“Cease now, Esmeralda!” said Broda Pye, rather more sternly. '' 'Tis not your Doppelganger—behold her boots, Esmeralda."

Esmeralda stared at Jenna's brown boots, and her nose wrinkled up disapprovingly in an expression that showed she was indeed her mother's daughter. “They are but common brown boots,” said Esmeralda, as though Jenna was not there.

Jenna looked down at her boots. She liked her boots, and she didn't think that Esmeralda had any room to talk, considering the stupid shoes she was wearing: the weirdest shiny red things with points so long that two pieces of ribbon were fixed to the ends and tied to her ankles to stop her from tripping over them.

“Who art thou?” Broda interrupted Jenna's thoughts on Esmeralda's footwear.

“My name is Jenna,” said Jenna.

“By thy golden circlet and thy red robes, thou dost appear a Princess, despite thy boots,” said Broda. “But how can this be?”

“I am a Princess,” said Jenna crossly. “And in my Time we wear boots.”

Broda Pye was used to many strange things happening in her cottage, for the Marram Marshes were even more untamed than in Jenna's Time; all manner of Spirits and Creatures lived there and would sometimes wander into the Keeper's Cottage. Broda decided that Jenna was one of these—a Spirit of a long-dead Princess wandering the marshes, maybe searching for the Dragon Boat. Broda could see that Jenna was one of the more substantial Spirits with a bit of a temper and thought it would be wise to appease her by offering food and drink.

Broda disappeared into the kitchen, leaving Esmeralda and Jenna together. There was an awkward silence between them, and then Esmeralda, who was a practical person and had decided that Jenna looked far too solid to be a Spirit, said, “Thou art truly a Princess?”

Jenna nodded.

Esmeralda knew something of Marcellus's experiments. “Art thou from a Time Yet to Come?” she asked.

Jenna nodded again.

Esmeralda was thinking hard. “Tell me ... is Mama Queen in thy Time Yet to Come?” she asked.

Jenna shook her head. “Not when I left,” she said. “But last month her ghost suddenly Appeared. Now I am afraid that if I don't return, she will become Queen.”

“Then thou must return,” said Esmeralda as if that settled the matter. “See now, Broda hath brought forth her sweetmeats—thou art truly honored.”

Broda had returned carrying a tray of tall glasses filled with a hot misty-looking drink and a gold plate of delicate pink and green squashy sweets covered in a dusting of soft sugar. She offered them to Jenna, who took a pink one. It was like nothing Jenna had eaten before—smooth and chewy at the same time, and it tasted of a wonderful aromatic mixture of rose petals, honey and lemon.

The misty drink was less wonderful. It tasted bitter, but it was hot, and Jenna was enjoying sitting beside Broda's fire. She felt safe and warm, just as she always did at Keeper's Cottage, but she knew she had to go. She would not find Septimus here.

“I must leave now,” said Jenna, getting used to the more formal ways of speaking.

"But I thank you for your hospitality.

Broda Pye bowed her head, relieved that the Spirit Princess was satisfied. Then, as was considered prudent in Spirit visitations, she asked, “Prithee, fair Princess, do not depart from this house empty-handed. Ask of me what thee will and I will be honored to meet thine every desire,” said Broda, hoping that Jenna would not ask for her nice new pearl necklace that Marcellus had recently sent her, which she wished she had tucked out of sight inside her tunic while she was in the kitchen. It was too late now, and Broda held her breath while she waited for the Spirit Princess's reply.

There was something that Jenna wanted more than anything else—apart from finding Septimus—and she knew this was the one place where she might be able to find it. “I desire...” she said slowly, trying to find the right words.

“Yes?” asked Broda Pye on tenterhooks, anxiously fingering her necklace.

“I desire to know how to Revive the Dragon Boat.”

Broda Pye breathed an audible sigh of relief. “From death?” she asked.

“From half death, half life. She breathes but does not move.”

“She speaketh?”

“But weakly. Like a whisper on the breeze,” said Jenna, really getting into the old way of speaking and rather enjoying it.

“Stay thee a few minutes longer and I will fetch you the Remedie,” said Broda, and before Jenna could change her mind, she rushed into the Unstable Potions and Partikular Poisons cupboard. Jenna heard her open the trapdoor and climb down the old ladder, on her way to the Dragon Boat in her dark and lonely underground temple.

There was a silence, and then Esmeralda said, “Mama liketh not the Dragon Boat, but I shall like her. I know that she will talk to me, when the Time Is Right, e'en though she will not speak to Mama, though Mama doth shout and cajole every MidSummer Day.”

Jenna smiled; she knew that the Dragon Boat had good judgment.

Broda returned, breathless and smelling of the musty passageways beJow the ground. She placed a battered old box on her desk and beckoned Jenna over. On the box was written the words LAST RESORT. Broda muttered an UnLock over the box and then lifted the lid. Inside was a small leather pouch that Jenna recognized.

“That's the Transubstantiate Triple,” she said, disappointed. “We tried that before.”

Broda looked impressed. “Thou art a Wise Spirit for thy tender Years,” she observed, taking out the three small hammered gold bowls with blue enameling around their rims that Jenna remembered. Broda laid out the bowls on the desk, and then to Jenna's surprise, she also brought out a small green bottle.

Jenna picked up the bottle. On the label was written TX3 REVIVE. “I have not seen this before,” she said.

“Then you have not seen the Transubstantiate Triple,” said Broda simply. “It will not work without, though with strong Magyk, some may do good.”

“May I take just the bottle?” asked Jenna.

Broda bowed her head. “Surely you may. There are many more in the Queen's cupboard to be had. You are most welcome, Princess.”

“Thank you,” she said.

Broda stood waiting for the Spirit Princess to depart. She was afraid that she might ask for something else; some Spirits could get greedy. Broda had once had a Spirit of a merchant who had taken her entire thimble collection, and then come back for her best needles.

Jenna knew Broda wanted her to go, but she said, “There is one more thing...”

Broda's face fell. So this was a greedy one. She didn't look it, but you could never tell with Spirits. “What?” said Broda rather sharply.

“Do you have a Boggart?” she asked Broda.

Broda looked surprised. “You want a Boggart?” she asked in disbelief, but a Spirit Princess must not be denied. Broda threw open the cottage front door. The dank smell of the marshes drifted in, and Jenna breathed in the smell that she loved—then jumped with shock. At least a dozen little Boggarts were grouped on the doorstep watching her, their brown eyes and wet muddy noses glistening in the light of the lantern.

“Which Boggart do you want?” asked Broda.

“I don't want one, I just wanted to see one again,” explained Jenna. “Aren't they lovely? Look at their great big eyes and their huge flippers.”

Patience at an end, Broda shook her head at the craziness of Spirits. “Shoo!” she said, flapping her arms wildly at the baby Boggarts. “Shoo!” The Boggarts stared at Broda, unblinking, and showed no sign of even beginning to be shooed.

“They try my patience most unmercifully,” said Broda, slamming the door. “ 'Tis the breeding season, and I declare there must be a dozen litters upon the island.”

“In my Time there is only one Boggart,” said Jenna.

“Then in your Time, you are truly fortunate. Now, fare thee well, Princess,” Broda said, holding open the door to the Unstable Potions and Partikular Poisons cupboard.

Jenna got the hint. “Fare thee well, Broda. Fare thee well, Esmeralda,” she said politely, and stepped into the cupboard.

Broda Pye firmly closed the door.

Jenna slipped out of the Queen's Room and was relieved to find the landing empty.

She tiptoed down the turret stairs and—

“Princess!” The Knight of the Day pounced.

Source: www.StudyNovels.com