“Ready?” Reira asked.
“I am,” Twila answered. “What about you two?”
“I’m totally ready,” Axra said.
“I… I’m a… a little nervous,” Lilly said. “J… just a bit.”
“You can stay here if you like,” Twila said. “I’m sure Bonnie and Lysara would appreciate your company.”
“Yeah,” Axra agreed. “We can handle this.”
“Th… that’s okay,” Lilly said. “I… want to come, really.”
“Okay,” Reira said. “Do the teleport spell, Twila. I’ll mentally guide you.”
“You don’t do the magic yourself?” Axra asked.
“Not me,” Reira said. “I only know clerical spells. Don’t worry. I can still guide the spell easily enough. Miss Hart, don’t you dare try running into the spell after it’s started.”
Bonnie put a hand on Lysara’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. They’ll be okay.”
Twila completed the spell and the four vanished.
Axra looked around. They were on a small circular platform. It was elevated above, and surrounded on all sides by, water. She could smell salty waves.
“Yes,” Reira said. “We are in the ocean.”
“Wh… what’s that?” Lilly asked, gesturing at a pedestal with several buttons sticking out the top.
“That is our ticket out of here,” Reira said. “Stand back. It won’t work for you anyway.”
She approached the pedestal. It began clicking while a soft hum came from it. A small panel opened and a metallic tendril reached out, pricking Reira’s finger. It retracted back into the device and the hum grew louder.
“Hyev gulhn tiwril.”
“Did that voice come from that thing?” Axra asked.
“It did,” Twila said. “Wish I knew how the device works.”
“I could tell you the basics of how,” Reira said. “But I know what you really want to know is how all of its inner bits work and even I don’t understand it. Although you might meet someone up there who does.”
“U… up where?” Lilly asked.
Reira grinned and pushed two buttons. The four of them were enveloped in a bright light and Axra felt like she had been tossed onto a horse moving at a greater pace than she could imagine. She felt a little queasy but also intensely thrilled. The speed was amazing!
“My lovely ladies,” Reginald said, bowing. “Where are the others?”
“Shut up,” Lysara snapped. She tossed a key at him and Velvet. “That’s for your room. I’m going to find something to eat.”
“Something seems to be troubling her,” Reginald observed. “Women, right?” He nudged Velvet.
“What about them?” Velvet asked.
“She’s in a bad mood because Twila went off somewhere with Axra, Lilly and her aunt,” Bonnie explained. “Velvet, we’re under orders to await their return.” She turned to Reginald. “You can do whatever. You aren’t under any obligations.”
“You wound me,” Reginald said. “I shall await the lovely ladies alongside you. In the meantime, there is a Hot spring that I would very much like to soak in.”
Bonnie watched him go.
“Anything strange this time?”
“Not really,” Velvet said. “He just bought supplies.” He looked away from Bonnie. “There was one thing that was a little odd. His money was made of paper.”
“Paper?” Bonnie asked. “Could he have been calling in a debt?”
“Maybe,” Velvet said.
“But if he has nowhere to go, then why does he have a history with this town?” Bonnie wondered.
“That’s what I was curious about too,” Velvet said. “It could be nothing. This is pretty near the Great Library. Maybe he just comes in on occasion.”
“Well, go keep an eye on him,” Bonnie said. “I’ll… I guess I’ll go find Lysara. She could need help.”
“The town’s pretty safe,” Velvet pointed out. “You sure that’s really why you want to find her?”
“Just what are you implying?” Bonnie demanded.
“Nothing,” Velvet stated. “Just thinking out loud. Well, I’d better go keep an eye on Reggie.”