Despite the fact that potions bored her to tears and she hated doing them, the simple base mixture her mother set her to make would have been fine if the cat hadn't knocked the jar off the shelf. That's the way bad things often happened, Serena thought as she saw the jar of feathers tip and the contents land in the pot below.
"Buffy!" Serena yelled in frustration, startling her familiar -- the second mistake.
The cat leapt up with tail fluffed and ears back . . . and landed in the potion as well. The cat flailed, the pot tipped over and the potion flew everywhere. Serena threw herself on the floor and began trying to come up with a chant to counter --
Too late. The cat flew over the top of her. Literally flew, with two wide wings spread as she swooped and spun in the air, clearly delighted.
And everything the potion touched grew wings and took to the air as well; the table, the rug, the mice who had been watching from the corner of the room. Startled and worried, Serena stood up to try and gather things --
And began flying. She hit her head on the ceiling before she realized what was happening.
"Really," her familiar said with a shake of her head. "You humans are so helpless."
"Look at this mess, Buffy! Look what you did!"
"You shouldn't have yelled. I was just adding a little -- ack!" The cat dove downward as four mice dive-bombed her.
"We are so in trouble with mom," Serena sighed as she tried to catch a vase heading for the window.
Buffy was probably the worst familiar ever. Maybe she should have chosen the bunny or something that didn't climb up on shelves, like a rock. A rock would have made a better familiar.
She grabbed a couple of the mice who were tormenting the panicked cat and shoved them under an overturned basket amid the flower that dumped out. She got to the window before too many things had escaped, but they were certain to draw attention, circling around the cottage like that. Neighbors would talk. Word would get to mom before she could even think of a way to fix this mess.
If there was a fix. Where had the other two mice gone?
Sernea weighed down everything she could and was sitting on the table when her mother arrived, rushing into the room --
"What in the name of all the Goddesses is going on now?" she demanded, looking more frantic than Serena had expected.
"Potion -- Buffy -- jar of feathers," Serena gasped, pushing down on the table while the cat soared overhead trying to nab the rug.
"No time for this! A small boat was chased by raiders and ran aground on the rocks at the bay. We need something to save them! I don't know what magic --"
"Table!" Serena shouted. "Flying table and rug!"
Her mother stopped, looked at the table with surprise and gave a nod.
"Climb on and hold it down while I get some rope so I can tie the rug in place and lead them," Serena said. "We may have to blow out part of the front of the house, though."
"Do it," her mother said with a nod. "Buffy, come sit with me."
"Yes, ma'am," the cat sighed and landed on the table. No one argued with Serena's mother.
Before long, Serena got the table and rug harnessed, but even so it was getting dark by the time they left through the new big door out of the house and started down the hill towards the distant bay. Her mother held tight to the table and didn't seem to enjoy flying nearly as much as Serena and Buffy did.
Serena led them to the shore where they could see people with torches lighting the waves. The dangerous rocks were at the edges of the bay to the right and left, but it was too dark to see where the craft might be.
So they had to land. That startled people, but they soon realized that a flying table and rug -- and even a flying cat and witch-child -- might be handy.
"They were on the rocks to the right, but we fear the tide came in and moved them somewhat," Mayor Dirk said with a wave of his pudgy arms. "A couple fishermen have gone out, but I don't think they'll have much luck rowing against the tide."
"I can see them," Buffy said. She didn't normally talk around others and they all leapt back. "Cat eyesight is better. Get the rope, Serena. Let's go."
So they went, her mother holding tight to the table as they soared out over the water. Buffy was right; they found the craft without any trouble. Buffy grabbed a couple kittens from the mast, Serena took the mother cat and her mother began loading the sailors onto the table and rug. It took a couple flights to rescue them all, but soon they were gathered up in the Townhall, the sailors grateful to be alive.
"You were very helpful, Buffy," mom said to the cat. "Why? It's not your nature."
"I like the wings," the cat admitted and fluttered them a bit. "I figured if I proved useful, you might let me keep them."
"Hmmm," she said and looked the cat over. "It might be good to have something intelligent that can help guard the bay. The little boat was run to ground by raiders. They are getting more daring."
"We need warning if they are coming," Mayor Dirk added coming up beside them.
Her mother nodded and looked the two over. "I think the wings can stay, as long as you both promise to be careful."
"Oh yes, we will!" Serena promised, amazed at the turn of events.
"Well, it will certainly be safer than having you work with potions," her mother admitted.
Serena nodded agreement. She did not mention the flying mice.
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