Heroes of Lunde, Episode 8

WITCHES THREE, PART 2

“Where are the chitlins?” Quil shouted, pointing his finger accusingly at the witches. “I demand that your release them into our custody.” 

“The what?” Hermi asked, not sure she heard him correctly. 

“Chitlins! Where are the chitlins? What are you, deaf?” Quil shook his fist at them. 

The witches laughed with delight at Quil’s declaration. “You poor, poor little man! I think the word you’re looking for is children.” Ronnie let out a boisterous laugh. 

“I think you should sit this one out,” Jaco said to the wizard. “Everett and I will take care of this.” 

“I cannot stand by and let them laugh at us. It insults our honor as heroes!” Quil replied. Jaco tried to push Quil to the back, but the wizard would not be stopped. “Prepare to meet your doom!” 

Quil attempted to gather his powers to his hands so that he could blast the smiles off the witches’ faces, but he found it difficult to concentrate. Visions of sugar plums danced about in his mind, keeping him from accessing his powers. He tried to shake them out of his head, but the sugar plums were persistent in wanting to show him their dance moves. He had to admit they were quite good. “Get out of my head!” he mumbled. Maybe if he just said the name of the spell he wanted to use, he’d surpass the dancing fruit. He opened his mouth to utter the summoning words, but no sound came out. He cleared his throat and tried again. No sound. This frustrated him greatly. He opened his mouth to say some choice words about this new development, but the words would not leave his throat. 

“Cat got your tongue?” Harri asked cheerfully. Quil gave her a one fingered gesture. This made her heart swell with pride. “Let’s get them, sisters!” 

The sisters produced umbrellas and opened them. When the wind was just right, they all took a leap off the ledge. The air caught in their umbrellas and they slowly drifted down to the ground. When they arrived, the Heroes all took a step back.  

“Don’t be shy, Heroes,” Hermi said. “Come here and I’ll make it all better!” She blew a kiss at Andrada, who gave her a confused look in return. 

“Bite me,” Andrada uttered. 

“Don’t tempt me!” Hermi winked at her. 

The sisters pointed their open umbrellas at the Heroes and on the count of three, lightning bolts shot out of the tips. The Heroes scattered as the bolts hit the ground in front of them. The witches followed them as they moved about. The Heroes were under constant attack, always on the move. 

Andrada knew they had to go on the offense. She grabbed her new dagger and gripped it tightly. She wondered how close to them she could get before getting hit. She was willing to give it a try. She immediately broke formation and rushed toward Hermi. The lightning bolts came fast and furious, but Andrada was able to dodge them all until she was face to face with Hermi. She gleefully giggled as she ripped the umbrella to ribbons.  

“My umbrella!” Hermi cried out in sadness. She glared at Andrada with a tear in her eye. “I got this on sale at Placy’s! You will suffer!” Hermi produced a staff with a green crystal ball on top of it. She spun it above her head before she brought it down on Andrada’s head. The warrior princess buckled. 

Andrada did not plan on going down that easily. She sprang up and made a lunge at Hermi’s rotund stomach. Hermi deftly blocked with the staff. Andrada made another jab with the dagger. It was at this time that she experienced problems with her mobility. Her right arm moved jerkily as she tried to bring the dagger down upon Hermi’s head. She heard something crack as her arm froze in place. What was happening and why was it happening now? 

Hermi saw the opportunity to strike and brought her staff up into Andrada’s chin. The princess stumbled backward. Hermi did a dramatic spin and smacked Andrada right in the side of the face. “I hope you liked the taste of wood!” 

Andrada recovered and smirked. “That’s what he said.” She gripped her dagger tighter. The desire to pierce flesh was overwhelming. She moved as quickly as she could to reach Hermi before she could attack again. Her blade successfully connected with Hermi’s soft belly and cut a nice slice. “Ha!” she exclaimed.  

