LN Part 25: Can You Come? by RedPhantom ()
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Nim cast the spell. Where he and Pt’this were in true form, they stayed behind the mirror.
“Carla?” Ann asked tentatively. She didn’t want the woman having a heart attack.
“Who’s there?” Carla looked around.
“In the mirror, look in the mirror.” Carla did. She frowned when she saw the face wasn’t hers.
“I know you. But you’re not me,” she said. Her words slurred slightly.
Great, she’s drunk, Ann thought.
“No, Carla, I’m Ann, your son’s fiancée. We met once, remember?”
Carla nodded. “I do. How are you in my mirror?”
“Do you remember how I said we don’t have phones? This is what we do instead.”
“So you’re still in your homeland?”
“We are.” Ann nodded.
“Is Andy there? Did something happen to him?”
“He’s fine. He’s not here right now. He’s with a friend. He doesn’t know I’m contacting you.”
“Is there a problem?”
“No. We’re getting married in a couple of weeks, and I know it’s last minute, but I was hoping you could come. I know it would mean a lot to Andy if you were there.”
“A couple of weeks? I don’t even know where you are.”
“A friend of mine and I will be in Chicago next week. We’ll take care of transportation if you can make it as far as our house.”
“Our house?” Pt’this asked.
“Uncle, hush,” Ann said.
“Is someone there with you? I’d like to meet your family.”
Pt’this took human form and came in front of the mirror.
“Greetings Ma’am. I am Ann’s Uncle, Pt’bur.”
“Please to meet you,” Carla said.
“Carla, do you think you’ll be able to come?” Ann asked.
“I do believe so. I need to get a dress. How fancy is it?”
“White tie,” Ann said.
“Okay. I’ll see you in a week.”
“Okay see you then. Bye.”
“Goodbye.” She said, and Nim ended the scrying spell.
“Our house?” Pt’bur said again. He shifted to elf form and allowed Nim to take some of his energy.
“It was a boarding house. I lived on the third floor. Andy was on the second floor. You know all this. Please don’t start this again.”
Contacting Andy’s dad, Steve, went about the same. Only he was sober, so it took more time to convince him that he really was seeing her and not going crazy.
“Steve?” She said when he appeared.
He looked at the mirror and did a double take. He leaned close. “Ann?”
“Ann? Why am I seeing you in my mirror? Am I going crazy?”
“No, you’re not,” she assured him.
“If I were crazy, you’d say that.”
“If you were crazy, would you be asking if you were crazy? Is there anything I can do to prove you aren’t?”
“Probably not.” Steve shook his head.
“Andy and I are getting married. My parents want you to be here. If you can make it to Chicago, we can provide transportation from there,” Ann said. “We’d love it if you’d be able to come.”
Steve checked his schedule and made a quick phone call. “Not a problem. I’d love to be there. I’ll also have to check my passport.”
“Don’t worry about a passport. You won’t need one.”
“Really?” Steve looked concerned.
“Don’t worry. There won’t be any problems.”
“Okay. How formal is it?”
“White tie,” Ann said.
“White tie? Now that’s...”
“Really, very, super formal,” Ann said.
Steve laughed. “Okay, I’ll have my tux cleaned. You said you’ll take care of transportation. What about accommodations while we’re there? How can I make arrangements?”
“Oh, you can say at my parents’ place,” Ann said. “Andy and I are there.”
“Will there be enough room? I don’t want to impose.”
“It’s a big place,” Ann assured him.
‘Tell him the truth,’ Pt’this sent.
“Are you sure? Steve asked.
“Ann,” Pt’this said.
She sighed. “My uncle wants me to tell you it’s a palace. We’ve got plenty of guest rooms.”
“A palace? Do I need formal wear for the rest of the time?”
“No. You can wear what you want. Andy’s been wearing jeans mostly. If you feel like bringing suits for dinner that’s fine, but they won’t be like any fashion we have here, so it’s no big deal. Oh, I would recommend no shorts. It has a tendency to freak out the maids.”
“Maids? You’re serious aren’t you?”
“Yes. It’s a real palace.”
“Are you and your family nobles or royalty or something?”
“My parents are the king and queen,” Ann finally admitted.
“Really?” Steve asked.
“Really.” Ann nodded.
“You’re not messing with me?”
“Nope,” Ann assured him.
“Okay then. No shorts. How about Carla? Have you talked with her yet?”
“Well,” Ann said slowly. “I did, but I think she may have, um, been having Irish coffee this morning.”
Steve sighed. “I’ll check on her and let her know she wasn’t dreaming.”
“Oh shades, I forgot to tell her about the shorts. She’s better off with slacks or long dresses. Can you tell her please?”
“Women wear those things too?” Pt’this asked.
“Uncle! Go away!” Ann cried.
Steve laughed. “There’s always one in every family isn’t there? I’ll tell her.”
