"How do you feel baby?" Dara approached the bed. Nirupa had lunged in with all her clothes on and covered herself up to the neck with bed cover. "Better, Mom," she replied in a faint voice. , "I have been sleeping. I still feel sleepy."
"You might have fever," Dara said. "Let me check." She touched Nirupaís forehead. Nirupa pulled the covers around her.
"Itís okay, you donít have a fever," Dara said. She kissed her on the forehead. "Come downstairs to eat the pizza. Itís still hot."
"I donít feel like eating at all," Nirupa said. Iíd better have a nap. I havenít finished my homework, and I should go over six chapters. Tomorrow weíre having a math test."
"Ok, then rest, baby," Dara said. "Study later. If you need help, let me know. I have a lot of work to do myself. I donít know whether I will be able to finish the thesis I am writing until tomorrow. I also have to do some web research. Iíll go work now. If you need me, Iíll be in the den."
Dara left and Nirupa jumped out of bed. She snatched the book from underneath and put it on the desk. She sat in the chair and leafed through it.
"Letís see," Nirupa said, "what might best serve us."
"The Well of Money," she read. "No, no, this spell has nothing to do with us. I donít need money. Letís see what comes next." She continued to leaf through the Book. "Protection from Demons, no, no, we donít need this either. Long Hair in Four Minutes, wow, Miss Bell, listen; How to Change the Color of Your Eyes without Using Dragon Blood. Yes this is interesting. Look, what about this one?" Nirupa had completely forgotten the reason she was searching the book in the first place. "The Syrup of invisibility. That's fun. Iíve always wanted to become invisible and enter that candy shop at the corner of my school and eat as many colored jellies as I could. They are quite expensive." Just at that moment, the book closed abruptly, nearly catching Nirupaís fingers inside it. Nirupa jumped. Miss Bell stood over the closed book, arms crossed. She looked angry.
"Whatís got into you Miss Bell?" Nirupa asked, surprised by the fairyís behavior. "You know Iím ignorant of all this magic. I had to go through the book to find the right spell."
Miss Bell kept scolding. "Concentrate," she said. "Look at the chapter of revenge spells."
"And why didnít you say it before?" Ni asked.
"Because you never listen," retorted the fairy. "
"Sorry, Miss Bell," Nirupa said. "You're right."
Miss Bell accepted Nirupaís apology. They both began to leaf through the book again, going directly to the section of retribution spells. There were so many spells Nirupa almost lost her track again. But Miss Bell came to her rescue. The pixie suggested a spell which she thought would work for a beginner like Nirupa.
"Rabbitís Ears and Pigís Trunk", was the spell that Bell and Nirupa chose.
Nirupa was overjoyed when she found Jane would grow rabbitís ears and have her nose changed into a pigís trunk. The spell lasted just one day , but that was fine. They didnít want to harm Jane, just scare her a bit.
That spell wasnít complicated like some of the others. All that was needed was to prepare a kind of tea for Jane to drink. It wasnít necessary to cast the magic circle or light colorful candles or call up elements and guardians of watchtowers. Miss Bell said these other spells were too advanced for Nirupaís level. She wouldnít explain further. "In time you will learn everything." Miss Bell said, and Nirupa did not argue with her. Miss Bell was performing the duty of a mentor and Nirupa believed she should listen to little Bellís words, at least for now.
The only problem they faced was to find the ingredients of the magic potion. Nirupa had never heard of a kind of tea prepared from dragonís claws, oxís eyes, catís intestines, blood fingers, mareís legs, dragonís tail and devilís milk. She had no idea where they could find these things.
Miss Bell flew around Nirupa, thinking. Despite her knowledge, she wasnít an expert of the witchesí kitchen either.
"Letís go to the market tomorrow and ask whether there is some place where they sell such things," Nirupa said. "I know a shop where Mom goes to buy groceries, and the shopkeeper is so nice. She knows everything about whatís sold in the market. We could tell her that weíre doing a science experiment at school.
Miss Bell wasnít impressed by that idea. But she had no other ideas so the two decided to try.
