Genie’s Fourth Wish
Alaenia and Diss are on the quest to find Forc and save him (if possible). Forc has already left the country behind. As fast as they move on horseback, they can’t catch up. That’s going to mean a few tactics need to change. That means staying at the final town before the border for a little bit longer than Alaenia is open to. Although it would be nice to have a proper bath and clean comfortable bed. ((Ooops… This sounds like fifth’s wish’s opening… Hmm… I’ll get back to you on fourth wishes’s opening…))
It takes us nearly two days to reach the place considered safe by the stable master. We’re still on path to get Forc. Forc has only gotten further away. When I used the map to place him, he was on the edge of the country. By now he should be beyond the borders.
“I can’t believe even in such a fast and dangerous escape, he hasn’t been injured.” Diss comments as we stare down the town we’re going to stop at. The few battles we’ve seen on the road have been easy for him. If we continue this path, that won’t be the case. We’re going to head into non settled area. That’s where they crossed the country lines.
“Are you certain the wish didn’t end?” I bite my cheek. That’s been my thought.
Diss huffs. “I told you before breaking a wish is near impossible. I’d feel it. And given it’s you we’re talking about you, it’s not going to just disappear.” He pats Mack’s neck. “Right, Mack? She’s the best genie you’ve ever met.” The voice he uses to talk about me to the horses doesn’t suit him at all.
“I don’t think the horses care I am a genie. They only care I don’t tie the saddle incorrectly so you end up hurting his flanks.” I smirk. Diss glowers at me. That was the first morning we set up. “Your magic can only take you so far.”
“You showed off against those wild dogs.” I wave my hand about. “I swear they were only hungry. We could have offered them food.”
“Death is the safer option. They’ll never be hungry again.” Diss’s viewpoint isn’t a pleasant one. But he may also have a point. If they got hungry and attacked us on the road, what’s the likelihood they will again? It’s not like we can adopt some wild dogs. Still I don’t like it. I just can’t fight him. He’s already explained it. He has his reasons. “I’ll handle the nasty stuff. Keep your innocence. It suits our needs better.”
I refrain from looking at him. We are safe, uninjured and only moving in the right direction. We aren’t moving fast enough, though. Forc is getting away. I sigh. “Maybe I should redo the wish.”
“I’m not going to say no. Kiss me as many times as you want. But it won’t change the fact the wish isn’t broken.”
I bite my cheek harder. I’m going to have a injury if I keep this up. I’m worried. Forc looks safe even if he’s kidnapped. He couldn’t have just decided to change sides, right? My best friend is…
“There must be a really big difference between free from injury and not. Someone wants him fully functioning and alive.” Diss turns to me. I know the next question. He asks the same thing. I still don’t know the answer. “Any long lost relatives? Perhaps another fiancée you don’t know about? Where was he born? Under what circumstances?”
I whisper, “I don’t know.”
“I wasn’t expecting you to answer, you know. The wish may offer the who. Not necessarily, but it’s possible. We may be out of luck until after SAFARI hands Forc off.” Diss shrugs. “Either way, we can only move forward and hope.”
I sigh petting Isabella while we walk. It’s more impressive that the two horses have acted as if friends. I wonder what history they have together. “Soon we’ll get to the town.”
“I think it’s time to just rest a while. Take the rest of the day to stock up. I can call Forc’s parents. We only had short conversations.” Diss grinds his teeth some and shifts in his saddle. “The next part of this may be harder than you realize. Our ease has been because we travel common grounds. These roads have travelers.”
“I know. I’m expecting it.” I sit straighter. For Forc.
“I will not suggest rushing into the next part. I may even suggest waiting until they steady their movement. By your accounts, it seems they’re paying big bucks to use flight constantly.” He hisses glancing to me. “I’m going with a special vehicle, but it could be flat out demon power.”
“Or a wish.” I add thinking I could do it if someone wished properly and paid the proper amount. Imagine if Forc is the one flying them because of a wish.
“Wishes of that level should teleport. And honestly I would suggest that out of the demon too. The cost of flight is big. Vehicle makes sense, although I never saw a flying vehicle before. Heard of a demon going about through the air, but seen it? I’d call it fairy tale.”
