"Zah Zah certainly has changed a lot since the last time you two visited." D said diplomatically, doing his best to play it cool.
"Yeah! I did the animation stuff just like you showed me, but then after I got home, I changed some of it so that Zah Zah could be more and more real."
"Well, whatever you did to her eyes certainly is... dramatic." D said very precisely.
"I just did like G and Paul showed me..." Lucky began to say but was interrupted.
"Naw. You don't need to give us any credit." Paul quickly declared.
"Yeah. This is all on you." G added emphatically.
"Why don't you tell us about the changes that you made? I'd be interested to know how someone without any illusory abilities could make something that looks so real and reacts so true to life." Lex said seriously.
"Okay. Yeah. And then maybe you can show me some of your sorcery tricks so that I can make Zah Zah even better." Lucky said excitedly.
"Boys? Why don't you do that when you get back to your rooms?" Beth asked before they could start comparing notes.
"Everyone just needs to keep in mind that ALL of us need to be up early for school in the morning. If you feel like starting any wild magical projects, you should probably try to hold them off until the weekend." Paul said firmly.
"Wait a minute. Who put you in charge?" G asked in a low voice as his clown features began to emerge.
"Do you really want to bother with this yourself?" Paul countered with a dismissive eyeroll for emphasis.
"Well, no." G reluctantly admitted as his clown features faded.
"Don't worry, you're still the alpha. I'm just taking care of the detail work for you." Paul gently explained.
"I feel like we shouldn't be listening to this. It sounds private." Lex told Lucky with a grin.
"Maybe we should get a room of our own so that they can talk to each other like that when they need to." Lucky said thoughtfully.
Lex looked at him with surprise for a moment, then finally responded, "Actually, that sounds like a pretty good idea."
"What's a good idea?" Paul asked curiously.
"Lucky and I were just discussing that after we fix me so that I look like I'm his age that maybe we could room together." Lex explained.
"You can use my room if you want. I'm always in G's room, so it's no problem for me." Paul easily offered.
"How about this?" D interrupted.
Once he was sure that he had everyone's attention, he continued, "Considering the layout of the rooms, it wouldn't take much to convert G's room into a suite for him and Paul and Paul's current room into a suite for Lex and Lucky."
"I didn't mean for you to do what I said. I was just asking a question." Lucky rushed to inform D.
Before D could explain, Lex quietly answered, "It's probably better this way. G and Paul are going to want to have private time together for kissing and stuff like that. It'll be best if we have a place of our own where we don't have to sit around pretending that we can't see them."
"Does anyone have a problem with this arrangement?" D asked as he looked around the table.
"Aren't you going to need some privacy too?" G asked his twin with concern.
"Yeah. Sooner or later I probably will. But it's going to be a while before Corabeth and I are at a point where we'll have to worry about that." Lex said frankly.
"Corabeth?" Beth asked cautiously.
"She's a girl from my wizardry class. I guess she's interested in Lex. At least, she seems to like him." Paul explained.
"You've got a girlfriend?" Lucky asked Lex with surprise.
"Yeah. Well, at least I hope so. I think that we're almost there. That's not a problem for you, is it?" Lex asked curiously.
"I just thought that since you were a copy of G that you'd be gay like G is." Lucky said frankly.
"Actually, I was kind of thinking the same thing." Paul reluctantly admitted.
"I like guys and girls." G reminded them.
"Oh, yeah. I guess that makes more sense." Paul reluctantly admitted.
"So what does that mean for the sleeping arrangements? Because I need to know what's going to make everyone comfortable before we start knocking down walls." D said frankly.
"By a suite of rooms, are you saying that we'd have separate bedrooms but combined sitting rooms? Something like that?" Paul asked slowly.
"Yes. You would each get a bedchamber and closet to yourself... maybe even a study area, we'll just have to wait and see what's practical." D said seriously.
"As long as we can still go to G's room and watch anime, I'm on board." Lex said simply.
"Yeah. Not only does G have good movies, but it's fun watching them with him and Paul." Lucky happily added.
"Good. Then if you four can put up with things being as they are for a day or two, I'll see to the arrangements." D said firmly.
"Thanks Dad." Paul said sincerely.
