01-36 A Nightmare

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‘Granny! Granny!’

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‘Please, Granny! Wake up!’

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Granny sits up in bed. ‘What’s the matter!?!’

‘I’m scared, Granny!’

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‘Hush… it was only a bad dream, Taïga…’

‘I know… But it was so real!’

‘Do you want to talk about it?’

‘I don’t know…’

‘You’ll feel better, you’ll realize it was nothing else but a bad dream.’

‘OK…’ Taïga hesitates a little. ‘I was in Monte Vista, in my room. I was sleeping…

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‘I think it was the Butler who woke me up. He came barging into my room while I was asleep.’

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‘I asked him what was going on… He scared me…’

‘Why?’ Granny asks kindly.

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‘Well, first his clothes.’

‘?’

‘He was dressed in old clothes, like really old – 200 years or more. And he told me I had to go through the mirror.’

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‘Through the mirror?’

‘Yes… there was a big mirror, right between the windows. And it was scary too!’

‘How was it scary? Describe it for me.’

‘It was like… big, really huge! And there were sculptures…’

Granny smiles. ‘What kind of sculptures? Gargoyles?’

‘No. It was two dragons, with wings, and their tails were the support of the mirror. They kind of held the mirror in their… paws? Or they tried to climb it?’

Granny isn’t smiling anymore. She’s heard about the dragon mirror. ’Go on Taïga. Tell me everything!’

‘Well… the dragons weren’t as scary as the mirror itself!’

‘What do you mean?’

‘When I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t see myself! It wasn’t a mirror at all! It was more like a… door…’

‘A portal…’ Taïga nods.

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‘The Butler told me to do it now or it would be too late! So I held my breath and walked through the mirror’

‘How did it feel?’

‘Wow! Like walking through a wall made of water…’

‘Can you describe what you saw?’

Taïga closes her eyes. ‘… The floor was smooth, made of wood… and the walls were of stone – like the walls you see in movies with dungeons and such. There were small windows without glass… but with bars – like a prison…’

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‘I got scared and turned to jump back again. But the mirror had gone all blank! I still couldn’t see myself. As a matter of fact I couldn’t see anything… Suddenly there was a blur of movement in the corner of my eye!’

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Granny is waiting for Taïga to continue. ‘… a girl.’

‘A girl?’

‘Yes, about my age, dark hair and very green eyes, glowing like emeralds. I’m sure it was a princess!’

‘What makes you so sure?’

‘She had jewelry in her hair. A tiara! And a big red stone on a gold chain round her neck…’

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‘She sat down in front of the fireplace and started playing with two small dolls.’

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‘Did she say something?’

‘To me? No… I didn’t say anything either. It was a strange feeling. She looked at me, but at the same time she looked through me! I think she couldn’t see me…’ Taïga shudders as she remembers the words the girl sang over and over again.

Black Lady, Black Lady, answer me

Will the man with the axe lose his queen?

To the laughing boy?

To a jack or a roy?

Black Lady, Black Lady, don’t lie to me

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‘Describe the room. The things you saw.’

‘Torches on the walls and a big fireplace. But the room still felt cold… There were fresh flowers and… hay! A ballot of hay!’

Granny murmurs. ‘Probably for the mattress.’

‘And there hung shields, with crossed swords behind.’

‘Could you see if there was a special mark, like unicorns, on the shields?’

‘No… there were carvings, like Viking or Celtic drawings… And there was a kind of red flag on the wall with a strange animal on it… but I think the girls dress had unicorns on it. It was light blue with unicorns!

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‘There was also a desk and lots of books and scrolls everywhere. I turned some pages here and there, but I couldn’t read them – I think they were written by hand in a very strange language…’

‘French?’

‘Maybe… But the letters were like twigs!’

Granny frowns. Futhark! Taïga continues. ‘And there was an old map on the wall, probably the map of the castle.’

‘Could you reproduce it?’

‘I could always try.’

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‘And in the corner was a high pedestal surrounded by more scrolls and potions and a jar with something disgusting in it. Anyway, there was a book on the pedestal… like a grimoire. I just had to approach, it was like it beckoned… Well, I just had to find out!’

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‘I saw the princess reach for the blue wand on the pillow at her feet… but I was intrigued by the table with the old book on it.’

‘A blue wand?’

‘Yeah! Just like the one mom hid before leaving. The one I found!’

‘I see… and what about the book?’

‘It was old. Anyway it looked terribly old.’

‘Did you “turn some pages”?’

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‘No.’

‘Why didn’t you?’

‘Because the girl stood up and she pointed the blue wand directly at me, singsonging! And suddenly the Butler was screaming at me to hurry! The portal was closing.’

‘Oh.’ Granny looks disapointed.

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‘The Butler waited for me by the mirror.’

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‘He jumped through first. The girl scared me, she was mumbling and the wand was glowing.’

‘What color!?!’

‘It’s funny… I don’t remember…’

‘Try to recall – was it reddish or greenish?’

Taïga closes her eyes and tries hard to visualize the scene. ‘Neither… it was white!’

Granny lets out a sigh of relief. ‘Are you sure? It was white?’

‘Absolutely positive, Granny. Why is it so important?’

‘White is good magic, Taïga!’

‘Oh…’

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‘Well, I could see my room in Monte Vista now in the mirror. So I prepared to jump through… That’s when I heard her!’

‘You heard her? What did she say?’

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‘She said: “Wait! Don’t leave me here! Who are you?”, and I held on to the rim of the mirror. I just knew I couldn’t leave her… It was awful, like my body was torn apart…’

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‘I couldn’t hold on anymore, so I had to leave her behind… I could still see her on the other side of the mirror, but I don’t think she could see me… It was awful, Granny! It felt like… dying! Like she was me somehow… and I didn’t want to leave her! It was such a horrible dream! I don’t want to sleep ever again!’

Taïga sobs uncontrollably and Granny holds her tight, stroking her hair with a thoughtful frown. It wasn’t a dream… and if what she told me now is true… the Spellbook is calling out to her. Or Lady Ravendancer is… ‘Try to go to sleep now.’

‘Can I sleep here tonight?’

Absent-mindedly, Granny picks up Midnight. ‘If it makes you feel better…’

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‘Oh, and Granny! I almost forgot about the cards!’

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Granny snaps to attention, and grabs Taïga’s arm. ‘What cards? Tell me! What cards?’

‘Aie! You hurt me Granny!’

Granny lets go of her. ‘I’m sorry Taiga… But tell me about the cards. Was it a house of cards?’

Taïga rubs her arm and nods. Granny continues. ‘Four levels, a distinct color for each level?’

Taïga just nods. ‘Do you remember the order?’

‘I think so… Diamonds, Spades –no, Clubs. Then Spades. Hearts at the top.’

Granny stares into space… Then she strokes Taïga’s hair. ‘Do you feel better?’

‘I guess so…’

‘Go to sleep now, I’ll see you in the morning…’

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Oh, Taïga. How can I protect you? By sending you away, far from all the dangers and temptations…

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I just hope it will be enough!

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One day I shall walk under the stars… one day…

Part I – End of Chapter 36

You have just finished reading about Taïga’s adventures in Monte Vista. If you want to continue reading the Next Chapter

If you’d like to find out something about where the next Chapters will take Taïga and Granny …

Maybe you’d like to know  in advance who they will meet…

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