By: Chiara Hodge
View all Chiara Hodge's works
Part 6: The War
Clove huffed angrily, her boots splashing in the puddles which the rain from earlier had left to dry on the moist ground. The dawn was shining down on her as she climbed down into the sewers, descending into the dim light of the tunnels. She was shaking her head, her fists curled and her nose twitched as she stormed down the tunnels.
“SETH!!” She shouted, startling a wolf she knew to be Wayne. She turned to him, “Where’s Seth.”
“I don’t know-”
Clove’s eye twitched as she laughed, “Well then find him.”
Wayne nodded, running down into the tunnel. Clove sighed, shaking her head and closing her eyes as she leaned against the damp wall, paint chips coming off in her hair.
“Okay. Fine. Goodbye, then. I’m not going to look for you again. If I see you again…I don’t know you.”
Clove’s eyes narrowed as a teardrop slipped from her eyelids. Voices echoed from down the tunnel, “No! I’m not going to go see her, she won’t-”
“Seth!” Wayne shouted and Seth’s voice cracked.
“No…Please. She’ll make me…she’s going to try to control me again. I want to go home. Please.”
Clove’s eyes watered and she opened them, brushing the tears off her cheek, “I’m not going to control you unless I have to.”
Seth glanced at her, “No. I don’t trust you. Every time I try to leave you snap your fingers and I…I can’t think and you…”
“I don’t need you to trust me, I need you to obey me. This is important.”
“I don’t care.”
Clove’s eye twitched, “You don’t care about your friend? Lamia?”
Seth’s face went white as his eyes widened. “What…what’s wrong with Lamia? Is she okay?”
“Will you cooperate with me?”
“Yes. I heard cheering coming from the woods earlier. What was that about?”
“I wouldn’t know. You and the rest of the wolves held me hostage for months while you go out and spy on your own people.”
“Tell me. You know something.”
“No I don’t.”
Clove shook her head and smiled, “You tend to get things mixed up.”
“What does this have to do with Lamia? Is she okay, that’s all I want to know.”
“It has everything to do with Lamia.”
Clove laughed, “I’ve seen her in the forest.”
“Is she okay?”
“I heard her talking to herself. She would do anything to have you gone. To kill you. It’s in your own best interest to tell me what they’re planning.”
“Lamia couldn’t hurt anyone.”
Clove cocked her head, “Y’know that’s what everyone used to say about me. I guess that wasn’t true, was it?”
“No. You’re different. Lamia is the-”
“Let me hear. What words would you use to describe her. I’ve gone into the forest to see her. To see what she’s like. She reminds me of myself. Or, how I’m guessing everyone saw me. We all know now that’s not how I really am. Naive, childish, impulsive, stupid.”
“That’s not true. Lamia’s none of those things.”
“Stop pretending you haven’t thought it.”
“You don’t know Lamia. You…you spied on her. That’s not the same thing. She’s the best friend I could have asked for.”
“You’re not listening to me-”
“I’ve heard more than enough.” Seth stumbled backwards.
“SETH!!” Clove shouted. “Listen to me. Please. Why were they cheering? What are they planning?”
“I don’t know. They…they could have just been having a party or something.”
“We both know that’s not the case.”
“I don’t know.” Seth shook his head, stumbling backwards again. Clove glared at him.
“Why are you so FRUSTRATING!!” She shouted, grabbing him by the neck and slammed him to the wall. Seth gasped for breath, prying at Clove’s hands, but she wasn’t letting go.
“Tell me why they were cheering. What do you know.”
“TELL ME!!” She raised her free arm, a silver glow encasing her hand. “Or I’ll have to find out from your friend.”
“Lami-lamia-don’t hurt-don’t…” He banged his fist to the wall, “They’re-they’re planning an attack.” He gasped out. Clove dropped her arms, letting them fall to her side as Seth collapsed to the floor, catching his breath. Clove stared blankly at the spot on the wall Seth was moments ago. She took a step back, nodding slightly.
“Is that why they were cheering?”
“I don’t know.” Seth gasped. “I just know they were. Before I was kept here they were. I have no idea if…Clove where are you going?” Seth asked as Clove turned from him, storming from the tunnel, staring blankly in front of her, hardly noticing the tears falling from her eyes. She grabbed onto the ladder, climbing into the sunlight. Her throat tightened and she broke into a run, shoving past the silver gates and towards the school yanking open the door and letting it slam shut behind her, not caring when its noise echoed and Ms Gilbert ran into the entrance hall, glancing around and shrugging to herself. Clove ran up the stairs, sliding into the long hallway of dorms, skidding to a stop in front of Ella’s and stumbling over on to her back. She blew a strand of hair out of her eyes as she pushed herself up and rapped on the door urgently. She heard Ella stand from her bed and laugh as she turned the knob, opening the door. Her smile fell as fear flooded her eyes and her hands began to shake.
“Clove, not now. Please.”
“I can’t die yet.” Ella’s eyes shut and she took a hesitant step back.
Clove’s face fell, “Die? I’m not going to hurt you and Ella, I’m sorry.” Clove choked out. Ella opened her eyes again.
“I’m so so sorry I know you didn’t mean it and I know you just needed to help me and you were doing what you thought was best and my brain is….I can’t think right and I’m sorry and I just…” Clove threw herself at Ella, hugging her tightly as she sobbed into her shoulder. “I’m sorry Elephant.”
Ella’s chest tightened as she stared ahead of her in surprise, before hugging Clove back. “I’m…sorry too. I’m sorry your friend died and I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you were stupid or…or childish or that you didn’t know how to think for yourself because I really didn’t mean to and-” Ella choked on her tears, holding on to Clove tightly, “I missed you so much.”
Clove nodded and shook her head softly, “I’m sorry but Ella…there’s going to be a fight.”
“The vampires…Seth. He told me they’re planning to attack us. I told him…I told him.…You need to tell the Guru.”
Ella nodded, “Right. What do you mean.”
“He’s a vampire.”
“Are you serious Clove? I though wolves were bad enough-”
“Ella please. We-the wolves, kidnapped him. Vigolfr was going to eat him, but when he woke up he was definitely going to escape us so I had to enchant him so he could see me and it knocked him out but that gave him powers like yours, so we kept him so he could be used as a…” Clove’s brow narrowed as she glanced down at her feet, “As a weapon. Ella I messed up….”
