Chapter 2

A helping hand

The young girl yawned, a little too loud for Johnny. The little kid with brown hair stared at her with a disgusted pout, while the magician quickly finished his eggs. Miss Mimi was sleepy, but at least, she was eating... The kid was sure she wouldn't touch the fork with her pinkie as it wouldn't be worthy of her. But he was wrong, she sat next to her colleague and was eating her breakfast calmly, without any objection. However, he thought it was because she was sleepy ― he was sure that she would skip dinner, probably saying that she was on diet. Would she be able to do so with supper? His cuisine was excellent and he wanted to do some yummy chicken for his mother, tonight...

... for she was sick.

― "Johnny, right?" asked Dimentio, with a good posture, a serious look on his face ― the exact opposite of yesterday, with the others. Even when he went inside the inn with the girl, he had this little sly smile, mocking... but no matter if he was smiling or not, he always had this imposing, firm confidence.

― "Yeah..." answered the kid, a little coldly, as he didn't want to talk with these people. He had no trust for them and didn't like them at all. The most far away he could get from them, the better he would feel ― but he didn't have any choice, he had to make the meals and check them.

The magician smiled, like if he was amused by the kid's cold attitude, while Mimi looked at them, disappointed.

― "Where are your parents?" he asked, and Johnny frowned. Why did he want to know that? "You're running this place alone?"

― "Yeah..." he answered with the same voice, which made the mage laugh. Mimi sighed and he stopped. The kid looked down to his plate, cursing them in his mind.

― "You must feel lonely, no?" asked Miss Mimi, with a compassionate voice, which made the kid feel sick. Ew... He totally didn't need their compassion!

― "No." he replied dryly, wanting to put an end to this conversation ― no, run away. He didn't want to spy on them, to stay with them. Mimi pouted, probably offended that he replied to her like that ― well she deserved it!

― "I haven't seen your mother; where is she?" asked Dimentio, ignoring his attitude. He froze; no... he didn't want to talk about her.

― "She..." He didn't know what to tell them, however. He couldn't tell them that she was sick, chained to her bed, he didn't want their pity, but what could he say instead? "Why do you want to know that!?" he asked furiously, irritated by all these questions. He only wanted to be left alone! (And see his mother...)

― "I would love it if she could see my show, of course..." smiled Dimentio, with a satisfied, haughty look, and Johnny pushed his chair to leave the room. He closed himself in his mother's room, then listened in the other room to the pair of illusionists.

― "... You really had to push him like that?" asked the little miss, angry.

― "Yes." answered honestly her colleague.

― "Urh! You're impossible!"

― "Ah." replied the magician, indifferent. There was a slapping sound, then it was all quiet. Johnny was about to open the door, as he couldn't see through the keyhole, with the key in it, but someone pushed its chair. No step sound. The magician was floating? Where was he going? Why she wasn't following him? Or could she float too? He opened the door, too curious, then yelled; the magician was just in front of him, his face at his level. He slammed the door, scared, and the magician laughed.

― "Dimentio you doofus! Why did you have to do that!?" screamed Mimi, and after a while, the young man calmed down.

― "Oh, for fun."

― "Humph!" did the young girl before getting upstairs, Dimentio still laughing as he followed her. Johnny sighed, still shaking from fear. He realized then that his mother was staring at him, and that Dimentio almost found her. His lips began to shake and he started to sob; he hated his life...

― "Good morning!" said the magician happily, and the villagers ignored him. Everyone was busy with their little job, working the earth, taking care of the animals, feeding them. Some, specialized in other manual occupations, were working near the fields, helping the farmers if needed. No one paid any attention to the illusionists. They didn't care for them at all. They were so fishy, so weird, true aliens to their eyes, coming from nowhere and not welcomed here. They hoped that if they ignored them, they would leave the place.

― "Where the mayor? We didn't pay." yelled the young man, seeking people's attention, and some dared to look at him. What? They still haven't paid? Damn, they would have to stand them all day long... This couple was playing all honest, saying that they wanted to be just and pay, but they perfectly knew that the moment they would thank them for their staying, they would flee. Some pathetic excuses to stay here!

The mage sighed, realizing that no one would answer him. He looked at his girl, who had her arms crossed, like if she was disappointed by his incompetence, but he laughed. People stopped in their work; what was so funny? A little group formed around them, some insulted by his laughter, some just curious. They realized after a while that their strategy failed; he just got their attention there.

