Alexis rummaged through her potion cabinet looking for the ingredients she needed. What was usually a well-organised cabinet looked like a mess. She made an annoyed noise as she took out a bag of dried chickweed placed next to some pumpkin seeds. “What is this doing in the seed shelf?” she grunted, as she replaced it in the right section. This was extremely annoying, and she knew who to blame. Gwen knew perfectly well that each ingredient should be shelved according to category, and that they should be placed in alphabetical order. It was not that difficult!
“Oh, frog spawn!! Where’s the fireweed?” She continued going through her potion ingredients, reorganising, until she came up with a list of missing ingredients. She then went outside where she found her apprentice working in the garden.
“Gwen, you’re in big trouble!” She raised her voice as she approached the younger woman. She came to a holt in front of her, folding her arms.
Gwen was sitting on her knees in the herb garden, wearing a wide brimmed sun hat. She turned around and looked up at her mentor. She squinted her eyes as her hat fell off, holding up her arm to cover her eyes from the sun. “What do you mean? I’m doing my chores like you told me.”
“You know you’re supposed to let me know if you notice we’re running short on ingredients.”
“Oh… yes.” Gwen scratched her nose nervously, smudging her nose with dirt. “I forgot to tell you. We’re out of bindweed, hemlock, mandrake and chicory.”
“Yes! And fireweed, and curly dock! We’re missing a lot of ingredients, and you know mandrakes have to be picked at full moon.”
“I know, I’m sorry,” Gwen excused herself. “But it’s full moon tonight, we can get the mandrake then.”
“Well, I can’t tonight,” Alexis said, annoyed. “The order is having an important council meeting. The conflict with some of the vampire clans have become critical, and Kendra Onbush is not being helpful! I’m starting to think she doesn’t want peace.” She shook her head disapprovingly, thinking about her fellow order member. “I’ll just have to borrow some ingredients from Andromeda, which means I have to go earlier than I had originally planned.”
Gwen got up, brushed her hands off on her shorts and gave her mentor a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, Alexis, I can collect some tonight. I know where to…”
“Absolutely not!” Alexis cut her off, and her worried expression suddenly looked really stern. “You will do no such thing. Not by yourself at full moon.”
“But… come on, I’ll be perfectly safe,” Gwen argued, a bit taken aback by her mentors reaction.
“I said no, Gwen. Did you not just hear what I said? The situation with the vampires has become critical, and you know werewolves head for the forest during full moon.”
Gwen sighed. She hated when Alexis babied her like this. She was thirty-one-years-old, and Alexis had promised her that she was almost done with her apprenticeship. She should loosen up on the restrictions.
“I can ask Leda if she can go with me,” she suggested, knowing that her Alexis would feel better about it if she knew Leda was there to protect her.
“She’s busy tonight. She has a guest from the North.”
“From the North? As in THE North?”
“Yes, you’ll get to meet her one of these days, but she just arrived this morning, and so Leda will not be able to go with you. It’ll just have to wait.”
“Gwen…” Alexis’s tone was dangerously low. “I will not repeat myself…”
Gwen sighed. “Fine.”
Later that evening, Alexis stood in the entrance hall all dressed up for a formal meeting. She wore her black cloak, her new, pointy hat, and leather boots she had made Gwen polish for her as punishment. She was looking very smart, indeed. She straightened her hat in front of the mirror and grabbed her trusty old broom that was leaning up against the wall.
“Alright, I think I am ready to go. Finish your chores, and don’t stay up too late. I don’t know when I will be back. I might spend the night somewhere else.”
“Spending the night where?”
“Just… just somewhere,” Alexis said, blushing. Actually blushing! “You know, just in case it gets really late and I need a bed for the night.”
“Would this bed come with a wizard?”
“Gwen!” Alexis gave her apprentice a quick smack to the backside.
“Ow! Okay, okay, I won’t pry,” Gwen said, grinning as she rubbed the sting out of her bottom.
“I will be off now.” Alexis pulled Gwen close and gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Be good, and don’t go anywhere. It’ll get dark soon, and you’re not going out on your own.”
“No, of course not, because I’m just a child,” Gwen said sarcastically.
“It has nothing to do with being a child, missy. I know you are getting older, and you’re almost done with your apprenticeship, but these are scary times. I want you to be safe.”
Being over 200-years-old, Alexis might be a little overprotective towards her 31-year-old apprentice. It wasn’t that she didn’t think Gwen capable, it was just that she was so young. She was a skilled witch, but she was a bit brash, and she lacked the wisdom that came with age and experience. Gwen had always been very spontaneous, and it had been hard work teaching her that not everything can be done on a whim. Sometimes, the younger woman needed to be protected from herself! She pulled Gwen into a long hug.
“Promise to be safe, Gwen.”
“I promise,” Gwen promised. She freed herself from her mentors embrace. “Now, you get going so I can get started on all my mischief.”
“Very funny, missy.”
