Santa Cruz Witch Academy always kicks off the school year with a party at the local faerie court for the Autumnal Equinox, and all students are required to attend. But it’s not easy to dress up for a fancy magical party when you don’t have the clothes. Read this excerpt from The Daring Witch to find out what happens when Brie’s new roommate, Willow, has to get ready for her first court function.
Before the Party
“Hey,” I said, dropping my beach bag on the floor. “How’s your day going so far?”
“Um, okay, I guess.” Willow looked at her feet. “Do you know—um, I mean, do we really have to go to this party tonight? At the Faerie castle?”
I flopped onto my bed, already getting used to how much more accessible it was to be on the bottom bunk. “Yeah, we have to put in an appearance, at least. Pay respects to the baroness of the local court, and your Fae patron might be there, too.” I paused. Was Willow’s oath to the Fae the same as a witch’s? “At least, for witches, we’re expected to demonstrate our loyalty on a regular basis. I don’t know how it works for magikin.”
Willow shuffled back and forth awkwardly. “I’ve never been to the court before. My mom is human, so she never expected me to go, and my dad…” She shrugged. “He left when I was so young, I don’t really remember him.”
That explained why she didn’t seem to know much about the magical community in general and maybe even why she had trouble shifting. Maybe she should have spent more time with her own kind instead of going to a Fae for help. I suspected that I still didn’t know the full story, though. Not wanting to pry, I just nodded.
“Well, if it’s your first Faerie court, then Dewmire Keep is probably a good choice,” I pointed out. “The baroness is a laid-back hippie, not stuffy or formal like a traditional faeriekin. Her house isn’t really a castle, more like a small mansion. And you’ll be going with all the students from the school, so you shouldn’t get singled out. Think of it as a big party. You can go hang out for a little while, eat some good food and listen to the music, even dance if you feel like it. But there’s no pressure.”
Willow shuddered at the mention of dancing. “But I have to dress up?”
“You can’t go like that.” I gestured at her appearance. She wore part of the school uniform, just the skirt and an untucked blouse, and her hair was hanging loose around her shoulders. There was a certain appeal to her disheveled look, but it wasn’t court-appropriate. “Do you have anything nice?”
She sighed and reluctantly brought out the pink dress she was hiding behind her back. “My mom bought this for me, but…”
The pink monstrosity looked like it belonged on a ten-year-old girl at a fancy tea party. There was a high collar covered in lace, puffy sleeves, a long skirt and a giant bow covering the waist. It would be an embarrassment for any teenager to be caught wearing that thing, and Willow’s horrified face told its own story.
I pressed my hand against my mouth to hide my own disgusted reaction and pretended to consider it. “Not really your color,” I said finally. “Do you have anything else?”
Willow dropped the pink dress on the ground and turned back to the closet with a sigh. “Look for yourself,” she said, pointing to the half-empty rack on her side. “I don’t really have much.”