Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the spell Cedric uses.
Cedric made his way through the attic, muttering to himself all the while. "Why would they ask me, the royal sorcerer, to look for astronomical paintings for Princess Amber's room? This is the sort of job suited for servants, especially Baileywick, but of course, all the servants are busy, Baileywick is assisting King Roland, and Princess Amber won't come up here because her gown may get dirty. Darling little Princess Sofia brought up the subject of having me do this, so here I am. Merlin's Mushrooms, the children have it easy." He stopped to look at himself in a mirror near the back of the attic. "Sometimes, I wish I was a child again. No worries, no responsibilities." He turned away from the mirror, missing the unusual sparkle that shone from the mirror's surface.
Knock, knock. Cedric roused himself from his bed, when his door opened, and he heard, "Good morning, Mr. Cedric. Did you find any paintings for Amber?"
Sofia stared at the other human occupant of the sorcerer's tower. He looked like Cedric, but he was about an inch taller than her. "Mr. Cedric, is that you?"
"Of course, it's me, but why is everything bigger? Merlin's mushrooms, this is strange." He looked down at himself. "I'm a child!"
"It's him. I come back from a night of hunting, and I find my human is a child. How this happened is a mystery," Wormwood cawed. Through her amulet, Sofia understood the raven though Cedric only heard cawing.
"Do be quiet, Wormy. You are starting to give me a headache."
"Don't be mean to Wormwood. Just because you're a child again doesn't mean you get to take your attitude out on your pet."
"I am not a pet," Wormwood sniffed. "I am a familiar. Cedric and I have a special bond."
Cedric was a little taken aback at Sofia's outburst. She had never given him any attitude before, but he supposed she was correct. He raised a hand toward his familiar, who flew down and landed on his human's hand. "I'm sorry, Wormy. By the way, Princess, Wormwood is my familiar. All sorcerers have a familiar of some sort. Wormwood actually found me, but enough about that. We need to figure out how this happened before someone else finds out." Cedric pulled out his wand and swished his wand, casting a spell which changed his night clothes into his everyday robes. He gave his wand a sharp flick, which shrunk the clothes to fit his child's body.
Unfortunately, Sofia had left the door to the tower open, and Baileywick had come up to inquire about Amber's paintings, unaware that Sofia did the same thing. He noticed Sofia standing in the doorway and addressed her before catching sight of Cedric (10). "Sofia, what are you - oh my." He cleaned his glasses and put them back on to still see a younger Cedric, complete with a raven on his hand. "What happened here?"
"So much for that plan," Sofia muttered to the child version of her mentor. She turned around to face the steward. "We don't know how this happened yet, Baileywick. We were starting to think about that when you came up." She turned back to Cedric. "What did you do yesterday before bed?"
"The last thing I did was look for Amber's paintings. I was in the attic for several hours with no luck."
"Well, that is unfortunate; however, breakfast is ready, and Sofia is required to attend."
"I'm not going anywhere without Mr. Cedric," Sofia said stubbornly. Cedric blushed slightly.
"Well, then, both of you come along."
Sofia grabbed the young sorcerer's hand and tugged him along. Wormwood took off, landing on his perch. He refused to be in the palace proper unless absolutely necessary.
As they walked behind Baileywick, Cedric asked Sofia, "How are you going to explain this to your parents?"
Sofia shrugged. "I don't have any answers. All we know is that it's not your fault."
After that question, they fell silent. Cedric thought about what happened. He remembered wishing to be a child again, but he didn't think there were any magical objects around that could have granted his wish. Maybe he would be allowed to remain a child, but he really liked being a royal sorcerer. Speaking of royals, he glanced quickly at Sofia. He had grown quite fond of the girl who was his apprentice. He knew when he was an adult, it would be inappropriate to engage in a relationship outside of master and apprentice for several years, if at all. Now that they were both children, maybe he could pursue the pretty princess. A light blush stained his cheeks at the thought.
Sofia thought about Mr. Cedric and what had happened to him. He still looked mostly the same, just shorter and with a button nose instead of a long one. He actually looked like he did when he was a child. Mrs. Winifred showed her a few childhood pictures of Mr. Cedric when she visited Mystic Meadows a few times. She was glad he still had the white bangs even as a child. It was one of her favorite things about the sorcerer. Sofia wanted to get closer to Mr. Cedric but didn't know if it was allowed.
The two children entered the dining hall, and Sofia practically pushed Cedric into the chair to the right of hers, which was empty and the furthest from the royal family. Once she took her seat next to her mom and across from James, Queen Miranda asked the question on everyone's mind. "Sofia, who's your friend, and when did he get here?"
"Indeed. I wasn't aware of any visitors," King Roland added.
"He's not a visitor. This is our royal sorcerer, Mr. Cedric. We don't know how this happened. He just woke up this morning like this," Sofia answered.
"Is that so?" Roland directed his question at the child version of his sorcerer.
"Y-yes, your majesty."
Sofia smiled. "Since today is Saturday, I can help Mr. Cedric find a counter curse."
Miranda watched the interaction between her daughter and the now child Cedric. She always thought they would make a good couple when Sofia became of age, but now that Cedric was only a year older than Sofia, she could fully endorse the children spending time together. Maybe even allowing Cedric to remain a child. "I'm sure spending time with Cedric would be wonderful, Sofia; however, Cedric, after breakfast, I would like a word with you."
"Of-of course, your majesty."
"You wanted to talk to me, my queen?" Cedric was slightly nervous; not as nervous as if he was talking to Roland, but still nervous.
Miranda smiled. "Relax, Cedric. I just wanted to tell you that I know about your feelings for Sofia, and when you were older, you wouldn't allow yourself to do anything. I also know that Sofia loves to be around you. You should enjoy your time as a child, and if you like, you can remain a child. I know Sofia would be ecstatic."
"But what about my obligation to the kingdom as royal sorcerer?"
"I think Sofia's happiness is more important than the kingdom's need of a royal sorcerer, but I can talk to Roland about allowing you to remain our royal sorcerer whether you are a child or an adult."
