Aear was cleaning. Normally she needed to be forced into it, but this time she had volunteered. This was due, in part, to the simple fact that the basement was far more interesting than her room. So by cleaning the basement, she had effectively gotten out of cleaning her own room for the moment. After all, was her mom really likely to tell her to stop cleaning one room, so she could clean something else? Nope!
In truth, however, her “cleaning” was essentially discovering that her mother had a few packrat tendencies. The Peophin was attempting to sort out all the junk, but it wasn’t working very well. She was very bad at organizing things anyways, and all the stuff piled wall to wall in the basement made it even harder. Therefore, she spent most of her time admiring random items her mother hadn’t yet put into the safety deposit box.
There were some very interesting things. For example, her mother must have decided to start a Wocky collection at one point, because there were about sixteen Sparkly Wocky Balls, five each of the various Wocky Keyrings, and all sorts of other Wocky themed junk. The Peophin was actually a bit surprised- her mother generally disliked real Wockies.
The Peophin had made it through about half of the stuff when she stopped. On a table about a foot away from her left hoof sat a book. What especially caught the Peophin’s attention was the simple fact that the book was glowing. Her curiosity getting the better of her, Aear approached the table to read the cover. Her excitement grew astronomically when she realized that she was looking at a copy of Simple Spells. Her old dreams of becoming a world-famous magician reawakened. Quickly, she snatched the book from off the table and dashed upstairs to her mother.
Mckinleybooksfan watched with amusement as her oldest Neopet zoomed towards her. In her Peophin’s clutches was her old copy of Simple Spells. The owner had meant to give the book to Aear a few years ago, but she had misplaced it. It had obviously been rediscovered.
“Mom, Mom!” the Peophin yelled excitedly. “Look what I found!”
“Calm down, Aear,” Mckinleybooksfan soothed. “It would be unfortunate if the cover came off because you dropped it.”
“Oh. Oops.” The Peophin stopped waving the book around. “May I keep it?”
“Of course, dear,” the owner answered promptly. As the Peophin started to dash up the stairs towards her room, Mckinleybooksfan wisely yelled after her, “Just be careful! And don’t set the house on fire!”
“Do you think that likely?” a new voice interrupted from the kitchen.
“Essy,” the girl replied, “you know your sister about as well as I do. What do you think?”
The Cybunny looked up in amusement. “You’re right. She might accidentally do something like that.” Both owner and pet laughed ruefully. The Peophin meant well, but tended to not think things through. She also liked to take “shortcuts.” The two elements combined meant that life was never boring.
“So, what book of magic did you give her?” Esmerelda queried.
“Simple Spells,” the human promptly stated. The Cybunny let out a groan. “What’s wrong?”
“I’d better go and give my sister a few warnings,” Esmerelda said as she quickly turned to follow her sister up to the Peophin’s room. “Simple Spells has a few misleadingly named enchantments. If we really don’t want the house to burn down, I should probably warn Aear.”
As soon as she had returned to her cluttered room, Aear flopped onto her bed to start reading. Her excitement lessened slightly when she realized that the spells were written in faerie runes. While the Peophin knew how to translate them, it was still more work she had to do before she could start casting spells.
She hurriedly got up to fetch a notebook and quill.
With all the ingredients she might possibly need, Aear organized herself on her coral bed. Simple Spells was open on her left hand side, her notebook on her right. Carefully, she started translating the names of the spells. A lot could probably be learned about what kind of magic they were by simply looking at the names.
1, Creating Light, she started. That sounded like it could be useful, but she wanted her first spell to be one that she would always remember.
2, Darkening a Room. Another one for later. Were none of these spells interesting?
3, Shielding. Hmm, that could be interesting! A moment later she decided against it. After all, there was no way to test whether or not her shield worked. And if she had done something wrong with it, in all probability she’d find out because of an injury. She knew from experience that injuries did not bode well for new hobbies.
After a few more minutes of deciphering, her work was interrupted by Esmerelda.
“We need to talk,” the Cybunny declared as she opened the door dramatically.
“Huh?” The Peophin was sure that she hadn’t done anything to get on her sister’s nerves lately. “What did I do this time?”
The Cybunny smiled. “Nothing, Aear. I just wanted to give you some advice about your new book.”
“Oh, okay. Is it alright with you if I keep translating, then?” The Peophin had already picked up her pen again. Esmerelda sighed.
“Just try to listen, okay?”
“Mm-hmm,” Aear responded distractedly. The Cybunny shook her head. Why did she get the feeling that her words would fall on deaf ears?
“Okay, Aear. I realize that you probably want to start with an impressive spell for your first one, but I wouldn’t recommend it.” The Peophin nodded half-heartedly. “If I were you, I’d start with light-casting. It’s useful, and more impressive than you think. Not to mention the fact that all non-battle magic is probably a bit more difficult than you’re accustomed to. Basically, if you work in order, from the beginning of the book to the end, you’ll probably be fine.” The Peophin nodded distractedly again. “Most importantly, be sure you read the full description of the spells, not just the short one. Some of these spells have misleading names and descriptions. You very well could end up burning the house down by mistake, when what you’re trying to do is provide your room with extra heat.”
“Mm-hmm,” the Peophin replied, her nose still in her notebook.