― "Good day, ladies and gentlemen!" laughed the magician after he had enough people around him. "How are you in this good morning?" No answer. "You're probably asking yourself what we're doing here, hum? Well, we don't even know! But we do know that we want to help you!" This time, it was the villagers that started to laugh.

― "You, help us? You wouldn't be able to stand the sight of a cow!" laughed a good woman in her late thirties, making fun of them.

― "Indeed, we can't do the slightest thing with animals!" agreed the magician, still as smiling. "But... you couldn't probably refuse a helping hand, there, eh?" he asked with a little smug smile. The villagers stared at each other, unsure. Sure... All kind of help is welcomed, but... what kind of help?

The windmill's owner stepped in front of the little magician, arms crossed, still suspecting him. His red moustache was almost rolling from despising the little brat ― the magician couldn't even reach his elbows. He showed his muscles, making himself look scary and the young girl with green hair took the arm of her friend, hiding behind him.

― "You think you could help me with my mill?" he grumbled with a greasy voice and the girl looked at the little brat with a worried look. The young man smiled, hands in his back. He puffed and panted, waiting for the minus' answer.

― "The building up there?" asked the masked man, pointing at a little tower on a top of a hill, a little farther away from the village. The redhead grumbled.

― "Maybe." He didn't really wanted to make it easy for him.

― "Yes, of course, no problem!" the illusionist said happily, and the air around him and the girl, still hiding behind him, became wavy. The villagers whispered their surprise and fear, as the waves became stronger and, with a flash, the couple disappeared, leaving them alone. They panicked as they never saw something like this before, though some, having a strong mind, reminded calm. The owner ran toward his mill, worried but not impressed by this magic. He was sure that these two idiots were going to put fire in his precious building, but when he saw the sails turn, he froze. Stupefied.

He fell to his knees and his moustache got wet from tears.

― "George, your mill, it's working!" said his wife who ran after him. "They repaired it!"

His eyes widened; damn, they did it...!

There was a little sound and Miss Mimi whined. "I'm hungry..." she cried.

― "You only had to eat back―"

― "I saw his fingers in his nose!"

― "So what?" asked Dimentio, trying to not laugh. The young girl stared at him, disgusted, then turned her back to him. He rolled his eyes, leaning his chin on his hand.

― "You'll see, kid, girls are crazy!" said the mage to Johnny, laughing. The kid shrugged and placed the plates on the table. Like he guessed, she skipped dinner... but he could understand her choice. The food from the tavern wasn't really... pretty ― it was the only nice word he could think of. How Dimentio ate that, he had no idea. It was so awful! Poor them... but poor him too; they won the villagers' trust.

By repairing the windmill ― the magician didn't want to say how he did that ― the villagers threw themselves at their feet, with some exceptions, ready to do anything the illusionists wanted. "They saved our lives!" they would say... that was exaggerated, now. The mill broke only two weeks ago and they didn't need it at the moment. Of course, next month, it would have been another story, but no one would die from that... They would just have to work harder. It wasn't like George took care of his mill! He could grind instead of taking care of his moustache! Anyway, the villagers took the couple to the tavern to eat in gang, getting drunk all day long ― in other words, they just lost their day.

― "Well, that was fast..." sighed Dimentio, losing his smile, looking away.

― "You're sick? You look like you're gonna throw up. I told you to not eat their―"

― "Mimi, I'm not stupid, you really think I would eat that?"

Ah, these illusionists... they made an illusion that they were eating! Well, him, not the Miss... Johnny never saw her do some magic. Was she really a magician?

― "What? How dare you to order me to eat―"

― "But Mimi, the orange that―"

― "Urgh, Dimentio, you know that I hate oranges!"

― "Orange? What's that?" asked Johnny, putting an end to their fight. They stared at him, like if the answer was obvious. Dimentio sighed, snapped his fingers and a huge orange ball appeared next to the kid's chicken.

― "Gaah!" yelled the kid out of surprise, almost falling from his chair.

― "Hum? Oh, you dummy, it's just a fruit!" laughed the young girl and he glared at her. He looked back at the orange, with a rough texture. That was a fruit...? You could eat this?

The young man sighed, took his knife and the fruit and cut it in half; some juice ran down on the table, but the kid didn't notice that. He was fascinated by this "orange". He looked at the two strangers, like if they had to give him the permission to take the fruit, then put his lips on the pulp, sucking the juice from a half. It was a little sour, but as sweet as strawberries. It was even better than Rosa's apples! This... was the best fruit he had ever tasted!