“Although it’s hard to consider such now.” I sigh sinking some. Isabella whinnies. I pat her in comfort. “The movement is…”
“Insane. I can look into getting a dual country map for us. Or many even larger.” Diss weighs the options. “Perhaps a magical map is in order. But if you want me making such a thing, I’ll need to stay put to sleep off the price.”
“Understood.” Staying a day may be the best option. I don’t want to agree to that, but nothing seems to be helping. “Maybe I can figure out a wording that’ll-“
“I don’t suggest it. They’re moving.” Diss motions before us. “That means something. If you wanted me to spend that type of energy or cause you to wish at that level, then…” He shakes his head. “He has to be at a standstill before I suggest it. Today we’ll settle into a proper dwelling. We’ll plan a two day stay. We need to figure out the best option.” He looks to me. “And teleporting to your beloved isn’t it.”
I shrink. If the spell was teleport to my beloved… Would I even end up with Forc? Why is it my thoughts have me thinking of my horse back home? I rub Isabella’s neck while we walk. It’s been… Calm. The few meager battles don’t show the concern of traveling. Having the horse makes the travel easy on me. I’m used to horseback.
“Let’s spend the time wisely. If I cannot find a good map, I’ll set myself up for tomorrow. We just can’t leave then until I have a proper night’s sleep. I won’t be useful otherwise.”
I nod. It’s not like I disagree with the plan. It makes sense. Since we left the last town, we’ve had an easy time. Camp has been better. I could lock myself in my room. It may have been barely better than a tent, but it felt safer. Diss did it for the horses. I doubt they would be as happy over the previous version of camp. And there was no accidentally seeing Diss undressed.
I sigh thinking it over. I’ve been wearing clothes to bed. I haven’t washed myself in days. Perhaps… I shake it off. Diss said I could buy his washing spell off him. For full sight.
It’s not sexual. He pointed out the spell really needs me to be naked to work. And he does want to see what his spell is doing. Still… He could do it blind. Not really. He’s willing to offer it as a free spell if he can use as a proper spell. Which means I have to be naked before him. I’ve said no.
“We’re almost there.” Diss shifts in his saddle. I watch as he pulls several papers from his belt. It’s where he keeps his bag of many things. Mine looks like a bag. I hide in under my jacket. “Do you have papers that state you’re a citizen and legally allowed to travel?”
“I do.” I tap my necklace. “When I got this, I got the mark for individual citizen and allowance for travel.”
“Bring them to you. You’re going to need them during this visit. We’re going out of the country. And there are guards stationed to not allowed people to do that unless they are legally allowed.”
I grip my necklace. I’m named a genie. My allowance is because of that. “I keep it safely in my closet with my things. I can get it whenever needed.”
“Good. It’s unlikely you’ll get questioned. Most when seeing my license just nod me forward. Our jobs give us lenience.” Diss hides his papers away again. He keeps his license in his pocket. He’s required to have it on his body at all times. Actually, he cannot leave it or have it stolen. Magical license that it is, only someone who can revoke his license can take it from him. He doesn’t have fear showing it off because of that. My necklace is the same. It’s attached to me. I’m marked. I cannot take it off. Not that it can choke me or anything. It’s just a piece of my body that looks like it can disconnect. For us to work legally, we must have our marks.
The town is bustling. Or as bustling as one can expect from a town. People are going here and there. Lots of yelling and noise. Considering we were told this was a safe place for the horses, it looks over all safe for everyone.
There is a wall protecting the town from evil creatures. Guards pass along the top of the wall looking as deadly as they probably should be. Not that I should fear. Diss qualifies for a higher level of job than that. Most were probably stay at home demon types. Or demons who don’t wish to move about. The pay would be lower even if there is extra safety.
“Everything looks well maintained.” Diss comments as we ride the horses slowly through the roads to the stable. “I want to double check the route. It may be time to send the horses back. We’ll keep them another day just in case the route is more passable than it was before.”
“Was before?” I blink.
Diss hops off his horse. I copy. Caring for the horses have been my duty. “I came through him looking for a proper genie. I’ve checked in on a few before finding you.”
“What type of travel will we face?” I look pass the walls. There are mountains in the distance. Will they be in our way?
“Dangers at every turn.” Diss grins walking the horse to the stables. He has me wait with both. “Be right back.” He handles the conversations with others. I’ve trusted his lead.