Alexis blew her a kiss before she opened the front-door and stepped outside. Gwen followed her and watched as her mentor mounted her broom and kicked off from the ground. She watched her for a while as she gradually became a small, black dot in the distance. Then she went back inside and stood in the hallway, not sure what to do now that she was all on her own.
“Now what?” she mumbled to herself. Her eyes landed on her on her own broom in the corner of the room, and her herb-picking basket. She looked out the window and saw that it was still light out, if only for a short while.
She had promised Alexis to stay safe, and she intended to keep that promise, but Alexis had said she was worried about vampires and werewolves, and they only came out when it was dark. It was still light out. She could gather some of the ingredients that did not have to be picked at a certain time. It was only the mandrake that needed to be picked under the light of the full moon.
“Gwen, what are you doing?” she reprimanded herself, as her hand was moving towards her broomstick. “She said not to leave the house.” She pulled her hand back, trying to resist, but eventually she lost her inner battle and grabbed it anyway.
“She said to be safe,” she reminded herself. “And I will be perfectly safe as long as I leave the forest before dark,” she concluded. “Even if I don’t I will be able to defend myself.”
She got her broom and hurried out the door before she could change her mind. She kicked off the ground, and flew towards the forest, waving at their neighbour as she passed her in the air. Damn, she thought. I hope she doesn’t mention seeing me to Alexis.
Fifteen minutes later, Gwen landed gently on the forest floor. The last light of the day came through the branches, making the leaves look golden. In the distance, she saw two men. One of them was a tall and muscular man with dark hair cut short on the sides. The other was slight and delicate. His features were more feminine, and his golden blond hair, was braided on one side of his head and pulled back in a ponytail. From their lack of magical energy, she immediately knew that they were mortals, and as she got closer to them, she recognised the taller of the two.
“Christophe, what are you doing in the forest this late?”
“Looking for a woman who wants to have a good time,” Christophe said, winking at Gwen.
“Sure, you were,” she said, knowing full well that Christophe was far from interested in the ladies. She raised her eyebrow, looking up at the tall, handsome youth, who in return grinned, looking down at her. Why was it so hard to boss taller people around? Alexis would have no problem. Had she been there, no doubt she could have grabbed Christophe’s ear and dragged him out of the forest, and he would have listened to her. He didn’t even take Gwen seriously, and she was older than him. She was older, and she had more power. His physique was nothing against her magic, and if she wasn’t safe in the forest at night, Christophe certainly was not. She looked to his partner, who responded with stepping a little behind Christophe’s tall frame. He, she was sure, would be easier to boss around.
“Look… I’m not going to comment on what you guys are up to in here, what you do is up to you, but it is not safe for mortals to be in the forest this late. Trust me.”
Christophe put his big arms around his partner and winked at her.
“Oh don’t worry, Gwennie, Eric will be perfectly safe with me, I’ll protect him from any monsters,” he said confidently. He was obviously not taking her seriously, nor was Eric, who laughed.
“Christophe, if you think you can protect him, or yourself, from a vampire or a werewolf, you’re even stupider than I thought.” She pointed to the village. “Get yourself out of here, before the vampires wake up tonight. They’re out of control lately. And it is full moon, you might meet a werewolf, and I am too busy to protect you.”
“Maybe we should listen to her,” Eric agreed, his voice small and frightened.
“Oh… alright.” Christophe kissed him deeply. He looked up at Gwen. “We’ll get out of here soon, witch girl, but we still have a little time left before it gets dark, and you can’t be here. I don’t perform well under a woman’s scrutiny.”
“Urgh…” Gwen grunted, disgusted. “Fine, but get out of here before it gets dark.” She got on her broom and flew towards another part of the forest, where she knew she’d be able to find hemlock, and where she was not at risk of overhearing the male lovers.
As the darkness was setting, Gwen’s basket was getting full. She was quite happy with her findings, but she wasn’t sure how she would explain it to Alexis. Showing Alexis her harvested plants, would be admitting to leaving the house when she was told not to. She could hide them, she supposed, until she had prepared them for potion use. She would need to dry some of the plants. Then once they were ready for use she could say something like, “How strange! Alexis, look what I found hidden in the back of the cupboard!” That could work as long as she didn’t suddenly “find” all the missing ingredients she wasn’t supposed to have harvested by herself.
But there was another problem, their neighbour, Mrs. Finch had flown by Gwen in the air as she was heading towards the forest. She couldn’t do anything but greet her like she normally would, she just hoped that Mrs. Finch didn’t mention it to Alexis. But then again, why would she? They met each other often enough, it wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary.
Gwen looked up at the sky above her where the full moon shimmered in the darkness. If she didn’t pick mandrake tonight, she would have to wait a whole month for another chance. “I’m not too far from the cliff,” she muttered to herself. “I could just pick them really quickly and then get on my broom and be on my way.”
Alexis came inside, and placed her broom up against the wall. She really should have put it in the broom shed outside, but she always forgot. She shut the door rather forcefully.
