Chosen Chapter 16: A Family that Wizards Together
Many centuries ago, on the shores of the beautiful city of Avalon, two young men were running across the beach at sunset. One tackled the other and they rolled through the sand, laughing as they wrestled in a playful manner. Finally, one of the young men was able to pin down the other as he sat on his chest, pressing his arms in the sand. The two had been playing this game since they were children, having grown up together despite their many differences.
"Do you yield?" The winner asked.
"Yes, yes, I yield." The other replied with a reluctant smile. "Now release me, Ambrosius."
"Say it first." Ambrosius demanded.
"Must we do this every time?" The other asked. "Alright, I admit it, you are stronger."
"And yet you will wear the crown when the time comes." Ambrosius said with a sudden bitterness in his voice. "Tomorrow you begin your training and everything will change."
Ambrosius rolled off his friend and got up, walking closer to the sea until his feet were in the water. His friend looked concerned as he followed him and placed a hand on his shoulder. Ambrosius looked into his kind, bright green eyes and felt conflicted. He loved his childhood friend, yet he was jealous of him as well.
"Nothing is going to change." The young man said. "You will always be my best friend. I don't care about the crown or royal blood."
"Then maybe you shouldn't wear the crown, Merlin." Ambrosius replied as he turned to his friend. "Why does our city have to be ruled by royal blood? Why does it give you the right? I am stronger than you. You said it yourself."
"My father says it takes more than strength to rule." Merlin said. "It takes a kind and just heart and the wisdom to use it right."
"You do not think I can be a fair ruler?" Ambrosius asked.
"I did not say that." Merlin replied. "I have been preparing for this my entire life, as was expected of me. There are things that you do not understand about being of royal blood."
"Because I am a lowly commoner." Ambrosius snapped at him as he pulled away and started walking down the beach. "As I will always be."
"Stop twisting my words." Merlin said angrily as he followed. "You do not understand the burden. You can choose whatever life you want. My life has been decided since my birth."
"The only thing I desire is to be king." Ambrosius replied. "The one thing I can never be. And yet you shall be king without even wanting it. How can you expect us to be friends?"
"We are friends, Ambrose." Merlin said with a hurt tone in his voice. "Or have bitterness and envy finally overgrown your heart?"
"We were friends when we were children." Ambrosius said determined as he turned to face him. "Now we must grow up and realize the truth. We were never going to last. Our paths have always led in different directions."
"So our friendship is over?" Merlin asked with tears in his eyes.
"A king cannot be friends with a commoner." Ambrosius replied harshly.
Ambrosius turned and walked away from his heartbroken friend. Although it hurt, there was no other way. He could not stand by and support someone who was unfit to be king. Not when he wanted to rule in his place. Part of him would always care about Merlin, but his resentment toward royal blood meant it was destined to end in pain. He needed to focus his attentions on achieving his own desires. Friendship was a weakness he could no longer afford. One way or another, he would be king.
In the present, a sharply suited Ambrose stepped out of a black limousine as the driver opened the door. He had arrived in front of a large office building in the center of San Francisco. The name on the building read Brewman Investments, the multimillion dollar business that Ambrose has founded under his mortal alias Alaric Brewman. It was a business that Ambrose had created to blend into the mortal world and get access and influence around the city. It had allowed him to place his son Ramsey on the mayor's team to create the virus.
"Good morning, mister Brewman." The doorman said as he opened the door.
"Good morning." Ambrose replied with a fake smile.
Ambrose headed to the elevator and went up to his private office in the penthouse. He resented being around these weak mortals, but it was important to keep up appearances. Once he had reclaimed the world for the wizards, all mortals would bow before him. He left the elevator and was met by his personal assistant, a beautiful young woman named Felicia.
"Good morning, mister Brewman." Felicia said as she walked with him to his office. "You have an investor meeting at ten and a lunch meeting with your lawyers at one. You also have several emails that require your attention and we still need to RSVP to the mayor's ball."
"Remind me about the ball again?" Ambrose asked.
"It is tomorrow evening, sir." Felicia replied. "It is a fundraiser at the museum to kick off the new campaign season. I am sure the mayor is counting on your support again."
