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Authors: Paul Kater

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BOOK: Hilda - Cats
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The blond stared at Hilda. "No. I think
not."

Hilda looked at William. There was pain in
her gaze. "Esmee. Can I use your crystal ball? You do have a
working crystal ball, right?"

"Uh, yes, I do." There was more nervous
fumble and clutch.

"Take us to it. Please. And you do not have
to worry about a big cat. There is no big cat, okay? It's all
fine." Hilda sounded convincing enough for Esmee, who visibly
relaxed. William knew better.

"Yes, yes, of course!" Esmee hurried ahead,
glad that she could go back to the safety of the thick walls of the
castle. No big cat would be able to follow her in there.

Nothing could have prepared Hilda and William
for the room they were entering. There was soft plush on the
ground, in red and white concentric circles. The walls were a light
shade of pink. The ceiling was plain white. The witch tried to
ignore the large colourful vases with large feathery flowers in
them.

"I'll go and find the crystal ball," said
Esmee. She almost disappeared in one of the closets.

"Find?" Hilda mimed at William. He shrugged
and tried to ignore the colours and objects in the room. Not
looking at the floor was a prerequisite to survive here, he
thought.

It took a while, but finally Esmee came out
of the closet, holding a black box. A rather small black box. "Here
it is!" Proudly she handed the box to Hilda.

The witch opened it, took the velvet pouch
from it and slipped the ball in her hand. She frowned as she looked
into it. "A baby ball. When did you use it last?"

Esmee coloured a shade of red that did not go
well with the walls. "In class..."

"In... class..." Hilda spoke with a coldness
that made each word fall down and shatter on the floor, despite the
carpet. "Someone hold me back..."

William put a hand on her shoulder. "Easy,
witch. She can't help it."

"I know... I know..." Hilda took a deep
breath. "Okay. I will charge this one and use it. No problem.
Really. No problem. And William, maybe you can go and pick that
obnoxious kid from the ceiling. Esmee will be glad to show you
where that is."

Esmee was more than happy to get away from
her own room. "Yes, William, come. I am sure that little Dinna will
be glad to be on the ground again." She resisted the urge to tug
William's sleeve.

Before he left the room, William asked who
she was going to call.

"Babs."

"Ah." He nodded. Then he followed Esmee, a
smile curling his lips. The pink witch would have another
surprise.

Hilda sat down. The two cats lay down near
her, their eyes on the ball. She spent a while pumping energy into
the ball, until it shone brightly in her hand. "Now let's see if
this thing will dial out." She took her wand. Murmured something.
And waited.

"Hilda!" the voice of Baba Yaga tore through
the room. "How sweet of you to call!"

"Hi Babs. We have a strange creature here,
around Snow White's castle. The one of King Louie, remember the
place?"

"How could I forget that wedding, Hilly?
Didn't we have a scream there?"

"Really." Hilda grinned as she thought back.
"Now, there is a house witch here, but there's not much to be done
with her."

"Why's that?"

"She wears pink."

"Suck an elf... a flower witch. Did you make
her faint already?"

"Yup, flower witch, and no, she's still on
her feet because William held me back. Do you have time to pop over
here and help look for whatever's going around? I think William and
I could do with an extra wand, and the hand to wield it."

"Hilda, I am so honoured. I'm coming over
first thing tomorrow if that's soon enough."

"Sure, that's fine. We'll be here, waiting
for you. Oh, do you like children?"

"Properly cooked and garnished, yes." Baba
Yaga laughed.

"I'm serious, Babs. Snow White already has
five and a sixth one on the road."

"Good grief. Sounds like others than you need
help too. I'll be seeing you tomorrow, girlfriend."

"Take care, Babs." Hilda grinned as the ball
went dark again. Things were looking up.

-=-=-

The next morning Hilda and William were up
very early, to patrol the garden. Esmee was with them. They found
new bones with the same gnaw-marks. And again, no footprints. As if
the creature that had done this was making sure to not leave
traces.

"Obviously this visitor comes by in the dark.
Looks like we'll have to spend a waking a night. I hope Babs makes
it in time."

