SS: Genie’s Eighth Wish

[About Cat Hartliebe] [WIP: Genie Wishes]

(First draft, remember. I’m making mistakes all over the place. Whatever. Enjoy!)

Genie Eighth Wish

Wishes are powerful things. Alaenia really is a well seasoned powerful genie. She has managed so much in her young life. Barely over twenty and already manipulating a wish to teleport past a mountain.

Diss could not be more excited to have found a powerful genie who is still completely innocent to the ways of the noble class and the real world. With Forc claiming they’re no longer friends, he can step in and be everything the genie needs to progress even further in magic.

The problem being the current wish is to find Forc and save him. Diss promised to help. He has only until they reach and save him to get Alaenia seeing him as the real match instead of the best friend who claims they’re not friends anymore.

~~~

I scan the new placement. Even holding Diss’s hand didn’t matter. I need to make sure I bring my guards with me. There are a few wishes in place for me to use, but it will always be safer with guard.

The forest surrounding me is calming. The road is similar to the one before the mountain pass. I look behind me at the mountian in question. I’m quite a ways away. And Diss is on the other side. “Stupid magic.” It never works the way I want it to. Although Diss did point out my knowledge surpasses most and that I have quality, skill, and capablility.

“I should’ve tried to climb it.” But the mountain pass needs work. It was bad. The time and energy… I look at the dirt covering my clothes and body. My normal clothes wouldn’t let the dirt stains stay. I never had that spell or wish added this these. Maybe I should ask Diss to make that wish?

He should accept it for a kiss.

A smile appears on my face. I’m alone, but thinking about kissing him. It lifts me. I shouldn’t be thinking of that. I shouldn’t be thinking about the various things I’m interested in doing. Or the fact my guard would be a willing partner in that.

“Forc…” I turn back to the road I’m on. This is the right direction. It has to be. The wish only works so well. It put me beyond the dangers of the mountain. This must have been the safest spot to teleport to. It could be something as annoying as potholes before this point. The wish is too open ended. Those are normally the best to work with, but still it all must have a clear direct answer to finding Forc. To saving Forc.

“Turn out your pockets and you won’t be hurt.” Deep voice. Masculine. I turn to it. I have nothing in my pockets. Everything is in my bag. And if they take the bag, they won’t get anything there. My necklace is probably still invisible.

The person is slow to leave the trees. I cannot see much of their face or upper body since they cover it with a massive crossbow. Aimed at me. Nocked and ready to fire. Cool. I’m under threat. Diss’s wish will probably activate if he shoots. Or Mom’s. She said I am not allowed to substain serious injury. That should still be workable. I’ve used her wish to heal me. I didn’t need stitches that day because of her wish.

The attire of the rogue is simple and common. Not poor, but not rich either. They have to have some skill or ability. I doubt it’s just the crossbow. Maybe they are also a demon. “Turn out your pockets or I will shoot.”

“I have nothing in my pockets,” I state. “I teleported without my guard. He carries everything.”

The rogue circles me keeping the crossbow aimed at my head. “Why don’t you fear me?”

“Why should I fear you?” I ask crossing my arms.

“I am threatening you with bodily harm.”

“Which may mean something if I didn’t have wishes protecting me.” I roll my eyes. Still the wishes can only get me so far. I’m extremely limited without Diss.

“Name.”

“So now you wish for a name instead of my pockets?” I shake my head. “No thanks. I do not name myself before threats. I wasn’t brought up in a barn.” Not that I minded when I stayed in the barn. Barns are comfort.

My words must have been too much. The crossbow bolt leaves the bow aiming right for me.

A wish activates and I move just centimeters to the right. And Diss appears next to me. He looks annoyed more than anything.

“Where’d you come from?” My attacker didn’t see me teleport in? Or didn’t believe me when I said I teleported without my guard?

“We’re going to have to redo my wish. This probably killed it,” Diss whispers. He steps forward drawing a sword from his belt. He wasn’t carrying it there. He’s using his bag. I’m starting to grasp Diss’s actions. “What do you want? Why are you on the King’s road?”

“Don’t treat me as an illegal.” They scoff.

“It’s part of my duty to the crown to keep riff raff off roads. If you are marked known assilant your capture would grant me funds. I’m legally allowed to carry weapons and act as King’s guard. Are you? Where’s your papers? Why are you acting my charge?”

