After showering, I get dressed into my pyjamas, wrap my dressing gown around me, and put my slippers on. I head back downstairs where everyone is eating apple crumble with hot custard.
“Have some apple crumble with custard love.” Mum says to me.
“I will.” I say, sitting down in my chair and cutting myself a slice of the crumble with a knife. I use my wand to transport it onto my dessert plate. A dessert spoon flies through the air, and just misses Raina’s ear.
“I saw that!” She says, grinning.
“I missed!” I say, scrunching my face up and being silly. Farley and Briar are sitting on the table licking custard from two small bowls. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen. I draw a square in the air with my wand, enclosing them inside the invisible square, and then tap it as though it is a photo. The tapping action allows my wand to perceive this as a kind of magical digital photo for people’s phones via an app called BloomerPix. Using my wand to form invisible letters in front of me, I caption the photo with: How cute are my cats Farley and Briar? They’re eating custard! I blow on the tip of the wand and the photo is sent.
The next day at school Aunty Alyssum has us for homegroup. Raina and I partner up, holding our turkish coffees, and go and find a quiet spot near the windows, on our cushions.
“I’m sorry about your art. I really am. I know how much work you put into that thing.” Raina says.
“Thanks. I’m sorry too.” I say, drinking my coffee slowly.
“Mum had a chat with Miss Galewand this morning. It’s paint and brushes from now on. Apparently Miss Galewand wasn’t allowed to cast an exemption spell on any future artwork done in her classroom because it would be viewed as an obstruction to government assignments or some crap like that.” Raina explains.
“Fair enough. I’ll just have to hope my painting with real paint looks as good as my wandart did.” I sigh.
“I’m sure it will. It will probably look even better.” Raina smiles.
“Did you get Begonia’s BloomerPix?” I ask.
“Yeah, I did. Are you going?”
“Yeah. Do you want to? Meridian boys have been invited.” I say.
“I know. That’s actually pretty exciting.”
“It’s going to be at her house. Roof-top party. We haven’t been to a roof-top party since last year. Well, since we went to Grandpa Thistlethorn’s and Grandma Bergamot’s Glazelight party.”
“That was ages ago. It was fun. But ages ago.” Raina says.
“Glazelight is the best part of the whole year. The presents, the food. Everyone is so happy. I love decorating the tree. Farley and Briar are so bloody annoying though because they always play with the tree decorations and Mum gets so annoyed. I have to remind her to cast the pet-warding spell as soon as she has put the witches hat on top of it. Otherwise, they defile it faster than we decorated it.” I laugh.
“Rompus and Omneri are the same! It’s cats. They just love little things to play with – especially Glazelight decorations.” Raina says.
“We should do something awesome this Glazelight. I dunno. Something different. Something huge.” I say.
“We should. Maybe bloomer-fy a whole street, and invite everyone from school?”
“That would be awesome! I’d have to ask Mum to help us with that though. We would need council permission and everything. We can’t just go interrupting fly-zones.”
“Would be cool if we could.” Raina smirks.
“Finished?” I ask, turning my cup face down onto my saucer and tapping it.
“Yep.” Raina turns her cup face down on its saucer and taps it.
“I’ll go first.” I grab her coffee cup and peer into it, searching for a starting point that looks good. Raina pulls a packet of chocolate stars out of her skirt pocket.
“Hey! Where did you get those?” I ask, eyeing the chocolate.
“When did you go to Nixie’s?”
“This morning before homegroup.”
“How? It would have been closed.”
“It was, but I was walking with her along Peach Blossom Lane and told her I wanted some chocolate and she flew these over to me for free.” Raina grins.
“That’s awesome. Give me one.” I say, opening my mouth. A chocolate star lands on my tongue, and I chew, and savour the milky and creamy flavours.
“What does my cup say?”
“It says… you’re going to fail seven out of eleven classes…. oh my Goodness. Why? Raina – what are you up to?”
“Nothing. I’m not up to anything. Keep going.”
“Okay. Umm, … you’re going to experience large shifts in your family… what? This sounds like mine from yesterday. Let me see. Let me just turn it this way… one second… hmm… an event that many people look forward to is going to be ruined by something that happens… I wonder if this means the ball?”
