You guys gave me some tough words, and I managed to piece together more of Kitty's story using them. Hurrah! If you care to catch up, there are now three whole episode before this one. Wow, I can't believe we've done this four times already. Thanks for playing! You guys are awesome.
1.0 When To Forego Suspicions
1.1 A New Task
1.2 Into The Peacock's Den
1.3 Pack Your Bags
When Geoff stands in front of the TV, Madame lets out an childish whine. “Geoffrey! You’re in the way, dear! It is just getting good.”
I roll my eyes and press pause. “How’s that?”
“C’est magnifique! It is fascinating how you people mimic sorcery.” She sets down her bowl of ice cream and stands in all her svelte glory. Then she comes over just to pat me on the head. I hold back my cringe.
“Kitty informed me of your problem, Madame,” Geoff says. “As your apprentice and assistant, we feel it’s our duty to retrieve your powers.”
Madame puts a hand to her ample chest, feigning tears. “You are too kind. You know I cannot accompany you, yes? I am not without enemies, and they will surely kill me if I leave this protected house and vineyard. You must come back here if you ever find yourselves in great danger.”
It’s like she expected us to go find her powers. I sigh. Of course she expected it. She didn’t ask me to fetch Geoff so she could cuss him out—this is what she planned all along.
“We’ll be as careful as we can, Madame.” Geoff folds his arms and leans against a bookcase. “One guess—Arielle?”
Arielle Richard is not an unfamiliar name. She’s a powerful sorceress living in France, and her rivalry with Madame runs deeper and darker than I understand. Henry The Manservant? Yeah, that was once Arielle’s husband.
Oh, and she and Madame are sisters. Makes me glad I’m an only child.
Madame’s face crinkles into a prune. “She’s going to pay for this! That little narcissist actually said she was better than me. Me! She is not better; she tricked me. I could beat her in a fair battle anytime I wanted.”
“Of course you could, Madame.” Geoff smirks. “You are the finest sorceress alive. How did she trick you?”
Madame sinks back into the couch. “A simple binding spell. She must have found out I had my eye on this lovely panda bear from the Ming Dynasty. The moment I touched it, I was drained of all my abilities. She bottled them up right in front of me.”
Geoff and I exchange glances. He joked about a panda bear earlier. How did he know? It could be nothing. Madame has a thing for collecting rare animals, and panda bear is an obvious choice.
“How did you get back then?” I ask.
She frowns, as if saying it is physically painful. “She teleported me. She knew how much I’d despise relying on her powers.” She kicks the ice cream bowl, making a mess I’ll have to clean up later. “Ugh! I wish she’d have left me there.”
The idea of Madame helpless in Ming Dynasty China…I stifle a laugh. She can’t possibly mean that.
“What would you have us do?” Geoff asks.
“We need to trap her, which means we need a peek at what she’s up to.” Madame puts a finger to her lips as she thinks. “Visit Magda The Old Crone, convince her to help.”
The command wraps around my neck. “Where is she?”
“Last I heard, she retired somewhere in Hawaii. It won’t be easy to convince her to work again, but she is a fantastic seer,” Geoff says.
Hawaii? The land of hula and beaches and hot surfer guys? Here I was thinking we’d have to wade through a dank swamp, fighting off alligators and trying to survive various enchanted traps.
There’s just one problem. I kind of have a real life outside all this sorcery crap. I can’t just disappear without Mom calling the cops. “Madame, how long do you think it will take to convince her?”
She nods. “I see what you mean, Kitty. Geoff, take her home so she can explain to her parents that I must take her to Hawaii with me. We shouldn’t be gone more than a week.”
“As you wish, Madame.” He grabs me around the waist before I can react, and then a second later we’re in my room.
“Get off!” I push him back, stumbling over my numb legs. Teleportation has that effect.
He sits on my bed, cringes as he plucks one of my long hairs off the comforter. “I didn’t have a choice, you know. I wasn’t about to drive in your dingy car.”
I bristle. “Just stay there and practice pulling rabbits out of hats or something. I’ll be right back.”
He shakes his head, smirk firmly in place. “You know I’m not a fan of prestidigitation.”
I answer by slamming my door and heading down the stairs. I don’t think it’ll be too hard to convince my parents that Madame Beaumont needs to take me to Hawaii, though they might not be happy about me missing school.
I freeze when I hit the bottom of the staircase. Cal stands in the lobby, dirty from working in our vineyard. Dad took him on kind of as an apprentice. That’s how we met, actually. He was here so often we became friends, and then more than friends. I thought he might quit after we broke up, but here he is. Still.
His eyebrows rise when he turns. “Hey! I thought you were working.”
“Uh, I was. But…” I search for an excuse, praying that Geoff actually listens for once and stays put. “Madame sent me home to pack.”
“Yeah, she’s taking me to Hawaii with her.”
“She is? Really?”
I tilt my head. “What do you mean by that?”
He shrugs. “I don’t know. When it comes to you, she’s…”
“Well, she’s all about…” He winces.
I put my hands on my hips. “Will you just spit it out?”
I stare at him, trying not to smile and sure I’m failing. “Bless you.”
“It’s a word.”
I roll my eyes. “I know, Spelling Bee Finalist, I was just reminding you that normal people will think you’re insane if you say that on a regular basis.”
He laughs. “Fine, point taken. It means she treats you like you’re worthless, by the way.”
My smile fades. Does he think I don’t know that? It’s not like I can do anything about it. But before I can say anything, I hear footsteps coming down the stairs behind me. Cal’s eyes widen, so I know it’s not Mom or Dad. No, it has to be the one person Cal hates more than anyone.
Geoff stands next to me, looking between us like nothing’s wrong. “Are you ready to go, Kitty? We’re kind of on a tight schedule here.”