|by Van ©2019|
|OUR STORY BEGINS
A casual visitor to the Green Wood familiar with the flora and fauna of Great Britain would feel right at home. He or she would encounter...
Yes, the Green Wood was a lush, vibrant, deciduous forest, but if our casual visitor wandered further afield, he or she would come across moors, fens, rolling expanses of grass and heather, as well as large stands of cedar, cypress, pine and other evergreens, all interspersed with more large tracts of deciduous forest.
- The usual trees—alders, beeches, buckthorns, chestnuts, etc., all the way down the list to whitebeams, willows, and yews (heavy on the oaks);
- Furry creatures—field mice, voles, shrews, hedgehogs, red squirrels, rabbits, hares, beavers, deer, etc.;
- Carnivorous furry creatures—weasels, stoats, foxes, badgers, etc.;
- Feathery creatures—robins, great tits, collared doves, chaffinches; etc, etc.;
- Carnivorous feathery creatures—falcons, hawks, owls, eagles, etc., (heavy on the ravens);
- Creepy-crawly creatures—the usual insects and spiders (heavy on the iridescent beetles and colorful butterflies).
And one can do a lot of wandering in the Green Wood. It seems to go on forever.
Also, the longer our hypothetical casual visitor wanders, the greater the odds he or she would chance upon totally unexpected fauna, such as...
- Giant beavers;
- Enormous Irish elk with huge racks;
- Disturbingly large dire wolves;
- Truly horrible cave bears;
- Spiders ranging in size from hubcaps to small passenger sedans!
And if our visitor escaped these encounters with his or her life, he or she would inevitably meet other unexpected denizens.
Yes, that's right, the Green Wood is the home of the fey! And largely for that reason it has few, if any, casual visitors... meaning casual human visitors.
- Goblins, hobgoblins, and demihobgoblins!
- Etc. (Lots of etc.)
That said, the Green Wood does have a handful of human residents, some of whom are quite famous (in certain circles). Among them is Nimue, also known as Viviane, Eviene, Niviene, Nina, and The Lady of the Lake.
Truth be told, Nimue isn't overly fond of that last appellation. She thinks it implies she's immersed in water all the time, and while she is physically capable of living underwater for extended periods, Nimue does not reside in a lake, loch, lough, tarn, mere, pool, or any other landlocked body of water.
In point of fact, Nimue resides in a cottage—a typical cottage—a stereotypical cottage—cozy and warm with a thatched roof, comfy furniture, inviting fireplaces, flower-boxes mounted outside most of the windows, a flower garden in the back (including lavender for luck and rosemary by the garden gate), as well as a separate vegetable garden.
Incidentally, the deer and rabbits don't raid Nimue's gardens, they tend Nimue's gardens. They do it for a cut of the ripe fruit and vegetables and edible browse, of course, but also for their love of "The Lady."
Inside the cottage itself, the floors are swept, the furniture and shelves dusted, Nimue's clothes and shoes mended, and the laundry collected and cleaned by house-elves who usually make themselves invisible and do their work unseen and unheard. That's typical of most well-to-do magical households in Great Britain, of course... although the Green Wood is neither a part of Great Britain nor under the authority of either the Ministry of Magic or the Crown.
Anyway, one fine day (and most days in the Green Wood are "fine"), a wood elf was strolling down a path winding between the ancient oaks (skipping, if the mood took her) and occasionally stooping to sniff the scent of a blossom or give the cap of a mushroom a friendly tap to help disperse its spores.
She was approaching Nimue's cottage.
The fey was of average height for a wood elf (2½-feet, 2½-inches), and of average comeliness. That is, she was as cute as the proverbial bug's ear, with straight red hair, green eyes, peach-pink skin, elegantly pointed ears, and a fit, curvaceous, very feminine figure.
