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Author Topic: Serena: a not so short story  (Read 4726 times)

Offline Sparky

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Serena: a not so short story
« on: 22. June 2022, 22:36:34 PM »
A while ago, I started a story over in the "Braces Stories and Braces Special" forum, called 'Serena: a not so short story'... so go there and read 'the story so far. You can also read it over on my Deviant Art page, at https://dereferer.me/?https://www.deviantart.com/sparkyuk/art/Serena-parts-1-to-14-920026215 . My plan is to continue the story in here....

The story starts when Serena has her 16th birthday, when she is told that she is a witch. We quickly, and conveniently, fast forward to the day of her 18th birthday, the day she had to pledge to her coven (the Coven of the Light): it was expected that, like everyone else, she would pledge to follow the 'path of the light', but something stopped her from doing that: "I, Serena, reject the 'dark side', as it is not my place to carry out those terrible dark evils. However, I feel I can not blindly follow the 'light side' either. There are many shades of grey between the dark and the light - at least 50 of them I have been told - and I feel that my path must follow the light grey... so not fully the 'light side', but maybe 5 or 10 shades darker."

We slowly discover that Serena is actually a rather special witch, foretold by Prophecy.

Oh, yeah, Serena has braces (no surprise there), but it turns out that they are not only made of a special metal, but to carry out her objective, she needs rather more braces fitting: not just full bands, but bands that cover her teeth from top to bottom! And an expander, tongue crib, and a couple of lip bumpers.

We also meet Serena's wand, a special, and rather chatty, wand called 'Wanda' She is invisible unless asked to show herself, and she can only be heard by four specific witches. Wanda has been waiting hundreds of years to meet Serena, and is able to give her a lot of good advice.

We join the story at Chapter 17.....

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #1 on: 22. June 2022, 22:37:07 PM »
Chapter 17: Come here! Not when you feel like it, but now....


Serena didn't really fancy being particularly sociable that afternoon or evening, she was still very self-conscious of the huge amount of metal she had in her mouth, so she decided to read some of the books she had borrowed from Mrs Johnson. Clearly, she wanted to know, and try out, some simple dark spells, but in addition, she was trying to see if there were any indications of how a mix of dark and light magic might work together.

As she read, she couldn't help running her tongue constantly over her braces. Well, not so much the braces, they were fairly similar to the brackets she had before, it was more the expanders, the metal plate, the tongue rake, and those lip bumpers. I mean, that metal plate, although it was fairly hard for her tongue to get to, did feel kinda nice! The lip bumpers were taking some getting used to though, in a similar way that the headgear she used to wear took  getting used to.... they pushed her lips outwards a bit. Ok, maybe nowhere near as much as a normal set of lip-bumpers might do for normal people, but they were still noticeable. The good news was that they did keep her lips away from her brackets... or should I say mega-full-bands.

As Serena read, she tried speaking what she was reading, to practice. Suffice it to say, she had a pretty strong lisp. What she didn't realise (but would discover when she got her Herbsts fitted, thus completing her set of braces) was that already her braces were helping to improve her speech... without their help, her speech would be a LOT worse!

With her last set of braces, she had become quite used to them after 3 or 4 weeks, almost forgetting she had them. She would relax her lips slightly before moving them (for example, when smiling) without even thinking about it. She wondered how long it would take to get used to these braces - if she ever actually did.


Anyway, back to her reading, and the dark magic....

Another thing Serena didn't know was whether witches who practice light magic were even actually capable of using any of the dark spells... it might be that she would need to find a few willing 'test subjects' and try out a few things.

What she did find out was that there are also dark spells that sort-of match the light spells, specifically she found a section on teleportation: the spells were very similar to the light ones, but with an indication that they might be more powerful. She wrote the spell details onto a piece of 'mental paper', and stuck it onto her 'mental wall' next to the equivalent light spells. This was the way Serena's mind worked, she kept notes in her mind, on bits of 'paper'. When she needed a spell, she didn't need to dig into her memory, she just looked at her 'wall', and could instantly read the spell. No having to mutter words quietly, she just saw them and instantly things happened. Which meant she could do spells VERY quickly, much quicker than any other witch she had met, even Sarah.

"Hey, Wanda?"

"Yes, Serena?"

"You got any further with finding Luthifer?"

"Ah, yes, Lucifer... I've not found him so far, but things are looking hopeful, just waiting for someone to get back to me"

"Ok, well, keep on top of it... I could really do with thomeone to guide me with all thith dark magic. I mean, bookth tell you the relevant detailth, but you often need more than that, a bit of contextht. Unleth you can help me?"

"Well, I might be able to.... try me!"

"Ok, well, I'm theeing quite a few dark thpellth that theem to be versionth of the light thpellth I'm familiar with, tho I'm just thinking what would the effect me if I combined the two? Would they help each other? Would it be dangerouth for me?"

"Yes, I see what you're getting at... I'm not 100% sure, but I *believe* you should be ok, but I'll check"

"And am I right in thinking that the dark thpellth are actually thtronger than the light oneth?"

"Yes, most dark spells tend to be noticeably more powerfull, if used to their full extent"

"Now, I'm mainly a light-magic witch, ith there anything that might be able to help me with the darker magic?"

"Possibly. If you remember, your braces and I are both made from the un-holy chain of the angels and Satan. Well, the part we come from is a 'good' part, that still contains the goodness given it by the original angels. But I believe there are also darker parts of the chain, parts tainted by the evil of Satan: in the way that your braces and I can help with the lightness, and help protect against the darkness, I'm thinking that any 'darker metal' would help you with the dark magic. Not sure where you'll find any of the dark bits of chain though"

"And what would I need to do with the chain, to use it?"

"Well, in the same way that your braces are 'intimate' to you, you'd need to do something similar with the dark metal. But I'd suggest that whatever you did, that it be removable, you don't really want to be in contact with it long term"

"Ok, thank you Wanda, that ith all very utheful information.... I'll have to athk around... and maybe you could too? Hey, I don't thupothe you can do anything to thort of make my lithp not tho bad?"

"I'm afraid not, but once your braces are complete, they may be able to help you....."

"Yeah, they did thpeak to me earlier, but they've been thilent thinthe...."

"They aren't yet at full strength, so you'll probably need to wait till you have your last bits added in"

"Ok....". Serena let Wanda disappear, and she kept reading, finishing off the section on object levition and moving things.

"I can't just sit and read this, I need to have a play" said Serena to herself. She didn't want to risk things going wrong, so decided to investigate and compare some simple levitation and 'come to me' spells. Sat on her bed, she looked across the room, where there was a couple of books on a chair. Using light magic, she levitated the book by about a foot, then used another spell to bring the book to her hand, which took a couple of seconds. Then she did the same thing with dark magic. The actual spells in both cases were just words or thoughts, the big difference is the attitude needed to make them work.

Rather than a 'please levitate' attitude, you needed a 'get up in the air!' attitude. Instead of a 'please come to me' attitude, it was more of a "here, now!" attitude. She thought the first spell, looking at the pieces of paper on her mind's wall, but nothing happened.

"Damn you, jutht get up in the air, will you!" barked Serina. Without hesitation, the book levitated. "Now, come here, book!". The book flew straight into her hand.

"Hmm, pretty impressive" she thought to herself. "Now, both of you, back to the chair!". The two books obeyed without hesitation. Serena took a breath, and released the very slight anger she had needed to use.

"Ok" thought Serena, "that was interesting. Now, didn't I see something about a 'summoning' spell somewhere, it might be interesting to see how that one compares.  Oh, hang on, it's in that book on the chair....". Serena gently levitated and brought the book to her, using her normal light magic, then asked the book to open itself, before dropping into her hands. She flicked through the pages, and read about the summoning spell. Unlike the previous spells that moved the object through the air, the summoning spell was a form of teleportation spell, in principle the same idea used to teleport yourself, but this was to teleport something else. One big difference is that the object didn't actually need to be visible, or particularly near. She read the words needed for the spell, putting them on yet another piece of mental paper on her mental wall, next to the previous spells, then read more about the description of how to actually enact the spell.

She put the book she was reading beside her on the bed, then focussed on the book that was remaining on the chair. She 'said' the spell, but nothing happened. "Oh, have I got to get annoyed again? Well I am! I want thith magic to work. Book! Here! In my hand! NOW!!!!". Instantly it appeared in her hand. She put it down on the bed.

"Hmmm.... Ok, I want a biscuit from the biscuit tin in the kitchen, and I want it now, no messing around!" Serena smiled. "Ok, I'm starting to like this!" said Serena, taking a small bite out of the chocolate digestive biscuit that had just appeared in her hand.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #2 on: 22. June 2022, 22:37:34 PM »
Chapter 18: Come on Sarah, just do it!

Wednesday morning: Serena woke up, with a strange feeling and taste in her mouth. A very metallic taste. She tried running her tongue around her mouth, but found a few bits were getting in the way. Ah yes, she got her braces replaced yesterday, didn't she? A bit of a braces upgrade....

Unlike the first time when she got braces (so just over 2 years ago) when her teeth felt quite sore and delicate for a week or so, this time there was no pain at all. However, this time there was an awful lot more metal in her mouth. And she had a pretty bad lisp to go with it.

Brushing her teeth after dinner last night was fun! Having had the previous set of braces for 2 years meant that Serena knew, in principle, how to brush her teeth. The  'remove food from my braces' spell made things a lot easier, but she still needed to get used to brushing carefully around her new expanders and tongue rake.

