I decided this story should go up in nearly first draft format on the blog while I’m writing it. So there could be a few issues. The timeline for getting it up will be chaotic. (If people ask, I’ll write more faster.)
Genie Best Friend: First Wish
(This may not be the final title… Actually I’m pretty certain it won’t be.)
(c) Cat Hartliebe 2020
Syn: When Alaenia Heam meets Diss Weasher, she thinks nothing of the long term wish he asks for. But that ends up being harder than she expected. After filling out the contract, she finds out a horrible event has occurred. How can she handle a long term wish contract during this?
“That was the best meal ever!” I giggle glancing to my best friend. We’ve always been together as the only two genies in Brick. When I was born the entire village celebrated. A genie is known by the spiral mark around their belly button. That means we can cast limitless magic for anyone besides ourselves. Anyone who is willing to accept an equal contract for the wish.
Such as I’ve been asked for an A on a test. That’s been a hundred Sagwas. It’s not too expensive, but not cheap enough for everyone to use it. Passing a test doesn’t normally mean understanding things. People do it because they cannot study or got sick or have to miss the test anyway. Stuff they cannot fix right away. Personally the thousand Sagwa cost of learning the test’s information is the better choice. Normally that one causes a person to have a headache for a week. It’s normally too much to learn in one flew swoop.
“Best? I think that birthday cake your mother made last week was much better.” Forc is an interesting person. He’s taller than me, although that just happen a year ago. I’m two years older after all. He hasn’t even turned twenty yet. Another six months and Mom will baked him a special cake.
Why Mom? Because, she’s the town baker. Not THE town baker. She doesn’t make the breads or rolls everyone feasts on. She bakes up the special cakes and cookies the kids get for celebrations. Mostly because our house is big enough for it.
And she wished when she was younger to have the skills necessary to make me any dessert food I desired. What was the cost for that one? I will forever be an only child. Yeah, the cost doesn’t have to be money. You don’t need Sagwas. Mom has looked at the wish’s cost more as a celebration. I’m a Genie. Having another kid to deal with would probably make life harder on my family.
“Alaenia!” Forc shakes me a little. “I forgot!”
“What?” I scan my friend. He has a habit of randomly forgetting things. If he doesn’t write it down, I have to assume he’ll forget it. I wore a badge with my birthday countdown on it for his sake.
“Boat needed me to get her a ream of paper.”
I stare at him. “Why?”
“She wants to practice a special magic. If she doesn’t pass the Demon licensing, she’ll cry.”
“She can just make a wish.”
“Paying that cost? It’s 10,000 Sagwas or an injury that denies her using the license.”
“You can pay it.”
“Technically… I could give her the money so she can pay it, but if we’re caught… She’ll get the injury.” Forc rubs his neck. “She’d rather pass it legally. It’s better all ’round.”
“But if she fails twice, we’ll pay for you to make the wish.”
“That won’t happen until after our wedding, though. It’s a six month wait.” I pout. “I’ll be considered her sister then.”
“I’ll find someone else who can help then. I know she deserves this. She just freaks out during tests.” Forc sighs. We’re on route to the store. The richer goods are normally kept out of sight. Not everyone can pull spending a hundred Sagwas, let alone the 10,000 we’re easily talking about.
But we’re genies. We’ve been genies forever. There is no license for it. Once we get the Genie necklace it means we can accept contracts. My necklace came in when I was seven. It’s a choker with the same spiral around my belly button. Forc got his at ten. That means we’ve been able to agree to offer wishes in exchange for money or items and horrible events in people’s lives. Mom was my first wish. And that meant I would never have a sibling. I had no idea what I agreed to at seven. I wonder if I would be willing now.
“Ream of paper.” Forc goes up to the counter. Most of the time they have a few reams sitting around. With mages afoot, it’s kinda important. Forc’s entire family are demons. Stayr is already a licensed Demon. Forc’s the only genie. His parents have the magic, but use it to make their life easier not run around going quests.
“Your books came in.” The store keeper’s name is Dim. They’re a calm person and run the store well. I like them.
“Thanks.” I grin at them. “Is there a balance on my account? I didn’t bring my money.”
“I told her we weren’t going to leave her house if she had her funds with her. This was my date. I was paying.” Forc huffs throwing his chest out. I giggle. He deflates over my action. “You never let me pay.”
“She’s been a Genie for five years longer.” Dim says with a smile. They place my books and the ream of paper on the counter. “So she has more contracts behind her. And she lives in the richest family of the town. You use a lot of your income making sure your family is safe and happy.”