The next day, after her math exam, Nirupa rushed for the door. She was afraid if she stayed longer she might run into Dara or Lisa waiting to take her home. Neither of them would allow her to go shopping alone.
"Nirupa, where are you going?" she heard Melissaís voice from behind. Nirupa waited for her friend.
"Where are you going to in such a hurry?" Melissa asked.
"To buy groceries. My mom asked me to-ósheís very busy."
"Thatís great!" Melissa said. "Can I go along?"
What could Nirupa do now? Melissa was her friend, yet she couldnít tell her this secret. On the other hand, she didnít want to lie again to Melissa.
"Come if you wish."
Nirupa felt a pinch behind her ear. Miss Bell was pulling her hair and hissing: "Dummy."
But Melissa jumped with joy, and both girls left for the market. Bell followed them, still angry with Nirupa and invisible to the untrained eye.
"My grandmother never lets me go shopping." Melissa said as she was walking side by side with Nirupa.
"You never go shopping?" Ni asked surprised.
"We donít have much money," Melisa said "My parents died unexpectedly and left me nothing. My Granny is very prudent and always does groceriesí shopping herself."
Nirupa held her breath at Mrs. Liletteís shop, where she had been often with Dara to do the weekly shopping. Mrs. Liletteís shop, was stuffed with the most amazing items. There were fruits and vegetables of all kinds there, various kinds of food, exotic jewelry, strange toys brought from as far as China and a mountain of other trifles. Nirupa was particularly fond of the chocolates sold upon lottery, which you could only find in Mrs. Liletteís shop. Dara always bought one for Nirupa whenever they went to the shop. Nirupa won different things, like the pendant with green stones sheíd won last time that, Mrs. Lilette swore was brought from Madagascar. But Nirupa had never won the great prize. This prize entitled you to choose the thing you liked most at the shop.
Nirupa pushed the glass door, and the two girls entered. The wind chime hanging from the door tinkled.
Mrs. Lilette appeared from behind the counter. She was a plump, woman with a kind face which, like her wind chimesí little bells looked joyful. She wore a cherry creased skirt and a sequined blouse. Melissa looked dumbfounded.
"Nirupa," "Is it really you, sweetie pie? Ah, itís always a joy to have you here. Where is Mom, honeybunch? Are you here all alone?
"Aunty Lilette," Nirupa replied, "I would like to buy some things I need at school."
"Youíre here on your own to buy school things?" Lilette asked. Oh, cuppycake, your aunty will help you, but first take some almond cookies. They are fresh from the oven." Tottering she came out from behind the counter and extended the tray with still-warm cookies to the girls.
"Who is this beautiful girl?" she asked, looking at Melissa.
Nirupa nodded her mouth full of cookies. "She is my classmate," she said, after swallowing quickly.
"Oh, lovely." Lilette smiled. "Now, tell me what have you come here to buy."
Nirupa took the piece of paper folded in four out of her pocket.
"Aunty Lilette, do you have these things"
Lilette put on her glasses, took the paper and glanced at it.
"What have you written on that piece of paper?" Melissa whispered.
"Hush" Nirupa murmured, "Iíll tell you later."
Lilette read and reread the paper. A puzzled frown on her face, she looked at Nirupa, .
"What are these, child? I have never heard of such thing. Tell me, why do you need them?"
Before Nirupa could open her mouth to speak, the glass door opened and a woman carrying two heavy-looking bags entered the shop.
"Good afternoon, Lilette," she said. She looked over at the girls.
"Melissa," she spoke, "what are you doing here?"
"I am here with Nirupa, Grandma," Melissa answered. "She wanted to buy a couple of things."
"So, you are Nirupa?" The woman turned and smiled at Ni, " Melissa does not open her heart easily, and I am pleased that she has finally found a good friend like you."
Nirupa blushed up to her ears at the praise, but at the same time, she liked Melissaís grandmother a lot.
"And what wonderful things are you buying today?" the grandmother asked.
