Wolf: A Tale of Tails
Before you end up asking anything, however, you notice something - neither of the genies were with you or Ali when you were racing. You look around without getting up, and wonder where they might’ve gone off to. You recall that Akam could leave if he desired it, so, you consider that maybe he chose to do so when you agreed to race Ali. Yet what of Shira, then? Where did she…?
You get your answer after a few seconds when both genies appear from above you, floating down until they’ve landed - Akam close to you, Shira directly beside Ali, respectively.
“That was quite the race, Master,” Akam says. He’s grinning wide. “We watched the whole affair from a good vantage point in the sky. It was quite quick-thinking of you to choose the route you did - that gave you the advantage you needed to secure your victory.”
You let out a breath. ‘Thank you. I kind of hoped it would help.’
Ali snorts. ‘Guess I underestimated you. Or, I overestimated myself.’
Shira pats her on the head and seems to stroke Ali’s fur. “You did plenty well, my sweet. It was all in good fun, regardless, and so long as you enjoyed yourself and are safe, then I am a happy djinn no matter the outcome.”
“Unless it was us doing the racing,” Akam remarks wryly.
Shira snorts. “Then, Akam, you would’ve eaten my proverbial and literal dust.”
You snicker at this, and so does Ali. What a turn of events.
‘Now, you were going to ask…?’ Ali says.
‘Right, right,’ you say. ‘What were the wishes you had granted?’
Shira grins and sits beside Ali on the ground, but does not answer for Ali.
‘My first wish was to be able to transform into whatever I desired,’ Ali replies after a moment. She grins, and her eyes flick to Shira with glee for a brief instance. ‘Like you, I was smart enough to make sure that it wouldn’t hurt, and that I’d be able to control myself to the fullest. But, I phrased it in a way that… gave me a bit more to it than that.’
You frown inside. ‘What do you mean?’
“My Master is very methodical,” Shira says, a smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. “She worded her wish in a way that I honestly had a difficult time looking for any loopholes I could exploit for my amusement, to the degree where I was actually impressed with how hard she made it for me to find one.”
That catches you off guard.
Akam chuckles beside you. “Remember, Master: we djinn are not morally bound by the same rules you humans are. We often do find loopholes, as I did with your wishes, but we do it for our own entertainment most times, rather than out of pettiness or malice. It’s a fun game of ours that we enjoy playing.”
“And this one,” Shira nudges Ali, “was perhaps the first Master I’ve ever had that had me stumped.”
‘Basically,’ Ali says, and she speaks with a hint of smugness and pride rather evident in her eyes as well as her voice, ‘I got my first wish to be able to transform into any animal I wanted, or even change my appearance in other ways, without a time limit. Not to brag, but, I kind of got away with it and there wasn’t any downside Shira could think of.’
Your jaw opens as you gawk at her. ‘No way.’
Even Akam seems genuinely amazed. “Really, Shira? You couldn’t think of anything to limit your Master’s abilities? Nothing at all, not even some sort of time limit or rules for her to follow? I find that incredibly hard to believe…”
“Akam, I am not one for deceit or exaggeration,” Shira replies, and she folds her arms with a scowl. “I tried to think of every way I could, but Ali’s phrasing was incredible - it was like she took into account every single factor any djinn would actively use to tweak the wish, to the degree where the only limitation I was able to set didn’t even turn into a limitation in the end.”
Ali beams. ‘Guess I’m a stinker, too.’
“You’re VERY correct,” Shira says, yet she seems proud of the fact.
‘So what’s the one limitation?’ you ask.
‘Well, I’d say there’s maybe three limits, but I never really saw them as limitations: the first is I can only transform into living things,’ Ali says. ‘The second was I can only turn into female creatures, since I’m biologically a woman, and I identify as a woman. That made sense to me, though. Oh, and, I can only turn into five things a day - I can shift around between those five forms at will, without a timer, but only those five, so I have to pick carefully.’
Shira shrugs, and there is a moment of silence that falls after this.
You’re perplexed, naturally, but you’re more amazed than anything. And here you were trying to word your wish in a way that would make it difficult for Akam to change it to his own desires - you still ended up with limitations upon you, although you had to admit these limitations were feasible and not cruel.
Either way, you were impressed that Ali was able to go even further than that.
Akam folds his arms and eyes Ali. “Now I MUST hear what the phrasing was… you’ve got me curious.”
“I’ll tell you later, Akam,” Shira replies with a wave of her hand.
You can’t help being curious about this as well, but, you shelf this for the moment, and instead return your focus to Ali.
You lean in, quizzical. ‘So you can turn into any animal you want… up to five different animals a day, with no time limit, and the only rules you have to follow are they have to be the female animal, and… you only have the five to choose from?’
‘Yes,’ Ali replies. ‘Oh, and, in case you’re wondering, my natural human form doesn’t count toward those five - I managed to wriggle my wording enough that my human form is considered the starting point.’ She winked. ‘Technically, I guess that means I’ve got six forms.’
‘Jeez,’ you say.
Now you regret not taking even more time to figure out your own first wish’s wording, although you admit that you don’t regret it too much. At least, not now - there’s always the future where things may change, you note.
‘Your second wish,’ Ali says. ‘You wishes for your genie to be able to stay with you whenever you needed him, as long as you actually needed him, yeah?’
‘Yes,’ you reply.
“I have the freedom to choose,” Akam says, but he ultimately smiles. “But if I’m honest, my Master has proven to be a very kind, favorable human. I could’ve easily returned to my lamp at any given time throughout much of this, yet I’ve felt no real desire to. Frankly, I may wait until nighttime to do so - until then, I’ve had far too much fun watching and experiencing all these things with my Master to bother with returning.”
‘That’s pretty rad,’ Ali says, nodding.
‘What about you, Ali?’ you ask. ‘Did you get a second wish granted?’
Your eyes flick to Shira, and you wonder if she wished for something like yours. Yet before Ali has a chance to respond, you hear something - and feel something - in your stomach. That is, your stomach grumbles.
You only now start to notice that… you’re kind of hungry.
Ali giggles at this. ‘Someone’s hungry, I see.’
You’d blush if you could, but, thankfully you can’t. ‘I, uh, suppose so.’
‘Then, here’s an idea,’ Ali says. ‘We can stay here and talk more, or, if you want, we can go hunting.’ Her eyes flash. ‘I’ve only been in a vixen’s body today, to be honest, so I can turn myself into a wolf, and we can go out to find something to eat. Whaddya say?’
You blink a few times. Good question…
Written by Hollowpages on 25 July 2020
Wolf: A Hunting We’ll Go