This is Diss’s home country. Was that part of the license test? I try to recall when Forc’s siblings studied for it with me around. I beleive it is. I believe Demons must volunteer time with the royalty. Most just do the clearing of a few problematic people. Or have hours working as a town’s guard. Or taking down certain quests at a lower price point.

“Where’s your papers? Don’t act like I am illegal when you are coming from the mountain pass.” They nock their crossbow our way again. Who are they?

“Such a pain.” Diss pulls his license out and holds it up. It’s probably too far to read, but the markers should be clear enough. “I am on a quest right now. She needs my guard and guidance. And you threaten.”

“I haven’t recieved word of movement.” The crossbow lowers at least. Then a license comes out. It’s not as highly marked as Diss’s is, but it’s a legal license. “I am supposed to get word when someone is moving through the pass legally. We have black market traders creating trouble.”

“You’ll probably get it tonight. Teleported shortly after giving all of our information to them.” Diss holds a hand out for me. I accept it. “I am bringing her legally into the country. She has someone she is searching for and we know he is here somewhere.”

The Demon scans me. “A noble backing. Having wish protection and a high level Demon guard. Am I looking at royalty?”

“Just high nobility.” Diss grins. “This is beyond important. She chases her genie.”

“Her wishes would disappear if they are separate too long, but having claim of a genie is…” The Demon ducks their head before me. “A thousand apologies, Your Highness.”

“Again, not royalty.”

“Damn close. Has to be. No one get a high classed Demon and genie claim without having close ties to the king.” This Demon looks to the pass again. “Be careful. People are questioning a few things in the higher ups.” The threat has all but disappeared with this person. A beard with greys and browns. Cap to keep control of things. I wouldn’t think they’re commonly using their license. It’s not normal Demon looks. Too age, too plain.

“My youth keeps a level distance between me and them.” Diss salutes them. “Thank you for offering the guard.”

“Be wary. Don’t show off too much. You’ll gain attention.” They duck back into the trees probably waiting for whoever should or should not come.

I glance at Diss. He doesn’t say anything before walking forward. We get some ways down the road before I can relax even a little. I’m shocked I was tha calm. And shocked to say I have to calm down. “That’s a first.”

“Probably won’t be a last. You didn’t act the stranger in this battle.”

“My wishes will protect me.”

“I was trying to reword my spell for teleport so I could teleport to you. I couldn’t decide if teleporting to the town and walking to you would be faster or moving over the mountain.” Diss rubs his head. “I’m going to have a teleport to spell ready tonight and every night until you are safe again.”

“All that debt from all the things you got me…” I feel for the wish. It’s missing. We’re back to square one. “Teleportation wishes are expensive.”

“They are.” Diss takes my hand. “I’ll buy you a bunch of things once we get to the town. Do not leave my side for any reason until then.”

“You’re glad my wish acted up.”

“No. Because that meant you were in trouble.” Diss squeezes my hand. “I hope to stop all forms of trouble around you.”

It silences me. To have such a serious guard. He is… I touch my necklace gripping the swirl that says I am a genie. It wasn’t seen by the other Demon. “High noblity.”

“Hm?”

“Only a royal would have both a Demon and genie guard.” I say with a sigh. “My situation is special.”

“A genie having a genie and Demon as allies isn’t strange at all. He thought you were without magic. Guarded by magic but without magic yourself is very much high nobility. Most nobles carry the blood of one or both. A rare few end up without any.” He tugs me forward. “They are normally skipped for titles, but are well guarded.”

“Because a close guard leaves you…”

Diss looks at me. I didn’t look to him. I’m watching the ground. “You get emotionally attached to someone you spend a lot of time with. The parents would seek high levels to guard and hope a relationship happens.”

“And the high guards are normally…”

“Other nobles. Yeah. As I said before, I wonder what titles you actually have. I can guarantee you have something even if it’s just a lower title stating you own land.”

I own land. My parents do. It would be mine in the future. The town is under our care. “I thought…” I sigh. Diss doesn’t jump my words. “I thought if the genie didn’t own the town, the protection would disappear. That’s what everyone told me when we went about. Dad goes and finds all sorts of problems for us to solve. To prove I am truly protecting the town. Everyone looks to me for guidance and skills.”

“I’m starting to see why Forc would get distant after a while.” Diss squeezes my hand. “You own the town. Who is he there? Demons like his family had a title and lost it. That’s part of the requirements to lose their license. His siblings have to regain the family’s honor.”

