Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George : Page 1
description : Wednesdays in the Tower : Page 1 free onlineChapter 1 There are a lot of things that can hatch out of an egg. A chicken, for example. Or a dragon. And when the egg in question is the size of a pumpkin, and almost as orange, not to mention burning hot, you know that you’re far more likely to get a dragon than a chicken. So when Celie found the egg—large, orange, and too hot to touch—lying in a nest of oddly vine-like moss in the new tower, she was convinced that it held a baby dragon. Where it had come from and what would happen when it hatched were two questions that she wasn’t sure she wanted answered. It was a Wednesday, so Celie didn’t expect to find any new rooms in Castle Glower. The youngest of the Glower children, Princess Cecelia—Celie, to nearly everyone— knew the Castle better than any person living there, and thought she knew what to expect from it. The day before had been exciting enough, with the room with the bouncy floor being moved to the opposite end of the Castle, and a long room filled with exotic armor appearing just off the portrait gallery. One no longer had to climb through a fireplace to get to the bouncy room, though the door was inconveniently located in her father, King Glower’s, study. And the Armor Gallery, as it had already been dubbed, was in the perfect place for such a thing, though the maids were nearly in revolt at the idea of having to clean and polish so many strangely shaped items. As she left breakfast and went up the spiraling stairs to the schoolroom for her lessons, Celie wasn’t thinking of finding anything more interesting that day. She was mostly hoping that she would be able to get a look at some of the new armor after her lessons. Her eldest brother, Bran, newly home from the College of Wizardry and now instated as the Royal Wizard, had assured the maids that they would not have to clean the Armor Gallery, because he didn’t want anyone to touch the contents. At least some of the weapons had proved to have magic powers, and he wanted to figure out what everything did and how dangerous it was first. But Celie was sure he’d at least let her look at some of it, if she could get out of her lessons before dinner. The schoolroom wasn’t at the top of the spiral staircase. Celie looked around. She was in a long corridor that she had never seen before. She flipped open the leather satchel slung over her shoulder and pulled out her atlas, a detailed set of maps that she had been working on for years. At last she was nearly done with it, and had already talked to some of the Castle scribes about making copies for her family, but she wanted to get the latest changes in first. It helped that the Castle had not taken away any rooms in at least a month, though it had added a few rather interesting ones (including a second, smaller kitchen and the Armor Gallery), and moved several others. Celie’s room seemed to be permanently fixed on the eastern side of the main hall, but Bran’s room was now right next to it, and Lilah’s was just beyond that, which made Lilah pout: she had previously been on an upper level with fantastic views from both windows. Celie flipped through her collection of maps, but couldn’t find anything that resembled this corridor. There were no doors along it, and the schoolroom was just gone, as was the old nursery. No one had used the nursery in years, of course, but they had stored their old toys and outgrown clothes in it. Celie found that map and crossed out the nursery, then put a question mark beside the schoolroom before hurrying along the corridor. She needed to find the schoolroom, both to correct her maps and to get to her lessons before Master Humphries had a fit. At the end of the corridor was a wide flight of shallow steps. Celie could feel chill air moving down the stairs, as if a window at the top had been left open. Like many of the stairs in the Castle, these were oddly proportioned. Celie almost needed to take two steps on each riser, but they were only a few inches high, and it was awkward. Fortunately there were only eight of them, and then she was stepping through a stone arch into a circular room with no roof. The pale late-winter sun was shining down into the open room, and Celie stumbled as she walked forward, staring up at the thin wisps of clouds. The floor of the room sloped toward the middle like a bowl. In the middle of the bowl was a nest of moss and twigs, and in the middle of the nest was a gleaming orange egg. It was the same orange as a ripe pumpkin, and just as big as one. Celie gaped at it. “Is that really an egg?” Icy wind whipped through the uncovered windows and carried her words away. She took some careful steps forward and leaned over. She reached out a hand, wanting to knock on the shell. She imagined it would be cold and very hard, petrified from years of sitting in an open room. But it wasn’t cold. It was hot, almost too hot to touch comfortably.