Genie’s Second Wish
Copyright 2020 Cat Hartliebe
Alaenia Heam and Diss Weasher set off on their quest to find Forc Lifte. Alaenia needs to stay on task for this. She’s never ventured far from home. Her safety net is the village she knows and the person now missing. She doesn’t know this Demon. The wish he made was telling and honest, so she must consider him as safe.
At a town not too far from home, she receives her first ill looks. Could her safety net never manage to surpass her home and guard? Should she give up seeking?
I calm my tears before Diss shows up. The wish needs me to get moving. I need to have control and allow it to move forward.
Staring out the window has the scene change. Images bog against me of a young female hugging her stomach and a male turned back making comments. I don’t understand the comments. I can’t hear them. I do hear the crash and yelling of an enemy. I can feel them being the enemy of the pair as they run toward me. The scene disappears as Diss steps before the house. I blink realizing Diss is here. The scene happened for his walk from the village to here. Instead of seeing him, I saw… His parents?
“Are you ready?” He was given entrance by one of our renters. He looks out the window where I’m staring. “Problem?”
“I saw something.” I rub my eyes trying to see the images again. “I’ll probably get them randomly. I’m going to assume it’s your wish acting up. Instead of seeing you walk to the house, I saw a male and pregnant female running from an enemy. That’s all I got from the scene.” I stand up and check my bag. It’s fine. My belt pouch is set.
“Bag of Many Things. It’s set to my closet.” I twirl showing off the bag.
“I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.” Diss rolls his eyes. He taps his belt where a pouch and dagger are attached. He doesn’t have anything else. Not even a bag of holding. I review his outfit. It’s normal for demons. Well worn, of course, but shouldn’t he have anything else? “I already cleared my room, paid my bill, and closed the accounts in town. Sorry for taking so long.”
It gave me enough time to cry over my missing friend. Where did Forc go? I touch my chest. I can find him.
“I’m attempted to say we should sleep first so I can set up my spell list, but I doubt we’ll have any issues for today. He’s not close.”
I shake my head. And he moves further away faster. “It makes me think it was a genie or demon taking him. Did he agree to go? Was he taken?”
“Exactly. He wouldn’t have left readily. At least his parents guaranteed that. It has to be something beyond important or he was taken without allowance. We’re assuming latter, but it may not be.” Diss shrugs walking out my house’s front door. As I copy I scan for the images from before. “These are quests types I take on. Guarding a genie or finding someone, or saving them. I have plenty of tricks and spells I can use.” He sighs. “But I don’t have them saved for the day. I was leaning on other things.”
I look up at the sky. Flight would probably help. Does Diss have flight? Could we fly using his power? He’s this unknown mage to me. “We don’t have to worry about too much until we get closer.” What’s closer, though? I haven’t left the village very often. And based on the direction, I have no idea the area.
“Lean on me as much as you feel comfortable.” Diss nods to me. “What can I call you, Miss Genie? What is your desires?” He knows my name and hasn’t used it. Just as I use his first name mentally. Have I said such to him? Have I called him by his name? Should I consider us informal? Wouldn’t that be safer?
“You may call me Alaenia.” I nod accepting that. We’re going to be together for a while. He should have such an allowance.
“You may use Diss for me. I do not mind considering us friends. It would be easier to walk around as friends versus guard.”
I think that over. Forc… we are more than friends. He is my fiancé, my partner, my ally. He is my everything. And he was kidnapped. By random people. “Your position as my guard will last until we are safely back at the village.”
“And my wish will have me following you for an unknown period of time. It would suit me well if that draws you to a new path, to take it. It may offer more than you give it credit.”
“Mostly because if it pulls me and Forc’s wish isn’t strong enough to stop it, there is benefit to the draw.” I exhale. I’ve been trained to handle multiple wishes. This is my first time having two long term wishes active. I can only hope we find Forc long before Diss’s wish ends. The two are equal in payment. That’s how expensive it is to have Diss as my guard. That’s how expensive it is to seek out unfindable people. “You seek people for a living. You said so. Yet you cannot find your parents.”