“Yeah, I know. What were you saying about a war?”
“I was outside earlier and I heard the Vampires cheering in the forest and I thought the worst so I ran down to interrogate him and he said that they were going to attack us.”
Ella opened her mouth before closing it again.
“What?” She asked breathlessly. “Ella you have no reason at all to trust me but I need you to. For your friends. For yourself. I’m only here for you. Please just….win.”
Ella shook her head, “Okay…I’ll…you swear this is true.”
“On my life.”
“That’s…erm. That’s not saying much.” She cleared her throat.
“Oh. Right. I…uh. On your life.”
“That’s the point. Is this a trap?”
“Ella!! I’m telling you the truth just LISTEN!!”
“I’m…okay. I’ll go tell him.”
“Thanks.” Clove smiled.
“Hey Ella,” Gwen’s voice came from behind her. “Care to tell us what’s going on?”
“Yeah.” Ella nodded and Clove turned and left the room. “There’s going to be a fight.”
Gwen and Cassandra exchanged a look, “I’m sorry?”
“Clove said the Vampires are going to attack us. They’re getting ready to battle us. She said to warn everyone.”
Gwen shuffled in her seat, Roxy perched on her shoulder, “You do know that was Clove, right?”
“The girl who’s been bullying you for the last 6 or 7 months?”
“You’re the one who said that she still cared about me. Right? You can’t love someone for 14 years and then…I…I think I trust her.”
Cassy sighed, “I don’t know Ella.”
“Would you rather not be prepared?”
“I want to trust Clove but….” Cassy shook her head, “Doesn’t this sound like the kind of thing she’d do? To trap you?”
Gwen rolled her eyes, “Ella! Stop with the buts!! We want to trust Clove but, spoiler alert, we don’t! We want you to be really careful because we want to keep you alive-”
“Gwen.” Cassandra warned.
“Sorry. We just want you to be safe and…going off and suddenly trusting one of the most manipulative people you know is the opposite.”
“Do you trust me?”
“Then you trust Clove too.”
“Ella, what Gwen was trying to say was that Clove needs to do a bit more than just…say she’s sorry. She could be lying and-”
“Yeah, you’re right, but I’m going to die one way or another so I might as well see if I can trust her, or else I’ll die not knowing.”
Gwen and Cassandra exchanged another glance and Cassandra nodded, “Ella’s right.”
“What!?” Gwen exclaimed, Roxy fluttering her wings in alarm, before calming down again.
“She…one way or another she’ll die and I think that she should see her friend, and if the fight is real, then….it would be better for everyone if we all know about it and…” Cassy sighed. “I’ve been…seeing things. When we were in the basement, when we went outside, even now and I…I think it’s real.”
Gwen’s shoulders fell and she stood, walking over to Ella and hugging her tightly.
“Please don’t talk. I think…I can’t lose you, please.”
“There’s nothing I can do, remember?”
Gwen broke away from Ella, grabbing her hand and dragging her outside the dorm, shutting the door behind her.
“Ella Bishop, you’re….you’re so important to me you….to the point it’s not fair anymore. I…well…I didn’t really have friends before you and it was just me and my siblings. Then all of my siblings got older, so Jacob only really hung out with Jesse, and Gideon became addicted to his school work, and then Jesse stopped coming out of her room, and Blade stopped talking to the rest of the family so he was always at one of their friends house, then Sophie formed a weird cult of guys. So I didn’t really…I guess…you’re my first real friend and I kinda suck at being a good friend but what can you do. You mean a lot to me, so thank you.”
“Just…try not to die. Maybe Cassandra’s wrong.”
“You said it yourself. She’s not.”
“Yeah well-” She cut herself off. “Fine. But just…I’ll stay with you.”
“I’m coming with you to warn the Guru.”
“I think I can manage a trip downstairs. I’ll be okay.”
Gwen nodded, “Got it. Oh, and Ella,”
“I know what you should wear to your funeral.”
“Is it sweatpants?”
“I was going to say a suit.”
“Or I could wear something comfortable.”
Gwen grimaced, “You’ll be dead.”
“Fine. But I’m picking it out.”
“It’s my funeral.”
“I wouldn’t even be able to see you, remember?”
“Right.” Ella smiled as Gwen stepped back into the dorm, shutting the door behind her. Ella sighed, turning to the stairwell and hurrying down the stairs towards the Guru’s office.
She knocked on the door, a sharp, “Come in,” inviting her to gently push open the door, which knocked over a large stack of books.
“Good morning Ms Bishop, what can I do for you?” The Guru said, not looking up from his magazine.
“I…I have to tell you something.” Ella said, inching along the stacks of random items that looked as if they had been gathered there to be sold as antiques.
“What is it?” The Guru asked without interest, scratching his nose.
“You know that I’m a Necromancer, right?”
The Guru snapped shut his magazine, sitting up sharply in his chair and spinning to face Ella. “What is this about?”
“Clove…she told me that there was going to be a war.”
“The Vampires are getting ready to attack us.”
The Guru sighed and nodded, “Thank you for making me aware of this Ms Bishop.”
“What are we going to-”
The Guru grabbed a mug of coffee from his desk and took a long, noisy slurp from it. Ella bounced her leg impatiently.
He put the mug down, “Well we’re going to fight back. I’d tell your friends, and you all can take different floors. Warn everyone you can and tell them to go to the Multi Purpose Room. I’ll alert families of students from other areas and arrange for them to return home, and I’ll have Professor Gilbert announce the fight to villagers. We’ll need to strengthen the enchantment that keeps us hidden and expand it. We don’t want the humans to get involved.”
“You…you believe me?”
The Guru nodded sternly, “I’m a telepath. I believe you.”
Ella sighed, “Alright.” She turned, stepping back out into the hallway and shutting the door behind her. Ella shook her head and rubbed the bridge of her nose, before turning to walk back upstairs where Cassandra and Gwen awaited her. Ella unlocked the door to her room and shoved it open.
“What did he say?” Cassy asked.
“He told me to tell you to help me warn the other students.”
“Okay. Cassy, you take the top three floors including this one, Ella take floors 4, 3, and 2, and I’ll get the back dorms on the first floor.”
