Genie’s Third Wish
Copyright 2020 Cat Hartliebe
The wish beating against Alaenia Heam’s chest worries her. It could be because of the way her magic works. It could be because of her fears of what’s happening to Forc. Just walking seems like a poor decision. Now that Diss has several animal return spells, they can gain horses for the quest. That means a town with stables.
It’s sunrise when I manage to wake up. Nothing hit against my protection spells. Nothing looks out of place. It was a safe night. I exit the tent hooking my unused lantern back outside. Diss is already cooking at the fire. He looks refreshed. He went to sleep after me and woke up before me. I stretch feeling able to. A cold rush of morning breeze has a slight shiver cross me. This outfit wasn’t comfortable.
“Thought I would get to see you in a see through gown for sleep. You slept in your new armor. That is never a suggestion.” Diss holds out a plate of eggs to me. “Hungry?”
I nod sitting next to him to eat. “Did you memorize the camp spell again?”
“Every day there is a chance I need it.” Diss shrugs. “Which is every day, honestly. I haven’t not memorized it in years. Perhaps if I was renting in your little village where I could easily get a inn room if you kick me, I would have stopped.” It’s neutral in tone. He couldn’t even decide if he would feel safe enough renting from me. “There is always a chance and concern. Safer to have and not need.”
“Especially since you need sleep.” I place my empty breakfast plate on the ground near Diss. “Where do the items come from?”
“My collection.” He taps his belt. That must be where his bag of many things is. “Or my family’s. They let me take as needed. Up to four place settings so to speak.”
“Are these two yours?” I motion to the tents. “And the meal?”
“I have three meals readied for the day. Something heavy for breakfast. A lot for lunch, so we can be filled to the brim midday, and then something light for dinner. We cannot leave food available during the night. Animals won’t stop at my barriers if they know food is available.” He dumps the leftovers into the fire. “I have to do the clean up spell before sending the campsite back.”
“What would happen if you didn’t manage the full time?” I ask him while stepping out of his space.
He is quick to work. A clean spell circles the place. “If I know there is a town nearby or on our travels, I’ll fight for that. If that isn’t an option, I’ll have upwards of four campsite spells and ten meals. It depends on my sleeping arrangement concerns and the dangers around us.”
I can only watch as he turns the campsite into nothing. It just disappears. “You said before it’s time you took a home just to use as a storage place.”
“Yeah. I can pull anything, but I’m limited on space.” Diss double checks the area. He even moves the dirt around the spot the fire was. It doesn’t look harmed at all. Demons can be considered insanely powerful. Diss is in that category. “And now that I can pull and send animals several times over, we can stop and get horses.”
I look up at the sky. My horse would be preference. But Diss never met my horse. He cannot pull him. There’s a good chance my horse wouldn’t be willing anyway. “So, we should find a stable.”
“Many of the towns sell horses if you have the payment.” Diss comments as we start on our path.
I touch my chest feeling the pull for Forc. That’s where we’re going. We’re going to save Forc. I look up again. “They used flight.”
“That’s annoying.” Diss looks up glancing around. “Must be some high level Demons that took him. Wonder why. We don’t just do things for no reason. That’s stupid. Someone sent them on a quest. Kidnap dead or alive quest, probably.”
I shiver focusing on the warmth Forc offers me. “He’s alive.”
“That means he’s not fighting the desires of his kidnappers. I know we get more for alive when it’s dead or alive quests, but that doesn’t mean we don’t pick death is they fight. Dead bodies are easier to bring about than living ones.” Diss offers such terrifying words. I don’t want to hear it. It’s not like I don’t know about that. “To collect a genie… That’s going to be a really high cost quest. Half of me wishes I got it.”
I punch him for the comment. He only grins at me eyes twinkling. “You’re being mean.”
“To steal away the male taking my lovely genie would be a benefit in all ways, I believe.”
“Forc is not…” I huff crossing my arms. “You make me regret helping you.”
“Good thing you don’t know how to use that hatred to change the outcome of the wish I asked for. Innocent high classed genies are perfect for capture.”