"Yeah. Thanks. On the way here, I didn't really understand what you were talking about when you said that you were making me part of your family. I mean, I did, but I didn't really. This is better than... anything." Lex said as he struggled with a sudden lump in his throat.
"I thought I was gonna be really unhappy to be away from my mom and my sister, but now I think I'm really gonna like it here." Lucky said honestly.
"That's good, because we're all happy that you're here." Beth told him reassuringly.
"And if you ever feel like you're missing your mom or your sister, you can call them and talk to them whenever you want." D reminded him.
"Yeah. Thank you again for the phone Uncle D. I text with Lenn a couple times a week. I still haven't told him that I'm here though. I need to do that." Lucky trailed off in thought as he absently petted Zah Zah on his lap.
"We can do a conference call with him when we get back to the room. We need to introduce him to Lex." G added.
D looked around the room to assess if everyone had finished their dessert before announcing, "There's no time like the present. You boys have a good evening and be sure to call if there's anything you need for us to do to help you prepare for tomorrow."
"This weekend, could you show me some more spells for Zah Zah? I think I've done all that I can with what you showed me so far." Lucky asked hopefully.
"That sounds like a GREAT idea. In fact, maybe all of us could sit down together as a family and brainstorm. With the odd collection of magic that we have here, I bet that we'll be able to come up with some really interesting ideas for you." D said cheerfully.
"Maybe down at the lake?" Paul asked hopefully.
"No. I think this time we should go to the other end of the track." D said with a smile.
"Where does that go?" Paul asked curiously.
"You'll find out on Saturday." D said with a mischievous grin.
"What? You're not going to tell me?" Paul asked disbelievingly.
D pointed at G and Lex in turn before firmly saying, "No telling. I want it to be a surprise."
"Yeah. Okay." G said, as Lex muttered, "I promise."
"Good night boys. Pleasant dreams." D said as he walked around the table.
He reached Lex first and when Lex stood up, D gave him a firm hug.
Lex returned the hug and was openly crying by the time he was released.
Lucky set Zah Zah on his chair and was in the same tearful state as Lex by the time his hug with D was finished.
Although G and Paul didn't start crying, their hugs were no less heartfelt.
As Lex made his way around the table, he was pulled into a hug by Beth.
"In case I forgot to tell you before, I'm glad you're here." Beth told him quietly before kissing him on the cheek.
As expected, his tears started flowing again and the whole hugging process continued on with Lucky, G, and eventually Paul.
* * * * *
By the time the boys filed out of the dining room, all of them were emotionally, as well as physically, exhausted.
"So, what all do we need to do before we can go to bed?" Lex finally asked.
"You and G need to work on getting you ready for school tomorrow." Paul said thoughtfully.
"We're going to need Lucky's help, at least for part of it. If I'm not going to be your size, then I'll need to be his, or I won't have anything to wear." Lex said honestly.
"You shouldn't have to worry about that. Thanks to Cain and Deimos, I've gotten pretty good with the basic clothes changing spell. We should be able to make it so that your clothes will resize when you do." Paul said frankly.
"What kind of spell is it? Because I'm pure air. I don't think I have a secondary." Lex cautioned.
"It's basic. You should be able to do it. At least, I haven't found anyone so far who can't." Paul said honestly.
"Can you show me?" Lucky asked hopefully.
"Do you have some kind of transformation that you can do?" Paul asked curiously.
"No." Lucky quietly admitted.
"Don't worry about it, buddy. Most of us get some kind of transformation automatically when we use our magic full-blast. I go all demony and G turns into a clown. As far as I know, Lex doesn't have a magical form." Paul finished thoughtfully.
"Maybe this is my magical form." Lex interjected.
Paul shrugged, silently admitting that he didn't know.
"Can you show me the spell?" Lucky asked Paul hopefully.
"Sure. That's what we'll do while G and Lex are working on changing Lex for school." Paul said as he draped an arm around Lucky's shoulders and gave him a quick hug.
"How do you do the changing thing though? I mean, is it a spell or what do you do to make it start?" Lucky asked curiously.
"What changing thing is that?" Paul asked curiously.
"I think he's asking about when you go full-out." G added from ahead of them.
"The easiest way to make that happen would probably be if you did a spell that would normally force you to go full-out and then watch and see what happens to Lucky when he mimics it." Lex casually suggested.
