Chapter 2: Mission Acquired
Just the paper alone reeked of magic. Adette ignored the urge to wipe her fingers on her skirt. Instead, she unfolded the flaps of the otherwise perfectly smooth paper. Before she even saw what was inside, she knew who it was from.
Dear Trainee Witch or Wizard,
“Personal,” she said to no one in particular. “Maybe if I’m lucky, they’ll use my name someday.”
It is our pleasure to finally deliver your graduation task. We hope that your time in your new location has allowed you to settle in and adjust to the people and surroundings.
After a great deal of consideration, you were sent to this specific location. Your task is unique to the environment. No one task is the same. Hopefully you will find that its completion is fulfilling and rewarding. Good luck!
The Elder Council of United Witches and Wizards
Adette was so baffled by the complete lack of real information that she nearly missed the tiny post script written in a separate script at the bottom.
P.S. Adette, as yours is a special case, I’ve been allowed to give you an extra piece of information. Your town is in a difficult situation. For reasons we will not yet reveal, you are particularly suited to the task of ridding the town of its problems. Naturally, you must use your powers to do this. However, under no circumstances can you be seen using them by anyone who does not possess magical powers themselves. If you are seen, the consequences will be extremely severe. For your own sake, do not be seen.
Senior Elder Vidar
“What the hell does that mean?” she asked the trees around her. They didn’t answer her. The one just behind her considered it, but they hadn’t been properly introduced. Absently, she folded the paper back into quarters.
She thrust the note into her dress pocket, whirled around, and stormed back the way she’d come. The tall grass rustled and lashed at her skirt as she made her way through the field and back to the road. Her bag, now a soggy brown mess, sat waiting on the curb where she’d left it. Adette grumbled as she scooped the bag into her arms. She took special care to cradle the bottom.
Normally she’d enjoy the beautiful, old, arching trees, the bright sunlight, and the river that ran toward her cabin as she made her way home. Not today. The scenery passed by unnoticed. It was obscured by the unclear thoughts tumbling through her head.
Adette continued to work through small parts of the letter aloud as she stepped through the front door of her small cobblestone cottage. The bottom of the bag gave out just as she lowered it upon her small wooden counter. Eggs rattled ominously in the cartoon but none broke. Parts of the bread had gone slightly soggy. It had to be set somewhere to dry out a little. The bottle of milk crashed down onto the shelf in the refrigerator. Adette slammed the metal door shut and stared at the pile of produce still mocking her on the counter.
“I’m not dealing with you now.” She addressed the pile, narrowed her eyes, and dared the vegetables to talk back to her. Of course, they didn’t. They had been picked and were therefore already dead.
Adette fished a pitcher of lemonade out of the fridge and a glass from the cupboard. The liquid sloshed around the bottom of the glass as she poured. With both pitcher and cup in hand, she stomped out onto the porch. She settled into the chair and sighed. Beyond the porch, the grass rustled. Then it rustled again. Something was coming.
“Now what?” Adette’s glass clanked down onto the stone table top. Her heels clacked across the wood. Beyond the shrubs she saw a flash of brown and white. Whatever it was clacked its way up the stairs and a long furry nose poked its way around the post. A white stripe started at the tip of the nose and ran all the way up to the top of the dog’s head. Adette stopped as the rest of the dog followed the short snout.
Its face seemed to be about fifty percent ears, and even though there was no real color difference, it clearly had eyebrows. Tiny toe nails clacked on the wood of the porch. A few feet shy of Adette’s skirt, it stopped and lowered its bushy behind onto the wood. Ithad nothing more than a puffy stump for a tail. The dog cocked its head to the side and considered her quietly.
Adette started to speak then stopped. Her breath whooshed out in an exasperated huff.
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”
The dog didn’t seem all that bothered by her tone. He stared at her, twitching first one eyebrow then the other. Adette’s mouth thinned in annoyance with each passing second.
Slowly, the dog’s butt slid backwards and his front paws slid forward until he was lying with his front paws folded politely in front of him. One brown, doggy eyebrow stayed raised.
“Well, they said you were impatient and a bit slow on the uptake, but you seem nice enough and your yard is big. I think I’m going to like living here.”
“Living here?” Adette choked out, “Why do you think you’re going to live here?”
“I’m your familiar, Karl,” he said as he began bathing a front paw. “Didn’t they tell you?”