Chapter III. An Agreement Between Casters
Liana rummaged through the stock in the back of the shop, trying her best to find the ring she'd put on hold for the young man who was currently waiting patiently. She knew it was in there. A week ago when the young man first came in she'd put the ring in a box and placed it on the table in the back with a note saying "Reserved" on it. But now the box was nowhere to be found.
The shop was empty other than the young man, so she wasn't worried about having to rush for other customers' sake. Even so, she felt terrible for maybe losing the ring this man wanted to propose with.
"Is everything alright back there?" Came a worried voice from the main shop.
Liana poked her head around the door and nodded, "Yep, everything's fine, just give me a few more minutes."
"All right..." The man didn't look convinced.
Good work, Ray, Liana thought as she continued to rummage, you lost his engagement ring! She sighed and took a deep breath. There was a possible solution; magic. Liana was afraid of her magic. She knew full well that she was powerful, very powerful if the past was anything to go by, and the knowledge of that power worried her. But surely a little summoning spell wouldn't hurt.
She cleared a space on the table and focused on making the ring appear in the space. There was a little pop and there was the ring. Liana picked it up and grabbed another box from the shelf. She returned to the main shop, putting the ring into the box as she did.
"Here you go, sir." She slid the box across the counter, "Really sorry about the wait, there's a bit of a mess back there.
"Don't worry about it, I'm not proposing until tonight."
"I hope it goes well," Liana said with a smile.
"Thank you," he ran his fingers through his silver hair, "Maddy's been hinting for weeks that she'd like me to propose and it feels right." He held the ring in his fingers and looked at it with a smile, "I'm going to enchant it with a protection spell. My Maddy deserves to be protected."
"She's lucky to have you, Mr Soretten." Liana said pleasantly.
"You think so?"
"I do," Liana made a shooing motion, "now off you go, I'm sure you have lots of preparation to do." The tall man nodded and quickly left the shop.
Liana busied herself tidying up in the shop, ready for closing in an hour. She heard the sound of the bell and turned to see a middle-aged man with a cane. Next to him was a crazy-haired man dressed all in black. The next thing she noticed was the two swords hanging at the man in black's hips.
"Are you Miss Liana Ray?" The older gentleman asked.
"Depends, who are you?"
The man bowed, "My name is Joseph Greenwood, I'm a caster like you and I need your help."
"Why?" Liana crossed her arms and leaned back against the counter, "What could you possibly want with me?"
"I am told you're powerful," he looked at his nails, "I know what happened 10 years ago."
Liana's eyes widened as she straightened and uncrossed her arms, "Who told you that?"
"Oh, anyone will tell you anything for the right price," he leaned on his cane, "but I promise my sources one-hundred-percent anonymity. So, would you like to help me?"
"I don't think I want to help a man who buys private information about me,"
"My dear, it was in the newspapers. I would hardly consider it that private."
"They didn't use my name for, you know, privacy reasons."
Greenwood hummed, "Yes, it was such a shame. I read the articles and knew I just had to meet you, but alas your name was redacted. I was, however, very fortunate in finding a very obliging young woman, who told me your name; along with other details about the incident that the newspapers thought too gruesome for their readers."
"You have no idea how hard it is to live with that," Liana said darkly.
"Oh I can imagine, causing the death of one's parents is rather traumatic,"
Liana clenched her fists, "Yes. Now get out of my shop."
"But Miss Ray, I need your help." Greenwood said, exasperated, as if it made no sense that Liana wouldn't want to go with him.
"I don't care. You've been rude from the moment you stepped in here. I don't think you deserve my company. Please leave." She said walking over to him and turning the man around towards the door.
"I can teach you to control your magic." Greenwood offered quickly.
"No one else will die at your hands if I taught you to control your power. Is that not what you want? For people to be safe? Wouldn't that be better?" Liana didn't answer, she simply dropped her hands from the man's shoulders. Greenwood turned around, "I am a very powerful man, Liana. If I taught you to control your magic you too, would be powerful. You already are."
Liana considered it. She wasn't keen on the man, he wasn't pleasant and she didn't really like the idea of working with him; but she also couldn't hide in a shop, being terrified of herself her whole life.
"What's in it for me?"
Greenwood smiled, "I have a theory that could make me, and anyone who works with me, rich. Rich beyond your wildest dreams. I'm sure this little shop doesn't pay that well. Just enough to survive each month, yes?" Liana nodded, "Well then, how about you sell the shop and come to here in say, a week?" He handed her a piece of paper with an address on it.
"All right. You have yourself a deal, Greenwood," she put out her hand to shake his, then drew it away a moment, "but if you go back on your word for a second then you lose me."
"It's a deal," Greenwood said, and shook her hand. He turned around and opened the door, "see you in a week, Miss Ray." He added over his shoulder before he and the man in black left.