Sanity is... hard to maintain sometimes [1.8]

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Moving house can be a hassle,
Moving house with magic is, presumably, meant to be a bit easier?

Moving house with John’s help would likely be...
...Yeah, not the best idea in the world, is it?...

Events unfold including but not limited to:
The sun being discussed,
Taxi rides being (relatively) skipped over in silence,
and explanations of events are exchanged, much to both sides confused frustration.


 

“Hope you two are done chatting because it’s almost painfully too easy to beat a Golem at chess sadly and I-”
Words froze on John’s lips as he stared at us and we stared back feeling only slightly like naughty children caught mid-act.
“-I’m assuming there’s a reason you two are doing that?”

My eyes cut from Fena’s slightly flustered face down to the big ‘bottomless’ bag we’ve got stretched out as wide as it can and the still full book shelf we managed to tip onto its side with aid from Fena’s vampire strength a minute ago.

The original idea was to save time by just loading them straight in but despite what I’d presumed in my own testing of the bag Edith gave me ages ago, the openings don’t just keep growing forever and it’s kinda a tight fit getting the shelving unit inside honestly.

“Um... We’re packing?”

John snorted in amusement and for once I really can’t blame him considering how silly we must look, Fena struggling to pull the bag edge over the feet of the unit while I’ve somehow ended up mounting the bloody thing for a better grip as I play my part in making sure the bag doesn’t just fall off again.

“You know what?... I’m not even going to question the multiple different, much easier, ways you could have tried to ‘pack’ and instead I’ll settle on a much more simple ‘Why?’, just on general principle...”

Oh how magnanimous of you John-Boy!
Ever so nice of you... you smug asshole...

“Fena’s packing up shop and moving in with us back home. With a little bit of tweaking we think we can get rid of the UV ray’s coming from my fake-sun inside the realm, if it even produces any at all to start with, so she can hang out with people and feel ‘normal’ while being closer to us if she gets bored...”
Before I could finish explaining Fena straightened up a little bit and shot John an almost smug look of her own, continuing on where I’d stopped.

“Also, considering this new ‘realm’ place has a massive shopping mall’s worth of magical shopping mall spaces inside it I plan on picking out some prime real-estate, tax free because I know the owner and everything.”

I’m sure somewhere up there or something Edith is grinning proudly down upon her ‘big sister’ right about now because that sort of enthusiastic assumption that I’m gonna let her take one of my best shops up for free is exactly the kind of thing Edith would have done in a heartbeat given this same situation.
...Damned if it’s not gonna work too!...

“Make yourself useful and help us get this shelving unit into the bag John-Boy so we can make our way home faster, yeah?”

He scoffed loudly in response but didn’t hesitate to help us seconds later, even if his ‘help’ turned out to be a few almost bored looking hand waves which left Fena on the floor to my right and me sliding off a now emptied shelving unit to land painfully on my butt moments later.

The books once occupying it’s shelves had all levitated out and flown into the bag along with every other book around us in the few short seconds it took for the shelving unit itself to shrink down to about half its usual size for easier entry into the bag.

He waved his hands again and the other shelving units shrunk to similar size before making their own floating way into the bag as well. The smug smirk on his face was undeniably annoying but I didn’t have time to match it with my own glare before Fena cut between us with a hand offered out to help me back to my feet instead.

“Now I see why you keep him around, easy item storage isn’t cheap usually, you know?”
We both laughed, me slightly harder as I noticed a tick of irritation barely being hidden behind John’s smirk, as his moment of gloating was interrupted by Fena’s slightly catty words.

Eventually we had our fun at his expense and both turned around to face him again with almost identical evil-grins on our faces a few moments later.

“John-Boy! You’re on packing duty seeing as you’re oh-so-good at it!”
He shot me a momentary glare for that one but there was honestly no heat to it and even Fena could tell he was more amused than anything else by my commanding tone.
“Well, chop-chop! I don’t pay you to stand around looking pretty after all.”

His glare reappeared with a slightly more challenging tilt to it this time but he didn’t argue back, perhaps sensing the mood me and Fena had settled in which would make any protest he could muster just the subject of ridicule unfortunately.

