The Korbat Who Couldn't Hang: Part Five
"Mineral salts added to the mixture will make the glass
different colours," Master Malor was explaining. "This is gold … can you guess
which colour will come out if I put this in?"
"Golden yellow?" Isabel hazarded a guess, watching
the measure of gold dust fall from the master's hand into the tank that they'd
previously filled with sand, soda, lime, and salt.
"Red," he replied.
"Indeed, a brilliant cranberry red."
"Who ever would have thought of using gold in
glass?" Isabel asked.
"Nobody knows. One of the legends among glassblowers
says that a gold dubloon fell in by accident once, and the rest is history.
I personally think that the first stained glass came about because of traces
of iron in the sand. Instead of clear glass, they suddenly had green."
"I'll bet they were mad, if they'd wanted clear
"Yes, probably." Master Malor looked thoughtfully
down at the mixture, then pushed it into the furnace with a long rod and shut
the door. "And I'm sure they threw the imperfect glass on the scrap pile, until
somebody decided that it wasn't worthless at all, just different. Then later,
they tried adding all kinds of things in glass to see what would happen, and
learned, for instance, that copper makes light blue, whereas cobalt makes dark
blue, and manganese makes purple. Far from being imperfect and worthless, the
stained glass could be used to fashion beautiful things."
There was the sound of footsteps at the door,
and then a familiar voice called out, "Isabel?"
Isabel glanced up, her annoyance at being interrupted
turning swiftly into delight. "Mom! Dad!"
She flew over and hugged them both. "I'm so glad
to see you again! I missed you."
"What a coincidence!" Isabel's mother all but
shrieked. "So did we! In fact, we were absolutely sick with worry, thinking
that you might have been stolen away from under our ears! It was only when we
checked the family trunk and saw that the Neopoints were missing that we realized
you must have run away!"
Isabel frowned and looked away, realizing for
the first time that she could have left a note.
"We've been looking for you ever since," her
father began, but her mother took over again almost instantly. "We didn't know
which direction you'd gone! We've been sick with worry, thinking about all the
things that could have happened to you."
Isabel let her ears droop. "I am sorry. I didn't
want to make you worry. I just couldn't take any more from Ricky Longear or
"I didn't realize it was so bad for you!" her
mother sighed unhappily. "I've been kicking myself ever since, wishing we'd
done something sooner. And I was so scared during that thunderstorm last night!
I was terrified that my little daughter might be hit by lightning and burned
black and brittle!"
"I was here and I was safe," Isabel murmured,
then asked, "How did you find me?"
"We wasted a lot of time looking and asking around,"
her father said. "We finally picked up your trail close to Meridell. It seems
everybody knows about the glazier's new assistant."
"Ah, the speed of rumours," Master Malor said,
joining the conversation for the first time.
"This is Master Malor, by the way," Isabel said
belatedly. "I've been working for him ever since I got here."
"D'you know, I'm that pleased to meet the parents
of such a talented artist." Master Malor came forward, one hand extended for
a shake. "You must be very proud of her."
Mr. Broadtail took the older Korbat's hand in
both of his. "There, now, Isabel. Didn't I tell you one day that you'd meet
somebody who was so blinded by your artistic ability that he would never notice
… anything else?"
Isabel cringed. "Dad, you said one day I'd meet
a nice, young man … no offense, Master Malor. And it's okay. Master Malor
knows all about my foot."
Master Malor laughed. "Indeed, no offense taken."
Mr. Broadtail let go of Master Malor's hand,
and the older blue Korbat turned to Mrs. Broadtail. But instead of shaking hands,
she threw her wings around him. "I just have to hug you for saving my daughter's
"That's a bit of an exaggeration," Master Malor
"I can't thank you enough."
Slightly embarrassed by this exuberant show of
feelings, Isabel glanced away. Her eyes caught a flash of motion outside the
open door of the workshop, but when she looked, there was no one there. It had
probably just been somebody passing by, she thought, and forgot the incident
as soon as she realized that her mother had detached herself from Master Malor.
The older blue Korbat was now ushering her parents towards the door that led
to the kitchen.
"Isabel, I know your parents have only just arrived,
but can I ask you to run out and buy something for us to offer them?" Master
Malor said, handing her some Neopoints. "Maybe you'll come upon some graspberry
pie on the way -- it's about that time. And then we can sit and talk and eat."
Grinning at the thought, Isabel took the money
and went out, racing around the village to snap up some of her favourite treats.
On the way back, she really did come upon some graspberry pie, but not in the
way she had expected. It was lying on the ground in a heap; the dish had shattered
upon a rock and the pie was splattered all over the side of the road.
Oh, dear, Isabel thought to herself, then had
to jump hastily out of the way as a carriage came rolling up. It was all that
she could do to keep hold of her own packages and not let them fall in the mud
as well. Regaining her balance as the carriage rolled to a stop, Isabel came
around in front of it to reach the door of the workshop, and was surprised to
see a large family of Korbats getting out.
