by Mishi Dreamer and Ellie Rogue
Mishi and I decided to try our hands at something different this time. Everything started from a dream and, before we knew, we were deep in conversation about what might happen if we had some magical, mischievous alter-egos in a parallel universe where everything is possible, spells can clean up rooms and you can stir potions the way you stir up trouble. I wonder if you all will guess who wrote what! 😉
Enjoy the – barely in time – Summer Entry for the SSC!
It was just another day at the Academy of Magic and Witchcraft of Springwood. First period had started and most of the witchlings were sitting in their classrooms, ready to deal with their fair share of notions, explanations, tests and labs. At the end of the day the magical academy was but another school, fervent with spirited minds, untrained saplings, young ladies that would’ve easily chosen a walk or broom-ride outside over the slow, monotonous, indoor routine they were supposed to endure. Breakfast at 7, classes from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm, lunch and then homework or practice sessions. Some witches met their mentors for extra lessons, others tended to the duties of their magical clubs: freezing ball, magical gardening, fast-flying (reserved to the pupils with a few years of experience), and enchanted art among them. Dinner was at 7.30 pm, lights out at 10.30 sharp. Another of the tedious rules most students hated and some tried to ignore.
But, the teachers seemed to believe that was what they needed. Dedication, discipline and focus were particularly important for a little witch. Essential, even. Magic was a powerful energy that, if not properly constrained, could “turn a witch and her whole world upside down” – or that was what Amelia often repeated, most of the time in relation to some sort of spell her girls were not ready to learn but begging her to teach.
But back to our story. It was still just another day in Springwood, except for the fact that the air seemed to be crackling with quiet excitement, an ill-concealed sense of expectation, perhaps because of the announcement the students had been given during breakfast: a member of the Great Council was going to visit the school soon and select – upon the suggestion of the tutors – the Springwood student that would join the junior jury of the Magical Olympic Games as representative of the Academy. The honor, the headmistress had specified over porridge and juice, could go to any young witch of any age and witchcraft level, with a single requirement: she would have to be one very brilliant, promising magician, one to make the Academy proud.
Given how attending the Olympics meant a trip to the Capital, vacationing with the other schools’ representatives, weeks of parties, encounters with the most important witches and wizards of the country and some priority, free tickets for the Great Opening and the best shows and competitions of the games, obviously the whole of the student body had gone crazy.
No one knew when the Council would show up, though, and the witchlings had been invited to cast the thought aside and worry about their studies and being on their best behavior.
Most of the students had decided that proving they were responsible, committed, knowledge thirsty young ladies would make them earn some points in the race for the special prize, and that was why the lessons seemed to be gaining a lot of active participation that day. From most.
In one of the classrooms on the third floor, the door creaked on the hinges, opening just enough for a creature the size of a fat cat to pass through before it was shut again.
The pages of the manual of a girl in the front row rolled like the wind was suddenly blowing it closed, and Macy Starspell snapped a hand on it to stop the motion, a confused, annoyed look on her face.
A chair scratched on the floor towards the end of the room, and a young witch dropped into her seat, pulling out the books from her bag. The sight of a book appearing out of nowhere on the desk didn’t terrify the little witch sitting beside it like it would have any normal teenager though her eyes did go wide.
“Invisibility spell, Indie, really?” Shirley Tempest whispered as a human hand suddenly floated over the book before the owner realized it was visible and flipped it under the desk.
“Hush, Shirl, a fifth-year was looking for test subjects for her latest potion. I earned a silver coin.”
“Good luck on not earning anything else!” Shirley mumbled to her friend just as the teacher, who had been writing on the blackboard, turned around and placed her hands on her hips.
“How kind of you to join, Indigo Winterchild.” The potion master snapped her fingers, and the whole Indie became visible at once, with her light brown hair, hazel bright eyes and overall mischievous air.
The noise of chairs scratching the stone floor and warm laughter filled the room as the whole class turned to look at the latest addition, who was almost 7 months into the school and carrying the same attitude of the very first day. Indie’s eyes only met Macy’s eye roll, however, and barely caught a glimpse of realization on the other girl’s face, before she looked back at her not-so-happy teacher.
“We’ll discuss your lateness after class. And your improper use of magic far above your level, most definitely. Rest assured that you will have a busy afternoon reorganizing the shelves of the potion lab storage. Now, will you please be so nice as to list for us the ingredients of the Impervious potion?”
Indie bit her bottom lip, not at all happy with her new plans for the day – especially as she still had a paper to finish for her mentor and wanted to get started on a new little project of hers.
“Well…” She tried to read the names Shirley was scribbling in the corner of her notebook, but could hardly make out an “Arnica juice?”
