WISH FULFILMENT, PART TEN: Magical Girl
“Okay, this is not, like, an encyclopedia,” Chartreuse said, shaking the journal at Simone. “I can’t simply look up ‘escape from spells’.” She paused. “Though that would be handy.”
Simone turned away from the wall. The wizard crossed her arms over her chest – though in making the movement, she ended up looking down, apparently still adjusting to her new female form. “We have to get out somehow. Do you really think we have the capability to play out Wanda’s history?”
“Maybe?” Chartreuse offered. Simone glared. The teenage elf-girl slumped a little. “Maybe not. It did look like Wanda was gaining control over fire. No clue how we’d, you know, fake that.” She opened the journal up again, running her finger down the handwritten pages.
“See if Wanda had to break a spell herself at some point,” Simone suggested. “Then we can duplicate it.” She began to pace a few steps, forward and back, at the T-junction of the castle corridor. Chartreuse turned a little to keep from getting distracted by the movement. She quickly confirmed that the start of the journal was only basic magical information which Wanda had recorded, and flipped further ahead. In doing so, she realized that the book had a tendency to want to open towards a certain area of pages about three quarters of the way through.
Which is where she’d first started reading, upon picking the journal up. And she remembered having seen Qifarihm’s name. On a hunch, she checked the corners of the pages there, and saw that one of them was dog eared. More, there was a star after one of the paragraphs. She began to read in earnest.
“You seem excited,” Simone observed. “What have you got?”
“It’s BELIEF,” Chartreuse stated. She began to read aloud. “Today, Qifarihm told me that a large part of why magic works is the belief that it can. Actual truth must be more than that, since not everyone can perform magic, while it can work on non-believers. Yet I think this is why wizardry is a male dominated profession – they don’t believe women can do it as well, which helps that belief to become reality. Meaning all I need to do is change their wizardly beliefs. The same way I changed the beliefs of those boys I burned when they –”
Chartreuse stopped reading aloud. Her stomach wrenched a little, and she snapped the spine of the journal shut. Simone raised a questioning eyebrow. “Dare I ask?”
“No,” Chartreuse said, drawing a quick breath. “You don’t. Suffice to say, I’m not sure if I’m on side with Wanda any more. I, like, REALLY hope she already had the evil artifact by then.”
“Oh kay,” Simone said slowly. “So, do we simply need to ‘believe’ we’re not under a spell? Because I’m now believing I’m a man again, but I’m not feeling it.”
“There must be, you know, limits.” Chartreuse bit down on her lower lip. Then she reached out to shove Simone, her hand merely passing through her companion’s shoulder. So she lifted her foot, preparing to give the other girl a kick.
Simone back-pedalled. “Okay, whoa, what?”
“I, like, didn’t think my hands could affect anyone,” she explained. “But when I believed my feet could, I got to go Wizard kicking.” She hopped forwards and tapped at Simone with the sole of her boot. Successfully.
“Huh. Interesting.” Simone frowned, as she stared at Chartreuse’s foot. “So to what extent is this reality defined by Wanda, and to what extent are we defining it?”
“Dunno. Might explain why I kept the journal coming in. I believed I could, and nothing, you know, prevented that belief. Maybe you should have believed that you still had all our gear.” She nearly lost her balance then, so returned both feet to the ground.
“Okay, let’s extrapolate,” Simone mused. “Anything Wanda can’t account for COULD be used to get us out. Like the journal. Or, um, technology.” She made a face. “Too bad my friend Keith didn’t come along with us.”
“Why? Is he some crazy techno mad scientist?” Chartreuse wondered.
Simone shook her head. “Not as such, but he doesn’t share my opinions, and would probably have an app for this.” Her eyes brightened, and she pointed at Chartreuse’s wrist. “Oh! We don’t need him, you’re still wearing your watch! We can talk to Alice!”