He glanced at Dimentio, who was removing the skin of the fruit. He separated the orange into quarters, then ate them one by one. However, he kept two quarters, squeezing one over his chicken and giving the second to his friend, who did the same. Johnny looked at his half, discouraged by the thick white skin he couldn't remove. Seeing that he had some difficulties, Miss Mimi took it and did it for him.

― "Your parents still aren't here..." sighed the young man, placing his hair back. Johnny lowered his head; that again... Why did he want to know that badly where they were? Though in the same time, he could just tell them, it wouldn't change anything. They were already pitying him to run the place all alone!

― "Your cooking is a-we-so-me!" said Miss Mimi, ignoring what Dimentio just said. "Where did you learn to do this?"

― "Oh, come on, you can't even cook some pas―"

― "Oh, and Mister is better, maybe? His chicken is way much better than your―"

― "You should know that my speciality is―"

― "I'm pretty sure his desserts are way much better than yours!"

― "Dessert?" asked Johnny. Miss Mimi looked shocked. "Erm... I can make some if you want one..."

― "No, it's alright." said Dimentio without looking at him. "I'm surprised that such a young kid as you doesn't gorge on sweets all day when your parents are never home."

― "You ate too much and you got sick, I suppose?" said Mimi while faking Dimentio's voice. He stared at her, looking like he was about to reply.

― "Ah, Mimikins, you took the words right out of my mouth!" he laughed.

Johnny looked at them, unsure if he should say something or not. When Miss Mimi replied to something and Dimentio did the same, taking her voice, and got back in some silly fight, he guessed that he should just finish eating. The couple ignored him when he got up and took the empty plates, taking his quarters of orange, then brought a plate to his mother.

― "Can't live without your diary, huh?" said Dimentio on the bed, his back on the pillows, reading some book ― Johnny couldn't see what it was... and he didn't know how to read anyway. Mimi was on the other way, a opened book in front of her, a pen between her lips.

― "It's not the same."

― "Oh?"

― "Yeah."

Silence. Johnny brought his face near the crack, like if that would make Miss Mimi talk more. Dimentio too, apparently, wanted to know more about that diary, because he was staring at the young girl. She wrote something, then looked at him.

― "Hey, we haven't seen the mayor all day!"

― "Mimi, what's that diary?" asked Dimentio, closing his book, ignoring what she just said. She turned around and sat on the bed, now all happy and terribly childish ― now that he thought about it, that was what Johnny didn't like about her : she was immature.

― "This is a log book! We can write anything we want about our trip here!"

― "We?"

― "Yes, we!" she frowned. "Both of us have to write in it!"

― "Why me?" he asked, and as an answer, he got the book in his face. Miss Mimi crossed her arms, pouting, then got out of the bed. She put her boots, tied her long hair in two tails then went to the door.

― "Where are you going Mimi?" asked Dimentio as he opened the book.

― "Far away from you!" she yelled before leaving. The magician sighed, read what she wrote, then did the same after forming a pen in his hand. Johnny laid his head on his arms, a little tired. He didn't really wanted to watch him write or read... and he couldn't just follow Miss Mimi, with all the wolves outside...

The wolves!

He fell down of the ladder, freaking out, hoping that the young girl was still inside. He hurt himself against some tools, getting some cuts but he ignored the pain; he had to stop her! He came out from the hole and rush to the front door.

― "Miss Mimi!" he yelled, desperate, but froze when he saw her, her back on the door, hands and legs covered with blood, eyes wide open but the face emotionless. She had her hands in fists on her heart, but wasn't moving. She didn't reacted when the little boy touched her, almost crying.

― "Miss... Miss Mimi!" he whined, scared, but she did nothing. She was covered with blood... but she didn't look hurt. What happened? Did she see... a wolf?

Just as he thought of them, a bloody howling surprised him and something smashed on the door, pushing Mimi on the floor. Johnny panicked: the door wasn't locked! They could enter in! He pushed against the door, trying to lock it, but the key, which was suppose to be in the keyhole, had fell on the floor. Probably because of the bashing... He tried to pick it with his foot, but the hits on the door was too hard for him: he fell on the floor. The door was about to open, to his horror. He froze : his 9 year old body was no match against these creatures...

But then, as he thought that all hope was lost, the door was firmly closed. He didn't dare to look up, too scared, but when he saw the black and white glove picking the key, he understood that Dimentio just saved him.

He cried. The magician took his chin, forcing the little boy to look at him.

― "You, you will tell me everything you know." he whispered, dangerously serious, and Johnny lost all will.