Recap: Polly, while impersonating the princess, has been kidnapped by an enchanter and his trainee, and taken far, far away from her home… where she meets the very princess she was impersonating. Further discoveries reveal that Polly, the princess, the Enchanter and his trainee are all being threatened by a malevolent magical being known as a jadess… Chapter 1 is here...
Chapter 6B: The Enchanter’s Workshop
I finished kneading the bread dough and put it into the pot for baking. I’d have to see if I could get a proper bread-pan next time, but for now this would work. The oven really was something. Soon the nicely baking bread was sending out fresh wafts of delicious smells.
“Bread!” said Paulina, sniffing the air as she came in. “Oh Polly, is it really?” When I nodded she threw her arms around me. “Polly, you’re amazing!”
Radagast sat up and barked. She laughed and rubbed his ears.
“You want a hug too?” she said.
“You missed bread that much, huh?” I asked.
“Oh, did I ever,” she replied. “Not that Chaldean food isn’t good…”
We at my bread for lunch with butter and honey (they didn’t have jam in Chaldea, but they did have honey). It was shaped slightly oddly because of the pot it was baked in, but it tasted comfortable and homey, the way Gretchen had taught me to make it. To my chagrin Casper had declined to have any of it, saying the Rajah wanted him to lunch at the Palace. But Stefan liked it, at least.
“I think you got yourself a job,” he joked. When he smiled his dark eyes sparkled in his angular face. I laughed.
“Oh help me, I hope not,” I replied.
After lunch Stefan conjured the dishes clean, which I decided was one advantage of living in an Enchanter’s house. Then I chopped up the odd Chaldean roots that Stefan had bought at the market. Paulina did not, of course, know how to cook, but since she begged me to let her help I showed her how to chop them up. She did it quite well, if rather slowly and methodically, and then we put them all in pot on the back of the stove to wait for dinner.
Radagast, like the lazy dog he was, slept in front of the curiously carved door that led into Casper’s room the whole time, only moving when Casper opened it to disappear behind it. I was desperately curious about the sort of room behind it, but Casper opened the door so little I could barely even get a peek. Radagast did not seem to want to get out of the way, and only moved when Paulina called him. I did not think he liked me so much.
“Silly dog,” Paulina told him, rubbing his ears.
Then she went outside with him to the garden. I had just finished cleaning up when Casper came out of the door again. He ignored me and went out up the stairs. But I saw the door wasn’t quite closed all the way, and eagerly I went to look behind it.
It was a round room, domed in glass, but it was set up like a magician’s workshop. So this is where he does his magic, I thought. In rows all around the walls countless bottles of carefully labelled powders sat on dusty shelves, and all over the walls were tacked parchments of spells and diagrams. Most of it was in a spiky language I couldn’t read. Books were strewn across the floor, pages open. All through the sort of hazy gloom of magic the sunlight shone into the glass dome, making it slightly stuffy and warm.
You fool, get out of here, I told myself. But my curiosity had gotten the better of me. I went farther in and peeked around a little wooden door on the other end.
It seemed to be a bedroom of sorts. Clothes of every hue were strewn about, heaped over what might have been the bed, and jumbled onto chairs in piles of gold embroidered cloth. Feeling slightly embarrassed to be snooping in an Enchanter’s bedroom, I closed that door and opened the one next to it.
That room was empty, except for one wall the colour of silver, though it did not reflect anything at all and sort of flickered foggily. I stepped in closer to look at the thing.
“Hang you, girl!” came Casper’s voice behind me. “Hang and blast you! Get out of here!”
I realised then what a terrifying thing it was to make an Enchanter angry. Casper stood there, his eyes practically boiling and shooting sparks, his hands raised as if he had a mind to enchant me, fury and irritation pouring off him at me like a flood. Suddenly he seemed taller, bigger than I’d ever seen him.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“Sorry?” he thundered. “You blasted snoop! Can’t a man have any privacy?”
I knew he was right, and I knew I he had a right to be angry. But I couldn’t face him anymore just then, and I ran out, through my kitchen, up the stairs, to the third floor, where I barricaded myself in my room. What had I been thinking? I was a blasted snoop.
I had misjudged Casper too, I knew. He’d seemed so calm and lazy and arrogant, and I’d taken pleasure in needling him. But underneath his casual swagger he was so – powerful, so in control that it scared me.
But I did wonder what the silver screen had been.