Alora stretched her limbs above her head and yawned. She pressed her hand into the mattress underneath herself and smiled before bouncing up and down a few times. “Beds have to be the greatest invention humans have ever come up with,” she said as she arched her back and stretched again. “I bet Dad would love something like this. I wonder if he’ll take care of the annoying trio more often if I made him one. What do you think, Vur?”

There was no response.

Alora blinked a few times before rubbing her eyes. “Vur?” she asked, rotating her body to scan the room. She was all alone. “…Alright, that’s fine too—make me seem like I’m crazy by talking to myself.” With a thump, her feet hit the ground as she hopped out of bed. “At least no one’s listening.”

Alora tilted her head up and inhaled deeply through her nostrils. Her brow wrinkled as she exhaled and inhaled again. “Gosh, human noses suck at smelling things,” she said and shook her head as she approached the curtains. She lifted it aside and pressed her face up against the glass while muttering, “I want to turn back into a dragon….” Her eyes lit up upon seeing Vur in the garden. She pushed with her palms, and the window fell outwards along with its frame. Her body wiggled as she crawled through the opening she created and promptly fell to the ground headfirst with a yelp. She clutched her forehead as she climbed to her feet. “…Dumb wingless body.”

“Hey, Vur!” Alora shouted as she limped over to the only patch of grass that wasn’t ruined in the garden. Vur was splayed out in the center of it, his eyes empty as he stared up at the sky with his mouth hanging open. “Vur…?” Alora leaned forward and nudged his rib. “Are you alright?”

Vur blinked and shook his head like a dog, shaking off the dazed state that he was in. He created a ball of water above his palm and drank it. Then he stretched his arms over his head and yawned. “Alora? What are you doing here?”

“No,” Alora said, “that’s what I should be asking you. I was in a normal place when I woke up. You’re…”—she gestured towards the ground—“here. What were you doing anyway?”

“I almost died,” Vur said with a sigh. “I never knew training could be so boring.”

“You were training?” Alora asked, blinking twice. “What were you training? A dog? I don’t see it.” She shielded her eyes from the sun and looked around, but the only thing in sight was burnt grass, fallen trees, and Apollonia’s slightly charred mansion. “It burnt to cinders, didn’t it?”

Vur snorted. “I was practicing with my lightning bolt,” he said and raised one finger. “Before, I could only do this.” A lightning bolt that was as thick as a tree struck a cloud in the sky, causing it to disperse. “Guess what I can do now?” He asked as he stared at Alora as if he were a puppy awaiting treats.

Alora scratched her nose. “I don’t know,” she said. “Tell me.”

Vur puffed his chest out. “I can do this.” He pointed his finger at the sky, and hundreds of lightning bolts surged out of his finger in a conical shape. Alora’s hair rose into the air in all directions as sparks of electricity leaked out of Vur, jumping across the already burnt land. Vur lowered his hand as the lightning dispersed. “Did you see?”

“No,” Alora said, rubbing her face with her palms. “You blinded me. Human eyes suck.”

Vur frowned, his chest deflating. “It was amazing, okay?” He nodded. “I think I know why people train even though it’s really boring.” A wrinkle appeared on his forehead as he stroked his chin. “I wish there was some way I could have all the benefits from training without actually training….”

“Psst.” Stella’s head popped out of Vur’s chest. “Get rid of Mervin with that wish.”

Vur’s eyes lit up. “Right! Mervin,” he said as he tapped his chest. The genie king fell out of Vur’s back, and he turned around to catch the genie before he could hit the ground. “Can you do that? I wish I could have all the benefits from training without actually training.”

Mervin’s face scrunched up as he tilted his head back and forth with his arms crossed. “Eh….” He relaxed his body and shrugged. “Nope, can’t do it. You’re basically asking me to draw out your full potential, but that’s impossible for me. You’re way, way, way, waaaay too strong; it feels like your potential has no limit. If you were as weak as a peasant, I could do it.”

Vur sighed. “Alright.”

“No! Not alright!” Stella shouted as she flew up and pulled on Vur’s ear. “He’s been following me everywhere for the past few days! I hate him, hate him, hate him! Please, Vur, make any wish. How about wish for him to make training easier for you or faster or funner or effectiver? Heck, if you get rid of Mervin right now, I’ll personally make training funner, entertaininger, and effectiver for you!”

“Those aren’t real words,” Mervin said. “It’s more fun, more entertaining, and more effective.”

“Get rid of him right now!” Stella wailed, pulling Vur’s ear even harder. “He watched me when I slept last night. Do you know how creepy that is!? I even tried to feed him to Toothy, but Toothy spat him out because of how slimy he is and tastes!”

“I was keeping your nightmares away,” Mervin said, his face red. “No need to thank me.”

Stella snatched a fireball out of Sheryl’s runes on Vur’s shoulder and threw it at Mervin. “You gave me nightmares! I woke up and saw this creepy face staring at me with a huge smile hovering over me—I thought I was going to be murdered.”

“Wait a minute,” Vur said towards Mervin, covering Stella’s mouth with his finger. “What if I wish for you to teach me how to grant wishes?”

Mervin tilted his head. “Are you sure? I could do that, but then you’d turn into a beansprout after you grant a wish.”

“What if I polymorph myself back?”

“No, no,” Mervin said, shaking his head. “Beansprouts can’t cast magic. Once you turn into the beansprout, you’ll forget how to polymorph.”

Vur sighed. “Darn.”


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