The Other McCawber Girl

by Amanda Rohrssen

Chapter Seven

A new life -
What I wouldn't give to have a new life!
One thing I have learned as I go through life:
Nothing is for free along the way!

A new start -
That's the thing I need to give me new heart -
Half a chance in life to find a new part,
Just a simple role that I can play.

A new hope -
Something to convince me to renew hope!
A new day bright enough
To help me find my way!

A new chance -
One that maybe has a touch of romance.
Where can it be,
The chance for me?

A new dream -
I have one I know that very few dream!
I would like to see that overdue dream -
Even though it never may come true!

A new love -
Though I know there's no such thing as true love -
Even so, although I never knew love,
Still I feel that one dream is my due!

A new world -
This one thing I want to ask of you, world -
Once! - Before it's time to say adieu, world!
One sweet chance to prove the cynics wrong!

A new life -
More and more, I'm sure, as I go through life,
Just to play the game - and to pursue life -
Just to share its pleasures and belong! -
That's what I've been here for, all along!
Each day's a brand new life!
~Jekyll & Hyde, “A New Life”

Once Ariana had finished unpacking her things the next morning, the first task she decided to give herself was to find another job. She was grateful for her sister’s generosity – Morgana not only let her stay , she had given her her own room and allowed her to use almost anything she liked - but she also felt like she was imposing, and she wanted to make sure she didn’t overstay her welcome. Her plan was to save up enough money so that she could get a place of her own, preferably near Morgana so she would always have someone close by that she could depend on.

She descended the creaky, lopsided staircase and slid a thin shawl over her shoulders. Above, on the leaky roof, she could hear the sharp patter of raindrops.

As she passed the main room on her way out, something caught her peripheral vision and she stopped short, turning her head to get a better look.

It was a door. Not a regular door with hinges built into a frame in the wall, but a freestanding door that was held in place by mere air. It was in the middle of the room, and looked as if it led nowhere.

Curiosity took hold, and Ariana cautiously looked around the room before tentatively stepping toward the strange door. Slowly she reached out and gripped the doorknob, taking a deep breath before turning it…then jiggling it. It was locked.

She stepped back, disappointed and filled with even more of a need to know what lay beyond. On her tip-toes, Ariana stretched her arm up far enough to slide her fingers across the top of the doorframe, hoping to find a key, but she felt nothing - not even dust.

She stared at the door for a few moments more, eyebrows raised, then finally decided to leave it alone until she had a chance to ask Morgana about it. She turned with a shrug and headed outside.

Locking the door behind her, Ariana wandered onto the rain-soaked sidewalks of St. Canard with a list clutched in her hand of various job opportunities she’d looked up the previous night. She had no idea how to get to the addresses she’d scrawled on the paper, but she was hopeful that it would prove easier than finding Morgana’s house had been.

Taking a deep breath of the fresh, humid air of spring, she set out to find the first prospect on her list.

It only took her fifteen minutes to get lost.

No matter how many times she tried retracing her steps, she found herself in unfamiliar territory. The streets and alleyways were like a labyrinth, and she was trapped inside of it, surrounded by harassed, high-strung citizens who were too busy racing through their routines to give her the time of day. Just when she thought that perhaps she was on the right track, she was met with a dead end. At least it had stopped raining.

After a while, she found herself steadily growing frustrated and panicked. What if she couldn’t find her way back to Morgana’s house? What if she was doomed to walk these strange city streets forever? The worries would not stop, and soon she was so overwhelmed that she stopped paying attention to her surroundings. She couldn’t quit focusing on the worry, working herself up more and more until she felt physically sick like she’d swallowed a mouthful of pebbles that proceeded to bounce around in her abdomen, tearing her up from the inside out.

The paper she still had clutched in her hand was becoming more ragged as she kneaded it between her fingers. Unconsciously, her body accelerating toward a fight-or- flight response, she picked up her pace and sped around the next corner, her gray eyes searching absently for something – anything – familiar. Then she saw it.

A sign for Bindler's Hardware Store. It was where she had literally run into Launchpad the previous day. A flood of relief washed through her from beak to webbed toes. She wasn’t too far from Morgana’s house now, and the thought crossed her mind that she’d better just go back and forget about job searching for the day.

Yet some small part of her refused to give up so easily. One thing was for sure, though. If she was going to venture out into the city yet again, she was going to have to get directions. It was obvious from her previous attempts that she wasn’t too adept at finding locations on her own.

