That’s right folks. It’s time for a new chapter. We finally find out who the mystery girl is. Unfortunately, she’s not very grateful for someone who’s just been saved.
Without any help from Karl, Adette steered and maneuvered the dazed girl back to her little cottage. She flounced through the trees, threatening to teeter over at every second. Finally, Adette managed to get her up the front steps and into one of the chairs. She was just pouring out some tea when the girl snapped back to.
She leapt to her feet and looked around frantically for a few moments. Adette paused and considered the girl carefully, watching as her frantic eyes caught sight of the pleasant surroundings and calmed slightly.
“You’re that new strange girl aren’t you?” the girl said accusingly.
“My name is Adette,” Adette responded. She set the tea kettle on the table and resisted the urge to grind her teeth together.
“What am I doing here?” Apparently she hadn’t decided yet if she was going to run away.
“I found you on my way home. You were collapsed beside the road. I brought you back here because I was worried you might be sick. Forgive me for wanting to make sure you were alright. I’ll drink the tea myself if that’s the case.” Adette sniffed and seated herself. The cup rattled as she turned it over and placed it on the little plate below. Her fingers grasped the dainty handle and turned the teapot towards herself. She got halfway through pouring a cup before the girl decided to sit down.
“I suppose one cup wouldn’t do any harm,” she said, eyeing Adette suspiciously. Apparently more rumors had gone around the village than Adette had first thought. “I do feel a bit tired. What kind of tea is it?”
“It’s chamomile of course. What kind were you thinking it would be?” Adette lifted her eyes. A small smile crept across her lips. Perhaps she’d have a bit of fun with the silly superstitious townspeople. She could see why all those old witches from long ago had had such a grand time. Of course, a lot of them had been killed for their fun. On second thought, it was probably best to tread lightly.
The girl cleared her throat awkwardly and took a sip of her own tea.
“So are you going to tell me your name, or is it some big secret?” Adette asked.
“It’s Lana. My father is the baker—oh no!” Lana shot to her feet again and began looking around the porch.
“My basket. I was supposed to be picking blackberries for a pie. Mrs. Beady was out so she couldn’t do it like usual. Did you see my basket when you picked me up?” Adette winced inwardly. That was always the trouble with lying. It had ways of coming back to haunt you.
“I’m afraid I didn’t,” Adette replied truthfully.
“If father doesn’t get those blackberries, I’m in for it. I’ve got to go back and get another basket. Sorry.” Lana picked up a cup, threw back the entire cup of tea, and was off like a shot down the lane. Adette sat with her own tea cup hovering inches from her mouth.
“Well, I suppose we’d better go find her basket before she comes back. Come on Karl, it’s time for a walk.”
“Hey, I’m not that much of a real dog,” he complained, but he was still standing and his stump of a tail was wagging frantically. Adette laughed but didn’t think it would be kind to point either thing out.
Together they stepped back into the forest to look for the basket where they’d found Lana. From its perch inside one of the many pine trees, a slick black crow watched their progress. Its beady eyes followed the two of them carefully. When it could no longer see them, it would hop a few branches over to get a better look. When it had seen what it needed to see, it leapt from the branch spreading its shiny black wings wide and flew into the bright blue sky.