We will be returning to a weekly posting schedule! New installments arrive every Friday.
Phin flipped rapidly through Dakotah’s inventory. It was handwritten on heavy paper but at least Ike had kept everything organized in big filing cabinets. Under “Candles, Fey” he took out a long list and scanned it.
“Here,” he said. “Dark blue tapers…Japanese charm…used against one’s enemies to burn their house to the ground.”
He and Pete stared at each other.
“They’re gone,” Val said. She’d run out back to tell Dakotah.
“Gone? Where? They’ve been practicing outside for days!”
“Must’ve taken the Lake,” Pete said.
Translation: No possible way to contact him. There wasn’t any cell service in the fey world.
Not that Phin would’ve called anyway. “Ok, we can figure this out.” He looked at the slip Dakotah had written out when he set aside the order. “Tou Chue.” No address; he’d paid with cash.
“Oh good,” Val said sarcastically. “Easy name, too.”
Phin imagined going one by one through every “Tou” in St. Paul. It would take forever.
“We could just wait for the fire,” Pete joked.
“How did you find me last time?”
“We put a charm on something of yours. We don’t have anything of Tou Chue’s.”
“Except his candles,” Val laughed.
“Can you two stop joking around before someone dies in a fire?” Phin yelled.
Pete put up her hands in self-defense.
“Ok, geez. There has to be another way to find someone. Check the inventory for something else. Val and I’ll check the shelves and see if anything pops out.”
She was getting good at seeing through glamours now, even when Dakotah wasn’t there. In fact, all of her magic was getting stronger, and she wanted to practice as much as possible.
Phin spent a few minutes searching the inventory and cursing his stupidity, Dakotah, Ike’s lack of computers, candles in general, and Dakotah. Finally, he found a spell that just might help them find Tou Chue.
He stepped out from the counter just as Val and Pete approached.
“What the hell?”
Valene wore a purple velvet cloak with a green clasp. It fell ridiculously over her small frame, trailing on the ground. She had paired it with a heavy gold crown. Pete had a sword at her waist and a shield of a gray dragon on a red background. They were giggling uproariously.
“We found some good stuff.”
“Well, we don’t want Tou Chue to recognize us when we go steal back the candles.”
“Who said steal? We just have to find him and give him his real candles.”
“Yeah, that’ll work,” Val said sarcastically. “‘Excuse us, sir. We found you with our magic and now we’d like to trade these candles for the identical ones in your bag, no reason.'”
She and Pete laughed again.
“And what’s your plan?” Phin answered with a lot more annoyance in his tone. “‘We’re some rando freaks stalking you, give us your candles or else.” He barely finished his sentence before cracking up. Ok, maybe he was taking things a little too seriously. “Look, whatever, we just have to do it fast.”
“Did you find him?”
“I found a mirror. We can scry for him and catch up to him.”
“Not ‘we,'” Pete said. She pointed to the counter. “You’re in charge of the shop.”
“We’ll close. I’m the idiot who handed out dangerous fey magic.”
Val put her fists on her hips and thrust out her chest in a comic superhero pose. “Never fear. Sir Pete and I can handle this.”
“You can stay here on your phone with the mirror and tell us where he’s going. Then we don’t have to tell Dakotah we had to close the shop. Plus, three of us following would be really obvious.”
Phin gave her outfit a pointed look.
“Yeah but wait for this!”
Pete closed her eyes, concentrated–and Phin watched her features change. Her nose lengthened, her Mexican skin darkened by three shades while her hair lightened. Val morphed next, her hair curling and shortening, her body growing taller.
“Holy shit,” Phin said appreciatively. “You can do glamour!”
“I’ve been practicing,” Pete explained. “Now let’s go get those candles.”
Caitlin and Dakotah landed in the middle of a wide sunny field. Dakotah shielded his eyes as they stepped out of the canoe. It was the first time he had experienced real brightness in the fey world. Normally, a smoky gray light covered everything.
“That’s just that area,” Caitlin explained when he mentioned it. “Anywhere the fey world overlaps with the human one is grayer. But it’s unique, too. There’s something special about where the worlds overlap, and how they’ve interacted accidentally. You just have to look.”
He’d have to think about that.
“Where are we going? What are we going to do?”
They were walking through the sunny field now. The grass grew up to his hips, mixed in with tall prairie flowers of all colors.
“You’re kinda high-strung, did you know that, Dakotah?”
He did not know that. No one had ever said anything like that to him before. His whole life he’d been told to get back on task, to do what the teacher asked.
“We’re not doing anything,” Caitlin said. “We’re appreciating all this place has to offer.”
My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!
When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.
What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer.
Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war.