Short Stories

Callings and Compromises

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Excuse the lack of editing/plot discrepancies. I…honestly, I didn’t even try to edit. *is sorryyyy* But here’s the seventh installment of the Brown Sisters shorts!

If you want to see the original post, it is found here.

Summary: No.

Past Stories

  1. Scammers and Sisters
  2. Rants and Rapunzels
  3. Greetings and Genies
  4. Introductions and Interactions
  5. Stories and Siblings
  6. Talkings and Transformations

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After having calmed—scratch that. After Holly’s grandmother finished calming everyone down from the wolf-escapade, she sat everyone down in her surprisingly expansive (magic, she said) but cozy living room with tea, cookies, and a roaring fire.

“Is everyone doing all right?” Grandma, as she had insisted on being called, asked everyone.

She received slow nods from everyone.

“Good,” Grandma clucked, dusting her hands and giving her granddaughter a curious glance. “Now, Holly. Pray tell what brings you here. It’s obviously not as a pleasure visit, considering that young man who stopped to curse me before seemed to be in an urgent hurry to impede you from living. Didn’t even stop for my tea, how rude.”

Olivia openly chuckled at that, though no one else did.

“Sometimes, your fearlessness is a curse,” Holly grumbled at her grandmother. “And I mean that literally, Grandma. Niraj can literally not curse anyone with fear.”

“A pretty good rule, if you ask me,” Olivia nodded briskly. Yes, apparently in this world, those born with magic were given three specific and odd limitations should they choose to turn to darkness.

Grandma gave the older girl an approving look. “And who are your new companions?” she added, seating herself on a squishy armchair by the window.

After introducing Olivia and Amelia, Holly explained the reason they were here. “We need an item from your house that my other grandma gave you to protect, Grandma,” she sighed, clenching her teeth. “Niraj, the man who attacked you, knew only you could hand it off to us and shatter the protections.”

Grandma crossed her arms. “And I don’t suppose you are speaking of the Twelve Keys of the Ia Isles?”

Holly nodded uncomfortably. “Yes, ma’am. According to the genie, we definitely need these keys to stop Niraj and the rest of Opaque from their newest scheme by going into the Other and retrieving a silver, gold, and diamond branch from in there.”

“And their scheme including these powerful items would be?”

Ranaldo sighed and hopped on the coffee table to face Grandma. “Again, to reveal the world of magic and to assert its control over the world. Not to mention without the keys, they’ve found a way to channel the Otherly magic from the gateway…basically, not many pretty things. Oh, and they’ve managed to find a way to actually weaken the spells hiding our world.”

Amelia perked up at this. Her eyes focused on the slimy frog. “Is that why Olivia was able to get into this place,” she asked, glaring at her sister, who flashed back an easy grin in return.

The frog shook his head. “No, actually. She spoke the words, ‘let down your hair,’ with enough conviction to send her to the Asian/Middle Eastern part of our world. There are different ways to get inside each of the continental fairy tale worlds.”

Before Amelia could press on—there were still a lot of confusing things she wanted answered (like how her irrepressible older sister and that genie woman had dragged them into this, though she did know that)—Silvia cut off her brother. “Yes, but back to the main point.”

Silvia glanced at everyone, her gaze briefly frowning at Amelia and Olivia as if she didn’t know what to do with them. “Niraj is one of the most dangerous fairies in our group,” she told them. “He’s cunning, clever, strong, quietly powerful, and secretive. The only reason we were able to track him down to Darbar was because he really wanted Mahsa’s ring. Or to lure us in.”

Jackson sighed and rolled his eyes, leaning back on the couch. “So the dude’s afraid of snakes and needs to turn himself into one to kill anyone, but he still can kill us indirectly. Just great.”

The teenage boy frowned when his brother shot him a subtly loaded look. But before he could ask Marcos anything, Grandma cut in. “Yes, that is wonderfully clever. But, my dears, you are forgetting something.”

“And what is that, Grandma?” Marcos calmly asked.

