The Words are:
- Eyes on the road! eyes on the road!
- Tiffany lamp
- Me? why me?
One more note. As I wrote in the comments to The Aftermath 1, the last paragraph was riddled with errors and was removed from there. It is here in a revised form. Please forget what you read there.
It was a long afternoon, My, Marja, Josta and Kirstin began crying at some time, and Nata fell asleep and almost fell from the bench where she sat. Susan followed the sun cross the skies and reach the trees west of the farm before the three interrogators finally reappeared in the barn.
"We have had an instance of inappropriate use of magic and counter-magic on Unicorn farm," Thora said. "The guilty will be punished, and the wrong repaired. David, Josh, Lukas, Britta, Kalle, Anna, Helge, Harald, Bo, Bjørn, Susan, Fiona, Veronika, My, Marit, Astrid, Olav, Heidi, Tage, and Lis you stay here. The rest of you are free to go outside, or stay somewhere inside and read, play or whatever you like. But please do not try to leave the Farm until you're allowed to. The portals are deactivated, and I'm afraid teleporting won't be a possibility either."
When all the apprentices, Thora had not mentioned, had left the Barn she turned to face the guilty apprentices: "Now you listen, and listen carefully. You have all been using magic in ways not condoned by the professors of the Unicorn Farm. We could have you all expelled from here, or have you suffer solitary confinement on the top of Eyjafjallajökull until its next eruption. But I think a more harsh punishment is on its place today. Torben and Jon are taking David, Josh, Lukas, Britta, Kalle, and Bjørn on an expedition down to the bog where we found the Kelpie. You are going to see if it is possible to retrieve the bodies of the slain children. Magical body bags are in the pantry.
Torben led the 6 apprentices out through the small door leading to the kitchen, Jon trailing behind. As the door closed, Lis Susan, Anna and Heidi exploded.
"You can't do that. It's cruel, They're not more than children themselves," Lis said.
"What, You're sending them to a place you would not go yourself!" Susan erupted. "It's way too harsh. Worse than solitary incarceration in whats-its-name-jökull."
"Poor Britta," Heidi said, "She was so afraid when we went scouting that swamp. I feel sorry for all of them. Well maybe not so much for David."
"I should be out there with them," Anna said. "I did not succeed in stopping them. I only got myself expelled from the racing team," she continued furiously. "But going out there, for Heaven's sake they did not commit murder or anything. They were jealous of their elder siblings snatching all the fun. That's not ... well maybe it is. But still that bog is not a place for apprentices." Anna ended on a more subdued tone.
Thora eyed them all with suspicion. "Do the rest of you agree? Harald and Bo they're your brothers as well. What do you say?"
"It's too harsh," Bo said. "They do not deserve this." Harald nodded agreement.
David set us up to it," Anna said slowly. And she continued partly to the others, partly to Thora: "This is not tattling, I think. It is telling the truth when truth is the only way out. He was there all the time, behind us, next to us, fanning the embers of resentment, as my granny would say it. I don't know who did what inside the broomshed, but I'm sure David was the sole responsible for those hexes."
"Who sawed into the brooms?" Thora asked.
"Not Bjørn or Tage," Astrid said, "Bjørn was outside with Tage, and Anna had left. I think she stayed nearby. And David did the hexing. He said so."
"We know, who did it then," Thora said. "Josh and Lukas were doing the sawing. They are the ones left in the equation. Whether they really did it or David took over himself nobody can prove." Thora looked at each of the 14 apprentices and continued. "You are all loyal, fiercely so. And this is as it should be. We never planned sending them into the bog, or at least not to look for bodies in there. It was part of the punishment, the thinking they were going to experience gruesome things. In reality they flew low over the bog, through the woods and landed on the beach. Now I suppose they are all sitting on a boulder scrubbing away at all the brooms with toothbrushes and fresh sand and salt water. Afterwards ... well I wont tell."
A collective sigh went through them all.
