Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-Two: Everything
Previously: Freshly saved from drowning, Zack and Gina stood alone on the shore.
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If they were uncertain where to go next, the sword was not. It urged Gina toward the eighty foot sand and chalk cliffs. “Fine,” she hollered, “I’ll just climb straight up with you on my back!”
“You probably shouldn’t talk to the sword when we get to Doviclé,” Zack suggested through cold-clenched teeth.
They were brine-pickled and frozen to the core. They stumbled toward the vertical outcropping, their stomachs fluttering, a cove-bound wind viciously venting its ire at them. It was a moment of sheer grace when they discovered the sandstone steps carved into the recess of the cliff.
They climbed as quickly as they could and arrived at the top wheezing but no longer shaking; the eight storey hike had warmed them considerably. They were grateful to see the Frengan inn just yards away. They might not have money, but at least they could sit by a fire–the cliffside inn at Doviclé te Siell (Edge of Doviclé) was spiked with winsome bookstack chimneys. Unlike the darkly paneled Screaming Spiffwit, this inn was made almost entirely of sugar-white sand dotted with shells and half-timbers painted in cheerful corals and cerulean blues.
Zack and Gina stepped inside and waited for their eyes to adjust. Suddenly remembering the sword, Gina quickly handed the crystal scarf to her brother. He covered the protruding handle, transforming it into an abstraction, then they made a beeline for the nearest hearth and sat as close as they could to the fire.
The downside of getting warm was that they could now focus on just how hungry they were. The diners around them were eating roasted truffles stuffed with quails’ eggs, savory greens, and pungent country cheeses, accompanied by warm shrennel bread, slathered in nectaired butter. Gina’s nostrils flared traitorously.
“I have to have some of that—now!”
“Well, unless you plan to steal…“ Zack began, but stopped when he saw the pasty, pickle-nosed innkeeper approaching.
“Where are your parents?” the man demanded.
“Parents?” Zack quavered. “Uh…”
“My brother is tired,” said Gina. “We rose early to cavort by the seaside.” Then she cautioned, “Our parents, the Duke and Duchess, will be joining us shortly and will be most displeased if we are treated discourteously.”
“Tuéill!” the innkeeper snorted. He was about to say something very discourteous indeed, when Gina’s sword jerked her off of her chair. She grabbed the table, causing the scarf to fall away from the sword handle.
The innkeeper’s eyebrows arrowed up. “And what is this?”
“Oh…this?” Zack began. “This is the, uh—”
“This is the satchel our father gave us,” said Gina, pulling herself back onto the seat.
“With tools for digging up shells and stuff,” Zack added.
“Tuéill!” the innkeeper said again, and walked away.
Zack sprang up to re-camouflage the sword, and when he did noticed the little leathern bag attached to the tether. He pulled open its drawstring and looked inside, then turned to Gina and said:
“We can eat now.” There were seven perfect pearls in the bag…
Each as big as a cat’s eye.
Thoughts: Our truest friends bless us even when they are not present.
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