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It's just like magic

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Magnus had been walking for days when he could finally see the tall towers of  Idris in the distance. He still had a good day of walking before he got to the castle, but with the destination in view walking was much easier. He expected to arrive a few hours before sunset.

He stopped a few times to rest and eat, but even so he arrived early. Now he just had to find Luke, his mother's friend. Magnus was supposed to be staying with him while his mother had to deal with some financial issues. Luke had offered to take care of Magnus for as long as she needed him to, and so Magnus had been set out on his way to Idris. It had taken him almost a week but he knew it was the right thing to do, to help his mother and if he was honest, he was also rather excited to see something new, something that wasn’t the small village where he had been born and spent his whole life at.

Luke, who was working as the royal medic, had not only offered him a place to stay, but also a job. He would be working as Luke’s helper and messenger. He was hoping to save enough money to help his mother, even though his mother had told him to live his own life and that she would manage.

Magnus looked around in awe as he entered the city walls. Everything was so different from what it had been back home. People were hurrying everywhere, guards and soldiers were patrolling the streets, sellers were yelling out their best offers, and everything was just different. Different and exciting.

Magnus had a basic idea of where he had to go to find Luke, but he got lost in the endless streets of the city. He tried asking for directions, but people just hurried by. Eventually he gave up and tried to locate himself by the raging towers in the sky.

He made his way to a big square in front of the castle, but the square was bottled up with people, seemingly gathered around something that was happening. Magnus pushed people aside to try to see what was happening, but when he finally got to see it he wished he hadn’t.There was an execution taking place.

Magnus tried to back away, not wanting to see it happen, but he was locked in place by people who refused to move. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the man, he looked barely thirty. Magnus heard a voice speak and looked up, there on the balcony was a man, the king. King Robert Lightwood.

“This man, Noah Plauger, has been proven guilty of using magic and witchcraft. That is, by the laws of Idris, forbidden and banned. The punishment for using and practicing these arts is death. Let this stand as an example for all of you!” The king’s voice was loud and clear, and every word he said sent chills down Magnus’ back. Most people who used magic had learned it either through books or teachers and spent years training just to be able to control the force. Magnus was different. He had been born with the magic, he didn’t have to obtain it, it was a part of him.

Magnus didn’t want the magic, he knew it was forbidden in Idris, and he knew there was a death penalty if you were caught using it. But Magnus didn’t plan to use it, it just happened, like an instinct. He couldn't control it, and after what he just saw, he was scared. He would have to be extra careful, and sooner or later he had to learn how to control it. For now, he was left to watch the man’s head be separated from his body. As soon as the head hit the ground the crowd started to diminish, finally giving him space to move. Magnus stood there for a while, not knowing where to go now that he’d found the castle. He watched as some men cleaned up and remove the body from where it had been executed before he shook himself out of it and went to look for someone that wouldn’t ignore him. He ended up asking one of the guards after no one else would help him. He was intimidated by them, especially with the execution so fresh in mind, but he had to get help somewhere.

“Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find the royal medic?” The guard looked down at Magnus with an annoyed look, but he answered.

“In his flat, probably,” not the answer Magnus was looking for, but it was something.

“And… where is that?”

“Over there, you see that door? In there, up the stairs, on the second floor.” The guard said with an exasperated sigh. Magnus nodded and thanked the guard before he headed the way he had pointed. He made his way up the stairs and knocked at the door with a sign saying “Royal Medic” hanging over it.

“Come in!” A voice said from inside. Magnus opened the door carefully and entered, looking around for Luke. He’d never met Luke before, although his mother talked about him all the time. He was an old family friend, and he’d moved to Idris before Magnus was born. But he and his mother had always stayed in touch by sending each other letters almost weekly.

He saw someone standing on top of a ladder, the man was staring at the top shelves on the tallest bookshelf Magnus had ever seen. He was obviously looking for something, and probably busy, so Magnus sat down in a chair and didn’t say a word. He could talk to Luke when the man was done.