“With Forc, I have connections, pieces, items, family members for me to connect to. He lives currently. I could increase my ability to find his trail. You have no idea how easy it is to find someone in this situation. We even left within the twenty four hour mark of capture. I can do that easily enough. My parents… Nothing is known more than what genies have told me. I am without anything to focus on the search. Minus myself.” Diss has a sturdy gate as we travel the road. His presence says truth. He would manage with Forc. He needs me for his parents.
“I wonder if we should have taken a vehicle of some sort. But I couldn’t imagine leaving my horse in a random place.”
Diss glances at me in our walk. “If horses would benefit us, we can collect some from a local supplier. I have to have a return home spell ready though for each of the animals we take. I currently do not.”
I scan him. He doesn’t seem to have many useful spells readied. “What are you capable of doing right now?”
“I can set an entire campsite. I can make a four course meal. I can clean a house top to bottom to a level that would be deemed suitable for an aristocrat. Things that would be beneficial if I was going to be setting a home or proving to a person I’m worthwhile. I wasn’t going on a mission or quest until I stabilized my situation with you.” That makes sense. Diss waves his hand about. “There are certain spells I always have ready. Defensive spells and offensive spells. If we get into battle, we will be fine. But the normal spells I ready for an adventure are missing from my collection. I have to always assume a bugbear will attack where ever I am. I cannot assume I need to have return an animal home if I am not moving about a place.”
“Do you regret not having it ready?”
“Even if I did memorize such a spell, I would have only had one memorized. It still would not offer what we need to travel safely by horse.” Diss holds up a finger. He’s been alone. “I will set up a collection more useable for our travels. Tonight. As long as I have five hours of sleep, I will be ready for such a trip. I apologize I am not ready now.”
“You have a campfire spell ready.”
“In case I did not have the option of sleeping at the inn. Some villages do not have an inn. Some inns do not suit me.” Diss shrugs. “I should have assumed a genie made village has an inn room set for a king.” He looks over at me. “How high on the noble ladder has visited?”
I blink. “Visited me?” I sigh focusing on following the pull of the wish. “I had the Baron come by. He didn’t wish though. He just congratulated me on my considerations.”
“My grandfather had more. That’s why the room was set up. It was one of several wishes the Duke made.” The stories have me hopeful I can be comparable to him in some way. He didn’t have visiting nobles when he started. He was much older by then. Many genies will end up dead before fifty for one reason or another. He surpassed such an age. I can follow in his footsteps. “When we get back, I can show you a picture of him. There’s one in the study where I am sitting on his lap. The swirl pattern on my stomach is noticeable. His necklace is clear. It’s a beautiful picture. Whenever my parents are having a bad day, you can find them sitting there beneath the picture.” Just remembering it calms me. My grandfather proved himself a genie over and over. I can do the same. This is only one of the steps.
“You were given rights early according to Forc’s family. You are a top quality genie uncorrupted by nobles and city life.” Diss looks about the road. “I should consider myself lucky to have chosen here and you for my request. Some genies get the answer and then don’t offer it in a useful way. Such a high cost and to be answered in riddle.” He huffs. “As if I need that. I have enough riddles in my life. I need a name. I need to find them. I need to meet them. Even if all I am given is a grave marker, I will accept it happily. They are completely unknown to me. If I am given anything at all, I should manage. I am blind. I wish for something to see.”
I scan him. He looks so strong and capable. His skills are well considered. His experience isn’t a joke. His consideration is high. His cost is high. Yet, he has the same confusing questions many do. I have asked many questions about my grandfather. All I can receive is stories. How realistic are those stories? What is the truth? What is the fiction? Everyone has a story about him. Anyone older than me had an interaction with my grandfather. He made the village what it is. “I hope I can offer you enough information for comfort.”
