(I was mean to drop a cliffhanger. Here you go. A good writing day indeed.)
Genie’s Eleventh Wish
Aleania and Diss have finally found Forc. But the situation isn’t as positive as to be expected. Because the pair didn’t find Forc before Aleania’s newest enemy did.
What can they do to save Forc and help figure out everything going on?
There’s no time to prepare, only time to act. Will they succeed or have to flee before getting captured themselves?
The horses are quiet used to the magic in play in the field before us. Nothing destructive so far. But I can tell root when I see it.
Diss is at my side as we peer into the chaos before us. We’re behind the tree line and several meters from them.
Forc, the person I haven’t seen in days, the reason I’m even in this country, stands dead center. Behind him are a troupe of Demons, but they aren’t capable of countering the Genie currently within the Prince’s guard.
I don’t even know this prince’s name. Although he came asking for marriage, he never introduced himself. His arrogance and confidence is annoying at minimum. He is also Diss’s half brother. Is he the likely one to earn position as king? Don’t know. Several should be on mark for it. Prince is a title that is available to many. Even Diss has it now.
In this country, there is something to mark who becomes king. And ever since I walked into the place, marrying me was it.
That’s because my mother fled instead of listen to the requirement they just threw at me. Who does that?
If I can just get married to Forc before they can try using me, everything will be fine.
Diss grips my hand. He hasn’t made a wish yet. I’m expecting it. The cost will be minimum and sexual in nature. A kiss can mean the world after all.
“You hold her magic.” The prince comments. It’s a focus on Forc. And given the circumstances, they are seeking me still. “Tell me where she is?”
“You’re crazy.” Forc scans the male. The royal marks don’t phase Forc. He’s probably quaking inside, but refuses to show it. “Who are you? What do you really want?”
“Aleania Heam. Where is she?” The prince spouts my name with hate. That’s the word I’d use. Is it because Forc is stalling? Or because he doesn’t want anything to do with me? I would just me the point to gain titles. Diss’s father… The current king…
“You still haven’t told me who you are. And I have no idea. She didn’t join me on this mission.” Forc throws his hands up.
“If the wish marks you as ally and friend, then either you know or she’ll appear to help you.” The prince raises a sword to Forc’s neck.
“This is gonna hurt.” Diss braces for it. He still has the wish to take on Forc’s injuries.
A call from the carriage has the prince deny the attack.
Then movement suggests it was me they found. It was expected. I grit my teeth.
“I wish your allies were safety within our reach.”
“If he’s rooted-” I try but get lips on me. The flash of magic has the two of us standing before Forc. He’s safety in our reach while we stand in the middle of battle.
“Aha.” The prince spots me with a smirk. “The lady has returned.” He waves his fingers in the air. “Kill her.”
That’s one way to counter the rules of engagement. I’d preference not dying though.
“I’m rooted.” Forc whispers as several arrows come at us again. Diss’s guard is already in place. Same with my wish.
“This is horrible.” Diss grunts and reaches for Forc. “I wish you had full control of your movement so we can seek my parents.” Then- this is shocking, I’ll give you a moment pause to get used to this- Diss kisses Forc. On the lips. It’s just a peck. It really shouldn’t mean anything.
Forc falls forward into Diss’s arms from the act. The wish worked.
Diss nods to the prince before grabbing up my hand.
And we teleport. As a group. Thankfully. I sit down on the ground.
“This isn’t Brick.” Diss growls out. I glance around to see the town that would suit near where we were. “There were blocks in place.”
Forc looks shocked still. “Um… Excuse me…” He pauses staring at Diss. Diss is trying to figure out a safe haven. “Did you just kiss me…?”
Diss stops his organizing to look at Forc. “Yeah. Because the wish would be granted without me having to spend money. I’ve been doing the same with Aleania since we started seeking you.”
“You’ve been what?” Forc glances at me and sinks to the ground. “I can’t go back yet.”
“We can’t.” Diss growls. “Come on. We’re going to hide in an inn. Asking for five hours is too much, but getting cover would help some.” He grabs Forc by the hand. I follow obediently. We’re out in the open. We teleported in. Something’s wrong. Why’d we come here?
“There was a genie in the group.” Forc tells me. I take up his free hand. Diss lets me take control. We’re still following. “I never dealt with someone like that before.”
I nod. “Grandfather was gone before we could. It’s a royal class genie. Because that was a prince.”
Forc stares at me. Diss is buying a room. “Why?”