She found herself in a bind. If she went home defeated, she would feel incompetent and chastise herself the rest of the evening, but if she continued she would have to get past her gripping shyness and ask for help.

At least a good five minutes must have passed by with customers going in and out around her as she stood in front of the doorway. Each time the door opened either to let someone out or in, a bell chimed, jarring Ariana momentarily from her internal self-talk. She had been trying to convince herself the entire time that she was capable of going in there and asking for directions without looking like an idiot.

Still she stood there, unable to move.




“…May I help you?”

A sharp intake of breath jerked Ariana back to the present, and she noticed a small-framed brunette with glasses standing in front of her with a curious yet timid expression.

Ariana glanced down to see the woman’s nametag and realized she was an employee from the hardware store.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, her face flushing. “Yes! …Please.”

“I thought maybe you wanted some help because I saw you standing out here looking in like you were lost, and I thought maybe you needed help, so I came outside to find out,” the woman started to ramble.

Ariana smiled, liking her instantly. “Well, I was wondering if maybe I could get some directions…”

The employee, whose name was Elizabeth, mirrored Ariana’s expression and opened her bill to respond when a different voice from within the store barked loudly as the next customer entered.

“Beth! What are you doing standing around? I asked you to get me a soda, like, ten minutes ago!”

Both women tensed at the sound of the voice. Ariana was reminded of a recent ex-friend of hers, and while her face held dislike, Beth’s held guilt, and the brunette turned to call back into the store. “I’m sorry, Henny! I’ll go get it right now!” Her attention was back on Ariana as she passed apologetically. “I have to go across the street really fast, I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay,” Ariana replied sympathetically. “I’ll walk with you.” She didn’t know why, but Beth seemed to put her at ease unlike anyone she’d ever met.

Beth blinked as if Ariana’s offer had surprised her, then her smile returned. “Okay.”

They crossed the street together, chatting like old friends, and while they waited for the attendant to fill up Henny’s soda, Ariana explained her situation to an understanding Beth.

“If you want, I can show you around after I get off,” Beth offered. “I mean, I don’t really know a whole lot about the city or anything, but I at least know where the important things are, and even a few places are that are hiring.”

“Really? That would be great!” cried Ariana.

She watched for a few moments as Beth went inside to give Henny, who was sitting behind the counter reading a magazine, her soda and to apologize profusely for making her wait for so long. Then, as Henny complained that Beth didn’t do anything around the store, Ariana couldn’t help but feel a twisted sense of déjà vu. At the same time she felt the urge to go in and defend Beth even though she barely knew her. The feeling was quickly squelched when Henny’s eyes glanced in Ariana’s direction, and Beth came over to say a quick goodbye.

“I’ll, uh, give you a call or something when I’m off,” she said hurriedly, as if Henny’s glare would suck the life out of her.

“Okay,” Ariana nodded.

“Okay. Bye!” Beth turned to go back inside, but stopped with a sheepish laugh. “I just remembered. I can’t call you without your phone number. Er…can I have your phone number?”

“Oh, sure! It’s…um…it’s…” Ariana trailed off as she realized she had no idea what Morgana’s phone number was. She gave Beth a helpless expression and silently pleaded the brunette wouldn’t think she was a complete imbecile. “It’s my sister’s number…I don’t know it yet.”

“Oh, well that makes sense,” Beth said reassuringly at the expression on Ariana’s face. “Don’t worry about it. Why don’t you just meet me back here at five o’clock? That’s when I should be getting off…provided Henny doesn’t give me some extra cleaning up to do.”

Seemingly at the mention of her name, Henny’s shrill voice called out Beth’s name condescendingly, and Beth’s face instantly flushed.

“I’d better go. See you later!” And she was gone.

Ariana’s eyes watched the doorway for a few moments more, but her mind was elsewhere. This Beth girl seemed like a very nice, albeit kind of jumpy, person, and Ariana was extremely grateful for any show of kindness. With a hopeful bounce in her step, the young duck made her way back toward her sister’s house, planning to meet back up with Beth in a few hours.

She stepped inside of McCawber Manor hesitantly and peered around the heavy oaken doorway.

“Hello…?” she called, having thought she’d heard voices a few moments ago.

The house settled with a low groan, and she stepped through the hall into the living room. Morgana turned with a start.

“Oh! Ariana, you scared me.”

“Sorry,” her sister apologized. “I thought I heard voices…”

“That was me; I was talking to…myself,” Morgana explained hurriedly, stepping away from the freestanding doorway and bustling across the floor. “Planning, you know, for work.”