“When this adventure is all over, it would suit me to continue on a path for my parents. If you are willing, I would pay twice the current costs so I may guard you on that adventure.” He motions to the road.
I pause letting the words roll over in my head. Twice the cost. It wouldn’t be a wish. It would be paying me for me to go on an adventure. “I don’t know how long this will take.”
“Finding my family should take longer. If this takes longer, I would assume we seek a corpse not a person.”
I nod. That is the way of it. Since it looks like a kidnapping, if we continue this blind, it’s likely the end result is a corpse. I must have hope though. I can feel him. His warmth. His existence. I seek someone living. It must stay that way.
“How much do you gain in the seek spell?”
“I can feel him. His warmth. His existence.”
“High classed genie.” Diss exhales straightening his back. “Then I can believe you completely both for my wish as well as for this adventure. You deserve the early marker. Wear your necklace proudly. We’re going into an area genies are either beloved or hated. Many of your kind do not offer such open acceptance nor complete answers. Do not return hate. Many have histories with genies who were not in any way good.”
“Do they not hurt when telling a half truth? Or when answering in any way besides straight forward?”
Diss looks at me with a smirk. “Some who are marked genie do not have as much power over the wish as you do. Their answers are vague at best. They do not feel or hear or see the wish as you do. I have asked many to find my parents. You are the first I received anything at first moment. Some gave me false names wanting to save face. But I know. There was no name given at my birth. They hid. There was no name given to the orphanage as I was dropped off. Just a teenage female on the run. You promise a name by nightfall. But even if you don’t manage something, you have offered more truth more quickly than any other I’ve asked. I am not leaving your side until I have some understanding as to who my family is.”
I hug myself thinking of my lack of information. It’s not a complete lack. I still have no name, but I have forms. I saw his parents. On the run. Fleeing. “Perhaps I should meditate some on the wish. I may gain more that way. It is a special skill my grandfather used when things were tough.”
Diss takes my hand squeezing it. “If it helps you stay calm over this current quest, I will support your decision.” I pull my hand back holding it tightly against myself. “I will offer my support during this. I know you cried while I cleared my accounts. I am glad you had finished being broken when I finally reached you.”
I look aside. I’m still close enough to hold Diss’s hand. He doesn’t look likely to copy the mistake. “It may help to focus on that than to focus on Forc. Forc’s information is constantly changing. We are seeking his current. The current is being written. Seeking the past is easier. It’s stagnant.”
“I see.” Diss leads the conversation into silence. His focus is on the incoming small town. I’ve heard of it, but wouldn’t think to stop. It’s not a safe place for youth to go. But this is the route Forc went. I shiver thinking he may have had to go through such a place. He isn’t there though. I should follow the road. Continue along the path. I don’t need to go inside. “I suggest a stop. Any further than this will be more open wilds. I would like to have a long distance weapon with me. I tried pulling it from home, but someone took it.” He grumbles.
I blink trying to grasp the meaning. “Do you have a Bag like mine?”
He nods but doesn’t show it off. A lot can be hidden upon his person. He barely shows any skin. “And perhaps we should get you some more dependable clothing. Your cloth is nice for wandering a village. It won’t mean a thing against a bugbear.”
Again with the bug bear. I frown touching my bracer. “I…” It won’t last long in a real battle. Finding another one would be difficult. The magic isn’t easy. The cost is high. It was the first expensive item I bought for myself. Forc got me the hairpin that can heal.
“I can tell the bracer is magical.” Diss says pulling me to the side of the road to scan me. “Explain.”
“It’s defense. Protection from harm.” I touch the hairpin. “This offers healing charges. Forc and I have matching pieces. I doubt he wears his. We wear them when we travel.”
“Matching magical goods.” Diss rolls his eyes looking back at the town. “Genies.”
“We could do basically anything together. We never really had fear. The items were only for when we weren’t aware before the attack. Winning was never the problem. As long as we survived the initial attack.”
