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The Water Mirror

by Kai Meyer

The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer X
The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2005, 256 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 272 pages

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"You are so."

Junipa's laugh rang bright and clear. "I'm your friend, Merle. Girls talk about a thing like that."

Merle made a move as if to hit her, and Junipa giggled like a child. "Oh, leave me alone," cried Merle, laughing.

Junipa looked up. "There he is, over there."

"Where?"

"There, on the other side."

Junipa was right. Serafin was sitting a little back from the edge of the pavement and letting his legs dangle over the canal. The soles of his shoes were dangerously close to the water.

"Now, go on over to him," Junipa said.

"Not on your life."

"Why ever not?"

"He is a weaver apprentice, after all. One of our enemies, or have you forgotten already? I can't just...it's bad manners."

"It's even worse manners to act as if you're listening to a friend when in fact your thoughts are somewhere else entirely."

"Can you also read thoughts with those eyes of yours?" asked Merle with amusement.

Junipa shook her head earnestly, as if she'd actually taken the possibility into consideration. "A person just has to look at you."

"You really think I should talk to him?"

"Certainly." Junipa grinned. "Or are you a little afraid?"

"Nonsense. I really just want to ask him how long he's worked for Umberto," Merle said.

"Very poor excuse!"

"Ninny! -- No, you aren't. You're a treasure!" And with that Merle grabbed Junipa around the neck, hugged her briefly, and then ran across the bridge to the other side. As she went, she looked back over her shoulder and saw Junipa looking after her with a gentle smile.

"Hello."

Shocked, Merle stopped in her tracks. Serafin must have seen her, for suddenly he was standing directly in front of her.

"Hello," she replied, sounding as though she'd just swallowed a fruit pit. "You here too?"

"Looks like it."

"I thought you were probably home hatching plans for splashing paint in other people's faces."

"Oh, that...." He grinned. "We don't do that every day. Would you like something to drink?"

She'd left her cup beside Junipa, so she nodded. "Juice. Please."

Serafin turned and walked to a stand. Merle watched him from the back. He was a handsbreadth taller than she, somewhat thin, perhaps, but so were they all. After all, anyone born during siege conditions never had the embarrassment of having to worry about his weight. Unless you were rich, of course. Or, she thought cynically, you were named Ruggiero and secretly ate up half the orphanage kitchen.

Serafin came back and handed her a wooden cup. "Apple juice," he said. "I hope you like it."

To be polite, she immediately took a sip. "Yes, very much, in fact."

"You're new at Arcimboldo's, aren't you?"

"You know that very well." She immediately regretted her words. Why was she being so snippy? Couldn't she give him a normal answer? "Since a few weeks ago," she added.

"Were you and your friend in the same orphanage?"

She shook her head. "Uh-uh."

"Arcimboldo did something to her eyes."

"She was blind. Now Junipa can see."

"Then it's true, what Master Umberto said."

"And that was?"

"He said Arcimboldo knows his way around magic."

"That's what others say about Umberto."

Serafin grinned. "I've now been in his house for more than two years, and he's never showed me a single magic trick."

Copyright 2001 by Kai Meyer.  All rights reserved. No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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