“I cannot tell if you are insulting me or not.” Putting more distance between us doesn’t really matter. We’re alone on the road. A few rare people passed us with cart or on carriage while we packed up camp, but nothing since.
“None of the above. The town isn’t too far. We can stop for their market. Fresh food is always better than a spell.” Diss leans closer to me. “Spells can leave an odd taste in the mouth. I try my best, but it leaves this magical aftertaste.”
I look at him. “I never noticed.”
Diss nods back to his normal stance. “You are pure magic. You probably wouldn’t notice a magical after taste, since you are a magical after taste.” He licks his lips focused on the road not me. “To try such a taste would be the best way to crown every day.”
I specifically put more space between us. “That must have been an insult.”
“Nonsense. Only proof of my interest in your loveliness.” He offers me a bow.
If only I didn’t need him. His words are weird, but he hasn’t done more than to be expected. I backed off when he held my hand, so he has not taken it again. Compared to previous events with pushy males, this would be deemed soothing. He comments rudely perhaps, but he is only giving his truth, his voice. I think. “Don’t think such words will go anywhere with me.”
“Ah, but I see your eyes peek with interest as to what I mean. If you ever question my words mentally, say something vocally. I would love to further explain my desires to you. Don’t lose the interest just because I am not the first male you laid with.”
“I never laid with anyone.” I huff.
Diss’s eyebrows pop looking to me. “You are engaged without ever having sexual activity with your fiance? Were you told to marry by family? Is this a relationship made for financial well being?” He scratches his chin. “If that be the case, allow me to offer myself as an option. I may not have a name, but I do have a stable income. None has killed me yet.”
I grind my teeth. Do I explain this to him? How does one explain this? I sink some. “Forc and I have been best friend since we first met. A genie needs a proper partner. I picked him. He picked me. That has been our life since the beginning.”
“But you have no sexual interest? May I offer…”
“I have sexual interest.” I glare at him fisting my hands. He backs off a touch holding his hands up in mock defense. “He fears the curse. He has not yet reached twenty. A relationship started before twenty is said to fail. He has refused everything beyond a light kiss. Our wedding is set for six months shortly after he turns twenty.”
“But the relationship was started long before twenty. You said it was always there. I suggest to offer me a real chance, Alaenia. Especially since he seems to lack such interest in your physical form. You deserve more than he has offered.” Diss holds out his hand.
If I accept his hand it would be accepting his advances. I turn away hugging myself tightly. “I am happy with Forc.”
“From my perspective, that is not true.” Diss catches up to me walking at my side. “But if you wish to think further, I will refrain from such conversations. If you wish for my words of interest or wish to act on such offerings, I am willing and open.”
“We are just friends.”
Diss nods. “That is the comment you have used for your fiance, you know. You never called him your lover. Just your best friend and fiance. I don’t have to prove the issues found among those words. Although perhaps best friend is better to marry than one you are only sexually attracted to.”
“As if I’m sexually attracted to you.” I scoff.
“That point is a given. You’ve watched me undress.” He looks so confident.
“Last night. I remove my outer layers for sleep. I was half expecting you to join my tent.” Diss looks at me closely. “Did you not?”
I blink trying to recall anything of the sort. “I don’t recall such a thing.”
Diss sighs. “I guess those words were not for me, then…” He sighs.
“No, no. Those were words for my wish not for me. I apologize for thinking it you and not your magic. I forget who you are at times.” Diss waves it off. “Apologies.”
“No. It’s best to explain things.”
Diss sighs looking up at the sun. “It is only to know one of my parents was far below the other. To be called liege should have given it away, but I thought role play. Your eyes were on fire and I tempted to allow you entrance, but you only wandered back after I laid down. I guess that was not the night I was conceived. This will become an interesting adventure if that event occurs.” Diss holds his hand to his chest. “I will deny you entrance into my tent if there is magic afoot.”
“I hope that does not happen.” I shiver knowing my power can lead me in dangerous circumstances. I must trust whoever asks for a long term wish. Things can turn for the worst fast. “We are going to collect some horses.”
“Yes. Allow me to buy them. It is not that I do not think you are capable, but they will force a higher payment if you buy instead of rent. I am capable of renting.” Diss taps his chest standing taller. It is like the conversation disappeared.