“I dunno. But it kind of sounds like it doesn’t it? The ball is pretty much the only thing we look forward to.” Raina laughs.
“And chocolate stars. Can I please have another one?” I open my mouth and Raina shoots a star into it with her wand. It hits the back of my throat and I nearly choke on it. I cough a little bit to make sure I don’t swallow it whole.
“That was dangerous.” I say, coughing. “I nearly choked.” My eyes are watering.
“You should see your face. It’s all red.” Raina is laughing and rolling around on the floor like an idiot.
“Raina – what’s so funny? Have you seen something funny in Saffra’s cup?” Aunty Alyssum asks, saying it in a way so to address everyone else as well.
“Nope. I mean no. Sorry. I haven’t. Sorry.” Raina says to everyone and to nobody in particular.
“Keep your laughter on a lower decibel Miss Goldrose. You may disrupt your neighbours.” Aunty Alyssum says, and turns away.
“Keep your laughter on a lower decibel Miss Goldrose. You may disrupt your neighbours.” Raina mocks her mother, and thank goodness Aunty Alyssum is chatting to another student, so can’t hear her daughter mocking her.
“The way in which you journey through your day will cease to exist.” I say.
“What? The door to Peach Blossom Lane? That’s how I get to school every day. Is that what it means?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then why did you use those words?”
“I don’t know. I felt they were the words that had to be used.” I explain.
“Is that all you can see?”
“Yep. That’s all.”
“Ok. My turn.”
“What do you mean? Give me your cup Saffra.”
“No. Don’t read it. I don’t want you to.”
“Okay. Keep your bloomer hat on! Bracken! I won’t then.” Raina says, shimmying back onto her cushion.
“Don’t swear on bracken. It’s bad luck.” I say.
“Don’t give me that. You don’t even believe that. Shut up. Ms Goldrose – may we please have our second cup of coffee now?” Raina asks her mother, and Aunty Alyssum smiles, waves her wand, and our teacups are filled with boiling hot turkish coffee once more.
“Ok. No more reading. Let’s just enjoy these.” Raina says.
“Good idea.” I smile, and sip.
We have a double flying lesson with Miss Merryfeather at nine o’clock until recess. We have gone to our lockers, scrabbled for our brooms, and contributed to the daily chorus of slamming metal against metal. Gotta love teenage girls and locker doors – especially when we are all running late and in a hurry to get to our next class. Raina and I finish off the rest of the chocolate stars and fly toward the oval on our brooms with our glasses on our heads and our grass boots dangling precariously from the polished wood of our brooms in front of us, each boot connected to its partner by tied laces.
“Quickly girls – change your shoes.” Miss Merryfeather says. She is already wearing her boots and her glasses; hers are a shade of orange.
We use our broomsticks as chairs to kick off our black polished leather school shoes. We pull on our grassboots that have spiky soles for better landings. Grassboots are now compulsory for all flying lessons in every magical school in Australia. Two years ago girls could wear their normal school shoes but too many students ended up in sick bay all over the country because when they came to land on the grass after flying, their feet would just slide, and they would not be able to grip, or get any sort of purchase on the ground below them. At least now, with these spiky boots we have to wear, we can get excellent purchase when we land and we don’t go crashing into the sides of any of the classrooms or eachother. It was pretty funny when it used to happen in year nine. I kind of liked it. It gave PE classes a certain novelty.
We all sit in one long row on our brooms, hovering about two metres off the ground, our toes just able to skim the blades of the grass, if we bend our feet forward enough.
“Today, you will collect chocolate stars. I am going to cast obstacles all over the oval which you girls must traverse through. You are going to be split up into teams. If I point at you with my wand – you are on the Frondriver team. If I do not point my wand at you – you are on the Millydew team.” Miss Merryfeather points at every second girl. When she has finished we fly into two groups.
“I don’t think I need to explain the rules, because you are all familiar with The Australian Flying League. Each team will have one girl complete the course at any one time. Number yourselves from one to fifteen. Your matching number is who you will be flying against. This will be very much like what the Wilted call video games. You are the little character and you must collect all of the chocolate stars you see. The team who collects the most chocolate stars wins. This game will sharpen your hand-eye coordination, your balance and your steering. Which are skills you will need in the real world after your school days are over. Have both teams got their numbers?”
