Avis Blackthorn and the Magical Multicolour Jumper (The Wizard Magic School Series, Book 2) (3 page)

 

***

 

It was done. The
I do’s
and the kiss and all that gushy nonsense was done. The poor bloke was officially part of the Blackthorn family, god help him. Like I usually did at my parents parties with mostly evil people, I stayed well clear for as long as possible. I walked over to this big collection of trees and found a quiet spot in the shade, settling down underneath. I took off the purple tie, and green jacket.
Ahhh
, that was better. It was so hot I was sweating! I said the spell that would hide me and wondered if it would work with all these clever, highly trained Wizards?

I snoozed under that tree for a long, lovely, dreamy hour. Until voices from the party got louder and louder.

“I thought he might have made an appearance,” said a man’s voice, followed by a cackle.

“Haven’t you heard?” the voice screeched. “He’s gone… Malakai was defeated by a boy!” the voice laughed, sending a chill down my spine — they were talking about
him
. I trained my ear towards the nearby conversation.

“I should wind your opinions in Sir Humphrey,” came my Father’s voice, deep and commanding.

“I should, but it’s true isn’t it?” screeched Sir Humphrey. “What hope is left for the darkness without its
leader
?”

My Father gruffed. “You just concentrate on
your
job, and remember who
placed
you where you are.”

“He’s right though Nigel,” (that’s my Father’s name — Nigel, funny isn’t it?) “He’s gone, the opposing force is probably mounting an attack as we speak. I am surprised they’re not at the wedding already.” Father said nothing else that I could hear. So, they were worried that their evil empire would fall without it’s leader? So did that mean that Malakai had disappeared? I mean, I didn’t kill him or anything, I saw him get away — maybe someone else had got him?!

“Hello, little brother,” came a long, slow drawn out voice. “We know what you did,” I opened my eyes slowly. All my brothers stood over me. Harold at the front, Simon, Wilson, Rory, Gary and Ross just behind. He’d told them. I just knew it. Fear rippled through me at the sight of these six pairs of dead, evil eyes staring down at me.

“What’s wrong?” I said, as innocently as I could.

Harold judged me and rocked his head. “You don’t look indignant at being accused, as you should be if your innocent,” he smiled.

I frowned. “I don’t know what you mean,” I said, playing dumb was the best option. “What am I supposed to have done now?”

Rory blurted it out. “Ross told us!” Harold held up a hand for silence.

I scoffed. “Oh, so you believe him do you? He’s just annoyed because Mother and Father made him clean, he’ll do anything to have me do it all instead.”

Harold raised an eyebrow. “But it’s also true that our Lord of Darkness hasn’t been seen or heard of since the end of school, when the sanctimonious little creep Partington claimed to have defeated him.”

“You helped him!” cried Simon.

“You did you did! Insider knowledge!” followed Gary.

Harold raised his hands again. “Quiet!” he waited, my brothers mouths opened and closed, ready to shout obscenities whether I was innocent or not. “Ross’s story sticks. He thinks you had some
inspired insider knowledge
that helped this dead Partington boy end Malakai. Just tell me if this is true or not, it will be a lot easier in the long run if you just admit the truth to me.”

I swallowed. “Whatever I say will be wrong.”

“The truth…” said Harold.

I couldn’t tell them the truth could I? Even though I was tempted to under Harold’s intense stare. For if I admitted that I’d helped Ernie, it would still be a lie. I didn’t help Ernie, I did it all. “I had nothing to do with any of it,” I said.

“Any of
what
?” said Wilson.

“Well, whatever Ernie said.”


Ernie
?” said Harold. “So your on first name terms?”

I swallowed. “No, I…”

Wilson huffed, then charged towards me. “I’ve had enough of this, there’s only one way we can find out the truth… pin him down!” A few people began looking round at the commotion.

“Get away from me,” I said, holding my arms out at them, making them laugh.

“What on earth are you gonna do to me?” said Wilson. “
Tidicidious
…” he called lazily. A whistle lit the air, as a turquoise triangle shot towards me like a thrown dagger.

I reacted as quickly as I could, wishing beyond all else that it would work. “
Dancidious
!” I cried. The whistling spell Wilson said, hit an invisible reflective shield in front of me and bounced off.

