"Evie, I'm sure it'll look awesome and everything, but…" Vella dumped the carved pumpkin she was carrying onto a pile of paperwork. She stretched her arms above her head; the pumpkins that she and her friends had secretly liberated from a half-burnt vegetable patch in Ainle were pretty big, and despite being hollowed out they were still quite heavy.

The magician stuck her tongue out at the dual-wielder and waved her hand dismissively, the pumpkin that was wobbling in the air promptly falling onto the table with a dull thud. "I told you not to worry, didn't I? It's a really simple spell and nothing will explode or develop a taste for human flesh, I promise!"

Vella raised a skeptical eyebrow at the last part. "Didn't you say the same thing when—"

"Hide! Someone's coming!" Evie ducked behind a few tall barrels of spears.

Vella had just squeezed herself into a narrow space between some crates of metal scraps when the door to the Outpost opened with a dramatic bang. Gallagher sauntered in, took a moment to take in the supposedly empty room that was full of pumpkins, and sauntered right back out with a bored look on his face.

Once the coast was clear, Evie and Vella popped out of their hiding places.

"Alright, we're almost done." Evie pointed her finger at one of the pumpkins lying on the floor and the seasonal squash floated upright in the air. She set the pumpkin down on an unoccupied chair with a flourish.

"Ugh, help me move this, for Morrighan's sake!" Vella shoved at the biggest pumpkin, a grinning cat design carved into it, and managed to get the squash to budge over a few inches. The damn thing was refusing to roll, too…

Evie yawned and flicked her fingers and the pumpkin flew over to the Captain's desk. The pumpkin settled on the floor next to the table with a heavy thump. "At your service, your majesty."

"Tch." Vella rolled her eyes. "Call me that again and you'll be missing your scythe for a few days."

"I'd like to see you try. Now, stand back."

Vella moved back a safe distance and leaned against the back wall with her arms crossed. If something happened, she wanted to be able to slip out of the back door within five seconds.

Evie stood in the center of the room, her arms outstretched and eyes closed. One by one, the pumpkins scattered around the room began to levitate half a foot in the air. Once the last pumpkin stopped wobbling precariously, Evie opened her eyes, took a step backwards, and snapped her fingers.


"Well," Evie coughed and waved a sooty hand at the smoke pouring from the charred insides of the nearest pumpkin; her magic shield had protected her from the worst of the mess that now splattered the entire room. "I can't say that I didn't expect a few explosions…"

Vella was nowhere to be seen. Darn.

Evie grimaced as she extricated a glob of pumpkin and melted candle wax out from her hair. Well, it was time to leave, before someone could pin the blame on her.

The door to the Outpost banged open a second time just as Evie blinked away from the scene of the crime.


Captain Aodhan's glare was a legendary weapon in itself as he wordlessly directed his mercenaries to clean up the mess that had magically appeared in the Outpost sometime within the last half-hour. All of the furniture had been dragged outside and doused with saltwater, but the pungent smell of overcooked pumpkin and charred wood lingered stubbornly.

From the safety of her room at the Inn, Evie watched the rookies scrambling to put out the small fires that had jumped onto the roof. She also spotted Lann and Karok, still covered in gore from the mission they'd just returned from, frantically scrubbing melted wax and pumpkin guts from a mildly scorched table.

Evie stuck out her tongue at the backs of her friends, but Captain Aodhan turned around a moment later, spotted her at the window, and glared disappointingly at her, as if he knew who exactly was responsible for the mess.

Evie smiled innocently in Captain Aodhan's direction.

Vella appeared next to the Captain, giving Evie the briefest of glances, before saying something to him.

Evie's smile dropped. Traitor.


Once the mess was cleared up a few hours later, Evie grumbled under her breath when she saw that she had been reassigned to clean the barrack's outhouse for a whole month.

Without magic.

Evie rolled up her metaphorical sleeves and got to work.

Well, not before she had enchanted a roost of chickens to follow Vella around town and peck at her ankles for the next two weeks. If Evie couldn't get away scot-free, the other woman wasn't going to either.