She withdrew her dagger expecting to see blood dripping from it, but instead she found a thick, green goo dripping from it. She scrunched her face in disgust as she tried to wipe the goop off her hand. A moment later, she realized she had another problem. She wanted to drop the dagger, but her hand wouldn’t obey her. In fact, she couldn’t even feel her hand. She looked at it and saw that beneath the goo was a layer of stone, and it was spreading up her wrist.  

Hermi touched her wound and it healed up. She saw the look of horror on Andrada’s face and giggled. “The girls I dated always said that I had a heart of stone. Soon, you will, too. We’ll be the perfect couple.” 

“What the hell?” Andrada backed away. “Look, I’m flattered, but as you asserted earlier, I enjoy the taste of wood!” 

“You won’t be tasting much of anything in a minute.” Hermi stood there and watched her spell do her dirty work.  

The stone quickly crept up Andrada’s arm and onto her shoulders. Her legs were doing the same, expanding quicker and quicker. She couldn’t move as she lost feeling in her extremities. “Help!” She cried out. And then a second later, she was completely transformed to stone.  

“Andy!” Jaco shouted, but it was too late.  

Harri and Ronnie squealed with delight. “Great job, Hermi!” they cheered. 

Reese saw that her friends were in trouble and wanted to do something about it, but she felt her energy leaving her. She reached out her hand to summon her earthen hammer and noticed the many wrinkles on it. She examined both of her hands and saw that they looked to be thousands of years old. The skin sagged, and the bones were more evident now. She touched her face and discover that the wrinkles were there also. She gasped and let out a soft cry. How could she have aged so quickly?  

“Oh honey, time has not been kind to you,” Ronnie said. She let out a laugh as she twirled her blonde hair. “You thought just because you’re an elf that your looks would last forever? I’m sorry, but that’s just not true!” 

“You did this…” Reese said. “You will pay for this!”  

She mustered as much energy as she could to summon her hammer. It materialized in her left hand. Instead of its usual lightness, it suddenly felt hard and heavy. She had a difficult time wielding it. She couldn’t even lift it. She moaned as her arm succumbed to the weight. She fell to the ground and her hammer disappeared. She looked up at Ronnie as she approached and stood over her. 

“You poor, unfortunate soul. Tsk tsk tsk.” Ronnie held her umbrella at Reese’s face. “You’ve lived a nice long life. You should be proud of yourself for making it this long. There’s no shame in dying old. You’ve accomplished a lot…” 

“Are you going to kill me before I die of natural causes?” Reese asked, irritated. 

“I was trying to say something nice, but I guess if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere…” Ronnie raised her umbrella and the sparks danced at the tip, illuminating Reese’s eyes. “Goodbye, honey.”  

Just as she was about to fire, she received a sharp pain in her shoulder. She spun around to see that the dwarf had shot her with an arrow. She growled at him as she ripped the arrow out. “I will get to you later, little one!” She was about to return her attention to Reese, but found that her feet had been kicked out from underneath her. She fell to the ground hard. She attempted to sit up, but old, and dry vines erupted from the ground and wrapped themselves around her body. “Fuck!” she screamed. The vines tightened with every movement she made. 

Everett rushed over to help Reese up off the ground. There was only so much he could do since he was so small, but Reese appreciated the gesture. She stood up feeling every ache in her body. She spat at Ronnie as she walked away. 

“Where do you think you’re going?” Ronnie shouted. She strained against the vines. With enough power, she was able to flex her muscles and rip through them. She screamed as she stood up. “You bitch! Don’t you fucking walk away from me!” 

Everett readied his crossbow and shot an arrow at Ronnie’s head. He was surprised as she reached up and grabbed the arrow just as it was about to hit her. She snapped it and tossed it aside. “I really wish people would quit doing that.” He quickly fired another one. This one was too fast to catch and hit her in the right shoulder. Ice immediately began to spread down her arm and up her neck. 

