A/N: This is the sequel to Brave New World. It's not necessary to read it prior to reading this, but it might be helpful backstory wise.
On a very hot July day, the inhabitants of New York City could be found hiding in the cool air-conditioned refuges that were their homes. For anyone who lived without such luxuries, they could be seen taking refuge under a shady tree, or diving into the cool waters of a public pool. The humidity in the air was repressive, but by early evening it was almost bearable.
In one of the many shops nestled in the city's streets, just a few blocks west of Central Park, a dark haired, green eyed sorceress sat behind a counter as she idly flipped through a fashion magazine. The shop itself was skinny, but long enough to accommodate the many shelves and stacks of items she supplied. Towards the front of the shop items such as crystals, love potions, and bewitched jewelry were displayed for the common passersby while the back contained heavier items. Copies of grimoires were stacked ceiling high, Vampire fangs could be bought by the jarful, and several dried plants meant for potion making could be found farther back.
Reyna, the owner and keeper of The Queen's Court—the name of that specific shop—lived in the two bedroom, one bath apartment on the floor above. It was a very cozy location for the nineteen year old. Since it was just her living there, the size was plenty enough without it feeling too big. Licking the tip of her finger, Reyna flipped to a new page in the magazine. Although it was still hot and muggy outside, Reyna was already looking at particular trends for the fall fashion season. Circling two scarves with piqued interested, she made a mental note to look for similar items on her next shopping spree. Sometimes Reyna wondered if she shopped a bit too much, but would always shrug off the thought quickly by assuring herself that the shop brought in good money. Good enough to cover her living expenses and shopping habits easily.
The small, iron bell above the door rang as a new customer walked into the store. Looking up from her magazine, Reyna took in the group of teenage girls, probably close to around her own age, and blinked at them a few times. The three girls giggled and pointed excitedly at the love potions Reyna had just set out yesterday. Shaking her head with a soft laugh passing through her lips, Reyna returned her attention to her magazine. While determining how much she really wanted a particular necklace in the magazine, the girls finished their glance of the shop and walked up to Reyna with shy smiles and blushing cheeks.
"Is this everything?" She asked them cheerfully. They'd each grabbed a bottle of Reyna's love potion along with a handful of Chrysoberyl and two bottles of Blue Lace Agate. Once the girls chirped that this was indeed everything, Reyna carefully and packaged the items with tissue paper and then placed everything gently into a paper bag. Before giving the items over to the girls, Reyna grabbed three pamphlets she kept in one of the drawers and handed them to the girls. "Here," she said, "These explain everything about love potions and how to properly use them." The girls took the pamphlets and items gratefully, then paid the forty-seven dollars and twenty-six cents for their purchase and left.
Humming a popular song under her breath, Reyna walked around the long desk and went to check the inventory of the crystals and potions. Nodding her head once she saw that everything was still adequately supplied, she heard the bell ring again and turned around to greet her new customer. "Hello, is there anything I can help you with?" She asked the elderly woman who'd just walked in. The lady was tiny, but would be taller if she stood up straight. Reyna wondered if she was here because of her back. She probably had a balm around here somewhere that could help with the tension in her muscles.
"Oh, no thank you, dear." She replied, almost embarrassed. The woman's hair was cut short and was entirely white from age, and even though it had cooled down a bit, Reyna didn't think it was cool enough for the woman to be wearing a sweater and pants. Shrugging it off as just one of those old people things, Reyna returned to her post behind the cash register and her attention was immediately caught by a black leather jacket that was very minimalist and almost resembled a cardigan.
After confirming that the item was faux-leather she made a sound of approval under her breath vigorously circled the article of clothing. The bell rang again and before she could look up to greet the customer, an angry caw and a pathetic squeak of surprise sounded from the doorway. A large, glossy black crow landed in front of her on top of the cash register and tilted his head to the side before cawing loudly a second time.
"Oh, what the fuck?" The man who'd squeaked just a moment ago cursed loudly. He was young, relatively attractive with honey brown hair parted neatly and wore smart, square glasses. He was dressed impeccably in a suit that made Reyna feel hot. "Is that thing yours?" He asked when he saw Reyna scratching the bird's head with an amused smirk on her face. Without waiting for a response, he continued, "You should have that thing's wings clipped! Did you see what it just did?"
"Hmm, not really," Reyna thought, "I mostly heard it. Or, well, I heard you." She added, continuing to lovingly scratch the bird's head.
"It's a menace!" The man screeched this time, making both Reyna and the bird flinch.
Moving the crow to her shoulder with a sigh, Reyna stretched her arm across the table and looked the man dead in the eye, "Sir, is there anything I can help you with? Besides the bird?"
He stared at Reyna for half a second before feeling the pressure of her magic crackling around him. Gulping, he shifted his gaze and slapped a piece of paper on the table. "I was sent to pick this up for my boss. It's a special order."
"Oh, yeah, the Orion ring," Reyna mumbled after reading the piece of paper before her. It was a pink receipt slip with today's date stamped in the corner, letting the buyer know when the item would be ready for pick up. Bending down and opening one of the wooden panels, Reyna reached for a small black safe. The safe didn't look like any other safe, though. It had no dial or key pad or any other obvious ways for it to open. This type for safe had to be opened by the magical signature of the person who owned it. Placing her hand flat against the door of the safe, she pushed some of her magic into it and waited for the door to pop open with a soft hiss. After rummaging around for a few seconds, Reyna found the matching receipt tapped to a small, red velvet box.
