I. The Peculiar Case of a Spell and the Troublesome Book of Anthropology
‘Lottitia!’ an ear-piercing shriek tore through the usually quiet little house. Lottitia knew she was in deep trouble, deeper than in a Dargul’s belly. Of course, if her mom heard her say that out loud, chances are it would make her more furious.
‘It’s Lotta, for Dargul’s sake mom!’ she yelled back, adding a simple vibration spell to enhance the sound of her voice. Lotta thought she could slow her mom down by shocking her with unladylike speech, while she was desperately trying to hide the cause of her trouble. ‘Patta, come on, help me out, before the siren comes’ she whispered to her pet foximunk. Unfortunately, she forgot her spell was still working.
As soon as Lotta realized her mistake, her mom materialized right in front of her.
‘Wait, I can explain…’ Lotta said with a rather weak voice, devoid of any magic. Cassia Brundelbold would have none of it. She silenced her daughter with one deadly stare and then proceeded to assess the bedroom.
Piles of clothing, books, and craft projects could be seen scattered artfully all over the room, creating a miniature maze that even a powerful cleansing spell would have a hard time dealing with. Cassia cringed at the sight of the foximunk staring down at her from the hammock hanging above her head. She hated that little creature.
‘Where is it, Lottitia? I heard everything from Mrs. Splint. There is no use in hiding it, you little runt.’ her mom bellowed. Lotta knew the intricate lie she just came up with, will now be completely useless. She hated Mrs. Splint for that. With a sigh of defeat, she handed over an old piece of parchment to her mom.
‘I was just trying to protect my friend. They were going to use it on Sha!’ said Lotta. She knew telling the truth will make matters worse, but she had to do something. Cassia could see the fierceness in her daughter’s eyes. ‘Curse the Muddy Forest, how did I end up with such a child? Eleven years old and she is worse than a bloody goblin!’ she thought.
‘You were getting ideas from that book your grandfather gave you, weren’t you? Sha is a foreigner with a demon’s green skin. He is below us and that spell was going to help him! Don’t you want your friend to look like us? Be a normal human? You are shaming our family with such behavior!’ Cassia yelled. She looked at her daughter and was surprised to see her completely calm.
‘Yes mom, I did get ideas from that book. It’s called “Anthropology: Froggul’s Perspective”. Did you know that although Sha’s skin is green, there is no other biological difference from us? Did you know that his people were the first to learn the Healing Arts? Did you know, Sha once saved a newborn baby with his powers? I would say he is more human than anyone I have met so far.’ Lotta paused to take a breath before she finished. ‘You can’t take away his skin color. It is his heritage as important to him as our own skin. Taking that away from Sha, will prove we’re closer to being monsters than humans.’
Silence filled the little bedroom, while Cassia was standing speechless, gaping at her daughter. ‘This has to stop right now. If I cannot educate her in our ways, I will have to send her there. They will be able to fix her for sure.’ she thought. She could not let Lottitia know now, or else she would escape again.
‘Fine. If that is what you think then I have nothing more to say’ Cassia disappeared in a puff, leaving only magical dust behind. Lotta was beyond confused. She looked up to her hammock, where Patta was sitting.
‘What was that about? There is no way she’s going to let me off so easily. Did you happen to read her thoughts before she left?’ it was an ability that proved to be invaluable at times and that she kept secret from everyone, including Sha.
‘She wants to send you to the Corrective Residential Academy for Young Ladies. Probably in the next two days.’ replied Patta in its squeaky voice. Lotta’s eyes widened and a shiver went through her body.
‘Time to pack up. We’re going to stop at Babi’s first.’ she said quickly. Then she remembered the spell and cursed under her breath.
‘We will have to go get Sha first.’ Patta finished her thought out loud.
∼ end of part I