Ella nodded, “Great, thanks.”
Gwen smiled, “No problem.” She held out her finger and Roxy swooped down and perched gently on her. Gwen snapped her fingers and Vixen looked up at her from the floor and snorted, wobbling as he followed her out the door and down the hallway into Gwen’s dorm. Cassy forced a small smile which Ella tried to return.
“Be careful.” Cassandra said, squeezing Ella’s hand before following Gwen out the door, shutting it behind her. Ella glanced around her room. The same room she had slept in so many nights for the past 5 years. She felt lightheaded as she walked to her nightstand, sweeping up the broken glass up into her hand and gently disposing of it in the trash can. She lifted her book and flipped through the pages to the place where her bookmark still sat, unmoved for the past few months. She scoffed under her breath.
“Are you not done with this yet?” Gwen had asked quizzically, picking up The Wizard of Oz.
“I’m halfway done with it.”
“You were halfway done with it when I met you. Do you want me to throw a blow horn through your window every morning to remind you?”
She shut the book and lifted the script she had borrowed from the library underneath it. Ella read over the first few lines and shook her head.
“Oh, I was…” Ella had grabbed the script from Gwen. “I was going to see if I could get some people to do a play with me.”
“Would you like to?”
“I would, but I think I’m better with singing than acting. Or I like working behind the scenes. Do you sing and dance too, or just act?”
“No I’m more just…an actor. But I like musical theater so learning to sing and dance would be fun.”
“Well let me know when you’re on Broadway, I’ll be sitting in the front row so you don’t forget about me.” Gwen smirked and Ella had grinned.
She picked up a drawing of Cassandra and brushed the dust off of it, smiling. Ella’s grin fell. There was no point. She wouldn’t get to act, she wouldn’t get to draw, and she wouldn’t get to finish her book. She wouldn’t even get to live. I wonder what will happen to Nick? She thought to herself. Would he just go and be someone else’s specter? Would he be released with her? Or would he return as a ghost to the place he died? Ella feebly hoped that, for Nick’s sake, he got to go back to his school. That he’d get to see his friend again, even if she couldn’t see him. Ella’s brow furrowed and she sighed. If she…when she died, at least it wouldn’t be the horrible void she had always imagined it to be, she would just be…invisible. Somehow that just made it worse. She suddenly felt a surge of empathy towards Clove and shuddered. Ella turned to her wall where she had pinned her drawings…her photographs. She smiled at one in the center. Ella, Gwen, and Cassandra were sitting in front of the school and Cassy had her arms around Ella, smiling widely with her eyes closed. Gwen was smirking and was holding onto Ella’s hand and Ella was laughing. Ella unpinned the photo and hugged it close to her, before setting it down on her bed. Next to that photograph was another. Clove and Ella were hugging in the dim lighting of Clove’s living room, surrounded by wrapping paper. Ella’s jaw trembled as she pulled that one off the wall and set it next to the other one. The room was radiating the hauntingly familiar energy of a house you’re about to leave forever. Almost like it knows that wherever you’re going, you’re not coming back. Ever. Ella took a deep breath, closing her eyes as she turned from the room and stepped into the hallway, shutting the door behind her. She felt tears biting at the corners of her eyes, but they would not fall. She turned from her room, and without a second glance back, she walked to the staircase, dragging her feet as she made her way down two flights of stairs to the 4th floor. The carpeting on this floor was an emerald green, unlike the dusty purple on the 6th floor. According to a sign on the wall, this floor was for 16 year old girls. Ella knocked on the first door and a short girl with short, curly brown hair stepped out.
“Hello!” She said cheerfully.
“Hi,” Ella replied. “I’m….Ella.” She stuttered
“I’m Maggie. Can I help you with something?”
“Oh- yeah. I…um. There’s… there’s going to be a fight.”
“Yeah, the Vampires are coming to attack us.”
“Oh my…are you sure?” Maggie asked, Ella took a deep breath and nodded. “Oh…Okay. How do you know?”
Maggie nodded, “Okay.”
“Just…I’m here to tell everyone. Oh, and you need to meet everyone in the multi-purpose room.”
“Thank you so much.” Maggie had paled and looked like she was going to throw-up. “Stay safe.” Her voice cracked and she shut the door. Ella’s breath shook as she moved to the next door and Harlow answered the door, her curly black hair tied back.
“Hey, you’re Cassandra’s friend right?”
“Um. Yeah. I…uh.” Ella shook her head, “There’s going to be a fight, the Vampires are coming to attack us. We need to be ready. You need to go down to the multi-purpose room. I’m here to tell everyone and-”
Harlow nodded, “Okay. I’ll help you, who have you told?”
“I’ve told Gwen and Cassandra, and…um. I think her name was Maggie, the door next to you.”
“Okay. I’ll get the other side of the hallway, okay?”
Harlow smiled, “Of course.”
Ella nodded to her, smiling back half-heartedly before moving to the next door.
Veronica pushed the door open. “Hey! Ella!” She exclaimed.
“Oh. Hi.” Ella fumbled with a loose coil of hair and Veronica laughed.
“How are you?”
“I’m…well…Veronica…I…There’s going to be a fight.”
“How do you know?”
“It is important, I think.”
“Oh. Right. But you should already know, you’re a telepath.”
“Yeah. You say it.”
“Because it’s not a bad thing.”
“You’re fine with me being a…” Ella trailed off.
“Yeah, no duh.”
“Okay.” Ella sighed, “Clove…told me.”
“You need to finish warning the rest of this floor, and tell them all to go to the multi-purpose room?”
“Okay. Don’t worry. You’ll be okay.” Veronica said, smiling. Ella’s eyes watered, But…I’m going to die, Ella thought to herself.
Veronica adjusted her glasses and smiled sadly, bending down and hugging Ella, patting her on the head. “I got the rest of this side, you keep going, okay?”
“Alright.” Ella sighed, “Thank’s Ronnie.”
“No problem.” Veronica smiled, letting go of Ella and Ella turned from her, walking back towards the stairs, traveling down to the 3rd floor.
* * *
Seth’s heart was beating heavily against his chest, his face had gone pale and he ran a hand through his red hair.
