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Andrew Dobell

Magi Apprentice

Magi Apprentice

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BOOK 2 of the AETHERIC ACADEMY

Normal school was never like this.
Crazy Magical powers and a murderous ghost witch, out for blood?
I think I’m starting to enjoy myself!

Katy’s first few weeks at the Magical Aetheric Academy were even more eventful than she had dared imagine.
Despite the drama, however, Katy has found she’s settling in and actually starting to enjoy it.

A situation that’s helped by the presence of Titus. She still can’t quite believe he’s actually interested in her.
But now Trenton is hanging around her more?
Things are going to get complicated, especially if Mikayla has her way.

As part of her education as an Apprentice Magus, the Academy organizes a trip back to the Material World, and it’s not long before things start to go wrong.
It looks like the interest of a couple of guys could be the least of her worries, as Katy begins to suspect that the Red Witch might be back and up to her nefarious schemes once more.

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Comfort Break

Before today, Katy had no idea that a trip to a public restroom could be so eventful.
But then, she’d never visited one as a Magus before, not outside the Academy anyway.
The evening had been going swimmingly up until then. She’d been at the Academy for several weeks, and during the first half-term holiday, Katy had taken the opportunity to go home and see her family and friends. However, she’d chosen to avoid seeing Carmel, Brendan, and anyone else from her college.
There was no need to dredge up all that.
Besides, her parents had taken a certain amount of pleasure from telling her that they’d heard Carmel had been released from the hospital and was doing well.
Katy wasn’t too concerned about Carmel now that she knew the truth, though.
Magic was real, and there was no way she was going to go to prison, not after everything she had learnt and seen over the past few weeks. Already, she felt like she was getting a grip on the basics of Magic and even during these early days, with the tiny amount that she could do, she felt reasonably sure that a prison wouldn’t be able to hold her for long.
Seeing her mom and dad had been a welcome return to baseline for her. Back to reality and normality. Returning to her family home, the world of Magic and danger felt almost alien, like a dream, and yet, she only needed to concentrate, and suddenly she was able to see things no one else could.
It felt strange using Magic at home though, and she found herself actively refraining from it, preferring to do things the normal, Riven way.
She’d arranged to meet her old school friend, Emily, something she’d spent the last few days looking forward to. In some ways, even more than seeing her parents.
They’d met up at the local bar in town, and as always, it was like they’d only been apart for a day, rather than the months it had been.
Katy had gone through her cover story with Miss Hunt before leaving the Academy. She’d been warned not to tell anyone where she’d been and to keep Magic secret.
This turned out to be a little harder than she’d thought, and more than a little stressful, but so far, she’d managed not to slip up.
“So, tell me about this Academy,” Emily said. “Your parents were a little vague about it all when I spoke to them on the phone.”
Katy smiled, but inside, she cringed. This question had, of course, been inevitable, but as Emily asked it, Katy felt her stomach drop and her face flush with heat. “It’s a Fashion course. In Europe. The academy is new and not very well known. I’d never heard of it, but it’s funded by some of the biggest brands, you know? Like Nephilim and such. It’s great.”
Katy felt like she was waffling and just throwing words at her friend to try and hide the fact that she was lying.
“Oh, wow. How did you get in?”
“The college sent several students’ coursework to them and they liked my stuff, so, that was that.” She tried to sound nonchalant about it all. Was she succeeding?
“That’s excellent, I’m so pleased for you. You deserve a break,” Emily replied.
Katy smiled back, doing her best to keep her voice level and to sound confident in what she was saying, but inside, she was still on edge. She found herself analysing everything she was saying, hoping she wouldn’t give anything away.
She took a drink to calm her nerves and finished off the glass of wine she’d been sipping from.
“Have you given any thought about what you want to do after?” Emily asked. “Can they get you a placement somewhere?”
Katy shifted in her seat. She needed a moment to herself before she answered any more questions.
“Not really thought about it,” Katy replied. “Hey, I’m just going to use the bathroom. Here,” she handed Emily a five-pound note. “Grab me another of the same, I’ll be right back.”
Emily smiled. “Yeah, sure.”
With that, Katy dropped off her stool, marched across the bar to the restrooms, and went inside. The night was young, and there were just a handful of other girls standing in front of the mirrors, checking their hair and makeup as they chatted. Katy walked over and leant on the basin, taking a deep breath.
She’d not considered how stressful meeting Emily would be. It wasn’t like being with her parents, who she knew were under the influence of Magic that eased their minds about what she was supposedly doing. She didn’t need to convince them of anything, they were already accepting of it and didn’t ask awkward questions.
Emily, however, was not under any kind of Magical influence, and it was entirely possible that she was out there, googling the school right now.
Oh god, Katy thought. This could all go horribly, horribly wrong.
In the mirror, she spotted one of the stalls behind her become vacant and darted for it. Locking herself inside, she took a moment to concentrate on her breathing and calm herself down, remembering what she’d been told before she’d left the Academy.
With the help of the Arcanum, the Academy had taken certain precautions and established things like fake websites and phone lines so that things like the Fashion School could be checked out by nosey Riven. So, in theory, everything would be fine, and she’d done just as the Academy had asked. Even so, it was way more stressful than she had anticipated.
Over the next few minutes, Katy managed to calm herself down, steady her breathing, and get a grip, before using the facilities.
Finally, she felt ready to head back out and enjoy her evening.
Outside her cubicle, the door to the restroom banged open.