Magnus watched Luke’s eyes reading the title of every book, looking for a specific one. He must’ve found it because he reached out for one of them, a book thicker than a brick, and probably as heavy as one. Luke released his hold on the ladder to get a good grip on the book, and before Magnus could process what was happening Luke was falling.

Magnus didn’t understand what was happening, he just saw that Luke was falling, and then he wasn’t. He was floating in the air, just a few inches from the ground. By the time Magnus could think clearly Luke had already dropped the last few inches and was looking at him with a murderous glare.

“What did you do?” He asked as he stood up.

“Nothing!” Magnus said as he stood up from the chair.
“It obviously wasn’t nothing, I just flew!”

“But it wasn’t me!” Magnus defended himself, backing away from the man.

“I don’t see anyone else here,” Luke said. “And I recognize magic when I see it. Where did you learn it?”

“I didn’t,” Magnus said as his back hit the table, toppling a few items over.

“I won’t tell anyone, but I want you to be honest with me,”

“What do you want me to say?”

“The truth,”

“I was born this way!” Luke’s stare told Magnus he didn’t believe him,

“That’s impossible,” Luke said, already turning away from Magnus. “Wait, who are you?” He asked, quickly turning back to Magnus.

“Oh, I..I’m Magnus… I have a letter, from my mother. You know her, it’s Amisha,”

“Magnus… Of course, yes! But you weren’t supposed to come till Wednesday!”

“Uh.. it is Wednesday.”

“It is? Oh, okay then. You can go put your bag in your room, over there,” Luke said, pointing to the left end of the room, where a light wooden door led into a big bedroom. Much bigger than the one Magnus had back in his mother's house. Magnus dropped his backpack on the floor and looked back at Luke, who was now sitting in a chair with the gigantic book in his lap. Magnus went to stand by Luke’s side.

“You… you won’t tell anyone? About what just happened I mean,”

“No, I won’t. But you need to be more careful, you can’t walk around doing that or you’ll get caught for sure.”

“I know, but I can’t control it! It just happens,” Magnus exclaimed.

“Well, you’re gonna have to learn. I’ll see how I can help. But right now you should go to sleep, it’s getting late, and you’ve had a long week.” Luke said, ushering Magnus back to his room.

Magnus sat down on the bed and looked around, the room was big and had basically everything he might ever need. A bed, which seemed to be rather comfortable. A desk and a chair so he could work and maybe write letters for his mom or to update his journal. There was also a cupboard and a few shelves. The cupboard seemed to be empty but the shelves were filled with books, in all sizes and colors, some even seemed to be in a different language. Magnus was excited to read them all, but right now he was tired after a week of walking.

He stuffed the few clothes he’d brought in the cupboard, changed into sleepwear and collapsed on the bed, crawled under the covers and fell asleep almost immediately.

 


 

Alec Lightwood had had no idea that Magnus was now in Idris, truth to be told he didn’t even know Magnus existed. As the prince of Idris he had other things to do then know exactly who was moving into the city or not. He had to take care of more important things like training his sword skills for the tournament his father wanted him to compete in, and meet possible brides. On this day there was also the big event of the execution, something he tried not to get involved with, too much.

Alec understood why his father had banned magic, it could be evil. Alec wasn't old enough to remember the war, but he'd been told stories, and he knew magic was bad. But execution, that was a big price to pay for just doing some harmless magic. But, as his father said, the law is hard, but it is the law.

As the prince and future king Alec had to witness the execution, but luckily he didn't have to stand on the balcony with his father, he could simply watch from one of the many windows. He stayed by the window after the execution, saw some of the servants take the body away and clean the blood that had spilled on the ground. He also noticed a boy, about his age, looking around, seeming lost. He saw the boy try to talk to people, probably to ask them for directions. After a few tries the boy looked hesitantly at one of the guards. He seemed intimidated by them, which made Alec chuckle lightly to himself.

The guard showed him where the boy should go, and Alec watched him as he left to where the Royal workers lived. Which made Alec curious, who was he? Alec was thinking about who he could ask, who would know, when his thoughts were interrupted by his father's voice.