There is so much I really don’t know about this demon. Still I stand there keeping the pair of horses calm. It’s important to keep them calm. The town is busy. People move about creating a level of chaos. As calm as these two seem normally, they just a touch startled when someone yells nearby.
Diss holds the door for us while waving us inside. I manage to get both inside the stables before the master could help me. “Isabella and Mack.” Diss taps his horse as the master reviews things.
I take Isabella for a rub down. It’s been a long journey. As much as the campsite offered something, it’s still not the same as a full use stable. It’s something to focus on while the master and Diss handle details.
“Thank you, Young Lady. I can take over.” The stable hand steps into the stall not at all frightened by the horse. I nod handling off the brush. “Please let the master know how long you’ll be staying. We can have them ready to go in no time.”
“Thank you.” I move back to Diss and the master. Mack is gone. “Should we find lodgings for ourselves now?”
Diss nods passing over coins. “We’ll be back. Either I will send them back to their original stable or we’ll bring them onward.”
“From what I heard, you’re better off not taking horses that way. They’ll be a liability.” The master nods counting. “Paying repayment costs of lost horses is a steep cost.”
“Yes.” Diss sighs motions me out. “Let’s go find our own lodging. That would suit me. Then onward to figure out a meal. As much as inns offer meals, I think we can find an even better option elsewhere.”
“It’s like you’ve been here before.” I eye him. He only grins back. “Why not ask for a place to rest where we can acquire food?”
“I have my reasons. This way.” He walks forward confident. I follow questioning his actions. The first place we go is the inn. He takes claim of two rooms for the duration of two days. He’s assuming we’re going to stay. I do not have to offer payment. Diss handles the down payment before bringing me up to the two rooms. “This is the top of the line inn. We can easily gain two rooms for several days. Nobles and the like pick this one.” He motions to the place. The guide grins showing off the rooms in question. “I am willing to pay for the extra quality.”
I step into the room offered to me. It’s a higher quality than what I have back at home. I fall on the bed and stretch out. “So comfortable.” I sigh relaxing. I know I should be lucky to say I had a bed at all during the camping. I should be lucky there was a roof over my head. There was no guarantee of that. I would struggle to manage a campsite at all if left on my own. With a partner I can manage almost everything.
Diss leads on. He had walked on and has now returned. “Before I leave you to your wishes, I paid for full use of the baths. I suggest you use that privilege. Then dress in lighter clothes. We aren’t trying to battle inside the town. I’ll be cleaning up and dressing down myself.”
I jump up looking about the room. High level nobility would have a bath attached. I move to the adjacent room and notice the full tub. I coo over it. He paid for use of the room. But how can I use it? I don’t have access to my own magic.
“Miss?” Good a person. They walk into the room reviewing me. The face they make is unsettling. How bad do I smell? How bad do I look? It’s been a while. I need a scrub. “Do you need assistance?”
“Yes. I cannot use my magic by myself.” I motion to the tub. “Do you have some way to fill it?”
“We can have it filled shortly if you pay for it. Are you not asking your companion for help?”
I frown thinking of Diss in the next room. “That would be faster. Is he already undressed?” I step out of the bathroom to knock on Diss’s door. “Diss?”
He’s half undressed. His lack of armor… This is a first. I can finally see him without the full covering of armor common among Demons. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The tattoos and scars were not it. “Yes? Do you need help?”
“Can you fill my tub for me?” I beg him.
Diss looks to the servant at my side. “Figured you use them. But I guess random strangers aren’t allowed to know the genie’s tricks.”
I take his hand and drag him into my bathroom. I leave him just inside before walking over to the tub. “Wish for everything to be perfect so I can just perfectly clean.” I grin at him.
“What payment am I making for this wish? I would wish, but it’s not like I’m willing to pay for it.” Diss crosses his arms.
“I’ll take the payment I wish. Please?” I step closer to him while still watching the tub.
“No way. Explain your desires.” Diss says.
I look to the door. The servant didn’t follow into this room again. They’ll wait for Diss to finish his business here first. “A kiss. Just a kiss. If you’re not willing.”
“Tsk. Will you let me watch you bathe as well?”
“How is that payment?”