Mrs. Lilette smiled. "Nowadays children are full of fantasy Marianne! Just listen to what the girls have come here to buy." Lilette put on her glasses again and began to read:
"6,7 ounces of devilís milk, 12,3 ounces of dragonís clutches, 2 oxís eyes, 4 cups of catís intestines, 5 blood fingers, 1 lizardís tail and 2 mareís legs." Lilette laughed. "Nirupa, your imagination leaves me speechless."
Melissaís grandmother didnít laugh at all. She turned to the girls instead.
"Melissa, take Nirupa with you and go back home. I will join you later. We will have lunch together. Donít worry about your mother, Nirupa. I shall call and let her know you are with us." Nirupa was getting more anxious by the moment, seeing the grandmotherís reaction to her list, but at least she would not have to worry now about Dara.
The girls left of the shop and started back to Melissaís house.
"What were those things, Nirupa?" Melissa asked. "I have never heard of such things."
Nirupa realized now she could not hide the truth from Melissa anymore. But how should she start? She tried to collect her thoughts. Meanwhile, Bell, hidden on the other side kept sticking Nirupa under her hood. Nirupa tried to ignore her.
"I will tell you a secret, but you must swear on your life that you wonít share it with anyone. After this we will be close friends."
"You already are my closest friend," Melissa said. "Youíre my only friend. I wonít tell anyone what you say. Why should I do it? I love you as though you were my sister."
Melissaís words were unexpected to Nirupa, but they made her happy. Her birthday wish was coming true. She had never had a close friend in her life, and now she had found a wonderful friend whom she could trust with anything.
"Well then," Nirupa said. "I have no idea what those things on my list are. I read about them in an old book full of spellsí recipes.
My family...," she paused and looked at Melissa to see how she was reacting. Melissa squeezed her hand and Nirupa felt brave enough to go on. "My Mom and my Dad, are magicians of the good and have nothing to do with black magic," She paused to take a deep breath. She had finally told the whole truth. Now she waited to hear what Melissa would say. To her astonishment, Melissa neither spoke nor looked surprised.
"Do you understand, Melissa?" Nirupa asked. "I just wanted to cast a little spell on Jane, and I needed these items for the magic potion."
"I have something to confess, also," Melissa said, looking straight into Nirupaís eyes. "I, too, come from a family of magicians. My grandmother is a magician, but we are careful to tell no one. We donít want to be thrown out of town.
It was Nirupaís turn to gape, but the secret Melissa revealed to her was a great joy at the same time. Now that she discovered that there were other people like her, she felt to be quite normal and not different at all from the others.
"I feel so relived now," Ni confessed. "Oh Melissa I am so happy!" The girls hugged. They stayed hugged for a while then Melissa said.
"My parents werenít into magic at all," Melissa said. "I learned grandma was a magician only after my parentís accident, when I came to live with her .I donít think I have any particular power myself. Iíve learned a lot about magic from my grandmother, but I have never practiced it myself.
Melissa and Nirupa arrived at the gate of Melissaís house. Nirupa stood there, thinking. The house where Melissa and her grandmother lived was not as pretty as her own. It was an old house, and its roof seemed like it was going to cave in. Nirupa thought the house was leaning a little to the right. But of course she said nothing to Melissa about this. But the garden of the house was lovely, full of bright colored s blossoms and plants.
"Grannyís flowers," Melissa said. "My granny loves flowers most.
"So does my Mom," Nirupa smiled. "We too have many flowers in our yard."
Inside the house was dark. The furniture was scarce and old. Nirupa felt badly for Melissa. She thought of her own room at home, painted pink and filled with toys and books. Dara, and Lisa, too, were always buying her new toys, books and clothes. Still, Melissa was by far the best pupil of their class."
"I told you we donít have a lot of money," Melissa said, as if she could read Nirupaís thoughts. "But make yourself at home. My granny will be here in a minute."
Nirupa set on an old couch, and Melissa sat down facing her. Five minutes later, the grandmother arrived. She quickly prepared hot tea for the three of them and opened a tin box of butter cookies. Nirupa had a hard time saying no, especially when Melissa snatched two at the same time.
