Too Easy

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Just before Drake tumbled from the sky and well before being inadvertently blasted out of the sky by Shrilynda, Rosaliy made her way through the halls of the crumbling palace turned pirate stronghold.

"This all seems too easy," Rosaliy mumbled as she and Jadelynn ladled healing potion into a little jar Jadelynn had stashed in a scarf tied around her waist. Sure, there had been plenty of menacing-looking pirates patrolling the halls, but they were no match for an invincible invisible bubble. All it had taken was to knock over a chair down the hallway from the conspicuously guarded treasure room to convince the guard to check a room around the corner. Then they closed the door on him and broke the lock. Jadelynn's extensive expertise with older brothers and mean pranks had come in handy. Rosaliy made a mental note to thank her brother for not being a psychopath.

"You'll make up for it getting to Flifary Island," Jadelynn chattered, taking back the full jar. "How do you expect to wrangle the Granpulpo? Queen Kat talked to us about it one time when we were studying magical creatures. She said it was huge and easily angered."

Rosaliy had no real answer. The second they stumbled across the information in their research, Cliff and Jadelynn were sure a giant octopus was the best way to travel. Supposedly, only a magical creature could travel to Flifary Island uninvited, but when that creature was a touchy, giant octopus, she wished she had time to dig for another plan, one involving a boat or magical stones. It was safe to assume Daniella would not have considered travel by giant octopus a legitimate option, so at least Rosaliy had the supposed power of unpredictability on her side.

They exited the door, and Rosaliy disentangled the chain of the intricate metal ball from her belt, cupping the twisted metal in her palm. Handling new objects required coming out of the protective bubble—an unfortunate drawback. When the benefit was being invisible and completely safe from everything outside the bubble, that one drawback was surmountable. The dome sprang up just in time for them to slide by one very angry pirate yelling to a few more to split up and search the castle.

"I doubt they'll be searching where we're going," Jadelynn giggled quietly. The urge to whisper unnecessarily was too hard to overcome.

They sped through the palace. Outside the ballroom, the pirates had let most of the palace fall into disrepair. They had tracked sand everywhere and redecorated with whale bones and mounted cutlasses.

"Does it ever make you sad?" Rosaliy asked as they walked past a wall-sized nautical map affixed to the wall with knives.

"You should hear Matias whine," Jadelynn giggled. "No, they can do what they want to the place."

"If things had gone differently, you could have lived here. I think, in your place, I might be inclined to resent the pirates."

"Hmm," Jadelynn hummed with a sideways grin, pointing at a jewel-encrusted chandelier being used to support one end of a rope hammock. "Not really. I see how much pressure Lillya is under. I mean, poor girl can't even go camping without somebody trying to kidnap her. My mom still doesn't get to make choices for herself. I couldn't do it. I'd snap and run away, probably. Instead, I get to train to be a Sorceress. I feel like it was what I was meant to do, you know?"

Rosaliy did know. "Magic is in your blood. It is what you were meant to do." She told a new group of girls exactly that every year, and she meant it every time.

Another hallway's decor consisted of bottles hanging from the ceiling with ropes.

"Abuelo would be spinning in his grave if he could see this, though," Jadelynn whispered, like whispering would give away their position less than shouting at this moment.

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