“Welcome to the 7,459th annual Witch Convention. Please don’t forget to leave your black cats, toads, werewolves, manticores, chimeras, and any other in the cages provided,” a monotone feminine voice drones from somewhere up high.
“Ah, Hazel, how wonderful to see you again!” I glance behind my shoulder and see a witch in an emerald-colored robe walking towards me. I suppress a sigh of dismay upon seeing my aunt. “What do you think of your very first Witch Convention?”
“It’s spectacular, Miss Andromeda,” I say, bowing low.
“Oh, there’s no need for that,” Andromeda says, though it’s obvious she’s enjoying this, “This isn’t the 16th century.” I smile at her and continue walking down the row of stalls. There are stalls advertising potions, spellbooks, ingredients and rare herbs, broomsticks, robes, and so much more. I brush past Andromeda and go to the robe tailor.
“Hazel!” I hear a voice shout. I turn around just in time to be nearly suffocated in a hug.
“Geez, Esme, get off!” I mumble, pushing her off of me. Esme takes my hands, a huge grin on her pretty face. Her shiny, raven-colored hair falls down past her waist, and her shining green eyes are alight with magic and mischief. She has the looks of a perfect witch. I, on the other hand, am blonde with brown eyes, which is nearly unheard of here.
“I’m so excited!” Esme shouts, practically bouncing with pleasure, “I can’t believe we’re here! We’re going to be real witches, Hazel!” I laugh and link my arm through hers and we go on exploring the stalls, leaving my aunt in the dust. We pick out our first robes, Esme picks green and I pick red, both traditional colors. Then we both pick out our conjuring items, which are essential to being a witch.
“Hallo there, girls! What can I get for you today?” A kind older witch in purple robes smiles at us and moves to display the wall of conjuring items behind her. There are hundreds of items anywhere from pencils to papers, jewelry to jars, boxes to books. Esme gives a sudden squeal of delight and points to a fraying leather bracelet. The old woman takes it down and hands it to her.
“Thank you!” Esme cries.
“Now, I know you both probably know this already, but I have to tell you what a conjure item is and how to use it. So, a conjure item is an item through which a witch can channel her magic. It can be anything, as long as it has been magicked by putting it in the Fountain of Youth. Use it wisely, and have a lovely rest of your day. Now, what can I get for you?” The lady looks at me expectantly as I examine the shelves. I’m starting to panic. What if there isn’t a conjure item that’s perfect for me? But then, I see it. There is a small hair clip with a shining red butterfly on the end. I can feel the magic in it calling to me. I point to it and the lady hands it to me. I pin it into my hair and I can feel the magic coursing through my bones.
“C’mon, Hazel!” Esme pulls me along to the next stall where they are selling pets. “Ooh! Look how cute that little pixie is!” The pixie Esme was referring to came to the bars of the cage and smiled at her, reaching out.
“That one’s a trouble maker, she is,” A witch in grey robes says, smiling.
“Sounds perfect for you, then,” I say, nudging Esme. The witch pulls the tiny pixie out of the cage and sets her in Esme’s palm. The little pixie snuggled up against her fingers and went right to sleep. Esme, with shining eyes, put the pixie in her pocket. I pick out a little black kitten and decide to name her ‘Stella’.
As Esme and I are walking towards the next stall I hear a small noise coming from a nearby room. I let go of Esme’s arm and walk over to it, and slowly push the door open. It’s too dark to see, so I walk all the way in. Suddenly, a hand wrapped around my mouth and someone slammed the door shut. I was shoved to the ground and someone put a foot on my chest. Someone hit the light switch, and I gasped. A boy of about 16 was hovering over me, and he looked just as shocked as I did.
“Sorry! Sorry, I thought you were someone else!” the boys said helping me up.
“I’ll explain later,” the boy grabbed my arm and jumped out of a window in the back. I glanced back just in time to see Esme’s terrified face as she called out for help. Now, you’re probably wondering why seeing a boy is such a big whoop. A couple of centuries back, some wizards decided they would take over the world. So they put a curse on all of the witches and wizards so they lost their magic. Eventually, the witches and wizards defeated them. However, the wizards' magic didn’t return, only the witches. Over the decades, the people who knew of the wizard population died out and they were forgotten.
“Stop,” I yank my arm out of his grip and glare at him, “Who are you? And how in the name of beetles did you get in?” The boy pulls me into an alleyway and glances around to see if anyone is looking.
“You know about the loss of the wizards' power, yes?” he asks.
“Yes,” I say, unsure of what he’s getting at.
“Well, forget that. It’s all a lie, created by you witches. Some of your type are keeping our powers for themselves, and we have to stop them.” I stare blankly at him. What? How could that be true? My aunt, Andromeda, is one of our leaders. She may be extremely obnoxious and nosy, but she’d never hold anyone's powers captive. Would she? “I know it sounds crazy, but you’ve just got to believe me. I need your help.” I look at him.
“Okay,” the word is out of my mouth before I can stop it. The boy grins and takes my arm, leading me farther down the alley.
“And just what,” a cold voice behind us says, “do you think you’re doing?” I’d know that voice anywhere. Andromeda.