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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2050910
My twins defeat Volton. . .
"I don't like it here," said Lila as she walked through the Forest of Sorrows.

"Well, then maybe you should have stayed home," said Richard. He was hiking a few feet ahead of her. "Mother said that you might be helpful on this trip, but so far you've been pretty useless. Pathetic! Telling people you can talk to trees."

"I can talk to trees," Lila insisted. "But these trees don't listen the way ones back home did. It's like talking to a bunch of children that won't pay attention."

Richard chuckled a little.

"What's so funny?" asked Lila.

"I'm just imagining what Mother might say if she could hear you complain about 'children that won't pay attention.' "

Lila smiled in spite of herself, but the smile didn't last long. "I miss mother too," she sobbed.

Richard was about to make another obnoxious remark when he noticed someone on the path ahead.

It was an old man dressed in a long robe and a conical hat. The man must have been a wizard because he was pointing his wand at the path in front of him and causing sparks to fly. Evidently, he was not being very successful because he kept muttering things like, "Blast it!" and "Of all the great nuisances!" to himself.

Richard was excited. "Who are you?" he called out.

The old man turned and scowled at him. "My name is Volton," he said, "Wizard Extaordinaire."

"Wow!" said Richard. "A real live wizard!" Then, feeling a little embarrassed at his excitement, he calmed down and said, "Actually, I'm a wizard too."

This made Volton give Richard a much longer look. "Really!" he said with disbelief. "How long have you been playing with your magic toys?"

Richard decided to ignore the insult. "What are you doing?"

"I am trying to get past this patch of thorns, but no matter how much I blast it with my wand, it seems to resist me."

“Maybe you should try something else," said Lila stepping forward. She looked at Volton. "Instead of hurting the brambles with your wand, you could try saying something like, 'Please get out of the way so I can pass."

"Talking to brambles," said Volton slapping himself on the side of the head. "What next?"

"Sure, watch," said Lila. “Briars patch!"

The briar patch seemed to hear Lila, but not in a good way. It came up out of the ground. And then Richard saw that it had arms, legs and an evil looking face on the bottom. It let out a loud hiss before it lay face down on the ground again so that only its thorny back was showing.

"What was that?" asked Richard.

"I'm not sure," said Lila. "But it's very stubborn. Worse then the trees. It won't listen to me at all. Nothing in this place listens to me."Then Lila burst into tears and sat down on a log to sob.

“What a pitiful girl!" said Volton as he went back to firing bolts at the thorns.

Now, normally Richard thought the exact same thing himself, but something about Volton's tone made him feel differently.

"Excuse me, sir, but that 'pitiful girl' is my sister."

"My condolences," said Volton without looking up.

"She's my twin sister."

"I already gave you my condolences, what more do you want?"

Richard felt his temper rising. Without thinking, he pulled out his own wand and fired a bolt at Volton. The bolt bounced harmlessly away.

"Oh, for the love of-," said Volton looking at Richard again. "For someone who claims to be a wizard, you aren't very bright. Have you ever even heard of Protection Spells?" And he went back to his work.

Of course, Richard had heard of Protection spells, but he had never given them much thought. They had always seemed to him like one of the less interesting aspects of magic, but now, he paused and tried to remember all that he knew about them.

Then, he had an idea.

He pointed his wand again and this time he said a little spell.

Suddenly, two long rabbit ears grew out of Volton's head and a fluffy tail grew out of his backside.

"Very funny," said Volton. "That was a mere third-rate spell."

"I know," said Richard, "and that's why you didn't think to put a Protection spell on yourself against it."

"Well, aren't we smug," said Volton. "You know, I could easily force you to undo this spell, but quite frankly, I have better things to do, so just go away."Then, he fired a magic bolt at Richard's feet.

Richard sighed and walked back to the log where his sister was sitting. Surprisingly, she had stopped sobbing and was smiling a little. "That was funny, Richard. And sweet too."


"Sure. You stuck up for me. Your silly pitiful sister." Lila looked around the forest. "Some of the trees think it was funny too."

