Three Wishes: Part Three
Ellie heard a loud moan, then she moaned herself as she moved and every bone in her body creaked.
“Where am I?” she groaned.
Her eyes flickered open and then her pupils dilated as she took stock of what was around her. Beside her Ko was stirring and groaning. She couldn’t help but agree; it felt like her entire body had been tossed about in a storm, then nearly fried, then deposited on a very compact ground.
But then again, ice was very compact.
She scrambled to her paws, and they gouged grooves in the floor beneath them. Then she bumped into something soft and jumped, spinning around quickly. She let out a held breath when she saw Ophir standing behind her, dusting off her striped coat. The Kau looked up at her, exchanging a startled glance.
“I-I think we’re on Terror Mountain,” she whispered.
“What on Neopia happened just then?” Ko asked as he stood up shakily, his eyes roving around the cave. “We’re definitely on Terror Mountain, methinks. And in the Ice Caves. Hmm... I wonder which cave...”
Ellie waved a paw in front of his face. “Hello? Aren’t you wondering how we got here?”
Ko stared at her. “No. The Genie transported us here. Isn’t it obvious?”
“You actually believed Sylkon, then?” Ellie asked exasperatedly.
“Of course,” said Ophir quietly. “What other explanation is there? You saw that thing change. I don’t really remember what happened after that.”
“Me neither,” said Ko as he began to shiver under his short fur. Out of the Desert his Desert clothes looked quite ridiculous. “But I ache all over.”
Ellie was still frowning. “Genies don’t exist.”
“That’s what everyone used to say about Faeries,” said Ophir. “Until a great white cloud flew out of the sky and landed on Neopia.”
“So what? There’s a Genieland?” Ellie snorted.
Ophir looked hurt and Ko glared at Ellie. “Don’t be so mean,” he growled.
Ellie dropped her head. “Sorry,” she mumbled. “But I still can’t believe it!”
“You don’t have to. We can do that for you,” said Ophir.
Ko was gazing around again and scuffing at the ice below absent-mindedly with one paw. His ears were twitching, a sure sign that he was thinking hard. He turned around again as Ellie spoke.
“I can’t believe Sylkon sent us here,” she growled. “If it was a Genie that sent us here... then he made the wish! This is all his fault!”
“Actually...” began Ophir quietly, “he didn’t actually wish it. He only threatened to wish it. But then so did Ko.”
Ko crinkled his brow and looked away.
“So what do we do now?” Ellie asked as she stretched her sore body.
“We have to go home,” Ophir said. “And find Sylkon and that Genie. Who knows what he can do with that thing?”
“Don’t Genies only give three wishes?” Ko asked as he began to pace around the small cave.
“We can’t be sure. I don’t think Sylkon sent us here on purpose. But if that Genie somehow twisted his words, then he could do a lot of damage.”
Ellie huffed, still not quite believing what they were saying. She headed for the only visible exit and peered out. Then she froze and stared around her in horrified fascination.
“What is it?” Ko asked as he strode past her.
So typical of him to not pay attention to where he was going.
“Ow!” he howled less than two moments later.
Ellie took a step backwards.
Ophir took a step forwards, saw what her sister was seeing and backpedalled as well.
Ko leapt around the cavern holding his paw, where it had stepped on a pointy toy.
The Snowager opened its eyes. Then the giant glassy head reared up and the translucent eyes narrowed as they saw the Desert Lupe. It was only when the dim shadow fell over Ko that he stopped and looked up.
“Ko, MOVE!” Ellie screamed.
Her voice echoed around the gargantuan cavern and loosed more than a dozen stalactites from the ceiling. They crashed to the ground and disintegrated into tiny shards that sprayed like missiles in all directions. But her shout had given Ko enough warning to launch himself forwards as much larger and deadlier missiles sped from the Snowager’s mouth to where he had been standing a moment before.
They embedded halfway into the ice, and Ellie couldn’t help but exchange a frightened glance with Ophir. The fact that anything could cut into that ice made the situation a lot worse for them. Ko had managed to force his way into a pile of neggs, and a tiny bump could be seen where he was.
The Snowager could obviously see him, but paused as it stared at its very own treasures. A look of bemusement appeared on the ancient face, but only for a moment, because now it turned to Ellie and Ophir.
