As I listened to my Seeming lay out the story of how bad her day had gone, and how much worse it was likely to get, I had to shake my head in disbelief. There was, apparently, no version of me that didn’t have an absolute knack for getting into terrible trouble.
“So we’re not faced with a lot of spectacular options here,” my Seeming said.
“What about just getting out of there?” I asked.
“That only works if we’re willing to let a bunch of our classmates get turned into monster chow,” my Seeming said.
“I’m not a fan of that, but I’m not a fan of you getting munched either,” I said.
“That may not be required,” Brooks said. “Does your Seeming have a mirror handy?”
“Yeah, Betty has one in her bag she says.” my Seeming said.
“Good then come stand over here and have your Seeming look into her mirror,” Brooks said as he directed me over to a looking glass that was setup on the floor and covered with a sheet.
Brooks stepped away from the mirror and pulled the sheet off so that I could look into it. On the opposite side of the glass, I saw my Seeming, dressed differently than I was and looking roughly about as bad as I felt after being swallowed by a giant frog, spending a few hours in jail and then running for my life.
“Wow, it is nice to actually see you again,” my Seeming said. “You had me kind of worried there.”
“Fair’s fair I guess, you’ve got me kind of worried now,” I said.
“I’ll be fine,” my Seeming said. “I’ve got some new friends to help me.”
In the background I saw a tall Asian girl with features that had a subtly wolf-ish cast to them and a small girl who looked nothing like a human at all, though her eyes had a friendly gleam in them.
“Speaking as one of your old friends, I think you all need to be careful”, Rosie said as she floated beside me on Sweepy’s repaired broom handle.
“I think we can only manage to be ‘kind of safe’ in this case,” my Seeming said. “Hopefully that will be enough though.”
“I’d feel better if I could be there to help,” I said.
“I could do that,” September said. “If you think it would be right?”
“You can get to her?” I asked him.
“Yes, if it’s ok?” he asked.
“Sure! You might be able to get into places or scout for them that the others can’t,” I said.
September nodded to me, licked the side of my face, and then hopped down from my shoulder and walked easily through the mirror like it was an opening in the air with no power to separate him from the other side. He went a little fuzzy as he passed through the glass but once he got to the other side completely he returned to looking normal. A moment later he made a quick bound and then settled in on my Seeming’s shoulder and began to groom his ears.
“The familiar is not the only one who can aid in this quest,” Wolf said.
“You can help them too?” I asked.
“I am of the mirror realm now,” Wolf said. “I can travel back there if I so choose.”
“Ok, do you so choose?” I asked.
“What will you offer me for this service?” Wolf asked.
I tried to think about what I had to give. It wasn’t much. Since that was a dead end I tried to think of what Wolf might want. He was a sapient piece of mirror. A spirit given a frightening form and a crippling weakness.
“I can brush your fur,” I offered. As I said it I winced inside. It had sounded like a much better idea in my head, the kind of thing that a real Wolf might enjoy if they were people and not a wild animal. I felt like kicking myself because while Wolf clearly wasn’t a wild animal, he also wasn’t likely to trade a dangerous mission for some minor grooming help.
“Twice,” he said. “You will brush my fur twice.”
I blinked in surprise and nodded my head. “Sure, twice is doable.”
And with that the deal was sealed. He stepped into the mirror with no more difficulty than September had and was on the other side, standing with my Seeming and her two new friends. Or my two new friends? I wasn’t clear how that was supposed to work, since in theory my Seeming was me, or pretending to be me. It seemed simpler to keep thinking about her like she was my identical twin sister though.
“To be honest, I don’t think they’re the only two who can help out,” my Shadow said.
“You can travel through mirrors too?” I asked.
“Not exactly,” my Shadow said. “But I am your Shadow, so maybe it’s time I started doing my job, right?”
“Wait,” I said. “Is this going to be dangerous for you?”
“Nah,” my Shadow said, but I felt a wave of doubt sweep through me. “Well, maybe a little. I didn’t know that people like the Miser King’s minions could trap me in an ink bottle, so it’s possible that he’ll have a few other tricks up his sleeves that I’m not aware of either.”
“Trapping you was a good trick on Mulgrave’s part,” Brooks said. “But that was more due to the security put in place on the building you tried to sneak into. He wouldn’t have the proper tools setup to do the same if you encountered him in another setting.”
“So he’s not a spell caster himself?” my Shadow asked.
“Oh, he is, but the magic that trapped you in the bottle wasn’t his, it was all from the bottle,” Brooks said.
“That sounds like all the more reason for me to help out then!” my Shadow said.
“I guess my question is; what can I do to help?” I asked.
“You can be our eyes and ears,” Brooks said. “If you stay open to them, you should be able to see and hear everything that your Shadow and Seeming do. That may help us locate where this place is and send backup once we do.”
“Do you think we can save those kids?” I asked Brooks.
“I don’t think the Miser King is going to know what him,” Brooks said.