“So! What happened to Buford, Doctor Strange?” I asked angrily as I approached Kate and Elle.
“You’d think he would be grateful that I intervened! But no! He has to stick me with ‘Doctor Strange’!”
“Wait, did you do this? Huh?”
“I don’t know Slick! Go ask Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Inspector Gadget!”
“KATE!” Elle yelled.
“No! I’m going to tell him right now! He deserves to know the truth!”
Elle paused and nodded.
“Finally! Hold on, we need to be sure no one hears us.” Kate said. She began to mouth words, but only a kind of whispered wheezing sound came out as she raised her palms into the air. A purple outline similar to the one that had appeared on Buford shimmered around her. Strands of magenta gossamer coiled off of her skin. Pulsing energy rippled through the air. I looked around. Everybody’s ears began to glow a light pink colour, which soon faded. Elle looked at me.
“My name… Elle Perleflanmel… is fake.”
“My true name is, well… Perenelle Flamel, Sorceress, and wife of the greatest alchemist of all time. Kate is Hecate, Goddess of Witchcraft, Magic, Crossroads, Wilderness and Childbirth. She is also Goddess of the Three Faces.”
“I am a sorceress… also known as: the Sorceress. I am… immortal, just like my husband and Hecate. She is a Greek Ancient just as I am an Ancient… one of the last Parisian Ancients.”
“Do you remember what you smelled at the bleachers?”
“Peppermint and cotton candy,” I said.
“So that’s what you smelled,” Perenelle understood.
“What? Wasn’t that the smell?”
“No, you’ll smell your favourite smell as I will mine… lavender and vanilla,” she answered.
“And when Kate… Hecate, touched you, your aura became visible. An aura is the magical field of energy that surrounds you and gives you your strength.” Perenelle explained. A shimmering blue brilliance burst into life, surrounding her beautifully, leaving a trace of lavender and vanilla. “What you smelled was your own aura, coming into contact with the remnants of mine. When an aura comes into contact with another, it is brought to life. Yours smells of cotton candy and peppermint. You can focus your aura through any part of your body… that is where Superman learned how to shoot lasers from his eyes. It is his aura being focused through his eyes.”
“I’ll show you you’re aura,” Hecate said. “I’ve been told to do it by Nick Lemalf.”
Aura, Flamel, Lemalf, Nick
“Nick Lemalf?” I asked. Nick… Nicholas is his name in full. Nicholas Lemalf. Lemalf: L-E-M-A-L-F; Flamel: F-L-A-M-E-L. “Nicholas Flamel!”
“Yes, Nicholas Flamel… my immortal husband.” Perenelle smiled. “The Alchemist… the greatest alchemist of all time.”
Aura, Flamel, Nicholas, Lemalf… Nicholas Lemalf= Nicholas Flamel!
“What does my aura look like?”
Hecate sauntered over and stood before me. It was difficult to take in the fact that she was a Greek Ancient. She looked about sixteen—give or take—and yet a kind of ancient god-like quality hung about her. She suddenly looked slightly older, about… eighteen, nineteen… twenty is kind of pushing it. No, it was probably just my mind. The Ancient outstretched a hand toward my shoulder. I flinched backwards, avoiding contact. “Relax… it shan’t hurt a bit…” Hecate said in a gentle voice. I then realized that she had become quite calm. I slowed my breathing and shut my eyes, easing and allowing my shoulders to drop. I felt a slight pressure on my right shoulder. As I opened my eyes, I realized that my skin was meting a black haze. Coils and tendrils of darkness peeled off of my body. Hecate’s hand suddenly felt very distant as I was consumed with the sweet smell of cotton candy mixed with peppermint. All I could see was darkness. Images suddenly flooded into place before me.
…a black nimbus merging together with an orange-yellow one, and just as they touched, there was a flash of bright white light…
…me, standing alongside a stern-faced warrior in full clad armour, holding a flaming sword that swung and left traceries of red hot fire behind it…
…my sister, Lily, in a room with a deep red glow, a flickering flame hovering above her palms, a tall, muscular man shooting sparks off his fingers as a strange mark consumed Lily’s right forearm…
…a black haze touched a red one, sending waves of energy in every direction, a pair of red eyes gazing out of the new aura, beckoning to me…
I suddenly heard familiar voices. It was Hecate and Perenelle.
“Y… your aura… it’s—”
“Black,” Hecate finished. The weight on my shoulder lifted, and shapes began to re-form before my very eyes. The non-memories dissipated with the darkness.