“Oh no…” I said — coming out of the doorway were ten entourages carrying the humungous twenty foot black cake. The dagger spell flew across the heads of guests and in one sickening, smashing sound the dagger shattered the glass. The force of the spell caused the men to fly into the air, the cake falling, falling… SPLAT! Across the cobblestones now lay black mush. There was utter silence. No one dared move. Slowly, one by one, eyes began moving from all around, following the turquoise contrail left by the dagger — to me. My brothers didn’t react either, they stood dumb, shell shocked. They didn’t think I had a channeller, let alone could do magic. Then, the loudest, most ear splitting, earth wrenching scream lit the air.


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Marianne howled, her face contorted with a frenzied, berserk rage. Black sparks rained into the sky from her fingertips as guests ducked under chairs. Then calm. She stood breathing heavily. There was murder in her eyes, I had to do something to save myself.

Then, in the silence, a small voice called something. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the best man of Edward Burrows, blow a small horn. Small white flashes lit the forest behind and all around, as new people arrived. I was utterly confused. But then, realising what was happening, my parents stood and roared. Arms extended outwards pointing at the forest, as spells suddenly exploded from their palms.

I jumped to the floor as Burrow’s best man called out: “
Assemble
!” Then, white lights fizzed through the air at the guests, leaving them to scatter in all directions. People in white robes were attacking the wedding! Spells and lights popped, whistled and crunched above my head and from all around. The guests, in one quick moment, drew up their sleeves, pulled out their staff’s, canes, wands and sticks and threw return fire. Suddenly, from all around were leaves exploding into the air, bits of tree’s cast in every direction as they were sliced by sharp spells.

It was time to run. I had no idea who these people were that had just appeared through the forest, what they were doing here or why. But I had to get out of here! I ducked and ran as fast as I could through the smoke and dust that clouded the air. I clattered into chairs and scrambled for the way out, slipping across skiddy cake and back into the Hall. I turned quickly and saw my six brothers firing off black spells in every direction.

Inside the Hall, the echoes from the battle outside rang deafeningly loud. “Oi you!” called Wilson and Rory bursting into the Hall behind me. “You can stay where you are!”

“Sod off!” I called, turning to run. I’d better be quick, because I felt a big spell brewing behind me.
Come on shoes! Please, please, please do your thing, like you did before!
I repeated, urging them on. But they didn’t work. Orange fire burst past me, missing me by an inch. It hit the statue at the top of the stairs, which fell over the banishers casting a choking dust over everything. I jumped the last step and glanced behind me. My brothers turned, and were throwing spells at someone who had come into the Hall.

“Who
ARE YOU?!
” they screamed. Glancing down through the banisters at the man who was dancing away from their spells, I saw the best man of Edward Burrows. The man who had inadvertently saved me.

Without any more waiting, I turned and ran. My breath caught in my throat as my sides began to burn. Who were those people? Why were they attacking the wedding? Who was I kidding, it had probably just saved my butt. I reached my room on the forth floor and shut the door. The loud noises sounded far off, small bangs, pops and rumbles shuddered the floor. I pulled out a bag from under my bed and began pilling in clothes and stuff. I had to get out of here as soon as possible. But where did I go? School didn’t start for another three weeks! I hid Sedrick inside an alcove in the wall. “
Avertere
,” I said, the shadow inside the alcove surrounded Sedrick until he became invisible. I glanced around my room, I think I had everything I needed. It was time to go.

But where? And how? How did I get out of the castle without getting attacked? I glanced out the window. Just below was our fleet of carriages. I had to get to them. I slung the bag on my back and moved out of my room. I needed to get downstairs and out the window in the kitchen.

Jogging along the corridor and past the Hall, I saw it was clear — my brothers and Burrows best man were gone. I slipped down the stairs, through the clouds of dust, as quietly as I could. Then, scuttled down into the servant hallways to the kitchen. My heart was beating so fast, all I knew was, if I was gonna make it out of this alive, I had to get away, far, far away. I pushed open the door to the kitchen which was crammed with food. The window was open in the corner, I thanked my lucky stars.

A bumbling, muttering noise made me stop in my tracks. “Errr, mehhh, whhhaa…”

“Hello?” I said. “Who’s there?”

“Waaaahhh!” wailed the terrified voice. I followed the wails under the table, where a gibbering Butler Kilkenny sat trembling and hugging himself.

“What are you doing under there?” I said.

“Safe, safe…” he gibbered. “Safe from them,” he turned and grabbed my jacket.

“Get off me!” I tried to push him away, but his bony claw hand gripped like a vice.

“You have to do magic to get us out of here! Do magic, magic boy!”

“I said get off me!” I cried, yanking his hands away.

