Ralph had had plenty of time to think on the long journey home.
One thing was sure: he didn’t want to go back to the luxury apartment Yu Wong had rented for him. “Hello? Anyone here?”
Hearing voices that seemed to come from another part of the house, he decided to take a look behind the counter and the screen separating the shop from the private area. “Erm… I’m coming in, okay?” he uncertainly said to no one.
He found himself in a tiny room with a few heterogeneous objects. Apparently a dead end. There was no stairs, no door, only a large bookcase. But still he heard voices coming from somewhere. “Great… where is that old lunatic?”
Then the bookcase moved and the voices were clear enough. “Stop insisting, Pippa. That’s out of the question.”
Ms. Rosencrantz, looking miffed and paying no attention to him in the slightest, emerged from inside the bookcase, followed by a pleading teenager.
– Pleaaase! You know I can do it! I’ve proved it already!
– You haven’t proved anything, you haven’t even had a duel yet.
Ralph emitted a surprised gasp, drawing Ms. Rosencrantz’ attention to him at last. She beamed at him, welcoming a change of subject.
– Isn’t that my cutie little wolfie? Have you finally found yourself?
– I, huh… who’s the girl?
– Oh, that would be my apprentice, Pippa. Never mind her, she’s not even half a witch yet.
“That is so not true…” Pippa muttered under her breath.
– If you don’t mind, I’d like to speak with you alone.
– Oh honey, I’m very honored, but Pippa must know anything that happens around here. Saves me saliva you know? She’s my heiress, I’ve got to tell her everything I know anyway.
Then turning to Pippa: “See, dear? That’s typical supernatural behavior. Their whole life revolves around secrets and hiding things, so they’re always looking for privacy and solitude.” Ralph ruffled at this: “Why, thanks for the lesson in psychology.”
– So… he’s a supernatural?
– But of course, he’s a werewolf! You hadn’t even seen it, and yet you expect me to teach you my most complicated spells right away?!
“I swear, teenagers these days! We’ll go through some more theory tomorrow, I can tell you!”
“If you ever remember that I’m standing here, I’d be grateful for a chair. My feet ache like hell from all the walking.”
“Is there anything I can do for you? Do you have everything you need?”
– We’re good, Bonehilda. Don’t you have anything to dust? You have interrupted our guest’s very interesting story.
– Please accept my apologies, ma’am, sir.
– I’ll be feeding the snakes upstairs then, if that is alright.
– Sounds perfect, thank you.
– What the…?!
– I am very sorry to have caused you distress, sir.
– *sigh* Never mind. After what I went through, I wonder why I should be surprised at a talking skeleton.
“Going back to your question, dear… I’m sorry, but I do not know what or who it was that you met back then. Vampires do not teleport, nor could they break through a fairy’s barrier. It all sounds very strange to me. That he should kill without lifting a finger…”
– Maybe it was just a human, but with special weapons…?
– Didn’t look very human to me…
– Don’t be ridiculous, Pippa!
“Anyway, you know a witch’s first and foremost principle: help the right side but never take part. We’ll help you if we can, but we won’t get involved in your business.”
– You can sleep here tonight. But I think it’s quite useless trying to hide. Vampires all around town would have smelt you from miles away.
– Doesn’t matter. I just need a good night’s rest.
– But, erm… is she going to stay up around the house all night? To be honest, she’s giving me the creeps.
– Who, Bonehilda?
– Yes, ma’am?
– That’d be all for tonight! Back to your coffin, please!
– Yes, ma’am.
– See? She’s pretty tamed, no need to be scared.
– Whose crazy idea was it to get a skeleton as a maid?
– She is an undead, honey. Centuries of housework knowledge. The best maid ever.
– Got one last question.
– Yes, dear?
“That Nathaniel guy… do you happen to know his address?”