The Mysterious Magic Hat
When Mickey and I heard that we were going to use the Magic Hat, Mickey got really excited. It was his turn to put on the ceremonial robe and bring out the hat.
“So, you do have the Magic Hat?” the girl Derfentwinkle asked while frowning.
“You know about that? What did Bluebottom tell you about it?”
“Nothing. But I read it in a letter he was writing. It’s a rare magic item that used to belong to Dezmodotto the Scroll and Sword Wizard. He believed you got hold of it when Dezmodotto died.”
“When Bluebottom killed him, you mean.”
“I didn’t know that part, but yes.”
“Everything that Derfie just said is true. Master Eli, however…” began Kack.
“Shut up, Kackenfurchtbar!” ordered Master Eli.
Meanwhile, Mickey had run to the vault-closet, used the key, and came back wearing the red apprentice robe and carrying the red, conical Magic Hat.
“I did it, Master! I brought the hat, and it didn’t turn me into a pigeon, and it didn’t suck out all my brainpower and make me stupid.”
“You mean it didn’t make you more stupid,” said Master Eli with a chuckle.
“Yes… um, I guess so.” Mickey put the hat on the floor between Master Eli and Derfentwinkle.
The hat itself was impressive. It was tall and stiff and red… covered with golden-yellow sigils and symbols.
Master Eli picked it up and immediately pulled another hat out of it. Another exact copy of the original hat.
“Here, Derf. Put this on your pointy head.”
“What is it going to do? Sort me into the proper house in the castle?”
“Ha! No! It’s good that you know about Slow Ones’ children’s literature, especially all the way from England. But this hat will judge whether you are evil or not. It may empty all the magic out of your head. Or it may turn you into a pigeon. I am interested to see.”
He put one of the two copies of the hat on Derfentwinkle’s head. Then he put the other on Mickey’s head.
“Why on my head?” Mickey squeaked.
“Because there may be secrets and spells that can alter the brain, and I don’t want them transferred into my head.”
Mickey looked at Derfentwinkle with horrified eyes.
“I know it is your turn to be the apprentice for this,” I told Mickey. “But if you are afraid, I will take the hat… if you need me to.”
“No, quiet boy. There won’t be anything that the mouse-boy won’t like. He’ll be okay.” She looked at me with what I hoped was a trustworthy look.
The hat on Derfentwinkle’s head began to hum… sort of. And at the same time Mickey’s eyes began to cross.
“MMMM! There it is! The sex magics!” crowed Mickey as his rat tail began to stiffen and twirl in small circles behind him.
Derfentwinkle appeared to be in pain. She dropped the plastic bottle containing the bottle imp, and held her stomach with both arms as if that’s where it hurt the most. I was concerned for her. Especially when her eyes dilated and she seemed to be staring through all of us with black orbs for eyes.
Then, mercifully, it all came to a stop.
“Aw, no! Where did the sex magics go? They were right here in my head. I knew how to do wonderful things.”
“Mickey, the hat absorbed all the evil spells. And then it recorded all the good ones. Just like it was meant to do,” said Master Eli.
“Oh, but I wanted to…”
“What? What did you want to do?”
“Um… I don’t know. The Magic Hat took it all out of my head again.”
“Just like it was meant to do. You were too young for any of that nonsense anyway.”
“Um, I am not feeling well,” said Derfentwinkle. “Can I lie down and sleep a little?”
She began to topple over, and I caught her up in both arms. She was really rather light to carry for a girl who was actually slightly taller than me.
“Well, the poor girl has just been through a wringer,” Master Eli said.
“Do I lay her down in the Harpy cage?” I asked, looking sadly at her unconscious face.”
“No, Bob. Take her to your bed… um, on second thought, take her to my bed. Let her sleep on the soft mattress there. But stay next to her. If she tries to escape or do something evil, you will need to kill her. But don’t get blood on my nice blankets.”
“How will she do evil in this state?” I asked.
“Oh, she won’t. Most likely you will just need to guard her and make her comfortable. If she has the wizard-skill I think she does, then she is going to be a very valuable property. So, be kind and take good care of her.
“Why does Bob get to do that good stuff, and not me?” complained Mickey.
“Because, although he’s not very bright. He’s smarter than you are, Mickey.” The stinky little wererat grumbled darkly as I carried the limp girl up the stair to the upper tower and gently placed her on master’s nice, soft bed.