I was walking home from my part-time job.
I looked back and saw a familiar face. Not familiar enough to remember her name but I knew her face from somewhere.
" Hey, are you Luke from high school? I saw you on your job and wanted to talk to you, but you were already packing up, so I waited for you."
I was a little confused as to why she didn't just talk to me at the café, but I didn't really care that much.
"Hi. Yes, that's me! Unfortunately, my very feeble and lacking brain did not store your name. Would you mind enlightening this peanut about your name?"
I said with a joking tone as to not make this quick chat awkward.
She instantly let out a chuckle "How dare you not remember the mighty Lily?!"
Lily? I don't know any Lily. Was it a nickname?
"Sorry, I can't remember any Lily, are you sure you aren't mistaking me for another handsome boy?"
She then took out a little flower from her pocket and placed it on her hair.
The memories were flowing through my head like they never had.
"Ouhhh... I remember you now... Ellen. No, your name is Elleanor."
"W-what?" She let out a minor stutter.
The girl talking to me was Ellie, one year older than me that I met in my first year of Highschool.
"How's it going Ellie?" I quickly said.
"Ah-ha, I knew you could never forget me.”
Ellie was my crush throughout first and second year even though I never had the courage to tell her how I felt. Her nickname was Lily because I met her when a flower fell on her head, near her ear.
The flower was not even a Lily, but I just spurted “Lily!” and she started laughing, making me blush and "befriending" her. To this day I have no idea how it happened but, honestly, that is how most of my friendships start.
“I was headed home but since you’re here, do you want to stop somewhere?”
Ellie nodded in agreement. We quickly decided on a local pub. I never really enjoyed pubs, but most cafés were already closed.
Ellie recommended “The Six Bells”, saying it had opened just a few weeks before and was quite popular already. She also mentioned that the owner was a college graduate who had been her upperclasswoman.
As we walked to the pub, I got the feeling that every path leaded to the pub, which I could already see. That would be normal if the pub was on the main street, but it wasn’t. It was in the newest part of town, which wasn’t yet very populated. All the roads lead either to the front of the pub or to the street in which the pub is located. I thought it was weird, but I quickly disregarded it since I didn’t know this part of the city all that well.
The pub was indeed extremely popular. Rush hour had not come yet but the pub was almost full. Fortunately, there was a vacant little round table that we quickly occupied.
We talked about a lot of things. About how she was pursuing a biology degree. How she loved the agrobiology class but completely hated other classes relating to human biology.
It was a breath of fresh air. I told her about my gap year, how I still had no idea what degree I really wanted.
“You just got to go with the flow. You’ll eventually find something your passion. You know what they say – everyone has their own special “affinity”. Ellie was good at encouraging.
“Yeah, I know. Honestly, working at the café is pretty cool! More than I ever imagined. You know, I almost have that aura, you know? The elegant boy aura.”
Ellie giggled “You wish!” Her face changed to quite a serious one. “But I can see quite a rare aura being emitted from your heart.”
“What? You’re a witch now?” I said while being half-drunk already.
“How did you know?! I sense a strong “idiot” aura coming from your heart. Maybe you’re a mage!” Ellie could hold her drink well but even her was a little tipsy already.
It was already late, so I decided it was time to go.
“Hey Ellie, it’s getting late, we should go.”
“Hear me out Luke, the best part is from now on. Would you mind giving me your hand?”
I wasn’t really getting it, but when drunk you don’t think that much about anything, so I just did it. As soon as my hand touched her everybody disappeared.
“W-what happened? Where did everyone go?”
“Welcome to Six Bells. Six Bells is how we call The Secret Institute of Magic. Y-you know, Secret Institute X Bells” Ellie was really drunk at this point and was making an X with her hands. “Bells is the president’s last name and the X is like a link between the words. Pretty cringy, right?”
Drunk as I was, I couldn’t possibly get what was happening. I sat down but since we teleported, there wasn’t a chair anymore. I fell.
I stayed on the floor as I wasn’t in a good condition to get up.
I let out a sigh “Tomorrow I gotta work and here I am drunk on the floor.”
“Work? That’s not a problem. Just don’t go.” It was a male voice, so I think it wasn’t Ellie.
“W-What? Are you kidding? I have to work tom-…” I fell asleep after that.
I woke up laying on a bed. When I was getting up, I saw that Ellie had a water bucket and was walking towards me.
“Wait! Waaai- “ - I tried in vain.
I was soaked and Ellie had some explanations to give. Surprisingly, I wasn’t drunk anymore or at least, I didn’t feel like I was.
“So… what is happening? Where are we? Whose house is this?” I asked, very confused.
“As I was saying before you fell, we are at the Six Bells. S stands for si-“
“Yeah, I heard that part. How did we get here? What did you mean when it was a magic institute? Is this a magic school? Do those famous tricksters and magicians attend this school?”
The door opened abruptly, a man in a white suit entered the room.
“Your questions will be answered, but first you have to answer one single question of mine. This one is particularly important.” It was the same voice as when I was on the floor.
“What is it?” I said.
“Do you need magic in your life?”