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      Tanya Grotter has no luck. When Sardanapal, Medusa Gorgonova, and other instructors rebuild anew the destroyed school of magic Tibidox, they send the students home. Here Tanya is also forced to return to Moscow to the Durnev family. On top of that, as an obligation, she has to take with her a full trunk of troublesome ghosts. Well, not too bad! During training in Tibidox Tanya had time to master something, so that Uncle Herman and Aunt Ninel will have to be unhappy. And here finally the time comes to return to Tibidox. It has been rebuilt anew and is even better than before, but the Vanishing Floor… Something incredible has happened to it. Nobody who dared to venture there had returned. Or nevertheless some did?

      Chapter 1

      The Trunk with Ghosts

      Something flew by with a whistle, someone began to yell, somewhere glass showered down. A normal morning of a normal day in the normal school for difficult-to-raise magicians, Tibidox, located on the Buyan Island in the ocean-sea.

      Black Curtains sniggered maliciously. Tanya Grotter tore herself away from the rather thick reference book Dragons: Breeding, Training, Treatment and ran to the window. Something interesting was happening in the small clearing in front of Tibidox. Two very strong cyclopes, who were assigned the job of carrying boulders for construction, were arguing and now, with knotty clubs, were enthusiastically beating the daylight out of each other. One of the clubs shattered, and a fragment, having traced a beautiful arc in the air, fell down precisely on the nose of the hero Usynya, who, having placed a stretcher under his cheek, was peacefully dozing in the shadow of the Cove Oak.

      A minute later Tanya watched as Usynya, catching hold of one of the cyclopes by the legs, was spinning him with a whistling sound. The other hero-bouncers Dubynya and Gorynya, appearing at the howls, started to laugh aloud, having discovered that their brother’s nose had swollen up and acquired the colour of beet. They gesticulated, nudged each other, and finally demolished the section of a wall miraculously surviving till now. And here Usynya already let go of the legs of the cyclops and that one, like a candle soaring into the sky, crashed with his head into the Big Tower. Bricks rained down. The cyclops, as if nothing had happened, got up and touched his forehead. “Thimply knowth a hundred thuch clown! Again will be penalty!” he lisped unhappily.

      Drawn by the noise, Medusa Gorgonova, associate professor of the department of evil spirits studies, jumped out onto the small balcony of the Big Tower. She was holding a kicking swamp bogey by the collar. She had recently caught it on the tabletop in her office, where it was scratching with its nail all kinds of filth. Noticing the crumbled wall, Medusa from indignation unclenched her hand. The swamp bogey, exactly like a toad, flopped to the floor and rapidly bolted somewhere, swearing bad words and threatening troubles to Tibidox. But Docent Gorgonova had already forgotten about it. She had to investigate the brother-heroes and the cyclopes that cast off all restraint. Medusa’s cheeks were burning and her hair started to hiss like snakes. Though, why like? Only – shh! – what woman likes it when her little secrets are revealed?

      “Sparkis frontis!” Medusa shouted. A dazzling fight spark flew off her magic ring and several huge boulders immediately crumbled into powder. The enormous cyclopes fell onto the ground and unsuccessfully attempted to hide behind blades of grass covered with white hoar frost. It was well known to them that an angry Medusa was not one to be trifled with.

      “Fillissimo-moronissimo! What is this?” Docent Gorgonova shouted. “Two weeks of work and no result! Even wrecked what the titans didn’t touch! Do you imbeciles understand that the children have nowhere to live? That the roof leaks? That the arches of Tibidox will collapse any minute now?”

      The cyclopes began to tremble slightly, and the hero-bouncers guiltily dropped their eyes. “We what? We did nothing… The cyclopes… s-s… they started first,” Usynya began to mutter, despondently sniffing his beet-red nose.

      “They? Well, march back to work, or you’ll be left without dinner!” Medusa frowned and tossed up her ring, a new spark flared up. The spark, as this happens with magicians, gave the necessary strength to the spell: Hungeronus hungerygus!

