Fantasy Fiction posted October 29, 2020 Chapters:  ...9 10 -11- 


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A chapter in the book The Gardens at Weatherbury

C11 - Mix in a Little Magic

by Y. M. Roger




Background
Summary: After accepting the position as Groundskeeper (**See End Notes), Nicholas is discovering all the fantastical creatures and adventures that job entails. Now, a magical map...?
SPECIAL NOTE:  Through Monday Night (November 9th), you can also earn points and bucks for EVERY CHAPTER of the book up to this one. Just pop over to my Portfolio and it’s right there on top! Don’t miss out on this fun adventure! And, yes, each one is only about 500-600 words, folks! ;)
 
End of Chapter 10:
Suddenly, there was a flurry of little imp voices all clamoring at once. Swirls of color fell and danced around as the imps, apparently, lost their patience with the whole introduction ritual, such as it was.
 
“Okay, okay! He’s wonderful!” Their colorful chorus – led by the one and only, Shot – made me smile. Although, I could tell by the way Archie was eyeing them they may be in trouble again. “Can we get on with the Devining now?”

 
Begin Chapter 11…
“Valentin?” Sir Archie kept his voice very proper toward the friendly vine. “Tis been a while, my friend, but 'tis summer’s end. It be time to prep our grounds for Aut– “
 
He stopped mid-word and whipped his whole body around to face me. After another brief nod of acknowledgement, he narrowed those beady eyes at me. “Will ye be here every day, Groundskeeper?” His eyes then began to widen slowly. “Ye must attend a learning institution, yes?”
 
I grinned once again at Sir Archie’s formal language when addressing me.
 
“Oh, I’ll be here all day every day ‘til school starts.” I looked around thinking how I could ever concentrate at school now that I’d discovered all of
this. “After that, I usually get here about three in the afternoon.”
 
Sir Archie’s brow scrunched further than I’d seen it today.
 
Every day?”
 
“Uhh.. No!” I jokingly reassured him and myself. “I’ll be here all day on the weekends.”
 
He looked relieved, but that lasted for only a few moments before the imps started their insistent chatter again. It was a raucous combination of “no” and “but the morning care” and, of course, Jerry’s “all is lost”. Finally, Shot added something snarky along the lines of the gardens being more important than books.
 
I had to laugh because I was in full agreement with the imps – especially Shot – on this one:  if this was to be my job, then I needed to…

“Our Groundskeeper’s education be part of his job right now.” Archie’s matter-of-fact statement shed a clear light on things at that moment and put an end to any thoughts of trying to get out of school. It also silenced the imp protests and lamentations. “Ye hear that schedule, Valentin?”
 

Guess it was important that Valentin know my work times…?
 
A kaleidoscopic ripple ran through the vine in acknowledgement. Immediately, it raised all of its shoots and branches off the desk to stand at attention around the edges of the desk, wiggling the very tip of them in an ‘I am ready’ gesture.
 
“Alright, ye four,” Sir Archie continued, “time to begin.”
 
Archie motioned toward the desk, and the imps went silent. There was a bit of a repositioning of themselves in the air to align the edge of the scroll with the edge of the desk. At this point, it all turned into a very official process:
 
Minah and Sprig each stood on a corner so that Jerry and Shot could unroll the map slowly across the desk. As they did so, Valentin would lower a larger shoot or two such that the parchment could be held down flat against the desk’s surface. As each shoot or branch was laid down, Minah and Sprig would gently position it and spread out all the smaller spurs that were still a bit curled. It seemed to me that as they worked on each of the larger shoots, even smaller tendrils would appear for them to also smooth along the surface of the map. But then…
 
“Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed as I realized what was happening. “Sir Archie! Valentin’s becoming part of the map!”
 
The imps all froze in their actions – Shot and Jerry still hovering – all of their mouths agape. Archie turned slowly toward me with that look of consternation as I watched some of the different shapes on the map begin to glow with that same luminescence as Valentin. Of course, the sudden halt in activity was Constantine’s cue to put those hands on his hips again and eye me from head to toe, searching intently for the second head that his gaze made me feel like I’d suddenly grown.
 
“It’s Devining!”  was the loud chorus from six different voices all quite incredulous in their own manner and tone.
 

Oh…

 
 
To Be Continued…
 
**The Gardens at Weatherbury is a collection of approximately 500 word chapters (this one’s a little bit longer… it happens!) about young Nicholas' continuing adventures as Groundskeeper for the unique gardens at the fantastical Weatherbury Estate. The chapters are short to maintain the attention of a pre-teen audience for whom it is written.
 


CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Nicholas (narrator) - young boy (current age 17), telling of adventures since accepting Weatherbury's Groundskeeper job at age 14.
 

Constantine – garden gnome and self-appointed on-site manager of the Gardens
 

Sir Archibald – (aka Archie or Sir Archie) eccentric pink armadillo tasked with organization and upkeep of the Garden Shed
 

Imps – (an imp is a small mischievous sprite) There are a total of four imps: Jerry, Shot, Minah and Sprig. They are charged with the care and handling of the Gardens’ maps and other contents of the filing cabinet.
 

Valentin – (officially the Gardens’ DeVine) sentient vine occupying the ‘desk’ in the garden shed whose responsibility it is to read and interpret the maps contained in the filing cabinet.

Rosalind – (aka Rosa) sentient climbing rosebush whose job it is to guard the Garden Shed
 

Sir Phillipe - owner of Weatherbury Estate

George Thrasher – (aka G-Trash according to Constantine) former Groundskeeper, employment terminated by Sir Phillipe in Prologue



Recognized

#224
2020


Okay, so the teacher couldn't resist getting a note in about the importance of education... and I believe a knight in pink armor makes a fine spokesperson, don't you? ;) As always, Nicholas and I thank you for reading his story!

Image of 'Secret Garden Door' from Pinterest [www.pinterest.ca]

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