As Serena lay in bed, she wondered if she could use some form of magic to make brushing her teeth simpler (and quicker!). Clearly there would be no 'off the shelf' spells, after all, braces is a pretty new invention. So she would need to look at a few suitable spells, and either modify them or combine them.

Serena was now awake enough to think about getting breakfast. But what to have? Coffee was a no-brainer, but what about food. Yesterday she had a word with mum, and they came up with macaroni cheese... nice and soft, and although the macaroni bits got everywhere, that wasn't too much of a problem, her magic could fix that ok.

It wasn't so much the after-effects of eating that was the issue, it was the actual eating. She had a feeling that eating toast with a pair of expanders and a tongue rake would not be easy. Maybe cereals would work a bit better? So she went down, and had her breakfast. Like yesterday, she didn't really feel up to going out in public, or meeting with her friends just yet, so, while she was eating, she texted Sarah (she decided it would be a lot simpler than talking on the phone with her lisp), to see if she could go over and do some magic practice with her. Sarah texted back to say it was ok, come over when she was ready.

So, shower completed, and braces all cleaned, Serena got dressed, then teleported over to see Sarah, taking the dark magic books with her.

"Good morning, Serena, how are you today?" asked Sarah

"I'm fine thankth" replied Serena with a lisp.

"Ah, yes, you got your braces updated yesterday, didn't you, how did it go? Sore?"

"Getting the new bratheth on wath actually thimple: they fit tho well, they themed to jutht want to fit themthelveth. And they don't hurt at all. I jutht have thith annoying lithp.... I hope you can underthand what I'm thaying?"

"Yes, I can, and it's good to hear they are comfortable"

"I have to get thome more bitth fitted tomorrow, but Wanda thinkth that will actually make thingth eathier for me, as the bratheth will then be at full power. Tho, Tharah, I wath hoping we could do thomething a bit different today..."

"Ok, what you thinking?"

"I'd like to try and teach YOU thome magic today! Thome very thimple dark magic"

"But I can't do dark magic"

"How do you KNOW that?"

"Erm.... that's actually a good question! I guess because I've never tried to do any"

"Ok.... tho how would you like to try thome? It's pretty bathic thtuff, I tried it out latht night"

"Yeah, ok.... so what sort of spells you thinking of?"

"Levitation, summoning objectth..."

"That sounds pretty harmless... go on"

Serena looked around, and saw a pen on the small table: she asked Sarah to use light magic to levitate it, and bring it over to her hand, but asked her to describe how and what she was doing. It matched exactly what Serena had done last night.

"Ok, now put the pen back, and do it again, but as fatht as you can". Sarah did it again, faster this time, because she wasn't describing it.

"Yeah, that's about the thame ath I can do with light magic.... go on, let me show you". Sarah put the pen down again, and Serena motioned it to her hand, at about the same speed, then put it back again. "Now, thee what happenth if I uthe a dark thpell... I jutht need to get thlightly annoyed firtht...". She took a moment to annoy herself, then called out "Pen, here, now!": it snapped sharply into her hand.

Serena walked Sarah through the dark spell, but despite Sarah trying several times, the pen stayed firmly on the table. Serena was staring to get a bit frustrated, not really with Sarah, but more the fact that the dark magic just didn't want to work. Maybe she needed to get her a bit annoyed.

"Come on Tharah, what the hell are you playing at? It took me jutht 2 minuteth to do it last night. Get a grip will you! Thtop messing around, and jutht DO IT, will you! All you have to do is to hate that pen, and tell it what you want it to do! Now try it again, before I REALLY get annoyed with you!".

Clearly that slightly upset Sarah, who looked at the pen menacingly, and said the words of the spell yet again. This time, the pen obeyed!

"Well done, Tharah! You jutht did your firth dark magic thpell! You jutht needed a bit of anger to make it work"

"So I CAN do dark magic!"

"Which is good, becauthe now you KNOW you can, the nextht one will be a bit thimpler....". Serena explained about the 'summon object' spell, and walked Sarah through it. Now that Sarah understood that she needed to be slightly 'dark' when executing the spell, she managed the summon spell first time: "Pen, in my hand, and no messing around!"

"The thing that interests me, Serena, is how you manage to do your magic without actually needing to say the words of the spell. From the day I learned my magic, I was always told you had to 'say the magic words'"

"Well, I DO thay the wordth, jutht not out loud. The way my mind workth, I imagine that I have a wall, and on the wall, I've stuck lotth of bitth of paper. Tho, my thommoning thpell ith up here" - she motioned with her hand. "Nextht to it ith the levitation thpells, one light, one dark.... and tho on" she continued, moving her hand around. "Tho, when I want to DO a thpell, I look at the relevant bit of paper. I already KNOW the thpell, tho I don't need to actually thay it, I justht read the thpell in one go, like you do when reading a thign...."

Wanda appeared. "I have an idea.... Serina, hold up some fingers"

"How many?"

"Any number between one and four seems reasonable" said Wanda, joking a little. Serena held up three fingers.

"Ok, Sarah, how many fingers is she holding up?"

"Three" replied Sarah.

"And how do you know that? Did you count them? One, two three?"

"No, I just looked, and my brain told me there were three"

"Ok, let's try this then... Serena, write the dark summoning spell on a piece of paper, so Sarah can read it. Now hold the paper in one hand, and the pen in the other". She did as Wanda said. "Ok, Serena, back to you..."

"Sarah, just glanth at the piethe of paper, READ the wordth all in one go, don't actually thay them out loud, juth in your mind, and at the thame time, focuth on the pen. Now, if you thay even ONE word, or you don't do it firtht time, I'm gonna be very annoyed with you!!".

Sarah glanced at the paper, looked at the pen, and in her mind thought something along the lines of 'Pen, if you don't get to my hand double quick, Serena and I will both get very upset with you!'. It did what it was told.

"Ok, so I get the idea, but I have no idea how I'm gonna get that concept into my mind... I think my mind works very differently from yours."

"Ok, I can underthand that.... tho maybe you need to think of your own way of vithualithing things. Hey, that's YOUR homework!!!" said Serena with a smile. "Hey, lets go make a cuppa, but do it with jutht the dark levitation and thummoning spellth, it will be good practithe for both of us!"

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #3 on: 22. June 2022, 22:38:00 PM »
Chapter 19: A mouth full...


Over the next couple of days, Serena met up with some of her 'normal' friends, and went swimming, which made a very pleasant change from learning to do magic.


Finally, it was time to get the last bits of her 'upgraded' braces, her Herbst appliances.... well, the 'piston' bits. Needless to say the fitting was simple and trivial: Serena having laid back in the treatment chair, with lip-spreaders in her mouth, Peter hardly needed to do anything: he held the 'piston' parts in the right place, with the screws ready in the holes at the end, then watched in awe as the screws simply screwed themselves into place!

As the last screw went in, Serena could feel strange things in her mouth. Power. Strength. A feeling of something that could control darkness. She closed her eyes.

"Thank you, Therena" said the voice in her head. "We are now whole, and we are here, at your thervice!". Serena was fine with the concept of a talking wand, I mean, she just talked out loud. But this was different. It was hard to describe... was it actually a voice, or was it just influencing her thoughts? Not that it really mattered, the end result were the same: her braces seems to be able to talk with her.

"Ok, braces" thought Serena to herself, "it's nice to be able to talk to you now you're complete, you've been pretty quiet so far.."

"Yes, we apolgithe for that, our power wath weak, it took a lot to thpeak to you the other day, tho we dethided to just wait until today.."

"Ok, so what can you do for me, to help me?"

"Now that we are one, you will find that, ath you train, you will find thingth to be a lot eathier to learn and to do. We can advithe you, lead you. You will be more alert, more aware of the otherth around you. We are altho very aware of the dark powerth... we know that you mutht learn the dark powerth, tho we will help you learn about them, but we will altho do our betht to help protect you from them...."

"Wow, a lot to take in...."

"Yeth, it ith, but we will help you ath and when you need it, and you can talk to uth at any time..."

"ok... by the way, thank you for not causing any pain, like most braces do, it's appreciated!"

"Why would we want to cauthe you pain? We are here to help you, and we know that having such exthtreme metal in your mouth ithn't going to be eathy for you, tho the leatht we can do ith to be painleth. By the way, we can adjust ourthelves if we're not quite in the betht pothithion for you"

"Hey, a question: how come you guys have such a lisp?"

"Oh, you athk thuch embarathing quethtions, don't you? Come on, Therena, we're a thet of exthtreme brathes, of courthe we have a lithp! But it doethn't mean that you need to have one, if you'd prefer not to?"

"Really? Oh, yes it would be rather nice to not have a lisp.... except maybe when I'm at school, or interacting with people from school.... they would think it VERY odd if I didn't have a lisp with you lot in my mouth!"

"Yeth, we can do that for you... do give uth guidanthe if we don't quite get it right. We are your thervants, we are here to help you, your majethty-to-be."

"You ok there, Serena?" asked a voice that wasn't in her head. Serena opened her eyes again, and saw Gemma.

"Yes, I'm fine, thanks, I was just having a nice chat with my new braces!" explained Serena.

"They talk to you? They are some cool braces.... and you don't seem to have a lisp any more!"

"You're right, I don't, do I? Sausages. Six sliced sausages! Sizzling slowly in the saucepan! Thanks braces!"

"Our pleathure...."

"Hey, do you know Wanda, my wand?"

