Jean glanced at Nisrioch as they walked down the hall. “So--that was magic?”
Nisrioch nodded. “Indubitably.”
Jean stared at him. “You standing with--that hat on your head talking to yourself? That was magic?”
“Yes,” he replied. “And I only appeared to be talking to myself. I was in fact talking to someone hundred of miles away. Several someones, actually.” He grinned. “I keep telling everyone--this is the way of the future. Thoughtspeak--over unfathomable distances--whenever we so desire! But no one listens. Or they listen, nod politely, and move swiftly away at the soonest possible opportunity.” The Dark Lord sighed. “Sometimes I think that I should abandon the whole--hat motif, but then I ask myself--what more convenient portable form could such a thing take that wasn’t a hat, and I realize my misgivings are mere silliness.”
Jean nodded. “Right. Right. Uh huh.”
Nisrioch glanced at her. “You’re considering moving swiftly away, aren’t you?”
“At the soonest possible opportunity,” replied Jean.
“Bugger the bastards!” declared Hoppedance emphatically. “Shit-for-brains!”
Nisrioch looked at the crow. “Why thank you. I’m glad to see someone has at last grasped the scope of my vision.”
Jean rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Yeah, and he’s a crow.”
“A magical crow,” pointed out Nisrioch.
“He’s still a crow!” shouted Jean. “He EATS rotting things! I know! I feed them to him!”
Nisrioch grinned. “That’s really no way to be talking about your familiar, Miss Crow.”
“I am going to hate being your apprentice, aren’t I?” snarled Jean.
Nisrioch leaned his head forward in thought. “I hope not, but I must confess, it takes a steep learning curve to appreciate the wisdom that flows from me like a gentle river, dampening one’s feet with illumination, so that enlightenment gradually enters the body. Like a cold.”
Jean rubbed her temples. “Oh, yeah. It’s going to be great. I can tell.”
“That’s the spirit!” declared Nisrioch, slapping her cheerfully on the back. “Keen anticipation for the adventure ahead!”
Jean was trying to think of something to say to that, when much to her relief, something happened that made the whole discussion moot. “Uncle Nissy! Uncle Nissy!” came the cheerful voice of Malina, rushing towards them, soon followed by the cheerful form of Malina rushing towards them. She leapt up at her uncle, using her wings to give herself a boost. “It’s--oh--it’s--it’s…”
Nisrioch smiled fondly at his niece. “What is it, Flibbertigibbet?”
Malina stared at him wonder. “You HAVE to see! Everyone has to see! It’s--it’s--SO COOL!”
Jean watched the young girl rush away. “Are we--following her?”
Nisrioch glanced at his apprentice. “But of course, Miss Crow. My niece says she’s found something cool.” The Dark Lord rushed off after her. “Come! To ADVENTURE!”
Jean groaned. It had taken roughly ten minutes for being magical to become mostly a source of new annoyances.
And in the time since then, the new annoyances had insisted on multiplying.