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The Chosen Grandma, Chapter 4.1

by BlueAfrica


A/N: Eighty-three-year-old Chosen One Edna Fisher hits the road to find the Sword of Destiny, the one weapon that can kill the evil sorcerer Redway.

Chapter Four

In which Edna travels to the far-off land of Michigan.

By four o’clock, Edna and Benjamin had been on the interstate for an hour, Edna’s nephew had called to tell her he’d found a reasonably priced pocket dimension in which to store the things she’d left behind, and Mittens had exceeded Benjamin’s expectations by clawing not only the upholstery but Benjamin’s left leg. Luckily, he hadn’t drawn much blood, but Benjamin had nearly driven the van off the road. A bit of an overreaction, if you asked Edna. She’d been clawed by plenty of frightened cats in her day, not to mention the odd sphynx and, once, a very small saber-toothed tiger.

“It’s your own fault,” she said, wrapping Mittens in her favorite afghan to calm him down. “You shouldn’t have braked so hard. It scared him.”

“Excuse me for keeping us from crashing into that minivan.” Benjamin rolled up the leg of his jeans to examine his calf. “Ugh. I can’t believe I forgot to pack a first aid kit.”

“And you call yourself a healthcare worker.” Edna pulled an ancient box of Band-Aids out of her handbag. “Here you are, dear.”

They were back on the road again in no time. Benjamin dug around in the center consul with one hand, looking for spare CDs. Edna ate a sandwich and petted Mittens absently. He looked as grumpy as ever, but at least, safely wrapped in her afghan, he seemed uninterested in clawing anything else.

They drove all the way to northwestern Ohio that night and then pulled off the interstate to find a hotel. Edna couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. A grand adventure ought to feel a little more promising than an ordinary road trip, but so far everything had gone smoothly (putting aside the incident with the cat). They hadn’t run out of money or food, the car hadn’t broken down, and they hadn’t gotten lost once. The hotel, once they found it, had plenty of rooms available and was neat and clean. The desk clerk was so preoccupied—a room upstairs kept ringing for service and complaining about how long it took, and the other desk clerk had called off—that it was even easy to sneak Mittens into the room. And then came the biggest disappointment of all, the same disappointment she faced every single day.

“Time to take your pills, Edna,” Benjamin said, checking his watch.

Edna sighed and watched him pull the pill case from his bag and fill a glass of water in the bathroom sink.

“Chosen Ones do not take pills,” she said. Mittens swiped at Benjamin’s ankles from under the bed as he brought the pills over, which she took as tacit agreement.

“Maybe not, but old ladies with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and a mild case of diabetes and a bad hip certainly do. Come on, Edna. You ought to be used to it by now.”

“I might get used to it if I thought they would cure me,” she said, and tossed down the first pill with a swallow of water and a grimace. “What’s the good of taking pills every day when they’re not going to make me better?”

“They keep you from dying, that’s the good.”

“I’m eighty-three,” Edna reminded him. “It’s all downhill from here, pills or no pills.”

“Jesus, Edna.”

She took the rest of the pills obediently, if glumly, and then fished around in her handbag for a cat treat to entice Mittens out from under the bed. He darted out to retrieve the treat from her fingers and then returned to his hiding spot. Oh, well. She pulled out her knitting things instead.

“It’s not what I’d imagined,” she said. “I thought it would be more exciting.”

Benjamin switched the television on and unpacked his toothbrush. “I’m sure it’ll be much too exciting for my tastes before it’s all over. Dominion? That’s where dragons live, Edna. Dragons. Thanks but no thanks. We don’t even know where to find this mystical sword, and we’re supposed to go fight dragons.”

“We’re not fighting dragons,” Edna said. “We’re fighting a man who happens to live near some dragons.”

“Same dif. Anyway, it’s not some dragons, it’s like the biggest colony of dragons in the world. Maybe you don’t think things are exciting now, but I bet when we get near Dominion you’ll beg me to take you back to the nursing home.”