She called for her apprentice again, annoyed. She told herself not to take her mood out on Gwen, it wasn’t her fault she was annoyed. She was annoyed with the order, more specifically with Kendra Onbush. The idiotic woman had cancelled the meeting, and somehow managed to tell everyone but Alexis. Part of her suspected it was on purpose. Alexis had showed up to an empty hall. Only the caretaker was there to inform her the meeting had been cancelled days ago. Days ago! How could she not have been informed?
“Gwen? I’m back, the meeting was cancelled. That featherbrain, Kendra, notified everyone except me.”
She frowned and stood still for a while, listening for Gwen. The house was completely silent. That was odd. There was no way Gwen would have gone to bed this early.
Alexis reached out with both of her hands and searched the house for the magical presence of another witch, but she didn’t feel anything. Gwen was definitely not in the house. She suddenly felt a panic in her stomach, mixed with anger.
She felt herself breathing a little too quickly, and took a deep breath, trying to prevent herself from having a panic attack. She tried to cast a communication spell, but it failed. That meant that Gwen was too far away for her to get in touch with her magically. Had she been with Leda, she would have been able to reach her. Her suspicions seemed very likely at this point, and if Gwen had done what she thought she had done, she could be in a lot of danger.
Alexis grabbed her broom and ran out of the house. She was about to kick off from the ground when she spotted her neighbour, Mrs. Finch.
“Alice, have you seen Gwen? I can’t find her, ” she asked, hoping for good news.
“We flew by each other a little over an hour ago. She was heading towards the forest.”
“Is something wrong?”
“She wanted to harvest some herbs, but I told her to stay put. The order has had some trouble with the vampire clans lately,” she explained. “And it is full moon, so the werewolves will be out.”
“Oh dear, I didn’t know about that,” Mrs. Finch, replied looking worried. “And she was all by herself.”
“I’ll summon some help and go look for her. Will you keep an eye out for her here, in case she comes back?”
“Thank you, Alice.”
She closed her eyes, and tried to focus as she cast another communication spell. This time her target was Leda. A glowing ball of smoke formed in front of her and Leda’s outline appeared in the middle.
“Gwen is not home. I need help finding her.”
“What?!” Leda sounded shocked.
“Mrs. Finch said she saw her flying towards the forest.”
“Is she mad? What about the vampires? And werewolves! It’s full moon!”
“That is exactly why I told her she was not allowed to go out. She’s probably going to the cliff to pick mandrakes under the full moon. You’re closer to the forest than me, will you and Aisling please hurry to the cliff and look for her?”
“Yes, of course, right away.”
“Thank you.” Alexis felt her voice break. “I’ll be there as soon as I can. I just hope… I mean… the forest is not safe right now…”
“Alexis, we’ll find her. I’m leaving now.”
She cancelled her spell, mounted her broom, and kicked off the ground. Flying as fast as her broom would allow, she whispered, “Please, Gwen, please be alright.”
Meanwhile, near the cliff, Gwen had found plenty of mandrakes. The conditions for harvesting were perfect, and they would be optimal for potion brewing. She was really glad she decided to risk getting them. Content with her findings, she was on all four, carefully cutting the mandrakes so she got as much of the stem as possible. She didn’t really notice the shadow of a person on the ground before her, until she heard the crack of a twig behind her. She turned her head and saw two feet on the ground nearby, and she felt a chill running down her spine.
Looking up she saw a male vampire, teeth fully extended. His glowing red eyes told her that he killed his victims.
“Eh… hi…” she said, nervously. She hoped he had fed enough, but his hungry look gave her a weird feeling. “How are you doing?”
“Thuuuper,” he said, lisping around his teeth. “I’m vewy thiwsty.”
How very undignified. What self-respecting vampire would have a fang-lisp? His maker clearly hadn’t taught him vampire etiquette.
Gwen quickly got up and faced the vampire, glaring.
“If you’re thirsty, you’ve come to the wrong place,” she said, sharply. “I’m not letting you drink from me.”
“I wasn’t athking permithion, girly.”
Before she could react he leapt towards her, his right hand gripping her upper arm, tight, while his left hand pulled her hair, so her neck bent, exposing it to him. Gwen, panicking, tried to cast a spell, but it fizzled out almost at once. Realising she might not be able to use her magic against him, she screamed and tried to shove him away. It felt like pushing a big rock. It was true that witches were, theoretically, much more powerful than any vampire, but that was only true if she used her powers against him. Physically, a vampire was a lot stronger and faster, and Gwen’s magic seemed to fail her in this panicked state.
“Let go!” she yelled, which was probably the least productive thing she had thought of so far. At this point, hoping that the vampire had any qualms about feeding from an unwilling victim was silly. Even if this creature had any sense of right and wrong, being this close, and having taken in her scent, he would probably be acting on instinct by now.
She screamed again as she kneed him in the crotch. The vampire shrieked and burst into flames. Standing back, Gwen looked at him in shock. How the hell did she do that?
“Are you okay?”
