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It was nice to get his silver medal presented again in assembly. The kids even clapped quietly so he didn't end up running out the room like he often did when the clapping got loud. Fry didn't mind that Xiao had beaten him, he stood up with the bigger kids and spun the shiny medal round and round.

Mrs Patel said a few words about what an excellent achievement it was that so many of the kids had entered the maths competition, and how proud the school was of them. And then she called up the kids who had entered the lower rounds, and presented them with various prizes. Fry didn't really listen, until he heard George's name read out, and then he looked up.

"And Georgina has won the Year 3 challenge, which means she goes through to the national final!"

George is on the stage, being presented with a big trophy. Fry stares dumbfounded. George had entered the Year 6 contest with him, but not done so well, and she'd said she wasn't even going to the regional round.

He corners her as they go out of assembly.

"You said you weren't going." he says.

"Of course." George says, looking round. "My mum wrote to them and asked if I could go in the Year 3 round instead, because I knew there was a good chance I'd win." She grins. "And now I got my first ever trophy. I was going to tell you so you could do the same, but you called me a cheat, and I knew you'd beat me, so I didn't bother."

Fry bristles. George goes off with her trophy to join her friends.

"Fry?"

He looks around, and sees Xiao.

"Don't let her get to you." Xiao says. "You're really good, it was fun being your rival."

"Oh, thanks." Fry says, calming down. "Well played." he adds.

***

Back in the classroom, he notices Ruby is back, and has her arm in a cast. He goes to sit at his desk, without talking to her, anticipating continuous horse talk now for the rest of the morning. But Ruby is quiet.

"Where have you been?" he asks at break, when Ruby hasn't spoken a word for the whole morning.

Ruby stares at him.

"Hospital. You signed the card." she says, before her eyes fill with tears and she gets up and goes off.

Fry blinks after her. Teddy rolls his eyes.

"She broke her arm riding, Fry, we've been talking about it for weeks. She broke it in two bits and she had to have an operation and her Dad's selling the horse and said she's never allowed to ride again."

"Oh."

Suddenly, Fry remembers something: the wish.

I wish I never had to hear about Ruby's horse again

"Teddy?" he asks in a small voice. "When you make wishes, do they come true?"

"Sometimes." Teddy says, frowning. "Why?"

"I wished I never had to hear about the horse again." Fry says. "The day before she fell off. Is that why it happened?"

Nearby, George overhears his question. She doesn't answer it, but slips out the classroom.

"I heard wishes come true if you wish on a star." Teddy says. "But I don't know if you can wish at your desk, or if you can make a bad wish."

They go out into the playground and consult some experts. Tommy tells them that wishing definitely works, but only if you stick your finger in your ear and close one eye. Noah, who prays out loud before consuming any food or drink, is the most reassuring, and reassures Fry that even God doesn't make wishes happen all the time.

"Fry?" Mr Irons calls from the school building. "Can you come in for a minute please?"

Fry, glad of the distraction, comes inside. Xiao is already waiting there with Mr Irons.

"You two have letters." Mr Irons says. "From the Maths Challenge." he hands them out.

Fry opens his and reads it.

'Dear Alexander,
Thank you for your entry into the Inter-Schools Maths Challenge. The judges were most impressed with you for winning a silver certificate in the Year 6 category when, from your date of birth, you would normally be in Year 2.
We are keen to encourage younger students to enter the harder levels without being at a disadvantage. Since you did not get through to the Year 6 final, and we do not have a Year 2 category, we would like to invite you to the National Inter-School Maths Challenge Year 3 Finals, where you will have the chance of winning a trophy and also find out if you are in the top hundred mathematicians your age in the country!
Whether you choose to take up this offer or not, you should be proud of your achievements to date.'


Mr Irons watches him, watches his little eyes light up.

"Fry, this is so exciting!" Xiao says. "We're going to the final together!"

"Will my mum and dad let me go?" Fry asks, suddenly.

"You'll have to talk to them." Mr Irons says gently. "But I think I have an idea."

***

That afternoon, in class, Mr Irons gathers them together and tells them they're going to do a special project today. He hands out pieces of A3 paper.

"Remember the film we all watched, Inside Out?" he says. "I want you to draw your Islands of Personality. With the things that are important to you and make you who you are."

Fry stares at his piece of paper. An imagination task? He's never any good at these. Everyone else starts talking and drawing, and after a few minutes Mr Irons comes over to his desk.

"How do I know what they look like?" Fry asks.

"They look however you want them to." Mr Irons says. He crouches down next to his desk and adds quietly. "Don't worry about which emotion it is if you aren't sure. I think it's worth your time doing this. Trust me."

Fry nods. He does trust him. He looks back at the paper. Important things. Eventually he starts peering over at the others. Everyone else is putting family and friends, so he decides he probably ought to do that.

Then he looks across at Ruby's picture. She only has one island there, with a picture of her riding. Horsey pencils. Horsey rubber. Horsey pencil sharpener.

He turns back to his own picture, and comes up with three more Islands, before he looks back at Ruby's. Still just the one. Everyone's just starting to pack away now.

"Ruby?" he says eventually.

"What?" Ruby asks flatly.

"If riding was your only thing you should tell your Dad." Fry says. "Before he sells Princess."

"Why would you care?" Ruby snaps.

"It wasn't that I didn't care, I was just bored hearing about it." Fry says.

"We're all bored hearing you talk about your stupid maths challenge!" Ruby yells, "But I don't put a curse on you!"

Everyone is staring now. Fry puts his hands over his ears, and feels all the eyes turned on him.

"I didn't curse you. But I'm sorry." he says in a small voice, before running out the room.

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Alexander Jefry Sandhu (Fry)

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