“How?” Diss crosses his arms staring me down.
“Everything within the sexual field are without a comparable cost.” I lean back on my heels. I cannot make eye contact, but I can see his smirk. I exhale landing and leaning forward slightly. It’s common knowledge I thought. But it also seems my actions do not match what is called a normal genie contract. “A kiss is powerful.”
“It is that.” Diss steps closer reaching for me. I back off and start on the trip to the town. The wall surrounding the town towers over me. Someone wants to protect the town. My village has nothing of the sort. “Alaenia?”
“Forc isn’t in this town, but you wish to stop. Are we going to stay the night?”
“Depends on how the inn reacts to you walking in.” Diss stands next to me. We are close enough to accidentally touch. It’s a protective position. He is clearly my guard. I have never really traveled with a guard. I preference traveling with my friend or my family. “Some people don’t respond well to genies. You are one of the best I’ve ever met. That doesn’t mean you’re own in these parts.”
I glance over at him as we reach the town. The gate is wide open, but clearly gets closed. There are several solider like people pacing between the open gate. What do they expect to attack? I bite my cheek as we get into the mass of people. The place isn’t anything like my village. There are so many more people. The building do not have the same care taken. The brightness on people’s faces isn’t there. It makes me wish to be home.
As people notice me, I see snarls and hate. Diss keeps me close. He must notice the poor reactions. He expected them. “Must we stop?”
“Trust me when I say I need a weapon and sleep before we continue. If you wish for a campsite outside, that is allowable. We need to hit up the weapons vender, though. Your village didn’t have anything premade.” Diss nods to the weapons symbol above a shop. Our blacksmith would be willing to make anything, but keeping weapons in stock doesn’t make sense. Nothing ever attacks.
Did my grandfather protect the village? I try not to think about it.
“Welcome!” The man behind the counter doesn’t question our entrance. I get eyed, but Diss seems welcome. “Are you interested in something special, Demon?”
Both of us are legally allowed to carry weapons. I have no training. I exhale hugging myself as Diss goes right for some crossbows. He picks one up and eyes it chatting lightly. He uses words I don’t understand. Diss nods placing the crossbow on the counter. “It will work. Thank you.” I move over to the weapon’s counter and look over the item. Knowing it’s a crossbow doesn’t mean I understand how it works or it’s real ability. “And this.” He pulls a spear from a collection. He places it next to the crossbow smirking at me. He goes back to search.
“He looks so young to have many battles.” The weapons vender says moving to the items he’s collecting and me. “Are you his contractor?”
“It goes both ways.” I look over at him. He picks something up and then puts it down. Guess it’s not good enough.
“Both ways?” He taps my neck. “A Demon asks for a wish? How strange.”
“Everyone has wishes.”
“Not everyone.” He huffs tallying things. “You have reached quite a number.”
“Don’t mind so much the cost. I have it. My question would be if subeks are allowed here. Did you wish for the cost in sawgas alone?” He takes an item I’ve never seen before. A handle to hold, a trigger, a metal tube leaving an opening for use. What is it for?”
“You have upper spells, then.” He nods taking out a collection of basic cross bolts. “Do you need anything further?”
“Suggestion on adventure wear that’s already created.” Diss pulls out several subek.
“Ruby’s. It may look questionable, but they offer the best options for females on the run. They collect them after all.” The vender has no trouble with the cost. Soon we have several weapons to travel out of the place with. Diss attaches them to various parts of his body. He isn’t hiding them.
Once we get out of the vender, Diss starts on the walk. It’s a powerful gait proving he’s used to this. I’m not. This place is… Different. I’ve never been in such an environment before.
Being knocked into shocks me. I fall to the ground and double check my items. I don’t carry much. My bag and belt pouch are in the right places. I twist my bracer and tap my hairpin.
“You need to be more careful.” Diss offers me a hand looking around. “Probably expecting loose change.”
