Once Upon a Time – Chap. 21.1


Serena waved her arms in the air while spitting out phrases that did a much better job of rhyming with each other than they did in regards to making sense. There was a book included in this spectacle – the spell book retrieved from Sylvia, which now sat atop a wooden podium while bad poetry and flailing limbs continued over it.

“And together you shall be again!” Serena froze her outstretched arms on either side after proudly finishing the last verse. Rather than any display of a spell having actually been cast, the magician appeared to be readying herself to take flight.

“I don’t think that worked,” called out Kirkaronus from across the room at the little table he sat at. Not that he would be likely to notice any success on his fellow Keeper’s part; he was far more interested in writing on a sheet a paper than devote any amount of real attention to her.

“Obviously!” Serena fumed while assuming her typical stance of both hands firmly glued to her hips. “Not that you’re being very helpful with any of these spells! What exactly are you doing to further advancement of our eventual dominion over the world?”

“Practicing my signature. If I’m going to rule over everyone I should have a fancy signature for when I sign things into law and whatnot. Signet rings are so passé. I’m just working on the first name for now.” Kirkaronus held up the paper he’d been working on to reveal his name written several times and in various styles, some more legible than others. “Though I suppose that’s the only one needed since I’ll likely put anyone bold enough to also be named Kirkaronus to death.” He pointed at one the larger scribbles. “I like this the one the best, how about you?”

Serena narrowed her eyes. “I’d throw this book directly at that idiotic head of yours if it weren’t so valuable.”

“Some value.” Kirkaronus resumed his penmanship practice. “It certainly doesn’t seem to be bringing you the remaining puzzle pieces.”

“I must be doing something wrong.” Serena turned and slapped the open book as if to say any lack of achievement on her part was truly its fault. “The one piece I can understand, we have nothing to connect whoever has it to us. But that saucy brat of a magician touched this!” She gave the book another whack. “All of my notes and even these blasted pages say that as long as someone touches an item, I should be able to use that item to summon them to me.”

“Then why in the world”—Kirkaronus stopped writing and rolled his eyes—“did you send that stinking zombie after her?”

“The spell doesn’t work on her for some reason!” Serena again transferred frustration from the book to her equally helpful companion. “Something or someone is blocking me every time I’ve tried!”

Kirkaronus dipped his quill in the bottle at his table for a fresh load of ink and shrugged. “Maybe it’s because her family is supposedly from another world.”

“Oh, I believe she is indeed from another world. I also believe the legend that one of the pendant’s puzzle pieces made its way to that world.” Serena raised her brow and spoke in a tone suggesting she had devious plans for that knowledge. At least her utter failure in being successful in this respect thus far had not diminished her confidence. She continued speaking to Kirkaronus while turning over another page in the book. “Just you wait, I’ll get have that puzzle fragment in our hands. Then there will be only one piece remaining, which we’ll find in a matter of time. And in just a few days, Seth will bring us the pendant that vixen stole. And then soon, very soon, we will rule this world with unstoppable power!” Serena tilted her head back and let out a cackle. “We will be invincible!”

Kirkaronus responded to this proclamation of tyranny with a thumbs up while still writing with his other hand.

“I haven’t tried this version of the spell yet,” Serena muttered to herself, turning two more pages. She raised both arms into position. “Holder of the jagged key that longs to join its home, arrive at once where its maker resides from wherever you now roam!” Serena whirled her head about expectantly for a moment before dropping her arms. “Nothing. Maybe that one’s too short a spell.”

“Eh, say there, Serena.” Kirkaronus rested his chin on an open palm while calling out to her. “I’m assuming the ‘jagged key’ is the missing puzzle fragment and both  ‘its home’  and ‘its maker’ signify the larger puzzle in this instance, correct?”

“Yes.” Serena continued looking around for the other-world ‘holder’ she’d tried to summon. “What of it?”

“The pendant itself currently resides in the hands of your beloved magician whom you sent the zombie off to murder,” he reminded her.

“Graaaggghhhh!” Serena let out a loud wail as she threw the book against a wall.

“Well, look at it this way.” Kirkaronus offered his consolation while fetching a fresh sheet of paper to continue practicing his signature. “If that last spell was any success, your new zombie minion may be bringing you a more completed puzzle than he planned. And perhaps even a new friend.”


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