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Chapter 4 the tale:
After Huda had left with her dad, Carina, Syren, Naya and Bren also decided to leave the shore, but not to go home. After they had digested the globe that Naya had gotten them into, they decided it was best to visit the old Bardot itself, just to get an idea of what they were in for on Halloween night, which was a mere week away.
They took Naya’s car and drove all the way down to the opposite end of town The HighLands, where all the business lords lived in their fancy, quiet mansions. The Bardot was on a hill opposite the hill that the Wolanwick Estate resided on at one end, and the Barlam Lab Unit and White Forest on the other. The drive included about a good ten minutes up the sloping green trails that led to the top of the hill.
“Hey, is it just me, or was there a car parked back there in the trees?” Bren asked as the tip of the black pointed roof of the house came into view.
“Hmm.” Naya murmured.
“Why would anyone else be up here?”
“It probably belongs to someone who was down at the cemetery, now can you please stop trying to force scary scenarios right now?” Carina snapped, irritably.
She didn’t want to admit that she was scared but it was kind of hard to pretend otherwise. The night had gotten incredibly chilly and deadly silent to add to that, or perhaps that was because they were as far from civilisation as they could get, up on that silent hill that nobody ever dared to lurk on. In fact, the last time Carina herself had been up there was when her friends had dared her to get a peak of the notorious ghost reserve seven Halloweens ago.
“We’re here.” Naya sang cheerily.
“Holy fuck!” Bren cried, jumping forward from the back seat, “I told you something was up!”
No sooner did the words leave Bren’s mouth, than the car come to a stop in front of a slope leading to the peak of the hill, and consequently, the looming black scraps of the mansion. At the end of the path, they were awaited by the notorious bulky outline of Stevie Corrale, who was followed by Killian and Ella Bowman
"Naya, don't switch the engine off." Syren warned shakily.
“How the fuck did they know we were coming here?!” Carina cried shrilly, moths raging in her chest, “I should’ve known this was too good to be true.”
Killian strolled toward them proudly, holding his arms out as if to say 'surprise!' Naya cautiously began to back the car up, but Ella seemed to realise what she was doing. She marched done the path furiously.
"If you try to leave, we'll only find you again tomorrow." her cool clear voice rang out against the patter of the rain that was steadily beginning to pick up.
Naya paused and, after a deep breath, switched the engine off.
"Come on, let's just face them." she said.
Carina got out glumly and followed closely behind Syren, clinging onto her for support. As they got closer, Ella, Stevie and Killian huddled closer, so as to close in on them. Her heart began to race again.
Carina turned her attention to Ella Bowman, who was somewhat of a celebrity amongst the younger population of MageTown. People liked to joke that her biggest achievement was being best-friends with Anastasia Goldrinn, but Carina always thought there was something awe-worthy about the way she carried herself; as if she was the most important thing in the world. Carina had, however, never expected to have their first interaction under such circumstances. What a huge ego-damage for her.
Ella sized them up, checking them out carefully.
"Have we even met before?" she scoffed snidely.
Her strawberry blonde hair was falling out of her bun and there were dark circles under her eyes and lines around her mouth. She looked more worn out and exhausted than Carina had ever seen her before.
"You know," she said calmly, "my best friend is in an excruciating amount of pain right now. She needs me there and that's where I've been for the last two days, all other responsibilities forgotten about. I’ve been by her side all night, escorting her through the crowd of endless people wanting to get a word from her, or a photograph, dear fucking me, it was not easy. Just look at me for Gods sake, I'm a mess...So how do you think I felt when I got the call from Stevie claiming that I had to leave my friend behind because some nobody freshman decided to orchestrate the break up of my other best friend, as if you know, this," she motioned at her appearance, "wasn't enough to handle? Hmm?"
"We didn't orchestrate anything." Carina snorted, rolling her eyes, "Jeez, I just said what I heard. It's called having a civil conversation."
Ella blinked, as if she couldn't believe her ears, and then put her sugary smile back on.
"Oh right, from whom again? Riley Sorrow?”
At this, all of them paused to collectively laugh as the friends threw each other confused glances.
“Riley is on the tour with Scarlett—“ Carina began.
“Yeah, and that’s how you were able to speak to her tonight.” Stevie continued warningly, his eyes burning into Carina’s with a malicious glint, “But you know Riley, the truth matters less to her than the friends and lovers she switches up every week.”