The Pagemasters Vol 1 Chapter 10

 


Author: Literataku


Chapter 10:
I See My Own LImits

 

 

After I had managed to widen the river enough, I had started to spend my time waiting for Master to return while practicing with moving the water around with my new skill. While I probably could have worked with the air, I felt the water was more important to learn and develop a mastery of a little faster since I already had some skill in moving it, and it would possibly prove more helpful if I needed to make the Gingerbread soggy to stop him.

Pagemaster saves the day making soggy bread! That’s a headline I want people to hear from the Town Crier. I feel there is some innuendo about my new power of getting people wet somewhere around here I am just not sure if I want to say. Course to do that I’d need to be at least a hundred times better than where I am now using this power.

I could certainly see why Master said it takes a long time to gain mastery over this ability. The best I could do was a slow build up of magic that I could manipulate like a slow-moving rope at best, and it took about three minutes of just preparing the water to make the rope at all. Trying any faster and all that happened was slinging droplets of water all across the earth. It felt like I needed to hyper-move my mana in ways I can’t even start to use yet.

Practicing with the water rope, I was trying to get it to move faster while maintaining its shape, getting into a nice side to side like a dancing snake, gee all I need now is a flute and a basket. Hmm… might be useful if I need money.

I heard a noise coming from behind me, while I was pondering the potential value of a street “water snake” charmer. Turning around I saw a beaten up looking fox with master riding atop him. I looked at Master with a questioning glance.
“Is he going to be ok with helping us?” The poor guy looked like he had run face first into a tree, repeatedly.

“He just about begged to help me when I offered we would help him catch dinner afterward.”

I could hear some sort of smugness coming from Master’s voice. The fox didn’t reply and instead looked stupidly at me and then toward the river, his eyes almost bugging out as he saw the breadth of the water.

“Flooding in this time of year? It hasn’t even rained in a half a moon.”

Oh right, animals talk in Grimm’s stories don’t they? I guess I shouldn’t look too surprised. I watched as he treaded up carefully and looked around at the water, leaning down to take a sip carefully.

“Mmm, this tastes better than normal floodwater…”

“Probably because of all the mana gathered inside it. Mana has a tendency to make things taste better, though too much can be harmful to normal creatures and humans. But he should be fine… Good job, Boy. With this, we should be able to get a quick and simple end to this whole ordeal now.”

I tried to ignore the half a million red flags springing up in the back of my mind. I’m not going to say a thing, nope. Nope! I’m not going to do it. I’m going to ignore everything that was just said.

“Well, that is good to know… Concentrated mana is dangerous. Does it have to be ingested or can just physical presence cause ‘poisoning’?”

Yup just going to play dumb and pay no attention at all.

“Depends on the magic of the story, though as a general rule just don’t jump into, or swallow, anything made of pure mana. As a Pagemaster, ye won’t have serious issues but never hurts to avoid tempting the fates.”

Do you not hear what you are saying? Wait! No, I’m playing dumb, I didn’t hear anything in the first place.

“Now that everything is ready for this little story. How long do you think we will have to wait for him to get here?”

Master growled slightly, taking off into the air, flying up to catch a look overhead, fluttering up higher trying to keep himself mostly at a hover.

“Looks like the story is finally setting him back into motion… he’s coming this way and…. Oh no!”

Still ignoring those things that don’t exist, yup everything is fine. That sinking feeling in my stomach is just because it’s disappointed that I haven’t had any food today, that’s all.

“Looks like he’s managed to attract a few demons to come after him. There is smoke coming from near the village.”

Well. Crap.

I peek upwards trying to see through the trees around us, only catching a wisp of the aforementioned smoke. They were not real people as far as it could b known but it still tugged at my heart to know they had been tangled into this problem.

“I can sense the Story Magic working things over there. A hero might be on his way to stop them. Either way, we need to catch him, not save the village. Can ye stay resolved boy?”

I nodded slowly, gritting my teeth and looking back toward the river. Our priority was to catch him, and now it’s time to have vengeance on the trouble he’s caused to everyone else, even his own creators.

“Let’s do this, Master!” I declared boldly, taking a firm stance, planting my feet in the road and looking down the way as if ready to stare down a thousand demons…

And then proceeded to move off the road and hide from view like a common bandit. For a guardian and hero, I feel like all I’ve done is hide from my prey. On the other hand, I’m barely more than a fledgling with my magic and powers so trying to directly confront things is just going to get me in trouble and/or killed.

There is one problem you come to when you are trying to deal with something that moves fast enough to break the sound barrier. Certainly, there is a problem with the damage caused by the explosion of compressed air and noise that trails behind the breach. But there is also the greatly realistic problem of only being able to see what is coming before you can ever hear it.