"We know of her, her importanthe ith well noted in hithtory.."

"In that case... Wanda!" said Serena silently.

"Yes, your Serenaness!" said Wanda, appearing in Serena's hand. As ever, she was invisible to all others, and of course neither Gemma nor Peter could hear her.

"Please introduce yourself to my braces..."

"Hello there, Serena's braces! I'm assuming that you are now complete, and are now able to help Serena"

"Hello there, mighty Wanda! It'th a pleathure to meet you! Yeth, we are now complete, and ready to help the mighty Therena in everthing she doeth."

"Oh, good, my calculations were correct, you are sufficient! Tell you what, we can talk further tonight, when Serena is asleep, if that's ok with you"

"Abtholutely... thee you later!" replied the braces.


"All ok there, Serena?" asked Peter, raising her to the sitting position. He had already removed the lip-spreader while Serena was chatting with her braces.

"Yes, thank you. My braces seem to be very ready and willing to help me..."

"You have enough metal in your mouth then?"

"I believe so... hey, Gemma, got that mirror? I'd love to see my Herbsts..". Gemma passed Serena the mirror: she smiled widely, so she could see the new additions to her braces. At the top back she could see the Herbst tube had a bracket on its side, which was screwed into the fixings of her upper molars. The other part was a smaller rod, that fitted inside the rear tube, and had a bracket on it's end, that screwed into the fixing on her lower canines. The craftmanship was, like her other braces, absolutely excellent - smooth, shiny, and operated without her feeling a thing.

Now, Serena had done a little research online, and understood that normally, as well as holding your lower jaw forwards, a herbst stopped you moving your jaw side-to-side. Except hers didn't, she was finding that they were not preventing her from moving her jaw in any way she wanted! She wasn't quite sure what was going on, but she suspected that they were doing a similar thing to her tongue rake, and were acting like they were made of rubber. Serena decided not to worry about the details of what was going on, she knew that they were rather special braces.

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #4 on: 23. June 2022, 08:49:03 AM »
I'm glad that you came back to this story. No story should end before the author is ready for it to end.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #5 on: 25. June 2022, 17:58:07 PM »
Chapter 20 - look who's at the coffee shop..


After Serena got her braces upgrade, her mum collected her, and they both went in to town for lunch, Serena told her about the new bits on her braces, and how they were now magic enough to talk to her, and how they had got rid of the lisp that's she'd had the last few days.

Of course, eating her lunch wasn't trivial with all the metal in her mouth.... First it simply was difficult to eat with expanders and a tongue rake, plus not only did it get caught in her actual braces, around the archwires, it would also catch in her expanders, under and around her tongue rake, and in the bottom of her cheeks, where it was hard for her tongue to get to. Luckily her herbst was enough out of the way to cause major eating problems, and as for the lip-bumpers, Serena was able to remove them when she ate.

Cleaning up for her was much easier than it would have been for a normal person. Not only could she use the "remove the food from my braces" spell that Peter had taught her, her braces also did there best to clean up after she ate. After that, she just needed a fairly straight-forward (well, as straight-forward as you'd expect, with all that metal in her mouth) brush to freshen her mouth. Plaque was a minimal issue: plaque collects on the surfaces of teeth.... and most of hers were well covered and sealed in metal!

After lunch, Serena called Mrs Johnson, to see if it was ok to go around and change the books she had borrowed, and do some more reading while she was there.... and maybe blag a cup of tea too.

"I have an even better idea: why don't you come over at say 4 o'clock, then have dinner with me. That will give you a couple of hours to do your reading, plus I would LOVE to have some company for dinner for a change"


After telling her mum her plans, Serena decided to stay in town. She had been inspired by Samantha's new nose piercing, and decided she wanted to try something similar herself. She knew there were a couple of shops that would probably have what she wanted, so made her way to one of them. Luckily the shop was quiet, so she was able to explain to the assistant what she wanted: fake lip / nose rings. While she wanted to try the look, she didn't actually want to get her nose or lips actually pierced. The shop had quite a selection - they were obviously quite popular.

There were many to choose from: many were very cheap costume jewellery, covered in plastic or painted, but Serena decided she needed something that looked a bit nicer, so went for some gold-looking ones. Some were nothing more than a bent piece of wire, but Serena decided to go with the ones that had a sort of "nail-head" on the inside, they looked like they would be a bit more comfortable. Before leaving the shop, she used a mirror, and inserted one of the rings in her nose, and two, next to each other, in her lip: she liked what she saw!

Her next stop was the hairdresser. It had been a while since she had had her hair cut, and she was finding that it had become annoying. But the question was what should she actually do with her hair. The place she was going to, which is where she had gone about a year ago, was a 'younger persons' sort of place, and they had a nice system that could take a picture of you, and then show how different styles would look on you. So whilst she wouldn't be able to actually have it cut today, one of the stylists was able to spend 10 minutes with her, trying out ideas, and making suggestions, and after that, she made an appointment.

Finally she went to the pound shop, where she stocked up on things like paper and pens for when she went back to school, plus bought a few bits of cheap makeup, which she could try out.

As you might have worked out by now, Serena had decided that she was bored with how she currently looked, and wanted to change things, and actually give herself a fairly substantial makeover. I mean, if she was supposed to be the one to save the world, she should at least look a bit more like someone who actually could!


Shopping done, she dived into one of the (far too many) coffee shops, and was about to sit down, when she heard a voice: "Hey, Serena!". She looked to where the voice was, and saw Amber, one of her class-mates from school, along with a couple of other girls from school, so decided to go and join them. She smiled as she got to them.

"Hiya! I do like the new look!" said Amber. Serena had to think for a moment: she'd put her lip / nose rings in over half an hour ago, and had already got used to them. She suspected that, for some strange reason, her braces were helping with any discomfort or annoyance, they were nice like that. She was about to answer Amber, when she suddenly thought that she needed to have a lisp - the plan was to have one when she was at school, so if she didn't also have one now, people (or more specifically any of the kids at school) might be a bit suspicious.

"Hey, braces, these are people from school, can you give me a lisp, like we discussed" thought Serena.

"Thertainly, Serena, lithp mode ith engaged!"

"Oh, the ringth, only jutht got them about an hour ago. Yeah, I'm working on a thlightly new look, thethe are the firtht thtep!" said Serena

"Actually, I was thinking more about the other metal, the stuff in your mouth."

"Oh, right, yeah, my bratheth...". For the first time, Serena actually felt quite embarrassed by her mouthful of metal. Because they helped her so much, her braces had already become amazingly normal to her, and it was easy to forget quite how extreme they actually were. "My ortho had to give me a bit of an upgrade, to fixth thome problemth I theem to have". Serena hoped they would accept her rather simple explanation.

"Well, I'm glad it's not me, but they do look pretty different, but pretty cool at the same time. And yeah, the rings work too!" said Jenny, one of the other girls, who had her own real nose ring. Serena relaxed a bit as she realised that they were ok with her new braces... and rings!

"My ringth are all jutht faketh, although I might dethide to get real oneth, if I like them".

"I used to have a fake too... getting a proper piercing is sore for a day or two, and takes a week or two to fully heal, but in the longer term, it feels much more comfortable" replied Jenny.

"So, looks like you've been getting ready for next week too. Looking forward to getting back?" said Amber, referring to the fact that the new school year started next Monday, and that Serena had a back of school stuff from the pound shop.

"Yeth, I have.... and yeth, I think I am, in a way." Serena was pleasantly surprised that the girls were willing to chat with her - at school, although there was never any animosity, Serena had never really mixed with them. Maybe now that they were all in their last year, things would change? She sat with them and chatted for a while. With a lithp of course.

"Look, I have to go, I'm thupposed to be meeting up with thomeone at 4... thee you all on Monday!" said Serena.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #6 on: 27. June 2022, 20:19:21 PM »
Chapter 21 - more dark magic.


Serena arrived at Mrs Johnson's, and was taken to the library, where she replaced the books she had read. She then removed the 'locked book' from the shelf, and asked for the key, which Mrs Johnson got for her.

"You're welcome to take the book with you, if you wish, just keep it locked...."

Serena unlocked then opened the book. She instantly felt it's darkness, and almost immediately felt her braces starting to protect her. "Yeth, there ith a lot of darkneth there, but I think you mutht read it. Don't worry, we will protect you," her braces told her.

Mrs Johnson left Serena to read the book, and went to make them a cuppa.

The first chapter of the book explained many of the basic dark spells, including the levitation spell she had learned from the other book: as she expected most were amazingly similar to the light spells that she had learned in the last 2 years. She had just tried one of the spells, and had a small ball of fire in her hand as Mrs Johnson walked in with the tea.

"Oh, that's nice.." said Mrs Johnson

"Yes, at this size it is, isn't it? Here, I can make it a little bigger". The ball of fire grew from being the size of a tennis ball to the size of a soccer ball.... after keeping it like that for a couple of seconds, she extinguished it. She could feel her braces relax as she did so. "Probably better to play with that one outside, I don't want to burn your house down! From what I've read in other books, I should be able to throw the fireball with other spells... that will be fun to try, but definitely not in here."

"Yes, I'd be very grateful if you did it elsewhere. Anyway, a cup of tea for you."

Serena and Mrs Johnson talked for a while. Serena explained about her new braces, and how they were able to protect her from what she had been reading. "My braces are made from the metal of part of an un-holy chain, historically owned by both the angels and Satan, which gives it certain powers. The metal used for my braces came from the PineTree coven, and they said that other covens probably also have parts of that chain... does our coven have any of the chain by any chance?"