“A moment quiet, please.” Diss glares at me before I answer. We can’t talk about this while we are under threat. “Thank you.” It doesn’t take us long to reach the safety of a room. Diss drops on the bed. “I’m pretty much out of magic now.”
“Out?” Forc stares at him. “What do you mean out?”
I move Forc to the bed so I can sit down too. “We’ve been chasing you down.” I rub my chest where the wish sits. It’s not quite gone because we’re not safe yet. Glad the wish sees the end point as safety or home. Still I’m calm. “Your parents started the wish for me to find you. It’s still active.”
Forc looks at himself then at the two of us on the bed. “I was fine.”
“You left without word.”
He turns aside.
I sigh pulling my legs to my chest. “Forc… I’m not safe here. Because I am good enough to mark the next king.” I exhale hiding further. “Mom was supposed to name Diss’s father king.”
“Hold up.” Forc takes a step back from me. “I left because there was finally word on my request.”
“Your request?” I stare at him tears begging to be free. “You never said anything to anyone.”
“Well yeah.” Forc rolls out his shoulders. “When you think your parents stole you, it kinda becomes important to limit who knows. Stayr knew because he helped me get involved in SAFARI.” Forc motions to Diss. “He knew.”
“Wait. What?” I back off from Diss. He flinches. “SAFARI came forward as the group who took Forc early on. You know them? But you said…”
“Knows them.” Forc stares at me. “He’s a part of them. One of the heads actually. He was there to make sure you didn’t get any backlash.”
Diss sighs sitting up. I’ve moved further away. “Which would include not telling her anything until we’re certain things progressed normally.”
“You never said anything?” Forc gulps looking to me. “Uh…”
I back away from both of them. “You’ve been lying to me.”
Forc hisses. His eyes show the worry I know that comes with this. Because I do know him. He distanced himself on purpose. To protect me. “Aleania.”
Tears managed to break free. I can’t stop them. “I went to you shortly after the date. I went to your house where you should’ve been because you were getting paper for…” I gulp calming down a little. I need to be calm. “I was going to break up with you because everyone could tell you were pulling away.”
“Away from everyone.” Forc reaches out for me, but I refuse the touch. “I never wanted to lose you, Alaenia. I never…”
“Why didn’t you kiss me? Really kiss me? Why haven’t we moved in together? I care for a house I do not live in because you refused.” I rub my head trying to consider everything. “It was either we move in together or we break it off.” I straighten myself and glare at my boyfriend through the tears. “I’m breaking it off.”
“Aleania.” Diss captures me from behind. “We’re still in danger. Recall your thoughts only a few days ago.”
I struggle but not enough to escape. I want the false hug even if I’m bothered by who’s giving it. My heart has claimed both of them as… I feel shattered. To trust them only to have everything… “You’re the enemy.”
“No. I’m not.” Diss sighs. He is holding me so I can’t escape. “That prince chasing us is the enemy.”
“What’s up with that anyway?” Forc motions outside. “Who was the guy?” I shrug.
“Should be Prince Edwardian?” Diss seems uncertain. “I’m going with age comparisons here. He was the first prince born of the current king.” Diss sighs looking outside. “Can’t believe I’m the bastard son of the king.”
“What?” Forc stares at Diss. “I know I don’t know you or anything, but… I thought I knew enough to have been given that detail…”
“Just found out.” Diss huffs. “I agreed to this because I was meant to guard a high classed genie. Royal genie actually. I was being given cleared time to get my wish handled. I wanted to know my parents. That’s why I was picked. I had a reason to seek a genie, I would truly protect her if she offers me the information I desire, and I need to be careful before I get caught in the nobility.”
“And she’s hot.” Forc nods. He shifts a little. “Guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the two of you being so close…”
“I’m making sure a spell doesn’t take her. I’m using an anti magic zone.” Diss grunts. “It’s my last top slot. I always have it… But to use it…”
“How long does it last?” Forc sits on the bed. “Would I be marked safe?”
“No.” Diss keeps me trapped. “Unless you join the hug too?”
Forc scans Diss. “You want me involved in my ex’s new relationship?”
“I’m not your ex.” I glare at him. “We didn’t break up.”
Forc stares at me then at Diss. “Then why did you lean into him after backing off from me?”
I look aside. What do I say to that? I did lean in.
“I get it. He’s hot. And a proper partner.”
“As if you’re not.” Diss scoffs. “Get over here.”
“Join the awkward hug between my…” He sighs and moves into our space. Diss manages to keep us trapped in a hug. But it also means I am in a hug with Forc. This is very weird. Forc stares at me, our heads close together. “Are you okay? I’m sorry you followed me. I should’ve left you a note. That was my plan.”
