Canto 10 – In the Home of the Leaf Witch
The Mouse King seemed extremely happy that Poppy’s spell brought him new Sylphs, Butterfly Children, and Elves. He led all the new folks to the feast hall that had apparently been closed up for a while before their arrival.
“Please, make yourselves at home. You are welcome here, as long as your allegiance shifts from the Unseely Court to our people!” the Mouse said enthusiastically.
“You are not going to feed these imposters when they could be put to better use attacking the enemy on the battlefield?” growled Lord Lancelot.
“Nonsense. These Fey Children are our brothers now. We need them to fill in for all the families we have lost recently. We must make them feel welcome.”
A beautiful young-looking Sylph girl wearing only leaves and a simple loincloth came into the room leading a chain of Sylph children, each carrying bowls of freshly made food.
“Zam has welcome feast for all new guys!” said the girl.
“Who is Zam?” PoppenSparkle asked Tod.
“She is. Zam is the Mouse King’s wife. She’s a very unusual Sylph, better known as the Leaf Witch.”
Poppy suddenly realized how many of the spell scrolls she’d been given to read since her liberation from the Necromancer had the Leaf Witch’s name on them.
“She has magical skills like yours,” said Flute to Poppy. “I discovered her when we needed to slay the dragon, Darvon Redsoul.” He smiled, beaming with pride at his own accomplishment.
“How do we know we can trust these people?” Lancelot said loudly to everyone.
“What do you mean?” asked the Mouse King.
“Less than an hour ago, all these people were Gobbuluns! Or am I mistaken about what I saw?”
“You are not mistaken. PoppenSparkle, my newest apprentice, has developed a rare spell that polymorphs members of the Unseely Court into full-blooded members of the Fey Children.” Prince Flute indicated Poppy where she sat next to him, and all eyes turned to focus uncomfortably on her.
Lancelot focused angry, red eyes on her. “So, how exactly did you do that, Miss Butterfly Witch?”
“Well, I… uh…”
“I kin tells ya that!” exclaimed young Schtinker.
“Oh? And how does she do it, then?”
“She makes ‘em smarter! They changes cuz they is no longer dumb enough to be Gobbuluns.”
“And what does it mean, then, that you sound so dumb?” Lancelot glared so fiercely that Schtinker hid behind Glittershine’s wings.”
“That’s it! That has to be how they do it!” shouted a young Elf from across the hall.
“And what do you mean by that, Gobbulun-boy?” Lancelot shouted back.
“I was a Gobbulun just a short while ago because Lord Toxiss had me as a prisoner of war, and he changed me from an Elf into a Cyclopes. He did it with a spray of smelly goo that made me get dumber and dumber until I believed I was a Cyclopes. The Butterfly Witch changed me back by making me smarter again with her magical mist.”
“Of course! As simple as that!” said Flute, slapping his bare knee with the eureka moment.
“What do you mean?” asked Lancelot.
“It’s the fundamental magical formula that we have been researching all this time. The key is knowledge… intelligence! Our very existence is based on the beliefs of Slow Ones that there is magic in the world, simply not yet understood by their science. And believing in something can make it so. So, by increasing intelligence and understanding, you build a foundation to hold up that belief. The more you know, the more strongly you believe!”
“So, how does that help us at present? We are surrounded by the enemy, stupid, malevolent, violent Gobbuluns, outnumbering us by hundreds to one. You want to teach them all basic grammar or something?” Lancelot was wildly gesturing in all directions as he spoke angry words.
Zam the Leaf Witch suddenly climbed up on the table so she could look down on Lancelot with a goofy grin on her child-like face. She ignited a purple, magical flame in her right hand.
“You is not getting it, Lancy. Is not smartness from the head we is talking about. It is from the heart. Knowledge and Love combined is what be magical. Miss Poppy-Sparky is right to change Gobbuluns to Fey Children. Even they is knowing it be more right that way. You needs to try a dose.”
Whatever the purple fire in the witch’s hand was, she launched it directly at Lancelot’s chest. But when it struck the area where his heart should be, it burst and dissipated.
Lancelot looked dumbstruck. And then, obviously, that was immediately converted to shame. He turned and left the feast hall with his head hanging low.
“Lord Lancy have been doing the fighting thing for too many, many years. He be kinda down-hearted. We forgives him. He will get better.”
The feast settled down into conversations and the enjoyment of Fairy dishes like mushroom tips, bean sprouts, dandelion butter, and mint leaves. The relieved residents of Cornucopia welcomed the new replacement Fairies that had once been Gobbuluns.
“She’s a treasure, that one,” said Flute, pointing at Zam. “No one gets the better of her in her own feast hall. Not even Lord Lancelot.”
“What was that spell she put on Lancelot?” Tod asked.
“A heart spell of some kind,” answered Glittershine. “But didn’t you notice? It didn’t reach his heart.”