“Yes.” Daisy Derefelle and Tansy Pollydot say.
“Good. When you see fireworks shoot out of my wand that is your cue.” Miss Merryfeather says. And we all stare at Miss Merryfeather’s wand, and then at Daisy Derefelle and Tansy Pollydot who are both in Rosewater, and were the number ones from each team.
Fireworks of all colours shoot out of Miss Merryfeather’s wand high into the sky and Daisy and Tansy both take off, zooming into the air, searching for that first chocolate frog. A firework circle appears above their heads and they race toward it knowing they must each fly through it to start the course. They do so, and then it disappears and some distance away, a Glazelight wreath appears out of thin air, and they must fly through it, one of them removing the one chocolate star from it as they go. It’s a pretty tough challenge with all sorts of different circles popping up one after the other here and there, randomly: a circle of mushrooms, and then of flowers, and then of black roses, and then of old fen coins, and then of star dust, and then of our text books, and then of a swirling black liquid, and then of, we realise, our school-shoes which Miss Merryfeather has charmed into a circle in the sky, and then of all of our wands – which we had no idea were not still in our pockets, and then of our school pens, and then of ten real cats, that have come from goodness-knows-where, and then finally, and lastly, of cute little fairy lights.
“Daisy – seven stars, and Tansy – six. Well done girls. That was a good one to watch.” Miss Merryfeather says clapping her hands together with applause.
“Who’s next?” She asks.
“I am,” I say, looking at Raina. We are both number twos.
“Aha! The Goldrose cousins. Alright. On my firework!”
And when fireworks shoot out of her wand we shoot into the sky above the oval on our brooms and wait to fly through the first circle which is the start of the obstacle. And like before the course has remained the same – and Raina is so damn fast – she beats me to the Glazelight wreath, and snatches up the small chocolate star and shoves it into her mouth, whence she chews it violently. Does she seriously think she can eat thirteen chocolate stars in a row? I think she does. I better up my game. I lean down onto the handle of my broom and rocket downwards toward the circle of flowers, narrowly beating Raina through it, shoving the chocolate star in my mouth. She beats me to the circle of black roses, and doesn’t feel like any more chocolate so she throws it down to the row of girls – someone will catch it and eat it. She beats me to the circle of old fen coins, and flies straight through them swiping them all in one huge circular motion with her hand after she has passed through them, and then throws them down to our classmates. They’re chocolate coins and I just didn’t realise. The girls on the grass are cheering and whistling and shouting several thank yous we can barely hear. I beat her to the stardust and throw the chocolate star to my classmates and keep going. I’m intent on winning this. She’s screaming something at me, and I really can’t hear her. We get to the last obstacle, and my hand closes over hers as we both wrap our hand over the chocolate star at the same time. Damn. She beat me to it. The game is over and we fly back down towards the ground, digging our spikes into the grass to stop ourselves. I lift my glasses off and prop them on my head, and Raina does the same.
“Girls – that was good to watch. And thank you for sharing your chocolate. That was very kind of you both. Raina – seven and Saffra – six. Who’s next?”
“Ah you bitch, You beat me.” I say, whacking her over the head with my gloved hand.
“That’s because you have zero flying skills.”
“Oh bracken! That was so awesome! And thanks for the chocolate.” Daisy says.
“No worries. We have had too many stars this morning so we thought we would share.” I smile and Raina smirks.
“Homegroup.” Raina looks at Daisy and it seems to explain it all. Daisy is in Lilywater with Tansy. Raina and I are in Rosewater.
Out of the corner of my eye – I can see bloomers and rooks in very serious attire walking toward us.
“Can I help you?” Miss Merryfeather asks them.
“Hello. I’m Ackley Brindlehorn, and these are my colleagues: Sterling Burntborough, Aster Columbine, Orchid Cloverwinkle, and Stolon Fernmarsh. We are here on behalf of our Minister, Ms Dahlia Derefelle. There is a student here who can help us with our investigation. May I have your permission to remove this student from your class for the rest of the lesson?” Ackley asks, very politely.