“Those two girls,” she pointed at Amelia and Olivia, “cannot go with you to the land where the Twelve Keys lead to. They are neither fairies, half or quarter fairies, genies, or touched by fairytale magic.” She glanced at Marcos and Jackson. “Jackson is able to go given that he has been around powerful magic for a long time and given some, but you, Marcos, cannot. Or the iron bands holding your heart together and your own foreign powers would mingle with the Other’s magic and kill you.”

It irked Amelia a little that Grandma seemed to know so much about these group of strangers. But while her curiosity and lack of knowledge irritated her, it seemed to invigorate Olivia. Anyway, Amelia wouldn’t be distracted.

Setting her teacup down and inching forth from the leather couch, she glared at her sister. “Which means that we’re going back home, right, Olivia?” Amelia crossed her arms.

Olivia looked torn. “But Amelia. How can you want to go back home when the genie said we’re needed?”

“Perhaps you should not go back home yet,” Grandma interjected dryly before Olivia could skillfully manipulate Amelia into staying longer.

Both girls turned their heads at the old lady. “What?” Amelia and Olivia ejaculated.

“Your friends here will need an anchor per person, save the frog, who doesn’t count,” Grandma explained. “Should I give you the keys, Holly, only three of you and the frog can go in while the other three argue amongst themselves who will be the respective anchors. The tighter the group going into the Other together, the better chances you have of the survival of your sanity. Four is better than a pair—”

Amelia tried not to strangle Olivia’s happy look and decided to kill it. “No! No!” she glared at them all. “I really don’t know much about what’s going on in your world. All I know is that there’s some darkness going on and an evil fairy named Niraj who wants to expose magic to the world. The five of you, actually, can work this out by yourselves while Olivia and I go. We’ve outlasted our usefulness now that you don’t need the genie’s knowledge and I highly doubt we will be helpful.”

“But—” Olivia began.

Noooo. Olivia,” Amelia growled, looking quite fierce. Not even her flowery perfume or her soft sort of beauty detracted from her intimidating powers of murderous looks. “I don’t want any part in this fairy tale nonsense. You’ve proved your point! So please. Just one night. Can’t we sleep for one night and forget all this?”

“If only sleep actually let us forget,” Olivia stubbornly crossed her arms, not smiling at Amelia or at all as they had a silent face-off.

The others glanced between the sisters awkwardly. It was actually Marcos who managed to break through the thick tension in the room.

“Grandma,” he began slowly, swiveling his unmatched eyes at the old lady, “is being an anchor lethal?”

Grandma seemed to see where this was going. “Not at all,” she assured them. “It is only dangerous for those going into the land of the Twelve Keys, for if one of the parties severs the cord tying the two together, the people in the land will be trapped in a dangerous prison forever.”

Marcos nodded his thanks and faced the glaring sisters. “What if we make this compromise between the two of you,” he suggested, placing his hands on his lap. “You will be the anchors, along with me, for the three humans venturing into the Twelve Keys’ land. It is not dangerous but will satisfy some questions, I hope.”

There was really no huge argument against this sensible plan. Amelia colored as she realized how childish both girls had been, but Olivia (though realizing it in full) grinned. “Sound wonderful, Marcos. Goodness, aren’t you mature.”

Marcos briefly flashed a ghostly smile. “I—”

“Good, that’s settled then,” Jackson interrupted his brother, sitting up straighter and grinning. “It’s time to hunt the lion, everyone!”

Silvia smiled a little while Marcos threw his brother a mild but no less withering look.

And with that, Grandma stood. “Well, I suppose this means I will give you young people the Keys. But first, off to bed, all of you. It’s much too late.”

Dot, dot, dot (Feb. 25, 2020)

I’ll be completely honest…I want to expand this into a novel. But I feel bad leaving it unifinished like this, so…*deep, annoyed sigh*

What do y’all think? Should I A) Continue this prompt fic (which I will, of course, to see where it leads but may no make this canon in the world) B) Stop it entirely (so I can make it a WiP novel) or C) Write this as a novel and share it here…

OOOOR. Just stop doing this and go back to regular randomeness. 😉

Because I will be completely honest…I very much stinketh at prompt writing. *falls on chair in despair* But not as much as I used to, so…*rises up from chair in repair?*

Do tell! Or not! :))

Either way, see y’all next Thursday!

Lemon Duck (Jan 21, 2020)

 

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