The strong wind shook the trees outside, causing branches to rattle against the glass windows behind him ominously. Luckily the actual rainstorm was east and supposed to miss them entirely. The sickeningly sweet smell of grave sugarplum engulfed the room, culminating to create a pinkish purple mist that swirled at the ceiling above the cauldron at the center of the room. Virgil adjusted one of his many rings absentmindedly as he slowly stirred the mixture in front of him, bobbing his head gently to the beat of the song that was currently blasting from the earbuds in his ears. He glanced over to the recipe book on the adjacent lectern before letting go of the giant ladle in his hand and making his way over to one of his many cupboards.
"Giant's bone meal..., skeleton lotus..., ash seed..., demon blood..., mock rose...," he muttered to himself as he dug through the many, many potion ingredients, picking up the corresponding jars as he went.
He went back to the cauldron and began adding the ingredients when a small fireball hit the rim of the cauldron in front of him and exploded, making him jump. He pulled out his earbuds to glare at the fireball's owner, who was leaned against the old wood of the now open door of his alchemy room, a smug smirk on his face and black eyes gleaming from over the rim of his sunglasses.
"You couldn't find a less explosive way to get my attention? Your turning into Remus," Virgil said in an unimpressed tone with crossed arms, causing the figure at the door to laugh.
"You flatter me babes, but you know Remus would have either thrown something at you, or thrown something random into the pot hoping it would explode"
Virgil huffed out a laugh before replying "True. What do you need Remy?"
"Remus and Janus are here, Remus is about to leave for another hunt, needs to stock up, thought you'd want to say hello" He replied, nodding behind him.
"Oh! yeah, gimmie a sec I'll be right down" The necromancer replied. He finished putting the needed ingredients into the pot in front of him before heading out towards the store counter.
"Hey Reems, Jan, " He said as he approached, nodding his head slightly in greeting.
Janus simply nodded his head in return.
"Hey Vee! You wouldn't happen to have any tracking charms in stock by any chance, would you? I'm all out"
"Uh... I think I'm all out as well actually but it will only take a couple minutes to make some. How many you need?" Virgil replied, gesturing for them to follow him back to his workshop. Alchemy room, potion room, witch room; whatever you want to call it.
"Only need one, Jannie here needs another of his potions though"
"it's already worn off?" Virgil asked in a confused tone as they entered the room. The 3 guests were immediately overpowered by the incredibly sweet stench coming from the cauldron. The demon had wisely stayed in the doorway, but the other two quickly began coughing.
"Jesus *cough* christ Vee, what the *cough* hell *cough* is that smell?" Remus asked looking back and forth between the with and the pot with wide eyes.
"Grave sugarplum, my bad" Virgil replied, his eyes began glowing a bright purple as he threw his hand out toward the window, causing it to fling open. He waved his hand in the air in some vague gesture and the purplish smoke that had been circling around the ceiling flowed out through the window. Once most of the smoke had cleared, Virgil's eye's faded back to their normal deep purple.
It took a moment, but finally, Remus and Janus seemed able to breathe again.
"Curse these strong noses of ours huh snake?" Remus laughed slightly.
The Naga spoke for the first time.
"Sometimes I just *love* being a naga" Janus hissed, his voice was gravelly and rough yet melodic; Reverberating in his throat as it seemed to echo and overlap with itself slightly.
One of the problems with being a naga, they are usually the opposite of fae. Everything must be spoken as a lie, unless they can get a very powerful witch to make them a potion.
Virgil pulled open a drawer and pulled out a small green vial, tossing it to the snake, who caught it and drank it immediately.
"Thank god" Janus coughed, his voice shifting from the hissing back to his normal voice again.
"I think Virgil is the one you need to thank sunshine" Remus cut in, causing him and Remy to laugh and the witch in question to snort quietly.
Janus just rolled his eyes. Watching as Virgil dug through a drawer and pulled out a blank rune stone.
"So where are you headed this time?" Virgil asked as he began drawing the rune into the small stone.
"Chicago. Some local drug dealer they've been trying to corner fled and was recently spotted around the area. Need anything picked up while I'm out there?" Remus replied, amusing himself by looking at the multitude of things in the room.
"I'm running low on shifter blood actually. Lot's of em out in the Chicago area. I also wouldn't turn down any ethow or some dried marsh ginger" the witch replied. "You sure your target is human?"
"Fairly certain. Most local supernaturals have to come to you for glamours and he's never been here. I've narrowed it down to either human or a weak-ass mage" Remus hummed in contemplation as he looked through a shelf of glowing liquids and multiple bones of varying shapes and sizes.
"or I guess he could be elf too, that's a possibility, but I could make mash potatoes out of any of those so it doesn't matter." he mused as he picked up a harpy bone and turned it between his fingers.
Janus turned away from what he swore was a jar of dirt on another shelf.
"He's just happy to be getting out of town again" Janus laughed "He was so bored yesterday he spent the day climbing and jumping from tree to tree until he caught a squirrel to eat."
Virgil and Remy just laughed.
"That's rich coming from someone who spent all of yesterday WATCHING someone jump from tree to tree to catch a squirrel to eat" Remus argued with a smirk, causing his boyfriend to blush. The others only laughed harder.
