"Upsadaisy!" Aunt Zelda said, helping Marcia to her feet.
"Thank you, Zelda," said Marcia. She brushed the dust off her new cloak and glared at the onlookers. "Don't you have homes to go to?" she snapped. Sheepishly they drifted away, saving their stories to tell to their families and friends. (These tales were the origins of the legend of the mysterious and powerful Yellow Wizard who, after an epic battle, laid the ExtraOrdinary Wizard out cold on Wizard Way, only to be captured by a tiny, heroic boy.)
The crowd having dispersed, Marcia now saw a strange sight. An odd-looking man wearing one of the most bizarre hats she had ever seen - and Marcia had seen some hats in her time - was lying on the ground trying to get up. He was having some difficulty due to the fact that Barney Pot was kneeling on both his ankles.
"Got him!" said Aunt Zelda triumphantly. "Well done, Barney!"
Barney grinned. He loved the lady in the tent. He had never had such fun - never ever. Together they had chased the banana man through alleyways and shops, and Barney had never lost sight of him once. And now they had caught him - and saved the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, too.
"Right, Marcia," said Aunt Zelda, who knew how to control a jinnee. "You grab one arm, I'll take the other - he won't like that. You do still have a Sealed cell in the Wizard Tower, don't you?"
"Yes, we do. Goodness, Zelda, what on earth is this all about?"
"Marcia, just grab him, will you? This is Septimus's escaped jinnee."
"What?" Marcia stared down at Jim Knee, who flashed her a beguiling smile.
"A case of mistaken identity, madam, I can assure you," he said. "I am but a poor traveler from distant shores. I was indulging in a little window-shopping along your wonderful avenue in this enchanting Castle when this madwoman in a tent accosted me and set her hooligan child upon me. Get off, will you?" Jim Knee desperately waggled his feet, but Barney Pot was not to be dislodged.
"Zelda, are you sure?" asked Marcia, looking down at Aunt Zelda, who now had Jim Knee in an armlock.
"Of course I'm sure, Marcia. But if you want proof, you can have it." Aunt Zelda very deliberately took out Jim Knee's gold bottle and unstopped it. The jinnee went white.
"No, no, have mercy. I pray you, don't put me back in there!" he wailed. In a moment Marcia was on the ground beside Aunt Zelda, and Septimus's jinnee was in what Marcia called "protective custody."
As Jim Knee was marched along Wizard Way, firmly sandwiched between Marcia and Aunt Zelda, with Barney Pot proudly leading the way, people stopped what they were doing and stared. The crowd of onlookers regrouped and followed them all the way to the Great Arch, but Marcia did not notice. She was too busy with her plan for the jinnee - and as plans went, Marcia knew it was a good one. She just needed to sell it to Aunt Zelda, who, as the Awakener, needed to agree.
As they passed into the cool shadows of the lapis-lazuli-lined archway, Marcia said,
"Zelda, would you and Barney like to come up for tea in my rooms?"
Aunt Zelda looked suspicious. "Why?"
"It has been so long since we've had a proper chat, and I would like to go some way toward repaying your kind hospitality on the Marshes a few years ago. Happy times."
Aunt Zelda did not remember Marcia's stay with such a rosy hue. She was tempted to refuse but felt she should ask Barney first. "Well, Barney, what do you say?"
Barney nodded, his face shining with wonder. "Oh, yes please," he said.
"Thank you, Marcia," said Aunt Zelda, feeling sure she would regret it. "That is most kind."
While Jim Knee languished in the Wizard Tower's Sealed cell, Marcia sat Barney down with a miniature set of Counter-Feet and his favorite chocolate cake. Then she explained her plan to Aunt Zelda. Marcia had to be almost more polite than she could bear, but in the end it was worth it - she got what she wanted. But Marcia usually got what she wanted when she put her mind to it.
Chapter 27 To the Lighthouse
T he following morning a long way from the Wizard Tower a black boat with dark red sails approached the CattRokk Lighthouse. It went unnoticed by anyone except the lighthouse keeper, who watched it with a sense of dread.
