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A Spell for Chameleon - Chapter 1 - Xanth - Page 2

(2006-12-03 20:07:43)
分类: 我的文章

  Sabrina, respecting his flurry of contemplation, began her holograph. A haze of blue appeared before her, hanging over the slope. It expanded, thinning at the edges, intensifying in the center, until it was two feet in diameter. It looked like thick smoke, but did not dissipate or drift.
  萨布莱娜遵从了他强烈的愿望,开始施展自己的全息造像魔法。一团蓝色烟雾在她面前出现,悬浮在山坡上。烟雾的范围渐渐扩大,边缘稀薄,越往中间越浓,到两英尺宽的时候停了下来。看上去就像一团浓烟,既不消散,也不飘动。

  Now she began to hum. She had a good voice-not a great one, but right for her magic. At the sound, the blue cloud quivered and solidified, becoming roughly spherical. Then she changed her pitch, and the outer rim turned yellow. She opened her mouth, singing the word "girl," and the colors assumed the shape of a young lass in a blue dress with yellow frills. The figure was three-dimensional, visible from all sides with differing perspective.
  萨布莱娜开始轻吟。她有一副好嗓子,也许还算不上天籁之音,但是对于她的魔法来说再合适不过了。随着声音,那团蓝雾抖动起来,逐渐实体化,外形成为一个粗糙的球体。然后她变化音调,烟雾外缘变成了黄色。她开口唱出“少女”这个词的时候,烟雾也跟着变幻成为一位身着黄色荷叶边蓝裙的少女。少女的轮廓是立体的,从任何角度看去都清晰可见。

  It was a fine talent, Sabrina could sculpt anything-but the images vanished the moment her concentration stopped, and never had any physical substance. So this was, strictly speaking, useless magic. It did not improve her life in any material fashion.
  多么优秀的天赋,萨布莱娜能变出任何东西——但是如果她的注意力稍不集中,造像也就随之消失,不会留下一丝痕迹。所以严格说来,这是一种毫无用处的魔法,不会给她的生活带来任何实质性的改变。

  Yet how many talents really did help their people? One person could make a leaf of a tree wither and die as he looked at it. Another could create the odor of sour milk. Another could make insane laughter bubble up from the ground. These were all magic, no question about it-but what use were they? Why should such people qualify as citizens of Xanth while Bink, who was smart, strong, and handsome, was disqualified? Yet that was the absolute rule: no nonmagical person could remain beyond his quarter-century mark.
  然而又有多少魔法是对它们的拥有者真正有用的呢?一个人只要盯着树叶看就能让它枯萎死去。另一个可以变出酸牛奶的味道。还有人可以让大地发出类似冒泡一样的疯狂大笑。毫无疑问,这些都是魔法——但它们有什么用?为什么这些人就有资格成为赞斯的公民,而他,聪明、强壮、英俊潇洒的宾克却不是?但是这是绝对的法则:二十五岁一到,任何不会魔法的人都甭想留在赞斯。

  Sabrina was right: he had to identify his talent. He had never been able to find it on his own, so he should pay the Good Magician's price. Not only would this preserve him from exile-which really might be a fate worse than death, since what was the point in life without magic?-and win him Sabrina, a fate considerably better than death. It would also redeem his battered self-respect. He had no choice.
  萨布莱娜说的对:他必须得找到自己的魔法天赋。他既然自己找不到,那么就得通过付出代价请优秀的魔法师帮忙。这样不仅可以使他免于放逐——这种命运可能比死亡还可怕,在没有魔法的世界里生活算怎么回事?——同时还会赢得萨布莱娜,这种命运又比死亡好上千百倍。宾克甚至还可以找回自己屡屡受挫的尊严。因此他别无选择。

  "Oh!" Sabrina exclaimed, clapping her hands to her pert derriere. The holograph dissolved, the blue-dressed girl distorting grotesquely before she vanished. "I'm on fire!"
   “噢!”萨布莱娜尖叫一声,双手拍打她漂亮的臀部。全息造像魔法消失了,身着蓝裙的少女在消失前扭曲成滑稽可笑的样子,“我着火了!”