Forc sighs paying easily enough. Both of our families are well off because of our abilities. But my family was well off before I was a genie. I’m not the first one in my family. My grandfather was one too. He died shortly after I was born, though. I can’t even recall his face. Grandma loves me though. She lives with us and tells me all sorts of stories about my genie grandfather. “Still, this was my chance to pay for our date. It’s important to me that she knows I can support us.”
“That’s your egotism talking.” Dim shakes his head. I rub Forc’s back as he shrinks some. “She doesn’t need to marry you for safety. She wants to because you’re friends. Genies often times marry someone who understands.”
“Grandpa didn’t.” I state. “Grandma was his friend, though. They grew up together and she helped him master how to contract safely.”
“Exactly. So you two fully understand all the concerns. You grew up together. Your lives are completely intertwined.” Dim nods to me as I take up my books. I ordered them several weeks ago. I get a catalog with books in it. I pick out some every time for the library and for myself. Normally those I pick for myself end up in the library anyway. “So forcing her to not pay makes no sense.”
“It does!” Forc huffs. He hugs the ream of paper. “I should get home.”
I sigh as he exits. “He didn’t even walk me home.”
“He probably assumes you’re headed for the library.” Dim offers me his selling smile. “Would you like anything else?”
I scan the place. A heart box catches my eye. “How much?”
“It doesn’t surprise me you noticed it. Who are you thinking of?” Dim moves over to collect it off of the top shelf.
“Forc. What should I put inside?” I follow Dim back to the counter. He has no troubling putting it on my tab. He knows I can pay. That’s never a question.
“How about a bracelet?” Dim pulls out a catalog of jewelry. It would be an ordered item. “Or maybe a ring?”
“Forc doesn’t preference rings. A bracelet could work.” I look over the book. “But that would force me to wait until it comes in.”
Dim frowns. “Chocolates? Your mom could make them.”
Or she could help me make them. I wouldn’t want to give Forc my mother’s chocolates. Not unless I buy them. “How about a dagger?”
“You have to go smaller to fit.” Dim wraps the box up in some cloth. “Bothe would love you to visit him, though. His wife never leaves the forge unless you show up.”
“That’s what he gets for marrying a blacksmith.”
“She loves your designs.”
“Still would force me to wait.” I sigh thinking it over. “Forc has been…”
“Worried. I noticed it too. I wonder what has him worried. The wedding comes. We’re planning it. Everyone has been deciding on the perfect gift.” Dim leans closer to me. “I ordered a massive archway for the village. We’re going to cover it in flowers. Perfect for the spring wedding.”
My heart swells and settles at the same time. I can’t wait for spring. Shortly after Forc turns twenty, we are going to get married. I have been looking forward to it ever since we agreed. It’s been four years of engagement and planning and waiting. We could have married beforehand. It’s not illegal, but there’s a curse. A marriage that begins before twenty is a marriage meant to fail. “I’ll go chat with Bothe and Jiesso. They’ll love to chat. If they are interested in making me a small dagger to fit in the box, I will. Otherwise, I’ll come back shortly to order a bracelet. I’m thinking red. He loves red. It goes well with his skin tone, too.” I sigh thinking of my friend. “Not sure about the material.”
“Silk. Braided silk. It’s his preference.” Dim nods. “I’ll look through my books and find something that matches his normal desires for you. I’ll see you tomorrow either way?”
“Yes.” I nod and leave with my package. The quick visit with Bothe has me aware they are really busy right now. The holidays are coming up. That means presents. And several have put in orders for my wedding or Forc’s birthday. We are loved here. Everyone is looking forward to it.
It leaves me with time and no direction. I could do home. Mom would task me with work. Dad should be volunteering about. He does that often enough. During his volunteering, he lets people know about my job as a genie. I don’t know anyone in the village who doesn’t know, but he helps out visitors as well. He’ll visit the orphanage, the inn, the hospital, and the library. I like going with him. I would have if Forc didn’t need a date. A date he HAD to pay for. He wants to prove to me this is worthwhile.
What am I missing? What’s bothering Forc? Did I miss something big? I hold my box tightly to my chest. His sister is going for the Demon license. His little sister. And his older brother is out on quests trying to save the world. His parents stay at home working for the village doing odd jobs. They are strong demons, but don’t use their magic for much more than fixing roofs or cleaning out houses to be sold.
I thought we got over the issues he has with our different social classes. I’m super rich because of my genie grandfather. We own the town. My grandfather was the one who made this village. He created most of the buildings. He added the library. Well he didn’t do much to any of it. Others wished him to. This seaside village has basically become a resort town because of him.
