School Plot (The Floods Series #2)by Colin Thompson, Crab Scrambly
Orkward Warlock hated everyone.
Sometimes, for practice, he even hated himself.
But Orkward Warlock had one hate that was deeper than all his other hates. The thing that he hated more than anything in the whole universe was the Floods.
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The Floods #2: School Plot
Most children start school when they're about five or six, even witch and wizard children. In fact six of the seven Flood children started school at about the same age as you did. If you are a particularly brilliant witch or wizard, however, you may well start school before you are born.
Winchflat Flood, who is cleverer than a whole box of knives, began school eight months before he was born, when he was just a little tadpole.
To help himself addthings up quicker he grew an extra finger on each hand and three more toes on each foot, which is why he wore such big shoes. By the time he was born, he knew more stuff than almost anyone else in the whole world.
The children's father, Nerlin Flood, though quite clever, never went to school at all. Where Nerlin grew up in Transylvania Waters—a dark and mysterious country four weeks' ride by horseback beyond the farthest boundaries of Transylvania itself; turn left at the Valley of Doom and keep going until you pass through the Arches of Darkness—none of his relations had been to school. His family were Dirt People. They lived their whole lives in the sewers beneath the city, cleaning the toilets from below and making sure everything always flowed away smoothly. The rest of the population looked down on them in every way, especially on Thursdays, when they would kneel on the sidewalk and shout rude words down the gratings into the drains just to make sure the Dirt People never got above themselves.
"Waste of good education, teaching them to read and write," said King Quatorze.1 "I mean, they don't need to read anything to use a shovel and abrush."
"Exactly, sire," agreed his chancellor. "And besides, it's too dark down there to read anything anyway."
On the other hand, Nerlin's wife, Mordonna, was a princess and had received the very best education Transylvania Waters could offer. Because she was the king's daughter, she didn't go to school with the common children. She had a special governess who lived in the palace and taught her everything she needed to know. However, because Mordonna was a princess and her governess, Claypit, was just a commoner, they were forbidden to talk to each other. This meant that, although it was always very peaceful in the schoolroom, actually learning anything was a bit difficult.
Like all clever people, Nerlin and Mordonna knew that you learn tons more useful stuff after you've left school than you do when you're there. In the years since they had eloped together and traveled the world pursued by King Quatorze's agents, Nerlin and Mordonna had gathered more knowledge and wisdom than most people ever do. Soon they were brilliant at magic—and they were determined that their children would be even better. They would spare no expense when it came to their children's schooling.2 This is why they sent their children to Quicklime College—a special school for witches, wizards, goblins, elves, shamans, and anyone else who can do magic—the finest school of its kind in the world.
Their youngest child, Betty, was the exception. Betty went to the normal human's school, Sunnyview Primary School, just down the road from where she lived at numbers 11 and 13 Acacia Avenue. Betty didn't look like her brothers and sisters. She had blond hair and no warts at all and liked to do things that ordinary girls do, like baking cakes and knit-ting. Her cakes were normal cakes with no earwigs or cockroaches in them at all and her knitting didn't have the usual wizard's spiky thorns knitted into the cuffs.
Valla, the oldest Flood child, had graduated from Quicklime's with a first-class degree in blood and went out to work at the blood bank. This left the five remaining children: Satanella, Merlinmary, Winchflat, and the twins, Morbid and Silent. They all went to Quicklime's.
Quicklime's is hidden in a remote valley high in the mountains of distant Patagonia. It's so far from anywhere that almost no ordinary humans have ever been there or even know the valley exists. There are no roads or footpaths into the place and, as there are always security clouds spread evenly above it, it can't even be seen by satellite. It has never appeared on any maps at all.
The site was chosen because it was here that the first wizards arrived on Earth. It's a well-known fact that the original witches and wizards came from a far-off galaxy where spells and magic were something everyone could do. When they got bored they'd get in a spaceship and fly off to another galaxy to scare and/or enchant the local population, who thought magic was magic.
Nerlin's ancestor,3 Merlin Flood the Fifteenth, came to Earth to create a few legends for humans who, until then, had lived in caves and thought the best thing anyone could do was hit someone else on the head with a lump of wood—a belief that lots of humans still have. Unfortunately Merlin's spaceship had not been serviced properly before he left home and it crashed in a remote valley in Patagonia.The Floods #2: School Plot. Copyright (c) by Colin Thompson . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Colin Thompson is the award-winning author and illustrator of more than forty books, including the novel How to Live Forever and The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley, winner of the CBC of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award. Born in London, Mr. Thompson currently resides in Bellingen, Australia.
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