Gwen turned around and saw a witch standing near by, holding a broom stick. She was very tall, with blue eyes and long blond hair.
“Did you do that?”
“Yes,” she said, giving Gwen a smile. “Unfortunately, a kick to the balls is not going to cause a vampire to burst into flames.”
“I know… I just… I didn’t see you before.”
The blonde came closer to her, her eyes scanning Gwen, looking for injuries.
“Are you sure you are alright? Did he manage to bite you at all?”
“No, but it was a close one.” Gwen’s hand rubbed over her neck, the knowledge of what could have happened sinking in. “Thanks… eh… I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.”
“Aisling,” Gwen repeated, smiling a little. She found herself lost in her beautiful blue eyes.
“And you’re Gwen, right?”
“What?” Gwen asked, freeing herself from the beautiful woman’s spell. “I mean… How do you know my name?”
“Alexis, you mentor, asked Leda and I to help looking for you.”
“Alexis sent you? But… but I thought she was at a meeting.”
“It got cancelled.”
“So she knows I left the house?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Oh no…”Gwen said, horrified. “She’ll kill me.”
Aisling raised her eyebrow sternly. “At this point, I think you should be glad the vampire didn’t kill you! Alexis won’t kill you, but sitting might be uncomfortable in near future. What were you thinking doing something so irresponsible as this?”
Gwen looked down ashamed.
“I… I thought….” she fiddled with her hands. “I didn’t think any creature would dare attack a witch.”
“Well, that was foolish of you, and naive too!” Aisling shook her head. “A witch’s arrogance can be her downfall.”
“I really messed up,” Gwen mumbled, feeling very sorry for herself.
“Yes, you did.”
“And now, Alexis will be mad at me.”
“Can you blame her?” Aisling asked.
Gwen shook her head, looking depressed, and taking pity on her, Aisling reached for her hand.
“Come on, let’s get your out of here.”
At her touch, Gwen felt a peculiar sensation running through her fingers. It went up her arm and spread to the rest of her body . It was like a shock, but it wasn’t unpleasant. It was a warm energy that went through her. She looked up at Aisling surprised, and she could tell from the other woman’s expression that she had felt something too. Looking puzzled, she was about to say something, but just in that moment they heard someone shouting something above them. They looked up at the night sky and saw two glowing lights coming nearer. Alexis and Leda, both flying on a broom each came soaring towards them.
Alexis almost crash-landed to the ground, dropped her broom, and hurried over to Gwen and put her arms around her.
“Thank, goodness, you’re alright.”
Leda stood next to Aisling, looking at her with disapproval. “Gwen, you little idiot,” she said, crossly. “When will you grow up and be responsible? Something could have happened.”
“Something did happen,” Aisling added, pointing to the smoking remains of the vampire.
“Aisling saved me,” Gwen said into Alexis’s cloak. She managed to release herself from her mentor’s, bone crushing embrace. “I’m sorry, Alexis. You were right.” She looked down, ashamed. “I wasn’t safe on my own, and I wasn’t able to protect myself when I got in danger. If Aisling hadn’t come…” She shuddered.
“Gwen…” Alexis’s voice sounded low and dangerous. “You promised me.”
“You promised you would be safe. You promised you wouldn’t leave the house.”
Gwen’s heart sunk at the disappointment in her voice.
“I was only going to gather some of the herbs before the sun went down completely, I hadn’t planned to come out here… not really…”
“Yet here we are!” Alexis’s scolding tone made Gwen flinch. The older woman folded her arms and gave her apprentice a look that told her she was in very big trouble. “Why do you think I told you to stay put, Gwen? I knew once you got to the forest, you would be tempted to stay on after it got dark, your arrogance and naivety would make sure of that.”
Gwen felt tears pressing. She nodded sadly.
“Honestly, girl, sometimes I suspect you think that witches are indestructible. Just because we can live for a very long time doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed. We can die Gwen, you are not immortal.”
“I know,” Gwen said, her voice breaking. Tears started to run down her cheek. She always pretended like Alexis’s anger was what she was afraid of, but it wasn’t. Disappointing her was what she hated the most, and Alexis was very disappointed in her.
“Do you? Do you really?”
Gwen nodded. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh, you will be, my girl. You will be. ” Alexis pulled up the sleeves of her cloak. “I almost lost you today, Gwen. And for what? Some stupid potion ingredients?” She grabbed Gwen’s arm, hard. “You will learn to obey me, young lady. How can I let you finish your apprenticeship when you’re still putting yourself at risk like this?”
She dragged Gwen over to a fallen log and sat down.
“What are you doing,” Gwen asked, hoping the answer wouldn’t be what she thought.
“You are getting a spanking, young lady.”
Before Gwen could react, Alexis hauled the younger witch over her lap.
“Not here. Not now.”
“I decided when and where, missy, and right here and right now suits me fine.”
“The only butt you need to worry about is your own, young lady:”
Gwen looked up, and when her eyes met with Aisling’s blue, she quickly looked down in shame. Great, Gwen thought, I just got rescued by the sexiest woman alive, and Alexis is going to spank me in front of her!
