Amouraq, Chapter 15

You got something?” an agent queried Alastair, who got a notification on his cellphone.

Alastair checked his phone and grinned. “Check it out!” The two other agents peered over his shoulders and saw Allison posing in a joyous photograph with a mix of large men in all black and young women in provocative clothing.

The other agent commented, “I guess they didn’t recognize her face from their surveillance of us in Portland!”

“I don’t think they’re looking at her face!” Alastair haf joked. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed movement on his map. He set his phone down, but when he took another look at the map, he saw that the dot he had monitoring had disappeared! “Where did she go?”

“They must have teleported somewhere,” the first agent guessed.

Alastair disagreed, “No, the map would show us anywhere in the world where she went, so either she found out about the spell and removed it, or…” He took a second look at the selfie Allison took, and his eyes went wide when he made a startling realization. “She didn’t take this picture in the club!”

The second agent questioned, “Are you sure?”

“Look at the wood in the picture!” He zoomed in so the other two agents could see the detail he had indicated. “That club is geared towards a hip, young crowd, and the room they’re in here has old, dilapidated walls. I don’t think they’re in the club anymore! They must have teleported to another building!” He pointed to the map and chanted, “Apando Ostracium!” The map glowed green for a moment, so Alastair concluded, “The spell is still active. That means they teleported somewhere that’s not on the map! But… how is that possible?” Alastair looked to the other two agents, who shook their heads and shrugged, so Alastair just stared at the map in perplexion.

“Cabraeco!” Emily chanted with her hands over her head.

Stephen curiously asked her, “What are you doing?”

Emily explained, “It’s a concealment spell. I’m sure that Xavier is watching us, so I thought I’d give it a shot.”

“How do you know if it worked?” Stephen inquired.

“I’m not sure,” Emily answered. “Hmm, maybe I should try practicing something else.” She paused and chanted, “Lanumaciae!” She waited to see if the spell took effect, and when it did not, she tried again, “Lanumaciae!”

Stephen watched her attempt the incantation multiple times, and while she didn’t have any luck, she didn’t stop trying. She didn’t get as frustrated as she did the last time, so Stephen found her behavior cute. When he caught himself thinking this amorous thought, he tried to quickly dismiss it. He blamed the high emotions that came from going through a dangerous situation together at first, but the more he got to know her, the more he admired her. He couldn’t help it if he had a growing reverence for her as a person! And with so much time to learn about each other, he thought it was reasonable to develop an attraction to her impressive nature! Plus, he couldn’t exactly ignore her beauty when she was right in front of him! He couldn’t see her pretty face at the moment, but he couldn’t deny that he enjoyed seeing her from the back! As he watched her voluptuous curves move as she attempted this spell, he wondered if she had any magic that she could use in a more private setting…

“I felt something!” Emily exclaimed.

Stephen had to shake himself out of his trance again. “Huh?”

Emily expounded, “It didn’t work, but I think I made some progress ’cause I felt a tingle. Did you see any tingling?”

“Uh…” Stephen suddenly felt hot under his collar and had to turn away from her to get his mind of of its racy track. To clear his head, he took a deep breath and concentrated on the scenery ahead of him. Just then, it occurred to him that he could actually see some of the trees without her light, so he surmised, “Hey, I think the sun is rising!”

Emily studied the sky and agreed, “You’re right! Wow, we’ve been here all night? I would’ve thought we’d have gotten there by now!”

Stephen concurred, “Yeah, me too! ‘Though at least we won’t have to face Xavier in the dark!”

“True!” Emily nodded.

“Then we can arrest that son of a bitch before lunch!” Stephen sort of kidded, which made Emily chuckle a little. “I bet they’ll have a huge feast for us too!”

Emily somewhat glumly commented, “Yeah, I’m sure it’ll be nothing but fine dining from now on!”

Stephen found her morose attitude odd, so he probed, “Why do you sound so bummed out about that?”

“I dunno…” Emily responded thoughtfully. “I guess I’m being ungrateful, but I never wanted to be famous! I mean, I wouldn’t mind lavish parties and stuff once in a while, but all the time? All my time would be spent either in front of parliament or doing other public appearances, so when would I get to do what I want? My whole life will get taken over by this, and it’s not like a bad life or anything, but it doesn’t seem like I’ll ever get the chance to have a normal life!”

