Prologue

PROLOGUE

A woman, clutching a very heavy and large package against her chest, was walking briskly along a small and dark alley, one very rainy night. Someone living on a house just right beside the alley left their porch light on, and it gave her enough light to avoid garbage bins or stray cats strolling along the alley looking for what could be passable as food. Not that it matters anyway, she was on a grave and critical mission and she’s not going to let something as trivial as garbage or cats, or even rain, stop her from that. A thunder rumbled in the distance, she looked up at the star-less sky, making her face wet from the pouring rain. From an outsider it may seem like a storm was coming but the woman knew better. Nothing is coming to this town but a rather short-tempered, irrational and regrettably the most powerful creature on earth that’s ready to turn the town upside down just to get hold of a potentially dangerous citizen. Another rumble and this time, it’s louder and seemed to be nearer. They are almost on her trail, she needed to hurry. She picked up her pace and minutes later she found herself in front of a small hut with a very crooked blue door that has faded through the years. It was dark inside the hut, there were no lights in the window so the owner must either be away or sleeping. The woman hesitated but another rumble made her knock on the door loudly.

“Mortimer!” she half- shouted. “Are you there? Are you asleep?”

No response.

“Mortimer –!”

“Hush, child!” A voice from behind the door whispered hoarsely followed by a rattling of keys. “Do you want them to know where you are?”

The door opened and a burly-looking man, with beard covering almost half his face, gestured for her to come in quickly. She didn’t hesitate and ran inside to the warm and cozy hut. The man looked up at the sky, grunted and quickly locked his door.

“I – I do hope you got my letter,” she said.  “I know what I’m asking is near impossible. But they told me if there’s any one who knows how, it would be you. And I’m really desperate…” She looked at Mortimer helplessly. The man, Mortimer, frowned at her and glanced at the package she was carrying. She opened the cloth, covering her son’s face. He was still very sound asleep. The baby looked so still and innocent, contrary to what was happening outside. A single tear dropped from the woman’s eyes when she remembered what she needed to do for her child. But she needed to do it or there wouldn’t be any future for them. With resolve, she looked up to see Mortimer still eyeing her up and down as if examining a wounded animal. He sighed and urged for her to follow deep inside the hut. They stopped at a door and Mortimer fumbled with his keys again.

“You be Xavier’s little girl?” he finally asked when he finally got to open the door. It opened to a staircase going down.

The woman shrugged. “Ain’t so little anymore,” she muttered.

He raised an eyebrow at her. “You got that right, eh.”

She followed him down and felt relieved when Mortimer hit a switch and light flooded the room. The woman gasped at what she saw. All around the room were shelves contained with different kinds of magical stuff. The shelves on the right contains hundreds of books that seemed to be moving from shelves to shelves while on the left are bottles or containers with different sizes and colours. At the center of the room is a very large oak table with lots of lab equipment and a smoking solution inside a cauldron.

“What you’re asking is a very difficult task that requires a very high price,” Mortimer spoke as he shuffled through the left shelf looking for something. “It’s not impossible. It just hasn’t been done before.”

“But you can help?” The woman asked hopefully.

Mortimer didn’t answer and instead took out a flask and filled it with a shimmering blue potion.

He handed her the flask. “Both of you should drink this before going out of the boundaries. Go through the forest, it’s where the boundary is weakest. You may need help from the Wood Faeries. I’ve given word to them of your arrival. They were not very keen about this idea but they’ve agreed to help. The potions will help you keep you grounded to reality as you go through the barrier. Or so I hope it would.”

Before the woman could say anything, there was a loud pounding of the front door. Both of them looked up. The woman didn’t need any more thunder to know that her time was up. She stuffed the flask in her pouch and took out a smaller one filled with gold coins. She handed it to the alchemist but he refused.

“Someday, little faerie,” he said wistfully. “I may need the price for this favor, but not tonight. Now, you need all the help that you can get. I hope I won’t be seeing you and your little one again in the future. May all the good spirits be with you.”

“Thank you, warlock.” There was a quiver in her voice that reveals the fear she was trying to mask from her face.

Mortimer grabbed her shoulder and made her face him. “I know this is hard, m’lady, but you have to be strong for this. The boundary feeds on fear, guilt or any other dark emotions you might have repressed and turn it against you. The only way to fight it is if you have shed off all the fears in your body and make a shield out of it. You are a celestial faerie and I know this is a piece of cake but believe me when I say the boundary is so much stronger than all the enemies you’ve put down combined.”  He stared at her eyes searching for something. “I have to know you are worth the risk I am taking. I have to be sure you’re ready for this.”

“I-I am,” Her voice sounded hesitant. But then she heard her son snivel in his sleep and looked down at his calm and peaceful face, she cleared her throat and with a much louder and firmer voice, “I am. For my son.” Then she looked up to Mortimer’s relieved face. “And for the future of our race.”

Mortimer seemed satisfied as he nodded and opened the trapdoor for her. The woman smiled her thanks and climbed out of his hut hurriedly. The warlock watched her as she go and her dark figure swallowed by the forest, they have a very uncertain future ahead of them and he hoped that the little one he just helped wouldn’t be the undoing of the race he spent his whole life protecting. The pounding on the front door continued and seemed to intensify. He sighed, closed the trapdoor and walked upstairs taking his time as if it was just some normal night with an unexpected guest waiting outside. His face was a mask of annoyance rather than the fear he was really feeling inside. But as soon as he opened the door, it morphed into something he failed to conceal, bewilderment.

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