"Butter cookies on Wednesday! It feels like my birthday!" Melissa said
Nirupa took a butter cookie then, from the box, appreciating how lucky she herself was, to have butter cookies whenever she wished.
"Oops. I have forgotten the sugar," Melissaís grandmother said, "but I will take care of this immediately." She spoke some quiet words, and the shelf over the fireplace opened. The sugar bowl flew towards them, landing gracefully on the table after circling it once.
"Thatís cool!" Nirupa exclaimed." Mom never lets me move things that way."
"And she is right," Mrs. Marianne said. "We live in bad times. People do harm to those they donít understand. There is nothing worse than a closed mind and the blind trust that you are the only person to be right.
Nirupa listened to Melissaís grandmother, not understanding all she was saying.
Melissaís grandmother smiled.
"You are a sweet girl, but, like Melissa, you need to learn your responsibility in all this. You must listen to your elders.
I knew your grandmother, Nirupa. I know the kind of family you come from. I am happy you share her beliefs and not those of the other party.
"That would be my father," Nirupa spoke almost without thinking. "I donít want to be like him."
"You are right," Melissaís grandmother said." We are the ones to choose whom we want to be. We alone choose. Donít forget this!"
"I wonít forget," Nirupa said.
"And now," Grandmotherís voice sounded joyful. "Let us talk about the things you wanted to buy at Liletteís. How did you think you could find such things at Liletteís shop?
"I donít know," Nirupa said "I had no one to ask."
"Hmm! "The grandmother smiled, "I suspect you are up to something behind your motherís back."
Nirupaís face felt as hot as a red Chinese lantern, the kind that hung at the entrance to a Chinese restaurant. ,
"I wonít ask why you need them, but I will tell you what they are and where you can find them. In fact, you could have found them even at Liletteís shop, had you asked for them using their other names. These things are nothing more than common herbs. But, in the language of witches, they acquire strange names depending on the shape of their outward appearance. The dragonís blood is merely dried resin. It is called this because it looks like clotted blood. It is not real dragonís blood, but many people think it is."
"So, Grandma," Melissa asked in bewilderment, "Is there nothing magic here?"
"It is not the plants but the mind that makes the magic," the Grandmother said. "These are popular names given to plants a long time ago. Thus, lizardís tail is a kind of herb I grow in my garden. The mareís legs are just fresh clovers. The devilís milk is warty glass; the catís intestines are a kind of pods. Did you think, Nirupa, to make magic, we have to stab a poor cat? Then," she continued, "The blood fingers are cupflowers. I can give you as well. The eyes of ox are dried marigold flowers. You will find it difficult to find the dragonís clutches because they do not grow during this season, but I think I have some left in a bowl in my kitchen."
Once she had found the herbs she needed, Nirupa thanked Melissaís grandmother and said that she should go back home before it was too late. The grandmother had called Nirupaís house several times, but nobody had replied. Nirupa wanted to get home before her mother arrived.
She left Melissa and her grandmother, running home to Roses Alley, number 14.
A, drowsy silence filled the house. The heavy hall curtains till hung down the way Dara had left them early this morning. Nirupa went up to her room. The first thing she did after slinging her schoolbag on the floor was to take the book of shadows out of the drawer of linens, where she had hidden it.
She opened the book and read the spell once more.
"Mix the ingredients together and put them in the cauldron filled with warm water. Then let the mixture boil for nine minutes. While the potion is boiling, visualize in your mind the final desired effect of the magic . Picture the person with the ears of the rabbit and the trunk of the pig. Try to concentrate all our attention on that person so that what is happening seems as true as possible. Later on, say your wish in a loud voice. Close with these words: ĎMay you have the ears of the rabbit and the trunk of the pig until the moon sleeps and wakes up again! May my wish come true once you have drunk the potion! So mote it be!íĒ
"Okay," Nirupa said, "this is simple. I donít have a cauldron, so Iíll mix the ingredients in the wok Mom uses to fry vegetables. Miss Bell, come out and help me." Nirupa realized Miss Bell had been keeping quiet for a long time.
