The Deadly Dressmaker

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Chapter Sixteen

“Someone’s gonna pay for this!” The Imp snapped as he glared after the Dwarf.

“Don’t push your luck, Drullian.” Aryssa flicked her wand and Szac sailed through the air to land back in his chair with a thump. “I’ll repair the damage before I leave.”

“Why do you keep that rock muncher around? He can’t be good for your image.” Drullian said.

The Fairy Godmother bristled and cooly responded.

“Irk is an old friend who has proven himself time and again and I’ll thank you to hold your tongue.”

“Alright, Godmother, alright, don’t get your knickers in a twist. I just thought it was because he’s sweet on ya.”

Aryssa blinked. Irk had feelings for her? That wasn’t possible. Serving the Fairy Godmother of the realm was an honor and a duty the Dwarf took very seriously. It was a way for Irk to continue serving king and country after retiring from the force. Aryssa shook her head, the Imp was stalling. She smiled at him.

“Speaking of, you must’ve been pleased as punch to escort the beautiful Rose Fairy Honeypetal to the Queen’s Ball. Did you enjoy it?”

“No. I don’t know why some people place so much stock in events like that. They’re so pompous and dull but cousin Merry asked me to do it and Father always said kissing the ass of Mother’s side of the family makes her happy. Oh, pardon the language, Godmother.” Szac chuckled and stretched, placing his hands behind his head and looking up at the ceiling. “Nope, give me a good rousing bash at the pub with a tankard of frothy brew in my hand and a buxom wench on my lap any day!”

Aryssa frowned. “Merrypuff asked you to take Honeypetal to the ball?”

“When she came for the cat toy. She absolutely hates Honeypetal, did you know? After spending a few hours with the Fae I can see why. She may be easy on the eyes but the vitriol that falls out of that wench’s mouth.” Drullian shook his head, a look of disgust on his face. “It isn’t what you expect from a lady. That’s probably why she couldn’t find an escort to the ball herself. Well, that and the smell.”


“Merrypuff said there was an accident in the lab during the creation of a new perfume and Honeypetal was covered in it. She was hard-pressed to find anyone to take her to the ball and would rather die than appear alone so Merrypuff asked me to escort her. Of course, the pretty lady was absolutely mortified when I arrived.” Drullian shrugged. “I guess beggars can be choosers.”

Aryssa opened her mouth but the Imp laughed.

“Ugh, such a pong it was! Like a cross between good cheese and hot refuse with a twist of lemon. Of course, Honeypetal slathered herself in perfume but that just seemed to make it worse. I tell you, I was glad to see the back of her at the end of the night, even if she wasn’t on all fours-”

“Yes, thank you, Drullian.” Aryssa held her hands up and rose from her seat. “I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. I’ll see myself out.”

Drullian gave her a wave that was part salute. “Any time, Godmother, just as long as I don’t get carted off for the princess’ murder. That had nothing to do with me. Incidentally, I don’t think Ravenshade did it either. I’m glad you decided to help her out, she’s good people.”

Aryssa smiled and gave him a nod before leaving. She chuckled to herself as she boarded her carriage. Of all the things she’d ever heard said about the Dark Fairy, good people was never one of them.

Aryssa returned to find the detective agency in absolute chaos with everything colored a green-gold tint. Tracker the Wolf gripped a wriggling coat rack that strained against him in his teeth, snapping it in half. The pieces leapt off the ground and came at him again. Pepper perched on a window sill swinging the business end of a broom like a broadsword at a slew of papers and folders that swirled, flapped, and dove at her. Arbo rode around the disheveled room on a desk that bucked like a wild horse. Aryssa gritted her teeth as she drew her wand. She tapped the wall five times, twirled the wand high above her head, and cried,

Supreseos liberterum,

diviasi forfend

This mayhem will now come to an end!

At once everything froze and the tint lifted from the room, traveling to the Fairy Godmother’s wand in a green-gold swirl as everything in the room settled back into its natural stationary state. Aryssa gripped her wand which trembled against the power it contained as she crossed to sit at her desk. She opened an impossibly deep drawer and took out a vial, which she then uncorked with one hand. Struggling with the wand a moment, Aryssa managed to tap the end against the lip of the vial and said, “Liberius.”

The wand gave a final heave and the shimmering swirl poured into the vial which Aryssa recorked. She sat back in her chair, wiping her forehead with her sleeve as she surveyed the room. The coat rack was in tatters and the desk Arbo now slid off was missing a leg. The papers Pepper had done battle with now drifted softly to the floor. Aryssa breathed a sigh of relief. The damage was minimal and no one appeared to be hurt.

“How did this happen?” She asked.

“I don’t know.” Pepper replied. “As soon as I opened the door this morning everything went crazy. I screamed and Tracker and Arbo tried to help but it only got worse.”

The girl trembled and Romulus was by her side in a shot. Draped in the remnants of a curtain, he pulled her into his arms. He began whispering to her as he rocked her gently. Aryssa smiled to herself. If she didn’t know better, she’d swear the Wolf was softening.

“This was Hazelbite’s handy work.” The Fairy Godmother said waving the vial before them. “I was able to capture the essence of the spell before it could dissipate.”

“Mystic Hazelbite?” Pepper gasped. “But why?”

“To put a scare into us, warn us off the case. Last night I confirmed Merrypuff commissioned her cousin to make a cat toy in the shape of a spindle.”Aryssa said.

“And in return, the Fairy wrangled a date to the ball with Honeypetal for him.” Tracker cut in.

“No. Apparently, Merrypuff asked him to escort Honeypetal to the ball because she couldn’t find anyone else to take her. Of course, her reaction when he arrived tells me the Beryl Fairy was playing some sort of trick on one or both of them.”

“I find it hard to believe Honeypetal couldn’t find a man willing to take her to the ball. She’s so beautiful!” Pepper said.

“There’s more to a maid than mere beauty, pet.” Tracker said. “Rumor has it the lass’ tongue has more venom than a viper’s bite.”

“There’s something else. I saw his other work and there’s no way the toy he made would give the princess a paper cut let alone kill her.” Aryssa said. “Pepper, you were unable to actually touch the spindle when you saw it?”

Pepper bit her lip and shook her head. “I didn’t dare touch it, Godmother. I didn’t want to risk jeopardizing the case by interfering with the evidence.”

“Good girl, Pepper, that was good thinking.” Aryssa smiled. “Unfortunately that doesn’t really help us right now.”

“What are you finkin’, Godmother?” Arbo asked.

“I believe Princess Primrose was lured into the woods and the cat toy Merrypuff received was enchanted to attack and kill her much as the items in this office were enchanted to attack us. Except it isn’t Princess Primrose.”

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