“Are you okay?” Wayne asked him, and Seth shook his head absentmindedly.
“How do I get out of here?”
“I don’t care what Clove wants. Clove’s evil.”
“I don’t know if I’d go that far.”
Seth took in a deep breath, “Remember, remember what she did to Vigolfr? He’s been locked away for months. Then she pretends it was because he hurt her.”
“He killed his sister.”
Seth nodded, “Whatever. Wayne please. I need to get out of here. Now.”
Wayne sighed, “Fine. Come on.” Wayne nodded. Another voice came from the tunnel.
“What’s going on?”
“Clarissa I’m sorry-” Wayne began as Clarissa stepped into the hallway.
“Seth wants to leave?”
Clarissa nodded. “Okay. Try to be back by the time Clove gets back. I want to help you but if Clove finds out you’ve escaped-”
“I’ve got it.” Seth nodded, climbing the ladder and sliding the lid to the sewers off. The sun [BTW I forgot to write this but at one point, Clove, who (if she survived) would have been an alchemist, made a potion for Seth which lets him go into the sun. Sorry, I forgot to put this in and it’s really important for this part. k, back to the story] shone down on Seth’s pale skin, warming him. Seth pushed himself up onto the ground and, despite the panic that was steadily rising in his chest, he smiled.
“Oh my god.” He murmured, glancing around. It was so beautiful, so warm, and his skin barely prickled in the sun. He looked out at the forest and the trees. So that was what green looked like at its brightest state. Wow. If only he could have seen this in different circumstances. He took a deep breath and stood up, sliding the lid to the sewers back on. He swung his arms around in the air that was finally not clogged and humid. He glanced around him before dashing towards the forest. He shoved his way through the branches into the empty forest. His eyes narrowed and he gasped as he came face first with the fallen trees, the collapsed caves. Lamia’s cave…it was…collapsed. He felt a flare of anger towards the wolves, towards Clove. But he turned and his house was full. Safe. He grinned, running over the fallen branches and shoved aside the curtain and ran down the dark tunnel into the sickly-sweet living room. He grinned, shaking his head in disbelief. He was home. He immediately ran past the kitchen, past the fuzzy pink couch and burst the door open into his mother’s room. Julie slowly pushed off the lid to her coffin, sitting up straight in her bed, rubbing her eyes in confusion. Seth smiled shakily, “Mom?”
Julie’s hand fell to her mouth as she stood from her coffin, sliding on her slippers.
“Mom!” He shouted, running and hugging her tightly.
“Seth…” She started to cry, “We all thought you were dead! We heard you screaming and you disappeared! How are you alive? Where were you?”
“I was in the sewers. The wolves had kidnapped me and I was stuck there.”
“How did you escape, I don’t believe it-”
“It’s not important right now, I promise I’ll tell you later. Why were you all cheering last night?”
“We…Oh! The Knights Union had been working on a poison for ages. It’s been made to strip the witches of their powers.”
Seth nodded, “When are you planning to use it?”
“We don’t know yet. We’ve been coming up with ways to implant it in their school but it probably won’t be for another-what’s wrong dear?”
Seth’s face had gone pale. “The witches are going to attack us.”
“What-how do you know?”
“When I was in the sewers there was this girl. Her name was Clove and she’s a witch. She…” Seth paused, “She thinks you’re going to attack the witches.” Seth finished, blatantly leaving out the part where he was the one who told her.
Julie shook her head, her face palling, “Oh no…Oh no…I have to tell Abbadon and Dora, we need to get ready.”
Seth shook his head, “Mom, it’s day time you can’t go outside.”
“They’re in your room. Their home collapsed so-”
“Wait…” Seth stood up, stumbling backwards, If the Bolos’s home…and Pandora and Abbadon are here and Lamia’s not…where…Oh, Seth thought to himself. “Is Lamia…”
“What dear?” Julie stood, walking from her room and towards Seth’s room.
“Nothing.” He said, his voice empty. “I’m going to go find Azazel and Abigor.”
“But it’s day time!”
“Clove gave me a potion, it makes me sun-proof.”
“I can go out during the day- wait. I think I can get some for you all. I’ll be back.”
“Okay but-” Julie started, but Seth was running from his cave, through the curtain and over the branches. He froze at the graveyard. His brow furrowed as he kneeled down on one of the newer ones and saw his own name engraved on the tombstone. It felt weird to see his own name there, as if he was a ghost. His stomach sank as he read the name on the tombstone next to his:
February 9th, 1843 – October, 1993
Beloved daughter to Pandora and Abbadon Bolos
Sister to Azazel Bolos
Seth’s stomach dropped as he hesitantly stepped backwards, his eyes watering and tears began to gush down his cheeks. “No…” He murmured under his breath. He choked on his breath as he turned from his best friend’s grave, dragging his feet through the dirt, past the trees and to Azazel’s cave. He stepped into the dark tunnel, ruffling the curtain to see if it would wake anyone. He shook his head, sliding into the cave and jumping at the girl who slept on the sofa. The knot in his stomach released and he gasped running over to the sofa and shaking Lamia awake. She sat up, rubbing her eyes.
“Azzy what’s-oh my god.” She whispered. “SETH??? WHAT THE- HOW ARE YOU-”
“HOW ARE YOU ALIVE YOU HAVE A TOMBSTONE!!”
“SO DO YOU!!”
“I KNOW!!!” Seth laughed, grabbing Lamia and hugging her tightly.
“I missed you so much…” Lamia smiled, before breaking away from him. “Where did you go? I heard you scream and then you disappeared. They said the wolves had you?”
“Yeah, they did.”
“Yep….they took me into the sewers. There was a girl there, her name was Clove and she’s a witch.”
“She knocked me out and she…she….”
“She put this…she spelled me.”
“‘spelled?’” Lamia snorted, “What are we, in kindergarten?”
“You know what I mean, she could make me do things, she could…she made me hurt people. She could control me.”
“What?!” Lamia exclaimed.
“She…I don’t know.”
“Seth that’s not-”
“Can we not talk about it, please.”
“Sure…” Lamia trailed off. It was silent for a moment. “But Seth-”
“Leave it. Please.”
“So why do you have a tombstone?”
“You got me arrested.”