Her name was Gwĕnhyvær, but she allowed humans not fluent in the Common Fey language to call her "Gwen." Like all wood elves, she dressed in cloth and leather dyed in earth-tones, heavy on the green. "Robin Hood" colors. In Gwen's case, that meant soft-soled knee-boots, tights, and a somewhat, uh, well-ventilated top, all in shades of dark brown and dark green. She also wore a hardwood circlet with a pair of short, vertical, deer-like antlers. It was a style statement. Gwen had had a secret crush on Herne the Hunter for... centuries.
Gwen was something of a wood elf outsider, in that she spent less time with her fellow wood elves and more time in non wood elf circles than her elders thought proper. She had nothing against her kin, she just wasn't particularly clannish. Also, and for no particular reason, she liked non wood elf fey and always had. However, her tolerance wasn't without limit.
Pointedly, Gwen's circle of non wood elf friends did not include the "Trooping Fairies" of the so-called "Seelie Court." In Gwen's opinion, they were nothing but a collection of snooty tosspots with delusions of gentility. They weren't even "fairies," but called themselves such for obscure etymological reasons only they recognized or cared about. They were elves, but not wood elves.
Real fairies are an entirely different category. Real fairies are quite a bit smaller, have wings, and are markedly averse to clothing. Also, some are brightly colored and easily mistaken for flowers, especially when they flutter into a clump of real flowers of similar hue and stand perfectly still.
Anyway, Gwen wasn't welcome at the Seelie Court and the feeling was mutual. Oberon and Titania had made it clear on more than one occasion that they considered her an impertinent little runt and probably a spy for the other fey.
Gwen, on the other hand, thought Oberon, Titania, and the boot-licking sycophants of their "Court" affected entirely unwarranted airs of superiority and swanned about the forest glades with metaphorical sticks up their collective butts.
And don't get her started about Puck. That despicable little weasel was no friend of Gwen's. And no offense to actual weasels. Some of Gwen's best fiends were actual weasels.
Gwen opened Nimue's garden gate, crossed the threshold, and shivered as the cottage wards assessed her identity and decided to allow her to pass.
Then, as was her custom, Gwen ran her hands over the towering rosemary bush growing beside the gate (and that's towering from Gwen's perspective, of course). She then lightly rubbed her smiling face with the residual oils clinging to her fingers and palms. Gwen loved the scent of rosemary, and even humans know rosemary is good for one's health. Gwen's favorite drinks were rosemary hip tea, mead steeped in rosemary, and Wychwood Hobgoblin Porter with a rosemary sprig garnish.
«What do you want?»
The query had come from Kwin, Nimue's feline familiar. The absurdly huge, spotted cat (and that's absurdly huge from Gwen's perspective, of course) was sprawled on one of the garden path's stone flags, basking in the sun and idly waving his striped tail (as he was wont to do). Like all cats, Kwin communicated with a combination of posture, facial expression, whisker angle, ear position, and tail-flick.
Like all fey, Gwen was fluent in Standard Cat, but lacked most of the anatomy required to converse in kind.
"Hello to thee, Kwin," Gwen chuckled. "As welcoming as ever, I see."
«What did you bring me?» Kwin demanded.
Still smiling, Gwen dropped a graceful curtsy. "Only my charming self, but I'm too big to eat. And none of my mouse, vole, songbird, or bat friends volunteered to be cat-snacks. Where is Her Watery Ladyship?"
"Her Watery Ladyship is right here," an alto, slightly husky (and sexy) female voice announced.
The voice belonged to Nimue, of course. She was standing in the open door of the cottage and gazing at Gwen with a neutral expression. "Hello, Gwĕnhyvær," she purred.
Gwen's smile faltered. Did I go too far? Is she angry? Probably not. Gwen's smile returned and she dropped another curtsy. "My Lady."
Nimue was towering, over five feet in height! Her hair was red, like Gwen's, but curly rather than straight, and her eyes, also like Gwen's, were green. In addition, the two redheads shared the same peach-pink complexion, although Nimue tended to freckle and Gwen did not. And being human, the tips of Nimue's ears were rounded, rather than elegantly and beautifully pointed, but nobody's perfect. For example, Gwen herself was too cute. It was a burden she had no choice but to bear.
