Ruby Red and Gentilberry Green: A Fantastical Romance - Part XIII

in #fiction6 years ago (edited)

This is the thirteenth part of an ongoing serial. Here are Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, and Twelve. Updates every two days.

“I was thinking of showing you around, Miss Gentilberry,” said Necristo at lunch that day. “Where do you want to go?”

Anne cut into her steak, stared to make sure the blood was still there, then put it in her mouth and swallowed it.

“Mr. Sorcerer,” she said, mouth half-full, “I have been here for five days, doing nothing but showing up for meals and eating your magical food, and now you ask me where I want to go?”

Necristo twiddled his thumbs. It was such an absurd gesture for a grown man that Anne found herself stabbing the steak again, if only for release.

“Well,” he said, “I thought you would make your own entertainment. I did delegate you my power, see…”

“Oh, don’t get me started on that. How does it even work? Is the magic yours, or mine? What happens if I do something wrong, or mess up one of the Big Old Rules of Magic, or something?”

“As long as you’re in this world, Miss Gentilberry,” said Necristo earnestly, “you will never come to any harm.”

“Right,” said Anne, raising an eyebrow. “And as long as you’re not thinking of death by heart-removal, I’m happy. Funny how this harm thing works, isn’t it?”

“Right,” parroted Necristo, staring off at the left wall. His distraction was so distracting that Anne found herself following his vacant gaze.

“Wait, no, stop that. I’m trying to answer the question. Where do I want to go?”

“That is the question, yes,” said Necristo, nodding anxiously. He was back, at least.

“Where do I want to go?” brooded Anne.

“That is the question, yes? I mean, it is…”

“Look,” burst out Anne, “can you stop repeating the same thing over and over? It’s exasperating is what it is, and I’ve had enough! Tide in a thimble!”

“Is… that where you want to go?” asked Necristo hopefully.

Anne frowned, then blinked, then frown-blinked. It made her look like a lost frog.

“Actually,” she concluded, with no small amount of surprise, “it is. Take me to the beach, Mr. Sorcerer.”

Necristo clapped his hands together. A spray of sound like salt filled the air, whipped Anne’s hair around her ears - and then the dining room was gone and she was standing on a vast stretch of white sand, as fine as breadcrumbs, with the bright blue sky overhead and the sea breeze in her eyes. She blinked at the sea. The sea beamed back and waved.

“One beach, Miss Gentilberry,” said Necristo, looking rather pleased with himself. “I hope you like it.”

Anne searched for something to gripe about, just for appearances, gawked at a passing gull, then fell back into stunned silence. She’d never even seen so much water before. Or so much sand. Or so much salt, for that matter. It felt like she was standing on the edge of forever, with the rough swish of the eternal sea in her ears, the afternoon sun blazing overhead, the myriad grains of sand inside her left shoe…

“My steak,” said Anne. “I was eating that.”

Necristo produced her plate, fiddled a hexagonal wooden table and a red sun parasol into existence, then laid her lunch out before her and bowed.

“Will the madam have her steak by the sea?”

Anne stared at him, painfully aware that her color was mounting, but not exactly sure why, and definitely clueless on how to stop it.

“I-I-I suppose the madam w-will,” she snapped at last, “if only for appearances. You could have at least let me change into more suitable clothes.”

“You’re right,” said Necristo, as Anne lifted the hem of her blue-checkered skirt and tried to fit through the gap between seat and table. “What do you wear to beaches, Miss Gentilberry?”

“Water t-things,” said Anne at once, with a bit too much haste. “Didn’t you know that, Mr. Sorcerer?”

“Of course, Miss Gentilberry,” said Necristo. “How could I forget?” And he showed, for a moment, a sweet boyish smile.

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This whole story is just so cute! I want to hug it and squeeze it and call it George.

Well, I guess you can call it anything you want. Thanks for reading, as always. :)

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