It’s that time again. Time for a new installment of Adette and Karl. I hope you guys enjoy this new chapter. Check it out here!
It’s that time again. Time for a new installment of Adette and Karl. I hope you guys enjoy this new chapter. Check it out here!
It’s a little later than usual, but the next Adette installment is here. Adette finally gets to stand face to face with her enemy. What’s going to happen? Is he really exactly what he seems? Things are definitely starting to heat up. Check it out here.
The picture is actually more awkward than the chapter. So, yeah…moving on.
Karl strained against the leather leash Adette had hastily acquired. It was his silent way of showing his disapproval of such a barbaric invention. Dogs should be allowed to roam free. He’d said it enough times that now that exact phrase kept rolling around in Adette’s head. She’d tried to explain her reasoning, but he simply wasn’t having it. Since he couldn’t talk in public, he settled for pulling her arm off in protest instead.
The basket on her arm threatened to slide down her arm which, of course, was Karl’s fault. Vegetables rolled around the bottom. Two long, green onions shifted. Their long ends flopped across the wicker. Adette had just managed to get everything right when Karl decided to tug again.
“I’m going to tie you to a tree and leave you there if you don’t knock it off,” she said through tightly clenched teeth. An awkward smile stayed plastered to her face as she tried to hide the fact that she was talking. Karl slowed begrudgingly, but they seemed to collect a few stares anyway as they made their way down the tiny main street.
At first, Adette hadn’t liked that she needed to get the basket back to Lana, but after a while she realized that it was a much needed in with some of the villagers. She couldn’t play the outsider forever. Based on her vague letter, she had no idea how long she might be living in the village. Lana was as good a person to start with as any. At least they were close in age.
Ahead, several roads split off from the corners of the square. The road on the right led to several of the larger family cottages. On the corner of the left road was her destination, the bakery. Even from across the square, Adette could smell bread and pastries baking. Behind the large windows, customers were buying things for lunch and dinner.
“I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face,” Adette said half to herself and half to Karl who, of course, couldn’t answer. She shifted the basket to her other arm as she reached the door to the bakery. Karl was already looking up at her, waiting for her to say the words.
“Karl,” Adette’s eyebrows rose in warning. “Sit. Stay.” He huffed but his fluffy dog butt reluctantly sank to the ground. “Good dog.” Adette scratched behind his ears for a few moments in apology before heading for the bakery door.
Adette stepped into the warm sunlit bakery shop room. Customers bustled about attempting to pretend as though they didn’t notice her standing there. They managed to do this for a few minutes before a few gave up and simply stared outright. Adette clutched the basket and stepped toward the counter.
“Is Lana in the back? I wanted to talk to her for just a moment, if that wouldn’t be a problem.” Adette stood awkwardly at the front counter for a full minute before the large man standing behind it finally reacted.
“Sure, let me go get her.”
From the way he spoke, Adette got the distinct feeling that the man felt she might explode at any second. A hush fell over the entire bakery. The patrons weren’t even bothering to hide the fact that they were watching her. Adette’s eyes floated to the ceiling. It was the only place where she wasn’t going to find a pair of staring eyes.
Lana came out first, looking confused. She stopped dead when she got a look at Adette and her father nearly ran into her.
“Oh,” she said and then saw the basket. “I’m taking a short break, Pa. You can hold up without me for five minutes, can’t you?”
The man’s jaw nearly landed on the floor. Lana didn’t wait for him to collect his brains. She grabbed hold of Adette’s arm and practically dragged her into the back of the shop. When they were clear of the majority of prying eyes, she pulled the curtain closed. Adette could hear Lana’s father gruffly ordering the remaining patrons to order something or find somewhere else to be.
“Are you mad?” Lana whispered angrily, “People already think I’m a flake. Why did you have to come barging in here like that?”
Adette held the basket full of onions out lamely.
“I only wanted to return your basket. I found it on one of my errands and didn’t want to be in trouble if it was missing.”
It is that time again for an addition to the world of Adette. In this chapter she has to save a girl from an obnoxious tree creature and so it without burning down the rest of the forest.
Spells. She knew hundreds of them. She’d been the best at memorizing them quickly, so why couldn’t she think of a single one? She needed fire. It needed to be contained. It wouldn’t do anyone a bit of good for her to burn down the entire forest. That girl, whoever she was, couldn’t see her use magic either.
A spell swelled in the back of her mind. Words came to her tongue. She tasted the magic rolling around in her mouth and smiled. One breath then two escaped from between her lips. Magic crackled beneath her skin. Her fingertips spread before her.
Karl shook himself free and darted away from the outstretched limbs of the creature. With surprising speed, he bounded beneath the trees.
Adette grinned and narrowed her eyes. Calm had returned to her finally. She felt the spell within her. It was tightly wound and pressing outwards like an expanding gas. Her eyes narrowed as she began to focus. Before she could release what was boiling inside of her, she needed to make sure it didn’t fly out of control.
Breathe in. Focus on one place. Breathe out. The world began to go fuzzy around the edges until she could only see the two protruding eye knots at the center of her vision. Slowly she drew air into her lungs until she felt like she was bursting with air and magic.
In a whoosh, she released both her breath and the magic boiling inside of her. It fluttered across the air between her and the creature. The creature’s head lifted as if it could sense it coming. It began to move away but it was too late. Adette was completely focused on the task before her.
Flames burst into life. First one then the other eye became engulfed in a pop of fire. The creature reared and clawed at its face with its thin root fingers. Adette allowed the tightly controlled flames to flicker out onto the root tendrils. The flames raced along every available surface until the entire creature was a single burning pyre at the center of the forest.
Sweat beaded across Adette’s forehead. The flames weren’t content to consume just the creature. They wanted more. Adette fought them off even though it cost her greatly. As the creature was consumed, the flames disappeared until only a small pile of ash remained on the forest floor. With a final pop, the last flame flickered out of existence.