“They’re not as great as you are.”

“Thanks, but they are still strong enough you’d expect title. What happened? Why did Forc end up there? He’s a genie in a demon family. They’re not high enough I’d expect both in their family tree.”

“Do you think demons are probably in my tree?”

Diss looks at me and grins. “I hope I can offer such an option in the future.”

“Did you just…?”

“The town’s this way.” Diss ignored his own comment! What is he supposed to be saying there?

I release his hand and storm forward. Diss has no trouble keeping up. When I look at him his eyes are twinkling. He knows what comment he made. “You forget I am engaged.”

“Ah, yes, the person who isn’t your friend anymore.” Diss taps his lips. “Please let me know if you have zero interest in me. Mind I can tell if you’re lying.”

My jaw clamps shut. He can tell when I’m lying? A shiver runs me as I glance at him. He’s all bubbles right now. Still he didn’t take my hand. He doesn’t press. His words are just a reminder. Nothing about his actions has said he’d give up. And I haven’t told him no. More I circumvented the answer by blaming Forc. Blaming… That’s the wrong word. I love Forc. I want to marry Forc. We’re best friends… We were best friends. I hope to always be able to rely on him as my best friend.

Have I questioned our romance? Have I questioned our wedding? Have I questioned breaking up? I can’t believe I can say yes to all of that. I can’t believe I wonder if we can make it as anything more than friends.

I’ve kissed Diss deeper than Forc! Diss has seen me naked. I’ve had a chance to see as much of him as I have of Forc. And every step of the way, Diss offered more. If only I wished to take.

Forc denied every step forward. Did he not want to be together? Was this an act? A ploy? Did he want to end our friendship and our engagement? Was I the only one still wanting to be together? Was it a one sided love?

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.” Diss stops us so I can get a hug. I don’t push him off. He holds me in place letting me cry into his chest. “I tease, but understand. You were clear from the beginning. You are planning to be with Forc. He’s your one, your choosen. I probably wouldn’t even be a runner up. I’m sorry to remind you…”

“You’d be a runner up.”

“What?”

I sniffle hiding in his chest. I hug him back tighter. I want his comfort. This helps. Diss has been a positive. Always. “I don’t mind… You’re…” What do I say? “Forc is…”

Diss pulls back, but I refuse to show off my face. “Aleania, are you saying you’d pick me if Forc truly backed off? If he is giving up not just playing a game, you’d… I’m not fighting an impossible battle?”

I nod refusing the words.

“How can I persuade you to give me an honest chance during this…?” Diss pauses. He shakes it off and hugs me tighter. “Sorry. That was a selfish question. Your friend has just hit you below the belt. I can’t just sneak in while no one is looking.” Diss stares in the direction we’re headed. “I can’t not try something, but I need to offer that space too.” He grumbles.

It has me laugh. Laughter mixed with tears.

“Let’s continue.” Diss presses me in the right direction.

I rub my face wanting the tears gone. I can’t believe I so easily succumbed to the emotions. Forc is… I need to find him. I need the truth.

“I won’t step past any boundaries you place.” Diss has my hand again. A safety precaution. Not that it stopped my teleport before. “Be clear or I’ll assume you’re more open.”

I look away staring at the forest surrounding us. I glance to the mountain behind us. It looms. We made it through faster because of my wishes. “Hey, make the wish again.” I tug him closer to me.

“Which one?”

“You know which one.”

Diss frowns at me. “It won’t work with sexual favors. That’s better as a one time deal wish.” He pulls a subek from his bag. “I wish you can handle and protect yourself completely even if I cannot help.” He hands the money to me. I can feel the wish fall into place. “But that won’t offer much.” He huffs walking forward. “I’m going to buy you a bunch of things once we get to town.”

“I don’t need a bunch of things.” I look at my hands and jacket. “I would like my clothes to stay clean though. Do you know that magic?”

Diss reviews me a moment before tugging me forward again. “Repay you using my magic, huh? That may work. I could set aside a few slots to work the clothes you want into something suitable. I’m gonna need a spell list though. I wonder how much it’ll cost this time.”

“You don’t know the spells for it?”

“Nope.” Diss keeps me close offering a hope filled smile. “But I’ll do anything for you.”

My heart did not just stutter. I did not lose my train of thought. Nope. I’m fine. Everything is fine. I’m completely commited to Forc.