“After you disappeared I freaked out so I ran to the Queen to tell her about what had happened but it was at the same time as the werewolves scream and the Queen framed me for it yada yada yada, then the werewolves attacked and I was able to escape, and I ran from the forest because I…I guess I just didn’t know what to do. I passed out in a meadow, and when I woke up this girl was helping me so I decided not to go back, but it turns out she was poisoning me the whole time and then she left so I ran home and realized everyone was fine. I found out the Knights Union was trying to make a poison for the witches, I was like, ‘oh i was poisoned, I have a good idea how to get some’ and then I broke into the murder school the girl who poisoned me lives at and she helped me get the poison so I came back, gave a sample to Gemma and she got scientists to work on duplicating it, which they finished last night.”
“Lamia what the heck.”
“Oh, and I learned that the girl who poisoned me is also in love with me, and I might be…I am…It’s complicated. Anyways.”
“Oh my god.” Seth shook his head and Lamia laughed.
“Your thing’s way worse.”
“You were arrested then poisoned and you-”
“At least I was outside and could control my own actions.” Lamia raised her eyebrows at Seth who rolled his eyes. There was a moment of silence before Seth spoke.
“So is Azzy just a deep sleeper or is he dead?”
Lamia laughed, “No he’s probably awake and listening to us from his room.”
“How do you know that?”
“If you’re quiet you can hear that he’s trying not to move.”
“Does he know it’s me?”
“Hm.” Lamia’s brow creased, “Probably not.” She stood, walking to Azzy’s door and yanking it open.
“Who are you talking to?” Azzy asked, his arms crossed sharply.
Lamia looked back at Seth and grinned, before grabbing Azazel by his shirt and dragging him over to the sofa.
Azzy’s jaw dropped. “Seth! Oh my god-” He shouted, “Are you okay? What happened?”
“Uhm, I’ll tell you some other time, Azazel.”
“Azzy.” Lamia warned him, falling over backwards onto the sofa and laughed. Seth’s grin fell as he felt Clove returning from the school. He blinked his eyes and he was Clove. She was crying, hugging a girl Seth assumed to be the ‘Ella’ Clove wouldn’t shut up about. She turned from Ella’s dormitory and stared at the door, smiling as she wiped her cheek. She’s manipulating her, Seth thought to himself, but as he remembered Clove walking from him angrily. He remembered that she was going to tell them. That she already told them about the ‘attack plan,’ how the witches were probably preparing to fight at that very moment. She was telling her version of the truth. Her version wasn’t right. Close, but not right. Clove was turning from Ella’s dorm, walking down the hallway. She stopped in front of another door. She pushed the door open and Seth knew it was her room. The bottles of potions stacked on the nightstand, the green quilt folded in the corner, the pictures on the walls. The clover etched on the perfectly painted, navy blue wall. The painting of a lost boat trapped in the water. Seth gasped as he returned to the cave. Lamia’s eyes were narrowed and Azzy sighed in relief.
Lamia spoke, “We lost you for a second, what happened?”
“I have no time. Clove’s going to…I messed up and told them that we were planning an attack and-”
“She was going to kill me.”
“You’re supposed to die for your people.” a new voice said.
“Yeah well it’s not my people IF I’M DEAD!! Wait, who are you?”
Lamia jumped, “Hey Lazarus.”
Azazel closed his eyes in aggravation, “Lazarus this is personal. Seth, this is my roommate Lazarus. This is Lamia’s best friend Seth.”
“Nice to meet you.” Lazarus waved, standing up and slowly walking away. Once he was gone Seth narrowed his eyebrows and shook his head, “What the heck??” He squeaked.
“Don’t mind him.” Azazel sighed, “What were you saying about an attack?”
“Right..right. You need to hurry. I told my mom and she’s telling your parents, but you need to tell Abigor and Jamie and anyone else. Get ready, I’ll be back.”
“Wait hold on where are you going?” Lamia stood up, grabbing his shoulder.
“Clove will kill me if I’m not there when she gets back.”
“Seth you can’t leave, you’re the one who was there, you need to tell people and- how did you get in here? It’s light out.”
“Clove is an alchemist. Well, she says she would have been.”
“Would have been?”
“I don’t know what her situation is, but she’s…I don’t know. She made a potion so I could be more prepared if we had to defend ourselves from intruders during the day time.”
“So you can go out during the day??”
“What’s it like?”
“It’s…warm. It’s really warm, and bright. I couldn’t see much, it…it really hurt my eyes.”
“But was it nice?”
“Sure. I think I just have to get used to it.”
“I’m going to be right back, I have to get a lot of the potion, you guys drink some then hand it out to everyone else. They’re going to be expecting us to be asleep, so we can use it to our advantage.”
“I have to go, I’ll be right back, I promise.” He said and Lamia and Azazel nodded, watching him run out the door.
Seth pushed aside the curtain and ran down the hall, feeling Clove getting closer to being outside every passing second. He ran through the trees, skidding across the dirt that surrounded the sewer, shoving the lid to the side and climbing in, falling down the ladder. He cringed, pushing himself up and continuing to run down the tunnels and into the kitchen, where the cauldron still sat. He fidgeted with his hands, hearing someone walk into the room.
“What are you doing?” Raffi asked, raising her eyebrows.
“I’m out of the…the sun potion and need more.”
“That’s not something you need to take daily, remember?” Raffi made her eyes go wide sarcastically, before they narrowed. “You’re trying to betray us you sick-”
“We could have killed you but we didn’t! Clove’s not going to be happy about this, I’ll go tell her-” Raffi pointed in the direction of the entrance to the sewers.
“Clove’s not going to be happy with anyone.” Seth said and Raffi dropped her hand.
“So what. I won’t tell Clove. She’s not nice anymore and everyone here knows that, but are still being shoved around like a bunch of big babies. But she’s still my family.”
“She’s not even the same species as you.”
“Anyone who wants to join us is welcome to. Clove wanted to help us, and wanted to work with us. She’s our family.”
“So does this suddenly make me your family too?”
“If you’d like to be. I think it would be hard to think of you as a member of our family instead of a back-stabbing Vampire if you go through with that. You’d be better off dead.”
Seth shook his head. “Sorry Raffi, I’m doing this whether you like it or not. We could move on easily and you don’t tell anyone you ever saw me, or this could be difficult and you tell someone and get me killed. Do you want me to die?”