He wailed again. “Snivelling little runt!” he cried, matted grey hair flying everywhere. “You little runt!” he pointed at me again.

“You nasty old man, I’ve never liked you…
Pasanthedine
,” the Spell flashed before zapping Butler Kilkenny into the air. He screamed as he was flung upside down, hanging useless, flailing around madly.

“Get me down you little runt! Get me down!”

“Get yourself down you miserable old git…” With that I saluted him goodbye and jumped out the window.

About twenty carriages of varying grey, brown and black colours were lined up on the gravel in perfect order. Sprinting across to the only one I knew would fly itself, I opened the doors to my parents ceremonial carriage, threw my bag inside and jumped in. A loud bang rumbled the grounds, just behind the castle I could see what looked like hundreds of fireworks being let off.

I swallowed, it was time to go. I heard the carriage start to whizz as it lifted gently into the air, hovering slowly. “Take me too…” I thought frantically, where could I go? Butler Kilkenny had found a way down, I saw him poke his head out the window and shake a fist. I had to go somewhere they wouldn’t find me. But where? “Take me… to
the Outside
.” I swallowed as the whizzing sound grew louder, the carriage rising higher into the air. Butler Kilkenny was joined at the window now by my brothers Wilson, Harold and Ross. A long arm reached out into the sky. I sat back away from the window.

“Go now!
Quickly
!” I called as the carriage whizzed a little louder. A blue blast of fire shot past the carriage window. They were trying to shoot me down! “Quicker!” I cried as they threw spell after spell at me.

BANG! The carriage was suddenly engulfed in a blast of black fire! “GO NOW!” In a flash of purple light, the carriage exploded forwards. I was thrown back into the leather seat. All sound was reduced to a high pitched whistle. I shut my eyes and preyed for it to be over as the carriage blasted upwards into the sky. I didn't know what the carriage did to get to the Outside — but knew it wouldn't be usual. And I was right, a second later the carriage began to spin. We shot at the speed of light through a spinning purple vortex — a terrifying, bright purple tunnel. At the end a white dot, which grew bigger and bigger until…

 

CHAPTER THREE

The Percevius Denn Inn

 

The
carriage sailed into the white dot. I shielded my eyes before seeing green grass and brown earth, before falling, faster and faster. I clung on for dear life as the carriage seemed to lose all power and careered for the ground.


AHHHH
!” I cried in vain as I braced myself for the inevitable.

CRAAAAASSSSHHHHH
! We smashed into ground, casting mud and earth into the air from all around as a sickening
eeeeeeekkkkkkkkk
sound erupted. I flew to the front and face planted the glass. I heard a sickening crunching noise, then pain, glorious, horrible, stinging pain! The carriage skidded through earth, before flipping over and over and over… me and my bag turning summersaults as it repeatedly smacked into my already sore face. I grabbed it as we span, round and round like some tortuous fairground ride. I preyed for it to be over already. Then, the carriage turned upside down, my body rose into the middle of the carriage in one glorious floating moment… before the leather seat, all at once, came crashing into my midriff, winding me completely — and then all was still, as darkness set in. I couldn’t help close my eyes, and let my aching body rest.

The pain echoed through me even in sleep. When my eyes finally opened, all I could see was a pounding white light in front of my eyes where my nose throbbed. All down the front of my jacket was blood. All over the carriage roof, or floor, was blood. I blinked and sat up. The carriage was upside down in, from what I could make out from the gap in the window that wasn’t buried in mud, the middle of a field. My stomach groaned as I sat forwards, the winding I received coming back in painful spurts like invisible stabbing needles. The carriage was making a weird whizzing sound and emitting a large amount of purple smoke, I had to get out of here quickly. With my head throbbing, and nose crying, I lent round and kicked the carriage door. Every pore of my body begged me to stop, as the pain rippled around me.
Stop being such a wuss,
I said to myself, hoping that it could make the pains just sod off. I gave another kick and caught the window which smashed. Purple smoke began billowing out of the carriage as if it was a race. Kicking the glass out of the panel I crawled out through the small gap, catching my robes on the shards and hearing small tearing sounds. But I didn’t care, I was out of the carriage at last and… in the middle of a big field.

Ssssssssssssssss
… came the hissing sound from the carriage. Before purple flames suddenly engulfed it from all around. I stepped back into slippy mud. This was bad, really bad — it was my parents best ceremonial carriage, and now I’d crashed it and it was on fire. I couldn’t even think of a spell that would put it out? I suddenly realised how little about magic I really knew, for I couldn’t even think of a spell that would shoot water, or foam or anything that would put it out! And so, I turned my back on it, as if, childishly, it would just vanish and go back home good as new and there would be no problem and I wouldn’t be in trouble at all — as if I wasn’t in enough already.