"Sorry about the 'Watery' part," the grinning elf apologized.
Nimue rolled her eyes. "No you're not, you cheeky little toerag." With a swirl of her black velvet dress, she turned and strolled back into the cottage. "Come along!" she called back over her left shoulder.
Gwen giggled and scampered after the disappearing witch, but gave Kwin a wide berth. Surly feline attitude aside, Gwen knew she was on good terms with The Lady's familiar; however, on occasion, Kwin had been known to give her a playful swat if she passed too close.
"What's the word?" Nimue inquired as they strolled towards the kitchen.
"The gossip about your impending human visitors?" Gwen responded.
Nimue smiled. "Of course the gossip about my impending human visitors," she purred. "That's why I asked you to make the rounds, isn't it?"
By the way, while from the outside Nimue's cottage appears to be tiny, from the inside it's much larger. They passed the main parlor... the library... Nimue's thaumaturgical/alchemical laboratory... a hallway that led to several guest bedrooms... the closed door of Nimue's bedroom... and finally entered the kitchen.
Gwen scampered over and settled into her accustomed place, a stool next to the kitchen's open fireplace, and watched as Nimue prepared tea. A small fire was already burning, but Nimue brought the iron kettle to a brisk boil instantly with a tap of her right index finger. No waiting required. She added loose tea to her "Brown Betty" teapot, followed by steaming water from the kettle, carried the teapot to the kitchen table, and positioned it in its proper place on a tray with the rest her hand-crafted tea service.
Now waiting was required. The tea had to steep.
"Details," Nimue demanded.
Gwen heaved a sad (theatrical) sigh. "Nobody wants a plague of human witches traipsing through the Green Wood," she said, "not the fairies, wood elves, pixies, goblins—"
"And so forth and so on," Nimue interrupted.
Gwen nodded. "Even the squirrels."
Nimue smiled as she carefully lifted the pot and filled two mugs with tea, one large (human size), and one small (wood elf size). She added a dollop of honey to the small mug and gave it a stir with a pewter spoon, then carried both mugs to the hearth... handed the small mug to Gwen... settled into her favorite rocking chair (also next to the hearth)... and took a careful sip from the "large" mug.
Gwen sipped her mug as well... and smiled. "Ah, rosemary. Perfect."
Nimue smiled back. "And how deep is this generalized aversion to wandering witches? And three witches is barely a coven, much less a plague."
Gwen shrugged, then took a second sip. "Not deep. More like a puddle." She took a third sip. "By the by, everyone was curious to know why you have invited a trio of strange witches for a visit? It's not like you. You've always treasured your brooding solitude... myself being an exception, of course."
Nimue's smile faded. "Only two of them are strangers. Anyway, I didn't invite them," she nodded in the direction of a folded velum letter resting on a wooden shelf near the hearth. "The Ministry of Magic and the Magical Congress of the USA formally but politely requested that I allow them to visit."
"And you rolled over and agreed," Gwen huffed. The little elf had already made her low opinion of human politics quite clear on more than one occasion.
Nimue shrugged. "It would seem a young witch with extraordinary powers has emerged in America. MACUSA is interested in my opinion of her character and talents. The Ministry is sending a representative because, as everyone knows, the most convenient human port of entry to the Green Wood is in Gloucestershire."
"I would have told the self-important lot of them to sod off," Gwen muttered as she finished her tea and deposited her now empty mug on the stone flags of the hearth.
"Tact is not your strong suit, my little scallywag," Nimue chuckled.
"I do not wag my scally," Gwen huffed. "Anything else, or can I go? I have an appointment to meet some hobgoblins and make fun of the neighborhood pixies." (Mocking pixies keeps them at bay. Without it, they gather in frolicking clusters that eventually become rollicking clusters and can become very annoying.)
