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Expensive Magic This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Jade had done her fair share of adventures. She’d defeated giants, made deals with dragons, stolen hidden treasure, captured goblins and dwarves, and fought almost every type of creature in the realm of dark magic. She’d done tasks that many would consider impossible. All this was done as a spy for the fairies. She was the most trusted fairy spy and with her aura hidden from most eyes, none of the dark creatures suspected her, mostly because she had cut off her own wings for a quest.
But despite all she’d done and been through, nothing could prepare her for the chaos of a high school dance.
Bright lights flashed, music boomed loudly enough to shake Jade to the core. Teenagers wove around in the crushing crowds, unable to move from side to side so they moved up and down. Jade stayed near the wall, trying not to look as terrified as she felt. How could anyone see this as fun? If it wasn’t for her task, she’d leave right away.
A boy at the edge of the crowd stumbled away from the mass of people and looked over at the spot where Jade stood. His eyes landed on her. It took only seconds for recognition to dawn in his eyes. With a backward glance at the rest of the crowd, he made his way toward her.
“I knew you’d come,” the boy said. “I thought you were supposed to be on time.”
“I was on time,” Jade muttered. “You just weren’t paying attention.”
The boy leaned closer to her. “Sorry,” he shouted. “I can’t hear you.”
“Let’s go outside,” Jade shouted in his ear. “We need to talk.”
She noticed his gaze flit toward a pretty girl at the edge of the crowd, but he nodded reluctantly and stood up.
Jade followed him out the doors and into the cool night. It was a quiet night, but she could sense that something was amiss and it would show itself soon.
“I believe we should start with introductions,” she said. “My name is Jade.”
“I’m Len,” he said. “You messaged me about my magic, correct?”
Jade nodded. “You have it with you?”
He nodded. “Sure do. The magic you requested will cost at least two large diamonds, five rubies, and ten sapphire chips.”
Jade winced. “Outrageous price.”
He grinned. “Sorry. Magic ain’t cheap.”
She sighed. “I can pay you the rubies and one of the diamonds now, but I’ll have the second diamond and the sapphire chips to you within two days. May I see the magic?”
He frowned. “Only part of it since you aren’t paying full price right now.”
She held out her hand. There was a small pouch that rested in the palm of her hand. Len snatched the pouch eagerly and peered inside. He slipped it into his pocket and pulled out a vial full of a glowing substance. Jade took the vial and pocketed it.
“I kept half the spell,” Len said, holding up a second vial. “You better pay up soon.”
“Give me two days,” she said. “Where should I meet you?”
Len scratched his chin. “I’ll be at another high school dance in two days. It’s at a different school.”
Jade shook her head. “I’m not going to another high school dance ever again. If you want the rest of the money, you better find somewhere more convenient.”
He pouted. “Fine. There’s this nice coffee shop in town. You might have heard of it. It’s on the corner of 50th and Pine.”
“Hazelnut Café?” Jade asked cooly. “Known to magic folk as Pixie’s Coffee? The one that’s run by fairies in disguise?”
Len looked impressed. “You’ve heard of it.”
“I get around a lot,” she said. “What time?”
He scratched his head. “7:30. I don’t want to miss the dance.”
She rolled her eyes. “Fine. I’ll meet you there.” She held out her hand to shake it. As he was reaching out to shake hers, a roar split the air.
Jade immediately grabbed the boy and threw him to the ground. A moment later, the ground where Len had stood before was in flames. She reached for her bow as the enormous creature swooped overhead.
The creature landed on top of the school and glared at Jade. She recognized him immediately. “Medmun,” she spat.
“Who?” Len cried as he scrambled to his feet.
“One of the worst demons in the dark realm,” she said. “This is one demon you don’t want to mess around with.”
Medmun had the head of a dragon, the body of a cat with dragon wings, and a scaly tail that ended in a large spike. He was enormous, even for demons. Jade guessed that he could swallow a school bus without any trouble.
The demon took flight again and swooped down, his claws outstretched toward her. Her bow twanged, but the arrow glanced off his tough hide. He reached out to snatch her up.
