"Well? Explain yourselves!" Moya yelled.
She took a threatening step toward the little frightened huddle of leprechauns, her hands in front of her, cupped in preparation to throwing a spell at them.
"We ... she ... they ... " all five of them started babbling at once.
Moya picked one of the females up by the waist, and brought her up so that they faced each other eye-to-eye.
"Now then, what's your name, leprechaun?"
"She ... Shelagh," she stuttered, her eyes wide.
“Why did you and your wild bunch kidnap young Mary?”
“I didn't … I mean they aren't … BAWWWWWWWWW!” With that, Shelagh burst into tears.
“Oh for heaven's sake girl, pull yourself together,” Moya said as she put the weeping leprechaun down. Immediately the other female folded the sodden Shelagh in a comforting embrace.
“You big bully!”
One of the male leprechauns ran forward and made a mighty effort to kick Moya in the shins, but I wrestled the little guy to the ground. He lay face down on the floor splayed out like a spider, kicking and screaming, while I straddled his back and sat on him.
“Shut up, the lot of ye, or I'll turn ye into bugs, and stomp on ye!” Albert bellowed from the couch in a thick Irish brogue, brought on by temper.
Dead silence. Even Shelagh stopped her sobbing. The leprechaun under me stopped his flailing, so I stood up and pulled him to his feet. He scuttled back to his group, keeping an eye on me the whole time. I faced my watchers, and addressed them in a quiet voice, trying to establish calm.
“Moya, Albert, do you mind if I talk to them? They're too frightened of both of you to be of much use.”
They nodded. I went over to stand in front of the little group.
“Now then, I'm just going to ask some questions. There will be no bug turning. Do you have a spokesperson I can talk to, rather than everyone talking at once?”
One of the males with flaming red hair, and a long flowing beard stepped forward. “I'm Paddy McGarrigle, at yerrr serrrvice ma'am,” he said with a sweeping bow. Apparently he thought that sucking up might help his case.
“To start off, why did you kidnap Mary, Paddy?”
“Wellll nowww … it's not that we wanted Miss Mary over there … it's more like … “ he blushed brilliantly, scratched his head, then his beard, stalling for time, trying to come up with a plausible answer.
“You were looking for me, weren't you?” I said, just to speed things up.
“Ummm … if ye be Miss Annabelle Carmody, then I suppose that is correct,”
“That's about what I thought. Who paid you to kidnap me?”
“Kidnap is a strong word there, Missy. It's more like we were going to relocate you temporarily.”
“Relocate me? That's a stupid explanation,” I huffed, getting more annoyed by the moment. “Who paid you to relocate me?”
“That would be your parents, Miss.”
“I have no parents. I grew up in foster care.”
“ Ye have parents, it's just that ye were taken from them in a traveling caravan when ye were just a wee lassie of five. They've been looking for ye in the magical world for 15 years. They only recently found out ye were in the human world when … um … a friend saw you at the Cup Cakes and Cappuccinos Café. Apparently ye look very much like yer mother.”
I guessed the friend he mentioned was Kerry, the tall leprechaun from the café. At least Paddy was loyal enough not to name his friend, or blame him.
“My parents are leprechauns?”
“No no, yer parents aren't leprechauns. Ye be partly human on yer mom's side. Otherwise ye wouldn't have been able to stay in the human world.”
“I had already figured that one out. What is the other part of me? I know it has to be magical.”
“It's best ye let yer parents explain that. They're on their way here.”
Just then the doorbell rang, loud and insistently.