Forc didn’t come into the world the son of the owner of a village. He came into a family running from their duties as Demons. As far as I know, it was a contract gone awry. They lost their licenses and much of their favor. Not enough that their children aren’t allowed to try for the license. They aren’t allowed to be involved in a demon contract anymore. I don’t know the specific details.
Shortly after Forc was born, the family moved here. They moved to a village made by a genie. It would make sense to do that. I met him shortly after they arrived. I thought nothing of the baby. All I knew at the time was he was a genie like me. We became friends over the years. He would follow me. His parents requested my parents to help tutor him. I wonder how much that cost.
And now… Forc looks flighty. Maybe we should plan to travel after the wedding. When I see him next, I’ll ask him about it. Or maybe I should ask with my gift? I hug the box closer. “Home. That’s the best option.” I can ask Mom about traveling. Maybe she would have a better suggestion. Or at least a destination. I have heard of many places, but wouldn’t know where to go.
“Excuse me, Miss?” The person is dressed in well used leathers. I scan them wondering why I am called. I touch my choker saying what I am.
“Do you need a genie?”
They exhale bowing to me. By the wear and stains on the leathers, I’d say Demon. They don’t wear their license around their neck, though. They carry it on them always, but they don’t have to show it. We help a different clientele. I wouldn’t say we’re good and they’re evil, but sometimes the media depicts us that way. I can only use magic to help others. Demons use whatever magic they plan the night before.
I didn’t explain that yet, have I? A demon decides on what magic they want available to them and have to go through a cycle of sleep before being able to use it. The way to stop the magic of a Demon is to not let them sleep a full night. The best Demons have a high number of magic slots and a short rest period. The shortest I heard of was four hours. Genies don’t have those requirements. We only need a contract of equal value.
Forc’s little sister Stayr has a six hour sleep and a pretty decent size spell slot space. With all the study she’s done from her older brother and parents, she should do well with a license. But the test is no picnic. I believe she’ll pass.
“My name is Diss Weasher.” It’s a clear name and a clear sentence. He had training. Probably demon school. Most mages have either direct tutors from demons who’ve given up their license or from a school. They end up acting different than a general person in the population. “I heard from your father you are a genie open to contracts of any sort.”
I glower thinking of those words. That’s my father. “He’s wrong. There are certain things you cannot get a contract with me. I have limits. I’m allowed to.”
That has the demon chuckle. His eyes sparkle at me. “I came to this town hopeful one of the genies would be willing to offer me a contract. You are the one I spotted first.”
“I am the older and more experienced one, so that is for the best if it is a difficult request.”
“Tedious more than difficult.”
My head tilts slightly as my eyes thin some. “Long term?”
“Yes. I plan to stay as long as necessary. I will only enter your life as much as needed for the wish to complete.”
I purse my lips. Some of the long term contracts aren’t worth it. “Let’s go have a drink and talk.”
Diss nods and motions me forward. He knows the village. Or really the sign showing off drinks is not far from us. “I am glad to have found you relatively easy. I was worried I would not find a genie for days. It should take months too.” He sighs. He orders Bubbles for both of us. The sickeningly sweet beverage is full of bubbles. It can boost awareness too. Although some go with the Simple version. It’s adults only. Giving children sweet things is dangerous. I had my first chance with it at thirteen and couldn’t sit still for three hours afterwards.
“What exactly are you requesting?”
He exhales slowly then sits up straight. “I am a Demon, so don’t fear the number of Sagwas it’ll cost. I have sought how much generally it is anyway.”
“Your clothes say Demon.”
He nods pulling out his license. It’s magically charged by the country. Each card is made by a genie. A demon has to offer their blood to create the card. A few hours dizzy or tired means they can work as a Demon. Diss Weasher has over a thousand completed quests. His starting age? Fourteen. That’s the youngest someone can get the license. It even says he complete the year apprenticeship expected of Demons. He started quests at thirteen! It’s impressive.
“Parents are Demons?”
“That’s the thing.” He shifts uncomfortably and looks for our drinks. They’re headed this way, so he waits until we have acquired them. “I’m adopted. My adopted family are all Demons. That’s why they adopted me. Either we work for the contracting office if we lack proper timing or slot numbers or the field if we’re good enough. We’re all licensed. I was pulled into a group. I had a class of seven that were about my age. They collect from the orphanages often. Any time they think someone is a demon. If they prove to not be, they’re excused from the family at eighteen.” He exhales. “I was afraid I would be.”
“Because until I was ten, I had no control at all. Sometimes the spells worked. Other times they didn’t. I couldn’t figure out how to study for sleep. Once I figured it out, I was noticed to be incredibly good.”