I didn’t know where I was. Like not just not knowing where you are in a town you sort of know — but not knowing where I was in a town, in a kingdom, in a world I didn’t know — the
Outside
. Somewhere I’d never been, somewhere big and terrifying. I walked on though, despite being terrified that I might be killed at any point. I followed a track next to the field and walked, with my bag bobbing up and down on my back, until I saw the first signs of civilisation.

Huge shiny castles shot into the sky — or was it one big castle? But all different shapes and sizes, the tallest one looked like a dagger, all pointy, the next looked all rounded and bulbous, like a gnomes head, all the rest were big and square — so this was the Outside? I looked around, nearby was a road. A sound like a roaring Troll pierced the air, and I ducked, suddenly realising how exposed I was. But then, on the road the thing that made the roaring noise came shooting along it. Sounding like a big Troll was one thing, but it whizzed past with all the speed of a carriage. What was that? It had wheels like a carriage, the speed of one, but was all shiny and metal. Why did I tell the carriage to take me to the
Outside
? I suppose in some vain attempt I thought I would come and find Robin. How was I gonna get back to Hailing Hall now?

“Oi! Oi you little oik!” someone behind me called in a strange tongue. The man was standing near the burnt out carriage, and dressed like a servant. Is that how all Outsiders dressed? In slacks and dirty undershirts? Good god I hope not, otherwise I’d stick out like a sore thumb. He continued to yell, marching over the fields towards me. Perhaps he wanted to help me? The idiotic side of my brain reckoned, as I waited patiently for him to march angrily to my side.

“What on this bloody earth do you think you’re playing at?” he said, all huffing and puffing hot stinky breath towards me. What do you Outsiders eat? He had a big bushy beard and long hair, I don’t suppose he knew what a brush was? You don’t need magic to operate one of those for goodness sake. “So, you gonna start telling me what you think you’re doing young lad? Joy riding I expect were ya? Lost control of that vehicle… or whatever it is, and thought you’d crash it into’ me farm did ya?” said the man getting angrier still. “And now you’d thought what a great idea it would be, ta’ walk across me newly planted crops.”

“Erm…” was all I could manage. “I’m terribly sorry could you repeat that, it’s just, I didn’t have a clue what you just said.” It was true, I didn’t and thought myself polite, bowing down to this, what looked like, beggar. But this remark clearly made him livid.

“Posh little tyke’s like you think you can come and trample all over me farm without any consequences don’ ya?!” he cried.

I frowned and backed away, trying to work out what he said, something about being posh… “No, I’m not posh, I mean I talk posh and live in a castle, but so do most people who…” I stopped.

“GET OFF MY LAND!” he exploded, then out of nowhere produced a pitchfork and began chasing me across his field! I tried to reason with him as I jumped the divots in earth and mud. “DOGS! CHASE HIM!”

Suddenly I heard vicious barking as huge dogs began leaping across the dirt towards me. Oh my god! I was about to be ripped to shreds! The breath became thick in my throat as my bag bobbled against my back and I tried to run uselessly. My heels clipped together in a divot and I tripped. Splat! With a face full of mud I scrabbled to my feet as the barking noise ascended, they were gaining! The shoes lit up again. Golden light around my feet shone radiant. In one second I was up and running at the speed of light. The farmer and the dogs disappeared in a flash, the field gone. Then the next one gone. Flash, gone. It was miraculous, I didn’t even need to send the message to my legs to move and yet they worked. Then… there was a sudden burst of golden light all across my vision, followed by darkness. I felt myself falling through an ice cold and silent, black void. The fields vanishing, the Outside world gone, the only thing visible the light of the shoes.

Then light and sound filled my vision again. I was somewhere else. Somehow, either the shoes, or some magic I did not know — had taken me back to the Seven Magical Kingdoms. I was in Gnippoh’s the shopping capital of Happendance. A magical place filled with brilliant shops and stalls selling just about anything you could imagine. I’d been here a few times with my parents when I was younger. They always hated it and would never buy my anything, always there on
business
. I remembered people cowering in the street as they passed. Me just bobbing along and gorping at all the brilliant stuff in the windows.