"As a matter of fact..."
Gwen was suddenly nervous (and slightly aroused). Nimue's smile had suddenly taken on a somewhat sinister twist, and she knew what that meant!. Gwen fidgeted in place and took a firm grip on the sides of the stool's seat with both hands.
"I've been crafting a new spell," Nimue explained (still smiling), "and would like to give it a test. Once the visitors arrive I'll probably be too busy, so... do you mind?"
"Uh..." Gwen continued fidgeting. The Lady wants to play. Gulp! "As a matter of fact, as I told you—Eep!"
Nimue had made an arcane gesture and suddenly, instantly, forthwith, and posthaste, Gwen's clothes had been whisked, snatched, peeled, and stripped from her body as if by invisible hands! She was now as brazenly naked as a fairy! And that was only the beginning!
Gwen's stool was made from peeled, sanded, and stained oak branches with the ends skillfully whittled and tightly joined, but neither nails nor pegs had been used. Instead, the joints were all reinforced with tight lashings of thin hemp rope. Also, the comfortable seat was a woven sling of even more rope. All things considered, it was a charming, rustic, and highly functional little stool, and Gwen had enjoyed its simple opulence for years; however, at the moment—THE STOOL WAS ALIVE!
Numerous rope strands had sprouted from the stool's lashings and were slithering and tightening around Gwen's body! It was all happening so quickly that she'd been rendered helpless immediately, and rope continued slithering and tightening, making Gwen even more helpless!
"Nimue, please!" Gwen whined. "I can't play right now! I have plans! Mrrrrpfh!" A coarse linen rag had fluttered across kitchen, tucked itself into a wad, then stuffed itself into her protesting mouth! "Mrrr!" And before Gwen could expel the invader, several strands of hemp cleaved both her gaping mouth and its cloth packing and tightened with a creak!
When the strands had all more-or-less finished interweaving and cinching themselves, Gwen's legs were tightly lashed together from her big-toes to her upper thighs—her fingers, hands, and wrists were lashed to the sides of the stool's seat on either side—and her upper-body was bound in a web-like harness of horizontal and diagonal strands from her waist to her shoulders, including her neck (loosely), and her gagged head! Oh-by-the-way, her pussy and butt-cheeks were tightly cleaved by strands that also linked the body-harness to the interwoven strands of the seat!
Gwen squirmed and struggled, but to no avail. As she watched, the last two free ends of rope she could see came together just below her rope-framed and slightly squeezed breasts, wove themselves together into a complicated braid, and fused. There were no actual knots anywhere on her body that Gwen could see. Her bondage was one taut, tight, well-cinched, flesh-dimpling, continuous rope that included the stool's lashings and its woven seat!
The origin of all the extra rope was hardly a mystery. It was magic.
Gwen glared at her hostess. "Mrrr!" Then, her eyes widened and she squealed through her gag. "Mrrrf!" The wrought-iron swing-arm that usually held the kettle over the fire had swiveled in her direction and locked. Next, hemp strands had sprouted from her ankle-bonds and tightened themselves around the arm and its hook! And at the same time, hemp strands had sprouted from behind her back, slithered and flown up and back until they found lashing points among the exposed rafters and nearby heavy furniture, then tightened!
Now, Gwen was perched on the stool and pinned firmly in place with her legs raised and fully extended. She was in zero danger of tipping over the stool and could neither lower her legs nor lean forward, back, or to the left or right. About all she could do was wiggle and writhe, twist her toe-bound feet, and glare at her captor. She did all three.
She did it again! Gwen silently fumed (but inwardly shivered with delight). She did me again! On the bright side, the predicament/game meant Nimue wasn't blaming her for the neighborhood's lack of enthusiasm for her soon-to-be-arriving human guests. On the dark side, Gwen actually had made plans for the afternoon, and after the scheduled pixie-mocking, the hobgoblins had invited her over to their warren for High Tea... and now she was gonna miss it! (Hobgoblins make delicious watercress, mushroom, and cucumber sandwiches, and who knew when she'd have an opportunity to taste them again?)
