So that was probably one of the hardest sets of five words I've ever gotten. Next time I'm gonna tell you to be really mean and maybe I'll get nice words? I'm guessing not...
But I managed to use all five. Whew. I'd forgotten how fun it is to write Kitty. Perhaps I'll muster up the courage to do this again soon.
If you want to catch up:
1.0 When To Forego Suspicions
1.1 A New Task
1.2 Into The Peacock's Den
1.3 Pack Your Bags
1.5 Jungle Trouble
Before I can even ask what a jacamar is, Geoff grabs my hand and we disappear. When I land on solid ground, I smack him. “You have to give some kind of warning!”
“Weren’t you the one in a hurry to get Madame’s powers back?” Geoff bends over, rolling up his pant legs. “Miserable rainforest.”
“Where are we anyway?” I look around, realizing I can’t even see the top of the lush green canopy. It makes me feel small, vulnerable. Even the bushes are taller than me.
Geoff starts walking. “Somewhere in South America, close to Noba’s place.”
“If you want good jacamars, you must speak with Noba. He’s the only one who can sneak past the barriers around the nests.”
I sigh. “You realize you’re not making any sense at all, right?”
Geoff glances back at me. “You have much to learn, Kitty. Some jacamar birds have very high magical qualities, and thus can be a great aid in divining. Surely they wouldn’t be easy to acquire.”
My heart starts to pound. So this is when the quest begins. “What do we have to do?”
He levitates over a huge puddle. “We have to steal them. From a hoarder of a Witch Doctor named Steve.”
I stop before the puddle, laughing. “Steve? Does he shrink heads or something, too?”
Geoff waves his hand, and a leafy bridge covers the water. “Among other things.”
Oh, so he was serious.
“Lovely.” I walk over the bridge, wondering if a shrunken head is really worth Madame’s powers.
After we round another bend, I spot a small hut. There’s a man outside, barely clothed, with a giant rat on his shoulder. I shudder. “What’s with the rat?”
“Don’t be rude.” Geoff waves to the man I suppose is Noba. He looks about as I’d imagine a Chihuahua, if it were human, big eyes, pointy ears, and skinny enough to always shake. “It’s technically a nutria, or coypu, depending on regional dialect. And it’s Noba’s dearest friend.”
Sorcerers and their animals.
Noba walks to us, and Geoff explains the situation. I can hardly concentrate, because the giant rat thing keeps picking its nose. I hold in a laugh, wondering if Cal would diagnose it with rhinotillexomania. He loves calling people rhinotillexomaniacs. Then my heart twists. It could be a long time before I have a chance to see him again, to find out how he feels now that he knows Geoff’s not my boyfriend anymore.
All Noba says in reply is, “I see.”
“I have the necessary storage, all I need is your skill.” Geoff pulls something small and golden from his pocket. It grows larger, until I realize it’s one of Madame’s zarfs. She finds coffee mugs far too unrefined. “What do you say?”
Noba takes the zarf. “Yes. Come.”
We follow Noba into the dense jungle. Every noise makes me jump, but I manage to keep quiet. I can’t help thinking I’ll die here, and not from Steve the Witch Doctor but from some creepy poisoned spider or some ferocious man-eating panther. Isn't this where piranhas come from, too? I liked the rainforest better in pictures.
“Here,” Noba says for the gazillionth time. I’m starting to think the man has a serious case of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia. He stops, and Geoff blocks my path with his hand.
“There’s a barrier here,” he says.
I hold my breath, searching the foliage for any sign of this barrier or its creator. I don’t see a thing.
“Which ones?” Noba asks.
“White-eared, yellow-billed, blue-cheeked, and purplish.”
Noba nods, holding out his hand. Geoff places the zarf in his palm. Then Noba holds it up to his nutria, and the animal grabs the rim with his long front teeth. It hops off his shoulder and scurries forward. Then it disappears behind the barrier.
We wait. It feels like the jungle has gone silent, either that or I can’t hear it over the pounding in my ears. What is taking so long? How many kinds of jacamars can there be?
Noba stiffens. Whispers something.
“Excuse me?” Geoff says. “I didn’t catch that.”
“Run. Hide.” Noba shrinks until he’s the exact replica of his giant rat. Then a man bursts from the barrier—it’s Noba, carrying the golden zarf. “I said run!”