“What did you think about the execution?”

Alec turned around to face his father, looking him straight in the eye when he said, “I think it was unnecessary and immoderate.” His father knew very well what he thought about death penalties.

“He committed a crime! Everyone knows that the punishment for sorcery is death.”

“Yeah, I know. I just don't think he deserved to die. I mean, he only used it to make his crops grow faster, his family was starving!”

“It doesn't matter what his motives were, he committed a crime and he confessed, and now he has paid the price.” With that Robert turned around and left, leaving Alec alone by the window again.

Alec looked out again, but the boy was gone and the square was empty, nothing to look at. He retired to his chambers, calling on a random servant to warm up some water and get his sleepwear. Alec still didn’t have a private servant, much to his father's dismay. “A prince your age must have a private servant!” he always said. Isabelle, his sister and therefore the princess, had already chosen hers, Clary.

When the royal children reached the age of 15 they could choose a private servant out of all the servants working in the castle, a servant that would help them bath, prepare their food, polish their swords and armors, and do basically everything. Alec was now 21 and he still hadn’t chosen one. He’d just never met a person he thought he could spend that much time with without getting tired of them.

So Alec called a random servant, and every time he got a different one. This time it was a man Alec had seen around the castle a few times. He warmed up a bath for Alec before leaving his sleepwear close by and leaving. He didn't say a single word while doing that. That was another thing Alec couldn't stand if he had a private servant, their fear of speaking up to him, or how formal they were when they did, always calling him sire or highness, and Alec was tired of it. He wanted someone he could be himself with, not the prince of Idris, not the future king, not even a Lightwood. Just Alec.

As Alec sank into the water he started thinking about the boy he'd seen earlier. Alec couldn't deny that he was hot, but he couldn't act on it. Alec was the future king, every week he was introduced to new princesses from all the kingdoms around them, and he was expected to choose one. Robert would never let Alec marry for love. Unless Alec happened to fall in love with a princess from a powerful kingdom, which of course wasn't happening. Alec had already come to terms with the fact that he was going to be lonely for all his life, but he still had eyes, and even from afar he could see how attractive the boy was. But it didn't matter. He was probably never going to see him again anyway.

Alec finished his bath quickly as the water became cold. He got dressed and called a servant to remove the bath from his room before he went to bed. He dreamed about the new boy. Maybe he could see him again, like this.

 


 

The first thing Magnus noticed when he woke up was how comfortable he was. While he had been traveling he was lucky if he got to sleep in a stable, usually he slept on the ground outside with only a blanket to shield him from the cold night air, so waking up in a comfortable, warm bed was like waking up on a cloud. But he didn’t get to stay there long. Just a few minutes after he’d woken up, Luke came storming in, telling him it was time for breakfast.

Magnus reluctantly got out of bed and got dressed before he left his room. Luke had already finished his breakfast it seemed, and was now preparing for a new day of work. Magnus sat down at the table and looked down at the bowl that was placed in front of him. He usually wasn’t picky with food, but this… this didn’t even look like food. Magnus stirred the substance around with his spoon, debating with himself whether he should eat it or be hungry for half the day.

He was about to take a hesitant spoonful, maybe it just looked awful. But just as he was about to he noticed a motion in his side view. By the time he had managed to fully turn his head he saw a bucket floating in the air, water pouring out of it but not falling to the ground, like gravity didn’t matter. Magnus looked up at Luke, who was staring at Magnus in wonder, and then back at the bucket. It fell to the floor immediately, all the water spilling out on the wood.

“How did you do that? Did you say some spell in your head?”

“No! I've told you it just happens, it's an instinct.” Magnus said as he stood up and went to get the mop he'd seen by the door the day before.

“Your eyes glow when you do it,” Luke said, stopping Magnus in his tracks.

“What?”

“Your eyes glow yellow when you do the magic. I've never seen anything like it,” Luke said as he took the mop from Magnus's hands and started to clean up. “You have to learn to control it”

“Yes I know, thank you” Mangus replied, annoyance clear in his tone but Luke just grinned.

