Bill squinted against the glare of the magelight that lit his path towards Billy's bedroom. His son's scream caught and died away when Bill pushed the door open.
Billy's face, red and puffy, indicated he'd cried for a while before becoming worked up enough to scream. Bill was the king's mage and his son should understand illusions. Not get worked up over things that went bump in the night. He tried to hide the annoyance he felt. It wouldn't calm the boy if he let it show.
Billy leaned over the side of the bed and pointed underneath. "Something's down there."
Bill sat on the edge of his son's bed and stroked his fingers through the child's hair. Waiting for the child to calm. He was going to be too awake after this to fall back to sleep. He'd already begun to think about the pyrotechnics the king had asked for tomorrow's battle.
Once Billy's shaking stopped, Bill took his hand. "Look, there isn't anything under the bed."
"No, I'm not getting off the bed."
"I'll be here. I'll be with you." Bill tugged at the boy's arm, but the boy dug his feet into the boards holding the side of the bed. He was getting too heavy to lift.
"Look." Bill took a deep breath, stopping himself from what he was going to say. "I'm sorry." He pointed under the bed. "It's not what is down here that matters. But what is in your mind."
Bill sighed. It was too early to teach the boy his heritage. Instead, he dipped his fingers into his bag of specially prepared powder and breathed on it, creating illusory bugs that scattered over the bed. Large bulbous things lit like jack-o'-lanterns with circles and triangles and other shapes swirling on their sides.
Billy's eyes grew wide and he crept towards one of the bugs. "What is it?"
"A bedbug. They eat monsters." He smiled at his son and ruffled the boy's hair. "Now go to sleep."