The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Thirteen)
Panic ensued when everyone saw the burning book. People had fled in all directions while alarm bells rang. When April, in her surprise, dropped the literally fiery book, I pulled her back and tried to stifle the flames by stomping on it. I really shouldn't have done that, because the next thing I knew, my pants caught on fire too. I quickly dropped down and rolled on the floor to get rid of the flames. I definitely did not scream my head off while running around like a headless chicken.
Then Simon showed up wondering what the fuss was all about. He didn't ask for explanations, thankfully, and recited a quick spell. I found myself rolling into the deep end of a swimming pool. The notebook that Mrs. Pembrooke gave me drifted down the water with me.
I managed to swim back up to the surface, taking in a deep, long gasp of air once my head broke out of the water, before wading towards the edge of the pool where Simon and April had stepped out of some kind of glowing magic circle floating in the air.
"That was a close one," Simon said, wiping sweat off his brow with his fore arm. April reached down to help me out of the pool. "You're lucky that fire spell only burns non-living things. And you're even luckier that the notebook's indestructible."
"I don't feel lucky," I grumbled as I shook water out of my hair. I was drenched from head to toe. "Wait, did you say the book's indestructible?"
"See for yourself," he said.
It was just as Simon had said. The book was completely unscathed, despite catching on fire and then being drenched in pool water. As soon as I pulled the drifting book out of the pool, I felt dry leather. The pages were dry that it was as if they were left untouched by the water. There weren't even any scorch marks or burn scars from when it had caught fire.
"Can I see?" said April. I handed the book over to her to look at, and wiped pool water off my face.
"Let me help you," Simon said. He flourished his pointer finger and snapped while speaking an incantation. I was hit by a warm gust of air and suddenly I was toasty dry. It felt like my clothes had just got out of dry cleaning, and there was not a speck of pool water on my hair.
Magic can be such a handy thing, I thought. Maybe I should seriously become a magician. It would certainly be better than working some boring desk job.
"By the way, where's Greg?" Simon asked, turning left and right. "Wasn't he with you guys?"
Remembering his attitude today, I scowled at the mention of Greg.
Noticing my scowl, Simon asked "What's wrong?"
After I explained what happened with Greg today, Simon nodded in understanding.
"Ah, I see," he said. "Yeah, I'm not surprised. Greg's never been comfortable around humans."
"Even though his dad's human?" I asked.
"There are exceptions, but Greg doesn't really have a good opinion about humans and monsters mingling," Simon said.
"What?" went April. "Does he hate humans or something?"
"No, I wouldn't say that," Simon says. "But he is sort of afraid of them in general."
"He's a vampire! A monster! Why would he be afraid of humans?" I scoffed.
Simon sighed. April cast her eyes away from me.
"It's that sort of attitude that'll get you on his bad side," he said. "In case you haven't noticed, about ninety percent of humans don't know or believe that monsters exist. Why do you think that is?"
The memory of that scene I saw at the monster town's library flashed in my mind.
"There was a war," I said.
"Humans and monsters can get along," he said. "But it happens so rarely, even to this day, that Greg can't help but doubt that it's possible. Deep down, I think he wants to be friends with humans, but because of the fear of prejudice against monsters, Greg has a hard time opening up to them."
I really didn't know what to make of all this. I just couldn't find the words to speak up. So I kept quiet and listened.
"It wasn't always like that for Greg, though," said Simon. "He used to be really happy-go-lucky, with not a care in the world like most vampires. I mean, during his villain days, when he was a thief, there was a human that he - !"
"I won't force you to keep quiet Simon, but I really don't like it when people talk about stuff that's my personal business."
Greg stepped out of the shadows, dressed in his barista uniform. He appeared so suddenly that I jumped when he cut in on Simon's story.
Unfazed, Simon smiled apologetically to Greg while rubbing the back of his head.
"Sorry," he said. "Did we keep you waiting?"
