Some people believe they are their life's main character, writing their own story.
If you ask me, I would deny that wholeheartedly.
At most, I would describe myself as an actor following a script given to me.
I never cared that much about myself or my own desires.
The happiness of others was enough, and that was achieved by the lack of rough edges, a lack of anything that could displease someone.
Realizing that I was living for everyone, but myself was horrible.
Sometimes, I looked for someone to hold responsible for that life, but in the end, I always was the only one to blame, so I gave up trying to change anything.
Until someone decided to make me the main character of their life.
Chapter 1: Exposed
I started working in a pub some weeks ago. Before my first day, I was actually scared of that job, but mixing drinks was fairly easy, and after the first weekends, I started feeling more comfortable.
Most of the time, I really did nothing but listen to the customers talking about whatever stuff all night long. Definitely much more relaxed than at my last job in a daycare.
After I graduated from school three years ago, I earned my money from various small jobs, and thanks to the extra pay for night work, this new job is financially the best I’ve ever had.
For sure, I wasn’t earning as much as someone with a better education, but the whole experience of learning and working the same job until I retire as an old woman was so scary that I never considered that path. You could say I'm a born part-time worker. People like me are very important too!
Yeah, I know that I sound like a spoiled kid who does not want to become a real working adult, but come on, I am already twenty years old and very experienced in the ways of living.
Some time ago, I even started my own business with nothing but my magic hands.
One of my most faithful patrons sat right in front of me, and I saw the struggle on his face while he finished his sixth drink that night.
"Can I do something for you?" I asked in a kind-hearted tone.
He looked up and started mumbling, "Hmm? Well, yes, same spot as last time... in five minutes."
I was looking around the pub, and since we were near closing time anyway, I nodded with a huge grin. "Fine."
He started fiddling in his pockets until he got a hold of his leather wallet; this dude's whole appearance always screamed rich salesman, and the two green banknotes (2x 100€) he left me on the counter confirmed that again.
My favorite colleague, who also owned the store, watched me talking to the customer and knew that I would leave for a moment. It was not the first time that I disappeared with him for a few minutes in the back alley, and he did not care at all... since he was also a client of mine.
Putting away the generous tip, I headed to the staff room; because we were supposed to meet in five minutes, I decided to scroll through social media in the meantime and turned on the live stream of a famous magical girl.
Okay, back to the real world. The alley where I met up with Mr. Salesman was right behind a door in the staff room; it was full of trash cans, which are great to block the vision of people who wander around, so I thought at least.
He was already leaning back against a wall and seemed to be struggling to hold the contents of his stomach inside.
Dude, you are dead If you puke on me.
Unwillingly, I imagined the situation in my head and immediately had to gag a little.
As I approached him, he started unbuttoning his shirt. This looked not as erotic or exciting as you may have expected because he visibly struggled to get the job done. And despite his above-average looks, he wasn't my type at all.
Don't get the wrong idea. I promise my good-paying side hustle was nothing naughty.
After witnessing this sad act, I touched his chest and closed my eyes to concentrate for a moment. I opened them again and saw the green light I had imagined in my mind emitting from my hand before it disappeared into his torso.
"Your eyes are beautiful."
His unasked flirty compliment ruined my earlier statement, but I swear to you, I do not have any feelings here.
"The red suits you." he continued.
"Thanks." I'm honest; that was not the first time he told me that. But I'm sure he just forgot the last time.
By the way, my regular eye color is blue, but when I use magic, my irises turn red. I'm pretty sure that's the case with most magic users. And don't worry, my eyes don't hurt when I do this, but I do feel a slight tingling sensation when my mana flows through them.
The whole situation took about thirty seconds. Making someone sober is a bit easier for me than healing a wound. At the start, I struggled a lot with my so-called sobering spell because I had no idea what to do with my mana, but after getting experience in healing and drinking, I improved a lot.
"Thank you." He said with a low voice.
"No, no! I need to thank you." Please keep wasting your money on me, I thought shamelessly.
After the deed was done, he slowly stumbled away.
Before returning to the pub, I looked at the end of the alley. I simply wanted to check for my customer's safe departure, but instead of him, I found someone with shining red eyes slowly walking toward me.
I visibly gulped and couldn't move an inch. Depending on the other person's intentions, I could get into serious trouble. This had never happened before. I never got caught, so I felt stupidly safe doing this shit in an almost openly visible back alley.
But we stood behind the trash cans… Could that person actually see what we did? Maybe I should just go inside and act like I was throwing away the garbage. But my legs wouldn't move, even though I wanted them to.
Shaking in fear, I waited until the person stood right in front of me. To my surprise, it was a young woman, maybe around my age. That fact relaxed me a bit; sorry, but I imagined a mean-looking guy approaching me in this situation.
"Good evening." her voice was calm and friendly, but I did not manage to look her in the face for more than a second.
"Hi... H..h... How can I help you?" damn, my stuttering was not suspicious at all, good job Kayla.
"I wanted to ask for your services."
Okay, she got me. But since she wanted to work with me, she probably wasn't a cop, or was she trying to bait me? Oh, her red eyes... if she's also a witch, could it be that she's from some kind of magical police force that arrests mages without a license, such as me?
