The prince was gone. His body was swallowed by light and he burst free in the shape of a great hawk. His clothes fell away in a heap. Oboe was blinded with a joy that gave way to horror. She watched, speechless, as the prince took flight, disappearing into the folds of the Whirl.
“I knew it!” Fern said, shoving Oboe to the ground. “You greedy, selfish little brat! You took him for yourself!”
“No, I…” she was still muddled. None of this seemed real. “I didn’t mean to… No!”
“Don’t lie to me, you weedling! I saw the look on your face!” She spat. “Such rapture to twist his body with your magic. After all that rubbish about protecting the human you prove yourself wicked!”
Oboe didn’t know what to do. Her euphoria had turned into a wrenching queasiness. She needed help. She needed to get Theo, tell him what happened. He would know what to do.
No, there was no way she could do that. He would be mad, or worse, disappointed. He had trusted her, something no one else had ever done. Everything was ruined. The humans forbade transmogrification magic. Theo might arrest her. Maybe he should. Only wicked fairies broke enchantment law.
“Say something!” Fern throttled Oboe, who was all but limp. “You think you can get away with this?! I NEEDED that enchantment and you stole it from me!”
“Let go of me!” Oboe said, pushing free. She rose on shaky knees. The crone gave Oboe a glare that left her feeling bare and hairless.
“I’ll tell the humans what you did!” Fern said. “Transforming the heir into a hawk! They’ll come for you! Take you away and chop your head off with an iron axe! That will show you to steal from me!”
Oboe did not know what to do. She transformed into a rabbit and darted away, running and running until she found a dark gully to hide in.
Her heart pounded. Everything was wrong. She could not stop crying. Turning into a worm helped because worms didn’t have tear ducts.
How long would it take for the humans to find her? Would they really kill her? Fear squeezed her heart. Maybe Percy had the right idea. Escape. Disappear. Leave the Whilrwood and go where no one could find her.
No. That wasn’t right. She’d broken the law but that didn’t mean she wanted be wicked. Oboe changed back into herself and got up. Theo needed to know what happened. She owed him that much. He’d know what to do, even if it meant she had to be executed.