“That’s what you will need if you keep ignoring your assignments, young lady. Didn’t you do the reading for today?”
“I did!” Indie tried to protest. And she had done the reading. While wrestling a spell gone wrong on the rose bush she was trying to enchant to make the flowers sing. Instead, they had decided to repeat anything Indie would say, and so the names of the ingredients for the Impervious now crowded her head, in a range of different squeaky voices that made her want to groan and turned any notion fuzzy.
“Maybe you would like to help your classmate, Miss Starspell?”
Macy was still looking back at the latecomer when the teacher said her name. Turning back to the front, she glanced from their teacher to the blackboard and then down to her book, which was on the wrong page, but that didn’t matter. She rattled off the list of ingredients from memory.
“Excellent.” Their teacher nodded and turned back to write on the board. “Thank you, Miss Starspell.”
Macy hid a smile and returned her book to the proper page. She tried to listen to the lecture, but a lot of it seemed to be a repetition of the reading, and her thoughts wandered. Trust Indigo Winterchild to be in trouble, again. She was probably the only student in the whole school who wasn’t studying extra hard to be chosen as the Springwood representative. The memory of the announcement about the Magical Olympics made Macy refocus on her notes for the rest of class, shoving aside any thoughts not about potion-making.
Time seemed to be passing by more quickly than usual that morning, and in no time at all the bell rang, freeing the students to take a break before their next class. The room exploded into the excited chatter that had been filling the school’s halls ever since the headmistress’s announcement.
Their teacher’s voice cut through the babble. “Hold it, Miss Winterchild, we have something to discuss, remember?”
Macy, in the process of placing her bag over her shoulder, glanced toward the door to see Indigo amid the crowd of students, no doubt trying to sneak out and avoid punishment. Macy rolled her eyes and went to follow the other students out of the room. When she passed by Indigo, heading the other way, their eyes briefly met. Indigo looked exasperated, but not upset.
Not for the first time, Macy wondered how Indigo did it. If she’d gotten in trouble in front of the whole class…. Macy shoved the thought aside. She didn’t need to think about that because it wouldn’t happen. She didn’t run around causing a ruckus like some witches.
Following the crowd of students had led Macy to the entrance hall. She paused and looked around, debating what to do. There was a bit of time before her next class that she could spend studying. After all, she still had Amelia’s class later that day.
As Macy climbed the stairs, she considered the likelihood that she might be the one chosen to go to the Magical Olympics. A part of her hesitated at the idea… it would involve meeting a lot of people, most of them skilled witches, many of them famous, and all of them strangers. The thought alone made her mouth run dry.
But, Macy reminded herself, it would be an amazing opportunity, the kind that only came along once in a lifetime, and if she was chosen, it would mean the teachers thought she was special. It would mean Amelia really thought she was special. Macy had no doubt her mentor’s opinion would play an important role in such a decision.
There was a small sitting area down the hall from her next class. It was empty, as usual, and Macy slipped into a chair near the corner of the nook. Digging into her bag, Macy found the paperback she’d started the night before, about a pegasus rider, and the temptation to read the next chapter flashed through her mind. She made herself put it back and pull out her textbook instead. She’d done the reading already, but considering the circumstances, it couldn’t hurt to review it. Pulling her legs up under her, Macy opened the textbook to the latest chapter and did just that.
“It’s unacceptable, Miss Winterchild.” Indie chanted as she finally walked out of the classroom, a stack of papers in her arms, and caught up with Shirley, who’d been waiting for her leaning against the wall just outside.
“A true witch does not take the Code of Conduct so lightly. A true witch doesn’t endanger herself and the people around her by testing random potions mixed by other witchlings without trained supervision. A true witch…” Indie repeated her teacher’s words while the young witches walked towards the stairs, side by side.
“Okay, okay, we got the gist of it.”
“It’s not like I ever pretended to be a proper witch, anyway!”
“Come now, if it isn’t a sulking Indigo Winterchild. Don’t play the victim, Indie…after all, what did you expect, a pat on your back? She caught you breaking the rules and she saw right through you. Literally, given how you were invisible!”
Indie growled. She knew her friend was right, and that she’d been pushing it a little, but she couldn’t help herself. She liked spicing things up; she enjoyed the thrill that came with magic. The unpredictability, the unexpectedness, and the feeling that anything was possible were the things she loved the most about being a witch, and none of those matched well with all the codes, the boring homework or the old, safe traditional recipes and rules.