"You would do that for me?" Cedric asked, incredulously.
"Of course. You are very important to Sofia. Spend more time with her, and I am sure love will follow."
"Thank you, your majesty. Thank you very much."
Cedric left the hallway, heading for his tower. He met Sofia along the way. "What did mom want to talk to you about?"
Cedric debated whether he should tell her. He didn't want to lie to her. "Your mother suggested I stay a child. She said she would talk to the king about me remaining the royal sorcerer even though I might remain a child."
Sofia smiled brightly. "I would love having you stay closer to my age, Mr. Cedric."
"Could you drop the mister? I am a child, my dear."
"I'll try. It's a habit by now."
"My dear princess, what are titles between close friends who want to be closer?" Cedric slapped a hand over his mouth, color draining from his face in horror of what he just confessed.
Sofia giggled. "Oh, Mi-Cedric, you're silly. I would love to get closer. We could be boyfriend/girlfriend."
Cedric lowered his hand, and his color returned to his face. "I am glad you think so, Sofia."
"So, if we're not looking for a counter curse, what are we going to do?"
"We can still have our magic lessons if you would like." They had reached the top of the staircase. Cedric was just able to reach the hiding place of his spare key by standing on his tip toes, and he unlocked the door.
Sofia looked around at the laboratory and suggested, "First, we might want to reorganize your lab so we can reach everything."
"You have a point, Sofia." Cedric called out to his raven. "Wormwood!" It took no time at all for Wormwood to fly down and land on his master's shoulder. He looked pointedly at Cedric's size. "Don't look at me that way. As long as the king doesn't object, I have decided to stay this way. Now, I need your help. We need you to bring the items down from the higher shelves. Some of them will need to go back up to keep everyone safe, but I will need to decide what. Can I count on you?"
"Rolly, can I have a quick minute please?"
"Certainly, Miranda. What do you need?"
"I wanted to talk to you about Cedric."
Roland was a little surprised at the subject. "What about him?"
"How old was he when he became your royal sorcerer?"
"Hmm. That was a while ago. I guess he was eighteen. Fresh out of the academy. Why do you ask?"
"I was hoping he could stay on as our royal sorcerer no matter what his age."
"You want me to have a ten-year-old royal sorcerer?"
"Why not? He clearly has all his memories and abilities plus Sofia is positively beaming at this turn of events."
"Miranda, are you trying to set Sofia up with Cedric?"
"There wasn't much setting up to do. I gave Cedric my permission to get closer to our daughter provided he stays a child."
"Well, I guess I don't have a problem with that as long as he doesn't hurt her."
"I don't think we have to worry about that."
Knock, knock. "Come in."
Roland and Miranda walked into Cedric's lab, a little surprised at the disorganized state of it. Cedric turned around as he had been kneeling in front of his bookshelf as Sofia handed him a book, and he either shelved it or gave it to his raven with directions on where to put it.
"Goodness! What is going on?" Miranda asked.
"We are rearranging the lab, so Cedric and I can continue our magic lessons. That's okay, isn't it?" Sofia inquired.
"Absolutely!" Roland answered. "Besides, having a laboratory where things are within easy reach is a must when your royal sorcerer is ten-years-old."
"Thank you, your majesty."
Roland bent down to whisper into Cedric's ear. "You may date Sofia, but if you hurt her in any way, it will be painful for you. Understand?"
"Y-yes, your majesty. There's no way I could hurt her."
"Keep it that way." Roland straightened back up and returned to Miranda's side. "We must be on our way now."
The King and Queen of Enchancia left the tower and the two children inside.
"That was the first time in awhile that the King has come to my tower." Cedric returned to the reshelving of his books.
"What did dad say to you?"
"He said we could date and warned me not to hurt you."
Sofia handed him the last book. "I don't think that will happen."
He took a look at the book Sofia had handed him. It was the book that described the Amulet of Avalor. He decided not to shelve the book just yet. He brought the book over to his stand and opened it to the page about the amulet. "Sofia, could you come here for a minute?"
Cedric looked at her amulet for a minute before bringing his gaze up to her face. "I was wondering about your amulet. I know it cursed you once and Amber once as well, but has it granted you any special abilities? I won't tell anyone about your secrets if you're worried about it."
"Well, since we are dating, I shouldn't keep secrets, so okay. Yes, I have received a few blessings. The one that is my favorite is my ability to talk to animals and understand what they say."
"You can understand animals, like Wormy?"
"Yes. I can understand Wormwood. If both of you would like, I can translate what he says."
"That would be great."
"Cedric knows most of what I say due to our bond, but it would be nice to have him know what I'm saying."
"All right. Hmm. I wonder if there's a way to allow you to understand Wormwood without having me translate."
"There should be a spell somewhere in the red book on the fifth shelf. Wormy, if you could, bring me the last red book on the fifth shelf."
Princess and Sorcerer watched as the raven grabbed the correct book with his talons and drug the book off the shelf and carried it over to his master. Cedric grabbed the book and flipped through it with familiarity. He stopped a few pages past the middle of the book. "Here's one. Wormy." Cedric held his hand up again, and his raven landed on his hand. Cedric brought the raven closer to the book. "Should we do this spell?"
The raven looked over the indicated spell and nodded. It would be nice to have his human understand him.
Cedric pulled his wand out of his left sleeve and said in a clear, confidant voice, "Corvus Disputatio."
A golden glow surrounded the raven and his ten-year-old master. Once the glow subsided, Cedric asked, "Are you okay, Wormy?"
"Yes. That didn't hurt."
Cedric's face lit up when he heard his familiar's words. "It worked!"
"Congratulations, Cedric! I knew you would find a spell!" Sofia threw her arms around the young sorcerer and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
The kiss startled him. "Th-thank you, Sofia."
"You're welcome, Cedric. I'll see you tomorrow for our next lesson."
"Bye." Cedric was still out of it due to the kiss. Sofia left the tower, but not before looking over her shoulder at the sorcerer.
Wormwood rolled his eyes at his master's actions or rather his inaction. "Go after her. She clearly wants to spend more time with you but is afraid that she is bothering you."
