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Chapter 13 In which Sophie blackens Howl’s name_哈尔的移动城堡 Howl’s Moving Castle_双语小说



Sophie was feeling decidedly queer again when they reached the Palace. Its many golden domes dazzled her. The way to the front entrance was up a huge flight of steps, with a soldier in scarlet standing every six steps. The poor boys must have been near fainting in this heat, Sophie thought as she puffed her way dizzily past them. At the top of the steps were archways, halls, corridors, lobbies, one after another. Sophie lost count of how many. At every archway a splendidly dressed person wearing white gloves-still somehow white in spite of the heat-inquired their business and then led them on to the next personage in the next archway.
“Mrs. Pendragon to see the King!” the voice of each echoed down the halls.
About halfway, Howl was politely detached and told to wait. Michael and Sophie went on being handed from person to person. They were taken upstairs, after which the splendid persons were dressed in blue instead of red, and handed on again until they came to an anteroom paneled in a hundred different-colored woods. There Michael was peeled off and made to wait too. Sophie, who by this time was not at all sure whether she was not having some strange dream, was ushered through huge double doors, and this time the echoing voice said, “Your Majesty, here is Mrs. Pendragon to see you.”
And there was the King, not on a throne, but sitting in a rather square chair with only a little gold leaf on it, near the middle of a large room, and dressed much more modestly than the persons who waited on him. He was quite alone, like an ordinary person. True, he sat with one leg thrust out in a kingly sort of manner, and he was handsome in a plump, slightly vague way, but to Sophie he seemed quite youthful and just a touch too proud of being a king. She felt he ought, with that face, to have been more unsure of himself.
He said, “Well, what does Wizard Howl’s mother want to see me about?”
And Sophie was suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that she was standing talking to the King. It was, she thought dizzily, as if the man sitting there and the huge, important thing which was kingship were two separate things that just happened to occupy the same chair. And she found she had forgotten every word of the careful, delicate things Howl had told her to say. But she had to say something.
“He sent me to tell you he’s not going to look for your brother,” she said. “Your Majesty.”
She stared at the King. The King stared back. It was a disaster.
“Are you sure?” asked the King. “The Wizard seemed quite willing when I talked to him.”
The one thing Sophie had left in her head was that she was here to blacken Howl’s name, so she said, “He lied about that. He didn’t want to annoy you. He’s a slitherer-outer, if you know what I mean, Your Majesty.”
“And he hopes to slither out of finding my brother Justin,” said the King. “I see. Won’t you sit down, since I see you are not young, and tell me the Wizard’s reasons?”

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