“Have you ever seen a more beautiful creature?” Cerise sighed, her eyes peering into the crowd, following a particular figure. Their silver jewelry shimmered under the setting sun, peering out from the magenta dyed tips of their hair.
“If you’re talking about that girl you’ve been drooling over for the past four full moon phases, maybe you should find a better description than creature.” Her best friend Enith smirked. Cerise leaned against the pumpkin stand, still following the witch she often saw in her dreams.
“Remind me again how many manifestation spells you’ve casted this past phase?” Enith asked, glancing behind him to look at the girl his friend was fixated on.
“Oh geeze.” Cerise huffed, pushing off the cart to face him, a couple daisies sprouting from her scalp embarrassingly, recalling all the spells she had cast. She picked up the manifestation spell from a friend some moon phases ago; sitting in her room, surrounded by candles as she chanted a wish to the full moon. She looked away from the witch she was infatuated over. “One manifestation each new moon, I’m not stupid enough to cast anything like that during the different phases.”
Enith arched his eyebrow suspiciously. “You know manifestations only work if you also put in a bit of effort.” He nodded not so subtly towards her love interest.
“For your information, Maxine and I have hung out, several times actually.” Cerise rebutted, sticking out her chin.
“So you mean when you dragged her out into the woods to look for plants.” Enith side eyed his friend.
“First off, we were looking for mushrooms. And secondly I didn’t drag her, she wanted to come.” Cerise said knowingly while Enith rolled his eyes. The two of them started to walk away from the stand. Their boots crunching on the dirt and leaves of the marketplace paths.
The marketplace of the town sat in the middle of the surrounding neighborhoods. It was the heart and soul of the magical community, amidst the woods that surrounded the cozy houses and local shops. Separate from the world beyond the woods, the town stood in isolation and only rumors of the nonmagical passed in whispers from witch to warlock.
“We should get the rest of the ingredients for the midnight ritual.” Enith turned back towards Cerise, gesturing to the list she held in her left hand.
“You’re right. Also, did you manage to find the moonberries I asked for? They’re gonna be my artifact for tonight.” Cerise asked handing him the list.She had heard about moonberries about a week ago and was excited to hear that Enith had seen them in a local herbalist shop. Everyone who attends a midnight ritual needs an artifact to help channel their magic during the ritual to accomplish whatever magical task they wanted to complete during the night. Cerise being a Green Witch usually brought a seed, sapling, or a sprout.
“Oh yeah no worries, they’re at my place.” Enith reassured scanning the list.
“Awesome thanks. How many people are coming tonight?” She asked.
“Hmm.” Enith thought for a minute while they continued to walk through the busy crowds. “I’d say around five of us. Me and someone else from the Lunar Covens, you from the Green Covens, oh Vana from the Sea Covens, and I think she’s inviting someone from the Spirit Covens.”
“That’s a decent crowd for a midnight ritual.” Cerise commented. Her family always encouraged her to go to the midnight rituals; it strengthens magic and just got her out of the house in general. Occurring every different moon phase, the rituals were a vital part to the magical community. A young witch like herself would gather with friends or close family spending quality time together to practice magic, make wishes, summon spirits for guidance and strengthen bonds with her peers and loved ones.
The two of them approached a small cobblestone shop with the picture of a bubbling cauldron painted on a sign. The old wood door creaked as Enith pushed it aside for them to enter. Compared to the crisp autumn breeze outside, the inside air was warm and smelled of sage and pastries. The small shop was crowded with shelves. Dried herbs dangled from the rafters, crystal balls and rocks were meticulously placed behind glass cabinets, with animal skulls and bones lining dust covered shelves.
“Miss Claudine.” Enith called out into the shop. A shuffle of footsteps and a couple clangs and bangs sounded from the back.
“Yes, yes, I’m here. Who’s there?” A quaky voice followed the commotion. A small old woman with large, chipped glasses emerged out of the crowded trinkets.
