Chapter 7
Fun in the Coven

Vigau, Arielle, Bonaventure

Margot Leider was just an ordinary lycéenne, or at least that was how she liked to think of herself. Well, perhaps that was not in fact how she liked to think of herself, but it was about the only conclusion she could draw from a rather unremarkable seventeen years of existence. Part of her wanted to be someone special, but the evidence failed to give that desire much basis. All that might change today, however.
As soon as classes let out for the day, Margot and her friends excitedly made their way to the clubroom. Three of them had been friends from maternelle, two more since primaire, and the last one since collège. When they enrolled at the lycée, they all took up série ES and joined the drama club, which had been defunct for five years until they revived it. They were an inseparable team and today they hoped to deepen that bond even further.
Jeanine Watreau was the leader of the group. Apparently Jenny had always been bossy and anyone taken in by her just naturally fell into line. However much people may wax poetic about free will, the vast majority find it to be a rather inconvenient thing. Grumble as they may, most people are much happier doing what they are told rather that going to all the trouble of making decisions for themselves.
Once she closed the door to the clubroom, Jenny nodded to Bernadotte Ryczer, the brains of the group. Bernie dug around in her book bag and pulled out a little bundle wrapped in paper. She unwrapped the bundle to expose a cut crystal, clear as glass.
"Look at this," she said. "It's called a Witch's Crystal. It says if you have what it takes to be a witch, the crystal glows when you hold it. Look."
Bernie held the crystal in her bare hand and it glowed green, like a little green star was inside it. Jenny was the only one who was not gaping at the crystal, but Margot did not notice at the time because she was too preoccupied gaping.
The first one to stop gaping of the four of them was Netty Gamble, the 'runt of the litter' and the last one to join their circle of friends. She made a grab for the crystal.
"Let me try it!"
Bernie yanked the crystal away from Netty before she could snatch it out of her hand. Bernie almost never raised her voice, but Netty's attempt to grab the crystal upset her glasses, which in turn upset Bernie.
"Stop grabbing!" she snapped.
The uncharacteristic outburst got everyone's attention. Netty backed off and this gave Bernie the chance to straighten her glasses and settle back down.
In a cool voice that was more in keeping with the Bernie everyone knew, she said, "Everyone gets a turn. Jenny."
She handed the crystal off to Jenny, which was met with an immediate objection from Netty.
"No fair! I called it first!"
"It's what you get for being for being grabby, Netty," Jenny told her.
When Jenny held the crystal, it glowed red, the same sort of glow as when Bernie held it, only a different color and maybe a little dimmer.
"Ooh, look!" Angie Cabot exclaimed. "It's glowing!"
Stating the obvious apparently was worth rewarding because Jenny gave the crystal back to Bernie and said, "Pass it down to Angie."
"Hey!" Netty whined. "What about me?"
"You'll get your turn when you get it," Jenny said.
The crystal glowed an orangey sort of red when Angie touched it. She gasped when she first saw it glow and then started bouncing excitedly, saying, "It's glowing, it's glowing!"
"That's three of us," Jenny said. "Now Amelie."
Amelie Leene was a bit of an odd duck. To anybody outside their circle, she was a blank slate, with no real emotions or personality. When you got to know her, though, you found out that she was just really subtle. Her underreaction to the Witch Crystal glowing a pale blue belied the fact that she was about as excited as Angie, at least by Amelie standards.
"Looks like it's glowing for me too," she said. If you paid close attention, you could just barely catch one of the corners of her mouth turning up in the faintest hint of a smile.
Growing ever more impatient, Netty made a fresh grab for the crystal.
"Me next! Me next!"
Amelie defensively cupped her hand over the crystal and held it away from Netty's eagerly grasping hands.
"No. Margot's next."
Amelie handed the crystal over to Margot. She didn't know what to expect when she held it. Would it be hot? Would it be cold? It was neither, but she did feel a tingling in her hand when it started to glow pinkish-purple.
"It's glowing for her too," Amelie said.
Pouting, Netty mumbled, "Aw, it'll glow for anyone."
"Don't be a spoilsport, Netty," Jenny told her. "It's your turn."
As if she was afraid they were going to play keep-away with her, Netty snatched the crystal out of Margot's hand as she was about to give it her.
"See? It..."
"It's not glowing."
Amelie was right. The crystal clouded over milky white. As you might imagine, this did nothing to improve Netty's mood.
"Well, why isn't it glowing?" she demanded, as if any of them had an answer. "Margot, you broke it!"
"Let me see it," Bernie said, taking the crystal from Netty.
As soon as she touched it, the crystal went clear and started glowing green as it did when she first held it. She then handed it to Margot, saying, "You hold it, Margot."
Margot did and again it glowed purple for her.
"Pass it around," Jenny said.
Margot did and the results were the same the second time around as the first and Netty was no exception.
"It's not working for Netty," Amelie said.
"What the hell?" Netty whined.
Bernie adjusted her glasses and said, "It means you're the only one of us who can't be a witch."
"Why not?"
"'Cause the crystal said so," Jenny said.
"Aw, I don't wanna be left out!"
Jenny was looking more and more annoyed at Netty's whining and crossed her arms. Margot's dad called it 'the position of authority' and Jenny had a habit of doing it when she was laying down the law.
"It's not our fault you don't have the stuff for it," she said.
Netty looked like a kicked dog and was almost on the verge of tears.
"You're always being mean to me."
Even though Netty's whining and aggravated persecuted complex could get annoyed at times, Margot still felt bad for her. She tried to play peacemaker and said, "Surely there's something she can do."
"Maybe she can be our familiar," Amelie suggested.
"Aren't familiars magic too?" Angie asked.
"That leaves out Netty," Jenny said. Now that the tormenting had started, she seemed to be taking a little too much pleasure in it.
"Come on, you guys!"
Still trying to avert a falling out, Margo said, "We'll figure it out, right?"
She looked hopefully to Bernie, who glanced up to Jenny for confirmation before saying, "I'll do some research, but no promises."
"You see, Netty?"
Netty did not seem entirely satisfied with Margot's efforts, but apparently it was enough to mollify her for the time being. With that settled, Angie eagerly asked, "So what's next?"
Bernie did not usually smile, but she did so now as she pulled out a little book from her bag.
"Now we learn magic."