Adette wobbled on her feet but didn’t fall. Karl padded up beside her and plopped his fluffy butt onto the forest floor.
“Is she still out?” he asked turning his snout up to look at Adette. She’d completely forgotten about the girl.
“We’d better make sure she’s ok.” The girl still lay where she’d been dropped, but she seemed to be stirring a little. Adette was grateful that a pile of dust was all that remained of the creature. The girl was highly unlikely to notice it in her dazed state.
“Hey,” Adette queried the stirring girl, “Are you alright?” A big pair of blue eyes flew open and took in the sight of Adette and Karl.
“Get away!” the girl shrieked. She scurried backwards in a flurry of pine needles and leaves. Her limbs bent awkwardly, sending her back into the dirt.
“Wait!” Adette threw her hand out. Her legs did a funny twist under her. She stumbled and then caught herself but the distance between them grew. “Karl, do something.”
Karl lifted his behind from the forest floor and began to trot jauntily after the girl. His tongue lolled out of the side of his mouth in a genuinely cute way that forced Adette to smirk. He easily worked his way around the frantic girl. As she noticed him, she slowed. Karl trotted a bit past her and plopped his behind in the pine needles.
“Are you alright?” Adette inquired. Karl sat panting pleasantly. The girl slowly bent down and reached a tentative hand out toward Karl’s head. He put on his best doggy smile. The girl began scratching behind his ears.
“Yes I think so,” she said dreamily. Adette looked from her to Karl and back. She closed the distance between the two of them. Her fingertips tingled as she began to recall a memory spell she’d learned long ago. When she reached the girl, she laid her hand against the girl’s shoulder.
Instantly, the girl slumped backwards into Adette. Adette just managed to catch her. She stumbled but kept hold of the girl.
“Well now what do I do?”
That’s right folks. It’s time for the next installment of Adette and Karl. In order to save some poor hapless girl she gets accosted by shrubbery.
“Did you hear that?” Adette panted and pressed her hands to her aching head.
“No, but I think I might know where it’s happening. Come on. I guess the bacon has to wait until later.” Admitting this cost Karl greatly. Adette nodded. The throbbing in her head had abated slightly but she had no way of knowing if it would happen again or not.
Karl rose and trotted out the front door. Adette, still a bit wobbly because of her head, followed after him.
“How do you know where we need to go?” The headache was making Adette more than a little grumpy.
“I can smell the magic. Can’t you?” Sure enough, Karl’s nose was lowered to the ground and he was following a trail of some kind.
“Of course you can smell magic,” Adette muttered.
“What did you expect? I am a magical dog after all.”
“I guess smelling magic would be in your job description then.”
Karl’s nose led them off the main path into the old forest near Adette’s cottage. The trees grew further apart here than in other places. Slowly, the headache lifted and Adette began to suspect that getting closer to whoever screamed was what was making it go away. Beneath the thick canopy, the sun grew more distant and the shade grew cooler.
Karl padded through the soft layer of leaves and pine needles. Adette tried to be as soundless as he was but couldn’t quite manage it. Their path wound through the trees until it began to brighten. Ahead, a thick wall of low bushes crowded around the edge of the forest. Karl stopped and stared straight ahead. Silence hung like a blanket across the forest. Not even the animals moved or made a sound.
With eyes wide, Adette watched Karl’s slow progression. Her eyes darted to the other side of the bushes as a dark form moved. The branches jostled and shook with its motion. At first it looked human, then it looked strangely oblong and tall. Leaves rustled and branches creaked. The bushes themselves seemed to complain.
A head rose above the bushes. It was attached to a long green and brown body. Its outer covering was more bark than skin. From behind, Adette could tell that it was holding something. Slowly, it turned toward the forest where Adette and Karl were waiting.
Karl stared with single-minded doggy determination. His body was stiff and his lips were pulled back from his teeth. A low growl rumbled in his belly. Air whooshed from his lungs in a low woof.
The creature whirled around. A young girl hung limply across its branch-like arms. Her brown hair had fallen across her thin face, but Adette could still tell that she was unconscious. She couldn’t immediately tell where the creature’s eyes were. Then it blinked.
Barky eyelids slid down over two knots sticking out from its forehead. At the center, two shiny, hard clumps of brown sap followed Adette and Karl.
“Put the girl down,” Adette demanded. She smoothed the hairs that had escaped from her bun back from her face and stood taller and straighter. The creature narrowed its knotty eyes but didn’t move. The hair on the back of Karl’s neck stood straight up. He watched silently but didn’t move a muscle.
The creature crackled. Its joints rolled and popped in knobby shoulders. With a heavy thump, the girl landed in an unceremonious heap on the forest floor. Adette eyed her cautiously. She still seemed to be out cold.
The tree creature reared tall. A gaping mouth split its face with a loud crack. Inside was nothing but blackness. Other than the cracking and creaking of its joints and skin, it made no sound. Long legs crackled as they bent and straightened with growing speed.
“Uh, Karl, any ideas here?” Adette threw a glance toward the still unmoving dog. “Karl, a little help here.”
The creature was now bearing down on her. It flew through the bushes in a shower of torn leaves and bits of branches. Wiggling roots reached for the next patch of ground like separate living things.
“Fire!” Karl barked, “It’s not going to be reasoned with.”
“How do I use fire on just that? I can’t catch the whole forest on fire!”
“Think. You’re the magician.” Karl launched himself at the twisting roots of its feet. His teeth sank into the thick bark. The moving tree stopped and considered him. It lifted one long, branch leg and began to shake it violently in an attempt to dislodge the small, but determined, dog.
Adette watched on in horror and begged her sluggish brain to work.