If it had just been Leda, she would have been okay. Well, she still would have tried to get out of it, but it wouldn’t have been that humiliating. Leda had seen her get spanked before, in fact, Leda had even spanked her herself! But Aisling? Gwen had only known her for ten minutes, but when she touched her it was like fireworks went off inside her, and she wanted to get to know her a little better. Now that would all be ruined. Talk about a bad first impression!
“Alexis,” Gwen pleaded. “Can’t we do this at home?”
Alexis responded by giving her a sharp smack to the backside.
“Ouch…. ouch…” She bit her teeth together.
Who was she kidding anyway? Why would Aisling be interested in a brat like her? Even if she wasn’t about to get her backside roasted properly in front of her, would she even have a chance? Probably not. The beautiful blonde was way out of her league.
“I am very upset with you, young lady,” Alexis said, taking a deep breath. “I’m surprised that I am calm enough to deal with you right now. I should be screaming my head off at your stupidity.”
“Why aren’t you?”
“Because I am so relieved to find you alive.”
“Yes, oh.” She gave Gwen’s backside another smack, causing her to wince. “But you have crossed the line. Crossed it by miles, in fact. You broke your promise to me, you betrayed my trust, and you put yourself in serious danger.”
“I’m sorry. I really am.”
“Yes, I know you are, but that is not enough. You really did it this time, missy. You need a lesson.”
She pulled down Gwen’s shorts, revealing her cotton panties which she pulled down to her mid-thigh before she started spanking her in earnest. She was firm from the start determined to teach her apprentice a lesson. It was important that Gwen pulled herself together. Her apprenticeship was coming to an end, and although Alexis was determined to keep an eye on her for years to come, it was almost time to loosen up on the rules. She had to, but how could she do that when Gwen was still so wilful at times? Alexis worried for her, knowing that once Gwen’s apprenticeship was over she wouldn’t be considered a witchling anymore, and she would be expected to act responsibly.
Gwen winced and whimpered with the crisp spanks from her mentor’s unforgiving hand. When Alexis had pulled her over her lap, all she could think of was what Aisling would think seeing her corrected in this way, but Alexis’s repeated swats to her rear quickly distracted her from that thought. Now she was squirming over her mentors lap and her cotton panties were sliding down her thighs. Every now and then she’d look up at Leda, but the older witch, who was almost like Gwen’s older sister, kept her arms folded, watching with a stern expression. Apparently, Alexis was not the only one disappointed with her.
“I just can’t believe you would do this,” Alexis scolded, emphasising each word with an extra hard swat.
“I just wanted to replace the ingredients,” Gwen excused herself, trying to cover her bottom with her hand. Alexis grabbed it and pinned it behind her back. “If I didn’t get the mandrakes today, we would have to wait a whole month for another chance.”
“And some stupid mandrakes are more important than your safety? I told you, Gwen, I could borrow some of Andromeda. Why would you risk your life like this?”
“I thought I would be fine. I didn’t think anyone would try to attack a witch.”
“But I told you that these are special times. There is a conflict going on, and there are vampires out there that would attack you because they knew you were a witch.”
“But I thought I could protect myself,” Gwen whined.
“Well, you couldn’t, could you? You’ve never been real danger before, Gwen, you had no way of knowing how you would react.” Alexis gave her two swats causing Gwen to whimper. “Well, now you know. Some witches, you included, completely lose their heads when they panic, and they and are unable to cast powerful spells.”
Alexis took a break and rubbed Gwen’s now red bottom for a bit.
“You’re old enough to know that when I say no, it is not because I enjoy it.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“I worry for you. I care so much about you it hurts to even imagine the world without you. I love you, Gwendolyn.”
“Thanks,” Gwen sniffed. “So… if you love me, does that the spanking is over?”
Alexis slapped Gwen’s bottom, hard. “Not a chance. You have not yet learned your lesson.”
“My butt hurts.”
Alexis gently tapped Gwen’s bottom.
“Get up,” she ordered.
Confused, Gwen stood up. Intentionally ignoring Aisling and Leda, whom had been watching the entire time, she rubbed her bottom while giving her mentor the puppy-dog eyes.
“Don’t give me the eyes, honey, you know I’m immune.” She put her hand into the pocket of her cloak and pulled out a silver knife she usually used for gathering herbs.
“What… what are you doing?” Gwen asked, nervously.
Alexis took hold of the blade and held out the knife to Gwen.
“You’re going to cut yourself switch. It seemed fitting seeing as we’re in the forest.”
“No… no…” Gwen shook her head, horrified. She had been switched before, but it had been a long time. “Alexis, please… not in front of…”
Not in front of Aisling, she wanted to say. Leda had seen her switched before. Andromeda, Leda’s former mentor, had taken a switch to her after Gwen had pushed Leda into a pond. It was over ten years ago, but Gwen still felt Leda had it coming. Andromeda had not been of that opinion, and she had placed one foot on a tree stump and hauled Gwen over her knee for a thorough walloping. Alexis, who, like always, had agreed with Andromeda, had sent her straight to bed when she came home that night.
