My Exploding Cat

Just stories and drawings really, no actual fissile felines.

Chapter 16

Ever heard of the city that never sleeps? These were the kind of people who live in it. After Angel went to bed, Daniel put a soundproofing spell on her door. He did this because Sophie had decided to teach herself to cook, because, for one thing, she might need to convince someone that she was a brainless nitwit who bakes cookies the normal way (as opposed to using magic and making them the efficient way), and you also had to make cookies taste good for someone to eat enough of them and fully activate the poison you put in them. Daniel hid after she said that.
Sophie needed to go out for eggs, and she didn’t want to try multiplying them again, because THAT would be a mess to clean up. Angel had been asleep for about two hours, and Sophie had gone through three batches of cookies, and she was getting better at making them, but only if you lived under a bridge and made travelers answer riddles before you let them across. Daniel decided that getting her eggs and supplies was for the greater good, because, one day, she might actually make some decent cookies. Some day… in twenty years.
When Sophie said she needed to go out, Angel immediately burst out of her room, fully dressed.
“I thought you went to sleep,” Daniel said.
“I did,” Angel said, frowning.
“Have you learned nothing about magical creatures?” Sophie asked.
“Not really,” Daniel said.
“They need to sleep for about an hour and a half, and that’s it. Especially with the Chikik.”
“What are they? Or it?”
“The Chikik – which is plural, by the way; singular is Chiki – are little winged forest elves. They’ve seemed to disappear, and one person who says he saw one claims they don’t have wings anymore. It’s strange. Mind, some people will do anything for attention.”
“I wonder how valid that is,” Daniel said.
Sophie shrugged. “We’d better get going before Floor-Mart closes.”
Daniel shook his head. “Floor-Mart?”
“Hey, it’s the Mirrorworld. Somebody got creative. I think there’s a Ceiling-Mart, too.”
“Do you want to come with us or something?” Daniel asked.
“Better than reading the dictionary,” Angel said.
“I thought you couldn’t read!” Sophie said.
Angel shrugged. “I thought so, too, but I’d just assumed that because I’d never tried. I haven’t gotten past the B’s, though.”
Acrophobia. Daniel realized now how she knew the word. Of course!
So they went out into the dark streets of the Mirrorworld city. This was a little bit dangerous, as the Mirrorworld in the dark tended to warp things, but it mostly warped trees and the shapes of lakes, and rarely entered this town. Nothing messed with the things in this town.
Daniel and Sophie didn’t know about a lot of the things that lived here. The personalities of the creatures were odd – fairies were cutesy and girly, yet pixies were powerful magic wielders that got down to business quickly and without giggling, which was a first.
However, both were evil in the Mirrorworld, and they congregated in this city. A lot of evil things congregated in that city – even the things that were evil that the regular world didn’t have; they existed in the Mirrorworld for that exact reason. These were the ones that Daniel knew nothing about, since Mage had never really spent much time in the Mirrorworld. Sophie knew about a few of them, because Tress HAD spent time there.
They also didn’t know about the people who wandered the streets at night, dangerous people, armed with magic, muscles or both. At least Daniel, Angel and Sophie had magic; they wouldn’t stand a chance without it.
Most of these dangerous inhabitants were only muscular thugs or rogue wizards, turned to the dark side of magic, the bad side. Most of them could fry you or give you a serious beating while they passed, but this one could kill you in under a minute.
This one had a weapon.
That may not seem like such a danger in the regular world, where you can dodge things, but in the Mirrorworld, for every medieval arrow fired from a crossbow at random or every stone lobbed at the enemy that does or did not strike someone down, someone hits their lethal target in the Mirrorworld.
There’s nothing wrong with missing or not killing people with weapons in the regular world. That’s the reason we don’t miss later, and accidentally kill someone we shouldn’t have instead of the bad guy. But there is a dark side and a light side to every story, and the Mirrorworld was the dark side to the story of life itself.
*    *    *
Angel was the first to see whatever it was – a shadow among the already dark and shadowy buildings. She stopped everyone, shaded herself somehow in that way that can’t quite be described but that everyone knows about; head low, hair dropped over one’s shoulder, knees bent and ready to run if needed, body almost invisible, walking silently, or, in Angel’s case, perhaps flying. It didn’t take much for her to stay aloft. The thing did the same maneuver to keep silent and hopefully unnoticed and sped up so she wouldn’t have to go through a lengthy conversation – after all, the police were all shapeshifters, and could take whatever form they thought would be most effective, and Angel looked like a wizard.
The creature or person tried to slip by Angel, but she caught it and held up a hand.
“Who are you?” it asked, standing up. As it did, Angel’s blue eyes went big, then furious, fire catching the night. The thing was dressed in a black cloak, and Angel was bloodthirsty for revenge. Her ears pricked a little more, seeming more pointy and elven than they were before.
She yanked back the black hood in a gust of fury and adrenaline. Breath coming fast, she screamed her one-word spell before the thing could figure out what was going on.