"Yeah. That sounds about right." Paul reluctantly admitted, then hurriedly added, "If we end up doing something like that, we're going to need both of you there to make sure that no one gets hurt."
"You won't have to worry about that. We wouldn't want to miss it anyway." G said with a grin back at them.
* * * * *
As soon as they were in G's sitting room, Paul and Lucky went directly to the beanbag chairs conveniently located in front of the big-screen television.
G and Lex continued on to G's bedroom, ostensibly to gather sorcery supplies from G's 'sorcery toolbox'.
"Will you show me the clothes changing spell?" Lucky asked hopefully.
"I can't believe that someone hasn't tried to teach you this stuff already! From what I've seen, the hardest part about teaching is getting people to want to learn." Paul said as he turned to face his adoptive cousin.
Lucky's determined look back at him prompted him into action.
"Okay. Just so you know, if you do this right now, nothing's going to happen. The only time you can see that it worked is if you transform in a way that would normally cause you to rip out your clothes or become too small to wear them." Paul said seriously.
"Okay. Just show me." Lucky said as he set Zah Zah aside.
Paul looked at the cat-like creature speculatively for a moment, then turned his attention back to Lucky.
"I'll show you the gestures first, then I'll tell you the words. If you're anything like me, you'll probably be able to do the words silently after one or two times of saying them. You might have to do the gestures for a few weeks, they're kind of complicated to do mentally."
Lucky nodded, then watched as Paul did the gestures.
"Now do it with me." Paul said, then went through the gestures slowly.
Paul was surprised that Lucky seemed to be having difficulty with the relatively simple gestures when he had done far more difficult gestures with relative ease earlier, in the dining room.
"Do you need for me to do it again?" Paul asked cautiously.
"Could you do it for real?" Lucky asked hopefully.
"How do you mean?" Paul asked cautiously.
"Don't do it like you're showing me how to. Do it for real. If you really cast the spell, then I can really see how it works." Lucky fought to explain.
"Oh! Okay. I get it." Paul said, then began to slowly and clearly enunciate each word of the spell as he simultaneously made the long version of each of the hand signs.
Before Paul was even halfway through, he noticed that Lucky was moving in time with him, saying each word and performing each hand sign in perfect synchronization with him.
When Paul was about two hand signs away from being finished, he stopped all movement and said, "Go ahead and finish it."
"I don't know how." Lucky automatically objected.
"It's just a simple seal." Paul gently prompted.
"I don't know what that is." Lucky said with frustration.
"So you can see the magic that I'm doing while I'm doing it and follow along, but you don't understand how it works?" Paul guessed.
"If you don't show me how to finish it, I'm going to lose it." Lucky said with desperation creeping into his voice.
"Yeah. Okay." Paul immediately responded, then followed by showing Lucky the final hand signs and saying the last few words of the spell.
As he did so, he made a conscious effort to 'see' the spell that Lucky was casting.
After a moment to make sense of what he was seeing, Paul quietly said, "You little sneak."
"What?" Lucky asked timidly, genuinely puzzled by the strange comment.
"I thought there was something going on, the way that you could join into my spellcasting without knowing the spell." Paul said with a smile.
"What did I do?" Lucky asked anxiously.
"I'm about to do something that I promised G that I wouldn't do, but if I'm right about what I think is going on, this will prove it." Paul said seriously.
"Huh?" Lucky asked as he reached to his side and petted Zah Zah.
"Just do what I'm doing and be sure to stop me if you have any trouble." Paul said seriously.
Lucky nodded, then scooted a little bit forward, to best mimic Paul's position.
Like before, Paul slowly and carefully enunciated the words of the spell as he went through the hand gestures.
Unlike the previous spelling, this one was more complex by an order of magnitude. While some of the manifestations were the same, the spell itself was drastically different.
Out of the corner of his eye, Paul kept close watch on Lucky to make sure that he didn't get bogged down with the complicated gestures or challenging pronunciation.
On and on it went as Paul declared one after another of the variables.
"Okay. How are you doing Lucky? Is everything alright so far?" Paul asked cautiously.
"Yeah. That was a lot, but I did it." Lucky said happily as he looked at the five-pointed diagram glowing with five little flames.
"This is only the summoning diagram. If you're ready, we can do the next part." Paul said, then waited for a response.