I exhale trying to let it fall to the back burner. He thought I offered an allowance. But it was my spell acting up. This may be a problem.
We walk for hours it feels like. But the town comes into view as I’m ready to give up and break for lunch. Diss smirks at me as if guessing my desires. Our first act is to find a market stall offering hot cross buns. The sticky sweetness settles me a lot. A few more stops for food and I’m perfectly content following Diss to the stables.
“Stay out here.” Diss denies me from entering. “I can’t recall if this place likes genies. So far no one has noticed the necklace. The jacket has enough collar to make it unlikely to spot unless looking for it.”
I grip my necklace wondering if those here are comfortable with my abilities. I have to remind myself it’s not me they fear. There are ways to corrupt spells. I know that. I nod to Diss as he moves inside the sectioned off area. The small building would be where the tack is kept and the payment is made. The rest is half open and half closed off. I can see a horse as it munches quietly.
Crying of a small child has me spin. A child no more than seven rubs their eyes moving ever closer to the side of the stables. They plop down on the ground giving completely into their tears.
What do I do? I look about for someone who knows this child. Everyone ignores him. No one looks terrified or to be searching. I kneel before the child wondering if I’m capable of fixing this. No. I’m a genie. It’s what I can do. “Hello?” I reach out to touch their cheek.
The child gasps backing off. I can see their eyes spot my necklace before I have a chance to hide it. “A genie!” That was rather loud. I glance around to see no one caring at all about the pair of us on the ground.
“I am.” I bow my head slightly. “I would prefer to be called Alaenia, though. What’s wrong? Do you need help?”
They sniffle managing adorableness and sadness at the same time. It’s the age, I guess. Maybe I looked cute crying as a small child. “I can’t pay for a genie’s help.”
“Cost is for spells. And if you ask, I may be able to swing a workable price.” I elbow them as if playing a game.
Their eyes sink. “Genies always cost too much for poor folk like me.” They sigh looking down the street. “I even lost my coin purse. I couldn’t offer one sagwa. Mom’s going to be so mad. No bread to eat. No coins to buy it with.” They curl up into a ball. “I can’t blame anyone but myself.”
I look down the road. “What did it look like?” I stand up and offer a hand to the child. Diss should be able to find me. It’s not like I’ll go far.
The child stares at me not accepting my hand. “But I cannot pay you even if you help me.”
I tap my chin thinking it over. It’s easy to say something costs so many sagwas. But that’s not the only way to pay for something. What can a small child do to pay for help? A spell can bring the coin purse to me. “Hm… Payment… What can you do? Do you perhaps know a story?”
“Like the witch and the beehive?” They tilt their head. “Everyone knows it.”
I kneel back down looking at him. “I don’t. Why don’t you tell me the story and let’s see if you do a good enough job for the wish to work?” I wiggle my fingers around. “Adding in singing and dancing always makes the comparable price higher. If you’re comfortable doing so that is.” This child lost their coin purse. It meant they could not buy bread. Their mother would be sad.
Sitting there, the child starts telling me the story. The witch needed honey for her spell. So she goes to the beehive to get it. But the bees refuse to offer her any. It creates a cute little back and forth story about the witch paying for the bees to give her honey. The moral is to pay for the items you need. This child knows it well. Most do before they are allowed to buy things on their own.
I clap as the child finishes. “Now let’s see what we have gained for the entertainment.” I allow myself to slip into my magic. In exchange for the story, what can be offered.
Knowledge. A where. I can see where the coin purse fell. I can watch as it was picked up as well. That would create a problem. I cannot just go on that type of hunt. Not alone. I look to the stables where Diss is.
“Hm… I can see it. We could chase it. Or.” I hold up a finger. “You can pay a higher cost. A really high cost.” I hold my hands out as if it’s going to be really expensive.
“I can’t pay.” The child shuffles their feet while pouting.
“You are so adorable.” I smile taking up their hands. “In exchange for me acquiring your coin purse here and now, I need…” I pause letting the child catch my twinkling eyes. “I need a kiss.” I tap my cheek. “Right here.”
