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Chapter 17 In which the moving castle moves house_哈尔的移动城堡 Howl’s Moving Castle_双语小说



Howl set to work as hard as if he had just had a week’s rest. If Sophie had not seen him fight a grueling magic battle an hour ago, she would never have believed it. He and Michael dashed about, calling measurements to one another and chalking strange signs in the places where they had earlier put up metal brackets. They seemed to have chalk on every corner, including the backyard. Sophie’s cubbyhole under the stairs and the odd-shaped place in the bathroom ceiling gave them quite a bit of trouble. Sophie and the dog-man were pushed this way and that, and then pushed aside completely so that Michael could crawl about chalking a five-pointed star inside a circle on the floor.
Michael had done this and was brushing dust and chalk off his knees when Howl came racing in with patches of whitewash all over his black clothes. Sophie and the dog-man were pushed aside again so that Howl could crawl about writing signs in and around both star and circle. Sophie and the dog-man went to sit on the stairs. The dog-man was shivering. This did not seem to be magic he liked.
Howl and Michael raced out into the yard. Howl raced back. “Sophie!” he shouted. “Quickly! What are we going to sell in that shop?”
“Flowers,” Sophie said, thinking of Mrs. Fairfax again.
“Perfect,” said Howl, and hurried over to the door with a pot of paint and a small brush. He dipped the brush in the pot and carefully painted the blue blob yellow. He dipped again. This time the brush came out purple. He painted the green blob with it. At the third dip the paint was orange, and the orange went over the red blob. Howl did not touch the black blob. He turned away, and the end of his sleeve went into the paint pot along with the brush. “Botheration!” said Howl, dragging it out. The trailing tip of the sleeve was all colors of the rainbow. Howl shook it, and it was black again.
“Which suit is that really?” Sophie asked.
“I’ve forgotten. Don’t interrupt. The difficult part is just coming up,” Howl said, rushing the paint pot back to the bench. He picked up a small jar of powder. “Michael! Where’s the silver shovel?”
Michael raced in from the yard with a big, gleaming spade. The handle was wood, but the blade did seem to be solid silver. “All set out there!” he said.
Howl rested the shovel on his knee in order to chalk a sign on both handle and blade. He sprinkled red powder from the jar on it. He put a pinch of the same grains carefully in each point of the star and tipped all the rest into the middle. “Stand clear, Michael,” he said. “Everyone stay clear. Are you ready, Calcifer?”
Calcifer emerged from between his logs in a long thread of blue flame. “As ready as I shall ever be,” he said. “You know this could kill me, don’t you?”
“Look on the bright side,” said Howl. “It could be me it kills. Hold on tight. One, two, three.” He dug the shovel into the grate, very steadily and slowly, keeping it level with the bars. For a second he juggled it gently to get it under Calcifer. Then, even more steadily and gently, he raised it. Michael was quite obviously holding his breath. “Done it!” said Howl. Logs toppled sideways. They did not seem to be burning. Howl stood up and turned round, carrying Calcifer on the shovel.

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