Three days come and go and soon the girls are home from their next adventure, excited to be back so they can tell their friend Lennie, who sadly couldn’t go with them, all about the new town they went to and about the items they bought. As the wagon drives past Morlock’s home, Tanya peers out to see that once again the man is standing in front of his front window, waiting for her return. Stacy sees Tanya looking out at someone and joins her at the back of the wagon to see who it is too. Tanya forces a smile on her face and waves at Morlock, who waves back. Stacy waves too once she sees Morlock and that Tanya is waving at him. She then picks up the bag of items Tanya has bought and points at it before pointing towards Tanya then points at Morlock to tell him that Tanya has bought him something from their trip as well. Morlock goes to the door and opens it, raising his eyebrows, not having expected Tanya having bought anything for him, only having expected the unicorn horn.
“Meet us in the meadow in about an hour, Morlock. We are going to meet there with the others so that Tanya and I can give out some gifts we found for you all,” Stacy yells at Morlock over the loud sounds of the swaying wagon and horse hooves pounding into the dirt road.
Morlock is taken by surprise by this but catches himself before he gives himself away to Stacy and nods, “All right, I’ll be there in an hour.” He waves again and closes the door behind him, leaning back against it as he catches his breath. Tanya had bought him something from her trip. She hadn’t done that from her last trip, so why did she on this trip?
Tanya looks at Stacy, shivering inwardly at the thought of having Morlock and Mark near one another. “I didn’t know you were going to invite Morlock to our gathering in the meadow, Stacy.”
Stacy shrugs, “Well you did find a few items for the guy so I thought you can just give them to him in the meadow while we are all around so things don’t get too weird, you know what I mean? Yes, I know he said he is okay with you and Mark being together and all but I still think he is secretly pining for you behind closed doors and so don’t want you going over there by yourself.” Stacy puts her bags on her back as the wagon begins to slow. “Time to unpack. I will see you in the meadow in an hour. I can’t wait to get some clean clothes on and wash these dirty ones,” she says as she pats the bag she took with her on the trip. The wagon stops in front of her house and she hops out, waving to Tanya and to the others before she runs inside to find her parents.
Tanya sits back in the wagon until they have stopped again, this time outside their house. As soon as the wagon has stopped, Tanya grabs her bags and she hops out. She goes inside to find their mother sitting in a chair with a book in hand, and her eyes moving as she reads the page she is on a small smile on her face. Tanya walks over to her mother, glancing over her shoulder at what she is reading then gives her a quick kiss, startling her.
Her mother jumps, nearly dropping her book on the floor, and glare up at her, “Tanya!”
Tanya laughs and she heads into her room, carrying her bags with her, shutting the door so that she can start unpacking and undressing since her clothes are caked in mud and grass from having walked through some tall wet grass along the way. She strips out of her dirty clothes and places all of them, including the black dress that has blood stains and rips on them, in a pile beside the door so that she can clean them right away. Once they are dry, she will mend any of them that will need it. She unpacks the materials she has bought on her trip. She pulls out a dress to put on so she can wash her clothes, which she picks up and heads out of her room to where she can wash the clothes and hang them outside on the line to dry. As she washes, she can hear her father and friends taking their horses to their stables so that they can eat and rest.
With the clothes on the line, dripping wet, Tanya goes inside in order to use the washroom before she has to meet her friends and Morlock in the meadow. She is looking forward to seeing her friends but to see Morlock? She hates having to pretend to be nice to the man but she has to keep the lie up so that her family isn’t affected by the curse. A few minutes before she has to meet the others, she collects the special bag for Morlock and the bag with the other few trinkets she found that she knew that her friends would love. She walks out, kissing her mother and father, and quickly leaves when she hears her father begin to tell her mother the big one that got away while on the trip.
