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Warlock's Crystal Addition
I faced the house and sighed. The white sign on the sidewalk next to me read: Araman Plantation House, Library and Museum. This place looked neither like a library, nor a museum. More like a haunted house in daylight. The sidewalk I stood on was cracked, the front porch sagged painfully, the originally brown paint was now even browner and peeling, and half the front of it was covered in black ivy. You know there’s something wrong when plants turn black. And yet, this was where I was supposed to be.
Willow had better have a really good reason for bringing me here. I shouldered my backpack and headed on inside. The porch was just as creepy as I had imagined, and also as creaky. I swear I saw that ivy move! The door squealed on its hinges.
The lobby was just as dark and haunted house looking as the outside. Directly in front of me stood a receptionist’s desk that appeared empty. On the right was the entrance to the museum, more of an archway than a doorway. On the left was the entrance to the library, where I was headed. I think the gift shop must have been that way as well, because there was a small display of interesting objects on pedestals with price tags on them.
Stacks of books and white candles in little red jars were sitting atop the little pedestals of the display. A couple of wise looking owls scowled down at me from the book stacks, almost seeming alive. A skull, hopefully plastic, with Celtic designs etched into it gave me a creepy grin. The candle holders were less imposing, holding several little white candles, and a couple small glass balls that distorted the image through them, but still were transparent. I thought for just a second about the outside of the Araman House, and I could have sworn that it showed up in the glass ball. A large cup, also etched with Celtic designs, held a larger version of the glass balls in the candle holders. As I inspected these carefully, a voice rang out from behind the seemingly uninhabited desk.
“Are you meeting anyone?” she asked abruptly. I jumped, bumping into a pedestal and knocking the cup and glass ball off. I caught both and the receptionist scowled at me. I blushed unhappily and set them back. So the desk was inhabited, and the fiery haired receptionist was just very, very, very, tiny.
“Did you hear me?” she asked in annoyance, still glaring. I started to open my mouth, but then a pretty blond woman in her mid-twenties rushed in and saved me.
“Red!” Willow crowed happily. She had started calling me that on one of our first phone conversations and it had stuck. “I was wondering where you were! It’s okay, Ruby, I’ve got this.” Willie winked at the unhappy receptionist.
“Geez, kid, do you know how late you are?” Willow scolded me as she pushed me further into the library.
“We got stuck in traffic,” I said, looking over my shoulder at her.
When we can’t see the receptionist anymore, she stops and hugs me. She’s a slim woman, I mean warlock, but probably stronger than my friend who’s a football player. Warlocks are naturally stronger than humans, and Willow is almost crushing me at the moment.
“Willie!” I wheezed.
“Sorry,” she smiled brightly and let me go. I straightened my shirt and glasses. Willow’s button down shirt and jeans were unrumpled. I was just a little jealous of her perfection. Tall, slim, gold complexion, blond curls, and golden-amber eyes. So unlike my own pale skin, wild copper curls and glasses-covered blue green eyes. “I have a surprise,” she smiled at me happily.
“Um, okay,” I said slowly as she grabbed my hand and tugged me to another part of the extensive library. I knew this place was big, but this was insane! Later I learned that it was enchanted to be larger on the inside than out.
She came to a stop at an open area, filled with tables, where two guys about her age (well, looks wise. Warlocks are basically immortal) were sitting. One of them was distinctly Asian, with spiked up hair, and what looked like an Italian suit with a blue vest that went with his blue eyes. Blue eyes? Warlock. The other was a really good looking boy that could easily have belonged on a beach in California, surf board in hand, were it not for his pale complexion. Dark brown hair and eyes, all around handsome.
“Surprise!” Willow beamed. I thought for a second. The Asian man looked very familiar…
“Magnus? Willow’s little brother?” I cocked my head.
“And you must be Red!” Magnus rose to his feet and hugged me. “Willow never shuts up about you. I feel like I know you!”
“Same here, I’ve read the diary she gave me three or four times,” I laughed, “Though I can’t imagine you in anything other than the blue sparkly suit you were wearing when Willie first came home.”
“And this is Marc, my husband,” Magnus introduced me to the surfer boy. I frowned. This boy looked nothing like the one Willie described in her diary.
“Glamour?” I looked at Marc, and he grinned and nodded.
“I don’t exactly look normal enough to go out in human society,” Marc smiled and hugged me as well.
“Oh! That makes sense,” I nod.
“Clean your glasses,” Willow smirked and handed me a little bottle and a cleaning cloth. I gave her a strange look and did as told.
When I put them back on, Marc was no longer a surfer boy. I jumped a little bit. Now he was his true self, a fairy with a pale green complexion and bright pink hair. He turned in a circle for me, and I saw that he also had little wings, which he was using to hover above the floor, so that he was tall enough to look me and Magnus and Willie in the eye. I went to hand the cleaner back to Willie, but she shook her head.
“Keep it,” she grinned wickedly, “Should make your life more interesting. You have no idea how many glamoured fairies and other Outliers there are out there.”
“Okay,” I shrugged. “Shall we get started?”
“Sure!” Willow chirped.
For almost three hours we sat there, going over the notes Willow had from my latest, and likely last, draft of her biography. At about four o’clock, I started to wonder how on Earth I was going to get home. I asked Willow as much and she grinned wickedly.
“You saw those glass balls in the front?” she asked.
“Yeah, I almost broke one,” I winced in remembrance.
“Well, when you do,” she explained, “they create a Portal and you keep the image of where you want to go in your head and you go there!”
“Cool,” I nod, “except my parents need to think that my friend dropped me off.”
“Oh, tsk,” Willow rolled her eyes, “Easy. Just give them these.” She handed me a box of mints that read: Pure Caffeine. For Those Who Never Sleep!
“Willie,” I laughed, “This is caffeine mints.”
“Oh, well you can keep those too,” she grinned, “Here’s the mints for your family.” This box of mints read: Memory Mints. For Those Days You Just Want To Forget!
“They’re made by the same company,” Magnus added, “Which is why the slogans sound so similar.”
“Makes sense,” I nodded. Really? Did anything about this situation make sense?
We walked back out to the lobby, since I needed to go feed horses with my Grandpa, and stood there talking for a moment. I glanced up at the receptionist, Ruby, and then regretted it. Ruby was a tiny little shriveled goblin thing, with bright red skin. I carefully lowered my eyes back to the floor, and Marc caught my eye and grinned.
“This is also a Portal,” Willow draped a necklace with a similar glass ball as a pendant but much smaller. “You might need it for a getaway in the future.”
“Cool!” I grinned.
“Now, Red,” Willow gave me the scolding look again, “If you’re ever in Ireland, call me! I’m always free.”
“Liar,” Magnus grinned, “She’s never free.”
I get hugs all around, and then Willow broke the largest Portal ball and I sent myself home to the middle of my bed. I came out and fed my confused family the Memory Mints and when they woke up, I told them that my friend had dropped me off.
I finally finished my book, and am having trouble finding a publisher, even if I am pitching it as fiction. Well, in the human world. It’s a bestseller among the Outliers, like fairies, vampires, werewolves, and of course, warlocks as the most powerful Light warlock’s biography.