“Yes? I thought that was clear.”
“Do you want me to die because of you? Do you want that to be something you’re thinking about?”
“Everyone in my family’s killed someone, Seth. I don’t care.”
“They were adults. You’re…you’re 10 years old.”
“And I’m still smarter than you. That’s weird.”
“You’re not smarter than me.”
“SETH WHERE ARE YOU!?” Clove’s voice echoed down the hall and Seth sighed.
“Raffi, please distract Clove.”
“Why? I just told you why I won’t help you.”
“Please!! This isn’t for me it’s-”
“Let me guess. It’s for your people! For your friends!! Family!!!” She said dramatically, placing a hand on her forehead. “Huzzah!”
“Stop and tell Clove I’m somewhere in the other room.” He said sternly.
“What’s in it for me?” She asked skeptically .
“What do you want?” Seth sighed.
Raffi’s face twisted. “I want you to let Vigolfr out.”
“I don’t know how to do that.”
“Then you’re not helping your family.”
“I can try. He-”
“I know he killed Dolphus but still. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. Right Clove?” Raffi turned to face Clove who stepped into the doorway.
Clove’s eyes twitched as she turned to face Seth. “There you are. Why….why are you…”
Raffi grabbed ahold of Clove’s hand, staring at Seth and mouthing the words: Do you promise?
“Cloveee.” She groaned, tugging on Clove’s arm, “Tasha hurt her leg could you come helpppp!?” She said dramatically, her heels digging into the ground, but Clove wasn’t moving.
“Why are you taking more of the potion?”
“Clove!” Raffi shouted.
“Tell Tasha I’ll be there in a second.”
“No, I need you to come now.” Raffi demanded, grabbing Clove’s sleeve and dragging her from the doorway. Seth took a deep breath and grabbed a jar, pressing it under the potion and letting the jar fill until it was close to pouring over the top. He secured the cap on it and then took another two jars, filling them as well and screwing the lids on.
“Okay…” He murmured to himself, grabbing the jars and trying to carefully keep them in his arms. He hurried out of the kitchen, up the tunnels and towards the ladder, fumbling with the jars as he tried to keep them from slipping from between his arms. He barely made it to the top, setting the jars on the ground. He pulled the lid back onto the entrance to the sewers and cursed under his breath, picking up the jars again and running towards the forest. The sky was going gray, clouds floating in front of the sun and it looked like it would rain. Seth skidded on the soil, almost running into a tree as he ducked into Azazel’s cave. Lamia, Azzy, Abigor, and Lazarus were all sitting on the sofa, staring at him. Azzy placed down the jars in front of them.
“You only need one sip. Then you’re fine.”
“Is it…is it that easy?” Lamia asked.
“That’s what Clove told me. She could be wrong, but probably not, because she invented the potion. Or she could be lying, because she’s Clove.”
“That sounds really unreliable.” Abi shook his head.
“It worked on me, so you really have to just trust me on this one.”
The three boys and Lamia exchanged a glance, before Lamia reached out and grabbed a jar, unscrewing the lid and sipping it. Her eyes narrowed as she took a shuddering breath. Her arm twitched and her eyes gleamed a bright gold, but when she blinked it was gone.
Lamia nodded, “So…should I go outside and see if it worked?”
“Yeah.” Seth said, taking Lamia by the hand and leading her down the tunnel, past the curtain and out of the cave. She squinted, gasping as she felt her skin tingle.
“You said it was really bright.”
“Yeah, but it’s about to rain. Once the rain passes you’ll see it.”
“Okay.” Lamia grinned, glancing around and noticing how much brighter the colors were in the day time, even with a cloud going over the sun. The soil looked brown, not black, and the tree trunks looked softer in the daytime. She laughed. “Oh my god it worked.”
Seth smiled at her, “Yeah.”
“Now we just need Clove to make a potion so we can use mirrors.” Lamia said sarcastically, turning back into the cave and Seth laughed as the two of them walked back, running into Abigor who squeezed past them, closely followed by Azazel and Lazarus. Seth and Lamia turned to see them laughing outside.
Seth’s chest seized up, “Lamia, you and Azzy, Abigor, and Lazarus have to go and distribute the potion. Give some to my mom and your parents first. Then you’ll have to wake some people up to get them the poison.”
“Okay. Seth, you should stay with us.”
“I really can’t.”
“I have to go, see you before the fight.”
“Bye!” He shouted, running out of the tunnel and disappeared into the forest.
“But-” Lamia sighed. He was already gone. Azazel and Abigor ran up to her.
“Where did Seth go?” Azzy asked.
“He- I don’t know. He said he’d be back before the fight.
“We should go give mom the potion.”
“I don’t know! We just know that the witches are expecting us to attack, and will probably be getting ready to strike us first. We need to get ready.”
Azazel nodded. “Okay. We should change first, and then Abigor and Lazarus will go tell Jamie and I’ll go tell Layla. You go give Julie and Mom and Dad the potion. Okay?”
“Okay.” Lamia nodded, turning to her cave to change. Once she had done that, she tied her hair back, grabbed a jar of potion and ran from the cave and into the forest, her hair swinging behind her. She turned into Seth’s cave, running through the tunnel and past the curtain, to see her parents and Julie sitting stock still around the coffee table.
“Lamia.” Pandora spoke to her daughter.
“Hi-” Lamia panted, “I have a potion that lets you go outside during the day. You need to take one sip and that’s it. Okay?”
The three adults exchanged a look and Julie nodded, “Okay.”
“Wait.” Pandora put her hand up. “She could be being mind controlled.”
“I’m not mind controlled!”
“Dora,” Abbadon started. “It’s okay, Lamia wouldn’t let that happen, she’s very careful.”
“As careful as she was when she gave a witch a second chance?”
“And it worked out?” Lamia narrowed her eyes. “Please! Just take the potion!”
Abbadon looked between his daughter and wife, before grabbing the jar and taking a sip from it. His eyes gleamed gold before returning to red. He nodded, handing the jar to Julie, who drank it, passing it to Pandora. Pandora sighed, looking at the three in the room before nodding, drinking from the jar.
“Julie says there’s going to be a war?” Pandora asked gently.
