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After thinking about it, you shake your head. Honestly, I trust Moirine’s judgment on this. I’m not sure I could magically figure out a way to word the wish anyways, no pun intended. You shrug. She’s smart, like you said, and I feel more comfortable letting her be the one to make the decision. Plus, you two understand genies better than I do, so…


Fia’s smirk grows. Noted, pup. Come.


It doesn’t take the two of you long to creep into the shop fully, and by the time you’ve gotten inside, you can hear a familiar voice – and a rather loud familiar voice at that.


“…and I assure you, o Master,” the djinn says, his voice coated in confidence and something like charisma, “that I am indeed perfect for whatever your needs may be.”


You and Moirine turn the corner, and there he is, hovering in front of Moirine. It’s strange seeing the djinn again, you feel, especially because unlike the first encounter you had with the magical being, his appearance is much more noticeably inhuman – you blink again in lieu of rubbing your eyes (since you know this isn’t a dream by this point), and for a moment, you feel like you’re seeing his form for the first time.


You scan him over for a beat: he has pale-green skin with ears that end in sharp points, almost like what you’ve seen on elves and other fantasy beings – but his ears lobes are also pointed, and he has what appear to be golden earrings, four on each side.


His facial features are… distinct; a large, pronounced forehead, a round nose, thin lips, and higher cheekbones with a sharper chin. He possesses hair like humans do, funnily enough, since he has thick black eyebrows and a beard styled in the Klingon beard design (the irony doesn’t escape you at seeing this), with a topknot hairstyle held together by something golden and shiny. His eyes are a very, very bright shade of yellow, or maybe they’re beige? It’s hard to tell from an angle, so you move onward.


His physique is rather ‘defined,’ with large shoulders and what looks like muscle on his chest and midsection, although he has no navel, leaving his stomach area smooth. He does, however, have chest hair that stretches from his upper chest down to his waist. His lower body, at least right now, isn’t legs, but rather a thick plume of dark-green smoke that seems to trail off behind where the djinn is floating, almost like a smoky tail.


He looks… different than I recall, you think to yourself, yet at the same time, familiar.


You shake this off, however, and follow Fia – you both end up to the side of the djinn and Moirine. The djinn is grinning wide, revealing bright, gleaming teeth, while Moirine stands there with her arms folded and an uncertain expression on her face.


“I… believe you,” Moirine says. She’s speaking without the ‘accent’ you’re used to, so she sounds more like an American now, rather than the Irish-like voice you recognize.


“Excellent, excellent,” the djinn says. His smile stretches wider somehow, and he nods along. “And may I say, I’m quite pleased to hear you’ve chosen to accept me, because it’s been far, far, far too long since I’ve had the fortune of such a beautiful Master.”


Ugh, Fia says to you. What a stinking creep. Did he hit on you like that?


You furrow your brow. I’m… not sure, actually.


Moirine’s features appear as if she’s not entirely sure how to react to the djinn’s remark.


“That’s… kind of you,” she says, and she offers a small smile to the djinn, but not much else. “Still, I’d… like to maybe see this magic of yours in action if I may?” She rubs one arm and shifts around in place, biting her lip. “You said that I have three wishes, and that I can wish for whatever I’d like provided it’s ‘transformative’ in some way?”


“Indeed, Master,” the djinn replies.


He doesn’t look concerned in the least bit by the fact he’s apparently not allowed to do that when he already has a master. You wonder if he’s just that good of an actor or if he’s truly that confident in himself or his abilities; given the fact you know little about genies, you don’t want to assume the correct answer, but it still confuses you a little.


You’ll see soon enough, Fia says to you. C’mon, Moirine, hurry this along, love.


“In that case, I have my first wish,” Moirine says. She eyes the djinn for a beat before she continues speaking. “I wish that you would summon one of my closest friends to me into this shop, please – I don’t have a preference for which you bring forth; any will do.”


This seems to surprise the djinn. His massive smile falters.


