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Adette Price Undercover Witch Chapter 29: Tarn the Shopkeeper?

 

 

Bodies pushed and jostled against each other. Adette allowed herself to be lead through the crowd. Lana talked on and on about several things: the people in town, who would give the best price, and who to stay away from entirely. Adette tried to take it all in as best she could, but the whole idea of being lead around the village square by a girl who wanted nothing more than to be friends was making her feel a bit strange.

In school, she’d had friends, but they’d long since graduated and moved on to better things. More than once, Lana would look her way only to realize that Adette was only half paying attention. Something about the day was putting her into a strange sort of state that she couldn’t quite shake.

“Addy!” Lana stopped them both short. Her arm slithered free of Adette’s. Both hands were placed firmly on her hips, and the look she had on her face said that Adette had definitely done something wrong.

“I’m sorry Lana. This is all just so much to take in.” Lana’s angry face softened slightly.

“I keep forgetting how new you are. Alright, maybe we should take a break.”

“Miss Adette,” a gruff voice interjected. Lana turned and the surprise on her face was plain.

“Mr. Zinner, what a nice surprise.” Adette said with a smile. She reached out and shook the older man’s hand. He in turn did the same.

“I’ve something I owe you, miss.” One gnarled hand took hold of one of Adette’s smaller ones. He turned it over so that her hand was palm up and placed one silver coin into the center.

“I thought you might like it.”

“I’ve not felt so good in ages.” Ms. Zinner flexed his hands and watched them with wonder.

“I’d be more than happy to make another batch,” Adette said. “For a small fee of course.”

“Of course.”

“I’ll bring it round tomorrow. I’ll need to make a fresh batch. Would you like this one to be bigger than last time?”

“I would like that very much.” Mr. Zinner smiled the first genuine smile Adette had seen.

“Then I will certainly see you tomorrow.” Mr. Zinner tipped his black bowler hat and disappeared back into the crowd.

“What on earth did you do to Mr. Zinner?” Lana’s mouth and eyes were wide with shock. Adette shrugged and took Lana’s arm once again.

“I made him some tea is all. I think it might have helped his joints a bit.” Lana shook her head. She nearly tripped over the skirt of another woman before she’d stop staring at Adette.

“That must have been some tea. Mr. Zinner is the town grouch. I’ve never seen him so much as talk to anyone and especially never someone from out of town.”

“Sometimes I really wonder how much of a friend you are Lana. You keep accusing me of being some strange deviant all on account of my out of town status.” Lana slapped Adette lightly on the shoulder.

“You know I don’t mean it like that. I just mean that he’s notoriously mean to everyone. He especially doesn’t seem to like women, but you he’ll talk to. He even seemed to like you a little.” Adette shrugged. She wasn’t about to give up anything else. She had a secret to keep after all.

“What stalls should I be buying from?” Lana stared for a moment longer before taking the bait. Adette nearly sighed with relief but managed to hold the urge off.

“Well, what do you want to buy first?” Lana continued to walk. She was slowly sweeping from side to side. She nodded occasionally at the shop keepers she knew.

“I’d like to buy some herb and vegetable seeds. I need a few more things for my greenhouse. I’d also like some fresh vegetables for cooking, but the herbs should probably come first.” Lana nodded and began to steer them toward a stall whose owner she knew.

“This is the man to see about herbs and seeds. He’s even known to get some unusual ones in from time to time.” Adette nodded and stepped toward the stall. There was a good assortment of things, but nothing that she wasn’t familiar with. In the end, Adette felt a bit disappointed. She’d be able to get all of the things she needed, but there wouldn’t be much hope for the rarer essentials. She supposed she’d make do with what she’d found so far.

“I’ll take these and these,” she said as she set the items she’d chosen onto the counter.

“That will be one silver miss.” Adette’s head shot up. She knew that voice. The face that stared back was smirking knowingly. Adette extended her hand across the makeshift counter and dropped the one silver piece into the waiting hand of Tarn.

