• martianshore

Part 1- The Autumn Flower

Updated: Aug 26


Auic

The first red leaves of the season fell on that cold morning. Auic woke up with a red nose, the temperature had dropped significantly during the night. But it looked like it would be a warmer day, with clear skies. Perfect for collecting the herbs she would need for the new potion. It was also the season for a particularly rare flower that she was certain that this time would make her new spell work. She put on her maroon robe, which matched perfectly with the wood on those mountains, and left the room, humming.

- Someone is in a good mood! - Said Venus, happy to see her friend smiling, a sighting almost as rare as the autumn flowers.

- How could I not be! The final ingredient finally blooming! Here, get some well-deserved sunbath. - Answered Auic, taking Venus pot from the counter and placing her on the window sill. Venus stretched her leaves and opened her mouth waiting for breakfast. Soon enough a fly fell for her trap and was munched with gusto.

Auic watched the scene with a mix of sadness and disgust.

- How can you enjoy this? - She asked in disbelief, even though she has seen this happen a million times.

- Technically I was made to like this, it’s just as good as eating a pizza! - Venus said. giggling and waited…

- HEY! - an outraged scream came from the oven. Auic laughed a little and opened the oven door. - Can you stop these jokes, please? I am the only pizza allowed in this house, and I shall not be eaten. - Peter came flying out of it, he knew it was a joke, but sometimes the fear of being eaten got real.

- C’mon, you can hardly complain about these jokes when you choose to sleep in the oven. - Said Auic, while Venus laughed.

Peter opened his mouth to reply, but he hadn’t thought of an argument for that yet.

- Well, Peter, here is your yeast, Venus I think you really found the perfect spot for breakfast… and some jam and bread for me!

- I never saw you so excited for breakfast before… - Peter said.

- Well, I’ve been reading, and I found something new! A very well-written article about the Autumn Hyacinth and its powers. I also found multiple spells which use that particular flower, and I believe at least two of them are worth trying, plus the one I’ve been creating myself!

Peter and Venus exchanged worried looks. This has been going on for years now, the spells never worked. They were getting tired and worried about Auic too. This obsession couldn’t be healthy.

- Maybe… we could just enjoy this fall…? - Said Peter cautiously.

- Yeah… maybe we can focus on pumpkin recipes instead of autumn flowers spells…? - Continued Venus.

- No! - Auic answered immediately. - There is no enjoying while I can’t get this right. How could I? Please, just let me try, I feel… I feel like this time I can actually make it work, and then after that… we can enjoy ourselves together.

- Ok… But this has to be the last time… - Said Venus, a little defeated.

- It will be when it works. - Said Auic, with a forced smile. And with that, she bit into her bread and chewed, as loudly as possible to indicate that this conversation was over.

They didn’t finish eating in silence because Peter hated uncomfortable silences, and quickly found a way to stir the conversation back to pizza jokes, and funny things. He proudly accepted the role of being the tension breaker, he always had a way to make laughter appear in any room he was in, and they would have never lasted this long without his lighthearted attitude. Auic was certainly the most intense, but Venus could hit a nerve on a bad day, and that was an explosive mixture.

After breakfast, Auic cleaned everything with Peter. He was surprisingly helpful for a flying pizza. Venus watched since she couldn’t do much. They sang together, washed some dishes, and dusted the shelves. Of course with magic, it would have been way faster, but even though Auic was always studying it, magic for her was a mission. Never to be used for leisure, or to get away from chores.

-I am leaving, probably going north to look for the flowers, does anyone want to come? - Said Auic. She was now wearing a brown long sleeve dress, along with a wool coat and a leather bag. She also was wearing her belt, which had spaces for potion bottles, herbs, tools, and all kinds of small items. All empty, so she could collect as many useful bits as she could find. Many times Venus and Peter would come along, especially for Venus it was an opportunity to see new environments, but today both said no. Auic was a bit sad to not have company, but she was still in a good mood and left without complaining.

Someone walking in those woods would probably have jumped in fear to see a woman coming out of what looked like a very normal tree. Auic had built the house in a cave, by a tree, in such a manner that the tree was her doorway. The door was cut following the bark pattern. Only a very trained eye would distinguish the construction from its surroundings. At least from the front, because from the other side the window would give it away. She took a left and walked north. For a second or two, she let herself feel amazed by the colors of the leaves, the perfect cold of the fall, and the sun rays filtering through the treetops. Then she shook her head and focused on the path ahead, looking around now and then to try to spot the Autumn Hyacinth.