“You said she couldn’t be trusted.” Diss squeezes Forc’s side. I can hear the grunt. But Forc shouldn’t get hurt. That wish is still in place. “It would’ve been much easier on me if I could tell her the entire truth.”
“How was I to know she…?” Forc sighs staring at me again. This is really awkward. But I also can’t just duck out. There is very limited range on an anti magic field. “Aleania…”
“She’s so innocent, I’d call her nothing but a child.” Diss knocks his head against Forc. “And you’re not far from that yourself. It’s like I’m guarding a bunch of kids.”
“Hey. I turn 20 shortly. Forc gulps turning to me. “This is what it means to start a relationship, early, right? The nothing lasts if started before 20.” Forc quivers. I wouldn’t know except he’s right next to me holding me close. “I lost you because of the curse.”
“Quit being difficult.” Diss squeezes him again. “Alright. We need a plan. Babbling isn’t one.”
Forc nods looking to me. “You’ve been using Diss for wishes.”
“Yeah… You broke away. I had to replace them.” I sigh trying my best to relax.
“Enough, Forc.” Diss glares at Forc. “Enough.” Forc sighs and fidgets. “I’m pretty much useless until I get my five hours. We need a safe haven.”
“Then let me.” Forc shivers. “Wish for us to visit the one who should be my father.”
“Those words exactly?” Diss looks at Forc. He nods. “I wish we were with the person who should be your father.” Diss leans forward and steals Forc’s lips. I see the shock as the wish clicks into action.
We end up in a cottage. The magic zone surrounds us. Forc exhales. It’s to calm himself down as we separate in the main room of a small place.
A person walks into the room looking over each of us before spotting Forc. “You arrived.”
“Are we safe to rest?” Forc asks.
They scan each of us again. The withered old look says something about this person. A genie by the necklace worn. They would have a matching swirl. long white hair bound by ties on their head. Large flowing robes covering their person. Cracked voice. “Demon guard. Genie guard.” They look at Forc again. “Was there trouble?”
Forc looks at the two of us. “Not really. SAFARI handled the request to bring me here to you.”
“Yes. It has been many years since I put forth that missive.” They turn back to the other room. “Take the room in the back. It’s small, but should work for a few hours while I ready everything.”
Forc stares at the person as they disappear into the other room. “I can stay up, but we should be safe here.”
“At least the only threat is the genie.” Diss shifts a little. “I’ll be sleeping in my leathers then. There’s only so much trust I can offer.”
Forc nods. “I’m…” He shakes his head. “Let’s go into the backroom. Should be a bed. You both look exhausted.”
“I was fighting a wish for a while.” I flinch realizing the fight lead the prince to Forc. “Do you know anything about this person?”
“Not really. Only this was the person who granted my parents fertility. In exchange, the genie born of them would be his to keep.” Forc glances to the main room a moment before closing the door. “I don’t know why they ran instead.”
“They lost their titles and license.” Diss states falling on the bed. “It has to be a big reason. But we’re under threat from royalty. Can’t say if we’re safer here or not.”
“Brick would be safe.” I say. Diss shakes his head and lies down for rest. I sit down beside him as Forc paces the room. “How long do we have to rest?”
“He said a few hours. I’ll watch. Rest some. At least nap a little. This had to be hard on you. I never had threat during my travel.” He sighs. “Until you got involved.”
“Sorry.” I kick off my shoes and curl up next to Diss. Not a first.
“It’s more my fault.” Forc sighs leaning against the wall. His eyes are set to the door and windows. The exits. He doesn’t feel safe. But we’re safer here than the inn. And both places were better than staring down the prince. “What did I miss Aleania?”
I sigh. Which would he consider the worse of the items he doesn’t know? “I was happy you were with me. We were best friends.”
“Were?” Forc glances to me. “You should sleep.”
“I’m resting.” I watch Forc as he watches the exits. “Are you against marrying me now?”
“You ask that while laying besides your new boyfriend.” Forc huffs.
“He’s not… We’re not like that.” I shift. Diss grunts, so try to refrain from moving. “Diss and I… If I was single it would be different. He’s great to be around. I know he’ll be a good friend as we move forward. But he isn’t the genie I wish to stay beside.”
Forc glances at me again before staring at the door. “Even after these years of… Sometimes it feels like the only ones who saw us as a couple was us.”
“Who else matters?”