"We're nearly there. You can come out now." Jakey Fry's head appeared like a bizarre lightbulb dangling from the hatch above. A brilliant strip of sunlight glanced down like a dagger, and Lucy Gringe and Wolf Boy blinked. They had not seen sunlight for what felt like years, though it was actually a little over three days. They had, it is true, seen some light in the form of the candle that Jakey Fry had brought down each evening when he came to give them their meager supper of fish - oh, how Lucy hated fish - and to play cards with them, but only according to the Jakey Fry Rule Book, which basically meant that whatever happened, Jakey Fry won.
"Hurry up! Pa says now," hissed Jakey. "Get yer stuff together and make it sharp."
"We don't have any stuff," said Lucy, who had a tendency to get picky when irritable.
"Well, make it sharp then."
A bellow came from the deck, and Jakey's head disappeared. Lucy and Wolf Boy heard him call, "Aye, Pa, they're coming. Aye, right now. Pronto!" He stuck his head down once more. He looked scared. "Get up that ladder or we'll all be fer it."
As the Marauder pitched and rolled in the waves, Lucy and Wolf Boy stumbled up the ladder and crawled onto the deck. They breathed in the fresh sea air in wonder - how was it possible that air could smell so good? And the light - how could it possibly be so bright? Lucy shaded her eyes and looked around, trying to get her bearings. She gasped. Rearing into the brilliant blue sky was a massive black column of a lighthouse, which seemed to grow from the rocks like an enormous tree trunk. Its foundation was rock, which gradually gave way to huge chunks of pitted granite covered in thick tar and encrusted with barnacles. As the lighthouse rose toward the sky, the granite was replaced by tar-covered bricks. Lucy, who was always fascinated by how things were made, wondered how anyone could possibly have built such a huge tower with the sea forever crashing about them. But it was the very top of the lighthouse that fascinated Lucy the most: It looked like the head of a cat. There were two brick-built triangles that looked to Lucy like ears and, strangest of all, there were two almond-shaped windows for eyes; from these came two beams of light so bright that Lucy could actually see them in the sunlight.
With a stomach-churning lurch, the Marauder dropped into a trough of a wave, the sun was blotted out by the lighthouse and a chill shadow fell across them. Next the swell took them so high that Lucy was looking straight at the seaweed-covered base of the lighthouse. Then the Marauder dropped like a stone into a trough of boiling water - and all the time the boat was rolling from side to side. Suddenly Lucy felt very, very sick. Just in time she rushed to the edge of the boat and threw up over the side. A bellow of laughter came from Skipper Fry, who was standing nonchalantly holding on to the tiller.
"Women an' boats," he chortled. "Useless!"
Lucy spat into the sea, then spun around, eyes blazing, "What did you - "
Wolf Boy had spent enough time in Lucy's company to know when she was about to explode. He grabbed her shoulder and hissed, "Stop it, Lucy."
Lucy glared at Wolf Boy. She did her angry-pony headshake, broke away from Wolf Boy's grasp and set off toward the skipper. Wolf Boy's heart sank. This was it. Lucy was about to get thrown overboard.
Jakey Fry liked Lucy even though she was rude to him and called him weevil-brain and bug-features. He saw what was coming and jumped in front of her.
"Lucy, I need yer help," he said urgently. "Yer strong. Throw us the rope, yeah?"
Lucy stopped impatiently. There was a desperate look in Jakey's eyes. "Please, Miss Lucy," Jakey whispered. "Don't make 'im uppity. Please."
Ten minutes later, with the help of Lucy - who turned out to be an accomplished rope thrower - the Marauder was tied up to two massive iron posts set into the rocks above a small harbor hewn from the rock at the foot of the lighthouse. Jakey Fry peered down at the boat, anxiously wondering if he had allowed enough rope. It was difficult to tell. Too much rope and the Marauder would drift onto the rocks, too little and she would be left dangling in the fall of the tide - and if he got it wrong either way, there would be trouble.
"Gettup that ladder," the skipper yelled at Lucy.