Chapter 22: Getting Some Answers
Written by Whitney Emeigh
“What are you?” Adette settled herself into the chair in front of the bowl. Her hands rested on either side of it. The creature swam in loops and whirls on the surface of the water. Its dark body seemed to be occupying the smallest space possible, as if repelled by the pure water.
“I’m a whisperling,” it hissed. Adette hadn’t heard of such a creature before.
“What, they don’t mention us in your magical creature training courses? Typical.”
Adette glowered at the whisperling.“Do you have a name, whisperling?”
“Ha! Like I’d tell you something like that. I told Tarn and look where that got me.” The whisperling swam in little vehement circles, disturbing the surface of the water so that a little splashed onto the table.
“And who exactly is Tarn?” The water suddenly went still around the creature. A smile tugged at the corner of Adette’s lips.
“He’s the last person I’ll ever give my real name to. All you witches and wizards are alike. Do you think I like wiggling my way into and out of your strange, squishy human bodies? I’m smoke and air. I hate how the insides of you meaty things feel. Give me clean, cool air any day instead.” Water droplets splashed onto the table in a shower.
“I have absolutely no interest in controlling you. In fact, if I could trust that you wouldn’t get up to any more trouble, I’d let you go so long as you answered my questions.” Her last words dropped into a new little silence. Yellow eyes were considering her from the surface. From across the room, Karl had lifted his head from his paws. His two gigantic ears had swiveled. All of his attention seemed to be focused on Adette and the whisperling.
“She means it,” Karl finally said.
A wispy, black head slithered up from the surface of the water. The yellow eyes turned to focus on Karl. Adette wasn’t sure why Karl had chosen now to intervene, but she wasn’t getting in the way. She sat and watched as some silent conversation happened between the two of them. The whisperling’s long, thin tendril body turned, or maybe the eyes just slid around to the other side. She wasn’t sure, but somehow it was looking at her again.
“I still don’t trust you enough yet to tell you my name, but I’ll show you some things about Tarn if it will get you to release me.”
Adette nodded. The whisperling slithered back down into the water. The surfaced rippled and shimmered as the whisperling spread its body across the surface of the water. Black slowly faded into an array of dark colors.
Adette leaned over the bowl and tried to make out the swirling colors. The image settled into a small workroom. At the center was a thick wooden table. Shelves lined all of the available wall space. Bottles of all shapes and sizes crowded the shelves. Some were covered in dust and cobwebs. Others were clearly used very often. At the end of the room, a door flew open. Adette expected to hear the bang of the wood, but she could only see and not hear what was happening in the room.
The tall, wiry figure of the man she assumed was Tarn stalked around the room. Just from his body language, she could tell that he was unhappy about something. He hefted a thick leather bound book onto the table. It landed in a cloud of dust that reached toward the ceiling. One slender finger scratched along the page. He was searching for something. When he couldn’t find whatever it was, he threw the cover shut which threw more dust into the air. He whirled around and began searching through the numberless bottles on the shelf.
“Where is this, whisperling?” Adette asked softly. The image turned immediately back to the black color of the whisperling’s body as though Adette’s words had distracted it.
“I can show you, but I warn you that it’s best not go there until you know what you’ll do.”
“And it’s raining,” Karl said without raising his head.
“I suppose that means I don’t have to buy you dog food either, doesn’t it then?” Adette shot Karl a glance.
“I suppose it’s not so bad getting wet.”
Adette sighed and shook her head.