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Kiss and Spell

Suzanne Selfors

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  Table of Contents

  Copyright Page

  In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected]. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

  For Elizabeth,

  the nicest person

  I ever met in kingdergarten

  Dear reader,

  Don’t miss the companion hextbook: Science and Sorcery: A Destiny Do-Over Diary! Inside the diary are lots of activities inspired by the events of this story. Grab a copy so you can flip the script!


  The Narrator

  Chapter 1

  A Delivery for Ginger


  The light on the little oven illuminated, and the candy cane door popped open. Two perfectly golden muffins sat inside.

  “Yum!” Melody Piper threw back her quilt and scrambled out of bed.

  “Be careful. They’re hot,” Ginger Breadhouse warned. She’d been baking muffins since she was a child, so she knew they needed at least a minute to cool.

  But Melody didn’t care. She loved Ginger’s treats so much she was willing to risk a burnt finger or tongue. She slid one of the muffins onto a plate and began to carefully peel back the foil. “I have to admit, when I met you on the first day of school, I thought it was really weird that you’d brought your toy oven. But now I think it’s fableous!”

  Ginger smiled, remembering how she’d lugged her trunk up the dormitory stairs with the Princess-Bake Oven strapped to the top. Perhaps it had seemed a bit odd to bring an old toy to school, but it was a beloved toy—a reminder of sweet moments in her happy and carefree youth. She’d set it on her dormitory desk next to her cookbook collection, and whenever she looked at it, she remembered those days as a little girl when she’d played alone in her room, making her very first treats. Though she’d long outgrown the toy oven, it was still fun to use, now and then.

  “If I’d had one of these when I was little, I would have cooked all the time,” Melody said. “This muffin is delicious. What’s the secret ingredient? Magic?”

  “A chef never gives away her secrets,” Ginger said with a twinkle in her eye. The truth was, it wasn’t magic. It was simply a tiny chandelier that got hot enough to turn batter into cake. But even if the muffins had been baked by a cooking charm or a sweet spell, no one would have raised an eyebrow. Magic was everywhere at Ever After High, a boarding school for the sons and daughters of fairytale characters. Ginger was the daughter of the Candy Witch, and Melody was the daughter of the Pied Piper. Though the two girls had different interests—Melody wanted to be a DJ, while Ginger wanted to be a professional pastry chef—they got along quite well as roommates. Each respected the other’s drive and passion.

  “I gotta run,” Ginger said, quickly pulling her long pink hair into ponytails. “You can have the other muffin.”

  “Where are you going?” Melody asked, her mouth full.

  “To the mail room. It’s delivery day,” Ginger reminded her. “See ya later.” She waved good-bye to Melody, then to her pet fish, Jelly. He swam to the top of his tank, poked his yellow head above the water, and smiled at her. He might have been made of candy, but he still acted like a real fish.

  Bye, Jelly said with a smack of his tail.

  “Bye,” Melody called as Ginger hurried out the door.

  The mail room was all the way across campus, which meant Ginger had to descend a dozen staircases, dart down seven hallways, weave around three fountains, cross two bridges, and duck beneath a sagging arch to get there. Many students were heading to breakfast in the Castleteria. “Hey, Ginger, I really loved those massive macaroons,” called Raven Queen, daughter of the universally feared Evil Queen.

  “Can’t wait to see what you whip up next,” said Cedar Wood, daughter of Pinocchio, the most famous puppet in all the kingdoms.

  Ginger smiled proudly. To be appreciated for her baking was a dream come true. The Castleteria’s breakfast offerings of runny pigeon eggs and scorched porridge were hard to swallow, so Ginger tried to bring treats as often as possible. “Thanks!” She continued her hurried pace, down a narrow stone staircase and between a pair of griffin statues. Finally, a bit out of breath but giddy with expectation, she reached her destination.