“Oh, hey. What’s going on?” someone said. Shadows shifted under the door as the sound of feet scuffed on the floor. “Hey, you can’t do tha—” The door shut again.
Katy frowned. What was that about? She stood frozen to the spot and listened. The room was silent. Too silent.
“How long are you going to keep us waiting, Katy?”
Katy’s mouth fell open.
What the hell?
“Come out, we want to talk to you.”
Katy blinked. We?
“Are you coming out?”
“What do you want?” Katy asked, looking around the cubicle, hoping there might be a window behind her she could use to escape. But there was nothing—just walls.
“I’ve answered that. Right, last chance.”
Katy was terrified. What the hell was going on? Who were these people? What did they want with her? She was no one. She didn’t know anything. As her mind raced, she suddenly remembered she was a Magus and forced herself to calm down and steady her breathing.
She had abilities that could help her here. With a significant degree of effort and concentration, Katy focused, and her Aetheric Sight burst into life. Suddenly, she could see way beyond the usual spectrum of visible light. Colours and energies danced before her. She knew what materials the cubicle door and walls were made out of. She could sense the walls and the shape of the room she stood within down to the millimetre. She knew the position and number of life forms in the room, from the three people on the other side of the door to all the myriad of insects hiding around the room.
She could see the electricity running through the walls along hidden cables, and she could also see Essentia. The Magical energy floated through the room like a glowing golden mist, but none of the three figures on the other side of the door glowed, which would have marked them as Magi.
They were human. Riven.
And that gave her an advantage.
“Right,” the voice said, and Katy heard someone take several steps towards her stall. She could see one of the lifeforms in her Aetheric Sight approach, matching what she heard.
“Okay, okay. I’m coming out,” Katy said, and reached for the lock, feeling sick to her stomach. She turned the mechanism, the lock clicked back into its housing, and the door swung open.
She looked out at the three women who waited for her. All of them wore serious expressions and eyed her suspiciously. The lead woman even took a step back. She almost seemed nervous and held her hands at the ready.
“What do you want?” Katy asked, reading the lines of possible futures in her mind.
“You’ve seen her, right?”
“Sorry, what?” Katy asked, confused. “Seen who?”
“The Red Witch. You’ve seen her?”
Katy blinked as an image of the floating ghostly figure made of red energy flashed in her mind. It was an image that had haunted her dreams for the last few weeks following her encounter with the apparition inside Tartarus.
Ghosts, it seemed, were as real as Magi were.
“Why do you want to know about her?”
The lead woman, who sported short dark hair and strong brows stared at her. “Yes or no?”
Katy stepped back, towards the wall. “Yeah, alright, I saw her.”
“What happened? What did she say?”
“Who are you people?”
“That’s not important,” the woman replied.
“Come on, Ann, this is taking too long.”
Ann glanced back. “Shut it, I’ll do the talking.”
“Quiet, Squire,” the other woman said, joining Ann in the reprimand.
Squire? That was an odd word to use, Katy thought, as the one called Ann looked at the one who’d spoken last and made an annoyed-looking gesture to her.
“Sorry,” the third woman said, looking sheepish.
“Look,” Katy began, “it seems like you guys need to talk this out.”
Ann turned back and reaching out, put her hand to Katy’s chest, and pushed her back, slamming her back against the wall. “Oh, no you don’t,” Ann said, removing her hand from Katy’s chest and taking half a step back. “You’re not going anywhere. Now, tell me what happened.”
Katy pressed herself back against the wall. “Nothing much, really. She wanted a book. She got it, then she disappeared.”
“That’s it?”
“Yeah, not much to tell really,” Katy answered.
Ann frowned and actually growled at her. She shifted her body weight, and Katy knew that the woman was about to hit her.
She knew it down to her bones, and on instinct, she dodged right.
The woman’s hand missed Katy’s head by centimetres and smashed into the wall. She yelped in pain.
Katy suddenly had a powerful feeling that she had a chance to escape and pushed the woman back as the other two lunged for her. Katy kneed the one called Ann as she shoved, and sent her into the other two. The trio stumbled and fell. One of them—the one they called Squire—smashed her head into a basin, while the other two headbutted each other as Katy nipped past as quickly as she could. She spotted a knife by one of their hands and kicked it away as she ran for the door and threw it open.
Several people were waiting outside and they all looked up in shocked confusion as Katy burst out of the room.
“Oh my god, there was a fight in there between these three girls,” she blurted out. “I only just got out.”
She had no idea if her excuse would work, but she didn’t wait around to find out and crossed the bar, looking for Emily.
Who the hell were those people and why were they interested in the Red Witch? Katy had spent the best part of the last few weeks trying to forget seeing that horrific ghost who had attacked them.
Her heart beat like a drum in her chest as she slipped through the crowd, making for the bar and her friend.
“Hey, Emily,” she said out of breath. “Let’s go somewhere else.”
“What?” Emily asked. “But, I’ve just bought you a drink.”
Katy eyed the glass of wine on the bar beside her stool. “Oh, well,” Katy replied, grabbing it and gulping it down. She gasped for breath as she put it back on the bar. “Now can we go?”
Emily frowned. “What’s going on?”
Katy looked back towards the restroom. There was a lot of commotion going on over there and it scared her.
“There was a fight between these three girls, and I just want to get out of here, okay?”
Emily regarded Katy, looked back towards the restroom, and then nodded. “Alright, let’s go.”
As they stepped out into the cool night air, Katy felt the tension drain and her nerves calm.
She didn’t fancy getting into any more fights, but this thrill she was feeling right now was kind of fun. She felt more alive. She remembered feeling the same after the fight against the Red Witch, and it was kind of addictive.
As the adrenaline ebbed, she decided she’d need to tell the Headmistress what had happened as soon as she got back to the Academy.

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