“To make sure you are safe during this.” Diss nods. “Allow me to watch.”
I fidget looking to the tub. I need help. “I could just pay them to fill the tub and offer me what I need.”
“Or I could use my spells. I just need to stay here and watch. Promise to not touch.” He holds up a hand as if promising non verbally as well.
I glower at him. “Touch isn’t everything.”
“Exactly.” Diss motions to the tub. “I wish you were perfectly clean.”
I look at him. He made it suit me by wording. I exhale and face him. That can be usable. Why must he be so difficult? I attack him with a hug shocking him. “Thank you.”
The glow around me shows off my magic. The problem being he didn’t say I should wash myself, just that I should be perfectly clean. Maybe I did smell that bad. I step away from him and notice the cleanliness of my body and clothes.
“I would rather a kiss.”
“I would rather a bath, but this will do.” I step away from him fixing my outfit to be just so.
Diss smirks eying my change. “Next time let me use my magic.” He nods to me before escaping my bathroom.
I look longing at the tub. I don’t need it now. But I was hoping to soak. It wouldn’t be relaxing if Diss watched me. I don’t trust him like that. I sigh hugging myself.
The servant knocks before entering. “Miss?”
“Thank you.” I nod to them and escape the room. “Is my companion taking a bath?”
“Yes. He mentioned no one is to enter unless you were in need of his services.” The servant bows deeply.
“I’m fine.” I sit down on the bed and lie back. “You may return to your other chores. Thanks for the offered help. I’ll be fine.” I wait for the servant to leave the room. Once gone, I close the door and return to the bed. Wear something less adventure-ish.
I pull a few outfits out of my bag deciding. It may be best to wear something guarding. The jacket suits in that case. So which of my dresses match well with the jacket?
The red one. The white sash will suit well. I put my items out on my bed that I plan on wearing. With that done, I put the rest away. I double check the contents of my closet before quickly changing. I twirl feeling the comfort of no leather. If only I could wear this all the time.
I touch my hairpin aware I still have charges on it. And the bracers are still holding on to their protections. I touch my necklace. No one has asked for my wishes in a while. The wish Diss asked for was particular. He wants me clean. Since I won’t let him watch, he didn’t want to help me with that. He had me skip the washing step. There are plenty of times I would love to skip the washing step. But after not being allowed to relax, it was not what I wanted.
Tomorrow. If I have to ask for the staff to fill my tub, I will. I can easily pay. Diss has been handling the cost. Should it worry me? In a way he has been building up a possible wish. All I have to do is compare the cost of what he’s paid for me. I should get a running total so I can use it for a wish.
Yet why is it then, I prefer the trick of kisses in exchange. I cover my face hiding from my own ideas. To have my arms wrapped around him was… His lips touching mine was… “I have Forc. He is my fiancé. We’re going to save him.” I sit up done with my lollygagging.
Diss should be too. If I’m not allowed time to soak in a tub, neither is he. I storm into the next room hoping to crash Diss’s bath time.
When I get there, Diss is on the bed reviewing random papers. I just stop and stare at his bed filled with papers and his body clean and not covered head to toe in gear. The basic cloth coverings show off his physique. I knew he had trained and is skilled physically, but to see it… I’m not sure how to response to it. As I glance at the papers, I can’t read any of them. What language is this in?
“You look beyond perfect for our date.” Diss piles up the paper and hides them in a folder before they disappear into his belt.
“Da-ate? We’re not going on a date.”
Diss scans me. He really eyes everything about me. “So you didn’t get dressed up for my sake?”
“I love this dress.” I hug myself feeling confronted by his interest.
He smirks at me. “I love it too. Reminds me so readily what beneath conveys.” He pulls his boots on. I watch as he bends down to work. He really has a nice physique. “We can leave in a moment.”
I’m staring at him. I’m horrible. I specifically turn to the door refusing my own sight. “I am dressed in casual attire. I miss wearing such light fabric. The leather helps in battle…”
“But you dislike it.” Diss slips a hand around my wrist pulling me in close. It’s casual and light. He isn’t being possessive in the action. “Shall we move on to our next part of our quest?”
I step away from him trying to hide the shivers. Not fear. I didn’t fear his touch. I kinda wish I did. No. I liked it. The quivers were because I was interested in finding out what else his mind comes up with. “Touch isn’t everything.”
