Ancient

Christa Marian is a senior in high school when reports of the mysterious woman the papers call "the enchantress" begin. She initially disregards it, but the things surrounding this mysterious woman will end up twisting Christa's life in ways she would have never foreseen.

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4. Chapter 3

 The return home was a difficult journey for Christa. For investigation and repair, the school had been closed for the week, resulting in three extra relaxation days, plus the weekend, for the students. Christa was still numb from loss at her friend and the strange cloud of mystery that surrounded her... slaughter. The thought of the event brought back the horrific images of her friend's body impaled in the wall, her head lolling on her chest, her eyes wide in terror, the blood smeared and splattered on the stone floor, as though she had been murdered in the middle of the room and dragged to the wall to be hung there.. It made her stomach churn and her eyes burn with tears at the thought. The security cameras in the room had cut out and no one could remember what happened or what they saw. Christa knew, though. Christa knew it was the woman she had faced in the classroom, the one who had tried to murder her savior. She gave a shuddering breath and hunched over, gripping the pillow she clutched in her arms even tighter. Was this revenge for the other woman appearing and rescuing her? Was it just another attempt to lure out the enchantress?

Her mother came in to check on her, approaching her cautiously as though piercing her line of sight would cause the fragile girl to burst. Christa turned her face toward her slowly, her brown eyes rimmed with red and her lips trembling. Her mouth was open just slightly and her breathing was loud and labored, as though she was in truly physical pain. Her mother put a soft hand on her shoulder and handed her a cup of water. Christa's hands could barely grasp the cup, too weak from the hours spent curled up on her bed in the dimly lit room. Her mother patted her knee and left without a word, too scared to break the mourning silence that Christa had spent the past twenty-four hours in. The grief-stricken girl went to lay back down but her descent back into her blanketed solidarity was interrupted by the quick buzzing of a phone call. She picked her phone up slowly, blinking a few times to clear her vision only to read Arjun's name on the screen. She gave a soft sigh but answered, hoping to find at least some comfort from him.

"Christa?" Arjun's voice crackled through the phone, sounding frantic. "Are you alright?"

"I've been better... but thanks for asking" Christa's voice was hoarse from it's lack of use, her eyes tearing up slightly at hearing the voice of a friend so dear to her.

"Have you talked to Kalli recently?" Arjun suddenly asked, abruptly changing topic to Christa's surprise. She blanked for a moment, a moment that was too long for Arjun. "Christa, have you talked to or seen Kalli?"

"No, I... I don't even have her number. I saw her last at the hospital," Christa managed, confused at her friend's sudden question. He paused for a moment before making a strangled sort of noise.

"Oh... God," he choked, the panic clear in his tone even through the static of the phone.

"Arjun? Arjun, what happened?" The panic had now infected Christa. Whenever her friends worried, she did too. Her knuckles were white as she gripped her phone, tears welling up in her eyes again.

"She's gone missing. Her parents called me to ask... if I had seen her and to ask others too," he managed. Christa covered her mouth to muffle the sound that came out of her mouth, the miserable wail of a girl who had lost two friends in two days. She dropped her phone, the distant voice of Arjun calling out for a few seconds before the call was dropped. Christa was numb again, her brain running through all the horrible events that Kalli could be a victim too at that very moment. She gave an angered scream, gripping at her hair and squeezing her eyes shut, but only saw images of Kalli now, mutilated and impaled on a wall with the one word scrawled in blood beside her, that word:

"Miaka," the girl muttered it as an exclamation of shock, kneeling on the carpet of the large bedroom. Her wavy golden hair fell past her downturned face, shading her fair features. Her face was covered by a pale pink masquerade-esque mask, as though she had come from a ball. It was decorated with large feathers and diamonds and rubies, flaunting her position of importance. She stood straight and scanned the room with narrowed eyes. There were papers and textbooks strewn about carelessly, on the floor and bookshelves alike. The desk was piled with finished and unfinished homework, full of curving graphs and variables that would might as well have been a different language to the average person. The girl picked up a sheet with her fingertips, wrinkling her nose in distaste. "This girl might've been smart, but very... unorganized."

