Another Tale Thursdays! And February over in about a week and a half….no, it’s NOT okay, at ALL! But anyway, enjoy the fifth installment of the Brown Sisters shorts. Just as a warning, these and the next four shall be a teeny bit longer than two pages (three pages, that is) because I apparently made the very bad choice of having a large character cast. (But we must learn…). That said, here it is (and a thank you to Arielle Bailey for these fun prompts)!
If you want to see the original post, it is found here.
Summary: OKAY! Another so far. Let’s see if I can remember what’s been going on. So Amelia and Olivia Brown are two sisters, the latter the older one. After a small little thing with a scamming short man relating to turning straw into gold, Olivia and Amelia turned him in and returned home only for Olivia to transport them to Afghanistan’s hidden fairy tale village courtesy of her unwavering belief in fairy tales (due to having seen something fairytaleish as a child). In that village, they witness a Caucasian/Spaniard boy named Jackson Mateo Jimenez (age 17) and a female genie named Mahsa argue some and then, for some strange reason, have them notice the girls and…take them to a cafe to meet the rest of the gang (in a true Lemon-style exposition): Silvia (17), Holly (23), and Marcos (very near 19). But why are they taken there? (I have no idea…)
“Let me get this straight. You’re telling me you agreed to kiss that frog? And then tied Marcos’…heart to the frog curse?” Amelia’s face was pricelessly etched into an expression of disbelieving horror as she looked at the frog on Holly’s shoulder—who was apparently an actual, honest-to-goodness frog prince named Ranaldo and that half-fairy’s boyfriend!
Holly raised her arms defensively. “Not kiss. Spell and then unspell…with my true love for him, of course! And I needed something stronger than magic iron bands to make sure Marcos’ heart didn’t explode and was permanently healed! It seemed like a good idea at the time!”
“In that case, I’d hate to hear your definition of a bad idea,” Amelia shuddered.
“You know he can hear you, right?” Ranaldo the frog said in a very human voice, playing with the cloth of Holly’s dark green t-shirt.
Olivia, unlike Amelia, found all of this immensely satisfying and fascinating (almost as good as the tea, which gave off a wonderful aroma of flowers and peppermint). “That is amazing!” she exclaimed, beaming at the strange group before her and whipping out a notebook from her rather baggy pants (which contrasted very sharply with her pink, sparkly sweater).
“There’s Silvia, the former witch and member of an evil organization,” Olivia noted aloud as she scribbled some notes. “And Marcos, the loyal and heroic cripple with mysterious powers. Then we have Jack—Mateo, the dashing and faithful friend who reformed the witch. Along with the frog prince and his half-fairy girlfriend he coerced into turning into a frog. And on their current adventure, they’re attempting to track down a snaky member of Opaque with the help of an uncooperative genie. I can see the headlines already!”
The group stared at Olivia, who blushed and waved her hand, putting the notebook and pen back in her pocket. “I’m not really going to publish that,” she assured them with a small laugh, tucking a lock of her short straight hair behind her ear.
“You’d better not,” Mahsa huffed, sniffing. Then, she turned to the group defiantly. “I saved Mateo’s life from death by that cruel snake’s bite already. It was enough repayment for you guys saving me from my ring being stolen by the wrong hands!” She followed this by muttering something about a genie emancipation clause.
Olivia ignored the genie and rapped her fingers on the table, taking a sip out of the tea Jackson had ordered for them. “Still, this is a fascinating story. Only, one more thing…”
“Yes?” Jackson prompted when Olivia went into rabbit-trail mode.
Elbowing her sister, Amelia asked the question she had been guessing Olivia was going to say. “Why isn’t Ranaldo a human again? I thought that this was only to save him from being killed by his sister.”
Silvia, Ranaldo’s sister, flinched and regretfully stroked her brother’s froggy head. “Well, yes,” she agreed, her expression of guilt softening as Jack squeezed the girl’s hand. “But you see, Ranaldo and Henry rather forced us all to keep his frog form until Opaque was defeated to give us an advantage of an inconspicuous and indestructible frog and their telepathic connection.”