“Oh, you never did tell me how that pizza topping business was turning out.”

“That, er, fell through,” Morgana explained. “Right now I’m…between jobs. Actually I was just on my way to run a few errands. So I guess I’ll see you later.”

“What’s in the bag?” Ariana asked curiously, just noticing the small bag Morgana had clutched in her hand.

“What bag?” came the instinctive, defensive reply. Then Morgana laughed a little nervously. “Oh, this? It’s supplies. Eek, Squeak, Archie, let’s go!” The three creatures scrambled out of the darkness and perched themselves on Morgana’s person as she headed out the front door. “Well, bye!”

Ariana didn’t even have time to return the farewell before the door closed. Quirking an eyebrow, she tried not to read too much into Morgana’s strange, harried behavior. After all, what her sister did was really none of her business, and she didn’t feel she had a right to pry too deeply into Morgana’s affairs, especially when her sister had been kind enough to put her up.


For a second time that day, Ariana moved toward the mysterious doorway and looked it over before trying the knob. Yet again it was locked.

Disappointed, she moved over to the couch to sit and contemplate what to do for the next couple of hours. She hadn’t sat there very long before something didn’t feel right. The couch was stiff and solid, like metal. The cushions weren’t comfortable in the slightest, in fact they were hard as rocks. Wondering, then, what type of furniture was underneath the white couch cover, she pulled it up and discovered not a hardened old sofa but a pile of safes. Some were smaller than others, and those were stacked nearer the front than their taller cousins. Morgana had arranged them to look like a sofa and then covered them with a sheet. Ariana’s brow furrowed. Why? Where had these safes come from? And why was Morgana hiding them?

Coming up with no reasonable explanation, Ariana sat back stiffly against the couch made of safes and tried to put the troublesome thoughts from her mind, though that proved to be harder than she anticipated.

Five o’clock rolled around, and Ariana was already waiting patiently just outside of Bindler’s Hardware Store. Through the window she could see Henny blathering something to Beth, who was sweeping the floors as if she hadn’t a care in the world. With a flounce of her hair, Henny swept toward the doors and bustled through them, scoffing at Beth’s incompetence. When she caught sight of Ariana standing there, she sneered.

“What are you looking at?”

Ariana wanted so badly to retort something in a tone as nasty as Henny’s that she could feel it bubble up in her throat. But the sheer spite in the other girl’s eyes halted the phrase, and instead Ariana grudgingly swallowed it.

“Nothing…” she mumbled.

“That’s what I thought,” Henny snorted with a callous laugh before she flounced down the sidewalk and into a waiting cab.

The squeal of the tires mingled with the melodious tinkling of the store bell, and Ariana looked up to see Beth locking up.

“Hello,” Ariana ventured softly.

Beth whirled around with a start, then exhaled in relief when she saw Ariana.

“Oh, you scared me.”


“Oh, it’s no big deal, it just gets a little spooky when the sun starts going down.” Beth tucked a couple of strands of hair behind her ear, looking slightly embarrassed as she made her way down the steps toward Ariana. “Okay,” she rushed on. “I looked up a few places while I was on break and –“

“You didn’t have to do that,” Ariana breathed in surprise.

“It’s okay, I wanted to do it,” Beth continued reassuringly. “Anyway, I wasn’t sure exactly what you were looking for, so I organized each opening by type of work and then I alphabetized them to make things easier.”

Ariana could only stare at Beth in awe, to think that she would go to all that trouble just to help her out.

“Ready to go? We’ll probably only be able to catch a few places that are still open, but it’s better than nothing, right?”

A little past ten o’clock, Ariana strolled up the sidewalk toward 13 DeSpell Lane and gazed up at the sky with a serene expression. She frowned, however, when she realized it was overcast. With a flick of her extended wrists, the clouds parted like the Red Sea, revealing a tapestry of diamonds winking down at her from the velvet blanket of space.

“That’s better,” she sighed to herself. It had been a good evening. She and Beth had had so much fun talking to each other that they’d gone on to grab some dinner. Of course, Beth had had to pay, for which Ariana felt guilty, but Beth had seemed more than happy to do it. Somehow Ariana felt that Beth needed a friend almost as much as she needed one herself.

Three interviews had been lined up for tomorrow, but Ariana couldn’t find the room to be nervous just yet. Right now, she was happy just knowing that she had made a friend in this big and strange metropolis.