Maybe this will be a quick game, Gwen hoped.
"Now," Nimue purred, "as this is a real test, we'll have to see how long it takes for the spell to wear off."
Or not, Gwen sighed. She watched with resigned helplessness as Nimue gathered her scattered clothes, folded them neatly, and piled them atop her boots off to one side. Gwen knew that eventually, when no one was watching, they'd vanish and return, laundered and mended.
"Also for testing purposes," Nimue continued, "you'll need incentive to continue evaluating the spell's strength, so..." She made an arcane gesture towards the kitchen's writing desk... and six writing quills formerly resting in a pewter cup next to the inkwell lifted into the air... then flitted and drifted towards the hearth and the naked, bound, gagged, and increasingly alarmed (and aroused) Gwen!
Feathers one through four began tickling the soles of Gwen's toe-bound feet, while the fifth and sixth tickled her rope-framed and slightly squeezed breasts and erect nipples!
Nimue smiled and watched her naked, nubile, petite, bound and gagged fey friend squirm and shiver in distress. She wasn't fooled. Gwen was enjoying herself. Plans or no plans, the cute little elf was having a smashing good time. It was obvious, and this was far from Gwen's first experience with Nimue's unique sense of humor.
"Well... things to do," Nimue announced, spun in a swirl of black velvet, and strolled from the kitchen.
Naked, bound, gagged, and at the mercy of Nimue's quills, Gwen continued testing the spell.
|An Entanglement of Witches
|| Chapter 1
From her perch on the front-passenger seat of the 1930 Bentley 8 Litre, Hermione Granger gazed through the windscreen and down at the crush of traffic on the M4, approximately 200-feet below. Personally, she considered her conveyance to be more than a little ostentatious (if not pompous), but except for a handful of post-war Land Rovers, the Ministry of Magic's motor pool was stocked with nothing but antique sedans and limousines. All of them flew, were self-driving, and totally invisible to muggles (non-magical folk). That made them eminently useful as Ministry transportation when other forms of magical travel (like port-keys or apparation spells) were ill-advised.
In this particular case, the Bentley's destination was guarded by powerful warding spells, so it was far and away the best option.
Anyway, in Hermione's considered opinion, all the Ministry's beastly old clunkers should be phased out and replaced with modern sedans and SUVs. That way, they'd attract less attention if they happened to be damaged and their magic failed. To that effect, she'd submitted a long, formal suggestion (with detailed cost/benefit analysis attached, of course) to the appropriate Ministry office, one of more than a dozen formal suggestions she'd submitted since joining the Ministry. She had yet to receive a reply on any of them.
The upholstery of this particular Bentley was a tad worn, albeit far from shabby. Nonetheless, Hermione was a little embarrassed. After all, she was shepherding foreign visitors and one must keep up appearances. At least the usual musty smell was blessedly faint and had been easily masked with a discreet wave of her wand well before the start of the journey.
Hermione was dressed in a simple but elegant business ensemble: short black skirt, black jacket with gray collar trim, a collarless white blouse with a plunging neckline (which wasn't visible when the jacket was buttoned, like now), hose, and a pair of black high-heeled pumps. The suit was conservative and a solid statement of the wearer's competence and confidence. It also had the virtue of not being twenty to forty years out of fashion on the streets of muggle London, as was the case with most of the attire worn by Ministry staff (in Hermione's humble opinion).
Besides, Ron (Hermione's boyfriend) thought she looked sexy in one of her growing collection of smart business suits, and there was nothing wrong with that.
To complete what Ron teasingly called her "Ministry Costume," Hermione had a small MoM badge pinned to her lapel. It was charmed to appear to all muggles as a generic, understated, elegant brooch. At the same time, to witches and wizards, it emanated a glamour of authority if its wearer was on Official Assignment, as Hermione was now.