“Have breakfast first” Luke said.

“This?” Magnus asked, looking down at the bowl again. Luke chuckled when he saw Magnus’ disgusted face.

“There’s some bread in the cupboard, go make yourself a sandwich,” he said and smiled as Magnus sighed in relief. “And after that I have a few things I need you to do,” Luke added, already getting out the medication he needed Magnus to deliver.

Magnus nodded and started making the sandwich, which looked much better than whatever had been in the bowl.

“What is it that you need me to do?” he asked before he took the first bite.

“I have this medication I need you to deliver to Joey Slowe and this sleeping potion to princess Isabelle. She’s been having nightmares lately, the poor girl.”

“Okay, where can I find them?”

“Joey lives downstairs, you’ll find his door easily. Isabelle will probably be in her chambers, but if she’s not you can ask pretty much anyone,” Luke said and handed Magnus two vials. “Off you go,” he hushed Magnus out of the door.

Magnus put the vials in his pocket and left. He went down the stairs and found Joey’s door quite easily, his name was written in big, golden letters over the door. Magnus knocked on the door and stood patiently waiting while he finished his breakfast. The door opened to reveal an old man, Magnus was sure he was at least a hundred years old. “Um, hi. Are you Joey Slowe?”

“Yes I am, who are you, young boy?” The man said in a creaky old voice, only adding to Magnus’ suspicion of the man’s age.

“I am Magnus, Luke’s, umm, helper, I guess. I’m here with your medicine,” Magnus said, taking the vial out of his pocket. “Here you go,”

Joey reached out for the vial, and Magnus put it in his hand. “Thank you, young man,”

“You’re welcome,” Magnus said before the man closed the door, leaving Magnus alone in the hallway.

Magnus left the building and went to the big square outside, where the execution had happened barely a day before. He wasn’t exactly sure where the entrance to the castle was, but he had an idea. He had to pass by a square, one even bigger than this one. From what he’d seen the day before it was a place with lots of knights, they had seemed to be training.

Magnus made his way to the square and saw that there were indeed lots of knights there, training and Magnus knew that he shouldn’t but he did allow himself a few glances at the gorgeous men, fighting. He couldn’t help himself, he did have eyes after all!

He noticed a man, probably just a few years older than him, with blonde hair and a cocky smile on his face. He seemed to be harassing someone, a servant probably. “Come on, is that the best you can do?!” The man yelled at the terrified boy, “All you need to do is run around with this shield, is that too hard for you to understand?!” The man yelled and threw a shield at the boy. He seemed to be having a hard time just holding it up. “Come on, run!” The blondie yelled, and the boy ran. And only then did Magnus really understand why the boy was so terrified. They were using him as a moving target. Magnus hated the blondie already.

Magnus saw the boy hang on to the shield for dare life, daggers hitting the shield repeatedly as the knights threw them. The shield slipped out of the boys hands and rolled over to where Magnus was standing. “Hey, that’s enough, don’t you think?” Magnus said, looking at the men.

“What did you say?” The blondie asked, looking annoyed at Magnus.

“You’ve had your fun, it’s enough, don’t you think, my friend?”

“Do I know you?” Blondie said and took a few steps towards Magnus, looking him up and down judgingly.

“No,”

“And yet you called me friend,”

“Ah, sorry, that was my mistake. I would never have a friend as mean as you,” Magnus said, grinning at blondies annoyed huff. He started walking away, having already had enough of him.

“Nor I as stupid as you!” Blondie said, following Magnus. “Tell me, boy, do you know how to walk on your knees?”

“Nope,” Magnus said,

“Would you like me to teach you?”

“You really don't want to do that,” Magnus didn't say it in a threatening way, more matter of factly.

“Why not? What are you gonna do to me?”

“You have no idea,” Magnus mumbled.

