The Key

Photo by Everyday basics on Unsplash

You can read the story from the beginning here. This episode is in response to Writing Prompt Number 25

Mia forced herself past the library doors, down the stone floored corridor and into the White Hart. She was getting used to the world outside the library, but it was still a push to get out here. Once she was here and caught up in the whirlwind of the café, the shop and the candle workshop, she was fine. Just taking that step, however, could be tricky. Still, she’d made it and it was time to get ready for her shift with the candles.

The White Hart was quiet. It was early and a few tourists drifted between the knickknacks and shelves of herbs. Mrs Tuesday was polishing the counter while Lady Freydis was in deep discussion with Cyan.

“I’m just not there and I can’t work out the final touch.” Lady Freydis tapped the stack of books.

“Could you get someone to copy all the books?” Cyan asked. “Not copy the words but make those picture copies that come out on paper.” She looked around and smiled at Mia. “Can you make picture copies on paper?”

Mia looked blankly at her before the penny dropped. “You mean that you’d like me to scan the books and then print them out?” she said. “If I ask Noah, he can probably enlarge the text.”

“Of course!” Lady Freydis exclaimed. “Noah is a specialist on things. Where is he?”

“I’ll go and fetch him,” Mia said.

Lady Freydis held up an imperious finger. “You should style your hair first. How is Noah going to know that you’re attracted to him?”

Mia flushed scarlet. “What?

“I’ve got some products in my bag,” Cyan said. She caught Lady Freydis’ disbelieving glance. “I sometimes help people with styling.”

Mia took in Cyan’s dramatic black dress, outrageous heels and dramatic lipstick. “I go for a subtle look,” she said carefully.

“Don’t worry,” Cyan waved a dismissive hand. “I don’t impose a style. I merely coax out the inner beauty.”

“She really does,” Lady Freydis added. “And you want Noah to see that.”

Mia felt a shiver of unease. “Noah has just left a relationship,” she said. “And from the little that I heard, it was awful. He’s not ready to date.”

“Nonsense,” Lady Freydis said, watching Cyan rummaging through her bag. “But you must tell Noah that he needs to do the things with the books.”

“You mean, he needs to scan and print all the pages which have writing?” Mia said, backing away from Cyan.

Cyan looked at her with determination and a hairbrush in her hand. “It’s all things, like Noah’s magic.”

“It’s not magic,” Mia said. “Honestly, I’m fine how I am.”

“It’s magic,” Lady Freydis said flatly. “Things happen that are beyond understanding. I mean, can you explain how a scan works?”

Mia opened her mouth, considered her faint knowledge about printing and thought again. “It’s science and follows a logical pattern using electricity,” she said.

“I’ve heard you swearing at the printer,” Lady Freydis said smugly. “And Noah can change the till roll on the first attempt.”

“You have to admit, that’s a type of sorcery at least,” Mrs Tuesday said, coming up behind them.

“And magic is about following a series of steps and using power,” Cyan said. “It’s just different powers. Now sit down and let me style your hair.”

“Then you can look pretty when you go and ask Noah to make the words look bigger,” Lady Freydis said. “That will be the key.”

Mrs Tuesday looked at Lady Freydis with suspicion. “The key to what?” she asked.

Lady Freydis smiled sweetly. “Look at the time, the shop should be opening any moment and a coach party will be due in thirty five minutes.”

“I’ll use some magic,” Cyan said, gesturing at Mia’s hair. “There, that’s much better. Now run up and fetch Noah for his magic.”

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