Tanya Grotter And The Magic Double Bass - Емец Дмитрий Александрович - Страница 1


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Dmitrii Emets

Tanya Grotter And The Magic Double Bass

Prologue

The black sorceress Plague-del-Cake, whose name they dread even to utter aloud, climbing to power, destroys the brilliant magicians one by one. Among her victims is the remarkable white magician Leopold Grotter. His daughter Tanya, by some unknown means, manages to avoid death, but on the tip of her nose, a mysterious birthmark remains for life… Plague-del-Cake mysteriously disappears, and Tanya Grotter turns out to be abandoned to the family of businessman Durnev, her distant relative… She lives with this extremely unpleasant family until the age of ten, and then finds herself in the unique world of the Tibidox School of Magic…

Chapter 1

A Baby in a Case

On a bright autumnal morning when everything in the world appeared harshly vivid and disgracefully happy and the foliage on the trees shone as if it was doused with golden tinsel, a stooping tall person in a grey coat came out of the entrance of a multi-storey building on Rublev Road.

His name was Herman Durnev, the director of the firm Second-Hand Socks and the father of a year-old daughter Pipa (short for Penelope).

Stopping under the eaves of the entrance, Durnev looked around disapprovingly. The sun, whose roundish face was as flat as a pancake, indulged itself on the neighbouring roof as if being lazy and considering whether it would be worthwhile for it to rise further or to come down as is. On a pile of leaves not far from the entrance a woman in an orange overall was half lying and looking into an open hatch. Her profile was regular, Greek outlines, and the copper-red hair puffed out so that they made one involuntarily think of snakes. In the hatch someone was rumbling and messing around boisterously. The haughty sparrows were pecking something on the asphalt, briskly, like rubber balls, jumping away from passers-by.

From the windows and cellars, from squares and empty parks, from the crowns of trees and the sky with wisps of clouds hanging, from cats’ eyes and ladies’ handbags, from the exhaust pipes of automobiles, from price lists at the stores, and the still sunburnt noses of summer residents – from everywhere, rubbing carrot yellow palms, the quite young, recently born October looked out.

But all this beauty was of no concern whatever to Herman Durnev. Weather, and in general nature, only interested him enough for determining whether or not to take an umbrella with him or whether it was time to put snow tires with spikes on the car.

He looked at his watch and reached for a small box with homeopathic medicine.

“What a cad this sun is! One, two… And you can’t even spit on it… At least it generally dies out… Really, on such a day who can be in the mood for work? Five, six… Sooner or later I’ll really have an ulcer… Or already have… Seven…” he muttered, counting off little beads and placing them under his tongue.

When the little beads had dissolved, Durnev started to think better and said to himself, “Well now, now I’ll indeed live until dinner if I don’t get blood poisoning from the new corn plaster.”

Certainly, Durnev also did not suspect that he was being observed. A large disgusting-looking bird: gloomy, dishevelled, with a long scruffy neck on which there were almost no feathers, was observing him from the eaves of the entrance. The bird held in its beak a photograph cut out from a magazine and was looking at it… yes, it was the same – Herman Durnev, taken together with his wife Ninel and daughter Pipa at the International Suspenders Exhibition in the All-Russia Exhibition Centre.

Occasionally the bird lowered the photograph onto a metal sheet and started to compare meticulously the present Durnev with the photograph. At the same time, disgusting greenish lumps of mucus dripped from the beak onto the photograph.

It is possible to imagine how surprised Durnev would be if he were to casually raise his head and take a look at who was sitting on the eaves of the entrance. However, Herman Nikitich was not among those who pay attention to birds, if, it goes without saying, it was not a cooked chicken lying before him on a plate. Moreover, at the given moment the dodgy mind of the head of the firm Second-Hand Socks was occupied with the solution of a question: how to get custom clearance for two railroad cars of used handkerchiefs under the guise of goods for children.

Durnev walked down from the porch and, with obvious pleasure stepping several times on the charmingly bright yellow leaves, turned on his heel. Having done this, already completely indifferently he passed many other leaves and sat down in the new black car. The car started to purr and was off. The bird with the naked neck gravely broke away from the eaves and flew after the car, clearly not intending to lose sight of it.

* * *

The woman sitting on the lawn, whom Durnev in passing thought of as a repair person, followed the bird with a penetrating glance and muttered to herself under her breath, “I would like to know what Lifeless Griffin is doing here. The last time I met him was when they got the Titanic down into the water. Don’t remember what happened with the steamship there but for sure there was some trouble.”

She threw up her hand, on her middle finger was a sparkling ring, and she whispered quietly, “Sparkis frontis!

At the same moment, a green spark escaped from the ring and singed one of the bird’s wings. Losing feathers, Lifeless Griffin collapsed onto the asphalt like a rock, crowed something hoarsely and, taking off again, threw itself behind the nearest house.

The mysterious person blew on the glowing ring.

“I hate these living corpses. They cannot be killed a second time. Indeed better to deal simply with evil spirits,” she muttered.

Meanwhile, in the hatch, something came down with a terrible crash. Water splashed.

“A-a-choo!” it was heard from the hatch so deafeningly that the cover even jumped up.

Having forgotten about the bird, the repair person – if, of course, this was a repair person – leaned anxiously over the hatch, “Professor, you will catch cold! I beg you, at least put on a scarf!”

“Medusa, don’t be ridiculous! A scarf won’t help divers!” a voice immediately responded.

But this did not calm the woman a bit.

“I swear by the Hair of The Ancient One, it’s really too much! Only imagine, the very academician of White magic, the head of the Tibidox School of Magic, Sardanapal Chernomorov is forced to remove the simplest spells of the evil spirits! Where, please permit me to ask, are our junior magicians, where are the assistants?” she asked, pressing her lips tightly.

The rumbling in the hatch stopped. To the surface rose a small rosy chubby person dressed in an orange overall, from which water was trickling down… No, please excuse me, not an overall but a robe. It could seem like an overall only to a not very keen observer and even then only at first glance. Precisely the same orange robe was also on his companion.

“A-a-choo! Medusa! All this, right, this nonsense, is not worthwhile to trouble anyone! A-a-choo! Without practice, in two years I would become a helpless office magician. Are there any among us lazy people who can even turn into a pig without the ring? To say nothing of the highest disciplines, such as theoretical magic, levitation, protection from hexes, or the production of talismans.”

Having cited this, in his opinion, deadly reason, the academician Sardanapal stood on tiptoes and cheerfully looked around. His right moustache was green and the left yellow. But the strangest thing was that the moustaches were never in a state of rest for a second. They either coiled like two live ropes, or were interlaced, or aimed to entwine the temples of the eyeglasses and pull them off from the chubby person’s nose. True, it was not so simple to do this, since the glasses were kept on clearly not so much by the temples, having come loose a long time ago, as by a special spell.