“First of all, what you described won’t eat up the majority of your time,” Stephen told her. “You’re gonna spend most of your time doing paperwork. You have no idea how much the government runs on paperwork!” Emily tittered, and he went on, “Second, and more importantly, you’ll be queen, you get to call the shots! If you wanna take the day off to binge watch a TV show or bake cookies from a new recipe or whatever you think of as a normal day, there’s no reason why you can do that! There’s no reason why you can’t have ordinary moments while living an extraordinary life!”

Emily took a moment for his words to really sink in, and when they did, she nodded in agreement. Stephen felt pleased that she took his advice to heart, but another thought seemed to have crossed her mind right afterwards. She posed to him, “So, how come you don’t do that?”

“Do what?” Stephen reacted quizzically.

“Take some time off to enjoy ordinary moments?” Emily clarified.

Stephen gave that some serious consideration, and he couldn’t’ really come up with a plausible explanation. “It just feels natural to jump from one assignment to the other, like my mind’s constantly in work mode, so I never lose my edge. If I take too much time off, I get too relaxed and unfocused, and it’s harder to solve a case.”

Emily didn’t really appear totally satisfied with his reasoning. “That makes sense, but it doesn’t seem very healthy. If you’re always going fast, don’t you get burnt out?”

“I guess that’s why I never slow down,” Stephen supposed. “I don’t give myself time to think about being burnt out.”

“Maybe you just need a reason to slow down,” Emily speculated. She saw the look of surprise on his face and immediately apologized, “I’m sorry if that was too personal. It just seemed a little lonely. I know how that feels!”

She lost eye contact with him, and Stephen could tell that she felt embarrassed for admitting that. She didn’t realize that what had shocked him was how accurate her assertion had been. He never really gave it serious consideration before, but truthfully, he knew that if he didn’t bury himself in work, he would be alone. He truly had a passion for his job, so he hadn’t really considered having a life outside of the FBI until now. After their adventure in the hidden forest was concluded, he realized that they would probably go their separate ways, and suddenly going back to his apartment all by himself didn’t seem so appealing! Emily needed someone by her side during her transition into royalty, and he knew he could probably help her through that process. She hung her head sadly, and that made his heart ache! She didn’t deserve to feel lonely! She needed someone to constantly remind her about what an amazing woman she was, and he knew he could do that! He saw her hand dangling within reach of him, and he longed to hold it and let her know she wasn’t alone and that he’d be there for her if she needed him. He still didn’t feel worthy of her affection, but his desire to help her overrode that notion. He reached out his hand, and his fingers brushed hers…

All of a sudden, they heard the trees rustle above them, and they turned to face the perpetrator of the noise. Multiple trees were shaking, and they stood at the ready. All at once, creatures like he’d never seen came teeming out from the branches! They had the scaly structure of a lizard, but they also had the segmented body of an ant1 A swarm of them scurried towards them, so Emily pointed at Stephen and chanted, “Speed!” She pointed at herself too and repeated the chant, “Speed!” She quickly added, “Run!”

Stephen and Emily moved with superhuman speed, but the team of strange creatures were close behind them! Stephen asked her, “How do we kill them?”

“We could kill one easily,” Emily answered, “but we’re a little outnumbered right now!”

They managed to get a little ahead of them when the spell wore off. They kept going, but they could hear the creatures catching up to them! To their horror, they saw something massive now blocking their path ahead, so they had no choice but to stop. They stood ready to fight off as many as they could, but they both had a look on their faces as if they were doomed. Stephen couldn’t think of a way out of this, and he dearly wished that he could say goodbye to Emily before they were barraged! The creatures came too rapidly, and Stephen prepared himself for the worst…

Very unexpectedly, the creatures all came to a screeching halt! They wouldn’t cross a certain point on the path and screeched from frustration as if some kind of fence were holding them back. He felt utterly confused, but something dawned onto Emily. “It’s a protective spell! But who would…?”

Stephen turned around and studied the barrier that they had encountered. His eyes went wide when he discovered what it was, and he reported to Emily, “That’s why they stopped!” She turned to see what he meant, and her jaw nearly dropped to the floor! They had come to a wooden house!Sweet & Scary

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