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Authors: Meredith Badger

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Undercover

BY

MEREDITH BADGER

Fairy School Drop-out: Undercover
published in 2007 by
Hardie Grant Egmont
85 High Street
Prahran, Victoria, 3181, Australia

The pages of this book are printed on paper approved
by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which promotes
responsible management of the world's forests.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior permission of the publishers and copyright owner.

A CiP record for this title is available from the National Library of Australia

text copyright © 2007 Meredith Badger
illustration and design copyright © 2007 Hardie Grant Egmont

Cover and text design by Sonia Dixon Design
Illustrations by Michelle Mackintosh

Printed in China

3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter two

Chapter three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter twelve

Chapter One

E
veryone knows what fairies are. They are sweet little creatures that live under toadstools. They dress in pink and they flutter around, making humans happy by granting wishes. And they know how to make magic from the day they are born. Right?

Wrong.

Look at these two pictures:

Can you tell which is the human and which is the fairy? Difficult, isn't it? Especially as the fairy (that's her on the right, by the way) has her wings safely tucked away beneath her clothes.

Let's get one thing straight: not all fairies live in Fairydom. You might live next door to a fairy. There's probably one at your school. In fact, your best friend might be a fairy. Does she have no more than ten freckles? Is her hair always shiny? Do her fingers shimmer, ever so slightly, when she wiggles them?

These are all telltale signs of being a fairy. But don't bother asking her. She'll deny it. Fairies aren't allowed to reveal their true identities to humans, even to their best friends. Imagine if a kid knew they were friends with a fairy. They'd be asking for favours
all
the time:

‘Can you make my bike fly?'

‘Can you turn my cheese and ham sandwich into a chocolate sprinkles one?'

‘Can you make it Saturday forever?'

Which is why Elly Knottleweed-Eversprightly of 27 Raspberry Drive is so lucky to have a friend like Jess Chester. Jess couldn't care less about fairies and magic. She'd rather solve a problem herself than hope a fairy will come and fix it for her. This is lucky for Elly because Jess knows a secret about Elly.

A
big
secret.

Elly Knottleweed-Eversprightly is a fairy. She even has wings to prove it. But Elly isn't a typical fairy. She hates pink, for one thing. She also hates flying and thinks her skateboard is a much better way to get around. Elly and her family don't live under a toadstool, either. They live right next door to Jess and her family in an ordinary street in an ordinary town.

As for being
born
knowing magic, this only happens in rare cases. Unfortunately for Elly, one of these rare cases happens to be her baby sister Kara. Imagine a toddler who can magically move things around, and turn them into other things! It can get very messy. For most fairies, though, magic is taught to them at a fairy school. This is where they go to learn spelling and extreme flying and all the other things a fairy needs to learn before they can earn their fairy licence.

This probably sounds like lots of fun and indeed, most fairies love school. They love wearing fluffy pink dresses and carrying sparkling wands. They love learning how to loop-the-loop in midair. But Elly, as we've noted, is no typical fairy. She hates going to fairy school. Every time she goes to a new fairy school it ends in disaster. And she's been to quite a few. Three, in fact.

But this term everything was going to change. Elly was going undercover — at Jess's human school! No spells. No flying instruction. Just nice, normal, human stuff. Elly couldn't wait.

But Elly's undercover operation almost didn't happen. On the Sunday morning before Elly was to start at South Street School, Elly woke up and knew something was wrong. She lay there for a moment, trying to work out what it was. Did she get into trouble yesterday? Had she fallen out of bed again? (It's never nice falling out of bed, but it's
particularly
bad when you're a fairy and your bed hovers two metres above the ground.)

But then she realised that it was a sound coming from her parents' room that was making her nervous. It was the sound of a suitcase being packed.

Elly jumped up and rushed into her mum and dad's room. Sure enough, there were her parents, busily throwing clothes at their self-packing suitcases, called Self-Packers.

‘Elly! I'm glad you're up,' said Elly's mum. She looked frazzled. Her hair was poking out at strange angles from her head and her shirt was on back-to-front.

‘Our plans have changed all of a sudden. I have to leave immediately on a work trip with Kara and your dad.'

Mrs Knottleweed-Eversprightly is an inventor at the famous Fairy Inc Corporation. Fairy Inc designs most of the gadgets that fairies use in their daily lives. The Self-Packers, for instance, were designed by Elly's mum. They're meant to make packing quicker. You just throw your clothes at the suitcase and it catches them in a mechanical arm, folds them and places them neatly inside itself. The only problem is that Self-Packers are very fussy about what you pack. They don't like clothes that have holes in them, for one thing — even buttonholes.

As fast as Mr and Mrs Knottleweed-Eversprightly threw clothes at the suitcases, the mechanical arm of the Self-Packer would throw them back out again. It was making packing a very long task indeed.

Elly noticed that one suitcase was still on top of the wardrobe. Her suitcase.

‘What about me?' she asked.

Her mother looked worried. ‘Unfortunately you're not allowed to come. It's a top-secret project.'

This was a shock. Elly had never been left behind before. She had a horrible feeling she might cry. ‘I won't tell anyone,' she said, blinking a lot. ‘I promise.'

Mrs Knottleweed-Eversprightly sighed. ‘I'm sorry, Elly. It's against the rules.'

‘So where will I go?' asked Elly.

Her parents looked at each other. ‘We were hoping that you could stay with your grandmother,' said Mr Knottleweed-Eversprightly.

Elly's heart sank. Grandmother Knottleweed-Eversprightly has strong ideas about the way young fairies should — and shouldn't — behave. And she doesn't like the way Elly behaves one little bit.

‘But your grandmother seems to be away,' continued Mrs Knottleweed-Eversprightly. ‘She's not answering her wand messages.'

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