I bite my tongue while accepting Diss’s help. “I have been eyed as if the enemy since I got here.”
“I told you. Genies aren’t normally looked upon as heroes in most places. There are many genies who use their position to better themselves not the people.” Diss keeps me close as we move toward the place with a ruby dress on a sign. But it doesn’t make me think dress makers. “Stay close. I can protect you.”
I nod trying not to see the different glares and glowers I have been given. I am not the one they hate. I touch my necklace while Diss brings me into the building with the ruby red dress sign.
“It is early, so many are not ready.” It’s the opening word of the woman behind the counter. I spot her shortly after her words. She comes to my side taking up my hands. “Are you safe? Do you need escape?”
“We’re fine.” Diss comments looking at the place. “Last time I came through the town, I was meaning to stop by, but that became impossible.” He drops into a chair closing his eyes.
The woman huffs at him hands on her hips. “And who are you? What do you think you are to come in here and act the owner?” She takes me further away from him. “Could he be your harmer? Do you need a place to hide? There are many directions and guidances we offer.”
“Did you notice her necklace?” Diss asks.
The woman growls at him. I’m overwhelmed by such an action. This woman means well. I can get that from her. But I don’t understand the meaning behind that. She touches my necklace. “Genie…”
I nod. “I am. I come from Brick.”
She steps back reviewing me a second time. “Brick’s Genie.”
“Yes. One of two. I’m on an adventure to find my partner.” It’s a wish. I do not have a choice. Not really.
“In that outfit? You look as if you belong to the royal courtesans.”
“They dress better.” Diss comments.
That gets him kicked too. He doesn’t seem phased while this female comes back to me. “You should wear stronger clothes so you can be safe in the wilds. It’s dangerous. Where exactly are you going?”
I open my mouth, but close it being unsure. Then words bubble up, “SAFARI.” I don’t know what that means. Nor does the female. Diss doesn’t hear or doesn’t know. He doesn’t response. What is SAFARI? Is it a place?
“I don’t know where that is, so it has to be far away. Come, let’s talk about offering you a proper attire. I can call Lady over to fill you in on cost details.”
“I can pay.”
“If you are a proper genie and desire our attentions, it would be better to pay in another way. It wouldn’t take much. Just allow us the freedom to ask.” She takes me into another room.
I scan the place finding lots of different clothing options. Most show a lot of skin, but not all of them do. Many offer the showing of some skin, but the rest if protected well from attacks. The leathers Diss wears are set to more of a female form. I never wanted to copy a Demon. I like looking female. The female shaped clothing won’t offer the same support.
“This.” She shows off a matching outfit to Diss.
I turn aside and back off. “I do not wish to look the mage. Wearing such clothing to be called Demon and male is…”
“Undesirable.” She grins nodding. “I understand perfectly. Let’s dress you in stronger clothing anyway. It may not protect as well as this, but it will offer more than the cotton you wear now.”
I run my fingers over the fabric I have. “I should look into an outfit that suits me while having the guard necessary for the wilds. Magical protection.”
“We do not have that. And your outfit does not either. So let’s try something that protects better even if it doesn’t cover much more than you already have.” She helps me into a feminine leather outfit. Seeing my shape so readily in the outfit calms me. I run my hands over the fabrics. Leather. I wear leather. I never thought I would. “Is it comfortable?”
“Comfort matters more during adventures. Trust me.” She holds her hand to her chest showing off a scar on her wrist I didn’t see before. I don’t ask. “Is it comfortable?”
I twirl a little. Pants don’t twirl. I frown and take up my skirt to wear over it. Now I can twirl. I frown at the bulkiness. Looking to my new ally, I sigh. This isn’t what I want at all.
“Leather doesn’t come in skirt forms.” She moves to take a dress from the collection. “This can cover over it completely though.”
I nod and let it settle over my leather clad body. It creates a heaviness and a different look. I touch my necklace noting how easily it hides now. I want people to see me as a genie. “No.”