"You sneak," Ni shouted, "You abandoned me in such a moment? Okay then, I will do this without your help."
Nirupa took all the things to the kitchen and put them on the stove to boil. While the water warmed she closed her eyes and pictured Jane growing rabbit ears and the trunk of pig. But after a short while it became clear this was not as easy as sheíd thought it would be. Thousands of thoughts rushed into her head. As she thought of Jane with rabbitís ears, the pigís trunk sheíd been picturing would disappear and a big silver earring would take its place on Janeís nose. Or the ears she was wearing were not ears of a rabbit, but strange red pointed ears like those of midgets she had seen in a film a few days ago. Nirupa struggled with these thoughts, and finally, with less than ten seconds to go, she succeeded in imagining Jane with ears, almost like those of the rabbit, and a trunk, which she hoped belonged to the pig. This was the best she could do, and before she could lose the image, she yelled aloud:
"May you have the ears of the rabbit and the trunk of the pig until the moon sleeps and wakes up again! May my wish come true once you drink the potion! So mote it be!"
Nirupa relaxed and opened her eyes. The water was boiling with big, white bubbles. She was done. According to the book, the spell would work twenty hours after Jane drank the potion. "Why didnít I think of that before? Her ears will start to grow large at home, not at school. We wonít be able to make fun of her at school as I planned all along." A sudden glimmer stopped in front of Nirupaís nose.
"Miss Bell," she shouted. "Where have you been?"
Miss Bell did not seem that worried about Nirupaís anger. She danced around her joyfully, then, murmured in her ear.
"You knew this? Oh, Miss Bell, forgive me. I didnít know youíd gone to explore where Janeís home is so you could take the potion there."
Miss Bell shone with joy as she explained she herself would throw the potion in Janeís afternoon tea. The effect of the magic would start in the middle of their lesson tomorrow morning. Nirupa realized only Miss Bell could do this. She was the only one able to fly to the second floor of the villa of the City Mayor without being caught by his guards. Only she could become invisible to all. Nirupa threw the potion in a small empty apple cider bottle. She corked it and Miss Bell took it under her arm.
"What I could do without you, Miss Bell?" Nirupa spoke respectfully and lovingly. "Forgive me for speaking before thinking."
Of course, Miss Bell forgave her. During Bell's absence Nirupa switched on the television to kill time.
Nirupa jumped up startled by a rumbling noise accompanied by a scream. She had fallen asleep on the coach but now she woke up terrified. It was her Mom who had returned home and on trying to get upstairs to her bedroom had stumbled on the last step of the stairs.
"Donít worry, donít worry," "Dara said. I am not hurt. Itís just these hellish stairs. Theyíre so steep."
"Mom, whatís got into your head to wear my puppy slippers? Theyíre too small for you. You're funny.
"Did you score high on the test?" Dara asked.
"Yes, I did," Nirupa replied. With all that was going on now, sheíd forgotten all about that test until her mother mentioned it. But now she had something else she wanted to talk to Mom about. "I met Melissaís grandmother today? She told me she used to be friends with my grandmother.
"Really?" Dara asked. "Whatís her name?"
"Marianne," Nirupa answered,
"Marianne...," "Dara said. I do remember her. She and my Mom used to be close friends, She saved your grandmother once, when they were accusing her of witchery. Itís a long story." Dara looked startled then. "Then she of course is... No, itís impossible." "Yes, yes," Nirupa grabbed the word from her motherís mouth. "She is a magician, too. They invited me to their house.
"Then we must invite them to our house," Dara concluded. "Itís a small world, "she added. ďFor the last ten years I was foolishly thinking than I could protect you by keeping you hidden and keeping secrets. But now I realize that we have to face things, not hide from them. What kind of girl is this Melissa?
"Sheís a very nice girl. Weíve become very close friends," Nirupa replied.
"At last, youíve found a good friend," Dara said. "I had a rough day today." She suddenly changed the subject. The head of our department called me to his office allegedly to ask me about the diploma theses of the students, and threw a long hint concerning the family of the Mayor."