She stretched and then smoothed out her dark green tunic over her brown leggings. She pulled her blue and silver cloak around her, her pale green and golden eyes flicking around the room to search for more clues. She bore a resemblance to the famed enchantress, like the classroom girl that had saved Christa from the enemy she now sought, but yet again she was slightly different. Her eyes turned a bright gold as she held up her hands to form a triangle shape, looking through the hole between her thumbs and pointer fingers and scanning the room. Everything in her view was now covered in a shimmering golden haze. She neared the missing girl's bed cautiously. The sheets had been torn off the bed and now hung halfway on the beige carpet, the maroon red resembling a pool of blood pervading the unblemished brown with its deep color. As she examined the sheets, she noticed a shimmering black residue staining them, almost like splotches of tar. Such a thing would go unseen by human eyes, but were important in pointing to the culprit. She lowered her hands and narrowed her eyes once more, her fingers clenching into fists. "Rosaline..."

"You rang, missy?" the enchantress-like girl whirled around to see the face of the murderous woman herself behind her. She let out a short shriek and backed toward the wall, bumping into the bed on the way. Her fingers brushed against the invisible black residue and she gave a short painful cry, drawing up her hands as though she had laid them on a hot stove. Her fingertips had begun to blister and trembled slightly as the wide green eyes gazed in horror upon the black figure that stood in front of them. Rosaline gave a curt laugh and crossed her arms with a smug look. "Ah, whoever you are, you sure are jumpy."

"Just try me. What have you done with this girl?" The enchantress-esque girl stood straight, her hand twisting as she pulled a staff from the air. It was as tall as her, made of a light wood that she grasped tightly in her small and dainty hand. At the upper end it expanded into a hollow circle with shiny metal spikes adorning the top of it. It was an exquisite creation, covered in jewels to display both rank and beauty. The staff quivered as the girl's hand shook, the only thing signaling her fear. Rosaline smirked and seemingly floated back into the chair across from the desk in the corner. She threw her arm over the back of it nonchalantly and sighed, running a hand through her long hair. The other girl stood there, unsure of how to react in this situation as it was the first time she had come face-to-face with the enemy. When Rosaline looked to her, her eyes were blood red, striking fear into the cloaked woman's heart once more and making her visibly flinch.

"What did she tell you about me, girlie?" she asked, examining her pointed red nails as though they were interesting to her. The girl hesitated, unsure of whether to engage the woman in conversation. She lowered her weapon a bit.

"That's none of your business," she said coldly, her shoulders tense.

"What a temper you have," Rosaline purred, her eyes flicking to her opponent as she smirked.

"What have you done to her?" the girl's voice was steady as she repeated her question, holding only a slight tinge of choking fear. Rosaline threw her hair over her shoulder with a chuckle.

"What I did is none of your business. I'm just confused on why Miaka won't face me," her tone was sickly sweet as she batted her eyelashes and gave the girl a pseudo-innocent look. The other leaned against her staff, regaining her composure as she lifted her chin.

"The queen must be protected at all costs," she said in a serious tone. Rosaline laughed, clutching her stomach as her face screwed up in amusement.

"So she sends her pawns to face me? Is she scared?" Rosaline pulled herself out of her laughing fit and strutted across the floor. She spat her next words in a venomous tone. "You're not even an elf! You reek of mortality and weakness."

The girl extended her staff in front of her to keep the woman from getting closer, but with a flick of her wrist, the girl was thrown to the wall. Her head hit the plaster with a loud smack, a cry leaving her lips as she brought her fingers under her hood to the lump already forming on her skull. The green eyes still stared in defiance through the pink mask even after the attack, but Rosaline was disregarding her gaze and had picked up the sheets. "Such finery. Too bad that girl won't ever experience something like this again."

The wicked woman slowly looked up at the cloaked girl with a crazed grin, her red eyes wide. She gave a hiss, her mouth becoming a large maw filled with jagged fangs. The grin cracked down her cheeks to her throat, dripping black ooze. Her head tilted at a strange angle, almost parallel to the ground. Her eyes began to leak the same goo that fell from her mouth. It ran tracks down her face, contrasting the pale color of her whitish skin. It hissed as it fell onto the carpet, burning through the fibers like acid. The girl did not flinch, for she had finally gathered up the fearlessness that lay buried deep within her. When she realized the girl was not afraid, Rosaline's head quickly righted itself and the maw stitched itself back together, the black ooze retreating back past her red lips. The girl twirled her staff, tossing it at Rosaline. It sliced through the enemy's hair and lodged itself in the wall, the blonde stands floating to the ground as the staff dissipated into golden sparkles before reappearing in the girl's hand. Rosaline looked surprised before she stretched her hands, her nails growing into long, black claws. She gave a slight tilt of her head and another insane smile before lunging for the girl with her hands extending, aiming for her jugular. The cloaked girl barely had time to grab her staff in both hands and hold it above her head, the claws coming down on the wood with a large thunk, embedding in the weapon. It stunned Rosaline for a moment, giving the girl time to give the woman a swift kick to the ribs. Rosaline barely flinched but glared at the girl with glowing red eyes. The smoke appeared and the girl took a step backwards, fear overtaking the girl's gaze momentarily.