Ugh. I can’t lie to myself. I shift so I would block Diss’s movement. he seems annoyed until I press my lips against his.

Again.

It’s just this time we aren’t making a wish.

It’s not much. But the fact it’s done without ultieor motive says a lot. I know it does. I pull back smiling. Then I focus back on our path. I have to fully settle before we get to the town.

“Damn,” Diss whispers. I hear him. “We’re gonna definitely need separate rooms.” I glance back at him to see him half covering his face. I ignore it. I have to.

I can’t believe I’m stepping into something.

I press my hand against my chest feeling Forc. I can feel his distance. It’s not just physical distance. He’s moving further from my heart. And it’s not me doing it. I’m just not fighting it like I was. I should’ve broke up with him weeks ago when I noticed.

The tears drift down my cheeks. I have to ignore them. Pretend smile. Act like your heart isn’t shattering. You have someone with you who understands. He gets genies. He’s open and willing. I can have a real relationship with Diss.

I blink back the tears trying to pretend they’re not there. Why didn’t Forc want me like that?

“We’ll teleport to the town once you calm down. Let’s settle into the woods for now. I’ll set camp.” Diss pulls me to the side and out of the way. Soon we have our basic campsite I recall from our first few days. It has me laughing and crying again. “There is nothing I can do to make this easier on you.”

“Can we teleport to Forc?”

Diss waits for me to sit down and poke the fire. It’s not an uncommon action. I’ve done the same thing every time. Testing for illusion and heat. “I’ll ready the spell once he is at a standstill or stops moving faster than us.” He leans back. “Damn, even getting what feels like a win, I still have to face off with him. Second place sucks.”

I offer him an uneasy smile. It’s not that he has second place. Forc isn’t even on the list right now. My heart hurts for many reasons.

My best friend… I sigh thinking of Forc. What happened? The guard said he started leaving for an hour or two with random people. It had become so normal, he wasn’t questioned leaving.

I knew Forc had Demon friends. But to think he never told me how close they got. Or about him leaving randomly. He was so determined to prove something on our last date. Prove what? I know he’s a quality genie. He deserves consideration and respect.

Could I even name his other friends? The ones from the town, I could name, but I didn’t know if they’d be close. His family were the only demons living there full time. For Forc. So he could learn from a genie family.

Why was a genie born in a demon family?

“Could he have been stolen?” I didn’t mean to say it out loud. I gasp looking to Diss.

“Thought of that, too. But the stories check out. His older brother remembers the pregnancy of his mother. Was even there to see Forc show off the swirl to the world for the first time. As Forc cried his first time, his parents showed fear and worried. Shortly afterwards, they packed up and moved. They haven’t said where they used to live, though. As if that’s a secret they can’t talk about.” Diss waves a finger in the air. “Since I am under your guidiance and they’re technically paying for this quest, pushing the information could be a bad thing. I’ve let it slide. Should I press? I’m the stronger demon.” Diss reviews me.

“Forc looks like his family, too. I really didn’t think…”

“You never thought anything strange around Forc, though. You just treated him as a genie whether he had ties or not.” Diss smirks at me. “So innocent.”

I pout. “You’ve been chatting when I’m not looking.”

“Yeah. Stayr isn’t hard to reach, actually. I know him through different means.”

“You met him before?” That’s shocking.

Diss nods. “He’s currently on a quest with someone I met a few years ago. I think she’ll be starry eyes forever too. The guy is hott.”

I blink. “Did you just…?” I stare at the fire. “You think Stayr is hot?”

Diss shifts sitting taller. “I mean… For a guy… Who’s older… And…”

I chuckle. “You did say you like guys before. I just didn’t think Stayr would be your type.” I stick my tongue out. “He’s always been so annoying.”

“We can have different tastes in men.” Diss scoffs. “I won’t ask you to pick someone out for me.”

I pull my knees to my chest. “If I had to pick someone out for you… Hmm… That’s a tough question.”

“Ugh. Don’t. I’ll be fine picking my own dates out.”

I stare at him. “Stayr, huh… Stayr Lifte.” I sigh thinking of Forc’s older brother. He’s been out and about enough. “I guess for a Demon he’s not bad.”

“Stab a little deeper next time; I think I’m still alive.” Diss glowers at me.

