After the events of the last week, it felt strange to just go back to school like she hadn’t gone up against Belos and everyone hadn't seen her rescue Eda and escape from the Emperor's coven and petrification.
It was weird, to say the least, but then again, there was never a day in the Boiling Isles that wasn't weird in some form or fashion if she were honest, she'd gotten pretty used to rolling with the punches in the last month though if she did say so herself.
This was a little different of course.
Gus and Willow had come by the very next day to check on them and get the rest of the story they’d missed after they’d gone to get Eda.
She could tell that her friends were disappointed that she hadn't come to them or even talked to them about it before throwing herself headlong into danger as she had been want to do as of late, but she had already dragged them into this mess with her once and she’d decided that was too many times, especially now that she had a better idea of what kind of real danger the Emperor posed.
She'd managed to pull one over on him and prove he wasn't invincible, but she also knew he was just messing with her, despite her giving it her all and pulling some rather dangerous stunts to boot.
She couldn’t decide if she was becoming more reckless or if she always had been and the Isles just really brought it out in her, what with all the… well, dangerous stuff.
Eh, unimportant right now.
They decided it was probably better for Eda and Lillith to lay low for a while and stay inside the house for now, not draw any attention to themselves, difficult as that was for Eda. Lilith would help keep her wrangled, and maybe King.
Though he was just as likely to egg her on as anything else.
Since they weren’t leaving the house Eda couldn’t take her to school on Owlbert, so it was just her and her trusty legs walking to school that morning. She was a little nervous at the prospect of facing… well, everyone.
Everyone had seen her and as the only human on the Isles, she wasn’t exactly hard to miss on a regular day much less when being broadcast by crystal ball to everyone.
Her fingers played with the strap of her bag nervously.
She met up with Willow halfway and some of her fears were temporarily relieved as they walked the rest of the way, chatting animatedly. She almost completely forgot about her worries until the school came into view and she could see all the students moving about outside and on the front steps.
Her grip on her bag tightened again and her shoulders bunched up around her ears.
“You ok?” Willow seemed to quickly pick up on her tenseness.
“Yeah…,” she started slowly, eyes darting around the field out front of the school, no one seemed to even be looking at her, any more than usual that is, even as they walked right up to the school steps where Gus was waiting for them, waving. “I guess I just thought… I dunno, that after what happened more people would be… talking about me?” She wasn’t really sure what she had been expecting.
“Well, you had your cloak up the entire time and the Emperor did say the titan told him to free Eda, so you’d be included in that.” Gus shrugged.
"Gus and I recognized you, but we're together all the time too," Willow added.
“Yeah, I guess…” She wouldn’t say she was disappointed by the lack of attention, it was just so, anticlimactic she supposed. Luz didn’t mind being in the spotlight, but she didn’t actively seek it either.
The bell screamed its first warning toll and all the kids roaming around outside the school began making their way inside.
“See you guys later!” Luz waved as Gus and Willow headed off to their perspective classes, waving to her over their shoulders as they disappeared in the crowd of students.
Tapping a finger against her cheek she had to think for a moment to remember what track classes she had today. There wasn’t enough time in the day for her to take all nine tracks a day so it had to be split over the five weekdays.
It was Monday, so she had beast keeping and potions. She grinned at the thought. She loved learning about all the tracks, but beast keeping was especially fun.
She never got to practice manticore taming or griffin riding back home after all!
She paused mid-step.
The thought made her frown but she tried to shake off the heavy feeling that had settled over her, there was no point in moping about it right now. She did what she had to do, for the good of everyone… and it was her fault that they had been put in that situation to start with, it was only right that she fix it.
Eda was already looking into it but there were other things going on that needed her attention to, and that was fine! Luz knew what she was doing when she’d done it.
She guessed these were just the consequences of her actions catching up to her that her mom had always been warning her about. Maybe now she’d start learning to look before she leaped.
She had started back toward the steps only to be stopped again.
She immediately recognized that voice as she turned around to come face to face with Amity as she jogged up to the steps, her abomination trailing behind her as it carried her books. She stopped a few feet from her.
“Hey, Amity! You're out of your cast!” Luz grinned at the sight of her friend finally out of bed and back at school.
“Huh? Oh, yea, a few days ago.” She seemed to fidget as she tucked a stray strand of mint-colored hair behind her ear. “Forget about that though!” she seemed to focus again, looking at Luz with a frown, face set in a stern look. “What happened?!” she demanded.
Luz frowned, fingers twitching over the rough canvas strap of her bag, she didn’t need to ask what Amity was talking about, she could only mean the whole petrification, escape from the emperor’s coven thing that had been broadcast across all of the Boiling Isles, she’d no doubt seen it.
“Ah well, it’s kind of a long story…” she rubbed her arm and laughed nervously. Amity did not look at all impressed by that answer. “If you want to meet at the library after school I can explain it all,” she offered. She felt bad that out of all her friends Amity was the only one completely in the dark since she didn’t even know about Eda’s curse or had gone with them on the trip to the Emperor’s castle.
Amity didn’t look satisfied with the answer but just as she opened her mouth to speak the bell screamed again, it’s last call for students to get to class before they were tardy and if Luz knew anything at all about Amity, it was that she loved Azura and was never late.
“Alright, I’ll meet you there,” she agreed, though she still didn't look happy about it.
Amity quickly hurried off to class with her abomination, leaving Luz standing there before she smacked herself in the forehead with her palm.
"I'm gonna be late!" She yelped before taking off in the direction of beast keeping 101.
~ ~ ~
The day seemed to fly by after she actually made it to class.
It was nice to have something else to occupy her mind other than impending doom in one form or another.