Adette Price: Undercover Witch Chapter 28: Addy?

It has obviously been an unforgivably long time since last I posted an Adette chapter. I suppose that’s what happens when you move back and lose touch with the people driving you to publish things on a regular basis. Thankfully I have amassed nearly twice as many chapters as I have posted in the time since I’ve stopped posting. As of today, I’ll be back on my bi-weekly schedule until Adette is well and done. If all goes to plan, Adette will be the first novel length thing I’ll have actually finished.

No links today. All of the rest of the chapters will simply be on my blog now. Without any further ado, Chapter 28.

 

Chapter 28: Addy?

 

People bustled across the square in familiar clumps. A few vendors called out in vain attempts to get people to come and look at their wares. Market day in Swynton was the weekly social event everyone looked forward to. People spruced up their nicest things and took to the square both to shop and to be seen.

Adette too had her own basket tucked in the crook of her arm. She had braved the market several times since moving outside of Swynton, but today she felt on display. Her recent visits seemed to have taken some of the stigma away from her presence which meant that people felt more comfortable staring.

Finally the attention got the better of her. Adette took off across the well traveled grass towards the bustling bakery. She avoided the busy front step and went straight to the back of the building. Her fingers squeezed and loosened around the basket handle. Outside the back doorway, Adette swayed nervously back and forth on her feet. Lana had said to meet her here, but now she felt a bit creepy hanging around the back door to the bakery.

The back door burst open. Smells of bread and rolls rolled out of the back door in a humid wave. On its crest came Lana. She’d put on her best dress, but had missed a few splotches of flour on her face. Adette forgot her awkwardness completely and started to laugh. Lana stopped dead in front of the doorway.

“Where is it?” she demanded while she pulled the back door shut.

“Upper right cheek, just below the middle of your bottom lip, and your hairline just above your left temple,” Adette reported dutifully. Lana dug into a pocket hidden in the side of her skirt and produced a large, clean handkerchief. She began to rub vigorously at the various flour spots until she judged they had to be gone. Her hand lowered but the handkerchief didn’t disappear. Lana leveled a very meaningful look at Adette.

“You’ve gotten it all.” Lana nodded and thrust the handkerchief back into the pocket from which it had come.

“Good. I’m ready then. Have you bought anything yet?” Lana peered at Adette’s basket.

“No. I thought it would be best to wait for you. You’re more likely to know if people are being fair or not.” Lana smiled knowingly.

“That I am. You’ll not be cheated on your produce today, Adette.” The pair smirked and started back toward the square, which had grown busier still since Adette had come.

“Thank God. I suspect I’ve already lost some money,” Adette grumbled.

“That is how all small towns work you know. They have to have a bit of your money before they get to know you. Once they get to know you, they don’t feel right being anything less than fair. Let’s call it a newcomer’s tax. It’s good reason to stop being a mystery.”

“Well, then I suppose it’s a good thing I ran into you. Otherwise, I suspect I might have been taxed for a very long time.” Lana turned to look at Adette. She stopped and then burst into laughter.

“You might be right there, Adette. Hmm…” Lana paused staring at Adette. She stared long enough in silence that Adette began to grow nervous again. She’d just made up her mind to say something when Lana broke the silence again. “You know. Your name is a bit awkward to say. I think you need a nickname.”

Adette turned to stare forward. She wasn’t sure whether to feel complimented or insulted. No one, other than teachers or her few school friends, had bothered using her name, and they’d all been far too formal to think of using a nickname.

“How about Dette?” Adette turned and lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll take that as a no. Hmm…I know! I’m calling you Addy.”

“You really don’t need to…”

“Nope. I’ve already made up my mind,” Lana said with a smirk. “You’ll be Addy to me for as long as you’re my friend.”

“Well, thanks.” Adette hoped her hesitance didn’t show. She wasn’t one for nicknames.

Adette Price Undercover Witch Chapter 6: The Baker’s Daughter

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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.

“Oh no?”

“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.