The Way of the Word

9. October 2010

The Gatherers – Chapter 20

“You’re not worried at all?” Ghenni was nearly frantic. What did that blue-skinned fool think he was doing?

“Should I be?” Habbassin said, sipping his drink. “Look at it this way: there are two magic-users who I think really hate each other. At the very least, they aren’t very fond of each other. Because they both want the same thing.”

“You.”

“Yes.” For a moment, Habbassin’s posture almost faltered. “But they don’t know that. We know that they don’t know what it is they’re looking for, thanks to you. So, let me play my games. If anything magickal happens to one of them, he’ll blame the other.” Habbassin leaned back, folding his arms behind his head. The glass drifted before him, poised to let him drink from it anytime he wanted. “The possibilities are limitless, really. I play my pranks. They get mad at each other and play pranks on each other. After a while, nobody has the slightest idea who’s doing what to whom.” He winked at Ghenni. “Nobody but me, that is.” He stood up as the chair vanished underneath him. “Now that I think of it, perhaps I’d better get started. There’s nothing so pitiful as a wasted opportunity, you know.”

And he vanished in a puff of blue smoke.

Ghenni stared at the smoke until it had dissipated. She shook her head and went to the mouth of the cave. There, she stopped and looked out to the sea. She looked at the coconut shell in her hand, contemplated it for a moment, then threw it out into the sea. She watched it as it drifted away, to the point where it was filled with enough water to sink.

If only it weren’t for that lamp, she thought dejectedly. Everything would be so simple if Habbassin weren’t bound to the lamp. Bolwyn or Terek could take it and Habbassin would still be free. And he could go home, wherever that might be, and needn’t take such stupid chances just to pass the time.

Or perhaps… Perhaps he really wanted the two to catch him? Perhaps he had enough of the company of children, and going with either of the two would be just like another exciting new adventure?

Ghenni nodded to herself.

And wondered what he had in mind, that he had to leave so quickly.

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