The hobs that came with us were handpicked, loyal and eager to serve. While I knew for betrayal (don’t get me started about some of the things that get up at the monastery), I was just of two minds as I looked down at the unconscious form of Bÿglar and puzzled over why he had betrayed Liz. Of course, I couldn’t just kill him without knowing for sure. The fairies thought it was right and just to do whatever I decided to do as the biggest and strongest in our group. Which meant I spent the next hour bandaging poor Bÿglar’s head and healing him just a little so he didn’t suffer brain damage or anything; at the same time trying to explain to creatures no taller than my hand is long, with a predilection for who was the prettiest, that the biggest isn’t always the leader, and that the prettiest isn’t either.
I almost had them until that last part. That part about the leader not being the prettiest was obviously some sort of humor on my part and they laughed and laughed, while nudging one another and subtly flying away from me. I sighed very heavily and finished tending Bÿglar, muttering about the inanity of fairies when one of quiet ones in Booty Shake’s crew flew up to me and poked me on the end of my nose. Not with anything sharp, just with her finger. But she was very insistent that she had my full attention.
She introduced herself as Magdalena, or Magda for short. And short she was, let me tell you. She was a full head shorter than Booty Shake, and a little more plump all over. Granted Booty’s namesake was round and plump, not that I’ve noticed, but Magda was what Sister Edna referred to as “Big Boned”.
“Did you mean what you said just now?” she asked, crossing her arms over her ample bosom, “or were you just pontificating for the hair pair?”
“Of course,” I answered, a little baffled by the hair pair comment. “I always mean what I say. I just sometimes learn later I’m an idiot. Why do you ask?”
She pondered that for a moment and nodded once. “Fine. I can accept that. Based on my observations of the past two days, it has become clear that you need someone to assist you in your daily activities.” She paused to squint at me. “While I may regret this later, I would like to apply for the position of your chief advisor.”
I looked at her for a bit. First of all, why she thought I needed a chief advisor was ridiculous. Second, I’d never really heard a fairy say anything so intellectual, nor string that many words together without a pout, primp, simper or giggle. Frankly, I didn’t know they were capable. My experience has been rather limited, I’ll admit.
“Why by the nine and sixty kingdoms do you believe I need an advisor? I mean, seriously. Look how well I’ve handled all this,” and I spread my hands out to encompass the entirety of the clearing.
“I see. Maybe you are too thick for me to bother with,” she said, and flew where Booty Shake and her crew were staking out prime branch perches.
“Wait,” I called, a little baffled. “Give me an example of why I need an advisor.”
Magda stopped, turned and tutted at me. Honest, just crossed her arms, and wagged one finger in my direction.
“I’ll give you three,” she said, pointing to my unconscious friends (and maybe enemy on the hob’s part).
“I had nothing to do with injuring any of them.”
She raised her eyebrows, which I’m here to tell you is a very hard thing to pull off as a fairy, I mean, their faces are about the size of the pad of my thumb, and their eyebrows even smaller, as you would expect. But she could talk with those eyebrows. For a moment I had a fleeting memory of Sister Gwendolyn who was the first sister I saw worshiping. She had been almost seventeen at the time and had the most amazing eyebrows. Oh, her other physical assets were breath-taking, but when she looked at you and raised those eyebrows, you knew you were in for something that was going to change the way the world spun. Unfortunately for me, it was a beating for sneaking into the shower to watch her practicing self-healing. It was fascinating and well worth the beating. And honestly, I think she may have let me off with a warning if I hadn’t been caught by Brother Durham, jerk.
Anyway, Magda, eyebrows. Trying to stay focused. Had to drift a little over the memory of Gwendolyn. Funny how I was like nine or ten summers when I saw her in all her glory, which did almost nothing for me at the time. I wonder whatever happened to her?
Okay, second digression… but she had the most amazing aureoles. Focus. Magda. Yes, Magda and her eyebrows.
When I apparently stopped to ponder Gwendolyn, Magda took that as a sign of me being a tad slower than I truly am, and dropped her waving finger and shook her head. I think that’s what sealed the deal.
“You are either a shrewd negotiator, or slower than Booty Shake doing ciphers.
I shook my head, trying to clear my mind of Gwendolyn’s bosom and smiled. “Explain further?” I asked.
With a sigh and one of the most professional eye-rolls I’ve ever seen, Magda flew up to me, and pointed at my unconscious friends one at a time.
“First,” she said, pointing at Liz. “It is obvious you are in love with the lizard girl.”
I blinked and did not interrupt.
“Secondly, you have had intimate relations with that Lilith woman, and both of you want it to happen and again, and yet you both are afraid to make the first move.”
That puzzled me, as Lilith herself had never wanted to be intimate with me. Her alternate personality, however… she usually didn’t even ask.
“And lastly,” Magda thumped my nose before going further as my eyes must’ve began to glaze over again in thought.
“Lastly,” she repeated. “The hobgoblin you rescued wears the same uniform of the one you so reverently pulled from that tree. They both are young and eager, and they both carry your mark.”