Episode 71: Gretchen: The Hiding Place of Magical Glasses by Jim Davies

I followed Waffles and Dichall out of Vivian’s room. I glanced back at the girl.

She looked at me, stone-faced. “Just go away.”

If our diplomat couldn’t win her over, I certainly wouldn’t, so I said nothing and crept out of the room. I felt Emerson’s worry through our minds’ link. “I know, my sweet. I don’t know what we’re going to do, either. We’ll figure it out.”

I looked around the room I was in and sniffed the air. I could smell Waffles and Magnitrude. I looked up. As the gravity of the tower held us to the inside of the outer wall, the ceiling, which was little more than a central spoke of the tower, was much smaller than the floor. Each room was a wedge, and we stood on the bottom of it. It made me dizzy just to think about it. 

I got down on all fours and sniffed the floor until I caught the scent of Magnitrude. It led me to a closed door. The fit was pretty tight. I nosed underneath it, but my head wouldn’t fit through. I sniffed. She’s definitely in there. 

I stood, and Emerson crawled down my arm to my wrist and looked at me. “Okay, schatzi. Let’s see if you can get in there…”

Emerson buzzed at me good-naturedly. I placed her on the floor, and she spread her wings flat. I gently pushed her under. She just fit. My, but that door was tight in the frame. I reached as far as I could and got her through to the other side. Then I hid myself behind a bear stuffy (which had three legs) and concentrated. 

My spirit was drawn into Emerson’s mind, and I saw through her eyes. She’d already started flying, and I directed her motion with my will. Magnitrude was in there, looking around the room with the magic glasses in her hand. Remembering that she was afraid of bugs, I flew Emerson to the ceiling and looked down from there. It was a dizzying view. 

Magnitrude opened a roll-top desk. She used care, because the bottom lip of the roll-top appeared to be a set of sharp teeth that fit neatly into little holes in the desktop when closed. I reminded myself to take care—a locus in Pananima often has life even in inanimate things, and the walls (and everything else) might have eyes… The desk yawned.

Magnitrude grumbled to herself as she churned through the cluttered contents of the desk. I turned Emerson in a circle and got a feel for the whole room. It was windowless, lit by a single lantern apparently filled with luminous bugs. It appeared to function as a library and study, cluttered with bric-a-brac piled on sagging shelves. There were a million places for a mouse (or a moth) to hide. 

Turning back to Magnitrude, I caught a glimpse of Eve Pixiedrowner clinging still to the folds of Magnitrude’s dress. Unless the creature had a superb sense of smell, Eve would be safe. She blended right in to the colours. 

With a satisfied grunt Magnitrude produced a box from the pile of junk, causing a small cascade of paper and a few quill pens to fall to the rug on the floor. She sat on an overstuffed sofa, opened the box on her lap, and placed the glasses inside. She fastened the lid of the box with its metal latch and hid it on a shelf, behind some books. 

And if Dichall didn’t somehow get Gombree to help us, I’m not sure how we’d get in this room, get to the box, and manage to open it. 

Good luck, Dichall. 




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