What Happened To Sophie's Hat: Part Five
Part Five: In Which A Frying Pan Saves The Day
"There! I think I've finally managed to perfect it!" Nesmy crowed triumphantly, holding up the scroll that she had been scribbling on. After several modifications, the enchantment that she had written was better than ever, and she was sure it would latch on to Sophie's hat this time. Feeling very pleased with herself, she set down her quill and reached for her jewelled staff, which was still propped against the side of her work table. "It has to work," she said to herself. "I've been studying this hat for hours now. I just have to say the-"
Suddenly, a great, thundering explosion made the walls around her shake. Books shuddered on their shelves, and objects danced across her worktable. A few toppled over the edge and onto the floor, but Nesmy hardly noticed. She hurried to grab Sophie's hat, clutching it protectively to her chest. "What in Neopia was that?" she gasped, debating whether to run out and see what the commotion was, or remain in her work room. She would be safe from intruders in her workroom, but if her house was falling apart, it would probably be better to run away.
Of course, it could be both. If Sophie had managed to track her down, and was tearing her house apart in order to get to her... it would only be a matter of time before the swamp witch blasted past the enchantments on her door and came to retrieve her hat.
Nesmy sighed. There was only one thing for it. Tucking the enchantment scroll into a safe drawer where it would not be harmed, she grabbed Sophie's hat and hurried out into the hallway. As she rushed towards the front door, the noises grew louder - heavy thumps and a harsh, clattering sound that made her sensitive ears ring.
Just as she had suspected, Nesmy found Sophie in her living room, levitating her couch in the air and hammering it against the wall. There was already a large, gaping hole beside her front door, and she winced. The repair bills on this one were definitely going to be steep, and she would probably need a little landscaping help from Kacheek & Sons, too. Apparently, while Sophie had been busy tossing her furniture around, a plush armchair had landed in the middle of her vegetable and magical herb garden.
As she looked away from the hole in her wall and her ruined garden, Nesmy did another double-take. Sophie had not come alone. Edna was currently standing in the kitchen, bashing a frying pan against the side of a large black cauldron. Nesmy had never been much for potion-making, but she still kept one around. "You can stop now, Edna," she hollered, straining to be heard over the racket.
Edna continued banging for another few seconds before she finally noticed Nesmy. "Look!" she yelled, pointing imperiously with a crooked green paw. "She has the hat!"
Sophie let the couch fall with another loud thud, whirling on Nesmy instead. "Do you want to explain why you're holding that, Nesmy?" she asked with a snarl, her staff crackling with blue light.
Nesmy lifted her own staff, gripping it tight as the jewel at the top shone a brilliant green. "I apologize for stealing your hat, but I assure you, it was necessary," she said, trying to sound diplomatic even with two other angry witches glaring at her. "If you like, I'll give you the neopoints to replace it with a better one. Perhaps I should have offered to buy it from you first instead of just snatching it..."
"I don't want any old hat!" Sophie snapped. "I want my hat! I wouldn't have sold it to you anyway!"
"And that's why I took it instead of asking," Nesmy sighed. "Oh well..." She fixed her eyes on Sophie, and pointed her staff at the Ixi's forehead. "You will leave without the hat. You don't really want it anyway."
Sophie blinked, her face contorting as she tried to resist Nesmy's enchantment. But after a few moments, her lips began to move without her permission, although her angry scowl remained in place. "I will leave without my hat. I don't really want it anyway."
"Sophie!" Edna yelled, waving the frying pan desperately above her head. "Can't you see? She's enchanting you! You have to-"
"You will take Edna and go back to the Haunted Woods..."
"I will take Edna and go back to the Haunted Woods..."
Nesmy smiled as the blue light around Sophie's staff began to fade, and her own green light grew. "And you will not remember any of this."
"And I will not remember..."
"No!" Edna shouted, "you promised me you'd turn her into a pile of soot, not get hypnotized! Snap out of it!" She brandished the frying pan again, trying to make her point, but as she gestured towards Sophie, the handle slipped from her paw. Nesmy's concentration was broken as she watched it sail in a perfect arc, much farther than she had ever expected something as heavy as a frying pan to fly, and collide directly with Sophie's face.
"OUCH!" Sophie yelped, nearly dropping her staff as she clutched at her nose. The frying pan fell onto the cushioned carpet beneath her hooves. "Edna! Why didn't you hit her?"
"I wasn't trying to hit anybody! It just slipped!"
Nesmy glanced from Edna to the frying pan, and then back to Sophie. She had tried bargaining, she had tried enchantment, and now, it was probably time to make her exit before Sophie turned on her, even angrier than before. She began edging towards the hole Sophie had blasted into the wall, hoping that the Ixi wouldn't notice until she had a bit of a head start.
"Oh no you don't!" Sophie barked, brandishing her staff again and ignoring the throbbing pain in her nose. "I'm taking back my hat!"
Nesmy jumped as a blast of blue energy shot by her head, almost clipping her ear before it burnt into the wall behind her. "Last chance, Sophie," she said with a confidence she did not feel. "I'll forgive the damage to my house if you leave the hat with me."
