“I didn’t say anything of the kind,” replied Zurfina calmly.
“I know a fylfot when I see one!”
“Don’t be so defensive, Pet. I didn’t say I didn’t believe you. I merely pointed out that I have been all over this town in the past few weeks and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of this wizard of yours.”
“Well I saw him. I’ve been keeping tabs on him since he got here and I even talked to him.”
“I don’t doubt you,” said Zurfina, in a remarkably soothing voice, “but the level of residual magic around town is no more than I would expect from you and your everyday antics.”
“Are you sure you didn’t miss some?”
“Now who’s being insulting?” The sorceress’s voice suddenly flared louder. “If I didn’t detect it, it wasn’t there.”
“Hmph!” said Senta, and crossing her arms, turned to face the door.
Zurfina sighed. “Children are so difficult. Is it any wonder that I never wanted one of my own?”
“Maybe you should just get rid of me like everybody else does,” said Senta quietly.
Zurfina crossed from the kitchen to the other side of the stairs and put an arm around Senta’s shoulders.
“You’re far too interesting for me to get rid of now. Look, this wizard of yours is obviously far too insignificant for me to concern myself with. You’ll have to take care of him.”
“Me? I’m just a little kid.”
“You know something?” said Zurfina, taking her arm from around Senta and grasping her by the shoulders. “Nobody believes that—least of all me. There’s not a journeyman wizard this side of Xygia who can do what you can do with magic.”
“Would I lie to you?”
“Of course you would.”
“Well…” Zurfina shrugged. “Keep an eye on your wizard, and if he turns out to be a threat to us, neutralize him.”
“What if you’re wrong and he magics the crap out of me?” wondered Senta.
“Then I’ll know better with my next apprentice,” replied Zurfina. “Do you want a sandwich?”
Zurfina waved her finger in the air and, as the contents of the froredor began to fly out to the table and assemble themselves into sandwiches, she started up the stairs.
“Bring my meal up to the top floor. Leave it on the step outside the door. Don’t come in.”
“I haven’t forgotten,” said Senta, watching mayonnaise being spread across a freshly cut piece of bread.