When you last saw us, we were in a lot of trouble thanks to a certain dragon who somehow became corporeal and wreaked havoc on the boiler room. Then my auntie showed up with a giant book and took out part of the wall. (This is Ran, Sarn’s son and sidekick and one of the co-stars of the Curse Breaker series.)
Before we get back to that, look what our scribe did:
Melinda made cards for us. Isn’t she awesome? These are just digital drafts because printing them is prohibitively expensive, but who knows? Someday we might have the funds to print some. They’d make really cool swag.
Why did Melinda make these? I might have signed up to take part in a cyber convention this May, and there might be a character battle in it. I also might have nominated Papa as our champion and filled out this nice form thing with details about his powers and stuff.
Then it asked for a picture of Papa, and that’s where I got into trouble. Since we live in a fantasy world, we have to hire someone to draw pictures of us. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to request new art for us from none other than our beloved scribe! 🙂
I smiled as I hopped off the comfy leather computer chair and hightailed it across the small apartment to where our poor, beleaguered scribe lay. She tossed and turned while mumbling nonsensical things about deadlines chasing her.
Of course, they’re chasing her. That’s what deadlines do. Since this wasn’t an important dream, I shook her shoulder. Melinda woke with a start and stared at me as if I’d grown a second head. I’d know if I had, so I didn’t bother to check.
“What are you doing here?” Melinda asked.
I ignored her question and asked one of my own.
“Would you create some new art for us?”
“What is this new art for?”
“A character battle.”
“An event where characters get together and fight.”
I paused as the reality of what I’d just done hit me. Papa wasn’t a fighter. Shields were his thing since his magic liked to go all protective on him and me. It also tended to distract him at really inconvenient times like when a fist was flying at his face.
The last time Papa had gotten into a fight was in Enchanted when a bunch of meanies jumped him. But it didn’t go well for him. I had to save him with my trusty slingshot and a dash of cuteness. No bully can withstand my bright smile and innocent eyes.
Though, Papa does well against monsters—the more unnatural the better. Their essential wrongness actually spurs his magic on. But against regular people, Papa either forgets he has magic or chooses not to use it. He doesn’t like to hurt people even if they’re trying to hurt him.
“How can characters battle each other? They’re all in different story worlds.” Melinda punched her pillow to fluff it up.
That was true, but that very question had already occurred to me. Not all characters are as real as we are or have access to portals to your world. I didn’t fancy a trip to someone else’s story world, not after that last time. It was a little scary not having our scribe at that story’s helm. I didn’t want to repeat that experience, and I knew Papa didn’t either. His magic hadn’t liked the situation either.
But I did a little research on the interwebs and found out about character cards. Clearly, that’s what we needed. Then representations of us could do battle against representations of other characters. Best of all, no real characters would be harmed in the battle, and we wouldn’t have to climb into a strange portal or leave your world and our scribe to do it.
But character cards weren’t all we needed. Papa has magic. So his magic needs cards and his gear too, and he needs a special adventure mode for when I’m with him. I held out a list of potential cards out to my scribe, but Melinda had closed her eyes while she waited for my response. I tapped her shoulder again.
“Are you still awake?”
I took that as a yes especially since Melinda’s eyes fluttered open again and regarded me. They were the same dull, non-magical brown as Uncle Miren’s eyes, which was strange because as a scribe, Melinda has magical powers of her own. (More on that in the first installment of Curse Breaker’s Companion: Catch the Scribe coming soon to an ebook store near you.)
“I know how we can battle other characters from the safety of our world.”
“How?” Melinda rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
“You make cards that represent us and our special skills.”
“Yes, cards for a role-playing card game. I read online they’re popular. People collect cards and play them. If you make one of Papa and his special skill, adventuring with me, then Papa’s card can battle other characters’ cards at this cyber convention thingamajig.”
“What did you sign me up for now?”
Melinda shook her head. Since she’d asked a rhetorical question, I didn’t answer it.
“So? How about those cards?”
Melinda was definitely thinking about it. She loved a challenge, and this was a small one. I only needed a card for Papa so I could enter him into that character-battle contest thing, but it would be nice to have one of me too.
Melinda squinted at me. “Does your father know you’re here?”
“Um, not exactly,” I said before I could stop myself.
“What does that mean?” Melinda speared me with a glare.
“Well, you see Papa is at work, and I was bored and the portal was floating in the corner. It looked lonely, and its purple glow was dimming. So I walked over to cheer it up, and it got all glowy.” I trailed off and heaved a one-shouldered shrug.
“And?” Melinda prompted.
“I kind of fell through it and landed on your couch while you were sleeping. I didn’t think you’d mind.”
Melinda got that knowing look, and I might have looked coyly away.
“Isn’t your uncle supposed to be watching you?”
“Yes,” I ventured, not sure where this was going.
Eventually, Uncle Miren would look up from his homework and notice I wasn’t there. But not for a while. The whole dragon incident had tired everyone out. We’ll get back to that next week. Auntie Sovvan isn’t getting off the hook that easily.
The dragon might be gone, but there’s a big hole and a lot of damage. Since we’re kind of were responsible for it, we have to find some way to fix it and appease the angry men and women of the board. They’re descending on us next week, and it’s our job to protect Melinda from their ire.
So stayed tuned. We’ll back next week with more on that. If you missed any of our Dragonish Problems, you can catch up on them here in the meantime: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7.
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