“I certainly shan’t,” Edna said cheerily. Thinking of Golden Years reminded her why she’d agreed to go on this journey—even if it was sort of boring so far. At least it wasn’t a gosh-darned nursing home. “Now, Benjamin, I’ve been thinking, there must be an easy way to find this Theobald Smith.”

“Oh, yeah?” he said in a toothpastey voice.

“Yes,” Edna said, although she was suddenly less certain. It was a grand idea, a simple idea, an obvious idea, but she wasn’t sure he’d like it. “I was thinking…well, you have been studying magic, after all, so I thought, maybe, well, you could just…divine him.”

Benjamin gaped at her, his mouth foamy with paste. He turned to the sink, spit, and turned back to Edna, still gaping.

“No way,” he said.

“It was just a thought. If you’d rather just drive all over Michigan—I just thought you wanted some definite way to find the sword, and I thought—”

“Edna,” Benjamin said, wiping his mouth. “I’m studying theoretical magic. It’s not even, like magic-magic, it’s space magic, which is a totally different beast. But even if I was studying magic, like magic, it’s still theoretical, not practical, which means it would probably blow up in my face if I tried it out. Not to mention the fact that divining magic is really tricky and sort of unethical and really nosy and you have to have proper licensure if you want to practice serious divining magic, so if your goal was to have me burn down the hotel by accident and then get arrested for practicing divination without a license—”

“All right, all right. No need to get so grouchy. It was just an idea.”

Benjamin rinsed his toothbrush, plopped onto his bed, and pulled out his phone. “Well, I have a better one. I bet I can find this guy on Google.”

He searched for a few moments in silence and then snorted to himself and muttered, “And you wanted to use divination.”

In Edna’s defense, she often forgot Google was an option. Magic had been around a lot longer than the Internet, and she wasn’t even on Facebook, even though her nephew—the one who had rented the pocket dimension—frequently told her she ought to be.

There were a lot of funny cat pictures there. Maybe she’d sign up some time.

“Got him,” Benjamin said. “At least, I think do. That is, there are seven different Theobald Smiths in Michigan, so I’m not entirely sure it’s this one, but…”

He showed Edna the picture on his phone. It was a staff photo from the University of Detroit, an adjunct professor in the Department of Magical Archaeology. Aside from the obvious profession, you just knew from looking at him that he’d have the Sword of Destiny. He had one of those sad, square-jawed faces and spectacles that made him look very smart and a peppery beard and hair that made him look venerable and wise.

Edna surveyed him closely. “You’d think wizards would be smart enough not to put an important magical artifact in the hands of someone who has an uncommon name and works in a field known for dealing with magical artifacts. Anyone could find him.”

“Well,” Benjamin yawned, clearing the image, “I’m sure no one’s looking. It’s not exactly a well-known object.”

“Not with a name like the Sword of Destiny,” Edna agreed. She put away her knitting things and got cozy beneath her quilt. “It’s not exactly Excalibur.”

“Good night, Edna.”

“Good night, Benjamin.”

But long after her faithful orderly had fallen asleep, snoring lightly on the other side of the room, Edna lay awake in the flickering blue glow of the television. Mittens crept out from beneath the bed and joined her up top instead. He curled up at her side, purring, now that it was dark and secret and no one would ever know how affectionate he could be. Edna hardly noticed. She was too excited at the prospect of finding Theobald Smith—and the Sword of Destiny.

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Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:32 pm
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vetas wrote a review...



Ok Grandma, here we go again. But! Before I start, I have decided to make this my 25th review giving me my second star. Wooo!

These are usually hard to review because they are almost perfect! (Almost because there is always room for improvement)

Adding the cat to the story is just wonderful! I like it when there is this other character that you can enjoy of the side while the story moves on. It's one of those characters that will make people cry if something bad happens to them. Not the cat.... I guess we will see what happens :)

I am always impressed by your dialogue. I tend to have difficulty with dialogue. You will need to teach me.

Oh and another thing! I like how they can't practice magic without a license. I thought that was a very cool idea to add! It's different :)

Great job on another entertaining part! Go Grandma! Go Grandma!




