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A note from Angry Spider

I've been reading the comments on this so far and came up with a solution to the biggest issue you guys have pointed out so far. You spoke, and I listened. Here ya go, and have a great day. :)

[NOTICE: Allocation of exessive resources into time repair and alteration - calculating solution.]

[Computing... Calculating all future timelines... Recommended course of action - Repair timelines in advance with highest probability.]

[Repairing and resuming... Complete!]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lola woke up quickly, as most eleven-year-olds tend to do. Her eyes snapped open, and she sat up in bed, ready to start the day when the events of yesterday jumped into her mind.

She looked around for a moment, looking for Codex, before spotting it on the nightstand and grinning hugely.

Making sure to pick it up carefully, she looked it in the eye and said brightly, "Good morning, Codex! Did you sleep well?" To her surprise, it blinked twice. If she remembered Chris's idea from yesterday, that meant no.

"You didn't have a good night's sleep? Father always says the most important way to start the morning is to end the night well."

Again, Codex blinked twice, and she finally understood what he was saying. "Ohhh, you don't sleep at all!" It winked once, clearly pleased at her smarts.

Excited, she tucked it under her arm and stood up, still in her magic pajamas. Briefly checking her appearance in the mirror, she decided that her hair looked fine as a mess and went downstairs.

She loved the enormous staircase on the way down. Some days, she would dress up fancily and walk down it, pretending she was a princess, and the maids would often cheer as if she was. But today was not one of those days! Today was a day to be productive!

Walking down the stairs as quickly as she could without being impolite, Lola sidestepped one of her favorite maids. "Good morning, miss Andrea!"

The maid curtseyed politely, and Lola mimicked the motion. "Good morning! Are you doing the chandeliers or the door handles first?"

Andrea smiled. "I believe I'm on handle duty today, miss Lola. What adventures are you off to?"

Lola held up Codex and responded happily, "I'm going to teach my book some new spells!"

The kitchen was on the way to the manor's full-sized library, and her stomach growled, reminding her that she hadn't had dinner the previous night. Lola decided that a slight detour wouldn't take too much time.

As she walked in, the cook frowned. He was a tall (and wide) man named Gregor, and while he acted rough, Lola had known him long enough to see through it to the soft heart underneath. "Good morning, Gregor! What do you have ready?"

He grunted in false annoyance. "I'll see if I can cook something up for you. Do you mind waiting a moment?"

She curtseyed again, knowing how happy it made everyone. "Thank you, sir Gregor! May I watch?"

He smiled, the gruff face cracking. "I don't see a reason why not. But remember, keep your hands away from the ovens." She nodded obediently and waited for him to open the trapdoor built into the black countertop.

The kitchen was a magical place, at least to Lola. It was also uncle Francis's favorite room, at least until he'd been banned from it for eating too much. The ceiling was constantly covered in a thin layer of smoke from the fleet of ovens and stoves, and the smells were divine, the scent of freshly baked bread and fried meats often prominent among them. The cooks worked almost constantly, for aside from the daily meals provided to the staff, many of them experimented with their own recipes. Thus far, Lola had not encountered a meal they could make that hadn't made her mouth water before a bite.

"Hello, Lola! Would you like to try my new breakfast meal?"

Lola's smile widened further. Grant was the youngest cook at the Bourgeois manor and a borderline prodigy when it came to early morning meals. He was also somewhat reckless with his cooking, and occasionally the scent of a failed experiment wafted up into her room. "What is it?"

The young man walked up to her, proudly presenting his creation. "I call it the Breakfast Burger! A single thick sausage, carefully pressed and fried at high temperatures until the grease is seared out, two slices of fresh cheddar, several pieces of crispy bacon, a peppered sunny-side-up egg, and all in between two pieces of a gently buttered biscuit, which was then toasted! I'm quite confident in its taste, as you may see. I decided to put it with two pieces of bacon on the side, and one of those sweet tarts you are so fond of."

Lola happily accepted it and asked, "May I have some orange juice with it?"

Grant grinned, and answered, "Actually, madame, I powdered and dried chocolate, then thoroughly mixed it into a glass of cold milk. I changed the recipe somewhat, so it mixes far better into the milk this time!"

Lola laughed at his proud expression. "Thank you very much, sir Grant! I expect to sample some of it shortly!" The young man beamed. Many of his projects ended fairly well, but he was particularly excited about his powdered chocolate recipe. She knew he planned on selling it one day as a grocery item, but didn't have the money to fund the production, which led to him working underneath her father.

Turning to the bemused Gregor, she said politely, "I believe Grant has my breakfast under control. May I wait outside as he prepares the chocolate milk?"

He shook his head in amusement, adding gruffly, "You most certainly may, madame. I'll bring it out once it's finished."

The dining room outside the kitchen was just as amazing as the inside, dozens of wide tables littered throughout, and elegant chairs deposited near them. Despite the size of the sprawling cafeteria, Lola much preferred to sit on the tall stools at the counter, and did so without much hesitation.

Holding Codex up, she asked it, "Do you have breakfast, or do you only eat words?" The book winked twice, and Lola sighed in disappointment. The servants were kind and polite, but they were required not to get overly close with the young heiress. She had never been to school before, instead having been educated by her parents with the copious library at their disposal. As a result, she had almost no one she could call a friend, and since her father was so busy, she rarely, if ever, ate meals with others.