Popping back up to stare at the man, Reyna opened the box and presented the ring to him. "Don't know who your boss is or why they wanted this, but let me just tell you it was a bitch to get." The band of the ring was bronze and delicate, with tendrils stretching away from the main band before curling back in. The piece de resistance, though, was the large stone at its center. The base of the stone was black, but the longer you looked into it, the deeper into space you could see. In this particular stone's case, you could see the entirety of Orion's belt.
The man picked up the box with the ring inside and tilted it to see several different angles of the item. "I thought you were supposed to be able to see the entire constellation? All I can see is a few stars and some pink, glowy thing."
Grabbing the box out of his hand, Reyna waved her hand over the stone. It glowed white for a moment and then the stars shot out and arranged themselves in the confines of her shop. "Just add some magic," she explained to the now open mouthed man. After checking the status of the payment for the item, Reyna closed to box to cover the ring, which cut off the lights. "Looks like your employer only paid for half so far. It'll be another fifteen-hundred."
"Oh, right, yes, yes," He said with a shake of his head. Pulling his wallet out of the front pocket of his coat, which still made Reyna hot just thinking about wearing it, he handed her a credit card. Once the man signed for the item on the receipt and had the item in hand, he exited the shop.
"Have a nice day!" She called after him. Humming again, Reyna convinced the crow to hop off her shoulder. Rubbing her pinky finger into his chest, she cooed, "Who was being a naughty boy? You were, yes you were." Patting his head, she continued, "That's my Poe. I'm surprised you didn't poop on his head, actually."
Poe cawed at her, not appreciating the critique, before flapping his wings a few times and flying up to his makeshift nest in the circular window above the door. The window was always left open, since it was just big enough for the crow to get through and thus wouldn't be a security problem. The window pane was also made of iron, safeguarding against any meddlesome Fairies that might think to have some fun.
Reyna stared knowingly at her pet, but he ignored her and instead pecked at some of the wire hangers he'd collected for the nest, pretending to reorganize them. Shaking her head, Reyna saw that it was almost six o'clock. Meaning it was almost closing time. Looking over to the old woman who was still meandering the stacks, Reyna walked over and asked, "Miss? I'll have to close up soon. Are you sure there isn't something I could help you with?"
Pursing her lips, the woman seemed to debate mentally about whether or not she should ask or keep quiet. Reyna waited patiently while she decided. Letting out a deep sigh, so deep Reyna could feel it in her own lungs, the woman explained, "It's my back . . . and my hands. Oh, my whole body, really. I was wondering if you had anything to help with the pain. It's arthritic pain, if that makes a difference."
"Sure!" Reyna told the woman with a nod of her head. "Stay right here, I should have something closer to the back." With quick, sure steps, Reyna located a large bottle of lotion and grabbed it from its spot on the shelf. The lotion contained some natural remedies such as aloe, mustard seed, myrrh, and cedar-wood oil. What really made it special, though, was that it was blessed by Elves. A community in upstate New York offered her the concoction as payment for returning a stolen heirloom.
Returning to the woman, Reyna handed her the bottle with a proud smile on her face. "Here you go! Just apply this lotion to the affected areas twice a day and within three days you should feel a difference. There shouldn't be any side effects, but if there are they won't be serious."
"What sort of side effects?" Her eyes narrowed as she looked at the bottle with suspicion.
"Like I said, nothing serious, but who knows, you could be allergic to one of the ingredients and develop a rash." Reyna shrugged, thinking she should invest in making ingredient labels for some of her items. "If that happens, just come back and I'll give you something to counter it—free of charge."
The woman hummed, but said nothing more as she paid and left. She stopped in the door way, though, and before she left completely gave Reyna a small, grateful smile. Smiling back broadly, Reyna watched the older woman walk down the street and out of her sight. Sighing contently, she began the process of closing up by locking the front door, shutting the blinds, and casting a protective, security spell over the shop.
By the time she finished and headed up to her apartment, it was almost six-thirty. As quick as she could, Reyna took a shower and changed into a loose fitting, white tank top and a pair of dark short shorts. Magically drying her hair while she pulled on some sandals, Reyna brushed her bangs out of her face impatiently. Spinning around in a circle, trying to locate her items, Reyna picked up her purse and checked that all necessary items; I.D, some cash, and keys. All set. Somewhere in her room her phone rang. Cursing under her breath, Reyna summoned the iPhone and looked at who was calling. Jared's flashed on the screen so she swiped the green circled to the right. "I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Jared snorted on the other side of the line, "Well you better hurry or you'll miss the first fight! It's a good one, too!"
"Who is it?" She pulled her apartment door shut behind her and with a careless flick of her hand, forced the locks into place.
"Ulrich and Frost!" He yelled over the now roaring background noise.
"What? Will said they weren't fighting 'til later! Ugh! Okay, I'm on my way now. See you in fifteen!" Taking that as a goodbye, Jared hung up and Reyna shoved the phone into her purse and quickened her pace down the busy streets. Pulling her hair up into a high ponytail, Reyna hoped she'd at least be able to catch the end of the fight between two Werewolves, but she knew it'd take a miracle considering what happened the last time those two fought.
A/N: Here it is! The first chapter of the sequel! To everyone who followed the first story and followed me along with journey: Loveeee you!
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and please let me know what you thought.
I'm thinking the next chapter will be up as early as Friday or maybe as late as Sunday. Definitely no later than next Wednesday, but that would just be if I got hella lazy.