They arrived at the restaurant on the corner at about six-thirty. The pair took their seats and ordered their food. They seemed to click immediately, spilling jokes and talking about their pasts. Merlock had gone through pretty much the same thing as Blake. He’d lost his parents and his brother, he’d been expelled from countless schools, and magical accidents had trailed him since he was born. They began sharing everything eagerly, wanting to know more and more about each other.
“Hey, want to see something really cool?”
“Yeah, sure,” said Blake. Merlock looked around, and then looked back at Blake. He touched his ring, and it glowed green.
“Have you ever heard of dimensional travel?”
“Because I can do it! I’ll do it later, but right now, I want to show you something else.” He snapped his fingers, and an orb of purple and blue fire flickered to life in his palms. He blew on it, and it began to take shape. It was transforming into a small shape with four things sticking out of its back. In a moment, there was a tiny lady in his hands with wings. “It’s a faerie!”
“A faerie… what can it do?”
Just watch,” he said. The faerie was blue and violet and it jumped into the air, its wings beating quickly. In a moment, it zipped away, a cobalt-violet blur against the atmosphere. It returned holding an orange. Merlock touched the orange, which began to disappear with the faerie on it. He took the orange, and lobbed it high into the air. While it was in mid-air, it vanished. Suddenly, the waiter that had been being rude to them before flinched, and Merlock snapped his fingers. A crushed orange appeared on the side of her face, dripping the carroty liquid dripping down it. The two of them laughed to themselves, and rose from the table, slipping out the door.
When they got outside, the black sky was studded with brilliant diamonds, and soft moonlight filtered down through the leaves of the trees that lined the busy roads. Golden lights lit up the streets, and the damp grass swayed in the chilly night breeze. They walked on the sidewalk into the plaza where the hotel was. Then, they ran through the parking lot, racing past trees and lampposts. They passed by romantic couples that were kissing or holding hands on the benches and past the tennis courts. When they got into the hotel, they rode the elevator up to floor 20, and got to Suite 104. Blake touched the key card machine with his index finger and said the unlocking charm. The lock clicked, the machine beeped, and Blake pushed open the door. He and Merlock went over to the sofa, walking right past Aunt Sara, Whist, Jayson, Steph and Spencer who were all talking anxiously.
They sat down, and the group swarmed over to the two of them. “Blake! That was completely irresponsible!” said Aunt Sara.
“I know, and I honestly can’t say that I care.”
“You should never challenge a wizard as powerful as Lucien alone!” said Whist.
“See, you guys underestimate me! And you don’t listen! I never said I was going to challenge Lucien, I said I was going to save Merlock! But as usual, Aunt Sara, you feel the need to hold me back! I can do things that other people can’t! None of you seem to grasp the concept that I’m trying to tell you! Even now, while all of you are looking at me, I can see the resentment in your eyes, and you can’t deny it. Sometimes, you just need to know when to trust people, and let them go. I can’t stay bottled up under your protection my whole life! That’s why I have this!” Blake drew upon the energy from the relium salvus and created a golden haze that wrapped around his fingers like tendrils of mist. He blew on it, and it sparkled and flew around the air, falling in a rainbow of sparks onto the ground and vanishing.
“I’m more powerful than any of you know, and I understand that. I never asked to be protected. I never asked to have these powers. Yet, the thing is, I do. And it is because I have these powers why I am capable of so much. None of you trust me enough, and yet you expect me to suddenly want to fall backwards into your arms when I hardly know you. The Aunt Sara I know now isn’t the one that I used to know. I wasn’t trusted enough to know that, and I’m still not trusted enough to know who my parents were. I trust you guys, so it’s time for you to trust me.
“Had I not gone and saved Merlock, they would have continued to torture him, and you would have ignored him. So instead of standing by, I took the initiative to find him and rescue him from two horrible people. I did something exemplary and commendable, and yet you stand over me with your hidden antipathy and tell me I did the wrong thing! That isn’t right! I saved a potent warlock from the grasp of two Magi affiliated with the Roses who would have killed him! I should hope that you’re hiding your satisfaction in me or your contentment for my triumph, because if not, then I can leave. I’m no longer the child I was before.” Blake stood up and trudged out of the room with Merlock close on his heels, leaving the group staring after him.
“Where are we going?” asked Merlock.
“We aren’t going anywhere. I’m going to walk around.”
“Okay then, let’s go.”
Blake turned to face Merlock, his blond curls tumbling down his neck as he did. His hazel eyes gleamed from the starlight and the moonlight that filtered through the window in behind Merlock. “Don’t be stubborn, Merlock.”
“Every warlock is,” he snapped. “Including wizards. That means you too, Blake.”
“Merlock, go,” Blake replied.
“NO. I’m not going anywhere. I don’t care if you want me to or not, you’re not going to wander around here alone. The same thing will happen to you that happened to me.”
“Magic, yeah, I know! And so do I! Magic can’t protect you from everything and anything, though! I was still caught by them, and they bound my wrists with wire and choked me after giving me a drug that suppresses a warlock’s power. They have one that does the same for wizards, you know.”
“We immobilized them in their room, though!”
“It doesn’t matter the slightest! No matter what we do, they’ll get out! Until they’re killed, they’ll keep coming back! How do you know they won’t call an army of druids or clerics and turn them bad? Or get the orcs to come back? How can you be sure that he won’t call Arius?”
“A necromancer! Look, if you go, I’m coming with you, understand?”
Blake paused, and then nodded, and walked off. As they walked, Blake spoke. “Look, I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m stubborn—or so people say. I just didn’t want you to get caught again.”
“Forgiven. Now then, I think we should go and visit The City of Magic.”
“The what? What’s that?” asked Blake.
“You’ve never heard of it? I’ll just take you there,” said Merlock. He pulled Blake over behind the plants, and tapped his ring, and it began to glow brighter than ever before. “The City of Magic!”
There was a flash that lit up the hallway, and they disappeared from it.