Ronnie screamed as the ice crawled up her chin. She spoke a word of ancient magic and her skin began to heat up and melted the ice. She sat up and pulled the arrow out of her shoulder. She stood up and screamed like a banshee. As she opened her mouth, a large bubble formed and floated over to Reese and Everett. While Everett was able to jump out of the way, Reese, in her old and wizen condition was not able to move as quickly and was captured by the bubble. It floated above the ground for a second before it popped and disappeared. Reese was nowhere to be found. 

Everett looked back and saw this. He shouted for Reese, but she wasn’t there to respond. He stood up and prepared another arrow. “Bring her back!” Ronnie walked past him like she didn’t see him. “Get back here!” He shot another arrow at her, but she deflected it from behind her back without looking. “I hate her.” 

Harri fought against Jaco and Quil. She was done using her umbrella as a lightning gun. She began launching various curses at them with rapid fire. Quil still tried to fight back using his spells, but without his voice, they fell flat. The best he could do was try to fight her with his fists. Whenever he attempted to get close, Harri evaded him, and smacked him with a fire curse, temporarily immobilizing him.  

Jaco watched Quil suffer as the fight continued. He wished Quil had the foresight to take some kind of self defense class so when something like this happened, he could still be useful. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could continue to watch Quil get his ass kicked. If he transformed, he would have to take off the necklaces. That would leave him vulnerable to Harri’s attacks. He thought about this as he watched Quil take another fire spell to the face. He decided that he would gladly sacrifice himself for Quil if it meant that Quil would be spared a terrible death. 

Everett wandered over to Jaco and tapped his lower back. “Reese is gone.” 

Jaco patted Everett on his head. He was more concentrated on Quil. He took off his necklaces and deposited them on Everett’s head. “Here, hold these.” 

Everett pulled the necklaces off and held them in his hands. His eyes widened with fear. “What are you doing?” 

“I’m going to save Quil!” Jaco said. He began to breathe heavily as his nose elongated into a wolf’s snout. He grew larger in height as his legs stretched and curved into canine paws. Hair sprouted from all over his body. His head was the last to catch up with the transformation. Soon, a seven foot, black werewolf wearing red spandex pants and bracelets on his arms and feet. His belt popped off and fell to the ground. Everett promptly picked it up. When the transformation was done, Jaco stood panting, waiting to rip into some witches. 

Harri was really laying into Quil, who was taking attack after attack. Jaco saw that he was in danger and jumped into the fray. Just as Harri as launched another spell, Jaco dove in front of Quil and took the hit himself. It burned the hairs on his chest. When he touched ground, he patted the embers off and rubbed the burn. He growled at the witch and brandished his large claws as he made a few swipes at her. 

“Bad dog,” Harri said. She unleashed a string of lightning at the werewolf. The wolf took it in stride as he shielded Quil behind his back. Quil took this as a cue to run, but instead of running away, he ran in circles. Jaco was distracted by this and didn’t see the fire spell coming at him. It smacked him in the side of his face, singing his whiskers. 

Jaco roared and charged at Harri. The witch raised her umbrella and issued a force wave at him, knocking him backward. He tumbled a couple of times before he stopped. He looked at Everett and barked for his support. The dwarf nodded and took aim. 

“You have no idea who you’re dealing with!” Harri uttered a spell and a string of light erupted from the ground, separating the Heroes from her and her sisters. “Come to the light, little puppy!” 

Jaco accepted the challenge and charged toward the light. He expected to pass through it, but it stopped him cold as if he hit a brick wall. He rubbed his nose and sniffed, whimpering softly.  

Everett didn’t bother to fire at it and settled his crossbow. He studied the wall and saw that it wasn’t that high. He surmised he could easily shoot over it with his bow. He reached back and grabbed his bow from its harness. He produced an arrow and took aim into the sky. He released the arrow and it sailed over the light wall. As it reached its peak, it exploded and showered down micro darts upon the sisters. He grinned as he heard their screams from the other side.  

The Lindstrom Sisters raised their umbrellas and shielded themselves after being struck by some of the darts. Since the light wall was concentration based, the darts provided enough of a distraction that Harri couldn’t focus on it. The light wall weakened and Jaco didn’t waste a second in running through it.  