It's practically an invasion, Isabel thought
to herself, but then she looked closer. Surely that wasn't -
"Olga, look! Isn't that your little friend Isabel?"
asked the mother.
It was indeed the Yellowfoot family, and Isabel
and Olga looked at each other with loathing. Isabel braced herself for an insult,
and was surprised to hear Mrs. Yellowfoot say, "Oh, Isabel, your parents have
been searching for you for weeks!"
"I know," she replied. "They've just found me
- they're in there."
"Really?" Mrs. Yellowfoot glanced in, then looked
back at Isabel. "Where?"
"In the kitchen with Master Malor. Would you
like to come in and say hello?" Isabel asked.
"Well, it's not like I don't believe you," Mrs.
Yellowtail said dubiously, "but yes, I think that would be best."
She glanced around, then put her hand into her
bag and pulled something out, which she handed discreetly to Olga. "Olga, love,
take the younger children and buy them something to eat."
"Oh, mom, do I have to?"
"Yes, you do. Your father and I will be talking
business with Master Malor soon anyway, and you'll all be horribly bored."
Olga frowned and turned away, rounding up her
brothers and sisters by loudly promising them a trip to the nearest bakery.
Giving her parents a glare of defiance, she herded them away.
"Well, come in then, but be careful." Isabel
led the way through the workshop.
Hearing their voices, Master Malor came into
the workshop from the kitchen. Isabel was about to introduce the family, but
Master Malor spoke before she could.
"Indeed, it's Mr. Yellowfoot! Have you come to
see about the window, or were you looking for Isabel, too?"
Mr. Yellowfoot glanced briefly at Isabel and
smiled a tight little smile. "Actually, we've come to see about the window.
Meeting Isabel here was … unexpected."
Mr. and Mrs. Broadtail appeared in the doorway
at that moment, and Mrs. Yellowfoot said, "I'm so glad to see that you've found
your daughter at last."
"Thank you, so are we," Isabel's mother replied.
"I was quite prepared to pack Isabel up and bring
her home with us, if you hadn't been here. As it is, I think we can squeeze
all three of you into the carriage with us …" Mrs. Yellowfoot's voice trailed
off and she looked as though she were calculating something. "Olga and Tatiana
can ride on the box with the driver if it gets too full."
"That's very kind of you," Isabel's father put
in. "But we've just heard the good news that Isabel's been taken on as an apprentice
glazier in this very shop. She'll be staying."
Isabel had been wondering how she was going to
break the news to her parents, and was relieved to hear that Master Malor had
already done so.
"Apprenticed - to Master Malor?" Mr. Yellowfoot
asked. "Well. Congratulations, Isabel."
He didn't look pleased at all, but Isabel said
"Thank you," anyway. After all, it didn't matter what the Yellowfoots thought.
Isabel had already heard the pride in her father's voice, and that was enough
"Isabel has great potential," Master Malor put
in smoothly. "She drew something that inspired me in designing your window,
Mr. Yellowfoot. Would you like to see the finished product?"
Mr. Yellowfoot gave the Broadtail family a slightly
embarrassed look. "I'm … ah … I've commissioned a window to donate to the village
hall and … ah … I was hoping to keep it a surprise until it was installed and
could be properly unveiled."
"We'll go back into the kitchen," said Isabel's
mother at the same time that her father announced, "We'll pretend we don't know
Mrs. Yellowfoot frowned. "We aren't even letting
the children see it."
"I think," Mrs. Broadfoot announced, giving her
husband a hard stare, "that we are so hungry that we are going to be very bad
guests and help ourselves to Master Malor's snacks without waiting for him."
Isabel's father hesitated for a moment until
his wife poked him in the wing, then nodded vigorously. "Yes, we're absolutely
starving. Let's see if I can make it back to the kitchen before I collapse."
He made a show of dragging himself back the way
he'd come, and Isabel followed in time to hear her mother hiss, "You don't have
to overdo it!"
Isabel set out the things she'd bought, and was
just pouring some juice for her parents when she heard Master Malor call out,
"Isabel, where's your sketch book?"
"Sorry, dad," Isabel said. "Duty calls."
"According to your mother, this duty is calling
me," he said, holding a chocolate biscuit to his ear and pretending to listen.
After a moment, he nodded to the biscuit and popped it in his mouth.
Grinning, Isabel went out, but left the door
open. She found her sketchbook under a small pile of scrapglass on one of the
workbenches, then brought it over to where Master Malor was showing the Yellowfoots
the scene on the stained glass window that he'd just finished earlier that day.
After Master Malor flipped through the pages and found the sketch she'd done
that first day, he began to expound on the idea that had inspired him. Mr. Yellowfoot
nodded politely, and Mrs. Yellowfoot looked thoughtfully from the sketch book
to Isabel and back.