“Yes, of course. Who might it be?” Miss Merryfeather asks.
“Raina Storm Goldrose.”
“Yes, of course. Raina. Can you please go with these ministers promptly?”
“Miss. I don’t know them from a bar of soap. They could kidnap me, or anything. Are you kidding?”
“No Raina, I am not kidding.” Miss Merryfeather says.
“Can Saffra come with me?” Raina pleads.
“If it’s allowed.”
Raina looks to Ackley. “Can Saffra come with me? She is my cousin.”
“She can. If that would make you feel more comfortable. Come with us. Leave your brooms here.” Ackley says, and Raina and I throw our brooms, gloves and glasses to the ground, kick off our shoes, and quickly step back into our school shoes that rebuckle themselves.
“Your mother is waiting for us all in her office.” Ackley says.
“My mum? Why? What is this about?” Raina asks.
“Yesterday, one of your teachers disappeared and you saw something afterward and you didn’t say anything.” Ackley says.
“We know she disappeared. We were both there.” I say, not really listening to the last part.
The glass doors of building one swing open before us, and we all walk through them and to the end of the corridor and into Aunty Alyssum’s office. Ackley has paid me no attention.
“Please Raina. Sit down.” Ackley says. We both sit down on some chairs facing Ackley who sits down in Aunty Alyssum’s swivel chair to take notes. Aunty Alyssum stands with her back to her bookshelf, looking at Ackley.
“Can you please tell me what you saw after Miss Lachoula Graveberry disappeared yesterday morning,” Ackley says, speaking into his wand. It is recording every word.
“Well, I didn’t say anything about it because I thought I was hallucinating.” Raina says.
“Why would you think you were hallucinating?” Ackley asks her.
“Because I had eaten some magic mushrooms just before homegroup.” Raina looks at her Mum whose face just falls. I had no idea either.
“Can you please tell me what you saw.” He repeats himself.
“Miss Graveberry disappeared, and then there was a man in her place. He looked like he was running. And then he disappeared too.”
“Do you know what he looked like?”
“No. I only saw the side of his face.”
“Do you know what he was wearing?
“Yes. Black jeans. A black jumper and a long velvet jacket.”
“What sort of hairstyle did he have?”
“It was shaved on the sides and at the back.”
“What colour was his hair?”
“It was silver.”
“Natural or dyed?”
“Definitely dyed. He wasn’t old enough to have silver hair.”
“How old would you say he was?”
“What else did you see?”
“That’s all. I swear. That’s all I saw.”
“Is your daughter telling the truth Ms Goldrose?”
“Yes, I believe she is Minister Ackley Brindlehorn.” Aunty Alyssum says.
“Right. Well this has been recorded by my wand. I believe you have told me everything you know and so does my wand. We will go now, but if we have any more questions we will return. Thank you for your time.” And just like that, they are gone. Aunty Alyssum snaps the lock on her door.
“Magic mushrooms? Are you crazy? Raina? Since when? They are far worse than the wilted kind let me tell you. Magic mushrooms from our world can do crazy things to your head, not to mention kill you. What were you thinking?” Aunty Alyssum is furious.
“I dunno. I just wanted to try them.” Raina shrugs her shoulders.
“How many times?”
“Three. Dear bracken, so help me. Three? How are you still here?”
“I have no idea.” Raina says.
“Raina, this isn’t a joke. Did you tell Minister Ackley absolutely everything?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I ask.
“Because you would think I was losing it.” Raina looks sorry.
“I think you are losing it far more now, than I might have thought yesterday, if you would have told me yesterday.” Aunty Alyssum screeches.
“She disappeared, and then I saw him like running after her or something. And then he disappeared too. And that’s it. That’s all I know. But I didn’t say anything to anyone because I thought it was the magic mushrooms. That’s all.” Raina explains.
“Who gave them to you?” Aunty Alyssum asks.
“I can’t tell you.” Raina says.
“You can. And you will.”
“No, I won’t. None of this has anything to do with them. So leave them out of it.” Raina says.
“Do I have to cast a spell and drag it out of you?” Aunty Alyssum is furious.