“Now, Gwen.” Alexis pointed at a tree near by. She was losing her patience.
Gwen finally did as she was told, conscious of Leda and Aisling’s eyes following her. She knew that Alexis would make her get another if she didn’t get a good enough switch. She cut a long, flexible rod, and as soon as it was cut, it flew towards Alexis. She caught in her outstretched hand. Looking at Gwen, she pointed at the log she had been sitting on.
“Bend over,” she ordered.
Pouting, Gwen did as she was told. She then rested the switch on Gwen’s already stinging bottom. It was just the right length for it to cover both of Gwen’s cheeks. She raised the switch and brought it down with medium strength, starting out carefully, monitoring Gwen’s reaction to the implement. Twack!
Gwen, let out a little whimper and squirmed a little, but Alexis knew that she could use a little bit more force.
Twack! Twack! Twack!
“Ah…. I’m sorry…. I’m sorry,” she pleaded.
Gwen wiggled her bottom as if trying to shake out the pain. Alexis could see red welts forming where the switch had hit, but she wasn’t quite done yet.
“You should be,” Alexis lectured sternly. “‘I’ve told you time and time again that my rules are for your safety and well-being. It has nothing to do with treating you like child. I will have no more of this nonsense from you, do you hear me?”
“Ow! Yes, I’ll be good.”
Alexis gave her apprentice another dozen licks with the switch, before she threw it on the ground. She traced her fingers over the marks on Gwen’s bottom. They were red, but they weren’t too bad.
“Have you learned your lesson, little witch?”
“Yes, I really have,” Gwen promised, still bent over, waiting for permission to get up.
“Get up,” Alexis said, giving her bottom a gentle pat. “Come here.”
She opened her arms and Gwen met her embraced.
“Never do anything like this again!” Alexis said, holding her apprentice tight.
“Never,” Gwen mumbled into her shoulder. “I promise.”
“We should get going.” Leda stepped forward. She still looked disapproving at Gwen. “It’s getting late.”
“Alexis… could we… emh…” Gwen looked at her mentor frowning.
“Could we walk home? I don’t feel like sitting on a broom.”
There was a snort from Aisling, and Gwen glared at her.
“Well… I suppose, since we’re four grown witches, that would be safe.”
“She should be made to sit on her broom home,” Leda pointed out, raising her eyebrow. “It’s her own fault for being so stupid!”
“I’m the mentor here, Leda, not you,” Alexis pointed out. “Gwen has received her punishment, but that switch still has a few licks left in it if you would like to discuss this further.” She gave the younger witch a warning look. Leda might not be an apprentice anymore, but Alexis had known her since she was just a witchling, and Leda knew very well that Alexis would follow through on her threat if she didn’t watch out.
Taken aback, Leda could only try to stutter out a reply. “I… I… that’s…” She sighed heavily. “No, we’ll walk,” she mumbled.
“Good.” Alexis smiled. “Let’s get going.”
As they walked through the forest, Leda took the lead wanting to get home as soon as possible. Alexis walked in the back looking out for any possible threats. Aisling walked next to Gwen. In the beginning they didn’t say anything. Gwen was embarrassed, and Aisling wanted to give her some time; however, after a while, she decided Gwen had had enough time to regain her pride.
“How are you doing?” she asked her, giving Gwen a smile.
Keeping her eyes locked on the ground before her, Gwen asked, “You still want to talk to me after…”
“After what…” Aisling required, with a mischievous smirk.
Gwen gave her a look. Aisling knew perfectly well what she meant.
“Oh, you mean after you got walloped?”
“I’m so embarrassed,” Gwen said, quietly.
“Don’t be.” Aisling winked at her. “I wanted to talk to you about…” she began to say, but just then they heard a blood-curling shriek from Leda.
“Come quick!” She called for them and pointed at something on the ground in front of her.
“Is that…” Gwen started, not able to finish her sentence.
“I think it’s a body,” Aisling said, horrified.
Gwen hurried over to the figure of a man, lying on the ground. Eric, the beautiful, blond youth, Christophe had brought with him to the forest, lay still on the ground, his pale lifeless face was lit up by the moon light.
“Oh no!” Gwen gasped as she got nearer. “He’s dead.” She felt sick as she saw the body on the ground before her. His abdomen was ripped open, and entrails were handing out. “I told them to get out,” she said quietly.
“You know him?” Alexis asked, placing her arm around her apprentice’s waist.
“No. Well, he’s Christophe’s boyfriend. I told them the forest wasn’t safe for mortals at night. I told them to leave before it got dark.” She suddenly felt her stomach dropped as realisation hit her. “Christophe… where…. where is he?”
