Belladonna went She-Hulk on her bestie Prim because girl was totes harbouring a fairy fugitive that turned out to be a child-sized Persephone (of Themysimran Seer fame), and her matched set of loin fruit.
Seems Ms. Prim has been messing with fairy ju-ju and needed some real talk and possibly an intervention? And we got to meet Oly’s dad, who was definitely the most normal/sensible person in the whole room!
Also, maybe Prim’s cat turned into a guy.
Whatever, because then Oly had some heavy news from vision-tube for Nana B.
“So, like I said, it was totes fine at the start, yeah? Moms and Aunty H was in some jungley place I never seen before…”
“How much farther, Hol,” huffed Calliope.
“I seriously haven’t been able to drop a deuce since we got off that plane 2 bloody days ago, and I’ve got some wicked cramps.”
Holly giggled, as Holly had a tendency to do, “well, you really don’t eat enough soluble fiber…ooh! I think we’re getting close!”
The younger sister pointed at a random tree as if it were somehow significant, and didn’t, in fact, look like every other damn tree in the whole forest. Jungle. Whatever.
“For real this time? Or are you just saying that because you’re tired of listening to me complain about about my constipation, sore feet and humidity induced afro–?”
“Probably!” There was that giggle again.
“Omg,” Calliope tried to count to ten to keep herself from shoving her beloved sister off of the nearest jagged outcropping, “I still think we should have attempted a teleportation spell; we would have been here ages ago, and…”
“Yee-ah, but our last one didn’t exactly go super duper well!” Holly gave her sister a deceptively innocent grin, “I mean, who knows where we’d end up this time; or when!”
“Whatever.” Stupid logic.
“Okay, here we go!” Holly declared, as though she’d finally accomplished something and wasn’t actually just staring at a big ass rock (that looked like all the other big ass rocks in the jungle).
“Wow. Nice rock…you were looking for an atta boy?” Calliope could no longer feel her feet.
Holly’s brows knit together, “I thought you’d be more excited?”
“I left excited in my other pants, sorry,” and was that a pressure headache coming on?
“You wanna wait outside while I go in–?”
“Omg, wait outside of where, Holly? It’s a fucking rock!”
“Ooooooh!” The younger witch’s eyes widened, as though she’d just realized that her sister wasn’t in on the joke. Or maybe it was gas.
Whatever, Calliope so wasn’t into playing Holly games today, “yeah! Ooo…”
“Oh ye of little faith,” the smile was supposed to be sweet, but was that a hint of smug?
“Bitch, you did that on purpose.”
Yeah; smug as fuck.
“I was totes excited to see what was in the cave thing, but then snap, it all blooped away and then you were talking to Grim Gram in the second-best guest room, and Mrs. C was sitting in a chair in her jammies…”
“Well–what do you think?” The distress in Belladonna’s voice was palpable.
Primrose shook her head sadly, “my goodness, I’ve never seen such an acute case before!”
Belladonna’s tone got marginally more distressed, “what’s the matter with it? Is it infected? Does it need to go to the human vet?”
“Oh no, Bella dear,” there was a hint of amusement in Primrose’s tone, “believe it or not, your non-magical guest is rather curiously affected by a malady of magical origin; I’m afraid the human vets wouldn’t be able to assist whatsoever.”
Bella felt her skin go cold, “how is that possible?!”
“Erm, I suppose one could speculate…”
The chill settled in her gut, “Calliope and Hollyhock; of course,” why did these things always seem to come back to her children…other witches had such well behaved offspring!
“Well, I wasn’t going to say it out loud–” Prim’s smirk suggested she sort of wanted to though.
Belladonna sighed, “what did they do?”
“It’s a very textbook case of Toomanylivesopathy, I’m afraid,” smirk, smirk, smirk, “fairly benign in magical folk, but humans just weren’t made to withstand that sort of strain on their cerebral flexibility.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of that; didn’t Hildegard the Heinous’s youngest girl come down with it last century?”
“Yes, quite right; such a shame!” Prim shook her head ruefully.
“Well, that’s what you get for seducing human males; they simply ruin your offspring.”
“I couldn’t agree more!” Primrose glanced at the woman sitting in the chair, “what do you intend to do with it? I don’t suppose it will survive in this condition for a great deal longer.”
