Ogelthorpe gestured with his staff. “Right this way,” he said. The mousehole, now a portal fit for three men abreast if they were reduced to Ogelthorpe’s size, opened into a small waterway–the source of the dripping Cissa had heard earlier. At a clap of the magician’s hand, a pear-sized boat floated out onto the water. On closer inspection, Cissa thought, it may have actually been a pear, hollowed out and magically preserved.

“After you, Ms. Ruj,” Ogelthorpe said. He held out a hand to steady the “boat” but did not otherwise assist as Cissa clambered aboard. He floated into place himself, and the craft began moving with a snap of his fingers.

“You know what I want to ask,” Cissa said.

“Of course,” Ogelthorpe sighed. “It’s what they all ask.”

“I’m not the first?”

“Oh no, and you shan’t be the last, I assume,” the magician sighed. “To answer your unspoken question, Ms. Ruj, living at this scale is far cheaper, hiding is far easier, and it’s nothing to pick up and flee when your entire life fits in a suitcase. Now, I will grant you, that suitcase took ten years of exacting enchantment to prepare, but One does what one must.”

“And you deign to meet people that seek you out for help?” Cissa said, hopefully.

“If they are well-behaved, yes,” Ogelthorpe said. “I wouldn’t dream of being an impolite host. So long as you are pleasant and have a reasonable request, I see no reason not to send you on your way with a simple memory cantrip.”

“Given your reputation, I have to say I’m relieved,” Cissa said, sinking a bit into the pear-boat’s seat.

“My reputation for creative hexes and traps?” Ogelthorpe sighed. “My misspent youth. I am trying to improve myself, Ms. Ruj, and part of that involves less hexing and more listening, provided people do not deserve it.”

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