She wasn’t a bad witch. Indie was skilled, with the kind of magical talent that many witchlings admired and were a bit jealous of. Some classes felt too easy to her, boring or not challenging enough – not the kind of challenging she loved, anyway – and she’d managed to catch up with most of the programs fairly quickly, considering she’d joined the group six months into the academic year. Some teachers were endeared at her brisk, impish ways and surprised by her progress. Her magic seemed to stem from emotions, the spells teacher had once told her. But. But there were lots of classes where emotions wouldn’t help Indie that much. Classes she kept failing, like History of Magic or Potions. It didn’t matter how “hard” she tried.
“At least she won’t tell Amelia.” Sensing the shift in mood, Shirley tried to cheer her friend up.
“Wouldn’t know. Macy was there – I bet she can’t wait to fill Amelia in.”
“Don’t be so sure, Macy is not that bad.”
Indie sighed. Shirley was probably right, again. Macy was…Indie was unsure how to describe her. All she knew was that they shared the same mentor (and hence, the same magical education) and that Macy had already been there when Indigo had entered the scene. Amelia’s only favorite, people had told Indie. The only little witch that had been chosen by her after decades of nothing.
In the beginning, Indie had hoped she could find a friend in Macy…a sister, even, now that she would have a new family in the witching society. But, Macy was so…different. She was quiet and hesitant; she enjoyed studying and could read up till the first lights of the morning. In fact, Indie was fairly certain curfew was the only rule Macy had always broken in her life, by reading till her eyes couldn’t take it anymore. Surprisingly, Macy was also smart enough to never get caught. And only a special kind of “smart” worked in that sense. Indie should now.
In any case, the Starspell girl had never hidden her discontent about the whole “Indie” situation. She frowned upon Indie and her pranks, disapproved of Indie’s methods, and most certainly did not like dividing Amelia’s attention. So, instead of trying to befriend her, Indie had made it her personal goal to poke the other girl and get on her nerves as much as she could, not that different from a kitten in a litter.
“Except for being a nerdy know-it-all, you mean?”
“She is a little nerdy, I’ll give you that, but she did offer to help me review sometimes and…”
“Well, sorry to break this incredibly interesting conversation about the Stargirl Macy Starspell, but I need to deliver these papers to the potion lab before the next class, or I’ll have Miss Spellbrook after my butt!”
Indie rolled her eyes and winked at her friend, turning to the right.
“Will you make it before class starts?”
“Would I ever let you down?”
Indie grinned and left Shirley to wonder whatever that would mean. She did head towards the lab and picked a few shortcuts that got her to her destination sooner than the crowded main halls would have. She dropped the scrolls on the desk and peeked around at the empty classroom.
The lab was a net of stations, each equipped with a cauldron and a few other necessary items, such as knives, ladles, cutting boards and basic ingredients. The walls were covered in bookshelves, most of them ordered by year of interest.
Indie approached a fourth-year shelf and nonchalantly pulled out the advanced potion manual. Most of the recipes looked incredibly complicated, considered how she still had trouble producing decent lemon juice, but as she leafed through the pages her eyes caught a title that made her freeze.
Sparkling potion. Will show a magician’s true glow.
“A magician’s true glow”. Indie read the description a couple times. “If you want to impress another magician, this is the perfect potion to show how brilliant you are – woah, this is some good stuff.”
Her thoughts went to Amelia faster than she would have liked to admit, and then she remembered the announcement of the day. Indie had never thought she stood a chance at becoming school representative, but then again…what if there was a way for her to prove that she was, indeed, a bright witch with hidden talents and not a walking disaster? And what if that way was presented right before her eyes? Couldn’t that be a sign, some sort of trial?
With her heart racing as the bell once again signaled the beginning of another period, Indie ripped the page out of the book and folded it as quickly as she could, before hiding it in her pocket and placing the manual back in its rightful place. She made it out of the lab – she would be right back after the school day was over to clean up the storage, a punishment that could actually prove useful, for once – and ran to her next classroom. She was late, after all. Again.
By the time afternoon rolled around, Macy was getting jittery. It turned out reading her textbooks between classes hadn’t been all that helpful, instead just serving to remind her of how important it was to make a good impression that day.
And now, it was time for her lesson with Amelia. A lesson that would have been the perfect opportunity for her to demonstrate her ability if it had been a private one-on-one lesson like it used to be.
Macy sighed as she walked down the hallway to Amelia’s study. She used to love lessons with Amelia, and she still liked them, but things were different with Indigo there. Indigo played pranks, she broke all the rules, she seemed to have made it her life’s mission to bug Macy, and yet, for some reason, Amelia had chosen her. It still didn’t make sense to Macy.
Indigo, to Macy’s complete lack of surprise, was nowhere to be seen when Macy arrived at the study. Amelia wasn’t there yet either. Macy went over to the little desk where she liked to work and settled into the soft, cozy chair. The later afternoon sunlight spilled through the tall windows to blanket the room in its warmth. Indigo’s empty desk wasn’t far from Macy’s. It bugged Macy to always have Indigo so close by, but she loved being by the window too much to move herself.