She enters the meadow and sees Mark, Sid, and Dan goofing off, tackling each other and laughing while Lennie and Stacy head towards the boys just a few feet in front of her. She is about to call for them when she hears a voice behind her calling her name. She turns to see Morlock striding towards her, his hand outstretched for the extra bag that she holds in her left hand. Without hesitation, she hands it to him, watching as he makes it vanish inside one of his pockets, even though the pocket is smaller than the bag. He nods to her then walks alongside her, the two making small talk as if they have always been friends, though it is a strain to talk to one another. Once they walk closer to the others, they do their best to joke around and be more natural. They join the group and sit down in the flowers, listening to Tanya and Stacy talk about the trails they hiked, the shops they shopped at, and the new people they have met. The group makes plans to return to the town later that year when they have enough money and things to trade. Stacy and Tanya begin to hand out the trinkets that they have found for each person. The others thank the girls for their gifts and they make plans to meet up for dinner at the waterfall that night. Tanya turns to Morlock after Stacy hands him a small owl pin and pulls out a ring with a snake and a ruby for eyes that she instantly thought he would like.
She smiles at him, “This screamed Morlock when I saw it.” She places it into his hand, and the ruby eyes gleam as it touches his skin.
His eyes widen and he smirks, “Wow, I think you might have actually found a ring that I can use with my magic.” He chuckles and slips it ono his middle finger of his left hand but it didn’t fit so he placed it on his ring finger. He nods then looks at her but doesn’t say what he is thinking, Tanya, looking down because she knows what he is going to say about the ring being a promise ring. “You might have the knack of finding magical items, Tanya. I might have to borrow you on my own travels to find more magical items.”
Hours later, they all return to the meadow with baskets and blankets in hand and head for the waterfall as the sun begins to set. The group stands beside the flowing water, watching the sun slowly sink down and the stars begin to lighten up the sky. Fireflies dance around them as they set up for the dinner under the stars, Morlock making sure that he sits as close to Tanya as he can without looking suspicious to Mark or her other friends. Tanya enjoys the night with her friends since soon she will have to disappear to finish the second to last task before the hardest task. She watches each friend as they talk or eat, memorizing what they look like and sound like in case her last minutes are when she confronts the dragon, she can return to that moment so she can be at peace before she dies. She even finds herself memorizing Morlock; his crazy hair, his voice, his laugh. She didn’t know why but she had to remember him too. The dinner comes to an end and she walks alongside Mark, hand in hand, though it does cause some pain as her new injuries haven’t started to heal just yet, even with the help of the cream. She can feel Morlock’s eyes on her all the way back to their village but she ignores it, not wanting to look behind her to see his glare.
She says her goodnights to her friends and kisses Mark before she walks towards her front door. But before she can enter, Morlock gently touches her arm and faces her to him. He leans in close and sighs heavily, “I will cast a spell that will make everyone think that they see and talk to you while you are gone getting the last thing that I have actually always wanted. I think a baby dragon will make a wonderful pet, don’t you?” He smiles and turns on his heel, heading off towards his house, the ring she gave him glinting in the moonlight dangerously.
Tanya lays in bed that night, thinking about what he has said about the spell he will put on her village in order to make them believe that she is still there. She hopes that it works but for now she knows that she needs her strength and rest since the journey ahead will be a tough one. She has to travel to a place that is forbidden called the Fire Mountains, a sacred place where dragons live in peace and harmony. She wonders if they can talk like the unicorns so she can tell them about the curse and maybe they can help her, like give her a dud egg or something. She closes her eyes to sleep, hoping for good dreams this time around not the nightmares that keep plaguing her.
Morlock stands in front of his book in his basement lair, flipping through the spells in order to find the right one. Even though he said he wouldn’t help her, he knew that there would be panic and he wouldn’t get the egg since they would try and find her. So here he is burning the midnight oil as he searches for the right spell to unleash on the village to mask the disappearance of Tanya for a couple of days. He glances down at the ring she had bought for him and smiles, knowing that the ring is home with its master so to speak as it is indeed a magical item. He had researched it when he got home and found that it had belonged to a wizard from the North who did many great things and many deadly things with his magic, someone whom Morlock can look up to and strive to be like. He turns his attention back to the book, still flipping through until he finds what he is looking for, grinning at the spell. He will need to do a little shopping for a few items tomorrow but he feels good that he has found it. He writes down the items that he doesn’t have and will need to shop for before he heads upstairs to try and sleep.