First off, an apology to all of you because, well, erm, I just realized I missed the Autumn deadline of the SSC. In fact, I did post a story for the winter season and Alyx’s Christmas Gift Exchange, Santa’s Cookies, but that arrived way too late to count for the Autumn season (whose deadline was December 22nd).
I won’t try to feed you an excuse as to why I missed the deadline, because the truth is…even though I was in over my head with real-life issues, I simply literally didn’t realize I hadn’t posted anything for Autumn until…just a couple minutes ago!
Now, I hope I can satisfy you all bloodthirsty readers with this new chapter of “A Witch’s True Glow”, which – I don’t know if that will come as good news to you – Mishi and I are kind of transforming into an actual saga set into an actual magical world (we always have such interesting, deep conversations about all the characters involved in the story, even those you haven’t met yet!). That means you’ll most likely have more spin-offs and stories set into this “frame”.
Worry not, I am still going to do something about my missing the Autumn deadline. I’ll just try to figure out what. Do you all have a preference? If so, indicate it in your comments. And please, be merciful. 🥺
Ps. You’ll probably find this chapter to be shorter than the first but, believe me, it’s for the best. The next chapter is going to be a bit more…eventful 😉
Showing Indigo her secret hideout felt wrong, like introducing a known enemy into the heart of your secret headquarters, but it was one of the few places they’d be able to brew the potion without being walked in on. Macy consoled herself with the fact that she still had a couple other hiding places. They were just smaller ones.
“Here it is,” Macy said, waving an arm to indicate the shadowy nook hidden under the stairs that led to an attic. The attic was off-limits, but the floor and stairs below it weren’t.
There was no door, but pressing the stone in just the right way revealed a hole large enough for the two witches to slide through. Inside the small circular room, a lamp rested beside a few pillows and blankets that Macy had snuck in one by one.
“Woah.” Indigo’s eyes were bright as she looked around the room. “This is yours? How did you find this?”
Macy hesitated. A part of her wanted to claim she’d found it by using magic and not by accident, but she decided she might as well tell Indigo the truth. “I stumbled across it when I was looking around for other hiding spots. I pressed the stones the right way and they opened.” Even if finding it had been an accident, Macy was still proud of what she’d done with her hideout after that. “I was sc – uneasy, at first because I wasn’t sure if the stones would always reopen from this side, but they do, and also I discovered this, come look.”
Macy led Indigo across the room to the only indention in the circular walls and pointed at the ceiling. Most of the room had a low ceiling, but in the tiny nook, the ceiling rose higher and ended in a tiny skylight. Right now, since the sun was setting, the skylight showed only a flash of dark blue sky.
“It doesn’t provide much light,” Macy explained, gazing up at it. “But I think air also comes in from up there somewhere.”
“Cool.” Indigo stared up for a few seconds before going back over to the pillows and blankets. “Did you bring this stuff here?”
“Yeah.” Macy rejoined Indigo. “There’s a mini cauldron under the blankets. We can brew the potion in it.”
Indigo raised her eyebrows at Macy with a grin. “A mini cauldron, huh? You brew lots of potions up here, troublemaker?”
“Shut up,” Macy said automatically. She moved the blankets to undercover the cauldron herself. “Not a lot, no. I just… have sort of practiced, once or twice.”
Indigo kept grinning, but she didn’t taunt Macy further – right away, at least – and Macy hurried to distract her with the potion. The two girls settled in and started brewing.
The morning came way too early for Indigo’s taste. She had trouble pushing first her feet and then the rest of her body off her bed. When she made it out of the shower, it was too late for her to head down for breakfast. Most of the students would already be gathering in their classrooms by then, and she decided her growling tummy wasn’t worth being late. If she and Macy were to carry on with their plan, she needed to keep a low profile for a few days and that implied going to class on time. She had no idea how long it would last, but she still made it to her history of magic classroom. Miss Silverdust was an old, way old, almost too old nice lady, but Indie navigated on a subtle thread with her since that time, three months earlier, she’d offered the teacher a tea powdered with a sleeping spell. The poor woman had enjoyed a sound nap for a good while, leaving the first-years happy and free for an hour, but at the end of it someone had realized they were all scattered through the school ground during school time and it had not taken long for the other teachers to reconstruct the details. Oh, Indigo had not been able to sit comfortably for a while, after that, with the number Amelia had done on her bottom.