“Ninety four upper class slots.”
My jaw drops open. “That’s more legendary numbers.”
“I know. When I read a little more about those who have more than fifty upper slots, they often times struggled to study right. Magic comes too easily to us. We’re expected to end up right hand guards to the royalty.” He turns aside. “I’m not looking for that.”
“You wouldn’t need me for that.” I wave it off and sip on my Bubbles. Super sweet. It twirls in my mouth and shocks me a little. I need to remember I get a little too distracted and can’t work if I drink too much. “But that would classify as long term contract. One I wouldn’t agree to, since it requires me living at the capital.” I stick my tongue out. “I’m not moving. Not until I get married.”
He pulls back shocked. “You’re engaged? Are you even twenty?”
I pout. I would probably get carded at a drinks stand if they didn’t know me personally. I look sixteen according to some. “I’m twenty two. Just turned.”
“Happy birthday.” Diss bows his head. “Apologies for considering you far my junior.”
“My request doesn’t necessarily require movement. Although it looks to be faster if movement is offered.” Diss shrugs looking at the staff members moving between the tables. Perhaps he wants a meal. It looks like he’s eyeing a meal. I won’t offer. If this is starting a contract, normally the wisher pays the meal. If it doesn’t lead to a contract, we pay for our choices separately. “I wish to find my parents.”
I blink thinking of what I know of this person already. He’s about my age and has been a Demon for a while. He’s skilled and that means he can pay the full cost. “How much do you know?”
“Basically nothing. I can tell you my old orphanage.” Diss sighs hanging his head. “The only records are with no name given. The description says a teenage female. That’s it.”
“Do you have the files?” I ask. The more I’m given the faster the spell will work. With nothing, it can take upwards of four years. Could he stay still for four years? He nods. If the files are as lacking as he says, it probably won’t help. “Minimum timeline is three months. Up front cost would be 10,000 Sagwas or equalivant. Each week to continue you will need to pay a revolving cost of 1,000 sagwa.”
“I know. I said I can pay.” He pulls out a card. I hiss seeing it. A Subek. They’re worth a thousand sagwas. I’ve dealt with them before. Most people in this village haven’t. I have to send them to a city to get broken down into usable funds. It’s annoying. He pulls out nine more. “To begin the contract.”
I bite my cheek thinking of the length of this contract. “If you stopped the contract even for one week, the payment to restart the wish would be the 10,000 again.”
“I know. I can hold still for upwards of a year without any problems. Until I had an idea if one of you would agree, I couldn’t get a stable home. It’s not so much I wouldn’t be able to stay here longer, it’s more my agitation will kick in.”
He’s a well seasoned Demon. He must have exceptional skills in magic and martial arts. That’s how most manage things. He doesn’t carry a visible weapon. He’s legally allowed to. So am I. I’m not trained in anything.
I’m safe here, though. As long as I’m around the villagers, I’m safe. If I travel beyond, I must have someone with me. I went to the city a while ago with Forc. He wished for a campsite. The price was a kiss.
The memory calms me. It was the only time he really was himself without worrying over one thing or another. We could be just a couple on a trip. And since sexual actions have no true equalivent sagwa cost, a kiss could do almost anything wish wise. It’s why genies need a partner for their trips. A partner they don’t mind doing things like kiss, hug, hold hands, or something even more.
“Do you accept my wish?”
“I can.” I finish my drink. “But we want to create a physical contract because it’s not a one time deal. Trust me for the expensive spells, you want a physical copy.”
“It would be a suggestion.” Diss stands to pay. I wait for him before we head for my house. “I will also need to buy a home for the time being. I can take my time. I should have a home to upkeep anyway. I’m getting to that age where I need space to hold my things.”
“A storage unit.” I grin at him. “Perhaps if we can hold as friends, you can rent from me.”
“Hold as friends? An engaged genie offering me a room to rent?” He touches his chest lightly acting as if the idea is foolish. “I may not accept such an offering. It would depend on the quality of husband you are taking on. If they could not readily make me back off, I would fear my interactions with you.”
I grin. That’s how most feel. As a genie, I can make other people’s wishes come true. I cannot make my own. And he’s a mage with personal ability. He could try to force me into poor circumstances. However… “It’s Forc. He’s the other genie in town.”
“I see your confidence now. Even I could not take down a Genie.” He chuckles. “Then depending on our future relationship, I would accept such an offering. During the coming week, though I will look at my own home or apartment to manage.”
