There were three of them in the coven. That was a good number for witches. You could make it work with four or five, but any more than that and arguments tended to spill over to bystanders. But three was good. Three was traditional.

True, there wasn’t much of a tradition of vampire witches or werewolves crafting spells, but they figured that part didn’t matter as much. And yes, coven members typically had separate cottages, but they decided that life was both easier and more enjoyable when they were together.

Cassie was the best with plant magic, and grew all the ingredients for her potions in the garden, whispering to the seedlings to help them grow. Any spare vegetables or extra herbs – and there were always plenty of both – would be packed up along with her potion orders and be delivered out to people in the village. Despite the small size of the village, this typically took up a full day, since Cassie took a delight in chatting to everyone, asking about how young Annie was doing up in the big city and how our Nessie was making us all proud up north and yes you must definitely come round for dinner I insist.

Unlike Cassie, Olivia got up late and went to bed later, and spent most of their waking time in the shade of the old oak tree in the garden practising their magic. There were numerous rumours about them, most untrue, all spread by Olivia. Appearances, after all, had to be maintained. While Cassie and Victoria slept, Olivia would often wander through the village, gathering plants by moonlight, or would sit by the dying fire in the cottage endlessly practising coin tricks and cantrips. (These were mainly for the benefit of the village children, who adored Olivia for their tendency to pull coins from behind ears and conjure up sweets when parents weren’t looking.)

Victoria was the eldest, no matter what Olivia would say, and her second favourite place was with the bees. She liked the precision of the hives, the calming buzzing of the insects, and she often thought they understood her more than most people. Her favourite place, however, was curled up in the living room between Cassie and Olivia in the evenings, or sleeping beside them in bed. As much as the bees understood her, her companions understood her better.

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