"You want to ask Jev to help us spy on Morb?" Zann stared at Gliss, hardly believing his ears. "Are you kidding?"
"Maybe Gliss is right," Perda said. "I know Jev's not your favorite person, Zann. But he's good at magic."
"So what?" Zann said. "Lots of people are good at magic. We could ask your parents to help instead. Or maybe one of our teachers or the mayor."
"It would take too long to explain everything to them," Gliss pointed out. "Besides, Jev will definitely do it if I ask him."
Zann couldn't believe the girls were seriously thinking about going to Jev for help. He glanced at Darb, expecting his friend to be on his side.
Darb had a thoughtful look. "Well, it's not a bad idea," he said.
"Let's go find him," Perda said.
Before Zann could say another word, the others were hurrying out of the Hollow. He had little choice but to follow.
Soon they were all hiding in a clump of trees near Jev's house. Jev was in the yard playing with his pet dragon, but they didn't dare call to him. By now it was afternoon, and there were a lot more people around than there had been earlier. They all knew that Morb could be awake and lurking out there somewhere.
"I wish we could just use a Summoning spell," Perda complained. "Living without magic is hard!"
"I have an idea." Darb reached into his pocket for a pencil and paper. Scribbling a note, he held it out to Zing. "Take this to Jev, okay, buddy?"
At first Zing didn't understand what Darb wanted. He tried to eat the note, and then he tried to roast it. But finally he figured it out.
Jev looked up when the dragon flew at him. "Shoo! You'll scare Hazi." Then he blinked. "Wait a minute. Aren't you . . ."
Zing whistled and dropped the note by Jev's feet. Jev grabbed the paper and read it. A second later he picked up his dragon and headed toward his house.
"See?" Zann whispered. "He's ignoring the note! I told you he was—"
"Wait," Gliss interrupted. "He's just putting his dragon inside."
Sure enough, Jev was already hurrying toward them. When he heard what they wanted, he smirked at Zann.
"Wow, it must be tough living with no magic like a Void all day, huh?" he said. "Especially for a snooty Red like you."
"Will you help us, Jev?" Gliss asked, grabbing his arm. "Please?"
Jev glanced down at her hand on his arm. "Um, sure," he said. "I was just kidding around. What do you want me to do?"
It didn't take long for Jev to summon and send a spy fly to Morb. Zann watched the whole process, chafing silently at seeing his enemy do magic when he himself was powerless.
"Thanks, Jev," Perda said. "Can you come find us in the Hollow when the spy fly returns?"
"The Hollow?" Jev looked a little nervous. "Sure, I guess." Just then he noticed Gliss rubbing her stomach. "Are you hungry? I could conjure up some lunch."
"That would be great!" Gliss said. "We haven't eaten since yesterday."
She talked him into conjuring up enough food for all of them, along with some fresh clothes. After that they left Jev and headed for the Hollow.
When they got there, Zing whimpered.
"I know, Zing," said Zann with a sigh. "I don't like being here either. But it's safer than being out in the open."
"How long do you think it will take the spy fly to get there and back?" Gliss asked.
The others shrugged. Spy flies were very fast. Like message moths they could zap themselves long distances when necessary. But there was no way of telling how long it would take the little creature to find Morb and observe what he was doing. By now Morb had probably woken up and left Zann's house.
Zann pulled out Boz's diary. "Guess I'll start reading this while we're waiting. Maybe we can figure out whether it's still worth trying to get it to the palace."
"Too bad none of us can do an advanced Restore spell yet," Perda said. "Maybe we could take the diary to Professor Liblow."
"It was dangerous enough to leave the Hollow to find Jev," Darb said. "Morb and his trolls could be anywhere."
"He's right," Zann agreed. "Besides, we don't even know if we need a Restore spell yet."
Zann opened the diary to the first page. For a moment he just stared at his grandfather's familiar, loopy handwriting. Zann had always found it strange that Boz, a highly accomplished Magic Master, chose to record his life in such an old-fashioned and non-magical way.
Pushing that thought aside, Zann started to read. The diary began before Zann was born. In fact, one of the earliest entries mentioned Zann's mother—Boz's daughter—meeting a handsome young explorer.
"Dad," Zann murmured, tracing his father's name. It was tempting to read everything about his parents' early days together. He knew he didn't have time though.
He skimmed over some entries about Boz's day-to-day life as a Magic Master. They were surprisingly boring, but then Zann saw pages filled with stories about his parents' explorations and adventures.
"I can go back and read those later, when Boz is safe," he told himself. He tore his gaze away from a description of his own third birthday party and continued flipping through the diary.
The next few pages were missing. When Zann turned to the next legible page, a familiar name jumped out at him; in bold, angry letters, his grandfather had scrawled "Morb."