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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #2259820
Southerlee continues to help her hero.

Southerlee Laken pulled bread from her oven. After it cooled, she wrapped the loaves in clean cloths and put them in her market basket. Throwing on her cloak, she headed into the forest.
The path was barely visible, but she knew the way. A crumbling tower of stone appeared out of the mist. Stopping at its base, the young woman took a balloon out of her pocket and blew it up.
When it was fully inflated, she knotted the end and tied on a length of sturdy string. Southerlee attached the result to the handle of her basket. Letting the balloon float up, she help it carry the basket up to the only window in the tower.
When it was level with the bottom of the window, she whistled. A large claw reached out and pulled in balloon, basket and all.

“Thank you for your unselfish sacrifice, my friend! When I was a child, I was kidnapped and locked in this tower to be the wife of an evil man. But you sir, who now live there, offered yourself in my stead. The evil one who held me, agreed.
“When I was free, that wicked warlock changed his mind. He turned you into a creature part hawk and part stone. He bound you to the tower with spells as a guardian of the riches he keeps there.
“When we found out you were starving, we set out to help. Although my parents are gone, I have a life debt to you. Be well, my hero!” she in a whisper.
The balloon with the empty basket full of cloths attached, floated briefly outside the window, a talon burst the balloon and Southerlee caught the basket. Inside was a leaf. Scratched on it was a message:
“Thank you, Signed Hawkins Bedrock."

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