Thirty-Two

On day t minus 1, coupon fairies returned to the castle with the cloak from the mill.

"Oh, this is too much," said the phantom of the mill. "I may be insubstantial, but how dare you steal what is still my property? I swear by all things holy, I will strike down upon them with great vengeance and furious anger those foolish enough to trick out my wrap."

"The boy will wear your cloak when he confronts the Minotaur," said Mimbleshaw.

"Egads," said the phantom. "After the Minotaur finishes the boy, please return to the mill whatever is left of my stolen property."

"You can't expect me to fight a Minotaur," said Brian. "All you have to do is send me home."

"Human, must you take every chance to humiliate yourself?" said Mimbleshaw. "The creature's maze is part of the most extensive network known. He will only track you down and find you. All you will do is endanger your family and your whole village. Now put on this cloak and make yourself something useful and formidable."

"How about a rhino?" said Brian. "Brinoceros smash puny Minotaur. Er, er, er."

"No," said Spot who then took the cloak, which restored Brian to a boy. "Monsieur le Cow Head has Mademoiselle Princess. I must accept the dare and win her return as the warrior defending his kingdom, no?"

"Your Majesty, please," said Mimbleshaw. "I beg you to reconsider. No king has ever returned from the creature's maze. Our best chance is to sacrifice the boy."

"Hey," said Brian.

"Monsieur le Tramplebladder," said Spot. "Now is once upon the time for you to make the total eclipse of the simian fossil heart. So Mademoiselle Princess and I may hold onto each other forever. The pretense to receive her affection will only make everything right. What can possibly go wrong?"