Harri didn’t see Jaco coming until it was too late. He tackled her at the waist and they tumbled to the ground. He wound up on top, his favorite position. He licked his chops as he raised his claws dramatically.  

Harri saw the wild look in his eyes and knew that he was ready to lay into her. She raised her umbrella and shoved it in Jaco’s face. He quickly bit the umbrella and tore at the fabric, rendering it useless. Jaco went in for the kill. Harri threw the umbrella away and grabbed Jaco’s arms to stop him from ravaging her.  

“Sisters, take the wizard and flee!” Harri commanded. 

Jaco heard this and turned in Quil’s direction to see Ronnie and Hermi chasing after Quil, who was still running in circles. He was conflicted; he wanted to tear Harri to shreds, but he also wanted to protect Quil. After a moment’s deliberation, he leapt off Harri and ran toward the sisters. Alas, he was too late. The sisters managed to tackle Quil and then they suddenly disappeared into thin air. 

Harri stood up and brushed herself off. “Well, it’s been real. It’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun. Buh bye!” She snapped her fingers and she disappeared in a puff of smoke. 

Jaco and Everett were the only ones left on the battlefield. They regrouped and settled down. Jaco transformed back into his human form, scratched and bloodied.  

“That could have gone better,” Everett said. 

“You think?” Jaco dabbed the burn on his chest and sighed. “So, we have another goal. Save the children, and save our friends.” 

“Those hexes looked serious. It’s going to take some major mojo to break them.” Everett returned his bow to its harness. “I think we need to hit the books.” 

“Ugh.” Jaco hated doing research. “I think you can do that. I’m going to hunt down those bitches and get our friends back.” 

“You’re going to need more than luck to go up against them. You’re going to need me.” Everett said this in a sing song tone.  

Jaco growled because he knew that Everett was right. It would make no sense to go attack the witches without some kind of upper hand. He didn’t expect those witches to be as young and powerful as they were. He would have to endure sitting in a library for an indeterminate amount of time. Meanwhile there were frightened children who needed their help. He thought that this was not the best time to be rifling through books. He didn’t have any better ideas, so he agreed to go with Everett. They left the field and headed back into the village of Euclidia. Jaco chuckled under his breath after thinking of the name of the village. What a stupid name. 

*** 

“Now can we eat them?” Ronnie asked. The sisters were back at their house reveling in their success. They had three of the Heroes tied up in their living room. With their hexes slowly draining the life out of them, it was only a matter of time before they became deceased.  

Ronnie and Hermi were still fixated on wanting to eat the children they left in the cave. Harri was running out of reasons to say no. The truth of the matter was that she was really looking forward to eating them too. She was holding out as an exercise of self-control. As far as her sisters were concerned, it was just a matter of control.  

“No, we can’t eat them yet,” Harri said. “We have to complete the task at hand.” 

“They’re going to die any minute,” Ronnie said with a pleading voice. 

“We could help it along, couldn’t we, Ronnie?” Hermi clapped excitedly in favor of the idea, her mouth watering. 

“We sure could.” Ronnie winked. 

“No, we still have the other two Heroes our hexes didn’t catch.” Harri pondered how Jaco and Everett had evaded their curses. It had to be the ridiculous amount of charms they were wearing. They looked like cheap children’s jewelry, how could they have possibly circumnavigated their magic? Where did they get those charms? She made a mental note to seek out that information and kill the vendor.  

“How are we going to get them, Harri?” Hermi asked. “They looked crunchy enough to succumb to our magic. Why didn’t they?” 

“It’s not fair,” Ronnie complained.  

“We just have to up our game,” Harri suggested. “We’re going to need to amp up our powers to overcome those stupid charms they have on.” She grabbed the Book of Shadows and flipped through the pages to find something that would give them an advantage. “There has to be a power amplification spell in here.” She growled under her breath as she grew frustrated that she wasn’t finding what she was looking for. “I could have swore Mother put something like that in here.” 

