Eric walked down the main road with a shiver from the cold air that blew in between the buildings in the brisk evening. The sun was beginning to go down and streetlights were starting to illuminate one by one, he was on time. Eric knew that as a wizard it was dangerous to be meeting out in the general public, but this merchandise was key to saving his family’s business. His alchemist family made a killing on perfecting magical creams, lotions, and ointments that healed the skin of the mortals, who had no idea it was influenced by magic. With the rise of medical science, the mortals were quickly creeping up with the wizards in their healing capabilities. They had to stay on top.
Eric looked at the document his wife, Mona, had written detailing the frequency of the deliveries of the rare oils that even Eric had never heard before. Mona was clever and always trying to learn new things and challenging her intelligence. One of her qualities that he fell in love with. However, the seller asked for half of their whole savings upfront. Eric and Mona new that it would be risky, but after talking to their boss, it was decided. The document was key.
A magical contract made everything official down to the bone. If it were to be broken, the contract would alert the location of the offending party for officials. Handy trick that their boss came up with. Hopefully the seller wouldn’t notice this technique, or not mind it at all.
Eric stopped just in time to avoid a streetlight from coming into contact with his face. He hadn’t been paying attention much since he encountered the seller. Eric didn’t trust the man at all. From his dark cloak, hidden face, and cracked hands. The man had all the signs of shifty old hag trying to con them out of money.
“Stop.” Eric heard from an alley way to his left. In the shadows, he couldn’t see anything until the man popped out of the alley and into the streetlight’s glow, “Down this way.” He snarled menacingly like a snake. Another reason why Eric didn’t trust him, the man was creepy.
“Beletuse? Where are we going?” Eric asked, trying to keep his voice down from the shivering, “Warmeran.” Eric whispered as a red glow lit up the inside of his cloak with tiny triangular sigils that kept him warm.
“My warehouse is this way. Don’t need the mortals accidentally finding it now do we? That would be a messy affair.” Beletuse laughed followed by a light cough. Eric did not like this one bit.
“I suppose it would be depending on the person.” Eric said slowly. He forgot that not all magical people were comfortable around humans. Eric’s family had always lived among them in disguise, making a profit off of them through many trades.
“I forget that your family is one of the few with a love of these people. It makes the rest of us sick.” Beletuse barked as he tapped hi finger on a brick wall.
“It keeps us comfortable and fed. We thrive amongst them, the lot of you should learn to do the same.” Eric suggested. He was ignored as the wall opened into a cavernous greenhouse that had silos and wooden huts. The sweet aroma flooded Eric’s nostrils from the flowers. He could only imagine what scents Mona could make with these rare flowers.
“Do you have the payment?” Beletuse asked without allowing Eric to take another step forward.
“Oh, Yes, I do.” Eric stammered. He waved his hand over the ground, where a wooden table appeared with the chest underneath of it.
“What’s with the table.” Beletuse asked suspicious of Eric, when he pulled out the piece of parchment.
“My boss, Amora, wrote up the contract for you to sign so that we could remain permanent partners.” Eric stated as he lightly placed the piece of paper down on the table.
“Do you not trust me?” Beletuse asked angrily. Eric frowned in confusion at the quick anger of the wizard, “You get out. There is nothing we need to discuss about a contract.” He sneered. A black cloud swirled around the chest with the money in it, that Eric blocked with a teal colored globe. Beletuse hissed in anger.
“What about the oils then? We are at least owed that.” Eric demanded, not ready to let half of their life’s savings to be wasted.
“You get nothing.” Beletuse shouted. Lightning cracked from his hands, hitting Eric in the chest. He watched the chest vanish in black fog as his back hit the wall.
“Give that back!” Eric demanded as Beletuse looked over the document.
“Foolish. I think all of you have been around mortals for too long. Thinking that a mere piece of parchment will make us hold our end of the bargains. I think not.” Beletuse insulted as he picked up the paper and it went up into flames.
Enraged, Eric shot a few shards of ice at the wizard. Beletuse twirled out of the way and shot massive balls of fire at poor Eric. Desperately, he pulled up water from his hands, but it wasn’t thick enough as the heat struck him in the chest. With another hit, he was going to be finished so he quickly teleported out of the greenhouse.
Eric appeared in front of the shop battered and beaten on the cold sidewalk. He struggled to breathe as he radiated a feint wave of energy from his body. Moments later Amora and Mona rushed outside to investigate.
“What happened?” Mona asked as she tended to her battered husband. Her long dark brown hair covered her face as he sighed.
“I told you this was a bad idea.” Eric stated as Mona helped him up off the sidewalk.
