It was the strangest thing... One moment I was devouring oranges across time and space- not letting their bitter rinds and crunchy seeds hinder me from the sweet, fleshy goodness within- and the next I awake to a giant cake strolling through the door. It was elegant with it's mint green frosting and decorative sugar roses dotting stylishly here and there. My stomach growled and nibbled into my own backbone. I had no choice but to eat it, shame, because it was a rather pretty thing to look at.
"Wh- Claudius! Get a hold of yourself!" cried the cake with dismay, "Snap out of it!"
To my surprise and disappointment, I found myself upon Prudence "... You're not food" I chided, feeling my head finally cease it's spinning "but you do happen to look like a cake in that dress... why are you wearing it?"
"James has located a possible mirror shard," she began while lifting me by the armpits into the air and placing me into the little bed of hay, " he hasn't told me much else-- except that we are going to a masquerade. I was told a dress was necessary."
"The Countess-" James began from the doorway. He had appeared so quietly; it nearly caused his death. Prudence shook her head annoyed as my former apprentice pulled the blade from the hilt out of the door frame, unfazed and indifferent as ever. Holding it out to her, hilt first.
"Oops" Was all she said as she snatched it back. Poor lad. For in all his knowledge and talent, he still doesn't know women. For you see the truth is, it is impossible to sneak up on an elf- especially Prudence who is 19 in elven years and in her physical prime. I don't understand fully what is going on between those two, but I mean to have a serious talk about women with James later. A man nearly thirty and still hasn't got a clue... tsk tsk tsk.
"-has a mirror shard in her possession- and lycans among her ranks- though I don't know she suspects fully the merging of worlds. I mean to infiltrate the castle-"
"What's the point? Why don't we infiltrate it tonight, find the shard and be done with it"
"James. This is brilliant." I began speaking over Prudence "Oh ho my lad! Mind you we shall have a lot mind erasing to do afterwards to make sure history does not alter itself too much-- but brilliant none the less! You woo yourself into the Duchess's favor and win her trust in order to not only find and reclaim the shard but also have access to other dukes and lords of power that may in possession of the last and final pieces " I was busy pacing around, reveling in the threads and details of our plan so I hardly noticed when Prudence left the room in a hurry. "but where do we come in?"
"I have not thought of the details fully" he admitted with a tired smile, he withdrew a ledger and began to flip through it's pages "but I hear she is fond of alchemy..."
I knew where he was going "I will disguise myself as her alchemy tutor-- but where will Prudence go-"
"According to history, her royal Duchess also likes to hunt" Prudence had appeared in the doorway over Jame's shoulder "I have no doubt that I can work my way through the ranks to become her lady in waiting-- and take out a few lycans in the process" her expression was cold and terse, nodding stiffly before disappearing once more.
"And what about the girl?"
"I will bring Airy with me into the castle as my younger sister," he brought two fingers to the bridge of his nose as if remembering something unpleasant "I may just need her ... energy... to keep vigilant watch over the Duchess. I don't know why the lycans are protecting her, but I mean to find out. They could very well be waiting to strike"
"Yes... the lycans... curious indeed..." I mused, "Make sure you get in, lad."
"Not like that you won't" I laughed, for in my old age comes knowledge of all things. Including the magical art of charming women.
James smiled, he was handsome in a clean, bookish sort of way, no doubt about it. High cheek bones, black hair slicked back perfectly into style, with a frame that was built like a French Rapier: narrow and sharp- typical of an elven build- not intimidating but more than capable when need be. But I had my doubts... After all, in comparison with a younger woman like the Countess appeared to be- it would look very strange to the public should a man as old as he be attempting to court her. He must have had the same thought.
He sighed. His shape flickered once, and he then appeared different. Slick hair plumed and feathered out like raven's feathers. A boyish scowl of impatience twisting upon his lips-- and murky blue eyes shone more clear and piercing. No longer handsome, but now appearing to be striking youth (if indeed I thought the boy looked as petulant and arrogant as the day he first became my apprentice).
"Thank you Claudius. I almost forgot."