Spelled by Betsy Schow

Book: Spelled by Betsy Schow Read Free Book Online
Authors: Betsy Schow
wrong. Perhaps it was an honest mistake and the Bumpkins had really been trying to help. Then I remembered the look of knowing and retribution that Moony had given me—and how easily the queen had given me directions, even though I was trying to squish her children. What were her words again? Black Crow will take care of you.
    Yep, she was sure taking care of me all right.
    â€œHow could I be so stupid? She probably pixie dusted the pie.”
    I thrashed around on the bed to get myself up.
    Now what? The shushing came from the sitting room off to the side of the bedroom. Trying to get a peek proved a little harder than I thought, considering I was trussed up like a solstice day game hen.
    Kato looked so calm, sitting there all nice and comfy next to a glass armoire filled with potions. A large, plush pet bed lay next to his clawed feet. Where were his manacles? If Black Crow left him free, she must have thought she could trust him. I couldn’t help but notice he had a new fashion accessory—a hot-pink rhinestone collar.
    â€œTraitor,” I spat in disgust. “I was beginning to think that maybe you weren’t so bad. But no, she feeds you and now you’re her pet?”
    Kato huffed and repositioned himself. “Can you for once go beyond the obvious? Look…” He used his tail to bat one of the yarn balls that Crow had so thoughtfully provided for him. It flew toward me and hit an unseen barrier. Vaporized on contact.
    Huh. So he was a prisoner just like me.
    â€œSorry,” I muttered. “But what was I supposed to think?” I hated being wrong—and yet lately, it happened so often. “In my defense, you are wearing a very nice collar with a medal hanging down.” Hopefully it said something stupid, like Fluffy or Spot. Would serve him right for taking on such a superior tone of voice with me again.
    Wait a minute.
    I raised myself up as high as I could to take a good look at Kato. “You talked just now. Am I still dusted?”
    â€œYes, so go back to sleep.” His voice had a deep, gruff quality, but even as an animal, he sounded condescending.
    I liked him better when he couldn’t talk.
    â€œYou know, for supposedly being a prince, you really lack a sense of finesse. Both your words and tail use force to get what you want. Maybe if you had tried a softer approach from the start, we wouldn’t be here now.”
    â€œYes, things would be different if only I’d given you poetry and a mountain of shoes.” Kato did a very un-chimeralike eye roll. Then again, maybe chimeras did eye rolls all the time. How should I know? “In my domain, being soft will get you killed. Subjects respond to strength, not fine clothes and false pretty words.”
    â€œThey also respond well to someone who bathes regularly,” I muttered, then, louder, “How come you can talk now? Was it something in the pie?”
    His tailed twitched and thumped against the glass case, rattling and clinking the potions together. “More than likely it was something in your wish that kept me from speaking until the spell matured.”
    â€œWell, now that you’ve mattered ”— I tried to match his high and mighty tone—“maybe we can figure out a way to break that barrier.” I had a little experience with that sort of thing, though the dragon at the Emerald palace was not only prettier but much less violent than Crow’s see-through vaporizer.
    â€œDon’t worry. I already have a plan.” He put his head down and gnawed on something.
    I tried to straighten my back and crane my neck just enough to see what the spell Kato was doing. “That’s great. I don’t suppose you’d mind filling me in on said plan? Are you going to chew your way out? Or smack open a wall with your tail?”
    â€œI said…don’t worry about it. I don’t need anyone else’s help. I’ve

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