With one last huff of what I think might have been fond exasperation he turned away from us both to start waving his hands around like a certain mouse in a certain animated classic about an inept wizard’s apprentice trying to cheat while doing his chores.

“It’s like watching a really boring version of ‘Fantasia’, isn’t it?”
My head jerked to the side slightly to watch Fena out the corner of my eye and I allowed myself one tiny smirk in response as she summed up my thoughts rather well.

Part of me was almost tempted to conjure a patched and floppy blue wizards-hat with accompanying red monks robe for him honestly but he really is doing us a favor so I shouldn’t be mean at this point, despite how funny his reaction could be.

“Come on, we’ll go box up your clothes so the ‘Great wizard’s apprentice’ doesn’t have to go digging through your underwear draw unnecessarily.”
This time it was Fena’s turn to glare at me lightly but that didn’t stop her from moving off towards the stairs with me trailing behind her to do just as I’d suggested.

He may be helpful and relatively nice these days but somewhere deep down inside ‘John’ is still the pervert/stalker supreme known as ‘Maxarimus’ after all, even I’d hesitate to let him near my underwear draw... although in my case it’s because knowing him he’d throw out all my nice new comfortable stuff for support-lacking push-up bras and an endless parade of thongs, for his own amusement if nothing else.
...Stupid John...

======

“That’s this room done, what about all your stuff in the room across the hall?”
Fena hesitated, then shot me a slightly confused look for a moment before bringing her hand up to stifle a giggle of some kind.

“I’d wondered where you got that outfit from, that’s Edith’s spare bedroom for whenever she decides to take an aging potion and go out clubbing or whatever it is ancient people in temporarily young bodies do at least...”

I couldn’t help but have a full body shudder run down my spine.
First at the idea of Edith going clubbing, then her going clubbing while wearing something as dramatically ‘shows off a lot of skin’ as the clothes I found in that room and finally because I happen to be wearing the most in-offensive clothing I could find from that worrying collection of clothes at the moment, much to my growing horror.

Fena let me stew on the image of Edith, admittedly a non-potioned into youth version of her, dancing with young guys while wearing a leather mini-skirt an-
“...I think I’m gonna be sick...”

“Oh don’t, you big baby, I was kidding-”
...Thank the Powers!...
“-You were right, it’s my ‘out of season’ stuff being kept for when the fashion cycle starts over again in a decade or two so I’ll have a suitably ‘vintage’ wardrobe to work from... the look on your FACE though!”

My glare hopefully showed her just how not-funny I found her obvious joy at my near brush with vomiting once more today.

It really hasn’t been my day for that sort of thing, has it?
...Nope, terrible day for it really all things considered...

“Let’s get on with this then before John finishes with downstairs.”
Fena grumbled something about me being ‘grumpy’ in response but we both moved out of the now bare room behind us with its lingering smell of blood and neat pile of semi-packed items so we could move on to the next one over instead to start all over again.
“Powers, who knew moving house with magic could be this tiring?”

======

“-And that’s the last of it.”
We both let off slight cheers to ourselves but they sounded a bit weak really which I guess is kinda understandable considering how much pile-making we’ve had to go through over the last hour or so, let alone the whole fiasco with trying to ‘disarm’ Edith’s room full of magical toys and Bad Juju hitting implements!

“I wonder how far John’s gotte-”
As if summoned like a true demon of old his head popped around the doorframe to shot us an unfairly energetic smirk by way of greeting.

Judging by the almost lazy hand waving he offered while summoning the item pile in the middle of the room out into the waiting bottomless bag at his side I’m willing to bet he’s gotten on pretty well in the packing department, just to spite us for giving him the ‘hard’ job if nothing else.

“...Your such an ass sometimes John-Boy...”
I elbowed my way past him, my magic brushing up against his, highly amused, magic for a moment or two which really wasn’t helping things as I went through the hall making final inspections for missed items along the way back down to the main shop-floor.

Despite my intense efforts there really does appear to be nothing missing between the top floor and the front door at this point so I guess we’re finally free at long last to continue on with our day as originally planned, plus one vampire-Fena as...well...

“Uh, don’t know if this is a stupid time to point this out but it’s day-time outside?”
Full daytime too, as in, sunlight pouring in through the windows and people going about their late-morning lives as birds sing in the late-fall breeze.

