. He couldn’t have stopped her. He didn’t want to.
“Bloody hell,” William sighed. He stared Alice down, “And your eyes are stuck like that forever?”
Vlad could see her attempting to swallow down her emotion. They didn’t notice the eyes until after. It wasn’t clear if it was permanent but it had been hours.
“Her eyes are not stuck like anything,” Vlad replied icily, “They are simply how she is.”
William exhaled tiredly, scrubbing a hand over his face. “If we cannot handle securing the bloody Owl of Undoing, we’ve no hope of keeping the gods from making war in this realm.”
A thread of alarm went through the room, but William cut them off before anyone could speak. “No,” he said in a weary tone that Vlad knew meant he was at the end of his rope. “You merry band of lunatics are in no condition to discuss the fate of the world.”
He flipped off the light and stalked from the room, leaving them sitting quietly in the darkness.