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Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:25 pm
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LadyLizz wrote a review...



And then there were seven.

I will not make fun of Michigan. I will not make fun of Michigan. I might make fun of Michigan.

So I'm going to go into a quick backstory about the seedy motels in Ohio that you would find along I-70 or whatever the parallel of I-70 is called in this universe. I traveled back and forth from Traverse City way up yonder where it's kind of just Canada, down to Wilmington, DE five times during my stay in Michigan. And for that, you have to go through some dead states. This might just be how I like to write things and the way I like to parody things, but totally pseudo Bates motel should have been where they stayed. I am using this in my story which you don't know about because you only read that one little bit that didn't have any murders.
I make the Bates joke here because I was expecting one of Redway's henchmen to jump out of the bushes at the place they stopped. Like I seriously was expecting something slightly evil to happen here besides the cat. But all cats are evil so...

Edna taking the cat's side in things is something that I find really funny. It's the ideal placement of a recurring joke in a work, where it's more subtle than the question about age and destiny. It's something that can be transformed into so many variations and still be recognized as the baseline joke. I do hope that you continue along this path because now the humor is starting to be more my speed, instead of something copied from a joke book.

With this review written, I have officially jumped over Nate on the leaderboard and since I really don't expect him to review anytime soon, I might be able to slack off on reviews. But probably not. Darling you'll be seeing me in like 10 minutes.




BlueAfrica says...


Hopefully it continues with the humor to your liking! Although I can pretty much guarantee the pacing will still be off and a certain character who shall remain nameless isn't letting me get a good enough feel for him, so there's probably also going to be some spots where you're like, "What is even going on with this person?" because at some point I lost track of who he is, really.



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Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:12 pm
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Rydia wrote a review...



Hi :)

Specifics

1. Benjamin didn't bring a first aid kit? He's travelling with an elderly woman who I expect is on at least 3/4 pills a day but he didn't think to bring medicines and bandages? That feels really off - it makes him a very irresponsible orderly which isn't the impression we've been given so far. My mum's in her sixties and she takes her medication every morning so if she's going anywhere for a few days she packs some as well. My dad turns 70 next month and he has a lot more health problems so he generally takes at least some of his medication with him even when he's just taking a day trip somewhere. What I'm saying is that my parents aren't that old but they already take several pills every morning. For someone who works around the elderly, I'd have thought medication would be top of his priority list and that usually includes a general first aid kit too. I'm in my twenties but I still pack basic first aid kit whenever I'm going on holiday or even something shorter like a hen weekend. I've got so tired of putting my own kit together that I've actually bought a first aid bag now so I can just throw it in the suitcase each time. I'd also expect there to be a first aid kit in any van owned by a home for the elderly so they don't have to worry about putting one together ahead of day trips.

2.

They were back on the road again in no time. Benjamin dug around in the center consul with one hand, looking for spare CDs.
Consul is the wrong word here. I think you probably meant console? A consul means a diplomat/ ambassador :p

3.
Benjamin gaped at her, his mouth foamy with paste. He turned to the sink, spit spat, and turned back to Edna, still gaping.


Overall

Not much small stuff this time so good job on the proofreading ;)

I'm just betting that Theobald will not be the magical archaeology professor since subverting the stereotype is definitely your thing, though it might be nice if one of them proves true. But I expect not this one!

There's not much to say about this chapter as it's still quite slow and you're still at the ramping up stage. There are enough small magical world building details to keep this interesting and Edna is amusing as always, though I think I'd find her very tiresome to be around in real life. Benjamin must have the patience of a saint to put up with it!

All the best,
Heather




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Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:45 pm
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Lavvie wrote a review...



I'm becoming increasingly excited, because now they have left Golden Years and they're on their way.

Edna’s nephew had called to tell her he’d found a reasonably priced pocket dimension in which to store the things she’d left behind


I love the way in which you intertwine the magical with the non-magical. It's a welcome contrast after countless stories where the non-magical people are usually very oblivious to the magical people - for example, Harry Potter's world. Both approaches are sensible, but I think we've long dealt with the trope of hiding the magic. It's exciting, and you certainly further emphasize the entwinement when you bring up Google and Facebook. It's even better when Edna admits that she never thought of the Internet as it hasn't been around as long as magic, and I think that's a really nice touch, because it draws a parallel with our world and the way older people feel about the Internet (of course, I generalize).

