Summery: Shortly after the defeat of Morgana non magical civilians begin to see magical creatures. Balthazar suspects something is wrong with the Veil. The thing that keeps the magical world invisible, and soon learns it's a lot worse then he thought.
Disclaimer: All Publicly Recognizable Characters, Settings, Ideas, etc. are the Property of Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. The Original Characters and Plot are the Property of the Author. The Author is in no way Associated with the Owners, Creators, or Producers of Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. No Copyright Infringement is intended.
'Why? Why did it have to be the sewers?' wondered Dave as he dodged another blow. He'd love to throw a plasma bolt at the ogre but that would take too much magic and his 'master' had been very specific, no magic except for very small spells. Often times a sorcerer has to conserve power so Dave had to learn to fight an ogre using little to no magic. Made sense really, he had been drained after the fight with Morgana and if Horvath had decided to take another shot at the group, he doubted he would have stood a chance.
Seriously though, fighting an ogre in the sewers? Come on, so what if the thing had eaten a few pets? But Balthazar was worried it would move onto children, so here Dave was, combat training.
"You're doing great Dave!" shouted Balthazar from his perch on a walkway a few feet above the combatants. Dave spared him a glance and saw him sipping tea from a thermos.
Tea, how very British. The man could probably take down the thing from his perch while drinking, without spilling a bloody drop.
"Whoa," yelped Dave as he dodged a blow. Once he thought he was safe for the next few seconds he risked a look for the sword Balthazar had given him for the fight. The ogre had knocked it out of his hand after only ten seconds. He spotted the slight gleam of the metal several feet away, too far to reach with the ogre so close. Not taking his eyes off his opponent, he placed his hand on the tunnel wall.
'Note to self: wash hands a couple hundred times when this is over,' he thought as he willed the wall to vibrate and a lose brick came down on the ogre's head. Opponent now distracted, Dave dove for the sword, and swung it just in time to slice the ogre's hand off as the creature reached for him.
It threw its head back, howling in pain.
"Dave, the neck!" shouted Balthazar.
Dave swung the blade for all he was worth. His attack resembled a baseball swing more then a warrior's killing blow, but it sliced through the oversized toad like monster's throat quite nicely.
The blue blood gushing out and soaking Dave part however was a far less desirable outcome. At least the apprentice managed to close his eyes before any got in them.
Dave wiped blood away from his mouth and around eyes. Well some off it, the task was made difficult by the blood coating his hands and sleeves. "So let me get this straight. I'll run out of magic but still somehow manage to find a sword?" He asked hefting the blade still in his grip as he looked up at his smirking mentor.
"It was a lead pipe, basic transformation spell," said Balthazar as he started making his way down to his apprentice.
"Does that qualify as a small spell?"
"For something the size of a sword and not making any changes to its mass or molecular structure? Yes. We'll be going over it tomorrow in the meantime you should have just enough time to wash up before your date."
One hot shower, a change of clothes and a quick jog to the subway later and Dave, was waving his hands trying to get Becky's attention from where she stood outside the café near campus waiting for him.
"Hey Dave!" waved Becky in return.
Dave sprinted over to her. "Hey Becky." He took a moment to just look at her beautiful blue eyes, and her heart shaped of her face, she was without a doubt the most beautiful women he'd ever seen. In more ways then one.
"Earth to Dave."
"Oh, yeah, umm, we'd better get going."
"Where are we going?"
"Somewhere we're not supposed to," he took his hand in hers. "Come one, we need to hurry if we're going to catch the next train.
A couple subway train rides, and some walking later, the pair were standing outside a building, near some stairs that lead to the lower levels. Dave darted down said steps two at a time. He glanced over his shoulder partly to make sure Becky was still with him but mostly to make sure no one was watching. He checked his watch, 4:21, they had enough time, barely.
"Carnegie Hall?" asked Becky.
"You're not the only person I tutor, another student of mine is a janitor here and he owes me a favour." He magicked the lock open. "Don't tell Balthazar."
Dave led Becky through the hallways of Carnegie Hall. They had to duck into a closet at one point to avoid a guy with a tuba, but otherwise encountered no trouble while making their way to one of the emergency exits at the back. It afforded them a good view of the stage but no one could see them, according to Dave's student.
"What if we get caught?"
"Invisibility spell. They're starting." Down below the players spend a few moments checking the sound of their instruments, and began to play. Even to Dave's untrained ear the music sounded beautiful, but he didn't pay it the attention it deserved. He spent most of the date staring at Becky's face, with that beautiful smile of hers.
Dave was walking on air as he made his way up the steps to his and Bennet's apartment hours later. It was then he noticed the sock on the doorknob, which was Bennet code for 'I have a girl over, we want to be alone'. "Lab it is," sighed the apprentice as he headed back down the stairs.
