The crash from the front room made Alice wince. She set her tea cup down and hurried into the shop, hoping that it wasn’t another box of singing vases that had bit the dust. Maya was standing in front of the desk with her hands over her mouth. There were no shards of glass this time, but Gabrielle was sitting on the floor. His blonde hair was tousled and his eyes were wide with shock.
“What happened?” Alice tried to keep the amused look off of her face. Gabriel looked completely stunned and didn’t answer, and Maya was biting very hard on one of her knuckles now. Altair, who was sitting by the fire with his boots kicked up on the stone hearth, was clutching his stomach and laughing.
“She was trying to weave a spell…” he wheezed. “It didn’t…it didn’t…”
“It didn’t go well.” Azura folded her arms over the green sweater she was wearing. She reached up to adjust her spectacles, and Alice noticed there was a smudge of green on one of the lenses.
She looked around at the others severely. “Was there another accident before this one? Perhaps one involving the lucky charm potion?”
Maya winced. “We thought you hadn’t heard that one. You were up in your room.”
“I didn’t hear it,” Alice pointed at Azura’s glasses and tried to keep her serious face on. “It’s just that Azura’s glasses are looking very lucky today.”
Azura took her spectacles off and polished them with her sleeve. “Ah, yes. There’ll be two bottles of lucky charm potion off dear Maya’s pay check this week.”
Alice shrugged. “It’s all part of the learning process.”
Maya grinned. “I can make a floating spell now! Want to see?”
“No!” Gabriel hauled himself off the floor, waving his hands wildly. “No, no. That’s okay. We don’t need another demonstration.” His face was glowing bright red now.
Altair’s face was nearly as red as the elf’s, but it was because the thief was howling with laughter. He kept gasping out, “Do it again! This time float him to the other side of the room! Come on!”
“Alright, fine.” Maya settled herself on the edge of the desk. “Next time I’ll use an inanimate object.”
“And something that isn’t breakable.” Azura replaced the glasses on her nose.
They looked up as the bell over the door jangled, and Shakra came in, her arms filled with colorful packages. Her dark skin was damp from the heat, and her silver hair was caught up in a loose bun on the top of her head. “It’s smokin’ hot out there…”
“Mexico will do that.” Alice moved to take some of the packages, shifting through the labels on the tops. “Ooh, dancing coffee beans, silver Mayan charms, Mexican blankets. What do these do?”
“They fly, apparently.” Shakra narrowed her dark eyes at the package. “Though I wasn’t sure about the vendor that sold those to me. Shady guy, just wanted them gone.”
“We’ll test for curses.” Azura took the package from Alice. “Come on, Maya. Maybe you’ll learn about dealing with cursed objects now.”
Maya followed her into the backroom, voice high with nerves. “Who would curse a blanket? Why would anyone do that?”
Alice adjusted the sign on the half empty “international” display. She’d figured they might as well start collecting magical items from the towns they stopped in, just to keep the product they carried interesting and ever -changing. Of course, occasionally you ran into something with a nasty curse on it. Last week they had picked up a biting sock puppet in Florida, and she still had a little crescent shaped red mark on her ring finger from that one.
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"Who will we send after the little witch?" The room went silent as one of them stood up from her throne, pacing forward. Her skirts flowed over the marble floors as silently as a whisper. Every eye was drawn to her. "I will go after her and make he...