“Go straight there, Emery,” Margery said as she handed her older son the basket of treats. “Don’t stop anywhere along the way and remember what your father said.”

“Don’t talk to strangers,” Emery dutifully repeated. He tugged the hood of his magic robe up and skipped down the walk.

“You know what he looks like when he’s dressed like that,” Margery murmured as Nathaniel came out to join her.

“Expecting the big bad wolf?” Nathaniel murmured. “He’ll be fine. I’ll keep an eye on him.”

**
Emery paused as he heard someone behind him. He turned back to see a man riding along the same road he was walking down. The fur-lined coat and boots and gaudy rings spoke of the man’s wealth. Emery stepped back off the road to let him pass. Somehow he wasn’t much surprised when the man drew up beside him and stopped.

“Are you heading to town, little miss?” the man asked.

“No, sir. I’m heading off to visit my granny,” Emery said, not bothering to correct the man’s misperception. “She runs the inn just down the road a piece. My dad told me before I left not to talk to strangers and you’re about as strange as they come, Mister, so I’m going now.”

Before the man could reply, Emery ran down the road toward the inn. He heard the patter of hoof beats behind him and shook his head. Tossing a glyph on the road, he stopped. He wasn’t shocked when the man rode by, chasing the illusion that Emery had created of himself. He rolled his eyes as he took the cut-off that led to the inn. The man would chase the illusion, hopefully until it faded around nightfall.

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