"So you know what this can do, do you?" Rosaline laughed as she finally tugged her claws from the girl's staff. The smoke spiraled toward the girl, narrowly missing her as she ducked. It rebounded off the wall and came for her again. The sound of Rosaline laughing enraged the girl only further and drove her adrenaline up. She rolled away and ran out of the bedroom, coming to a large balcony looking out into a grand entryway. She whirled around to see Rosaline advancing towards her, believing that she had cornered her. The girl gripped her staff tighter as the smoke stretched out into the hallway, making the air seem ominously misty. Terrified that it would touch her as Rosaline pulled out her rapier, she acted instinctively, jumping off the balcony and onto the chandelier. It was not situated for her weight and fell quickly, shattering to the floor and throwing up shards of glass. Rosaline's partially-human reflexes made her close her eyes and turn away, making her curse herself when she turned and saw that the girl was not there. She knew, though, from the girl's own residue and the hum of disgusting "good" magic in the air, that the girl had not yet gone. She jumped off the balcony, landing with a crunch in the broken glass and denting the floor with her impact.

The smoke followed her movement, flowing over the railing and down the double staircase to pile behind Rosaline, as though she had a whole army behind her. An idea tugged at her brain and she grinned. With a wave of her hand, a swirling portal appeared with an audible tearing noise. From it came the beasts, the tortured beings of the demon realm. They gripped at the edges of the portal and pulled themselves out of their own hell to exist in another, their shadowy and twisted forms towering above their queen. Their maws opened in a silent cry of pain, turning their faces to taste the sickening flavor of the magic present in the air. One of them gave a shriek and took off down the hallway, the others following suit with their heavy footsteps clamoring and thudding down the hall. Rosaline smirked, flourishing her rapier in her hand. The blade seemed to twist and grow as it changed itself into a flat serrated sword, the sight of it making her tremble with excitement. She closed her eyes and let the gory memories of it slicing through flesh and ripping out chunks of skin and bone run a pleasurable course through her mind. She pulled herself out of her mind and took off down the hallway after her army, leaving the portal open so more could emerge and aid her in her search. Even with their corrupted and stupid demonic brains, they had somehow managed to spread out to find the girl. 

Rosaline opened her mouth to taste the air again, a long and pale forked tongue squirming about in the air. She felt queasy as she tasted two more flavors of the revolting scent. She gave an angered shriek to her warriors in an ancient tongue, one too old for anyone to understand. The sound like the scratching of nails on a chalkboard came from their throats, echoing through the hallways of the large house. She raised a clawed hand and they became silent. Her footsteps were the only sound as she tapped along the shiny wood, entered the home's personal library. It was huge, full of tall bookshelves climbing to a glass domed ceiling. There was a sitting area in the middle, with comfy couches pointed toward a large flat-screen TV. Rosaline stalked across the ground with her lips parted ever so slightly. She could taste the familiar fear of the girl from the classroom as well as the magic of the girl she had just encountered.