“Well come on then! Come on!” Blondie opened his arms wide, inviting Magnus to do his worst. And how Magnus wanted to, he wanted to hit him with all he had, send him flying into the wall ten meters away. But he couldn't, not to a knight, and not in front of all these people. He'd been in Idris for less than a day, he couldn't mess it up. But the way blondie kept teasing him, laughing at him, Magnus couldn't just stand there, he had to do something. And that was probably the thought that led to him trying to punch blondie in the face. Magnus regretted it as soon as he’d done it, he was attacking a fully armed knight, and all he had to defend himself with was magic, which was illegal and could get him killed.

Blondie easily deflected Magnus's punch and had Magnus pinned to a wall that Magnus was sure hadn't been there earlier. “I'll get you in jail for that,” blondie said as he twisted Magnus's arm, probably just for the fun of it since he seemed to be not just an ass but also a sadist.

“Who do you think you are, the king?” Magnus gritted out, determined of not letting his pain show.

“No, I'm his son. Jace,” only then did Magnus realize how screwed he was. He'd tried to punch a member of the royal family. In less then a day he'd already messed up.

Magnus sighed when blondie, Jace, released his arm, but just a second later he was being manhandled by two guards towards the prison cells. He was so screwed.

 


 

Alec had been sitting in the shadow, he was resting after hours of training. He noticed the boy he'd seen the day before, he seemed lost again. Alec wanted to go greet him, talk to him, and maybe help him on his way, but before he got to do any of that his eyes landed on Jace.

Jace was harassing his servant again. Alec had told him to stop so many times, but Jace kept acting like an ass. It was his defense mechanism, to look all tough and mean in front of people, Alec got it, he just didn't like that Jace took it out on other people. He was about to go tell Jace to cut it out when the boy spoke up. Alec couldn't really hear what he was saying from where he was sitting, but from Jace’s annoyed look it was probably something along the lines of “stop”. Jace didn't like being told to stop, as his face clearly stated.

The boy and Jace were talking back and forth, and even though Alec couldn't hear them he had some idea of what they were saying. The boy started walking away, a wise choice if you asked Alec, but Jace stopped him, clearly not done with the boy. Alec saw things start to get heated, and when Jace opened his arms in invitation he started to worry about the boy. He stood up, wanting to go stop the fight before it happened, but before he could as much as take a step the boy's fist was already in the air.

Alec sped his pace up, he could still stop the worst from happening, like Jace losing his patience and beating the boy up. Not like Jace usually did that, but honestly, it was hard to know with Jace. However, he was barely halfway there when he was stopped by someone, “Sire! Alexander, wait!” It was some random knight, Alec didn't know his name, nor what he wanted. The man said something that Alec didn't catch, but it distracted him. He only looked away for a second, but by the time he looked back the boy was being dragged away by the guards, nothing Alec could do for him now.

Instead, his eyes settled back on Jace, who was now pulling daggers out of the shield and laughing with all those knights he called friends. “What was that for?” Alec asked as soon as he was within hearing range.

“What was what for?” Jace said in an innocent voice.

“That boy, pinning him up against the wall, putting him in jail, what was that for?”

“He tried to punch me!”

“You were provoking him! And all he did was tell you to stop being an ass,”

“How about you stop being an ass? Don't you have some future king stuff to do?” Jace asked with a snark. Alec almost wanted to punch him himself. Instead of doing that, he turned around and left for his chambers. He just wanted to be alone now.

The boy, the hot attractive boy Alec thought he was never going to see again, had just stood up to Jace, and gotten himself arrested in the process. Stupid, really, attacking a member of the royal family, the boy had to be an idiot. A brave one though, to dare to stand up to Jace while he was harassing someone. The boy probably didn't know Jace was a member of the royal family, but still. He'd stood up to a fully armed knight while he himself was unarmed. A brave idiot.

 


 

Magnus was screwed, so screwed. He was pacing in the little cell he was locked in. How could he have been so stupid? What was Luke going to tell his mother? He'd promised both of them he'd stay out of trouble, and here he was, in a cell. He'd tried to punch the prince for fucks sake! How did he end up in that situation?

Magnus had never been in prison before, actually, there wasn't a prison in the village he'd lived in his whole life, everything here was new. And honestly, the inside of a cell was not really what Magnus wanted to see first. But that's what happens when you try to punch the fucking prince, his brain supplied, somehow annoying himself.