“ILLUMINATE!”
Angel held her wand straight out in front of her, as the blast from an enraged magical creature can be devastating, and she didn’t want to be anywhere near it. It knocked her down, and she was thrown back against the walls of a very filthy tavern. In front of her, a black cloak refused to fade. Fury flashed in Angel’s eyes, more than she’d ever felt before. She almost liked the feeling, a rush of energy for fighting and flying. She leapt into the air, forward, the wind under her madly beating wings. She zipped forward instantly, ready for a fist fight, when she saw the fear in her opponent’s eyes. And then she realized that her opponent had eyes.
In an instant, Angel realized the importance of this little fact, and she dropped to the ground. Her opponent wasn’t a Gateguard – it was just a girl, with blonde hair pulled back into a rather unsuccessful ponytail; it was messy, and only about two-thirds of it was contained by the hairband, which looked like it was about to bust.
The girl let out the deep breath she was holding and slunk to the ground.
“WHO ARE YOU?” Angel screamed.
The girl held up her hands in defeat. “Molly,” she said.
Daniel stepped in. “Angel, go rest for a while. Molly, who are you? Why are you out here? There could be enemies running around at nighttime!”
“I could be asking you the same question,” Molly growled.
“And I could let Angel ask the questions. There’s more to this story than what looks. Who are you? Are you hurt?”
“I’m not hurt,” Molly said. “And I’m a spy. I was just about to go out on a mission–” She glanced around… “–but I ran into some problems.”
“Look. Angel has some problems with some things that look a lot like you. They went and put her in a cave to starve to death, and she’s not too happy with them. We think they’re called Gateguards–” This time Daniel glanced around… “–and we have almost nothing to do with them. We’ve run into them several times, but we don’t know why, except they want power.”
Molly looked a bit taken aback. “Come with me.” She came to the street, glanced around both corners. Behind one, an old man crouched. Molly charged after it, and just as she came withing arm’s length of it, it shapeshifted into a young street fighter, but as it did this, Molly socked it one in the nose, broke its foot and pulled out a humongous wad of hair efficiently all at once, in one move. Her eyes narrowed and she ripped off the person’s shirt, pulling out a knife. The shapeshifter pulled out a gun, and Molly threw the knife and dropped to the ground. The shapeshifter may have had magical abilities, but its reaction time was horrible and the knife hit it in the gut before it had any chance to pull the trigger. Molly’s reflexes, however, were sharper than a cat’s, and she quickly grabbed the body and shoved it into a hedge.
“No one may know of my spy group’s existence. We’ve come far too close to being caught and raided before, and I won’t let that happen again. Follow me. The only reason I’m not killing you now is because you have a connection with the Gateguards.”
Sophie decided she liked this girl.
Molly looked around and found a tree that gave good cover that she liked. She scrambled up it like a squirrel. Daniel and Sophie followed, and Angel flew up on the outside before coming in.
“If a Gateguard ever finds you or messes with you in any way, they’re attracted to you for a reason. Spill it.”
“We’re here to bring the regular world’s share of magical books back. We started out with just us two, but then we just kinda collected the fighters like a snowman in progress collects snow. Each of us is involved in one way or another. We have a huge group now. All we went out for was a thing of eggs. Sophie’s magic apparently isn’t very good with that kind of thing,” Daniel said.
“What can you do? If we know each others’ skills, we have a better chance of survival.”
Sophie spoke up. “I’m an enchantress. Daniel’s a mage. Ryder is a wizard, Hannah is an herbalist, and Angel… well, none of us are sure what Angel is. She looks kind of like a faerie, but she only has the top half of her set of wings.”
“Really,” Molly said. “I think I might know what she is, but what element is she?”
She sat back on her branch. “In the morning.”
“Why didn’t Angel’s spell hurt you?” Daniel asked.
“I don’t work for Them.” Molly spat the word, and Daniel could definitely hear the capital T.
“Meaning, exactly?”
Molly sat up, alerted. She frowned, stuck her head out the branches, then popped back in. “A witch doesn’t melt with water if she keeps her cottage clean and douses her hands in the stuff every day. I’m used to light spells. I don’t work for those idiots on the dark side of the Mirrorworld’s power. In the morning, we’re going to figure out what you are, hon. What kinds of magic can you do?”
“I can purify water, I can make plants grow faster, and I can blind Gateguards with such a powerful light that they fade away forever. I don’t know anything else.”
“Earth, water, and light,” Molly murmured. “No fire?” (Molly didn’t ask about wind, as the ability to fly takes a minute amount of wind magic.)
“Well, I can always start a fire on the first match, even in the rain, but that comes with practice.”
“Hm.” Molly nodded approvingly and raised an eyebrow.“That’s not magic, but it’s a skill which most don’t have, and it comes in handy when on the run. And it sounds to me like you’re gonna be.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 at 10:31 am and is filed under Mirrorworld. 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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