She hadn’t been in the manor for more than five minutes before the front door opened again and Morgana stormed inside.

“Oooo, of all the pig-headed, arrogant, sneaky…” her muttered ranting suddenly melted into a sigh, “…dreamy hunk of a duck. I can’t believe he managed to take my—"


Her sister jumped, startled, and it was the third time that day that Ariana had inadvertently frightened somebody.

“Oh, Ariana!” she gasped. “I forgot you were here.”

“Sorry,” Ariana apologized. Then she looked at Morgana curiously. “Did somebody steal something from you?”

“Huh? Oh…it’s nothing. Just a business deal gone wrong, but I’ll fix it. I know someone that can, er, replace what I lost. Shouldn’t you be getting to bed? It’s late.”

Ariana shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so. What about you?”

“I can’t possibly sleep now. I need to get this taken care of right away.”

“All right, well…I hope everything works out.”

“Oh, it will,” Morgana said lowly after her. “I’ll make sure of it.”

As she made her way up the rickety staircase toward the guest room, Ariana paused, remembering that she hadn’t seen Eek, Squeak, or Archie with Morgana.

“Morgana, where are…” She fell silent when she heard Morgana’s voice coming from across the living room, as if she were speaking to somebody. Wanting to find out what was going on once and for all, Ariana crept as quietly as she could back down the staircase and peered around the corner.

She was just in time to see her sister vanish through the strange doorway, and she knew there was no turning back now. Light on her toes, she padded across the wooden floor and pressed her ear against the door, hoping to hear what was going on on the other side.

No such luck.

Disappointed, she reached down to try and jiggle the knob, but just before her fingers closed on it, it seemed to move itself! Realizing it must be Morgana returning, Ariana raced back across the living room and dove behind an armchair just as the door flew open. She could hear her sister’s raised voice coming through, and she sounded angry.

“…And that’s an order!” declared Morgana before she stomped into the room and slammed the magical doorway closed. In her fist was another small bag, identical to the one she’d had that morning, and something told Ariana it wasn’t filled with pizza toppings. She was beginning to wonder just what her sister was up to.

Out the front disappeared a determined Morgana, and Ariana impulsively followed, curiosity guiding her steps. She kept a safe distance as she tracked her sister, and she did well for a while until she was so intent on Morgana that she nearly ran straight into the path of a car. A horn resounded in her ears, and she jerked to the side with an outstretched arm, expecting another semi truck to be barreling down on her. Instead it was a black Aston Martin, behind which was an older mallard with bushy black eyebrows. He was glaring at her impatiently, his fingers tapping on the steering wheel. She swallowed her pounding heart and inched backward out of the street. The luxury sedan roared around the corner as soon as she was out of the way, and it wasn’t until she’d taken a couple of deep breaths that she remembered Morgana. Her gray eyes panned the sidewalks anxiously, but there was no sign of her sibling, and to make matters worse, Ariana once again found herself lost.

She knew there was always the location spell, but Ariana hesitated to use it, mainly because she would be using magic in a public area. After what had happened recently, she wasn’t so sure using her abilities would be wise, even in private.

The debate with herself was cut short when a horrible noise ripped through the air. It sounded like an encumbered street sweeper grating across chainmail. Somebody was snoring.

She couldn’t help it. She had to know where that sound was coming from, and who in the world could snore that loudly. As she headed in the direction of the noise, it seemed to grow louder the farther south she went, toward the center of the city. It went on for at least ten minutes before it abruptly halted, along with Ariana. She tilted her head from side to side, listening intently, but the sound had ceased. There were no residences or apartments near where she was standing, only businesses, and briefly she wondered if someone was spending the night under their desk. She didn’t have long to think about it, though, because minutes later she was showered in beautiful sparkling gold powder that was falling from the sky like pixie dust. As she gazed upward, the tiny flakes of light landed gently on her face, and she admired them with wondrous delight. It was like magical rain tickling her feathers; she couldn’t help but laugh.

Suddenly she began to feel exhausted. The more the golden grains landed on her, the more drained she felt. Her eyelids weighed a thousand pounds, and the yawn she gave stretched her bill so wide she resembled a Hamburger Hippo. Luckily for her there was a staircase nearby so that when her knees buckled she sank harmlessly onto one of the steps and drifted to sleep.


The bathroom was thankfully empty as she made her way into the nearest stall. Quietly she sat with her lunch tray in her lap, neurotically obsessing over the fact that she had had no one to sit with in the lunch room, and that nobody had offered her a seat while she had wandered the cafeteria looking for one.