There wasn't much to do in the cell. The only thing there was a stack of hay, which Magnus supposed he was going to sleep on. And that was literally it, a haystack, three walls, and a door. And Magnus was probably going to spend quite some time here after he tried to punch the prince. Magnus couldn't stop thinking of that, the prince. The prince. Magnus tried to punch the prince. He was probably going to spend the rest of his life in prison for treason.

Magnus sat down on the haystack and stared at the wall, he didn't have much else to do. He didn’t know how long he had been sitting there when the door was opened and two guards came into the cell. “What's going on?” Magnus asked, expecting the worst.

“Your punishment has been changed, King Robert and Luke agreed a more fitting punishment.” They were gonna execute him, Magnus was sure of it. Luke had told the king about his magic and now they were going to kill him. He was going to die, and all because he tried to punch a prince. Magnus didn't even try to resist as they dragged him outside, his life was over, he couldn't run, what was the point?

The guards led him to a marketplace, a simple market. Booths were selling fruits and vegetables, kids were running around. Kids, Magnus couldn't be executed in front of kids. One of the guards let go of his arm and pulled a key out of his pocket. Were they going to execute him with a key? No, they were doing something else, was that a stock? Would that be better or worse than a life in prison? At least the stock would be temporary.

“How long am I supposed to be here,” Magnus asked while the guards motioned for him to position himself. There was no point in fighting.

“A few hours, we’ll come release you when it’s over,” Well that was a relief. He wasn’t going to spend his life locked up. Maybe this wasn’t worth punching, well, trying to punch, the prince, but at least his life wasn’t over because of it.

As soon as all was locked into place the guards left, and Magnus stayed, as he had no other choice. He could deal with this, right? He just had to stay still for a few hours while people went on with their work, some stopping up to laugh or point at him. Magnus noticed the children he’d seen earlier take a big interest in him. They were pointing at him, they seemed to be planning something. Not a good sign for Magnus. Especially not when one of them left, only to come back a few minutes later with a basket full of what Magnus could only assume was old vegetables from one of the booths. Well then, brace yourself, Magnus told himself. He knew what was coming. God, they were going to mess up his hair. It would be hell to wash it later.

Magnus tried not to think of that as the children approached, tried not to think of anything. Just close your eyes and pretend it’s something else, not that that was going to help all that much, but there wasn’t much else to do.

 


 

Magnus had lost track of time, he was caught in a cycle. People passed by, joined the kids in making fun of him, and then left. Kids were called away by their parents, new ones came along, the basket got empty and someone ran to fill it, and then it all happened again.

When the guard had said “a few hours” that could have been everything from two to four or five, and Magnus hadn’t asked him to clarify, so even if he did know how much time had passed he couldn’t know how much time was left. What he could know was that the kids’ basket was getting empty, so he would have a few minutes of peace.

As the kids went to fill the basket a girl approached him. “Hi,” she said with a smile.

“Um, hi,” Magnus said confused.

“I’m Catarina, although most people call me Cat,” The girl introduced herself.

“Oh, well I’m Magnus. Although most people call me idiot.”

“No, I saw what you did, you weren’t an idiot, you were brave,” Catarina said, a look Magnus could almost have thought was awe on her face. But no, she couldn’t be in awe of Magnus. “No one ever stands up to Jace, well, except for his siblings of course. But you, you did, and that was really, really brave.”

“Really?” Magnus wondered out loud.

“Yes. People around here are so used to it they don’t even try to fight it, but you… everyone admires you,”

“Well, Cat, you should probably go. My admirers are here,” Magnus said with a look at a bunch of children running towards them.

“I probably should. I’ll see you around, Magnus,” she chuckled as she walked away, leaving Magnus to his admirers.

 


 

 

There he was again. That goddamned boy. He was currently getting thrown vegetables at, the consequences of trying to punch Jace.

