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[personal profile] wonder_city
Here's a Compass Rose episode! Next week, there won't be either a Wonder City or a Compass Rose episode, as I'll be traveling. Hopefully, Wonder City will return the following week! I'm sorry about all the inconsistency lately, and thank you for sticking with me all through it.

“No, seriously,” said Tom, stamping around on the floor of her cage until she could wedge her beak through the bars and get a better look at Christopher. “How do you think they did it?”

“Brain transplant?” asked Christopher listlessly. After trying to scrape the halter and collar off against the fence, the tree in the center of his enclosure, and his own front hooves, his face and neck were streaked with mud.

“Dumbass,” said Tom, poking at the lock on her cage more for something to do than because she thought she might miraculously get it open this time. It was shut with a padlock. Christopher was likewise chained and padlocked to the trunk of the tree her cage was hung in. “This bird probably weighs less than my entire brain.

Christopher gave the cage a very good side-eye, considering how big and dark and seductive his eyes were now. “I dunno about that.”

“Asshole,” said Tom, but without her usual verve.

“Well, it can’t be magic,” said Christopher, a little desperately, picking up his front hooves and examining them as though he’d never seen anything like them before. (And he probably hadn’t.) “You just can’t have magic in the same place as robots and AI. It doesn’t work!”

Tom snorted.

“No, seriously! It’s like, like, the paradigms cancel each other out! Like matter and antimatter!”

“Christopher, you are full of shit. Stop trying to make ANY of this make sense,” said Tom.

“It’s aliens!” wailed Christopher. “It’s always aliens!” He brightened up. “Hey, maybe this is some sort of alien tech.”

“Alien tech that can squeeze a hundred and fifty pound woman into a four and a half pound bird? I’d like to see that.”

“Maybe it’s something like a holodeck,” said Christopher hopefully.

“In that case,” said Tom, “Tell me why we can’t just walk through these bars and slash or chains.”

Christopher sulkily turned his rear end towards the tree in which hung Tom’s cage. “It just doesn’t work that way.” He rested his chin on the fence and an almost visible aura of gloom descended upon him.

It began to rain. Tom discovered that she didn’t mind this nearly as much as a bird as she would have as a human; she didn’t feel cold or damp or miserable. Small favors, she thought grumpily, and worried some more at the lock on her cage.

Christopher sat down like a dog and looked at the cage and the tree it was hung in. “You know, you really are golden, not just yellow. Your beak looks like it’s made of metal.”

Tom tapped the beak against the bars of the cage and it sounded a little metallic. “Put it down to alien technology," she said, sourly.

“And the tree is weird. The fruit is blue,” he said. Tom looked up and indeed, blue spheres were hanging here and there from the branches. She had assumed they were lanterns.

“I have ceased to be surprised by anything,” said Tom, hunching her shoulders. “Including you, horny boy.”

Christopher ignored her. “I think they’re pomegranates,” he said after a moment. “But pomegranates are supposed to be red. Why are they blue?”

“Because they’re poisonous,” said the Witch-Queen of d’Aulnoy, leaning on the white fence that surrounded their enclosure. She had added a long black cloak to her ensemble, along with a pair of green wellington boots with frogs printed on them. She was also carrying a black lace sunshade which was considerably the worse for water damage.

“Um, hi,” said Christopher. Tom hunched her shoulders further and said nothing.

“Nasty weather, isn’t it?” the Witch-Queen said conversationally. “Bodkins, I’d give my left foot for some sunshine around here.” She sneezed.

“It’s always like this?” asked Christopher.

“Well, it’s pretty much always cloudy, except around sunset,” said the Witch-Queen. “Apparently, sunshine is outlawed when there’s a Witch-Queen on the throne or something like that. So boring. And muddy.” She eyed Christopher. “Speaking of mud, I should send some minions out to clean you up before your rescuers get here.”

“Rescuers?” squawked Tom.

The Witch-Queen heaved a sigh heavy with ennui. “Yes, of course, what did you expect? Some tiresome prince or princess or sultana -- no, that’s a raisin, isn’t it? -- or something or other is bound to show up pretty soon for you.” She looked down at her purple fingernails and smiled. It wasn’t a pleasant smile. In fact, it was exactly the kind of smile Tom remembered from locker rooms in high school.

“Of course, for once I’m not going to have to try to seduce anyone -- I suck at that -- or watch my armies be destroyed,” said the Witch-Queen.

“Oh?” said Christopher, swiveling his big ears toward her. He was still sitting down with his front hooves together, and looked ridiculously cute.

“Nope,” said the Witch-Queen with undisguised satisfaction. “Godmother said that I’m not to worry about that. I’m kind of looking forward to winning for a change.”

“I see,” said Christopher blankly, ears drooping.

“We’re really on the lookout for some kind of Unraveller or something. Someone who picks apart and hates stories.” The Witch-Queen worried at her thumbnail. “I kind of hate stories but apparently I don’t count.”

“Stories can be tiresome sometimes,” ventured Tom.

“They’re boring all the time,” said the Witch-Queen. “Anyway, apparently this person is going to try to rescue you? By disrupting the story? I’m looking forward to it, even if I do have to hand them over to Godmother.” She sighed, then leaned forward over the fence. “You two aren’t very good consolation prizes. You had better be more interesting soon.”

Christopher leaned back, his eyes going wide.

“I am so bored,” said the Witch-Queen.










Date: 2013-01-10 03:24 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
Interesting! The plot advances. I think Christopher is finding out that adventures are less fun than he expected.

Thanks for writing!

Date: 2013-01-10 04:34 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
So much less fun than he expected. :)

Date: 2013-01-21 03:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Just finished my archive binge here. I held off on reading Wonder City for a while, despite it being so highly rated on Web Fiction Guide, because I was leery of the soap-opera-sounding teaser and the overt queer angle. Having overcome my reluctance, I'm happy to say that neither of those was an actual problem with the story. The romantic aspects of the story were not soap-operaish at all, nor did they choke out the other aspects. The queer and racial activist thrust is strong and obvious and sometimes off-putting, but overall worth it.

I quite enjoyed the story and look forward to following it serially.

Date: 2013-05-03 03:04 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
So the Dean hates stories, eh? Or maybe I am wrong about it being the Dean, because you are good at the plot twists, but hey.

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