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The Many Gifts of Malia--Part 11: "The Appeal"

by dragonfphoenix


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Malia laughed, her snake hair hissing giggles. “See? I knew you’d like it.”

“I do not.”

“You do.” She poked my side and grinned. “You’re trying to hide it, but I can see how pleased you are. Admit it, you think it’s funny.”

Blasted woman. It was a bit humorous, in a nonsensical way, but Seppo didn’t deserve such teasing. I tried once again to free my arm, but the clinging gorgon wouldn’t relinquish her hold. She gazed up at me with hurt eyes.

Fine. If you’re going to play hardball…

“Seppo!” I called, dragging Malia along behind me. She yelped at the sudden jerk but quickly balanced herself and slithered up beside me. “Wait!”

The god froze, his shoulders skyrocketing. “I already gave you your verdict, now go away.”

“When has that ever worked when Malia’s involved?” I asked with a sigh. She chuckled and I shot her a glare. “You haven’t even heard my side of the story yet.”

Slumping, he crossed his arms with a clank and turned to scowl at us. “Well?”

I pulled myself up to my full height. Little tufts of cloud floated over my feet. “I’m entitled to a peaceful retirement, free of meddling, as is my right by both my service to and former station in this pantheon. She,” I jabbed a finger at her, “has ruined a significant section of my forest with her powers, which has significantly disrupted said peace.”

Seppo grunted. “And?”

“And?” I echoed, bewildered. “That’s my sacred forest, on my temple grounds! As such, it, as well as I, should be free from divine interference for the duration of my retirement.”

Seppo’s scowl deepened. “Yes, for the duration of your retirement. But you have an outstanding offer from a member of our pantheon, an offer which you’ve engaged with. Multiple times now. So I fail to see how you’re still rambling on about being inactive.”

“What?” I spluttered. “There aren’t any ‘outstanding offers,’ and in case you didn’t notice I hold no Symbols of Office.”

He raised a brow at me. By the tugging on my arm I could feel Malia silently laughing. I looked down and saw a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Oh no.

“Malia…”

“Well, it wouldn't be a surprise if I told you it was there,” she said, laughing.

I folded my arms as best I could, with her clamped on my elbow as she was, and tried to give her my best imposing scowl. “Explain.”

She examined the nails on the hand not fastened to my personage and affected an air of ambivalence. “I sent you a messenger.”

“When?” My confusion was growing, but so was the sneaking suspicion that I’d been outmaneuvered.

Polishing her nails against her scaly chest, she said, “You did get my letter, didn’t you?”

“This one?” I pulled out her most recent missive. Frowning, I turned to Seppo. “This would constitute an outstanding offer, wouldn’t it?”

He nodded, clearly unhappy. “Yes. A most unusual one, but I’d already discussed that with Malia before this whole fiasco. And I’m getting rather tired of your vagrant flaunting of your relationship.”

“She won’t let go,” I said, half pleading. Malia just laughed and tightened her grip. By now, dislodging her would not only be seriously embarrassing for both of us but might require hurting her, so I resigned myself to the position.

“Regardless,” Seppo said, “your complaints are moot because you’ve been engaging with her offers for years…” he trailed off, mentally tallying numbers in his head. “Decades now, so no, your argument is invalid.”

“But—”

“Further, she’s already justified herself because, as she put it, she can’t properly demonstrate her abilities without showing the effects of her powers, hence the desert wasn’t an option.” He scowled. “And she has as much right to a proper demonstration for her new champion as you had for your retirement, which you’ve given up in all but name.”

“That can’t be right.” I shook my head. “I’ve done nothing but settle back into a peaceful life since I left the pantheon.”

“Nothing?” Malia gave me a sly look. “Are you sure you’ve done absolutely nothing?”

“Well, nothing except...you little snake.” That gods-damned woman was dragging Hasda into this. Of course she was. I scowled, furious with myself. Leave me to not read between the lines of that first letter. She never did anything without a reason, and she’d find a way to twist even a gift given without strings attached to her advantage.

