Free Wizards by John Booth

Book: Wizards by John Booth Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Booth
young, it looked so old. Now what did you want to ask me?"
    "Nothing, Mum!" I went back to my room and sat on my bed, wallowing in unhappiness. It made a real difference to my life, being able to hop to and from my room to anywhere I wanted. Now I'd have to find somewhere to draw a similar court outside. I would never be able to be sure it would be there when I wanted it, as a rain shower could wash it away. It rains a lot in Wales.
    I felt miserable and out of sorts for the rest of the day. The only solution I could think of was to move into a flat of my own somewhere. However, that meant finding a job paying more than minimum wage and that wasn't easy when you have no qualifications.
    I considered the possibility of hopping to Salice and asking Princess Esmeralda if there were any wizard jobs going that might earn me enough money to put the deposit on a flat back here. Despite my screw-ups, she had asked me to come and visit them again.
    I realized even that plan wouldn't work. Even if she paid me in gold I would get unstuck the minute I tried to convert it into cash. These days, Homeland Security would be on me like a ton of bricks if I suddenly acquired money from nowhere. Not to mention the interest the tax man would show. I wondered how drug pushers laundered their money, but I'd never dealt with the local drug pushers and I wasn't going to start now.
    I was going to meet Jenny at a coffee shop after she finished her classes. Jenny and I have recently taken our relationship to a whole new physical level. I lost my virginity with her after we sorted out the reporter. I suspected she didn't lose her virginity to me because she knew how to do a lot of things I didn't and she was a whole lot more confident.
    Our new closer relationship had some unexpected side effects. One of which was to make it harder for me to visit Jenny. Both parents were getting suspicious we were doing the deed and so we took to meeting in coffee shops to put them off the scent.
    "You look like something the cat has dragged in," Jenny told me after we kissed outside the shop. "Cheer up will you. The world hasn't ended."
    I told her I'd explain the problem after we sat down. I queued for two lattes with blueberry muffins while Jenny found us a small table where we could sit in relative privacy.
    "I don't understand?" Jenny asked when I explained about the hopscotch court. "Why do you need it?"
    "To hop out to everywhere and then to help me get back," I said in exasperation.
    "But you materialized outside my house without any kind of a hopscotch court," she protested.
    "Well duh," I said sarcastically, "I'd never be able to go anywhere if there had to be a hopscotch court at the other end. I suppose I don't need the court to hop back, but I can't jump out without one."
    "So how did you get to my house the night Fluffy came?"
    "I hopped from the court in my room," I said even more sarcastically. Jenny's calm and superior tone was beginning to annoy me. She was sounding more and more like Princess Esmeralda.
    "The same court your mother removed while you were away?" Jenny asked.
    My mouth dropped open as I contemplated that particular fact. I never rolled up the carpet before hopping out because I know exactly where the court is under the carpet.
    "You told me the wizard you fought in Salice hopped out without using a court," Jenny further reminded me. I'd told Jenny an edited version of what happened in Salice, removing certain kissing done by Esmeralda on my person. Well, it would only upset Jenny if I told her, and they were never going to meet so it seemed like a reasonable white lie to me.
    "That was different," I protested. I was wracking my brains to try and remember what a wise-man told me when I was eleven.
    "I've told you about wise-men, haven't I?" Jenny nodded.
    "I met one when I was eleven on the side of a mountain. It was a pretty frightening place because I arrived on a narrow path running across a cliff face. I never went back to that

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