“I need to get going,” Ann said. She could see Nim was getting tired.
“Okay. See you in a week,” Steve said.
Once the scrying was done, Nim needed to rest. He lay down in what had once been Kith’s room. Ann and her uncle, still in elf form decided to check on the others.
On the way, Pt’this asked, “What’s Irish coffee?”
“Coffee with whiskey,” Ann said.
“Whiskey? Sounds like something you’d like.”
“Perhaps, if I drank coffee or wanted to get drunk in the morning, which is extremely rare.”
“She was drunk?” Pt’this asked.
Ann nodded. “It seemed like it. She has a bigger problem than you think I have.”
“You do have a problem,” Pt’this insisted.
“Yes, but it isn’t alcohol,” Ann said.
The admission surprised Pt’this.
Bob had been running every eye test he could think of to keep Andy occupied. He was also curious as to what the cause was. However, he couldn’t find it or a solution.
“As for as his magic, I’d like to say it was repairable. However, the only healer I’ve ever known with that kind of skill hasn’t been seen in five hundred years.”
Ann and Pt’this glanced at each other. “Thailyn?” Pt’this asked.
Bob nodded. “If he were still around, perhaps he’d find the problem with those eyes too,”
They found Sapphire and Dae sitting outside a section of caves that were normally unused. Dae was in her elf form, and she hugged all three of them.
“I’m glad you could come,” she said.
“We weren’t exactly given a choice, but it’s good to be here, to see everyone,” Ann said. She heard movement in the next room. “Hello, Ti,” she called out.
“Go away,” was the reply.
“Ti, watch your manners,” Dae said sharply.
There was a grunt from the other room.
“Don’t mind him. He’s irritable because this is taking longer than expected. When they removed the burned skin, they found he was closer to two months until shedding. He isn’t looking so bad but he still very sensitive,” Dae explained. “Changing form and being around all the others was a bit uncomfortable.
“How are you doing?” Andy asked.
“I’m okay. I can’t feel most of it. The nice thing about shedding is it doesn’t come through the bond. His parents have been helping care for him too so I can continue with classes. We’ve been trying to keep Ti caught up, so he doesn’t get too far behind.” Then she whispered loudly, “He’s pretty stubborn though.”
“I heard that,” Ti called from the other room.
“You were supposed to,” Dae said with a gleam in her eye.
They spoke a while longer before Ann said they needed to get back to the palace. “Sapphire and I have a dress fitting.”
“I do?” Sapphire said surprised.
Ann nodded. “Mother picked out a couple of dresses for you and is having them made. Whichever one you don’t pick for the wedding will get finished later for some other event.”
Sapphire stared at her, stunned.
“I almost married your dad. You’re her granddaughter,” Ann said with a smile.
Pt’this put his arm around her. “Just go with it. You know how stubborn Tylan can be,” he said to her softly.
Nim surprised them all by saying he was returning to Sen-gan too. “Andy’s been here almost two months. He’s had almost no training. I no longer have an apprentice. I have time, and I enjoy teaching. I’m not saying I’m taking him on as an apprentice, but I’ll be able to teach him the basics better than a mage.”
“I would be extremely grateful,” Andy said. “So far I’ve been working mostly by instinct.”
“Pt’this, do you feel up to transporting us? I’m a little drained.” Nim asked.
“I can’t do five people. Even at my best, I couldn’t do more than four. We’ll have to fly. It’s good exercise for Ann.”
The three dragons took true form. Andy started out with Ann but ended up having to switch to Nimitinas partway through the flight when Ann couldn’t carry him any longer.
“Is she still avoiding changing,” Nim asked Pt’this.
“She is. She feels people will think she’s odd looking because of her color.”
“I’m a freak,” Ann said.
“Nonsense. Ann, you need to change more. You need to go flying, breathe fire, use those muscles you don’t have while a human being. You and I will go flying each day until you can fly to the Retamlic Forest in one day.” Nim said. You have one week.
Ann realized he was right. She couldn’t expect him to fly the three of them all that way. She’d have to be able to fly the whole way herself and probably carry Carla too. Theoretically, Nim should be able to transport them there and back however he needed to save his magic in case they ran into a problem while on Andy’s world. And few people could transport four people. She didn’t know if Nim could or not.
When they reach the palace, Ann and Sapphire hurried off to their fitting. Pt’this wanted to come to see the dress, but Ann insisted he couldn’t. “Andy believes it’s bad luck. Besides, I don’t want you in there. Half the time we’re barely covered.”
“Okay, now I really want to come.” Pt’this grinned.
“Hey now,” Andy said.
“Not to see Ann.”
“Why don’t you, Andy, and Nim go and relax. Figure out what you’re going to wear. We can surprise each other.” Sapphire suggested. “We did say we’d go along with some of Andy’s traditions. This is one he really wants.”
Pt’this nodded, and they went to find the tailor to discuss what they should wear.