The Night of the Eighteenth

“Magic,” he said, sipping his drink,” is just another kind of force. Like the weather, or a good cup of tea.”

The wizard smiled over the rim of his teacup at Aredria. She held his gaze, smiling back. Her own tea sat untouched on the table in front of her.

She wasn’t here for pleasantries.

“I am most aware of the nature of magic,” she replied, tapping her pen on her notepad on her knee, “and I’m also aware that it is as detectable as any other force.”

She paused.

“So,” Aredria said, “Mr Yelill, what do you have to say for your whereabouts on the night of the eighteenth?

Rueli Yelill, former wizard of the High Court and now disgraced into solitude in the Black Mountains, shifted in his seat. It had taken three weeks to get this meeting, and Aredria knew exactly why. She could see the coy smile on his lips even though he tried to hide it with tea. The act of the doddering old fool did not throw her off.

After all, she was his old student. He’d not remember her, she was barely a child when the infamous Yelill of Blackforest left the Court. But she had been taught by him, once, long ago.

“I have told your officers everything,” Rueli replied, taking another sip of tea, “it is really quite frustrating you refuse to listen to them.

“Ah, you see,” Aredria said, leaning forward slightly, “my officers returned from your home with traces of enchantment all over them.”

Rueli’s finger twitched just slightly on his teacup. An attempt at a spell.

“Nice try,” Aredria said, “but I’ve had my collegues put warding enchantments on me before I arrived.”

Not completely untrue. She had asked Phelicity to put some additional spells on her book so Aredria’s own spell signature was lost. It was only sensible to take precautions.

Rueli sneered.

“It seems you have some knowledge of magic then,” he replied, “you understand it’s nature. It cannot be controlled.”

“I understand enough to know that, given the right user, it can be controlled,” Aredria replied, “but clearly not enough to understand the nature of your power.”

She tapped her pen on her pad of paper.

“Or how such power could be used to assassinate someone a hundred miles away,” she said.

Rueli’s hand shook in shock. Tea spilled, dripping down the long arm of his sleeve and onto his lap.

He stared at her.

“That is a very dangerous accusation to make,” he said. Aredria could hear the slight snarl of insult curl in his voice. He was backed into a corner, he knew he could not avoid questioning. Not after the Queen had sent her right hand woman to question him herself.

“I’m just trying to understand where you were on the eighteenth,” Aredria said, “Because we have five eyewitnesses saying that you were in the Castle that night.”

“Five?”

“Five,” she smiled, “all suffering from the effects of more enchantments.”

“Just because someone is enchanted doesn’t mean it’s me,” Rueli said.

“True,” she said, “but then my collegues returned suffering from the effects of that same enchantment, with the same spell signature. Now tell me, Mr Yelill, what the chances of a person suffering from the same enchantment and the same spell signature?”

Rueli frowned. Aredria could see him trying to mutter a transportation spell under his breath.

“Let me answer that for you, it’s about 0.98%,” she said, “which means that the same individual who wiped five minds, all of who now account for seeing you launch the spell onto the Ambassador.”

Rueli began muttering louder.

“Yeh, we thought about a transportation spell,” Aredria said, “there is no escape, Mr Yelill-”

The fire spell almost caught her off guard. A hiss of hot air almost hit her in the face until her reaction saved her.

She plucked the flamed out of the air and held it between her fingers as if it was nothing more than a light amusement, instead of something that would have burnt the skin off her face almost instantly.

Rueli gaped at her in shock.

“Nice try, Mr Yelill,” she said, gesturing with her hand to snuff out the spell, “but this time, you’re outmatched. Now, are you going to come in quietly, or will we have to do this the hard way?”

Another spell flew at her as Rueli dived for the window.

“The hard way it is then,” Aredria said.


Featured Image Credit: Photo by David Kovalenko on Unsplash

Alex.J.Cobalt is a fantasy writer from the UK. When she’s not working away at her fantasy novel series, she posts free flash fictions on her website, along with regular blogs about writing.

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