“It did occur to me too, we HAVE been here for a while after all...”
Not helping John-Boy!

“What about Fena?... ya know... vampire plus sun equals hissing and ash-puddles, right?”
This time I really did feel like an idiot as the pair of them shot each other oddly exasperated looks for a moment before John nodded the responsibility of ‘correcting’ me off to Fena with a negligent twitch of his head.

“It’s the sun Hannah, not some sort of vampire-seeking laser or something...”
Oh?...
“Give me some high factor sun-screen, a few of my sun-rings, a big floppy hat with a full-body wetsuit and I can laze around at the beach these days.”

Well that’s, Uh...
Yeah actually, I guess that would make sense, wouldn’t it?

...Fena in skin-tight neoprene...
Shut up brain, not helping!

“Generally though I prefer blending in a bit considering it’s almost Winter and the Upper is freezing this time of year... give me a minute and I’ll go get my Leathers.”

That being said, Fena turned and went off to find said ‘Leathers’ apparently.
I couldn’t help but turn a questioning look over to John but he just shrugged in response despite the grin that refused to leave his lips at my obvious confusion.

Some annoying part of my mind was running in circles at the idea of Fena in ‘leather’, although luckily it wasn’t hard to keep those sort of thoughts under control for the most part, I DID grow up as a semi-average hormonal teenaged boy after all.

When it didn’t look like Fena was coming back any time soon I let out a huff and hopped up onto the now empty counter by the door to wait instead.
Hopefully she doesn’t take too long finding them.

Knowing her, she probably had Lurch hold onto them, if this was a planned part of her leaving after all.

“So, how long exactly have you known about Fena’s... vampire-ish-ness... without telling me John-Boy?”
His eyes widened slightly and he quickly looked away from me as if that would help avoid the question in general.

At least I won’t be bored while waiting!

======

“Does this look okay? It’s kind of hard to check yourself out when mirrors don’t show your reflection...”

My eyes cut away from my now minute-long silent glare at John to glance over at Fena’s newly arrived form instead and had to bite down hard on my tongue to stop myself from making some kind of sound honestly.

Biker leathers, full-body skin-tight biker leathers with a dark black helmet tucked under her arm, the silver accents of which really worked well with the studs on her belt, boots and jacket as a whole to give off the impression of a truly interesting looking biker-girl in my opinion.
...And I thought we had it bad when she went through that whole ‘Lolita’ phase a few years ago...

“I-it looks... good...”
The words barely managed to pass my lips as she turned around slowly, showing off every curve she had in such an amazingly unfair package.

“It’s very, uh-”
My next stab at an awkward compliment stopped short when my voice actually cracked slightly into a higher pitch as I fought hard to hide the blush I can already feel creeping up my cheeks despite my best efforts.

Judging by the knowing look on her face, and barely surprised ROLLS of laughter I could feel coming off of John behind me, I have no doubt that they both know exactly what my problem is, which sadly only made the blushing problem worse out of embarrassment if nothing else.

“I’m glad you like it Hannah, if you ask nicely I’m sure I can sort you out with a set of your own. The guy who makes mine does a lot of work for the more quiet and hidden members of the vampire community usually.”
She shifted her feet in her biker boots and glanced away from me slightly as a tiny frown formed on her lips before she continued with just a touch of bitterness to her voice.
“I’m pretty sure the old perv would jump at the chance to fit someone with an actual pulse into one of these things...”

Before I could question her sudden change in mood Fena practically skipped forward, all bitterness seemingly forgotten, and snagged my arm up in hers with only slightly faked excitement.

“Come on then Hannah. I’m ready to go out into the world again, it’s been too long since I’ve been both conscious and sober at the same time long enough to notice how dark and depressing it can get in this place at times.”

In a smooth, obviously practiced motion she pulled her motor-bike helmet onto her head with one hand and with a few moments fiddling managed to get the chin strap in place where it could overlap slightly with the high neck of her leather under-shirt.

The image finally complete I could understand her logic in wearing it all honestly.
While the leathers offered complete skin coverage on all sides and the, I’m assuming UV protected, visor of her helmet allowed her to see still, she also didn’t exactly look ‘weird’ or ‘out of place’ in general either.

