Author's Notes

This is the last chapter that is almost entirely reused from the other story. From now on, we will have a lot of new content. I'm already working on it.

The End of a Beginning

"What does that Doofus think he's doing? Why isn't he trying to run away?" Lucky Girl's worried thoughts also echoed in Charmcaster's mind, since the two had merged their auras before.

Charmcaster was worried too. She knew that Ben - "Magus Viridis" - was a powerful wizard, but not even half as powerful as Hex. And definitely much less powerful than a dragon. He had no chance.

Charmcaster let go of Lucky Girl's hand to break their bond so, even if she was still under Hex's control, at least Gwen could help Magus.

But Lucky Girl's knees seemed glued to the ground in obedience to Hex's previous order to kneel. And Charmcaster was still able to read Lucky Girl's thoughts and feel her desperation, despite them not being in physical contact with each other anymore.

"You shouldn't have tried to merge your magical auras as a defensive move against a powerful spell, children," Hex said with a grim smile, "What you did was smashing two different pieces of play dough together. It's very hard to fully separate them later. Gwendolyn, you're still carrying bits of Hope's aura with you. And, because of that, you're still under my control," then Hex turned his attention to Magus Viridis, "Interesting, you can turn into a wizard. Now it makes a little more sense why my niece and granddaughter fell in love with you."

Hex was wrong, of course. Charmcaster knew that what Lucky Girl felt about Ben had nothing to do with an alien form. As for what she felt for Ben herself... it was too complicated to explain the reasons.

"But I don't have time to waste, let's get this over with already," Hex said, pointing the Staff of Ages in Magus Viridis' direction.

"Calm down," Magus raised his hands, "I said I didn't want to run, but I didn't say I want to fight. I don't. What I want is to propose an alliance."

"Ben is distracting Hex," Lucky Girl thought, and Charmcaster realized that Gwen was finally a little less desperate, "I think he has a real plan..."

"You see, I don't need to be a 'filthy human'. I can be a sorcerer just like you. There is no need to shed a fellow brother's blood, is there? You hide me from Vilgax and let me work for you. In return, I assure you that your granddaughter and niece will be willing to cooperate with you," Magus Viridis slowly approached the girls.

"I'll have to take precautions to ensure your loyalty," Hex said, focused, with his eyes half-shut.

"Of course," Magus Viridis said, "What if you put me under that 'imperius' spell with Hope and Gwen?" He took both Lucky Girl's and Charmcaster's hands in his.

Charmcaster immediately felt Magus' aura connecting with hers and Gwen's. The feeling was as if the three of them were in the sea with pleasant waves washing over them. It was a dangerous move, because Hex could very well take control of all three of them. Or maybe together they would be strong enough to resist.

"I didn't allow you to do this!" Hex yelled furious,"Imperius Maledictum!"

The trio felt a strong energy coming from Hex trying to subdue them, but they managed to resist.

"Imperius Maledictum! IMPERIUS MALEDICTUM!" The Dark Wizard shouted again, and the trio could see a thick red energy trying to envelop them.

"Together, let's push him away!" Lucky Girl yelled in her thoughts. They held each other's hands tight, and their combined aura was able to 'burn off' Hex's spell.

"We did it!" Charmcaster shouted.

"We can let go of each other's hands. We worry about how badly we messed up with our auras later, for now let's exploit the advantage of having a permanent bond and attack Hex from all sides," Lucky Girl said.

It didn't take long for Hex to realize how vulnerable he was with three opponents cornering him, "Let's make this a little bit fairer," he turned to the dragon and ordered, "Kill the boy!"

Charmcaster immediately placed herself in front of Ben and shouted, "Bradet, please don't do this!"

The dragon inclined his head dangerously close to Charmcaster, and began smelling her. Charmcaster's heart skipped a beat. Bradet used to like her, but she hadn't seen the dragon ever since she was a small child, before her father's death. She had no real idea if Bradet would still recognize her or not.

Charmcaster took a deep breath and gently stroke the dragon's snout with her hands, "You remember me, don't you, Bradet?" To her relief, the beast seemed to be comfortable around her, "Good boy, good boy."

"I gave you an order! Kill the boy!" Hex shouted, inciting the dragon to attack Ben.

"No, Badret! Stay put," Charmcaster commanded.