I scan my friend. “I look at Stayr as if my brother. I was supposed to marry into his family remember. I grew up with him treating Forc and me as…” I sigh thinking it over. Stayr is older than us by a few years. He was the odler brother. I had siblings only because Forc’s siblings treated me as them.

“I wonder if there is anything I can do.” Diss leans back. “I didn’t even know Stayr had a family. Minus the fact his skill indicates he had family demon hertitage.”

“So you knew in a vague sense.”

“Yeah. I never worked with him. It was a random meet up in a random town. Demons find each other when we end up nearby. It was just one drink in a bar as we talked about our quests. I’ve been questing as long as he has.”

“You would have had a chance to chat with him if this didn’t happen. He visits home between his big quests.” Stayr probably would have came home in a few weeks. “And he would have shown for the wedding for sure. What will they think if…?” I sigh sinking. The wedding… How can…? “We should cancel the preparations.”

“Why?” Diss reaches out to grab my hand. “You can’t just cancel. You don’t know the entire thing. What’s the real truth?”

“Do you know why I went to Forc’s house before we left? No one knew he disappeared until I said he was already supposed to be home.” I bite my cheek thinking it over. “I was gonna break up with him.”

“You were what?” Diss jumps up throughly shocked by my words.

That probably makes sense. All signs showed my relationship with Forc was strong and unbreakable. I close my eyes back to ignoring the tears. I’m not sobbing or bawling. I’ll be fine. “It was going to be either we move forward or back off. We’ve been friends even engaged.” Each memory of my friend comes forward. Over the last few months…” Forc has grown distant. I touch my chest feeling the wish. My desire to chase Forc is the wish. If the wish wasn’t there, would I want to? Am I going to just give him up? Be friends or… Can I become no one to him? Can I pretend we know nothing about one another? As if we’re not even friends anymore?

Can I call myself his friend? It’s like I missed everything about his life recently. I was so focused on my dreams, hope, and future I missed his. Did he not want to move in together because he wanted us to end?

Why did he fight during our last date? Why did he need to prove anything? Why did he give up on us so easily?

Diss tries to relax sitting close but also not. I’m being protected and guarded not consoled. He’s letting me decide.

“Do I know nothing about Forc?”

“You should know more than me. Even if I gave you knowledge, I really don’t know him. I can tell you stories, but that’s not him. You know him.” Diss taps his chest. “Here. You are connected to him. You did that. He did that. Even if you can pretend in the future there was nothing between you, that won’t be the truth. He is your first love. He is the one you dreamed about marrying and living together and having all the special genie wishes with. Nothing will change that. You will have to accept that happened. Your past with him happened. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know you’re close.”

“The future…” I stare at the fire. The watering is because of the fire. There’s smoke and soot and ash. My eyes are watering because of that. It’s not that I still haven’t managed control of my tears. I’m not crying.

“The future is never set in stone, Aleania.” Diss lies back. I stare at him. He looks conflicted. “I think the reason I keep distance from you isn’t a lack of attraction.”

“You’re keeping distance?” I stare at him and find a smirk.

In his mind he’s keeping distance. Could he fight harder for a relationship? “You are goregous. There’s been many who peak my interest. You probably have more so than most honestly. But you have this other love. A love that makes more sense. What do I have? What can I offer you? I won’t stop my questing just because you seek that stable life in a seaside village. Could I be loyal to you? Could I be your family? Sure. I wouldn’t deny my interest in that ideal, but I wonder if I could match what your needs and desires are. I’ll be missing in your life for months at a time.” He rolls on to his side. “So I really shouldn’t press starting something. How can I be anything more than a fling?” He grunts at the ground.

It’s not something I thought about. “So… We’re going to be friends?”

“Friends who can totally fall into a sexual relationship on every journey.” Diss tells the ground. He should be telling me.

“Are you in a dream world?”

“Maybe…” Diss sits back up dusting off his clothes. “I want so much more, but there’s no way I can offer you what you need.” He stands up. He starts stretching. I watch him. “So annoying. I finally find a perfect option.”

“Unless you stablize… Like at the royal palance?”

“No. I don’t want you to be stuck there. I wouldn’t want to be stuck there. Let’s aim for the pretty seaside village of Brick.” Diss stops to look down at me. “That would suit you best. You are safe and secure. I’ll come visit often for random play times. I can easily teleport places. I’ll just add that to my normal daily collection.” He starts counting.

I giggle. It’s a distraction. “You want to try something that badly, huh?”