Something knocked Jade to the ground and Medmun soared over her, his claws grasping at the air. He screeched and flew around, circling back toward them.
Jade tried to get up, but Len pushed her down. “Just stay put,” he snapped.
“What are you doing?” Jade cried.
“Saving your life,” Len said. He pulled out a vial, tore the cork out, and downed the contents. Immediately, his shape started to warp. He fell down onto his hands and knees as his body started to expand. His clothes blended into his skin, which was rapidly turning into red scales. Two wings sprouted from his back. His fingernails grew into claws. His neck elongated and horns shot out of the back of his head while a barbed tail formed behind him. In a matter of seconds, he was a red dragon.
The dragon took off. Compared to Medmun, he looked tiny, but that would give him an advantage in maneuverability. She pulled another arrow out of her satchel and ran toward where the dragon was roaring a challenge at the demon.
The demon spotted Jade and tried to lunge toward her, but the dragon intercepted him. Jade knew that Len was no more than an irritant to Medmun, but that was enough to distract him. She kept an eye out for Medmun’s weakness. Every demon had a soft spot somewhere on their body, similar to an Achilles heel. It was the best way to kill them.
Jade stopped and reached into her satchel. She pulled out a small container full of an oily subtance. She dipped her finger in it and wiped it around the rim of her eyes. Immediately, things became clearer to her. She could spot Len’s bright aura about him, strengthened by the dragon. There was a darker shimmer around the demon. He had a powerful aura, more powerful than most demons.
She put the container away and studied Medmun’s body. Len flew around him, shooting fire in random places. Medmun roared and tried to swat at him, but he darted out of reach. Medmun turned slightly, revealing no weakness Jade could see. She might have to get closer to spot it.
She rushed forward and started shouting. “Hey,” she called. “Medmun! Come and get me.”
“Quiet,” Len roared. He sent out a burst of flame to try to distract the demon again, but Medmun swatted him out of the air and took flight. He swooped low over Jade, but this time she didn’t try to duck or avoid his claws.
He snatched her up and perched atop the school. “Traitor,” he roared. “You are consorting with fair creatures. That is forbidden in the dark realm.”
“I know,” she called. “I was searching for a weakness in the ranks of the magicians. This boy is among their best. I’m on a mission from the demon king.”
The demon snorted smoke over Jade, which she coughed on. “Liar,” he roared.
Jade had a closer look at the demon now. She searched harder than before. There was no sign of a weakness on the front of the demon. It was possible his weakness was hidden somewhere on his back.
The demon spread his wings to take flight, but a burst of flame hit his wing and he roared, turning his head to look at Len, who had once again joined the battle. As soon as his head turned, Jade saw it. There was a stronger glint of darkness behind one of the horns on his dragon head.
Medmun opened his mouth to spray fire at Len, but as soon as his mouth opened, Len shot a ball of fire into Medmun’s mouth. The demon was just as invincible on the inside as the outside, but even for demons it hurt to swallow fire. He dropped Jade and clawed at his mouth.
Len swooped downward and barely caught Jade before she hit the ground. He set her down gently and landed beside her. “You okay?” he panted.
“Yeah,” she said. “You?”
He tossed his head. “I’m fine. Why’d you jump in like that? The demon could have killed you.”
“I found his weakness,” Jade said excitedly. “There’s a soft spot just beneath one of his horns. I’m a pretty good shooter. If you could just fly me up to the roof of the school and distract him for a moment, I can shot him.”
Len snorted. “Fine. You better hurry. My dragon spell won’t last much longer. I’ve exerted the spell to its limits so the time will be cut short. I’m nearly out of fire too.”
“How much time do you have left?” Jade asked.
“Fifteen minutes at best.”
“Let’s go.”
Len took to the air, snatching Jade up with his foreclaws as he passed over her. He set her down on top of the school and soared away toward the front of Medmun, who was just starting to recover. He swatted at Len, snarling when the dragon flew just out of reach. Medmun stepped off the school and turned to face the dragon. Jade put an arrow to her string and aimed carefully at the disturbance in the demon’s aura. If the demon took a step closer, he would be in range.