"Are we going to summon Ginh Zah?" Lucky asked curiously.
"That's right. Are you ready?"
"Yeah." Lucky said with renewed enthusiasm.
With that being said, Paul moved on to the next step in the process, which was the actual summoning spell.
Using his magical sight, Paul kept careful watch on how Lucky was doing and got a better sense of what his ability really was.
"That's it. It's open. Go ahead and call for Mah Zah and Ginh Zah. I'm curious to see if they'll come to you." Paul said as he discreetly caused his own portal to close.
"Mah Zah? Ginh Zah? Are you there? It's me, Lucky! Can you come here?" Lucky called into the gray blur hanging in mid air.
After a moment, Paul finally said, "Mah Zah, Ginh Zah, come forth. I summon you."
The pair flew through the passageway on red leathery wings.
"As you can see, Lucky's here. I have a feeling that he has something that he wants to show you." Paul said with a smile.
"Yeah. I want to show you all the new stuff I taught Zah Zah how to do!" Lucky said happily.
"You need to close your portal before you do anything else." Paul reminded him.
"How do I do that?" Lucky asked cautiously.
"It's simple. Just take back the power you used to open it."
"I don't know how to do that. Can you show me?"
Paul made a series of gestures as he carefully said, "What I opened, I now close. What I close, I now seal."
Lucky followed his example and did the same thing. As he did, the smudge in reality faded out of being.
"Before you do anything else, I need to be sure that you understand that you are not to summon anything or open any portals unless I'm with you. This magic is incredibly dangerous and could easily hurt someone if you aren't very careful with it." Paul said seriously.
"Okay. I won't." Lucky promised.
"Good. Go and catch up with Mah Zah and Ginh Zah then. I'm going to go and see how G and Lex are doing."
Lucky needed no further bidding. He immediately turned his attention to the two demons to show off the modifications to the pseudo-demon that he had created.
* * * * *
"How's it going in here?" Paul asked as he walked into G's bedroom.
"I think we're okay. This is going to take some work, but I'm pretty sure we can do it." G said consideringly.
"Is there anything Lucky or I can do to help you?" Paul asked cautiously.
"Not that I can think of, although we might invite Lucky to try his hand at casting the illusion, just to see if he can do it." G said frankly.
"You might want to be careful about that. I just showed Lucky a spell that used infernal magic and he was able to use it just like he'd been born to it." Paul said anxiously.
"It wasn't anything too dangerous, was it?" Lex asked hesitantly.
"I showed him how to summon Mah Zah and Ginh Zah." Paul said cautiously, then waited for the expected reaction.
"I warned you not to do that." G immediately said.
"I know, I know. And I wouldn't have if I could have found out what I needed to know some other way." Paul assured him.
"What did you find out?" Lex asked curiously.
"Back in the dining room I proved that Lucky could use all the primary elements. Just now I proved that he can use magic that's partly or fully derived from the demonic realm." Paul said frankly.
"I wouldn't have even thought of checking for that." Lex said honestly.
"So Lucky knows how to summon demons now. Is that what you're telling us?" G asked cautiously.
"Not exactly. Even though he was able to do the entire spell himself, he doesn't have a contract with Mah Zah and Ginh Zah, so they won't answer his summons."
"Is that why you chose to do that spell?" Lex asked curiously.
"Actually, I wanted to see if Lucky would be able to somehow mimic me and my summons. If he could, that might have opened up a whole other series of things to worry about." Paul said frankly.
"But you said he couldn't do it. Right?" G asked cautiously.
"Right." Paul confirmed, then added, "Of course, Lucky doesn't know the first thing about using or controlling his ability. Who's to say if, given enough time, he'll be able to mimic the magic of the pact with my familiars or not?"
"Excuse me for being ignorant, but why would it be so bad if he could summon Mah Zah and Ginh Zah? I don't see the problem." Lex reluctantly admitted.
"One word... Security."
"Is that supposed to mean something to me? Because I have no idea how Lucky being able to summon your familiars would make a difference in how secure you or anyone else should feel." G said frankly.
"Let's back up to what Dad was saying about you creating Lex. He said that if they figured out that you could make air elementals whenever you wanted that they'd have to take steps to keep you from doing that." Paul carefully explained.
