My mind reconnects with my situation at about the time the sun’s rays penetrate the room through the window. Peering around myself, I only see the immaculate white sheets of the warlock’s bed, nothing more.
“Sir warlock?” I ask groggily. “Where are you?”
I hear some shuffling at the foot of the bed. I assume it’s him. He drops his feet to the ground and walks around the bed to pick me up. As he turns me so that I face him, I gasp in shock.
His puffy red eyes tells me he’s been crying. It’s pretty evident why. His head last night was bald and now he is sporting chin length hair matching his goatee in color. Just this single change makes me pin his age to somewhere in the late twenties rather than the nebulous anywhere from young to sixty his old appearance gave. Just a hair change frames his features in such a different way… Wait, no no no, even his face has changed! There was something almost inherently malevolent in his elongated traits that’s completely missing this morning, like his face’s lankiness has been forcefully squished down.
My silence betrays me. He definitely knows that I have noticed (there goes my plan to pretend to be oblivious). He raises an eyebrow, doing as best he can to look angered through the tired expression.
“You don’t have a curse that makes your appearance outside reflect how you are inside, by any chance?” is my attempt at defusing the situation.
He shakes his head, not taking his eyes off of me.
I sigh. “So one more thing I need to be vigilant about, I suppose…”
“Indeed,” he replies, his voice badly cracking. It doesn’t take two of me to gather that’s why he’s been more silent than usual.
“What do we do, then?” I ask, worried.
He cuts me off with a frown. “We? No. You stay here where you cannot do anything more to me, and I will go search through my books to know what, by the higher powers, is your deal.”
I don’t see myself have much ground to stand on if I try to object. He walks back to the other side of his bedroom, placing me on a table covered with bits and ends of personal belongings.
I use my vantage point to observe the room in more detail than I did last night. It is as crude as the rest of the tower, with little decoration. Next to me on the table is a box of sewing supplies. I guess the warlock didn’t stash it back where it belonged after repairing me yesterday. Besides the bed in front of me, the stairs are to my right, and there is a big, double door closet to my left, which the warlock is currently rummaging through. He settles on a green robe similar to yesterday’s.
“...Good luck?” I tentatively offer as he goes down the stairs.
“Stay out of my hair, Cherry,” he replies without looking back.
This is the first time he has used my name, right? I’m surprised he memorized it from me mentioning it only once.
Since I find myself alone again, I decide to focus on understanding my magical abilities. Twenty four hours ago I didn’t even know I had them, magic users being such a rarity that none had ever set foot in my unremarkable village located in the middle of nowhere. Where would my life be now had I realised I could see and use magic a decade and a half earlier? ...Better not lose myself in a sea of hypotheticals.
So what are the limits of my magic exactly? I know I changed the warlock’s mind and appearance, I know I changed my appearance by taking over a spell no less, and that’s just the things that came so naturally I had almost no control over them.
I’ve still got this stream of magic kind of embedded in him… Now that I think about it, it’s of the same color as the magic “ants” I saw when the warlock opened me. Maybe that’s important?
Anyway! There’s a loose, pale brown button next to me, which probably fell out of the sewing kit. I let a magic filament make its way towards it, wanting to try to lift it up. It would be pretty useful if I could move items around, after all. But the moment the magic makes contact and I try to pick it up, it cracks into wooden shards. Gods, how hard did I grip onto it!? Is this how I got that other spell stuck into the warlock’s lifestream?
Well, seems like telekinesis is not my forte. At least I’m glad I tried that out on an item rather than a living creature… Still, kind of a shame I broke it so spectacularly - And just as I think that, I see my magic turn red, the shards melding back together into a circular slab before the details of the button appear once more. When finally my magic lets it go, the fully repaired button is black, and made of ivory.
That opens up interesting thoughts. I might not be able to lift up items, but… I morph the button to the shape of a caterpillar, then animate it to move towards me before returning it to its previous form.
This seems to be the closest I have to moving things around… My powers are fascinatingly specific. I turn my attention to the bed’s messy sheets. I visualize making the bed by morphing them into a neatly arranged version of themselves, then let my magic try to replicate the mental image. It’s a bit of a hacky way to just move things, I know, but… At first, it seems to work as intended, until halfway through they turn a dark grey with an intricate pattern of pale white flowers sewn onto them.
I’m left even more confused. I swear, I only tried to change their position, so why did their aesthetic change as well…? What can I even guess from this? Am I putting too much energy into it, and after the main task is done the overflow has to go somewhere, so it gets used to change the item? Do I just subconsciously want to change them? At the very least, from how naturally magic works for me, the least I can say is it seems to just work off of what I’m thinking rather than requiring a specific spell. I just feel so out of my depth, these speculations are complete shots in the dark.
I hear the warlock come up the stairs. “Cherry-” he starts before stopping himself. “...What happened to the bed?”
“I was just testing out my powers, but so far I haven’t found a way to move something without also transforming it,” I explain with a disappointed tone. He turns his head towards me and I accidentally yelp in surprise.
He frowns, brings his hand to his face and touches it. When he removes it, some of the dark purple lipstick he is wearing is now staining his fingers… And we also both notice the elegant white cuffs his robe now has. “By the higher beings… That is it. No more magic without my supervision.”
“I’m so sorry!!” I exclaim. “Stupid me, I should’ve expected that, if I can talk to you through a floor of course I can also...! I swear, I didn’t intend for my experiments to change you again!”
He looks at me for a moment with a pitiful expression before exhaling a long sigh. “This is of no importance. We will... I will reverse it all once we are disconnected. That is not what I came upstairs for. It happens that…” His tightens his hand into a fist, biting his lower lip. “I hate to say this, but I need your help.”