Cedric looked at his familiar in surprise. "You're right, Wormy. I will be back later."
Wormwood watched as his young master hurried out of their tower. He decided to go for a flight instead of waiting for Cedric to come back.
Cedric slowed his pace down once he descended the stairs leading to/from his laboratory. It wouldn't do to have anyone see him in a hurry. He took his time walking to Sofia's room, which was his first guess as to where she ran off to. Unfortunately, he was waylaid by Baileywick.
"Ah, Cedric. The king had seen to ordering some smaller clothes for you, and they just arrived. Where would you like the servants to put them?"
Cedric was surprised on two fronts; one that the king ordered clothes for him, and two that Baileywick was asking for his opinion. "Just at the base of the stairs that lead to my laboratory."
"As you wish."
"If that's all, Baileywick, I have business with Princess Sofia to attend to."
Cedric continued on his way to Sofia's room. He reached her room without any other disruptions, only to pause at her doorway upon hearing her voice.
"I don't know what to do. He said he wanted to be closer, but I kissed him on the cheek, and he froze. Maybe he was startled, but maybe I was wrong, and he doesn't like me."
A new voice confused the sorcerer. "You say he may have been startled by your kiss. When I first met Eric, I thought he was startled by my voice, but he was mesmerized by it. Perhaps that's what happened with Cedric."
Cedric knocked on the door.
He shyly entered the room and stopped short upon seeing Sofia's visitor. "Princess Ariel?"
Ariel (with legs and wearing a sea foam green dress) was standing next to Sofia who was sitting at her window seat. "I'll leave you two to talk this out."
She disappeared without another word. Cedric stared at where one of the legendary princesses had been standing. "What just happened?"
"Um, would you believe she was already here when I got back?" Cedric raised an eyebrow at his girlfriend, who retracted her question. "All right. Another blessing from the amulet is that it brings other princesses to help, but it only does so when I'm in trouble. I don't know why it brought Ariel to me now."
Cedric walked over to Sofia and sat down next to her. He reached out hesitantly and briefly touched her amulet before bringing his hand up to brush her cheek with his fingertips. "Maybe your heart was in trouble, my dear, and I do apologize for that as it was my fault."
Cedric wrapped an arm around Sofia's shoulders before bringing her towards him in a hug. Sofia was surprised. Cedric never initiated a hug before. She returned the hug though. "See what happened?"
Sofia pulled back reluctantly. "What do you mean?"
"I hugged you, and you froze."
"Only because you never hugged me first before. Oh, that's why you froze. Because I never kissed you before."
"That's one thing I like about you. You are wonderful at putting things together."
"I like your white bangs."
"Really?" Cedric put a hand to one set of his bangs and ran his fingertips down the stripe.
"Yup. It's one of my favorite things." There was a knock on the door, which startled the pair. "Uh, come in."
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Princess. I just wanted to let Cedric know that the servants are done with his packages."
"Thank you, Baileywick."
Baileywick nodded and left.
"Apparently, the king took it upon himself to order some smaller clothes for me."
Sofia giggled. "It was probably my mother's idea. Can we go look at them?"
"Of course." Cedric stood up and held his hand out.
Sofia smiled, placed her hand in his, and was hauled to her feet. She stumbled slightly and ended up in Cedric's arms, which closed around her. She relaxed in his arms, enjoying being nearly the same size as her sorcerer. She laid her head against his shoulder, very content.
When Sofia stumbled, Cedric caught her out of instinct, his arms closing around her to show her she was safe. He felt her relax against him. When she laid her head on his shoulder, he was amazed at how well she fit against him. He lightly laid his head on top of her hair, being careful of her tiara. He closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling of holding his princess.
Amber was passing by her sister's room and noticed that her door was open. That was strange, so she peered into the room and was shocked to see Cedric hugging Sofia. Since when were those two dating? She stood in the doorway and cleared her throat. The pair looked up and separated upon seeing Amber standing there. "What is going on?"
"Cedric and I are dating with mom and dad's approval."
"Daddy gave you his permission to date the ex-royal sorcerer?"
"Actually, Princess Amber, I am still the royal sorcerer of Enchancia. Your mother and father decided to keep me despite my age."
"So, our royal sorcerer is ten-years-old and is dating my sister?"
"Yes, and we are going to look at the clothes dad ordered for him."
"Clothes? Do you mind if I come along? I am the best one to determine if clothes would look good on someone."
Sofia looked at Cedric, who shrugged his shoulders. Sofia answered, "Sure. I guess so."
"Oh, goody. Where are they?"
"Baileywick had the servants leave them at the base of the stairs leading to my laboratory."
The child sorcerer led the two princesses to the stairs leading to his lab. Cedric pointed his wand at the packages and levitated them up the stairs. He walked up the stairs while levitating the packages and the two princesses followed him. Curiously, he didn't open the door to his lab but a door to the right. Everyone entered the room.
The focal point of the room was a large window, which was closed; however, there was a bird perch and a telescope near the window. The bed in the room was facing the window. The long side of the bed was against the wall. Behind the bed was a decent sized closet. The walls of the room were dark blue in color. Cedric walked over to the window and opened it.
"What is this room? I have never noticed it." Amber looked around in interest.
"This was my room when my father was the royal sorcerer."
Sofia stared at the bird perch. "Did you have Wormwood back then?"
"Yes. He was a very young raven when he found me. He had just learned to fly, which is why he likes to ride on my shoulder or sit on my hand still to this day."
"Amazing. Did you two bond immediately?"
"Yes. When a sorcerer and a familiar meet for the first time, their bond happens immediately and on its own."
"Oh, so that's why you have that raven. I wondered why," Amber piped up.
Cedric tensed slightly. He forgot that Amber was with them. "Why don't we see what your father picked out for me?"
Amber rushed over to the bags and opened them up, and she sorted through the clothes with a speed that seemed frenzied to Cedric and Sofia.
"I want to see you in different clothes," Amber announced with a twinkle in her eyes.