"Now come and sit down," Thora continued. "I do understand that you wanted to protect your friends and co-apprentices. But inappropriate use of magic is not something you are able to handle on your own for quite a few years yet. I suppose you have been thinking over what you did and what you did not do in the Barn during the interrogation." Everybody nodded. They sat around one of the smaller round tables, Thora called for Gilvi and Martine and strangely Rósa and Aamu, the quiet Finnish girl to join them.
"Now I am going to tell you what happened, you listen, you correct me when I'm wrong, you supply what I am missing, because I suspect I am missing something crucial here."
Thora begun the tale at the first days at Unicorn Farm. She recalled the first Easter fire, and a lot of other instances where smaller siblings had been slighted, made fun of, belittled or let out. "But," she said, "the culprit is not normal sibling rivalries, or suchlike. It is the resentment and jealousy. David fed those feelings, he made you all remember how it was to be left out, All of David's minions were younger sisters or brothers. Yes also Josh, his elder sisters and brothers are much older than him, they are already working, or at least in the final years of education, and none of them have any magic. But he still feels left out, you see." She retold Astrid's overhearing of David and his group, he even knew what Tage had told to get into David's group. "No no one told me in clear text, but I'm good at adding two and two," she said. She complimented them on the use of a walkie-talkie, and whipped them once again verbally for not having sought adult aid upon discovering David's plans. "And you smeared the anti-hex potions on all the brooms, and exchanged some of them?"
"No, not on all the brooms," My said. "We had not made enough for that. First we exchanged the sawn-into brooms for some of our own, we chanced that the brooms were either sawn through or hexed, not both. We put the potion on all the brooms belonging to members of the Yellow team and the Competition, and what was left, we used on random brooms where we were not sure of the owners."
"And at least one of them, Helge's was not hexed," Martine said. This explain the unstopability I experienced."
"Will it be removed by one hex?" My asked.
"It depends on the strength of the hex and the strength of the potion. You brewed well, very well indeed. Taavi said." The small Finnish professor had arrived some time during Thora's recapitulation.
"I still miss one detail." Martine said. "How did you get into the broomshed? I locked it, and I still had the key the next morning.
"David stole it," Anna said. He copied it somehow, and then stole it back again."
"And Olav made a key from a branch," Heidi said. "He transformed it! I have never seen that done before. And it worked," she added still with awe in her voice.
"I'll have to do something about that lock. And I think I have a job down at the beach soon." Martine said, standing up.
"If you see Tähti on your way, could you please ask her to join us?" Gilvi said.
"And one last question," Thora said: "Anna why did you try to stop them in the broomshed, why not earlier or later?"
"I suddenly realized that somebody might get hurt, even badly, during the race. David said I was free to leave, but I did not feel free. I could not leave. I tried dissuading them all the way back. In the end David threatened me, after the others had left, that he would hex Kalle's broom tomorrow just before the race if I tattled. I dared not. And when I finally got myself pulled together, Lis and all those others here stopped me. Now I see why."
"Well, yes I see." Thora said. "It all makes sense now."
"No it does not!" Susan said. "Who was David trying to get on top of? He's as far as I know an only child. He has no siblings to be jealous of."
"People in general," Anna said. "and particularly Fiona He think he's better, or at least deserves better than most of us because he's older and because he can trace his family back in time to Merlin and some other famous witches and wizards."
"Bosh!" Tage and Lis said simultaneously. Lis continued "Our parents and their parents and their parents' parents and so on forever - or at least all the way back to the old Greeks and Celts were wizards and Witches. That does not make us one jot better at flying than Fiona or Sif and Elwin."
"Exactly," Thora said. "And now to your punishment. Extra lessons. As the brooms are all out of commission, you can't race one another. I hope all the brooms will be mended cleaned and de-jinxed by Tuesday. So extra lessons for all of you. We begin now. Susan, My, Anna, Aamu and Rósa! You come with me and Tähti, The rest of you will go to the potion room with Taavi and Gilvi"
And thus the story of the broom racing ends. The lessons Susan and the four other girls are about to be taught, only plays a part - but an important part - in the epilogue.