“Can’t help but agree there.” Diss walks me out of the inn. “Did you lock up everything you were not in need of?”
“I keep those items in my bag. It’s safer at home.” I scan the place. It feels safe. “What are you doing anyway?”
“I need to get some information about our route. You’re coming with me wearing your soothing outfit to help me do so without wasting all my funds.”
I cross my arms glaring at him.
Diss grins eyes twinkling at me. “That will work. If you prop up your breasts most would fall all over you.” He nods walking forward.
“You’re not falling.” I pull my arms behind me instead. I didn’t even realize I was bringing notice to my breasts.
“If we were truly in a safe environment and you’d let me fall, I’ll fall all you want.” Diss says moving forward.
What can I even say to that? My mind reverts back to the adjacent rooms we have. “Is there something else we are on quest for?”
“A proper map. Since you can use the wish to find Forc on the map, it’s best we have one that shows you where he is. It would be horrible if the map did not cover the place he is. The spell would become worthless.”
I sigh hugging myself. If Forc leaves our map’s zone, then… I bite my cheek.
“And the key of us staying here a full day is so I can make a map if we do not find one. If we manage to find something that suits, we’ll leave tomorrow morning.”
“That’s what I’m expecting.” Diss sighs. “The only other option I would assume is flight given we cannot use horseback.”
“Will I need another type of outfit?” I question looking down at my dress. This definitely wouldn’t be useful for trekking in areas a horse cannot go.
“More climbing gear. But I have two sets in my easy reach if needed. We can double check to make sure it’s the proper size for you tomorrow if that’s a possible concern.”
I sigh following Diss on his journey. It’s more his journey. He chats with several people. They eye me quite a bit, but no one bothers me. Diss even speaks in another language for half of it. The other country’s. What do I know about this place?
While on the road, I question Diss, “How much money should I be paying on this trip? You keep handling all the funds. I swear I can buy.”
“Normally when you ask a genie on an adventure, you buy for the genie.” Diss shrugs. “Although we should go middle ground.” He eyes me a moment rubbing his chin. “Let me use the cleaning spell on you and I’d call it even.”
I stiffen. This is what it’s meant by sexual costs have no comparison. The amount I owe Diss has to be high given our accommodations. He just pays it and moves on. Then again, he’s right. Genies normally don’t have to pay. And I’m not just using him. He is using me. His spell hasn’t acted recently. It probably won’t. I could try forcing it, but it’s a long term spell. The magic has to find information first.
“I’ll tally it for you, if you would like. If I needed help financial, I would worry about it. But think of the cost I was planning to pay you for my spell. If we go over that total during out travels because of something, that’s a different story.”
I nod calming over that. He has a point to that as well.
Diss motions to another place. “Mapmaker. Cartographer. I know this one carries both countries. I got one for this one here.”
“And what happened to it?” I question.
“Gave it away to a traveler.” Diss shrugs not at all bothered by it while walking into the place.
The mapmaker even greets Diss as if known. “I see you found the item of your desire. Manage to get anywhere?”
“I’ll know something soon enough. A couple months traveling with such a creature will only be called positive.” Diss grins. “We are going back to my home country. Did you have any magical moving maps? Or perhaps ones that cover more than just one?”
“Accurately?” The mapmaker moves about the store. A few pass arounds leads them back to the center. “I can get you the appropriate spell and supplies to make your own.”
“That will have to do.” Diss motions the mapmaker into the back to collect items. It doesn’t take long. Diss sighs looking at the spell while we leave the place. “I should probably make several so it can bring in profit for the store.”
“Proper as if payment.” I nod.
“But, I cannot make more than two a day.” Diss looks to me. “And to use all my spell slots of this means I cannot create food or cleaning or anything.”
I pout. I should call myself lucky he has enough spell slots to create the item within a day. “Are we not capable of plenty here in town? Use the slots of the map. Anything magic wise we need, I’m here.”
“What would be the cost of using a genie’s wishes?” Diss whispers. His breathe against my ear has me blush. I know it does. The heat radiating from my cheeks proves his tease. “I see. I’ll keep that in mind when wishing. I would never ask for more than what is needed.”
I nod unable to make eye contact.
