Night again already. Audrey hugged the spell-book tightly to her as she shuffled unsteadily to the pond to meet Nadine and Horera. She hated Andromalus and the spell-book he’d given her. If she’d just left it alone after he pushed it onto the floor in the second-hand book shop, she’d still be on Earth, in London. She’d be home right now with her mum and dad, and the worst thing she’d have to worry about would be GCSE examinations—not nightmarish monsters trying to kill her. Exams didn’t seem nearly so bad anymore.

Audrey should have known things were going too well. Of course Elise wouldn’t have just let them keep the Scroll of Depths. If Elaria was right that Elise needed all three artifacts, well then the sorceress would just keep sending more and more horrific monsters until she finally had what she wanted. Audrey slumped down onto the bench by the pond with a sigh. At least Elise hadn’t appeared herself yet, but since Audrey still had the scroll that probably meant Elise, coming in person, was next.

“Is night again?” Horera crawled over to sit by Audrey’s feet.

Audrey nodded, “I, didn’t have a very good day. How are things with you?”

Horera shrugged, “Bad Priest join group. Likes Pretty Fairy, but Horera still no like Bad Priest.”

“The, Bad Priest, isn’t the one your dad was fighting, is he?”

“Arf,” Horera shook her head, “Bad Man worse Bad Priest. Bad Priest no scary. Just mean.”

Absently petting Horera’s head, Audrey looked out over the pond. It was amazing how easy it was to treat the dogling like a dog, even though her appearance was mostly human. Audrey felt a lot more comfortable with Horera than she tended to feel around people.

“Nadine’s pretty late tonight…”

Horera’s ears perked up, “Go look?”

Audrey stood up and tucked the spell-book under her arm with a nod. She and Horera then headed off past the playground to find Nadine’s tree-house. At least the night was clear, maybe things weren’t that bad. Still, Audrey had a heavy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Things were better with Horera, and her own situation wasn’t bad enough to have it be night again. Where was Nadine?

“Nadine?” Audrey peered up toward the darkened tree-house. “Are you there?”

A sniffle and then a cough drew Audrey and Horera’s attention to the shadowed figure on a branch just below the tree-house. The shadow appeared to wipe her eyes.

“Yeah!” Nadine’s voice came down, “Sorry, I’ll be right down!”

Stepping off the branch and out of the shadows, Nadine ran down the tree trunk. Jumping off at the last moment, Nadine did a flip in the air to land in front of Audrey and Horera—wobbling briefly before finding her balance.

“Nadine okay?” Horera cocked her head.

“Sure,” Nadine smiled, with a more unkempt and weary appearance than Audrey had ever seen from her. “What about you guys? If Audrey’s right then the fact that its night must mean something went wrong…”

Audrey shook her head, “We’re both okay.”

Which image do we want for the final color work?









One Response

  1. Elsie says:

    It’s too hard to choose which one…it depends what the reason for her sorrow was.

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