short story, story promptSerenity is about to try and steal back a powerful scroll, but one of her fellow mages seems to be intent on making that impossible.


“What’s the worst that could happen?” Aaren asked.

Serenity groaned. “Please don’t say stuff like that.”

He rolled his eyes. “Why? Are you worried I’ve jinxed it now?”

“Yes! Every time anyone says something like that, things start to go wrong. You shouldn’t even be here, so that’s one thing I haven’t factored into my plans. Just you being here could ruin everything!”

“Or I could save everything from going wrong. Did you think about that possibility?”

She raised an eyebrow. “It seems like a remote possibility. I’ve noticed that trouble seems to be attracted to you.”

“Well, whatever your thoughts on my being here, it’s not going to change the fact that I am here. I’m not leaving, so factor me into your plans or I’ll go off on my own and really throw a spanner in your works.”

Serenity scowled at him. “You are infuriating. Don’t you understand how important this is?”

“Of course. That’s why I’m here.” He gave her a charming smile. “Wouldn’t it be easier with two people, rather than one?”

“If it was anyone but you, probably yes. With you? No.”

He stuck out his bottom lip. “How mean. I’ve only come to help.”

“No. I know why you’ve come. You’re here for the Jade Box.”

“No idea what you’re talking about,” he responded airily.

“Aaren, I know you used to be a thief. Joining the Mages Guild doesn’t change a person, especially not in just a few months. You’re tempted, aren’t you?”

“Let’s say, hypothetically, that I was after the Jade Box. If I wanted it, do you really think you could stop me?”

“Of course.”

He chuckled. “Your confidence is admirable, even if it is misplaced.”

“Stop it, Aaren. Go back to the guild. You’re not supposed to be here. I’ll handle this job.” Without waiting for a response, she teleported into a dark corridor inside the mansion, hoping she’d lose him.

“But I’ve got information you should probably know,” Aaren’s voice said beside her, in a loud stage whisper.

Biting back a frustrated growl, she turned on him. “I told you to leave, Aaren!”

He flashed another smile. “Well, I’m here now, I may as well stay. If we start teleporting in and out, we’re bound to attract attention.”

Turning on her heel, she stalked away from him, towards the door that held the treasure vault. It would be impossible to teleport inside, the room was protected against that. The door was also sealed with all manner of protective magics to ward off spells designed to break in. Luckily, most rich people neglected to think about the simpler way of opening doors.


She fished out her skeleton key and had the door open within seconds. “Stay here and keep watch,” she ordered. He gave her a mock salute before she slipped inside the room. She would still need to be quick. There was sure to be an alarm of some kind.

In the centre of the room, the Jade Box took pride of place on a wooden stand. It was only a small object, but fabled to hold immense treasures. She ignored it, searching instead for the Ember Scroll. It had to be in this room somewhere. All leads had pointed to this vault, owned by one of the greediest, vainest men in the district.

After searching for several minutes, it was clear the scroll was not among the objects and the alarms would be going off any second.

“Trouble?” Aaren asked, leaning against the door frame.

“It’s not here!”

“Oh. I meant to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen to me. You won’t find the scroll here. He doesn’t have it.”

Serenity resisted the urge to strangle him.

I’m over a third of the way through my year-long challenge!

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<– Day 123