Seppo nodded. “I’ve heard about this youngling of yours. Malia has kept me well-informed of his progress. Bright lad.” He grunted. “But that would make you, at a minimum, his mentor.”

“But I’ve returned him to Malia,” I said, my voice sounding hollow.

“And did you also give her the decades you spent raising the boy?”

“No, of course not.”

“Well all right, then.” Seppo brushed his hands, considering the matter settled.

I shook my head. “But what about my forest?”

“That was to get your attention,” Malia said. Fluttering her eyes, she gave me a sickly-sweet smile. “It worked, didn’t it?”

“I hate you sometimes.”

“I love you, too.”

Seppo made gagging noises and turned away. “If you’re quite done,” he said, back to us, “I have important matters demanding my attention.”

“Come along, dear,” Malia said, tugging on my arm. “Let’s leave the grumpy old bachelor alone.”

“But my retirement!” I called back as Malia pulled me towards the door.

“No!” Seppo shouted back. “You still haven’t responded to Malia’s offer, which you’ve read because the seal is broken, and I’ll not hear you rejecting it out of hand. You must consider it for at least three days, if you’re going to reject such an unheard-of invitation. Now go.”

The blue sky winked out as we exited the temple, replaced by the golden honey afternoon of Nebesa. I slumped in the warm air, my robes dragging against the steps as we made our way down the ziggurat. Malia batted my shoulder.

“Don’t slouch. You’ll get arthritis when you’re older.” She laughed but I just grumbled. Patting my arm, she said, “Why so cranky? This’ll be fun. Even if you decide not to come back to the pantheon, you can always accompany us as Hasda’s mentor.” She squeezed my elbow, drawing my gaze. Her eyes were intense. “Come on. You know how much this would mean to him.”

I sighed. “You’ve just got all the angles covered, haven’t you?”

“As I always do.” She beamed. “Now stop being a grumpy old toad and let’s get you to Maas Telos.”

“The armory? What for?”

Malia rolled her eyes. “To get your celestial weapons, silly.”

“I still haven’t accepted your offer,” I grumbled.

“You could leave at any time, yet you’re still here.” She poked my arm with a finger, her snakes tracking my eyes. “If you don’t like it so much, why don’t you just open your fizzy little portal and go home?”

“Because you’d take that as an invitation,” I said, scowling. Pulling back against her hold, I slowed us to a stop on the steps and faced her. “You’re serious about sharing office?”

She glanced away. “Well, if you’d like your old spot better, I’m sure Thane could be persuaded.” An uncertain laugh escaped her. “He’s been eyeing the party god spot for a while now. Reaping souls bores him, to be honest.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.” I sighed. “All right. Let’s go back to Maas Pirene.”

Her eyes lit up. “Fountain talk?”

I nodded. “Fountain talk.”

Beaming, she clapped her hands and bounced on the steps, flaring her wings to keep from pitching forward. With all the energy of a hare who’d forgotten to brew decaf, she drew a large oval in the air. Her portal flared to life, and we stepped through onto the stone plaza to revive our dead tradition of discussing serious matters beside the burbling fountain.


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Mon May 24, 2021 7:54 am
KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm KHarry....yes you read that right, he's back again to spout nonsense....well...I'll just get to it then...

First Impression: Oooh...now this was chemistry central right here...I just looove the dialogue you have between Charax and Malia...ahh...also poor Seppo having to stomach all of this.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Malia laughed, her snake hair hissing giggles. “See? I knew you’d like it.”

“I do not.”

“You do.” She poked my side and grinned. “You’re trying to hide it, but I can see how pleased you are. Admit it, you think it’s funny.”


Oooh...she's getting through to him somehow..or is she.???

Blasted woman. It was a bit humorous, in a nonsensical way, but Seppo didn’t deserve such teasing. I tried once again to free my arm, but the clinging gorgon wouldn’t relinquish her hold. She gazed up at me with hurt eyes.