I stared at the ground and shrieked when she suddenly touched my shoulder.
"Are you okay? You look kinda pale."
What was I supposed to do? Like, who was she? And why did she randomly appear here?
Breathe, Kayla, breathe!
My brain was overstrained.
"Fine, I do what I can do." I wasn’t even aware which kind of service she was asking for, but I was so smart not to use the word magic. Maybe she thought I was selling something else!
She chuckled in delight. "Awesome, thank you."
"But as you surely know, this is not exactly legal, so we both could get in trouble if you tell anyone about this," I explained with a shaky voice.
"Now, after you said it like that, I got something great to blackmail you." she laughed.
"Haha, yes." My heart started to race, and I looked up to make sure she was not already calling the police, but all she did was smile at me.
I'm not sure if she was playing with me, but that smile of hers was a bit contagious, so I also started smiling, but more awkwardly… forgetting how serious this situation was.
"Okay, let me get to the point; I don't want to waste my, I mean your time... I need you to join the guild I'm working for, and please keep in mind what I could do if you decline."
Was the last part necessary? Her expression changed a bit, and a shiver ran down my spine. I appreciated the honesty in her words, and the request was pretty straightforward. But what did she say? Joining a guild?
"Guild? Do you mean one for mages? Clearing dungeons and stuff like that?" Deep down, I knew the answer, but I needed confirmation.
"Give me your phone, please." She put her hand out in a matter of course, ignoring my question… and without a second thought, I handed it to her unlocked.
I watched her saving a number in it, still deeply thinking about the whole guild thing. Then she took my hand and put my phone in it since I seemingly stopped to function independently.
"I'll send you a message tomorrow," she began, staring at my chest for a moment. "Kayla," she added softly before smiling again.
Ah, my nameplate; what other reason would be there to look at me like that... haha…ha?
"It was nice to meet you, and I am truly sorry that I assaulted you like that." She was laughing softly.
"Likewise." I wanted to ask her for her name and why she was approaching me in the middle of the night, but I developed the feeling that I was not in a position to ask questions now.
And as fast as she appeared, she was gone. That was a strange encounter. Nobody would believe that story, not like I got anyone to tell it in the first place.
In the end, everything was not as bad as I expected; she just wanted to force me to work with her. And looking back, I would say I managed the whole situation pretty well.
So here I am, fifteen minutes later, walking home, staring at the number that girl gave me. Apparently, her name was Miko, at least that is the name she wrote in her contact info.
I was unsure if that whole guild stuff would lead to anything good, but I could not help myself get excited anyway. Maybe this excitement would have turned into anxiety if I had known how my life would change from this day on.
There was a general idea in the public about what magic guilds do; mostly, they are responsible for the safety of the people. They are the ones clearing the so-called dungeons that randomly appear worldwide before the creatures living in them can escape.
And they do such a good job that for over fifty years, not a single outbreak of a dungeon monster has been recorded. This fact led to rumors that these creatures did not exist in the first place and that magic was also imaginary and not real at all.
But the people believing in everything wanted to save the poor mages from the obligatory military service for magic users. Until eight years ago, any magician who had reached the age of eighteen had to start working at a government-run institution and fight for the public, risking their lives.
After the politicians decided to end the magic service, the whole guild stuff became a profit-based company thing. And without forcing them, only one thing convinced mages to continue clearing the dungeons.
So what was this whole guild invitation about? I can't fight, have never fought, and never intended to try, even if the good payment sounded tempting.
That is the reason why I never registered as a witch. I was too afraid of being recognized as a magic user. I was afraid of getting involved in something dangerous because of that status. Except for my father and brother, no one knew that I was actually a witch, although I had never learned to use magic except for my self-taught healing abilities.
The idea of using my magic to heal random people without a license came from a lack of money and a lucky accident. My ex-boyfriend and I had one or two drinks too many, and he started talking about how great it would be to instantly get sober again. So I tried to heal him, and somehow it worked.
After that, I had to end our relationship because he wouldn't believe the lie that he just dreamt about me using magic.
And since Miko asked for my services, does that mean they need me for healing? But why me? Aren't there any registered witches? Someone with experience? And how did she know that I was able to use this kind of magic? Someone must have sold me out.
I guess it is best to wait for more information in that regard, and in the end, I can just try to refuse her offer, maybe... But she definitely could force me into doing it.
I'm overthinking again. It's not like I'm not already used to sudden changes in my life.
My biggest problem is that I easily get excited but also fear everything irregular and new. How does this fit with the fact that I am constantly looking for new jobs? Well, the excitement just wins over the fear.
I actually love being in my comfort zone… who even needs character development? I stopped with that some years ago.
If I join a guild, I definitely can't continue working for my private customers; I hope they don't snitch on me and tell the police about my services. In the end, they are almost as screwed as I am if they admit what we did.
And it is not like I got that many customers anyway, but I will surely miss the generous payment. I am curious about what a regular mage earns monthly.
Is it fine if I write Miko a message right now? It's almost 2 a.m., but come on, I really need to share my thoughts with her.