"Now trees think things are funny? You know, Lila, I think that old wizard is right. You are a silly pitiful girl."

LIla looked at her brother quietly. Then, she grabbed a fist full of mud from the ground and slammed it on Richard's head. “The trees thought that was funny too," she said.

"Really?" said Richard. "Well, if the trees find that funny, I bet they'll find this even funnier." He grabbed some mud of his own and slammed it into Lila's head.

At first Lila was angry. "You're ruining my hair-" but then she seemed to brighten with surprise. "You know what? You're right!"

"Huh? Right about what"

"They did think that was funnier." She paused thoughtfully. "Let's try it again!" She pulled her hair back from her face. "This time let me have it right in the face."

"Are you crazy?" asked Richard.

"Oh come on. You mean to tell me you haven't always wanted to do this?"

"Maybe," Richard admitted, "but you're taking the fun out of it now."

"Fine," said Lila grabbing some more mud. "I'll let you have it right in the face."

That must have put the fun back into it for Richard because he grabbed some mud and pretty soon the twins were smearing mud on each other in a free for all. They almost forgot about what they were doing in the forest, but Lila remembered after a while. "Shh," she said getting to her feet. "The trees love us now. I think they'll listen to me.

"Trees!" she called out. "Wiil you help us get past that briar patch thing?"

Then, a strange thing happened. The Oak tree which was to the right of the briar patch and the Elm tree which was to its left bent over and picked up the briar patch creature with their branches. The creature howled, but the two trees tossed it deep into the forest. "Thank you," cried Lila running past an astonished Volton. Richard looked briefly at Volton who was still part rabbit, and then followed his sister past where the briar creature had been.

It turned out that the creature had been lying in front of a large lake.

"Well," said Lila with a smile, "this is kind of fortunate."

"How so?" asked Richard.

"Well, right now, you and I need a bath. Don't you think?" She called out, "Lake! Would you mind if we had a bath in you?"

As if to answer her, a part of the stream seemed to move around and then water spurted upward and came down like a fountain. Lila was delighted. "She says she'll give us a shower bath if we want. That's fun.” She kicked off her shoes and waded into the lake.

Richard wasn't sure this was a good idea. "How do we know there are no monsters or anything in that lake?"

"Oh Richard. You need to be more trusting. She wouldn't do that to us." Lila smiled before getting in the water. "I have an idea. Let's sing that bath song, Mother used to sing us."

Richard was a little disgusted. "We sang that song when we were four years old."

"So what? It's still a nice song." She began to sing:

Splish-Splash--Time for a bath.
Mother is so mean.
She makes us take a bath each day
even though we're clean.

She stopped and smiled at Richard. "Can you sing the next verse?"

Richard scowled, but he followed her into the water and sang:

Splish-Splash--Time for a bath
Mother is really nice.
But when she says it's time for a bath.
She does not say it twice.

"Now comes the suspenseful part," he said with a laugh。

"Suspenseful part?"

"Right. Remember how mother never told us whether it was a hair washing night until the last minute when she started mixing the egg yolks with flower petals? Then, she would give us the next verse of the song."

Splish Splash--Into the bath
And Mother is mixing shampoo!
She won't just wash our bodies.
She's washing our hair too!

"I had forgotten that," said Lila. “I used to hate hair washing nights, but now I wish we had some shampoo," she scrubbed at her dirty hair. "How did the rest of the song go.The twins finished the song together:

Splish Splash--we're in the bath.
And just when we're having fun,
Mother says we're clean now
And bathtime is done.

Splish-Splash--after the bath.
Mother is nice again.
The smell of clean little bodies
causes her kisses to rain.

Splish-Splash--After the bath.
It's time to say goodnight.
Monsters can't fit under our bed.
So we don't need the light.

The two enjoyed themselves so that by the time the song ended, they didn't notice that there were a large number of animals gathered near the lake. There were birds, squirrels, and rabbits, as well as some bigger things like wolves, bears, and bobcats. Then, there were a few other things the twins didn't .recognize, the bramble patch creature was among them.