“A long jacket then.” She seeks out a long cloth jacket that reaches my calves when I put it on. I twirl a little and get a similar feeling to my old clothes. I shove my items into my bag and scan things. With the jacket on, I can even find my bag. “And a clip.” She quickly braids my hair and clips it to the top of my head. How did she…? “It will help keep your hair out of easy reach. It does matter.”
“I love my long hair.” I finger the clip. The pin looks no more expensive. “This was a magical item.”
“Was, yes.” She nods looking at me in the full length mirror. “How could you tell?”
“Same creator.” I tap the pin. “Or same family. This one heals.” I hold up the bracers. “Protection.”
“Good to know you had something on hand.” She hugs me. “Is he your ally or enemy?”
“Ally. He my guard for this wish. I must journey to find my partner. He needs me. Diss will help me reach my goal.”
“How can you be so certain?” She backs off still holding me in place.
“He needs me for his wish. I am currently handling his wish as well as the one to find my friend.” I smile. I touch my chest letting my eyes close. We have a wish between us. I can feel his views of the wish. He has longing. He seeks them. “The more powerful desire behind the wish the stronger the magic works to offer an answer.”
She steps back from me reviewing me a second time. My outfit is masculine and feminine. I shouldn’t be mistaken. I would switch back if I was. “Lady will be here in a moment. They needed to check on him first.”
I look back to where we came from. Diss must be used to it. He must’ve guarded before. “I hope he is well.”
“If he passes the test, he will be.” She smiles at me. “Hold a moment. She will collect the payment.”
I stare at myself while waiting. The mirror shows something besides my normal looks. It’s not that I’m different, but it’s not me. I look closer to adventurer than fun loving genie wandering Brick. My safety net has shrunk. And he isn’t even here. But this woman wishes to protect me. I can tell. I can feel their support.
“In exchange for the protection.” I clasp my hands and close my eyes. “I return it.” The glow settles on me and then expands throughout the shop. I’m not sure where it ends or what exactly it does, but the contract settles against me and then disappears. When I turn to see the woman, she’s shocked. She looks at her fingers and then nods stepping back with a deep bow. “I…”
“Lady will be here in a moment.” Her words have changed. As if I am not some lowly being who needs help. No. She looks upon me as many look upon my grandfather. I turn to the door that opens.
The woman looks similarly dressed to what I am now. Although her outfit has marks of magic. Self done. She’s a demon. Not a Demon. I cannot say if she’s licensed, but she clearly has power. “You did that.”
I nod slowly looking at the mirror and me again. I touch the necklace. “It is my allowance to answer help with help. I cannot say what it did exactly, though. It was a matching contract. The protection you offer me will return back to the place.”
“More than just the shop.” This woman nods to the female. “She’s a genie?” That gets a nod. The woman clicks her tongue looking at me directly. I catch her eyes and shiver. She’s older than me and seen a lot by her glower. “He was protected. There was nothing we could get from him with such a glow. Your contract was protection to protection. He offers more than we do. How are we to know that? Who just comes into our shop without desiring protection?”
“We are. Protection for my body. We are going on an adventure and my outfits do not match that at all. I wasn’t thinking.” I pull the old outfit from my bag.
“Do that again.” She points at my bag. It doesn’t look to hold anything.
I pull out another outfit. It’s one of my favorite ones to wear actually.
“May I?” She holds her hand out. I offer the clothing, but pull my bag back. “Magic?” I nod. “He has one too, although not as obvious.” She sighs tossing my old clothes back at me. “Who are you?”
I stand taller. “I am Alaenia Heam, Genie of Brick.”
“Age when you received your mark.” She taps her neck.
That has her blink looking to her friend. The woman who helped me leaves the room. It has me nervous. This woman before me can cause damage. Although the spell from before should deny it. “As long as we offer you protection, you return it. The contract was left open.” She motions to the room she came from. “You have a place here as long as you need it.”
