“What?” Everyone cried in unison.
“Tracker, you said that something wasn’t right about the crime scene and you were right. I checked those samples Irk collected and did some research of my own. It’s ancient magic that I’d only heard about in my girlhood training. The body in the morgue is a Faecka, a magical double used in place of a human being stolen away to the realm of Fae. It happened often in the early times when our worlds were much more separate and many branches of Fae were still wild. Faecka were typically used for mischief or acts of revenge but in this case, I believe it was used to protect the princess from Hazelbite.”
“That would explain the lack of footprints at the crime scene.” Tracker said thoughtfully as he slipped his shirt on. “But why would Hazelbite kill the princess? I thought it was her job to protect and serve the royal family.”
“Unless Mystic Hazelbite isn’t the killer but learned of the plot in time to save her.” Pepper mused.
“Hazelbite might not have tried to kill the princess herself but I believe she is covering for whoever was,” Aryssa said.
“Like who?” Tracker asked.
Like Queen Saskia, Aryssa thought suddenly. She had to take care and do some checking before she made such an accusation aloud but everything slid into place. The realization sent a jolt through the Fairy Godmother.
“And if the princess is still alive, where is she?” Pepper asked.
Aryssa said. “That is what I intend to find out. By allowing harm to come to the princess, Mystic Hazelbite failed in her duty to the crown. I want to know where she was at the time of the attack and who enchanted that spindle.”
“Wouldn’t the police have already asked those questions?” Pepper asked.
Arbo shook his head. “Humans are either far too frightened or in awe of the chuffin’ Mystic to dare ask such probin’ questions.”
“The position of Royal Mystic is granted by the Council of Exalted. It might not even have occurred to them to ask though I imagine she will have to answer to them sooner or later.” Tracker added.
A blast of heralding trumpets sounded in the streets causing everyone to jump. The front door slammed open and Irk rushed in looking more frazzled than Aryssa could ever remember.
“Godmother, Prince Logan of Silvermire has just entered the toon and is making his way to the palace.” He gasped.
Aryssa groaned. “Then Ravenshade’s time is at hand.”
“Oh no, what do we do?” Pepper cried.
Aryssa thought a moment then clapped her hands together.
“Alright, nobody panic. Here’s what we do.”
She drew some parchment from her desk and scribbled on it with a quill. She handed it to Arbo saying,
“Arbo, take this to the prince but let no one see you. Wait for him behind the Witching Flour in an hour and bring him back here.”
Arbo took the parchment and checked both sides. “It’s blank.”
“The missive is for Prince Logan’s eyes only.”
Arbo nodded with a grin and charged out the door.
Aryssa turned to her eager assistant.
“Pepper, go to your father and tell him all that’s happened here. Have him meet me at the mouth of Taergoria Wood with reinforcements. Tell him Ravenshade isn’t our killer but I know who is. Tracker, you go with her.”
“Right!” Pepper turned to run but stalled and looked back at her, the color draining from her face. “You know about my father?”
Aryssa crossed her arms and gave her the most disapproving look she could muster. “The Detective Chief Inspector and I had a nice little chat about you. You and I will also be having a chat once all this is over.”
“Then I’m not fired?”
“Not yet. Go to the constabulary, quickly now!”
Pepper beamed and rushed out the door. Tracker exchanged grins with his boss before following. Aryssa chuckled in spite of herself. The young woman had promise but definitely needed a firm hand to guide her.
“Irk, keep an eye on Arbo and the prince. It is imperative they reach this office by the time I return.”
“I think I should come with ye, Godmother.”
“Nonsense Irk, this is far more important.”
“I dunna like the idea of ye facing aff with the Royal Mystic alone.”
Aryssa bit back a smile, touched by his concern despite the fact he was surely still angry with her for dismissing him at Szac Druillian’s house.
“I appreciate your concern, Irk, but I didn’t become the youngest Fairy Godmother in history without having a few tricks up my sleeve.” She told him.
Irk growled but nodded before walking out.
Turning to her desk, Aryssa reached into her bottomless drawer and pulled out a large dark blue cloak that shimmered like the night sky. She had a quick call to make on the Department of Divine Justice before making the delivery. Then it would be time for the Fairy Godmother to make an official appearance.