Mittens had exceeded Benjamin’s expectations by clawing not only the upholstery but Benjamin’s left leg.


What about the puking on the seats?

Benjamin dug around in the center consul


It's actually "center console".

I have to admit that Edna is kind of getting on my nerves. At first, I thought she was kind of fun and sassy, which she still is, but it's getting a little old. I feel like there's more depth to Benjamin at this point than Edna. I would kind of like to see Edna not acting like an entitled old lady, although I do understand that it comes with the age, but she's also smart enough to not be so condescending or ignorant of Benjamin's attempts to care for her. I guess I'm just saying that it would be nice to see Edna take the older, wiser route and for once not give Benjamin a hassle.

Another thing is that locating Theobald Smith just seemed too easy, too rushed, for my tastes. Hopefully, it's not that that easy.

Overall, an enjoyable chapter, even if not a whole lot happened!




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Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:25 am
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Kays wrote a review...



I have to say that I'm getting there! Only nine more chapters to go after finishing this one. With that, let's jump right in to the review.

By four o’clock, Edna and Benjamin had been on the interstate for an hour, Edna’s nephew had called to tell her he’d found a reasonably priced pocket dimension.


I wanted to take note of this first sentence. There's nothing wrong with it, per say, it's more that we're casually introduced into what seems to be more magic with the pocket dimension. I enjoy this idea, though this makes me wonder how well magic is known (I know that everyone knows what magic is and that wizards exist in this story) or to be more specific, how many people use it in their day-to-day life. I'm not talking as much about magic-users themselves as much as I am the amount of people who use magical items to make their life easier.

Moving on from that, while there isn't a lot that actually happens in this chapter, or at least this first half, we as the readers still feel like we're progressing, and I enjoy that. Like Carlito says in her review, there isn't anything new or revolutionary that's revealed in terms of what Edna knows about her task, finding the Sword of Destiny, there's still this feeling that we've done something this chapter. We're on the way to the mystical place of Michigan.

“Chosen Ones do not take pills,” she said. Mittens swiped at Benjamin’s ankles from under the bed as he brought the pills over, which she took as tacit agreement.

“Maybe not, but old ladies with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and a mild case of diabetes and a bad hip certainly do. Come on, Edna. You ought to be used to it by now.”

“I might get used to it if I thought they would cure me,” she said, and tossed down the first pill with a swallow of water and a grimace. “What’s the good of taking pills every day when they’re not going to make me better?”

“They keep you from dying, that’s the good.”

“I’m eighty-three,” Edna reminded him. “It’s all downhill from here, pills or no pills.”

“Jesus, Edna.”


I laughed at her stubbornness to take pills. Particularly the line about how Chosen Ones don't take pills. At the same time here, there's this sadness to this part of the chapter, how blunt Edna is about her going downhill from here. She's eighty-three, already not able to do much. I'm wondering how this journey is going to go because of the condition that she's in. We'll see.

I'm interested to see where this goes with Theobald, as I somewhat remember reviewing one of these upcoming chapters which I'll probably just re-comment on anyway now that I'm involved in the plot. Not a very eventful chapter in terms of twists or happenings, though that doesn't make it any less fun.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.




BlueAfrica says...


I like to think most people use magical items on the daily in this world. Not everyone has actually studied magic or actually practices it - spells and charms and potions are left mostly to wizards, witches, and the like - but someone suggested magically-enhanced technology, which I like the idea of (although I'm so technology-impaired that it would take a LOT of work for me to figure out exactly what magically-enhanced technology entails because I barely know what regular technology entails), and then I thought people could use things like pocket dimensions, magic carpets, etc to make life easier. I also know that magical beings work right out in the open at fairly normal jobs - sprites in coffee shops, dryads as gardeners, mermaids as life guards, things like that.