“A week to decide if we can be roommates or not. It’s not like I live-live there. I refuse until Forc moves in with me. Genies should not live alone. I handle the upkeep, though. We meet there often for dates or just to be hidden from life. I live with my parents.” I motion to the massive building overlooking the ocean. The white bricks are common among the village. Why else is it called Brick anyway? This place, though is far more special than any other. The mansion is the largest building in the village. It sits high atop a hill and many tourists call it the mayor’s mansion. We’re not the mayor. We didn’t want that job. We support the actual mayor during duties though. We own the town; we don’t run it.
“A family of genies?” Diss asks scanning the massive thing.
“My grandfather built the town through wishes.” I nod wishing I had a chance to be with him. “Those alive aren’t, though.”
“I see. You will keep the family vision alive though.” He follows me into the massive place.
A few people are about. Mom must have asked for assistance for something. Or Dad offered income for a few people if they helped about the house. Either way, I don’t worry so much about them. “Mother!” I call out and her answer from the kitchen is clear. She still has work before her. I would be dragged in once this is handled.
“Good afternoon, Lady.” Diss bows to my mother upon entrance.
“You have someone following.” Mom scans my follower. “Expensive contract?”
“Yes and long term. You will see more of Diss. He will be staying in the village until I can complete his contract.”
Mom reviews him a moment before drying her hands to offer him a hug. “You’ll find them.”
I smile. “She has a few marks of intuition.” Mom nods stepping back. It’s good she is always on my side. I need her. “Can I have the major contract?”
“The one on cloth?” She moves thorough the house. We follow her to the office where she pulls out a quill and cloth contract. “I can stitch it later if you wish.”
“Or he can have that added to the wish.” I glance to him. “A hundred extra. Minimal for someone of your worth.”
“It is. I can pay that cost as well.” Diss looks over the basic contract. There is far too much that needs to be added. “Do I fill it out?”
“Yes.” Mom and I say together. He nods sitting down to write. “You would have to pay for dictation. Ten for another person or a hundred for your words to dictate to the cloth.”
“I can write. There were many years of schooling behind me.” Diss gets to work. I watch him fixing any concerns in his wish request. It’s pretty simple. He wishes to know and meet his biological parents. We’re starting at square one. Some wishes are one time deals. Some are really cheap. I don’t mind not putting together a written contract for them. For this, though, with such a high cost and long term investment, it would be essential.
Mom goes over anything Diss doesn’t understand. When Diss is done with his side of the contract, Mom disappears out of the room. I have to complete my side of the deal. It’s my contract. Mom only wanted Diss to realize I’m not alone right now.
He may be a Demon, but he has bared his soul for us. He wants to know where he came from. Who were his family? Why did they leave him at an orphanage? Would they have ever returned for him? Mom offered me a light kiss on the cheek upon leaving. It means her intuition said he tells the truth. It means she thinks I can trust him.
The money is placed on the contract. Diss signed first. Then I do. After my signature, my magic glows to my fingertips. Since this has no flash or bang, it looks like nothing. The contracts glows with my magic and the stitches form where words were written. The money disappears. Into my bank account actually. That was one of my wishes I asked of Forc. He did the same of me. In exchange, we must always be friends. The moment we stop being allies, the wish disappears.
I couldn’t even imagine not having Forc as a friend.
“That’s it?” Diss asks looking down at the contract.
I cough letting the magic soak into me. A name normally happens right away. But it’s not forming well. I grin and bear the spell’s determination. “They weren’t using false identities to reach your first home. You were born on the run. No names have shown.”
“Born on the run.” Diss sighs standing up. He takes the contract only to notice a second has formed beneath. One for each of us. “I hope to hear some knowledge shortly.”
“Apologies if this takes a long time. I should have at least one name before the end of the day.”
“I will expect to see you tomorrow at latest then.” He bows to me. “I will return to the inn and see if anyone has need of my abilities.”
I bite my cheek wishing my power worked differently. Some wishes take longer. I can’t just force the information to come to me. The magic has to find it. Limitless magic works differently. None of his spells can find his parents. He must use a genie. I can find a person who isn’t findable.
Will he accept just a name? Or a location? Will he want just his parents or more than just them? Will one parent be enough? Does he need a history of sorts? Will he wait until the spell sends him to his parents place? Or will a letter be enough saying he’ll meet them? This wish is multi layered and one of the longest in existence. The only one that ends up more expensive is “bring this person back to life”. Because that’s 10,000 sagwas every week after paying 100,000 up front. The only person who really asks for it is the king when there is a huge court concern before him. When he needs the absolute truth to an issue. I am not the genie placed before the king. I do not wish to be. His requests are… Difficult. I do not wish to serve the king.
Will Diss end up in the king’s guard? Such a high level Demon.