I pull back smirking. “You have heard of many stories right? Where the kiss of true love is the most powerful thing in the world, right?” Of course the child has. There’s no such thing as true love, but stories can be fun. “Well, all kisses are powerful. If I were to acquire your special kiss, something I couldn’t even imagine gaining under normal circumstances, the spell would easily place the coin purse in my hands.” I tap my cheek. “Do you think you can?”
All the sexual actions have no comparable cost. Which is the biggest trick in the book when it comes to genies. This will work.
“Just one kiss?” The child seems nervous fidgeting and looking around. “I wouldn’t want to cause any harm.”
“No harm. Promise.” I need an exchange for the spell is impossible. I flinch seeing the coin purse land in a cart as it leaves the town. That’s going to make that route impossible. No kiss, no chance.
The child gulps and leans forward. The soft gentle touch of the child’s lips to my cheek has the magic flow through me. They may never have such a special kiss again, but it works.
The glow reaches my hands as a flash brings the missing coin purse into my possession.
“It worked!” The child jumps reaching for their purse. “Mom won’t be angry at me.”
“You did tell me a wonderful story.” I reach into my own pouch and pull out a few sagwas. “Allow me to pay you for such a tale.”
“But.” The child isn’t stupid enough to decline my offering, but seems confused by my actions. “You got it back.”
I smile standing up. “You best keep a tighter grip on it this time. No getting distracted.” I wag my finger as if allowed to reprimand. “Go get the bread and run home before your parents become worried.”
They nod wildly before running off holding the purse in a death grip. I hope they don’t lose it again. I wave even if they aren’t paying any attention to me anymore.
“Alaenia?” Diss holds the door open drawing me. “It’s time to pick our horses. It seems depending on our choices prices change.” He glowers in my direction.
“You’re assuming they’re trying to get more income. I say just pay it and move on.” I step into the stable comforted by the intensity to the smells. I smile when I see a horse’s head pass the window. This was always a comfort. “To bad I did not bring my own on the travel.”
“Should have just assumed that the best option.” Diss sighs showing me to the stablemaster. “Shall we?” The master nods their head and moves us into the section where several horses are relaxing. “As I said before, any would suit us as long as they can handle normal travel.”
“Weight can be a concern. Your partner may be light, but you are not.” The stablemaster opens a gate for a horse that’s big enough to pull a tractor. “This brute would suit your needs, I believe.” The horse squeezes at Diss. It has me giggle. It doesn’t take long for the horse to be tacked up. “And the lady.” He waves me forward leaving Diss to his new ride. “Sweet Isabelle would love to have you.”
“A mare? Wouldn’t you fear her actions with a stallion?” I glance back at the one tormenting Diss.
“She has no interest in him.” The stablemaster hands me the tack. “Go ahead. Prove you are as comfortable as you look among the horses. Then I won’t fear my animals on their travels.”
“The extra pay was because he doesn’t look like a horse…” I look over at Diss. He doesn’t look clueless. “I’ll assume he can ride even if he cannot manage the rest of it.” I laugh settling in the actions before the mare. She nuzzles me as I pass. “More than likely he has a spell that would suit. He’s a well seasoned Demon of a very high level.”
“He showed his card as if that mattered. Gaining the connection a rider should have with their steed needs more than a spell. A spell only makes it possible for him not to lose his companion. He will never truly gain him as an ally.” The master watches Diss. “Mack and Isabella are friends and no more. I worry the near future for the two of you include battle. I would trust none of my other horses during such.” The master turns to me again noticing how quickly and easily I have fixed the saddle on her back. “They are calm even when trouble brews. Most of would gallop off into the distance with one spell or arrow.”
“This only has me miss home.” I rub her neck. “We should have feed for them. I know I can easily acquire more as needed, but it’s best we place feedbags on them for the immediate future.”
“Allow me to also tell you the towns in the area that have proper stables.” He walks off.