An Auror of the Ministry's Department of Magical Law Enforcement (albeit a newly minted, rookie, provisional Auror), Hermione's wand was discretely tucked in a special inside pocket of her jacket and ready for instant use. As she'd been trained, Hermione had several defensive spells mentally prepped and at the ready. And while some of her DoMLE superiors had made it clear that they considered Miss Granger a tad inexperienced for assignment as a protective detail of one, Hermione was more than an Auror.
Hermione also enjoyed a casual and only semi-official status as an "Asset" of the Minister's Office. Kingsley Shacklebolt himself (on infrequent occasions) had tasked Hermione with special tasks. Granted, so far they had all been minor special tasks, but as a result, the gossip around the Ministry water coolers was that Hermione Granger was being groomed for greater things.
That said, like all young wizards and witches recruited by the Ministry, Hermione knew she had to serve her time, gain experience, and establish a pattern of success.
Anyway, at the moment, Hermione was wearing both of her Ministry hats: (A.) she was an Auror (Provisional) on protective detail and; (B.) she was a Ministerial Asset escorting a pair of foreign visitors. To be precise, she was protecting and escorting the Americans Cassandra Nightingale and Sabrina Spellman.
Hermione turned and smiled at her charges, sitting side-by-side in the back seat.
Cassie was an old friend. She'd been Professor Nightingale and Hermione's Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher her final year at Hogwarts and was undeniably beautiful, charming, and absolutely brilliant, in every way!
There had been that unfortunate incident involving out-of-control magic, naked bondage, involuntary intimacy, and endless unwelcome orgasms, of course. It had ensnared (literally) Cassie, Hermione, Ginny Weasley (Hermione's best friend and Ron's sister), Luna Lovegood, and the Auror Ffion Tonks. But not to worry, Headmistress McGonagall had set things right.
[Author's note: see Hermione Granger and the Wrappity Wrope for all the juicy details (so to speak).]
Hermione still blushed at the memory, although Cassie had been very understanding and hadn't held any of what had happened against her students (so to speak).
Anyway, at the moment, Cassie was serving as a consultant for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), which was more-or-less the North American equivalent of the Ministry of Magic (not counting the Canadian MoM, the Mágico Congreso General de la República de México, and the various Native American, First Nations, and Indios councils, drum-circles, and conclaves of shamans).
Cassie was tall and exquisitely beautiful, and that wasn't just Hermione's opinion. Virtually every student at Hogwarts (male and female) had had at least some kind of crush on the fiercely intelligent, supremely knowledgeable, and stunningly gorgeous Dark Arts teacher with the sexy American accent. Also, Cassie practiced an exotic American style of wand-less magic! She cast spells and charms and infused potions without the use of a wand! Hermione had since learned that many if not most American wizards and witches actually do use some form of wand to focus their magic, but Hermione and her fellow students hadn't known that at the time and Cassie's lack of need for a wand had greatly enhanced her aura of pulchritudinous mystery.
And next to Cassie sat Sabrina Spellman, the reason for Cassie's return visit to the UK.
Hermione's knowledge of the situation was anything but comprehensive (much to her frustration), but it would seem Miss Spellman had been unfortunate enough to be raised in the so-called "Church of Night", an organization the MoM Home Office listed in its Codicil of Dark Foreign Cults. The "Church" was known to be thoroughly infiltrated and some said controlled by rogue demons, fey beings known to practice the Dark Arts. As an organization, it was tolerated but closely monitored by MACUSA, but was banned in the UK by the Ministry.
And recently, Sabrina had become the focus of special attention. Supposedly, the diminutive (1.57 m) and very attractive young blonde had displayed unexpected and inexplicably potent powers. And that was despite having had only a limited magical education and attending none of the accredited schools of magic like Ilvormorny, Castelobruxo, Mahoutokoro, Uagadou, Beauxbatons, or Durmstrang.