I sigh rolling up the contract and going to the kitchen where Mom is working. It seems someone is having a celebration. There are already forty cupcakes about the room decorated with fives. “Andrea’s fifth birthday?”
“It’s tomorrow. I need a hundred cupcakes.” Mom offers me an exhausted look. “I don’t want to wish for them.”
“So the mad rush.”
“I have plenty of time.” Mom smiles nodding at the contract. “What do you think?”
“He’s a high class Demon. He’s willing to take upwards of a year on this wish. I don’t know if he’ll get the answer he wants by then. I couldn’t even offer a name for him.” Just a situation of his birth. He was born on the run. A teen brought him to the orphanage.
“He will end the wish when he is ready to. Don’t assume he will give up at a year if he sees a real chance of knowledge by waiting just a little bit longer. Is he staying in town?”
“Yeah. I told him about my new house. I wouldn’t mind if he moved in. Part of the house was set up so that we could rent to contractors.” I frown thinking of the rooms we added just for that task. “I still need to talk to Forc about it.”
“Forc’s been… Worrisome.” Mom pauses in her work to offer me a hug. “I hope he isn’t against using the rooms the way they are supposed to. A genie works better for long term wishes when the wisher is nearby.”
I nod thinking of the rooms in this house that were used for that during my grandfather’s life. Now we have actual renters. Or we take in random homeless from the town while getting them back on their feet. It’s complicated. My parents are nice people. It’s not required of them, but they can’t let people suffer just because their luck ran out.
“Are you going to move in with him as well? If he rents from you, you wouldn’t be alone in the house.”
“I can’t. Not unless Forc moves in too. And he refuses until we’re married. The curse…” I frown thinking of that curse. Forc refuses a lot of things before his twentieth birthday. “Mom… How can he refuse so many things? Is he really afraid?”
“How much does he refuse you?” Mom is back to work on her cupcakes.
I sit down just watching. “He refuses everything beyond a light kiss. I haven’t even seen him naked. Not since we were tykes.”
Mom waits as if I would say more. I’m not even sure how to explain it. “You still wish to marry?”
I fidget. “I love Forc. We understand each other. When I chat with the older couples who stay together for such long times… Understanding means a lot more than anything physical we have for each other.”
“You will do well to have a sexual interest in each other though. It helps.” Mom sighs coming over to offer me another hug. It doesn’t last. Her alarm goes off for the cupcakes. She has to work.
“I’m not saying I don’t. He’s appealing to me. I want to jump. He’s afraid. I hope he has interest in me.” I sigh. I should probably help. Or put myself on another task. Or find my father. Or something. Focusing on what my relationship lacks is…
“He’s interested in you.” Mom offers me support. She doesn’t offer eye contact though. “You’ll have a strong marriage if you want it to be strong. I worry you aren’t getting enough to feel confident.”
“I’m confident!” My voice is a little more strained than it should be. I sigh realizing I’m lying. It’s obviously lying. I’m not confident. “Should I…?”
“It’s up to you. Maybe breaking up for now would be a good idea.” Mom offers that sad smile she’s known for. “I’m not saying you have to, Alaenia. I question if the two of you are truly happy.”
I sigh and stand up. “I’m going…” I shake my head. “I’ll ask Forc about Diss. I want to offer him a room. Even if Forc and I don’t move in. I handle all the upkeep already. It’s weird to own a home and not live there.”
“Tell Forc to move in. Tell him it’s time or you’re breaking up.” Mom calls as I walk off.
I try not to think about it. I try to focus on the situation with Diss. The Demon is going to be hovering me for who knows how long. It would be better he lived in my house. “But Forc needs to live there.” I knock on the door to the Lifte house. They live within the town not on the outskirts like I do. My house isn’t too far from them. I wanted to be in the center of everything. “Be confident. Tell Forc exactly what you want. Threaten to break up. He needs to stop being afraid of us failing just because…” I sigh.
Boat answers the door. She looks a lot like her older brother. Unless you strip off her clothes, you couldn’t even say she was female. Most acting Demons wear fully covering clothes and short hair. There’s reasons for that. “Alaenia!”
I gain her hug easily. She may look non gendered, but her voice is high. Most guess with it. She hasn’t minded the occasional male consideration. I don’t know how I’d feel if someone randomly called me ‘Mister’. I wear very feminine clothes to counter such words. My hair is down to my waist. My breasts are readily noticeable. Diss wore similar clothes to Boat. I don’t think I misgendered him. Most Demons just accept the common masculine pronouns. Or they wear clothes that say otherwise. I saw one when I was younger with a big female symbol on her clothes. She was making a statement. No one misgendered her. “Boat. Did your brother bring you the paper?”