"Well, we do have a piece of chain, but we've never been 100% sure of it's origin"

"I don't suppose I can see the chain, can I?"

Mrs Johnson lead Serena to the dining room, where she opened a small wall-safe, retrieved a small metal box from the rear of it, and passed it to Serena. She explained that the metal of the box helped to 'contain' the power of the chain.

"Wanda, I think I'm going to need your skills here....oh, and make yourself visible to Mrs Johnson will you?".

"Certainly" said Wanda, as she appeared in Serena's hand. With Mrs Johnson several feet away, Serena braced herself as she opened the box: as she did so, she could feel power coming from the chain. Dark power. The chain was about 10 inches long, made up of small but chunky links - think of the sort of links you might have on a man's bracelet. The colour of the chain was similar to the colour of her braces, sort of silvery, sort of golden, but with a slight dullness to it. Serena waved Wanda closer to the chain.

"Yes, it is definitely part of the un-holy chain, but from a very different part of the chain, a much darker part. And if you're thinking what I'm thinking, then yes, this is perhaps what you need"

"Thanks Wanda... I think I need to see what my braces think too, after all, they are the ones that will be helping me if I use it...". She moved the chain to her mouth, and put the end link of the chain between her lips, touching her braces at the front of her mouth. She could immediately feel it's immense darkness. She left it there for a few seconds then removed the link from her mouth.

"Mmm, yeth, ath Wanda thaid, we think thith ith what you are looking for, but not too much of it though, If you have too much, we won't be able to protect you".

"So, how much do I need, Wanda?"

"Let me quickly chat to your braces...." There was a short pause as they silently conferred..." Ok, we think that two or three links is all you need, but no more".

"Thank you, Wanda!" said Serena as she returned the chain back to it's metal container. Serena explained to Mrs Johnson that she needed 3 of the chain links to help with her dark magic training.

"I will need to discuss it with the other elders, but I suspect we will all say yes" she replied

"Thank you, I'll give it back to you for the moment"

"So, what do you think you'll do with it?"

"I need to have intimate contact with it - that's why I held the end of it between my lips - so I was thinking about getting some sort of jewellery made with it... a frenulum ring, and some lip or nose rings like these maybe. Like that, they would be inconspicuous, looking quite normal. Didn't I see a book in your library, about magic jewellery? I think it was one of the darker books...."

"Yes, I think there is. Let me put this all back in the safe, then we can take a look."

-----

"Mum, I'm back...."

"In the living room....". Serena walked into the living room, she was interested to see what she said about her 'piercings'. Mum and dad were in the living room.

"Have a good afternoon? You were going round to Mrs Johnson's weren't you, and staying for tea?"

"That's right, I did some reading, and brought some more books home to read." By this point, she was pretty much in front of her mum, who was looking at her, clearly trying to make up her mind about whether they actually WERE piercings, and whether she liked the effect. She also remembered that Serena was an adult now - and an important one at that - and she mustn't treat her like a child.

"Its odd, the rings look really nice on you, but I'm hating the fact that you might have just got yourself pierced!"

"Don't worry, these are fakes.... but I'm kinda thinking about getting real ones.... and I'm having my hair done tomorrow... I'm fed up with it being like this"

"What you doing with it?"

"Can I keep it as a bit of a surprise? It's a style I've never tried before, I'll tell you that much... And don't worry, I'm not getting it shaved!"

Serena sat on the settee next to her mum, and chatted with both her mum & dad, who asked about how her training was going. She explained that she was working well with Sarah, that both she and Sarah had done some simple dark magic yesterday - yes, it seemed that witches of the light could do dark magic. She'd explained about her braces over lunch, and that they had indeed helped to protect her from the dark magic she had tried whilst around at Mrs Johnson.

They watched a bit of TV, then Serena read a couple of the books she had borrowed, one was a history one, the other was the "dummies guide to dark magic spells" (or something similar!)

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #7 on: 01. July 2022, 21:41:07 PM »
Chapter 22: A new look


Friday: Serena had booked the appointment for her hair cut / restyling at 10:15. Her mum was really good to Serena, and once again let her borrow the car to go to there.

"Hello again, Serena" said the girl on reception, as she walked in. Serena was a few minutes early. "I'll let Jilly know you're here". While she waited, Serena had a quick word with her braces: "Guys, I think I'd better have a lisp for the moment."

"No problems, just let us know when you want rid of it!"

"Don't worry, I will! And thanks!". Serena got a very pleasant feeling from her braces, as if they were saying 'that's ok...', plus she felt they were a bit excited for her, getting her hair re-styled.

Sat down in on of the 'waiting chairs', looking around the place. It was strange, there were certain similarities to a hairdresser's and an ortho's surgery: people sitting down in a chair with a bib (ok, more like a cape here) on them, while someone else attended to them, potentially making major changes to the way they looked. She remembered the nervousness she had as a child, when her mum took her to the hairdresser to get her hair cut... to be honest, she was a little nervous now, kinda like she was when she got her braces: in an hour or so's time, she would look quite different!

"Hey there, Serena, come on over" said Jilly. "Now, the other day we chatted, and you said you'd like a clean traditional bob cut, with the hair pretty much the same length all around, with a fringe..." she added as she brought up the picture of Serena she had taken the other day, and changed her image once again to show her the sort of cut she described.

"Yeth, that'th the thort of thing I want. I have no idea if it will really thuit me, but there'th only one way to find out. Bethideth, it won't take THAT long to grow out if I don't like it!"

"Oh, I do like it when someone wants to try out something different. Ok, let's start by taking you over to the sink, to wash your hair...."

There aren't THAT many things in life that you do, where you have to do absolutely nothing (apart from simply sitting) while someone else does all the work, and Serena quite enjoyed the attention she got. An hour or so later, Serena looked at the face in the mirror, and hardly recognised herself: she absolutely LOVED the bob haircut that Jilly had given her!


Serena arrived back home, and walked in the door. "Hi mum, I'm back... where are you?". There was no reply. She put her stuff down, and walked through to the kitchen: out of the window, she could see her mum doing some gardening, so Serena went outside.

"Hi mum..." she called. Her mum turned around, and looked at Serena, but didn't actually say anything, but she did start to smile. "Give me a moment to just take it in..." she said, getting up, and walking closer to get a better look. "You know, it's very different from anything you've had before." She walked around Serena, taking in her new look. "Tell you what, I love the boldness of it, it strangely suits you... but more importantly than me liking it, do YOU like it?"

"Yes, you're right, it is rather bold for me, but I think I need to start being a bit bolder, if I'm going do what that prophecy says I will. But yeah, I like it. I was going to go and try out some new makeup, see what works with my new look"

"Well, you're old enough now to decide how you look, I'll try and be supportive, just don't mutilate yourself will you... I mean, you're not planning on doing something like cutting your tongue are you?"

Serena winced at the idea. "I think you'll be ok there, mum, having a split tongue does not appeal to me one tiny bit!!"


Serena made herself and her mum a cuppa, and called Sarah.

"Hi Sarah, what you up to?"

"Getting ready for next term. Boy, it's so boring... I'm hoping you are about to ask me to do something with you? Anything will do, to be honest!"

"Oh, THAT bad? Yes, do come on over if you like, I'll go make you a drink....". Sarah teleported herself into Serena's lounge while she was making her a cup of tea.

"Oh, wow, love it! You look so different! You happy with it?"

"Definitely! So, there's a couple of things we can do this evening. First of all, I got some different dark magic books from Mrs Johnson's library, including THIS one about dark jewellery"

"And that's relevant because?"

"The coven has a small piece of the un-holy chain, a bit from one of the not-so-good parts, and my braces and Wanda both feel that intimate contact with it will help me with my dark magic stuff. So I was going to see if I can get some jewellery made, something like these nose and lip rings..."

"You gonna be able to cope with that?"

"My braces tell me they should be ok as long as I don't go over 3 links worth"

"Ok, so what's the second thing?"

"I was thinking you can help me try out some different makeup - I got some new stuff earlier on."

"I could also help you with some make-up magic..."

"Sounds like we're going to have a fun evening!"

Offline silver-moon-2000

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #8 on: 03. July 2022, 09:57:22 AM »
While she waited, Serena had a quick word with her braces: "Guys, I think I'd better have a lisp for the moment."

That is such a unique concept.

I confess that I can't remember having read the first chapters. I really have to catch up on Serena  ;D

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #9 on: 03. July 2022, 18:07:30 PM »
Chapter 23:


Saturday morning Serena slept in a bit later than normal, and woke up feeling good and fresh. Both Serena and Sarah both enjoyed their evening together last night - Sarah because she was needing a break from preparing - as a teacher - for the new school year, and Serena because she learnt some new make-up spells, and tried out a few new looks on herself, to see which she fancied.

So, when she got up this morning, she tried out one of last-night's looks... fairly bold and colourful red eye makeup, bold red lips, along with the (fake) piercings. Last night she had painted her fingernails in a variety of colours.

Her mum and dad were both in the lounge when she finally went downstairs. Her mum looked at her with a combination of 'it's rather different', 'it's good', and 'omg, what the heck?'. Yes, she'd seen the new hairstyle yesterday, but Serena had now added in a completely new makeup look too.

"Tell you what mum, don't say anything for ten minutes, so you can absorb what you see..."

"Ok...."