“What happened?” Regara asked right after she looked up from her experiment.
“We were coned as expected.” Amora looked off to the side not wanting to admit that she had made a fatal mistake.
“Why that shifty disgusting lowlife. I doubt that he even has the flowers.” Regara shouted as her golden eyes grew dark.
“He does. He has a whole greenhouse.” Eric stated. Mona waved her green glowing hand around his chest to heal the burn marks.
“Probably uses it as a trap for people like us.” Mona hypothesized as she inspected Eric’s golden-brown chest. Her blue eyes looked at him seriously and then she frowned, “Didn’t I also tell you that you should have had someone go with you?” She suddenly scolded.
“It wouldn’t have made a difference either way. He seemed pretty powerful. Enough to hold back two people.” Eric reported. But Amora only rubbed her sharp chin.
“This may be true, but he also has to regenerate that power like any other wizard. Did he at least sign the contract?” Amora asked and then hissed when Eric shook his head.
“He burned it before he even fully read the entire document. He had a fake tantrum and took the chest of gold. We can’t track him with the contract, but I do remember where the greenhouse is. I can teleport us there.” Eric announced.
“Why would we teleport there?” Regara scrunched her nose up.
“Because he knows how I feel about personal attacks to my business and most importantly my family. We’re going and teaching him a lesson on what it means to attack the Arbolins.” Amora looked around at the small group. After everyone approved of the decision, everyone held onto Eric’s arms.
Suddenly they were standing in the middle of the greenhouse again. Rows and rows of elegant flowers stretched for what seemed like miles. This was definitely a sign of magic. Eric stood at the table that was still standing despite the earlier conflict.
“Who are you?” Boletuses’ voice boomed from over them somehow. They all looked around for the source of the voice. Eric made the mistake of underestimating the fragile looking man, but not again.
“Amora Arbolin. I hear you didn’t like our terms and decided to attack my coworker. My brother.” Amora shouted into the air. A black cloud of swirling air formed on the ground, where the old man stood.
“That’s right. Too bad he lived.” Beletuse laughed. Out of nowhere, Regara clapped a sonic boom in his direction. He was knocked back into the air but managed to regain his stability. AS he floated down to the surface, Mona and Regara charged. The two sisters ran at full speed with magic circling their hands.
Quickly Amora and Eric ran around them to flank the wizard. Even though Regara and Mona would be able to pull off the attack, they had to have a back up plan. Regara stomped on the ground and used her other foot to launch herself into the air. A massive plume of fire rushed towards her from the wizards hand but went right through it when a light green jelly covered her body. Mona then had vines help Regara run towards the still airborne wizard.
A quick zap of lightning sent the poor woman flying backwards as he cackled. Purple magic covered her body as she landed on the ground with an explosion. Mona distracted the wizard with tendrils of vines that whipped at him. Sonic boom cracks of air sounded as they smacked against the air.
“Eric now!” Amora shouted, getting Beletuse’ attention. He shot a bolt of lighting at her, she dodged one more bolt, and then another with expert timing.
Eric was able to cover the wizard in a sphere of water, which caused him to shock himself. He was stunned and unable to keep himself afloat in the air, he fell to the ground. Eric watched with red energy around his hand as Amora watched as well. Beletuse rose up more dirt then Regara, creating a small sandstorm.
Green light flashed from the center. Eric rolled on the ground out of with way as it kept coming. He was still standing. Couldn’t be much longer now. The attacks kept coming from the epicenter of the storm. He and Amora couldn’t see the center to know where he was. Regara looked up from her small crater to make her eyes glow pink. She whispered something to Mona, who sent vines into the storm. The storm quickly dissipated to reveal a confused wizard.
“Hold him.” Amora demanded as Mona struggled. Regara shakily joined in with her own vines. Amora and Eric nodded at each other and sent volleys of ice and fire at the tied wizard.
Even though he was tied, Beletuse was able to teleport away without saying a word. Eric had to stretch out a small shield so he wouldn’t get hit with any ice. With Beletuse gone, Mona quickly took samples of every plant that she could find with Regara’s help.
“You know he’ll come back right?” Eric asked, but Amora didn’t look too concerned.
“I doubt it. We aren’t going to take much. Only a small amount of seeds, clippings, trimmings, and anything else we might need to make up our loss.” Amora walked towards the brick wall entrance with her other sisters.
“What about the money?” Eric asked and the three sisters turned around.
“We don’t need it now that we have these. Besides it was never only about the money. It will take time, but we will make it up. Trust your gut feelings. It’s a lesson that all of us have learned. No one messes with our family. Married in or not.” Regara winked as they all walked out of the greenhouse.
Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.