Chartreuse blinked in surprise, and pulled back the sleeve of her top. “You’re right! How did you know?”
“I believed,” Simone said, with a smirk.
Chartreuse paused, briefly wondering if she’d really had the watch all along – but she quickly decided such thoughts would only get them in trouble. She punched in the necessary code to activate it. “Alice! Chartreuse to Alice!” she called out.
Seconds ticked by. When she’d used the device last time, to contact her sister Azure, it had taken close to a minute before Alice had responded. So this time, she waited patiently rather than immediately trying twice more. But she only had so much patience. “Hellooo? Alice? Alison?”
“The device may not work in the spell,” Simone yielded. She began to pace again. “I’ll try to think of something else. Take another look back at Wanda’s earlier stuff.”
Chartreuse reopened the book closer to the middle, and began scanning anew. This section seemed closer in time frame to where they were now – Wanda was talking about having been chosen as the new Apprentice. How she was going to have to work even harder now, in order to counter the prejudices of those around her. Of people like…
“What the hell did you do to the Wizard panel?!”
Simone turned, spotting the boy who had been scheduled after her. The one who had pinched her bottom. He was striding purposefully down the corridor. Simone raised her hands defensively. “I did magic?”
Upon reaching her, he shoved her back into the wall, resting his hands on her shoulders to keep her there. “They sounded almost BORED by my act,” he accused. “Me! Iklius, wizard extraordinaire! So I ask again. What. Did. You. Do?”
“Get. Your. Hands. Off,” Simone countered.
“The delusional elf talk, was that all an act? I bet you’d already paid off the Wizards, so this whole trial didn’t matter! That’s why you ran off, so as to not betray yourself to us afterwards, huh?”
“You’re not going to get away with this.” Iklius paused, then shifted his gaze down from Simone’s face. “Unless you make it worth my while not to stir up trouble.”
Simone frowned. “That’s crazy AND disgusting.”
With a snarl, Iklius reached up to tear at Simone’s blouse. Yet with his hand having moved off her shoulder, she managed to block him with her arm, while lashing out a kick at his legs. Iklius jumped back, she twisted to duck under his arm, and she ran. He shoved her from behind, and she went sprawling. “Chartreuse!” Simone gasped out, spinning her body so that she was face up.
Iklius cracked his knuckles, then took a step closer – then jerked to the side, off Chartreuse’s kick at his hip. “The hell?” he said, turning to look at the empty space. The pink haired elf girl took the opportunity to move around to the front and plant her boot into his midsection. He stumbled back with a wheeze. Simone scrambled to her feet.
“We’re running,” Chartreuse said, turning to look at Simone. For some reason, she looked scared.
“He can’t hurt you,” Simone reminded.
Chartreuse held up the journal, as if it was enough explanation. “Run,” she said, like it was the most important thing ever.
Simone ran. But as soon as she turned the nearest corner, she suddenly found herself out in a courtyard. She blinked at the sunlight, though the sun almost immediately retreated behind a cloud. Turning around, Simone saw no passage – she was in town. The nearby fountain looked familiar, though here it didn’t contain the statue of a naiad. The castle wall loomed behind a number of buildings.
“Oh no,” Chartreuse breathed. “Her spell brought us here anyway.”
“Where?” Simone said in frustration. She realized belatedly that she was wearing a different outfit now, still in a dark shirt, but now with a pair of trousers.
“Wanda’s, like, major life event,” Chartreuse said. “I read it while you were fighting. The earlier stuff was only context. We need to get out of here!”
“Because…” Chartreuse stopped, as a group of six boys stepped out of a nearby building. “Them.”
Simone recognized one of them as Iklius, and another two as wizard hopefuls who had been in the waiting room. “So you came,” one of them said, his face carefully neutral. The boys began to fan out. “Well, we’re not letting you get away with this.”