Esmee peered at her company. Hilda and
William had told her about the new witch they had asked to come
over and she did not like that one bit.

After the survey of the garden, they went
inside, and as they were having breakfast, Hilda suddenly looked
up. "Babs is coming!" They left their table and rushed outside.

Esmee the flower witch had enough magic
inside her to sense witches and other magical creatures approach.
As it was her task, she hopped onto her pink broom and sped upwards
to the wrinkly gray and black creature that was approaching on
broomstick.

Hilda prodded William. "This will be
interesting."

"Hello, stop please?" Esmee was determined to
make this a good show.

Baba Yaga stopped. "What? Oh, you're the pink
one. That means I'm at the right place. Hilly and Willy are
expecting me."

Esmee looked at the old witch in horrified
fascination. She looked like a million years old. "There is no one
called Hilly or Willy here, so if you could please go away..."

Baba Yaga frowned at the young blond. "Why do
I even bother," she muttered. A wand and a flick of the wrist
later, Esmee was tied in a magical spell and was dragged along as
the old witch had her in tow. "Oh, there they are!" Babs sped up
her broom, hardly paying attention to the shaking and swerving that
Esmee had to endure. "Hilly! Willy! I'm here! And look what I
brought you."

Hilda and William were almost on their knees.
Tears of laughter streamed from their faces as they saw how Baba
Yaga held up Esmee as if she were a freshly caught fish on a
magical line. They took Esmee over from Babs and freed her from the
magical sling the old witch had cast around her.

Esmee was very shocked by this treatment. "I
do not want to see you anymore today!" she exclaimed, tears in her
eyes, and quickly ran inside.

Babs got off her broom. "She doesn't do
welcomes very well, does she?"

Hilda shrugged. "She may wisen up yet. At
least we'll have our hands free. Do you care for some food?"

After hugging her friends, Baba Yaga
appreciated the offer; after all, she had been flying most of the
night.

6. Princes and
Princesses

Six guards came running into the dining hall,
lances at the ready. They positioned themselves around the table
where the three magical people were eating.

Hilda raised an eyebrow, William looked up
and Baba Yaga muttered: "Not that again" for an unknown reason.

"Make way for the king!" someone shouted.
Hilda and William looked at each other. The three of them, the few
servants and the guards were the only ones in the dining hall.

Two of the guards shifted somewhat and the
king stepped up to the table.

"Hello, King Louie," Hilda said, looking up
at the man, "to what do we owe this honour?"

Everything about King Louie was big. Even his
hair. His black hair was short, but it came out short in an
amazingly big way. His beard was made of the same hair. Short, and
big. "Grimhilda. I was alerted that there is an ugly witch in the
castle that challenged our house witch."

"Oh." Hilda looked at William. "Have you seen
an ugly witch?" William shook his head. "Babs, you?" Baba Yaga also
shook her head, sending the thin streaks of her remaining grey hair
flopping. "Can't say I did."

King Louie stared at Baba Yaga. "Good
grief."

"Oh, you may not know Baba Yaga," Hilda said.
"Babs, this is King Louie, King Louie, this is Baba Yaga, our dear
friend and my best girlfriend, who came all the way over to help us
find out what the problem is with your little animals."

Baba Yaga rose up to her full limited length.
"Seriously a pleasure to meet you, your Majesty."

"A dear friend, eh?" the king said, taking in
Baba Yaga one more time. "Hmm. In that case I assume it is good
that she is around. Welcome to the castle, honourable witch." He
nodded an acknowledgement to Babs. After all, even royalty knew how
to treat magicals. "I will make sure everyone gets to know you are
here. If there is anything we can help with, Prince Jordan or
Princess Snow White are the ones you should talk to." The king
started to turn, then looked at Hilda and whispered: "And please,
don't make our house witch more insecure than she already is." He
nodded a goodbye and walked off. After a few moments the guards
dropped their aggressive stance and marched out of the dining hall,
their armour rattling as they went.

"I hope they don't do that every morning,"
Baba Yaga commented, "all that metal jerking tends to get on my
nerves." William snorted. He was absolutely certain that Baba Yaga
was the first person who had abandoned nerves. "So, what's the
plan?" the old witch asked.