"I was going to put the kettle on, would you two like a cuppa?". Both her mum and dad said yes! About 10 minutes later, she brought three cups of hot tea into the lounge, along with some toast for her own breakfast. Noone said anything as Serena ate her toast.

"Ok, time's up, tell me how much you hate it then!"

"Well..." said her mum, "it's definitely rather different. Not something *I* would ever wear - for obvious reasons - but no, it actually goes pretty well with your new hair style. It's actually nice to see you trying out something new.". Serena didn't expect her dad to say anything: he was a man after all! "So, we're off to see grandma and grandpa Muffin, you said you might like to join us... do you still want to?"

So, grandma and grandpa Muffin are Serena's dad's parents. Her grandma is in her mid 60's, and is pretty healthy and mobile, which is just as well because just under 6 months ago, her grandpa, who is nearing 70, had a stroke. He can breath ok, and he can talk ok, and a bit more beyond that, but he's not at all mobile. He spends most of his day either in a comfy armchair in his living room, or in a wheelchair, which lets grandma wheel him about. Luckily they have a couple of really nice community care assistants, who come in every morning and every evening, to look after his important needs, plus get him in and out of bed. During the day, grandma copes pretty well - a bit of magic comes in useful at times!

"Yes, I really should do, I'm going to be busy from now on, what with school and with saving the world!" she said, part joking.

"You'll need to explain to them about your recent pledge - I'm sure grandpa will have something to say about that!"

All four of Serena's grandparents were still alive, and she not only loved them all, she actually got on well with them.


After lunch they drove to grandma and grandpa Muffin's place. Whilst her dad regularly went to visit them, it had actually been two or even three months since Serena had.

Grandma answered the door, and Serena went to her, and put her arms around her. "Grandma, it's lovely to see you again! I'm sorry it's been so long!"

"That's ok, you're here now. Come on in." Her mum and dad also hugged her as they came in. "Go on through and say hello to grandpa, I'll get the kettle on!"

Serena looked at grandma and grandpa. Grandma still looked pretty ok for her age, but grandpa looked like he had aged another 10 years since having his stroke. He was so used to always be doing something... ok maybe not too strenuous, but he wasn't one for sitting around when he could be doing something. Now, sitting and lying down was pretty much all he could do.

It soon became pretty clear that her mum and dad were both talking with grandma, almost completely ignoring grandpa.

"Hey, why don't you two stay her and talk with Grandma, I'll take grandpa out into the garden, and talk with him out there. Grandpa, would you like that?"

"Yes, that would be very nice, you can tell me what actually happened at your pledge ceremony, it sounds like you might have upset a few people!"

"Yeah, that WAS interesting, let me tell you about it!". Serena opened the french doors, took the brake off his wheelchair, then pushed him out to the garden, and over to where there was a small bench seat. She parked the wheelchair close to the seat, and sat down next to him.

"So, your dad told me you didn't actually pledge to the light then?" said grandpa.

"No... Over the previous few weeks I'd been getting... well, I'm not really sure how to describe it, let's just say 'strange feelings' that pledging to the light was just NOT the right thing for me to do. Mind you, actually pledging completely to the darkness was never an option either. I just felt, for some odd reason, that I had to accept a certain amount of darkness into my magic and my life. So I was moved to pledge to 'the light grey'."

"I bet that got quite a reaction!

"Oh, boy, did I get some dirty looks... I mean, has anyone in our coven EVER pledged to anything other than simply 'the light'?"

"Not that I've ever heard of... do go on..."

"Well, luckily, I was saved by Mr Jones, who stood up, and mentioned about the coven's prophecy that he'd recently re-discovered. And whilst that explained a few things, it also raised a load more questions..."

"So what does the prophecy say?"

"Well, I need to add in that I've seen a very similar prophecy from another coven too. Our prophecy described me as an only child, a young witch with above-normal abilities, and that I would choose neither the path of dark nor light, but something in the middle: it seems I need to be able to use both light and dark magic to protect the world. The PineTree Coven's one also says that I must first unite all the covens of the land, defeat the attacks of the darkness, and then......"

"And then...?"

"... and then live to become its queen. I'll be honest, that last bit is probably the scariest bit of the lot!"

"Don't worry, Serena, you'll be fine! I've known you since the day you were born, and if anyone can rise to the occasion and do stuff like that, then you can! So, it's time for the covens to finally reunite, eh? I have felt that should have happened a LONG time ago. You had time to work out how you're going to do that yet?"

"Not really, but remember a few years ago, we all went on holiday up to the Lake District, and I met a girl called Samantha?"

Grandpa thought a moment. "You mean that skinny girl who dressed a bit like a hippy?"

"Yes, that's her. Turns out that not only is she a witch, but she's going to be very important in what I do. Oh, yeah, so is Sarah - remember her, teacher at school, who has been teaching me magic?"

"Ah yes, she's helped quite a few teenagers in the last few years hasn't she?". It was more of a statement than a question.

"Anyway, first act of uniting the covens is we're having a picnic in the park for the three covens tomorrow: I would suggest you coming along, but I think you'd have problems."

"Yes, maybe not such a great idea, had it been six months ago, I would have definitely been there!"

"So, grandpa, how are YOU?"

"Well, as you can see, not a lot has changed since I first had my stroke. I have a tiny bit more movement in my left hand and arm, but not a lot. Thank goodness my brain is still sort-of working, and I can talk, although that also gets tiring."

"And what about inside yourself?"

"I have good days, and I have bad days. Today is a very good day: seeing your mum and dad, and you, that really cheers me up and makes the day so much better. But most days are pretty boring, I can't do a lot and I'm as frustrated as hell! There's only so much TV a man can watch. And reading gets pretty tiring. There's so many things I'd like to do, that I can't. I can't even do the simple things for myself any more. I have far too much time to think about my own mortality, and even how much I really want to continue to live."

Serena leaned over to her grandpa, and put her arms around him. "Grandpa, please don't think like that. The though of losing you.... well, it scares me!"

"It scares me too at times, but other times I think that it may, at some point, be a welcome release."

"What can I do to help you think good thoughts? Hey, I have a silly idea: how about I take you down the park, bet you've not been there since..... since your stroke?"

"No, I haven't," replied Grandpa after a short pause, "but yes, that would be nice! Very nice!". For the first time today, a small smile appeared on grandpa's face. Serena went in to tell the others what she was about to do.

"Yes, do go, and maybe we'll join you shortly...."

Serena pushed grandpa down the road, chatting as they went, around a couple of corners and along some other roads, and about 10 or 15 minutes later they got to the small park. Serena could tell from his continuing smile that grandpa was enjoying this. She suspected that it would be pretty hard work for grandma, pushing grandpa around like this (even with a magic assist), so guessed grandpa didn't get out like this all that often. Once at the park, they sat together, watching the trees, the flowers, as well as people walking, and children playing.

"So, last time I saw you, you had your braces in your mouth, but now... you seem to have even more in your mouth." commented grandpa.

"Yeah, whilst officially I guess they ARE still braces, they are a lot more than that. You ever heard about something called 'the unholy chain'?"

"No, what is it"

"Apparently a chain that used to be owned by the angels, but was taken by Satan, and many dark souls were put into it. It was re-captured many centuries ago, and many covens have a piece of it. Some bits of the chain are still good, and full of light, other bits are a lot darker. These rather excessive braces are made from one of the light bits, and they seem to be able to help with my magic. They say they can protect me from the dark magic too. Oh, plus they get rid of my lisp."

"They SAY?"

"Yeah, there's sufficient magic in my mouth that they are sentient, and talk to me, just like Wanda. Oh my, I've not told you about Wanda.... Wanda, you there? Meet my grandpa!". Wanda appeared.

"Please tell him I'm honoured to meet him!" said Wanda.

"So, this is Wanda, my new wand: it seems she is also made from part of that 'un-holy chain'. She says that she's honoured to meet you?" said Serena.

"She? And she talks to you? She looks very elegant."

"Definitely a she, and it seems that there's only 3 of us that she can talk to. But I will admit, I'm really growing to enjoy her being around." If wands could blush, I think Wanda would have just done so. "Here, hold her...". She passed Wanda over to her grandpa, who took a closer look at Wanda.

"She is a marvellous looking wand, and so light too!". He gently waved her a couple of times, before carefully passing her back to Serena.

"Serena, can you let me touch your grandpa for a moment?". Serena touched Wanda to her grandpa's hand. "He's in pain... ask him if we can do something to remove the pain".

"Grandpa, Wanda senses your pain, would you let us do some painkilling magic for you, you really don't need to suffer!". Grandpa nooded his head, and Wanda helped Serena cast a suitable magical painkiller.

"Thank you, that feels a lot better...", which wasn't too surprising, as the magic spell was just as strong as a good dose of morphine.

"Hey, dad, looks like you and Serena have been enjoying yourselves.": Serena's mum, dad and grandma had just arrived.

"Yes, she been telling me all about her pledging, and her new braces, and her lovely wand. And apparently you're all going to a special picnic tomorrow..."

All five of them sat chatting in the park for a while, and having a very relaxing time.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #10 on: 04. July 2022, 17:53:16 PM »
Chapter 24: Sunday: sunshine and picnics....


Serena decided to stay with a look similar to yesterday, so fairly bold and colourful makeup around her eyes, a bright but dark red lip gloss, plus the fake piercings on her nose and lip. Her clothes were all black: black jeans, and a short plain black t-shirt... so a sort of strange mix of brightness and goth! And, of course, her hair, recently cut, was quite different from what most people would have recognised.

