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After a moment longer of steady gliding, you end up dropping down, and you fly toward the shop properly. You end up coming to a stop and perching on the windowsill where the window is open, the very same window you flew out from earlier that day. Seconds later, Akam floats to where you are, the vase in hand.


You take a second to appraise him, feeling a little thoughtful yourself. ‘I guess it would be wiser to turn back into my human form to look around, wouldn’t it?’


“A wise idea, Master,” Akam replies, smiling.


You nod and hop through the open window, and then drop onto the floor. Nothing has changed since you last stepped foot - or talon - inside the shop.


You figure that turning into a human is likely no different from the other things you’ve become thus far, so you close your eyes and begin to visualize yourself in your human form. Immediately after, you can feel your body morphing.


Turning from a wolf into a falcon, and vice versa, was a bizarre sensation - but turning from a falcon back into a human proves to be even more so.


Your body begins to stretch upwards, as your chest, stomach, and your smaller legs expand. The bones snap and break and grow bigger and longer, and you feel them gradually shifting around within you. The claws you have on your feet shrink into stubs, your back talon sinks back into your heel, and the three front talons grow thicker and split into what briskly turn into toes.


The feathers retract while your wings reposition themselves into a more familiar form, the structure of the wings changing - your shoulders grow bigger, the muscle and bone in your former wings doing the same, turning into arms with elbows and joints as the tips of your wings begin to take on the shape of hands. Fingers jut out from them once your hands have reformed.


It takes only a few gradual heartbeats, yet you feel every shift, big and small. But eventually, when the sounds of bones breaking and the muscle tearing subsides, you blink, slow and steady. Your vision is weaker than it was previously, the hard beak that was both nose and mouth now absorbed into your face and softer. But you feel your nose, feel your mouth and lips.


You stand there, a little wobbly, back in the shape of a person.


You blink again, several times, and look down at your hands. You wiggle your fingers, and although part of you has nearly forgotten the sensation of doing something so mundane, you quickly adjust to the comfortable body.


You notice, too, that while you were naked in both animal forms… a brisk look tells you that fortune has smiled on you, for you are in the same clothes you were wearing prior to turning into a falcon. Socks, comfy shoes, casual jeans, your blue graphic-tee shirt, and the thick jacket with a hood and big pockets - they’re all there, all sitting on your body. Though HOW that happened… you don’t know, because you don’t recall clothes manifesting out of thin air prior.


“Does it feel strange to be in your normal form again, Master?”


Akam’s voice catches your attention, and you slowly turn your body to find the djinn, human-sized once more, standing near the window with a small smile.


“It…” You are almost startled to hear your voice come from your mouth again, after having to speak internally for a few hours now. You shake it off, though, as it settles quickly. “It feels a little strange, yes. But,” you take a step back, and right yourself, “at least I haven’t forgotten how to be a person.”


Akam chortles. “No, you wouldn’t have. You weren’t in a creature’s body for long enough, and even if you had been, it’s doubtful you would’ve forgotten.”


You move a few steps around, mostly to re-acclimate your body with walking on two legs in shoes. Once you do so (it doesn’t take longer than a couple steps), you let out a breath, and you resume your thoughts on the vase.


“Does Alajeem’s vase being here mess with your lamp?” you ask. In fact, something else occurs to you. “I… didn’t even think to ask that before I even suggested doing all this. Heck, I don’t think I asked if there’s some kind of unspoken code about these Shard places and multiple genies around.”


Akam shakes his head. “No, no unspoken codes or rules, Master. And no, there is no issue with two djinn’s abodes being in the same location.”


He floats past you with the vase still.


“I have no qualms with Alajeem being here,” he says. “I don’t claim this shop as my own, in fact, so it really doesn’t bother me one way or the other. I would say, at least, perhaps we ought to simply consider where to put him. I’m sure he’ll be content not being shoved underground for another few centuries.”


He lifts the vase up and grins at it. “Will you, Alajeem? You shouldn’t be complaining that my Master decided to bring you here, at the least.” He chuckles again, then looks to you. “Take your time and browse about to pick a suitable spot for him. I shall do the same - this shop is fairly large, probably bigger than you even think. Thus, there’s numerous places we can use.”


You glimpse around the shop from where you stand.


When you first entered the shop, you didn’t take a lot of time to browse or to see what was inside the shop - you honestly saw the table with the magical items, saw the lamp, and then everything just sort of went from there.


What strikes you as bizarre with the shop is that, while it IS very big, you don’t see a whole lot to it. You begin to walk around, and your eyes flick to and fro - you see small tables with items on them, including vials with liquids - they look like potions from a video game! - that range in color. Some liquids are red, some are green, some are blue, and so on, yet you can’t make heads or tails of what they do since they’re in different-shaped bottles with no labels.


There are other items strewn about on the tables, such as necklaces with little stones on them that appear to have transcriptions on them, pendants and medallions with brightly-colored rocks or gemstones nestled in their cores, and other jewelry like earrings and bracelets that give off an eerie vibe to you.


You don’t touch anything, as you don’t know what to expect if you do. You simply look, and as you do, you begin to wonder more about this shop.


You notice after walking a little that there are indeed other doors, and even two other rooms, one to the right of you around a small corner, and another to the far left. More tables filled with knick-knacks are scattered about, and there are even bookcases, too, filled with books it seems. You can count at least five separate bookcases of varying sizes from where you currently stand.


“Hey, Akam?” you say.


The djinn reappears before you in a puff of smoke. “Yes, Master?”


You don’t even blink at the smoke. “What are all these items?” You sweep your hand around. “All the jewelry, the potions, the books… are these all magical?”


“Ah… a good question,” Akam replies. “Most of these are indeed enchanted, yes, but to differing degrees. It is not easy to put a finger on the exact quality of the enchantment. The potions you mention, those possess the most finite effects of anything. But, you likely wonder where they came from, hmm?”


You nod.


Akam scratches his chin with his free hand. “I did not make these, Master. No. These are the creations of… other entities that exist, rather than djinn. I will say, however, that I am not the only djinn housed within this building. You will find a few other small containers like my lamp lying about.” He smiles. “Come. Let us find a spot for Alajeem, and I will tell you more, my Master.”


He floats off, and you start to glance about once more, focusing less on the goodies, and more on finding a space for the vase - that is, until something catches your eye. You take a few steps forward, and see that it is, interestingly enough, Akam’s lamp, sitting right where you found it in the first place.


‘Hmm. I wonder.’


Your mind begins to race as the idea percolates in the back of your head, and you start to think… do you want to take his lamp, so that he isn’t stuck to this shop the way he said he was? Or do you leave it where it lies and continue to look for where you can put Alajeem’s vase, since Akam didn’t say he minded?


You start to muse this internally…

Written by Hollowpages on 23 February 2021

Both A New Nest II

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