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Lucian steps back. “Oh, fuck–”
An ethereal green glow starts to rise from the plants and trees all around them.
“Who dares trespass?” a low voice rumbles through the mist.
Solanus is silent.
A hazy green figure rises from the creek in front of them, and Isla is only just able to make out the outline of a wide-brimmed hat. The figure shifts and shimmers until it resolves into something clearly person-shaped.
“More of you?” it, or he, asks. “How many times will it take for you to leave me alone!?”
The next morning, Isla wakes up for the second time to the sound of the door opening.
“Hey,” Lucian says. “I’m back. Did you sleep okay?”
Isla thinks about nightmares of witches and glowing red eyes in the dark. “It was fine,” she says. “Did you learn anything?”
They make landfall in a small harbor town right around sunset. Lucian pulls the sails down while Isla takes some deep breaths and tries–without much success–to not feel ill from the long boat ride. Lucian pats her on the back.
“You aren’t seasick?” Isla asks.
“I don’t get much of anything, anymore,” Lucian says. She runs her hands across the boat’s side, glowing artifice marks trailing behind them, then pulls up a leather cord. “You might want to look away for a second,” she says.
Lucian yanks the cord, and there’s a blinding flash. Isla blinks, and when her vision clears, the boat is gone. There’s nothing left but a small wooden box about the size of a fist dangling from a leather thong around Lucian’s wrist.
Isla opens her mouth, then closes it. “That was magic,” she hisses. “What if someone saw you?”