“Who are you?”
She reviews me. “I am called Lady by those in this town. I came here fleeing those at the capital. I would suggest being wary yourself going to such a place. Your power will draw in the wrong group of people. Pretend male if you ever go there.”
I hug myself. “I wouldn’t wish to. I love being female.”
“Then keep a guard as strong as the one you have now. And do not let him out of your reach. I can offer him several spells to give you true protection. Several wishes he can ask. But neither will be acceptable unless you allow him completely into your body.” Lady touches my cheek and I flinch. “And that is not your relationship.”
I shake my head.
Lady steps back looking back the way she came. “He desires, though, so be wary. I cannot condone such an adventure knowing his interest in you is beyond your given allowance.”
“I have little other choice.”
She offers me a strong smile. Her teeth peek out saying she knows something I don’t. “I don’t think you mind as much as first thought. Or he would not have received such a strong protective aura. You may manage to change things. For now, it is payment for the clothes.” She motions to my new outfit.
Lady grins at me. “Contract. In exchange for your chosen outfit, I would like your mark burned into the name of the sign. Prove to the town and the world your protection is here. Let it stay as long as you protect us.”
I blink feeling the wish come forward. To let the world know I am protecting this place? I have to do it. My power pushes me to. How does anyone deny that push? I clasp my hands looking at her. “Is that all?”
“When you return, there may be more I ask of you. Consider this payment as a way of saying family and friends discount for the future.”
I nod settling against the contract. “Nothing written.”
“As long as your symbol graces our sign, I know you are safe.” Lady taps my shoulder.
I allow the magic to settle around me. Contract made and accepted. My choice of clothes for the future benefits. My position as protector of this shop. I have become a guard. “Thank you for offering me protection without a suggestion.”
“There are many females who grace our shop and need the protections we offer.” Lady taps my chin up so I can look into her eyes. Kind eyes. Knowledgeable eyes. “Thank you for doubling our abilities. We will be safer with your considerations. If you ever find someone who needs the safety we can offer, send them our way.” She pulls a card out of her pocket to hand to me. “This is a draw.”
“I can’t take this. That spell is…”
She forces it into my hand. “Hand it to someone who needs it.”
A glow surrounds me as the card stays to my hand.
“You take it as a wish.”
“I have no use for the card.” I place it in my bag and look at myself. Three wishes in this place. “I will return. I thought this town too dangerous to visit, but it’s more…”
“Genies aren’t well liked. I’m sorry.” She nods her head to me. “But your grandfather was a different story entirely. Some genies have no choice but to offer the complete option. As you grow, I don’t want you to feel required to listen to every wish or offer the complete side of things. Trust your instincts. As you move away from the safety of home, you will need to learn how to say no and how to say yes without saying the complete truth.”
I hug myself thinking of that. That’s what Diss mentioned. Genies don’t have to say everything. It’s possible to corrupt a wish. “I prefer the purity I am used to.”
“You will understand why that’s not always the best method.” She pats my shoulder. “Come, he waits for you.”
Diss is back to sitting on the chair he dropped into before. As I look at him, a layer of protection covers him. My spell is still active. As long as he offers me protection, I return it. “Ready?”
“I think so.” I glance at the first woman and Lady. I wasn’t expecting this at all. “I would like to have clothes like before that also hold the protection enough to keep me safe.”
“I am not wasting my spells on such a thing.” Diss says as we exit the place.
I stop looking at the sign. There in the center of the red dress is the genie swirl. I stare at it knowing it means my protection is active. “I will feel when they use my protections.”
“I may wish for you to stop protecting me. Depends on how damaging it is for you. But they deserve such. No idea how you managed to create a wish without a contract already started.”
I look at him as we start on our walk again. We’re leaving the town. I guess he doesn’t think the inn is safe. A camp would suit me better I think. “But they offered something. Any time something is offered, I can consider it an exchange.”