Meanwhile, in the house, Peter and Venus were sitting by the window talking about the failed attempt at a conversation over breakfast.

-We can try again later… You know the power of a new season. - Said, Peter.

-I know… But you would think she would give up by now. How long has it been?

- 5 years I think. Yesterday. Or maybe today?

-See? I just want her to stop. She needs to rest, we need to rest. This is not the way I want to live…- Said Venus sadly, looking out the window.

- I agree… But how can we make her listen, how can we once and for all prove to her that we’re not…- Peter didn’t finish his sentence because Venus gasped.

A man was walking in the woods. In all the time they lived there they had only heard people very, very far away and certainly never saw anyone. Especially not this close. He was tall and very thin, He looked like he had been traveling for a long time, his clothes were dirty and thorn, and he had his arms around his stomach. The man heard Venus’ gasp and turned to see where it came from, the window was not very high, and as hidden as it could be, it was still a window, and before Peter could close it the man ran in their direction with wide eyes. He tried to grab Peter, who managed to escape at the last second, but the man didn’t give up and climbed the window into the house, now screaming: PIZZA! And toppling Venus pot over, breaking it.

-OH NO, YOU CAN NOT EAT ME! - Peter screamed back, while his worst nightmare became reality.

It took a few seconds for the man to register that the pizza answered him, and when that happened he froze on his spot.

-This pizza talks? - He asked, still dumbfounded, almost expecting that he would wake up from a fever dream. But instead, he received an answer. Again.

- YES I TALK, GET BACK - Said Peter still screaming, getting as far away from the man as possible.

- He talks, and I need help! - Said Venus, from the floor. - If you are so hungry… mister, we can provide you with real food.

- Oh, Yes, I am sorry, I would very much enjoy that. - Said the man, now looking around and realizing what he had done. - I am deeply sorry, I have been traveling… it’s been days or weeks since I left the last village, I ran out of food… and water…

Peter brought a new pot for Venus and asked the man to put her in, carefully. He made sure to keep a very safe distance between them. Then he put together some bread, jam, some leftover rice, and dried meat for him, along with a big jug of water.

- I am Arcandor, by the way. Once again, I am sorry for trying to eat you. - He said looking at Peter between bites. - And for breaking your pot - he said looking at Venus, who had been staring at him the whole time.

- Nice to meet you Arcandor - said Venus, politely.

- I am afraid I can’t say the same… I am Peter - said Peter, grumpy.

- We are not used to receiving… guests.- Venus continued after glancing at Peter. - How have you… - she started, but then changed her mind and said: - what brings you to these woods?

- I studied at the kingdom over the purple sea, and when I came back, I found out one of my oldest friends had disappeared. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. So I’ve been looking for her.

- Oh, she is very lucky to have such a good friend…- Venus said. Peter looked at her as if she was a traitor. He still couldn’t believe they were fraternizing with a guy that just tried to eat him. And NOT as a joke!

- I guess… I just don’t see how they could give up on the search.

- Yeah… - Venus answered, not really sure what else to say.

Peter was observing all this and praying to the universe that Auic took all the time in the world to find those damned flowers because it would be very, very hard to explain why this guy was in their house. Hopefully, he would finish eating and go on his merry way before she got home, but today was not his lucky day, and just right after he finished formulating his prayer, he heard hurried steps and Auic opened the door.

- I found it! I found it! It was all around the… - She was saying excitedly until her eyes met with Arcandor’s and her smile melted into fear and then rage.

- WHO ARE YOU? - Auic screamed and reached for the knife that she carried around mostly to cut plants. Then she looked at Peter and Venus who didn’t seem to be too bothered by the man’s presence. - What is happening here? - she asked Peter, who was closest to her. And now he was considering what was more fearsome: Angry Auic or hungry Acandor.

- This… Gentleman tried to eat me but we gave him some proper food so that no one would be murdered. - Peter explained hurriedly. Auic cautiously walked over to the kitchen table, without losing eye contact with Arcandor, pointing the knife at him.

