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“Ugh, it burns,” Miriam made a face as she slopped another handful of the herbal salt scrub on her green-tinted skin.

“Be glad it’s only burning,” Adal snapped. “What were you thinking playing out in the forest? Mamere and Pavi said you promised you wouldna go!”

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Miriam grumbled. “Why don’t any of you ask Luken, huh? I wasn’t the only one in there.”

“That’s because he’s refusing to say anything without you,” Mamere said, stepping into the mudroom. “Adal, leave youR sister alone and give her some privacy to finish washing up. Honestly!”

“This is all her fault,” her twin muttered, ducking out of the room. “We were just settling in!”

“It’s no one’s fault, we would’ve been leaving anyway,” Mamere called after him. She shook her head and gathered her skirts up before stepping into the small room. “We would’ve been leaving soon anyway. There’s no work for us here,” she sighed. “Look at me, child.” She held out another bowl of oily herbed coarsely ground salt. “You must use all of it, or else the poison will linger in your blood.”

“I know, but it hurts,” Miriam bit her lip, tears pooling at the corners of her eyes. “I was honestly just helping, Mamere.”

“Shh. I know, I know,” her mother soothed. She dropped to a crouch and picked up the half-empty bowl. “Did you save it?”

Miriam’s head snapped up.

“The fairy sprite,” Mamere said, calmly, waiting for Miriam to finish shrugging out of her clothes. “Did you?”

Miriam nodded, slowly, well aware that she shouldn’t even reference such things when there was the slightest possibility of Pavi being around to hear.

Mamere’s beautiful smile was bittersweet in answer. “Good for you then,” she hummed. “Well done, daughter of mine.”

(c) Sara Harricharan 

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