“Hi Miss Claudine! Its Cerise and Enith.” Cerise smiled at the older woman whose dusty robes swished as she walked.
“Oh Cerise, Enith! How good to see you two again.” She beamed at the young witch and warlock. “Come to pick up some things for the midnight ritual?”
“Yup, just a few ingredients.” Enith responded.
“So good to see the young folk still preforming the rituals. Well, you know how it works, just holler if you need help finding anything.” The older witch waved her hand and muttered a spell, lighting some candles to illuminate the shop. Enith turned to look for the remaining ingredients as Cerise began to browse around the familiar shop.
“Oh, Cerise!” Miss Claudine gestured to her with a single boney finger. She walked over to the shop keeper, ducking to avoid hitting her head on some herb bundles. The woman gently grabbed her arm and led her to an ornate cabinet. Pulling out a rusted skeleton key from her robe, she unlocked the cabinet with a click.
“I heard some chatter that you’ve been casting quite a few manifestation spells, young lady.” She raised her long grey eyebrows at Cerise.
“I, I well, maybe a couple, but…” She stumbled over her words, making Miss Claudine chuckle. Of course, Miss Claudine knew about Maxine. She was the oldest witch in the town, everyone knew her, and she knew everything. Almost everything.
“Oh, I remember when I was a young witch in love. I drank homebrew confidence potions every new moon hoping I would gain the courage to talk to my Magnus.” The old woman said, reminiscing on her youth. “Of course, I was never the best brewer, my robes nearly caught fire every time I lit a cauldron.”
She let out a raspy laugh as she reached for a dusty bottle on the top shelf. Grasping it and wiping the dust on her already dirty robes, she held out the bottle for Cerise to see. The small bottle contained a swirling pink-purple liquid, shimmering as the contents inside swished around.
“Is that –“ Cerise’s eyes widened.
“A love potion.” Miss Claudine grinned.
“A love potion?!” Cerise heard Enith shout from the other side of the shop.
“Enith, stop eavesdropping!” She shouted back at her friend.
“Miss Claudine, please make her take that! She needs it.” Enith locked eyes with Cerise from across the shop and gave him a look of utter betrayal.
“I agree with Enith.” Miss Claudine nodded placing the bottle in Cerise’s hand.
“But I’ve never used a love potion before. What about a confidence brew like you were talking about, or something else that would just, help me…” Cerise trailed off looking at the small bottle that left dust on her fingers.
“No, no, not a confidence brew at a midnight ritual. You’d mess the magic up, those potions are far too widespread for something so specific, my dear.” Miss Claudine waved her hand, shuffling away to organize some glass marbles.
“Will this… make them like me?” Cerise hesitated with the question. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to give Maxine something that would force them to like her; it didn’t sit right with her. She knew Miss Claudine was very wise, but she couldn’t do this to her crush.
“Is that what you want?” The woman peered back at Cerise through some shelving while she continued to move about the shop. Enith glanced at her, waiting for an answer.
“I want them to like me, but not because of a potion. Just to like me for who I am.” Cerise answered gripping the bottle tighter now at the thought of possible rejection.
Maxine. The girl Cerise had liked before she could even put her feelings into words. She wasn’t sure what it was. Maybe the way her smile could light up the room, or how she never seemed to be in a bad mood. Her father was the town’s Medicinal Warlock, and Cerise with her love of strange magical plants practically lived in his office with all the accidents she got herself into. Maxine, like some other witches and warlocks in town, followed their parent’s job. So whenever Cerise landed into a prickly bush or burnt herself on an ember flower, Maxine was there to help her father patch Cerise up again.
They had grown closer this past year, and she wasn’t complaining one bit about the few times they had hung out. But despite their enclosed community, she had never met anyone like herself. There wasn’t one warlock couple or witch couple, it was all the same. One female witch, one male warlock and their children who would grow up and marry like their parents. One witch, one warlock. Maybe there was something wrong with her. No matter how many boys her mother invited over to dinner, or her friends that her father asked about; none of them made her tingle like when she was with Maxine.