The door to the study flew open. Indigo charged in but stopped after only a few feet and glanced around the room. Macy looked past her at the clock. Only one minute until their lesson was supposed to start.
“Whew, made it!” Indigo grinned and fell into her own seat.
Suddenly uncomfortable, Macy bit her lip and looked away, out the window. Bright flowers and plants practically shone in the sun. The study windows opened onto Amelia’s garden. It wasn’t large, but it was separated from the rest of the school’s gardens. Once, Macy had been allowed to visit it (though not to interfere with the plants, some of which were magical and dangerous) but that was another thing Indigo had ruined. When the other girl had arrived, Amelia had told both of them the garden was off-limits.
“Hey, if it isn’t a little twinkling Starspell.” Indigo leaned back in her seat, gazing straight at Macy, who felt her face heat up.
Macy tried to keep looking out the window, but Indigo was close enough that Macy could still clearly see her out of the corner of her eye. “Cut it out.”
“What?” Indigo’s eyes went wide. “I’m just saying Hi, what’s wrong with that?” She almost sounded injured, but her voice trembled with a suppressed laugh at the end.
Macy glared out of the window, trying to think up a retort. All she could come up with then was, “Hello Winterchild.”
There was a brief silence. Then, Indigo laughed. It sounded like a genuine laugh, and Macy glanced over at her.
“Good one.” Indigo shook her head, still chuckling. “Looks like a star is born.”
This time, Macy glared directly at Indigo. “At least I’m not always getting in trouble.”
A frown flickered across Indigo’s face, but then she shrugged. “You should try it sometime. It’s more fun than you think.”
“What’s more fun than she thinks?” Amelia’s voice came from the door, and both girls twisted in their seats to see their mentor walking into the room. Amelia closed the study door, which Indigo had left open, behind her before heading to her own desk. The older witch raised her eyebrows at Indigo. “Well? Don’t leave me in suspense.”
Biting her lip, Macy watched Indigo. To her amazement, the other girl didn’t seem flushed at all. Indigo just grinned at Amelia and announced, almost proudly, “Getting in trouble. If you want to try it sometime, I can give you tips.”
Amelia shook her head and said, her voice solemn, “I’m afraid I must pass on that one. And I’m sure, being a clever witch yourself, you’ll also realize the foolhardiness of such action.”
As Amelia turned to retrieve something from her desk drawer, Macy saw Indigo roll her eyes. She really didn’t understand Indigo at all.
“Personally,” Amelia commented as she held up a clear bottle filled with a purple potion, “I find learning magic to be much more fun than getting into trouble.” Amelia set the bottle carefully on her desk and looked from Indigo to Macy. “Would either of you like to hazard a guess what potion this is?”
Macy frowned and leaned forward, studying the bottle. It didn’t look that unique to her, mostly just like purple water. It was really light… but there were a lot of light purple potions. It wasn’t sparkling or shining, it didn’t have any murky depths to it. It didn’t swirl around and when Amelia had tipped it slightly, it had moved just like normal water.
“Beats me,” Indigo said, and Macy felt Amelia’s eyes turn on her.
She tried hard to think of a purple potion with the right description, but finally she had to shake her head. She didn’t know what it was.
“Perhaps a demonstration would help.” Amelia turned to Indigo and held out the bottle. “Indigo, would you like to try it?”
Indigo jumped up from her desk, an eager look on her face, but then hesitated, eyeing the potion. “You’re not going to tell us what’s in it?”
Amelia shook her head and raised her eyebrows at Indigo. A smile played around the corners of her mouth. “What’s wrong? I thought you were always up for a challenge.”
Indigo’s hesitancy vanished. She grabbed the bottle and downed the potion in a single gulp.
Macy watched, still seated at her own desk. She told herself she didn’t mind Amelia giving the potion to Indigo to try; if it did anything that would be embarrassing, it was better going to Indigo than her. Amelia knew Macy didn’t like being put on the spot too much. Macy told herself that it wasn’t because Amelia thought she wasn’t up to a challenge too.
A quiet minute passed. Then Indigo started to frown. She looked down at herself, looked at the bottle, and then looked at Amelia. Indigo opened her mouth and then closed it again. She did the same thing again, and again, and then understanding struck Macy.
“It’s a silencing potion!” Macy watched as Indigo’s brows furrowed in confusion and she said something else. Macy didn’t know what; she couldn’t read lips. Comprehension dawned on Indigo too as she turned to Amelia, mouth moving in speech that no one could hear.
