Jimmy Crikey’s Adventures:
Jade, the Youngest Ever Witch
“Jade, what are we doing sitting at the bottom of the ocean watching whales the size of houses swim by?”
“Don’t worry. You’re not in any danger. I’ll keep you safe.”
“That’s not the point. The last thing I remember is having a drink at the table in Matilda’s kitchen. I still have a glass tumbler in my hand.”
“Don’t try drinking it, Jimmy. It’s full of sea water now.”
“And then suddenly I was sat at the bottom of the ocean watching whales and strange fish swim by.”
Utterly oblivious to Jimmy’s discomfort Jade offered her explanation. “I am on the last leg of my final training, and if I pass Matilda's tests, I will enter into the coven as a fully qualified guardian of one of the realms of Earth.”
“That’s fine, but what does that have to do with dragging me to the bottom of the sea?”
“I need you to bear witness to Matilda that I have mastered the skills that Elwinn has taught me.”
“I thought Matilda was your tutor.”
“Matilda is my prime tutor, but she insisted that I learn as much as possible from each of the other three witches: Ira, Elwinn and Floella. Ira gave me flying lessons a week ago after I had spent a few days with Floella. Now I can travel anywhere in the Universe, above and below the surface.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Well, almost anywhere, at least on Earth. I don’t have the benefit of a starship like yours, Jimmy.”
“Jade!” Jimmy shouted. “We’re about to be eaten by a great white shark. Get us out of here.”
A gigantic shark that Jimmy had only ever seen pictures of was heading straight for them with gaping jaws.
“No need to panic, Jimmy. We’re as safe as we would be in a steel cage. It can’t break into our bubble. Enjoy a close-up of its teeth.”
“I have no interest in examining a shark’s teeth. You’ve proved your point. Just get us out of here.”
“You may never get this close to a great white shark again.”
“I won’t be shedding a tear about that. Just take us back to Matilda’s kitchen.”
“Oh. All right then, spoilsport. Here we go.”
Jade flicked her blond mop of hair out of her blue eyes, gave Jimmy a big smile and clicked her fingers. The return journey passed in a blur of bubbles and flashes of brightly coloured fishes before the sky's blue blotted all else out.
“Thank goodness for that,” Jimmy heaved a sigh of relief. He would have had a drink from the contents of the glass he held in his hand, still almost full to the brim, had not Jade placed her hand over the top. “It’s still got seawater in it. Here, let me refill it with Matilda’s fruit drink.” She rinsed the glass and poured Jimmy a drink of Matilda’s nectar. Nothing else in the world tasted as heavenly, but no one except Matilda knew what its ingredients were.
“I needed that. Thanks, Jade. It’s great to be back safely, but how long will your testing take? I can’t face many more surprises like that.”
“Perhaps I should have warned you, but I was concentrating so much I completely forgot to say.”
“It did come as a bit of a surprise. Let’s hope it’s the last one.”
“Matilda hasn’t told me how many tests there are before I become a full witch.”
“Please let it be soon.”
“Be careful what you wish for, Jimmy,” Matilda warned as she joined them at the table, appearing out of nowhere. “Once Jade becomes fully qualified, she will control not only her destiny but also the destiny of the realm she controls.”
“But don’t all the realms already have masters,” Jimmy queried.
“That may appear true, but who knows what other realms may exist that we know nothing about?”
Matilda had posed a problem for both Jimmy and Jade. They knew Elwinn watched over the world of water; Floella's duty was to watch over the earth and its rocks and sands and soils; Ira watched over the skies, which included the Sky Islands and their inhabitants high above the clouds.
Jade was the niece of Gemma, Jimmy’s close friend, who Jimmy had rescued from the bottom of the well and belonged to the tribe of Diamites. They inhabited the underground caverns at the edge of Roombelow. Diamites were two-thirds the size of the people of the upper world, but the size of their hearts more than compensated for their lack of size. There were none braver and few as daring. And among all the Diamites, there was no other who had the inherent skills of Jade.
Matilda had picked up on the hidden traits of magic which identified the youngster as a potential witch. She and Gemma had to work hard to persuade Jade’s mother and Gemma’s sister, Zeea, that Jade had a great future if she moved to live with Matilda to study witchcraft in her house on the hill in Roombelow. They had to work even harder to convince Max Xander, Jade’s father, that she would be safe living in the home of a witch many kilometres away from her homeland.
In the space of a year, the young Jade matured into a confident, if impatient, student of witchcraft. Her one failing was impetuosity, which led to many a magic spell error. Usually, the errors were insignificant, but not at other times. And it was often Jimmy who got caught in the resulting chaos. Jimmy would never forget being chased by a python in the Congo jungle in Africa.
As the months of tuition rolled by, the mistakes became fewer, but they were still a liability that surrounded Jade’s otherwise undoubted skills.
“I think you are almost ready for the final trials, Jade. There’s not much more I can teach you, and you have absorbed the abilities of our three sister witches like a magnet gathering spilt tacks. And if you are in doubt, you can refer to my library of ancient scrolls. They will always be available to help you.”
“But surely, you’ll always be available to help me?”
“Perhaps not. I need the black mushroom brew much more often these days.”
Jimmy piped up, “You must tell me when you need more, Matilda. It’s no trouble.”
“Thank you, Jimmy. I know I can rely on you, but there will come a time when the elixir won’t work as well as it used to. When that happens, I will move into the next realm and continue my work among new sisters in a different setting.”
“Well, I hope that day is years and years away,” Jade said while hugging Matilda like the second mother she had become.
“What you can be sure of, Jade, is that I will be around long enough to see you graduate to the coven.”
“How do I graduate, Matilda? Is there a final exam?”
“You could say that. There is a final examination of the skills I have taught you, but it is not a written exam. There will be several tasks to complete. You could say there are seven trials to face. None of them will be beyond your capabilities, but that may not always be obvious at the time.”
“When will I start the trials?”
“You have just completed the first trial. You have shown that you can use the powers of Elwinn to descend to the deepest depths and safely take another with you.”
“When can I start the next trial?”
“In another week or two, Jade. I need to check when all members of our coven will be available.”
Jimmy smiled. “So, there’s no need to panic, Jade.”
“I’m not panicking, but I appreciate every moment more that I have to practice.”
“Just be sure I’m nowhere near when you start practising.” Jimmy hid behind Matilda to avoid the playful swipe aimed in his direction.
“Now, now, children!” Matilda admonished the pair. “Stop fooling around. Are you staying for dinner, Jimmy?”
“Thank you, Matilda, but Amanda is expecting me back to eat with Mr McDonald when he finishes work in the shop.”
“That’s fine. I’ll just cut back on the potatoes. Jade is cooking this evening.”
“Nothing too complicated. New potatoes boiled in their scrubbed skins, the sweetest garden peas, and a few baby carrots.”
“No meat?” Jimmy asked.
“We are trying out a vegetarian option that Jade suggested.”