“Yeah,” Frederica said, “but she’s alright.”
Orna narrowed her eyes.
“Relax,” Frederica said. “She’s not here to take over the world. She’s just helping me get home.”
“So your friends found a way after all?” Teth asked.
“I can’t believe I ever doubted them,” Frederica replied. “But it means I really am leaving this time. So….”
Teth smiled sadly and got to his feet. He hugged Frederica. His fuzzy face tickled her cheek.
“I may actually miss you,” he said.
“Liar,” she said, and looked down at Orna. “You be nice to your brother, okay?”
Orna crossed her arms and stared blankly at Frederica for a moment, then she nodded. Frederica smiled.
“Well… see ya,” she said.
She turned and followed Carmen, who was already heading for the door. Frederica paused and glanced back.
“Oh, one more thing,” she said to Teth. “Pockets on dresses. Trust me, your customers will thank you later.”
“I… will keep that in mind,” he said.
Frederica smiled, took a deep breath, and stepped out the door. She walked with Carmen through the crowded streets, and the look on Carmen’s face was almost… nostalgic. Then Carmen ducked into a secluded alley and made a complex series of gestures with her hand. A black vortex appeared on the nearest wall.
Carmen smirked and said, “Close your eyes and tap your heels together three times.”
“There’s no place like home,” Frederica said, and stepped through.
It was nighttime in Victory City. A cool breeze blew in from the Pacific, ruffling the folds of the blue cloak Frederica forgot to return to Teth. She stood on Angela’s front step, between the door and the vortex back to Verden. Carmen stepped through and dismissed it with a wave of her hand.
“Thanks,” Frederica said. “I don’t know—”
The door opened. Nila and Magh came rushing out.