Chapter 24: Foe or Peacock?
Written by Whitney Emeigh
Under different circumstances, Adette might have found Tarn attractive. At the moment, she was finding it hard to be anything other than annoyed. Tarn was dry and smirking. The chiseled features of his face were taut with amusement.
“Tarn, I presume?” Adette grunted just as a fat raindrop landed on her head.
“Well, since the cat is out of the bag, let me introduce myself properly.” Tarn made an overly flashy bow involving layers of cloth and robes fluttering through the air. Adette noted that there were several colors and that all of them seemed to be coordinated for effect. “My name, as you know, is Tarn. I am a sorcerer of the highest rank and experimenter extraordinaire.”
“Experimenting? Is that what you’re calling all of this? It mostly just looks like nonsense and mischief to me.” Adette started to shake water from her sleeve and then thought better of it. It was only going to get wet again. Tarn clucked and shook his head.
“Genius is rarely understood, and I’d hardly expect a beginner like you to comprehend the greatness of what I do.” Adette started to speak, but all that escaped was an incredulous puff of air.
“Genius?” she finally managed. Tarn lowered his arm and looked at her with the same condescending look.
“I don’t have time to explain myself to the likes of you. Stay out of my way, witch. If you continue to destroy my pets, I’ll be after you next.” He threw his arms into the air in a cloud of billowing fabric. One barked word escaped his lips and all of the pressure seemed to blow upwards and out of the pathway he’d created. Adette threw her hands over her head just in time to be pelted by leaves, pine needles, and more water.
Immediately the trees pressed themselves into the space where they belonged. When the whirlwind subsided, Adette carefully peeled her arms away from her head. Before, she had merely been wet. Now she was soaked entirely through.
“Karl!” she shouted. Beside her Karl was in the last stages of a thorough full body shake off. Inside the bottle, Thrass’s two yellow eyes were still watching intently. Adette flicked her hands trying to free them of excess water. She turned on her heel and left Karl to his shaking.
“We had a deal,” Thrass’s rasping voice whispered from inside the bottle.
Adette sighed. “Of course. I am a witch of my word.” Adette reached into her pocket and removed the bottle with eyes. “I have to think you’ll be happy to be free of a master who is so free with your true name.” Thrass’s eyes went wide with fear. Adette only nodded and pulled the stopper from the top of the bottle. The creature’s thin body wafted into the air above the glass lip until it was completely free of its container. When the bottle was empty, Adette put the stopper back into place and replaced the bottle in her pocket. Thrass hovered in front of her for a few moments. The eyes seemed to be searching for something they couldn’t find. When they’d finished looking, Thrass shot into the canopy of leaves and was gone.
“Come on Karl, I guess it’s time to go buy you some dog food even though I’m bound to look like a complete fool.”
“Break your umbrella,” Karl paused licking his paws long enough to say.
“Break your umbrella. Say you fell or something. Then people won’t think you’re an idiot. They’ll just think something happened. Maybe you fell and it snapped.” Karl went back to cleaning water from his paws.
“I’ve officially been out smarted by a dog twice in one day. This is turning out to be a wonderful day.”