Fine. If you’re going to play hardball…


Oooh he's going to make a move...lets see how this goes...

“Seppo!” I called, dragging Malia along behind me. She yelped at the sudden jerk but quickly balanced herself and slithered up beside me. “Wait!”

The god froze, his shoulders skyrocketing. “I already gave you your verdict, now go away.”

“When has that ever worked when Malia’s involved?” I asked with a sigh. She chuckled and I shot her a glare. “You haven’t even heard my side of the story yet.”


Well...I guess he walked into that one...

Slumping, he crossed his arms with a clank and turned to scowl at us. “Well?”

I pulled myself up to my full height. Little tufts of cloud floated over my feet. “I’m entitled to a peaceful retirement, free of meddling, as is my right by both my service to and former station in this pantheon. She,” I jabbed a finger at her, “has ruined a significant section of my forest with her powers, which has significantly disrupted said peace.”

Seppo grunted. “And?”


Well he doesn't appear too be particularly concerned, that's not good.

“And?” I echoed, bewildered. “That’s my sacred forest, on my temple grounds! As such, it, as well as I, should be free from divine interference for the duration of my retirement.”

Seppo’s scowl deepened. “Yes, for the duration of your retirement. But you have an outstanding offer from a member of our pantheon, an offer which you’ve engaged with. Multiple times now. So I fail to see how you’re still rambling on about being inactive.”

“What?” I spluttered. “There aren’t any ‘outstanding offers,’ and in case you didn’t notice I hold no Symbols of Office.”


Uh oh...looks like Malia properly pulled the wool over his eyes this time....ahh..can't wait see what this whole plot was about.

He raised a brow at me. By the tugging on my arm I could feel Malia silently laughing. I looked down and saw a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Oh no.

“Malia…”

“Well, it wouldn't be a surprise if I told you it was there,” she said, laughing.


Here we go....

I folded my arms as best I could, with her clamped on my elbow as she was, and tried to give her my best imposing scowl. “Explain.”

She examined the nails on the hand not fastened to my personage and affected an air of ambivalence. “I sent you a messenger.”

“When?” My confusion was growing, but so was the sneaking suspicion that I’d been outmaneuvered.


Oh you've definitely been outmaneuvered Charax...

Polishing her nails against her scaly chest, she said, “You did get my letter, didn’t you?”

“This one?” I pulled out her most recent missive. Frowning, I turned to Seppo. “This would constitute an outstanding offer, wouldn’t it?”


Hmm...yes..that part is relatively clear..okay...let's see where the secret stuff is here.

He nodded, clearly unhappy. “Yes. A most unusual one, but I’d already discussed that with Malia before this whole fiasco. And I’m getting rather tired of your vagrant flaunting of your relationship.”

“She won’t let go,” I said, half pleading. Malia just laughed and tightened her grip. By now, dislodging her would not only be seriously embarrassing for both of us but might require hurting her, so I resigned myself to the position.


Well oof...she has him properly trapped there...and I love that.

“Regardless,” Seppo said, “your complaints are moot because you’ve been engaging with her offers for years…” he trailed off, mentally tallying numbers in his head. “Decades now, so no, your argument is invalid.”

“But—”

“Further, she’s already justified herself because, as she put it, she can’t properly demonstrate her abilities without showing the effects of her powers, hence the desert wasn’t an option.” He scowled. “And she has as much right to a proper demonstration for her new champion as you had for your retirement, which you’ve given up in all but name.”


Well...everybody being hit with a lot of logic here...suddenly this is getting into some complex loopholes here...oh dear.

“That can’t be right.” I shook my head. “I’ve done nothing but settle back into a peaceful life since I left the pantheon.”

“Nothing?” Malia gave me a sly look. “Are you sure you’ve done absolutely nothing?”

“Well, nothing except...you little snake.” That gods-damned woman was dragging Hasda into this. Of course she was. I scowled, furious with myself. Leave me to not read between the lines of that first letter. She never did anything without a reason, and she’d find a way to twist even a gift given without strings attached to her advantage.


