Moments after Brueberon had spilled the beans, the headmistress' door was flung open. “Oliviana... oh, so sorry. I didn't realise you had company.”
Vandabar was standing in the doorway. He was very tanned - a bright orange in fact, wearing an Hawaiian shirt and bright blue tie-dyed balloon trousers. Behind him trailed his suitcase.
“Welcome back Vandabar. I'm afraid we have a bit of a crisis on our hands.”
“I had a bit of a feeling.” The wizard snapped his fingers at his bulging suitcase and it wheeled itself into a corner of the room as he shut the door. “Tell me all Olly dear?”
Sniffing at him for using her nickname in company, the headmistress outlined the situation.
Vandabar hovered a little above the floor as he thought things through. His forefinger and thumb supported his chin. His extremely bushy eyebrows grew closer and closer together. He hovered so high at one point that his head almost touched the ceiling.
“I suspect Kastapella has been keeping an eye on everything which has been going on. But at this point the spell can still be broken.”
“It can?” Brueberon flew down to Clarissa's shoulder. “Oh thank goodness.”
Vandabar nodded. “But we have to find the key to breaking it though. Did Kastaspella give you any instructions with your potion? It is required by the RSoM that she does so.”
“Yes, but there's a bit of a problem.” Brueberon pulled the tiny bottle out of his wing pocket.
It was the size of a pumpkin seed.
This was no problem for Mistress Castor-Fiber though. “To the science labs.” She declared. She flung open her office door and waddled out. Behind her trailed Vandabar, Mr Fieldmouse, Clarissa and Brueberon.
Clarissa broke into a little jog so that she could come up alongside the fast moving headmistress. Mistress Castor-Fiber smiled across at her.
“Isn't it wonderful how science can solve so many mysteries?” Clarissa felt that this was something she could say to the headmistress without being laughed at. Sometimes the other children at school thought she was a bit bonkers for being so fond of the subject.
“Science, like Magic, like Literature, are all subjects which can help us solve mysteries if only we know how to look for the answers.” Although the headmistress' voice was sharp Clarissa could tell that she was not being mean.
The headmistress stopped quite suddenly and all those following her almost collided with her back. She stood in front of a door covered in planets which spun gently. Occasionally a shooting star would fly by. Clarissa felt a little uneasy. It reminded her a bit of Inbetween Land, except for the shooting stars.
There was no handle to be seen anywhere. Experimentally Clarissa poked a finger at a patch of darkness and her finger disappeared into space.
Mistress Castor-Fiber winked as she looked over at Clarissa. She stood up very tall then her knuckles rapped on the door of the lab. Her paw did not go through it like Clarissa's finger had done. The headmistress seemed to be listening. Then she rapped again in what sounded to Clarissa like morse code and the door swung open.
There is no need to describe the room to you. It was your typical science laboratory. But Mistress Castor-Fiber headed for a tiny microscope at the end of a shelf full of microscopes of all sizes and shapes.
She however picked the littlest one because, naturally, they wanted to see something very little.
While the headmistress set up the microscope the others arranged themselves on stools around the lab table. Except for Brueberon. He sat on it. The headmistress opened her paw and Brueberon placed the tiny bottle in her palm. Then she pointed up behind her and a circle of light appeared on a screen behind her.
A blurry image of beaver fingers appeared on the screen, then the blur began to even out as she fiddled with the magnification.
Finally, magnified, billions and squillions of times was Brueberon's bottle of magic potion. And dangling from it's neck, tied with a pretty purple ribbon, the scroll of instructions Kastapella had written out.
Using two pairs of tweezers, the headmistress peeled the scroll open and readjusted the magnification once more so that they could all read the instructions and most of all the very, very, very small print. There were only four lines.
Best friend of friends, speak of your friend.
Say benevolently that you are amicable.
Speak affably of your affections.
Say congenially that you are convivial.
“Well, no problem. Brueberon has several friends right in this room.” Mr Fieldmouse tapped the tip of his nose as he continued to inspect the instructions. “But it might not be as simple as it seems. It has the air of a riddle to it.”
Mistress Castor-Fiber held up a claw. “Please note that it mentions a best friend. Who do you class as your best friend Brueberon?”
Brueberon was stunned to realise that Mr Fieldmouse considered him a friend so he was rather slow in answering the headmistress.
“Young dragon, this is not an impossible question to answer you know.”
Brueberon twisted his front claws together. “Well, I'm not sure about best, but the person I think of as a friend is Clarissa.” He looked over at her shyly. “But I don't know if that counts because she does talk an awful lot and that annoys me but I still like her very much.”
Clarissa raised her eyes to the ceiling. “That's what being friends is silly – people's habits annoying you but you liking them anyway.”
“And yes, I definitely consider you my best friend in Long Upon a Time World.” She turned to Vandabar. “Does it matter that I have a best friend at home?”
He shook his head and Clarissa breathed out happily. “So I just have to say the reversal spell and hey presto, Brueberon's back to normal size.”
“I would prefer it if we were outside to conduct this part of the experiment. For obvious reasons.” Mistress Castor-Fiber packed up the microscope as she spoke.
“Ah, yes. That's probably best.” Agreed Vandabar.
This time Vandabar led the way and Clarissa walked next to him. Brueberon flew alongside her. He was getting very good at hovering when she walked too slowly for his liking.
Clarissa dropped back from Vandabar's side a little and whispered to Brueberon. “Do you know, if he took off his sun hat he would look very much like Einstein.”
Flapping his wings lightly Brueberon replied knowledgeably. “Oh, that's because he's Albert's long lost twin brother.”
“Einstein didn't have...!” Clarissa had forgotten to whisper but now she dropped her voice again. “... a twin brother.”
“That you know of. Because he was lost, but we found him.”
For the first time in her entire life Clarissa was left speechless.
Luckily the company had arrived at the field the Academy used for sporting events and outdoor lectures.
As ever, Mistress Castor-Fiber took charge and organised everyone so that they were each doing the job which suited them best.
Mr Fieldmouse was cordoning off the area to avoid curious students stumbling into unwanted magic. Vandabar was positioning Clarissa at a safe distance in case Brueberon expanded suddenly.
Clarissa began chewing on a thumb nail.
“There's no need to be nervous.” Vandabar patted her shoulder. “Just follow the instructions. Magic is never as complicated as people think.”
“Well, it will be if this doesn't work.”
Mistress Castor-Fiber grasped Clarissa's shoulders. “Have faith young lady. Trust in your own good sense.” Then she smiled.
Clarissa understood why the headmistress smiled so rarely. Her beaver teeth were rather large and alarming.