From Chapter 6: In which the two eldest sisters move to the city.

Two days later, a package appeared at their door with Rosa’s name written in fancy red letters. Inside, the sisters found a magnificent dress made of spider silk with thousands of fly wings embroidered with golden stitches. There was nothing else in the box—no card and no letter—but they knew instantly it could only be a gift from the English fairy. Only he could have responded that fast and send such an expensive present. The dress shone as bright as if the fabric had been spun out of moonbeaMs. It was the most beautiful garment they had ever laid their eyes on, and so light that if you threw it into the air, it took a full ten minutes for it to float down and hit the ground.

Rosa immediately tried on the dress, announcing to her sisters that maybe it would magically transport her to her godfather’s castle. It didn’t, and that was a true disappointment. The three girls knew well what the gift meant: a polite and awfully expensive way to say no, I cannot bring you into my tiny castle.

Hence, Rosa lied. She closed her eyes and reopened them a second later: “My!” she exclaimed. “It feels good to be back home after having spent an entire year at my godfather’s castle!”

Victoria and the nameless young girl exchanged a look of incredulity.

“My dearest sisters,” Rosa continued with an affected tone, “I am so happy to see you! Especially you, Victoria. You haven’t changed one bit in all these months. I’m so terribly happy to be back, but so seriously tired too, for I spent most of that time attending elegant balls and hunting. Do pull up a chair for me to sit on, darling,” she begged her youngest sister. The young girl did as requested.

“I have so much to tell,” Rosa continued, sitting down. “I witnessed so many riches and talked to so many elegant ladies at my godfather’s brugh—the silk, the rubies and diamonds! But first, my dearest, you need to bring me up to date. What has happened during my twelve- month absence? How’s that awful man we call father? Is he still alive? Did you ever got a response from your godfathers?”

Victoria replied that nothing had happened, that she had never left the room.

“Wonder of wonders,” was Rosa’s response. “Magically transported to and from my godfather’s brugh in an instant. An entire year in Albion in less than one second. Bloody bollocks,” she added, trying to sound British. “Cockles and mussels, Virgin of Brighton, isn’t that proof of Lord Oakenforest’s infinite power?”

Love, or the Witches of Windward Circle

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