The City of Magic - Chapter 12

Clever and the Fair

 took her in my arms and embraced her. “Who is Providence?” I asked Guardian.

“He orchestrates everything that is good. He’ll bring you to the One.”

“Why don’t you take us out of here? I know you can!”

“No, I can’t. I can only operate in the sphere that I’m sent into and in the role and powers that I’m sent with. Each world is a sphere, or a game, with the sets that define its meaning, and I can only operate in the capacity and to the extent that the game allows.”

“But, this game is an endless sophistry….”

“It is not; for the chains of Magic and Fear shall soon be broken.”

“I want to go to my mommy!” whimpered Innocence. We both looked at her.

“Go and find them; for this is your goal next,” said Guardian.

“How shall I do that and where?” I asked.

“Go and Providence will guide you,” he replied. “But, now, I must go.”

“Wait, but what about Wisdom? Where shall I find her?”

“Out of the mouth of the little and despised, you will learn the art of wondering and find light for your eyes; then shall you meet Wisdom.” He looked at me and smiled; then, it appeared as if there was a warm fire that kindled in the pupil of his eyes. There was a little flash and Guardian disappeared.

I looked at Inno.  She had fallen asleep. I placed her softly in the seat and pulled the belt around her. Then, I turned on the headlights and looked ahead of me. Before me was a giant monument of a lady made up of gold. She was decked with costly stones and a crown of diamonds coruscated on her head. On the pedestal below the statue were engraved the words:

The Root of This World

Around her were six golden poles with lamps burning on their top. The lamp heads looked like the head of a toad. I looked around and saw that there were four other statues on the four corners of this square; for we were now in this square which, surprisingly, was lone. There was no one. I looked at the images on the four corners and wondered that they too had names engraved on them and banners flying above them like the ones in Luxuria. The images were made of silver and were of toads that stood like men. I saw that there was a sinisterly craving jolly in their eyes, while their belly looked so filled as if ready to burst. Each held an object in his hand. The first toad held a whip; the second, a sword; the third, a balance; and the fourth, a measuring rod. On each was engraved the words, respectively: Class, Conquest, Commerce, and Construction.

I took out the scroll and looked at it. A map zoomed in and I saw where we were. I still was wondering that the place was empty, when I heard the sound of footsteps towards us. I turned and saw a young man running towards us with a little case in his hands.

“Hello Sir!” the man came to my window and greeted, “Are you going to the Fair? I was so engaged in my work that I had lost track of the events, and when I had finished I realized that all had left, the last bus as well, to the Fair and I was left alone. I’m so glad to find at least you here. I’ll be grateful if you give a lift to the place!”

“Well, first of all, I do not know you; and, secondly, I wasn’t planning to go the Fair even.”

“My name is Clever, Sir, and I’m an optician by profession. Well, I’m sorry to have troubled you. But, you don’t seem to be from this province, do you?”

“No, Sir!”

“Been coming from Luxuria, I suppose.”

“Yes, and how did you deduce that?”

“Well,” he spoke with an air of carelessness, “I visited the garments store on Luxuria once and saw a number of such coats that you are wearing. They are certainly quite express made and, of course, quite noticeable as well.”

“Oh, I see.”

He raised his brow a little as if studying something, then said, “I recently obtained a pair of marvelous glasses, you see, and I wonder if you’d like to take a look at them…”

“I’m surely not for purchasing anything, Sir!”

“I’m sure they’ll fit too well on your face. I was planning to take them all to the Fair; but, since you don’t seem to be coming… and, I’m possibly not able to make to there, I wonder if it wasn’t for you that I am delayed [he winked] in order that you get the glasses.”

I laughed.

“I guarantee you’d look quite different… and almost all new,” he added with an appealing smile. I smirked. He opened the case, and pulled a little box out of it and opened it, putting it in the reflection of light. The crystal clear glasses glimmered.  “How much are they for?” I asked.

“Fifty eight,” he replied. “They’re made by the best manufacturers in the City, the Glancers.”

My first thought was to take it, thinking it would certainly aid a disguise, but then I suddenly remembered that I was without a wallet. The purse that Piety gave me came in my mind, but I couldn’t think of using it for such unthought purchases, of course. Clever seemed to be reading consternations on my face.

“I was thinking, that in case you were going on the direction to the Fair, you could drop me somewhere near it… a normal taxi fare would amount to 49 bucks; but, I’ll trade this, anyway, for the rest, of course will come to me by the profit I could make if I reach there before the two last calls. What would you say? That way you not only get these and drop me there, but save your money as well, provided you’re going that way.”

“Which way is it?”

“On the last turn towards Gula; the Fair is bound to profit greatly from our neighbors for sure. I wouldn’t want to miss it.”
“Okay, please get in.”

We glided through a few lone streets before catching the traffic on the main road. It seemed that the Fair was a significant one, for there were a number of citizens from Ira speeding towards it. I didn’t seem to see any merchants or traders, and the shops were also closed. Evidently, as Clever had said, they had all already made their way to the Fair to set their stalls in line. We reached the last turn on the way of Gula and took it. A number of policemen were already arrayed in sets to guard the place. I saw that they wore the symbol of toad on their badges. Each also swung a little torch on his hip. There were lady police officers as well.

“Stop please!” Clever said. “Pull your hood well over your head and wear these!” he said handing over the glasses to me. I looked surprised. He gestured and said, “Quick!” and pushed the hood half down my forehead. I donned the glasses, and was surprised to realize that the sight grew brighter on wearing them. At that moment, I saw a policeman walk up to us.

“Has the Fair already begun, officer?” Clever inquired. “I hope we won’t miss our stalls.”

“Oh, it’s you the optician,” the officer sighed, “we’re really on the watch out… the City is alerted about a certain man, a confederate of the Enemy, who is prowling around this City and must be brought to trial. He is said to have escaped with a little child.” He looked to me and raised a questioning brow.

“Is it so?” Clever remarked. “I hope this situation doesn’t spoil the mood of festivity here. We had only expected excitement, fun, and, of course, good sales on this occasion.”

“Oh no, you don’t need to worry about that. Only the police are alerted. The citizens know nothing of it.”

“That looks better. If you excuse us, we need to get to our stall as sooner as possible.”

“Go ahead Sir. The glasses that you gave to my wife have helped her see things better now. Okay, all the best for the sales!” he bid us goodbye.

“Why did you ask me to pull the hood and wear the glasses?” I asked Clever.

“Any idiot could tell from your shorn head that you had escaped prison at Luxuria. And, the fact that the hairs haven’t shot up prove that you’ve escaped being caught and imprisoned by Ira; which is quite an incredible thing to have happened. You can know one thing for sure, Ira won’t sit calm until you are brought to her Court of Vengeance.”

I was struck.

“Let’s get in,” he said. “This will be the safest place for you, in the moment!”

I wondered if I could trust this stranger. But, there was no doubt that he had just saved me from a danger.

He found a stall a little away from the entrance, and began arranging his stuff as passersby turned onlookers to what he was doing.

“Enjoy the Fair, young man,” he said to me, “There’s nothing like the Fair of Avaritia in the whole of Magic City.”

I smiled and we walked away.