“For now, allow me to buy you a meal. A proper dinner in a proper sit down place. We can have supper back at our rooms while I ready the spells I need.”
“Where are you trying to take me?” I ask as he takes up my elbow.
“I get to take a genie on a date. I’m pretty certain my twelve year old self would hate me if I didn’t do this right.”
“Did your twelve year old self think it would end up rolling around in a bed? Because that is not happening.”
Diss pulls back straightening while touching his chest as if I insulted him. “What kind of leach do you take me for? My twelve year old self was more in concern for finding my parents if ever a genie came into my view. If I had thought the genie capable a gorgeous doe, maybe I would have ended the treatment in the bedroom.”
I knock his hand. It’s not much of an attack. he even laughs lightly over my hit. “What type of genie did you think would help you?”
“My story books always had the helping genie as this elder who needed so much help it was easy to be kind. they would talk about making up for the wicked things they did while young by offering me a spell for low costs.” Diss offers me this soft smile and kind eyes. “And here I found one my age who would offer the same if given the chance.”
My eyes switch to the ground. He means the child. I helped them with little exchange. A polite kiss and the child’s problem was solved. So readily, I offered with little in the way of return. “I weigh my choices before acting. A child deserves the option. I do not allow such kindness be given to adults. And I can easily revoke a spell if it turns foul.”
“So says you who helped a den of ill considerings without even a wording of a wish.”
“It was even exchange.” I retort.
Diss grins. “Oh, I know. I’m expecting to earn more than I have so far. I must be wary of what I give to you and what words I use. You jump upon them deciding what they mean with a quick wit common among the nobles. But the cruelty and hatred found among their ranks does not reside in you. Your comfort and safety gifted to your by your family and friends has given you a light most would die for. Continue being such a brightness. We need you.”
I shiver realizing those words. “I have been told a story. A story that as a child I thought all good and true, but as I grew I started to question the real meaning. The Duke came upon my grandfather and asked three wishes.”
“Did he grant them?”
“Yes.” I pause thinking it over. “But the way he granted them wasn’t the exact desires of the duke. The wording to the story has changed as I grew older as well. They could tell me more about the wishes, the desires, and the wants.”
“The duke wished to be fertile enough for children.” I said thinking it such a beautiful wish as a child. “He was the grandson of the king. It did matter he would offer children. My grandfather answered the wish partial.”
“He could only impregnate his partner in life. The one he married and only them.”
“Well, that helps matters.” Diss comments. We are sitting and resting waiting for our meals. “I would rather only impregnate the one I pick as partner.”
“That’s the thing.” I frown thinking of the story. As a child, ‘The one who loves you most’ sounded perfect. “The second wish was for a bride. The perfect bride to give birth to perfect children. My grandfather chose the saying, The one who loved him the most.”
“It wasn’t his mother was it?”
“She had died, so that was impossible.” I shake my head. “His servant was the one, though. She may have been of low birth, but her love for him was genuine.”
“For the grandson of a king, that’s kinda harsh.” Diss frowns. “You said three wishes.”
“He had trouble. Not only impregnating females, since he never succeeded there, but he had trouble with impotency.” I sigh. Child me never understood the last wish. Most of the time, they held off letting me know the full story.
“Let me guess.” Diss taps the table. “Only capable with his chosen wife.”
“Yes.” I sigh. “He was never to be turned on by another female.”
“Well that helps. It’s easier to stay loyal when no one interests you.” Diss nods leaning back.
I bite my cheek. “I was told it was a happily ever after as a child. But the duke still had affairs. Never with females. The wishes made him lose interest in all females besides his wife. But no one knew he also had desires for male companionship. More I think he just had interest in males. It would make further sense given the other wishes and why he would ask for help picking a wife.”
Diss weighs the words a moment. “I guess that is true. Some people have no interest in particular shapes and sizes.”
“What are your interests?”
Diss eyes me. I know he does. I sit up in an attempt to hide my breasts, but there is no way to hide anything. I normally prefer showing off my form. He makes me self conscious. It’s troubling. What more the thoughts circling my head have rolling in the bed sound more likely than I would ever admit to. “Humans.” He shrugs.