Indie subconsciously rubbed her backside as she entered the classroom, but the teacher wasn’t there yet. Most of her classmates were, however. Shirley right away waved at her with her hand and a big smile painted on her freckled face, and walked towards her, but then stopped at the empty seat just behind the redhead, besides a frowning Macy Starspell.
“What on earth are you dong?” Macy hissed at her under her breath, and even Shirley twirled around with a surprised expression. She was still close enough to talk with them both.
“Ok, if I had any doubt last night, NOW I know you’re not ok.” She told Indie, slipping towards her a small sandwich “No offense, Macy, but if you two are finally sitting together, I feel like today’s gonna snow.”
“None taken, I think Indigo just wants to make sure I can’t pay proper attention to the class. Perhaps she hopes taking down my grades Amelia won’t notice how much she struggles with hers.”
“Or…” Indigo said, catching the sandwich and taking a hungry bite “I’m finally getting serious and I want to get better at this shi-boring subject.”
The three of them looked at each other, before letting out a simultaneous “Nah”.
But the discussion had to stop, for the teacher entered the room and everyone went quiet, partly out of surprise: behind the teacher desk now stood not Miss Silverdust, but their transformation teacher, the much less amiable Miss Thistle.
“Good morning, class,” the woman started, with her distinctive dry tone.
“Good morning, Miss Thistle!” The girls echoed. Indie frowned at the woman she didn’t really like but, to her surprise, so did Macy.
“I am sorry to inform you that Miss Silverdust won’t be able to join you today due to a nasty form of Draconitis. She’s currently being treated in the infirmary, and I assure you she will be able to recover soon enough.”
“Poor Miss Silverdust,” Shirley told Indie and Macy under her breath. “Draconitis at her age? My grandma had it once and she went through hell and back. Always best to get it when you’re an offspring, she said.”
Indie nodded in sympathy, but she couldn’t answer back because the teacher coughed to get everyone’s attention.
“I wonder if they’ll allow us some freedom before next class,” She whispered to Macy, who whispered back something on the line o,f “Doubtful, after your stunt a few months ago.”
They all sealed their lips.
“Now, before I grant the most of you the privilege of studying – quietly – for the next class, there is an unfortunate situation that needs to be addressed. Something very serious happened last night.”
The girls looked at each other, their expressions growing worried as the teacher’s voice grew threatening.
“As it sometimes occurs, in spite of how many times we prove you wrong, some of you thought you were smarter than the whole teaching staff. Smarter than the Code of Conduct.”
Indigo felt Macy stiffen at her side and barely mastered the temptation to touch her and comfort her. She herself frowned, trying to guess where that speech was going. Could it be that, somehow, they were already in trouble? Could it be that they had neglected some stupid detail that had framed them both? If so, they were dead meat.
“Some of you wandered off after curfew last night. At least two people in this class broke the rules of this school and need to face the consequences for their misjudgment. Stand up, Miss Tempest.”
Many people in the room held their breath, including Indigo. Shirley shivered and clumsily pushed herself up.
“Y-yes, Miss Thistle?”
“What did you do last night, after dinner?”
“I…I went back to the common room and then to the dormitory, ma’am,” Shirley answered in a slightly confused, low voice. “I read a book for a while and then went to bed, I swear.”
“You did, didn’t you? And that’s right, because curfew snaps at 10 pm. What about your classmates? Were they in bed as well?”
Indigo felt her head spin. She could bet, though she could only see Shirley’s back, that her friend was sweating. Shirley took a moment before she replied, her voice as steady as possible
“I have no idea, ma’am. I did fall asleep earlier than usual and I don’t remember.”
“Of course you don’t. Sit down!” The teacher snapped, and Shirley obliged in earnest.
“I’m warning you, girls. We know. And whoever knows too and will not stand up now and confess, will either earn double the punishment or be judged as guilty as the incriminated people. This is your last chance.”
