Chapter Twenty-Five – Like Soldiers
There they stood within Deena’s abode, five in total: Kevin the ginger warrior, Daveon the handsome druid, Deena the little witch, Renatta the fire ninja, and Eldrian the aspiring wizard. They were in circle looking towards one another, as Eldrian just finished explaining everything he knew to those who were out of the loop—about Asta, the thugs, and the upcoming battle.
“So we’re expecting to run into a guy with mind control powers, and a guy who has indestructible skin, on top of a spellbreaker, which is apparently the thing that counters all of your powers?” Kevin asked.
“Yes,” Eldrian replied.
“You know I’ll help you, but how do we deal with this? It sounds even more dangerous than the giant Dylan thing.”
“Planning, and a lot of improvising, like usual.”
Deena crossed her arms and gathered their attention. “Eldrian and I have been discussing what to do. They all have unique abilities that need to be dealt with. If only those three are there as threats, we need to figure out who is best made to handle each one. There’s five of us, which means two of them can be dealt two of us instead of one, and I imagine Asta is on the top of that list.”
Chapter Twenty – Eyes From Afar
It had been a couple days since the group’s picnic in Peru. Since then, things had become relaxing and quiet, though eerily so, as they knew that somewhere near lurked a threat of unknown origin. They hadn’t heard from Lucy either. It was a time of impatient waiting for the most part, so in the mean time, Eldrian did what he usually did—wander about.
The boy made his way along one of the downtown streets. A cool, almost blinding layer of snow covered the land while a chill remained in the air, so he brought with him a coat and scarf to avoid becoming a wizard-cicle. He wondered how the rest of his friends were dealing with things. He was fully aware that in his short life he’d already experienced plenty of oddities, but for someone like Kevin, it could be overwhelming. All he could hope was that he’d adjust over time.
Eldrian wished to enjoy the day and pass some time, so he found an antique shop and stepped inside. The first thing he noticed was the welcoming warmth that greeted him upon entry. After that, the valuable knickknacks of all varieties up and down the shelves and tables, with only a few customers populating the room.
Chapter Seventeen – Sentimental Sandwiches
“I suppose you’re wondering why I gathered you together here today,” Eldrian said.
“I’m wondering why you’re still using my house,” replied Deena.
The two of them sat within the girl’s living room, as they often seemed to do. They were further joined by Kevin and Daveon. It was quiet. The only sound made through any silence was the soft clicking of the clock hanging on her wall.
Eldrian crossed his arms. “It’s a safe meeting place.”
“Is it because you know who’s trying to kill us?” Kevin asked.
Daveon raised his hand. “You found out who stole the Elixir of Strength?”
“Not exactly. See, we’ve been getting attacked off and on for days. I feel partly responsible. This is why I propose an idea. The four of us are clearly going to be hanging around either other quite often, especially since most of us are wizards. Those are hard to discover. But I feel like we don’t know each other quite enough. So I thought we’d go somewhere far away and have a picnic!”
Chapter Sixteen – Power of Imagination
Asta Ahlgren was alone now. It was hours later, and Ron was instructed to go a different way, just to be safe. Though her clothing was ordinary, she still carried the gold and white mace that she often does. It seemed incredibly strange. However, it wasn’t a blade, so nobody persecuted her. Many likely thought it was part of a cosplay, but not everyone keeps to themselves.
The dim lights of Alberta’s chilly streets lit a figure up ahead. It was just Asta and the stranger. This part of town was deserted, and the day was fading away.
It was a man—a young man. His nose was tinted red, showing that he had likely been drinking. The hair on his head and face weren’t groomed, and frankly, he didn’t smell all that nice either. He stumbled up to Asta and smiled strangely.
“Heya, cutie,” he said before he hiccuped.
“Very feisty.” He laughed. “What is that you have there? Oh. A mace. Do you roleplay or something? That’s kinda weird, but I’m into anything if you are.”
Chapter Thirteen – The Odd Couple
The night passed quickly. Eldrian, who was still resting up at the hospital, was left with a box of leftover food from the disastrous dinner that happened the previous day. His injuries were fortunately not severe and his recovery was moving properly. Outside, Deena was walking down the sidewalk. She was not only looking for a place to open up a portal door to her home, but also felt as if she needed some fresh air and quiet.
It was still the morning. She was returning from her visit, but now she wasn’t certain what to do. She was once content with sitting, studying, and silence. Eldrian and Kevin entering her life made it difficult to think of anything other than the chaos they brought.
Down the sides of the road were smiling folks, and while she wasn’t joining them in that regard, it was a comforting sight. Everybody and their dog—literally—was out enjoying the last bits of sun before winter took it over. While the little witch brought the curious gaze of pedestrians she passed, she was used to it. From head to toe her body was pale, even her hair, but it wouldn’t be long until the city felt the same. Her hand held out with the palm raised up, and it was greeted by the melting of a single bit of snow that floated down from the sky.
Chapter Twelve – Pass the Newt Eyes
Eldrian wasn’t certain if what he was looking over was an ornate dining room table or an altar prepped for a ritualistic sacrifice, or a seance. Candles holding flickering blue flames rose from macabre decorative skulls. Plates and utensils were already laid out, ready for company, and it was all upon a dark wooden table surrounded by matching chairs.
The time was almost four o’clock when he arrived. As evil as it might have all appeared, it was impressive, and he definitely thought it was cool. Deena, however, looked out of energy. She came from the kitchen and wiped her brow before removing the straps of a red apron to place it aside.
“Sorry. I just had to finish up,” she said. “The turkey is just about done. The mashed potatoes are good. I’ve got cranberry sauce and stuffing too. That should be good enough for just the four of us.”
“You’ve been cooking that stuff all day? I could have helped.”
“No. It’s fine. I just… wanted to do it myself.”
Chapter Eleven – Ordinary Family Dinner
“Really? You can’t come? That’s a bummer.” Eldrian slid his hands inside the pockets of his trousers and looked to the sidewalk between his feet.
He and Eldrian were standing outside the door of a fast food restaurant. Upon the large sign above the building were two letters separated by an ampersand, and the wafting stench of delicious greasy burgers filled the air around them. Was it appetizing? Nobody really knew for certain. The smell made them feel both hungry and full of shame at the same time.
Winter was coming, but the streets were still bustling with people going about their business. Loud noises came from the speeding of cars down the street, and the muttering of pedestrians that made their way down the sidewalk and past the two of them. It was a somber time. Leaves were nearly gone from the trees to await the oncoming snow and frigid temperatures. Soon it would be time to bring out the hefty jackets. It would be a long while before the joys of bathing suits returned.
“You said it was tomorrow, right? You know I’d come if I could,” Kevin said back.