“Gonna wake up so sore tomorrow,” Lup complained, brows drawn together from the pain of moving her shoulders at all.
“It’s been raining for twenty days straight on this shithole planet,” Taako, caked in mud, whined back before disappearing into the bathroom that connected their adjoining rooms.
He snapped the door shut with deliberate force to punctuate how pissy the day’s events left him. Lup didn’t blame him. The light of creation appeared late this year, which pushed them to leave their base at the crack of dawn every grey morning to get as much searching done through the rainstorms constantly plaguing this part of the country they stayed in. They spent the day hiking calf-deep in mud through twisted jungle paths, then scaling a mountainside before discovering, upon reaching its peak, it was the wrong fucking mountain. Lup nearly flung herself off the ledge in frustration. Rain or not, they had a mission to finish, and would set out again in less than seven hours.
She’d been in a similar mood as her brother twenty minutes ago, but, exhausted and sore as she was, something about being freshly showered and wrapped up in her bathrobe always lifted her spirits. She collapsed face first into her bed, longing to knock the fuck out.
Her throat was so dry.
Maybe she could ignore it.
No, it was uncomfortably parched.
Lup’s eyes snapped open and she released a frustrated sigh. With every tired muscle complaining, she dragged herself out of bed and down the hallway with plans to chug down a jug of water in record time. The corridor was pitch black, except for one streak of orange light spilling from a door left ajar. They’d been on this ship long enough for Lup to know that was Lucretia’s room, just from its place in the hallway. Naturally, she poked her nose in as she passed.
She saw Lucretia’s back hunched over her desk. Lup could tell she was ready to drop by the tired heaviness in the way her shoulders sagged. She leaned against the doorframe and watched for a couple of minutes, somehow still impressed at the sight of Lucretia writing with two hands simultaneously even after all this time.
Lucretia paused at the sound of a voice in her doorway and looked over her shoulder. She didn’t put the quills in her hands down. “Hey?”
“What are you doing?” Lup traipsed in and sat herself right on the edge of the desk. “How d’you have the energy for this right now?”
“I don’t know if I do have it,” Lucretia said, darting a panicked look at Lup’s legs nearly knocking over an inkwell as they crossed. “But I won’t have time to do it in the morning.”
She went back to her journaling. Her handwriting was lovely in both books.
“Thought you gave up this nerdy stuff now that you’re a badass who comes on missions with us.”
“You thought wrong,” she said without looking up. Her voice had a careless, flat edge to it that implied ‘Fuck off, Lup.’ Old Lucretia would have softened that. New Lucretia was awesome.
New Lucretia slid sixty yards down a mountainside when the ground, soft and heavy with moisture, collapsed out from under her today and didn’t even seem freaked out about it when she caught up to the team. She had to be more exhausted than any of them.
“Are you coming with tomorrow?”
“Have you stayed up every night doing this? Jesus, Lucretia, put the quill down and go the fuck to sleep.”
She dutifully ignored Lup hovering over her and continued writing away. Lup plucked the quill out of her right hand. Lucretia’s head snapped up to pierce her with a sharp look. It was a good one, for a moment Lup felt like she was actually in trouble.
“Give me that.” Lucretia held her palm out expectantly.
Lup slapped a low five on it with her free hand.
“Lup.” She reached for it and Lup raised her hand to hold it just out of reach.
Lucretia’s fingers swiped higher and nearly caught it this time. Lup clamped the quill between her teeth.
“Let’s tango,” she said through clenched teeth, feeling like a dancer holding a rose in their mouth.
“Fine.” Lucretia dropped her hand and fell back into her seat.
Victory! She’s giving up and going to be–The quill ripped itself out from between Lup’s teeth with a vicious yank. It floated right back into Lucretia’s fingers.
“What the–” Bits of feather stuck to the the tip of her tongue and the roof of her mouth, and she sputtered clumsily for a moment, trying to spit them out. “Did you fuckin’ Mage Hand me?”
“I don’t know, did I,” Lucretia wondered out loud to her notebook, which she turned her focus to again.
An impish smile broke over Lup’s face, but Lucretia was too busy looking down at the page to see it. Seconds later, a transparent hand appeared over the quill and pushed its stem. Her elegant handwriting jerked mid-word.
“Seriously, Lup? Grow up.” Lucretia tried to carry on unbothered.
“Yikes, what does that even say? Put it down, you’re obviously tired.” Mage Hand pushed the quill again, ruining another word.
Lucretia carried on despite the fumbles in her text. “I’m fine!”