Master stayed up in the air to keep as close a watch on his progress as we could manage. My heart starting to pound excitedly in my chest, wishing he would get here faster. I was more than ready to wrap this day up.

Master flew down and landed on my shoulder, hiding on my shoulder, getting close to my head. “He’s almost here, starting to slow down. He’s got some great vision for a cookie. Saw the river’s width before he would crash into it.”

It’s slightly unfortunate he was slowing down, I was half curious about if he’d skip like a rock across the water and how much of him would make it to the other side. Bringing demons to attack the village, even if by accident, was drawing out the S in me.

We could hear the rush of noise coming toward us, he had slowed down enough to get back across the sound barrier, and in one piece I could presume since Master hadn’t said to jump out yet. Somehow, this piece of gingerbread was breaking the sound barrier and still managing to survive the slowdown. I am so sorry, common sense. I know you’ve always worked so hard for me and now I subject you to this level of absurdity.

We could hear the fast patter of feet gradually slowing down and reaching the edge of the river, peeking out I received my first real look at the troublesome doughboy. I do have to admit he looked better than the occasional Christmas cookie that ended up on display back home.

He was delicately iced in the front, each part of him lovingly put together, looked like he was wearing those infamous green German things. Leather panties? [1. TL Note: the Japanese word for lederhosen is letherpantsu.] A frilly white vest with yellow gumdrops for his buttons, green and blue dotted icing suspenders with red drops for the suspender clips. I’m pretty sure there is someone out there accusing me of stereotyping right now.

He looked across the water and kicked at the earth grumbling quietly. The fox taking that as his cue to move up and start his part of the bargain. “Excuse me there little sir. Are you looking to cross the river?”

The Gingerbread Man looked at the fox, his feet in position to bolt at the first sign of trouble. “Y-yes I am. But I can’t get wet or I’ll get too soggy and drown.”

The fox nodded his head sagely, as he looked between the river and the Gingerbread Man. “Of course. Bread is such a fragile thing in water. I can help to ferry you across if you like?”

So far things were playing out as Master had described. I was too focused on the two of them to notice the shadow of a young boy creeping up from behind me, it was unattached and guided by three glowing colored lights, as they waited and watched the events unfolding in front of us all.

“But in the water, I’ll have no place to run and you can eat me!”
The fox shook his head and made a face. “Fear not such a thing. I am terribly allergic to Gingerbread. It would end badly for both of us if I tried to eat you.”

“Really?”

Even I was a little incredulous about this answer. I wanted to look at Master about this as well but I didn’t want to move for fear of being caught by any sort of movement. Oh crap, I’m starting to feel faint. Start breathing dammit!

Gingerbread looked around again before turning back to the fox. “Alright, but I am riding on your tail just in case.”

“Fox’s honor I won’t even attempt a bite off your crumbly body. No matter how delicious you smell a little bite would hurt me much worse than it would you.”

The Fox crouched down to let Gingerbread hop on and was secured as best as a living cookie could be on the back of a food-allergy conscious fox. Starting to tread his way into the water. Thanks to the flooded river the water level was rapidly climbing up the fox, drawing in and trapping Gingerbread. Just a little bit further in so that he couldn’t speed jump off the fox and back to shore.

“Now!” Master called out as I quickly summoned my staff and began to recite the sealing words.

“By the power of The Word and the authority of the Books, I command you |{Gingerbread Man}| to restore that from whence you came. |{Return}| to the |{Page- Agh!”

I was suddenly punched in the face by a tiny pink colored light rocketing out from the trees and giving me a pretty decent haymaker to the chin. “I will not let you complete your evil, foul demon!”

What.

The light floated down in front of my face and I could see a little better despite the stars still swimming in front of my eyes. A fairy. I was ambushed by fairies. She was certainly among the oldest looking of fairies I’d ever seen before.

I could sort of make out the other two behind her, holding their wands out at me threateningly. This was a little ridiculous, batting them away from me and hearing the small cries of three older women getting scattered into the bushes. I struggled to sit up, only to watch the last hope of catching my target dashed as a boy in green leaves flew down from the sky, a silvery gold light by his side as he snatched up the Gingerbread Man and took off toward the clouds.

“DAMN YE PAN! Ye ain’t get’in’ away from me tha’ easy!” Master cried out in rage, flapping his wings furiously and trying to follow after the pair. I summoned my staff again and also gave chase from the ground, running along the side of the river.

“Oh right then. I’ll just wait here while you guys go off and forget my payment.” I could hear the fox muttering. I have to admit I felt a little sorry for my Master’s treatment of him. I tried to promised we’d be back over my shoulder.

“Hey take your time. It’s just my family that’ll starve after all.” I think I’ll catch a bunch of fish for the guy when we get back.


 


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