Witch, 95

“I still believe that re-connecting the two clans so suddenly is a radical step.”

“And I still believe it is a necessary one.”

“I did not say it wasn’t necessary. Merely that it is radical. There will be friction.”

“There is friction now.”

“Clearly.”

“Must we go in further circles, Amaryllis?”

“No. You did not let me finish. I am willing to attempt your plan.”

The forest erupted in music as Amaryllis said that, and Ron was completely shocked. She’d been so completely against a full reintegration of the clans just yesterday, and now suddenly she’d agreed to it. Had going to see the thing in the cave really been that convincing for her?

Witch, 93

“They’ll be here any minute.”

“Yeah, I can hear them coming.”

“Yes, they’re quite loud, actually.”

“In all senses of the word, yes. Speaking of which, can we trust the centaurs not to clomp through the garden or should I go tell them not to step on Howie’s shoots?”

“I think we can trust Estelle to know better than to disrespect our garden.”

“I think so too,” Ron admitted, stroking the table to calm it down. Everyone was going to be getting here for the meeting soon. Their family was already here, standing by the house and waiting. Ron could hear the faeries approaching from the east and west, at the same speed and distance. They must be able to sense each other, and of course neither of them wanted to arrive first and be made to wait.

Witch, 90

“There’s definitely a lot of magic in this that I didn’t put there.”

“Ron’s magic.”

“Yes.”

“So it’s a wand?”

“My educated guess would be to say yes.”

“Why is it only a guess?”

“You know why.”

“Because metal wands don’t exist.”

Tana nodded, turning Ron’s sword over. “Exactly. Well, they do, obviously. The Yellow Clan uses them. But not in our clan. I’ve been sending letters to someone in the Yellow Clan; I’m looking forward to talking to Jezebel Threefinger in person next time there’s a coven meeting.”

Witch, 88

“You ready?”

“Yeah.”

“You sure?”

“It’s a little late for me not to be sure.”

“That doesn’t mean you are.”

“I am.”

“You sure?”

“I’ve never been more sure of anything,” Ron said, leaning against a tree while he waited. It was an old tree, tall and strong, and it was holding Ron with its song.

Witch, 86

“How do you feel about peeing yourself?”

“How do I feel about it?”

“That’s what I asked, yes. Would you like it?”

“No, obviously I wouldn’t like it.”

“Okay. Would you not like it in a bad way or a good way?”

“I…can I get back to you on that?”

“Of course,” James said, patting Ron’s buttcheek. “No rush, let me know what you decide. This would be pretty new, the only point of it being to embarrass you by putting me in charge of your bladder. I’m not interested in embarrassing you for making the mess itself.”

Witch, 74

“So.”

“So?”

“So it’s James’s power that makes these grow?”

“Yeah.”

“Does it make them grow in your other hair too?”

“Gross, Jay.”

“It’s a valid question!”

Ron shook his head, went back to weeding the garden. Tana and Jay were helping him. “It doesn’t.”

Witch, 73

“Ron?”

“Yeah?”

“I’d like you to come outside with me.”

“Okay.”

“Aren’t you going to ask why?”

“I assume you’ll tell me anyway.”

“I will.” James smiled. “There’s a ritual I need your help with.”

Witch, 72

“Ready?”

“I’ve been ready since we got here.”

“Me too, but let’s not tell them that.”

“I think they know.”

“Still, it’s rude.”

“And we wouldn’t want to be that.” James let out a sigh. “We’ll have to come back a few times, no doubt.”

“And have them over to our place.”

“They’re probably just as happy about that as we are.”