I gazed around now, shaking off the strange feeling from that teleportation (or whatever it was), blinking as my consciousness returned. Up ahead was the entrance to Gnippoh’s — a big, long, magical bridge with the hot River Tooze beneath, steam and mist rising over it clouding the town ahead in a mysterious white haze. The bridge was covered all the way over in statues of famous Wizards, Witches, Warlocks, and Warlords, which all stood high and opposing in their stoney forms.

“Come on! Get a move on!” said a little voice, I wheeled around to see where it was coming from. “Oi you, dozy!” it called again. It was coming from a small fat gnome dressed in a tartan kilt who was urging me forwards.

“What do you want?” I said affronted as he waved me forwards.

“How dare you speak to me like that!” he called, jumping up to his full height of two feet and pointing a minuscule finger at me. “There’s other people wants to use this fairy ring than you, ya know!” I stepped back and looked around. He was right — I was standing inside a fairy ring. It was basically a small grassy knoll covered in flowers and a hazy green light. As soon as I stepped off and onto the cobble stones, there was a small thudding sound as another person landed inside it.

“Ouch…” called the man. “What was the hold up back there?” he said at the gnome, who gesticulated towards me, then urged the man off the ring. I looked around. I had just walked off a fairy ring? But just a minute before I was on the
Outside
and now I was back in the Magical Kingdoms. I didn’t know where I was more in danger — get murdered by my brothers or spiked to death by a
Outsider
. Choices, choices.

I looked down at the fading gold of my shoes. I didn’t know how they worked or why they had brought me here, all I knew was — I was blooming grateful.

There were more fairy rings dotted all the way around the entrance to the bridge, as well as high pitched whistles from trains pulling into stations that built themselves as they pulled in. I crossed the wide Tooze bridge, taking in the wonderful spindly gothic buildings that were arching into the sky like it was a competition for who could stretch the tallest. All of them looked dangerously uneven as they teetered and tottered, the only thing keeping them where they were being Magic. With thatched roofs, mullioned windows and every building being a different colour — it really was unlike anywhere I’d ever seen. Father had always remarked that the lack of town planning in Gnippoh’s let it down, he refused to go unless necessary. I liked it, I thought it was charming.

How I would have loved to shop, but the day was setting in and my eyes were stinging with tiredness. I marched into Old Poh Town, the main square of Gnippoh’s with it’s tall, white obelisk cathedral, tall five story roofless shops with bridges across to each other and the circle market complete with ravaging purple pigeons that would peck your face off for a bit of bread. I took a dark back street northwards and saw a sign for a place I remembered staying at before.
The Percevius Den Inn
. I sighed my thanks, my weary legs carrying me beyond the threshold and booking into a small, grim room with a view across the town square.

Zzzzzzz…

 

I
slept like a cursed princess. Not even the drunken celebrations in the square woke me. I must have been tired when I paid for the room, because it wasn’t the best. This place was not exactly how I remember it as a kid. It was small. Very small. I could just about fit in the bed and I’m small. It had brown, or once white, sheets. The walls were green and black. The floor was a blackened stone covered in a grey rug which I reckon used to be colourful, but not anymore. Next to the window was a desk and chair. The desk was covered in stains and old food. Grim. I put some of my clothes away and cleaned the room a bit. I mean, after living in a big dirty castle I’m used to dirt but not this much.

Sitting in the chair I blinked away the heavy sleep, which clung to me like a goblin. I didn’t even know what time it was. The square was grey and raining and devoid of people. The white steam rose up from the river behind the buildings. Just then there was a knock at the door, before it opened.

“Breakfast orders?” said the scullery maid looking bored. She looked about my age but I hadn't seen her at Hailing Hall.

“Right,” I said, my stomach rumbling. “What is there?”

 

I sat in a chair that seemed to be sinking down further and further the longer I sat on it. The bar area downstairs was equally shabby, but I didn’t care, I was too hungry. I woofed the bacon, sausages and eggs down with toast and kiwi juice. Yum! Then, I got up to pay the ruddy faced man at the bar.

“‘Ere, ain’t you the Blackthorn kid?” he said leering over a pump at me.

“Who me? No…” I said as all my insides turned to jelly.

“Yeah you are I’m sure… your little erm… Aver… no, Avis!” he clicked his fingers as he remembered.

“I’m not a Blackthorn,” I scowled, the jelly wobbled inside me as I tried to think of a story. “I’m a Wilson, Robin Wilson…”


Wilson
?” said the man, his red face turning perplexed. “Aint never heard of no Wilson. You sure your a Wil—”

“Positive!” I cried as I rushed back upstairs. I was stupid, so stupid. Why hadn’t I disguised myself?! Of course people would recognise me, I had the most evil parents in all the Seven Magical Kingdoms. All I could do now was hope the bar man didn’t snitch. Otherwise I was for it.