"Of course." Ambrose said. "Silly of me to forget. Please tell the mayor I will be there."
"And will you be bringing a plus one, sir?" Felicia asked.
"Is that a proposition, Felicia?" Ambrose replied with a smile.
"Oh, of course not, sir." Felicia said flustered. "I mean, I would be honored, but I wasn't implying…"
"Calm down, Felicia, I was just joking." Ambrose said. "Actually, make it a plus three, I want to bring my children."
"Children?" Felicia asked surprised. "I'm sorry, sir, I wasn't aware you had children."
"We only recently reconnected." Ambrose replied. "I wasn't involved with their upbringing, but they're adults now. I want to show them my world."
"I'm sorry to hear, sir." Felicia said. "But I am happy for you that they are back in your life."
"Thank you." Ambrose replied. "Now I have to get to work."
"Of course." Felicia said.
Felicia turned around and headed back while Ambrose entered his office and closed the door. As he sat down at his desk, he looked out over the city through the glass walls. Now that his plans were moving and his goal was coming closer, going through the everyday motions was becoming more tedious by the day. Part of him wanted to release the virus and get it over with. Wiping out all magical beings in one swoop would leave the world ready for the taking. However, it would also damage the world, as some magical beings were still necessary for it to function. Therefore, the virus remained his last resort.
At the same time in a black surveillance van, agent Murphy was keeping taps on the building. After the virus had been stolen by Ramsey Tate, the mayor had instructed Murphy to find out who the scientist was truly working for. Ramsey had been recommended by Alaric Brewman, a wealthy businessman and one of the mayor's political supporters. Murphy had keep keeping an eye on Brewman and had finally been able to capture the elusive businessman on camera as he entered the building. He had also managed to hack the email account of his assistant, allowing him to see his agenda.
"Let's see what you have planned the next few days." Murphy noted as he grabbed his laptop and went through the emails. "So he is going to the ball at the museum tomorrow. And he is bringing his… children?"
Murphy frowned and grabbed the file on Brewman, as there was no mention of children anywhere. Brewman was a complete mystery, having appeared out of nowhere a few years ago. He was definitely more than simple businessman. Murphy looked at his watch and realized it was time to report back to the mayor.
About thirty minutes later, Murphy arrived at the mayor's office and was led in by one of her security guards. The mayor was standing by the window, clutching the ruby amulet around her neck.
"What have you learned?" the mayor asked.
"Not much yet." Murphy replied. "Brewman is a mystery. He has no past and he barely shows up at his own company."
"I never should have accepted his donations." The mayor said as she sat down at her desk. "I always knew there was something off. You must have found something."
"He will be attending the fundraising ball tomorrow." Murphy replied.
"Really?" the mayor asked. "He has some nerve after he sent that mole to steal the virus."
"Are you absolutely certain he is the one behind it?" Murphy asked.
"There are no other suspects." The mayor replied. "The number of people who knew about the virus is limited. Brewman had heard rumors and was very quick to offer his services."
"That is suspicious, I agree." Murphy said. "And if he sent a magical being to steal the virus, then chances are he is magical as well."
"So what are you saying?" the mayor asked.
"I'm saying that this may go beyond my expertise." Murphy replied. "I suggest we bring in outside help."
"I know exactly who you mean, but that's not an option." The mayor said determined.
"I thought you were on reasonable terms with them now." Murphy remarked. "This virus is a threat to them, they will help get it back."
"I tried to have them killed, agent Murphy." The mayor replied. "And I'm still on the fence concerning magic. I don't feel comfortable working with them."
"With all due respect, do you want answers?" Murphy asked.
"Of course, nobody double-crosses me." The mayor said angrily.
"Then we need to bring in the Chosen." Murphy replied. "Let me reach out to them."
"Alright." The mayor said after a moment of consideration. "Perhaps they will be able to help, though I doubt they will be willing."
"I think they will." Murphy said. "You shouldn't underestimate them. They are good kids."