“No, you don’t. It isn’t fair on them if I tell you. Plain and simple.” Raina says.
“Is it a girl from this school?” Aunty Alyssum asks.
“No, it isn’t. Just leave it. Convo over. I’m done. Seriously.”
“Raina, so help me bracken, if you don’t tell me, I will-” Aunty Alyssum has been muted by Raina’s wand. Raina grabs my hand and runs with me out of her mother’s office, and forgetting our flying gear on the oval, we leave the school, and run down Peach Blossom Lane, which then becomes The Royal Arcade again. We duck into a wilted shop.
“Oh my goodness. She was driving me crazy. I just had to shut her up.” Raina says, huffing and puffing.
“Raina – you just muted your mother!” I am gobsmacked.
“Yes, Saffra. I did.” She’s proud of it too.
“Nobody can unmute her. Only you can.”
“I know that.”
“She has classes to teach.”
“Oh my goodness. You’re crazy.”
“I know.” Raina laughs. “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not going back to school today. What should we do?”
“We can’t go back now. But you kind of have to. Your mum can’t say a word. How will she teach?”
“She’ll figure something out.” Raina smirks.
“Who’s been selling you the mushrooms?” I ask.
“Promise you won’t tell even under a spell?”
“Pinky swear I won’t tell even under a spell.”
“One of the Meridian boys…”
Raina and I meet eachother outside Begonia’s house at eleven that evening, and lean our broomsticks against some ivy-covered lattice, next to everyone elses. We charm nametags onto the handles of our brooms that can’t be moved from Begonia’s house by anyone but ourselves so that they are not stolen. They are out of view of any Wilted. Raina has been hiding out all afternoon, avoiding her Mum, while shortly after leaving school with Raina the way we did, I went home, and began reading some chapters for some subjects, and then started cooking dinner for myself and fed Farley and Briar. Mum was home late tonight because she and Zinnia had to do a quick magical stocktake of the shop.
Raina is dressed in a longsleeved burgundy velvet top, with a high-waisted black tulle and netted skirt, which is really beautiful. She has teamed this with black and white striped tights and high knee leather boots with spikes. It’s so her style. Me on the other hand, I’m wearing a longsleeve v-neck black velvet dress with a leather jacket, black leggings and bright red ballet flats. Raina and I never wear foundation, unlike alot of wilted girls we see in the street – we think it’s tacky. My skin is quite pale, and my lips are the same shade of pale, so I can look unwell when I’m not. We walk through the front door, and the house is deadly quiet. There are no voices to be heard, and no music playing. If we were wilted, and didn’t know any better we would think we had walked into the wrong house – however, we are bloomers, and we know how to find ANY bloomer/rook party in Melbourne. There is a random A-frame ladder positioned in the centre of Begonia’s mother’s pristine kitchen. “Redivilche,” I say, and a trapdoor in the ceiling appears before us, and I follow Raina up the ladder. Once we are standing on Begonia’s roof, the door closes, and we have found the party. Instead of standing on roof tiles – we stand on flat wooden flooring. The roof-top party has been bordered by black wrought iron fencing on all three sides. There is a rook music-caster in the corner, waving his wand over a screen that plays the music out of two large boom boxes. Begonia and Sage are drinking with a group of boys and girls and we help ourselves to lollies and drinks on a table to our left. Daisy and Tansy come up to us and we become a group of four. We are then joined by Daffodil Parelia and Canola Rubiolo, who are from Greenleaf. Daffodil is a very short and very chubby girl with a large round face, red cheeks, and hazel eyes. Her hair is the most horrible shade of red I have ever seen, but she is a very kind and lovely girl. Canola has almost-supermodel looks, and comes from an Italian family; she has dark, brown, dead-straight hair – she clearly straightens her hair like the wilted do. She has chocolate eyes and the most flawless complexion on any girl in our whole school. Her lips are cherry red, and she has one small beauty spot just to the side of her mouth. Her teeth make us all jealous. Her dad is a dentist in our community. She is very pretty.
“Daisy and Tansy told us you guys went off with the ministers who came to our school today. What was that about?” Daffodil asks us both.
“Miss Graveberry disappearing yesterday.” Raina exhales.
“So, it’s true. She really did disappear then?” Canola asks.
“Yeah. I think so. I think that is what happened…” Raina says.
“So why did they need to talk to you about it?” Daffodil asks.
“Because I saw something I shouldn’t have.” Raina explains, already saying too much.
“Like what?” Canola asks.
“If I tell you both, you have to swear it won’t leave this chat.” Raina says.
“Cross our wands and hope to fly – pour hot potion in my eye.” The girls chorus together, forming an X in the air with their wands, and then blinking like idiots, pretending they have potion on their eyeballs. I am laughing my head off and so is Raina. Bracken. I haven’t seen any girl swear this oath since we were in year seven. It’s quite funny actually. I had forgotten the words until now.
“Well, that settles that then. I saw a man running after Miss Graveberry disappeared, and then he disappeared too.”
“Really? Who was he?” Daffodil asks.
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen him before…”
“That was during homegroup right?” Canola asks.
“So why didn’t anyone else in Rosewater homegroup see him? Why was it only you who saw him? Daisy kind of said something about this today at school, but I wanted to hear it from you.” Canola asks.
“Oh gee. Thanks. The whole school probably knows if Daisy knows. I don’t know. I thought it was because I had had some magic mushrooms but apparently it wasn’t that at all.”
“You do M and M’s? Oh golly. Can you please tell us who you buy them from? We want in!” Daffodil says very quickly. I am shocked. How many girls in my year level want to do drugs? Am I seriously the only girl who isn’t interested in them?
“I’ll introduce you to someone in a second…” Raina says.
“Daisy was saying there’s a ministry register for people who can see things that other bloomers and rooks can’t see. Are you on it? How long have you been able to see things no one else can see?” Canola asks a lot of questions. Good ones.
“Umm. No. I didn’t know about the register. That sounds creepy. It just started yesterday. That was the first time.” Raina explains.
“Do you know of anyone else who can see what Raina sees?” I ask, curious.
“No, it’s a pretty rare gift. But Daisy says anyone who has this gift is very valuable to the ministry. She would know, her Mum being Minister for Magic in Australia. So be prepared to hear from them again.”
“I am don’t worry. Follow me. I’ll introduce you to the person who grows the marshmellows.” Raina sees, leading us all toward a group of Meridian boys who are drinking homemade Firestix, and standing by the roof-top fireplace, that is clearly only temporary, and lit for this evening.
“Wolfe: Daffodil and Canola would like to buy some marshmellows.” Raina says, kissing Wolfe Glynflint on his cheek hello, and nodding to Hark Basswood, Landon Beech and Blaze Larix, who are from Ironbark and Brackmore respectively.
“Hello ladies. Lovely to see you all.” Wolfe goes around double-kissing us all on the cheek and offering us all chocolate stars. He is very charming when he wants to be.
“I haven’t seen you all since last year’s December Ball. We had a smashing time, did we not?” Wolfe, says, the fire glinting in his hazel eyes. His light brown wavy hair falls over his eyes, and he pushes it back up with a quick wave of his hand. He could seriously be on broomstick commercials.
“That’s right. That was a great evening. The food was amazing. The eye candy was even better.” Canola says, eyeing Wolfe like she is about to devour him whole. Seeing the two of them together reminds me how great a couple they would be.
“Thanks. We Meridian’s don’t like to disappoint, do we boys?” Wolfe asks his crew. They all say, no, they don’t.
“Well we are just about to have some ourselves. You ladies are welcome to join us,” Hark says, looking at me and then back to Canola. Hark is pretty gorgeous too – he has dimples, jetblack hair, and the bluest eyes I have ever seen. Wolfe uses his wand to direct the mushrooms into the fire crackling in the grate for a few minutes. They hover in the flames, but do not cook, or burn. When he pulls them from the fire they are bright purple in colour, and cool to hold, we find out, once we have been given one each. He uses his wand to shrink them in size so they aren’t so big. They become tiny, the size of my thumb nail.
“On me, this one.” Wolfe says, swallowing the mushroom, and the boys follow suit. I really wasn’t going to do this, but seeing as everyone else does, I put the tiny purple mushroom in my hand and swallow it quickly and without thinking about it too much. Hopefully it doesn’t kill me, and hopefully Mum never finds out.
“See? Piece of cake. Wait till they kick in. You’re going to love them.” Raina says and hugs me.
“I’m excited. I can’t wait to see what happens.” Canola says.
“Me too. We’ve been dying to try these for ages.” Daffodil says.
“How are they any different to the Wilted kind?” I ask, naive.
“You’ll see. Give it some time, and you’ll be doing things the Wilted have never dreamed of.” Wolfe winks and smiles.
Raina and the girls and I accept glasses of magic wine from the boys – it’s wine that constantly changes colour and texture in our glasses – it’s pretty cool to watch.
Other than that – taste-wise – it’s no different to say a Wilted Cabernet Merlot. The girls and I sit down. The guys are talking about The Australian Flying Finals which are coming up in March, and held in Sydney over Darling Harbour every year; and their favourite teams, and who they hope will win. There are eight teams Australia wide, and each game goes for an hour. Each team has ten players who get partnered with an opponent. The aim of the game is to collect as many fens and stroms as possible – there is real incentive, because it is real money the Magical Mint can no longer use. But the real pain in the ass is having to convert it to dollars and cents so that it can be spent in the magical and wilted world.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! That dive Marshall Bladen did last week was epic!” Wolfe says, his face impassioned. Marshall Bladen flies for the number one Melbourne-based flying team, Blurred Streak, which is also great Grandpa Thistlethorn’s favourite team – one thing that drives great grandma Bergamot up the wall, when it’s on TV.
“It was pretty awesome, but I dunno, they’re flying too close to the Veers. Frank Tollertree nearly had that in the bag!” Hark says, talking about his favourite Melbourne-based flying team, Vicious Veers, and how one of their best flyers nearly won the game.
“Too close? You call seven fens too close?” Wolfe really wants to win this argument. “If seven fens is too close I’ll eat ten more mushrooms! We’ve got this one, this year, and you know it.”
“You’re forgetting that new player Chaos has…” Landon Beech remarks, referring to Sydney-based team, Coast Chaos.
“Who?” Blaze Larix asks.
“George Rogue. Have you seen his drops? The guy looks like he will die any day, but he’s got that broom every time.” Landon says.
“Yeah. Actually. I saw him. He’s got balls. Game that one!” Wolfe agrees.
“You guys don’t have any one like that!” Hark says.
“Nah, but we’ve got Logtree and Pembroke. Oh and Woodtree.” Wolfe smiles.
“They miss half the fens! What are you talking about?” Hark is annoyed.
“So what? They get ALL the stroms!” Wolfe says, talking about the bloomer-rook money they have to grab while flying.
“They’re probably jinxed and made of chocolate.” Raina says.
“Oh, and what would you know about fens and stroms in flysport, miss?” Wolfe eyes her from the corner of his eye, smiling.
“Miss Merryfeather charmed the fens and stroms in PE today. They were chocolate. I stuffed my face for the first like six but then I got sick of eating them so threw them down to the girls.” Raina sounds stoned.
“Well… maybe, if you didn’t keep pushing your bloody broomstick in front of mine, you wouldn’t have gotten so sick of eating them.” I say.
“Shut up, you.” Raina pokes her tongue at me.
“You could have saved them for us!” Wolfe jokes throwing his arm around her. She leans into him.
“Has it kicked in yet?” Wolfe asks her.
“Not yet, but it will soon.” She says, looking at me.
“I think mine is starting to do something.” I say, feeling light-headed.
“Keep drinking.” Hark says. “It will help it kick in.” He smiles. He is kind of cute.
“Mr Horngreen should charm the coins in our PE classes. That’s not fair.” Landon is sooking.
“Imagine how fat we’d all get if he did.” Blaze says, pulling up his tshirt and looking at his abs.
“Triple-time at the gym, methinks.” Wolfe winks, and bends down to kiss Raina who kisses him back. I turn away. Canola and Daffodil are watching the flames dancing in the fireplace, and haven’t said a word this whole time the boys have been blabbing on about flysport.