The weather was excellent, and park was filled with the many members of the 3 covens. People had brought their picnic blankets, tables, chairs and all the sorts of things you'd expect to see at a picnic.

Serena was with her parents, and they had invited Sarah to join them. Serena had just seen Samantha arrive, so she waved her over.

"Samantha, it's good to see you again!". As they embraced, Serena felt nice feelings emanating from Samantha. Very nice feelings. In fact enough feelings that their lips seemed to want to move together. They kissed.

"Whoa, what was that?" asked Serena

"I honestly don't know, as we embraced I was getting some strange feelings, good strange feelings though... Hey, are those your new braces?"

"Yes, they are" said Serena with a big smile.

"Wow! Impressive! And definitely too many braces for one mouth! How are you managing with so much? And I'm not even detecting a HINT of a lisp!"

"Remember how I was telling you that my braces seemed to be slightly sentient - well, now I have so much more in my mouth, they have become so much more powerful, more capable. They speak to me, and they were able to take away my lisp. But you know what the funny thing is? My braces have a really terrible lithp!"

"Hey, stop taking the mickey..." said a voice inside Serena's head.

"Anyway, Samantha, come with me, there is someone that you must meet". She lead her over to her parents and Sarah.

"Sarah, this is Samantha, from the Coven of Love and Tranquillity. Indeed, Wanda described her as 'Samantha, witch of great love, passion, tenderness and care!'. And Samantha, please meet 'The Mighty Sarah', as Wanda describes her."

Samantha put her arms around Sarah in greeting, saying "I meet you in peace and love. Already I can feel a great connection between us...."

"Hello Samantha, it's so nice to finally meet you, Serena has said many good things about you... and yes, I feel that connection too - we must speak at length at some point, but probably not today". The three of them chatted together for a while.

"Excuse me, Serena," said Wanda suddenly popping up, "I think you really need to speak to everyone... welcome them, explain things to them".

"Yup, I think you're right, just give me a few moments..." said Serena. She went and stood alone for a couple of minutes. She needed to talk to her braces: 'ok, guys, I would appreciate a bit of help on this one, this is all rather a lot out of my comfort zone....'. She also needed to run a few simple spells. One to keep herself calm. One to help her speak clearly. One to make it easier for everyone to hear her (that last one is a sort of 'magic PA system').

They had brought various things in a crate, so she made sure it was empty, turned it over, and stood up on it, so she was a tiny bit higher. Not that she was particularly short to start with: at 5ft 11ins she was well above average height.

"Good afternoon, everyone" she said in a loud and clear voice. She paused to let the chatter die down. "Good afternoon... My name is Serena, Witch of the Coven of the Light. But from today, I hope that I can also be thought of as Serena of the Pine Tree Coven, as well as Serena of the Coven of Love and Tranquility... as well as of all the other covens of this land. I welcome you all here in love and peace. I also ask that you all come with a very open mind: today must be a day of rejoicing - it is the first time in a long time that so many witches of more than one coven have met together. Please make a big effort to meet with, and talk to, the members of the other covens. We are all very different, yet all very similar... so we must learn about each other, set aside any differences, and embrace the best of what we are!"

"Keep going" whispered both her braces and Wanda "You are doing well!"

"At least two of our covens have a prophecy - I believe I am part of that prophecy, and I believe that one of my first tasks is to unite the many covens of this realm - today is just the start of that! Please, do not under-estimate the importance of this task: the prophecies indicate that there may be dark times ahead, and that means that we must be united together, to meet and overcome that darkness. That is why you have all been invited here today." Again, Serena paused.

"Please, can I ask the elders of our three covens to stand up and let us see them..." Serena waited a while as three groups of people stood up.

"As elders of our three covens, I welcome you all, and thank you very much for being so willing to bring your members here today - if anyone wants to speak to them, I'm very sure that these wise and honourable seniors of our communities will be only to happy to talk to any of you". Serena stopped for a moment, allowing them to sit down again.

"And, finally, a very big thanks to everyone for coming along today, it's so amazing to see so many of you here.... please, have a really enjoyable afternoon!"

She got off the box. "Nicely said Serena!" said Sarah.

"Hey, you desperate to eat?" asked Samantha, "It's just that I think you should come and meet our elders. I know you met Miss Lambert already"

"No, and absolutely! Lead the way. Sarah, why don't you join us?".

They walked across the park, to where the elders of the Coven of Love and Tranquillity were.

"Good afternoon, Miss Lambert, it's so nice to see you again! I hope you don't think it impertinent of me to consider myself as part of your coven?"

"My child, if we are to unite as one, then I think we should all be thinking of ourselves as being members of all covens. By the way, some interesting news, we have found our prophecy, and it tells a very similar story to the two others. We have it with us, and I think you you need to read it."

"I will, but I would first like to greet the other elders of your... or should I now say 'our'.. coven". Serena was introduced to the elders, and they had a short but very pleasant discussion.

"So, Michael, can you give Serena our prophecy?". The prophecy document was passed to Serena.

It had been stored / transported in a sort of cardboard tube, and whilst it was clearly very old, it was in amazingly good condition: it was rolled up, and kept in place with what was probably a silk ribbon. Serena untied the ribbon, and held the prophecy, and started to read it. It told of a mighty young witch, with a mouth filled with magic metal, who would come to unite the dispersed covens of the realm, and with two others by her side would fight the dark forces. A third would not fight with them, but would always be nearby: she was a young witch with immense powers of love, passion, tenderness and care, and would inspire and care for everyone else.

"Thank you" said Serena, passing back the prophecy, "I'd like to read it fully at a more convenient time....".

To be honest, Serena did feel a little scared. She didn't really feel all that mighty - even calling the three covens together today had been quite daunting. And what did she know about fighting dark forces? And as for that 'queen' bit...

"Itth ok" said a voice inside her. "We, and many otherth will help you. You will never be alone...."

"Yeah, what they just said..." said Wanda, who had just appeared in her hand.



Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #11 on: 05. July 2022, 22:12:28 PM »
Chapter 25: entertaining the kids

It was busy afternoon. As she was effectively the 'host' of the event, she was having to go around and meet and chat to people. She especially made sure to talk with the younger members of the coven, many of whom were chatting to children from other covens. At one point, she managed to get several groups of the younger members together (she recognised some of them from her school, a small group were actually 3 or 4 years below her), to have a chat with them, as she was quite aware that adults were often not really willing to tell their children the details of what's going on. She explained how there are many covens in the land, but many hundreds of years ago, the covens split up, and, until now, have never really mixed. And explained about the many prophecies, all probably coming from one very old prophecy. And how, unlike everyone else in her coven, she had not pledged to the light, but a bit off it, to include some darkness.

"So what is it about your 'metal mouth' we keep hearing about then?"

"Well, do any of you have braces?". Several of them indicated that they did. "Anyone got an expander?" A couple said they did. "Anyone have a herbst?". No takers for that. "Lip bumpers or headgear maybe?". A couple were willing to say they did.

"Well, take a look at what I have in my mouth....". Serena smiled wide, letting them see the extent of the metal on her teeth, as well as her lip bumpers. Then she opened her mouth, showing what she had inside her mouth. Several of the kids winced when they saw what she had. "My braces are pretty extreme, aren't they? These are called 'full bands' it's how all braces were many years ago. I got braces to fix my teeth, just like yours, a couple of years ago, but last week I got them taken off, and replaced with these. They are made of a very special metal, and I need a certain amount of the metal in my mouth to be effective. The metal will help to advise and protect me from the effects of dark magic. The good news for you guys is that, eventually, you'll get your braces off: as I understand it, I'm going to be stuck with these for the rest of my life!"

"How come you don't have a lithp? I have an exthpander, and I have a lithp..." said a teen girl.

"Well, actually I do, but my braces are nice enough to stop my lisp. They said I shouldn't need to suffer, just because I have to wear a mouthful of metal to help everyone". Serena had a quick word with her braces. "Tho, thith ith wok I thound like if they don'k hewp me wiv my thpeech. And letth be honetht, I would have thounded wather thtupid if I had welcomed you all thounding like thith, wouldn't I?". Of course, many of the kids, especially those without braces, thought that was funny. Serena got her braces to remove her lisp again.

(The story writer thanks Serena's braces for their ongoing work of eliminating Serena's lisp, as it makes typing so much easier!)

"What's the difference between dark and light magic then?" asked one of the kids.

"That's a good question. I've only just started to learn some dark magic, and to be honest, it's very similar to the light magic that you will all learn, except it gets used for nastier purposes. Let me see if I can give you a simple example.... yes, take a look at the tree over there.... if I do this...." Serena brought the words she needed into her mind, then waved her hand, and a small branch a couple of foot long broke off the tree, falling to the ground. "so, that was a sort of 'bending and breaking' spell, but if I did something similar to your leg or your arm, then it turns from being good to being pretty nasty, doesn't it?"

"What dark spells do you know then?" asked one boy.

Serena smiled, thinking - why should we be hiding dark magic, they need to understand about it. "I've only just started to learn dark magic a few days ago.... ok, how about this one?" she suggested, and produced a small fireball in her had, like she had the other day. "Like that, it doesn't look that bad, does it, but if I make it bigger...." She put her other hand around the fireball, then opened her hands, allowing the fireball to grow. Unlike the other day, she let it get quite large, maybe a couple of feet across. "Now THAT isn't so nice is it, and if I were to throw it at you.... see where I'm going with this. Hey, let me do something I've been wanting to try out, but haven't been outside to do it".