She was distracted by Grant approaching with her meal on a silver plate. She clapped excitedly as the smell hit her. So many different and amazing foods combined into a single, thick sandwich. As expected, the taste and texture were phenomenal, the breaking of the biscuit mixing with the crunch of fresh bacon and the slight squeeze of a well-fried sausage. Smiling at the eager cook, she said through a full mouth, "It'sh exshellent!" Grant grinned hugely, excited to try out more creations in the hope that they would be as successful.

After she finished her breakfast, she picked Codex up and continued on her quest to the library. Holding it in front of her, she told it conversationally, "I remember one of Mother's old books had a spell in it that lets people who can't hear anything read what people are saying. Would you want to learn that, or do you prefer doing it the same way we have been so far?" Codex blinked so fast she almost missed it, and Lola laughed again. She was a girl of high humor, after all.

As she entered the library, she paused for a moment, appreciating its mahogany balconies and multi-tiered bookcases. Of all the rooms in the house, this was likely her favorite. Lola loved books immensely, loved the stories and histories written in their uncounted pages. Here, there were princes and princesses, dragons and monsters, and even a diary written by the very first Magelord. She especially loved that one, reading about all of the adventures that the powerful mage had, the dangers and romances he'd experienced in his long life.

Today, however, she went straight for the librarian waiting by a lamplit desk, who was reading a book called 'History of the System and its Advances'. It sounded a little boring. Lola may have been a massive reader, but there were limits to her attention span, and her father's library was enormous.

Looking up at her approach, the librarian smiled. She was a blond woman wearing a fancy suit and tie. She'd received more than a few frowns for not wearing a dress more often, but then again, no one had been quite brave enough to tell Beatrice Faxter to her face. She was a very competent magess, to the point that many had thought she was going to be a Royal Guardswoman. Of course, Lola knew only the basics of her backstory, and simply thought of her as the kind librarian who helped her find books.

"Hello, madame Lola. What are you looking for today?"

Lola held up Codex and placed him eye-up on the desk, and Beatrice leaned in, interested. "What's this?"

Lola grinned hugely. "It's Codex! Uncle Chris said he was a Living Book and he's a super-duper grimoire, but he can't hear what you're saying unless you touch him. One blink means yes, two means no." The librarian chuckled. Lola had invented more than a few tall tales in the past, some of which had actually been rather in-depth. This appeared to be one of those.

Placing a hand dramatically on the book, she asked in her fanciest voice, "Good morning, sir Codex. How may I be of assistance to you today?" Looking at it a bit closer, she was startled to find it glaring at her. How a book could glare so well with one eye was... unsettling, to say the least. 

Lola put her hand on Codex and told Beatrice with only mild annoyance, "No, he can't talk! He only knows yes and no."

Shaking her head, Beatrice wondered how long Lola was going to keep it up. "Very well. Have you had a nice stay with miss Lola so far?" 

The book actually blinked. Startled, Beatrice pulled her hand away, asking, "Did it just hear me?"

Lola nodded repeatedly. "Of course he did! I told you he was a Living Book!"

The librarian made a face. Regardless of whether or not Lola was telling the truth, she couldn't imagine Isaac ever allowing her to get something like that - and then she remembered that it was Isaac's daughter she was talking about. Of course, he'd get her anything she wanted, and with that overly pleased look on his face the whole time.

Either way, Beatrice was a librarian. Her job was to find and categorize books. So it was with a pleasant smile that she asked Lola, "Very well, how can I help you?"

The young girl smiled. "I need a spare copy of Sound Magic and its Counterparts!"

The librarian smiled. The book wasn't especially hard to find, and several copies had been donated to the manor over the years. "Certainly. A moment, please." 

Pulling out her own grimoire, Beatrice concentrated, and the reason that she was irreplaceable to the Bourgeois family became clear. Books began flying off the shelves from the Spellbooks Etc. aisle, hurtling to float in front of her. Eyes closed, the woman began aiming her fingers at the assortment of books, and they began moving back to their respective places.

Lola had seen the process many times, but it never failed to elicit a slight squeal of excitement from the impressionable girl. It was just such a prominent display of magical power, and it looked amazing at the same time. 

Finally, Beatrice was left with four books. Selecting one at random, she sent the other three back, giving the copy in her hand to Lola. "Here you go, madame. Have a lovely day!" 

As she ran out of the room, Lola shouted back, "You too, miss Beatrice!"

Sprinting back to her bedroom, she skipped several steps at a time in her hurry, almost running into Andrea again. The startled maid jumped out of the way, almost dropping her duster in the process. "Sorry, Andrea!" she called as she turned the corner and ran into her room. 

Placing Codex and her new copy of Sound Magic on her desk, she grabbed a pen, ready to transcribe the new spell. She flipped through the spellbook for a moment and found the spell she was looking for. Putting the tip of the pen to Codex's page, she waited excitedly. 

The words in the other spellbook began to peel off of the page, turning into ink and pouring into Codex. As Lola watched, the ink began to form into the spell, this time written directly in her grimoire. After several moments, the spellbook to her left was short a spell, and Codex had a new one. 

Standing back, Lola asked, "Can you hear me now?" The book's eye widened, and it began looking around Lola's head as if there was a swarm of wasps hovering around her, before winking. 

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A note from Angry Spider

I think I might enjoy writing food scenes a bit too much. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm hungry now.


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About the author

Angry Spider

  • The Arachnid Author

Bio: Like all the other spiders on Earth, I'm just as smart as any human. Naturally, I only have so much time to myself, so I use this one random teenager's laptop to write stories online.

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