  Bink stepped toward her, alarmed. But even as he moved, there was loud juvenile laughter. Sabrina whiffed furiously. "Numbo, you stop that!" she cried. She was one of those girls who was as appealing in anger as in joy. "It's not funny."
  宾克惊惶失措地朝她跑去。可他刚迈出步子,就听见一个年轻人的大笑。萨布莱娜连呼出的气息都充满了怒火:“南波,你给我住手!”她大喝道。她是那种连发火都魅力十足的女孩。“一点也不好玩。”

  It was, of course, Numbo who had given her a magical hotseat, a fiery pain in the posterior. Talk about a useless talent! Bink, his fists clenched so tightly that his thumb jammed into the stub of his missing finger, strode toward the grinning youth standing behind Lookout Rock. Numbo was fifteen, cocky and annoying; he needed a lesson.
  这一定是南波给她施了“热椅子”魔法,让被施法者的臀部火烧火燎地疼。说来还真是个没用的魔法!宾克紧紧攥住拳头,大拇指死死抵住中指的断根处。他大步奔向眺望岩后那个嬉皮笑脸的小子。南波十五岁了,一副趾高气昂的样子,令人讨厌;得好好教训他一顿才行。

  But Bink's foot struck a loose rock, which turned his ankle long enough to cost him his balance. It didn't hurt, but it interrupted his forward progress. His hand swung forward-and his fingers touched an invisible wall.
  但是宾克一脚踩在了一块松软的岩石上,脚下一崴,险些摔倒。虽然不疼,却减缓了他前进的脚步。他的手向前挥舞着,手指触到了一堵看不见的墙。

  There was another shout of laughter. Bink hadn't crashed headlong into the wall, thanks to the providential stone under his foot, but evidently someone thought he had.
  又有一个人大笑起来。幸亏踩到那块石头,宾克才没有一头撞在墙上,但显然有人以为他撞了个正着。

  "You too, Chilk" Sabrina said. That was Chilk's talent: the wall. It was a kind of complement to Sabrina's talent; instead of being visible without substance, it had substance without visibility. It was only six feet square; and, like so many talents, it was strictly temporary-but it was hard as steel in the first few moments.
  “还有你,丘克。”萨布莱娜道。那是丘克的魔法:透明墙。这种魔法跟萨布莱娜的截然相反。一个看得见摸不着,一个摸得着看不见。那面墙只有六英尺见方;并且和大多数魔法一样,持续时间极短——可是在形成的初期却坚如磐石。

  Bink could dodge around it and run the kid down-but he was sure to get caught several times by that re-manifesting wall, and suffer more damage than be could do to the boy. It wasn't worth it. If only he had a talent of his own, such as Numbo's hotseat, he could make the joker sorry regardless of the wall. But he didn't, and Chilk knew it. Everyone knew it. That was Bink's big problem. He was fair game for all the pranksters, because he couldn't strike back-not magically, and it was deemed crass to do it physically. Right now he was quite ready to be crass, however.
  宾克当然可以绕过那面墙继续追那小子,可他也确信丘克能够连续对他使用多次透明墙魔法,让他撞得头破血流。他又不能把那家伙也打成这样。太不值得了。如果他有自己的魔法,就像南波的“热椅子”,即使有透明墙在,他也可以让他们好看。但是他没有,丘克知道。所有人都知道。这是宾克最大的问题所在。宾克是所有恶作剧者嘲笑的对象,因为他毫无还手之力——用魔法还手,凭体力打架大家会认为你很野蛮。但是现在,他打算好好揍他们一顿,管他野蛮不野蛮。