Well, no more so than a Motorcyclist in Klamath Falls could look at least.

For some reason it felt like she would easily fit in to some kind of action movie as the ‘faceless courier’ character who the hero has to chase down, due mostly to the all-black coloring and my overactive imagination I think honestly, but she definitely doesn’t scream ‘vampire walking around in the daylight’ at least which I guess was the intended goal in the first place after all.

“Daylights burning and I’m sure everyone’s wondering where you are at this point seeing as your visit apparently wasn’t planned or anything, so let’s go already!”

That being said she placed a leather-clad hand on the small of my back and practically pushed me out the front door, John following in our wake with Lurch bringing up the rear with her bottomless bag containing practically the whole shop inside it.

As we made our way down the street towards the taxi office a few streets over that we’re apparently going to use to get back home now on some silent decision between John and Fena, without my input being needed nor requested, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of foreboding that I just couldn’t shake for some reason.

It wasn’t until we were just a few steps away from the taxi office’s doors before it finally clicked in my head what was bothering me so much.

...We disappeared?...
Me and John, we disappeared while I was having a pretty major magical freak-out and when my magic exploded it knocked us both out for who knows how long!
...I don’t have my phone on me...

Hell, I’m lucky I have clothes on me considering John had just got done dragging me out of a magic and drug fuelled state of insanity when everything went crazy.

Whether we were gone just a few hours in that desert or a full day, or more, it doesn’t matter because the outcome is still going to be the same... Sarah’s going to go ballistic at me for worrying her again!

Almost unconsciously I allowed Fena’s gloved hands to guide me into the backseat of our taxi and my mind started going into damage-control mode as I tried to find some way of getting through this without being yelled at by my rightfully frightened sister in twenty minutes or so.

...The odds aren’t exactly in our favor on that one...
Very, very not in my favor!

======

“Fena could you... just kinda... go in first to tell everyone I’m safe and stuff?”
John’s highly amused snort was joined a moment or two later by Fena’s slightly muffled laugh which really isn’t a good sign here.
“Please?... I’ll get you all the goat’s blood you could want, promise?”

This time there was no laugh from her and, although it was hard to tell with her face covered by her visor in total darkness from my perspective, it felt like she was at least mildly curious at the idea if nothing else.

John’s snort progressed into a full blown snigger naturally, not helping my nerves any more than the collection of curious heads I could see popping out of our front-front door to duck inside again a moment later as their owners went back into the bowels of our house, presumably to spread the news that we’ve returned at last.

Fena actually had the gall to offer me a silent, but nonetheless mocking, pat on the back in false reassurance!

Even from here I could hear a commotion starting in the house which could really only mean one thing, Sarah’s coming.
In desperation I turned and grabbed Fena’s hand while using every trick I’ve picked up over the years to give her the most devastatingly adorable ‘puppy dog’ look I could manage as she staggered away from me slightly in surprise.

“Human virgin’s blood Fena! No questions asked, I’ll get you as much as you want if I have to raid every Chess Club from here to Brooklyn, just please... PLEASE, don’t let Sarah get her hands on m-”

“HANNAH COOPER, YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!”

Oh crap, crapping, cra-
...Too late for that now dumbass, RUN!...

My knees jerked and within moments I was sprinting towards the back of our house in the direction furthest away from Sarah’s now gaining form as possible.

As I whipped around the side of our house and jumped the slope entirely with one awkward roll that lost me precious seconds it was hard to miss the nearly hysterical laugher coming from John that happened to be joined annoyingly by Fena’s still muffled voice as she made no move to help me in the slightest despite my earlier pleading.

“Get back here Han!”

======

A few wild minutes later, we both lay on our backs in a panting mess trying desperately to catch our breaths after the garden-borne chase that just took place.

My plan had originally been to dodge into the back door and go hide in my Realm for another month or two until she calmed down properly but every time I tried to make a move towards it she somehow knew what I was thinking because she was RIGHT there, every bloody time!

Eventually there’s just only so many times you can dodge around trees on pure luck alone and Sarah managed to tackle me to the ground as if it had been a forgone conclusion that she would from the very start.