Cedric looked unsure. He caught the strange twinkle in the older princess's eyes. He slowly undid his purple robe, removed it, and laid it on his bed. He untied his yellow bow tie and removed it and his vest as well.
"Change your shirt for this one," Amber handed him a cobalt blue long sleeved dress shirt. "Sofia and I will be outside."
Cedric watched as the two princesses left his room. He didn't know why he was listening to Amber. Maybe it was that weird look in her eyes that made him uneasy. He didn't want to see what she was capable of when defied. He swiftly unbuttoned his green shirt and slid it off, laying it on the bed as well. He picked up the blue shirt Amber had picked out and put it on, buttoning it all the way up, assuming she would pick out a tie to go with it.
Once he was done buttoning the shirt, he went to the door and called the princesses back in. Amber looked Cedric over with a critical eye, making the child sorcerer very uncomfortable. "Princess Amber, maybe you should go do something else. Surely this isn't very interesting."
"Oh, nonsense, Cedric! I'm having a great time! Now, for your tie, let's do a regular tie in silver." She pulled one out and expertly tied it into a Windsor knot. She then pulled out a new sorcerer's robe in black. "I'm not trying to make you completely uncomfortable, so I am just changing the colors you wear."
Sofia, noting how uncomfortable her boyfriend was, stepped in. "Amber, why don't you go set up a tea party and invite Hildegard and Clio over."
"Oh, Sofia, you're right. There's so much that I need to tell them!" Amber dashed out of the room and down the stairs.
Cedric sat down on the bed. "Thank you, Sofia. I had no idea your sister was crazy about clothes. Although, I will admit that she did pick out a nice combination of colors, but don't tell her I said that."
Sofia giggled. "I won't, but that's the least of your worries. Amber is about to tell the two most popular princesses about you, and you will have to make an appearance."
Cedric sighed. "If I must."
"Don't worry. I'll be with you."
"What do you mean your royal sorcerer is a child?" Hildegard inquired.
"That is exactly what I said. Somehow he has become a ten-year-old. He still has his memories and abilities, so Father decided to keep him as our royal sorcerer. However, Sofia is dating him now."
"Amber! Your sister is dating the sorcerer?! I thought she would go with Prince Hugo. Why would she choose someone below her station?" Hildegard questioned, slightly horrified.
"Hildy, did you forget that this is Sofia? She started out as a commoner, so Cedric is not beneath her. Besides, if you saw them together, they look perfect!" Amber was starry-eyed at the end part.
"Well, I'll be the judge of that!" Hildegard announced. "Where are they?"
"Right here," Sofia announced.
The trio of princesses turned and saw Cedric gently guiding Sofia to the gazebo. She was hanging on his arm like true royalty. Hildegard turned a critical eye upon the couple in front of her. Sofia looked the same as always but happier. The boy, on the other hand, was different. If Amber hadn't told her that this was Cedric, she wouldn't have recognized him. The princess of Friezenburg turned to her blonde friend. "You are right, Amber. They are quite the couple."
Sofia blushed. Cedric led Sofia to the table and pulled out the chair for her and pushed it in as she sat down. "I will meet you in my laboratory for your next lesson," he whispered.
"Thank you." Sofia watched her boyfriend leave as she prepare to be bombarded with questions and comments.
Cedric walked back up to the castle to wait for Sofia in his laboratory. As he climbed the stairs, James busted through the front doors in his riding clothes and started descending the stairs. He stopped when he saw the child sorcerer. "Hey, Cedric."
"Hello, Prince James."
"She's having a tea party with the visiting princesses Princess Amber invited over."
"Really? Then, there's time for us to spend time together. I've always wanted a brother, and this is as close as I will ever get. We can go to the stable and ride the flying horses or play in my treehouse or-"
"Prince James, are you really wanting to spend time with me?" Cedric asked incredulously.
"Absolutely, and just call me James. We are friends."
"All right. We can ride the horses."
James grabbed Cedric's hand and led him back into the castle. "You'll need riding clothes, so let's go to your room and see if you have some."
As soon as they entered the castle, Cedric led James to his room. The riding clothes were easy enough to locate. They consisted of black riding boots, grey pants, a green shirt, a black vest, and a black riding helmet. James waited outside as Cedric changed into the riding clothes. Once the clothing change was over, James grabbed Cedric's hand and pulled him towards the stables. They didn't notice as they passed King Roland and Queen Miranda. "Miranda, was that Cedric with James?"
"It certainly was. It looks like they were going flying."
James opened the sliding door, and he and Cedric entered the stables. Cedric looked at all the horses. "Which one should I ride?"
"Well, this is my horse, Echo." James motioned to his flying horse. "This one is Amber's, Saffron, and of course, Sofia's horse, Minimus."
"Are there any horses that don't belong to anyone?"
"Yes. This horse just came in earlier this week. No one has claimed him yet." James motioned to a dark brown horse with a white mane that had black streaks running through it.
Cedric walked up to the new horse, mesmerized. "He's perfect."
"What are you going to name him?"
Cedric thought for a moment. "Aster." At James's confused look, he explained, "It's one of the magical plants I use in some of my potions."
"Works for me. Let's go riding."
"Wow, Cedric! I've never seen anyone take their first trip on a flying horse without falling off even once. You seem to be a natural."
"Thank you, James. This is actually a lot of fun!"
"That's the spirit, Cedric, and it's something you can also do with Sofia."
"True. She is on the Royal Prep derby team, isn't she?"
"Yes and so am I."
"That's right. You practiced so much with Sofia that both of you made the team." Cedric looked down at the grounds. "I have to cut this short, James. I promised Sofia a magic lesson when she was finished with Princess Amber's friends."
Cedric steered Aster to the stable and led him to the stall. He closed the door and fed his horse a few carrots. He walked back to the castle and up the stairs to his room. He changed out of his riding clothes and was putting on his regular clothes when he felt extremely cold. He ignored the feeling and straightened up his room. He was about to leave for his lab, when he was overcome by a drop in temperature, and he collapsed onto the floor.