“Yeah. It’s almost random who sets me off. Or more interest can easily grow into sexual or romantic if time is taken. I’ve been a fool several times now. I try to keep my distance. It’s why I have done little to you even if those eyes smolder at times.”
I cover my cheeks. “The spell. It’s the spell.”
“You are a horrible liar.” Diss looks to a wait staff as they bring out a meal. “I ordered quite a bit. We can bring whatever we don’t finish back to the rooms. I do prefer this to what the inn offers. Although given your natural connection to nobility, I wonder if you would prefer the finer fare found there.”
“This is fine. I don’t mind what food is offered.” As long as it’s food. And compared to the bread and cheese that he has offered for much of the journey this is far better. Tomorrow, I will order a bath and a full meal. I see no reason why one or the other would be preferenced.
“Glad you accept whatever is offered. But everyone should have a preference. It would suit me to learn yours.” Diss takes a bite ignoring my burning cheeks.
At least I hope he’s ignoring them. I’m trying to ignore them. I shift uncomfortably in my chair and look aside.
“Establishments like these have always been my first date option.” Diss comments not looking at me. “My first date was in this cutesy little town. She was this bombing beauty. She thought I was buying her time, though. She wasn’t thinking this should be a date. It made my first attempt weak. She wasn’t even capable of training me how to date. Taught me a few things in the bedroom. She was focused on the payment. I was already known as a proper Demon. Seventeen year olds are… I was stupid.” Diss sighs shaking the memory away. “Guess you never had such a thing happen.”
“No.” I bite my cheek. “My dates with Forc were little more than hanging out together. We’ve done that since we were tykes. We got engaged at twelve. He asked me. He was ten back then when he asked me. His brother made a few comments. He asked a couple people around. Then bam, I’m asked.”
“He wasn’t even a proper genie then.”
“I didn’t get a ring up front. He wrote a really adorable poem, though. Filled with wishes.”
“Legal wishes?” Diss finally stares at me again.
“No.” I smile thinking back to it. “Imagine the cost for always being in love.” I laugh thinking it over. “He was being adorable. Maybe I agreed early on, but, we get along. Nothing about my engagement bothers me. He regrets asking, though.”
“Why? How could anyone regret you?”
I sigh. “There’s a curse. It’s not just his family, but there has been several people who failed at their early relationship. Even if there were kids involved. Get together before twenty, fail before forty.”
“That’s still a long time.”
“Most say it’s get together before twenty fail before twenty one. But I studied it. Minus a few here and there, it’s been all failures. I can’t blame his nervousness.” I pick at my plate. “But it’s more jumping before your ready and things fall apart. We know that. We were taught what that meant as children.”
“Because a genie wish is too powerful to just forgo fully grasping things.” Diss nods. “Are you really happy with him and your relationship?”
“I’m…” I fidget. “I don’t know. I really don’t mind it. I’d rather him step forward. I want to know what it feels like to be sexually active or to be romantically involved. We’re waiting for the wedding until he’s twenty because he wants to. But why? Could this be setting us up for failure anyway?”
“All relationships cause questions.” Diss comments. “As we grow older we realize what we are willing to accept out of our partners and what we just can’t handle. I wouldn’t trust my seventeen year old self to pick out a life partner. I wonder I could even trust myself now. It’s not my age that matters. It’s more I question my own ability to stand still. Can I stick it out with one person?” He shivers.
“You said you fall in love easily. Do you fall out of love easily?”
“No.” The clear cut word hits me dead center. Diss’s eyes show honestly and directness almost like he is forcing the information on me. He wants me to know completely. A shiver my body as he turns back to his food. “I fall in love and stay in love. It took a lot to fall out of love with a few people who were bad for me. It was like I was training myself not to love them. How does anyone fall out of love easily? I’ve never managed that. How often have I cried because someone refused me?”
“Refused…? As in…?”
“Sex? No. That’s easy to accept. Being refused a relationship while in the middle of one. One time, I had a friend. We worked in the same group. No big deal. I ended up on a few quest runs with them.” Diss sighs falling into his memory. Still in love. “They were amazing as a partner. I fell so quickly. Our first night together… Both males, so they didn’t mind undressing together or washing together.” Diss stops losing a lightness. “Until they found out about my interest. Then it was five feet back always. Never see each other without full gear. Unless literally no other option, they’d never work with me. I was refused. I was refused a good demon partner, a good questing partner, because they feared I would do something. Never. Not once did I do something to show my interest. I was tricked into an answer by another. That was it. It went from close friends and great partners in the field to, I can’t believe you’re like that.” Diss sinks. “I regret falling in love it was such a harsh fall out. He really was something else in the field.”