“Ah, that, dear Master, may not work,” the djinn says. “I’m afraid it doesn’t fall into—”


“You said that as long as it’s transformative, you can do it,” Moirine replies. She puts her hands on her hips and frowns, her expression becoming one of disappointment. “Look, I’m not the sharpest tool around, but you didn’t specify what ‘transformative’ is supposed to mean, Mr. Genie.” He winces at this. “So by default, I’m assuming that you’re going off the common understanding of the word, yes? And to me, that means a change in something in some form, whether it’s big or small. Isn’t that correct?”


“Mm, yes, that’s correct,” the djinn replies, his smile having grown smaller.


Don’t be so bloody wordy, Moirine, Fia says.


“Still,” the djinn says, and he folds his arms as he holds Moirine’s gaze. “I do not feel that summoning a person here into this space is technically transformative, Master—”


“Sure it is,” Moirine replies. “You’re changing this shop by adding my friend to it, and you’re changing their day by bringing them here, right?” She smiles at the djinn, a rather sweet smile, but somehow, you can detect the underlying prodding at the djinn’s ego in it. “Surely a wise and powerful genie like you can do something that simple? I mean, I’m not asking for you to manifest something out of thin air – I’ve been more specific.”


The djinn’s frown grew. “You did not specify whom you wanted me to bring forth—”


“Do I have to?” Moirine asks, with an innocent (almost too innocent) voice.


“Well, it would certainly—”


Again, she cut the genie off, yet she did so rather smoothly, you feel. “You told me you could read my thoughts when you were introducing yourself – well, introducing yourself without giving me a name.” She shakes her head. “Either way, if you can’t do one easy little wish like this, I’m gonna have to decline being your so-called Master, Mr. ‘Genie.’”


The djinn is looking less and less pleased as the seconds go by. In fact, by now, he’s frowning for a change, and you swear you can see a hint of annoyance in his eyes. Whether this annoyance is from Moirine purposefully cutting him off so many times in a row (you can tell she’s doing it on purpose, even if she isn’t showing it externally) or if it’s from the fact she’s taking those light jabs at his apparent capabilities… or if it’s both.


It’s definitely both, pup, Fia replies. She gives a snide grin, clearly loving this interaction. She’s insulting his ego and his pride twice over, and the fact she’s not showing any fear or hesitation is only adding to it. It’s a delicious sight to behold, lemme tell you.


“So, can you do it?” Moirine asks. “Are you going to grant my wish? Or are you just a fake and this whole thing is just an elaborate ruse to get me to buy something here?”


The djinn scowls in silence, his features showing his disdain despite the fact he isn’t even speaking. Part of you honestly wonders if this whole ruse is even necessary at this point – somehow, Moirine’s words have clearly done a good bit of damage to the genie’s ego, although you know there’s still a good reason for why you’re doing this.


“Well,” Moirine says after a moment, and she shakes her head, disappointment on her face. “This was a total waste of my time.” She sighs. “I’m going. What a letdown—”


“Enough!” the djinn snaps, his voice booming through the room. He’s lost whatever patience he possessed, and he seems to glow with magic, illuminating the interior with an eerie green glimmer. “You desire to see my power, do you? You desire to waste your first wish for something so pointless in order to test me, Master? Then so it shall be!”


The air feels thicker suddenly. Your breath catches in your throat, and your stomach knots. You see dark-green energy crackling around the djinn’s body, and his eyes are glowing with an ominous light. It’s legitimately threatening to witness such a sight.


Relax, pup, Fia says. You’re safe.


You swallow some of the tension down.


“Are you certain of your first wish?!” the djinn demands. “Speak now or else!”


Moirine, who has been remarkably calm despite the djinn’s outburst, frowns a tad at his words, and her gaze briefly flicks toward where you and Fia are standing for a breath.


Shall I keep my wish as I’ve spoken it to him? Moirine asks, her words echoing in your head. Or do either of you feel I should be more specific? I can reword it if you think so.


You and Fia share a look, and you take a beat to consider.

Written by Hollowpages on 13 February 2022

Both Trick Magic IV

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