"Don't you work part-time at 'The Wooden Steak'?" Remy mused.
"well, yeah, but-"
The others kept bickering while Virgil finished carving the rune.
Virgil closed his eyes, holding the rune in his hand and chanting something under his breath quickly. The rune in his palm began to glow brightly, before fading again. He put a drop from a navy blue vile onto it and then dipped it into his bowl of moon water. He then tossed it to the Vampire across the room who was currently gawking at a dragon embryo that was floating in a jar, only catching the rune thanks to his vampire reflexes.
"Sweet, thanks. How much do we owe you?" Remus joked.
The two friends in question were almost never asked to pay for something from Virgil's store unless it was exceedingly rare or expensive. They got free stuff from him, just like he got free ingredients or drinks from Remus and free plants or info from Janus.
The 4 friends made quite an excellent team when taking care of the little town that sprung up in the middle of the Spellwood forest. It was a place for all supernaturals to live normal lives. Virgil provided potions and glamours and almost all witch services in between. Janus worked at the local greenhouse because he enjoyed the heat but also because his naga blood meant he was a fantastic gardener. Gardening was enjoyable but not the snake's main passion so he also served as the diplomat between the town and local nature sprites and fae, who preferred to deal with another forest creature. If there were any problems in town, they almost always went to Janus, who would either take care of it himself or reach out to Remy or Virgil, depending on the situation. Virgil was the one most people went to in the rare case that someone or something dared to threaten the town. Virgil and Remy would easily wipe the floor with anything that tried to harm their Villiage.
"it's on the house if you can convince your boyfriend to give up a couple of scales" Virgil replied with a smirk. "I'm all out"
Remus and Janus exchanged a look, but the naga never stood a chance against those vampire puppy eyes. He rolled his eyes fondly before walking over the witch
"The things I do for you" he muttered, causing Remus to burst out laughing. He lifted his sleeve, wincing slightly as he plucked a few scales that were close to falling off and handed them over.
"Thank youuu" Virgil replied, dragging out the 'you' playfully.
"what do you even use my scales for anyways?" Janus asked, raising an eyebrow as he watched Virgil stash them away in a small box.
"If I told you, I'd probably have to find another supplier" He replied with a smirk
They continued to chat and banter for a few more minutes as they made their way back out to the front of the store.
"Alright, I need to head out or I'll be late for my plane"
"Good luck" Virgil and Remy both said, watching as Remus hooked an arm around Janus' waist, pulling him forward into a kiss. Janus rested his gloved hands on the vampire's shoulders while they kissed, ignoring the red in his cheeks or the friends that were watching.
"see ya snake," Remus said quietly when they parted.
"stay safe" Janus replied, patting Remus' shoulder.
Remus began to walk toward the entrance when Remy called out.
"hey wheres mine?!" Remy cried in mock hurt, the smirk on his face betraying him.
Remus turned and blew a dramatic kiss to the demon, who pretended to catch it, before finally leaving.
"Aww Dee, I didn't know the scale side of your face could blush too!" Remy teased, referring to Janus by the name he gave the fae, and Remy himself at first: Deceit. In fact, everyone knew him as Deceit, except for the 3 people he trusted with his real name.
"Shut up" He grumbled, crossing his arms and causing the other two to laugh. "Anyway, Vee, the local fae were hoping to meet with you tomorrow to make a deal for you to purify one of their gardens that got corrupted"
"What do you mean deal?" Virgil asked with an eyebrow raised "The deal was, they let us stay in their forest, we protect the forest and help keep it healthy. Of course, I'll do it but why do they need me? Why not have a nature imp do it? And why would they ask to make a deal for it?"
"It's not normal unholy corruption..."
"you're kidding me... don't tell me..."
"yep. one of their rituals went wrong. Trying to heal a dying pandemonium bloom tree by the sounds of it. Went for the ritual after the purity spring water failed. Got that corrupt too by the way."
Virgil groaned and slapped a hand to his forehead. "Why didn't they call me to do that part instead of waiting until they let the shade in?"
"you know fae, they don't like to ask for help" Janus shrugged, not bothering to mention that the local fae were also scared of the necromancer.
"ain't that the truth" Virgil huffed before looking over at the clock.
"I'm going to go start that potion then, how bout you guys pick out a movie and make some snacks while I do that?" Virgil asked, noticing it was closing time anyway. They nodded.
Virgil finished the potion within 20 minutes, which must be close to a new record for him considering the complexity of the elixir, but once it was done he bottled it and set it aside, going to join the others in the living room. The 3 of them watched movies late into the night until they all fell asleep right there in the living room.
The next morning Virgil had sent Janus off with the potion and told him if it didn't work to call him again. Remy was at the counter helping any customers and Virgil was back in his alchemy room.
The necromancer dug through his shelves. He swore he had a hellhound tooth back here somewhere! He stood up and turned to look at another shelf when Remy burst through the door.
The witch was about to joke that this was a big improvement from the way he got his attention yesterday, but he stopped himself when he heard the slight panic in his friend's voice. He looked up to see Remy stood in the door with his knees bent in a fight or flight, high alert kind of way.
"Human police are here! they wanna talk to the owner!"