Amelia nodded, smiling. “Yes, it’s a silencing potion. Don’t worry, Indigo, I made a weak dose. It will wear off in a couple of minutes. Until then, you can stop mouthing swear words at me.
Macy threw a quick look at Indigo. The other girl had blushed a little, but she shrugged and grinned, continuing to talk silently.
Amelia set the bottle aside and folded her hands in front of her, leaning back against her desk as she addressed them. “Ordinarily, you two wouldn’t learn this potion for several more months, but I decided to teach you how to brew it early. However, for the time being, I will have to insist that you do not try to make it without me present. It’s easy for this spell to go wrong.”
Macy nodded quickly. Indigo flashed Amelia a thumbs up. She also said something that made Amelia give her a stern look. Macy hadn’t known Amelia could read lips.
Amelia retrieved two scrolls from her desk and placed them on the girls’ desks. “Here are the directions. I’ve retrieved all the ingredients you’ll need. Now, get out your cauldrons, and let’s get started. We’ll move through the steps together.”
Macy placed the cauldron she kept in Amelia’s study atop her desk and pulled the scroll closer, scanning its contents. The potion did look more complicated than the ones she was used to doing in class, but she felt confident she could handle it.
“I could really use some of this for a certain know-it-all in cla-oh” Indigo cut herself off abruptly. Macy looked over to see Indigo giving Amelia a sheepish grin.
The older witch shook her head. “Careful, Miss Winterchild, as fun as you may find getting in trouble, trust me that you don’t want to try it right now.”
“Right, right, ‘course.” Indigo piled up the ingredients on her desk. “I’m ready.”
“Me too,” Macy added quickly. She set the scroll down, carefully smoothing it out beside her cauldron.
Their private lessons usually lasted around two hours, and it took over half that time for them to make it to the final two steps of the potion. Indigo had run into trouble at one point with getting her potion to turn the right shade of purple. Amelia had helped her figure out the problem was with the amount of nectar she’d added, and Indigo had gotten the potion back to its proper color.
Macy had been careful not to rush the steps and hadn’t run into any trouble herself. By the end of the lesson, they each had a small vial full of silencing potion. Amelia informed them the potion would only last for about five minutes.
“How do you make it stronger?” Indigo asked.
“You’ll find out when you study it in class,” Amelia told her, a smile twitching at her lips. Indigo sighed heavily.
Amelia collected the vials. “I’ll keep these safe for you both. If you want to use one, you can come and tell me what for.”
Macy felt a temptation to roll her own eyes but she resisted it, instead briefly glancing away out the window as Amelia put the vials away.
“Are we done?” Indigo asked Amelia. “Is that it?”
“Not quite. I know you’ve been practicing minor levitation in spells class. I’d like to see how you’re both progressing.”
Macy and Indigo looked at each other. Macy felt like she should offer to go first, but the words got stuck in her throat. Indigo shrugged. She turned to Amelia with a grin.
Indigo took a breath, then chanted, “Air, air, come all around, come and lift me off the ground.”
The air in the room seemed to shift, and then Indigo rose to hover a few inches off the ground. Indigo gave a little bow as she touched back down.
Amelia gave her a smile and a nod. “That was nicely done. However, it’s not entirely advisable to use air manipulation until you have a tighter control of your magic. That said, you’re learning well.”
Amelia turned to Macy. “And how are you finding it?”
Macy’s mouth felt dry and her stomach twisted. She wasn’t sure why. She’d managed the levitation spell just fine when she’d practiced it the night before. She took a deep breath herself and chanted, “My inner lightness I have found, let me float above the ground.”
It was one of the standard levitation spells, and she’d practiced it for ages the night before until she could do it perfectly. But now, of course, nothing happened.
Embarrassment flooded Macy. She bit her lip. Amelia gave her a gentle smile. “Try it again,” she urged, “focus on floating.”
Macy closed her eyes and tried to ignore the sinking in her stomach and the feeling of Indigo watching. “My inner lightness I have found, let me float above the ground.”
The last words came out more forcefully than she’d really meant, but suddenly she no longer felt the ground beneath her feet.
She opened her eyes and tried to take some satisfaction from the fact she was hovering higher than Indigo had been, but the feeling felt a bit hollow. She focused on the ground, willing it closer, and she slowly touched back down herself.
Amelia nodded at her now. “Well done, Macy. You’re both doing well with levitation.” Amelia placed a hand on each of their shoulders. “Good job today, girls. I’ll see you both at our next lesson. Try not to get into too much trouble before then.” She directed the last part at Indigo, who widened her eyes to look innocent.
Macy put away her things and said a quiet goodbye to Amelia. She left the room not long after Indigo but slowed down so as to let distance grow between them.