The dragon turned his head a few times from Charmcaster to Hex in confusion, but he ultimately fixed his gaze on the young silver-haired witch, in a sign that he was willing to obey her.

"It's our turn now," The minds of Charmcaster, Lucky Girl and Magus Viridis were in perfect sync, "MERCUTA VERDITIS!" The three shouted at the same, launching a very powerful blast of mana at Hex, who, taken by surprise, had no time to conjure a shield to protect himself. The Dark Wizard was knocked out cold by the trio's combined magic.

With Hex defeated and the dragon on their side, it wasn't very hard for Charmcaster, Magus Viridis and Lucky Girl to make Hex's minions give up and free the hostages. Hex and all his men were safely restrained, wearing the same kind of power inhibiting iron collars that were used against the hostages before. And after the hostages were safe, a message was sent to the evolved Anodites, and they destroyed the Vilgaxian ship in the orbit of the planet. Less than an hour later, they were on the surface of the planet reunited with their children.

Charmcaster received a lot of attention from a group of former hostages. They were grateful to be rescued, and many were curious to see the dragon Badret up close. Some even had the courage to touch him.

A boy named George asked for a kiss, "Do you want to kiss the dragon?" Charmcaster asked in surprise.

"No, I want to kiss you," the boy replied, blushing a little. Charmcaster smiled and let George kiss her on the cheek

"You're staying here in Anodyne with us, right, beautiful?" a girl asked, and Charmcaster could swear the girl was flirting with her too.

"I honestly didn't think about that," Charmcaster answered. She wasn't expecting to be pampered like a hero. She used to be Hex's sidekick, she thought everyone would want to see her gone from Anodyne as quickly as possible. Charmcaster had to think about what she would do next.

"Stay! Stay! Stay!" The whole group began to hum and clap. Charmcaster, a little embarrassed, apologized and said she had to look for her friends.

She found Ben and Gwen lying on the grass watching the sunset - or rather, sunsets. Anodyne had two suns. It was a wonderful sight.

"Hi, CC," Ben said. He was still in his Magus Viridis form, "Lay down here with us. The atmosphere here is so much better than in the middle of that crowd."

"I really doubt that you weren't enjoying the attention, Ben. I think you just want to avoid a certain Natan from flirting with your cousin," Charmcaster said with a smirk. She had noticed that while Ben and Gwen were amongst the other sorcerers, a very handsome boy - Natan Salas - didn't take his eyes off Gwen. Thanks to the bond, Charmcaster literally felt Ben boiling with jealousy. She decided to have a little more fun at Ben's expense, "I'll admit it, if Gwen was willing to try a girls' love with me, I would forget you in a heartbeat for her. So I can't really blame Natan for trying to steal her from you."

"I think I'm going to take back my invitation for you to stay here with us, CC," Magus Viridis said, very annoyed, while Gwen began to laugh.

Charmcaster laid there and the trio remained silent for a few minutes just enjoying the sight.

Then Charmcaster said, "It's funny that you kind of made me achieve a dream, but not in the way I expected. I always wanted to feel the love of a wizard in a bond. By bonding with you two, I'm being able to feel all the love you have for each other. Of course I expected to feel that between myself and another person, not between two other people. I've dated wizards before, but a bond never happened."

"Don't worry," Gwen said, "Grandma Verdona said almost all your ex-boyfriends were sleazebags. That kind of person seldom feels anything real for anyone. You just have to find a good guy, and I'm sure you'll form a connection with him. I'm sure there are lots of nice guys waiting for you on Earth."

Charmcaster chuckled, "You forgot I am a villain wanted by the authorities on Earth. Nice guys usually don't date wanted criminals."

"Hex will get arrested," Gwen said, "You can follow your own path now. You don't have to be a 'villain' anymore."

"You put yourself in danger and came to Anodyne when you could have stayed hidden on Earth, and you tamed the dragon. This time you were the one who saved the day, not us. I'd say you are a great heroine," Ben said.

"Yes, I think I'm kind of a heroine... here, at least," Charmcaster said, more to herself than to her friends. After a few moments of silence she spoke again, "And that's why I'll stay here."

"WHAT?" Ben and Gwen immediately stood up in shock.