Mage Hand clamped itself around hers, dragging Lucretia’s fist over the page. The current sentence read: The aboriginal race native to forests of our expedition has the misfortune ofSLEEPliving amongst the only known LUCREsource oTfA GOthe deliTO SLciousEEP Hama root.
Lucretia made a tiny, distressed noise in her throat at the garbled mess taking over her page. “Let go of me!”
“I’m not touching you,” Lup answered in a familiar, playful voice that was usually reserved for Taako.
“Why are you even here? Get out of my room!”
“Aww, are you an only child, Lucretia?”
The root is a delicacy throughout thHEYcontrolling empires. Colonial farming operationsFUCKINencroach uponSTOtPhe jungles that the peaceful LanzaroHEtesYYYcall home.
Mage Hand dissipated at the end of its time limit and Lucretia sighed, relieved. Lup immediately recast it.
“You stop,” Lup insisted.
Though colonizers met resistance from THEIRtheCLOGGED ASSHOLES native population, the taste of COCK the Hama root was so beloved that entire divisions were sent overseas to suSUCCppress the uprising.
“Lup, this is important!”
“Oh my god, I know. What happened after the succ?”
“This is a historically significant culture with very little documentation!”
“It’s like fantasy mad libs, but not even fun. Sad libs.”
The operation is well known as a historical embarrassment, as tHEIR DICKS WERE SO DAMN SMALL IN COMPARISON TOthe Lanzarotes’ prowess in stealth prevented the military from ever fully suppressing theLUST OF the native population.
“Fine, I give up.”
“Oh, no you don’t.”
“No?” Lucretia tried to drop the quill, but Mage Hand kept its fingers wrapped tight around hers, trapping it in her hand.
“I need to know what happened with the sexual revolution! You have a duty—”
“Let me go!”
“—To the people—”
“I want to stop now!”
“—Lucretia. Do you really?”
Mage hand took over the text while Lucretia’s fingers went limp and desperately tried to wriggle out of its grip. The story continued: THE LAZNAROTES ARE MOST NOTABLE FOR HOW MANY WAYS THEY CAN DICK YOU DOWN.
“What are you doing?”
“Holy shit, Lucretia, how do you even know that?”
“That’s not even true.”
IT’S COMPLETELY TRUE.
“Lup, this is a first hand source—it’s an archival document, you can’t just—”
BELOW IS AN EXPLICIT FIRST HAND ACCOUNT FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. FOR I, LUCRETIA, AM NOT ONLY A COMITTED PUBLIC SERVANT, BUT ALSO A SEXUALLY ADVENTUROUS CHRONICLER FOR THE ANALS OF HISTORY.*annals *committe*NO. ANALS.
“Wait,” Lup paused. “Are you spellchecking me?”
“Hm? I’m curious where this is going.”
In the midst of Lup’s shock and delight, the hand let go of Lucretia. “You wanna read some x-rated jungle smut about you?!”
Lucretia pushed the messed up journal toward her, its open pages scattered with their messy, inconsistent joint handwriting. “You can take this with you if you need some time to work on it.”
“Ha, I knew I could make you give up on the boring shit.”
“Oh, no. No, I already wrapped that up.” Her left hand closed the journal it had been writing in and gave the cover a light pat.
Oh, fuck. Lup was so concentrated on messing with Lucretia, she didn’t think about the second book. It never crossed her mind that Lucretia could possibly maintain focus on serious writing with her left hand at the same time that she dealt with Lup being ridiculous on her right. Could it be… Old Lucretia was also a secret badass all along?
“Touché, you slutty annalist. I’m coming back tomorrow night.”
After several months of planning, scheming and shenanigans, Mage was standing proudly outside of their newly opened store which bore the name of “THE STORE”.
They waved to Shanna who was assigned to work at the register as they walked outside with a huge bundle of flyers. Each flyer proudly proclaimed all the different services offered at the Store including but not limited to:
Hexes, cosmetic service, polymorphic services, blessings, potions and much more.
Mage didn’t care much for the style of the flyers but Shanna had been far too happy at her work for Mage to let her down. They laid the flyers on the ground and focused on them.
For a moment nothing happened.
Then suddenly the flyers took off into the air turning into so many different birds as they did and flew away from them. Mage’s spell was designed to appeal to these “Bosses” they had heard about in this strange place of Bossville. They tried to keep track of the birds they saw: peacocks, sparrows, hawks and so many more.
They just loved it when a spell took off well. Now time for a book and a nap.