She couldn’t believe her levitation spell hadn’t worked the first time. It had to have been her nerves getting the best of her. She knew she could do it perfectly. She’d done the potion without any trouble.
She hoped Amelia knew it was just nerves. But then, maybe Amelia would think a nervous witch shouldn’t be chosen to represent the school… maybe she’d think a witch who liked challenges and didn’t get nervous would be better.
Macy’s throat felt tight. She couldn’t help thinking she hadn’t done much to impress Amelia that day. Her potion had been fine, but just fine. It wasn’t perfect, and her levitation spell definitely wasn’t either. Nevermind the fact that she knew it could be. If she’d had the chance to do it on her own, it would have been! She’d practiced it lots! Indigo probably hadn’t practiced at all; she just got lucky.
She just needed some way to show Amelia how good at magic she really was.
Pausing, Macy leaned her back against the wall and stared at the painting opposite her. It was a painting of the night sky, full of a bunch of glowing stars.
Hang on… glowing. What was that potion she’d read about the other week? The shining potion, to show your true glow? It was something like that. The old potion book she’d found it in was probably still at the library. It didn’t seem like the sort of book that got checked out often.
Biting her lip as she went, Macy hurried along the stairs and down the hall to the library. The old, heavy potions book was right where she remembered it being. She pulled it off the shelf and then hesitated, glancing around her. The book was a bit too heavy to conveniently check out and carry around, and even if it wasn’t… what she was thinking of doing wasn’t really something she’d want there to be evidence for.
Macy took the book to a table near its shelf in the back of the room. No one else was there; most of the other students were at the front of the library. Macy scanned the table of contents. Sparkling potion. That was it! She quickly flipped to the right page and pulled out her notebook and a pen.
She had to slow down a couple times while she was copying over the directions so that her handwriting didn’t become too illegible. Luckily, the potion’s recipe only took up one page.
A few minutes later, Macy left the library. The old potions book was back in its proper place, and her notebook held the key to how she could impress Amelia. Now, all she had to do was figure out how, and when, to brew the potion.
Indie had spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and tidying up the potion lab as ordered by Miss Spellbrook. She’d swept the floors, dusted off the desks and reorganized the shelves.
At last, after one hour of rearranging potion ingredients in alphabetic order, she had started to regret her misdeeds from the day, but she was also positive she now had a better grasp of where to find anything she would need for her project.
While working in the lab, Indie had thought a lot about the piece of paper folded and tucked away in her pocket and about her next move. How would she go about it? Was there any way she could take some of the ingredients she needed without Spellbrook noticing? She’d realized that, no, her teacher knew far too well how likely trouble was to find Indie – if anything went missing in the potion lab after she had spent hours cleaning it, Indigo would be toast.
That wasn’t the only dilemma, either. Where was she supposed to work? Clearly, this was the kind of affair she couldn’t carry out in the open or during class time. She needed a safe place where no one would bother her, and she needed it to be available and out of patrols’ way during the night.
She kept ruminating those questions during dinner, oblivious to how many times Shirley had rolled her eyes and shook her head at Indigo’s lack of reaction. The young witch snapped back to earth when none other than Miss Spellbrook approached her at the table.
“I was just coming from the lab, Miss Winterchild. You did a good job there” The potion-master greeted her, raising a brow. “I hope that taught you something?”
Indie didn’t have to fake her grin as she looked up innocently. “I did learn more than I thought, Miss Spellbrook. I’m sorry I disappointed you today.”
The older witch’s face softened and she shook her head, but Indie caught the hint of a smile.
“Thank you, Indigo Winterchild. You have a clean slate. Let’s see if it lasts a couple days, shall we?”
Indie chuckled and chewed on her lip as the teacher walked away.
“You really must’ve done a number in the lab. Two whole days? That’s sooo much credit.”
“I know, right? I can tell I’m growing on her. Last time she doubted I could behave for one day. She did double…double…” Her voice died in her throat, her eyes widening.
“What?” Shirley asked, but, to Shirley’s exasperation, Indie was lost into her world once again.
“Hey, I’ve…I’ve gotta go. I will see you tomorrow, ok?”
“Wait, are you alright? You didn’t have dessert yet!”
“I’m fine, I just think I’ll pass! Night, Shirley!”
Indigo waved at her friend over her shoulder as she made a beeline for the hall. Miss Spellbrook would never suspect, but she had just given Indie an idea. It wasn’t much, but it was all the little witch had – and she sure was going to give it a try. Minding that no one was following her, Indie snuck back into the potion lab and gently closed the door behind her.