It was her first day of school, and so far it hadn’t been good. The classes themselves weren’t going to be so bad, except for Algebraic Potion Formulas. It was the student body she was worried about. She wished she could have gone to the same school as Morgana, but the family had seemed so excited that she had been admitted here that she hadn’t dared to break their hearts and refuse.

Monsters, werewolves, vampires, zombies…an entire campus full of dark creatures, and yet she felt so out of place. She longed to return home where at least there were familiar faces, but she wouldn’t be able to do that until the autumn solstice. Silent tears fell into her spider leg soufflé, but she didn’t care. It had needed salt anyway.

When she finished her solitary lunch, she left the empty tray sitting near the trash can and made sure her face was free of any traces of tears before she made her way out into the hallway. It was lined with students, and as she walked past them, they all began to taunt and jeer at her, their faces twisted with scorn and contempt as they threw trash at her. She tried to run back into the restroom, but they had the door blocked. Instead, she turned and raced down the hall, trying to drown out their insults by plastering her hands against her ears, but their voices only seemed to grow louder. In desperation she sealed her eyelids shut.

The taunts became cries of outrage, and it wasn’t until she felt her arms being forced behind her back that she opened her eyes once more. The children had mutated into an angry mob of adults wielding pitchforks, stones, and fistfuls of dirt and sticks. Ropes bound her upper body so tightly she could scarcely breathe. The sky was an angry red stained with ink-colored clouds, and a million hands grabbed at her and shoved her toward the center of the village where a massive post of wood towered over them. Circled around the black stake were massive piles of straw and kindling, and it was then that she understood.

“No! No, please!” she screamed, trying to struggle backward. Her heels twisted in the dirt beneath her feet, but she only ended up tripping herself. “Please, you don’t understand!” Her throat ached as if she’d swallowed glass, and her voice became thin and strained. She threw herself backward, writhing in their grip. “I didn’t mean to! It was an accident!! PLEASE, NO!!”

They were spitting at her now, cursing her kind and those who stood up for her. She thrashed about weakly, knowing her fate was inevitable. Even as they tied her securely to the stake, she could feel the heat from the flames of their torches as they poised them over the straw, ready to begin.

Her wrists lost all feeling, and her eyes watered over as she helplessly watched the villagers toss the torches onto the straw, igniting it within seconds. A wall of fire encircled her, and as the heat melted the feathers from her flesh, she screamed and screamed and screamed.

Her scream merged into the shrill ring of an alarm clock, and Ariana jolted awake. The sound was obnoxiously loud, like the blare of fire engine sirens, and almost immediately she could hear shouts of protest coming from every direction as angry citizens were roused from their slumber. She blinked a few times and stood up slowly to get her bearings. It wasn’t until she felt a tap on her shoulder that she turned around and realized she wasn’t alone.

Beth smiled at her and tried to say something, but her voice was lost in all the noise. No words could describe how happy and relieved Ariana was to see her.

“What?!” Ariana cried, putting her hand to her ear to emphasize that she couldn’t hear.

All at once, the alarm ceased, and unfortunately for Ariana’s ears, Beth wasn’t in time to correct the volume of her voice before she tried again.

I said, ‘What are you doing out—‘ oh, sorry!” Beth put her hands over her mouth in surprise, her face flushing.

“Something weird happened,” Ariana explained. “I was following my sister when this pretty gold stuff started falling from the sky. The next thing I know, I’m falling asleep, and then I woke up here!”

“The same thing happened to me! Well…except I wasn’t following your sister…and I was grocery shopping.”

It wasn’t until then that Ariana noticed the bags clutched in Beth’s hands, and in the next few minutes they were walking through downtown toward where Beth lived. Once they reached their destination, the sorceress’ eyes panned up toward the house that stood between two very impressive buildings. It was small and gray with a shabby black shingled roof. The wooden boards that made up the siding were cracked and warped, but Ariana noticed a patch of brightness beneath each windowsill. Beth had planted small beds of violet-blue flowers, and they were a welcome bit of beauty in such a drab, colorless place.

“This is where you live?”

“Yeah,” Beth responded. “It isn’t much, but it’s home! Hey, you’re not busy right now, are you? I mean, since you lost your sister and all, and we just walked all that way, you must be pretty tired. Oh! But I don’t want to put words in your mouth. It’s just, it IS past midnight, and I thought maybe…”

Ariana smiled. “I would love to stay the night.”