The two sisters both went in different directions as ice shards spiralled through the opening and crunched into the wall behind them. Ellie ducked behind a group of bunched together stalagmites and then completely ruined the entire purpose of hiding by popping her head out to see what was going on.
Her eyes widened as she saw the Snowager’s head sliding through the opening and moving closer to Ophir. The striped Kau was frozen in fear, and also by the fact that there was nowhere else to go...
“What have you done?” Sylkon cried as he spun around to face Maleficus.
The shadow Eyrie was picking out something from his claws, his red eyes glowing, then slowly settling down into a faded orange. He raised an eyebrow and flexed his wings.
“Ah, my feathers go all ruffled after using magic,” he muttered. “Not that they’re real, mind. But it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside thinking that I actually have material form.”
“You still haven’t answered my question,” Sylkon seethed. “And I’m your master, so listen to me!”
“Master?” Maleficus stretched out the word like he was trying to digest it but was having difficulty. “Not quite. I only obey your wishes, not your whims. So don’t even think like that. And about your question, I thought it was obvious. I was only granting your wish.”
“B-but... I didn’t make a wish!” Sylkon spluttered.
“Yes, you did.” Now the Genie was acting like he was speaking to a small child. “You said the magic words. ‘I wish’. I granted it. End of story.”
“So where are they? Actually that doesn’t matter. I want them back now.”
“All you need to say is the magic words.”
Sylkon paused and thought, and then his eyes narrowed at the Genie. “You’re trying to trick me into using a wish, aren’t you?” he snapped. “Well, I’m not going to be fooled. I’m going to find out all about you before I say anything with the magic words in them.”
He stalked towards the palace and the library he knew was deep in its centre. Some parts were open to the public, while others with the more important books were kept in closed chambers. But that didn’t matter. All he needed was a book about Genies.
Half an hour later he was still browsing through the shelves, his eyes sore from squinting at the dusty tomes with their faded titles. The lamplight didn’t help either. Fyora knew what was happening to his complexion! But he kept going anyway. There were only another three shelves to go before he reached the end. All he needed was a book about Genies.
He lifted his eyes and squinted up at the top shelf, then gave a little grin as he saw what he was looking for.
Genies: Types, Origins, Powers.
Behind him there was a loud huff and Maleficus floated into view as a ghost Kacheek. He glared at the book as if it was somehow hurting him, then faded slightly, almost out of vision.
Meanwhile Sylkon snatched up the book and carried it over to a table, noticing that the pages were crumbling slightly with age. A flicker of annoyance passed over his face as the tiny flakes settled onto his fur, and he irritably brushed them away. Then he opened the book.
A curly, scripty title greeted him, an exact replica of the one on the front cover. A complete waste of time. The next two pages contained a table of contents. His eyes scanned the chapters... Origins... Commanding or Wishing... Bottled Genies... Malevolent Genies... His eyes flicked to the page number of Commanding and Wishing and then he turned to that page itself, where another curly title was waiting for him.
Underneath was a long and boring paragraph that he didn’t understand. He found a point with writing he recognised and read it slowly.
It is possible to command Genies to do whatever you Wish, but the chances of them listening and obeying are slim. Genies only listen to Wishes. And so, if you want something, you must touch the Vessel then say the words, “I wish” and what you desire...
More boring rules that he didn’t have time to read. He scanned and found what he was looking for.
It is also possible to combine Wishes. If what you desire requires two parts then you may Wish for them both as long as the word “and” is used between and the Wish is phrased as a complete sentence. Genies may bend words to their advantage. It is also possible for a Wish to have three parts, but usually these Wishes end up badly for the Wisher. Only the three Great Genies have enough power to generate these Wishes.
Sylkon looked up and grinned. He knew what he was going to wish now. Maleficus was floating by the ceiling, half reclining. He went to join his Wisher on the ground as a royal Kyrii, stroking his beard.
Sylkon scooped up the book as he headed out the door of the library. He wanted to make this wish somewhere where it would count, where he could see the change taking place. But if he had paused and flipped to the contents page, he would have noticed that one chapter was underlined.
Chapter 12: Malevolent Genies.
To be continued...