“If anyone can find it, it’s you,” Ronnie said. 

Reese mumbled something from underneath them. Ronnie kicked her in the stomach as a response.   

Harri sat the book on the table and waved her hands over the book. The pages flipped furiously on their own until it opened to the spell she was looking for. She and her sisters leaned over the book to gaze upon the sacred words.  

“Yes, sisters, here it is.” Harri picked up the book and read the spell first before she let the others see it. “We will need a few items from the store. Ronnie, get a pencil.” 

“Do we have to go to Witch Mart?” Hermi asked, whining. 

“What’s wrong with Witch Mart? Everything there is so cheap!” Harri countered. 

“Yeah, but they treat their employees so awfully, and they only hire ugly people.” Hermi sighed because she could see that Harri was going to make them go to Witch-Mart. Harri seemed to think that they were on a budget even though their mother left them a huge trust fund. “Fine, support the corrupt establishment.” She folded her arms. 

“Whatever.” Harri rolled her eyes. “Soon we’ll be more powerful and then we’ll be famous for taking down the Heroes of Lunde! Keep your eyes on the prize, dear sister. Now, Ronnie, write this down.” Harri went down the list of ingredients and Ronnie wrote them down. When she was done, she tasked Hermi with acquiring said ingredients, much to Hermi’s chagrin, much to Harri’s delight. “And hurry back! We don’t have much time!” 

Hermi stood up and snatched the list from Ronnie’s hand. She let Harri know that she was not pleased by slamming the door on her way out. 

Ronnie snickered. “I hope she ends up in the ‘People of Witch Mart’ newsletter.” 

Harri cracked a smile. “That would be hilarious!” The two of them laughed for five minutes about this. Then when the laughter died down, they went their separate ways in the house; one to read, and the other to start cooking dinner. Reese, Quil, and the stone Andrada just laid on the floor, waiting for rescue. 

*** 

The patrons of the Euclidian Library were in a tizzy about having a bloody, shirtless man wandering the aisles. They whispered and murmured to themselves as they stared at him as he passed. They all wanted to offer him aid, but they were afraid to get involved. They settled on just talking about him behind his back and hoped that a staff member would throw him out or something. 

Jaco sat impatiently at a table that had a pile of books stacked on it. Everett was poring through them, manically flipping through the pages. He mumbled audibly under his breath as he read, garnering hateful glares from the irritated. Everett paid them no mind.

Jaco yawned loudly to indicate he was bored. He was bloody and cold; he wanted nothing more than to leave and kill some witches. He tried to come up with excuses to get away, but each one he thought of was lame and Everett would have seen right through it. So, he decided to go the direct approach. 

“Ev, this is boring me to tears. I need to get out of here. I need to clean myself up.” He looked at the back of the chair he was sitting in and saw he had soaked it with blood. “I’m bleeding on the upholstery.” 

Everett took his eyes off the book and looked at Jaco and the chair. “Yeah, you should probably do that. You’re a bloody mess, literally.” 

“You think?” Jaco stood up and moaned as his aches addressed him.  

He left the table and started his quest for the bathroom. He ignored the whispers as he finally found it in the back. He opened the bathroom door and left a bloody handprint on it. He made the urinal his first stop, then he went to the sink and washed his chest with paper towels. The blood slithered its way down the white sides of the sink and down the drain. He felt bad for the poor sap who’d have to clean this up. 

Jaco thought about Quil and how the witches were probably torturing him. It pained his heart to know he wasn’t able to protect him. He gripped the sink’s edge and bent over crying. How could he let Quil down so much? He was depending on him and he couldn’t save him. He let the sobs come loud and hard. When his legs failed to support his weight, he simply fell to the floor and continued to cry. He hoped for a brief moment that the floor had been cleaned recently.  

