Chapter 50:

sceNe 50 - ᴛʜe ᴡiᴛᴄʜ's Naᴍe

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

Turns out that trying to get any information from books meant for witches was going to be even harder than it seemed. Whatever language the books were written in seemed to change regularly, almost as if the more I understood the less the books wanted me to know. First they seemed like they could be a mix of English and Latin, then French and Latin, then German and Latin, and most recently Spanish and Italian. The only language class I took growing up was French, but it was very conversational, not academic. I did my best to translate sections, but sometimes the books were following completely different grammar rules than either language they were using. Taking pictures didn’t work, as none of the text would appear. It was starting to really upset me.

I tried looking for easier books to read, but none of them were making sense to me, even the books that called themselves introductory. I even tried leaving some of the books alone to see if they would go back to English or French, but they definitely acted like they knew what I would have an easier time with, and seemingly intentionally wanted me to have a hard time. Was there a trick to this that I didn’t know? I thought Cryztal’s mother taught me how to read before, but I couldn’t remember anything special.

I was starting to feel bad that I wasn’t giving Cryztal more attention, aside from her streams. I was really determined to find any leads, and I didn’t want to get too physical with Cryztal again only for her to have to be reminded of my scars. Why couldn’t my body just stay beautiful all the time? Why did she have to know how bad I messed up as a kid?

Another day of searching the study, I tried to fiddle with what should have been a moving bookcase, hoping that behind it was reading I could actually do. The only thing I could read was the baby book in the bedroom, and that didn’t tell me anything helpful for magic! But seeing cute pictures of Cryztal as a baby was relaxing, so I didn’t lose my cool. I just wanted to find anything that could help, and didn’t trust that I could just look up answers online.

As I was trying to riffle through the desk again, I started to hear noises from behind me. It sounded like a metal clanging sound, but before I could react, I felt something wrapping around my wrists and ankles.

Suddenly I was being lifted into the air, with chains pulling me at my arms and legs. There wasn’t even a hole where the chains were coming from: they were coming through the ceiling and floor with no point of entry. The stranger part was that it didn’t exactly hurt. I just couldn’t free myself.

As I dangled there, a purple ball of light appeared in my face, slowly forming what looked like a conical hat, then a round brim at the base. The ball itself even started to look more like a head, and as shallow gaps were made for eyes, and bulging points for ears, nose, and lips to form, thick curls came down from the hat, forming a familiar figure. With a face fully formed, and two disembodied hands now floating below it, the identity was clear as day. It was Cryztal’s mother, the Silly Witch.

“So! It was you!” She said, speaking from the purple translucent head, with the hands stretching like they were waking up. “Here I was thinking someone snuck in to rob me, but it was just–”

“Where have you been?!” I shouted, furious.

“Uh…what?” The witch asked, looking dramatically confused.

“You abandoned Cryztal! You don’t call, apparently! And you left her with some stranger to ta–” I shouted, but my mouth was suddenly covered by one of the floating hands. I could still move my mouth, but nothing came out.

With her other hand, she shooshed me. “I had business to attend to! Whereas someone else here told me she would help, but just as quickly abandoned her cause!”

I tried to protest, about how I was only a child, or how it was my parents’ fault, but she wouldn’t free my face from her hand. It was starting to make my face feel numb.

“You didn’t even try to return, leaving me with what options? Jason and Pete? All she had were some fickle high school friends, so I did what I had to do. And if the job is too big for what's-his-face, then he can stop taking a cut of Cryztal’s streaming money.” She sounded upset having to talk about it at all. “More importantly, why are you here? Why now?”

She finally took her hand off my face so I could speak. “I’m back for good. I want to be with Cryztal. So I need to know how to take care of her.”

The witch’s head slowly floated around the room, with her hand to her chin. Her head was buoyant, and would even flip upside down. Was she always this goofy? Or was she just taking advantage of the medium?

“How do I know you’re not just working with your parents?” She asked, with a disgusted tone. “They wouldn’t stop harassing me until they finally moved out of the neighborhood. Maybe they just sent you to kill my daughter.”

My parents were a sore subject for me still. Especially knowing that they were creating an extra burden even after sending me away. I wanted to talk about trying to come out to them and choosing to be with Cryztal, but would that be enough? I tried to not share too much.

“I’ve already let Cryztal eat me once. And I want to be ready if she has to do it again. Is that something my parents would want?” I tried to be serious about the situation.

The witch sighed, “No, and the fact you lived while using an expired potion means this might have been fated to happen after all.” Did she say expired?

Suddenly she looked frozen in space, and sounded like she was mumbling. Was this like a phone and she had another call? I figured I would just wait for her to look like she was done, while also rattling the chains and trying to see if I could slip my wrist out. By the time the witch returned, she lowered me to the ground with the twirl of her finger, and the chains let me go.

“So I’ve decided to take you on as my apprentice.” She said, as a smile crawled over her face.

“You mean that? Really?” I was a little surprised, but didn’t want her to know.

She chuckled. “Yeah. What is sillier than trying to train a non-natal witch remotely?” Her laugh was definitely suspicious, but it was exactly what I needed.

Before I could even tell her that I would like to fix my body, she actually seemed to have a similar idea. Not directly. The witch pointed to a few books that looked important, then instructed me to put on the reading glasses that were sitting on the desk. As soon as I put them in front of my eyes, I noticed my vision wasn’t any different, but I could actually read the book titles.

“You’ll need to get started by borrowing these glasses. Eventually your brain will get used to reading the books, and you might not need them, but until then you need to use these.” She was actually sounding serious. “Though you might need to adjust them for your ears. Or just wear them in a funny way.”

The few books she had me starting with sounded dense. One of them was titled “The Physical State of Magical Bodies in All Beings” and had plenty of dust on it. Cryztal’s mom probably didn’t need introductory books like this normally, but they sounded like they could be related to the state my body was in.

I was very curious. “What do I need next?”

“To get out.”

The study’s door opened on its own, and I was being gestured to exit the room.

“I’ll put an envelope on the outside of the door when I want to see you next. Until then, read the books I handed you. And don’t take them out of the house. Or the glasses. All of that stays under my roof.” She was really wagging her finger to a comical degree. “Don’t even think of stepping foot in this room before then!”

I was a little shaken. “I understand!”

Then she gave me one last instruction. “As you are to soon be known as Nai-bu, the Silly Apprentice, you will address me with equal regard, meaning no ‘Cryztal’s mom’ nonsense like Jason still does. You’re a grown woman, so act like it.”

“Yes…Silly Witch Koko…” I honestly felt like an idiot saying it outloud.With the study’s door being shut in my face, holding my new reading materials and plans, I was now officially a witch’s apprentice.