 

Later that day I pulled out some clothes. I needed to wear something that wasn’t going to shout ‘
Blackthorn
!’ — I needed to stay hidden. Looking at the clothes I realised there was no way, I’d hardly packed anything in the mad rush. Unless I could change my own face there was no way I could even go out. I mean, I had sat and watched out the window earlier as Wizard after Wizard walked past whom I recognised from the meetings with my parents. I would be captured immediately. I wondered what happened to them at the wedding. I didn’t doubt that they were ok, I’ve never seen better Wizards than my parents. But who were those people all in white? And why were they attacking the wedding?

I had three weeks until the start of school. Three weeks of hiding, hoping no one would find me, of being bored in an amazing city I couldn’t go out in, and three weeks of missing my best friends — Tina, Robin and Ernie. As I sat alone up here in this cramped room with little to do, all I wanted was to be able to speak to them. I didn’t even know their addresses, so I couldn’t even send a telegram. I had consciously not taken their addresses. Think about it, what if my brothers got hold of them? Exactly.

Gnippoh’s is a funny place, it has an entire year of seasons in a week. So on the Monday I sat and watched rain, then sleet. Tuesday, more rain and wind followed by all the leaves falling out of the trees. Wednesday, it snowed so hard they had to close the market. By Thursday it thawed out and turned into a river, before melting away completely and new buds and shoots began appearing on the trees all around. By Friday everything was in full bloom. Saturday and Sunday were really sunny, all day and by Sunday night it had gone back to cold and rain again.

Each morning I had to sit and watch the market sellers shouting and demonstrating their amazing fruit, or fish, or contraption. Out on the square was every market stall you could imagine, even a guy selling channellers. How I yearned to go out and explore, but the image of being back at Hailing Hall, safe, kept me up here. I didn’t want to risk it.

So I just sat, the scullery maid would give me a knock when it was time for breakfast, or lunch or dinner and I would sit and draw it out for as long as possible. The food was ok, sloppy sausage and mash that looked more like soup, and lasagne that looked more like, well, porridge. Never mind, it was better than the food at home. And the scullery maid was nice to me, sometimes if she wasn’t busy she’d come and sit with me while I ate, she was pleasant enough, a bit thick, but I don’t judge.

I had memorised the route to school so much that I was sure it had bored straight into my memory for life. The letter from last year had instructions on it for how to get to Hailing Hall from Gnippoh’s. And so I resumed my place in the chair by the window; watching, snoozing and dreaming, wondering about how my life could have been different if I just had a normal family. That is, until, one day when I spotted some people I knew through the window. I wouldn’t have believed it, would’ve have put it down as wishful thinking. Robin and Tina were walking slowly through the square, down the steps towards the main shopping town. I rubbed my eyes and looked closer. It was the last day of the summer holidays and the last day I had to stay here at this dirty Den Inn. I jumped up and threw clothes on, grabbed my bag and ran out of the room without a backwards glance.

“Thanks Jenny, thanks Hamish!” I called to the bar man and scullery maid as I legged it out the doors and into the dark alley. Running, I pushed through the crowd, trying to see above their heads for where Robin and Tina went. I skipped the steps three at a time and jumped through a gap in the market stalls. I was outside the tall white obelisk cathedral now and looked around but they were no where to be seen. I’d missed them!

“Avis?” said a voice. I turned, Tina and Robin stood mouths open in pleasant surprise.

“There you are!” I called and ran at them.

“Ahh!” Robin called laughing as I practically tackled him to the floor. “Missed you too.”

“Oh Avis…” said Tina giggling and hugging me. “How have you been?” she scanned me up and down, for injuries probably.

“Fine, yeah, just fine… ah I’ve missed you guys. Had no way of finding you. Been staying there…”

Tina’s eyebrows raised. “What the dirty Den?” her nose shrivelled up at the thought of it. “Why?”

“Bit of trouble at home, you know.”

Robin nodded. “We did know actually,” he said, taking off his thick glasses and polishing them as they had got all steamed up. “Tina sent me a copy of the Herrald, apparently some people attacked the Blackthorn wedding?”

“Yeah they did…” I said. “Do they know who?”

“Let’s go somewhere,” said Tina. “A nice cafe — Slippy Spoons is nice and quiet, come on its just down here…”

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