July 5th, 2011

June, otter

The Next Great Magician part 5

 Weisz held on to her as the world went dark.

Chapter Four: In Klaus’ Kitchen

Tabitha woke, shooting up into bed the moment she remembered what had happened. She was still dressed in her frock and leggings, but her coat hung over a chair nearby and her boots at its feet. A window to the left of the bed she lay in indicated that the sun shone brightly outside.

How long had she slept?

Tabitha grabbed her bag, and slipped on her coat and her boots. How on earth was she going to get out of this place? And back home? Was she still even in Rennes at all? She slipped out of the bedroom, and began walking down a corridor, only to have Weisz bump into her when she tried to turn a corner. She jumped again.

“Calm down, duckling,” he said. “You’re at Klaus’ home just outside of the Black Forest.”

“In Germany?” she asked.

“Yes, of course. You passed out because you’ve used magic, very powerful magic, twice in two days, not to mention your intuition was running high due to the immortality seekers, you went through a magical pawn shop and you were automatically translating other languages, or at least French. It’s not a wonder you were exhausted.”

“How long was I asleep?”

“About fourteen hours. Klaus has just finished breakfast if you would like to eat something. You probably should. You have not had anything since your dinner yesterday and—”

“I was passed out when I would normally have dinner,” Tabitha told him. “But if you mean the noon meal, I didn’t have that either. I wasn’t hungry, so I gave it to Tiberius as a trade.” Weisz scowled.

“That scoundrel! He’s been around long enough to know what missing a meal will do to a young magician. Come on, then, we must get some food into you.”

“What exactly does missing a meal do to a young magician?” asked Tabitha as she followed along after Weisz.

“Well, duckling, magic is like any other energy you produce—kinetic energy for instance—you must have fuel for that energy. If you go for a five mile run without enough fuel in your body, you collapse.” As he talked Weisz led her down a set of stairs into a large foyer, and then into another hallway to a panel in the wall. He released a latch and opened the panel into reveal a kitchen. Klaus stood before a stove, pulling eggs from a boiling pot.

“Good morning!” he greeted when he saw them. “And how is our duckling feeling this morning? Hungry no doubt?”

“Now that you mention it,” she replied. Klaus motioned toward a set of chairs at a counter, and Tabitha took a seat next to Weisz. “You both can call me Tabitha, by the way. There’s no need for animal nick names.”
“Well, up until now, Tabitha, we did not know your name,” Klaus reasoned, setting two poached eggs before her in a small bowl. “By the way, if you have a love of fried things, I would advise you stop eating them.”
“Not a particular love,” she said, digging into the white of the egg. Klaus continued to lay things out before her—cold cuts of ham, turkey, chicken, some cuts of fish, grainy rolls, all colors of fruits but many green vegetables.
“Eat something of everything,” Klaus told her. “And before I forget…” He then set a large glass of water in front of her. “Drink that down as well.”
“You have an accent,” Tabitha noticed. “Did you have that last night?’
“Well, not really. Last night I was speaking French to you, and this morning I am speaking English,” Klaus said.
“It’s like I said, duckling, you were automatically translating everything you heard,” Weisz said, cutting up fruits and taking them out of their skins, always leaving half before her. Before she knew it, Tabitha was inundated with pomegranate seeds, orange slices, apple quarters, a peach half, a plum half, half of a banana and more. Klaus also served up green beans, snap peas, spinach and kale, as well as one serving of each meat.
“And you both expect me to eat all of that?” she asked.
“Some of everything,” Klaus told her. “It will help you regain your strength.”