She moved away from the group, to where there was a clear grass area. Making the fireball small again, she threw it some distance, and it landed on the grass, which was luckily damp enough to not catch fire. Concentrating, she could feel a bit of darkness rise up inside of her, but at the same time could feel her braces protect her. Fireballs appeared in both hands, and she threw them up as high as she could, creating more fireballs as her hands emptied.... it created a sort of mini-firework display. The kids loved it, in fact, a few more kids had come and joined them to watch.

"So whilst it looks rather pretty like that, I could burn your house down with them too!"

"Can you do lightning too?" asked another

"Never actually tried it, but I do know the spell... let's have a go..." said a Serena that had taken on some of the darkness. She thought a moment, then had a go launching a sort of lightning from her hands... it was pretty pathetic. "Braces, can I have a bit more access to my darkness, for just a moment?" she said out loud, mainly for effect. Serena could feel the darkness inside her get stronger for a moment, and she was able to let off a few good bits of lightning up into the air, which she followed with a rather big, and nasty, scream. She could feel her braces pushing the darkness away for her again.

Serena sat down for a moment, to catch her breath. "Sorry" she said, "that was the darkness starting to affect me... don't worry though, I'm in control again. Anyway, THAT is why all your mums and dads tell you not to play with fire at home!" she said with a big smile.

"Why can't we do dark magic?" asked a younger boy

"I'm not really sure. Maybe you CAN do some very simple dark magic. I think it's a bit like 'why are you a boy, and not a girl?', or 'why are you good at sport, and your friend isn't?'... I think it's just the way you are. You were all born to do spells of light, but for some reason, I was born to need to be able to do a certain amount of the darker spells too."

"Are you scared?" asked one of the older girls

"Yes, I am, in several ways. I worry that I might not be able to always control my darkness. I worry that I won't be able to do what's expected of me. I worry I'll let you all down. I worry that I'll not be able to get good enough grades at school this year! Luckily my braces and Wanda will be trying to help me. Oh, yes, let me show you something....". Serena held her hand out in front of herself, so all the children could see, then said "Wanda, could you come and let everyone see you, please?". The kids were impressed to see a wand appear in Serena's hand.

"This is my wand, her name is Wanda, and unlike most wands, she is very clever. She talks to me, helps me, advises me. She is made of the same metal as my braces."

"Talks to you?"

"Yes, I'm told that there are a very small number of wands around that can actually talk, she's one of them."

"Can she tell what I'm thinking?" asked a boy she recognised from 2 or 3 years below her at school.

"I don't know... Wanda?". "I'll have a go, if you like..." said Wanda to Serena.

"Come over here a moment" she said to the boy. "How do you want to do this, Wanda?". "Can you just gently touch him with me?". Serena softly touched Wanda onto the boy's cheek. Wanda giggled "he's thinking that he's glad his braces aren't as bad as yours..."

"Apparently you're thinking that you're glad you don't have as much metal in your mouth as I do in mine! Is that right?" said Serena with a big metal smile. The boy nodded.

While she had been talking with the children, both Samantha and Sarah had come over to join the group.

"There's a couple of people I'd like you guys to meet, some of you may already know them....". She waved the two of them over. "This is Sarah, some of you will know her as Miss Davis, from school. She is my magic teacher, she knows a lot of amazing light magic, and is also mentioned in at least one of the prophecies. And this is Samantha: I've known Samantha for several years, but only found out last week that she was a witch... in fact, that's how those of you in the coven of love and tranquillity got invited here today. Samantha seems to be really good at a different sort of light magic, all to do with love and healing."

The three of them chatted with the, now quite large, group of children that had gathered. One of the things they talked about was the need to not tell the 'normal people' of the world about the witches, explaining that it could cause big problems, plus it might lead on to them being singled out and bullied, or worse. It was very clear that the kids were enjoying the fact that the three of them were trying to explain stuff to them, stuff that noone else would probably have bothered to.

"Well, everyone, it has been really lovely to talk to you all. I'm sure there will be other gatherings, with many other covens, so I'm sure we'll meet again soon  - and if you like, I'll have another chat with you like this one. If you ever have questions, don't be scared to ask your parents. If they can't help, then you can always ask the elders of our covens, that's part of why they are there. And you can always ask us three too. So, I need to go to talk to some of the adults, but first I need to ask you all a big favour: if any of us three ask you for help at any time, please be willing to help us.... we won't be asking for no reason, we'll be asking because we really do need your help! That ok? Go on then, go and have fun...."

"Nice idea that, talking to them!" said Sarah as the small crowd of children dispersed

"Yeah, I just felt they needed to hear some straight taking, that maybe some of the adults won't, or maybe can't do. These guys are probably going to be 'our army' in the future!"


Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #12 on: 06. July 2022, 19:27:02 PM »
Chapter 26: Serena orders some special jewellery


Serena had briefly spoken with the elders of her own coven, who confirmed that they were happy to let her have the small part of chain she needed, so she then went over to where Peter (her ortho) was.

"Hi Peter! I need a favour - can you introduce me to your dental technician?"

"Sure, he's just over there. Come on, let me introduce you.". Peter led Serena past a few people. "David, Serena asked me to introduce you..."

"David, it's good to meet you!"

"Hi Serena, I was kinda hoping you would come and say hello - how's those braces I made for you? Are you coping ok? I mean they were one heck of a set of metal!"

"They are absolutely superb, your craftmanship is second to none, and they fit perfectly" said Serena, smiling and letting him see. "Although I have a feeling that the braces might have helped you a little."

"Yes, I think you might be right there, they were amazingly easy to get right. Erm, so how come you don't have a lisp?". Serena explained to David how the braces helped her.

"Anyway, David, I need a big favour. You are clearly very talented with your hands and with metal: I need a little bit of very special jewellery making, is that something you might be able to help with?"

"I'm sure I can, what are you looking for?"

"I need some jewellery that I can wear, as needed, in my mouth, and on my face. So a couple of lip rings, a nose ring, and also a frenulum ring - kinda like what I'm wearing now. But I need to be able to easily remove them, yet keep them safe and near.... I was browsing a book on magic jewellery, which indicated that you could convert jewellery from one form to another, so I'm thinking that it might be possible to combine 3 or 4 of them into a sort of combined ring that I could wear on my finger"

"I think I could probably do that, it might be helpful to be able to see that book though. But I get the feeling you haven't yet told me the whole story..."

"Yes, you're right. I've just confirmed that I can have some metal from the unholy chain: our coven has a piece, but it is a lot darker that the metal you used for my braces. I believe that, if I can have close enough contact with it, like I do with my braces, then it will help me with the dark magic that I need to learn and do. So I thought of some mouth jewellery."

"Nice idea, and if you can then turn it into a finger ring, you can have it close at all times. Clever thinking! But what about when it's on your finger, won't it affect you then?"

"Yes, that is a problem, have you got any ideas?"

"Well....." said David, thinking. "How about if I was able to sort-of 'line' the ring with some of OUR metal, the 'light' metal, it might help to protect you.."

"Hmm, like your thinking.... Wanda, what do you think about that idea?". Wanda appeared in her hand: "Yes, I think that might work. When the metal is in your mouth or nose, I'm sure you'll get enough close contact with the dark metal. Ok, you'll get a bit of contact to your adjacent finger on your hand, but I think you'll cope with that ok, especially if you wore it on your pinky finger".

"Ok, David, Wanda thinks it's a good idea but the ring will need to fit my small finger, to help minimise the side-effects."

"You know, it can get very boring making the same stuff all the time. Your braces were very interesting to make, we don't get the chance to do much in the way of custom bands any more. But I'm getting quite excited about making this jewellery for you. It will probably take me a week or so to make, I'll need to fit it around my normal paying work, and I'm sure it's going to be delicate work, but it will be my pleasure to make it for you." He reached into a pocket, and pulled out his wallet, and retrieved a business card from it. "Here's my details - when you have the metal and the book, get in touch, and you can come and visit me."

"Thank you so much, David"

Serena walked away feeling both happy and worried. Happy because David was willing to help. Worried because she wasn't 100% sure what effect the metal jewellery might have on her. Also worried because she would end up with an awful lot of metal in her mouth!

It was just as well that she didn't mind the taste of metal!

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #13 on: 08. July 2022, 00:31:20 AM »
There's new posts in *only* 4 threads... let's make it 5, shall we?

---------------------------------------

Chapter 27: Hello there, braces...


It's still Sunday, at the picnic. Serena sat by herself for a few minutes, closed her eyes and concentrated, so she could have a quick chat with her braces and Wanda. "Guys, about these piercings: I have a couple of questions, but I need to ask them both for you to be able to answer, coz they're related. The first one is to do with healing: if I were to get real piercings in my nose and lips, it would normally take a couple of weeks to heal: can you guys do, or help with any magic that could speed that up? If not, I'll probably go with fake piercings for now, unless... and that leads to the second question: how much of the dark metal could you guys cope with on a regular basis.... two possibilities here: first, just the frenulum ring, or second, all 4 rings? Does that make sense?"

"Yeth, it doeth, you're trying to work out the practicalitieth of pierthings or not for thith new jewelry. Our inthtant feeling ith that we could cope ok with a thingle pieth, like the frenulum ring, but it would be much harder if you wore them all"

"Ok.... what about 2 pieces at a time, the frenulum ring, plus one other ring at a time?"