She looked around for any trace of the other man, when they heard a weak noise near by. About ten meters away, behind a large tree trunk, they found him lying on the ground, bloody and injured. His eyes were wide open, and he was wheezing, not able to produce proper sound. Blood was dribbling from his mouth, and he too had an opened gut.
“Definitely the work of a werewolf,” Aisling said, quietly so the man on the ground wouldn’t hear.
“You mean, he’ll come back as a werewolf?” Gwen asked, hoping he would. If she came back as a wolf, he would at least be alive, and then they could figure out how to control him during full moon.
“Not a chance,” Leda shot in. “He’ll die, just like his friend.”
Gwen whimpered. She looked helplessly at her mentor, her eyes pleading. Alexis shook her head at her, looking serious.
“Honey, this is beyond the healing powers of a witch. We can’t save him.”
“Had he been one of us, maybe, but he’s mortal, Gwen. His body is beyond repair.”
Gwen gave a sob, and the tears that had been pressing suddenly all came out. Alexis put her arms around her and held her tight.
“It might not be too late,” said a voice behind them.
They all turned to see who the newcomer was. A woman came out of the darkness of the forest. Her skin was white as snow, her hair was platinum blond, and her blue eyes glowed in the darkness. She was truly, the most formidable vampire Gwen had ever seen.
“Hello, Gaia,” Alexis greeted, nodding at the vampire. She did not feel threatened. Gaia was leader of one of the more peaceful clans in the area. The vampire was immensely old, and had known many conflicts. She had been through too much to be dragged into what she considered to be a trivial conflict.
“I can save him.”
“You think it is a good idea to create another child right now, with everything that is going on.”
“He could be part of the solution. I sense leadership in him,” the vampire said calmly. “I will of course not make him my son without his permission.” She approached the dying man, who fought just to breathe. “What say you, mortal, do you want to live forever?”
Everyone looked at Christophe, who could not nothing but slowly give a nod in reply.
“There you have it,” Gaia said, smiling at the others. “Now, you must leave us. The creation of a child is very private. I need to drain him and give him some of my own blood. Then I will lay him to rest in my crypt and he will rise from the dead in three days.”
Gwen shivered at the thought, glad she did not have to witness it. She took one last look at Christophe, hoping the transition would work and that the next time she saw him he wouldn’t be too different.
“Leave now,” Gaia said, pointing to the edge of the forest. “We don’t have much time.”
“Let’s go,” Alexis ordered, and together they hurried out of the forest. Once they were out, Leda and Aisling said their goodbyes and got on their brooms, and Alexis and Gwen continued on foot back to their cottage.
The next morning Gwen came into the kitchen and found Aisling by the kitchen table drinking tea.
“Eh… hi,” Gwen said, surprised to see her this early in the morning.
“Good morning,” Aisling said smiling. “Alexis invited us over for breakfast.
“Oh.” Gwen looked down at her bare legs. She wore only a short nightgown. “Where is she?”
“She’s showing Leda something in the yard.”
“About last night,” Gwen began.
“You mean when your mentor whooped you…”
“No!” Gwen said, sharply, cutting her off. She gave Aisling a glare, but she smiled a little, letting her know she was forgiven. “What I meant was… last night, before Leda and Alexis came. There was a moment, when you touched my hand.” Gwen held up her hand, examining her fingers. “I felt something. It was warm and it shot trough my fingers… and…”
“And spread through your entire body?” Aisling got up from the table and approached Gwen. She put her hands around her waist and pulled her closer.
“Yes,” Gwen confessed, shyly.
“I felt it too,” Aisling said, gently.
“What does it mean? I’ve never heard of anything like it.”
“I have,” Aisling whispered into her ear. “It’s really rare.”
“Tell me,” Gwen demanded.
“It’s a magical connection. It means we are meant to be together. Forever.”
“I’m sure you have heard of love at first sight,” Aisling said. She came closer, kissing her neck.
“Uh huh.” Gwen closed her eyes at the sensation. She could feel Aisling’s breath on her neck, and she could smell the sweet scent of tea.
“It’s sort of like that. Sometimes, when two magical beings that are a perfect match for each other touch for the first time, their magical energy reaches out for each other and fuses for a brief moment, bonding them forever.”
“You make it sound like we are married.”
Aisling kissed Gwen’s lips softly.
“We sort of are,” she said, smiling at her. “Perhaps not legally, but we are bonded for life. Your magic sort of mated with mine.”
Aisling drew back and studied Gwen closely.
“Do you mind? I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone who have been unhappy with this connection before. That’s kind of the point. It’s a perfect match.”
Gwen shook her head.
“I don’t. I… well, this is going to sound crazy,” Gwen hesitated. “But… I think… I think I love you. I know it’s a little… well… it’s a little early. I just met you last night, but I feel it.” She touched her heart. “I feel it in here, and I just know I care for you. I think I felt it before we even touched.”
“Me too” Aisling said, kissing her again.
“Good, because I really thought that Alexis ruined my chances with you.”
“I can’t believe she spanked me in front of you,” Gwen said, blushing. “I’m so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be,” Aisling said, giving her a smile. “You have a very cute bottom.”