Opaque, Opaque…ah, yes. That was the evil organization of five—now four since Silvia’s reformation—witches and warlocks that wished to reestablish magic’s dominance in the public eye.
How in the world was Olivia taking all this so calmly?
“Because I believed in this possibility already,” said the journalist’s face as she smiled at her sister.
Right…Amelia was going to have to apologize for her lack of trust. Now, however…
“How do we get back home?”
“How can we help your still-untold genie quest?” Olivia said at the same time Amelia did. The sisters glared at each other.
“Oh, no. Not another pair of you!” Holly suddenly exclaimed in horror, slapping her forehead and sending sparks fly from her reddish-tanned hands.
“What?” the sisters simultaneously asked, Amelia frowning and Olivia smiling.
“We already have them”—she pointed at Jackson and Marcos—“and them”—Ranaldo and Silvia—“and now we have another pair of bickering, impossible siblings! Not more siblings!”
For such a humorous statement, Holly seemed to say that with deep sincerity, pursing her lips as she drank her coffee and ignored Ranaldo’s comforting pat on her shoulder.
Mahsa snorted at Amelia and Olivia’s confusion. “Did you not hear the story? It was Mateo who got his crippled brother into scads of trouble that nearly killed him after initially and impulsively getting involved with a witch and the frog prince. And meanwhile, Silvia and Ranaldo’s relationship is self-explanatory.”
Mahsa flipped her dark hair, shrugged, and let out muffled laughter. “Siblings are strange.”
Olivia gesticulated wildly with her arms. “But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are here now, and willing to help you catch that snake-man from Opaque! If you are willing to let us help that is.”
“Noooo, no,” Amelia cut her sister off, glaring. “No, Olivia. We are going back home and getting back to our regular lives, please. You have a job and I…I need to look for one! Unless you want me living off our parent’s money forever.”
Olivia cocked her head and seemed to be thinking of an argument. “Well, I mean, I don’t have any articles due soon,” she offered her sister with a winning smile.
“Oliviaaaaa!” Amelia glared at her sister, who was way too enthusiastic in her opinion. “The situation is crazy! Their age is almost crazy! You’re crazy!”
Olivia opened her mouth to protest, but it was Mahsa who spoke up, a knowing look on her young face.
“If these girls don’t go, then I won’t tell you what you need to catch Niraj. My genie abilities tell me they will be very useful.” (Ah yes, Niraj was that snakey man from Opaque they were trying to catch.)
There was a large part of Amelia’s conscience that felt it would not feel guilty should she murder a genie—though how to do so she was not sure—for manipulating her innate desire to help rather than hinder.
But Olivia brutally ran over that murderous feeling by exclaiming, “It’s settled then! We’re going!”
The four humans and the frog glanced at each other before shrugging. “Sounds good to me,” Jackson smiled easily, as if letting strange new companions into their group was an ordinary thing.
Ranaldo hopped from Holly’s shoulder onto the café’s table to speak. “Then here’s where we start…”
OHHHHHHHHKAY. Please feel free to barrage me with questions, because that was a LOT of info-dumping I did there.
To summarize, basically, I just revealed the fact that Jackson (aka Mateo) got him and Marcos (his crippled bro) into a whole lot of trouble a while ago (I’m pretty sure the years are mentioned, but I’ll clarify it was four years ago) when he followed Silvia and Ranaldo into the hidden pocket of the world where the fairy tale buildings and things were exposed. Of course, Silvia was a witch, then, and not super nice…but events happened that led her to be reformed.
And yeah, Opaque is my super creative name for the evil organization of five (not four) witches and warlocks. And they were apparently trying to find one of them (Niraj aka snakey man) in this place on the Hindu-Kush mountains (and trying to enlist the help of a genie.)
Why they want to pursue Niraj? Well, fortunately for
me you, the group hasn’t explained that to the sisters, so motivations will become clearer.
See? This is what happens when you stuff eight? characters into 900ish words. Especially characters with an established and LONG backstory.
Ah, the pain of knowing exactly what not to do in writing and doing it anyway….
See you next Thursday!
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