"Really," Nirupa said. But whatís you got to do with them Mom?
"Yes, you are right. That was exactly my reaction." Dara replied. "But it seems that Jane's family is spreading horrible gossip about our family up and down the city.
"You mean he threatened you? ďNirupa asked stupefied.
"Well he said that any trouble in the families of higher-ups wouldnít pass without consequences, and that my daughter and I should be very cautious, as, in the final analysis, I am not irreplaceable at the University, although I really am a great scientist.
"He said he might fire you?" Nirupa couldn't believe her ears.
"He could," Dara said. "But, honey, donít worry about this," "Your Mom has always found a way out every situation. My only concern is you as I wouldnít let anyone touch even the tip of your hair strand. Thatís why, I tell you to be very cautious and not display openly your inherent skills. We are living in troubled times, my little one.
Mom was warning her, the same way Melissaís grandmother had.
"I do what you tell me, Mom. Or at least I try." Just at that moment, Nirupa spotted a tiny light giving her signals. Miss Bell!
"Iím going up to do my homework," she said hastily, and started up the stairs while her mom watched, puzzled.
"What happened? Did it go well?" Nirupa asked as soon as she was safely in her room. Miss Bell was giddy with her success. She told Nirupa how she had poured the potion in Janeís glass filled with orange juice, and Jane had drunk the whole of it. Nirupa was so excited by this news; she could hardly wait until the next day.
The next morning, Nirupa was the first to step inside the classroom. She sat at her desk waiting for Melissa. Melissa set next to her and Nirupa told her about the potion and Miss Bell. The other students watched, suspicious of their friendship. But Melissa didnít care.
The classroom filled and the lesson started. Jane hadnít arrived yet, which was strange because she was never late for school.
"I am afraid she wonít come," Ni whispered at Melissaís ear, "and all our efforts will be wasted."
"Donít worry, of course sheíll come," Melissa said. Just then, the class door opened and Jane came in accompanied by the Headmistress. Jane sat at her desk, looking exhausted, while the headmistress talked to the teacher.
"The potion is starting to work," Melissa whispered. "But what if she doesnít get the rabbitís ears and the pigís trunk? What if something else happens to her? Sometimes the spells come out quite differently from what you expect."
Really?!" Nirupa asked, surprised. "What do you mean?"
"Once my Granny cast a spell to grow red roses in a bowl but in the morning we found some kind of creeping plant covering the kitchen walls," Melissa said. "The flowers on the plant were red and poured out poison when you got close. We had a terrible time getting rid of them and cleaning the kitchen." While Nirupa worried about this, the teacher addressed to Jane.
"Jane," if you still have a stomach ache, tell me, honey, so that you can go back home."
Jane nodded, too weak to speak.
"Why did you come to school as you are so sick?" Melissa asked edging herself out of her desk.
Jane made a face and managed to speak.
"Just to see you friend fail." Jane glared at Nirupa maliciously.
"How do you know she failed," Melissa asked surprised.
Jane smirked. "Why should I tell you? You will see soon enough. The teacher was watching so all three girls stopped talking. Finally the teacher turned to the blackboard and began to explain possessive pronouns.
"I want to strangle her," Ni said boiling with anger. "I cannot stand her anymore."
"Just be patient a little more," Melissa whispered. "We had a plan, right? Donít spoil it now. What will happen to Jane is much uglier than the words she said to you."
Nirupa lowered her voice and kept whispering to Melissa. "What if sheís right? Iím nervous, Melissa. I didnít study for that test because I was reading the book of shadows and the spells. What will I do if I have to tell Mom Iíve failed the test? The teacher turned again and looked at them. Nirupa kept the rest of her worries to herself.
Now it was time for Math. The teacher came in, carrying the corrected test papers. Nirupa felt sick. Unless the potion began to work quickly on Jane, she, Nirupa would be the one to turn into the laughing stock of the class.
"Take your seats," the teacher said. He was a short bald man wearing a sweet expression on his face. There was nothing frightening about him. But the subject he taught made the students a little afraid of him. That was hard for him, for he really loved these children.
