Sorry about the late post. I honestly forgot it was Wednesday. It's extra sad since I wrote this post over the weekend; I just forgot to post it. Anywho, here you go. Enjoy!
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The tick-tock of the grandfather clock echoed through the office, underscoring just how quiet it was. Marissa fought the urge to squirm under Gil's penetrating gaze. For a herbie, he was remarkably good at delivering a preditor's stare. She managed not to fidget but she couldn't stop herself from mentally reviewing everything she'd said or done, every spell she'd cast and every curse she'd muttered and every order she'd filled, over the last month. She was sure she had done nothing to earn being called on the carpet. This time.
This wasn't the first time the mayor of Talbot's Peak had summoned her for a reckoning. The last time, it was because she'd accidentally cursed every ass-wipe in town, turning them into horses asses. That one had affected even some local humans. But she'd earned that butt-chewing.
"Did you need something?" she finally asked. It was a mistake, she knew. Gil's MO was to stare people down until they spoke first, usually so unnerved that they accidentally confessed. She wasn't overtly worried; she'd done nothing wrong this time. Not that she knew of, anyway.
"Can you tell me why I knew nothing of the mad scientist parked right outside of town, conducting foul experiments on people?" Gil said, sounding quite casual for a Jersy native. Marissa bit back her knee jerk response. No, sir, Mr. Mayor, sir. Not my job to do your job. She shook her head insteadan you have no idea why I'd want to know there was a madman conduction magical--"
"It wasn't magic," she cut in quickly. Now she knew what was up. Morlaxian had set up shop right under the shape shifters' noses and had turned the mini put-put golf place into his private mutant creature lab.
"Not magic, you say," he said, his eyes narrowing with disbelief. Marissa ignored the insinuation that she'd somehow been responsible.
"Nope," she confirmed. "Morlaxion is a mad scientist, not a mad warlock. He used DNA to conduct his experiments, which is based in science, not magic."
"Surely there was some... unusual taint to the local earth magic because of all the despoiling of natural life."
"Nope," Marissa said decicively. "The earth spirit of the vally doesn't consider Morlaxion's perversions to be abominations, so she didn't signal any distress that a practitioner would hear. To be honest, TP kind of likes some of his twisted children."
"What? Why? How?" He exclaimed. Marissa shrugged.
"He didn't have to use magic to force the change. He did it strictly using natural, if unethical, processes. Earth spirits done give a damn about human morality, only environmental balance. There's a lot of positive energy here, so he'd have to do something really bad to catch her attention," Marissa said quietly.
"Ah," Gil said as he nodded his head to indicate his understanding. "What you're saying--or rather not saying--is that he was good with the land and wasn't putting anything too gruesome so the spirit just didn't care what he was up to."
Marissa nodded once. "The hellephant is pretty gruesome by our standards, but TP just was more interesting animals being introduced to its ecosystem. No magic use equals nothing for witches like me to detect."
Not my fault at all, she thought darkly. This time, anyway..