The typed “Story of Jasmine” notes continue:
Upon the completion of the kiss, Ermengarde was prepared to act. But her concentration was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a strange flying lizard with leathery wings. The little beast landed on Bardulf’s shoulder and made a startling noise. Arlet screamed and pushed herself away from Bardulf and the creature perched upon his right shoulder. The kiss and the spell had ended.
Arlet turned, wide-eyed and frightened, looking for an escape. “Ermengarde!” Arlet called frantically.
“I am here, child,” Ermengarde replied as Arlet hastened to her guardian’s side.
“Ermengarde?” Bardulf said quizzically, “Wait. I know that voice… No, you’re not Ermengarde…” His men, with weapons drawn, pressed in closer upon Ermengarde and her charge. Bardulf laughed. “Ah, yes, I remember,” Bardulf began, “you are Erlkyng’s witch! I wondered what became of you after the old fellow disappeared.” Bardulf walked towards his captives.
As Ermengarde watched him near, she understood the time for magic had passed. This was no charlatan. She would have to rely on guile instead. This man must believe she posed no threat. If she had completely lost her power, how would she act? She would bluff. If she had no powers, she would boast of her great strength.
“So,” Bardulf said, stroking the head of his lizard-creature with a gloved hand, “you want me to believe you are nothing but a powerless old nurse?”
“And YOU want me to believe you have become powerful without an apprenticeship to Erlkyng.”
Bardulf laughed, “So you DO remember.” Bardulf’s laughter grew cold, “I remember too. I was in ernest in my request to learn from that old wizard. And what was it he said to me? To come back when I had learned humility? I was a talented lad. He never even took the time to test me. You call that fair? And I remember you, staring at me with that smug look, telling me humility was a hard lesson, but a necessary one. I hated that smug voice of yours as much as your words. Humility!”
“Humility IS a hard lesson,” Ermengarde interrupted.” She spoke from experience, remembering the sixteen years she posed as a nursemaid, allowing her beauty to be hidden. She added, “and it’s a lesson you still haven’t learned.”
Bardulf looked at her directly and spoke with conviction, “I know what I am and I know what I am capable of doing. Why be humble when opportunities like this one present itself?” By this time, Bardulf was close enough to stroke Arlet’s cheek with the side of his finger. “You know, you do kiss beautifully,” he said to her.
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