Enith was the only one who knew, truly knew. He was the only person she trusted with this secret, and the reason she was even grasping this bottle in the first place. But she couldn’t ignore the intrusive thoughts lingering in the back of her mind. What would her family say? Would the community outcast her? Burn her like witch trials in the olden days? This town was all she had ever known, what would she do if they kicked her out? What would she do without her home? A lone witch without a coven is a dead witch.
She felt a hand on her shoulder. Enith looked down at the bottle that was still being grasped in between her fingers. What would this potion do to her future?
“Oh child.” Miss Claudine said softly. “I understand your concern, come here” She said, gesturing for Cerise and Enith to follow her to the counter. The old woman walked behind the old wooden furniture, grasping a small piece of parchment with her long nails, sliding it across the counter.
“Love potions are more versatile than people think they are.” She explained. “Follow these instructions and it’ll manipulate the potion. This way it’ll allow you to know if that special someone has feelings for you and vice versa, instead of using a love potion in a traditional sense.”
“I say, go for it.” Enith shrugged as he began to place the ingredients he gathered on the counter, handing Miss Claudine a stack of coins. Cerise hesitated for a moment, considering her options. Technically no one was forcing her to use the potion and even if she bought it that was no guarantee that she was required to use it. Making up her mind, she reached into her cloak about to pull out her own coin pouch.
“No need, dear.” Miss Claudine held out a hand. “If it works, bring them by the shop and buy them something nice.” The old women winked, smiling sweetly. Cerise returned a grateful grin, placing the bottle and its instructions into her pocket.
“Ok, well we better get going.” Enith nodded towards the front door. “Thank you, Miss Claudine, we’ll see you later.”
“Yes, thank you so much.” Cerise waved at the woman and followed her friend out of the shop.
“Have fun tonight you too, be careful if you summon spirits!” Miss Claudine called out as they said their goodbyes.
Cerise and Enith parted ways after they left the shop. They had a couple of hours before Enith would be ready to entertain guests, so Cerise began the walk back to her family home. The marketplace had started to clear now. Witches and warlocks were packing up their goods into wagons and bags. The street lanterns were being lit, the mystical fires flickering and giggling as the elemental witches brought them to life. Brooms hovered and moved on their own, sweeping the porches of shops or pilling the fallen autumn leaves into gold and orange piles. A group of young warlocks carrying a rather large cauldron rushed past her, chattering excitedly. The town of Addersbrooke was buzzing with excitement with the rising of a Waxing Crescent Moon. As the marketplace was closing, houselights turned on. The moon phase rituals were a time of gathering for covens, family and friends. Cerise felt herself growing a little more excited for when the clock would strike midnight.
She approached the small cul-de-sac where her house sat. There was smoke billowing softly out of the brick chimney of her family home. The large oak door had her family’s coven symbol, a maple leaf, carved in the center. The smell of home wafted around her as soon as she stepped through the high archway. The soft vanilla and pine scent snuck into her nose, warming her body. She could already hear her father in the kitchen while her mother sat in her chair besides the fireplace, knitting an orange scarf.
“Oh, Cerise, there you are.” Her mother smiled upon seeing her daughter enter the house.
“Hey mom, hi Teatime!” Cerise exclaimed happily, the orange family cat rubbed against her tights. The fluffy animal purred and arched its back when Cerise leaned over to scratch its rump.
“Where’ve you been today?” Her father asked poking his head out from the kitchen, his glasses fogged over from his cooking.
“I was out with Enith at the marketplace.” She responded.
“Are you staying with us for the midnight ritual tonight?” Her mother asked. Cerise took off her shoes and picked up the chunky cat.
“No, I got invited to Enith’s ritual.” She stuck out her tongue which Teatime returned with a gapping yawn, showing all his little canines.