Her lips pressed, her heartbeat flying, Indie turned slightly to her right, where Macy sat, frozen, as pale as a marble statue. Indigo knew how much Macy feared being exposed to everyone’s attention, especially when in trouble.
As discreetly as she could, Indie moved her hand under the desk to squeeze her classmate’s.
“Rain Nightingale and Nerissa Firestorm, stand up right now.”
There was a long moment of silence and then the chattering exploded as the two young witches slowly obeyed.
Silence fell again. Indigo chewed on her bottom lip, dreading the wait and also considering the situation.
“Do you confess to being awake and out of bed after curfew last night?”
There was a moment of silence, during which everyone tensed. Finally, Indigo saw Rain’s shoulder drop.
“Yes, ma’am.” The girl let out softly.
“Yes.” Nerissa admitted too, in a much less contrite tone.
Despite the wave of relief for herself, Indigo felt incredibly bad for the girls. Rain Nightingale, everyone knew, was a talented young witch who’d lost her mentor the previous year and, since then, had probably felt a little lost but had all the same proved to be strong and brave, capable of watching out for herself and throwing herself in the hard work in spite of the pain she’d faced. Nerissa, known to be Rain’s closest friend, was one of the few witches in the school descending from a fully magical family. She had a twin sister, Clarissa, that made it hard for Indigo to actually feel sympathy for them and their constant need to remind everyone that they were la creme de la creme.
“And why, pray tell, were you out of bed, knowingly breaking the academy rules?”
There was a long silence. It didn’t escape Indigo’s attention that Rain shot a quick glance at Clarissa, still seated comfortably.
“I…I needed some fresh air, ma’am. I had trouble…digesting dinner.” Rain finally answered meekly.
“Yeah, she told me she wasn’t feeling well and I accompanied her outside…” Nerissa added, looking straight at their teacher. That was something Indie admired about the twins, they always looked strong and determined. Perhaps they had to.
“Outside…into the library? Because this is the book that was found this morning under Miss Nightingale’s pillow. An advanced level book, full of spells you shouldn’t even know about, let alone read or study for at least a few years.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. I needed some way to relax and fall asleep, and so I took the first book I found…”
“In an area of the library that shouldn’t be accessible to you of all people! Of course! How on earth did two freshmen even access this book, would you care to explain?”
This time, none of the girls tried to answer. Again Rain glanced at Clarissa for less than a second, but it was enough for the teacher to notice.
“Clarissa Firestorm, stand up.”
Clarissa slowly, but gracefully stood, smiling at the woman. It made Indigo’s belly twitch.
“Yes, Miss Thistle?” Clarissa’s voice was calm and almost sweet, considering the situation.
“Did you know about this?”
“No, Miss Thistle. Not a clue. It saddens me that my sister made a mistake, but I wish I could’ve known, so that I could stop them before they got themselves in such a nasty situation.”
“She’s lying,” Indigo whispered angrily, taking in Rain’s appalled look.
Without saying anything, Macy pulled her hand out and away from Indie’s touch.
“Indeed. Nerissa Firestorm, is that true? Your sister was unaware of your escapade last night?”
Nerissa kept watching in front of her. Not a single muscle betraying her.
“She was not with us, Miss Thistle.”
“That’s it, then. Both of you head to the corners behind me, you will spend the rest of this hour with your nose to the walls, thinking about the paddling you are going to get when the bell rings and your classmates move on to the next class. Is that clear?”
There were gulps and shivers, but the two girls slowly moved towards the respective corners. Indigo shot Clarissa, who sat back with nonchalance, a hateful look, but there was little she could say or do. She had no idea what had happened the night before, but she and Macy weren’t the only ones out and about.
For the rest of the hour, everyone was left to their reading and silent reviewing. Indigo knew next class would be Amelia’s, but there was no way she could focus on her homework after what had happened. She kept sneaking sad, sympathetic looks to the girls in the corners, feeling sorrier for them the harder it became for the two to stand straight and still.
She couldn’t help thinking that, had things been slightly different and less fortunate for them, she and Macy could’ve been the girls standing in the corners. And for what?
She thought back to the cauldron and the hours of work she’d shared with Macy the previous night. She had enjoyed working with her. Perhaps for the first time, she had enjoyed brewing a spell, too.