She rested her ear against the door for a couple minutes and, when no sound came from the other side, she browsed into her bag and retrieved a small flask. Inside there was just enough green fluid for a sip and Indigo made it twirl against the light. The last of the invisibility spell Erica Newground had given her that morning. Even when drinking thrice as much, Indie had barely been invisible for ten minutes. She didn’t need long for what she had in time, but she definitely needed more than what she had. And this was the “safest” way to test her idea anyway, know if it would work.
With a resolute sigh, Indie placed the flask on the nearest desk and observed it intently. She didn’t know the spell, but it wouldn’t be the first time she made one work without the slightest idea of what the right formula sounded like. After all, magic was mostly about intentions and willpower, wasn’t it?
“Ok, here we go. What I’ve got is not enough, duplicate all this stuff.”
Indie watched as nothing happened and, after a minute, she blinked. Okay, maybe it wasn’t just about intentions and willpower. Maybe she needed to be more specific about what she wanted to happen. Or maybe she needed a better rhyme?
She closed her eyes and tried again, this time letting her hand’s movement match. “One alone is too few, I snap my fingers and there are two!”
She opened one eye and then the other, feeling frustrated. The bottle was still there, and it was still just one. And yet, she felt that she was on the right path. She had perceived the faint tingle of magic. Perhaps, again, she had to be more clear. She had to ask for exactly what she needed.
She narrowed her eyes. This wasn’t a battle she intended to lose.
“More I need of what I’ve got, give me a copy on the spot.”
Indigo pronounced the words kindly but firmly, almost through gritted teeth. And, at that point, her heart skipped a beat, for not one but two little flasks with the same amount of green potion now stood before her eyes.
Triumphantly, the witchling hurried to drink the contents of them both, only hesitating when the copy flagon touched her lips. The two potions tasted exactly the same, though.
“Come on,” Indie muttered, raising a hand in front of her. “Come on, let it work.” And again magic obliged her. Her body slowly faded until she could look right through it.
The girl twirled around, feeling invincible. It wasn’t until she retrieved the bottles and went to hide them back into the bag that she heard a noise and her heart sank. Almost at the same time, she realized something was wrong. Her arm appeared back in the air for a few moments before it disappeared again.
“Wha-wait, what’s going on?” She whispered. Indie touched her own chest, looking down to…the floor. It seemed like her invisibility was fine. Except…it was somehow unstable, like the effect would randomly vanish. It worked intermittently. “This is not good.”
But, as it often happened when she was up to mischief, that wasn’t the only surprise coming her way. Luckily she was still invisible when, out of the blue, the door to the potion lab opened and a dark figure snuck in.
Indie held her breath, backing away towards the wall and not daring to run for the door. She stood there watching, hoping the potion or her heartbeat wouldn’t betray her. After a minute of silent panicking, she realized that the other person in the room was just as terrified as she was. By the way the figure was moving, quiet and cautious, Indie could tell it wasn’t someone that was supposed to be there, either. Imagine her surprise when the unexpected guest took her hood down and turned out to be Miss Macy Starspell, in person.
Indie was so taken aback she gulped and had to hurry and hide behind a desk, her body becoming visible again.
She took a slow breath, trying to relax, and that made her body flicker invisible again. It seemed like there was a connection between her emotions and the potion effects vanishing; could it be that they were indeed the trigger? The stronger and wilder her emotions grew, the less effective the potion appeared to be.
Ok Indigo. Calm down. Things aren’t looking bright for Macy either right now, she mentally encouraged herself, peeking over the desk.
While Indigo tried to gain full control of her feelings, an unsuspecting Macy was retrieving a notebook from her own bag and browsing through the pages. Indie watched as Macy screened one in particular, then went through the shelves looking for something.
If it isn’t a little Starthief. Indigo thought to herself, amused, approaching the other girl to sneak a peek at the mysterious notebook.
Nothing, nothing could’ve prepared her for what she read.
“What on the witchling land do you think you’re doing?” Indigo exclaimed, insulted, making Macy jump out of her skin and twirl around, her notebook landing on the floor with a loud “thud”.
“Winterchild!? What the heck do YOU think you’re doing?”
Macy’s voice was bold, but she looked terrified at the sight of Indigo, who was definitely standing a few steps away, perfectly visible as her body vibrated with fury.
“Where did you find this? I didn’t take it out of my pocket!” Indie growled, pointing at the notebook, keeping her voice low only so she could have more time to strangle the other witchling before someone interrupted them.
“What are you talking about? This is none of your business! Must you always get in my way?”
“I’m talking about my potion! How did you know I was going to brew it?” Indie glared, barely resisting the urge to physically push the other girl away, and yet there was a confusion on Macy’s face she couldn’t quite place.