“Oh, alright. We’re having the Nightshades over in an hour, you remember their son Oren, right? The two of you went to elementary together.” Cerise thought for a moment at the mention of the name.
“I’m sure if I saw him I’d remember his face.” She concluded. She made her way to the kitchen to see what her father was cooking. He had wiped his glasses off on his apron, the spoon left to stir on its own in the large bubbling cauldron, enchanted by her father’s cooking magic.
“I remember Oren.” He said. “Good boy, good boy. I think he’s working for that herbalist next to the bookstore.”
“No dear.” Her mother corrected him. “That’s Arbor, the Mallow’s son. Oren has been apprenticing under Mr. Cleary the town’s Potionist.”
“An apprenticeship you say? Well I’ll be darned, good for him!” Her father exclaimed, his glasses fogging up again. He turned back to Cerise.
“Now I’m not having you going over to Enith’s empty handed. Make sure you grab some of this before you head out tonight.” He gestured to the stew made of carrots, celery, onions and wild boar.
“I will. I just need to get some stuff together and I’ll be back down to grab it.” She replied, putting Teatime down.
“No, no take him upstairs with you.” Her mother said waving her hand. “He’s already knocked over enough of my spices off the shelf.”
“Teatime, you naughty cat!” Cerise frowned at the animal. He blinked innocently.
Gesturing for the cat to follow, Cerise headed upstairs to her room. The spiral staircase creaked under their steps. Pushing her bedroom door aside she removed the cloak from her shoulders, placing it on the foot of her bed. The small cozy room was lit by candlelight and firefly lanterns which made the walls a warm gold. The window nook next to her bed let the moonlight in, offering a view of the woods beyond her neighborhood. Teatime jumped up onto the cushioned nook, his pudgy body struggling just a bit.
Cerise moved towards her wooden wardrobe, opening it up to choose her outfit for tonight. Pushing some pieces of clothing aside she reached out and grabbed one of her long sleeve dresses. A spiderweb lace shawl was sewn onto the shoulders, one of her favorites. Pleased with her decision she tossed that onto her bed as well. Then hearing a clink, she perked up. The hanger had knocked against something in her cloak. Turning she saw the small bottle poking out from under the fabric. Eyes widening, she quickly shut her bedroom door. The potion.
Moving towards her bed she gingerly grasped the bottle, the instructions falling out with it. Unfolding the paper, she scanned the writing.
Place 3 drops in each of 2 cups of drinkable liquid.
After consuming if the user feels warm and fuzzy, the feeling results in attraction.
If after consuming the user feels cold, the feeling results in unattraction.
Three drops. Cerise opened the bottle and looked at the swirling liquid inside. Thinking for a minute she recalled a dropper she had in her home brewing kit. Placing the bottle down on her nightstand she headed over to her desk. Tossing out old recipes and pens in the trash nearby she finally found a single glass dropper in the last drawer.
“Perfect.” She smiled to herself holding the dropper up to the candlelight. Turning around to grasp the bottle Cerise froze and locked eyes with Teatime. His fuzzy paw was raised above the precious bottle of liquid.
“No.” Cerise said sternly at the cat who mimicked her stillness, the two of them locked in a silent argument. The cat’s tail tip flicked mischievously, raising his paw slightly higher.
“Don’t. You. Dare.” She said through clenched teeth. Teatime’s eyes glanced at the bottle then back at Cerise.
“I will never forgive you.” She whispered, fear laced in her voice. But Teatime did not live for her forgiveness; he was a true being of chaos. Then, with a single stroke of his toe beans the bottle was knocked over the edge of the nightstand. Cerise lunged forward, arms outstretched, reaching for the falling bottle. With a shattering crash, the glass hit the hard wooden floor, sending drops of pink-purple liquid across the room. Cerise landed with a thump on her stomach, the potion seeping into her clothes and floor. She felt her heart sink into her stomach as pieces of glass cut her forearm.