Yes," Greg replied. "Delilah was starting to worry that something had happened. She's scouting the place right now. Come on. I don't want to keep the part-timers waiting for the shift change. "
He glanced back at April who turned away, and then left, disappearing into the shadows of the bleachers without another word.
I wanted to ask April what that was about, but I decided not to after seeing the dejected look on her face. I had finally got her to cheer up a little earlier today, so I didn't want to ruin her mood further.
When we went back out into the hallway, everyone was going about their day like it was business as usual. It was as if the fire never even happened. I wondered if Mrs. Pembrooke had something to do with it. She was out there in the hallway, glowering at us as we left. Thankfully, she didn't say anything and let us go.
Outside, under the bold shade of orange-yellow of the setting sun, Delilah and April's mom were waiting. Delilah was in her human form, wearing a dark business pantsuit. Dressed like that, she looked like an FBI agent you'd see in a TV crime drama. April's mom quickly brightened up a bit when we came out, but the stress on her face was hard not to notice. It looked like she and Delilah were having a serious conversation.
"About time you showed up," Delilah said, hands to her hips.
"Sorry about that," I said. "So, found any clues?"
Delilah shrugged her shoulders, put her hands in the air in an exaggerated show of defeat, and shook her head.
"Can't say," she said. "This place reeks of the Eripmav's magic, but that's about all I could find on them. Come on. We should get going. It was nice meeting you, Mrs. Gonzales."
"And I, you," said Mrs. Gonzales. "I know my husband is in good hands with you working the case."
Mrs. Gonzales and April bade us all a good day before Mrs. Gonzales led April to her car. Just before they drove off, however, I noticed something standing on the roof of the car. It was a doll. Not only that, I recognized that doll. It was the one I spotted at the gymnasium when Mrs. Pembrooke was giving me a tour.
As the car began to drive away, the doll seemed to turn its head so its eyes were always on me. A chill went down my spine. It was just creepy the way the doll was staring at me. I hoped I wasn't haunted. And if I was, why was it haunting me?
"Hey, are you okay?" Simon asked, giving me a rough pat on the back.
"Huh? Uh, yeah," I replied. "Hey, here's a weird question, do dolls normally move on their own?"
"I don't think so," Simon said. "Not unless a ghost's possessing it, or something."
I was seriously chilled to the bone.
"You can relax," Delilah said. "That doll's on our side."
"It is?" I said, astonished.
"She is," Delilah corrected me.
The store was closed for the day, and I had already finished all of my homework. Well, all of my normal homework, anyway. So now, I was sitting by myself in a study room Delilah was kind enough to lend me so I could practice casting magic spells. After hearing about the fire spell fiasco that April caused, Delilah spared no effort in making sure that what happened in the room stayed in the room. There were Egyptian glyphs and Norse runes glowing all over the walls. The furniture hummed with magical energy. And I could feel my hair frizzle from how supercharged the room was. I might be a complete newbie when it came to magic, but to me, I thought that Delilah was going overboard.
I tried not to let all the electricity bother me, and started flipping through the notebook for useful spells. Beside me on the desk were strips of paper I had torn to bookmark any spells I thought would be the most useful to me, which was hard for me to do because there were so many spells that looked useful.
After an hour of skimming pages and deep, deep, deep thought, however, I eventually chose three spells that I thought were an absolute must to learn. The first was, of course, a lightning attack spell. The second spell was a levitation, telekinesis spell which I could use to move things with my mind. And finally, I chose a spell that would make me invisible to all creatures that live on the other side of the Veil.
Having decided on what spells to practice, I immediately got to practice, starting with the attack spell. Using the dart board as a target, I spoke the incantation aloud and whipped a bolt of lightning at the dart board. There was an electric sizzle and a loud crack when the lightning struck the side of the board. It wasn't really a direct hit, but you'd expect there to be some kind of scorch mark or something. Instead, the board shimmered and hummed. The light that coursed across the board's surface protected it from the attack.