When the hour passed, everyone walked out of the class quietly, murmuring their goodbyes to the teacher and some soft encouragement to the girls in the corners. Clarissa, Indie noticed, had not stopped for a second to say a word to her sister.
How could she be so…cold? Self preservation was one thing, but would Indie ever have been able to act the same way? Unless Clarissa really was innocent…but then Rain’s expressions…
Without realizing, Indigo followed Macy and Shirley along the hall.
“Wow, that was tough,” Shirley commented, stopping halfway through the hall, the others pausing as well. All three of them could hear a loud “thump” followed by a cry of OW.
“Ok, this is even worse,” Shirley added. “I’m going to hurry and head to Amelia’s class.”
“She’s mean.” Indie commented, looking at the door of the classroom they had just left. She wasn’t very sure who she was talking about. Miss Thistle? Clarissa? She just felt exhausted for all the tension.
Only then Macy released a long, slow breath and Indie realized she had not said a single word since the very first few before the teacher’s arrival.
“Are you ok?” She asked, taking in how pale Macy still was. “Look, I know what you’re thinking. That thing we’re doing? It’s…ok if we stop. I mean I’d be disappointed, because I had fun and it was actually nice working with you, nicer than I thought, but…I understand…”
“We’re still doing it.” Macy said with a firmness that left Indie at a loss for words. “We are doing it, but on one condition. We’re going to find out what they are up to and, if she is involved, what Clarissa is planning.”
Indie opened her mouth to say something, but she found she couldn’t. Not before Macy had something to add.
“That book didn’t announce itself to Miss Thistle. Someone either put it there or knew it was there and spilled it. Normally, we all share the same dorm…”
Indie felt the gears in her head spin. She knew most of the girls from every year slept together, except for those who (like Macy and Indie herself) had a caretaker inside the school and could occasionally sleep in their quarters.
“There is a mole. And whatever they’re after, we might be the next to pay the price.”
“Well…” Indie said, giving one last glance to the door of the class and grimacing at the loud noises coming from there. “If we are to look for the mole…we will know where to start.”
“Maybe.” Macy said, walking away from the awful sounds. “But just remember that, whoever the mole is, we need to outsmart her. You better not be as impulsive as usual, Winterchild.”
The scene in the classroom had unsettled Macy more than she wanted to admit – and not just because the thought that it could’ve easily been her and Indigo instead terrified her. She didn’t like the thought that one of the other witches might be selling out her classmates. There had been a sort of unspoken agreement that no one would turn anyone else in for sneaking around at night. Last night was very far from the first time people had done so. If she‘d been a spy, she could have gotten a lot of people in trouble before.
That there was a spy for the teachers, Macy had no doubt. Springwood’s teachers didn’t search the dorms unless they had a really good reason for doing so – and had an idea of what they might find. The only real question was who. Clarissa would have seemed like a top bet, but then… Macy didn’t think Miss Thistle was that good of an actress. If the tip off had come from Clarissa, Macy thought that Miss Thistle would have given it away.
But then… who was it? She had to figure that out.
Macy was so lost in her thoughts that she only realized Indigo was talking to her when the other girl, losing patience, tugged at her sleeve.
“Do you think we should wait and try to listen in?” Indigo asked, glancing over her shoulder toward the classroom they’d left behind. “See if they drop any hints?”
Macy hesitated. There was a chance that Rain and Nerissa would say something to each other when they left the room, assuming they found an empty hallway, but then, their next class was Amelia’s, and Macy didn’t want to be late for it. So, she shook her head.
“They probably won’t say that much,” she reasoned. “Since they’ll know people might have stuck around. And we don’t want to be late.”
“Fair enough,” Indigo agreed, with a little sigh.
The two witches hurried to their next class. When they entered, both saw Shirley sitting on the far side of the room near the windows. Shirley waved to Indigo, who started over but paused when Macy didn’t follow, looking back quizzically.
Macy dropped her voice to a whisper. “If we sit together, Amelia might suspect something’s up….” She glanced toward the front of the classroom, where Amelia herself stood speaking with a pair of older students who must’ve stayed back after the last class.