"I'll have more opportunities here, amongst my peers, in a place where people admire me instead of fear me. I can have a fresh start," Charmcaster said, "Deep down, you know that's the best for me too, guys."

"W-What about u-us? Y-You can't a-abandon us," Gwen said, her voice cracked and tears began to form.

"Please don't leave," Ben pleaded in a sad tone.

"Bonding with the two of you made me see how silly I was. I thought one day you two were going to wake up, decide that you were better off as just cousins and Ben would fall in love with me the same way he fell in love with Gwen. But that would never happen," Charmcaster said, with a sad smile. But then it shifted to a happy smile, "You two love each other more than anything and I know that nothing will separate you, not the society, not friends, not even your family. I know it's probably unnecessary, but I also have a warning for you two. Ben, if you don't take good care of our cousin in common, I'll come back to kick your butt. And, Gwen, if you don't take good care of our sweetheart in common, I'll come back to kick your butt too."

Both Ben and Gwen had tears in their eyes and, through the bond, Charmcaster felt their sadness. But Charmcaster knew that this would be better for them as well. What did she have to offer to them? Magic? Gwen could do that. To be Gwen's best friend? Ben could do that. To be Ben's girlfriend? Gwen could do that. To be Gwen's cousin? Ben could do that. The only thing she could do was ruin their relationship with each other.

Suddenly, they heard in the distance some people calling for them, "Charmcaster! Lucky Girl! Magus Viridis!" The trio ran toward the voices.

"I'm glad we could find you," a young witch said, "Hex's trial will begin soon."

The trial took place in the ruins of an ancient castle, which many centuries ago was probably a beautiful and imposing structure. Around Hex, there was a group of beings whose bodies were pure mystical energy - the Evolved Anodites, members of the Coven.

They spent a good amount of time detailing Hex's long list of crimes. Use of forbidden black magic - not only the mind-control spell he had used on Charmcaster but also other much worse spells - multiple murders - with both sorcerers and humans as victims - and now crimes such as kidnapping, mutilation - of the hostages he had cut limbs - and a threat to Anodyne's sovereignty - for almost having made the planet become part of the Vilgaxian Empire.

By unanimous decision, it was decided that Hex's punishment would be death. Charmcaster's heart skipped a beat when she heard the sentence. She had no doubt that Hex was a horrible person, but he was still her uncle.

"Wait!" Charmcaster shouted, "Can't you just lock him up?"

"We will not go back on our decision, child," A male Evolved Anodite said.

"Charmcaster!" Hex shouted angrily, and then turned to the evolved Anodites, "I accept my sentence. Please allow me some last words in private with my niece."

"Be quick," A female Evolved Anodite spoke up.

Charmcaster approached Hex and whispered, "I think I can find a way to get you out of this alive, Uncle," she said.

Hex laughed with an evil expression on his face, "Don't call me uncle. I'm ashamed to be related to a worthless and pathetic person like you. You ruined my plans. If you put me in any prison, I'll free myself and kill you and your friends, you idiot."

Charmcaster boiled in anger and was about to hit Hex, when she suddenly realized what he was doing and then relaxed, "You're the most manipulative person I know. You would never be stupid enough to threaten the only person who is in a position to save your life, unless... You don't want me to try to save you. Why?"

The evil expression faded from Hex's face. He took a deep breath and whispered, "I've never been a good uncle. I manipulated you, I hit you whenever you disobeyed me, I brainwashed you and made you betray your friends. At least once I want to do the right thing. You earned the Evolved Anodites' respect because you saved the hostages, you have a chance to live a good life here. I can't let you ruin your life for me. I don't deserve it. I taught you something, and I want you to put it into practice today: be selfish, do what is best for you. And the best thing for you is to let me die."

"Uncle," Charmcaster said with tears in her eyes, "You are still the person who took me out of the orphanage, raised me, and I know there were a few moments that you showed love for me too."

"I just did it to manipulate you. I wanted a powerful sidekick loyal to me, not a niece," Hex said.

"I don't care. You're still my uncle, no matter what," Charmcaster said. And then she addressed the Evolved Anodites, "I have something to tell you!"

"Damn it!" Hex yelled, "Charmcaster, no!"

