Ally Lichen’s Friend: 12. Seventeen Years Old

“What do you want to do when you grow up?”

Ally and Takia were kneading bread dough at the counter in Ally’s house. Now that they were seventeen, they had grown much better at cooking since their failed birthday cake all those years ago. Since Mrs. Lichen worked in the dressmaker’s shop that day, she had left Ally in charge of the weekly bread baking.

Ally had invited Takia to help.

And to ask her an important question.

“I don’t know.” Takia shrugged. “Get a job I suppose. Although there aren’t a lot of great job opportunities around here.” She laughed. “The village is too small! I’d like to get married, I think.”

“Married? Already?” Ally laughed.

“Not right away, but it’s never too early to think about it.” Takia’s cheeks were rosy. “Did you hear Markus walked Claire home last week?”

“No.” Ally shrugged. “I don’t really care about the romantic drama, to be honest.” She dusted her dough with more flour to keep it from sticking. “There’s plenty of time for that later. I want to travel the world!” Ally lifted her head, her gaze straying out the window, beyond which there were distant lands and incredible journeys.

“For your whole life, though?” Takia flipped her dough over.

“Not my whole life,” Ally conceded, “but I want to have at least one big adventure, you know? Or I want to have an adventurous job. I don’t know. I just want to go somewhere new, and see something new! Don’t you?”

Takia thought about it for a moment. “Maybe so. I haven’t gone far from the village since I was seven, that’s a strange thought.” She laughed.

“We should go on an adventure together.” Ally said. As soon as the words were out of her mouth she felt her heart pounding very fast, apprehensive of Takia’s reply. She wasn’t sure why. She used to be able to say things like that all the time, and Takia would grin and agree and add her own ideas to the mix.

“What sort of adventure did you have in mind?” Takia raised an eyebrow at her.

“Well.” Ally pressed her lips together, still kneading the dough, avoiding Takia’s eye. Why was she so nervous? She had never been this nervous around Takia before!

“Okay, so.” Ally fixed her gaze on the ceiling. “You know how you were saying that there aren’t any good jobs here? Well, there’s this lighthouse over in Vista Cove that’s looking for two witches to run it.” Ally swallowed and glanced back down at her friend.

Takia stopped kneading and cocked her head to one side. “Yeah?”

“Yeah!” Ally felt something warm and hopeful spring up in her chest. “My mother was friends with the Lighthouse witches before they retired, and now they’re looking for someone to take their place.”

“Really?” Takia leaned against the counter, frowning in thought. “And Vista Cove isn’t too far from here, is it?”

“You have to go through the Tanglewood, but yes.” Ally nodded. “Mail would be quick by messenger bat. And the pay is excellent since only witches can speak to light sprites, so they have fairly limited options. That’s what my mother says anyway.”

“That sounds… Wow. That’s actually almost perfect.” Takia smiled at Ally. “Do you… How do you apply?”

Ally beamed back at Takia. “My mother has the address. She can write us a letter of recommendation if you would like!”

“Sure! Yeah!” Takia actually looked excited. “That would be lovely. It can’t hurt to try!”

“Exactly!” Ally couldn’t remember the last time she had smiled so big. She began kneading the dough with renewed vigor.

She could go on an adventure! With her best friend! For the first time in years! She could work in a Lighthouse with her magic! She knew nothing about Lighthouses, but she couldn’t wait to learn.

The sun was warm through the window, turning patches of the countertop to soft yellow. The air smelled of yeast and flour and smoke from the oven, and Ally Lichen’s heart was light with hope.

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docendo disco scribendo cogito

(I learn by teaching and think by writing.)

Millie Florence

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