The mayor gave him a skeptical frown before sitting down at her desk and resuming her work. She waved at her guard to escort Murphy out of her office. Once he was outside, he grabbed his phone to call Billie. Hopefully something good could come out of this. If they could get the virus back, the mayor might see reason and give up on her attempts to rid the city of magic.
On the college campus, Billie was sitting on the edge of a fountain while reading a book for her psychology class. It was a nice sunny day and she had a free period. After a few hectic weeks, she and her friends finally had a few days to enjoy being college students again. The end of the schoolyear was coming closer and it was good to catch up on everything.
"Billie." A familiar voice sounded.
Billie turned and saw Duncan and Nathan heading in her direction, holding hands. They sat down on the fountain with her.
"Ah, don't you two look cute." Billie said with a smile.
"True." Duncan replied. "It's nice to have him around."
"So how are you adapting to college life, Nathan?" Billie asked.
"It takes some getting used to." Nathan replied. "I never even finished high school, but Duncan convinced me to give it a try."
"Wait, so how did you enroll without a diploma?" Billie asked.
"Don't ask." Duncan remarked.
"I may have faked one." Nathan said casually. "Consider it my goodbye to a life of crime."
"Well, it's for a good cause, I guess." Billie said with a shrug.
"I'm horribly behind though, having enrolled so late in the year." Nathan said. "Luckily, I have a very smart boyfriend who is helping me catch up."
"Yeah, you are pretty lucky." Duncan replied with a smile. "So where is Violet?"
"I think she headed home." Billie said. "She said she was feeling tired, since she hasn't been sleeping well lately. She was having nightmares."
"Is she alright?" Duncan asked.
"I think she just needs some rest." Billie replied. "I'll check on her in a while."
Billie got up and grabbed her stuff to head to class, though she stopped when her phone went off. She looked at her phone and frowned, as agent Murphy had sent her a text, telling her that he wanted to meet her and her friends as soon as possible. She wondered what he wanted. It had to be important if he wanted to meet right away. She showed the text to her friends and replied that they would meet him at the house in an hour.
At the Chosen house, Violet was lying on her bed while the window was open, letting a soft breeze in. She had gone home to rest, as the last couple of nights had been filled with horrible dreams that she could not piece together. All she remembered was waking up screaming. She wanted to close her eyes and sleep, though she was afraid of having the nightmares again. On the other hand, she could not shake the feeling that she was missing something important. Perhaps she should stop fighting her dreams and try to understand them instead.
"It is just a dream, I can control them." Violet reminded herself as she closed her eyes and slowly drifted off.
The moment Violet opened her eyes again, she was standing in the middle of a dark hallway. She remembered it, as she had been there before. Something horrible was about to happen, she could feel it. She needed to stay focused and not get scared. She walked up to the large door in front of her and opened it. As soon as she did, a figure violently lunged at her. Violet screamed and fell to the ground as the figure tackled her.
"No, let go!" Violet screamed.
"Help me." The figure begged.
Violet stopped screaming. She had never listened to the figure before. It was asking for help. She opened her eyes and saw it was a young woman. She was sickly pale while her veins were pitch black. She seemed in a lot of pain.
"What happened?" Violet asked. "What is wrong?"
"The virus." The figure whispered before collapsing.
Violet was shocked to hear about the virus. Could all of this be some troubling vision of the future? She gathered her strength and pushed the figure off her. She rose to her feet and entered the room in front of her. She was horrified by what she saw, as several lifeless bodies were lying in front of her, all affected by the same deadly illness. She also finally recognized the place she was in. It was the grand hall of Magic School.
"Ambrose will release the virus." Violet whispered with tears in her eyes.
"Yes, he will." A voice spoke.
Violet turned around and saw a young man standing behind her. He had brown hair, dressed in a simple leather coat and dark pants. He had a kind look in his bright green eyes.
"Who are you?" Violet asked.
"A messenger from higher forces." The young man said. "You must stop this future from happening, child of Destiny. It is why you were granted your powers."
Violet woke up with a gasp and found herself trembling in her bedroom. She now remembered her dream vividly and realized why she had been having it. The man with the green eyes was right, she had to prevent that horrible future from ever coming true, which meant she and her friends had to stop Ambrose.