"If you really need to, then yeth, we would cope with that, but we would prefer not to"

"Ok, very fair comment. Wanda - what about the healing? Are there spells that we can do speed up healing?"

"Yes, there are - but you should speak to Samantha, I'm sure she has a lot more knowledge on this. But your thinking is good, you are clearly eager to try out the effects of the dark metal to see how they will help with your dark training."

"Indeed I am! Thanks for your help guys, I'll go chat with Samantha..."

Serena opened her eyes, and looked around. People had clearly understood that she needed a couple of minutes alone, so she was still alone. She stood up, and walked over to where Samantha's family was, and indeed where Samantha herself was. She sat down next to Samantha. "You got a moment?" she asked

"Yeah, what's on your mind?"

She explained to her about the metal with dark magic she was going to get made into jewellery, and how the light magic in her braces would be able to help control the darkness. And how she was trying to decide whether to get real piercings.

"The thing is, it normally takes a couple of weeks before the hole of the piercing is healed enough to be able to change out the ring, but if I want to be able to use the dark jewelry sooner, I'll need to just get fakes made. Unless you can do a healing spell to speed things up... or teach me how to do one. I mean, what did you do for your piercing?"

"You know, I know they are fakes, but those piercings work well with this new image of yours.... you're making me want some more now too!"

"Really? It was your piercing that originally inspired me!". They both laughed

"Yes, I can do healing spells, and yes, I did use a simple one on my piercing - although it was more of a 'don't get infected' spell. I'm sure I could do something for you. So 2 on your lip, one in the nose?"

"Yes, plus a frenulum one"

"Ooh, nice...."

"So how long to heal with a spell?"

"I've done spells on bad cuts that do the initial healing in a day or so, then maybe a few days for it really heal up. So maybe a week at most? Luckily piercings are normally good and clean to start with, so should heal much faster."

"Thanks Samantha. Mum will probably hate me for doing it, but I think I'll be getting some piercings pretty soon, so expect a visit"


Wandering around, she met a small group of teens that she knew from school, none from her own year, but from the couple of years below - none had been at Serena's earlier 'talk'.

"Hey, Serena, I like the new look!" said Nadya (a girl in the year below) really about her hair, makeup and fake piercings.

Serena smiled at the compliment, and decided to have some fun. "Which bit do you mean?" she said, smiling again so they all got a good look at her braces.

"Oh, wow, so it's true, someone said something about you getting a braces upgrade..." said Nadya, clearly a bit surprised at how extreme her mouth metal was.

"Look guys, I need to tell you about my braces, but you have to promise not to tell anyone at school, ok? Just like any other wicker or magic stuff...". They all nodded.

"So, these braces contain a lot of magic. I've only had them... well, less than a week, so I'm still learning about them. You also probably heard that, unlike everyone else in the Coven, I need to learn some dark magic, and the braces will help protect me from that. I've actually got a lot more in my mouth than you probably realise....". She opened her lips wide & tall, letting everyone see the braces and bands covering her teeth, the lip bumpers and the herbsts. Then she opened her mouth, tilting her head backwards, then downwards, letting them see the expanders, and possibly the tongue rake. There were a few "oooh"s, and a few surprised looks.

"Dang, that's a nasty mouthful, Serena! How come you don't have a lisp? asked Nadya, suddenly feeling a huge amount of respect for Serena.

"That's one of the better things about having braces with magic, they sorted it out for me. However..." (Serena has a quick word with her braces), "... at thchool, I'll have a lisp like thith... otherwithe people would thtart athking quethtions. I should be able to manage ok, but I'd really apprethiate it if you didn't take the pith out of me at thchool!". That last comment made everyone giggle, but the important thing was that they now appreciated why she had them, hopefully wouldn't make nasty comments at school, and would probably help stop other 'normies' from doing so too.


Even with lunch finished, people were staying in the park, doing what Serena had asked them to do: mingle with, and talk to, people from the other covens.


Finally, almost everyone had gone. Serena lost count of the number of people who came up to her and thanked her for coordinating such a wonderful afternoon.

"Well, Serena, that was a pretty amazing afternoon, it was just great to see so many people from the three different covens talking to each other. How many more covens are there that you still need to find?" asked Sarah with a sarcastic grin.

"That's an interesting question. Hey, have you ever searched online? It reckoned that over 50,000 people described themselves as 'pagan', and about 2,000 as 'Wicca' back in the last census? And for some reason, Croydon has the highest density!"


Back at home, Serena needed to get ready for tomorrow, which would be another big day in Sarah's life: the first day of her last year at school.

Offline Sparky

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Re: Serena: a not so short story
« Reply #14 on: 08. July 2022, 20:26:07 PM »
Chapter 28: Back to School!


Serena stood at the bottom of the short set of steps, in front of the main school entrance, looking up at the school. She was feeling nervous. Actually, no, she was more than nervous. Not quite petrified.... so lets just call it 'pretty scared'. School can be the nastiest place at times, and even more so for someone who is at all 'out of the ordinary', which means pretty much everyone! You're too fat or too skinny. You have glasses. Have an actual disability. You're too tall, (or short). Maybe dressing a 'bit differently'. Or have braces. And triple so if those braces are rather extreme...

Serena currently fit the last 3 of those: she was 5ft 11ins tall, so one of the tallest students. With her new haircut, makeup and (non-)piercings, plus the clothes she was wearing, she was definitely dressed differently - albeit also quite smartly - from the younger kids (standard school uniform plus minimal makeup / jewellery for the lower school). And she most definitely had braces, with at least two or three times as much metal as anyone else in the school had.

The good news was that today was the first day of being in the top year of the school, so that did help a bit. But only a bit.

"Hi Serena! You ok there?". It was Nadya, one of the girls she was speaking to yesterday, and who knew about her mouthful of metal, and sort of understood.

"Not really" replied Serena. "I'm jutht trying to dethide whether the firtht nathty bratheth commentth will be in the firtht 5 minuteth, or the thecond 5 minuteth....". Nadya put her hand on Serena's shoulder, and said a few words very quietly. Serena felt a certain amount of calmness come over her.

She turned to Nadya. "Thankth for that Nadya"

"That's ok, least I can do for you. Come on, I'll go in with you!"

"Tho, firtht day in the thixth form - you're probably as thcared ath me!"

"No, I'm not scared at all, I've been looking forward to this day for ages!"

"Good on you, Nadya, that'th a great pothitive attitude. Letth find out which clatheth and clathroomth we're in".

She walked over to the noticeboards, and found the one that said 'Sixth Form' at the top, and found out that she was in U6a, in room 502, which was at the other end of the school. Serena was walking along the corridor to get to Room 502, when she saw the headmistress coming the other way.

"Good morning, Mrth Topdog!" she said

"Oh, hello Serena! Serena, do you have a moment?" said Mrs Topdog

"Of courthe". Serena followed her to her office.

"Take a seat, Serena, and don't worry, it's nothing bad". Rather than taking the seat behind her desk, Mrs Topdog sat in a seat adjacent to Serena.

"First of all, well done on your 'AS' exam results... but then again, I think we all expected to you get straight A's anyway!" Serena smiled, it felt very good to get such praise from the school's headmistress.

"Now, you probably don't know this, but I am aware that you, along with a few others in the school have certain, shall we say, 'abilities' that most of us don't have. You know, I've been here at the school for over 10 years, 5 as its headmistress, and I'm very happy to say that I've never been aware of any incidents arising from those 'abilities', so well done to you all on that!"

"I'm also quite aware that Ms Davis has similar abilities, and has been working with you outside school. With that in mind, I want you to know that you were my first choice as 'Head Girl' for this year, but Ms Davies tells me that you are likely to be rather busy with 'other things' this year, and wouldn't really be able to do the role justice. The story as far as I'm concerned with is that I asked you, but you turned it down, if you're ok with that?"

Serena felt very honoured that she had been considered for the role, but at the same time very happy that Sarah had declined on her behalf. Yes, apart from her school work, she was probably going to be rather busy this year.

"Yeth, I'm very ok with that - I think it would have been very hard to give my all ath Head Girl thith year. Tho who are you making Head Girl then?"

"Cathy Benn has accepted the role: she doesn't know that she wasn't the first choice, you may feel it's better to keep it like that. For the same reason, I won't be asking you to be a prefect either - again, my story is that I also offered that to you, but you politely declined. No doubt you wanted to concentrate on your school work?" she suggested.

"Yeah, Cathy will make a great Head Girl, she'th a good choithe!"

"So following on from that, you're already aware that there's a lot of flexibility for sixth formers, but if you need any extra flexibilities for those 'external activities', then let Ms Davis know, and we'll do our best to accommodate you."

"Thank you!"

As Serena stood up, Mrs Topdog looked at her. "You know, before I became headmistress, even the 6th form had a pretty tight dress code, and the way you are today would certainly not have been allowed then. But looking at you, you actually look rather smart, in your own way. What I see is someone who wants to succeed, and isn't going to let anyone else mess with her. So, go out there, and have a really great year! Our expectations are, needless to say, quite high!".

Serena left Mrs Topdog's office feeling really good, and walked down the corridor with her head held high, and a big smile on her face. Head Girl, eh? She hadn't actually expected that: a prefect yes, but not actually Head Girl! As she walked towards room 502, she noticed a few heads turning, without doubt looking at the rather large amount of metal in her mouth, and her rather different appearance, but actually she didn't really care right now!