“No, no, no, no.” She desperately said out loud. Scrambling to her feet, she grasped the dropper frantically. Then like a mad man, she hunched over the remaining puddle, trying to suck up any remaining drops, but she was not successful. A soft thump sounded next to her as Teatime descended from the nightstand and sat next to his owner. Sadness welled up in her as she stared harshly at him.
What was she going to do? Tears started to blur her vision as the frustration consumed her. This was her chance, her one shot at knowing if Maxine had feelings too. This was the only way she could have known without exposing herself entirely and risk losing the people she cared about. She couldn’t fix this, not with her low brewing experience. If she tried to recreate the potion it would surely end in disaster, and she wasn’t going to ask Miss Claudine for another one. It was generous enough for the older woman to gift her the potion in the first place, so to ask for another would be rude and also costly. Money that Cerise didn’t have.
The overwhelming feeling of defeat felt heavy in her chest. She would never know if there was someone else like her out there. There wasn’t anything she could do. Seeing that bottle had filled her with such hope, as if the universe had answered her prayers, and now it was gone. She didn’t want to go back to manifestation spells that never seemed to work. Back to stolen glances and nervous smiles. She wanted answers, she needed answers. Was she doomed to be alone? Marrying a warlock she didn’t have feelings for, always wondering what her life could have been like.
“Cerise you’re going to be late to Eniths!” Her mother called from downstairs. Cerise sniffed, she didn’t even want to go to Eniths anymore, but she couldn’t miss a ritual they were too important. Staring at the broken glass on her floor, knowing there was nothing she could do she grabbed a dust pan. She hardly felt the scratches of glass on her forearm as she cleaned up. Numbness overcame her, engulfed in her own head with thoughts of doubt and uncertainty. She wiped away the tears, trying to pull herself together. Taking a breath, she headed downstairs.
“Ok I’m gonna get going now.” She said, reaching for the container of stew that her father left on the counter.
“Alrighty dear, have a good ritual and give Enith’s family our best.” Her mother replied to her daughter. Cerise nodded before stepping out of the door, pulling the cloak closer to her body to guard against the cold air.
Enith’s neighborhood was just beyond the marketplace; if she hurried, it would only take her 10 to 15 minutes. Her black boots clicked on the cobblestone street echoing out into the night. Now, as the darkness swept over the town, the laughing and gathering of voices in homes could be heard even out on the streets. Other witches and warlocks passed her going off to their own rituals as the town came to life with the night of the Waxing Crescent Moon. Turning a corner, she could make out the distant lights of Enith’s neighborhood. Family coven symbols glowed on front doors proudly in the moonlight as Cerise passed trees, animals, shells, and more. Finally, she spotted Enith’s place–a cozy stone house with a thatched roof, the upturned crescent moon etched into the front door glowed a warm gold. Cerise knocked three times. The door opened, revealing Enith’s mother, a short woman with a graying black bob haircut.
“Hello Mrs. Moira.” Cerise greeted with a smile.
“Oh hello Cerise!” Mrs. Moira smiled, wrinkles forming around her eyes. “Come in, come in. Enith and the others are upstairs in the star room.”
“Thank you. This is from my family.” She held up the container of stew after removing her shoes in the house.
“How lovely, thank you.” Mrs. Moira replied taking the container. “There’s some food already up there so help yourself. If you need anything, just let Enith know.”
“Perfect thank you, have a good ritual as well.” Cerise thanked her before heading up stairs. Every family of the Lunar Covens had a star room in their house and, similar to the sunroom of her family home and other Green Covens, it was the most beautiful and taken care of room in the house. She could hear laughter and chatter from down the hall as she neared the room.
“Hey Cerise!” Enith waved at her when she stepped through the archway. The room was bathed in moonlight and glow crystals. Cushions were scattered around the hardwood floor with a glass coffee table off to the side with dishes of food prepared for them. The one wall of the room without windows had constellations and moon phases hand painted onto it. Shelves lined a far corner of the wall, bottled of silver moon water, stones and glass balls pushed into sections.