I shook my head quickly, as if shaking off water. I tried to remember what Hecate had just said—I’d still been entranced and locked in the memories that were not mine. “B… black,” I remembered the word. “You said my aura is black… is that good?”
Before Hecate could speak, Perenelle began. “Well…” she said, avoiding the question.
“Is it bad?” I asked curiously.
“In a way it is.”
“In what way, though? That’s my question,” I wondered aloud. “Seriously, you’re an immortal sorceress married to an immortal alchemist, and I just saw my aura with the help of the Greek Ancient known as the Goddess of Witchcraft, Magic, Wilderness, Childbirth, and Crossroads and of the Three Faces associated with Lunar Lore. Tell me. At this point, nothing is going to surprise me.”
“It is a… evil, colour if you will.”
“Do you want to know who has the same aura as you do?” Perenelle asked me.
“The Dark Ancients,” Hecate said.
“That means nothing to me.”
“They’re the bad guys.”
“Like who?” I crossed my arms and braced myself.
“Kronos,” Hecate said simply.
Kronos! I knew who that was. Father Time. Bad guy. Yep. Killed his father, Oranos, the solid dome of the sky and the Ancient of the Sky and Clouds, and even ate five out of six of his children… he would have eaten the sixth, but…
I gulped down a lump that formed in my throat.
“I see you know the Dark Ancient of Time Lord Kronos!” Perenelle said. “My little demonstration of time manipulation would have alerted him of our position.”
“Kronos is the Dark Ancient of Time. Quite nasty he is. Kronos is repulsive, petty, obnoxious, conceited and very evil. Zeus just barely saved his brothers and sisters.” Hecate shifted uncomfortably. “It gives me chills.”
“Is he after the book?”
“Is he after Nicholas Flamel?”
“Oh, no… you?!”
“Then what is he after?”
“You, immortality, some girl named Lily and the Jewels of the Ancients,” Perenelle said.
“LILY?! Please tell me you didn’t say Lily!”
“What is wrong, Zane?” Hecate asked.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and puddle onto the grass. “Lily… is my sister.”
“You have a sister?” Hecate asked.
“Yes!” I said. “And I saw something when you touched me!”
“What did you see Zane? Be precise, and tell me everything,” Perenelle said.
“I… I saw… I saw a lot of things. First, I saw a black aura touch an orange and yellow gold one. Then, there was a white flash.”
“No! And then I saw myself, standing beside a warrior… he was holding a spear and I was holding a flaming sword.”
“Dyrnwyn! You were holding Dyrnwyn!” Perenelle explained.
“The warrior was mouthing a word. Gay bug or something. Gay bull, gay blue…”
“Gàe Bulg! That was Cùchulainn!” yelled Perenelle triumphantly.
“And then I saw Lily… she was in a dark room. There was a tall, bearded man with sparks jumping off of his fingers! And Lily had a dancing red flame hovering in her palms!”
“I don’t know who that is…” Perenelle frowned.
“Nor do I,” said Hecate.
“That isn’t all. I saw a mark on Lily’s forearm.”
Perenelle frowned again.
“Anyway, I also saw something else… something disturbing.”
“There was a black aura… it merged with a red one and then there were red eyes looking at me! Then two deep voices were calling me. I heard ‘Kronos’ and ‘Set’ thrown in there.”
“So Kronos is going to merge with Set?!” Perenelle said shakily.
“It couldn’t have been Set! Set has no aura,” Hecate said.
“Anyways, we’ll talk about this later. Kronos wants you both for your powers. You and you’re sister are untrained. You’ll need protection. Physical training. Magic teachings.”
“From who, you two?”
“No, from the Egyptian Goddess of Magic…”
“Who was once married to Osiris,” Hecate continued.
“Who the hell is that?” I demanded.
“Who the hell is that? Who the—” Hecate laughed. “You know not of the great Queen Isis? First Generation Egyptian Ancient of Magic, Isis? Once more, all in due time.”
“I’ve got one more question,” I said.
“Shoot,” said Perenelle.
“How come you look so young?”
“Damn! Why is he so curious?”
“Magic,” Hecate said casually.
Meanwhile, Nick ran through a dripping alleyway, with only a cloak to protect him from the terrible rain. With an invisible pen, he traced a circle around the area above him.
Suddenly, the area he’d circled burst into red sparks. The rain in that area stopped. A crimson tornado swirled through the damp air and touched down on him. He was immediately sucked into it.
Perenelle! I have it, he thought.