"Most of you did well in the test," he said. This test was not difficult and we had done a lot of work during our classes. What surprises me," he continued, "is that some good pupils had a rather poor performance this time."
Nirupa saw Janeís mean smirk, but she forced herself to stay calm.
What was wrong with you, Nirupa? Why did you do so poorly."
Nirupa felt her face get hot. She lowered her head.
"You hadnít studied, had you?" the teacher asked. "Itís obvious. Nirupa could hear some students snickering. Jane seemed to have forgotten her stomach ache. She looked positively joyful.
"But," the teacher continued, "as this is the first time that you have done so poorly on the exam, I have decided to forgive you. You will take the exam again. I wonít record your failing mark, but you must give me your word you will never do this again." Nirupa nodded. She was so happy she had escaped from the trap this time. She swore to herself that sheíd never skip studying again.
"Sir, thatís not fair!" Jane called out. Why do you pamper her like that?"
Nirupa turned to stare at Jane, along with the rest of the class.
"Miss Howard, will you sit down!" The teacher ordered. "I am shocked by your lack of respect, young lady. This has nothing to do with you. You did well on the test, did you not?" He pulled a handkerchief of a horrible violet color from his pocket, and wiped his forehead.
"No one tells me how to conduct my teaching, You are here to learn. You arenít here to advise your teachers."
Jane said nothing more, but Nirupa saw Janeís hands trembled and she was clamping her teeth not to speak.
At that moment, the pendulum clock at the front entrance struck ten. Nirupa and Melissa exchanged quick glances and turned their heads to look at Jane. Her face had the expression of a small, hungry Tyrannosaur, but that was quite natural. The magic potion had failed. Disappointed, Nirupa turned to look at the teacher. He had begun a math exercise on the blackboard. Melissa squeezed her hand underneath the desk trying to console her, but that was no help. Nirupa had failed miserably, just as Jane had said she would. It was just a different kind of failure.
A scream came from the third row. Nirupa jerked her head to look, along with the rest of the class. The scream had come from Claire, who looked terrified.
"Whatís wrong with you, young lady? Why did you scream?" The teacher sounded angry.
Claire pointed silently towards Jane.
"Whatís the matter? Whatís wrong with you all?" Jane asked. She sounded nervous. Everyone was looking at her.
"Jane, your nose." Fiona spoke with a trembling voice.
"Whatís wrong with my nose?" Jane asked rather nervously.
"Even your ears..." Fiona added.
"It worked!" Nirupa whispered." She squeezed Melissaís hand. "The potion worked after all." Nirupa couldnít stop staring at Jane now. She had two rather large rabbit-like ears hanging over her shoulders. Instead of her nice turned up nose, she had a real pigís trunk. Jane looked horrified. She snatched her pocket mirror from her schoolbag and looked at herself. Nirupa had all she could do not to laugh out loud as Jane got that first awful look at herself in the mirror. Before Jane could even scream, she turned a pale pasty color, and slid down under her desk. "Sheís fainted!" Melissa whispered. Nirupa knew she shouldnít feel so happy about this, but she did. All she could think of was all the mean things Jane had said and done to her this past week. The teacher hurried over to Jane and carried her outside the classroom. As soon as he left the classroom the kids became loud. They kids were asking questions, laughing and commenting on what had just happened. Nirupa and Melissa hugged each other.
"Ni, you are a great magician," Melissa whispered. Nirupa smiled, rejoicing in her friendís approval, and in the success of her first try at magic.
Jane didnít return to the classroom. The Headmistress came to inform them everything was right and they would continue with their lessons. The Headmistress even said what had happened to Jane was merely a clever game, so well done that even the teacher had been fooled.
No one believed this. Everyone had seen the rabbitís ears and the pigís nose appearing so suddenly on Janeís face. The Headmistressí efforts to say it was a game or a trick only made everyone more curious. What had happened to Jane would be talked about for a long time. From now on, the class would look at Jane as somehow abnormal, no matter what she did to change their opinion.
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