“And you just were bawling your eyes out of your ex.” Diss pauses staring me. “Is he your ex?”

“We never technically broke up.” I hug my knees thinking of it. I was thinking it and half planned it. And he broke the wish claiming we’re not friends and allies. Why? “But I wouldn’t say we’re together either. I don’t know what I am to him.”

“I’ll take half a chance. Might be all I can get.” Diss slams his fist into his hand. He looks ready to try. The confidence suits him.

I close my eyes glad the tears have stopped. The thoughts are so close to the surface. This is harder than I thought it would be. “I just wish I knew. Are we over-over? Or is this a pause so we can gather our thoughts?”

“Either way, he’s leaving an opening.”

“He doesn’t know you’re trying to slip in.”

Diss stares at me until I stare up at him. “Did you notice the innuendo or are you pretending you didn’t notice? Should I replay those words while slipping in?”

I cover my cheeks. I didn’t mean that slipping in.

“My thoughts are muddled.” Diss sits down next to me. I can feel his warmth. It has me lean closer to him. My head rests on his shoulder. “Test me a little bit more and we’ll be naked.”

“You wouldn’t jump without allowance.”

“I am…” He pauses. A quick glance at me has him sigh. “I won’t jump without allowance. I can’t even tease well enough.”

“That’s a good though, remember.”

“Yeah. I was taught it. Especially when I am the guard. I need very clear consent before having any type of special relationship with a client. You are paying me. Just like I’m paying you. Our mutally benefitcal situation makes it harder to just jump. Full allowance. Clear consent.” He looks at me. “I might need it in writing.” I chuckle snuggling closer. “Before that though, I should wish for the spells to keep your clothes clean and neat. That fall you took before left you a mess. You’re barely complaining.”

“There’s so much other stuff to focus on I half forget I’m covered in dirt.”

“Yeah. Let me use the bath spell. At least you’ll be clean for now.” He works magic so easily, so readily. Since he used it with my clothes on, they were hit too. “It leaves certain parts still feeling grimy, but you’re more concerned about your clothes, right?”

I nod. I look at my hands. They look perfect again. My jacket is clean. “Thanks.”

“I’ll take another kiss as gratitude.” Diss smirks.

I shift so I can offer him a peck on the cheek. “Thank you, Diss.”

Diss exhales seemingly more relaxed. “Lots to think about. Should we continue walking or just teleport there?”

“Walk.” I stand up looking at the camp. “Do you have another camp ready? In case?”

“Yup. Are you hungry?”

I shake my head. I probably should be, but I’m not. Diss nods letting my answer be truth. We’ll eat eventually. We don’t have to eat right now.

Diss takes up my hand for our walk before we get far. It’s becoming comfort. To have him here calms me. I can trust Diss. He’s been a support I never had before.

Our walk is tame. Trees surround us while we walk down a well cared for road. Given the guard who stopped me, this road is clearly under watch. Why? For what? Or who? Either way, we aren’t stopped. No other people can be seen until we start seeing the posted guards at the town. It’s a serious guard too. As if there is a lurking threat nearby we know nothing about.

“Suspicious.” Diss comments holding my hand still. “Either way, at most we just need to show our papers.” We’re legally allowed to move between countries.

Could this have something to do with Forc? That makes no sense. Why would guards be increased and everyone questioned just because a random genie was brought across lines? He’s allowed to leave the country too. This probably nothing to do with us.

But the weird feeling from before. The wording I used at random. As if we needed a trail. Was this the reason?

“Welcome on your return, Weasher. Have you started on a new quest?” The guard offers the greeting to Diss while scanning me. “I thought you were after a genie.”

“She is a genie. I have her necklace hidden.” Diss taps my necklace. I grip it.

The guard only nods looking behind him to the town. “Best to hide those abilities in this crowd. People are hounding for the big guns. When the king places a bounty, you know it’s important.”

“I guess I picked a bad time to go on my genie search.” Diss chuckles. “What’s the reward?”

“Full knighthood. It’s a title. Many Demons are looking for that.”

“Meh.” Diss waves it off taking my arm. “If I wanted a title, I would acquire one. I have a few nobles who know my name and would accept me into their family. I’m holding off.”

“Suit yourself.” The guard pauses looking to the tree line. “Can’t say I’m not half interested in the quest myself. I’m comfortable enough living here. But…” He turns to Diss. “Wife, kids, I wonder if I should aim for higher for their sake.”