On the plus side the whole manic chase itself seems to have worked wonders for her mood if the mild grin I can see stretching her cheeks is any indication, but on the negative side I’m completely worn out, feeling weak as a kitten and utterly defenceless if she decides to have yet another change in mood at some point in the near future.

“I’m glad you’re okay, Han... Sorry I yelled...”
Slowly I rolled myself over in the grass so we could look at each other properly again and a small grin flitted across my lips in acceptance of her apology.

She had a good reason to be worried and if I didn’t know any better I’d almost think this whole chase was just her way of making sure I really was ‘okay’ despite the near-meltdown state I was in the last time we saw each other honestly.

“So what happened after you left?... I’m sure John could fill me in but I caught you so you’ve got to spill or else, that’s the rules after all.”

This time I really did smile, her little grin turned into an outright smile as well as we devolved into a relieved fit of laughter between us that felt so nice as my heartbeat finally settled back into something close to a ‘normal’ rhythm in general.

“How long have you got?... I kinda accidentally made a brand-new oasis somewhere in Death Valley that tried to eat me and I’m a lightning mage now apparently, as you can imagine, that’s just the cliff notes version...”
Her hand flew out to slap my shoulder lightly in reprimand but her smile didn’t dim in the slightest.

“Start from the top, tell me everything!”

======

“So Fena’s really a-”
Sarah’s hand came up and she did a kind of awkward ‘fang-like’ gesture with her fingers in front of her mouth that didn’t exactly take a genius to work out the meaning of sadly.

“Yup, throne of dead animal parts and everything... she’s fine though! Just kind of went off the rails a bit like I did apparently but she’s all sober now and perfectly safe as long as we keep a stock of blood around for her come dinner time.”

“Well that’s.... reassuring?”

Seriously, of all the points to come out of our catch up conversation THAT'S the one she's stuck on?

I mean sure she's not exactly had any good experiences with vampires over the years.
She didn’t exactly get on with Fena even before finding out about it either come to that, but surely me going all ‘God Hannah’ again while forcefully shattering what was left of ‘my’ powers-damned CORE should be slightly higher up the worry list here, right?

...She’s being unreasonably selfish in her fear, in my opinion...
Exactly!

“Trust me on this one Sare, Fena’s safe. Even when she was high on junkie-blood for weeks on end she never attacked anyone or made a throne of human remains after all.”
...It was animal parts instead, completely different and understandable...

“It’s fine Han, nothing I’ve seen over the years leads me to think she’s a threat to us at all... it’s actually kinda a relief. I always thought something was off with her honestly but it all makes more sense if she’s a vampire.”
Um... what?
“She doesn’t blink enough for a normal human. It’s creepy and always made me feel like she was some sort of psycho stalker just waiting for me to push her too far so she could kill me in my sleep or something.”

What is she-
I don’t... I mean... wha-

“You seriously didn’t notice? The blinking thing and the weird irregular breathing patterns were pretty obvious at times, especially if you got too close and she sniffed yo... oh, okay... yeah, that IS kinda creepy again now that I think about it.”

Fena sniffs me?!
...Constantly...
Powers-damn it, am I literally the only person who didn’t know something weird was up with her?
...Probably...
Damn it!

Let’s move on quickly before I start getting paranoid about people sniffing me all over again.
It was bad enough the first time!

“We’re getting a bit off topic here Sare, I’m almost tempted to suggest we get back to you yelling at me for letting John kidnap me to protect you and Eris over discussing Fena again at this point, so can we just drop it now we know that you feel safe with her around, please?”
Sarah shrugged a little uncertainly but didn’t argue as I almost frantically started searching for a new topic to fill the void in conversation my request had introduced.

“How about you catch me up on what I’ve missed around here, huh? Not that I’m expecting much obviously, I was only gone a day afte-”
She cringed visibly.
“-uh oh, what’s that look for?”

“A messenger from the government came for you this morning.”
Oh... oh, I am just so not stoned enough to handle this right now...

“Hold that thought, if I’m going to be dealing with the next idiocy to invade my life already I at least want to be sitting down with a coffee and something to eat first, Sare.”
Surprisingly she nodded along with me as if that idea made way more sense than even I’d intended it to which really isn’t helping this situation honestly!