Lamia nodded, “The witches are planning to fight us.”
“Hm…” Pandora murmured.
“You need to tell the Queen.” Abbadon said and Pandora raised her eyebrows.
“Or we could not. Tell the knights and everyone else.”
Lamia shook her head, “Mom that’s horrible. We have to tell her.”
“Please, mom.” Lamia said.
Pandora starred Lamia in the eyes, hesitating momentarily before nodding slowly, “Okay.” Pandora sat up straight and Lamia smiled, handing Pandora the jar.
“Tell the Queen to take a sip and then give it out to the rest of her staff. I have to go give the potion to more people. See you soon.” Lamia backed out of the cave. Pandora sighed.
“I’m going to go tell the Queen. I’ll be back. I love you.” She said, kissing Abbadon on the cheek and waving to Julie before following her daughter out of the cave and into the forest. She smiled as the sun brushed her skin and she warmed up. Pandora turned and let her long black dress trail in the leaves. She continued, until she found herself in the Royal Home. She nodded, walking down the series of dark passageways into the throne room of Belladonna Aza. She pushed open the heavy doors. The throne room was empty and Pandora heard her footsteps echo as she left the throne room, knocking on the Queen’s bedroom door.
Belladonna pulled the door open, her nose wrinkling.
“Pandora Bolos, what a surprise.” Belladonna droned, she sighed, walking down the hall and into her throne room, sitting down and throwing her legs over the arm of her throne, picking at her fingernail.
“My Queen.” Pandora bowed.
“Stop pretending you respect me.” Belladonna sneered.
“I don’t respect you, I’m here to tell you about an upcoming fight.”
“Hm. Prove it.”
“You’ll need to drink this first.” Pandora said, holding out the potion.
“I’m not stupid, darling. I haven’t forgotten the time you tried to strangle me.”
“It’s not poisoned.”
“Hm.” Belladonna snapped her fingers and a man came from inside. Dracula.
“What is it?” He asked.
“Drink from the jar.”
Dracula scoffed, and it was clear that he would have flipped his hair if it was long enough. “Okay. I understand someone like you would be scared and you need a brave person to do it for you dear.” Belladonna cringed at the last word but caught herself before she argued. Dracula snatched the jar from Pandora’s grasp, unscrewing the lid and drinking heavily from it. He put the lid back on, his eyes sparkling. He nodded. “It’s fine, don’t worry dear.”
“Shut up.” Belladonna glared at him, looking Pandora up and down before nodding, yanking the jar and drinking from it. She inhaled sharply. “What does this do?”
“You can go in the sun.”
“So that’s how you got in here? Hm.”
“Yes. Come with me.” Pandora said. Belladonna’s eyes twitched for a moment, before nodding, following Pandora from the throne room. They stepped outside and Pandora heard Donna gasp from behind her. They continued to the edge of the forest. Through the windows of the school, the running of frantic students was obvious, and two girls were crying on the front steps of the school. Belladonna nodded sharply, her mouth opening as if she was going to say something before she closed it again. Pandora turned to her. “You need to warn the knights. We will need to have all of them participating and any villagers who choose to do so. Go. Right now. Listen to me.”
Belladonna looked Pandora up and down again, “Yes. I’d advise you to be the one to tell the villagers. I don’t know-” Belladonna cut herself off. “You seem to be better in power.”
Pandora smirked and nodded, “Better than you.”
Belladonna ground her teeth and raised her eyebrows. Right! I can’t say one nice thing in my life without it being turned around to insult me, She thought to herself, turning away from Pandora and walking back inside. Her face was tense as her boots echoed in the hall. She walked towards the staircase that led up to the mezzanine where her childhood bedroom sat empty. She walked past the staircase, behind her throne at the back wall of the throne room, turning behind the staircase into a separate hallway. She knocked on the first door and Simon opened it expectantly.
“My Queen, what do you need?”
“Simon.” Belladonna sighed, closing her eyes.
“My- Is something the matter?”
“Ms Bolos made me aware of an attack the witches are planning for us. They will try to strike us today. Make the remainder of the staff aware of this.”
“Is this true?”
Simon nodded, “Okay. My Queen, I’ll warn Sasha and the cook, and would you like me to tell the guards and knights as well?”
“No. I’ll handle it.”
“Stay safe, my Queen.” Simon smiled, stepping from his room and shutting his door, turning to continue walking down the hallway. Belladonna turned, trying to keep her balance as she left the hallway, back into her throne room, past the staircase, past her bedroom door, and she stood stock still in front of a metal door that led down to the bunkers. She had never gone down there before. She hardly knew the opinions of those who sat in the small room below her. What they thought of her. Belladonna took a deep breath and pulled open the heavy door, and was faced with a pitch black stairwell. Right, the bunkers would have to be underground, wouldn’t they? She stepped down the steep stairs, her heels clicking on the stone. She found herself in a dimly lit hallway which led down to another metal door. The Queen turned, walking over towards the bunker. She heard laughter coming from within and she knocked on the door. A girl who couldn’t be much older than 190 opened the door. Belladonna knew her name to be Samantha, or something similar.
Samantha’s eyes went wide and she took a step back, saying in a shaky voice, “The Queen.” She held the door open and Belladonna nodded to her, putting her hand out to hold the door open. The bunkers were brightly lit, with white tiled walls and a concrete floor. It was small, bunk beds shoved inside, the dark blue blankets neatly made and it was clear no one had gone to sleep yet. She glanced around the room, the knights varying in age from as young as 160 to as old as 1000 years old. She was not surprised to see that the majority were not yet 200 and despite being only 320, Gemma was one of the eldest there. The Queen’s breath shook and she cleared her throat.
“Greetings.” She said and the knights exchanged a confused glance. “It is my job, as Queen, to inform you of a…of an event that will occur at some point today.”
“Today? But that’s-” A man asked.
“Did I stutter?” Belladonna glared at him. “As I was saying. The witches are going to come for us. You all, as the knights of the forest, need to prepare and get ready to fight.” The knights nodded seriously. One girl in the corner sat with her mouth open and Belladonna could see tears sliding over her eyes. Belladonna nodded and turned from the room, shutting the door. She made it halfway down the hallway before she turned back around and violently shoved the door back open. The bunkers went quiet again.