“Train the little ones so they can reach those heights. You didn’t gain a license until you were older.” Diss taps his chest. “The king wants a young Demon to win this.”

“If you went on it, I’ll bet on you succeeding.” The guard nods going back into stance. “Keep a close watch on the genie or people will be wishing left and right.”

“We won’t stay long.” Diss holds me close. I scan the guard once he’s back on his goal of watch. Diss doesn’t give me time to really see anything special. “There’s a higher classed inn just over here.” I nod letting Diss lead me. “Best to say nothing while here. I had no idea there would be a gathering of demons. I should go out and find out if the quest is worth it.”

“The prize of title?” I question.

“Nah. I’m not itnerested in the title. I’ve already had a few options open up for me. No one is fighting though, so I am not forced to pick. Which is why I wanted this.” He holds up my hand. “You can tell me who I am related to. Even if I’m still seen as a bastard, it would be nice to know whose bastard I am.”

I sigh. “I hope I can be valuable enough for that.”

“There’s several things you are valuable for.” He kisses my hand. “So let’s pick a room to stay in.”

“Together?”

“Probably for the best. Even if there are enough rooms open, I don’t think I’d trust them around you. Even without the knowledge as to who you are, you’re goregous. Protecting you will be tough and I need my five hours.”

I scan the place. There are a lot of demons. The lack of hair. The leather garments. Even metal outfits clanging about. These are demons. They use magic for their sake.

I am in a place of danger.

And I have no idea why. What is the king seeking?

“I’ll probably be safe while awake in the room. I can use my spells.”

“No. The spells can use you. It’s different.” Diss scans the place. “Let me buy you a new outfit and a massive meal. We’re having a date. Otherwise you won’t have me teleport to you if something happens.” That would be bad.

Pretending to be on a date with Diss has me realize a lot of these demons know him. But he doens’t give out to most of them that I am a genie, just his contractor. I’m noticing who he trusts, who he considers safe.

I can’t tell them apart. I stick to silent. Most of the conversations are about the king’s bounty and magic. I lack in both information wise, so I offer nothing to the conversation.

It gives me time to observe. Diss smiles and laughs with his closer friends. Ones he’s friendly with, he offers an openness he did with me first off. Some he’s closed off to. Those would be marked enemies to him. And I should be careful if I spot then again.

Diss spends what feels like a bucket load of money on me. But it’s for a reason. If the price isn’t high enough, I’ll be on my own in a dangerous situation. Tonight Diss will memorize a teleport to spell for my safety. Genies really are limited when they are alone.

After dusk, we have a big meal. Even though I’d call myself full, Diss brings me to a band playing in the market square. The food vendors have mostly left minus a few listening to the music. It’s interesting to dance about the square with Diss.

A date. I’ve had dates before. And Diss is clearly marking territory. Small touches. Hand holding. A few pecks on the cheek. Flirtious glances. The demons should know before we head to the inn that we’ll be sleeping together, that we are together as a couple. I did nothing to stop that from being the thought.

I stayed quiet. It should help me survive such a dangerous town.

Diss uses the bath spell on himself nearly nude. He hasn’t removed everything. He said for my sake. Not that I can’t tell he’s hard under his undergarments. It’s trying to escape. Diss refused it and refused attacking me.

Which helps. I dress down as well. Diss offers the spell, but I let him use it on my clothes. I’m pretty much clean. As whirlwind of a date it has been, it was a clean date. Nothing happened.

Comfortable and comforted, I lie down on the bed. It’s not a big bed, Diss manages to fit on it too. “Did you want me to pull a cot?” He looks at me.

I shake my head and move closer. We can cuddle. He makes me feel safer. I trust him.

“Tease me all night then. I won’t sleep past five hours, probably. You can sleep as late as you want, though. No rush to leave.”

“Forc…” I yawn recalling my friend.

“We have to wait out five hours. I would suggest not leaving until dawn. Doubtful we’d even be allowed to leave until then.”

“Alright.” I snuggle against his warmth. “Good night, Diss.”

“It does seem to be a good night. I’m glad you feel safe with me, Aleania. Tomorrow, we’ll continue our path.”

I don’t think I answer. I tried to agree, but I don’t think I manage to say anything before falling asleep. I’m safe.


[WIP: Genie Wishes] [About Cat Hartliebe]
[Fantasy Short Stories] [Cat Hartliebe’s Books]

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