“Hi everyone! How’s it going?” Cerise approached the small group. Just as Enith said, Linus, another boy from the Lunar Covens was sitting next to Enith, sporting a well pressed button up shirt embroidered with stars. Vana, from the Sea Covens, patted the cushion next to her for Cerise to sit. Her tight curly hair had a silver shimmer to it as she moved her head side to side.
“I feel like I haven’t seen you in so long!” Vana exclaimed beaming from ear to ear.
“It’s been pretty long! I think I remember seeing you at the spring festival a few moons ago.” Cerise said with an overly big smile while trying to hide her lingering sadness from the broken potion.
“Probably! I know that’s also when I last saw Linus.” Vana replied pointing to the other boy who was halfway through a platter of wild boar meat and sauteed dandelions.
“Mhm.” He mumbled, mouth full. Enith chuckled, reaching to grab a couple things for the ritual.
“I’m gonna start drawing the sigil. Our last person should be here soon.” He said, a stick of chalk in his hand. Vana gave him a thumbs up.
“Did you need any help?” She asked wiggling her hands in preparation for a spell.
“No, I’m good. Just prepare your artifacts for the sigil so we have everything ready for the ritual.” He reassured, the chalk lines forming into a multitude of circles and symbols.
“Hey Enith, you got my seeds?” Cerise asked recalling from earlier that day.
“Oh yeah!” He perked up at her question. “Sorry, they’re downstairs in the kitchen, you can ask my mom for them.”
“Alrighty.” She stated, standing up from her comfortable spot on the cushion. Cerise exited the room and back downstairs.
She heard chatter coming from the living room and figured following the voices would be her best bet at finding Enith’s mom. Rounding the corner, she saw Mrs. and Mr. Moira sitting around a sigil with a few other adults. The chalk lines glowed white illuminating their features. White candles burned around them with their magical artifacts intricately placed inside the sigil. It was such a normal sight to see, but Cerise could feel the powerful magic coming from the circle of adults. It overwhelmed her in a way, tingling her fingertips and sending goosebumps up her arms and legs.
“You need something, sweetie?” Mrs. Moira had turned towards Cerise.
“Yes please, Enith told me he had some seeds for the ritual?” She asked the women.
“Ah yes! Right over there on the counter, little glass container.” Cerise followed her pointed finger.
“Thank you so much.” Grasping the container holding 5 hazelnut sized seeds. She examined them for a second, they were white and fleshy with flecks of green scattered across the surface. There was a knock at the front door in the background, she heard Mrs. Moira’s voice greet someone, but Cerise was too into her examination to make out the words.
“Cerise!” Mrs. Moira’s call snapped her back. She moved from the kitchen towards the front door, eyes still on the seeds.
“Cerise dear, could you show Maxine where the star room is?” The woman asked.
“Huh?!” Cerise jerked her head up. And just like that there she was, the witch that caused moths to flutter in her stomach. She grinned at Cerise, dark eyes creasing at the corners, soft smile lines outlining her cheeks. Her hair fell onto her shoulders, dyed magenta at the tips with silver earrings hanging from her earlobes, a velvet cape swished around her ankles.
“Hey Cerise.” Maxine’s voice broke through the silence. Cerise felt her legs wobble hearing her name being spoken through that angelic voice.
“H-Hey.” She swallowed, pointing towards the stairs. “Yeah, just follow me.”
She followed close to Cerise as they walked upstairs and down the hall. Her heartbeat pounding in her head, slowly nearing the star room. The sigil was fully drawn now and the cushions and furniture had been pushed to the side. The chalk lines swirled into a multitude of circles, several artifacts placed in smaller circles, a conch shell, a crystal ball, and a vial of moon water.
“She made it!” Vana exclaimed. “Were my directions clear?”