"I know you're in here, you pathetic girls," she hissed, the smoke spreading out through the bookshelves. The pressure of the air increased and the dome of the ceiling shattered, letting in the mournful wail of the wind as glass rained down on their bodies. Rosaline welcomed the nicks in her skin, it only exciting her further at the thought of blood and gore. She barely had time to move as a stream of purple light came shooting for her, hitting the wall with an explosion of drywall and smoke. The debris rained down on Rosaline, making her cough slightly, but she opened her hand and spoke softly as black ooze began to gather there. She stalked through the bookshelves, gripping the black ooze in preparation for an appearance of her enemies. She felt herself slowing suddenly, her body becoming stiff and lethargic as she could no longer command it. She hissed slowly, her tongue feeling heavy in her mouth. This girl could manipulate time! She saw the blurred form of the assassin-like girl heading toward her and used her mind to send out the smoke, the tendrils reaching for the girl like the hands of the dead. She was distracted when an arrow pierced through her shoulder, causing her to stumble forward. The smoke wavered and retreated toward Rosaline as she tugged the arrow from her shoulder with some difficulty, a fountain of black liquid splattering the floor when she finally managed to pull the curved blade from her flesh. It sizzled and ate at the wood where it landed. She barely had time to deflect the khopesh that came down on her, her dominant arm weak from the injury and shaking at the forceful impact. Another arrow came whizzing through the air and Rosaline slid to the side at the sound, the arrow thunking in the wood where she had been the moment before. She gave a cry in her language again, the monsters taking up the cry as they trampled through the hallway. Panic appeared in Kaya's purple eyes and she took as step back, gripping her khopesh tightly and glancing toward the doorway.

"Euryale!" She gave a shout and the archer appeared, a curved silver bow in her hand and two wings sprouting from her back. They were a greenish-grey and almost looked like demon wings, except they had two parts to them, the lower wing smaller than the other. She wore a simple brown tunic and black leggings with dark brown boots. She had the same cloak the other two had, the hood pulled down to reveal her frizzy, messy brown hair pulled back into a braid. Her face was covered by a masquerade mask like the girl from before, except it was a forest green and much less gaudy than the other. Her eyes were a plain brown but just as intense as the vibrant ones of her companion. She drew an arrow from a quiver that rested between her wings, tucking one in the bow to prepare herself. Rosaline took the distracted moment to attempt to plunge her blade into Kaya's side, but Euryale pushed her comrade out of the way so the blade hit thin air. The first girl appeared in the doorway, gripping her arm to cover a large gash in her shoulder. Euryale ran to her and together they went to face the horde of demons advancing toward them.

"Cirneth, listen to me. I'll fend them off, you close the portal to stop more of them from coming through," Euryale didn't even give her friend a glance as she focused on the black monsters clambering over each other, streaking toward them on all fours.

"I can help you. I'm fine," Cirneth insisted, her green and golden eyes determined as she gripped her staff. Euryale pulled back her bow and fired an arrow into the monstrous being in the front, the slim blade piercing the head with a strange wet sound, as though it had pierced through a water-filled object. Its body fell to the ground, stopping the onslaught of demons for a moment. Even their simple brains, only focused on murder and the need to consume, saw the threat of the girl in front of them. They gazed at the fallen in silence before opening their maws and giving a death cry, lunging for the girls.

"Go!" Euryale commanded in a harsh voice, loading three arrows into her bow. Cirneth could only nod as two wings burst from her back. They were large and feathered, fading from light blue to dark blue. The tips of the feathers were speckled with gold. She took off into the air, swooping above the demons. Some tried to reach from her with their large claws, but she was too quick for them or sliced them clean off with the spikes on her staff. Euryale fired her arrows. They twisted though the air, leaving streaks of greenish light behind them, taking out their targets swiftly. They bore down on her quickly, but with a flourish of a dagger pulled from her belt, their throats were slit. One of them managed to grab her in their large hand, squeezing her. She stabbed at his hand, but the blades were too small and weak to break through the hide that covered most of it's body. It opened its maw, its tongue tasting her cheek gently and leaving a long line of yellowish goo. As it squeezed harder, she felt her wings snap and gave a shriek. With the pain came anger and she used her free hand to stab an arrow into its large, black eye. It dropped her to stagger backwards, it's hands pawing at its face as it whimpered. Within a moment it was on the floor, lying on top of the others that had fallen. Cirneth returned in a moment, assisting Euryale in taking out the rest of Rosaline's beasts.

Meanwhile, inside the library, Kaya stood there with her mind full of thoughts of revenge and hatred as she stared down Rosaline. Rosaline smirked.

"Missing your little friend? I knew that Miaka was a part of that class. I smelled her protection on that girl, and the girl I took. Luckily, the charm on the girl I killed was weak, so I could easily break through. Oh, her face when she saw me!" Rosaline smirked. "You should've seen it. She didn't sate my appetite though."