"You all know Vilgax now knows about this planet. Now that Hex has been defeated, he may give up on conquering Anodyne or not. If he attacks, a dragon would be very useful. And if you kill Hex, I'll go back to Earth with my dragon. If you leave Hex alive, I promise that my dragon will help to protect this planet," Charmcaster said.

The Evolved Anodites talked amongst themselves for a few minutes, and then they said, "We don't want your uncle here after all he did. And if you want to stand by him, we don't want you here either. You teach someone else to tame your dragon, and then take your uncle back to Earth with you and don't come back."

Charmcaster knew it would be better for Badret to stay in Anodyne rather than on Earth. She remembered that on Earth her father had to leave him locked up almost all the time. Badret was not exactly a harmless animal and her father had to keep him well fed with cattle from his farm to prevent Badret from hunting humans. Also, if he were to fly on the loose he could end up being killed by the human authorities, who definitely weren't fans of dragon.

In the following days, the Coven brought many wizards and witches to Anodyne. A few of them were descendants of Charmcaster's ancestor who had an affinity with dragons, and Charmcaster taught a fourth cousin of hers how to tame Badret.

After she had positioned herself against punishing Hex with death, Charmcaster lost all her previous 'popularity' and no other sorcerer besides Lucky Girl and Magus Viridis was talking to her anymore. Now she couldn't wait to get off the planet.

"Ben, Gwen, you two agree with the others. You think I made a mistake. Why haven't you stopped talking to me?" Charmcaster asked in a dry tone.

"We think you were wrong, yes, but only because you wasted an opportunity to do something that you wanted for someone who wasn't worth it, even though we're glad you're coming back to Earth with us. Remember when we met you and you even admired Hex? Grandma Verdona always told me to be patient with you because you were raised by him. We've never stopped talking to you over that," Gwen said, and Ben nodded in agreement, "You know that he's a bad guy now, but he's still your uncle, and it's only natural that you don't want him to die."

"Thanks, guys," Charmcaster hugged Ben and Gwen.

The vestigial bond between the trio finally faded away after a couple of days. Back on Earth, at Verdona's house, Charmcaster received at last some good news.

"I thought a lot and I decided to stay on Earth," Verdona told the trio with a smile on her face, "Anodyne is beautiful, but my family is here. I'd rather be here with you than alone there."

Hope and Gwen ran to Verdona and hugged her very tight. Of course they were the family Verdona was referring to.

"I'm going to get very busy around here too," Verdona said, "The Coven members who stayed here invited me to join the brand-new Earth Coven. Now, in honor of our human brothers and sisters, we, sorcerers who decided not to go through the evolution procedure and stayed on Earth, will be called Homo sapiens magi and the sorcerers who went to Anodyne will stay with the name Anodites."

"How many sorcerers decided to stay on Earth?" Ben asked.

"A lot. Some of them are married to humans and have deep roots here. Like that famous stage-magician, you must have heard of him, Bob Salas."

Ben made a noise that sounded like a growl, "Does that mean his son, Natan, is staying on Earth as well?"

"I think so," Verdona said, unaware of the reason behind Ben's annoyance.

"Crap!" Ben shouted.

Hex was sent to a prison specifically made for wizards and witches. After Verdona learned that the prisoners of S.E.C.T. were used to do black-ops missions in the Dark Squad, the sorcerers' community had reactivated their previously defunct prison on Earth, located on an isolated hidden island. The place was awful, but that didn't stop Charmcaster from visiting her uncle.

"I appreciate what you did for me, Charmcaster," Hex was talking to her from behind iron bars, "I promise I will not tell the secret identities of my granddaughter and of the boy to anyone. I know the wizards here are trying to find a way to get past my mental defenses and erase certain details from my mind as well, but I want you to know that I'll keep this secret no matter what. And I also have a reward for you: The Grimoire of Archamada, my own spell book."

Charmcaster arched her eyebrows, "A book full of black magic spells, I presume. Are you going to give it to me so I can follow your legacy? I think I'll pass."

"Not all the spells in there are black magic, and you do whatever you want with it, of course," Hex said very calm, pressing his head against the bars, "But if you don't want me to tell you where it is, the decision is yours."

Charmcaster stayed deep in thought for a few seconds until she finally said, "Tell me where it is."

Hex smiled.

Author's Notes

This was the last chapter that is almost entirely reused from the other story. From now on, we will have a lot of new content. I'm already working on it.