  "Let's get out of here, Bink," Sabrina said. There was disgust in her voice, nominally directed at the intruders, but Bink suspected part of it applied to him. An impotent kind of rage began building up-one he had felt many times before, and had never gotten used to. He had been balked from proposing to her by the lack of a talent, and he could not stay here, for the same reason. Not here at Lookout Rock or here in Xanth. Because he didn't fit.
  “我们走,宾克。”萨布莱娜说,语气里充满了对那些捣蛋鬼的嫌恶,但宾克怀疑其中有一部分是针对他的。一种愤怒但又无能为力的感觉涌上心头——这种感觉有很多次了,他始终无法习惯。没有魔法,宾克不敢向她求婚,同样因为没有魔法,他也不能呆着这里。无论是眺望岩还是赞斯都没有他的容身之地,因为他不配。

  They walked back down the path. The jokers, getting no further rise from their prey, went in search of other mischief. The landscape no longer seemed so lovely. Maybe he'd be better off away from here. Maybe he should take off now, not waiting to be officially exiled. If Sabrina really loved him, she'd come with him-even Outside, into Mundania.
  他们沿着小路向回走。那几个捣蛋鬼没有继续纠缠,而是找别人寻开心去了。在宾克眼里,风景看上去也不那么美丽了。也许他最好还是离开这里。也许他应该马上就走,不要等着被正式地驱逐出境。如果萨布莱娜真的爱他,就该跟他一起走——哪怕是离开赞斯到平凡世界去。

  No, he knew better than that. Sabrina loved him-but she loved Xanth, too. She had such a sweet shape, such kissable lips, that she could find another man much more easily than she could adjust to the rigors of life among the nonmagical. For that matter, he could find another gift more easily than... what he faced. So probably, objectively, he'd be better off going alone. So why didn't his heart agree?
  不,这是不可能的,他心知肚明。萨布莱娜爱他,但也爱赞斯。她有曼妙的身材,迷人的嘴唇,她可以轻而易举地另找个男人,至少比适应平凡世界那严酷的生活要简单得多。其实,他也可以另外找一个女孩……至少比娶眼前这个要容易得多。所以客观地说,他最好应该选择独自离开。那么为什么他的内心要坚决反对呢?

  They passed the brown stone where the chameleon had perched, and he shuddered.
  他们经过那只小变色龙趴过的褐色石头,宾克打了个寒战。

  "Why don't you ask Justin?" Sabrina suggested as they approached the village. It was dusk, closing in faster here than up at Lookout Rock. The village lamps were coming on.
  “你为什么不问问贾斯丁?”快到村子的时候萨布莱娜建议他说。天色渐暗,这里天黑得比眺望岩要早,村子里已经亮起了灯。

  Bink glanced across at the unique tree she indicated. There were many kinds of trees in Xanth, a number of them vital to the economy. Beerbarrel trees were tapped for drink, and oilbarrel trees for fuel, and Bink's own footwear came from a mature shoe tree east of the village. But Justin Tree was something special, a species never sprouted from seed. Its leaves were shaped like flat hands, and its trunk was the hue of tanned human flesh. This was scarcely surprising, since it had once been human.
  宾克瞥了一眼她说的那株独一无二的树。赞斯的树木多种多样,有一些在日常生活中起着至关重要的作用。酒桶树里淌出美酒,油桶树里流出燃料,宾克穿的鞋就来自村子东边的一株成年鞋树。但是贾斯丁树有点特别,它不是由种子生根发芽长出来的。它的树叶像扁平的手掌,树干看上去如同人晒得黝黑的皮肤。这一点也不奇怪,因为它曾经是一个人。