Sophie only bared her teeth in a dangerous smile. "I don't think so."
This time, Nesmy was woefully unprepared for Sophie's attack. The room exploded in sizzling, flickering threads of blue shot through with white, and Nesmy was launched backwards through the air. Much like the frying pan, she sailed much further than she expected before falling back to the floor, landing directly on her fluffy cotton tail.
. . .
The first thing Nesmy saw when she opened her eyes was the clear sky above her. The second thing she saw was the large, gaping hole in her ceiling. Apparently, Sophie's blast had destroyed the roof of her cottage, and she would have to make an even bigger withdrawal from the National Neopian Bank than she had anticipated.
Next, she took stock of herself to make sure that she wasn't injured. Her clothes were in tatters, and she had several bruises and singed patches of fur, but otherwise, she seemed to be all right. Both of her paws worked, and the right one was clutched around the handle of her staff. Thanks to its protective enchantments, it was still in one piece. The hat that she had been clutching in her left paw, however, had not fared nearly as well. Sophie's hat might have been worn and patched before, but now, it was not even recognizable.
"Here," Nesmy said, staring down at the shredded scraps of fabric. She tossed them carelessly towards Sophie's hooves, letting them fall beside the frying pan. "I guess I won't be needing this anymore. Enjoy your hat."
Sophie blinked at Nesmy. Then, she looked down at the scraps. She bent down, picked them up and tucked them into the front of her dress. "Thank you," she said stiffly, turning away and heading towards the large hole beside the front door.
"What, that's it?" Edna asked, hurrying to follow her. "You're just going to leave her?"
"Exactly," Sophie said as she stepped down into the tossed mud of Nesmy's vegetable garden, taking care not to get her hooves dirty. "I have my hat back, and... well..." She gestured back at Nesmy's house. From outside, the damage was just as obvious. The roof was sagging, and half of the front wall had been blown wide open. Honestly, the poor little cottage looked as though it was about to cave in at any moment. "I don't think Nesmy will be bothering me again."
Edna could not help cackling with glee as she took in the sight of Nesmy's destroyed house. Justice had been served, even if there had been a few slip-ups along the way. She glanced at Sophie's nose, which had already started to swell a little, but at least there did not appear to be any blood. "I'm... sorry. About the frying pan, I mean," she rasped, forcing out the words a little too quickly. Apologizing was not something that Edna did on a frequent basis.
Sophie shrugged. "I can't really complain," she said as she stepped onto the sidewalk and began making her way down the street. "Nesmy was about to hypnotize me, so technically... you were the one who stopped her." Her eyes narrowed, and she prodded gingerly at her nose as she waited for Edna to catch up. "Even if you did do it by hitting me in the face. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. You did always have an unorthodox way of doing things, Edna."
"I think I'll just take that as a compliment," Edna said. "So, where to now? Back to the convention?"
Sophie shook her head. "Not for me. I'm going back home. This has been enough forced social interaction for one day."
"But what about your hat?" Edna asked, glancing pointedly at Sophie's green hair. "Don't you want to buy a new one? I think the convention had a vendor stall selling them..."
With a resigned sigh, Sophie pulled out the remains of her old hat from her dress, staring mournfully at them. "I suppose you're right. I do need a new hat. Maybe I can commission the vendor to make a similar one. But after that, it's back to the swamp. After what happened this afternoon, I don't want to see any other neopets for the next week at least."
. . .
Back at the ruined cottage, Nesmy picked herself up off the floor and began to survey the damage. Sophie had done an excellent job tearing up the place, and Nesmy knew that it would be unwise to spend the night here. The next few weeks were going to be torture, with workmen drilling and hammering and banging around as they tried to fix the place.
With a resigned sigh, she headed back down the hallway and towards her work room, which had escaped the worst of Sophie's rage. At least her most valuable items were probably still safe. She drew another spiral with the tip of her staff to open the door, and stepped inside to check.
The scroll that Nesmy had been working on was still in its drawer, undamaged and undisturbed. She pulled it out, unrolling the paper and leaning forward to examine it. Even if she didn't have Sophie's hat to use it on, the enchantment was still incredibly powerful. Perhaps she could turn it into a business idea instead of a defensive weapon for her own use - and get her revenge on Sophie at the same time. She let out a soft laugh as she imagined what the swamp witch would think when she saw freshly-made copies of her hat sitting on the heads of battledome fighters everywhere.
Satisfied with her idea, Nesmy grabbed a small pack sitting beside her work table and folded up the scroll again, tucking it away in one of the pockets. Perhaps her plan to steal Sophie's hat had not been a complete failure after all. This new scheme would more than pay for the repairs to her cottage, and have the added benefit of making Sophie absolutely furious. As soon as she gathered up the rest of her important things and booked a room at the Neolodge, she would start mass-producing and enchanting magical hats.
After puttering around the room for a while and stuffing her pack full of scrolls, books, and other magical knick-knacks, Nesmy headed back through the door. But before she sealed the room up again, she made sure to grab her staff. The green gem at the tip winked playfully at her, and she smiled. Hopefully, with a little persuasion, the concierge at the Neolodge would give her a hefty discount during her stay.