He prayed to God that Quil was alright and safe; safe as he could be in the custody of three heinous witches. He imagined them preparing a stew to put Quil in. He gritted his teeth and let out one last sob before he attempted to pull himself together. He knew he had been gone a while. It was possible Everett found something that could help them. He found the strength to get to his feet and splashed some water on his face. His eyes were red from crying. He hoped Everett wouldn’t notice. 

He left the bathroom and found Everett standing by the table looking impatient. He had a piece of paper in his hand which Jaco assumed he had ripped right out of the book. “Sorry for taking so long.” 

“Well, I didn’t want to interrupt the sob fest,” Everett commented. He saw the look of surprise on Jaco’s face. “Oh yeah, we all heard. I swear some little old ladies went ‘awww’. It was very touching.” He tapped Jaco on his arm and smiled. “Come on. We’re going shopping.” 

“What?” 

Everett shook the piece of paper. “I’ve found ingredients that we’re going to need to make our charms more effective against those witches. We’re going to have to go to Witch Mart to get them.” 

Jaco moaned. “That place is awful!” 

Everett shrugged. “Do you want to get Quil and the others back?” Jaco nodded. “Sometimes we have to venture to the dark side to do work for the light.” 

Jaco smirked and asked, “Where did you get that from?” 

“My brain!” Everett snapped. He stormed off grumbling about how his originality was never appreciated.  

“Touchy!” Jaco followed Everett toward the exit. He stopped by the front desk to apologize for the mess he made on the chair and in the bathroom, and then left. The staff member just blinked at him in a confused manner and watched him leave. The doors shut behind him and he was gone. The night was much more quiet after that. 

*** 

Everett and Jaco arrived at Witch Mart, a chain store that boasted to be the primary source of witchcraft supplies in all of Petoria, the continent they live on. The store was pretty busy with all of the hustle and bustle of people roaming back and forth. There were long lines of people waiting to check out, but only two cashiers were actively serving customers. This made the air thick with angry vibes and heavy moods. Jaco was not looking forward to standing in that mess. 

Everett read the ingredients they needed off the list, but Jaco wasn’t paying attention. His thoughts were on Quil, hoping he was alright, hoping he wasn’t seasoning a stew or something. It wasn’t until he heard Everett say something with a high inflection that he realized that he had probably been asked a question.  

“What?” 

“Do you think you could manage getting the spark root?” Everett stared up at him with a semi irritated expression on his face. Jaco didn’t have the heart to tell him no, so he just nodded. “Good. It should be in the root aisle, but they’re always moving shit around in here, so it’s hard to know where anything is ever. Call me if you get lost.” He walked away and headed towards the spice aisle with his nose on the page he stole. 

Jaco sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He spun around in a circle in an attempt to spot where he was supposed to go. He picked a direction and headed in it. He found many things, but none of them were what he was looking for. He wasn’t even sure what spark root looked like. After searching for ten minutes, he finally decided it was time to look for an employee. 

He searched the store for five minutes asking for help from anyone wearing orange. It wasn’t until the fifth person he found that actually worked there and wasn’t just wearing orange to fuck with people. He was so grateful. 

“I’m looking for spark root! Could you please point me in the right direction?” Jaco was almost to the point of getting on his knees and begging. The employee, Roy, could see this and hoped that he wouldn’t. Roy pointed him to Aisle 23 and wished him a good night. Jaco praised him profusely and made his way to Aisle 23. 

When he arrived, he scanned every bottle on the shelves on either side. Each of them were clear and contained a little bit of fluid to keep the roots fresh. He tried to read the labels written on them, but since they were handwritten, it was difficult for him to discern the words. This person decided that cursive would look best on the labels instead of print. He silently cursed under his breath. 

He reached the end of the aisle and there it was, a single bottle of spark root. The plant sat comfortably inside its cell, half submerged in a clear liquid, just waiting for him to grab it. He felt elated that he hadn’t screwed this up. While he wasn’t sure why, he wanted Everett to be proud of him.  

He grabbed the bottle and was surprised when he also grabbed another hand. He looked on the other side into the next aisle and saw that a woman had also reached for the bottle. He pulled back, hoping to snatch the bottle out of her hand. She pulled back, hoping to achieve the same end. It was a silent tug of war at first, but then the woman cursed out loud. 