I'll admit, I was doubtful when I cast the spell. I mean, will just saying the magic words really have an affect? That thought had crossed my mind. But after I made lightning shoot out of my fingertips, I was going like "Awesome!" I think I might have even laughed like a crazy person. This was the first time I've ever cast a real magic spell. There was no feeling like it.
I couldn't help myself and cast the spell over and over again, lashing out at the dart board. With each lightning strike, I was getting closer and closer to the center target. I don't know how long I've practiced the spell casting. But eventually, I stopped. And no, it wasn't because I ran out of energy from using the spell too much. It's . . . well . . . Oh, alright. Here's how it went. The more I cast the spell, the more excited I got. And the more excited I got, the more my concentration slipped, until the spell misfired and struck the ceiling, where it bounced off a lamp, then a mirror, and then hit my behind. There, are you happy now? Don't you dare tell anyone about this!
"Ow!" I cried out. I hopped around, smoke coming out of my rear, until I tripped and hit my head against a cluster of framed pictures hanging off the wall. Some of the pictures fell off and hit the hard floor with hard claps that sent jolts to my heart. For a second, I thought I had broken something. But then I remembered that Delilah had made everything indestructible.
Still, it wouldn't be right to just leave a borrowed room in a mess, so I started to pick the pictures up and put them back on the wall. All of them were newspaper clippings of crimes that Delilah had solved. I remembered that some of those crimes were on the news. So Delilah helped solve normal crimes too, I thought.
I was just about done when I noticed a news clipping that bore the picture of a masked preteen boy, laughing as he fled holding a painting tucked beneath his armpit.
Oh yeah, I thought. There was a lot going on today, what with Greg wiping Reginald's memory, and then April lighting the spell book on fire, and finally me getting dunked into the school's swimming pool. It completely slipped my mind that Greg confessed to that bully of a monster that he was the famous criminal, the self-proclaimed modern Arsene Lupin, the Fancy Bat.
I put the picture back on the wall.
Well, there's no point in thinking about it now. After everything that has happened, my stepbrother being a fancy-pants thief was the least weird thing I've learned. And besides, even if I asked him about it, I doubt he'd give me any answers. He wouldn't even give me the time of day. I decided then to just save that bit for after everything's calmed down.
Once the short cleanup was done, I decided to take a break and give the spell book one more look through. As I flipped through the pages one more time, I noticed one page had a glittery pink mark on it. The half-moon dent that the glittery pink mark traced was the sort of thing that a fingernail would leave behind after pressing super hard against the surface.
Isn't this book supposed to be indestructible or something? I thought as I looked at the mark. Not even fire or pool water could leave a scratch on it. There shouldn't be even a spot on this thing. But more importantly, this glittery pink stuff on it looked familiar. Where have I seen it before? A light bulb lit above my head. Didn't April's fingernails glitter? Then this mark was probably from April's nail polish! Yeah, that has to be it! I'd make a good detective, if I do say so myself.
The page the mark on described how to make a simple protective charm. It looked really easy to make. Even I could make something like this. Most of the ingredients are things that any regular person would have in their home, or could get at the nearest general store. Thinking that fingernail mark couldn't be nothing, I wondered what about this charm was bothering April.
And then I saw what the protective charm was meant to protect the owner from.
The charm was invented in a country long gone about a thousand of years ago by a wizard who was called the arch-rival of the original Eripmav. He created the charm for soldiers of his country which was at war with the Eripmav as a way to protect them from the Eripmav's magic. That wizard also gave charms away as many children as he could, spreading the word on how to make it to all the surrounding villages so that the regular people could be safe from the Eripmav's servants. In other words, this was an anti-Eripmav charm.
And I think I've seen that charm before, I thought as I looked at a sample drawing at the bottom of the page. Something that looked exactly like that charm was hanging with a set of keys that was clipped to April's side.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Twelve)
The principal confronts an invisible bully.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Fourteen)
The Eripmav strike again.