  By fairytale standards, the mail room at Ever After High wasn’t worth a second glance. It paled in comparison with the grand design of the school library, where bookshelves were nestled between gigantic trees and enchanting tomes of yesteryear waited to be discovered. It couldn’t compete with the foreboding cauldron room, where briny brews toiled and bubbled and where villainous plans were concocted. And it was totally boring compared with the Charmitorium, where chandelier light danced upon a gilded stage and princesses sat in plush box seats.

  The dusty, old mail room didn’t stand out in any way—just a neglected space with some walls, a floor, a ceiling, and a counter. And because the current students received messages from home on their MirrorPhones, there were no stacks of envelopes or scrolls waiting to be picked up, as there had been in generations past. However, a few packages still arrived on the 9:00 AM delivery coach.

  “Hello?” Ginger called. She tapped the little bell. “Hello? Is there a delivery for me?”

  A snort sounded. The lady who worked the counter peeked out of the back room. Her face was as ugly as a troll’s, on account of her being a troll. “Whadda ya want?” She held an issue of Troll Times magazine. The lead article: “The Latest Hairstyles for Your Feet.”

  “May I please have my package?”

  “What’s yer name?”

  “Ginger Breadhouse.”

  The troll lady scratched under her armpit. “Ginger who?”

  “Breadhouse. Ginger Breadhouse.” Ginger frowned. The troll lady should have known her name by now. Ginger came to the mail room once a week for her special deliveries.

  “Lemme check.” Sounds of searching rose from the back room—shuffling footsteps, boxes being moved about, and grunting. Lots and lots of grunting.

  Ginger tapped her fingers on the counter. “It’s from the Fairytale Food Emporium,” she explained. “It’s a box of special baking chocolate from Candy Mountain. It comes right off the mountainside. It’s for—”

  “Yeah, yeah, hold yer horses.” More grunting. Then the troll lady shuffled out of the back room and set a small box on the counter. “Sign here.” She pointed a hairy finger at the delivery receipt.

  Ginger penned her swirly signature, looping the g and turning the o into a smiley face. She wrote as if decorating a cake, and that was how she dressed, too.

  Upon first glance, one might find Ginger a bit, well, overstated. But her colorful wardrobe choices weren’t made because she wanted attention. She’d spent most of her life trying to blend in and hide her true identity. (More on that later.) But her passion for baking scrumptious treats grew with each year, and it began to influence everything about her, including her appearance.

  Ginger’s skirt and jacket were accented with gumdrop buttons and swirls that looked as if they’d come from the tip of an icing dispenser. Even her shoes seemed to have been dipped in frosting. A bright candy-confection necklace and a cupcake-shaped hat completed the sweet statement. With her pink hair and pink glasses, Ginger was a colorful sight. Everything looks better with a little decoration, she believed. Or a cherry on top. Which was why she stared at the troll lady’s drab brown dress and rope belt. If only she’d add a ribbon of blue alon
g the hem or a sprinkle of yellow on the collar.

  “Chocolate, ya say?” The troll lady scratched her hairy chin. “You shouldn’t be eating chocolate. It’ll give ya pimples.”

  Ginger adjusted her glasses. The troll lady appeared to be an expert on that particular subject, seeing that a fair number of pustules were sprouting on her nose. “Actually, I’m using the chocolate to make glaze for my spelly doughnuts,” Ginger told her. “On my cooking MirrorCast, Spells Kitchen.” She beamed proudly. But the troll lady showed no signs of recognition. “You haven’t heard of my show? I teach people how to bake yummy things.”

  “I don’t watch shows that teach ya stuff. I like Housewives of Troll County.” She picked a bit of food from her single tooth. “Those gals really know how to throw a punch.” She ate the bit of food. “You seen that new show, Daring’s Day? That one’s real good. You don’t learn nothin’.”

  Ginger didn’t admit that she had spent a whole hour yesterday watching Daring’s Day, a reality MirrorCast that focused on Ever After High’s most popular prince, Daring Charming. Nor did she admit that she was minty green with jealousy because he had more views for a single episode than all of her episodes combined. Students liked to eat her treats, but they didn’t seem interested in learning how to make them. “Thanks for the package,” she said. Then she tucked the box under her arm and headed outside.