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Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:21 am
Carlito wrote a review...



Here comes the slowest reviewer back for more :P

Once again, I don't have much to really critique in this chapter. I think things are moving along at a nice pace. While there weren't any big bangs in this segment, the plot is still moving forward and things are still happening. There were a lot of little humor moments I liked such as the cat "exceeded Benjamin’s expectations by clawing not only the upholstery but Benjamin’s left leg" and Facebook having a plethora of cat photos.

Two tiny thoughts. First, while I appreciate Edna's sassiness, I also worry that after a whole novel it's going to start to get tiresome. Nothing is ever simple with her. Everything is a fight or an argument. I know that she likes things her way, but does she ever admit she's wrong or does she ever agree with anyone without an argument first. Like with taking her medicine, I get that she doesn't like taking medicine (I don't either) but it happens every day. Does it have to turn into a whole situation with Benjamin? I'm not saying to change her personality because I think her personality is fun and humorous and adds a certain uniqueness to the story, but just be mindful of the sass levels :P

My other little thought with this person they're trying to find. It felt too easy. Maybe this guy they really think it is won't turn out to be the right Theobald Smith, but I have a feeling it will be. Obviously you don't to spend 5000 words with them wandering around checking out all of their Theobald leads, but so far everything has been going pretty well and pretty easily for them and I think they should struggle a little before they find this Theo (which for all I know they still will :p).

But overall, I think this is another well-executed chapter segment. You're keeping me intrigued which is always a good thing! I'll hop over to 4.2 tomorrow so we can keep on rockin and then I'll come back for more after I catch up on some other reviews. But in the meantime, let me know if you have any questions/if you want feedback about something I didn't mention! :D




BlueAfrica says...


Maybe this guy they really think it is won't turn out to be the right Theobald Smith, but I have a feeling it will be.


Heh heh heh.



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Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:29 pm
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Lightsong wrote a review...



I actually plan to review the ones in the Room, but this one would be the last for the day.

By four o’clock, Edna and Benjamin had been on the interstate for an hour, Edna’s nephew had called to tell her he’d found a reasonably priced pocket dimension in which to store the things she’d left behind, and Mittens had exceeded Benjamin’s expectations by clawing not only the upholstery but Benjamin’s left leg.


Looooove the detail about pocket dimension. It fits the world building. For the cat, I think, since it's put together with the dimension thingy, its effect is lessened, so if you still want readers to focus on the cat part and find it funny, I'd suggest separating it with the dimension part. This is really nothing big though, perhaps it's just me, so take it with a grain of salt. c:

She’d been clawed by plenty of frightened cats in her day, not to mention the odd sphynx and, once, a very small saber-toothed tiger.


Is Edna's bragging about her badassery? *raises eyebrow*

“Excuse me for keeping us from crashing into that minivan.” Benjamin rolled up the leg of his jeans to examine his calf. “Ugh. I can’t believe I forgot to pack a first aid kit.”


Before we reach the part where Benjamin checks his calf, you might want to mention he's stopped the car because I imagine him doing this while driving the car, which is totally a no-no and dangerous. o.o

A grand adventure ought to feel a little more promising than an ordinary road trip, but so far everything had gone smoothly (putting aside the incident with the cat).


This is called being realistic, haha. I wonder though, perhaps richer people have like flying ships or something. xD

“Time to take your pills, Edna,” Benjamin said, checking his watch.

Edna sighed and watched him pull the pill case from his bag and fill a glass of water in the bathroom sink.

“Chosen Ones do not take pills,” she said. Mittens swiped at Benjamin’s ankles from under the bed as he brought the pills over, which she took as tacit agreement.

“Maybe not, but old ladies with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and a mild case of diabetes and a bad hip certainly do. Come on, Edna. You ought to be used to it by now.”

“I might get used to it if I thought they would cure me,” she said, and tossed down the first pill with a swallow of water and a grimace. “What’s the good of taking pills every day when they’re not going to make me better?”

“They keep you from dying, that’s the good.”