Diss stares at me for a long moment before nodding. “I keep forgetting you have the training of a high classed genie. You just lack the experience. You will learn why the tricks exist. You will learn the bad side of genie on this.”
“I am leaning that way too. But I can feel the emotions associated to the wish. I let that color the wish as much as needed. Your hopelessness and belief and desire was felt when you asked me and signed the contract. That’s why I had full hope I’d get a name.”
Diss looks up at the setting sun. “Nothing?”
“You gained the name of the group that stole Forc, though.”
“Yeah. Groups of Demons use names. I work for one, remember. SAFARI is pretty well known. Not here, but they aren’t that backwater.” Diss sighs as we leave the town behind. “We can make camp a little ways up. We should be safe enough. And with this new aura I have, normal creatures won’t attack.”
“I can meditate on your wish while you set up camp and make a meal. if you would like. I should manage at least a false name for them.”
Diss reviews me again. It’s a soft look. He sighs losing something. “Sure. I have those spells ready. I’m not going to use creating a meal as an upper classed spell though. I’m killing level to the bottom. I don’t want to draw the wrong type of person or creature. I hope you don’t mind.”
“And while I manage my spells and set up camp besides, you can seek their names. It would…” He closes his eyes. I glance to see him lose to the missing knowledge. He needs this to move forward in life. “Thank you.”
“It is my role in society as a genie. Although it helps to be appreciated for my skills.” I smile. I’m doing the right thing. This has to be the right direction.
Soon enough Diss picks a spot to set up. It’s a clearing to the side of the road. Safe from carriages or horses bothering us, but also safer because of the road. He focuses on the camp and meal. I focus on the spell.
When he hands me a bowl of something warm, I settle just a touch deeper. “Noel.” I call out. “Noel, don’t lose hope. There is a chance. Please, don’t give up.” I touch the tears in my eyes looking to Diss. “Just words. No sight this time. But…” I recall the pleading in the words. “Your birth wasn’t easy.”
“Giving birth on the run couldn’t be.” Diss sips from his bowl of warmth. I look down to see soup. “Noel, huh? I wonder who that is?”
“I wish I knew more or understood the vision.” I sip from my meal. This is good. It is made even better by the offering. He made me food so I could work just a little bit harder on the wish.
“I would rather you refrain from dropping unless you feel safe.” Diss places his empty bowl down. “I’m going to put up my spelled guard before getting a round of sleep. I already decided which spells I’m going to have for tomorrow.”
“So I can rest?” I look about noting two tents set up. A small lantern hangs outside each. He offers me everything. No. He said he had a campsite spell. This makes sense. I look at the fire. “Thank you for this.”
“It’s really more, thank you. I don’t think you realize your impact on my life. I barely know you a day and I don’t think you’ll ever leave my thoughts.”
That’s… I shake it off and crawl into the tent. Closing myself inside I can feel the protections go up. Protection spells normally press against the caster when they are hit. If my protection spell hurts me instead of Diss then he will wish for the removal. If it just lets me know he needs help, I hope he doesn’t. The spell he set up around the camp will let him know if something attacks. That means we’re safe. Diss makes me safe.
I grip my necklace thinking of Forc’s copy. The age I received the necklace matters. It says my power class. I’m stronger than Forc then. Could that be why he’s been worried? Why he keeps acting like I shouldn’t need him? Why he fights to prove his worth? I close my eyes recalling memories. Forc has been at my side always. I couldn’t imagine a life without him.
I made new allies. I have created a safety net outside of Brick. I am on a quest to find my best friend. This will teach a lot more than I ever thought I wanted to learn. I let the fun memories of Forc settles into rest. I need rest as much as Diss does. Although if my night is broken in two, I’ll be fine. He may end up without his full list of spells. That could lead to problems. If we can’t sleep the full night, I may request for a room back at Ruby’s. I don’t see why they’d refuse.