Once Upon a Time – Chap. 50.5


Seth bent forward and peered at Wymer as though the man stood a mile away rather than close enough to poke in the eye. “Wymer, are you alright? How do you feel?”

The pudgy henchman glanced at his stomach that growled loud enough for everyone to hear. “Hungry mostly.”

“Of course you’re hungry.” Raynerus waved a hand and reclaimed his top hat, placing it on the table. “That’s just a side effect of having been a zombie and thinking only with your stomach, it’ll pass.”

“No, that’s pretty much his normal state of things actually,” said Deigen.“So the hat worked? You’ve really removed the curse from him then?”

“Well, I suppose we should probably test that to be fully certain.” Raynerus panned his eyes across the kitchen counters and eyed a bag of iced oatmeal cookies lying near the toaster. After grabbing the bag in his right hand, he walked back over to stand next to Aaron on his left.

“Wymer, which would you rather eat? These delicious cookies,” he raised the bag up shoulder level while resting his other arm over Aaron’s shoulders, “or this scrawny and smelly lad here?”

Aaron shoved the shoulder away. “Scrawny and smelly?”

Raynerus shrugged. “In case there’s any remnant of the curse present, it wouldn’t do any good for you to sound appetizing now would it? And I do believe,” he grimaced while leaning in to take a whiff of Aaron, “your continual fright these past few hours and lack of opportunity to apply deodorant have been an unfortunate combination.” He returned his attention to Wymer. “My friend, which would you rather devour?”

Wymer pointed excitedly at the bag of oatmeal cookies. “Those, I’d like to eat those!”

“There, you see?” Raynerus turned to Deigen, V, and Seth. “If the curse weren’t removed, he wouldn’t have chosen the cookies.”
Wymer pouted at the object of his desire being used for example only.

“But I really do want the cookies. Can I have them?”

Raynerus looked at Aaron who gave consent with a nonchalant shrug. After tossing the bag to Wymer, the magician picked up his top hat again with a huge grin. “Dear boy, do you know what this means?”
Aaron raised a brow. “I hope something more substantial than I need to take a shower and buy more cookies.”

“It means that myself and all your unexpected guests can,” Raynerus twirled his top hat in the air, “can go home and finally defeat those megalomaniacs trying to rule over everyone!”
At this, Wymer nearly choked behind him. “Go home? All of us?”

“Well, that was the eventual plan from what I’m told.” Raynerus turned to face him. “Is that a problem?”

“But, but,” Wymer made a loud gulping noise though one couldn’t be sure whether due to swallowing down another bite or simply fear, “I was hoping some of us could stay here. Mainly, me.”

“Wymer,” Raynerus took on the tone of a displeased father, “no one’s saying you couldn’t perhaps visit again but I think it’s imperative for you to return with your friends and me. Otherwise, everyone back home might presume you to be a coward trying to avoid confrontation.”

“I would be okay with that. And besides,” Wymer motioned toward Aaron,“I bet he wouldn’t mind me staying here.”

Aaron became nearly as pasty white at the suggestion as it had upon finding four monsters in his kitchen. “Stay here? I barely know you at all and you wanted to eat me for the majority of the short time I have known you!”

“But that’s wasn’t my fault,” argued Wymer. “I’m not a zombie anymore and I can pull my own weight.” His face skewed with doubt at the second part of his promise. “Eh actually though, the only real job I’ve ever had was being a henchman for evil magicians. I don’t suppose anyone around here has need for that?”

“No.” Aaron crossed his arms. “And you can’t stay here.”

“It’s settled then!” Raynerus raised his top hat triumphantly in the air.

“The five of us shall leave for home immediately and, what the”—he lowered the top hat upon hearing a plop, plop noise as drops of liquid fell on it from the ceiling—“I say, either it’s raining indoors or I do believe there’s a leak somewhere.”

“How could there be a leak?” Aaron looked up at the ceiling in confusion.“Ian’s room is the only above this one and he obviously hasn’t been up there.”

“Oh, that would be our fault,” said V, stepping forward. “Actually my fault. I’m afraid I punctured a giant bag of water with my sword up there upon our arrival.” He sighed deeply before continuing his apology. “It wasn’t my intention to do so, but the thinnest music box I’ve ever seen rested atop that giant bag and it began making horrendous sounds. I sought only to end the unnatural noise in case it was part of some spell and attempt to enchant us.”

“Eh,” Raynerus turned to Aaron to translate, “I presume your friend Ian must own a waterbed and apparently he left his cell phone on top of it. But no worries,” he clapped his hands, “I can take care of that problem and have everything dry as it was before we leave!”

Aaron raised a brow. “You know some sort of magical mojo to clean up a water bed flooding the room?”

“Well, it’s meant more for correcting broken dams and the like but,” Raynerus shrugged his shoulders while leading the way upstairs, “same principle really. Helps when fighting off trickster river nymphs and swamp rats too.”


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