  The quad was busy this morning as students gathered to chat. With her heels clicking along the cobblestones, Ginger shook away the feelings of doubt. So what if she didn’t have as many views or crownloads as Daring Charming? Once she’d graduated from Ever After High, she’d open her own chain of bakeries. She’d publish cookbooks and create an entire line of gourmet treats under her label, Ginger’s Goodies. By sharing her talents on a larger scale, she’d help make the world a happier place. For Ginger Breadhouse believed, with every ounce, gram, and sprinkle of her soul, that good food was one of the secret ingredients to happiness. Whether in times of celebration or sadness, beautifully prepared goodies had the power to bring people together.

  She smiled as her thoughts drifted toward the destiny she wanted with all her heart.

  “Hey, watch it!” someone grumbled.

  “Sorry,” Ginger said. She’d been so caught up in her daydreams she’d bumped right into a group of girls who were standing in the center of the quad, holding their hocus lattes. “What’s going on?”

  “Daring,” one of them said, then pointed to an enormous mirror that hung from one of the school’s grand trees. As Ginger peered over their shoulders, the title DARING’S DAY flashed on the mirror screen. The girls squealed as the prince’s face appeared. He was brushing his thick blond hair.

  “He’s soooo dreamy,” one of the girls said.

  “This is the best show ever after,” another girl chirped. She wore a shirt that read: TEAM DARING.

  Daring smiled into the camera, nearly blinding the viewers with his dazzlingly white teeth. Then he set the brush aside and spritzed cologne on his neck. The camera closed in on the bottle. Its label read: BE DARING. “Available in eight-ounce and one-gallon jugs at the Ever After High Bookstore,” Daring told his viewers.

  Like bees seeking pollen, the groupies swarmed toward the bookstore. They all tried to cram into the doorway at the same time. “Me first!” “Out of my way!” “I’m buying three jugs!”

  Product placement, Ginger thought. How very clever. She didn’t have any product placement on her show. But she wasn’t famous like Daring Charming.

  “Hi, Ginger.” Ashlynn Ella, the daughter of Cinderella, waved as she passed by.

  “Hi, Ginger.” Holly O’Hair, daughter of Rapunzel, also waved.

  “Hi,” Ginger called. She appreciated the kindness that many of the students offered her.

  But that hadn’t always been the case. Although most students loved her sweets and thought she was a nice person, others were suspicious of Ginger, on account of her fairytale destiny.

  Unlike Ashlynn and Holly, Ginger Breadhouse was not the daughter of a popular princess. She was the daughter of a witch.

  The Candy Witch.

  Chapter 2

  Snacky Time

  Witches come in all shapes and sizes. Some spend their lives in isolation. Some ride brooms and terrorize villagers. Some do magic tricks at birthday parties.

  And some are nice, while others are wicked.

  Ginger’s mother was of the latter variety. She was the Candy Witch, the very woman rumored to have lured Hansel and Gretel into her gingerbread house, locked Hansel in a cage, then tried to fatten him up so she could roast him for dinner.

  But that was one big lie. The truth was that Hansel and Gretel were nasty little children who didn’t have an ounce of manners between them. They’d been out in the Dark Forest one day, stomping on things and ignoring NO TRESPASSING signs, when they saw a house covered in candy. So, without asking permission or waiting to be invited, they started to eat the house. Then, wanting more candy, they climbed through a window and started eating the interior. When the Candy Witch caught them, she was very upset. “How would you like it if I ate your house?”

  “But our house is made of bricks,” Hansel said, a candy cane drawer handle sticking out of his mouth.

  “Ja, und made of mortar,” Gretel added between bites of a licorice rope curtain.

  The Candy Witch frowned. “That is not the point. The point is, dearies, my house belongs to me, not you. And it is very rude to eat something that belongs to someone else.”

  “Ve don’t care,” Hansel and Gretel said.

  So the Candy Witch called their parents, and when faced with a month of being grounded, Hansel and Gretel lied. “Ve ate zee candy because zee vicked vitch forced us!” Gretel said, candy corn stuck to her teeth.

