Alys unpacked her latest doormat delivery from Acme’s Ingredients for Witches. It was a bumper order as she’d used the voucher she’d been given as a reward for capturing the bogus Dragon Inspector.
‘One item’s missing,’ said Sparky, consulting the delivery note. ‘Distillation of Edelweiss is out of stock.’
‘That’s the ingredient I was particularly waiting for. I need it for my Special Skin Cream for the More Mature Witch.’ Alys frowned. ‘Does it say when they’ll be getting more stock?’
The diminutive dragon shook his head. ‘Isn’t there anywhere else you can get it from?’
Alys shrugged. ‘It’s imported from Switzerland. Edelweiss grows in the Alps there.’
‘We could try contacting the manufacturers,’ suggested Sparky.
Alys took a dark blue bottle from the shelf and examined the flower-shaped label. There’s a doormat address here. I suppose I could try sending them a note.’
‘Or we could visit,’ said Sparky through an excited puff of purple smoke.
‘That would be an adventure! We’ve never been abroad.’
‘We went to Scotland for the Dragon-Flame Games last year,’ Sparky reminded her.
‘That’s not abroad.’
‘Well, it was foreign,’ retorted Sparky. ‘If it hadn’t been for the Babel-Fish Charm we’d have never understood what anyone was saying!’ He flew across the room and hovered by the door. ‘Shall we go then?’
Alys hesitated for a moment then, snatching up her wand, she joined him on the doormat.
They found themselves looking up at huge flower-shaped emblem which hung over the front doors of a large building. All around them were green fields carpeted in alpine flowers with snow-capped mountains beyond.
The doors opened to reveal a short, white-bearded man wearing a red hat, whose appearance reminded Alys of a garden gnome. ‘Welcome to Edelweiss Paradise,’ said the little man grandly. ‘My name is Otto.’
‘We came to buy some of your Distillation of Edelweiss,’ said Alys brightly.
Otto smiled, but then his face fell and his shoulders sagged.
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Alys, while Sparky, who was perching on her shoulder, snorted out a concerned stream of violet smoke.
Otto stared at the diminutive dragon. ‘Please. Come inside.’
They followed Otto into the building. The walls were lined with a series of copper vessels connected by a maze of pipes leading up from a central smoke-stained pit. Further along was a bottling area, with a line of the familiar dark blue bottles standing on a long table.
The factory, however, was silent.
‘What happened?’ asked Alys.
Otto walked over to the fire pit. ‘The Eternal Flame which has fired our production for two hundred years has gone out. We’ve tried everything to rekindle it, but…’ Otto shook his head sadly. ‘Our village is desperate. We sold the last of our stock a month ago and this is our livelihood.’
Sparky sprang up and hovered over the pit, tiny flames issuing from his snout. He landed on the edge and looked up at Alys.
The young witch nodded and took out her wand. ‘Initio incendio!’ Alys commanded.
Sparky took a deep breath and blew a great golden gout of flames at the centre of the pit.
A blaze of bright blue flames poured forth from the tiny dragon’s mouth. Alys enunciated her incantation again. The flames glowed white-hot and with a whoosh the pit was ablaze. Alys and Sparky withdrew as the flames shot up towards the roof, then died down to a steady, healthy crackle.
‘You did it!’ Otto exclaimed. The factory doors flew open and a group of small gnome-like people flooded in, all whooping and cheering.
The retired cauldron quivered with pleasure as Alys draped a fresh garland of fragrant alpine blooms around her rim.
‘Maybe we should travel to foreign parts more often,’ called out Sparky as he flew over to admire the flower-shaped Medal of Honour which stood proudly on their bookshelf.
Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #44
The challenge this week was foreign. Photo credit: 4570book.info