“My Queen, you’re back again?” Samantha asked curiously.
Belladonna opened her mouth. “I’d like to speak to Gemma.”
The knights exchanged yet another glance. Smirking slightly, Samantha nodded to Gemma, who looked concerned. Samantha turned back to the Queen, “Yeah she’ll be there.” The rest of the knights tried to stifle laughter and Belladonna shut her eyes in aggravation. Gemma stood from her bed and followed Donna out of the bunkers and into the hallway, shutting the door behind them.
“Gemma please.” Donna sighed. putting her hand over her eyes as she leaned back against the stone wall. Gemma shook her head.
“Are you…are you okay?” Gemma asked and Belladonna shook her head. “It’ll be alright. I promise.”
Donna dropped her hand from her eyes and stared at Gemma, “Can you promise me you’ll survive, darling?”
“Promise me. Now.”
“Belladonna…” Gemma’s eyes flickered and she shook her head.
Belladonna’s eyes narrowed. “Hm.”
The Queen reached out her hand and grabbed onto Gemma’s arm, “Come with me, there’s an area below the dungeon and bunkers. You’ll be safe there.”
Gemma lifted Belladonna’s hand from her, “Belladonna I can’t go.”
The Queen’s shoulders fell and her silver eyes sparkled with tears, “Gemma please.”
“Belladonna it’s my job to keep you safe. I need to protect you-“
Donna laughed loudly, “Ha! No you don’t! I’m the last one who needs protecting. You’re the one who needs to be safe.”
“I need to protect your kingdom.”
Donna’s heart sank and her breath caught. A thought ran through her head and she grimaced, her stomach twisting. It was a…a horrible thought, to say the least. “What if I die?” She said darkly and Gemma gave her a sad smile.
“That won’t happen.”
“I don’t know, what if I do?” She said to herself, her eyebrows furrowing. “Gemma.” She looked up at Gemma, grabbing onto her shoulders and smiling boldly up at her. “Gemma I need you to marry me.”
“What??” Gemma took a step back and her cheeks flushed.
“You’re blushing? Disgusting. I’m disgusted.” Belladonna sighed and Gemma snorted but decided it wasn’t the best time to mention that the Queen’s cheeks were tinged with pink. “If I die, the throne would immediately go to Dracula. Neither of us want that.”
“I was just…about to say how you went very quickly from avoiding me to proposing to me. But yeah, we don’t want Dracula to rule.”
“If I die, then you will be Queen and Dracula will lose whatever little power he desired to wield.”
“…I can’t be Queen.” Gemma scoffed a little.
“And why not? I wouldn’t trust anyone else.”
“I’m…honored but I don’t think I can do that. I’m better at protecting, not ruling.”
Donna glared at her. She knew it was true, she knew Gemma couldn’t rule. Not because she wasn’t good in charge, she was, but because she would feel far too guilty if she couldn’t be a part of the fight.
“I can’t. If I marry you, which I’d love to do, it can’t be because if you die I am in charge. It’s not why I’m here.”
Belladonna scoffed, “Are you trying to become a sort of savior to me? That’s not who you are. You need to be here. Not for me. For everyone.”
“I can’t rule.”
“You organized the poison and helped so many people. You need to be safe. Please. For me.”
Gemma sighed, “I already told you. I can’t.”
Belladonna’s eyes arrowed again before she shook her head, “Fine.” There was silence for a moment.
“Are you scared?” Gemma asked hesitantly.
“No. No I’m not.” Belladonna sputtered out quickly. “But… if you are then… you could hold my hand, I suppose.” She muttered the last part to herself.
“Ha, okay. Not scared at all okay Donna.” Gemma laughed, reaching out and held onto her hand. “Wow, your pulse is going crazzzzy what’s up with that?”
“Leave me alone. Sorry you’re so scared you needed me to hold your hand like a child.”
Gemma smirked, “Yeah. Sure. Is this you being scared or flustered or both?”
“Stop trying to be ‘cute.’ It’s disgusting.”
“I mean I wasn’t trying to be, but is it working?”
“No, definitely not.”
“Then why are you blushing?”
“I’m not blushing. I don’t blush.”
“Your face would say otherwise.”
“I have never blushed in my life.”
Gemma scoffed. “And how do you know that sweetheart?”
The Queen flushed heavily and glared at Gemma, “I know it because I do.”
“That’s not a solid statement.” Gemma laughed and Belladonna scoffed, brushing hair from her face.
“Are you going to marry me?” Belladonna asked, a shadow falling over her face.
Gemma opened her mouth before closing it again. Then she spoke, “I…would love to. But I’m not going to rule. I don’t want to end up-” She cut herself off, knowing she had misspoken when the life vanished from the Queen’s face and her jaw had gone slack.
Her voice was sturdy as she spoke numbly, “You don’t want to end up like me.”
“That’s not what I meant….” Gemma trailed off, Belladonna nodding.
“For…my own sake. I’m going to act like I never heard that.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“You’re making it difficult to forget.”
“Hm. Interesting. If you don’t want to marry me-”
“I said I did. Just not because you’re afraid that you’re going to die.”
“Who said that’s why I want it?” The Queen snapped and Gemma’s mouth opened before she closed it again. “I want to marry you because…well….nevermind.” Belladonna finished in a haughty silence.
“….Okay.” Gemma nodded. “You’re not going to die.”
“Neither will you.”
“Don’t. Don’t say anything.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t promise you anything. If I…” tears streamed down Gemma’s face and her voice cracked. “If I do die it’s…it’s,” She choked on her breath, because I tried my best to protect the people here. And you’ll be okay without me, you…you have been before-”
“No darling I wouldn’t be. I’m sorry. Stop talking to me like I’m 100. Please don’t sugarcoat this, you’re allowed to talk to me.”
“I thought I was.”
“You’re allowed to be sad. More than I am.”
“Don’t say that, it’s not true.”
“Don’t stop yourself from crying.”
“You sound like me.”
“Well maybe that’s because you’re very wise.” Belladonna scoffed, holding onto Gemma’s hand as she sat down against the wall, Gemma coming to sit next to her.
Gemma sighed. “I’ll be okay. I’m sorry I scared you, I was just…”
“I’m not scared.”