YG's eyes followed the liberated pixie as she whizzed about the house. She flitted above the Dreadnort's carcass and then hovered in front of YG's face, a little too close for comfort. She began to chatter at a feverish pace.
"Erm... might you just..."
Her high-pitched wittering was fast becoming a greater threat to YG's wellbeing that the Dreadnort had been.
"P-please would you..."
She wouldn't stop. YG's fingers were tightening around his club. "I CAN'T UNDERSTAND A WORD OF WHAT YOU'RE SAYING!"
Once Pixel got over this affront - from a talking ogre no less - she repeated herself, intelligibly. She explained to YG and Callimwold how she had been kidnapped by Lord Fear and imprisoned in the Dreadnort to form its power source. Her gratitude to YG for freeing her was such that she offered to grant him any request. "But nothin' ridiculous, nothin' that a pixie can't do. And then I'm shovin' off."
That would suffice, thought Young Grimwold. Then he thought some more. "I have a friend, a man known as Callimachus of the Palimpsest. He is learned and kind, and just recently became the librarian at the Knightmare Boarding School - but he lives in terror of imps. Somehow, I know not how, they misread 'Callimpsest' - that's how he's usually known - as 'Call Imps East', got the idea that they should migrate eastwards en masse, wasted a lot of energy and time and then swore revenge on him for their mistake. Please tell the imps to leave Callimpsest be."
"Alright. I'll get the pixies to sort the imps out and make sure they never trouble your friend again. My word of honour."
Out of modesty, YG decided not to tell Callimpsest what he'd done for him. As the librarian settled into life at the school, YG wasn't sure he would see him again anyway.
As Pixel flew out into Bruin, hoping never again to see a pixie-sized container of any sort, she noticed that the other ogre had tears in his eyes. She thought what a strange pair they were and disappeared beyond the rocks.
Callimwold was beginning to feel extremely drowsy. Nervous as he was about falling asleep only to wake up in an ogre's body, slumber had become irresistible. He called out to YG and, as his dear son and dear friend approached, found something in his pocket from earlier and held it out for the young man to take.
Young Grimwold cradled the crayon. He wanted to sob, just a little, just a lot.
"I..." A sigh. "I appreciate you, father."
Mr. Grimwold was asleep.
Callimpsest opens his eyes. The air is still, as are the sands in the egg-timer that is lying in front of him. He feels numbness subsiding and taps his fingers - and they are his fingers, with neatly dressed paper cuts in place of grubby callouses. He raises his head to the clockface, through which a new day, the present day, is dawning. Callimpsest speaks aloud, relishing the sound of his own voice even more than usual.
"Well, I believe I have earned my spurs of squiredom. I hope I am now worthy of pursuing my own que..ehh..."
Callimpsest is yawning. He is eager to return to his room, to decrypt the almanac's remaining secrets, to snap his imp net in two - for which, if he is not strong enough, he would gladly employ an ogre friend of his. But here and now, he is too exhausted. In defiance of an unusually rowdy town and an uncomfortable floor, Callimpsest soon falls asleep.
YG set about tidying the room, not noticing the blue haze that briefly enveloped his father between one snore and the next. When all trace of the Dreadnort's incursion had been removed - except for the newest dent in the cauldron, which YG had turned around in the hope that his mother wouldn't notice it - YG lay on his bed and pondered. And as the days went by, he continued to ponder, sometimes on parchment. (He wrote in Latin, in case his mother should pry.) He still ached, more deeply than anyone knew, and he still wanted so much to hide. But what he had seen his father do - for him, with him - within these walls had given him optimism. And it was time to take that optimism and see whether, just maybe, it could grow legs (perhaps arms, maybe even a head) beyond these walls.
YG got off his bed, grabbed his club and his coin purse, fought a moment's trepidation and headed out toward the town. All manner of misfit creatures shared Wolfenden's streets: at least one of them would be willing to share a drink with an ogre.