Witch Trial, 2024

Chapter Three

If you haven’t read chapters  one and two of this story, start HERE!


I’m pretty sure I had made Lily cry for the first time in a while at that moment.

I hadn’t meant to, but I guess the memories that I showed her had pushed her over the edge because I came out of it to feel her clinging to me, her head on my (now slightly wet) shoulder. I had stopped because she knew the rest. She thanked me for something, but I’m not entirely sure what for. I was struggling to handle the memories as well, but at least I know that they’re still there. It’s what I need to take down the people I once supported.

When I woke up in the hospital, five years ago, I was covered in burns and bruises from the misfire. Among the pain, with Lily standing over my bed, I made a vow that I would undo the damage I had caused. I wasn’t sure how or when, I just knew I was going to. But that’s another story for another time. Back to the present. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past five years, it’s to try not to dwell in the past. There’s too much stuff back there that I don’t want to relive. 

“Now you know,” I said, finally.

“I had no idea,” cried Lily, still recovering from the trauma that was mine. There was one thing that came to my mind at that moment, however.

“The last man that I tried to kill,” I recalled, “I need to find him.”


“He has the answers I need.” It was a horrible explanation, but I wasn’t quite sure how to put my real reasoning into words. I needed his help, and he needed mine. If he was still alive, that is. They could have done any number of things to him after I left. But the council wanted me and him dead, and we both wanted the council gone.

“Rachel, are you insane?” Lily asked, walking alongside me. “You really think the guy you tried to kill is gonna help you?”

“He doesn’t need to know that I was that girl that day,” I responded flatly. “I need his help.”

“Listen here,” she retaliated, “He’s gonna recognize you, and he’s not gonna be too happy to see you.”

“And what if he isn’t?”

“Then he’ll be without help to get what he wants, and I won’t be able to stay out of prison.”

She sighed, defeated. She could tell that this was our only choice.

“Don’t try anything crazy,” she said.

“I won’t,” I promised.

Little did she know, I had already tried something crazy.

I had contacted him a week prior to this.

I knew exactly where he was.

Alvin Cruz looked exactly like what he wanted to be. He was a stout old American who was trying to set up shop here in downtown London, and he was older than I remembered him being. Most of the locals already knew him, and understandably so. When I had attempted to shoot him, he had been running for a position in the Council’s ranks. If he hadn’t been intimidated out of his campaign, he would have had the opportunity to become the first non-Wizard to be a Council member. I was hoping to convince him to help us, but I had no idea if it would work.

“Excuse me,” I murmured to him. Despite his looks, the ideas of what he might be capable of intimidated me. He radiated an aura of power, despite being powerless in his old age.

“Hm? Ah, hello there! Ruby, was it?” His instant kindness surprised me, despite the fact that I was, to him, an almost complete stranger. If he knew that I had tried to kill him, he would have been a lot less friendly.

“Yes, hi,” I replied, still struggling to warm up to him. “I need your help with something.”

“He knows you,” Lily’s mind-voice warned me as she started to read his mind. “Be careful.”

“Yes, because I discussed this meeting with him in advance,” I explained. “Slightly different context to it now, but he’s still relevant.”

“You two already discussed this?” She tried to keep her cool, but the look she shot me gave it away. She was mad, and under any other circumstances, it would have been funny. “You didn’t tell me?”

“So, Ruby,” Mr. Cruz interrupted. “You wanted to discuss something, did you not?”

“Yes, sir,” I confirmed, as Lily shot me a glare that said things I would rather not describe.

“Then have a seat!” he laughed as he sat down with his morning coffee. Lily and I, struggling to get used to his attitude, followed suit.

“He wants to know what you want,” Lily told me, continuing her mind-reading. “Like, genuinely.”

“That’s a first,” I replied, surprised. Most people would want me dead, my face was all over the Wanted posters in town for a while after I resigned.

“I need your help,” I told him. “And if what I’ve heard about you is true, you need my help too.”

“And what have you heard about me?”

“You want the Council of Wizards dissolved, and the Union reformed for a return to democracy,” I said, starting to use telepathy, out of sudden fear of surveillance. Or was that a mental nag from Lily? Either way, he leaned forward at this information. He was interested.

“And where did you get this information, Sorceress?” He asked. Whoops. My cover is blown.

“I would rather not say, to protect my associates,” I lied. “But I want the exact same thing you want. My family members were personally attacked by the Council, on several occasions. I want our oppressors to be punished severely.” He relaxed a bit, according to Lily’s calm expression next to me.

“Very well then,” he said.

I was shocked. Surprisingly, Lily wasn’t surprised at all. How did he, a man with no record of having any magical capabilities, just use telepathy?

“It’s because telepathy isn’t in the blood,” Lily explained, “it’s in the mind. seventeen years, and you haven’t learned that?”

“I guess not,” I replied.

“I take it that it’s news to you that telepathy also isn’t linear either,” Mr. Cruz informed us with a smirk. “It’s on a network, I can overhear all your messages.”

Some businessman walked past, making it clear that it was creepy for two younger women to be locking eyes with an elderly politician.

“I guess there’s no point keeping secrets, is there?” I assumed. Lily gave me another look.

“No,” he replied. “Not at all.” I sighed. I guess I have to do this.

“Let me do the talking, Lily,” I said out loud.

“But-” she started, quickly being interrupted by my telling this man what he needed to know.

“Mr. Cruz-”

“Call me Alvin, please.”

“Fine. Alvin, we need your help. My name is Rachel McClellan, and this,” – I gestured towards Lily – “is my older sister, Lily. We are former Apprentices of a Sorceress by the name of Isabella Sakura. When Miss Sakura passed away by unknown causes, she left her staff for us, specifically labeled in her will. Two weeks later, it was seized for no real reason. I went to reclaim it, and was accused of stealing it, despite it being ours in the first place.”

“Sir,” Lily explained, “We have a hearing for this exact thing next week. We need all the help we can get. You are the man that we need. We need someone that we can trust to defend us against the Tribunal.”

It was at this moment I realized something. 

This is much more than just a wrongfully seized artifact.

We were about to go up against the regime as a whole.