No matter how hard Alec had tried he just couldn’t get his mind off the boy. Ever since he’d seen him in that square. It probably wasn’t a coincidence he’d ended up by a window facing the market he knew the boy was going to be at. He hadn’t even thought about it, one second he had been roaming the castle with no destination and the next he was looking at that goddamned boy. The brave idiot.

Alec still didn’t know his name, only that he worked for the royal medic, and he wasn’t going away any time soon. Alec still hadn’t decided if that was a good thing or not. But it seemed like his body had made a decision for him and Alec was moving out of the castle and to the small marketplace. Maybe he could make the boy move to the castle, convince his father that it would be a better punishment for the boy to work there, preferably for Alec.

Alec was unsure of what he was feeling. Attraction, without a doubt. But it felt like more than that. But it couldn’t be, how could he like someone he didn’t even know the name of? Could you really start to like someone just by watching them? No, no of course not. It was just Alec’s heart, so desperate to feel the love he knew he would never have that it invented feelings, hoping to get him there. But Alec couldn’t have that kind of love, not in the way he wanted it. He knew that, his brain knew and accepted that, and his heart knew it. So why was he feeling like this? Get a grip on yourself, he thought.

He had arrived at the market, and although some people greeted him with “Sire,” or “Your Highness,” he went mostly unnoticed in the crowd. He tried to stay like that, unnoticed. He avoided the knights and kept his head down until he could see the boy again, surrounded by children and some other bypassers. He stood and watched from a small distance. The boy seemed quite happy considering he was being punished, but then again he probably thought he had a lifetime of prison ahead of him, so a few hours on the stock were probably a relief. He was smiling, not a big smile, Alec probably wouldn’t have seen it if he wasn’t studying the boy’s face so intently.

Alec stood there for a good ten minutes, just looking at the boy before the children ran out of vegetables to throw. They ran away to get more, and Alec started to slowly approach the boy. He was scared of what people would think if they saw him, the future king, talking to a criminal, but whatever feelings he had for the boy overrode all the fear.

He was just a few steps away, the boy had noticed him and was looking at him curiously. But that exact second two guards appeared out of nowhere, placing themselves between Alec and the boy, their backs to Alec. At first Alec though they were trying to protect him, although from what he didn’t get, the boy was harmless. But then he realized they weren’t there for him, they hadn’t even noticed him. No, they were freeing the boy, and once he was free they lead him away, all before Alec could even mutter a single word.

Alec watched them go, the boy between the two guards, and he didn’t look back once. Alec had hoped he would, had hoped to look into those brown eyes again, for more than just a fraction of a second.

But Alec stared at the boys back, and other parts, and the boy didn’t look back. And then he turned a corner and was gone, out of Alec’s sight.

 


 

The guards followed Magnus all the way back to Luke’s house and only left his side after Luke had told Magnus to go wash off everything. By the time Magnus came out again, Luke was sitting at the table with dinner, and the guards were long gone.

Magnus sat down and immediately started eating, he was starving. Only after half the food on the plate was gone did Magnus stop to breathe and talk. “Thank you,” He said to Luke, “For, you know, getting me out of prison,”

“You’re welcome. But don’t do that, ever again.” Luke said sternly.

“He was asking for it! I didn’t know he was the prince, all I knew was that he was an ass.”

“It doesn’t matter. No matter how much they ask for it, don’t get in a fight. What would I tell your mother when she asked me how you were doing? I promised her I would take good care of you, but you’re not making it easy!”

“I know,” Magnus said, looking down at his plate. “I’m sorry for worrying you. I’ll do my best not to do it again,” Luke looked pleased with the apology.

“Good,” He said. There was a short silence while both of them ate, until Magnus remembered something.

“Oh no, I didn’t give the potion to the princess!” He exclaimed, “I have to do that, now.”

“Finish eating first, it’s already hours late, so ten minutes more won't make a difference. Princess Isabelle tends to be very understanding.” Magnus reluctantly sat down again. He was disappointed in himself for not being able to do the simplest of work, for getting distracted, but what Luke said made sense so he sat down again.