  In an instant that history flashed across Bink's mind-part of the dynamic folklore of Xanth. Twenty years ago there had been one of the greatest of the Evil Magicians: a young man named Trent. He had possessed the power of transformation-the ability to change any living thing into any other living thing, instantly. Not satisfied with his status of Magician, granted in recognition of the awesome strength of his magic, Trent had sought to use his power to preempt the throne of Xanth. His procedure had been simple and most direct: he transformed anyone who opposed him into something that could not oppose him. The worst threats he converted to fish-on dry land, allowing them to flop until they died. The mere nuisances he changed to animals or plants. Thus several intelligent animals owed their status to him; though they were dragons, two-headed wolves, and land-octopi, they retained the intelligence and perspective of their human origins.
  宾克的脑海里立刻浮现出了往事——一些赞斯鲜活的民间传说。二十年前,这里出了一个法力无边的邪恶魔法师,一个名叫特伦特的青年。他会使用一种变形魔法——一瞬间就可以把一种生物变成另一种生物。人们承认他那令人畏惧的魔法力量,但是特伦特并不满足于魔法师的地位,他寻求用他的力量来夺取赞斯的王座。他采取了最简单也最直接的做法:把任何反对他的人变成不可能反对他的东西。给他最大威胁的反对者被变成了鱼——落在地面上,扑腾几下就一命呜呼了。不那么棘手的敌人被变成了动物和植物。之所以一些动物非常聪明完全是拜特伦特所赐。虽然他们变成了龙、双头狼和陆行章鱼,却仍然保留着智力和人类的本性。

  Trent was gone now-but his works remained, for there was no other transformer to change them back. Holographs, hotseats, and invisible walls were qualifying talents, but transformation was of a different order. Only once in a generation did such power manifest in an individual, and it seldom manifested twice in the same form. Justin had been one of Magician Trent's annoyances-no one remembered exactly what he had done-so Justin was a tree. No one had the ability to change him back into a man.
  特兰特早已不在了——但他的作品仍然留存至今,因为没有其他的变形术法师能够把它们再变回来。全息造像、热椅子、透明墙,这些都算魔法,可和变形术一比就小巫见大巫了,它们完全不是一个级别的魔法。一代人之中也只会有一个人拥有如此强大的魔法,表现形式也不可能完全一样。贾斯丁就是法师特伦特的一个威胁不大的敌人——没有人记得他到底做过什么得罪了特伦特的事情——总之他变成了一棵树。没人有这个本事把他重新变成人。

  Justin's own talent had been voice projection-not the parlor trick that was ventriloquism, or the trivial talent of insane laughter, but genuine comprehensible utterance at a distance without the use of vocal cords. He retained this talent as a tree, and as he had a great deal of time for thought, villagers often came to this tree for advice. Often it was good advice. Justin was no genius, but a tree had greater objectivity about human problems.
  贾斯丁的魔法是声音投影——不是口技之类的室内小把戏,也不是发出狂笑一类的拙劣魔法,那是真正不经过声带却能隔着很远的距离便把声音清清楚楚地表达出来。变成树之后他没有失去声音投影魔法,而且他还拥有了更多的时间用来思考问题,村民们经常来这里听取他的建议。贾斯丁不是天才,但是考虑起人类的问题来,树却要比人类自身更加客观。

  It occurred to Bink that Justin might actually be better off as a tree than he had been as a man. He liked people, but it was said that in his human form he had not been handsome. As a tree he was quite stately, and no threat to anyone.
  宾克觉得贾斯丁作为一棵树比他作为一个人的时候要强。他喜欢大家,据说还是个人的时候贾斯丁并不英俊。变成树之后却更有威严,对他人也没有什么威胁。

  They veered to approach Justin. Suddenly a voice spoke directly in front of them: "Do not approach, friends; ruffians are lurking."
  二人转身朝贾斯丁走去。忽然一个声音在他们正前方响起:“别过来,朋友;这里埋伏着坏蛋。”

  Bink and Sabrina drew up short. "Is that you, Justin?'' she asked. "Who is lurking?"
  宾克和萨布莱娜闻声止步。“是你吗,贾斯丁?”她问,“谁藏在那儿?”