I guide my horse from her stall and down closer to Mack and Diss. Mack ignores Diss’s desires to bite at Isabella’s neck. No… Not a bite. It’s not aggressive. It’s a pay attention to me sort of deal. I pat her neck. “We’re going to together.” I touch Mack’s head. Now he settles enough to accept Diss’s actions. Still he can’t put a saddle on a horse for anything. It’s going to be spell or I do it.
“Here.” The master comes out to glance at Diss’s poor actions. He clicks his tongue before handing the map to me. “I circled the towns with proper stables. If you leave the country, though…” He shakes his head throwing his hands up. “Mack is a calm horse. But you really can’t… Let me do it. I can trust the lady to handle the tack.”
I chuckle moving the horse into the yard. Isabella munches on grass as I look from my map to the world. My heart has me heading for Forc. I can tell where he is. I close my eyes. I should be able to use the map to find him easier. But he’s moving. I sigh putting the map in my pouch before hopping on the horse. Isabella settles with me there.
After I get on, I spot Diss walking out of the stables on top of Mack. The master has Mack’s reigns walking the horse forward and to me. “I know which direction from here.”
“Trust her when it comes to the horses.” The master says patting Mack’s neck. “She knows a thing or two. When she says stop, it means stop. I’ll expect them to return to me in proper working order.”
“Promise.” I call out to him. “Or I will price the difference.” I glow noticing the contract settle against me. It becomes a guarantee.
The master smiles at me. This person believes in their horses. And because I am similar, I gain the trust automatically. “Trust a horse to pick a good person. They know when someone is questionable.” They nod and walk back into the stables.
I guide the horse beyond the town’s zone. Diss settles his horse to walk beside mine. “What did you tell him about me?”
“Little to nothing.”
I nod. To hide the fact I am a genie, Diss said nothing. Yet the master could guess I was a lady with little to go on. “Is it that obvious we’re going on a dangerous quest?” I stare in the right direction.
Diss doesn’t. He focuses on me. He doesn’t offer a casual smirk or interested grin. More he’s surprised by my question. “Do you forget what I am? What I do for a living? He knew I was your guard. I had to be. By the actions and my lack of words. There was a chance you knew nothing about horses and we were desiring a quick getaway. I can spell everything right. You came in and proved to him you aren’t some high borne who cannot even get on a horse let alone stay on. You proved you aren’t the person hiding, but the person seeking. That I wasn’t guarding you, but keeping watch so you could act. A partner not a defender.”
“Which isn’t true. You are my guard, my defender. I would be weak in battle without your help.”
Diss sighs looking like someone who cannot ride. The pair of horses know each other. I doubt they’ll separate readily. Not without strict commands to. “You helped a child while I negotiated. A kiss solved a problem his story did not.”
“The story was complete, but not entertaining enough to match collection. I was given sight and position at current. I have the same with Forc.” I touch my chest. My friend is still missing.
“You paid him anyway.” Diss clicks his tongue. “If I didn’t think you were this good innocent genie before, I would have no way not to agree now.”
“I mentioned before, sexual actions have no comparison. I can have them worth thousands of sagwas if I wished it to. In the same note, it could be worth less than one. It depends on the value I place on it.” I glance to Diss. His eyes hold interest. Not the interest of before. He wishes to learn about my abilities. I am finally someone he can lean on to find his parents. There is no way he’s leaving my side until he has a pair or names. The complete names. “Noel and Jacob.” I nod turning back to the path before us. “That is what they called each other.”
“Probably not their legal names.” Diss sighs focusing on forward now. “My wish will take a while. I’m glad the first few weeks will be free of cost.”
I chuckle. I would rather hope we find Forc within a few hours. But by the travel, there is no way it will be soon. Not unless chaos happens. I have someone to help me make wishes if I need them. Forc doesn’t as far as I know. “Where we are going? Why? What about Forc caused him to be the one caught? Why not pick me?”
Diss shrugs. “No idea. If you can think of a way to word the wish, I may be able to wish it. But realize, I am not offering payment for your fiance unless it is beneficial to me.”
I suck in a breathe wishing I had a quick answer. I wouldn’t know what he would deem proper allowance. Nor do I have an idea about a proper wish. I can stretch the one Forc’s mother made in a few ways. But the why would be impossible. Gaining the why would need to be a new wish. And the only one I can trust to make it wouldn’t pay for it. He’ll refuse.