>>Hello, sorry for the disturbance! I just wanted to ask when should we meet again?" <<
A second later, my phone rang. She was calling. Somehow, I expected her to be that kind of person.
"Hello," I answered quietly.
"Hey, kind of unexpected that you messaged me already; you wanted to hear my voice again?"
"I don't know since you are the one calling. I just wanted to tell you that I'm not that sure about your offer anymore."
"Already? I mean, it is understandable. You agreed way too fast, but I bet you are excited."
"I can't deny that, but…" how did she know? I am sure most people would feel anxiety, not excitement.
"Listen, your ability is something awesome, and I saw that dude's face! I know that you are ready for bigger tasks."
"His face?" I asked, confused.
"He looked pleased; you are sure that you just healed him?"
I gasped. "Y... Yes!? What else should I have done?"
"Hmm, I don't know much about making men happy."
I heard her chuckling; she was definitely mocking me.
"I..." I was speechless and could hear her laughing in the background; that was embarrassing.
"Okay, I am sorry, but yeah, we can meet later today. About ten hours from now should be fine…We could eat lunch together and go to the guild office afterward."
"Sounds good, I guess… thank you for the talk." I tried to sound a little angry but failed terribly.
"Hey, I want you to do something for me, so don't mention it, call me whenever you want."
And she hung up. I could have sworn I heard her sigh on the other end a second before the call ended.
She actually seems like a nice person. Somehow, I want to know what it's like to work with her. But on the other hand, she gives off this unsettling vibe from these people who want to sell you a vacuum cleaner at your door, but better. Surprisingly, I really want to buy a vacuum cleaner from her right now.
After some time, I arrived at my castle, aka my 35m² flat in an apartment building, and it is fairly cheap considering it is very close to the train station.
My first destination was the kitchen. I was not super hungry, but I bought these super sweet chocolate-filled croissants packed in way too much plastic yesterday. So, I started nibbling on one of them and went into the bedroom, which was also my living room.
I sat on my bed, taking time to think about today again. But I did not manage to wrap my head around what happened. In my defense, my heart was beating so loud that it was hard to focus on anything else. I would love to talk about everything with anyone.
I'm curious what Mom would have told me, probably to go for it, to take this chance.
I could ask my dad, but I'm unsure how he would react to a call in the middle of the night from his only daughter, who contacted him only once or twice a year after moving out.
These thoughts are depressing; I'm pretty much alone, aren't I?
My excitement is gone.
Give it back.
It is in the middle of the night, and I am super exhausted. I'm way past my bedtime, which, by the way, is self-imposed because no one tells me when to sleep.
I don't get paid to lure on a small criminal/wannabe mage that my guild leader wants to recruit. She wants a healer! I never asked for one; why am I the one doing this job?
I know that a healer is something very rare; healing was scary for most magic users since you interfere with another human's natural healing, somehow speeding up biological processes.
So, our guild would profit massively to get someone like her in our rows. Luckily, the whole blackmail strategy I worked out a week ago was a huge success, and I almost feel bad about playing with her feelings like that. Ultimately, she seemed to be a nice person and will get her reasons to take on illegal jobs like that.
My leader also told me that she is not registered as a witch, which will be a problem in the guild application process, but that's nothing I need to care about; seemingly, I am just the errand girl bringing Kayla from one place to another.
But to be honest, this last week was the first time I wished to dive into a dungeon again; killing monsters feels more righteous than stalking someone, waiting for them to make a mistake, and forcing them to join your guild. I consider apologizing to her someday.
I will never apologize! I slept like a rock, showered, and prepared to meet Kayla again. But she did not pick up her phone; I called her like ten times and wrote her several messages, but she ignored me.
Breathe, Miko, relax. You expected her to ghost you. You would probably do the same in her situation!
I was certainly not proud of my next move, but it felt necessary.
Some days ago, I accidentally followed Kayla to her home after she left the pub. What I want to say is I know where she lives, and I will drag her out of her apartment with force if needed.
Since she lives around twenty minutes away from my place, I took one of the few E-Scooters that were placed in our city.
I was blown away after reading about them coming in a local magazine. The town we live in is more known for its high average age and special offerings aimed at seniors.
Finally, I stood right before her door, and her last name seemed familiar, but I could not pinpoint where I heard it before. More important was this girl, who opened the door just to instantly shut it again. I got a glimpse of her face, and she looked bad, really bad, like she did not sleep a single second last night.
Her eye bags looked unhealthy, and I felt a little bit responsible for all that.
I started talking to the closed door. "Sorry that I just turned up; I wanted to apologize and talk about everything… So please let me in!"
Why was I apologizing again?
While talking to myself, some feelings in me awakened. I never felt like that before… Kayla had this aura of a small, stupid puppy that needed someone to care for her.
It is not like I wanted to take care of her, but I could end up as the person that not only brought this healer to our guild, but I could also be the person that raised her to be a great witch.
Absorbed in my thoughts, I missed the part when Kayla opened the door again while throwing a judging gaze at me as she knew exactly what type of film I was playing in my head right now.
"Come in," she said in a pained voice, so I did.