Oh well...she definitely is quite smart that one...

Seppo nodded. “I’ve heard about this youngling of yours. Malia has kept me well-informed of his progress. Bright lad.” He grunted. “But that would make you, at a minimum, his mentor.”

“But I’ve returned him to Malia,” I said, my voice sounding hollow.

“And did you also give her the decades you spent raising the boy?”


OH dear...everything has already been thought out here quite clearly....

“No, of course not.”

“Well all right, then.” Seppo brushed his hands, considering the matter settled.

I shook my head. “But what about my forest?”

“That was to get your attention,” Malia said. Fluttering her eyes, she gave me a sickly-sweet smile. “It worked, didn’t it?”

“I hate you sometimes.”

“I love you, too.”

Ahh...this dialogue is just perfect right now....ahh...the chemistry between these two is just amazing to read and yeah...I just love it...which I probably said for the twentieth time now.

Seppo made gagging noises and turned away. “If you’re quite done,” he said, back to us, “I have important matters demanding my attention.”

“Come along, dear,” Malia said, tugging on my arm. “Let’s leave the grumpy old bachelor alone.”

Ahh...Seppo's reactions are just complimenting this already wonderful scene quite beautifully.

“But my retirement!” I called back as Malia pulled me towards the door.

“No!” Seppo shouted back. “You still haven’t responded to Malia’s offer, which you’ve read because the seal is broken, and I’ll not hear you rejecting it out of hand. You must consider it for at least three days, if you’re going to reject such an unheard-of invitation. Now go.”


Well...he's been put in quite a spot there now hasn't he?

The blue sky winked out as we exited the temple, replaced by the golden honey afternoon of Nebesa. I slumped in the warm air, my robes dragging against the steps as we made our way down the ziggurat. Malia batted my shoulder.

“Don’t slouch. You’ll get arthritis when you’re older.” She laughed but I just grumbled. Patting my arm, she said, “Why so cranky? This’ll be fun. Even if you decide not to come back to the pantheon, you can always accompany us as Hasda’s mentor.” She squeezed my elbow, drawing my gaze. Her eyes were intense. “Come on. You know how much this would mean to him.”


Oh well...as much as it seems like we're not supposed to like Malia here, I just can't help it...

I sighed. “You’ve just got all the angles covered, haven’t you?”

“As I always do.” She beamed. “Now stop being a grumpy old toad and let’s get you to Maas Telos.”

“The armory? What for?”


Well...she's definitely thought everything through...no doubt about that.

Malia rolled her eyes. “To get your celestial weapons, silly.”

“I still haven’t accepted your offer,” I grumbled.

“You could leave at any time, yet you’re still here.” She poked my arm with a finger, her snakes tracking my eyes. “If you don’t like it so much, why don’t you just open your fizzy little portal and go home?”


Well...she's definitely asking the correct questions here as well.

“Because you’d take that as an invitation,” I said, scowling. Pulling back against her hold, I slowed us to a stop on the steps and faced her. “You’re serious about sharing office?”

She glanced away. “Well, if you’d like your old spot better, I’m sure Thane could be persuaded.” An uncertain laugh escaped her. “He’s been eyeing the party god spot for a while now. Reaping souls bores him, to be honest.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.” I sighed. “All right. Let’s go back to Maas Pirene.”


Well...this should be interesting at the very least.

Her eyes lit up. “Fountain talk?”

I nodded. “Fountain talk.”

Beaming, she clapped her hands and bounced on the steps, flaring her wings to keep from pitching forward. With all the energy of a hare who’d forgotten to brew decaf, she drew a large oval in the air. Her portal flared to life, and we stepped through onto the stone plaza to revive our dead tradition of discussing serious matters beside the burbling fountain.


Aww...that's kind of a sweet little moment...can't wait to see what they end up talking about in that next chapter.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Well...its another lovely chapter here...definitely loving these two together and fountain talk just sounds too adorable to be true...well let's go find out how it goes in that next chapter.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




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Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:12 am
Spearmint wrote a review...



