“Um, how much wor—”
“Oh, so you’re the new girl. Tee-hee, you’re kinda cute,” Willow says, cutting Tiphanee off. Then she speaks to Beatrice. “Wow, it looks like you’ve grown a bit, Betty.”
Beatrice recoils in shock. “H-How can she see us?!”
Amanda sighs wit distain. “Lady Beatrice, tell me you didn’t forget that Miss Willow knows how to use Perception,” she says.
“Wait, your sister can use Perception?!” Tiphanee shot out.
“Oopsie,” Beatrice replied with a sheepish laugh.
Amanda shakes her head shamefully. Beatrice can be just as forgetful as Willow sometimes.
“Hey, Mandy, I think the new girl might be slightly bigger than you. You got a pretty good rack, but they’re starting to slope a little bit,” Willow teased.
“Miss Willow!” Amanda yelped, covering her chest.
“And look at Tiphanee, she’s young and pretty so it’s no wonder hers sit up higher. And Betty is much fuller, too.”
“Wilhelmina, don’t you dare!” Beatrice warned. However, her warning will be to no avail. Once Willow gets started on teasing them, she cannot be stopped.
Without skipping a beat, Willow continues taunting her sister and Amanda. “And speaking of fuller, someone’s been having a Bon-Bon fit,” she sang. “Careful, sis. Your butt gets any rounder, Maximus is going to need a bigger saddle.”
“You got some nerve for someone who can devour sweets by the pound!” Beatrice shot back.
“I don’t mind a little rounder butt and neither does Ecks,” says Willow.
“Oh no you don’t. I’m not gettin’ into this one,” Ecks says as he lets go of Willow’s hair. Getting caught up in Willow’s antics is the last thing he wants. When it comes to teasing Beatrice and Amanda, Willow is relentless, which results in making Amanda upset or angering her elder sister. Ecks has learned a while ago to avoid this situation at all costs. He can protect Willow from many threats. Beatrice’s fury is not one of them. He found it far more beneficial to save himself rather than deal with the consequences. He recalls the most recent incident involving Willow’s mischievous behavior that ended with Beatrice forcing Willow to walk to Syrus Town while wearing heavy armor. Willow barely made it out of the courtyard before she started crying. Having thought of that, he had better stop her before she goes too far again.
Amanda is close to tears and Beatrice is close to her boiling point as Willow continues her playful assault. “So, Tiphanee, Tami’s your sister, huh. What kind of juicy situations has she gotten into with you, hmm?” she says with a devious grin.
“Uh, what do you mean, Miss Willow?” replies Tiphanee.
“Come on, you know what I mean. How many times has Tami groped that young, juicy bosom of yours? Not that I think you’d mind it considering that Betty rubbed up against you a couple times and you didn’t flinch.”
“Willow, you will stop this at once! Or I swear you’ll be cleaning the stables with nothing but a dry cloth!” Beatrice proclaimed. She is more embarrassed than angry. Though it is true that she did bump into Tiphanee twice by accident, but it is needless of Willow to remind her.
“Oh my, your face turns the loveliest shade of red whenever you’re embarrassed, doesn’t it?” Willow giggled devilishly.
Usually, Beatrice is able to stand firm and force her sister to relent. But Willow is attacking her in her most vulnerable state. Willow may be flaky, but she is the only person who can get through Beatrice’s tough skin. “Wilhelmina Ashcroft, if you don’t stop it this instant,” she threatened, though not as sternly as before.
“Oh no way I’m passing this up! This is way too much fu—Ouch!” Willow teased again before she is struck with pain.
“That’s enough out of you,” Ecks says, holding bundle of Willow’s golden locks he wrapped around his hand. “I don’t need Perception to tell that you’ve gone too far again. Now apologize.”
“Aw, I was just having a little fun. I was going to stop event—Ow!” Ecks had yanked Willow’s hair again while she tried to plead her case.