Indigo shrugged. “Maybe she’ll think we finally took her advice about being friends. Come on, we can’t get in trouble just for sitting together, and besides, it’ll be less suspicious if we’re then seen together later.”
“That’s true.” Macy gave in and followed Indigo over to sit at the same table with her and Shirley. The table in front of theirs was occupied by Gemma Mirthlight and Antonia Farsong. The two girls were whispering to each other – Macy suspected about what had happened in their last class.
Taking a seat beside Indigo, Macy immediately pulled her textbook out of her bag. Its spine was already well-worn. The book was one of her favorites, not necessarily because of the subject but because it had been written by Amelia Oakheart herself.
“Do you think they’ll come to class?” Indigo whispered to her, rocking forward and back on her chair.
Macy didn’t have to ask who she meant. “Yeah,” she whispered back. “They wouldn’t want to get into more trouble by skipping class.”
Indigo winced at the thought. Macy bit her lip as she looked around the room. A few of the other girls had arrived now, including Clarissa Firestorm and Alexis Nightwing. Macy wished she’d thought to watch Alexis’s reaction during the previous class to get an idea of whether she’d also been involved in whatever happened last night. Alexis was friends with Clarissa, and she could be just as mean as the other girl. The nicest thing Macy could say about Alexis was that she at least tended toward just ignoring anyone she didn’t like, which seemed to be most people.
The other newcomer, Naomi Raindancer, walked past the table Clariss and Alexis sat at and instead slid into the free seat beside Antonia, waving to Macy, Indigo and Shirley as she did. Macy doubted Naomi could be the spy; the magical athlete got along with everyone and hadn’t made a single enemy in her life. But then again, Macy reflected, that might make her the perfect spy, because no one would suspect her.
Macy’s stomach twinged and she frowned down at her open textbook.
“What are you thinking?” Indigo whispered again.
Macy let out a little sigh. “Nothing… just trying to figure out who the spy is.” She was careful to keep her voice quiet enough that only Indigo could hear her.
Indigo nodded slowly, her eyes darting around the room. “We need to look for clues.”
“What kind of clues?” Macy suddenly felt uneasy. She glanced around the room again herself and caught sight of Amelia, now alone at the front of the room, staring straight at her. Macy’s face heated up instantly. Stop it, she told herself, don’t look suspicious. Amelia’s gaze shifted to the left, toward Indigo, and Macy dropped her eyes to her textbook. She grabbed her bag and pretended to be searching it for a pen – even though she kept her pens in the side pocket.
“Don’t look now, but Amelia’s watching us,” Indigo hissed in Macy’s ear.
Macy flinched at the sudden swoosh of air on her ear. “I know. Act normal.”
“Yep.” Indigo smiled brightly across the room and waved at Amelia. Macy almost rolled her eyes, but then, that was normal for Indigo.
Poor Rain and Nerissa still hadn’t arrived when the bell rang to signal the start of class. Amelia cast a quick frown toward the empty table near the door, where Rain and Nerissa would usually sit, but rather than comment on their absence, she addressed the rest of the class normally. “Good morning everyone.”
“Good morning Miss Oakheart,” came the standard reply.
Macy narrowed her eyes as their teacher instructed them to open their books to the latest chapter. Normally, Amelia would’ve questioned someone to find out whether the missing students were sick or injured somehow or just skipping. Did she already know why they were late?
Amelia wasted no time in directing them all toward the group of new plants sitting on the table at the back of the room and sending them each to collect one to study. They’d spent the last several classes reading and learning about Alchemilla plants. This was the first day they got to actually handle one.
Rain and Nerissa showed up at what could only be the best possible moment for them – so much so that Macy briefly wondered if they’d been waiting outside. Almost no one was sitting down when they slipped in the door and most of them were carrying large plants. Amelia was waiting near their table.
As Macy walked back to her seat with her arms wrapped around the pot holding her plant, she kept a careful watch. Amelia said something quietly to both girls, who replied just as quietly, and then after another word from Amelia, they both headed toward the back of the room to get their own plants. They had to pass by Clarissa on the way, but neither of them looked directly at her.
“They must’ve gotten it bad,” Indigo said quietly, wincing as she glanced at Rain and Nerissa, both of whom were clearly moving gingerly. Macy nodded in sympathy.