Belladonna sighed, “I cannot, in good conscience, leave a human afflicted with a magical illness–especially not if my daughters are responsible! The last thing I need is the Council of Wild Sorcery descending upon The Woulding to investigate a delinquency…”
“Quite right! Neither of us wants the C.o.W.S. sniffing about,” Primrose regarded the human with severity, “and as a resident myself, and an expert in the field of Mindology and Bamboozlery, I offer my services in correcting the matter.”
Belladonna felt a ray of hope; there was no finer mind-meddler alive today than her dear, green-tressed friend, “I do hope you have something particular in mind?”
Prim’s eyes lit up, “as a matter of fact, yes; have you ever heard of Aura-Splicing?”
“Er, no…it sounds rather hysterical though.”
“Oh yes, very! A new technique I saw demonstrated at the last Abracadabra Con; basically, you take someone and splice them into two someones.”
“Prim! I don’t want two catatonic humans living in my second-best guest room!”
“Oh, no no; you don’t keep both of them; the trick of it is, they can’t exist on the same plane–I mean, the technique is still in it’s infancy, perhaps one day…”
“Alright, where does the second half end up? On the other side of the veil in the human world? That would make the most sense.”
Primrose beamed, “quite right! And the first half stays here, well, I suppose you could ship it off to another dimension after the fact?”
“Let’s put a pin in that for now and get the thing sorted first.”
“Very well,” Prim’s eyes darted around the room, “I suppose we can do the work right here–”
“That’s certainly better than trying to relocate the creature, but do try not to make a mess on the hardwood–”
“Er, best fetch a towel then…just in case, mind you!”
Belladonna felt her confidence wavering, “is it likely to leak?”
“I don’t believe so?” The green-haired witch hesitated, “theoretically the only potential side effects should loss of memory, insomnia, itchy palms, and on occasion, hiccups…well, and death, naturally.”
Bella snorted, “of course death; it’s witchcraft after all!”
“Ha! Of course darling,” she shrugged, “but it’s just a human.”
“Yes, I suppose if it dies in the process there’s no harm done,” Bella sighed, “though I imagine my daughters will take issue with that result.”
“Very well, we shall make every effort not to kill it then, yes?” Offered Primrose.
An entirely sensible plan, to Belladonna’s reckoning, “agreed.”
“I didn’t get to see if it worked, but I’m guessing it went okay cuz Mrs. C is totes fine now…but then it blooped back to moms and Aunty H…”
“I’ll go first; maybe my hair will scare stuff off…”
“Wow, this place is cool!”
“It’s kinda…less dusty and cobwebby than I would have thought?”
“Well maybe there’s someone here!” Why did Holly sound stoked about encountering a stranger in an creepy ruin again?
“Why are we excited about that exactly? They might not be friendly Hol; not everyone is your ‘fren’, you know…”
“Naw, that’s not true!” Smiled the eternal optimist, “–besides! We’re here to find something to help Cassie, right? Well, maybe the thing we’re going to find is a person!”
“…I think there’s a good chance you’re right about that.”
“Wicked!” Still inexplicably excited about meeting rando creeps apparently.
Calliope ignored her sister and squinted at the runes etched into the base of the frame, “I can’t read the inscription, it’s–well, not simlish anyhow…”
“It’s al-simharan, actually,” a deep voice provided, “but a lost dialect, I’m afraid.”.
“Who the fuck are you?!” And, omg, why the fuck did she leave her machete outside with the backpacks?!
“I should really be asking you the same question,” the creepy man in the weird dress stepped forward, “you are, after all, trespassing, and I am not.”
Holly shrugged at her sister, “I mean, yeah, fair enough, right?”
“Omg, why are you taking the creeper’s side?” Calliope huffed.
“I think you both ought to leave, immediately…”
Dun dun dun?
We’re trucking right along now! And omg, finally an Amazon sighting (even if it was just a portrait of a dead Amazon?)
Man, it’s a good thing Oly has all these nifty exposition dreams, or we’d never slowly unravel what happened to everyone! 😀
Location credit for the awesome tomb/pyramid thing in the last scene goes to SarahAmina for ‘Oasis Pyramid‘.
“You miss me guys? I got some abs coming your way.”