The witch leaned her head back against the cabin and blew more smoke into the air. Her thoughts turned to the dragon eye again, and she cursed under her breath for it was missing.
“A boy took it.” The crinkled voice of an old woman reached her ears.
She got on her belly to look beneath the porch. The small, silver spirit creature met her gaze. “How long have you been down there?”
“I slept here all day,” she said. “Your thoughts meander more than usual tonight.”
The witch sat up on her elbows and chewed on the end of her pipe. The spirit crawled onto the porch. “Give me a smoke,” said the spirit, tugging at her wrist.
“Why should I?”
The spirit became fluid for a moment, turned into a fox, and hopped around the porch. Then, she became a girl again and grinned. “I’ll help you find him.”
The witch considered this offer for a moment and handed the pipe over. The impatient spirit made a chattering sound as the witch sat up on her knees to light the herbal mixture. “Best keep your word or I’ll cut off your tail,” she said.
The spirit rolled onto her back and blew smoke rings. “I do not believe you could catch me. I will keep my word because I like your herbs. No other reason.”
The witch watched her draw at the pipe and waited. At last, the embers died out. There was nothing left to smoke. The spirit dropped the pipe next to the witch’s knee and gave a happy sigh.
“Where is the boy?”
The fox girl licked her lips, relishing the flavor the smoke left behind. “He’s hiding under your bed, waiting for you to leave.”
The witch’s lips curled into a wicked grin. “He certainly didn’t get far.”
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