“Well… a woman wants to see the goods before she commits herself. Though it is true we were bonded before that happened.”
Gwen gave her a playful shove.
“She was pretty mad.”
“Yes,” Aisling said, giving her a serious look. “But even worse than that, she was really scared. Terrified even.”
“I know… I shouldn’t have broken my promise. I guess, I kind of deserved some kind of consequence.”
“You needed a consequence. You know that, don’t you?”
Gwen blushed, embarrassed. There was something about Aisling that made her want to better herself.
Aisling gently held Gwen’s chin between her thumb and her index finger, and then she pushed her chin up so her eyes met with hers.
“Something tells me that you need someone to keep you in line sometimes.”
“If I hadn’t just met you, I would tan you backside myself.”
“Gwen, you put yourself in serious danger. You’re much too important to do that. Don’t you know that?”
Aisling bent down and kissed Gwen softly on her lips.
“Gwen… I…” she hesitated. “I want to be that person for you,” she whispered into her ear. “I think you need someone to keep you in line once in a while, and I have always pictured myself… you know… being more dominant in a relationship.”
Gwen found this conversation oddly titillating. Why did she feel a tingling sensation down below when Aisling talked about keeping her in line?
“Have you been dominant in previous relationships?”
“I haven’t really been in relationships. Not really. I’m not going to lie and say I have never been with other women, because I have, but it wasn’t true love-making. It was just pleasure.”
“I understand,” Gwen said, smiling at her. Of course, someone as beautiful as Aisling had been with other women. Who wouldn’t want her for pleasure?!
“I have spanked quite a few women too. Sometime they needed discipline, sometimes they wanted it for pleasure.”
Gwen eyes widened.
“P—puh…pleasure?” she stammered.
“Sure.” Aisling smiled. “It’s not just bad girls who get spanked, sometimes good girls want it too,” she teased. “Sometimes really good girls want to be treated like really bad girls, and I am happy to provide. You don’t have to break the rules to get my attention.” She leaned closer and whispered into Gwen’s ear. “I’ll call you my naughty girl whenever you want.”
Gwen swallowed nervously. She saw tiny little sparks come out of her fingertips as she lost control over her excitement. Aisling noticed and took Gwen’s hands in hers, intertwining fingers. The little sparks turned into a golden glow around their hands.
“I can tell you want this from me. We’re a perfect match. Can you honestly tell me that you don’t crave that from me?”
“Aisling, I need you. I want you.”
“Even for discipline?”
Gwen felt Aisling’s lips brush against her cheek. She nodded.
“Ye… yes.” She looked deeply into Aisling’s blue eyes. “But… right now, given recent events, I’m not so curious about that.”
“I think maybe you need to teach me about spanking for pleasure.”
“Do I?” Aisling raised her eye-brow, smiling seductively.
“Well, that is a promise, darling,” she said, giving Gwen yet another soft kiss on the lips. She patted her gently on the bottom. “But I think, perhaps, you bottom needs to cool off a little first.”
“Probably a good idea,” Gwen said, rubbing her stinging rear.
“What is a good idea?” Alexis came into the room, looking suspicious.
“Uh huh…” Alexis raised her eyebrow suspiciously. “Don’t you get any ideas, miss. You’re going to be on your best behaviour from now on. I am still very cross with you.”
“I know, I’ll be good.” Gwen hugged her. “We were just talking about something…emh… something that happened before you arrived last night.”
“What?” Alexis looked from Gwen to Aisling. “What happened?”
“Out magic connected.”
“Aisling grabbed my hand and I felt this shock, but it was nice. Like a warm energy that went through my fingers and spread through my body.”
“I felt the same thing,” Aisling added.
“You’re… you mean… you and my little witchling matched? As in you’re a love match? Connected for life?”
“Alexis…” Gwen sighed. “Don’t make a scene.”
Aisling looked nervous. “I didn’t mean to… it just happened.”
Alexis studied the two of them for a while, keeping them in suspense.
“Are you okay?” Gwen asked her, looking worried.
“Yes, I’m just…” Alexis smiled at her. “I’m just happy.”
Aisling let out a breath of relief.
“I’ve never heard of it before,” Gwen said. “Are you two sure it means what you think it means?”
Alexis and Aisling both nodded.
“What is going on in here?” Leda came into the room, no doubt feeling lonely in the kitchen by herself. “Anybody want to let me in on the conversation?”
“Their magic bonded,” Alexis said, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.
“Really?” Leda’s eyes widened. “That’s great,” she said, smiling at Alexis. “Now you don’t have to worry about her anymore.”
Alexis stepped forward and embraced Gwen in a bone-crushing hug. She sobbed a little into her shoulder. Gwen looked thoroughly confused.
“What is this? Why would you be worried?”
“Because,” Alexis said, blowing her nose into a handkerchief. “Now I know that when you finish your apprenticeship, you’ll have someone to look after you.”
“And keep her in line!”