  But the tree could not hear as well as it could speak, and did not answer. Wood did not seem to make the best ears.
  那棵树的听力远不及它的声音了得,它没有回答。木头做的耳朵果然不行。

  Bink, angry, took a step toward it. "Justin is public scenery," he muttered. "Nobody has a right to-"
  宾克生气了,朝它走去。“贾斯丁是大家共有的,”他嘟囔道,“没人有权——”

  "Please, Bink!" Sabrina urged, pulling back on arm. "We don't want any trouble."
  “拜托,宾克!”萨布莱娜一把拉住他的胳膊,“我们还不想惹麻烦。”

  No, she never wanted any trouble. He would not go so far as to call this a fault in her, but at times it became annoyingly inconvenient Bink himself never let trouble bar him from a matter of principle. Still, Sabrina was beautiful, and he had caused her trouble enough already tonight. He turned to accompany her away from the tree.
  当然,她不想惹任何麻烦。他也不会说这是她的缺点,可有时候他觉得这种做法太令人恼火,原则问题上,宾克可从来不管是不是会惹麻烦。可是,萨布莱娜是如此美丽,而且今晚他已经给她惹了不少麻烦。他转身和萨布莱娜一起离开了那棵树。

  "Hey, no fair!" a voice exclaimed. "They're going away."
  “嘿,这不公平!”一个声音吼道,“他们要走。”

  "Justin must've tattled," another cried.
  “准是贾斯丁泄的密。”另一个声音嚷道。

  "Then let's chop down Justin."
  “我们把贾斯丁砍了吧。”

  Bink halted again. "They wouldn't!" he said.
  宾克停住脚步,“他们不会吧!”他说。

  "Of course they wouldn't," Sabrina agreed. "Justin is a village monument. Ignore them."
  “当然不会,”萨布莱娜同意他的话,“贾斯丁可是村子的一座纪念碑。别管他们。”

  But the voice of the tree came again, a bit misplaced in relation to Bink and Sabrina-evidence of poor concentration. "Friends, please fetch the King quickly. These ruffians have an axe or something, and they've been eating locoberries."
  但是树的声音又响了起来,发音位置出了点小小的偏差——他的注意力并没有完全集中在发音上。“朋友,立刻去请国王来。这些坏蛋有斧头或其他什么东西,他们一直在吃疯莓。”

  "An axe!" Sabrina exclaimed in sheer horror.
  “斧头!”萨布莱娜惊恐万分地喊道。

  "The King is out of town," Bink muttered. "Anyway, he's senile."
  “国王不在镇子里,”宾克低声道,“怎么说呢,他已经老了。”

  "And he hasn't summoned more than a summer shower in years," Sabrina agreed. "Kids didn't dare make so much mischief when he had his full magic."
  “而且这么多年,他只在一个夏天召唤到了一场雨水,”萨布莱娜赞同道,“当他的魔法还处在巅峰状态时,小孩子可不敢跟他搞恶作剧。”

  "We certainly didn't," Bink said. "Remember the hurricane flanked by six tornadoes he summoned to put down the last wiggle spawning? He was a real Storm King then. He-"
  “我们当然不会,”宾克说,“还记得上次为了抑制孑孓产卵,他召唤来的那场飓风和六次龙卷风吗?那时他是真正的暴风之王。他——”

  There was the ringing sound of metal biting into wood. A scream of sheer agony erupted from the air. Bink and Sabrina jumped.
  金属砍进木头的声音回荡开来。空中爆发出一声惨叫。宾克和萨布莱娜都跳了起来。

  "That's Justin!" she said. "They're doing it."
  “是贾斯丁!”她说,“他们真的砍了。”

  "No time for the King anyway," Bink said. He charged toward the tree.
  “没时间去找国王了,”宾克说。他朝那棵树冲去。

  "Bink, you can't!" Sabrina cried after him, "You don't have any magic."
  “宾克,别过去!”萨布莱娜在他身后喊道,“你不会魔法。”

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