Roland was climbing the stairs leading to Cedric's lab to ask for his help planning a ball for Sofia's birthday. Once he reached the top of the stairs, a door on his right caught his attention. It was the door that led to Cedric's childhood bedroom. Normally, the door was closed, but it was open. Curious, the king entered the room and was immediately horrified at what he saw. Seemingly collapsed on the floor was his sorcerer. He rushed over and checked for a pulse. He was briefly relieved when he found one, but it was very weak. He picked up Cedric's body and was terrified at how cold his skin was. He also took note of the blue tinge of his lips. He quickly fled the room, carrying the body of his childhood friend
Roland was sitting on his throne with his head in his hands. He had just come from seeing the best royal physician they had. Apparently, Cedric was unconscious but still alive.
Miranda and Baileywick entered the throne room and were concerned at the king's posture. Miranda came over to her husband and placed a gentle hand on his back. He instantly looked up. Shocked at the miserable look in his eyes, Miranda asked, "Rolly, what happened?"
"I went to ask Cedric to help with Sofia's birthday ball, but instead I found him barely alive."
Roland looked at the castle steward. "Baileywick, I have a very important task for you and the other servants. This is everyone's top priority. I want the room across from Sofia's cleaned out, and all of Cedric's things moved from his childhood bedroom to that room. I want the room to look exactly like his room does now. I want him close to the other children. We almost lost him due to letting him be alone. I refuse to let that happen again."
"At once, your majesty." Baileywick left the throne room to have the orders carried out.
"He was my best friend when we were children. He and I grew up together in the castle. His father was my father's royal sorcerer. Even though I went to Royal Prep and he went to Hexly Hall, we were still close. He never used any spells against me even on Prank Day."
All of a sudden, Sofia rushed into the throne room. "Mom, dad. I saw the servants moving Cedric's things out of his room. What is going on? I'm also supposed to have a lesson with Cedric, but I can't find him anywhere. Where is he?"
"Sofia, I'm having the servants moving Cedric's things to the room across from yours. As for where he is, well, he is in the Hospital Wing in the castle."
"What's wrong with him?"
"I don't know. He was unconscious and very cold when I went to speak with him. He was very close to death, but fortunately, I found him in time. That's why I'm having his stuff moved. I don't want him too far away from the rest of you."
"C-cedric almost d-died?" Sofia sounded like she was close to tears. "Can I see him please?"
Miranda placed her hands on her daughter's shoulders. "Of course, Sofia. I'll take you there myself."
Sofia stared at her boyfriend's still body. There were several blankets lying on top of Cedric. He was still breathing, and his lips were no longer blue. "It just looks like he's just sleeping."
"In a way, he is. It's just a very deep sleep."
Sofia sat down next to the bed. "How long is he going to be unconscious?"
"I don't know, Sofia. We'll just take turns spending time with him, so when he does wake up, he won't be alone."
For the next week, Sofia, James, Amber, Miranda, Roland, and even Baileywick spent some time in the Hospital Wing in the young sorcerer's room.
Cedric opened his eyes. He slowly sat up and looked around. Where was he? The last thing he remembered he was in his room.
Just then, Roland entered the room. He smiled when he saw Cedric was awake. "Cedric, I am glad you are all right."
"Y-your majesty? What happened?"
Roland frowned. "I don't know. A week ago, I went to speak with you about helping with Sofia's birthday ball, and I found you unconscious on the floor of your room. You almost died, Cedric."
That surprised the ten-year-old. 'Almost died? Wait. What about my familiar?' "Your majesty, what happened to my raven?"
"Sofia's been taking care of him. Why don't I have her bring him here for you?"
"Thank you, your majesty." Roland left the room, and not ten minutes later, Sofia hurried into the Hospital Wing followed by Wormwood, who landed on Cedric's shoulder. He rubbed his head against his master's cheek. "I missed you, Wormy."
"I was concerned when I couldn't find you. No one except Sofia thought to inform me what happened."
Cedric looked at Sofia and held his arms open to her. The second she saw that she hugged him tightly. He wrapped his arms around her. "Thank you for watching over Wormwood for me."
"He told me about his special bond with you and that he needs to be near you every day, so I snuck him in here a few times a day or I left a window open when I went to school or derby practice. That way he could still be with you." She stepped back out of Cedric's hug and sat down on the bed next to his legs.
"When can I leave? I want to go back to my laboratory and my room."
"Dad actually had your room moved to the one across the hall from mine. I actually looked at it, and it looks exactly like your room just bigger."
"Why did he move my room?"
"Because he didn't want you away from the other children," a new voice spoke up from the doorway.
The two children and the raven looked over and saw Queen Miranda standing there. She walked over. "What the King didn't tell you is that your near-death experience disturbed him greatly. He thought that if he hadn't found you in time that you would have died and realized that your death would have a great impact on the entire family, not just Sofia. He doesn't want that to happen again, so he had the servants and Baileywick to recreate your room in the one across from Sofia's room and down the hall from the twins' rooms."
She sat down on Cedric's bed and actually gave him a hug, which startled him. He was used to Sofia's hugs, but to have the Queen hugging him was completely different. She released him and said, "The news of what happened has had an impact on everyone. Everyone has come by to see you at least once. Roland has been in at least once a day. Sofia has been in here almost more than her own room. Amber and James have come in a few times. Even Baileywick has been by to check on you."
"I didn't know everyone cared so much. When I was an adult, the only one who seemed to like me was Sofia."
"Hey, Sofia. Is he awake?" James's voice was heard from the doorway.
Miranda moved from Cedric's bedside, and the child sorcerer saw the young prince. "James!"
"Cedric! You're awake! Brilliant! Maybe we can all go flying soon!"
"As soon as he is released, I'm certain that he'll be glad to," Miranda said.
The royal physician entered the room and addressed Miranda. "My queen, the test results the king requested have arrived."
"Splendid. Please tell me what the results are."
"As you wish, your majesty. The only test that came back positive was the test for hypothermia."
"Hypothermia? Are you sure?" Cedric asked.
"Absolutely," the physician answered.
