Thordric woke to the sound of his mother rapping on his bedroom door. ‘Thordric. Thordric! It’s time to get up!’
He furrowed his brow, his eyes still too heavy to open.
‘Thordric, get up,’ his mother continued, still knocking on the door. ‘You must go and apologise to the Inspector.’ He heard her sigh and turn away.
At first it didn’t register with him what she had said, but then he remembered. He had fallen into the Inspector and left him barely conscious. Swallowing the sudden lump in his throat, he scrambled out of bed and fumbled on his clothes before bolting downstairs.
His mother was waiting for him when he got there. He thought she looked especially pretty today. Her dark, wavy hair was loose about her shoulders and she wearing her crimson heels; but he knew that if he told her she would see it as buttering her up. That was one thing she hated.
‘I hope you realise the seriousness of the damage you did yesterday,’ she said crisply. ‘When the poor Inspector finally got his wits back I had to plead with him for hours to give you another chance.’
‘I…’ Thordric began, but found he had no words.
‘I expect you never to make a mistake or cause trouble like that again. Had the Inspector not been the type to demonstrate perfect chivalry, then it may have well cost my job as well as yours. As it is, he values my friendship very deeply and has agreed to overlook the matter. But only this once.’
‘I understand, mother. I won’t do it again, I promise.’
‘Well, then,’ she said. ‘Off you go, and don’t forget to make his tea exactly how he likes it. And don’t complain about the constables, you deserve their crude remarks at the moment.’ Thordric had to agree. How could he have messed up his first day so badly? Not even the other half-wizards he had read about had that much bad luck.
He sped to the station, arriving even before the Inspector, and had a steaming mug of tea and a plate of Jaffa cakes ready for him. When the Inspector finally walked in he said nothing, choosing to ignore Thordric completely. Halfway through his fifth Jaffa cake, however, he decided to speak up. ‘I never want to speak of what happened yesterday. It was a normal day like any other. Understood?’
‘Yes, Inspector,’ Thordric said, bowing his head.
The Inspector wiped the crumbs off his moustache. ‘Here,’ he said, thrusting a piece of paper at Thordric. ‘Go to the dry cleaners on Warn Street and show them that. They will give you my sister’s dry cleaning, which you will then proceed to drop off at her house. Here is her address.’ He scribbled on another bit of paper and handed it to Thordric. ‘You are then to ask her if any chores need attending to, and if she so wishes, you shall do them for her.’
‘But…’ Thordric protested, but stopped at the Inspector’s glare.
‘You are then to go to the bank and give them this,’ he continued, giving Thordric yet another piece of paper. ‘And then you are to get the Jard Town Gazette. Make sure it is today’s copy, and not a leftover from yesterday. Is that clear?’
‘Yes, Inspector,’ Thordric said, trying to keep his voice sounding positive.
‘Remember Thormble, no mistakes.’
Thordric left the office with as much grace as he could muster. He looked at the notes in his hand, trying to remember which was which. The Inspector’s sister’s address was easy to recognise, but the notes for the dry cleaners and bank were both numbers. Each had been written in a great long line with no breaks, and there was nothing to differentiate between them. He gulped.