Simone spread her arms out to the sides. “Guys! I didn’t rig the Wizard trial!” She glanced sidelong at Chartreuse, muttering out of the corner of her mouth, “…did Wanda?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Chartreuse said quietly. “Wanda’s going to attack them here. With fire. It won’t end well.”
“I don’t have fire!” Simone hissed.
“Oh, right!” Chartreuse frowned. “I’m not sure if that, like, makes it better or worse.”
The boys had now encircled the two of them, Simone in the middle. They stood a little ways beyond arm’s reach. “So what do we do?” Simone murmured.
“We finish this,” Iklius answered.
“I don’t know,” Chartreuse said at the same time. “I only know…” She stopped, snapping her head to the side. “Yes, I hear you!!”
It was Alice’s voice. Wonderful, magical Alice. Chartreuse snapped her head to the side. “Yes, I hear you!!”
“Hear who?” Simone asked, looking around.
“Alice,” Chartreuse explained, even as Iklius stated, “Acting insane won’t save you, girlie.”
“Good!” came Alice’s voice again. The bright and cheery sound was totally at odds with the atmosphere around them. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try… try try try try again.”
“We, like, need to break out of a spell! Pronto!” Chartreuse shouted at the sky.
“Ah! That would explain why you’re unconscious,” Alice mused. “As it is, I’ve had to attune myself to your alpha waves – say, have you ever seen that movie Frequency? Where the guy in the future can talk to the guy in the past using the same ham radio? Because this isn’t really like that, but it was a pretty cool movie…”
“I can’t hear her!” Simone said. “What should I do?”
“Don’t fight back,” one boy advised, as he thrust both his hands out.
“Believe in… something!” Chartreuse suggested. She looked back at the sky. If only Carrie were here with them, her girlfriend might have been able to stop time. “Alice! Alice, we need you to come down to the Wizard’s Sanctuary and, like, physically pull some cards off our heads!”
“I can’t leave the station,” Alice countered. “You MAY recall this is why I recruited the both of you? What is even going on??”
“If we fight, they’re dead, if we don’t, we’re dead, we, you know, need an abort option! PLEASE!”
She heard Alice sigh. “Fine. Please hold, your call is important to us.”
“Hold? Hold what??”
“It didn’t have to be this way,” another of the boys remarked. Chartreuse looked back at Simone. She realized that the guy with his arms out had to be using some sort of holding magic, as Simone couldn’t seem to move her feet. She HAD managed to pull a card out of her pouch, but she didn’t seem to be sure what to do with it.
“You could have left town. Instead you came here,“ agreed the guy with outstretched arms.
“Where else was I supposed to go?” Simone challenged.
“Away,” Iklius said. “Because I hate the fact that I’m going to have to punch a girl. Kinda.” He pulled his fist back. Chartreuse lifted her foot to kick. Simone reached back into her pouch and pulled out a small key.
“This key, which hides powers of the dark, show your true form before me! I, Simone, command you! Release!” A glowing pink circle exploded into view on the ground around her, and as the boys looked on with a mixture of shock and confusion, the key expanded out into the form of a staff. Simone grabbed it with one hand, tossing her card up into the air with the other. “Fly card! Release and dispel!”
Twirling her staff, Simone brought it down onto the card. Wind swirled around, the card vanished, wings sprouted off the end of the staff… and the female wizard was pulled airborne. The gazes of the males tracked up, and it occurred to Chartreuse that not wearing a skirt here had been a good plan.
“WHAT just happened?!” one of the boys demanded.
“Oh, I’ve seen this one!” Chartreuse breathed. “It’s… um…”
“Magical girl anime,” Simone admitted, as she floated in the air, out of reach. “I do believe in the characters. And it occurs to me that Wanda’s spell could not have anticipated this.”
“Whatever, girlie,” Iklius snorted. “You have to come down eventually, and when you do…”
Simone disappeared. Chartreuse barely had time to register the event, before she felt the scene around her snap out of existence. She gasped at the person she was now staring at.
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