The Enchanted Press Part 21
Sen hovered above a rugged wooden crate and rummaged through it, soliciting a pair of woolen earmuffs for each of us. “We have these for customers who don’t wish to listen to all the chatter,” she explained, handing them to us. “They’re a little uncomfortable for some people but soundproof.”
I charmed them a while ago,” she added with a note of regret. She flexed her wand hand in such a gloomy fashion; I felt the loss of it in my own hand. For some reason, her quiet desperation struck me like nothing else had, bearing to fruition the dire predicament the realm was in. How many more would suffer before we defeated Scrivenger?
Hoping to redirect her grim reflections, I asked, “How is it we’re able to go back without the newel post?” When we returned through the portal the last time with Peter and Tinker Bell, the notion had not occurred to me. To my surprise, she answered the question with no hesitation.
“Because I’m with you. The fairy godmother who opens a portal can always return through it.” She crossed to another crate loaded with various dried fruits and waved a hand at the jerky hanging in the corner beside it. “Take some rations before you go.”
“Thank you.” I squeezed as much food as I could in my bag. Within thirty seconds, I had a week’s worth of food, so long as I rationed it. I’d find water along the way.
Sen held a messenger bag out to Duncan before he could finish his comment. His beady eyes lit up, an aching nostalgia in them. He pressed the olive-green canvas to his beak and sniffed. “Where did you find this?”
“A tweet left it at the bar one night,” Sen replied, “never came back for it.”
Disapproval seeped through Duncan’s reverie. “Amateur,” he griped, shoveling berries into his bag. “Do you have any seeds?”
“No,” Sen replied through pursed lips, her voice tense. She turned to me, apprehensive, eyes troubled, her voice scarcely above a whisper. “Can I talk to you?”
Confused by her quick change in mood, I nodded and accompanied her to the opposite corner. If she was upset before, she was entirely stricken now.
“Sen, what’s wrong?”
She looked like someone being devoured alive with remorse. I knew whatever was tormenting her was bad, terribly bad. I’d noticed the same chapfallen look in many Fauns who’d yielded to guilt after using their music to spirit away an innocent. “Sen, what’s wrong?”
She wrung her hands together. “There’s something I need to confess. But this is hardly the time.” She darted back and forth, deliberating aloud, her eyes frenzied. “But if not now, I may never get the chance again,” she said as if finally deciding. She wheeled around and looked me in the eye. With a harsh whisper, she uttered a statement that kicked me off my hooves. “What happened to your mother was my fault.”