“There is water beneath me, and the air smells of salt and sunshine. What more could I wish for?” asked the dragon.
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” agreed Jenna.
Wolf Boy knew there wasn’t much he could do to help Jenna with the Locum Tenens, but he thought he could try out the skills he had learned when he had lived with the wolverines in the Forest. And so Wolf Boy sat down about ten feet in front of Spit Fyre and very deliberately fixed his gaze on the dragon, willing him to stay calm and quiet. Spit Fyre caught Wolf Boy’s glance and quickly looked away, but it was enough. The dragon knew he was being Watched. He shifted about uncomfortably, but he did not move away. Spit Fyre sat unusually still in the soft drizzle, hoping that soon his Imprintor would appear and put an end to the unnerving two-legged wolverine who would not stop staring at him.
Later, after they had cleared as much brown goo out of the cottage as they could, Aunt Zelda surveyed the damage, determined to look on the bright side. “It’s really not so bad,” she said. “The books are fine—well, at least they will be when they’ve all dried out and I can redo the potions. Most of them were coming up to their drink-by date anyway. And the really important ones are in the Safe. The Brownies didn’t eat all the chairs like last time, and they didn’t even poo on the table. So, all in all, it could have been worse. Much worse.
Sarah visited the boys every day, and although at first she was worried about them being out on their own in the Forest, she was impressed by the network of igloos they built and noticed that some of the younger Wendron Witches had taken to dropping by with small offerings of food and drink. Soon it became rare for Sarah to find her boys without at least two or three young witches helping them cook a meal or just sitting around the campfire laughing and telling jokes. It surprised Sarah just how much fending for themselves had changed the boys—they all suddenly seemed so grown up, even the youngest, Jo-Jo, who was still only thirteen. After a while Sarah began to feel a bit of an interloper in their camp, but she persisted in visiting them every day, partly to keep an eye on them and partly because she had developed quite a taste for roast squirrel.
DomDaniel had been an arrogant and unpleasant ExtraOrdinary Wizard, completely uninterested in the Castle and the people there who needed his help, pursuing only his desire for extreme power and eternal youth. Or rather, since DomDaniel had taken a while to work it out, eternal middle age.
Aunt Zelda’s suppers usually took people’s minds off their problems. She was a hospitable cook who liked to have as many people around her table as she could, and although her guests always enjoyed the conversation, the food could be more of a challenge. The most frequent description was “interesting,” as in, “That bread and cabbage bake was very…interesting, Zelda. I never would have thought of that myself,” or, “Well, I must say that strawberry jam is such an…interesting sauce for sliced eel.”
Maxie paid very little attention to Marcia. He didn’t bother to get out of her way or take any notice of what she said because, in his wolfhound way of looking at the world, Silas was Top Dog and Marcia was right at the bottom of the pile. Happily for Marcia, these finer points of Maxie’s inner life had passed her by…