The story continues with Mercedes, Utterly the Cherub, and her mistress...
The Magic Gate (10)
Mercedes found herself in another part of the garden.
Here there was a pool where a dozen or so scantily clad young women were engaged in what appeared to be a game of tag. Perched on a tree stump, at the side of the pool, was a lithe figure in a short tunic and riding boots.
“Mistress!” cried Utterly. “Look, who I’ve brought! A new friend!”
The bow woman leapt to her feet. In the same instant, she had threaded her bow and aimed it at Mercedes’ midriff.
“Mistress, don’t shoot! The nymph has a trick!”
“I’m sorry to disappoint,” said Mercedes, “I don’t have any tricks.”
“However,” she said quickly, perceiving the gaze of the bow woman upon her, “I do have this.”
Without meaning to, Mercedes took off the ring on her finger and gave it to Utterly’s mistress.
“It’s my engagement ring,” she said. “René gave it me two days ago.”
Suddenly Mercedes was besides herself and burst into tears. “Help me!” she blubbered. “I don’t know where René has got to!”
Mercedes tried to explain but her explanation was babbled and confused.
The cherub came to her rescue.
“He disappeared, mistress, along with their dog, Mimi. Vanished into thin air!”
The bow woman looked concerned.
“Have no fear, nymph! We will seek them out.”
She raised her bow as if to let loose an arrow. Utterly was ecstatic and fluttered her wings. “The mistress is going on a hunt!”
The arrow dipped and fell at Mercedes’ feet.
“Oh, bugger it!” cried the bow woman, threading another arrow.
“Better watch it!” said the cherub, chuckling. “Look what she did last time.”
She spread her wings to reveal a gaping hole.
The bow woman, however, was off in pursuit of her second arrow which soared over the bucolic scene.
Mercedes took a deep breath. She was not sure a hunt was such a good idea, after all.
The Magic Gate (10)
By Peter & Paul
Image: derivative of Diana the Huntress, School of Fontainbleau, attributed to Luca Penni (ca 1550), public domain. Border added.
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