“I’m eighty-three,” Edna reminded him. “It’s all downhill from here, pills or no pills.”

“Jesus, Edna.”


This part escalates from being a humorous banter to a grim one so fast. o.o

“Oh, yeah?” he said in a toothpastey voice.


I like toothpastey voice. This should be official.

Anyway, when Ben's brushing his teeth, does he do that while being topless? Usually, men brush teeth topless as to avoid the paste from falling to their shirt, but I don't see him doing this in front of Edna due to embarrassment factor. At the same time, I feel like he should. Don't mind me, this is totally insignificant, it's just me being Ben's fanboy. <3

“Edna,” Benjamin said, wiping his mouth. “I’m studying theoretical magic. It’s not even, like magic-magic, it’s space magic, which is a totally different beast. But even if I was studying magic, like magic, it’s still theoretical, not practical, which means it would probably blow up in my face if I tried it out. Not to mention the fact that divining magic is really tricky and sort of unethical and really nosy and you have to have proper licensure if you want to practice serious divining magic, so if your goal was to have me burn down the hotel by accident and then get arrested for practicing divination without a license—”


Oh, Ben. <3 I like how this explanation doesn't come across as info dumping, and it gives us more understanding on the role of magic in this world. Ben doesn't practice magic, he just studies it, I see. I'm not sure if the first part where he says, 'magic-magic' is necessary, because the other two reasons for him not going to divine, the first being that he studies the theory aspect of magic instead of the practical one, and the second being there are a lot of process and limitations put upon someone who wants to divine, are enough to explain why he's not going to divine. The logic behind them is also stronger than magic-magic.

I chuckle on the part about Google and Facebook. Excellently executed humour right there.

Alright, so there's nothing much to say here. It's the beginning of a new chapter, and right it's in the 'setting up' part, so there's nothing much I can suggest plot-wise. I do want to suggest you put some details about Edna's or Ben's life just to give some information the reader would be interested to read. As of right now, this chapter is necessary, but it also doesn't have much interesting/exciting stuffs.

And that is all! Hopefully this review helps, or if not, at least it gives you a reader's impression. Keep up the good job, and see you tomorrow! c:




BlueAfrica says...


Before we reach the part where Benjamin checks his calf, you might want to mention he's stopped the car because I imagine him doing this while driving the car, which is totally a no-no and dangerous. o.o


OMG I DID IT AGAIN. There was a later part where I thought I was done but then realized the cat had vanished, implying they'd left him in a hot car. OOPS. Silly Blue. I keep doing crap like that, but at least they're easy fixes!

Google and Facebook: ME. I mean, I have a Facebook now, but I got one way later than virtually all my friends, and I *still* sometimes have trouble remembering I can just google stuff. Edna is totally not me at all.

Also, I think Ben's probably a little too self-conscious to brush teeth without a shirt, at least while sharing a hotel room with an old woman! But then my bf wears a shirt while tooth-brushing, so I really just didn't consider this.

Thank you so much for kickstarting reviews for me!



Lightsong says...


You're welcome! I've been meaning to review each of them after I read it, actually, but couldn't find the mood to do so. c:



BlueAfrica says...


That's fair. I sometimes can't, but now I'm regretting it because I'm trying to clear zero-reviewed fiction out and there are a couple things in there I read previously but only commented on, and now I'm like, "Man, I should've just reviewed it."



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Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:48 pm
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Nerrvany wrote a review...



"Same dif" seems out of place.
The meaning of "toothpastey" was unclear at first (it took me a little bit to realize he must be brushing his teeth).

The thing I love about magic being so normal in this world is I can't tell if the pocket dimension is a metaphor or if it's a literal pocket dimension :)




BlueAfrica says...


It is a literal pocket dimension ^_^



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Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:43 pm
Nerrvany says...



"it's /space/ magic"
I'm laughing, that's beautiful.




BlueAfrica says...


Tbh I'm not even sure what exactly space magic is, but that one wizard back in the prologue was headed to Mars for a scientific mission, so space magic must exist.




The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed...
— Charlotte Bronte