Their assignment that day was to create sketches of their plants and take notes on their characteristics, comparing them to how the plants were described in their textbooks. Amelia moved around the room as they worked, answering questions and lending advice here and there.
Macy started on her sketch but, seeing Amelia was on the other side of the room, took advantage of the opportunity to lean over and whisper to Indigo, “Did you see either of them look at Clarissa or Alexis?”
“No,” Indigo whispered back, shaking her head as well. “They just ignored them. So did Clarissa.”
Macy noticed Indigo’s voice growing heated again. She really was upset about Clarissa.
“We need to come up with a plan.” Macy bit her lip again, adjusting the plant in front of her. “To find the spy and to figure out what happened last night.”
“Do you have an idea?”
“Well….” Macy’s stomach fluttered, even as it grew heavy. She knew what they could do, but it was dangerous. She couldn’t believe she was even thinking it… no, she couldn’t suggest it. She shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“I have one.” Indigo shifted closer to Macy, pulling her notebook along so she could keep sketching. “We want to catch the spy, right, and not get caught ourselves? We need to bait them.”
“Bait them?” Macy frowned a little, but she thought she knew where Indigo was going. “What did you have in mind?”
Indigo’s eyes lit up as she leaned in to explain her idea. “We organize some sort of party, that way we’ll all be out of bed, and we can watch everyone to see how they feel about it.”
“A party…” Macy tapped her pen against the table, thinking. “That could work. We could tell everyone to meet in the spare classroom, that way we can observe what everyone does.”
“Yeah, and,” Indigo moved even closer, dropping her voice so low Macy could barely hear it. “What if we told everyone it was a party to hunt the spy?”
Macy almost protested, but then she realized what Indigo was suggesting, and she felt herself start to grin instead. She quickly smothered it, bending her head over her notebook. Probably everyone in their class would be uneasy with the idea that someone was waiting to turn them all in. Getting everyone on board with the idea of finding out who had gotten Rain and Nerissa in trouble would gain them a bunch of new allies and create the perfect environment for making the real spy desperate.
“Okay,” she told Indigo, with a nod. Her stomach was fluttering again, but this time it felt light. “Let’s spread the word.”
Seeing Indigo and Macy enter the classroom together and then willingly sit beside each other had certainly come as a surprise. But even that surprise paled in comparison to the fact that the two girls had now been whispering to each other for five uninterrupted minutes.
Amelia Oakheart kept watch on her two pupils using her peripheral vision while she moved around the room. As she advised Clarissa Firestorm on the meaning of the shape of her chosen plant’s leaves, Amelia noticed how Macy leaned over first to initiate a conversation. When she answered Alexis Nightwing’s question about the varying plant sizes, Amelia observed Indigo fidgeting with mischievous excitement.
Moving to the next table to offer assistance to Rain Nightingale and Nerissa Firestorm, Amelia pondered whether Macy’s and Indigo’s newfound friendship had anything to do with the other girls’ recent predicament. She’d learned of the book found under Rain’s pillow that morning from Miss Thistle, who had wasted little time informing her, knowing that Amelia served as mentor to two of the first-years.
The fact that at least two first-years had been out after curfew the previous night came as little surprise to Amelia. After the headmistress’s announcement the day before, she was only surprised that more students in every year hadn’t been caught. The availability of a single spot at the Magical Olympic Games was sure to have ignited ambitions and competitive spirits throughout the school, which nearly always led to an increase in trouble-making.
Somehow, though, it seemed to have fostered reconciliation as well. Amelia wanted to be pleased that Indigo and Macy had apparently become friends, but unfortunately the longer she watched the two girls whispering, the more warning bells went off in her head.
Amelia made sure to circle by their table twice, and each time Indigo and Macy gave her innocent smiles and pretended to be absorbed in their work. On Indigo’s other side, Shirley Tempest was at least genuinely engaged in studying her plant.
By the end of class, the whispering epidemic had spread to infect most of the class, and Amelia had no doubt which two girls had started it. As the bell rang and everyone began to file out, Amelia called out, “Macy, Indigo, come here for a moment, please.”
