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Patience Is A Virtue (Fantasy Short Story)

"I don't know, this seems pretty risky," I muttered.

"It isn't, I promise,"

A massive chalk circle stood in front of us. Lines and crosses intersected in symmetrical forms that I could barely make out.

Wigmund wasn't a bad guy, I knew that, but he was reckless. Sweat prickled the back of my neck.

"If I manage to pull this off," he said. "We'll become the most famous mages in all of Thaend."

"Fame is a difficult thing to deal with, especially when you've been blasted into pieces of bacon."

Wigmund turned towards me and glared.

"Why are you so sure that this will end in disaster?"

I shut my eyes.

"Call it a premonition."

He scoffed and turned back towards the circle. He placed his hands against the chalk and took a deep breath.

I grimaced. This was gonna suck.

The circle glowed with a harsh red light. I felt the mana leave the atmosphere, causing chills to enter my spine.

Beads of sweat gathered around Wigmund's head as he screwed his eyes shut.

The light grew harsher and harsher, then–

I didn't even feel the pain. With all the energy in the spell, it was enough to completely wipe me out.

"Yet another failure."

And just like that, we were back in front of the circle like nothing had ever happened. I turned my head towards Wigmund.

"Failure?"

His eyes widened in shock.

"Er, uh," he stammered. "Ignore that!"


Wigmund was a time manipulator. It had started about a month ago when he got involved in some sort of mysterious cult. I had told him it was bad news, but noooo, apparently, they could 'grant superpowers,' and let him 'finally get that cute chick from Shapecraft class.'

I wouldn't particularly care, but since he was virtually immortal now (not sure how the time travel let him do that), he performed ridiculously dangerous experiments without flinching. That's nice and all, and normally I wouldn't mind going with him if not for one thing.

I remembered. All the loops, all the time travel.

I know what you're thinking. 'oh, mysterious narrator, he must be so tired of getting sliced into pork chops!'

Yeah, not quite...

"So Lucielle, I was wondering if you could help me work on my runes?"

Boredom.

Have you ever seen a mage try to pick up a girl? Don't. The amusement wears off after about five minutes.

We'd been here for about an hour.

I idly looked up. Something had happened while I was thinking. Lucielle walked away, hands clenched at her side. Wigmund rubbed his cheek with a pout.

Ouch, looks like he tried way too hard this time.

Time zipped backward. He approached the girl full of false swagger that anybody with half a brain could see through.

He rolled his eyebrows in what was supposed to be a flirtatious manner. Came off as more douche-esque than anything else, not that you'd hear me say that.

"Baby, you're the mana to my incantations!"

I slammed my head against my palms. The girl recoiled in disgust.

Oh, we're resetting now? Ok.

"Milady, when I look at you, it's like looking into the night sky," He kneeled down, almost falling on his face. After finding his balance, he grabbed the hand of the girl, much to her visible consternation.

"You are like the night sky," he said. "Vast, beautiful–"

"You calling her fat?"

For a second, no one reacted. He slowly tilted his head towards me in a legitimate expression of betrayal.

I might've felt bad, if not for the fact that I'd been listening to this drivel for what felt like years at this point.

Just like that, I felt the world shift around me.

He stepped forward. As he moved I gripped his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.

"Maybe this time, avoid the references to celestial bodies?"

He turned around, eyes widened.

"What did you just say?!"

I twisted my head to the side in confusion.

"Nothing," I said. "Just wishing you good luck."

He breathed out in relief.

"I misheard you, sorry."

He smiled at me. My eyes wandered behind him. I raised a single eyebrow in surprise.

"Oh look, your girl is talking with Braun."

He twisted around and gasped in shock.


"Hey, what would you do if you could travel through time?"

I looked over to him, putting my book down.

"Why do you want to know?" I said. "Can you time travel?"

Just like that, he started waving his arms around, screeching ardent denials and something about the phases of the moon.

"No, no way, it's just a hypothetical!"

"Wow," I muttered. "So much denial."

I rubbed my chin. Wigmund looked more like a scared animal than a mighty mage at the moment.

"Perhaps you have something you want to tell me?"

And just like that, I had a book in my hands.

"Hey, what would you do if you could travel through time?"

I looked towards the roof and made a humming noise.

"Well, to start, I would probably use it to erase awkward conversations with people who figured out my power."

Wigmund made an odd choking noise.

"That's–" He coughed. "Oddly specific."

I shrugged.

"Yeah, not sure where that came from."

Once again, an audible sigh of relief came from Wigmund.

I turned towards him.

"But to answer your question," I began. "I think I would try to avoid using it, even if I did something dumb or embarrassing."

His eyebrows shot up in visible surprise.

"But..." He fumbled for the words. "Why?"

"Because–"

I looked him in the eye.

"I wouldn't want to believe that there were no consequences for my actions. I wouldn't want to be the kind of guy who believes that he can get away with whatever he wants scot-free."

Wigmund shook his head.

"You would have no consequences though," he said. "Anything you could do would be wiped away."

I glared at him. He looked at me in confusion.

"It's not about the outside world."

At this, I tapped my heart.

"It's about what's going on in here."

Wigmund visibly stopped and looked down, seemingly in thought.

"Huh," he said.

I turned back towards my book.


He never did listen to me, and I never bothered to rein him in. Not really, anyway. By the time I had realized what he'd become, it was far too late.






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