Once Upon a Time – Chap. 10.2

How did that little box do this?” Sylvia examined one of the bread slices before taking a cautious bite into it. “Is it like an oven?”

Precisely!” Uncle Albert pointed toward the open slots on the top of his contraption. “When the slices go in here and the lever is pressed down, the wires toast the bread by heating it on both sides.”

How do the wires generate heat?” asked V, looking around the box. “I don’t see any fire.”

Seth shrugged. “Magic of course.”

Not magic!” Uncle Albert slapped a hand down on the table and lifted up a thick black wire that ran from the metal box to a smaller and flatter wooden box on the other end of the table. Inside the second box resided six glass jars with foil lining their sides and a brass rod running up through cork stopper on the top of each jar. “I’ve stored an electrical current in these jars. When I press down the lever on my machine, the current generates the power needed for the wires to produce heat.” He tossed the other slice of toast still in his hand to Seth. “And I can control how long the wires heat my slices using a dial I have on the machine.”

Seth nodded slowly while Uncle Albert pointed enthusiastically at a dial just above the toaster’s lever. “Ah, I see.” He handed his piece of toast to Bastiick, whispering, “It’s magic.”

It’s not magic.” Uncle Albert issued his retort this time with a drawn out groan of defeat. “Anyhow, I understand the plan of this group is to seek out the other supposed magical components I died for?”

Well, my original plan was to stay here like mother’s letter instructed and work on a spell to find out what happened to the village,” said Sylvia, finishing off the last bite of her toast. “But I think the vampire queen is right about the stone puzzle being part of that.”

Sylvia, there aren’t any spells going to be done in my house but you’re more than welcome to go hunting the countryside for your rocks. In fact, I have something here that may prove they are, magic or not, fairly interesting.” Uncle Albert reached over and placed another strange box in front of the toaster. This one was a forearm’s length, bearing a triangular block of glass in its center and three small mirrors in the top right corner. “A section in father’s journal spoke about something called a black light. It was a special type of lamp he owned before becoming stranded in this land. I’ve tried to emulate what he described but have yet to figure out how to turn any form of illumination black. The device was apparently capable of creating ultra violent light, so perhaps it’s best I haven’t succeeded.”

How can light become violent?” asked V. “Does that mean it could attack someone?”

I have no idea,” admitted Uncle Albert with a shrug. “Though I noticed he misspelled violent in every reference, so perhaps he was not in a sound state of mind when making that particular entry.”

Sounds like he was in the state of mind for dangerous magical contraptions,” muttered Bastiick.

My father was not a blasted magician, he was a scientist!” Uncle Albert slid a thin white wooden board to one end of his box and placed one of the room’s lanterns near the other side. “And this is my closest approximation to the black light device he described.”

Ah I see,” said Deigen, leaning in with V to inspect it. “And what does this magical device do?”

Uncle Albert silently glared at him while extending a hand toward his niece. “Sylvia, may I see that pendant of yours again? If it is indeed like the fragment I studied, there is a peculiar property all of them may possess.” He gave another inspection, nodding to himself. “Ah, yes, yours has those same variances. I imagine you’ve only seen blackish rock until now but take a closer look at it.”

Sylvia stepped back as her uncle practically shoved the pendant under her nose. Squinting her eyes, she realized there were tiny orange-brown specks in her pendant. “There’s another type of rock mixed in with it.”

Which I believe to be a natural occurrence but an intriguing one nonetheless.” Uncle Albert placed the pendant on the white board and pushed the lantern closer to the box. Fiddling with the mirrors near the top, he managed to direct the light until a miniature rainbow appeared on the board. “Now, you see how there are several colors formed from the light passing through my prism, here.”

The same can be done with water in a glass,” said V, unimpressed.

Yes, but-” Uncle Albert pointed at the prism, “-this is no ordinary glass but a large piece of quartz. I’ve found that it not only helps show all these lovely hues but, if you continue giving a more careful eye to the stone here-” he moved his hand down to the board, pushing Sylvia’s pendant along the rainbow until it passed beyond the side filled with blues and purples, “-it is what would otherwise be unseen that is of interest.”

Sylvia gasped as the brownish flecks in the stone became bright green shards of light. “They’re glowing!”

So the pendant and other stones are magical!” exclaimed Seth as he and Bastiick jumped forward to join the rest of the awestruck group.

Oh, I’m certain this pendant does have some history involving magic, but what you’re seeing is a natural phenomenon.” Uncle Albert moved his hands from the pendant back to area of the board bathed in blue and purple light. “I’ve discovered some other objects give off strange colors when passing this region as well, including other rocks.” The zombie crossed his arms and nodded at his device. “My theory is that there must be properties of objects which are not visible plainly to our eyes. Perhaps some form of light exist on either side of the rainbow there, beyond what we see. That same invisible light has the capability to reveal unseen mysteries of objects such as the pendant. It’s truly remarkable!” Uncle Albert looked back up and let out a long sigh at the five faces of blank stares he received in response. “Fine, it’s magic.”


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