"Yeah. Curses or counselling. Sounds like fun." G said dryly.
"And then here comes Lucky who can do everything that you can do plus anything else that anyone he's ever met can do." Paul continued.
"When you put it that way, that doesn't sound too good." Lex reluctantly admitted.
"Yeah. And if he can use my demonic magic and mine and Mom's summoning abilities, he might even be able to make a traversable portal and flood the world with demons." Paul said anxiously.
"You don't really think that Lucky would do something like that, do you?" G asked curiously.
"I just saw him open a door without knowing how to close it. I mean, I was there and I made sure that he closed it correctly, but that doesn't change the fact that he has the ability to use any of our magic without having the experience or the background knowledge of how to use it responsibly." Paul said urgently.
"Okay. I get that. But what were you saying about security?" Lex asked curiously.
"Back in Scotland, the vault with all the silver was cursed so that no one could go in there who wasn't supposed to. If Lucky ever saw someone rescind or circumvent the curse, then he could mimic that magic and have full access to the vault whenever he wanted." Paul said seriously.
"Yeah. I can see that." G said slowly.
Lex nodded his agreement.
"If one of us were cursed to prevent us from summoning demons or creating new elementals, Lucky could mimic our magic to circumvent the curse." Paul said frankly.
"So what you're basically saying is that Lucky could be used to bypass the magical limits on just about anything." Lex said thoughtfully.
"Right." Paul agreed, then added, "Now think of what would happen if someone who doesn't care very much about following the rules found out about Lucky. There are people in the world who don't care who gets hurt as long as they get what they want. What do you think someone like that would force Lucky to do for them?"
"You're jumping to a lot of conclusions based on very little actual evidence." G said in a tone of warning.
"I know. And I don't really believe that any of that will happen. But I think it's important for us to understand just how dangerous Lucky's magical ability really is. It puts a price on his head and a target on his back. The time may come when it's up to us to protect him." Paul said frankly.
"Or protect the world from him." Lex muttered under his breath.
"If Kyla is a magic thief, then that probably means that Lucky wouldn't have an opportunity to mimic her. As far as I know, Star hasn't shown any sign of having any magical ability at all. I don't know what Lucky's home life is like, but since he's been going to an elementary school with younger kids, he might not have had an opportunity to mimic anyone else's magic before he got to hang around with us." G said speculatively.
"So in a way, everything that happens to Lucky from here on out is partially our fault. If we didn't try to include him and show him how to use magic in new ways then he'd probably be at his old school with his old friends being perfectly happy." Paul said seriously.
"No. Ignorance isn't bliss. It's just ignorance. Even if he ends up having problems, he's better off learning how to deal with the challenges that his magic brings instead of never facing it." Lex said with certainty.
A movement caught all their attention and before Paul could ask what was going on, Ginh Zah quickly meowed.
"C'mon. Something's wrong with Lucky." Paul said as he hurried past Ginh Zah out of the room.
Lex and G immediately followed.
When Paul emerged into the living room, he stopped and stared.
Mah Zah was barking something at Paul as G and Lex arrived in the room and stopped on either side of Paul.
"Okay..." G finally said as he began to process what he was seeing.
"Ginh Zah says that she and Mah Zah changed from their demon forms into their 'natural world' forms and she thinks that Lucky tried to mimic their magic and got stuck like this." Paul said slowly.
"How did he end up as a unicorn?" Lex asked weakly.
"A pegasus. A unicorn has a horn." Paul automatically corrected.
"Whatever. How did him doing the spell that makes Mah Zah a puppy turn him into a winged horse?" Lex asked disbelievingly.
"Do you think it would somehow be better if Lucky were a puppy instead?" G asked seriously.
"No. Not really." Lex admitted.
"We need to fix this." Paul said simply.
"How?" Lex asked helplessly.
"We'll figure something out." Paul responded uncertainly.
"Maybe we should get Mom and Dad." G cautiously suggested.
"No. At least, not yet. Let's try to fix this ourselves first and if that doesn't work, then we'll get them." Paul promised.
"I don't even know where to start." G said honestly.
"Lucky. Listen to me. I need for you to follow along with Mah Zah and do the same spell that she does. Follow along with her exactly and with any luck, you'll undo what you just did." Paul said firmly.
