Jenna looked down at the huge white circle before her, and to her amazement she could see a finely detailed picture of the ravine she had just traveled through. "Good, huh?" Simon smirked. "Better than all that witchy rubbish old Zelda did. This, little sister, is the real world."

Jenna knew he was talking about the night the Heaps had all stood on a rickety bridge and seen themselves reflected in the light of a full moon, while Aunt Zelda, a White Witch, had asked the moon to show them the family of a small boy soldier, Boy 412. Jenna decided it was wiser to say nothing.

Simon took hold of the pole, and he began to walk slowly around the white dish. The pole moved with him, and far above their heads a thin creaking noise began as the lens that focused the scene onto the white dish of the Camera Obscura began to turn through a full circle. As it turned, the scene before them changed, and despite herself, Jenna was entranced. She had never seen anything like it before; the picture was bright and intricately detailedbut strangely silent.

"So you see," Simon said, moving very slowly to allow Jenna to take in the changing scene before her, "you can have no secrets from me. I can see everything. I can see the Castle, I can see your precious Palace and I can even see mad Marcia in the Wizard Tower with that upstart Apprentice who thinks he's my brother. I see it all."

Jenna stared at the scene. It was beautiful, but everything was very small and far away. She didn't really understand how Simon could see everything.

In the distance, beyond the Badlands and the Farmlands, she saw the Castle outlined against the setting sun. As she stared at the image, she saw seagulls flying silently across the sky and boats moving slowly up the river. Jenna could just about pick out the Palace by its wide green lawns stretching to the riverand all at once she felt a terrible longing to be home.

"Want to have a closer look?" asked Simon with a sneer. "Want to see how much they're missing you?"

Jenna did not answer, but Simon opened a drawer in the platform under the dish and took out a large brass magnifying glass. He held it above the dish, clicked his fingers and muttered, "Magnify do descry we that all..."

Suddenly everything on the white dish jumped in size.

"You see," said Simon, "I see everything clearly now. The Chief Hermetic Scribe at the Manuscriptorium had it. He collects Reverse memorabilia. Reckons that this Enlarging Glass was owned by the first Darke Wizard. D'you know who that was, little sister? Have they taught you that in your Princess history lessons yet?"

Jenna did not respond. She had recently developed Septimus's dislike of even hearing the Reverse side mentioned. Septimus had a theory that even by talking about it you could invite it in.

"Well, I'll tell you anyway," said Simon. "It was none other than Hotep'Ra. The very first ExtraOrdinary Wizard. The one who brought your precious Dragon Boat here. Don't look so surprised. So you see, wethe Reverse sideare the true inheritors of the Castle. And don't go thinking you'll be seeing your precious Dragon Boat again, either. Because you won't."

Simon chuckled, pleased with the effect he was having on Jenna, who looked white. She refused to meet Simon's eyes and was resolutely staring at the scene on the dish.

Simon followed her gaze and turned his attention back to the Camera Obscura. Then, as though he had thrown a switch, he suddenly became the older brother again.

"Good, isn't it?" he said, waving the Enlarging Glass over the dish, seeking out scenes and making them leap in fine detail. "Now, here we have the Forest ... ah, there's a boat tied up on the beach where Sam fishes. I miss Sam ... not much else to see in the Forest. Too dense. Although at night I can sometimes see the wolverines' eyes ... Now let's go up the river to the Castle ... here's old Jannit's boatyard ... now where's my little brother Nicko? He came back today with Rupert. Did you know that, Jenna? No, I didn't think so. But I did. I saw them coming up the river before I left. And ... ah, yes, there's the North Gate and that idiot Gringe arguing with that imbecile son of his ... now where's my Lucy? There she is, sitting by the Moat. Waiting. But she'll wait for me a little longer. Now there's the Wizard Tower. Look at that window therethere's Marcia in her study and her Shadow keeping her company as all good Shadows should. See how he watches her every move? Now let's go somewhere you know well, shall we? Here we are ... the Palace. Home sweet home, eh? If I am not mistaken, there are my dear misguided parents up on the roof. Are they looking at the sunset do you suppose, or are they wondering when their son and heir is going to bring back their little cuckoo?"

