“I don’t buy this!” hissed Sorsha. “Oyed’s not supposed to break out until Realmfleet collapses!”
“What, are you blessed with the gift of prophecy?!” snarked Foresna.
“Look, I’ve got my own affairs to deal with!” snarled Sorsha. “I’ve got Sentina monkeys that have long depended on me since I first learned about biological magic during the Second Age of Unity!”
“The needs of the Realms are more important than the needs of one person!” snapped Arsha.
“All right, Ms. Closed-off Realm View!” growled Sorsha. “If you want to tussle, let’s…!”
“Hold on a minute,” called Foresna. “Arsha, weren’t you grieving the crewmates of the Skyshell a minute ago?! I remember you bringing me a bit of Realmfleet law saying that all members of Realmfleet need to give aid to whatever suffering civilization needs it, whether or not they’re based on life like ours!”
“You’re not seriously defending her, are you?!” snapped Arsha.
“So that’s where it is!” cheered Sorsha as she took advantage of the distraction and scanned the area for mana. She then grabbed the small box Arsha’s rose hairpiece rested in! “That’s more than enough mana!”
“Put that back!” shouted Arsha. “That’s mine!”
“You want it?!” taunted Sorsha as she opened the box. “Come YEEOW!” A blinding light erupted from the box! Arsha and Sorsha cast spells on everyone’s eyes so they could see what’s going on.
“Okay, THAT’S new!” remarked Arsha.
“It’s never done that when Mom had it,” supplied Foresna.
“It looks almost like…but, I gave it to a Mid-realm peasant girl!” muttered Sorsha.
“YOU gave it?” asked Gorfanth.
“Hold on, are you the witch that made this?” asked Arsha.
“Witch? I’m an alchemist,” corrected Sorsha. “But, yes, I DID make it. I’m just surprised that it’s putting out so much mana.”
“I don’t remember wearing it when angry,” muttered Arsha.
“…Not even in combat?” asked Sorsha.
“That’s what his mom warned against,” replied Arsha as she pointed to Foresna. “Wear it when you’re angry and all the luck will drain from the rose.”
“…That’s not what I said at all to her!” snarled Sorsha. “I see what’s going on here!”
“What are you talking about?!” demanded Arsha.
“You need to wear it in combat so you can get the necessary strength to win!” explained Sorsha. “The side effect is that it will wilt, but then it bounces back and you can wear it again!”
“Because, of COURSE, it’s actually a weapon!” complained Arsha. “Heights forbid it’s just something you find in a fashion store! No, no, no! It has to be a Ring of Power!”
“Hush, you!” hissed Sorsha.
“Do you even know if it’s the one you made for Sendaria?” asked Foresna.
“You mean Toyandia,” replied Sorsha. “Testing to see if I remembered your mother’s earliest named ancestor?”
“As a matter of fact, yes,” answered Foresna. “That’s pretty impressive. Since you got her name right, what’s the actual story behind it?”
“When I was just a younger, more stupid, Elf Maiden of 300,” began Sorsha, “I left the Longbark Family Mansion to pursue my magical career alone. Being so young, I hadn’t yet mastered what school of magic was what. I thought what I did was basic witchcraft, you know, healing magic and all that. A human woman, a small-town witch named Toyandia, knocked on the door when she saw that my garden had failed. She offered to bring it back to its full bloom. I argued that I was in the middle of making a potion to help in that regard. She asked to look at my workstation and shook her head when she saw the equipment. She asked me why I was using an alchemist’s tools instead of a witch’s. In my ‘wisdom’, I laughed at her, saying that there’s no difference. She gave me a pitying look and said she would teach me the difference. Back then, I didn’t hold humans in high regard, thinking them beneath an Elf. Boy, did SHE prove me wrong. As she continued teaching me, with all the patience of a saint, I might add, we were attacked by Mid-splitters. During the battle, my newly replenished rose garden was soaking up the spare mana and reacting wildly. I found a way to combine alchemy and witchcraft to make a rose into a weapon that wilts whenever all of its mana is drained and used it against the Splitters. They were driven off and I healed Toyandia. As I nursed her back to health with both alchemy and witchcraft, I thanked her for teaching me, apologizing for being the most stubborn woman of the Realms. After she was healed, I gave her a newly replenished rose set onto a white cloth as a hair decoration for her to have in case she needed to go into battle again. I told her not to wear it during small-time arguments or it wouldn’t be effective in battle. I warned her that not wearing it at all would result in a mana build-up that would eventually kill anyone who would wear it. But it seems as if my instructions were jumbled and misinterpreted over time as this thing is so saturated, not even battle will drain it fully.”
“Mom didn’t die of over-exposure to mana, though,” muttered Foresna.
“If I recall, she died soon after your dad did,” supplied Arsha.
“She died of a broken heart?” asked Gorfanth. “She must have been attached to your dad, Foresna.”
“No one could replace him,” answered Foresna. “When he died, she just lost her will to live, slowly wasting away until she died. Now, if I may change the subject, why a rose for a weapon?”
“It was the most prolific plant in my garden and I was desperate,” replied Sorsha.
“So, if we let you drain the rose off, since it can’t be drained naturally,” interjected Arsha, “I should get better?”
“That’s the principle,” confirmed Sorsha. “I don’t know how much mana I need from that thing, but it WILL be drained and spring back a few hours after wilting from lack of mana.” Arsha turned to Foresna.
“Well? It was your mother’s,” reminded Arsha.
“She gifted it to you after my sister said she didn’t want it,” answered Foresna. “It’s your property. Besides, the Elf over there made it.”
“…Take it,” Arsha decided. “But we WILL be in touch, I promise you.”
“Of course,” replied Sorsha. “My card.” She handed Arsha a calling card that gave her name and how to reach her. “Look, I have nothing against fighting Oyed personally, but the Giant Spiders started a blight in his name and I need to fix it.”
“Point taken, now get off my ship!” hissed Arsha. Sorsha nodded and teleported herself off the Endeavor.
“Just as an aside,” called Gorfanth, “I called Endea and asked her to track our Elf. What does her card say she calls herself?”
“Sorsha Longbark,” replied Arsha as she read the card. “Still, I’m not so sure about letting have it or trusting her. We could have just gotten Realmfleet to drain it off.”
“I trust Endea and her sensors,” assured Foresna. “Besides, Realmfleet might not have detected anything wrong. Somehow, I’ve got a feeling she wasn’t lying.” Arsha then stumbled. “Hey, whoa, are you okay?!”
“‘M jus…feelin…really tired,” slurred Arsha. She then collapsed. She was caught by Foresna and Gorfanth and they hauled her to bed.
“Let’s get Marshii here to check her out,” decided Gorfanth. Foresna then headed to the intercom.
“Marshii, could you come to our quarters for a minute?” he asked.
“Hey, Jokorah?” asked Sorsha once she got back home. “Is there some form of tracking on me?”
“Yep,” replied Jokorah.
“Great, let me know how else this day can go wrong,” muttered Sorsha.
“I WARNED you that invisibility spells don’t last that long!” hissed Jokorah.
“Well, better get to work,” declared Sorsha as she placed the rose into a small container.
“Repeated exposure to high amounts of mana?” asked Marshii as she checked Arsha’s sleeping form over.
“That’s what Sorsha told us,” replied Gorfanth.
“Well, she clearly knows what she’s talking about,” chuckled Marshii as she completed her scans. “Scanner just confirmed it. My recommendation; let her sleep it off. She’ll probably be out for two hours.” She then heard a noise and traced it to Arsha.
“…Hooves, PLEASE tell me you’re recording her snoring!” giggled Foresna.
“Got a video of it!” chuckled Gorfanth.
“All right, let’s just let her sleep and get out of here quiet-like,” whispered Marshii. They tiptoed out of the room and let her sleep.
“Okay, that’s WAY too much mana,” muttered Sorsha after she finished draining off the rose and making it wilt. It was collected into a flask and shone brightly.
“How many years could it have been?” asked Jokorah.
“Too many,” answered Sorsha as she began making a potion. Jokorah held his next question until Sorsha tested the new potion on a blighted mushroom patch. The mushrooms then returned to life and Sorsha took a scan. “…Perfect! The molecular bonds have reforged themselves and are now breaking down at a much more natural rate!” she cheered.
“What will you do with the rest of the mana?” asked Jokorah.
“It’s going to take at least 10 million years for me to use it all,” remarked Sorsha. “I need to find a method of disposing it all safely. In the meantime, I’ve got potions to make.”
“I’ll tell the monkeys that their blight will soon be over,” declared Jokorah as he shifted into his Serpentine Dragon form and slithered off.
“Now, what’s made Quaynus so quiet after hearing Intrag’s returning?” mused Sorsha.
The Spider Trio had finished their dinner and were sleeping…well, trying to. The third kept waking up at every hour, on the hour. “Did you hear that?!” he yelped. “Someone’s out there! We’ve been caught!”
“Hold on, hold on,” grumbled the first as he and the second woke up. “I’ll take a look.” He pulled back the makeshift door and looked around.
“…Well?!” gulped the third.
“All clear,” reported the first.
“Are you sure?” quizzed the third. “I thought I heard something moving out there!”
“Would you relax?!” protested the second. “Nobody’s gonna find us! Quit being so twitchy!”
“Well, you’d be twitchy too,” argued the third, “if you’ve been hiding in a concealed cave for hours on end!”
“I HAVE been hiding in a concealed cave for hours on end,” muttered the first. “Now go to sleep.”
“I can’t!” whimpered the third. “I have this feeling we’re being watched!”
“Not to agree with him,” mused the second, “but promise us you’ll keep checking, please?”
“I haven’t stopped checking for hours!” snapped the first. “Why don’t one of YOU check once in a while?!”
“Okay, I will!” growled the third. “But, if there’s someone out there, YOU forced us to abandon our post!”
“You’re a pain in the spinnerets, you know that?” muttered the first. The third moved the door aside and checked. “…Nobody out there, huh?” remarked the first.
“No, but there MIGHT have been!” gulped the third.
“Quaynus will never find us!” insisted the second. “We’re safe here! Now shut up and go to sleep!”
“I can’t sleep, my nerves are shot!” whimpered the third. “And it’s all because of him!” He waved his pedipalp at the first.
“You’re just doing this because you want someone to talk at!” growled the first. “Or, maybe, your nerves are shot because you’re a pain in the spinnerets!”
“Don’t you take that tone of voice with me!” snapped the third.
“Pain in the spinnerets! Pain in the spinnerets!” sang the first.
“SSHHH!!” hissed the second. “This time, I heard something! Go out and look!”
“Again?!” complained the first. “He and I both looked!”
“Please!” begged the second. “Please go look!”
“Oh, FINE!” growled the first. He pulled the door back wide. “There! Satisfied?! There’s no one out here! Now, go to sleep, you big, fat pains in the…hey, where’d the new trees come from?”
“Comparing my legs to trees, are we?” hissed a woman’s voice. The “new trees” connected to a Giant Spider’s body. The Spider was twice the size of the Spider Trio and the fangs were dripping with venom.
“…Queen Quaynus!” gulped the first. “Fancy meeting you here!”
“Get out here!” ordered the Queen of the Gamfinar Giant Spiders, Quaynus.
“Your Majesty, it was his fault!” yelped the second as he pointed an accusing pedipalp at the first. “We tried to stop him!”
“It was an accident!” begged the third. “We didn’t mean to abandon our posts!”
“When I first heard you idiots had gotten distracted by the Elf,” hissed Quaynus, “I was tempted to eat all three of you in one gulp! But one of our spies had taken the opportunity to get his ballooning practice in. His journey took him to an island southeast of the beach. As he hovered, he noticed Intrag TAKING orders from a Fae instead of giving them!”
“Wait, you mean, our GOD, Intrag?” quizzed the second. “The one who brought our ancestors here?”
“How many Intrags do you know?” asked the first.
“So, what kind of light did that give to the Clergy?” inquired the third.
“They tried to secure what remained of their power,” explained Quaynus, “but the colony was tired of their excuses, so I commanded the colony to feast on the Clergy.”
“Sorry we missed that feast,” muttered the first.
“So, you’re not going to kill us?” asked the second.
“You may live,” confirmed Quaynus. “For once, you three screwed up and I’m happy about it. Now, speaking of the feast…” she then let the bag on her back drop in front of the trio. They opened the bag to find…
“Bread!” yelped the second. “Bread for subs!”
“And cinnamon rolls!” cheered the third.
“Thought you might enjoy a good meal tonight,” replied Quaynus. “I even brought some bits of the Clergy. Good job, boys. Return to the colony when you’ve finished eating.” She then stalked out of the area towards the colony.
“…Why do you suppose she did that?” asked the second.
“Why question it?” countered the third. “We actually did something good. Besides, I’m hungry again.”
“Me too,” supplied the second.
“Me three,” declared the first. “Looks like we’re having Clergy and tiger subs with cinnamon rolls.” He pointed to the second. “You cut up the bread.” He then pointed to the third. “You get the meat carved up. I’ll start the cooking fire.”