The pegasus colt nodded his head in agreement.
"Good." Paul said with relief at his apparent understanding, then turned his attention toward Mah Zah and said, "I need for you to change back to your demon form. If you can, do it slowly enough so that Lucky can follow along with you."
Mah Zah let loose one little yip, then appeared to be chasing her tail.
Lucky watched for a moment, then appeared to be doing the same thing, trying to chase his tail in a counterclockwise circle.
"Good. Good." Paul said slowly as he watched with his magical vision.
"What do you see?" Lex asked curiously.
"The magic is working. I can see the balance of forces stretching and skewing." Paul said in a low voice.
"So, is Lucky going to change back?" G asked anxiously.
"I'm pretty sure he's going to change. Into what... your guess is as good as mine." Paul said honestly.
Before they could speculate any further, the colt suddenly seemed to fold in upon itself and almost tie itself into a knot.
After a moment where the animal seemed to have turned itself inside out, Lucky's natural form began to emerge from the horsehair ball.
"Welcome back!" Paul said with relief as he stepped forward and pulled Lucky into a hug.
"Hold on. Something's not right here." G said firmly.
"What do you mean? Lucky's back. Everything's fine." Paul insisted.
"He changed fully into an animal then back to his natural body and his clothes didn't get torn up. It doesn't work that way." G said firmly.
"No. That's right. I showed Lucky the clothes changing spell first thing when we got back to the room. Lucky just proved that the spell I taught him worked." Paul said happily.
"So, are you saying that even though you didn't plan any of this, you somehow showed Lucky how to do a clothes changing spell less than an hour before he accidently changed himself into a pegasus?" G asked challengingly.
"Um. Yeah. Pretty much." Paul said as he released Lucky from the hug, but kept one arm wrapped loosely around his shoulders.
"Lucky? Are you alright?" Lex asked cautiously.
"Yeah. That was kinda scary, but I knew that you guys wouldn't let me stay stuck like that, so I knew that I'd be okay." Lucky said confidently.
"I'm just glad that we didn't disappoint you." Paul said honestly.
"Did you figure out how to change Lex to not look like G yet?" Lucky asked hopefully.
"No. We're not all as quick to learn shapeshifting as you are." Paul chuckled.
"Besides that, I think we're going to have a lot more detail work than you had to bother with. If you'll remember, Lex was crafted wearing clothes. That means that underneath, he doesn't have any... defining features." G hesitantly finished.
"Hey! Not cool! I don't talk about your junk in front of everyone!" Lex said with offence.
"We're all friends here Lex. And if we're going to get your situation resolved, it's probably going to take all of us working together. That is, unless you two want to be up till the wee hours of the morning working on it." Paul said simply.
"Why can't we just give you the basics and work on the details over the weekend?" G cautiously suggested.
"Would you want to go to school to get introduced to everyone and just have 'the basics'?" Lex asked challengingly.
"Listen, you guys know all about the sorcery stuff. I think that I've proven that I can come up with some good ideas every now and then. Lucky seems to have the ability to mimic anyone's magic, so I can think of a few ways that he could help us out, and to top it off, we have two demonic wizards who shapeshift just about every day. Let's go ahead and put our heads together and knock this thing out." Paul said encouragingly.
"Okay, I guess when you put it that way, that it does make sense. What choice do I have?" G finished with a grudging smile.
"Yeah. You'd say that. You're not the one whose junk is going to be hanging out in front of everyone so that it can be crafted into a 'final form'." Lex said uncomfortably.
"Actually, if you think about it, in a way, it is my junk that everyone is going to be looking at." G said informatively.
"Who here hasn't already seen G's junk?" Paul asked loudly.
No one answered.
There weren't even any meows or barks to be considered.
After a long silent moment to punctuate the response, or lack thereof, Paul quietly said, "Then I think we have a plan."
To Be Continued...
That was close. I think it's a good idea to understand just how Lucky's magic works, well, not exactly His magic, but the magic he is able to use, works.
It's interesting to note that Lucky wasn't able to call the cute kitty and cute puppy, even though he could open the portal. Basically both G and Paul can combine different kinds of magic to make new ways of doing things, and it seems that Lucky can do some of that, too. It will be interesting to see what will happen next.Â I can hardly wait.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher