Chapter 8:

Kris's Interventions

One Wish They Never Wanted


"I-I'm not going to that! I can't! I don't go to school anymore!" Takuma barked at Ember, causing her to snap out of her daze with a series of rapid blinks.

"Well, I'm sorry I have clairvoyant dreams!" Ember growled back at him, her exclamation clearly sarcastic.

Quartz kept looking at Takuma's row of figures, especially a fairy with a rose-coloured bob in a green dress that slightly looked like Ember and a dark-and-spiky-haired suited fairy that somewhat resembled himself, and looked up at the spine of one of the volumes of manga to see identical characters.

As Ember began to interrogate Takuma about how he knew about fairies and the human accused "The Familiar of Forty", the male fairy curled up into a ball, sticking his wings right up against the books for support. His mind wandered back to when he'd first found out part of the forest was suddenly gone and a wooden lodge was in its place. He'd peered into the one of the lodge's windows and found a redheaded teenager there, probably no older than the human age of fourteen or fifteen, looking up into the rainforest canopy to see him.

"Hey! It's a fairy! Fumika, come see this!" the boy had cried, taking a sudden swipe at him with his left hand. The fairy had flitted out of his reach, too scared to grab any gems to erase the boy's memory or do other such countermeasures.

"You're seeing weird things again. Honestly, how were you able to get a minor role in a TV drama before I even made my writing debut when you're so often off with the fairies, both literally and metaphorically?" a female voice, about the boy's age, had sighed as Ember had come to drag him to his tree hollow home...

...and the human boy had watched the two fairies as they fluttered away.
----
Meanwhile, Kris was a whole ocean away, trying his best to "read" the newest Japanese volume of manga on the icy-cold tiled floor of his female friend Fumika's apartment. The woman in a grey tracksuit was sitting at a table covered in a beige silken fabric (it was fairly obvious it was a kotatsu, judging from the warmth creating mini heatwaves in the cramped space), furiously scratching drawings on to paper while assistants filled in backgrounds and details around her. Fumika occasionally took reprieves from her work to point out what she wanted to the assistants, but Kris couldn't make heads or tails of it because it was in Japanese.

"This is great, Fumika!" he finally hollered in English after snapping shut the volume he was "reading". The redhead could make out the whisperings of two of the male assistants near him, so he knew he was probably being a nuisance to them by not calling her "Fumika-san" or "Fumika-sensei", but he ignored them. He flipped through the volume he had and jabbed a finger at the manga's suited protagonist on a page near the end of the book, "Saijou has his wing in an awkward position here and his tie's got three stripes, not two." He changed pages to one near the middle of the volume to point this out. "Charlotte," he switched to the back cover and pointed to the pink-haired character's almost-bare leg, "is missing a buckle on her holster as well as certain stripes on her wings you normally remember."

There was no reply, only the humming of the kotatsu and the scratching of pens.

A short while later, Fumika slammed her palm on the kotatsu and vigorously shoved the last page to an assistant, gabbering final commands in a pace that was clearly too fast for English. Her movements had caused her dark ponytail to sway behind her in a pendulum-like motion.

"Alright, you famous lout," she finally told the celebrity in lightly accented English, fiddling with a white cord located near her neck. Her thin face was downright serious as her brown eyes, peering through her dark fringe, met Kris's green ones. "You're not my editor or my manager. You're just someone I met during an arts degree in university. So why is it you have the audacity to drop by this studio every time you come to Japan, and you have to point out insignificant errors in my work when you do?!" Her voice had risen with every syllable and crescendoed on the last, leaving the air as frigid as it could have been without the kotatsu humming between them and the assistants quietly scurrying to leave. Fumika sighed and settled in closer to the table, trying to hide herself under the blanket. "My editor'll be here in about half an hour and I know there's a crowd outside waiting for you. Go humour them," she mumbled, her voice muffled due to it being covered by the blanket.

"Well, 'Hiromasa Mutsumi' is both of us, isn't it?" Kris dangled the volume of manga on top of her nose lightly to annoy her. "I came up with the concept and main characters, you handled the rest...Having someone like me try to do something like this is outrageous when I can't write for beans-"

He halted his conversation when he heard only Fumika's soft snores in reply. Geez, that woman. She always wanted to be a writer, so why wasn't she indebted to him? The second time he'd seen Quartz (the male fairy was living with the spiders on the lodge windowsill, as he tended to do) he'd invited the fairy inside, learnt about the spells the fairy's gems were capable of and accidentally miscast his first reversal spell - instead of getting Fumika to win the writing competition she'd entered into, it made her adapt her story into a manga format and, inadvertently, it landed her a job as a mangaka instead. In the end, she was still a writer though...in a sense...

The crowd Fumika mentioned was getting rowdy enough to hear over the kotatsu now, but the man ignored them when he turned the volume's front cover back to him. Charlotte and Saijou were looking upwards, beyond the title of the manga - "The Familiar of Forty" - into the nonexistent heavens, their wings outstretched, their faces away from each other and their fingers intertwined on their visible side.

He then pulled on his brown overcoat and yanked out multiple tear-shaped gems of Ember's golden reversal magic, watching the clear rocks and glittering content sparkle in the heatwaves. With an incantation of the reversal spell, he made himself invisible to the crowd before sneaking out of the apartment.


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