“Become a hunter,” he answered, “and always follow the magic.”
“Follow the magic?”
“Over the years I have learned that it was a fancy pants way of saying I needed to be near the paranormal or I would begin to age.”
“And your master?”
“Such an ordinary name for a monster,” stated Elise.
Cage laughed hard startling Elise. She narrowed her eyes. “He was a monster. He murdered hundreds of my kind in the name of being a hunter, no matter if they caused harm.”
Cage nodded. “I wasn’t laughing because you were wrong, I was laughing at how right you were. I took me a solid two decades to realize that not every witch was evil, just like every hunter isn’t doing good for humanity. Thankfully, Paul had no life stone and I outlived him.”
“Good,” stated Elise, “so back to the matter at hand. You’re a hunter. I’m a witch. I have cursed this town and have no intentions of ending it. What now?”
“Honestly, I counter any curse you’ve doled out with the little magic I’ve learned over the decades. If you hurt anyone, I will kill you. If you come after me, I will kill you.”
“You underestimate me,” said Elise.
Cage shook his head and took a step closer to Elise. “Actually, I don’t. I’ve watched you for a long while. Your aura is good natured and your magic is strong. I need that so that I don’t age. I see no reason why we can’t live together in this town, you just have to stop cursing the founding families.”
“They took what didn’t belong to them,” snapped Elise.
“Revenge is ugly on you Elise,” retorted Cage. “This town is a picture perfect ideal of a community. They come together when they need to. Crime is petty, poverty is low, and they don’t even use pesticides on the apples. They have not overbuilt the valley in the name of progress, they could and make even more money. The orchard as always been owned by the town and profits have gone to make sure no one wants for anything.”
His face softened. “Those men who attacked you.”
This garnered a growl from Roark startling Elise a bit. She had almost forgotten he was on her shoulder with all the surprises the conversation had brought. “It’s okay Roark.”
She held her palm out and Roark scurried down from her shoulder. She placed him gently in her pocket.
“He’s a good protector,” stated Cage.
“The best,” agreed Elise, “as those men you were just talking about found out.”
Cage cleared his throat. Elise knew even hunters were wary of familiars. “Those awful men, they did not represent this town as a whole. They were greedy, wretched, and evil. Personally, I’m glad Roark tore my father to bits, because I’m sure if he hadn’t I would have the next time he laid a finger on my mother. I believe it’s time to give this town a second chance.”
“I can’t,” stated Elise.
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