“Yeah, after you nearly bring everyone to tears.” Ecks has a firm handle on Willow’s behavior when she begins teasing her sister and Amanda. She attacks them like a silver wolf on a Eldian hare. Once she grabs hold, she doesn’t let go. Luckily, Ecks knows how to pry her off. “Count this as me saving your ass, which you have plenty of. Now you’re going to apologize,” he tells her, pulling her hair tighter.
“Being a little rough, aren’t you? You know that’s how I like it,” Willow said, still showing resilience. That is quickly nullified when Ecks changes tactics and practically lifts Willow up by her hair. “Ow Ow Ow! Okay, okay! I’m sorry!”
“Not bad,” Ecks says. Then he speaks to Beatrice. “How did that sound from your end?”
Beatrice smiles. If anyone can put Willow back in her place besides she it is Ecks. Now that her sister has been subdued, she felt the need for a little payback. “I’m not quite convinced. I think another apology is in order. Otherwise, I’ll tell Ecks about that ‘special tickle spot’ of yours.”
Playing along, Ecks asks, “Oh, and what spot would that be?”
“It’s the one that makes my sister very submissive,” Beatrice tells him.
Willow, fearful that her sister will spill her secret, quickly complies. “Okay, okay. I’m sorry. For real this time. Alright. I went too far. Just please don’t tell him!”
Beatrice laughs in her throat. Willow may be shrewd at times, but Beatrice can dish it back at her just as fiercely. “I guess that will do. You may release her, Lieutenant,” she says.
“Yes, ma’am,” replies Ecks.
“However, before you do. Willow, turn off your Perception. I just remembered that you can still use it without connecting to the Astral Flow once you have our location,” Beatrice said in a firm tone.
“Okay,” Willow said in compliance. “Perception off.”
Just to be sure, Beatrice asks Ecks to place a hand on her head and tell her if he sees anything. “It could be the empty space between her ears, but I got nothing on my end,” Ecks replies.
Tiphanee laughs a bit at Ecks. “Don’t encourage him,” Beatrice says to her, even though she, too, found Ecks’ quip to be humorous. She collects herself and prepares to end their conversation. “Now, we still have to meet with Councilman Knoxville to discuss a specific manner. Ecks, let me know how your assignment goes involving the disappearances.”
“You got it,” says Ecks.
“And Willow, you behave. Understand?” Beatrice said firmly.
“Yeah, okay,” Willow responded.
“Alright. Take care, you two.” Beatrice then signals to Tiphanee to disconnect from the Astral Flow. She lets out a sigh of relief as she settles back into the water. Though she loves her sister dearly, dealing with her antics is enough to stress out even the most peaceful elf. “Well, that was an ordeal,” she says, gently rubbing her temple.
“Your sister is certainly eccentric,” Tiphanee said as she rested back into the water. “But she is nowhere near Aunt Odetta.”
“How do you mean?” Amanda asks.
“That display when you met her and at the pub was just a prelude. She’s worse when she’s around all of us.”
“All of us?” Beatrice repeated. With a curious look, she asks how many other siblings Tiphanee has.
Tiphanee smiles as she answers. “There’s four of us. Tami and myself, then there are our younger sisters, Tamari and Taliah.”
“My, there’s certainly a handful of you,” said Amanda.
“That’s what my mom said,” Tiphanee replied, sharing a laugh with Amanda.
Beatrice laughs to herself. “Before our skin turns haggard, I suggest we get out the water. “Besides, we still have an appointment to keep.” Then, she stands.
“Oh, right. Our rendezvous with Councilman Leopoldo,” Amanda replied as she stood as well, followed by Tiphanee.
“Well, let’s not keep Uncle waiting,” says Tiphanee. The women grab their towels, wrap themselves up and leave hot springs area. Along the way, Tiphanee asks Amanda, “Do you have any siblings, Miss Blayke?”
As Beatrice opens the door, Amanda answers, “Yup, I’m the only girl among four brothers.”
“Oh.” Tiphanee closes the door behind. It is then that she realizes what Amanda has said. “Wait, you have four brothers?!”