The Vanishing Sculptor

The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul

Book: The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul Read Free Book Online
Authors: Donita K. Paul
take three rooms. One for the young lady and two for myself and three traveling companions.”
    The o’rant bowed slightly and pulled three sets of keys from a board on the wall.
    Librettowit took the offered keys. “Now, where is Bealomondore?”
    The man pointed a long finger to a hallway. “Last door on the left. You’ll make your payment for the artist’s work through the front desk.”
    “Payment?” Tipper whispered as they moved away from the desk.
    Librettowit jingled the keys in his hand. “Thought you said this man’s family is well-to-do.”
    “He dressed well,” said Tipper. “He spoke like a gentleman. He said he was Graddapotmorphit Bealomondore from Greeston in Dornum. He sounded like his family held a position of prestige.”
    Beccaroon clicked his tongue against his beak. “And he supplied all the knowledge we have of him.”
    “Papa knew of him. Mother said so.”
    “Now, how is that?” asked the bird, turning an eye to the tumanhofer.
    Librettowit paused in the hall. “For quite some time, we made attempts to return Verrin Schope to your country. Seven out of ten times, he landed in his own home. On the other three occasions, he popped up in the most unusual places. We often worried whether he would return to us. During these misplacements, he explored cities, mountains, isolated grasslands, and islands.”
    Tipper gasped. “He could have landed in the ocean.”
    Librettowit shook his head. “Highly unlikely. The mechanism, even when faulty, is strongly attracted to solid objects. He was in no danger of drowning.”
    “But you had to wait longer for him to return?”
    “Yes.” The librarian rubbed his fingers over his mustache. “The longest he was gone was nine days. By then we’d given him up entirely. Each time he visited your mother at the original entry of the gateway, he was gone from Amara for only six or seven hours.” He shrugged his shoulders. “We tested theory after theory and could only surmise that the weave of the gateway burst in places, and he could not be readmitted until that rip had repaired itself.”
    “Awk!” Beccaroon halted. “This gate fixes itself?”
    Librettowit resumed walking, and Tipper and Beccaroon followed. “It’s not made out of brick and mortar, you see. Not even wood or thread. But time! Strands of flowing time and light. I’ve said mechanism , and that has given you a poor picture in your mind. I apologize.”
    He tapped a finger against his chin. “The product of our manipulation of strands of light and time is more like a living thing than a watch that merely counts minutes and hours. The gateway flows constantly.”
    He abruptly stopped, and Bec and Tipper had to retrace their steps to where he stood.
    The tumanhofer changed from finger tapping to mustache stroking. “Ah! If you toss a rock into a stream, the water is only momentarily disturbed.” He shook his head. “Bah! Another bad example.”
    He thought, his eyes squinted, then held up his finger. “If you scratch your skin, the abrasion allows blood to escape, but shortly thereafter, the small wound closes and eventually heals.” A grin parted the mustache and beard.
    To Tipper his smile looked more like a grimace. “The gateway is like that.”
    Beccaroon stared for a moment, then began walking once more. “That doesn’t make a bit of sense. If this theory of putting three bits of stone back together is based on the same type of logic, Verrin Schope is doomed.”
    Tipper scampered to catch up. “Oh, Bec, please don’t say such a thing.”
    His pace slowed. “Now, Tipper, don’t fret. If this wizard and librarian were the ones we rely on, I’d be worried. But throw your father into the mix, and I have more confidence that all will turn out as it should.”
    “Wulder,” said the tumanhofer, again walking by their sides. “Wulder is for us, as well.”
    Beccaroon didn’t answer. Neither did Tipper. Trusting for aid someone who was like the fable of Boscamon

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