"Balthazar? Veronica? Anybody home? No? Great." Balthazar had found a two story building a couple weeks ago, the first floor was been set up as a shop and the second floor a living area. What time he didn't spend training Dave, or relaxing with Veronica was spend moving his things into his new store. Veronica divided her time between helping him move, studying modern technology, and of course relaxing with her fiancée. Once things were settled with the store, the couple planned to marry. So, Dave hadn't really expected to find either of them here. Still, best to be sure; he didn't want to walk in on anything. He made his way over to the couch and made himself as comfortable as he could. It wasn't that bad really, he had a blanket and pillow, no pj's though. He set his watch alarm so he wouldn't be late for class and closed his eyes.
Dave ran through the door, just as the class clock struck 8:30. He was safe. Professor Brennan raised her eyebrow at his interruptive entry. He might have got through the door but class had begun and he had yet to take a seat.
Dave found the closet chair and took out a note book, eager for class to start so Professor Brennan would stop giving him 'the look' which, though fairly scary to anyone whose grades she had power over was still nothing compared to Balthazar's 'looks' of disapproval.
It was half an hour later he glanced around the room and noticed a guy a few seats down looking up. Curious, Dave followed suit and saw a pixie. While not unusual in itself. Pixies had a habit of wandering through the veil, they never stayed long just pulled a few harmless pranks, unless you ticked them off – Then the pranks tended to become lethal. What was surprising was that a classmate could see it. He glanced at the guy's hand, no ring. 'Could be he has a necklace under his shirt," thought Dave 'wait he isn't the only one. Two, four, seven… no, eight! Eight people are watching the pixie.'
Okay that was not supposed to happen. Dave turned to the professor, just in time to see her bring her gaze from the ceiling back down to a few of the students looking up, she was glaring. He doubted she could see the pixie. He was already on her hit list but he thought eight fellow non-magical students being able to see pixies classified as an emergency. Besides, he already knew this stuff, it was Engineering Physics III after all, and Brennan had given him an 'A' on the midterm so she wasn't likely going to flunk him. Dave hesitated indecisively for a few moments before packing his things back into his backpack. Affixing an apologetic look on his face and making sure to avoid making eye contact with the Brennan he exited the room. Pulling his cell phone from his back pocket to call Balthazar's cell he hurried down the hallway to the nearest exit. He had just reached the exited when the call was answered.
"Shouldn't you be in class?"
"I was, until I noticed a pixie."
"Ignore it, probably just wants to knock over the professor's pencil case."
"Eight other students noticed it."
There was a brief pause. "That's not possible."
"Apparently it is."
"You sure that's what the other students were looking at?"
"It's not exactly the most interesting ceiling, Balthazar."
"Okay, meet me at the storage center as soon as you can."
The storage center was where the city stored items that belonged to people who died or disappeared before they were claimed by relatives. Half of the Arcana Cabana was still there. Law said they had to be kept for ten years in the event of disappearances, seven to declare the person dead, three for someone to come forward and claim the estate course some unscrupulous people who worked at the place sometimes sold items which was how the urn had ended up on the fiftieth floor of an apartment building. Thankfully most of the store had remained intact.
He glanced at the clock as he entered 9:50, he went straight to the man at the desk of the lobby. "Name's Dave Stutler I've been here a few times helping Balthazar Blake pick up his things."
The man check his computer, "Ah yes the nephew. You know the way?"
"Alright," he waved indicating to the large guard that Dave was clear to enter.
Dave walked quickly, through the halls and down steps then pushed the metal bar on the door of the room he wanted and walked in to see Balthazar, kneeling on the floor rooting through a box of books. His trench coat and hat were on another box that rested on a chair. The room was as disarrayed as he remembered from his last visit, which was odd considering how many things he and Balthazar had moved out that day. There were huge metal shelves lining the wall, they were cluttered with spears, swords, bones from strange animals and various other things Dave didn't really want to name. Honestly the room reminded him of the Arcana Cabana the first time he had seen it, cluttered with no attempt at organization.
"What are we looking for?" asked Dave as he approached his master.
"A book," replied Balthazar, not bothering to look up.
"Well that's specific."
"Old, green, eleven by fourteen inches, titled 'Magic of the Veil'. It should be in one of these boxes."
"Um Balthazar, there are like a hundred boxes."
"Oh, there's lot more then that Dave, and some of the boxes are buried. We'll be here awhile. Let's get started."
At six minutes past three in the morning, Dave let out a triumphant cry. "I got it! Can I go to bed now?"
"I'll drive you home," replied Balthazar after a moments' hesitation. After all, only one of them could go through the book at a time— there was no point in keeping his apprentice up. Besides, Dave was next to useless when he was tired, and he had class tomorrow.
"You should rest," a feminine voice said over Balthazar's head as fingers began kneading muscles tense from behind hunched over old manuscripts for three hours.
Balthazar leaned back in his chair and into Veronica's massaging hands. "Work to be done."
"I'll work, you rest."
"You already spend hours going through the boxes of books here while me and Dave were at the storage place, you need rest just as much as I do," replied Balthazar.
"I've had plenty of rest the past few weeks and there were only forty-four boxes of books in the shop to go through, it didn't take long."