"Shut up, Simon!" yelled Jenna. "I hate you, I hate you!" She hurled herself away from the images of Silas and Sarah and raced toward the steps. But Simon was faster. In a moment he had grabbed her and held her prisoner again. But not before Jenna had seen something hidden in the shadows that she really wished she hadn'ta bleached white skull ginning at her from the seat of an ornate wooden throne.

"I think you have met before," Simon said with a smile. "Let me introduce you to the head of my Master, DomDaniel."

Chapter 17 Chocolate

Jenna couldn't sleep. Not because of the icy chill of the cell air, or because of the hard little bed, the thin scratchy blanket or because her clothes felt cold and damp. She could not sleep because of the thought of the skull staring empty-eyed at her door. Whenever she closed her eyes an image of the grinning white skull drifted by and woke her with a start.

Jenna gave up trying to sleep. She wrapped herself in Lucy's cloak, her mind racing as she went over the events of the day. Until she had seen the skull, Jenna had found it hard to believe that Simon meant her any harm. In her mind he was still her eldest brother, the reliable one who always helped her out when she was in trouble and showed her how to do her homework. But that was before Simon had picked up the skull, cradled it in his arms and told her how he had rescued DomDaniel's skeleton from the Marram Marshes on the night of the Apprentice Supper and that he was now DomDaniel's Apprentice. "How about that, little Miss Princess? And unlike his last useless Apprentice, I am carrying out his every wish to the letter. And his very particular wish was to have the Castle free of any interfering royalty, such as yourself. He considers the power of the Queen an intolerable imposition on any ExtraOrdinary Wizard. As do I. So, if we want some proper Magyk back in the Castlenot just Marcia's dinky little spellsthen someone has to go." Simon had looked at her with a horrible coldness in his eyes, which stayed with her still.

Jenna sat on the edge of the bed, thinking. She wondered why Simon hadn't already got rid of her. He could have easily pushed her off the ravine into the river or just left her out for the Land Wurms. But Jenna already knew the answer. Whatever Simon might have said, he had still wanted to show off to his little sister. But he had done that now, and tomorrow it would be a different story. Maybe tomorrow he would leave her out for the Land Wurmsor the Magogs.

Jenna shivered. She heard a low noise drifting through the wall and her heart leaped into her mouth. It was a strange, regular,snorting noise, and she knew what it wasit was the skull. The noise got louder and louder; Jenna pressed her hands over her ears to blot out the awful sound, and then suddenly she realized what it really was: Simon was snoring. Which meant that Simon was asleep and she was awake. She could try and escapeshe must try and escape.

Jenna tried the iron door. It was bolted but there was a small gap between the door and the wall, and Jenna wondered if she could push something through the gap and somehow undo the bolts. She looked around the cell but Simon had not been so considerate as to leave her a hacksaw. Jenna put her hands in her pockets, wondering if she had anything on her that could help. Septimus would have the very thing, she thought. He always carried his Young Army knife, which had about a hundred and one different uses, mostly involving horses' hooves. She missed him.

The thought of Septimus made Jenna remember the chocolate Charm he had given her that morning. Where had she put it? There it was, damp and sticky, stuck at the bottom of her tunic pocket. She pulled out the Charm, held it in her palm and squinted at the inscription:Take me, shake me,and I will make thee:Quetzalcoatl's Tchocolatl.

Well, she thought, it was worth a try.

Jenna tried to remember what Septimus had said when he had told her how to use the Charm. She cupped both of her hands together and shook the Charm up and down as hard as she could to Activate it. As she did so, she whispered the words written in the small brown square and concentrated all her thoughts on what she wanted. Sure enough, the Charm began to work. It grew warm and smooth in her cupped hands, as though it were a real piece of chocolate. Then, just as Septimus had said it would, it began to buzz like a small fly trapped in her grasp. Jenna waited until the Charm was almost too hot to hold, and then quickly placed it on the object she wanted to turn into chocolatethe door of the cell.

Tags: Angie Sage Books Septimus Heap Series Books Fantasy Books