Gail and her cot were both gone when Lilly woke up. Twila was awake and looking around the room while Fang flew overhead.
“Twila, is something wrong?” Lilly asked.
“Very much so,” Twila said. “I’m sensing some really powerful magic but I can’t tell where it’s coming from or even what its purpose is.”
“W… well maybe it’s harmless,” Lilly said.
“Twila! Lilly!” Axra burst into their room.
“Did something happen?” Twila asked.
“It’s snowing,” Axra said.
“S… snowing?” Lilly asked.
“It’s the wrong time of year for snow,” Twila said. “But that would explain the magic I sense.” She moved over and opened the curtains. Sure enough, Axra was right. It was a light but steady snowfall. The sky was covered by clouds.
“Wh… what should we do?” Lilly asked.
“We have to get everyone ready,” Axra said. “If we stay too long we could be snowed in.”
“B… but what if we get caught in it?” Lilly asked. “W… we could freeze.”
“I don’t think so,” Twila said. “Even a weather control spell this strong shouldn’t cover that much space. We should hurry, though.”
“I… I’ll get Lysara and Velvet,” Lilly volunteered.
“Good,” Twila said “We’ll get everything ready to go. I’ll use my bag. We’ll be able to travel much more lightly that way.”
The two packed as fast as they could. Twila was level-headed and quick in a crisis, Axra thought. She gazed at the other woman. Her hands moved quickly but her confident smile never faded. Axra hurriedly looked away, lest Twila notice. She didn’t want her to find out, not like this. For the moment, Axra would keep her feelings to herself.
Lilly walked back in with Velvet and Lysara in tow.
“You did well,” Axra said, tousling Lilly’s hair. “We’re just about ready to go. Get your coats on and some heavier boots. I have some extra cloaks if you need some.”
“That’s a pain,” Velvet said. “Can’t we wait for it to pass?”
“It’s a magic snow,” Twila said. “There’s no telling when it will end and we can’t sit around waiting for it.”
“Couldn’t you dispel it?” Lysara asked. “I bet you’ve got some amazing counter spells!”
“I can’t,” Twila stated. “Stopping a spell like that requires two things. One, you have to use almost as much power when dispelling it as you use when casting it. I don’t know if I could muster that much. Two, you have to know the spell. I know some weather control magic, but nothing of this magnitude.”
“Sounds like the work of a really strong evil wizard,” Lysara said. “We’ll have to slay him and save the town! I’ll bet he’s already made some big speech asserting control and everything.”
“We’ll find out when we go through town,” Twila said “probably.”
Velvet attached sled bottoms to his wagon and lay down in it, letting his dogs pull him through the snow. The group was just beginning their trek through town when a small child pointed at them and cried “it’s the snow lady! It’s the snow lady!”
“Snow lady?” Axra asked.
“What do you mean snow lady?” Twila asked, kneeling down.
“It’s at the town square,” the kid said. “Everybody is talking about it.”
“Town square’s that way,” Velvet pointed.
They hurried to the square. There it was. It was a very detailed ice sculpture of Lilly, nearly four metres tall with laurels resting on her head and feathery wings. The sculpture was wearing a very tight, form fitting robe.
“O… Oh… oh my… oh my… goodness,” Lilly stuttered.
“Gail?” Axra asked.
“It would make the most sense,” Twila agreed. “She does seem to have abilities we can’t even imagine and she is quite taken with Lilly.”
“Looks just like her,” Velvet muttered.
“I don’t know,” Lysara said. “The bosom looks too large. Although, it’s perfect other than that.”
“Proportionally, it looks about accurate to me,” Twila said.
“It definitely is,” Axra said. “You can’t usually tell because she prefers looser clothes.”
“P… P… Please stop talking about that!” Lilly cried, her face reddening.
“Sorry, sorry,” Lysara stated. “Still, it’s a very romantic gift.”
“You’re wrong!” Axra declared.
“I’m inclined to agree with Axra,” Twila said. “A romantic gift is given with the receiver in mind. Something like this is bombastic and attention grabbing. It doesn’t suit Lilly at all.”
Axra put her arms around Lilly’s shoulders. “Hey, you okay?”
“I… I’m really embarrassed,” Lilly said.
“Uh… I hate to be a downer,” Velvet said. “But we’re getting some looks and I think the authorities are making their way here to have a word with us.”
“That is quite a problem,” Twila said.
“I know what you mean,” Axra said. “Explaining this is a bit… much.”
“Gather around me, fast,” Twila ordered. She hurriedly chanted and the group found themselves floating away from the sculpture and the bewildered soldiers.