Unfortunately, during Hermione's pre-assignment briefing, the discussion of Sabrina's rumored powers had been vague and unspecific, and Hermione had since come to suspect the Ministry's full file on Sabrina Spellman might be equally sketchy. Did the MoM Foreign Office, Home Office, and especially the Office of the Minister know more than they were willing to share with an inexperienced Auror and Asset like Hermione Granger? Of course. She had been briefed on what her superiors thought she had a need to know, but Hermione wanted to know everything.
Hermione Granger always wanted to know everything.
Anyway, by all appearances, Sabrina was a courteous, well-spoken, and intelligent young lady. She'd been polite and even friendly from the moment Cassie and Sabrina stepped off their M-type (Magical) Concorde, entered Heathrow's Terminal 3¾, cleared MoM Customs, and Cassie introduced Sabrina to Hermione.
Was it all an act? Was Sabrina only pretending to be charismatic and charming while actually being a Dark Witch? Hermione didn't think so. Granted, Sabrina was clearly trying to cultivate the aura of being slightly edgy, but Hermione thought it was probably the usual teenage rebelliousness (and her being a Yank), not masked Darkness.
And Hermione had experience with wizards and witches who affected airs of Darkness. Her Slytherin classmates at Hogwarts had all worked very hard to present the appearance of malevolence and brooding evil, but in the end, most had revealed themselves to be no more Dark than students of the other houses. (They were all a bunch of bullying tossers, of course, but not Dark.) Granted, during the Second Wizarding War a few Slytherins had exposed themselves to be truly Dark, but others had proven to be nothing of the sort, like Draco Malfoy. Draco was now Hermione's friend (or at least not her enemy).
Hermione smiled brightly at the backseat passengers and cleared her throat. "Ahem. We'll be arriving at Ruspidge in approximately three quarters of an hour."
Cassie smiled back. "Have you ever been to the Green Wood, Hermione?"
Hermione shook her head "No, Professor, but the Ministry has extensive files on the subject. Some in the archives date back to the 12th century, and I've read everything for which I had the required clearance."
"Hermione Granger has done her due diligence," Cassie chuckled. "What a surprise."
Hermione blushed. It had been a sincere compliment without a trace of sarcasm. She shifted her smile to Sabrina. "There's tea in the thermos in front of you if you'd like."
Sabrina smiled back. "I'm more of a coffee drinker, but thanks." She turned to Cassie as she reached for the thermos in question and unbuckled its restraining strap. "Tea?"
"Thank you," Cassie said as Sabrina filled a cup and handed it to her compatriot.
Sabrina then filled a second cup and carefully handed the cup and saucer over the front seat to Hermione.
"Most kind," Hermione sighed, then took a sip. It was excellent English Breakfast Blend. (Or as excellent English Breakfast Blend as the Ministry ever managed. Reforming the Tea Blend Selection and Purchasing Contract had been the subject of another of Hermione's thoroughly researched and duly submitted formal suggestions.)
Hermione watched as Sabrina filled a third cup, gave its rim a casual but delicate tap with her right index finger, and the aroma of strong, dark coffee wafted to the front seat. Changing tea to coffee wasn't a particularly difficult spell, but was hardly something the average witch or wizard held primed and at the ready. As far as Hermione could tell, Sabrina hadn't even paused to recall the spell's mnemonic. And she didn't use a wand! Perhaps the little blond American really did have inexplicably potent powers!
Hermione turned to face the front, peered through the windscreen at the cheerful blue sky and fluffy white clouds, and took another sip of tea. What would happen when they entered the Green Wood? Was Sabrina Spellman actually... dangerous?
Hermione's lips curled in a self-deprecating, somewhat chagrined smile, unseen by the passengers in the back. Sabrina dangerous? she inwardly scoffed. Tosh! And with Cassie along, unless I manage to thoroughly cock up, this assignment can't possibly go to pot.
|An Entanglement of Witches
|| Chapter 1