“The only good witch is a dead witch, right dad?” Juno pressed her lipstick smudged fingertips to a worn, wrinkled picture on her way out the door. The mid-30s woman always made a habit of kissing her father goodbye each time she left for a mission. The small gesture always reminded her why she did what she did, and for whom. This particular day was special. After years of brutal interrogations; one witch at a time, Juno finally got a lead to the top. Hazel the witch queen not only lived in the nearby forest; she also made frequent trips to town in disguise.
One of the first spells Juno’s father taught her was a ‘true vision’ spell. It was an expensive spell that was almost not worth the effort. The spell only lasted about five minutes and the main ingredient was diamond powder. However, Juno was so gifted with magic she somehow developed her own version. A version she could hold indefinitely and it did not cost her more than a stray thought. When using the spell, her father’s eyes would glow with a dull, golden sheen. Her own version caused brilliant golden stars to shine in the center of her eyes. She never showed him.
He never outright told Juno she was adopted before he died, but she was smart enough to figure it out. Once she understood his profession she realized the truth and was hesitant to show off her magic.
Juno spent most of the morning pretending to window shop while waiting. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday and most of the city wandered downtown filing in and out of shops. She was sure the witch queen would show up. Juno kept her true vision spell active behind a pair of sunglasses while she browsed the shops; then, at noon, she caught sight of a magical aura.
Juno saw wild, purple energy swirling around a violet elderly woman. She focused and realized the energy formed the shape of an ‘old woman’ around a younger woman; it was a magical disguise. The woman’s purple magic was so distracting that Juno almost missed three other violet auras. They were much weaker and positioned around the old woman in a triangle formation.
“Too easy,” Juno smiled to herself. Over the next ten minutes, Juno wandered to each of the three guards and made them disappear. She didn’t know how she knew the spell, much less how it worked. But, in her mind, it was a simple ‘Banishment’ spell. With a touch, she could send someone somewhere. She didn’t know or care where. She touched each of the witch queen’s guards with an accidental bump, and they disappeared into a black hole.
After she banished the third guard, Juno refocused her attention on Hazel. Now that she identified the witch queen, Juno let her magical sight fade. The mystical, purple energy immediately became solid to her normal eyes. Hazel appeared to be an aged woman with long silver hair. Juno wanted to wait until the right moment to approach her; then, it happened. With a casual glance at her surroundings, the old woman noticed her guards were gone. Panic flashed across her wrinkles. Juno walked to the worried old woman.
“Everything okay, grandma?” Juno asked with mock concern. She expected the witch to continue the act and ask for help; she did not expect a gasp of surprise.
“JUNO!??” the woman’s frail hand covered her mouth, water pooled in the corners of her eyes. “It’s you!” Juno stepped back.
“How do you know my name?” Old Hazel looked at the crowd around them, then grabbed Juno’s hand.
“This way!” Despite Juno knowing the age was an illusion, she was still surprised by Hazel’s strength as she led Juno away and into a dark alley. As a precaution, Juno loosened the knife on her left thigh.
The moment they were in the alley’s shadow, the age melted off Hazel in a purple cloud. Though she was no longer a lifetime older than Juno, the woman still seemed to have several years on her. She appeared to be in her early 40s with short salt and pepper hair and prominent laugh lines. She also seemed familiar to Juno.
“Do you remember me!?” Hazel asked.
“H-..Hazel?” Juno pretended the memory was fresh even though she learned the witch queen’s name several months ago.
“YES!” Hazel yelled and immediately wrapped her arms around Juno in a hug. “I’m your big sister Hazel!” Juno felt warm, wet drops fall on her shoulders. ”I thought you were dead!” Hazel pulled apart and smiled at Juno through her tears.
“That horrible witch hunter killed our mother while I was out collecting ingredients. I couldn’t find you anywhere I thought he killed you too,” she explained while the tears continued to fall. “What happened?”
“He raised me,” Juno replied. By the end of her statement, a silver blade was resting against Hazel’s neck. Hazel’s eyes clouded over with confusion. “Until a witch killed him.”
“No,” Hazel whispered. Her head almost swiveled, but she fought off the urge to shake her head; the blade felt sharp. “He was obsessed! Insane! We’re good witches! YOU are a good witch!” Juno huffed with a slight smirk.
“Hah. That reminds me of his last words to me,” Juno stepped closer to Hazel and stared into her eyes. “The day he saw me use magic, the day he found out what I was. Do you know what he said?” she asked.
“What?” Hazel whispered. She was hesitant to vibrate her vocal chords more than she needed to. Juno’s smirk grew into a sinister smile.“The only good witch is a dead witch. He charged at me with this knife,” Juno applied pressure then slid the knife to her right leaving behind a delicate red line that quickly overflowed. “So I killed him.” Hazel’s eyes rolled backward and she collapsed. “Look at that, I guess you are a good witch after all.”