"May he be released?" Sofia asked.
"As long as he stays warm and away from open windows for the rest of today." The physician left them alone.
Cedric looked at Sofia and asked her, "Can you get me a change of clothes and the warmest robe I have please?"
"Of course. James, can you help me?" Sofia asked her brother.
"No problem." James followed Sofia to Cedric's room and picked out the aforementioned items.
When they returned, Queen Miranda was gone. They gave Cedric the clothes and waited outside in the hall in order to let Cedric get dressed. Once he was dressed, Cedric exited the Hospital Wing. As the three children walked down the hall, Sofia asked, "What is hypothermia?"
"It's a potentially life threatening condition where your body temperature gets dangerously low. The most important part of treatment is to keep the person warm and dry. That's why I asked for my warmest robe. I should find King Roland and make sure he knows what occurred."
"We can go with you," James offered while Sofia nodded.
The three of them walked towards the throne room, assuming the king was there. Sofia was in deep thought. James noticed Sofia's expression and asked, "What's on your mind, Sof?"
"Just something Cedric told me the morning we found him as a child." Sofia looked at Cedric. "You said you were in the attic looking for astronomical paintings, right?"
"Yes. I was near the very back of the attic. There was a large ornate mirror back there. I'm surprised Amber doesn't want it."
James and Sofia gasped. Sofia, having a hunch, asked, "Did you say anything while looking into that mirror?"
"As a matter of fact, I did. Why?"
"Did you wish to be a kid?"James asked.
"Yes. Would one of you tell me why that's important?"
Sofia sighed. "It's actually a magic mirror that grants wishes. We've had an earlier experience with the mirror. That's why it's in the back of the attic."
"So, this is reversible?" Cedric was surprised. "As long as no one stands in front of the mirror and wishes for me to be an adult, I should remain a child, right?"
"As far as we know," King Roland spoke up as he walked into the throne room where the kids were sitting.
Cedric stood up and bowed. "Your majesty. The physician released me after telling us what the test results were."
"Ah yes. Miranda already informed me what they were. I am glad I ordered that extra thick robe for you then. Please don't let yourself get that cold again. You are far too valuable to this castle and this family."
"Yes, your majesty. If you all will excuse me, I would like to see my new room," Cedric said as he bowed. He left the throne room.
Everyone watched him leave, Wormwood on his shoulder. Roland approached his youngest daughter and said, "He never said alone, Sofia."
The youngest princess smiled and left the throne room as well. Sofia approached Cedric's room, when she heard him seemingly arguing with Wormwood. She stepped closer to listen to what the argument was about.
"Why do we have to be in this part of the castle?"
"For everyone else's peace of mind. At least you have a window."
"As much as I tolerate the princess, why does she hang around so much?"
"We are dating. She is going to be around more often than she is now."
"Why would you want that? I understand your motive when she first moved in, but your interest in her amulet and its powers seems to have diminished."
"Actually, my interest hasn't diminished. I am just no longer interested in ruling the kingdom."
"What changed your mind?"
"I had spent an entire day with King Roland on a couple of occasions and saw the different problems people brought to his attention whether he could help or not. I have not the patience nor the diplomacy skills to run a kingdom. I have no need to swipe Sofia's amulet as I had attempted on multiple occasions."
"Come in." Cedric watched the door as it opened, and, to his surprise, Sofia entered with tears in her eyes and one hand covering her amulet. Cedric had a bad feeling that she had overheard his conversation with Wormwood. "Sofia, please let me explain."
"How could you plot to steal my amulet?"
"I was very bitter when we first met, and King Roland always belittled me. I thought I could do a much better job, and the power of your amulet was very alluring. However, it has been awhile since I did any planning to steal your amulet. I do not want it anymore as I have realized that being the royal sorcerer is what I really want to be, and if I did take your amulet, it would hurt you, and I couldn't bring myself to do that to you." Cedric gave a small smile. "Besides, it looks much better on you than it would on me."
Sofia lowered her hand, uncovering the amulet. She giggled at Cedric's last statement. She approached him, clearly wanting a hug. Cedric noticed this and opened his arms in an invitation. Sofia practically threw herself into his arms. Suddenly, her amulet slid off her neck and onto the floor with a small thud.
Sofia didn't know if Cedric was telling the truth about not wanting her amulet. There was only one way that she could think of to test Cedric's intentions. As she hugged Cedric, she swiftly undid the clasp of her amulet and let it fall to the floor, praying that she would get it back.
Cedric was surprised when the amulet fell off his girlfriend's neck. He quickly picked it off the floor as he saw Wormwood eying it. He stared at the purple jewel for a moment before leaning forward and refastening it around Sofia's neck. "Hopefully, that doesn't happen again."
"How do you know?"
"Because I'm the one who unfastened it. It was a test for you to make sure you truly didn't want my amulet anymore. I'm glad you passed."
"I understand the need for the test. You're devious at times, my dear. I am glad that I passed your test. In fact, I actually feel better now that you know what I attempted to do."
Sofia was silent for a moment. "If you don't mind talking about it, would you tell me which times you were after my amulet?"
Cedric was surprised that she wanted to talk about his failed swiping attempts. "If that's what you want." He clenched his fist and then opened it, showing the events at the beginning of her debut ball. "First was the dancing spell. You did nothing wrong. It was truthfully a sleeping spell, but I was in the wrong place at that time." The image changed again to show the show they put on for King Magnus when Sofia first became his apprentice. "The Invisibility potion was supposed to be used on me so I could swipe your amulet." The next image was of the stain glass window James broke. "I tried to summon your amulet in this case." The image changed again. "This time I saw the griffin with your amulet, and I chased him down to get it." The next image showed the time she was cursed. "This one was actually just me asking for your amulet under the impression of fixing your curse, which of course wouldn't have worked anyway." The image changed to show Amber in her butterfly costume. "I purposely gave Amber the crystals that would turn her part butterfly so she would get your amulet for me." Cedric cringed as the image changed to show her and James picking apples. "This last time I had actually succeeded in swiping your amulet. I made a fake amulet and, while Wormwood distracted you and James, I switched the fake one with yours. When you came to me to get your amulet fixed, I switched them back." Cedric clenched his hand again, dispelling the series of images. He looked away from Sofia's face and lowered his arm. "I am quite ashamed of all of those incidents, especially the last one."