“I’m not sure I’ve got the time. I really need to get home. I was out all night, and I have only some idea of how angry my dad and step-mom are going to be.”
“To take a trip across the water is not a simple thing,” Klaus said. “Only those who concentrate on developing such a skill will be able to take us so far, and one is being looked for. We will take you home when we are able, Tabitha I promise. In the meantime, break your fast.” Tabitha dug into her eggs once again, and once she started eating, she found it rather easy to continue. 
“Now you have the book in a safe place, right?” Weisz asked. “I won’t ask you to produce it for me. Really, it’s only for the Great Magician, or the Great Magician’s apprentice to see. I just want to know that it’s safe. You didn’t leave it back home did you?”
“No,” Tabitha replied. “It’s safe. What was that you mentioned last night about you teaching me?”
“Well, normally one Great Magician will teach the next,” Weisz said. “But Elba asked me to teach you in the event of her untimely demise. She taught me a great many things, so I suppose it’s really rather fitting. But you must also study the book.”
“Will I still be able to go to school?” Tabitha asked. “I realize that becoming the Great Wizard is important, but I would rather not neglect my other education.”
“I don’t see why it would be impossible to work around,” Klaus said. “Do you, Weisz?”
“No. You attend a secondary school?”
“Well, and I take some classes at the university,” she said. “Some are online, but some I do in person. I only have one night class once a week, though so I should be able to work with you after three most days. But what about my parents? What do I tell them?”
“The truth,” Klaus said.
“That’s funny,” Tabitha said, taking a bite of avocado over a piece of salmon. When she swallowed she asked, “What do I really tell them?”
“Why can you not say you are getting magic lessons for a very important cause?” Weisz asked.
“Weisz, how old are you?” she asked.
“One hundred thirty-seven,” Weisz replied.
“And if you told your parents one hundred twenty-two years ago that you were getting magic lessons for a good cause, what might their reaction have been?” Tabitha asked.
“But that was a century and a quarter ago!” Weisz exclaimed. “Surely they cannot be that close minded to these ideals.”
“You need to get out more often,” Tabitha suggested.
“For now, Tabitha, say nothing too particular,” Klaus said. “If you truly fear retribution from your parents, when you attend lessons with Weisz, tell them that you are going to class or you are working a job. Both are technically true.” Hearing the word job made Tabitha wince.
“That reminds me—I volunteer four times a week at the library. We’ll need to work around that as well.”
“You certain demand not uproot your life,” Weisz observed. “Are you that afraid of change?”
“Well, it certainly would not be good if someone noticed something off about my routine,” Tabitha said. “My parents I might be able to fool with something, but my co-workers won’t be so easily taken. They have my schedule pretty well memorized. Plus what about these immortality seekers we’ve all be so concerned about? Won’t they notice something if I change my routine too radically? I mean, going missing yesterday can be explained with the arrival of the book. They could think I went someone where to study it for a time. But if they notice my magic lessons with Weisz, and they will be watching me, if yesterday is any indication, it would be best to maintain a routine, so they do not think anything too suspicious.”
“Most unfortunately, you have a point,” Weisz said. “It would be best if they did not notice you so much. After all, you barely know anything about magic, so it would not be a good thing if they caught you.”
“Agreed,” Klaus said. “It is not to my favoring, but it is a sound idea.”
“What would be to your favoring?” Tabitha asked.

“That you stay here, let us teach you magic,” Klaus said. “But the world no longer works that way. People would notice you were missing and send out word. It would reach us even here in the Black Forest if they were to suspect.”
“It might not for some time,” Tabitha said. “Even so, I’m not sure I would want to go missing from my family. They may not understand me at times, and they might have some cruel things to say about me being a magician, but they are still my family, and I know they love me.”
“We won’t pull you away, Tabitha,” Weisz said. “But it is imperative that I be able to teach you.”
“I know,” Tabitha replied. “I’m not sure I understand all of it, but I know that this is my duty or destiny—in any case I do have to do it. I almost…I almost feel it. Like how some people say they can feel the rain coming in their bones. I can feel this.”
“That is good,” Klaus remarked.
“Is it?” Tabitha asked.
“Yes; it means Elba definitely chose the right person.” Klaus smiled at her, and nudged the food closer. “Keep eating.”

They talked for another half hour as Tabitha ate more food than she probably ever had in one sitting. When she finished her water, though, Klaus gave her a delicious cup of hot chocolate, with a touch of mint. He said that it would help her digest, but Tabitha was just glad for the sweet treat. When breakfast was finished, Weisz and Klaus dismissed her, saying that they needed to wait on transportation a bit, and she needed to digest her meal.
“If you do before she gets here, we’ll start your first magic lesson,” Weisz promised. While she was digesting, though, Tabitha explored Klaus’ home a bit as Weisz and Klaus talked elsewhere. Eventually she found what she guessed must have been a drawing or sitting room when Klaus had used the house more. She moved back musty curtains to receive a cloud of dust in her face and a load of sunshine. It must have been past nine now which meant that it was close to four in the morning at home. Tabitha hoped they could get her home within the next few hours, and that her parents would not be too disappointed that she did not get home last night.
Tabitha sat down at one of the tables and pulled out her journal. When she reached for though, her hand brushed past the typewriter, and so she pulled it out, converting it to its regular size on the table.
“If only you could type on my journal without having to rip out the pages,” she said, converting it to the small size which would type on one of her journal pages if she ripped it out. Running her hand along the opposite side, she found another series of buttons. Pressing the one closest to the front of the typewriter, she found that the typewriter expanded in width, but now also had a set of braces to hold something up against the back of it, one on each side of the typewriter. It is the right size for her journal, so she fits it into the slots, and hits a key.
It ends up placing a random h on a page she’s already written on, though thankfully not over any actual writing. She fiddles with the type writer, trying to manually make it move so that it will type on the right page, and littering the left page with random letters as she goes. Finally, she gets something on the top right, and begins typing as fast as she can on the typewriter. The pressure under the keys feels different from that of a computer keyboard.