Fiona knocked on the door. Jason opened it. “Hi,
Buntabi,” Fiona said.
“My name is Jason. Come in,” he said, laughing.
“What brings you three here?”
They stepped inside. “Hello, Uncle Angus.” Fiona
saw him standing over the pot in the fireplace.
“Mum told us to come over and go to the next
place. She said to hurry.” Fiona turned to Jason. “You look different than
all the others. Where are you from?”
“I’m from Africa. My grandfather and grandmother
came to Burill from central Africa,” Jason said.
“That’s cool. They liked it so much in Burill
that they decided to stay?” Fiona twisted her golden hair around her
“My grandmother was a good cook. King Kegan
hired her to be his personal cook. She was the only one in the castle who he
trusted with his meals. My grandfather was good with horses. He worked in
the stables, as did his son, my father. King Kegan and the queen loved our
family. When I became of age, he took me into his confidence and I was one
of his twelve trusted. I feel honored,” Jason said, pride beaming from his
“That’s really cool, Jason. I like the way your
hair is in tight black curls. Can I touch it?” Fiona reached up and stroked
it. “It’s wiry, but it looks good on you.”
“I like your darker skin, Jason,” Elspet said.
“Do any of the other 12 trusted have dark skin like yours?”
“No. I am the only one.”
“How is Johnny going to explain that you are his
brother? You don’t look anything like the rest of them,” Callum said.
“Now that is an interesting question. I can’t
wait to hear how he does it.” Jason laughed out loud.
Changing the subject, Fiona said, “We nearly got
killed by those sand spiders, Jason. I thought the enchanted wall was
“Why did you pick spiders?” Callum asked. “We
had spiders in Tasmania too.”
“I have no idea what traps the others chose. I
have to pick things that are available in the area where I was assigned,”
Jason said. “Obviously Julian thought the spiders would make a good trap.
Were they sand spiders?”
“No! They were ugly black spiders with big shiny
bottoms and there was a red shape on each one. I’m getting real tired of
spiders,” Elspet said.
“I didn’t like the sandstorm. I’ve still go sand
in my ears,” Callum said.
“I loved the magic carpet and the djinn, Hakim,”
“You met the djinn, Hakim, and took a ride of
his magic carpet?” Jason clapped his hands. “That’s great!”
“Hakim helped us. He left the magic carpet for
us to use. It saved us from the sand spiders. Here, look at my locket,”
Fiona said. She opened it. Hakim’s face was inside, beaming with joy. He
winked at Jason.
“Hello Hakim, long time no see.” Hakim laughed
and then Fiona closed the locket. “ I’m glad he was there to help you,”
“If Callum hadn’t found the magic lamp we’d have
never found Hakim. You’ve never been properly introduced to Callum and
Fiona, have you,” Fiona said. “This is Callum and this is Elspet. This is
Jason. His real name is Buntabi. He knows how to read Xilian.”
Jason coughed, clearing his throat. “I suppose
you two are involved in this hunt for the jewels.”
“We are all partners. Callum and I have to go
with Fiona every time. We’re a big part of it now. It’s scary sometimes
though,” Elspet said.
“She started to cry when the sand spiders came
after us,” Callum teased.
“You almost did too. They were big and ugly,”
“Don’t you two start fighting again. Enough
already. Let’s get going. Uncle Angus, we need more money,” Fiona said.
“You’re going to make me go broke with all this
traveling. Very well,” he said, pulling a wad out of his pocket.
“You’ve always got a lot of money in your
pocket. You must go to the bank a lot,” Callum said.
“Bank? I don’t keep my money in the bank.” He
went back to his stew.
“I’ve got my backpack that I bought in Jordan.
I’ve still got the bottle water and some snacks. We’re all set. I wonder
where we’ll end up this time,” Fiona said.
“Where do we still have to go to?” Elspet had
“Uncle Angus. Where do we still have to go?”
Fiona hoped he remembered.
He thought for a few moments. “You still have to
go Nepal, Malawi, Mongolia, Spain, Mexico and Argentina.”
“Cool!” Callum and Elspet took her hand.
Jason watched them. “Hope to see you soon.” He
“We’ll be back in a few minutes.” Elspet winked.
“Wait! Don’t forget about your powers. You can
now speak different languages,” Angus shouted before they disappeared.
Fiona said, “Daleth shapish yam.”
Jason saw colored lights flash around him and in
a poof they disappeared. “Good luck to you all,” he whispered.
“They’ll be fine, Jason. Don’t you worry. Don’t
you worry,” Angus said.
Jack and Jeffrey came in shortly afterwards.
“We’re back with food.” They dumped it out on the table.
“What is all this?” Angus picked up the jar of
pickles. He rifled through the items. “I can’t use any of this in my stew,
except maybe this.” He showed them the jar of jalapenos. Twisting the lid
off, he dumped the whole jar in the stew. “That should add some spice to it,
give it a real kick.” He rummaged through the other things. “Help yourself
to all this. It’s of no use to me.”
The others sat around the table, stuffing
themselves with baklava. Jeffrey opened the jar of peanut butter and scooped
some out with his finger. He licked it off. “What are you doing there,
Jeffrey?” Angus asked, watching him lick his finger.
“I can’th speath. Whath in thith thuff?” The
others laughed as Jeffrey tried to talk.
Jack ripped open the bag of salt and vinegar
potato crisps. He popped one in his mouth and instantly puckered his face.
“What is this stuff? It’s so salty and sour.”
“Those are potato crisps. They come in all sorts
of flavors. You picked the best, my favorite, salt and vinegar,” Angus said,
eating a handful.
Jack dipped one in the peanut butter. “Thith
tasthes pretthy gooth.”
Jason, not wanting to have his lips fused
together with the creamy peanut butter, took hold of the pop on top of the
soda can and opened it. He poured the pop into his mouth. “It’s fizzy and
tingly. How in the world did they learn to do that?”
Angus shook his head. “This is only the
beginning of amazing things you’ll see. Wait until you watch a DVD or talk
on a cell phone.”
Jason shook his head in disbelief and finished