Chapter 56 – The Talking Beanie
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The beanie didn’t respond.

Well, no shit! It’s a fucking beanie! Did you expect it to start dancing?

James had been very suspicious of this beanie for a long time. It appeared to be just an inconspicuous piece of clothing to keep one’s head warm, made out of blue yarn. But, a few things, such as its origin, made no sense to James.

When the beanie had been given to him, it appeared out of thin air in the form of a halo, shining with a brilliant golden hue. It then morphed into the beanie shape it was in now, and fell into James’ hand. It had looked like a mythical object, a halo that would go on top of an angel. 

Additionally, James couldn’t appraise the beanie with his dungeon card. Or at least, he couldn’t read what he appraised. If he tapped an item, like his Hermes’ Kicks magic boots, with his card, it would show the abilities/stats that the boots granted him. Even if he appraised something like a regular spear, it would give him some information, even if it was things he already knew.

But, when he tried to do the same with the beanie, he hadn’t been able to see much information. There was a lot of text that had some sort of weird characters blocking the information. The only things that he could see was the mana boost it gave, and the fact that the item was “sealed.”

There were also some other small things that made James even more wary, such as the fact that the beanie didn’t seem to get dirty no matter what he was splattered in.

James had ignored all of these signs before, but something had just happened in the dungeon that he couldn’t ignore. About 3 days ago, when he was collecting magic stones in the dungeon, he had reached up to scratch his forehead, with a crystal in his hand. Then, the stone disappeared.

He’d been confused at first, but after trying a few things out, he’d discovered that the magic stone would be sucked into the blue beanie he was wearing, if he touched them together. James did the natural thing and started putting the magic crystals he found into the beanie, while keeping some for his pet. James was throwing away hundreds of dollars, but he’d already fed about 10 grand to Leo the bear, so he didn’t really care.

For 3 days, James poured a lot of magic stones into the beanie. However, nothing happened until today. When James put another magic stone inside the beanie, he felt a reaction. 

James stood there frozen. He was sure he’d heard a voice, a groan, as if someone was waking up from a deep slumber. He listened, but couldn’t hear it again. But, the beanie felt different. James wasn’t sure what was different, but he was convinced that the magic stones he put in activated something.

When he tried appraising it again, he saw this:

[?????????????

 Mana +100

 Magical Efficiency (Low)

 Partially Unsealed ???????

              Gift of ???????

              ????????      ]

The item went from Sealed to Partially Unsealed, and James was able to see just a little bit more of its abilities, though he couldn’t make anything of it. So, James knew he wasn’t hallucinating when he heard the voice.

This was why James was now in a gigantic room, all by himself, screaming at a knitted cap.

“Hey! I heard you!”

“...”

“The mana from the beanie feels different! I know something’s in here!”

“......you can feel the mana difference?”

James froze. The beanie just responded! A deep voice had just appeared in his mind directly. He didn’t know why he was surprised that it did, considering he was screaming like he knew it would. James knelt and held the beanie as if it were a treasure.

“Hey, who are you? Or what? Are you the beanie?”

“...what is this ‘beanie’ you are calling me?” The deep voice responded with confusion.

“You don’t know what a beanie is? Like, the hat? Knitted with yarn?”

“Ah, I see. It’s a hat. That does make some sense now.”

James couldn’t make heads or tails of what the voice was saying. Why did the fact that the beanie was a hat make sense? And where did it come from? The beanie itself didn’t know what a beanie was. But, James’ thoughts were driven away as the beanie responded in his thoughts.

“That explains the weird form. What was it called? A beanie? Quite an interesting design. Yes, I suppose you can say that I am the beanie.”

“How are you communicating with me? Telepathy? I know you, or at least the item, is sealed. What does it do? How do I unseal it? Do I need to be stronger?” James shot questions towards the beanie like a machine gun.

“And who are you? Do you expect me to answer your questions without answering any of your own?”

“I’m James.”

“James. A fitting name. Very well. I can answer your first and last questions.” The beanie spoke with a lot of self importance.

“Simple telepathic magic is an auxiliary use of magic words. It’s like Dragon Tongue, but instead of projecting mana through the air, it uses a connection of mana directly.”

All of a sudden, the beanie started speaking out loud, in English. Its voice sounded smooth, deep, and calming. 

“I can also use the air and space as a medium. But this is less efficient compared to direct telepathy, and uses more mana.”

The beanie went back to delivering words directly to James’ mind.

“As such, telepathy is a more easy way to communicate, but cannot be used while formulating offensive magic, since the connection can be blocked easily.”

Dragon Tongue? Air and space medium? Mana connection? What the fuck? James didn’t understand the information the beanie was spouting, nor did he know how the beanie went from speaking into his mind to speaking like a normal beanie-person.

“As for your second question, yes, you do need to be stronger.”

“I...don’t think I understood the first answer. The second answer makes sense.”

“Hmm.” The beanie paused. “I suppose you are correct. You appear to not know how to use mana quite yet. Thus, you wouldn’t understand the theory behind what I just explained.”

“Oh.” James seemed a little disappointed, but it was true that he couldn’t use magic yet. He wanted to throw fireballs. James opened his mouth to speak again. “Then-”

“If you are asking why I cannot answer the other questions, I cannot tell you.”

Oh. James closed his mouth for a moment, then tried again. “What is your name?”

The beanie went silent for a moment. “Jranzyks.”

“...”

“Did I not fool him? Jranzyks was a perfectly acceptable name, last I remember.”

“...I can hear you.”

“Oh. You’re a human, not a demon. That's right. I felt like I was missing something.”

“...”

James had no words.

“Ahem.” The beanie cleared its throat, despite not having one. “Anyways, I will do what I have to do. Put me on.”

“Um, are you going to kill me?”

“Fool. If I wanted to kill you, you’d already be dead.”

“Show me how, then.”

“...”

The beanie did not pick up a knife, summon an ice spear, or move in any other threatening way.

“So, that was a blatant lie,” said James, “but I’ll take what you said as a proclamation that you have no ill intentions towards me.

“Ah, yes. Um, of course. That would be greatly appreciated.”

“So, what are you trying to do by having me put you on?”

“Make you stronger, of course.”

Of course, James was a little hesitant about doing so. Since magic existed, he could easily imagine cursed items and the like. However, he didn’t get any bad premonitions from the beanie. Besides, this item had been given out as a reward by the dungeon, which meant it was probably safe. If the dungeon, or at least the people in charge of it, wanted to kill him, he’d be dead a thousand times over. Simple as that. So, James picked up the beanie and put it snugly onto his own head. He didn’t know if the beanie could really make him stronger, but he decided it was worth a shot.

“Mmm. I was skeptical about this form at first, but this ‘beanie’ is truly a wonderful idea. It’s easy to put on, and I do believe it is quite stylish.”

“Ahem,” said James. “Are you done admiring yourself?”

“Why, I don’t believe you understand the genius behind the thing you call a beanie. You are in possession of such a magnificent treasure, and don’t understand the true worth of it. That’s a shame.”

“Sure thing. So, what’s going on?”

The beanie went quiet for a moment.

“Your body has already partially been strengthened by mana. That is good. I’d like for you to be able to strengthen your body yourself, but you’d need to find and condense your own mana core to a certain level to do that. That’s something I can’t really teach you.

James nodded. As far as he could tell, it seemed that this beanie wasn’t bullshitting him. When Leah tried to teach him magic, she told him that finding the mana core was something others couldn’t really help with.

“There’s one big thing you’re missing, and luckily it’s one of the subjects I teach best.”

“And that is?”

“Technique.”

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