  “Und then she tried to cook us in de stew pot,” Hansel added, wiping chocolate from his round cheeks.

  “Ja. She vants to eat us vith dumplings.”

  The horrid parents believed their horrid children. They told everyone they knew that Hansel and Gretel had outsmarted the wicked witch, barely escaping with their lives. The fable quickly spread, from castle turret to sod hut. And because no one ever believes a witch, Hansel and Gretel’s version of the story was written into the Storybook of Legends. Thus, the Candy Witch’s reputation as a child-eating monster stuck to her like gooey caramel.

  But even though she had no interest in consuming children, the Candy Witch still had a dark side. She was an expert at making evil potions. And she used them.

  The reason why she made evil potions was simple—she’d been born into a long line of wicked witches. And when one is wicked, one doesn’t make nice potions. Her mother and grandmother taught her the witchy ways. Huddling over a steaming cauldron, brewing something vile, was what the women in her family did. She accepted her legacy with pride. Over the years, she had created a vast collection of potions. Some grew fur on bare skin. Some made ears double in size. Others stole voices. She always needed test subjects and learned, early on, that it was much easier to get a victim to eat an evil potion if it was hidden in a delicious treat. Who could resist the allure of a cupcake with buttercream frosting? Or a gingerbread boy with gumdrop buttons? It didn’t take long for the local villagers to realize that the sweet treats from the Candy Witch’s kitchen were responsible for the unwanted tails and horns on their children. But she continued her quest, creating unpleasant potions, testing them, and publishing the results in academic and professional witch journals.

  Childhood was, therefore, quite difficult for Ginger. When your parent has a thriving career as a wicked witch, and a reputation as a child-eater, you’re destined to have trouble making friends. No parents allowed their children to visit the Candy Witch’s house, so Ginger was quite lonely. “Don’t go near that place. The witch who lives there will eat you up!” the neighbors warned.

  “My mom doesn’t eat kids!” Ginger shouted out the gumdrop-lined window. “That’s a mean thing to say!” But no
one seemed to believe her.

  And thus, Ginger’s days passed, friendless.

  But then came a wonderful new opportunity called kingdergarten.

  Because the local spellementary school didn’t want anything to do with the Candy Witch—or her child—it was arranged for Ginger to be schooled in a different fairytale district. A horseless carriage picked her up before sunrise. On that first day, even though the journey was long, she was too excited to nap. The days at home, with nothing to do but watch her mother brew poisoned potions, had become as monotonous as waiting for water to boil. She’d felt like Rapunzel, locked in a tower, only Ginger hadn’t been waiting for a prince—she’d been waiting to make friends.

  When she stepped out of the carriage at Aesop’s Spellementary School, no one ran away in terror. When she walked into the kingdergarten classroom, no one shrieked in fear. Having no idea about Ginger’s wicked heritage, the teacher welcomed her. On that first day, Ginger played leapfrog, made a macaroni crown, and learned the names of every student. She’d never felt happier. As days grew into weeks, she didn’t mind the long carriage journey to and from school, because the hours there became the best hours of her life.

  Until it was her turn for snack time.

  Each day after recess, a different parent brought snacks to the kingdergarten classroom. All sorts of lovely things were delivered, like Three Blind Mice cheese wedges, beanstalk butter sandwiches, and iced royal crumpets. The teacher, Sister Goose, would hand out the snacks, and the kingdergartners would munch happily.

  But unbeknownst to Ginger, her mother had signed up for snack duty as well.

  When the Candy Witch walked into the classroom, the students gasped. Because they lived in a fairytale kingdom, they were used to seeing all sorts of beings, like fairies, trolls, and such. So they knew a witch when they came face-to-face with one. The Candy Witch, with her black military boots, ragged black dress, and green matted hair, could have been the poster woman for wicked witches. In fact, she had once been on the cover of Wicked Witch Monthly. The editors hadn’t even needed to Photoshop a wart onto her chin, because she already had one. She did, however, like to accessorize with candy. A gummy slug necklace was her favorite piece of jewelry.