“Probably a good idea, I’ll make some sandwiches and call Eris down to give you a hug, trust me you’re gonna need it Han...”

Powers damn it!

======

“I’m sorry but I’m really just not getting it, can you run this by me one more time, Sare?”
Eris giggled from her new, to her mind at least, position on my lap at the kitchen counter.

It was unbelievably awkward when she first turned up and I can’t even describe how much effort it took for me to not wince when she called me ‘Auntie Hannah’ but I’ll admit that having her so close is helping me stay at least slightly calm at the moment if nothing else.

Distractedly I reached out and grabbed a piece of Eris’s sandwich, tearing off the crusts with a now practiced twist before holding it up for her to take a bite out of, which she did with yet another happy little giggle.

It’s amazing how quickly little actions can become second nature to you really?
I barely even noticed I was doing it until she giggled again, my mind more focused on trying to process the latest mess to land on my doorstep and who I should be blaming for it all.

“He said that the magical congress was being called to session so they can finally do something about the whole ‘everyone dying’ thing, you’re the main person delaying them at this point because they need five of the ‘numbers’ or their representatives present before they can make any new rulings official, outside the initial state of emergency at least, and most of them are currently dead.”

Yep... that sounds exactly the same as it did the first two times she said it...
I have so many questions but also no ability to verbalise them properly because swearing around Eris is a bad idea in general!

The magical congress thing I get.
They’ve been slow in reacting to everything, thanks to me apparently, but generally speaking their jobs are to keep the magical world ticking over if something big like Crater Lake happens unexpectedly.

The ‘Numbers or their representatives’ part I get too sadly.
Why they couldn’t have just called John in I have no idea, probably something stupid to do with that whole ‘making me his heir’ thing he pulled out of his ass when we were claiming our house and the surrounding miles of land at the Hub knowing my luck, but I get that the Numbers are considered wise and important to most politically savvy mages at least.

With John being ‘Number Two’, Edith apparently being the ‘Sixth’ and presumably Arista being ‘Number One’ they could be calling me in for multiple reasons I guess, my role as John’s heir, Edith’s apprentice or just because I technically inherited everything from Arista thanks to her meddling with my core.

Most of the Numbers being dead isn’t hard to work out either.
They could have died separately, for political reasons or something, but odds are that Arista’s highest ranking children would obviously have been at the Lake the day I went and massacred the lot of them, unless they’d had a falling out with her of course, which I think it’s safe to say is probably why some of them are alive at all right now...

I get all of that. The problem... the question I don’t get is WHY?!

Why me, why now, why... just generally ‘why’ really?
I’ve never wanted to go into bloody-politics!

I just don’t have the temper for it for a start.
The first guy who says the wrong thing to me when I’m in a bad mood and I’ll likely be up for homicide in their once hallowed but now blood-stained halls, for Powers-sake!

There are so many people who are better positioned to do this sort of crap.
The first one coming to mind being John obviously, the sneaky bastard that he is...

Come to think of it, I think I’ve finally worked out who’s to blame for this mess now at least.

“JOHN! Get your ass here now or else!”
Ahhh... that felt good...

My arm reflexively squeezed Eris as reassuringly as I could, making her relax out of the stiff pose she’d taken on when I yelled so suddenly.

I ran my thumb absentmindedly across her cheek and up to tickle the little hairs behind her ear, in a way I know she likes, as she slowly eased herself even further back against my chest.
Eventually her little head finally came to a stop on my left breast and she turned it slightly to the side so her ear could rest unerringly on that same damn spot she always manages to find somehow with a contented sigh.

A little smile came to my lips as the familiar sensation of our aura’s magics mingling together pulsed away in my chest like a heartbeat, louder than ever before to my senses... although that’s probably just because my control is so ridiculously improved compared to the way it was when she used to do this sort of thing before-
“You call, Han?”
-and here comes the entertainment at last!

Let’s see if John knows anything helpful about this new mess, shall we?
...I’d be surprised if he didn’t plan the whole bloody-thing honestly...