Amelia saw her pupils exchange a quick look as they walked over to her. She didn’t speak immediately, instead waiting until the other students had left the class. A couple cast curious glances over their shoulders as they went, but, knowing Amelia was Macy’s and Indigo’s mentor, most probably didn’t think much of her requesting a word with them.
If there had been any doubt in Amelia’s mind that the two girls were up to something, it vanished when she surveyed them standing before her. They were both good at hiding it, but she knew them too well. Indigo’s wide, innocent eyes and bright smile were just a little too exaggerated, and her nose twitched the way it always did when she smelled mischief. Macy’s fingers were playing too much with her bag’s strap, and she shifted from foot to foot more rapidly than usual.
“I noticed you two had a lot to say to each other during class,” Amelia said, smiling at them with raised eyebrows.
“Yeah, you know,” Indigo replied at once, slinging an arm around Macy’s shoulders, who gave a start at the unexpected movement. “We have a lot of time to make up for not talking.” Beside her, Macy nodded.
“Indeed.” Amelia looked from one girl to the other. “I admit, I’m glad to see you two getting along, however it didn’t seem to me that you were paying nearly as much attention to your plants as to your conversation.”
Her words had more of an effect on the blushing Macy than on Indigo, but that was to be expected. Indigo couldn’t be intimidated by words.
Macy took a breath and then gave Amelia a small but steady smile. “We did pay attention to them. Sorry we talked so much, but we took care of our assignments too, do you want to see?”
Macy started to reach into her bag, but Amelia shook her head. She had no doubt that if she looked at their journals, she’d see completely satisfactory work. Perhaps not much more than satisfactory, but both girls were too clever to have done nothing. “That’s alright, I believe you. However, in the future, I suggest keeping the whispering to a minimum.” She fixed them both with a stern look. “Just one more thing, I know by now you’ll both have heard about the high-level spell book that was found under your classmate’s pillow, as well as their escapades last night.”
Indigo grimaced. Amelia continued, “the Olympics announcement has made everyone rather… excitable, but I trust you both understand the consequences if you tried doing anything similar.” Her gaze swept over them. “It would be a shame for two bright young witches to get themselves into more trouble than they can get out of.”
Macy was nervous now, but Indigo still had an arm around the other girl, and Indigo smiled up at Amelia. “Don’t worry about us, we’re going to be just fine.”
“Yeah.” Macy somehow managed a smile too. “Thanks for the concern, but you don’t need to worry.”
“I trust not.” Amelia studied them both for a moment further, noting the way both continued to fidget. She let them go with a smile. “You two should get going to your next class. Try to pay attention to it.”
“We will,” Macy said quickly, a spark of relief in her eyes.
“Yeah, you got it.” Indigo, clearly relieved as well, waved at Amelia as she pulled Macy out of the room with her.
Amelia watched them go, tapping her fingers against her desk. So, her pupils were planning some mischief, were they? Their reaction to her warning had been, along with the rest of their behavior, too innocent – too much a practiced show. She wondered what they were planning.
They made a potentially dangerous combination; Amelia had known that from the moment she’d introduced them. They were troublemakers in different ways. Indigo’s mischief was louder, riskier and more likely improvised, whereas Macy’s tended to be quiet and calculated.
When Amelia had taken on Indigo, several of her colleagues had made comments along the lines of it being lucky Amelia’s other pupil was so quiet and well-behaved, considering Indigo was a clear handful. It was common misconception among the other teachers that Macy never got into mischief on her own. Amelia knew better. She also knew that for all Indigo always seemed to be getting into trouble, she could be truly sneaky when she wanted to be.
She’d hoped that Macy and Indigo would become friends one day, though she hadn’t been sure how to go about orchestrating it. It seemed fate had taken care of the matter for her. She didn’t know what the trigger for their relationship change had been, though she had her suspicions. In any event, it left her free to move onto the next step.
It presented a challenge, finding a way to handle such a troublesome combination. She would no longer be dealing with one witchling at a time but two.
Amelia walked over to the window by her desk and ran a hand along the vine that grew there. She loved a good challenge, and she was more than up for this one.
“Alright, girls,” Amelia murmured, smiling to herself. “Let’s begin.”