It is true when they say the show must go on.
Instead of being cranky, Maggie was on her feet immediately, smiling and apologizing and asking her staff to clean the mess, all the while keeping a lovely and ordinary banter going on. No one in the café would ever guess the kind of conversation just conspired between them. For all they knew, it could be about the loud neighbors or flash sale on Alibaba or culinary disasters or even, well, anything.
Or maybe they knew. The others in the café could be anyone- sorceress, mystics, seers, witches, spirits. Lord! This made her think about the probability of the Gringotts bank and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and Elves and Gandalf and TreeEnts and orchs being real.
Maggie returned with a fresh mug of her special brew. Scarlett was beginning to wonder if there was more than coffee, milk, and sugar in that decoction. But she took it nevertheless as she needed the caffeine more than ever now.
“Hahaha, my child, look at you! All wide eyes and ears perked up like a rabbit. All okay?”
“Yes, I think so.” Was that even her sound? Such a meek whisper. She cleared her throat and sat straight and continued, “Yes. I am good. Perfect. Couldn’t have been better.”
Maggie sat with her, eyes twinkling with mischief. “You were saying something dear?”
“Mmm hmmm. Now tell me… what kind of curse is troubling your man?
Tristan. My man. She liked the sound of it.
“Are there many kinds of curses then? This one… how do I say… Well, the guy has been stuck in a painting for more than five years. And I can hear him… I mean his thoughts. But he doesn’t know that yet.”
“Do you know why he was cursed?
“Not yet. I have been listening to him but he mostly talks nonsense or too much sense. But nothing related to how he got in there.”
“Then it is going to be tough.”
“Oh yeah, tell me about it. He keeps mentioning a Sophia and that she can hear him as well. I think she is the one who cursed him into that condition.”
“Sophia? As in Sophia McClaire?”
“You know her? Is she also a witch?”
“My dear… If it is her, then it is going to be very very tough. Sophia is practically legend. She is known in the witch circles to wield a lot of power but never the one use it. If she has cursed anyone into a frame, she must have had a very good reason for it. I am sure it wouldn’t be a simple spell that can be countered with hymns or a counterspell.”
“Oh! Does that mean there is no hope at all?”
“Every curse is cast for a reason. Mostly for the violation of essential values of humanity. It is done so that the person realizes their mistake, repent with true heart and redeem their soul. Your man must have done something really drastic. But there is always an end, to every curse. No one is ever cursed for eternity.”
“But Maggie, what am I supposed to do now?”
“Find out why he was cursed. Then we might know how to release him from it. This is very important.”