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Rolfin's Orb
Book 9 - Sapphire
Chapter 4

          “There's quite a gathering here today at Angus's cottage. Well, if it isn't Mummy dearest and Auntie Nellie. You've come to join the group, have you?” Drayton moved to the other side of the window. “My book. How convenient. You have all three of them together.”

          “What's this? Fiona and her two pals have just disappeared. They're off to the next place. Maybe I should join them. With a dozen men in the room, there's no way I'm getting near those books, no matter what magic I use. Daleth Shapish Yam.”

          When Drayton opened his eyes again, he found himself standing in a pile of rocks. “Where am I this time?” He saw the afternoon sun lowering and felt a chill in his bones. “I'll have to find a hotel and figure it out later. I'm sure Miss Fiona won't be doing much tonight either.”

          He headed for the village. “What sort of one horse town is this anyway?” After looking in the shop windows he had an idea of his location. “I'm either in Mexico or Spain. Could it be worse? If it's Spain, it's not a city and if it's Mexico, I'm probably in the middle of some no-man's land.” Up and down the street he walked. “Where's a hotel? Is there no hotel in this town?” A man hurried past, holding a bundle in his hand. “Hey you! Amigo! Where's the hotel?” Drayton grabbed the man's arm.

          “Por favor?” The confused man mumbled.

          “Are you deaf? A hotel? Where's a hotel?” Drayton tightened his grip.

          “Hotel? Ah.” The man pointed down the street. Drayton released his grip and the old man hurried the opposite direction, not stopping to look back.

          “Saffron Inn? What sort of stupid name is that? Oh well, it looks like the only thing around.” He opened the door and stepped inside. “What a dump!”

          After arguing with the owner, who insisted the inn was full, Drayton was finally  shown to a room. “Money will buy you anything.” He laughed and slipped a wad of money into the owner's hand. “I suppose I could have grown to the size of a mountain and squished this dump.” He opened his door. “At least there's a bed and I'm far away from Phelan and his pals.”

          When the sun fell below the horizon, Drayton went out in search of a local pub. Downing one whiskey after another, he spent most of the night slouched on a bar stool.

                                                #  #  #

“It's morning, Fiona.” Callum stood at the window. “The sun's out and the sky is blue. I actually feel hungry.”

Fiona opened her eyes. “Oh Callum, it's too early for this. Go back to bed.”

“No. Come on. You said we had a busy day. Let's eat breakfast and get ready for the festival. You're being lazy.” Callum pulled the curtains apart.

“Callum! Shut those. You're blinding me with the light.” An angry Elspet sat on the edge of the bed, putting her shoes on.

When he opened the door, Callum was greeted with the sweet aroma of baked apples. “It smells good out here.” He dashed down the steps.

“Wait for us,” Fiona shouted.

“Ah, there you are. You ready for breakfast? Si? Come and sit down. I will fix you something special.” Dulcinea ushered them to the same table.

“Don't bring us too much, Dulcinea. We want to eat at the festival,” Elspet said.

“Si. I not bring too much food.” She filled up their cups with water and rushed into the kitchen.

Five minutes later she brought them a platter of burritos filled with egg, chiles, onions, tomatoes and assorted spices. She left them to eat and rushed off to take care of her other customers.

They devoured the food and with a wave to Dulcinea, left the inn and headed to town for the Saffron Festival.

 “Here, each of you should have some money in case we get separated.” Fiona handed them each some money. Try to remember where the inn is in case we get separated. By the way, if you see any sweets that you think Uncle Angus might enjoy, buy them.”

The street grew busier the closer they came to the center of town. “Looks like everyone is here. It's crowded.” Elspet held the bottom of Fiona's blouse.

“A lot of tourists come here and photographers too. It's a big festival, or so Dulcinea said.” Callum pointed to a wire above them. “Look up there. Tons of pinatas. I remember going to Harry's birthday party and his mum had a piñata. This is going to be a great day.” Elspet took a photo of them.

They went from one shop to another, amazed by the colorful blankets, shawls and posters they saw.

“I am going to buy this.” Elspet picked up a kaleidoscope and turned it. “This is cool. There are more colors in here than out there. This is beautiful.”

“Can I see?” Callum tried to grab it from her.

“Hang on. Let me finish first.” Elspet took a few minutes and then handed it to Callum. “You know what I wish, Fiona?”

“What's that, Elspet?”

“I wish I had brought my drawing pad. I keep forgetting to bring it and then I have to try to remember things when I get home. Look at all of this. I'd love to draw these buildings all decorated. Did you bring your pack? I’m almost out of film.”

“Of course. I also have a camera in it. You can take photos and then draw them at home.” Fiona reached into the backpack and found the camera. “Here you go.”

Elspet paid the shopkeeper for the kaleidoscope and then ran off to take photos. 

“Don't wander too far, Elspet.” Fiona said. “Callum, let's go and watch that puppet show. I doubt if its Punch and Judy, but I'm sure we'll enjoy it.”

“All right,” Callum said with enthusiasm.

The two of them sat in front of the puppet theater, laughing and enjoying the colorfully decorated marionettes. “Gomez and Angelina. What silly names for puppets,” Fiona whispered to Callum. “They’re funny though.” Callum nodded in agreement. “Look how Angelina bosses Gomez around. If he doesn’t do what she says, she hits him on the head with a bat.”

“It’s only made of cloth, but I still don’t think it’s funny. I’ll never marry a woman who bosses me around.”

Fiona shook her head and laughed.

Elspet took photos of flower carts with striped canopies, senoritas dressed in their native costumes, bright and vivid. A group of flamenco dancers performed, their lemon yellow dresses swaying to the guitar music and their feet tapping in rhythm. While she was watching the dancers, she saw a familiar face in the crowd. “Drayton. Oh no!” She rushed back the way she'd come, searching for Fiona. “Fiona! Callum! Where are you?”

Fiona saw Elspet running and waved. “Over here, Elspet!”

Elspet rushed over to them. “Drayton is here. I saw him up the street. He didn't see me; I don't think. He's here to hurt us, isn't he?”

“Drayton's here, in Consuegra? He followed us. I know he won't hurt us, Elspet, so don't worry. He wants us to find all the stones. He's only here to frighten us and make us think he'll hurt us. A big bully, that's what he is. According to his mum, he's not as tough as he puts on.” Fiona pulled Elspet down. “Sit here and watch the puppets. I'll keep my eye open for him, and don't worry.”

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