      Tanya was hearing this spell for the first time. “Interesting, what is it for?” she started to think, but immediately felt such wolfish hunger that she almost sank her teeth into Black Curtains. At this moment, she could eat absolutely anything, even Aunt Ninel’s day-before-yesterday oat kasha with a crust, which Pipa called bullet-proof. Tanya believed that Medusa’s magic also accidentally snagged her: indeed, she also saw the spark.

      The cyclopes and the brother-heroes at once stirred and started in a hurry to rake up the stones into a pile. Hunger drove them on. “No dinner until you finish tidying up! Clear? Deadbeats!” Medusa shouted. She turned sharply and, swift as always, left the small balcony.

      Chewing on a sandwich by chance left over from breakfast, Tanya moved away from the window and again took the book in her hands. Will she not always be looking at cyclopes? Moreover, from the huge crack in the ceiling a stream of water had been flowing down for a long time behind the girl’s collar. “And indeed it’s because of me that everyone is suffering!” Tanya thought guiltily.

      After that incident when she carelessly let out the titans from the cave and they, battling Plague-del-Cake, smashed half of Tibidox, it became impossible to live here. If one was looking into this, from the entire enormous school of difficult-to-raise magicians there remained only the basement, the Hall of Two Elements, and the Big Tower with the Main Staircase. But even they had suffered a great deal.

      The drafts roamed along the corridors, in the middle of the night they began to slam windows, and whipped rain into the numerous cracks. It was also uncomfortable even for the ghosts, a quantity of them populating Tibidox. Deprived of their beloved Tower of Ghosts, where they knew every little corner, the phantoms wandered in groups along the corridors at night, moaned, rattled their chains, and spoiled everyone’s mood.

      Moreover, the time was a long way from summer. December. And really how is it possible to keep busy when the entire floor ices up in the class on practical magic? And in removal of evil eye all students are forced to sit in fur coats, and teeth nevertheless clatter so that you cannot utter a single spell?

      Tanya got up in order to slam shut the door thrown open by the draft. Shutting it, she casually saw how Slander Slanderych – a lopsided little fellow with tiny gimlet-eyes, a former black magician who moved over to the white – sneaked along the corridor on tiptoes. He pressed against his chest a very healthy live little fish, which was hitting him on the nose with its tail. Tanya surmised that the stern dean of Tibidox was running to the pond to feed the mermaid. Everyone was surprised that, till now, the pond with the mermaid had not yet frozen, and they said that it simply did not manage without powerful magic here. The mermaid had grown terribly stout from constant overeating, and its nature had become extremely quarrelsome. All day it rolled in the slime, devoured fish, and flung algae and snails at the enamoured Slander.

      An offended cupid happened to be on the watch for the dean and released an arrow into him! Academician Sardanapal had already tried several times to remove the spell from Slander, but he was unsuccessful. Love magic is the most delicate and the most complex of all magic. Only the one who cast it can remove it. But the cupid just flatly refused – he was still mad at Slander for breaking his favourite bow.

      “Oh, indeed these mermaids! Simply: an evil spirit! It recently doused him entirely with leeches – just from mischief. You love me, it says, so prove it. So the poor wretch was walking around entirely covered with leeches. One is even directly on his nose,” grumbled Yagge. Earlier she was not particularly sorry for Slander, but now she even started to pity him once in a while. Yagge was the old sorceress running the magic station. Furthermore, she was also the grandmother of Bab-Yagun, a good friend of Tanya.

      Tanya concentrated and, forcing the escaping thoughts to flow again in one direction, sat down to her task. She had to do this because the reference book Dragons: Breeding, Training, Treatment had already started to snort unhappily and release sparks. A little more and it would singe the blanket on the bed. It was better not to toy with dragons, even if these were not dragons themselves but merely a book about them.


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