"Alright, but just for a couple of hours. Wake me if you find anything interesting."
Balthazar smelled eggs, and bacon, hmm bacon… Wait, who was cooking? Veronica didn't know how to operate the stove, did she? He bolted up and out of bed.
"You're cooking," he said by way of greeting from the doorway of the kitchen.
"You didn't think Becky was only teaching me about computers, cars and TV did you?"
"What time is it?" he asked taking a seat at the table.
"Just past eleven, and before you ask, yes, I found something interesting. The veil was a project undertaken by both fae and sorcerers. The fae Maltheneis was one of the people in charge. He's in Britain, but one of his students is in New York. He's a professor of botany at New York University. After Dave is finished with class you two should pay him a visit," she placed a very good smelling plate in front of him he looked up at her.
"How did I manage without you?"
"With luck we'll never find out again."
Dave let out another yawn as he made his way to the subway. Grateful to be out in the fresh air at last, well as fresh as New York air could be.
Classes had been okay. The parts that he had been awake enough to focus on had been interesting. At least he hadn't outright fallen asleep again. There hadn't been any pixies in class. Dave wondered if yesterday had been some fluke. He knew it wasn't uncommon for small fae like pixies, or brownies to slip through the veil. In order to cross the fae had to be, 'A' too weak for the veil's defences to bother with it, 'B' a mid-level fae in the company of, or assistance of, another magical being or object or 'C' really scary powerful. So magical creatures turning up was by no means uncommon. However civilians like Dave's classmates being able to see them was weird— The veil worked as a border as well as, well, a veil, obscuring magic from those without any.
The magical world had been hidden for about ten centuries; Balthazar had been there when the veil had been set up, so he knew more about it then most. Why did he need the book then? What was in there that the fifteen hundred year old sorcerer didn't already know? And why hadn't he thought to ask that last night?
He shook his head and tried to focus on what was in front of him, and saw a dark haired woman follow a small fairy into an alley. That could not end well. Dave darted into the alley. The woman had her back to him and the fairy was circling overhead. Dave contemplated his next move when the women woman turned and looked at him grinning.
"So you're the Prime Merlinian," she said cheerfully, a creepy smile across her face, hands in her pocket, completely relaxed as she observed the younger man before her.
Dave was reminded of a cat before it pounced on a defenceless mouse. He could also hear his master voice 'Dave... You should run' he shook his head dispelling the memory. "You know, you've obviously got this pixie thing under control, so I think I'll just go," he stammered, gesturing behind him with his right thumb. He turned and started walking quickly towards the entrance of the alley.
She curled her index finger and Dave felt himself been pulled back. He sighed. No one on the street was looking at him and he thought he saw a shimmer in the air. The woman had erected a snapshot wall. Snapshot walls were often used for privacy by magic users, basically the women had taken a picture of the ally before entering and had erected a wall with that image on it at the entrance way, so Dave couldn't count on anyone interfering. On the bright side he didn't have to hold back either.
He turned and shot a plasma bolt.
The woman expertly dodged. "Now, now is that necessary? I haven't actually done anything to hurt you."
Dave lightly tossed his backpack to the side taking the opportunity to properly observe his opponent. Her straight black hair hung just past her shoulder blades, her eyes were a light, icy green and she wore black jeans and a red leather jacket. "Dragging someone into an ally is generally regarded as hostile," he replied readying another plasma bolt.
"True," she fired a plasma bolt of her own. Dave sent his to meet it. Once the flash was gone his opponent was nowhere to be seen.
"Right behind you."
Dave turned and fell back from a punch to the face. He raised his hands to his bloodied nose. "Ow." He felt himself lifted into the air and thrown against a wall and crumpled. He placed his hands on the ground to force himself back up, but the concrete swallowed them.
"Oh man," moaned Dave as he tried to extract his hands.
"Powerful you may be, but you're still inexperienced. You got lucky with Morgana."
"He also had a good teacher," announced a familiar voice from the alleyway entrance.
Dave and the women turned to see Balthazar. Well, the women tried to turn. Balthazar sent her flying into a dumpster before she got halfway through the gesture.
"Remind me to up your combat training Dave."
Dave moaned and hung his head, not looking forward to the inevitable training sessions.
"Now, what do you want with my apprentice?" asked Balthazar, readying a plasma bolt. Dave could feel its power from his seat on the ground. If the women was hit with it, she wouldn't be getting up. Dave finally realized that he could pull his hands free from the concrete, a task made much easier now that the woman was no longer focused on him.
"Now, now, Balthazar that would be telling. You'll have to excuse me. I got places to go, things to do. Bye."
There was a flash of light and the woman was gone. Balthazar turned to Dave. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah I'm fine," assured Dave, dusting himself off and grabbing his book-bag. "Thanks for the save. What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you. Come on, there's someone we have to see."
The next update will be on Nov 10 before noon Pacific time. And pretty much every Wed before noon until further notice.
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