Forc purses his lips scrounging up his forehead. “I…” I wait him out. It takes a while for him to come up with something though. “You seem to desire something more than I do. As much as I love you. As much as I see us together easily. I… I don’t want to…” He shakes it off. “This is silly.”
Forc glances at me again. He refuses to stare at me. His interest is the exits because we’re under threat. “When you…” He exhales. “What a place to be having this conversation.” He licks his lips. “I wanted to hold off on everything hoping it was my age that made me feel like this.”
“Feel like what?”
“I don’t want to do any of that stuff. Ever. With anyone.” Forc shivers. “And you seem ready to jump me. I constantly brought up the curse thinking… Maybe at twenty things will change. But nothing’s changed. You are giddy over the idea of sex and kissing and being physically intimate. And I’m dreading the experience.”
“Dreading…?” I gulp realizing the pull away was… because of this… “You don’t want to be mine?”
“No. No. I do. I want us to be a couple. I love being called your boyfriend. And it excites me over the idea of being your husband. But… I don’t think… I don’t think I qualify.” Forc sighs. Even though his view is of the door, I don’t think he’s really watching it. “I can’t be that sex fiend you seem to need.”
“I don’t need sex.” I scoff. I look to Diss. That was a touch loud. He’s asleep or pretending really well. He needs five hours. I hope he can get them.
“Believe you.” Forc whispers to the door. It’s a lie. The way he’s fidgeting says he doesn’t think I’ll be happy in our relationship. I know him.
I lie back just trying to relax and nap. Forc’s words need to just… I don’t quite understand. At what point did I…? I think of our memories. Our times we were together. I wanted more and he always stepped back. Turns out it wasn’t the curse, but him. He doesn’t want to.
Where does he wish to draw the line?
Am I capable of accepting that?
Can I walk into a future where sex isn’t going to be a thing? I shift and see Diss’s sleeping body before me. I fell asleep next to Diss again. I feel safe like this. Diss readily offers sexual actions. I barely know him and yet… I didn’t mind any of it. I shift so I can see Forc still leaning against the wall watching the door. I napped as expected.
The genie being the guard… Forc is my best friend. He may never want to have sex with me. Can I truly accept him with those conditions? “Forc…”
He glances at me. “I’m glad you napped.” He offers his bright smile I’m so used to. “He hasn’t returned. But I couldn’t leave the two of you alone in here.”
“Nope. A few weird smells, but more like spices I’m not used to in cooking.” Forc looks at me. “Reminded me of Hanna during the solstice.”
I nod grasping the meaning. Hanna normally becomes a spice queen for the holidays. “Cinnamon, nutmeg, those?”
Forc shrugs. He never did anything even remotely with spices. Preferred things plain. Which has me thinking of the comments from before.
“Forc.” I get off the bed and stand beside him. “I still want to marry you.”
He glances at me a nervous fidget back. Will my words calm him?
I glance at Diss. “Diss and I… It would’ve been so easy to fall into that. To have a sexual relationship with him. And he wants to offer me the protection that comes with such a relationship.” I take up Forc’s hand to his confusion. “But what we have is different. And I don’t want to give it up. If that means Diss has to leave my life after this quest is over, then so be it.” Why am I crying again?
Forc pulls me into a hug. “You like him.”
His sigh is big and full of his feelings. “He can offer you something I can’t. Why wouldn’t you want him? Even if we’re not talking marriage right now-“
“I have to talk marriage right now.” I shift to see his eyes. Forc only offers confusion back. “The only safe method out of the king’s decision for me to marry a prince and claim the next ruler is if I marry someone not allowed for title.” I look back at Diss. “Although…”
“He doesn’t want title. We’d have to flee anyway.”
Forc stares at me. “You want to marry me to protect you from this chaos?”
“No.” I wrap my arms around him. “Never. I want to marry you the same as I wanted to years ago when I first agreed. I’ll manage the lack of sex thingy.”
Forc squeezes me. “We’ll talk more about it later.” He looks to the door. “I hear footsteps.” I back off so I am next to Diss. Forc stands before me watching as the door is knocked on and opened. By the grin of the person before us, it feels as if we stepped out of the pan and into the fire. “Yes?”
“Come. There is much for us to discuss. Your friends are safe. Trust me.” The old genie motions Forc closer. He isn’t quick to move, but does so. The two close the door after leaving.
I exhale rubbing Diss’s hand. What will happen next?
Diss shifts taking his hand away. He flinches while sitting up. “I may not have everything ready to go, but the bulk is.”
I blink. “Has it been five hours?”