"You...!" Profanity poured from Kaya's mouth that soon just became a roar of anger as she came at Rosaline, her blades flashing in the light of the library. Rosaline met Kaya's blades with her own, the serrated edges catching the curved blades and tugging them from her hands. Kaya was so vengeful that she did not seem to notice and threw a ball of violet light at Rosaline, her hand extended and her eyes deranged with hatred. The serrated blade caught it and struggled to keep it at bay for a mere moment before it exploded, sending Rosaline flying backwards. The rapier fell from her hands as she banged into the wall with a short screech. She recovered only to see Kaya coming at her, her fists clenched and her eyes blazing. She avoided the initial punch but Kaya caught her ankle with her foot, tugging it out from under her. Rosaline began to fall, giving Kaya a window to clutch at the blonde hair flying in the air and smash her face into her knee. Stunned, the woman in black stumbled backwards, black liquid running from her nose. Kaya was behind her in a moment, grabbing the back of her head and smashing it into a bookcase nearby. It left a large gash on her forehead and tore a shriek of rage and pain from her lips.

Kaya threw another ball of light at Rosaline, a scream accompanying the blast. The evil woman deflected it with a shield of liquid darkness. Kaya picked up one of her fallen blades and went for Rosaline again, gripping it tightly so her hand turned white. She went for Rosaline's side, but was promptly discouraged by the deflecting of her shimmering blade by Rosaline's, which the enemy had grabbed in a brief moment of opportunity. Kaya stomped her foot and was suddenly behind Rosaline, going for her undefended back, but was thrown backwards by the sudden appearance of the enemy's black, torn wings. Her feet met the wall and she threw her body over Rosaline's head, throwing down her arms as she passed to send down a torrent of purple energy. Rosaline threw a wing over her head and growled in annoyance, taking off into the air as her opponent recovered. Kaya had a trick of her own, however, and without a moment's hesitation let two wings of her own burst from her back. They were pitch black and feathery, surrounding her as she too left the ground. Rosaline tsked and glared as she let a volley of black tendrils twist toward Kaya. The caught her left arm and cheek, constricting the skin and making the girl shriek in pain. It made a thrilling grin play across Rosaline's face, to see such agony on her face like that. Blood splattered the floor as the tendrils dug into Kaya's skin, leaching her power. Her body shuddered as she cried out again. Cirneth and Euryale rushed in, quickly taking to the air to help their friend. Euryale sent a stream of arrows through the air at inhuman speed while Cirneth severed the tendrils, causing them to fall uselessly to the ground and leaving Kaya's arm dripping with blood. Rosaline twisted through the air to avoid the arrows, her chest heaving as she attempted to summon her smoke. It was small and weak, however, the battle taking a toll on her strength. She withdrew back, a black haze surrounding her.

"I'll be generous and give her twelve days. Twelve days to rescue some of her pathetic friends. Oh yes, I'm going to take more. Especially that delicious girl who stay conscious during my pain spell. I wonder how much of my torture techniques she can resist. Tell your... master I hope to see her soon," she sneered, throwing her wing in front of her as her body wavered and disappeared. The friends descended to the ground with a sigh, their wings folding against their back. Kaya went to Cirneth and pulled down her face mask, smoothing down her friend's wavy blonde hair down. They were panting with exhaustion now, unable to keep their magical forms as their medieval style outfits gave way to t-shirts and jeans. There stood three seemingly normal high schoolers, their ages clear now that their faces were uncovered.

"Amelie, are you alright?" the girl previously called Euryale asked the one who was called Cirneth. Amelie's hazel eyes were clouded with pain as she gripped her shoulder, the flesh still severed and bleeding, staining her blue and black shirt with its harsh redness. She stumbled backwards and the third helped her friend steady herself, putting an arm around her and gazing at her with furrowed brows.

"Lara, get..." the black haired girl called to the girl previously called Euryale, looking up in panic to her as she stood by, only to see the enchantress, Miaka, standing there behind Lara in all her glory.

"No need," As soon as the enchantress' feet touched the floor, she ran to Amelie, wrapping her arms around the girl. A swirling green portal appeared beside the woman and a tall person emerged. They wore a simple light suit of silver armor and had long silvery hair that shimmered in the sunlight. Their large, almond shaped eyes were feminine and bright blue, yet they had the build of a male, muscled and flat-chested except for the curve of their abs. Their body showed no age past their mid-twenties but they gave off a wizened aura of knowledge beyond human comprehension. Their ears were long and pointed, extending out of their hair and to the back of their head. Donning them were many finely crafted earrings of silver and gold. Their eyes closed as they knelt on one knee, a large and smooth hand across their breast.