Boat looks inside confused. I follow her. “No. I thought he was still on a date with you. I’m not completely out. I just know I’d be completely out before dusk.” She rubs her arms. “Forc never fails to get me paper when I need it.”
“He got it.” I frown. We separated a while ago. Where’s my fiancé? “Do you have a seek spell available?”
“Mom should, but I don’t.” Boat shivers hugging herself. “You think he’s caught in something? Genies cannot cast without a contract. They’re not supposed to be alone.”
“We should be safe walking the village. I left him only a few blocks away.”
Forc’s mom is adorable. She used to have her license. I still don’t know the complete story. I wonder if they’ll eventually explain things. Is it possible? Do they need a wish? She may wear a dress not leather gear now, but she still keeps her hair short. “Guess in case”, she always said. “Is everything alright?” She must see my shivers. She comes to offer me a hug looking at her daughter and me. “Where’s Forc?”
“That’s the question.” Boat comments motioning to her work. “He was bringing me paper after the date. The date’s been over and he hasn’t shown up.”
Mom stiffens staring at the door. “Did you hear anything weird? Did anyone come to the door recently?”
“No, Mom. I always tell you when strange people show up.” Boat rolls her eyes.
Her mother releases me and pulls on leather gloves. She ignores her work to grab a mirror. She places it on the counter gently and starts her cast. The mirror will show all of us where Forc is as long as he’s within several kilometers of us. Her glow should cause an image to form.
Nothing shows up. The mirror shows our faces. That’s it.
“Did you cast it right?” Boat wants to hope. I know she did it right. We’ve seen it before.
“I wish I had a country wide seek spell ready, but I don’t.” She stares at the mirror. She turns to me handing me the mirror. “A wish.”
“In exchange for a seeing mirror?” I gulp taking the item.
“Find my son Forc.” She closes her eyes. “I can contact you with the mirror as needed.”
I look at the mirror. I wouldn’t control the contact. “I’ll find him.” I glow letting the wish settle against me. It’s more long term than should be done verbally, but I don’t have a scroll. I look at the mirror and then realize something. “I can’t do this alone.”
No one would even let me leave the village by myself.
And this isn’t my only long term contract.
“And I have someone I need to talk to before going further. I may have to cancel a previous wish.” Paying back half the up front for having to break the contract sucks. But for Forc it’ll be worth it.
“I’ll go with you.” Boat collects up her gloves and pens. She cannot legally help me though. Not until she gets her license. I may be trapped until she is capable or Stayr returns home. His mother would be able to call him back shortly, but it would probably be a week or so where I have to wait for him. That’s if he can leave at that moment to return home. He may be in the middle of something. And she cannot contact him until tomorrow.
“This wish beats against my chest.” I touch my chest feeling the need to find Forc.
“I’m sorry that you carry a painful wish.”
“Wishes are painful when I’m not acting on them. It’s why we try to complete them as quickly as possible.” I sigh and find my father headed back to our home. “Dad!”
It leads to a warm hug. “Sweetheart. I was just returning home. Are you having a fun day?”
“Not at all.” I cry. “Forc has left the seek spell range. I’ve been wished to find him. But…”
“You can’t leave alone.” He nods turning around. “There’s a Demon who just came to town. Let’s go see him. He should be willing to follow you around for a while. I can easily pay the worth.”
Dad takes me to the inn. I was headed here anyway. Diss mentioned staying here. I have to talk to him before leaving. I need to cancel his contract if I’m getting too far to complete it. “He’s here.” He knocks on one of the door at the inn.
It’s not that surprising a Demon has their own room. Boat fidgets holding my arm. She’s not capable. Stayr isn’t back yet. Forc’s parents are no longer licensed. A Demon shouldn’t stay in this little village for long.
Actually it sounds surprisingly if there were two Demons here.
Still when Diss opens the door to my father’s knocking I’m surprised and shocked. Dad asks him about joining me on my journey. He blinks focusing on me. It unsettles the group.
“This is not as confusing as it sounds.” I lean on Boat. Diss nods and lets us into his little suite. Considering how easily he paid me, it makes sense he has this room. When titles come around to use my services, they stay in here. I sit down and exhale trying to calm my nerves. “My fiancé, Forc has disappeared.”
“Left the village proper and the outskirts.” Dad says pacing some. “Why would he leave Brick? How? No one would let a genie leave alone. You have no protections and too much value. You need a partner of some kind.” Dad points at Diss. “You can help her. Go with her to find Forc.”