“About that.” Diss stands up reaching for the door. It opens easily. “I’m still exhausted, but I have spell slots active. All the other stuff can wait. Let’s focus on getting ourselves safely back to Brick.” I nod. “Follow close. No noises if possible.” He mutters something else, but I cannot say what it is.
The main room is empty of activity. There is a level of safety here. A level of guard. I can feel the magic about us. This genie had someone help them with guarding the house. My own house has similar. It’s going to be something we need to add to our new residence.
Diss checks in the closest room. It’s not the expected direction and that’s because it’s really more closet than anything. the genie has a lot of random things. They probably have a bag like mine that hooks to this space. It’s useful as a genie to have one.
What level are we facing?
I know which level we’re facing. They’re comparable to me and Forc. Because they gave a couple fertility in exchange for a baby. At least that makes the most sense out of everything possible. Why was this a thing? Who is this genie? Why did Forc’s family run instead of pay the cost? Is this person a threat?
No I definitely know they’re a threat.
We move into the kitchen space. No fire, though. I sniff trying to find it, but it seems this kitchen doesn’t contain the fireplace. It is more closet and prep zone. Where is the fire? Diss is tense. Does he notice this too?
I follow Diss into the next room. It connects to the kitchen solely. As we step into the space, I smell the smoke. The fire is this way. Diss shivers touching the wall as if to check for something. I look and spot markings. They’re made in blood. Dried blood. Not that I can read it.
Diss looks at me with such sadness. Can he read it? I gulp trying my best to say nothing.
We move to the door that is locked closed. Forc isn’t screaming. I don’t feel his pain. Diss would know. I should know. But… It’s worrying. What’s going on? Diss winces while fiddling with the lock. I tug him and tap my lips. A kiss can get us inside. Probably.
Diss leans in close to my ear and whispers, “I wish the door was unlocked.” The kiss is sweet as they go and I hear the click. With the lock no longer in our way, we open the door.
Forc is unconscious and tied down to the bed. I can see blood assumingly his blood coloring his shirt. I shiver ducking behind Diss as the genie in question turns to us.
“Out.” This is a genie not a demon. Magic uses us not the other way around. “He is mine. To do with however I wish.”
“Can’t let you do that.” Diss pulls a sword from his bag. “Forc is our friend and ally. You cannot hurt him just because you think he’d owed to you.”
The genie steps before Forc blocking him from us. “I wish you went back to the room for sex.”
My magic acts up. My teleportation spell brings Diss and I back to the room and before I even think about it my lips are on his, his tongue is in my mouth and our hands are beneath clothes.
“Stop.” Diss backs off. It’s tizzying to be ignoring the wish’s desire. I’ve fought worse before though. How’d… What? “It’s your desire. He used your desire against you.”
I shiver hugging myself. “But…”
“Experienced genies learn a lot of tricks, Aleania.” Diss pulls items from his bag. “I’m not even sure what we can do right now. Forc can’t… No.” Diss finds a paper and unrolls it. He reads it quickly. “Alive preference, dead workable is never a good thing to see when someone wants a family member back.” Diss looks to me. “And that’s what it’s written as. Forc is considered his child.”
“You have the quest.”
“He didn’t turn to SAFARI specifically. It’s an open quest for anyone.” Diss puts the items away. “Aleania, I need you to stay functioning. Think of Forc above everything else. He needs us in there. I can heal. I added it before my rest.” He grips my hand. “But we need to be there for him right now. Nothing else matters more.”
“I wish we were at Forc’s side.” Diss takes another short kiss that lands us next to the bed where Forc has blood seeping everywhere. “You’re killing him.”
“Nonsense.” The genie looks over Forc. “Just taking what’s mine.” The genie pulls out a organ from inside Forc. They turn away with the pulsing bloody thing.
Diss moves to Forc touching his hand. I can see Forc flinch. “You tempt killing him.”
“He’ll be fine.” The genie waves it off. “I just need this.” I watch with abject fear as the genie inhales something and swallows the small organ whole. What is happening?
“Forc?” Diss places his hands on Forc’s abdomen finding the wound. “You’ve loss too much blood.” He grunts shifting to make the spell easy for him. I reach out and squeeze Forc’s hand. It’s not cold which would be normal for someone dying. I shiver as Diss works his magic. Forc will live. Forc must live.
Once the spell is completed, Diss lifts Forc into his arms getting blood everywhere. “Safe place, Aleania.”
“Where?” I move in closer to Diss.
“Home. I wish we were where you consider home.” Diss offers me a kiss letting my magic work.
Home sounds nice.
What does it mean though?