It was late afternoon, and it was hot. The wind was in from Africa, and the night before Juno hadn’t slept. But she now was as ready as she’d ever be. She had a plan.
Nobody greeted her on the tiny quay under the great cliff. Juno knew why that was. It was the day of the wrestling competition. She made her way along the seafront that had become familiar to her by now, passed alley upon empty alley of plain white houses scrambling up the rock, until she rounded its tip and could see the crowd gathered on the beach. She’d heard it a while.
She also knew that she wasn’t the only stranger in town. About a dozen or so hippies were around. Northern Europeans, Juno figured. They slept on the boats they’d arrived on, and mostly hung out on the beach. The locals mostly ignored them, though they were happy to sell them rum. Juno was hardly going to blend in, but those flower children would make things easier for her ’til her big moment came.
She crept along the back of the beach. An entire butterfly colony fluttered in her belly, yet she was composed. Not knowing what witching licenses the other two had was definitely a drag. Would they recognize her as a witch right away? Would they know she recognized them? Would they, horror of horrors, be able to read her mind?
One thing Juno wasn’t worried about was that Demetrio mightn’t be attractive. It was hardly gonna be a problem. You’d have to be pretty darn stupid to be a warlock and ugly.
There was no way she could see what was going on at the waterline. A couple hundred hollering villagers blocked the current fight from view. Juno sat down on a rock, her hair and dress billowing in the thermal wind. She cast her eyes up to the hazy sun. ’Bout half past five. Nearly time for the final.
Next thing she knew she was lying face down in the sand. Something had tipped her clean off the rock. Panicked, Juno’s eyes raced down the long shadow beside her body to the figure that was throwing it. A young local woman. Unknown. Pretty. Big boobs. Aurelia.