Len continued to fly around, occasionally spewing fire. The demon stopped swatting at him and placed his paws together. When he spread them apart, his aura shimmered and a ball of black magic rested in between his paws. He hurled it at Len, who nimbly dodged it. The ball stopped short of hitting the school and flew back toward Len. He turned back to see where it went right as it struck him in the chest. He let out a deafening roar as he crashed the ground. Already his dragon form was shrinking and Jade realized he was transforming back into a boy. The magic was destroying the spell. The demon was not yet close enough for her to shoot him. She reached for her satchel and realized it was still on the ground.
She searched her pockets. The vial from Len was there, but she wanted to save that magic for a more desperate time. She felt around until she found her reserve vial she saved in case she was ever separated from her satchel. She unstopped it and breathed in the fumes that had been magically trapped inside.
Immediately, a feeling of dizziness took over her and she fell to her knees. The dizziness passed through her like a wave. She felt a tingling sensation on her back and heard a ripping sound as two fairy wings tore out of the back of her shirt. She suddenly felt more alive as her old magic coursed through her.
With her bow in one hand and an arrow in the other, Jade charged toward the edge of the building and jumped. Her wings beat the air, lifting her up higher than the demon. Medmun looked up at her and growled. She dove toward him, aiming for the back of his head. Medmun seemed to know what she was after. He turned to intercept her. She feinted a move and he fell for it, lunging toward the right while she flew around his left side, aimed, and fired.
Time seemed to freeze as the arrow met its mark. The dark aura around Medmun drew close to his body. Jade flew away, trying to find shelter, but when the aura exploded outward again, she was caught in the shockwave and hit a parked car. She looked up just on time to see the demon explode. The aura waves washed over her, growing smaller until they were nonexistent. There was no sign the demon had ever been there.
Jade stood up and ran to Len, who was lying face down on the ground. She rolled him over so he was on his back. He still had a pulse and didn’t look seriously injured on the outside, but she knew there was dark magic inside him. She summoned revival magic to her fingers and spread it over him, dispelling the dark magic Medmun had cast over him.
Len groaned and stirred. When he opened his eyes, he gasped and flinched away from Jade. “You’re a fairy!” he cried. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Jade clapped a hand over his mouth. “Not so loud,” she hissed. “I’m a spy, remember?”
He rolled his eyes. “Not for much longer. Word of Medmun’s death will get out. You’ll be blamed. He might have sent out a message to the demon king before he died.”
“Demons are not the only kingdom I’m infiltrating,” Jade hissed. “Are you okay?”
Len moved his arms a little and patted his chest. “I think so,” he said. “That’s the worst magic that’s ever hit me. That demon must really be something.”
“He’s powerful all right,” Jade muttered. She pulled out her empty vial and breathed magic into it. Her butterfly wings vanished as did her magic. She pocketed the vial.
Len watched her closely. “You’re leaving, aren’t you?” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “Don’t expect to see me again for a while.”
He frowned. “You still owe me money.”
“Actually, you owe me,” Jade said, jabbing a finger at him. “That revival spell was worth at least two diamonds and nine rubies.”
Len paled. “It doesn’t count,” he protested. “I didn’t ask you to revive me.”
She snorted. “You wouldn’t have been able to ask. Had I left you, dark magic would have poisoned and killed you within the week. It was difficult even for a revival spell.” She smiled at his dejected face. “Don’t worry. I’ll let you keep the money I already paid you as long as you give me the rest of the spell.”
Len sighed and pulled out the second vial. “Be careful,” he said.
She stood up and helped him up. “We’ll meet again,” she promised.
“You better not cheat me again next time,” Len said.
Jade laughed. She snapped her fingers and was gone in an instant.

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Jk123This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 8:07 pm
This story is AMAZING, well written and so imaginative!! It was a lot of fun to read! Great Job:)
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