Sofia watched as the images changed and listened to Cedric's explanations. When he looked away from her, she reached over and guided his face back over in her direction. She was shocked to see tears slowly running down Cedric's cheeks. "Cedric?"
"I am so sorry, Sofia. I shouldn't have even attempted to take, let alone actually succeed in taking, your amulet. Please forgive me!"
Sofia wrapped her arms around her sorcerer and guided his head to her shoulder and allowed him to cry on her shoulder. "It's all right, Cedric. I forgive you, because you learned your lesson and are not after my amulet anymore."
Cedric smiled as his princess said her kind words, his tears slowing and finally stopping in the process. He wrapped his arms around Sofia. "Thank you. You have no idea how much your forgiveness means to me."
"Why don't we go flying with James and Amber?"
"Princess Amber flies?"
"As a matter of fact, she does."
All four children met at the stables and got their horses out. Cedric and Sofia immediately mounted their horses and took off. James stayed on the ground with Amber for the moment. She was watching their sister and her boyfriend. "You were right, James. He is a natural."
"I told you. Now, let's get some flying done!" James mounted his horse and took off.
"Are you all right, Cedric?" Sofia asked.
"Yes. I cast warming charms on my riding clothes to make sure I stay warm enough."
"That's wonderful. By the way, did you know that my birthday is tomorrow?"
"I did, but you are going to have to wait to see what your gift is."
"Dad said that the celebration is going to last a week with different parties happening each day and ending in a ball. I know the first day is for the family, so I won't have to wait too long to see your gift. After that, it'll be a series of smaller parties with whichever royalty can make it. The ball at the end of the week is going to be fun."
"I bet it will."
"Will you come with me? Dad says he wants to announce my entrance. I won't be as nervous if you're there with me."
Cedric smiled. "Of course, Sofia. You know I can't tell you no."
Sofia pulled Minimus into a loop-de-loop in joy. "Yay!" She giggled. "Can we work on magic now? I've apparently tired out Minimus."
Knowing what she meant, Cedric agreed. "Let's practice in your room for a change, okay?"
"Sure." The two children put their horses away and walked to Sofia's room to work on wand movements.
%%% TWO HOURS LATER
Miranda knocked on Sofia's door and entered when she heard her daughter say "Come in."
She wasn't surprised to see Cedric there with her but was surprised to see they were working on her wand movements. "Sorry for the interruption, you two, but Sofia has two visitors."
"It's quite all right, Queen Miranda. Sofia could probably use a break."
"Is it Ruby and Jade?" Sofia squealed when her mom nodded. "I'll meet them in the gazebo."
Miranda nodded. "I'll have the servants bring tea and cookies."
The queen left. Sofia stashed her wand in her desk drawer. Cedric noticed that and made a mental note to make sure she received a wand box from him for her birthday, which was coming up in a couple of days. He decided to make a wand box while Sofia visited with her friends from the village. "Go visit with your friends. I have an important project in my lab that I must finish." He saw her face fall slightly. "If I finish early, I will join you."
Sofia smiled and hugged her boyfriend before she left her room. Cedric rushed to his laboratory to start construction on the wand box for his apprentice. He remembered the one she made him for his family wand a couple of Wassailias ago. It was well made, and he wanted to return the favor.
"I will use ash wood for the box to provide protection for the princess. I will mix other plants in with the paint to provide additional protections. I need aspen, chili pepper, juniper, lily, and lavender. I also need a little bamboo for the interior of the box. I have some purple fabric to protect her wand as well." Cedric collected all the ingredients as he listed them. He also pulled out a special set of paints. He used his magic to hold the walls of the box together. For the lid, he used two little pieces of metal to form the hinges. He mixed the aspen leaves in with the green paint, the chili pepper powder in with the red, the juniper in with the blue, the lily in with the white, and the lavender in with the purple. He used these paint colors to decorate the outside of the box. Inside the box, he lined the bottom with pieces of bamboo and lined the entire interior with the purple fabric, leaving an indentation for her wand. He used his magic to dry the paint to prevent smudges.
He cleaned up his lab before taking the box down to his room and hid it with the other present he had made for her; a charm bracelet with several charms already attached (a purple sorcerer's hat, a grey rabbit, a silver tiara, a purple horseshoe, a red feather, and a blue feather).
He changed his clothes in case there was any plant residue or paint on his clothes. He decided to wear black pants and his green long sleeve shirt without a tie. He donned his usual sorcerer's robe before heading out to the gazebo to see if Sofia was still with her friends. As luck would have it, Sofia was still there with her two village friends.
As he approached, her two friends noticed and the one wearing blue asked dreamily, "Who's that?"
Sofia looked up and smiled. "Cedric! I'm so glad you got done in time to join us."
When he entered the gazebo, Sofia stood up and gave him a hug. "I told you I would join you if I got done early."
The other girl (who was wearing orange and red) asked, "Sofia, do you have something to tell us?"
"Oh, right." Sofia and Cedric sat down. "This is Cedric, our royal sorcerer, my mentor, and my boyfriend."
"I didn't know the royal sorcerer was a kid," the girl in the blue dress said.
"Jade, don't be silly. He was an adult until about two weeks ago. Now, he's ten-years-old, and it's permanent. No magic spell can undo this change."
Baileywick approached the quartet. "Pardon me, Princess, but it is time for dinner."
"May my friends stay for dinner?"
"I'll make sure the servants set two more settings and have messages sent to their mothers so they won't worry."
"Thank you, Baileywick!"
Baileywick bowed and left.
"We get to have dinner with the royal family?!" Ruby exclaimed. She and Jade squealed in excitement. All four children entered the castle.
After dinner, Sofia had a flying coach take her friends home, saying that she'd see them soon. Cedric escorted her to her room. "Seeing as tomorrow starts your birthday week, you must get as much rest as you can. I will see you in the morning. Good night, Sofia."
