‘‘Who lives in these woods?’ Frida asked, hoping to become distracted from the strange sound.
‘Well, there are the owls and the bats . . .’ the witch began.
‘I’m not afraid of either,’ Frida said proudly.
Sidonia looked at her from the corner of her eye. ‘Some of them are the size of a horse. Then there are the dragons, the dangerous toads . . .’ she continued but could not finish because somebody – or something – interrupted her.
‘And Alpert Palanflick!’ The voice came from behind a tree.
Frida looked around while the witch held her magic wand in front of her fiercely.
‘There’s no need for that.’ An arm reached out from behind the tree and pointed at the magic wand.
‘We’ll see,’ Sidonia grunted.
‘Magic is useless against me.’ The reply was confident.
‘Who is Alpert Palanflick?’ Frida asked. ‘Don’t hide behind the tree!’
There was a chuckle. ‘Who is Alpert Palanflick? What a question! Everybody in Talendia knows who he is!’
‘Well, we have not heard of him,’ Sidonia replied.
‘Either show us your face or leave us alone,’ added Frida.
‘What an impatient girl you are, Frida Doyle!’ said the mysterious voice.
Frida’s jaw dropped open in surprise. ‘How do you know my name?’
They heard another chuckle. ‘I know things. I should say . . . almost everything,’ said the invisible creature, and then walked out from his hide-out.