Okay, I think this is definitely my favorite chapter so far! Not only is the humor spot-on and the descriptions creative, but I also loved reading about the interaction between Charax, Malia, and poor left-out Seppo. So awesome job with this! ^-^

Malia laughed, her snake hair hissing giggles.

Ooh this part makes it seem as if the snakes in her hair are alive? I can't quite remember whether this has been addressed before, but if the snakes are alive, how do they interact with others? Can they talk? Does Malia control them, or are they independent? Oh and sorry if you've talked about this already and it's just my faulty memory c:

Little tufts of cloud floated over my feet.

I can't say why, exactly, but this detail just makes me so happy. Maybe it's because I've always wanted to stand on a cloud? Anyways, I love that you drop little pieces of information here and there instead of just info-dumping it all; that way the reader is able to learn more about the setting while staying engaged with the action in the story. It's great!

“Well, nothing except...you little snake.” That gods-damned woman was dragging Hasda into this.

Hmm okay, this might just be me, but I feel like this part is a little abrupt. Perhaps it'd flow better if you added an "oh" into the dialogue? For example: "Well, nothing except... oh, you little snake." Just a super tiny and optional thing ^-^
And I also love the fact that Charax calls Malia a snake, and she quite literally has snakes for hair XD

“I hate you sometimes.”

“I love you, too.”

Haha I feel like these two sentences perfectly sum up Charax and Malia's relationship! It seems like Charax is often annoyed with Malia, but Malia isn't bothered by that at all XD

An uncertain laugh escaped her.

This part intrigued me because it doesn't appear to fit Malia's character to be uncertain. Could this mean that she actually cares about Charax? 0.0 Hmm...

Overall I thought this was an excellent chapter where you really demonstrated your skill as a writer! This was an absolute pleasure to read, and I'm looking forward to reading about the fountain talk! :D




dragonfphoenix says...


Thanks! Yeah, her hair is a bunch of snakes (that's part of her gorgon deal). They're just kind of there, although I do have to keep in mind they are there lol.

Malia is complex. That's about the best way to put it. XD



Spearmint says...


Haha yeah XDD But that's what makes her fun to read about! c:



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Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:42 pm
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

As always, I love reading your stuff, and this time was no different. Each new section brings a new development to the plot, and it's always a joy to find out what it is.

I think one thing you did really well in this chapter was your consistency. I find that whenever I write extended works, I have trouble with keeping everything consistent, but you do a wonderful job. From the narration to the character interactions, everything feels like it just belongs exactly where you put it. There's definite and evident thought behind each piece of the story, and it doesn't feel random at all. Nice work!

I also, again, really love the banter between Charax and Malia. Though, I do have to say, personally, Malia is a little annoying to me. Maybe it's because I relate to Charax in that I have a ton of extroverted friends who always drag me into stuff, but... yeah. I just thought I'd point it out because if your intention was to make it seem all cute and lovey-dovey, there are some parts that are like that, but there are others where it seems like Malia is perhaps overstepping her boundaries and is acting kind of like a jerk. Anyways. Just something to keep in mind!

Specifics

She,” I jabbed a finger at her, “has ruined a significant section of my forest with her powers, which has significantly disrupted said peace.”


Since "jab" isn't a dialogue tag, you're gonna want to use em dashes instead of commas to interrupt the dialogue. Properly structured, it should look like this:

She”—I jabbed a finger at her—“has ruined a significant section of my forest with her powers, which has significantly disrupted said peace.”


“But my retirement!” I called back as Malia pulled me towards the door.


This part made me laugh. It's gosh darn hilarious and such a mood, too.

Overall: really nice job! You know I always love reading stuff from you, and this time was no different. Keep up the good work!!




dragonfphoenix says...


Thanks! Lol, yes, Malia always tests how far she can push the line between humorous coyness and twatty nuisance, and she's not afraid to go over. XD

Charax himself is such a mood, it's super fun to write.

More chapters coming soon!




I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.
— Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights