My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 9

They came on the wrong day. It was graduation day at the pixies’ main school. Each would go through a magic test and see if they can beat their teacher and graduate from the school forever, never needing to go back unless they so desired. Students longed for such freedom.
The group could tell that the last battle had just been won by a student, because the second they were in the door, they couldn’t hear a thing. The sound barrier was broken. They went into the room marked “Gym”, which was the source of the noise. (They might as well have been at a cheerleading camp. Everyone and their cat was giggling and the noise from the clinking of bracelets wafted around the room.) They needed to find a way, amid all of these girls, to find Lila’s sister.
Nicolas said, “We’ll take care of it. Here.” Brian whispered into the announcer’s ear, and when the pixie shook her head no, Nicolas whispered into Brian’s ear and Brian stared at the pixie.
The pixie suddenly got all happy and said over the microphone, “Will the pixie with the jade ring that has a sword etched into it please proceed to the stage. Thaaaaaank you.”
“Ah, the controlling stare. Works every time,” Nicolas said as Brian walked back. The pixie was blinking and shaking her head furiously, as if to rid herself of dizziness.
“Jaymi, why are they calling you up?”
“Jaymi, what happened?”
“Jaymi, what did you do?” The students asked.
“I have no clue! I’m just doing what I’m supposed to!” Jaymi was slightly nervous as she flew to the stage, her student uniform skirt flying behind her. She was even more skittish when a dragon walked to the stage, trying not to squish any pixies. Followed by a Shapee. Followed by two Chikik and a faerie. The Chikik did not seem very  threatening to Jaymi, but was that – no, it can’t be – no, that’s impossible! It is! Lila was gliding through the room! Why…? No, of course not. No. No.
Lila dropped to the stage. Jaymi was wondering what just happened. And how. Lila raised her sword. “She has been found!”
The pixies started cheering. Nobody knew why. It just seemed like a time to cheer. Lila lowered her sword. “Hello. Do you remember me?”
“I have no clue who you are. Unless you’re… no. No, you’re not the faerie in all the legends… are you? No, that’s not right. That’s impossible. No. You’re someone else, aren’t you? No, that faerie wouldn’t need anything to do with me… right?”
Lila shook her hair out of her face and said, “If you’re over your denial rant now, yes. I am that faerie. You probably don’t remember. Brian, don’t Shapees have a certain power…”
Nicolas said, “She’s right… Brian. Here.” The orb quietly told Brian how to do this magic.
“Now, miss pixie, you will have to keep your eyes open for this one. None of us mean any harm to you, because… well, we’ll tell you in a second. This won’t take long,” Brian said.
The pixie backed away a little, but Lila said, “It’s all right. My brother is half insane from too many video games, but he’s not about to hurt anyone… unless the harm is the other person going mad from his video game tips.” She laughed.
The hairs on the back of Jaymi’s neck stood up, and her life flashed before her eyes. I must be dead, she thought. But then she saw the room, spinning a little, and realized she was not hurt at all, except for a lot of dizziness.  She wobbled over to the stage podium and steadied herself on it, putting her head down to overcome the dizziness.
In the background she heard Nicolas say, “Yes, she is the one. Your twin. The ring is hers and has not been stolen or sold. We are lucky.”
“Such a valuable as that ring is normally guarded with the owner’s life. I am not surprised.”
The pixies were watching all of this, intrigued.
“Her history is rather interesting to me. It seems…”Nicolas dropped lower. “As soon as possible, Brian needs to read you. But not now. Girl! What is your name?”
Jaymi was still clinging to the podium, panting.     “Jaymi,” she said between gasps.
“Did you hear us?”
“I must have heard wrong. Wait… I have a single memory…” Jaymi groped for it. “It’s foggy. I was maybe three…”
“You were the one who escaped. The only one. I don’t think it strange that you don’t remember. You were the youngest of us, if by ten minutes from Lila.” Nicolas said, and Brian added, “If you heard something about twins, you heard correctly. We have a lot to explain. If there is nothing you need here, we must leave.”
“I still need to take my…”
“NO!” All eyes turned to the back of the room.
“Mistress Gryphon and Master Zeagr.” Jaymi bowed at the most respected magicians in the forest.
“Enough. I have heard all that the faerie has said. Shapee’s information is never inaccurate. You have no need to take the test. You are free from the school. I declare you a graduate,” Master Zeagr said.
“But I…”
“Listen to the master. Miss pixie, you are one of the Heroes. Do you see the orbs following Lila and the Shapee?” Mistress Gryphon said. Mistress Gryphon was less stern than Master Zeagr, but just as wise and twice as young. “You have one of your own.” She flew to the podium. “Take off your ring. Hold it so that you can see the circle inside.”
The ring glowed pink, and then in the circle formed a pink ball that shot out six rays. The ring disappeared and reappeared on Jaymi’s finger. The other pixies now also had their own.
“From today forward, our power has been restored to us all. No longer are spells limited. Wait…” The magician lifted Jaymi’s chin and frowned. “No, you are not a magician.”
“You see it?” Master Zeagr said.
“Yes. Try to make Master Zeagr give you a cookie.”
“What in the world?” Jaymi and Master Zeagr said at the same time.
“I never give cookies. Never have.” Zeagr scowled.
“Exactly. This is totally random. Sweet, here’s your wand.”
Jaymi thought for a minute, then whispered something and gave the wand a flick. Her wand felt strange – it almost vibrated with energy. Or perhaps it was simply her own nervousness.
It didn’t really matter now – Zeagr was racing to the bakery.
“As I suspected. You are a mage, not a magician. Anyone who can make Zeagr give out sweets must be pretty powerful.” Mistress Gryphon bowed to Jaymi, half laughing at her own joke.
“I do not understand, Mistress Gryphon.”
“You will. Go with the faerie. In fact, you will understand right now. I have never had enough magic to do this before, so I don’t know how it feels.  Grab on to something, just in case. This should save your brother a lengthy explanation. Dears, it’s getting late. Geraldine, find room in the hotel for our guests. Students, we will continue the tests tomorrow. Mage, are you ready?”
“Yes, mistress.”
“I am not your mistress anymore. Mage is a much higher title than mistress. Call me Sarah.”
“Sarah?”
“Yes?”
“My wand is coursing with energy. It’s driving me nuts.”
“Oh, I almost forgot! That wand must be like using a stick to you. You need something that can handle the unlimited magic of your orb. Your student uniform might feel weird, too. You need a stronger wand and a mage’s cloak. I will deal with that once you can remember a certain story from when you were young, as well as your first few years. Just hold still and don’t think about anything in particular. You also might want to look away. I’ve always found it hard to look straight at someone while they are casting a spell on me.”
In that period of time, Jaymi decided she liked the feeling of being in a spell, at least when a friend is doing it and she knows what they intend. It was just like being in a dream, only more informative, and you remembered it better afterwards. She woke up in the back of the gym on an inflatable mattress with a sleeping bag on top. A deep purple cloak and a magenta wand lay next to her. Perfect. Much better than her old things. The spell was so strange… Jaymi wondered how it was real. She was the one who escaped. The evil one had forgotten her. The creature had managed to take her orb, but she had escaped with her memory. At least, some of it.
The only memory of that day (before the memory spell) was faint and foggy. There was a black van, a house and a small forest-type area not too far away from the back yard. It was a rather gloomy, overcast day, not far from raining. Jaymi slipped away into the forest before the thing caught her. She used magic to keep herself alive in the little forest and then got trapped in a bottle by a passing little girl who was chasing butterflies and happened to have a net. She was put in a bottle by the little kid and had become a sort of pet.
Then the kid took her on a vacation to California and Jaymi happened to fall out of her backpack while the girl was on a hike in the forest. Jaymi saw the welcoming flicker of a campfire down a long, straight path. With enough shoving, she was able to roll herself down the hill and into the pixie villageplace.     Pure coincidence.
Knowing her past helped Jaymi to get grip on the present. Still partially lost in thought, she stuck a lollipop in her mouth and trotted off toward the hotel.
The pixies decided they liked Leo. Well, after all, there’s a very powerful dragon and a bunch of giggling magic girls with little dragonfly wings. What did you think would happen? Brian had ignored all of the pixies but one. That pixie had noticed that on the handheld video game system he carried around, he was farther than her on LostSword. Which ended up with the pixie grabbing hers, Brian helping her along, and both of them staying up all night trying to solve all the puzzles. Tika didn’t need to worry about the tests tomorrow – she’d already graduated and could do whatever she wanted.