Unless I suggest a payment he would be willing to offer. That terrifies me more than not knowing. It’s probably not important. The key is to save Forc before anything bad happens. I shiver. Something bad did happen. He was captured by Demons. On his walk home to give his sister paper, he was captured. Was he injured? Will he be the same person after the fact? Am I losing my best friend?
“Please hold on to hope, Forc. I’m coming.” I touch my chest where the burn is. I must keep going. He needs me.
Diss reaches a hand out for me. “A thought. The sooner the better given the circumstances.”
“Hm?” I look to Diss, but refuse his hand.
“Allow me to up his chances. In exchange of a kiss.” He taps his lips.
“Closed mouth.” I can’t believe I’ll give in so fast. “And name it before I can accept.”
He nods pausing the horse. “I wish to gain all injures instead of Forc Lifte.”
I blink staring at him. “You…”
Diss grins moving in closer to me. He manages to gain my hand. “I wish to gain all injures instead of Forc Lifte.”
I shiver leaning forward. One kiss and Forc is safe. It would be near impossible to hurt him with such a wish active. I close my eyes letting Diss hold me closer.
The kiss is like an explosion. Wishes are like that. I can feel the magic go from my lips across my body and into Diss’s. He’s taking on Forc’s injures. It’s short and sweet as kisses go, but when I pull back my lips are hot. I touch them wondering how easily that was. I gave in so readily. For Forc. I kissed another for Forc.
And this kiss was as deep as any I gained with my fiance.
“Your lips are soft, Alaenia. I wouldn’t mind doing so again.” He licks his lips as we start on our journey again.
I shiver trying to focus. The wish pushes me forward. I can easily follow it. But my mind is ringing with the kiss. Thoughts bang against the inside of my head of more. To taste more. I try to release it. Magical kisses like the ones that are through a genie’s wish exchange are powerful. They create desire even among those who don’t wish to desire. Because we ask them when we half wish for slaves.
Reviewing Diss his mind looks no more captured than he was before. His words about a magical taste come back to me causing a shiver to run my body. Isabella shakes her mane distracting me. That helps. I pull the map out and compare where we are to the next safe town for horses. It’ll take more than a day of walking like this.
“I won’t send these guys back. So I’ll need to use my high level campsite spell. That’s going to hurt a little tonight.” Diss looks at the sun. We have plenty of time yet.
“How can you do that?” I look to him.
He sighs. “You have to sacrifice a spell in the right level plus the one of the right type. Since it’s not perfect, it hurts. I end up unable to use one of that level slots the next day. But, it’s do that or lose the horses.” He pats Mack’s neck. “I think I’d rather have a proper campsite for our horses.”
“What more would happen compared to before?” It was a tent and fire. Everything really was there that was needed. We were safe.
Diss grins. “It’ll have a shack instead of tent. With a small stable. Since there are two horses, I have to use it times two. I wouldn’t for us.” He seems thoughtful. “I have to decide which two spells to kill for it. Do I want two separate shelters? No. I can separate into two rooms. That would suit us better.” He licks his lips. “And if someone wishes to join my bed, I would never deny her.”
Another shiver crosses me. This is going in a strange direction. I’m not saying Diss is… I don’t know him. I couldn’t pick him out of a crowd either. I look him over. His Demon outfit is so common. It’s fully covering and denies me any real look.
“Ow.” Diss leans forward rubbing his wrist. “Handcuffed and dragged.”
That calms me. All the sexual thoughts around Diss fly out the window when Forc’s injures come forward. That was the reason for the kiss. Diss is taking on Forc’s pain.
“If it’s serious, I’m going to ask for a healing kiss.” Diss grins at me eyes sparkling over the idea.
I wish I could say no. But knowing the pain is to protect Forc, I know I’ll repeat my answer. I’ll agree just so Forc is more comfortable. Diss won’t pay money to protect Forc. I will have to pay the price. Or it’ll feel that way. I try not to think about it as we ride in the right direction. I’ll save Forc. I have to. He’s my best friend.