“Another top tier demon?”
“Yeah.” Diss shifts uneasily. “It still hurts.”
“I guess that’s how I’d feel if Forc left me. Or how Forc would feel if I left him. We’re so close. To lose him… I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without him. We have a home already. The way we understand each other is…”
“This is why I regret falling for you.” Diss clicks his tongue and goes back to his meal.
“Do you really?”
Diss chews slowly weighing his words. It’s calm when he finally manages, “I will do things over the course of this journey that shows I wish to steal you from him. But that’s not what I mean to do. I can see there is something more between you. If for whatever reason you need someone to fall back on or lean on, let me.” He taps his chest. “If you wish to test waters, I’m open. We can even make up some excuse for when Forc finds out.”
“Not even capable of hiding it.”
Diss grins. “I wouldn’t hide it. Might be something useful to tease Forc with later. Who knows if he jumped sides. We really have no idea what’s going on.” He rubs his wrists. “Minus a few small tugs to say he’s hand cuffed. It’s like they don’t grasp he’s a genie. What genie learns anything besides how to give wishes. It’s why we have quests of transporting genies places. You need someone to lean on.” Diss waves his finger between us. “I will always be willing to transport you. I know the type of requests a genie can do and what type of payments are made.”
I shiver staring at him. His eyes are back to sparkles. He looks forward to may needs and requests. “I’ll be able to find out when he leaves my side if he does so.”
“How?” Diss reviews me.
“We made a wish together. As long as we’re together, our wish’s monetary cost goes into our bank.”
“Ah. So that’s where my wish cost went. It was a touch freaky.”
“Stationary genies end up using a spell similar. We need someone we can trust, though.” I think of Forc. “So I can tell when he deflects from me by having a wish that costs money be made.”
“Do you want to try that later?”
I bite my cheek. Half of me doesn’t wish to know. As if he has already stopped being my friend and fiancé. I call him such, but if I teleported to my lover, it wouldn’t be him. The one I love the most outside of family is my horse. It bothers me to have realized that. “It’s bothersome the horses won’t come with us.”
“I’ll assume that’s a no then.” Diss sighs. “I had a wish I’m willing to pay for, though.”
“What wish?” I look at my meal. I’ve eaten enough. Diss did order a lot. And the chocolate cake they brought looks divine. Not that I can eat it right now. That’s going to be a later thing.
“I wish to know the exact list of spells to cast for efficiency when making this map.” Diss taps his belt where the components. “I glanced over the spell… It’s… Not the best.”
“And you’re willing to pay? You can just duct the cost from the amount I owe you.”
“No. There’s reason I want this more formal. I’ll offer money that’s comparable to my request, I’ll write it out on a formal sheet and get the wish properly done.” He calls over something to help pack things up and pay.
“I guess that’s so the spell list is put on the back of the contract.”
“Exactly. I see you’ve dealt with excessive knowledge spells before.”
“You’d have a headache when you should be studying your spells.” I nod getting ready to leave. “This can be testing two birds with one stone, then.”
“Yes, please. If he’s deflected, I won’t feel so bad about teasing you.” Diss grins.
I feel bad about liking the teasing. Forc is the one I want. He should be my lover. What happened to cause him to not be considered? And why is it I don’t mind learning a few things from this traveling Demon. He’s offering me assistance. I’m helping him out. This is a mutual interest. If Forc is no longer marked my ally, then… I sigh trying to recall the exact wording to our spell years ago. It was so valuable. Right now… I don’t know if it has any value. Traveling genies don’t keep such a wish active. We need our funds available. Still… Is Forc my friend? Will this work? Has he jumped ship?
Inside my heart I beg he hasn’t. I beg the spell leaves the money in my bank back home. But I’m leaning toward it will be the opposite. Forc has not been injured much during this time. They have something on him. But he also accepted the circumstances. Please say Forc hasn’t left me. I love him. I miss him. I’ll find him. I will. I have to.