Potions always took all her concentration, unless she wanted to accidentally turn a potion for curing mild rashes into a literal bomb.
...It had happened before...
It had only been a small explosion and her teacher had quickly put out the fire though.
Now that she thought about it, that would have been so much more useful last week.
She pondered the merits of magical bombs in convenient, throwable glassware as she walked quickly through the Bonesborough market toward the library.
She'd been a little slow cleaning up after her potions class and had ended up staying a little longer. Amity would probably be waiting on her already, she was punctual to a fault.
She skipped up the library steps two at a time and quickly snuck by the librarian at the front counter when he wasn’t looking.
After the time she had gotten kicked out with the Blight twins, she wasn’t sure she was exactly welcome in the library, so it was better to just not let the librarian see her really.
She snuck quietly through the halls to the romance section. It was devoid of people as it typically was.
She scanned the shelves before smiling as her eyes settled on a book. ‘The Lone Witch and the Secret Room.’
She pulled the book out and shoved it back in, there was a loud click as the shelf slid away to reveal Amity’s secret room.
Amity was already waiting inside for her, curled up in the corner on some cushions, a book splayed across her lap as she stepped in, letting the shelf slide back into place behind her.
“Hey” She held up a hand in greeting. “Sorry, it took me a little longer than normal. I had to clean up after potions.”
“It’s alright, Luz.” She closed her book and motioned to the other cushion several feet away. Luz dropped her bag and plopped onto the floor, crossing her legs as she looked up at the youngest Blight and smiled.
Gold eyes flitted away and cheeks took on a rosy hue. Luz wondered if Amity was hot, it wasn’t bad in here but some people ran warmer and colder than others.
“So…,” Luz started, unsure.
Amity seemed to jolt as her eyes were once again on the human and her expression morphing into one of serious expectancy.
"What happened last week?"
Straight to the point then. Luz nodded as she started with Eda's curse and the field trip to the Emperor's castle.
Amity's face seemed to shift through a myriad of emotions over the course of the story, especially when Luz talked about how Lilith had kidnapped her and tried to kill her.
The horror on her friend's face and those intense gold eyes focussed on her made Luz self-conscious and she pulled her knees up to her chest but didn't stop her tale. She squeezed her legs as she got lost in thinking about it.
Amity wasn't the only one experiencing a lot of emotions right now.
The fear as Eda had succumb to her curse and later the rage she felt anytime someone so much as uttered Lilith's name or she saw one of those dumb posters made her whole body shake, and finally the helplessness and sorrow as she'd handed over the portal and then had to burn her world away in a flash of fire. All of it came back to her so easily, still fresh on her mind even as she tried not to think about it too hard.
"So, you can't go home?" Amity finally asked quietly after a brief silence following Luz’s explanation of everything that had happened.
She shook her head sadly, eyes downcast and quiet.
Amity hesitated a second before reaching over to set a hand on one of Luz's, resting on her knees and making her look up, brown meeting gold.
"I'm sorry, Luz…" She squeezed gently.
The small touch and the look on her friend's face caused a comforting flash of heat in Luz's chest.
"Thanks… Eda's working on it so…" She shrugged.
Eda who was also without magic, which Amity knew now.
“I’ve seen the owl lady do some pretty impressive things, I’m sure she’ll figure something out.” Amity gave a final squeeze before pulling back, trying to will away the touch of pink on her cheeks, now wasn’t the time for it and she scolded herself for the automatic response.
“Yeah…” Luz nodded to herself, a small smile managing to pull at her lips, which made Amity smile in turn.
“I can’t believe how selfless you are sometimes… destroying the portal to save Eda…,” Amity said, fiddling with her hands now sitting folded in her lap.
“It was my fault she got caught in the first place, I had to fix my mistake…” Luz shrugged, a little flustered by praise she hardly deserved. “She didn’t leave me… I couldn’t leave her.”
“Most people wouldn’t have done that, even if it was their fault,” the young witch insisted.
“Maybe…” Luz shrugged again but couldn’t help the widening of her smile.
Amity glanced at the clock on the wall, her smile turned into a grimace, they had been here longer then she had planned.
“I need to head home…” Amity stood and Luz followed suit as they headed out of the secret room, checking quickly to make sure no one was around to see them as they headed out.
“I have abominations and illusions tomorrow, so I guess I’ll see you in class.” Luz smiled as they stepped outside the library.
“Of course…” Amity nodded but she seemed distracted as they paused at the top of the library steps.
“Amity?” Luz called and again she was focused on her, but the look on her face was one Luz had seen before, she was thinking.
She hesitated a second, looking around the empty area outside the library before closing the two feet of distance between them.
Luz could only blink as Amity's arms wrapped around her in a tight embrace, chin tucked into her neck, mint green filling the girl's vision.
"I'm so glad you're okay."
It was said so quietly she almost missed it, hardly a whisper, breathed against her neck.
Warmth immediately flooded her chest at the quiet murmur.
Before Luz could reach up to return the embrace Amity was already pulling away.
“See you tomorrow, Luz,” she called as she hurried down the library steps, never looking back and leaving Luz standing there, stunned, in her wake.
“Bye…” she held up a hand in farewell at the retreating witch’s back.
Why was her face so warm?
Shaking it off, Luz adjusted her bag as she hurried back to the owl house before Eda could wonder where she was.
The heat in her face faded quickly but the warmth in her chest lingered all night.
The minute Amity set her things down on her desk she caught sight of the Emperor’s coven poster, with Lilith Clawthorne staring back at her with a smug smile.
With a frown, Amity ripped the poster from the wall and stuffed it into the trash can next to her desk.