Hilda told her about the findings of the day.
"If you want to see for yourself..." Babs wanted to, so they went
outside again. As they walked around in the garden, Esmee looked
out the window of her room, which gave her perfect view of the
garden and the three magical people.

"It's not fair," the witch in pink complained
to the yellow flower in her hand. "I do what I can, I put all my
soul in what I do, and they are so... unsophisticated. I am sure
they don't appreciate beauty. They are rough. Uncivilised. Wild. I
think they are dangerous. They should not be allowed to wield so
much magic." Recalling the feeling when Babs had roped her in made
her shiver.

A wailing sound from some of the children
made her put the flower back in the vase, and quickly she went to
Snow White's rescue Yes, the children were wild and rough also, but
they were but children. Esmee could handle children. As long as
they did not carry wooden swords. Or tried to stab her with the
pointy parts of their crowns. Or came on three strong.

-=-=-

Baba Yaga sniffed the air. "Nothing there,"
she said. "Must have been too long ago." They looked at the bones
and not found anything different about them.

"And there is no feel of magic around
either," Hilda said. She had been dowsing the area with her
wand.

"But there is hair," William pointed. The two
witches came closer. The wizard had found a patch of hair stuck in
the thorns of a rose bush. The hair was light brown., short and
straight.

Hilda lifted the patch from the bush and
studied it. "Looks like cat hair."

Babs agreed. "Must have been some cat though,
considering where the hair stuck."

"Really," William nodded. "Not many three
foot cats around, usually. But we could ask around, maybe they're
more common here than at home."

Grimalkin meowed, as she stood up against
Hilda's leg. The witch bent down, holding the hair to her nose.
Grim took her time sniffing the stuff. Then she sneezed and walked
off.

"Don't tell me your cat is allergic to cats,"
Baba Yaga snickered.

"Not sure," Hilda wondered, "she's not shown
signs of that with Obsi around."

Babs looked at her best friend. "Obsi. Grim.
Those are really the names you call them by. And they respond. You
two are even sillier than I had hoped. Do you think I should have a
word with that wizard of yours? Looks to me that this is his doing,
as you started going all funny after he arrived."

William grinned a big grin. In some distorted
way he could interpret Baba Yaga's words as praise.

Before Hilda could respond, another meow made
the witches look around. This meow had sounded very different,
almost... calling for attention?

The three magicals walked to where Grim had
disappeared to. "What's up, Grimalkin?" Hilda said as she kneeled
down with her cat. Grim sat in the middle of a footpath that looked
as if it would lead out of the garden. The witch picked up her cat
and hugged it, making Baba Yaga shiver. Babs could shiver in an
audible way.

"Does she do that often?" she asked
William.

"All the time," he confirmed.

"Egads."

William grinned as he kneeled down to have a
closer look. There had to be a reason that Grim had warned them.
"Oh, look..." He picked another fluff of hair from a bush, this one
on a lower branch than the first one they had found. It was the
same kind of hair, though. "Looks like it came from the same- uhm-
intruder."

Baba Yaga took the hair and slowly rubbed it
between her fingers. Her wrinkled face made it impossible to tell
if she was actually looking at it. "Yes, I'd say so. It's not from
the same day though."

William stared at Babs. "How do you know
that?"

The ugly witch turned her head towards the
wizard, almost shoving the cat hair in his face. "How is it that
you don't?"

"There is only one Baba Yaga," William
grinned.

"Bollocks," Babs stated.

"So whoever or whatever it was has been here
more than once," Hilda concluded. "Looks like we did not get up
early enough then, William."

The wizard nodded. "I foresee a long day. One
that will last until next morning." Hilda nodded.

"Good," said Baba Yaga. "If you young folk
stay up, I'll go to sleep. You can wake me up when something
interesting happens."

William muttered something about old and
young as he and Hilda gathered their cats and went back inside,
looking for Snow White. They had something to report now.

The trio walked along the corridors and got
lost. A servant who responded very well to "hey you" was recruited
to take them to the chambers of Princess Snow-White and Prince
Jordan.

BOOK: Hilda - Cats
6.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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