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The same uselessness would apply to locking Malvinne in the cupboard, or any
such thing as that. Jim was willing to bet, in fact, that Malvinne could free
himself from a situation in which his body had been cast in lead and dropped
in the deepest part of the sea.
Abruptly, another touch of memory came to his rescue. It had been the King of
the Dead's mention of Kingdoms between peoples that had made him gamble on the
fact that perhaps the animal kingdom had some immunity to what a human
magician could do. Humans and this was the reason Jim had been granted arms
that showed red upon them to warn anyone of his abilities had to take their
chances against those of their own kind who chose to go in for magical
studies.
The most that could be done for ordinary men andwomen was to give them
warning that the one facing them had such powers. But animals were in a
different situation. They would have no means of defending themselves simply
because they were warned that the human who had trapped or cornered them was
able to handle magic. Therefore they must be largely untouchable by it. So, at
least, Jim had reasoned. On it he had gambled; and the gamble had paid off.
Just at that moment, the other memory that had been tickling at his mind came
brightly back to life. It was of Melusine throwing herself into his arms,
exclaiming about how lonely she was and passing out. Hastily he wrote on the
inside of his forehead:
WATER/MALVINNE'S STOMACH?COGNAC
He had gambled again. This time the gamble was that Malvinne could not
directly read the spells another magician made inside his head; although he
might be aware of their making. It developed that he had gambled correctly.
On the rugs, Malvinne laughed.
"Do you think to place a charm upon me, cubling?" said Malvinne. "Whatever it
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is, let me assure you it was wasted. The minute I become aware of the nature
of it, it will be as air, rendered null and void."
"It may be," answered Jim. "We'll wait and see. Meanwhile, maybe you'd be
good enough to tell us the most direct and secret route out of your castle."
Malvinne laughed again, wildly.
"Why the child is insane," he said,"to think I would tell him what he wants!"
"Perhaps you'd rather die, after all," said Aragh.
"No, no," said Malvinne sneeringly, "that won't work twice. Kill me because I
don't give you an answer to that question and you, youngster, will be in very
deep trouble indeed.Trouble from which even your teacher won't be able to
rescue you. The most you can gain from this wolfwho is crushing my
shoulderbones to powder with his weight, is to keep me from taking further
action against you. The wolf has the right of defense, and you're connected
with the wolf; at least for the moment. So for now, at least, you're safe from
me. But that'll change."
"You really think so?" said Jim interestedly. "Perhaps you'll tell me how."
"I?" Malvinne laughed again. "Carolinus is the one charged with your
education, not I. Figure it out for yourself if you can."
He laughed yet again from where he lay.
"Actually," he said and Jim's ear heard that the word came out a trifle
blurred, as "achuallsy." Malvinne was obviously a teetotaler, and the
enchanted water already in his stomach was apparently beginning to work. The
only question was whether Malvinne had drunk enough. But the size of the
carafe and the lowness of the water now in it made it probable that he had
most of the original liter's-worth of water in him, now in the form of cognac.
The thing was to keep him talking.
"Maybe you'll explain why you're so confident," said Jim.
"How could I be anything else?" said Malvinne. "Your wolf can't stand over me
forever, and once his touch is removed from me, I can so ward myself with
materials he can't get through that I'll be able to do what I wish. And
believeme, Iwill do what I wish then."
Jim felt that he had to keep the man talking. He was afraid Malvinne would
become aware of the fact that the water in his stomach had been turned toan [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]