Something darkened the doorway for a brief moment,
and Isabel turned, but couldn't see anybody. A moment later, something swooped
past again, and she saw that it was Olga. Neither Mr. or Mrs. Yellowfoot had
noticed, and Isabel went to the door. Olga made an abrupt landing, looking disgruntled,
and asked in a low voice, "What are they doing in there?"
"Looking at a window that Master Malor made,"
Isabel explained, then added, "It's supposed to be a secret."
Olga stood on the tips of her claws in an attempt
to see over Isabel's shoulder. As she caught a glimpse of the glass, her expression
changed and she sighed almost longingly. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
Mrs. Yellowfoot must have heard her, for she
suddenly snapped, "Olga, what are you doing?"
"Nothing, mom," Olga replied, hastily hiding
"I thought I told you to take care of the younger
"Tatiana can do that. I just wanted to -- to
ask Isabel how she was doing."
"Well, how about if the two of you go for a little
They both stepped obediently away from the door
of the workshop, but Olga stopped as soon as they could no longer be seen from
"Did you make it all the way to the Healing Springs?"
she asked, looking down at Isabel's foot.
"No," Isabel admitted. "I stopped here because
I ran out of money, but now that I'm apprenticed to Master Malor, I don't even
care about going to Faerieland anymore."
"So, No-Hang Hizzie, you're still crippled."
The old jibe didn't hurt as much as it once had,
and Isabel was able to shrug with truthful nonchalance. "It doesn't matter what
you can't do. It's what you can do that's important."
"And what can you do?"
"I can draw. I'm learning how to work with glass.
One day I'll be able to draw a scene and make it into a window, just like Master
Malor did for your father."
"I wish -" Olga stopped in mid-sentence, made
a face, then strode abruptly away down the street in the direction of the bakery.
Puzzled, Isabel turned to go back inside, but
had to make way for Mr. Yellowfoot, who was coming out with Master Malor. They
flew up to the top of the carriage and lifted up a large, flat box which had
been fastened onto the roof, then carried it into the workshop. Coming in behind
them, Isabel saw that it was a carrying case with thick padding on each half,
and that the window fit nicely inside.
"There," said Mr. Yellowfoot with obvious satisfaction.
"You can come out now, Mr. Broadtail, Mrs. Broadtail!"
"Secret window all packed away?" Mr. Broadtail
asked, coming out.
"Indeed it is. Would you like to help us load
it up?" Master Malor asked.
Mr. Broadtail took a corner, and the three men
carried the case back out to the carriage again. By this time, the rest of the
Yellowfoot family had returned, and all of the children were flapping around,
trying to get a good look and asking almost in chorus, "What's that, dad?"
"You'll find out later, along with everybody
else. Mr. Broadtail, did you and your wife want to accompany us back to the
"We've only just arrived. Naturally, we wanted
to spend some time with our daughter before we leave again," Mrs. Broadtail
said. "We'd be glad to take you up on that offer if you could wait until tomorrow
Mr. Yellowfoot hesitated. "I was planning on
getting back as soon as possible. We could be in Meridell before dark."
"Then we'll make our own way home," Mr. Broadtail
said. "We got here under our own power, and we can certainly get back."
"All right, if you're sure." Mr. Yellowfoot actually
looked somewhat relieved, which annoyed Isabel. "Come on, kids, everybody get
The children got in, complaining that they had
only just arrived, and fighting over who got the window seats, and Mr. Yellowfoot
turned to Master Malor. "Thank you so much for your expert work. Just looking
at it makes me wish I could make something beautiful like that."
Olga had managed to get one of the coveted window
seats, and Isabel was close enough to hear her mutter, "Me, too."
"Ah, well, if I can't make it, I can certainly
buy it," Mr. Yellowfoot joked, another sentiment that Isabel found annoying.
"Thank you again, and we'll be sure to recommend you to the next village."
"Thank you," Master Malor replied, and they all
watched Mr. Yellowfoot squeeze into the carriage and give them a wave before
"Well, my young apprentice," said Master Malor,
reaching out and placing his wing over Isabel's shoulders. "If we're going to
be recommended, we'll have lots of work ahead of us. We'll need plenty of energy,
so let's see about those snacks."
Pleased that Master Malor had included her in
the praise, Isabel skipped ahead into the building, then sat down and reached
for a pink sprinkle doughnut. She took a bite, then stopped chewing, suddenly
seeing the doughnut as part of a window. Would the little bakery in Brightvale
ever commission a scene that would include a pink doughnut? And could glass
even be stained to that exact shade? Maybe they'd have to settle for a purple
Isabel completely forgot about her claws, Olga,
and the rest Yellowfoot family. She was too busy contemplating all the many