“Okay! If you really want to.”

She didn’t understand the happiness in Beth’s eyes, but Ariana was grateful that it was there.


“Morgana!” she called as soon as she was through the door. “Morgana, guess what? I have a job! …Morgana?”

Her heart was pounding with excitement as she rushed from room to room in search of her sister.

“Morgana, are you home?”

Met with no answer, Ariana’s sprits sank minimally, as she remembered the mystery that had peaked her interest over the past few days. It wasn’t long before she found herself in the middle of the living room once again, only this time the freestanding door was missing. She quirked an eyebrow and crept toward where it had been, but there was no evidence a door was ever there. It was as if it had vanished into thin air. Immediately her eyes travelled across the room, and she felt almost relieved to see that the safe-couch was still there. This mystery had gone on long enough. Now she just had to muster up the courage to talk to Morgana about it, and that was easier said than done.

Her body tingled with the residue of happiness that came from being employed as she moved to call Beth and tell her the good news. She had nearly turned the corner, heading for the phone, when once again a particular portrait caught her eye. With slow, almost cautious steps, she crossed the entryway into the study, never once looking away from the striking woman’s silver eyes. Her mother’s eyes.

Beneath the hand painted likeness was a bronze plate, engraved Threnody Letuma McCawber. She stopped just in front of the canvas, her eyes taking in every facet of Threnody’s delicate feminine features, and it was as if her mother was actually in the room with her, smiling down at her from the ornate rosemary frame. She looked exactly as she had in life: flawless pale feathers; hair as black as night with streaks of gray in it as silky as spider webs; bright gray eyes that revealed her stark intelligence; and she was dressed in an extravagant dress of violet, her favorite color.

Ariana hadn’t seen her mother’s face in thirteen years. Meeting her eyes now, Ariana felt like a child all over again, and her eyes welled up with unshed tears.

“Mom…” she whispered, her voice strained with emotion. A tiny smile broke through the sadness. “I got a new job today…it’s at a jewelry store. I know it isn’t exactly what you and Daddy had planned for me, but…I’m doing the best I can.” A tear slid down her cheek, but she didn’t bother to wipe it away. “I hope…” She hesitated, choking a little on her words. “I hope you can still be proud of me…” The familiar ache rose in her throat, and more tears followed the first. She could say no more to her mother’s portrait except a meek, “I miss you…” Her fingertips strayed to the necklace at her neck, and the azure stone at its center felt cold to the touch. A heavy sigh escaped her bill just as the front door opened.


“I’m in here,” she answered her sister.

“How did the interviews go?”

Ariana brushed her cheeks with the backs of her hands and turned around with bright eyes. “I got the job at Audubon Jewelers!”

“Oh, that’s great!” Morgana cried. “Congratulations! When do you start?”


“Are you excited?”

“A little. I hope this job turns out better than my last one…” Her weight shifted underneath her, but she only hesitated a moment before blurting out, “Morgana? Can I ask you about something?”

“Of course, what is it?”

Ariana’s eyes darted from her sister to the room across the hall and back. “I was just wondering…” A second sigh flowed from her bill. She couldn’t bring herself to ask about the door or the safes just yet. “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Pretend to be a normal?”

Morgana gave a light laugh and shook her head. “Ari, I don’t pretend to be a normal. I live here the same way I lived in Transylvania.”

“You mean normals see you do magic?”


“And they don’t treat you badly for it?”

“I didn’t say that.”

Ariana frowned a little. “I don’t understand…”

“Most of the normals here are different from the normals back home. In fact, I recently met one that is probably more like us than normal…” Morgana’s green eyes grew distant, and there was a kind of bittersweet longing in the way she spoke that made Ariana’s heart twist with envy.

She wasn’t as strong as Morgana, and she knew it. Even if the normals were more accepting of magic here, which she could scarcely believe, Ariana didn’t think she could put herself through another Duckburg incident. She shook her head.

“I can’t do it, Morgana. I don’t want to use magic anymore. Ever. All it’s ever done is brought me trouble. I don’t want anyone to know what I am.”

Her sister’s hand fell comfortingly on her shoulder.

“Are you sure about that, Ari? You know what that will do to your powers…Is it because of what happened with Father?”

Again Ariana shook her head. “No…” Her eyes panned over toward their mother’s portrait, and Morgana’s gaze followed. “It’s because of what happened to my life. I want to start a different one. I want to be a normal.”