“I did get lost, but I found it eventually. Sorry I’m a bit late.” Maxine apologized to Enith.
“No worries, we just finished setting everything up. Put your artifact in the circle, the veil hasn’t been put up yet.” Enith gestured to an empty circle. Maxine produced a silver chain from her cloak pocket, a hand beaded lavender flower pendant swayed in the air.
“That’s really pretty.” Cerise complimented, summoning up her courage to speak.
“Thanks, it was a relative’s.” Maxine replied softly, placing the necklace delicately in the circle. Cerise put a single seed next to hers.
“Sweet! Let’s put up the veil and get started!” Enith clapped his hands together excitedly. They all took a seat around the sigil, forming a circle. Enith took a basket of candles and began to hand them out to everyone. Once each person had a candle in front of them, Enith plucked out a single strand of his hair placing it atop the candle. The hair burst into a puff of fire which then slowly died down to a single white flame. Everyone else did the same, Linus’s white flame, Vana’s blue flame, Maxine’s yellow and Cerise’s green. Once the candles were lit, a translucent barrier rose from the edges of the sigil, separating the artifacts inside from the witches and warlocks outside.
“Ok what’s everyone doing tonight?” Enith asked after a moment of silence.
“I’m making a prediction.” Linus said aloud.
“Making a wish.” Vana chimed in.
“Trying some complex magic and hoping for the best.” Cerise chuckled.
“I’m gonna try a summoning.” Maxine added.
“Sweet. I’m also making a prediction.” Enith finished.
“Wow, so what type of magic are you doing for us tonight, Cerise?” Maxine leaned in closer as she asked the question, her eyes peering up from under her long lashes.
“Oh, uh just trying to make that moonberry blossom.” She smiled nervously pointing to the seed. “I couldn’t do it with just my magic so I figured a ritual would be a good place, ya know, combining magic and all that…”
Cerise twiddled her thumbs, trying not to make eye contact with Maxine. Her face felt like it was on fire. She glanced elsewhere but made the mistake of looking at Enith who wiggled his eyebrows.
“Well, I sure hope it works, I’d love to see something like that. I bet its beautiful.” Maxine replied softly, her shoulder brushing against Cerise’s. A small daisy sprouted on top of Cerise’s head upon the impact.
“Cerise, why don’t you go first then?” Vana suggested, seeming to pick up on the energy of the room. “If you’re using combined magic, it might be best to go before everyone uses up their own.”
“Sounds good with me.” Enith agreed, leaning back on his elbows, a cheeky grin spreading across his face. Linus shrugged off to the side.
More small flowers started to bud and sprout in Cerise’s hair, feeling the conversation switch onto herself. She could give it a go, despite her shaky hands.
“Sure, sure I’ll go then.” She announced, clutching her fists in concentration.
“Sweet, just lead us into it.” Enith said rubbing his hands together preparing his magic.
“Ok, let’s see, if everyone could lend me some magic?” Cerise asked holding out her hands either side. The circle of witches and warlocks all connected hands with each other letting their magic flow through them in a circle. To her right she felt Maxine’s warm palm offer a little squeeze as Cerise felt all their magic course through her veins. Her heartbeat picked up and she felt stronger, more confident. A tingling in her fingers gave her goosebumps and made her hair stand on end. The small flower that had sprouted from embarrassment in her hair opened fully now, growing leaves and stems and vines. Opening her eyes she took a deep breath, focusing on the task before her.
“Let’s do this.” She said, the confidence showing in her announcement to the room. Small specks of light radiated around her as she outstretched her hands towards the sigil. Before she even uttered a spell, the moonberry seed visibly began to vibrate in the circle. She steadied herself before speaking.
“Sub lunae lumine mando tibi crescere!” Cerise’s voice echoed off the walls. A deep rumble trembled under the floorboards, the seed trembling. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Maxine watching her in awe. Determined not to lose focus Cerise repeated the spell again.