- His name is Arcandor. He is a traveler, he was very hungry and that is why he attacked peter… But we solved that. He is looking for a friend. - Venus complemented the story.

- Well, I am sure that whoever he is looking for is not here. - Said Auic. - Please, leave.

- Or maybe, we could let him finish his meal first… - said Venus.

Auic looked at her, fuming, and then realized she was in a different vase. Instantly worried, she rushed toward Venus, not forgetting to point the knife at Arcandor, who couldn’t help but keep eating, slowly.

-Are you alright?

- Yes, it was an accident. - Venus replied.

- Do you need more dirt? Water? - Auic continued checking to see if all of her leaves were on the right place.

-No, I am fine…

-You’re lucky too, to have such good friends. - Arcandor commented, seeing that Auic was so caring. Scary, but still.

-Shhh! - Auic said, going towards Arcandor and putting the knife on his throat. She couldn’t help but notice that he had indeed kind eyes. She then realized she was way too close to him and took a few steps back. - I guess… you can finish eating… but then you leave. And mentions to no one what you saw here.

-Fine with me, this was not one of my proudest moments, for sure.

-Great!

For 10 minutes Auic stayed in the kitchen, staring at the man, afraid he would try anything. But he was too focused on eating to even bother about doing anything else. Then, Peter mentioned the flowers, and Auic jumped up from her seat, she had to treat them to be able to use them, and the fresher they were the better. She grabbed some books and started working on the flowers in the leaving room, looking up from time to time to check on the intruder. She asked Peter to also keep an eye on him, so he stayed in the kitchen with Venus.

-Is she always this intense? - asked Arcandor, in a whisper.

-Oh yes, and it’s been a long time we haven’t interacted with people…- said Venus.

-And especially ones that try to eat one of us… - Completed Peter.

-Again, I am deeply sorry.- Said Arcandor looking guilty, Peter almost felt bad for him. - I will make it up to you, as soon as I can. Is there anything you guys need?

-Not really… - said Venus.

-Actually… I would love a wheel of cheese. Yes, that would be fantastic. - Said Peter, he had been thinking about this for some time, since the cheese on top of him was getting dry and old. He could not miss this chance.

-Great! - said Arcandor. - Just point me to the next village, and I will make sure to bring it back to you!

They lived in such a secluded spot that the explanation of how to get to the next village worked like a sedative, and Arcandor fell asleep. His head touched the table with a thud. Auic looked up, Venus and Peter gave her yellow smiles.

-Great. - Auic said ironically.

They moved Arcandor to the sofa with some difficulty, and Auic did not make an effort to be careful with him, and almost woke him up. Then she changed her attention to the potions and spells she needed to make. She was able to prepare 2 servings of one of the potions, and after they had dinner she presented the bottles to them.

-Here it is!! The autumn hyacinth transmutation potion!

- Yay…- said peter faking enthusiasm.

-Camon… it can't be worse than the tarantula transmutation potion… - said Venus.

-That’s almost the spirit, Venus, thank you. - Auic answered, and then continued, looking at a very heavy book on top of the table. - Here it says you have to drink after I recite the first three words. Who wants to go first?

-Let’s get this over with… said Peter flying forward, getting closer to one of the bottles with the brown glowy liquid.

Auic started reciting the spell, and after the first three words Peter drank it, at first nothing happened, but then, his cheese started to bubble, and the pepperoni sizzled a bit. They looked impressed. He started to get bigger, his dough stretched as much as it could, and right before it could rip, everything stopped and he fell flat on the table. Venus swallowed hard. Auic ran to talk to Peter, he was grunting, in pain. She started gathering him, some of the pepperonis had fallen over, and the dough was slowly coming back to its round shape. No human parts in sight.

-Are you ok? - Auic asked

- I feel a little… - Peter couldn’t finish because he pucked some raw dough.

- Oh no… - Auic whispered- she grabbed some flour, a clean kitchen towel and made a bed for Peter, then she carefully put him in it. She sat down, defeated.

- I will not be drinking that… - said Venus.


*********************************

To be continued!


This story was built based on suggestions on my instagram @martianshore


Season: Fall

Scenery: Mountain

Has magic in this world: Yes

Why does she look anoyed: Sentient venus flytrap and Annoying flying pizza

Hero or Vilain: It was a draw so people suggested an Antihero



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