“Give me the fucking bottle,” she said. 

He immediately recognized Hermi’s voice and growled. “Back off, witch! The bottle is mine!” Jaco yanked hard on the bottle, and subsequently, the hand. 

“I touched it first!” Hermi pulled harder on the bottle, causing Jaco to slam into the shelf, shaking it free of some of its products. Fortunately, the store had switched from glass bottles to plastic, so nothing was broken. 

“Bad dog!” Hermi shouted. 

“No one calls me a bad dog and gets to live!” Jaco got the idea to shove the shelf over. It was wood so it was easier to push than steel would have been. Without releasing the bottle, he gave the tall shelf a hard push and it toppled over on Hermi. She cried out in pain as it landed on her chest. She still held on tightly to the spark root. “Let go!” 

“No, you let go!” 

For being a mere human, Hermi had a particularly firm grip. Jaco knew that he would need more strength to pry it from her. He focused his power on transforming his left arm into werewolf mode. With the added strength he successfully got her to release the bottle. He held it up triumphantly. “Ha!” 

“Nooo!” Hermi cried out. She uttered a spell and Jaco and the shelf were propelled into the air. They landed against the shelf behind them and toppled it over, leading to a messy domino effect, knocking down all the shelves after it. 

Jaco was pressed between shelves on top of the messy heap. He still held the bottle in his left hand. Hermi stood up, stomped over to him, and relieved him of possession of it. 

“Tough break, puppy.” Hermi spit on him and proceeded to walk away. 

Jaco wiped the mucus from his chest and thrust the shelf upward. It flew through the air for a few seconds before it crashed down on top of retreating witch. The bottle slipped from her hand and rolled down the main walkway toward the broomsticks. He rushed toward it while Hermi attempted to crawl out from underneath the shelf. As he passed her, she reached out and grabbed his ankle and successfully tripped him. He landed hard on his chest. He let out an “oof!” He wasn’t going to let her stop him. He then started crawling while trying to kick his leg free of Hermi’s grip. 

“Everett!” Jaco shouted. “Everett! Get your ass over here!” He was within an arm’s length away from the bottle. He wished that he had telekinetic powers so that he could just command it to come to him.  

Unfortunately for him, Hermi did. She tossed the shelf off of her and extended her right hand and uttered a word. The bottle shook and rattled briefly before it flew up and zipped right into her hand.  

Jaco gasped and looked back at her. “That’s not fair!” 

Hermi only responded with a wink. She let go of Jaco’s foot and stood up. She brushed the dirt off and walked away. She heard Jaco growl behind her and knew that an attack was imminent. She waited until she heard him stand up and approach before she teleported away, leaving Jaco to fly through the space she used to be. 

He slammed his hand on the floor in frustration. He heard the footsteps of people coming to witness the calamity. He sat up and saw that he was surrounded by angry staff and onlookers. He waved sheepishly at them as he stood up. “Hi, folks! Nothing to see here. Just uh… doing some last minute shopping. 

The store security arrived on the scene and promptly escorted Jaco out of the store. He shouted for Everett to help him, but the dwarf stayed hidden. So, he sat outside on the planter and waited for Everett to come out. This didn’t happen for another fifteen minutes. When Everett arrived, Jaco stood up and yelled at him. 

“Where the hell were you all this time?”  

“I was trying to avoid being thrown out,” he said. “I didn’t want to be seen with you and lose our shot at getting what you failed to get.” 

“Hey, I had it in my hands!” Jaco flexed his fingers as if to summon the bottle to him. “That witch took it from me.” 

“I assumed that.” Everett held up an orange Witch Mart bag filled with ingredients. “I found something else that might work with our spell. It may not be as good as the spark root, but it’ll do fine. Let’s go.” 

Jaco and Everett quickly left the store front before security saw them together. They had work to do.

To be continued…

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