“John-Boy, what do you know about the magical congress calling a meeting that needs at least five ‘Numbers’ there before they can even start?”
He froze mid-step but that barely lasted a moment before he was moving swiftly to my side and sliding into the empty stool next to me with a practiced ease.

“Oh Crap...seriously?”
...My thoughts indeed John-Boy, my thoughts indeed...

======

“Auntie Hannah! You gotta get up, Dad says if you don’t then he’s gonna call your guards to do it instead!”

“Murphurna-”
...I hate you so much sometimes John...
“-wha’ time’sit?...”

A certain over-excitable little limpet decided that my half-intelligible grunts didn’t count as being ‘awake’ apparently because she proceeded to lunge onto my bed and start jumping around in a manner I’ve become annoyingly used to over the summer I’m afraid, despite the relatively few times she’s actually done it in that timeframe.

We stayed up pretty late last night hashing things out and coming up with plans for our apparent near future.

Between John’s ‘helpful’ input about what will be expected of me as ‘Maxarimus’s representative’ and what kind of ramifications might come crashing down on my head if I don’t go along with this latest madness, it took a while just for me to get past the ‘swearing portion’ of the night in all honesty.

If I don’t turn up then they can’t call the congress to session and if they can’t call it to session within the next week or so then we’re all doomed because officially the Magical Government of America will be formally ‘disbanded’, making rights over the magical citizens of the USA essentially ‘up-for-grabs’ to the highest international bidder.

It’s a bloody-stupid system in my opinion.
A system that just about makes sense when you consider it was designed back in a time where national borders were more of a suggestion than anything else.

A time where any mage worth his magic had claimed some small area of land and people as his own private kingdom which should never be allowed to go too long without a ruler... but is so horribly out of date at this point with the invention of ‘countries’ in general that it’s not even funny!

John reckons that they must be really desperate if they’re calling in Maxarimus, or me as his representative at least, because normally the higher numbers tend to just be left to their own devices like the walking time-bombs of insanity they tend to be, to minimize damage for everyone involved.

The fact that they sent someone in person and the fact that it was to ME of all people says a hell of a lot about just how bad things apparently are below the surface!
To misquote Hamlet; ‘Something’s rotten in the state of New York’... and considering how my luck goes these day’s I’m probably going to end up being the only one who can fix it.

I hate my life sometim- Oww, that’s not a handhold Young Lady!

“Okay, okay! I’m getting up!”
Anything if she’ll just let go of my- Ahh, that’s better.
I swear she gets the boob-grabbing thing from John...
“Go make sure John’s ready and breakfast is cooking for me sweetie, I’ll be down in a minute, I promise.”

That was all the assurance Eris needed apparently before she shot off the bed in a rather comically slow sprint that only a young child could consider ‘fast’ but the giggle she let off at the same time warmed my heart.

It still hurts having her so close by and, if nothing else, this little side-trip to our magical state-capital will give me some breathing room to get settled again after the all-out assault dealing with Eris for the last twelve hours or so has felt like, so I guess I shouldn’t grumble about it all too much in the end, huh?
...My boob’s still hurt from her using them as hand-holds again though...

With a sigh I sat up and rubbed tenderly against my now sore left side for a few seconds before flicking my legs over the edge so I could shuffle my way out of bed to go find my bag with a fresh set of clothes in it.

A few minutes later and I had on a comfortable set of jean-shorts with a baggy red boat-necked sweatshirt that practically covered those same shorts from view due to it’s length and my short legs.
I really do miss my golden magic badly at times like this; I could go days without changing clothes thanks to that little tri-

The bedroom door opened, as commanded by my hand turning the handle in much the same way as you would expect really, but the sight that greeted me on the other side of that door, along with the general chaos and noise which somehow hadn’t managed to reach me through the wall to such an impressive degree that I suspect magic may have been involved in some way, was enough to make my still only just awake mind stall out completely once again in horror.

“Oh... what fresh hell is this?”
...Looks like someone is trying to organise an army’s troop movements at short notice...

I have no idea who decided to tell my extended family that they are coming with us to Long Island but it’s hard to take this mess any other way when several werewolves are busy chaining camping equipment and suitcases down the hallway right in front of me with smiles on their faces, and I know exactly who’s going to be to blame for it at least.

“JOHN!”



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