At that point, the Cybunny gave up trying to warn her sister. Fortunately, nothing in Simple Spells was too dangerous. Also, her sister was fairly smart. It was improbable that the Peophin would accidentally flood the house by trying to build an indoor swimming pool, like some pets she knew. At least, she wouldn’t without her mom’s permission. Esmerelda left resignedly.
Aear barely noticed when Essy was gone. Realizing that her sister might know what she was talking about, the Peophin briefly looked over the spell to create light. It looked so boring! There was merely an incantation of “iluminify!” Maybe she would create light for her second spell, after she did an impressive one for her first. But not too impressive, she amended. It would be very disheartening to fail her first spell outside the Battledome.
She turned back to the index page to translate more titles.
Finally, Aear came across a spell that looked both interesting and useful. “Moving/Quality Cleaning,” she read aloud. Below was a short description. Remembering what her sister had said, she translated that too. She didn’t realize there was a page, after the directions, with more details.
Perfect assistant for families moving from one Neohome to another. Removes stuff from walls, floors, and ceilings. Excellent for leaving your house spotlessly clean.
Now that looked interesting. But what was the deal with specifying moving families, and not the “stuff”? Oh well. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to try!
Aear quickly translated the instructions, and raised her eyebrows. She had no clue that instructions could be so intricate. She began to doubt the wisdom of using the 113th spell from the book, but quickly dismissed her worries. She was a Peophin, with magical aptitude running in her blood! Of course she’d be able to cast this spell!
Slowly, she read, and reread, all the directions. First she needed to trace a square on the floor, with marks indicating where windows and doors were. She quickly did that. Naturally, there were a lot more instructions to follow. Finally, she reached the part where she just needed to speak the incantation, and point to the various sections of her room. And blink twice.
“Tidium Upum Evruthen!” she uttered clearly, while pointing to her first target- her bed. She blinked twice. Then, much to her astonishment, the Coral Bed began to rise up, slowly, from the floor. A little confused, but not worried, Aear assumed that the spell was simply going to clean all the dust under her bed.
Instead, she watched with mounting horror as the bed slowly hovered towards the window, inching towards the glass with every second. Then, the glass plating opened, and the bed started to shrink. Unfortunately, since the spell had been spoken, there was no way to undo the damage as slowly, slowly, the bed went through the window towards the great outdoors. Once it was outside, the bed expanded again.
Somewhat to Aear’s relief, the bed did not seem to want its freedom. Instead, it started to drop. Realizing potential danger, the Peophin practically flew to the window and hollered, “Careful below!” However, her scream was somewhat drowned out by the horrendous cacophony of her bed landing on the ground- two stories down. Aear winced. Miraculously, the bed was still in one piece. Aear exhaled a breath she had not realized she had been holding.
She looked back at the corner where her bed used to reside, and groaned. Then she looked again, and felt an inexplicable need to laugh. Whereas the rest of her room was covered with dust, the small corner where her bed once resided was, in fact, spotless. She quickly stopped laughing, though, when she thought again about her bed.
Slowly, she turned towards the door. Aear went down the stairs almost in a trance, still shocked at what she’d done. The Peophin hoped that nobody had noticed, but was realistic enough to realize that everybody in their neighborhood had probably heard the crash.
Inspiration hit her. Could she blame the noise on another Sloth invasion? She sneaked hopefully outside, wanting to get her bed back inside without anyone the wiser.
Her hopes of quietly moving her bed back upstairs died quite suddenly when she saw her mother and Esmerelda waiting right next to the piece of furniture. Both were laughing, and they broke out in applause as she came near. The Peophin blushed, but also laughed. Her first attempt at magic had been, after all, quite amusing.
“I take it you decided against the ‘light’ spell, then?” MadEsmerelda asked drily. The answer was obvious.
“It looked boring,” Aear replied sheepishly.
“Which one was this?” her mother asked breathlessly. She had been laughing for quite a while.
“Uh, ‘Moving/Quality Cleaning’,” she replied.
Esmerelda stared at her, astounded. “Why in Fyora’s name did you choose that spell?”
“Umm, it looked useful. I assumed, since families who need to move generally need to leave their homes spotless, that it would make my room extra tidy!” They all laughed again. “I realize now, of course, that it also removes furniture. But it didn’t say!” she exclaimed.
“Did you even look at the description?” Esmerelda scolded.
“I thought I did. It was about two sentences, right?”
The Cybunny sighed again. “Aear, there’s another whole page of description.”
“I take it you didn’t see it.” Aear shook her head in embarrassment.
Essy sighed again. “Well, I guess I’d better get your bed upstairs again.”
“Thanks, Essy, you’re a life-saver,” Aear breathed.
Quickly, almost business like, the Cybunny set a spell on the bed that sent it back up in the air and through the still-open window. Aear heard it come to rest lightly on the floor.
“Well,” Mckinleybooksfan said brightly, “you can’t say your first attempt at magic wasn’t interesting!”
The owner and two pets started to laugh again. Hopefully, the Peophin would choose a slightly less flamboyant spell next time. On the other hand, at least this spell had not risked burning the house down.
Author’s Note: Hi all! Thanks for reading! Neomail is quite welcome. This story was inspired by my mom asking, after I wrote Muddy Escapade (NT issue 398, short stories), about my Peophin accidentally launching her bed from her room. Thanks again to my sister (Parmadur) for her fantastic editing job and comments!