Just a few minutes later he was finishing up and ready to leave. “She’s in her chambers, right?” he asked just to be sure.

“That's where she should be, but if not I’m sure someone will know where she can be found. Off you go now, and don’t get yourself in trouble!”

The castle was just a few minutes away from Luke’s house. Well, the actual castle was two meters away, but the doors to the castle, they were in a completely different place.

The doors to the castle were open, and only two guards were guarding them. Magnus had expected locked doors and full security, but apparently it wasn’t like that. Magnus had never been in a castle, never even seen one before he left on his journey to Idris.

The castle was beautiful on the inside, tall ceilings were painted and the windows were taller than Magnus himself. The place was enormous, and after almost ten minutes of walking, Magnus had to admit to himself that he was lost. He’d only seen a few people in the halls, the castle seemed deserted.

But at the end of the hall, he spotted someone turning a corner, just a flash of bright, red hair. “Hey!” He yelled after the person, running to catch up with them and hoping however it was hadn’t disappeared by the time he turned the corner. “Wait!” He turned the corner and saw a girl, with the bright red hair, turning around to look at him. “Wait,” Magnus said again, just to make sure she wouldn’t leave. He walked up to her as he caught his breath. “I- can you help me?”

The girl looked curiously at him before smiling and nodding. “Of course, what do you need help with?”

“I… I’m kinda lost. I’m looking for the princess, Isabelle?”

“Oh, who are you?”

“I’m Magnus Bane, I work for Luke, the medic.”

“Are you here to deliver the sleeping potion?” The girl asked.

“Yeah, how did you know that?”

“I’m Clary, her maid. I’ll show you to her chambers.” Magnus smiled thankfully at her and let her lead the way. She lead him through the castle and the halls that reminded Magnus of a labyrinth.

“I know it seems confusing at first, but you’ll get used to it,” Clary said after they’d been walking for a while in silence. They stopped by a room shortly after, and Clary waved Magnus inside. “She’s not here right now, but you can just leave the potion here and I’ll give it to her when she comes,” Clary offered.

“Would you do that?”

“Yes, of course!”

“Thank you, Clary,” Magnus said.

“Any time, Magnus. I hope to see you again.” Clary said with a smile again.

“I’ll see you around,” Magnus said before leaving the room. Now he just had to find his way out.

 


 

There he was, yet again! Alec was on his way to his chambers, just a few doors away from Izzy’s, when the boy appeared. It had been less than an hour since he’d been lead away right in front of Alec, but now the boy was all clean, like all the events earlier that day hadn’t happened.

Alec realized this was the first time he’d seen the boy up close without rotten tomatoes in his hair. He wasn’t exactly “up close,” he was at the end of the hall, peeking out from the corner. It was stupid, really. He was the future king! He shouldn’t be afraid of approaching someone in the castle. Come on, Alec. You can do this, he thought. Just a quick chat, that was all Alec wanted. Just find out the boy’s name, age, how long he would be staying… Just a friendly chat with the Royal Medic’s messenger.

The boy was still standing in the middle of the hallway, but he seemed to have decided what way he wanted to go, so it was now or never. Now! Alec stepped around the corner. The boy hadn’t seen him yet, but he would soon.

“Alec!” Jace, not now! The boy heard him too, and when he looked up his eyes passed Alec and spotted a mop of blonde hair. In a matter of seconds the boy was gone, and Jace was by Alec’s side. Alec was never going to get a chance like this again. The hallway had been empty, just Alec and the boy. Was this some higher force trying to tell Alec to stop, to realize he wasn’t getting love, to stop Alec from doing something stupid? “Alec! Are you listening?”

“Hm, yeah what?”

“Have you heard about the banquet happening next week?” Jace asked.

“No, what about it?”

“Dad’s making it because some singer he likes is coming to sing here at the castle, she’s coming all the way from Edom! Can you believe that?”

“Yeah, that’s nice…” Alec said, feigning interest. Jace kept talking about the woman, and Alec didn’t stop him and he didn’t leave. He just listened, although he would much rather be chasing a certain boy.