"Good night, Cedric."
After breakfast which consisted of Sofia's favorite dishes, the royal family gathered in the dining hall to present their presents to Sofia. Cedric was there as well with the two boxes he put her presents in.
She received jewelry from Amber and saddle polish and a fancier riding helmet from James. She received a brand new gold pocket watch from Baileywick. The king and queen presented the princess with new dresses (none pink, Cedric noted) and a couple new tiaras. The queen also gave Sofia a handmade stack of papers, which turned out to be certificates guaranteeing certain things for the princess (such as a picnic with just the queen, a sleep over during the school week, dessert for dinner,etc). Then, it was Cedric's turn.
"These are from me," Cedric handed two presents to the princess.
She opened the smaller box first, revealing the charm bracelet which she immediately put on. She opened the larger present and gasped. She opened the lid to confirm her suspicions. "A wand box? Thank you, Cedric."
"I noticed you didn't have a proper place for your wand, which won't do for my apprentice. There are special enchantments on and in the box to provide protection for the box, your wand, and yourself."
"I used ash wood to make the box, which provides protection and good health. Inside the box are pieces of bamboo which are good for hex breaking. Mixed in with the paints are different flora. I used aspen leaves for eloquence and anti-theft; chili pepper is also good for hex breaking; juniper is for protection, anti-theft, and good health; lily is good for protection and breaking love spells; and lavender is used for a lot of things, which include protection, purification, happiness, and peace."
"Wow, Cedric. You put a lot of thought into which enchantments Sofia could use," Roland said, after listening to Cedric's explanation.
"Y-yes, your majesty. She deserves the best."
"Amber, look at the charms Cedric put on the bracelet!" Sofia showed the charms to her older sister.
"Let's see. A purple sorcerer's hat, a grey rabbit, a silver tiara, a purple horseshoe, a red feather, and a blue feather. Hmm. Interesting choices."
"Yup. A purple sorcerer's hat because I'm his apprentice, a grey rabbit for Clover, a silver tiara because I'm a princess, a purple horseshoe for Minimus, a red feather for Robin, and a blue feather for Mia. Plus there's room for more charms.
" "Are you ready for the rest of the week?" Roland asked the birthday girl.
"I hope so."
"Oh, you'll love it, Sofia. You're going to have so many visitors in the coming week that you won't know what to do," Amber gushed.
"I could vanish a few if you get overwhelmed," Cedric muttered so softly that the only one who heard was Sofia, and she tried to hide her giggles at his attempt to make her happy.
"I'm sure I'll be okay, especially if my sorcerer is there beside me."
"Whatever her highness wishes," Cedric gave a little bow, which Sofia giggled at.
True to Amber's words, Sofia's party lasted for several days where several visitors from different kingdoms came to wish the young princess a happy birthday. Cedric was her constant companion during the festivities. It was during one of these visits that Cedric really wanted to hide away. King Magnus of Rudistan came by the day of the ball to wish the princess a happy birthday and accompanying the king was his royal sorcerer, Greylock the Grand. Cedric knew this would happen eventually, but that didn't make it any easier.
When King Magnus left to converse with King Roland, Greylock approached Sofia with a gift of his own. He handed her the little present, but his eyes were scanning the stairs behind her for any sign of Cedric. Both Sofia and Cedric (who was standing next to her) knew who he was looking for. "Mr. Greylock, you should know something. There was an incident involving C-Mr. Cedric."
Greylock's eyes locked on to Sofia. "Princess, please tell me what happened?"
"Why should she tell you anything, Greylock?" Cedric spoke up.
Greylock looked at the child next to Sofia, recognized his old schoolmate, and burst out laughing. "This is rich!"
"That's enough, Greylock."
Greylock couldn't stop laughing at Cedric's situation. Sofia put her hands on her hips. She had had enough of Greylock's laughter at Cedric's expense. "Mr. Greylock, stop laughing at Cedric! I thought you were friends, and friends don't laugh at each other."
Greylock did stop laughing, but Cedric corrected the princess. "We are not friends, Sofia."
"Please forgive me, Princess." Greylock removed his monocle and wiped the tears from his eyes before replacing it. "Of course we are friends, Cedric. That's why I volunteered to accompany King Magnus here for Princess Sofia's birthday."
Amber came by and grabbed Sofia's arm. "Come on, Sofia. You need to change for the ball." She started leading her away before looking over her shoulder and saying, "You need to change too, Cedric. I had servants pick out the clothes I think would go with Sofia's clothes."
Cedric gladly fled Greylock's side and made it to his room without anyone stopping him. He sighed and looked at the clothes which were laid out for him. It was a pair of black pants and a purple long sleeve shirt with a long grey jacket over that. He added a blue tie and belted the jacket closed before leaving his room. Cedric waited outside Sofia's room to accompany his princess to the ballroom as he agreed to. It only took a few additional minutes for Sofia to exit her room. The young sorcerer offered Sofia his arm and gently guided her to the stairs overlooking the ballroom.
Sofia and Cedric were waiting at the top of the stairs per King Roland's request. Apparently, the king wanted to announce Sofia's entrance along with another announcement. While they waited, Cedric pulled out his wand and whispered a spell that made rose petals fall from the ceiling and caused the petals to disappear once the petals touched the floor.
"That's beautiful, Cedric."
"Anything for you, princess."
"Ladies and gentlemen, please lift your glasses to the birthday girl, Princess Sofia, and her consort, Cedric."
Cedric led Sofia down the stairs to a thunderous applause. His mind was whirling. 'What did the king mean by calling me Sofia's consort?'
As Cedric led Sofia in a waltz, she asked, "What's a consort?"
"A consort is usually a term used for spouses of royalty. I don't know why your father would call me that. We aren't married. We're just dating."
Sofia giggled. "Maybe he is giving you his public support for the future."
They danced in silence for a little while before Sofia laid her head on Cedric's shoulder. "This was my best birthday. I got the best gift."
"What was that?"