Leo was less fortunate. He had been surrounded by girls all evening – whether he flew or walked. Almost every girl in the academy had flown up and asked for a picture/autograph/seeing him blow fire/ whatever. Leo eventually satisfied them. It was kind of an accident, but he didn’t really care… It was funny. There was a new sidewalk being built. The pixies had blinded his flying, and he’d accidentally stepped a paw in the wet concrete. They all just flocked to it. Leo shrugged and flew away.
The pixies were nice, but they were getting annoying. Geraldine stayed out of the way, however; she had to keep house in the hotel. The last time Leo had recalled seeing her when he went to bed is when she calmly came up and handed him a bowl of chili, saying how Lila said he liked anything spicy. (Which could get rather dangerous.) Then she fluttered away, tending to a messy table. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. What do YOU think?
Both Leo and Brian kind of lingered around the hotel. Brian had been playing video games through the night. Tika was not used to such vigorous thumb exercise and had gone to bed at about midnight. She had rejoined Brian in the morning. Brian wasn’t likely to divert his attention from his AwesomeGame system anytime soon. He’d figured out a trick for not getting tired or needing light – when night came, he’d turn into a raccoon. If they could get into garbage cans, they could get into the secret door, right?
Jaymi had been swamped with questions like Leo had been swamped with pixies. Everything she heard was
“Jaymi, how did it feel when Mistress Gryphon cast that spell on you?” or
“Jaymi, what happened when you were three?” or
“Jaymi, why did Lila and everyone show up yesterday, of all days?” Jaymi didn’t have time to answer any of these, because everyone was in her face. Finally she managed to zip ahead of the cloud of questions and rush to the hotel door, slamming it shut behind her and keeping everyone out. She locked the door and sighed. She could have fallen asleep right there, but managed to crawl up the stairs and find an empty bed. She plopped down a fifty on the nightstand table and fell asleep.
Leo overheard Geraldine saying how she could never get enough fuel to the heating system, so in the middle of the night he found it and studied it and how it worked. Dragons are especially good at science, and Leo had to design all of the battle weapons, so naturally he found the problem. The fire Geraldine needed to keep burning kept going out, so he found what was apparently the only problem. The fire was in a closed system. All of the ashes from the fire were filtered out, and the hot air was piped into the rooms. The fire itself was outside, and the metal box it was in was airtight. Here is where Leo found the problem.
A fire needs oxygen to keep going, and this fire was not getting any. Leo guessed that Geraldine opened the airtight door to shove in more fuel, thinking that was the problem, and she got it to roar a little, then closed the door and the fire went out. Just after he realized this, he heard one of the pixies singing. Knowing that this would be on newspaper headlines if he were caught, Leo moved silently behind the corner.
In the morning he slipped a note to Geraldine and told her how to fix it. He did not sign his name, but Geraldine had asked all of the pixies, and none of them knew how to fix the system. Lila told Geraldine that Leo would know how to fix it. She knew instantly what Leo had done. She was surprised that Leo would have gone to the trouble, but was rather grateful that all she had to do was drill some air holes in the box and not stay up all night trying to get fuel into the heater. And here Geraldine had been trying to come up with a modest, polite way to ask him to find the problem. Hmm.
To put what happened next in the shortest piece of text possible, when Jaymi woke up they packed up and started to leave. Geraldine and Tika ended up tagging along with the others – they told the others, “We need an adventure” – but you and I know why they really came. Heh.
“We need to go to Florida next. It’ll be a long journey…” Lila started.
“No, it won’t,” Jaymi said. She used magic to teleport the party.
“That works too. Now we go into Orlando. Nikki’s waters linger near.”
“Big words.” Brian stuck his tongue out.         “Nikki’s close. We’ve gotta walk somewhere. If we fly, we’ll be detected.” Jaymi opened her mouth, but Brian put a finger up.         “And if we appear out of nowhere, it’ll be even worse. Even if we appear in the water, it’ll be an awkward situation. We have to walk. Or run. Or even swim. If we can get an underwater spell so we can survive, it’ll be easier than any other way.”
“No problemo. My type uses magic for anything they can think of.”
“Except fixing heaters!” Geraldine laughed and Leo turned even redder than usual. Jaymi smirked and cast the spell.
“Good enough for me!”

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2009 at 12:29 pm and is filed under Brian. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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