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FANTASY 05: SPY GAMES
“He was cute.” I put a finger on my chin. “But I wonder what he is up to, don’t you, Belt?”
“Why must you call me by that name, Sister?” My brother said. “You know it’s—”
“Hush!” I snapped, spinning on him. “It’s your code name, remember?”
“I hate code names.”
I poked my finger into his chest. “Well, I hate you not going along with the plan!”
“Fine.” He grumbled. “Call me Belt, and I will call you Red. But in all honesty, why are you interested in that black mage?”
“He intrigues me,” I said. “There’s something about him. He’s brimming with information! I-I mean he must have something we can use.”
“Hmph.” Belt huffed. “I think you just find him appealing, or maybe you do want to date that loser!”
I blushed red as my hat and then shook my head fervently. “No! Absurd! Not possible! I just want the info out of him! That’s what we do, remember? We’re information brokers!”
“How could I forget?” He said. “You dragged me from our home so that we could search out those of the prophecy. But I still don’t understand why.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I gave my best cattish, expression. “Because. We. Can. Be. Heroes.”
He crossed his muscled arms. “I don’t see the appeal.”
“You see no appeal in anything but lifting heavy objects!” I snapped.
“Because it’s fun!” He said.
I sighed and slumped my shoulders. “Maybe I should have left you at home.”
“Hey! I heard that!”
I rolled my eyes. “Come, Belt, let us follow before we lose sight of that black mage!”
Rushing along the cobblestone road, I caught sight of the blue cloak of my admirer.
“Hehehe, there you are!” I whispered, and hurried, trying my best to keep my boots from clacking. I glanced back, and Belt followed, but at a distance. He kept an eye out for me, as always.
Black Mage turned a corner and walked to the magic district. For a moment, he stopped. I quickly ducked behind a lamppost and sucked in my breath, doing my best to hide. I waited and counted. “One… Two… Three…”
Leaning out, I peeked down the road and saw the black mage. He walked again. I started out on the road, but he stopped and looked back. As fast as I possibly could, I dove and rolled under a wagon. I stared out from underneath and watched. The mage looked around, but shrugged, turned and walked into a shop.
“Phew,” I whispered.
“What?” Came a voice from beside me.
I cried out and jumped. My head banged into the underside of the wagon. A sharp pain cracked into my skull. I pulled off my hat and rubbed a forming bump.
“Ow!” I said and turned to glare at Belt. He leaned down and looked under at me.
"You buffoon!" I snapped.
“What’d I do?” He asked.
“Forget it!” I muttered. “Just move!”
I shoved his leg out of the way, and he stumbled. Rolling out, I got to my feet and wiped the dirt off my white skirt. I took a few steps forward and put my hands on my hips.
“Hmm. A self-proclaimed black mage walking into a beginner’s magic shop? Perhaps he’s not a crystal bearer after all?”
“Do you think he’s buying scrolls for someone else?” Belt asked.
I glanced at him. “Perhaps. Perhaps not.”
“Well, let’s just go look somewhere else,” Belt said. “There are supposed to be four crystal bearers, right?”
“But what, Red? This is a waste of our time, and my talent.”
I spun on him. “What would you know about talent? I’m the talented one! I can use black and white magic! And I am proficient with swordplay.”
“I break rocks with my forehead,” he muttered. “I want to see you do that!”
“I want to see you dance for gil!” I growled. “I’m tired of having to waste my talents in such a way. I should be out in the field, slaying goblins, reaping the rewards of fame and glory!”
“Look,” Belt said.
“No, you look!” I snapped. “I’m tired of being a poor no-name mage! I want to be a Red Wizard! I want the bards to sing tales of me for the rest of time!”
“Look!” Belt said again.
“No! That black mage is my key to everything I’ve ever wanted in life! With him, I will find true happiness!”
“Red!” Belt snapped, pointing past me.
I hesitated, my mouth hanging open. I mouthed the words. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he?”
Belt nodded, and I gave a sigh. I turned around, and sure enough, the black mage stood a few feet away. He had three scrolls under his arm, and he stared right at me, a shadow covering his face.
“Um… hi?” I lifted my hand and waggled my fingers at him.
“For I have heard what you have spoken, dear Red Mage!” He proclaimed. “If you wish, I will stand by your side for every waking day. I will be your hero, your true and loyal guardian! I will be with you under the stars and hold you in my arms! I will—”
“Shh!” I held up a finger. “You don’t need to say any more.”