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The Wizard’s Apprentice.
“I am Batec and I have to see the Wizard,” came a voice from the door.
“He is away at the moment,” a young man answered. “A wizard’s convention.”
“He can’t be away. I need him and his magic.”
“Sorry!" said the young man.
“Do you know any magic?” asked Batec.
“My name is Cedric. I know a little but I am only a first year apprentice. I doubt that I can be of any help.”
“It is my daughter….”
Cedric’s ears perked up. The few good looking women in town were taken which left only the homely ones. She might be beautiful.
“Can you at least look and see if you can help me?”
Cedric got off his hard wooden seat and put down the book of spells he had been studying. Other apprentices got to go to wizard’s conventions. He was just given a book to read and ‘maybe next year’, after he had done his other tasks (which was the main reason wizard’s kept apprentices). Well, he had had enough of reading for now and had a headache from all that studying.
“I will see if I can do anything,” Cedric said, and allowed himself to be led outside by Batec.
They went through the old town’s narrow streets to a large house on the edge of town, but not into the house. They went into a barn next door. Cedric jumped when he looked inside.
“An ogress!” he shouted.
“Shhhh!” said Batec. “It is my daughter, Solona, and she is sensitive about her appearance.”
“What happened?” said Cedric, recovering a little. He had heard about ogres, male and female, and nothing any good.
“We owed the wizard Garth a little money and I could not pay at the moment, so he turned my daughter into that till we could pay.”
Cedric thought for a moment and faced Batec.
“If you cannot pay Garth, how are you going to pay me or my master for undoing the spell put on your daughter?”
Cedric howled as it felt like a vice had just squeezed his arm, and he looked to see the ogress Solona standing next to him.
“Sorry!” she said. “I am not used to my strength in this hideous form.”
Cedric rubbed his arm and Batec looked annoyed at his daughter. How to get some free help from someone if she nearly breaks their arm?
“The money?” Cedric reminded Batec.
“It will be here any time now” Batec lied. His brother owed him money but whether he would pay today, next week, month or year was anybody’s guess. His brother was as sneaky and untrustworthy as he was.
“Garth is away like your master so even if I have the money now, my beautiful daughter must endure this horrible form till he returns.”
Batec noted how the boy had smiled when he used the term beautiful. He had allegedly been a young man himself once and knew what young men liked.
“My beautiful daughter would be very much in debt to anyone who could help her get her beautiful form back again,” said Batec, wondering if he had overdone it
Cedric took a look at the very ugly ogress and wondered what the girl looked like inside? He would have to see if he could find out as things on the female companion side of life looked bleak at present, and in the future.
“The problem with undoing such a spell is that I must know what the spell was that made your daughter like this,” spoke Cedric, partly quoting his master.
“We will have to go to wizard Garth’s house and see if we can find anything to help there.”
The three left Batec’s house and headed in that direction. A few townspeople looked at the ogress but most would not in case they upset here. It was best not to upset such a beast as they could do a lot of damage with little effort (which was why Batec had not kept her in his own house).
Garth’s house was fortunately not far away and Cedric wondered if the wizard had left any protective spells on it while away. He tried the door and it would not open. He pushed harder and still it did not open. A large hand pushed over his shoulder and the door flung open. It appeared that the door was just locked and no door could stand long against ogre or ogress strength.
They walked in and looked around. It was quite tidy and based on his own master’s way of putting things away, he quickly found where the wizard kept his magic tombs. He tried to remember a spell which showed where a book was last opened so he would know where to look, then noticed a book mark.
He opened the weighty book and looked at the page. He could not read the words. The wizard had used a scrambling spell on them. He was trying to remember the spell to unscramble words when the door was flung open and a spiteful voice was heard.
“What are you three doing here?”
Cedric cursed. It was Peed, wizard’s apprentice to Garth.
“Cedric!” said Peed, making it sound like a curse. “What are you doing here?”
“The same as you. My master did not want me at the wizard’s convention.”
Peed was annoyed. He and Cedric had taken an instant dislike to one another when they first met, and Cedric had told everyone in their class at school that Peed got his name because as a baby, he had peed (urinated) all over the ‘namers’ new robe, and in revenge the namer had named him ‘Peed’ instead of Peter, and once given, the name could not be changed. And what had hurt Peed most was that the story was true.