“I have no interest in finding some guy. Especially if he’s the one taking this creature off the market.” Diss eyes me. Wait… What did he just say?
I speak up trying his words. Flirting with me doesn’t matter. “I am under a wish’s command to find Forc. If you are unwilling to help me, I can wait for Forc’s brother to return. He shouldn’t be more than two weeks. At that time, I must break our contract. You will receive half payment when it is broken. Which right now would be the largest break. I don’t know when I’ll manage to leave, but when that happens, I cannot hold your wish’s request. I pick finding Forc over you. Both are long term requests.”
Diss growls at me. His voice dropping lower. He’s clearly male. No female could get their voice that deep. Not without magic involved. “You would pick him over helping me.”
“He is my fiancé, my boyfriend. We have a home together even if we do not live in it yet. We have a future planned out. I cannot forgo such a wish. I’m sorry. When I return, I will offer your wish at half cost as an apology.”
That brightens him. “Half?”
“And if I take you?” He stands reaching me. He moves to be within reach of me. “Would it become half then?”
“As my guard…” I gulp looking to my father. He nods. He met Diss before me. He knew about him being here. I met him as a wisher. “If you were to guard me while this wish is active, the cost of guarding would be deducted from your wish cost.”
“Free.” I gulp realizing. The cost of having him as a guard is that high? I bite my cheek. “And on top of that… No… I can’t…” I look to Dad. “There must be someone else.”
“How many Demons come to our little village?” Dad huffs at me. He motions to the person who is now willing since his wish becomes free in exchange for guarding me. “You have a willing person.”
“Yes. That is true.” I hold out the mirror to him. “This is the cost of the wish to find Forc.”
“A seeing mirror?” Diss hisses tapping the frame. “I do not have any spells currently that would use such an item. I could have a few after sleep. Is there one you can use to reach here?”
I nod. Both of Forc’s parents have one. “You should meet with Forc’s parents. She made the wish and this was her mirror. He has a mirror still. They can reach us through their mirror. You should be able to reach them through this one.” I gulp. There are so many concerning points to this. But Diss would keep me safe. He wants to learn about his parents. To keep his wish active, he must stay near me. He must make sure I’m safe. And the cost of his guard is high. I would gain nothing for giving him information about his parents. And at what point would he say it was enough?
As a group we return to Forc’s home. Even Dad. He offers his usual greetings saving the concern for after the door is shut. Forc’s mother cries into his arms as the father sits solemn on the chair. Boat returns to her papers. She needs to study and ready for the test.
“Forc is a genie.” Diss looks to me. I nod. “He lives in a family of demons. That’s not… Normal.” Diss clicks his tongue ignoring his own comments before bowing to the pair. “I have been wrangled into the guard of the genie for this wish. I have capabilities to use seeking spells and seeing mirrors, but I would need to touch or meet the mirror in question before speaking with it.”
The father nods and leaves the room.
I fidget while holding the mirror close. “Before leaving I must organize a bag.”
Diss looks at me a moment. “Go ahead. I’ll meet you there. Do not leave the main roads. Go directly to your house and stay there until I arrive. As I said, I don’t have a seek spell ready right now.” He turns back to the father as he enters.
I exhale slowly and leave the house pretending my day hasn’t broken in two. I need to plan and organize. Should we bring horses? A carriage? Should we walk? I touch my chest again feeling the direction. It has me taking the road out of town. But if we leave the road, horses would be a problem. “What spells can he offer?” I shake it off. I can’t think too hard about it. We’ll be walking. It should be the best option. I wouldn’t feel right bringing my horse and having to leave it somewhere. Just a bag I can carry, then.
Good thing I have a bag of many things. It hooks to my closet. I take it up and look inside. It’s functioning as per normal. I open my closet and start fixing things. My parents know about this. I set up my money in the corner. My clothes as needed hanging properly. This bag cost a lot of money. It’s set to personal only. No one else can pull my items out. They can only reach their closet. And if they don’t have one, it won’t work.
I gulp closing the doors now that I’m ready. The bag is super light. I take up a small pouch for coins and spare change. The few magical items I have acquired will only work so well or so long. My bracer of protection only has a few charges. My hairpin of healing will only work so many times. “For Forc.”
I step out of my room letting the tears happen. Until Diss gets here, I can let the loss hit me dead center. I won’t be allowed to cry on the mission. There will be too much I have to do.
To be continued in Second Wish. If you have any suggestions for characters or stories (or wishes!) leave a comment here. If you’re looking forward to the next installment let me know. People asking about a story makes me write it. Recall this story was only started as an idea a few days ago. I’m a fast writer.