“You’re delusional, Winterchild. For a start, I’d never think you can brew a potion unless someone is explaining to you each and every passage.” Macy glared back, outraged, and she knelt to retrieve her notebook. It was the twinkle Indie spotted in Macy’s eyes that made her stop in her tracks. It wasn’t like Macy to be so upset. While it was like her to be a pain in Indie’s butt, Macy had never ever cried in front of her, not even out of anger.
“You really have no idea what I’m talking about?” Indie asked, a bit more calmly.
Macy stared back coldly, any trace of that twinkle gone as indignation won over. “Most of the time, Winterchild. You’ve barely made sense ever since you came into this school.”
“Hold on.” Indie held up a hand, rifling through her pockets. She realized she’d vanished again when Macy’s eyes widened and then rolled.
“Whatever trick you’re pulling, I’m out.”
“No, wait, really. Oh, sorry. It’s just the potion. It stops working when I’m upset, that’s why you could see me earlier. Look at this. It was in my pocket all day.”
Indigo passed the paper right into Macy’s hand, and the other girl hesitated, looking intently at the air where Indie was supposed to be standing. Macy did take the paper when it touched her hand, though, and she did look down and read. A moment later she froze, her mouth slowly opening in surprise.
She looked up, then down again, probably contemplating the chances they both had run into the same potion among all those included in the school manuals. She seemed to slowly slump under the weight of the revelation.
“So?” Indie prompted, expectantly.
“You ripped this out of a book?” Macy asked, in a very low voice.
“Really, Starspell?” Knowing that Macy couldn’t see her face, Indie made sure her tone dripped sarcasm. To her surprise, though, Macy handed her the page back and put her notebook away, before turning around.
“Wait, where are you going?”
“To sleep. I thought I had a good idea…but if you of all people had the same one, I must’ve missed by a long shot.”
“Hey!” Indigo flashed visible, her blush clear, and she grasped Macy’s sleeve, who raised a brow at her but managed to muster the slightest smile.
For a moment, Indie smiled back. But then she shook her head.
“Don’t you understand? We can be in this together. You were right on something, I totally suck at potion-making, and this recipe doesn’t exactly look like that of noodles. Come on, Macy, we can have a chance if we try it together.”
Macy crossed her arms, considering Indie carefully.
“You said you are the one that can’t make potions, so why would I want to play along? What’s in it for me?” She asked, but Indie had to bite back a smile. Macy could play tough, but Indie was positive it was interest and a sparkle of something else, something she strangely liked, that she was seeing on Macy’s face.
“I won’t tell Amelia you were trying to steal from the potion lab.”
“What!? So were you! You wouldn’t dare!” Macy narrowed her eyes at Indigo, but they both knew Macy would rather set the whole library on fire than disappoint their mentor.
“I wasn’t stealing, which is the second reason you want me in your team. Look at this.”
Indigo approached the shelf and retrieved one of the ingredients they would need for the potion.
“More I need of what I’ve got, give me a copy on the spo-”
“That doesn’t sound like a proper spell,” Macy interrupted, her voice nervous.
“Let me finish!”
Indie repeated the formula, this time without interruptions, and a bottle identical to the one she held in her left hand filled her right.
“See? I can be helpful.”
“Is this the kind of helpful that’s making you look like a firefly right now? Because I’m pretty sure you didn’t mean to be evanescent.”
Indie simply waited. Macy looked like she was trying to swallow down an enormous toad. It was clear she didn’t like this, and in a way, Indie couldn’t blame her. But she also knew she had something Macy would want: a chance at integrity, a chance not to break the rules. Not too many of the main ones, at least.
“You know it’s the only way not to steal the ingredients. And our only chance at not being caught.”
“Borrow,” Macy corrected her, but the exasperation in her voice spoke tons about her inner battle. “And-oh, alright. Fine. I must be out of my mind.”
Indie grinned widely, barely containing her excitement.
“But if you were planning to brew in the potion lab using that little invisibility trick of yours…I’m sorry to break it to you, but that might not be your greatest idea.”
“I wasn’t,” Indie admitted, lowering her chin. “I hadn’t made it that far with the plan yet.”
“Of course, you hadn’t.”
Indie gave the other a guilty look, but Macy looked thoughtful.
“I think I have an idea. I know a few places…I use them sometimes when I need to be alone.”
Indigo’s lips curled into a mischievous grin. “Ooohh..naughty, naughty Macy!”
The other blushed, but gave Indie a contemptuous look “It’s not my fault you can never read in peace these days. Been like that since certain people came around.”
“You know what I think? I think you got me fooled. You know quite well how to get in trouble!”
“Shut up, Indigo,” Macy mumbled, but she couldn’t stop Indigo’s chuckle as the girls got to work.