Hand Delivered

“Hey wait up,” Kirk shouted. He jogged to catch up to the silver-haired girl. “Emily, right?” he asked when he reached her. She nodded. “You’re pretty good with magic.” She grinned at him with perfect white teeth.

“Thanks! I practice a lot.” Emily pulled a deck of cards out of the air and winked at Kirk.

“Oh, yeah. That’s cool too, but I meant your water spell,” he explained. Emily’s smile dimmed, but she nodded appreciatively.

“Thanks,” she waved. “See ya around,” She turned to leave, but Kirk placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Hey, have you heard of the Society of Magicians?” he asked. Emily’s yellow eyes rolled upward while she thought for a moment, then she shook her head.

“No, but it sounds fun,” she said. Kirk nodded.

“I’m a member and I can nominate you for membership. There’s a meeting tonight if you want to go,” he asked. Emily looked him up and down, then agreed after a moment.

“Yeah, I’ll take a look. Where?”

“Grimmley Castle,” Kirk replied. His lips stretched into a smug smile. Emily nodded.

“Cool. Where’s that?”

“WHAT?” He pointed at a black castle sitting atop a hill in the distance. “You don’t know who Magus Grimmley is? The world’s most powerful sorcerer?” He asked in disbelief. “There’s no spell or conjuring he hasn’t mastered?” Emily shook her head and shrugged.

“Never heard of him. Wait, the world’s most powerful sorcerer?” Emily raised an eyebrow at him. “Is this about real magic?”

“YES!” Kirk said with an enthusiastic gesture. “I’ve seen your magic, you’re good enough,” he smiled.  Emily shook her head.

“Not interested, but thanks,” she smiled then turned to walk away again. Kirk raced around in front of her and fell to the dirt on his knees with clasped hands.

“PLEASE!!” Emily continued to walk around him, but he grabbed her hand as she walked by. “I just need you to show up, please. You don’t have to join if you don’t want to.” She stopped walking and looked down at him.

“Show up for what?” Kirk sighed and stood up and dusted off the bottom half of his black robe.

“The way the Society works is you can’t move out of apprenticeship until you bring in a candidate to take your place. If they’re good enough to take your place,” Kirk nodded at Emily. “You are; I get to move up even if you don’t stay.” He stared at the ground. “I’m the last one that hasn’t started training yet because I don’t have a lot… Any. I don’t have any friends.”

“That can use magic?” Emily asked. Kirk gave her a sad smile and shook his head. “At all.” Emily gave him a light punch on the shoulder.

“Sure you do. You’ve got a friend showing up tonight,” she said.

“Really??”

“Yeah, it’ll be fun,” Emily smiled.

Emily met Kirk near the castle as the sun dipped below the horizon. He prepped her on the rules as he guided her to the secret entrance through a cave on the castle grounds. Finally, they reached a tall, solid wooden door at the back of the cave. Kirk turned to Emily then handed her a black robe.

“Put this on and pull the hood up. Then when I introduce you, you can pull it down.” Emily nodded and took the robe from him. “And thanks, again. I appreciate this,” he added.

“You’re going to owe me one,” Emily said while she slipped the robe one. Once she pulled up the hood she gave him a thumbs up gesture.

“Alright, let’s go.” He pulled the door open and stepped through it. Emily followed him into a dim room. Small candles lined the walls, and she made out several robed figures standing in the middle of the room. Kirk walked to the center of the room and Emily followed. He stood up straight and lowered his hood to reveal his face.

“Great Magus, I have brought a candidate with enough magical talent to take my place,” he said to no one in particular. Though it was hard for Emily to see much of anything.

“Present your candidate, Apprentice Kirk.” An old, deep voice, somehow familiar to Emily, said.

“Now,” Kirk whispered and nudged Emily. She got distracted by trying to place the voice. Once Kirk called her attention, she stood up straighter and pulled her hood down.

“I’m Emily the Entertainer,” she said and gave a bow. Her silver hair poured out of her hood to kiss the ground.

“You?” The old voice said. Emily looked in the direction of the voice and saw an old man pull his hood off. She recognized him instantly.

“Hi!” she waved like they were old friends, though she’d only met him once as a stranger.

“You know Magus Grimmley?” Kirk whispered next to her. The old man approached them, and Emily’s only answer consisted of a nod and a shrug.

“Why are you here now? You showed no interest when I invited you the first time,” he asked. Emily heard several gasps from the dark and wondered how many wizards were actually there.

“Still not interested,” Emily smiled. “But I’m here as a favor for a friend.”

“Kirk has friends?” a voice said in the dark, followed by several others laughing.

“You came here with no intention of joining? I’m sorry, I can’t let Kirk move up if that’s the case.”

“What?!” Kirk asked. “I brought someone!” The old man nodded.

“Sure, you brought someone that wasn’t going to stay. The point is to come in with an open mind.” Emily noticed Kirk clenching his fists.

“We can work something out, right?” she asked.

“I know you’re not eager to stay. But I also know you have an amazing magical talent,” the old man said. “If you stay, I will promote both of you to full-time students, you get to skip the apprenticeship.”

Before Emily could answer she felt Kirk grip her hand and squeeze tightly.

“PLEEEEEEEeaassee,”  he whispered.

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