“Sub lunae lumine mando tibi crescere!” Then with the final words spoken the seed cracked down the middle. A blue-white light illuminated the room, and roots and a stem began to emerge. The plan grew taller and taller, taking up as much room as the veil of the sigil allowed it too. Glimmering silver petals unfurled under the light of the moon, revealing a shining crystal-like sphere at the center.
“Damn!” Enith gapped at the giant plant in the middle of his star room. Cerise lowered her hands, arms shaky and drained as she felt magic slowly drain from her body.
“Woooo! Go Cerise!” Vana shouted and clapped her hands in excitement.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous.” Maxine breathed. Cerise sat back, taking a moment to recover her energy.
“Yeah, it’s really something isn’t it?” She said, taking in her work. “Thanks for the help you guys, I’ve been trying to get that spell for ages….” Cerise rambled before noticing Maxine move next to her.
“Uh, Maxine whatcha doin?” Enith asked cautiously.
“It’s just so, pretty.” Maxine said, trance like reaching out towards the veil.
“Woah, hey wait!” Cerise nearly shouted. Once Maxine’s hand touched the veil, the barrier between the sigil’s magical containment and the outside world was broken. An ear-piercing boom exploded as the veil fell upon impact. Without thinking Cerise leapt from her spot, tackling Maxine to the side but she was too late.
The two of them blew back from the tear in the veil. The compressed magic was too much for them to avoid and they went flying so hard, they broke through one of the glass walls. Cerise gripped onto Maxine as hard as she could while they fell. Opening her eyes for a moment she saw the grassy mossy ground below them grow nearer and nearer. Summoning all her strength she shouted a spell into the air.
“Excreso musco!” The moss below them grew ten times its size, creating a giant cushion of green below.
“Oof!” The two felt the wind get knocked out of them on impact with the moss. Cerise stared up at the stars above them, gasping for breath. Her heart beating out of her chest.
“Oh shit!” She cried out in a moment of clarity. She sat up, grasping Maxine’s shoulders, terrified. “Oh my god, are you ok? Are you hurt? Maxine?”
The girl still laying down, the night sky reflecting in her dark eyes, slowly blinked. A smile crept onto her face, spreading from cheek to cheek.
“Maxine?” Cerise breathed. Then she sat up, their faces nose to nose. Cerise could feel the warmth radiating off the girl as Maxine grabbed Cerise’s face.
“Cerise, you’re incredible!” Maxine exclaimed, a look of pure joy and excitement completely engulfing her.
“Wha- what are you talking about?” Cerise asked, did Maxine hit her head? Did she have a concussion.
“I’m so sorry, your plant was like pulling me towards it. I don’t know what came over me, and then I broke the veil and the magic escaped… But you broke my fall with your amazing magic! Thank you so much!” Maxine rambled on, the infectious smile never leaving her face, making Cerise feel warm and fuzzy. Their faces were so close, and Maxine’s hands were so soft and warm.
“I almost fucking killed you.” Cerise said shaking.
“No, you saved my life Cerise! I-I’m so grateful.” Maxine comforted. The excitement slowly going away, replaced with a new look on her face. It was gentle and bright, her thumb caressing Cerise’s cheek. Then slowly without even processing what was happening she saw Maxine’s face grow closer and closer.
When their lips made contact it was if every racing thought in Cerise’s mind simply disappeared. Maxine smelt of warm lavender candles and baked apples. When she finally pulled away the cold fall air filled the gap between them. Flowers sprouted in Cerise’s hair, by her eyes and on her hands. Maxine giggled at the sight, reaching up to pluck a purple periwinkle off her head.
“Maybe you could tell me more about that plant someday?” Maxine asked rather shyly, twirling the flower between her fingers.
“I-I’d love to.” Cerise smiled genuinely. Then raising a shaky hand, palm up, a bouquet of periwinkles sprouted before them.
It turns out she never needed a love potion in the first place.