"Your majesty. You called," he spoke in a light yet deep voice, revealing his gender to be male. His tone held some blatant scorn. When he stood, he towered over the enchantress and she was forced to tilt her head back quite a bit to address him. His eyes opened into two, bright blue slits, looking distastefully upon the shorter girl he had referred to as "your majesty". Her expression was indiscernible beneath the shadows of her hood. The only things visible were her blue and orange eyes glowing intensely from inside the shadows. Words poured from her lips in a musical and ancient language, her tone gentle but curt. It was not unlike the one Rosaline had used, except not as harshly pronounced or throaty. His eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened with surprise. She smiled a mysterious smile, her lips just barely visible under her hood as she finished her babble of strange tongue.

"You doubted me, Keriel. Do you doubt me now?" Her voice sounded much older and mystic than what the friends were used to hearing, causing them to be slightly confused and a little scared as she switched back to English. The enchantress seemed to pick up on this and her eyes slid towards her friends. She gave them a lopsided grin, one that they were used to seeing, and they were put at ease. He looked at a loss for words as he stared down at her.

"I did not-" he started, but she held up a hand. He was stunned into a miffed silence, forced to respect her authority.

"You did. I've known you for centuries. I read you like an open book. Why do you doubt this form so?" she tilted her head and smiled, her eyes a bit concerned and betraying the carefree and somewhat flirtatious smile.

"Well... I..." he stuttered, unable to speak for a moment. Then he took a deep breath and forced out his thoughts. "It's so short!"

"Eh? I am not short! You're just tall!" The woman, usually full of grace, was strangely annoyed, a childish voice echoing from inside her as she stomped her foot. After a deep breath, she wore an amused glance and chuckled slightly. "You just liked looking at Strella more."

"You're wrong," he protested faintly, but the enchantress had turned back to Amelie. The girl was pale, blood still steadily dripping to the floor, the sound echoing in the otherwise silent library. Her breathing was ragged and labored, her eyes somewhat distant as she struggled to focus on the woman. Miaka knelt down beside her friend and stroked her hair in a soothing, motherly matter, her eyes flicking over her body and trembling with tears. She hoped that Amelie could not see.

"Don't worry, Amelie. You'll get through this. Keriel is going to take care of you. It'll be okay," she spoke in a gentle, slow voice and fought back the tears. "This is all my fault..."

A chorus of protests echoed from her friends, including the weakened Amelie, who had indeed noticed her tears.

"You didn't do this. Rosaline did," Violet spoke loudly and angrily, her eyes flashing violet for a second as she pointed to the wound on her arm. "We promised we would help you take her down, and we're keeping that promise."

"Yeah, we agreed to this," Lara added, putting her hand on the enchantress' shoulder and smiling. "We're here to help you and we don't blame you for these injuries."

"I don't blame you" The enchantress turned back to Amelie, who smiled through her pain. "We'll help you take Rosaline down, as soon as I get better."

"You're all the best..." Miaka was moved to the brink of tears and scoffed at herself for being so emotional, smiling the feelings off. Keriel stood there somewhat awkwardly as the friends shared their moment, unsure of whether or not to stop the mushy gathering.

"We should probably get your friends going, your majesty," he butted in a bit hesitantly. Miaka nodded and Kerei picked up Amelie with ease, the smaller friend light as a feather to him. He turned to the enchantress before he stepped through the portal, looking at her friends for a moment before turning his blue gaze to her. "Seokjin wants to see you, by the way. Something about local nymph problems."

"Tell him to wait a little while longer. I'll deal with him later," Miaka responded with a slight tone of annoyance, waving a hand to dismiss the topic. Keriel paused again.

"Are you coming?" he asked, unsure of whether to move on or not. Amelie wrapped her small arms around his neck weakly and he gave her a slight glance, his face flushing for a split second and putting a smirk on Miaka's face for just as short a time before it lapsed back into its hard, flat countenance.

"No, I have to clean up a little before the owners of this house return," She responded a little hollowly, her attention shifting as she looked up at the hole in the ceiling toward the sun, which was beating down strongly regardless of the situations that unfolded beneath it. When she looked towards him again, the four of them were gone, leaving the enchantress to repair the mess that she had indirectly caused. With a heavy heart, she began.

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