Torquis in Machina, Part 9

“Don’t you think it’s a bit of a coincidence,” Creepy pursued relentlessly, “that the great hero of this land happens to have a name that’s exactly the same as yours?”

“Stranger things have happened,” I replied.

“Name one.”

“Your codpiece.”

I had the almost unique pleasure of watching Creepy, thinking himself securely hidden by darkness, open and close his mouth impotently.

“I have to go along with Sir Garçon on that one,” Yoru conceded.

“Well, Creepy, it seems our course is clear,” I said. “We’ll have to get out of here, and confront this dark mage who is misusing the good name of Hatboy.”

“Good idea,” Yoru said. “While you’re thirty-five feet tall, you can clean some windows, make enough money to buy your sword back.”

I realised the colossal, unlikely-looking cobbler was right. Not only could I think of no way to magic my way out of the hole we were trapped in, but I’d been disarmed. The Hatpin, legendary sword of Sir Garçon de Chapeau, might even now be falling into the evil clutches of the other Hatboy.

“Hm,” I said, and stood on my tip-toes again to look out through the door. “Maybe there’s enough stuff lying around for us to make some sort of ladder.”

“If they catch you fiddling around with the locks, they’ll cut your acorns off,” Yoru repeated, “and are you still walking around with your night-eyes on? Conserve your energy. There’s nothing to see down here, and if you’re unconscious with exhaustion tomorrow when they throw the ladder down, they’ll leave you here for another day and a night. And there’s no food.”

“Charming,” I muttered, but decided he was right. Not about my magic exhausting me, though. Whether it was the rays of the Xixian sun making me into Superman, or some other factor, I didn’t seem to have limits the way other Paladins had, another thing that made it easy to pass Paladin School. But there really was nothing to see down here. Besides, his comment about the ladder had given me another idea.

“I need coke,” Creepy complained as I tried to make myself comfortable against the wall. I ignored him, and so did Yoru.

Summoning up a Paladin spell few people ever master – with the exception of the erstwhile Hatboy, of course – I reached out with my mind. Drifting free, I went in search of assistance.

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