"My goodness!" said Lila when she noticed the animals. "Then, she calmed down. "It's nothing to worry about Richard. They came to hear our singing. I think they like it."

Richard didn't believe that and he was about to give his sister a sarcastic response when he noticed one animal standing above the others. It looked like a wolf, but with big birdlike wings. It didn't look particularly aggressive, so he ventured to leave the water and walk up to it.

"Hello," said the wolf.

"So you can talk?" said Richard surprised.

"Nobody told you that?"

Must have slipped someone's mind, thought Richard. Out loud, he said, "Look, we need your help. Can you come back with us to the end of the forest?"

"What for?" asked the wolf.

"Well, someone needs a fresh sample of your blood."

"Indeed?" said the wolf. "You'll forgive me for not liking that idea. My blood is rather important to me. So, no I will not go with you."

Richard let his pride get the better of him. "You know, I don't have to ask you at all. I'm a great wizard and I could probably make you come back with me by magic. But I won't."

"Why is that?" sniffed the wolf. "Because you know that your second-rate magic couldn't really force me?"

Honestly, that may have been part of the reason, but Richard wasn't about to admit it to the wolf. "No, it's because of my sister. You see, she's against harming animals and even trees, so I know she wouldn't approve of forcing you."

"Admirable," conceded the wolf.

“Who's admirable? My sister for not wanting to hurt you or me for doing what my sister wants?"

"Both," said the wolf. He paused and seemed to think for a moment. "You and your sister are definitely among the more admirable humans to pass through here. I'll tell you what I will do. I will go with you, if you promise not to take too much of my blood."


Richard was about to go back to the lake and tell his sister the good news when an unpleasantly familiar voice said, "Excuse me, Wolf." It was Volton walking towards the wolf. Richard couldn't help being amused that Volton still had the rabbit ears and tail. "You will leave the forest, but with me, not them."

"Says who?" snorted the wolf.

"Says I," said Volton. He cast a spell which caused glowing red collar to appear on the wolf's neck. "You can't escape from that. You see, there are two differences between me and this boy. One is that I am confident of my ability to hold you with magic. And the other is that I don't have an obnoxious sister telling me not to do it."

"What's going on here?" asked Lila coming up.

"This wizard is taking our bird-wolf away," said Richard.

Lila looked at the wolf and at Volton. "What are you doing to it?" she asked. "The wolf doesn't like being on that chain. See? It{s crying."

And indeed, even Richard could see that large tears were falling from the wolf's eyes.

"That's too bad," said Volton. "It's my prize, and I'm taking it to the elves."

"Um," said Lila, "you do realize, sir, that my brother still has that rabbit spell on you. You're going to look awful silly going before the elves like that."

"I can look a little bit silly for the time being," said Volton.

Lila nodded. “Perhaps, you're right." Then, she turned into the forest. "Hey, animals, trees, streams, anyone who will listen. Can you spread the word that the largest fattest juiciest jackrabbit I've ever seen is here by the lake. So if you're hungry. . ."

"What?" said Volton, but before he could wonder any further, he was surrounded by wolves, bobcats and other animals all looking at him hungry. He turned pale white. "Don't kill me!" he cried. "Please don't kill me! I don't want to die!"

"Well," said Lila, "I suggest you release the wolf thing, then my brother can release that spell on you."

Volton moaned, but he waved his wand and the collar disappeared. The wolf spread its wings with satisfaction."

"Undo the spell, Richard," said Lila.

Richard waved his own wand causing Volton's ears to return to normal. "I suggest you get away from here now," said Lila.

Volton nodded and was about to leave.

"Wait," said Lila. "I have to say one more thing to you. Do you know what I think your problem is?"

Volton didn't answer.

"I think you're so worried about dying, that you don't enjoy the life you have very much."

Volton didn't seem to care about that. He just slipped away into the woods.

"Oh well," said Lila, " Let's get go meet the elves."

"Of course, madam," said the wolf. "If you two would get on my back, we can be there in no time."

The twins did, but as the wolf was carrying them away, Lila said, "so, it looks my brother, the great wizard needed his silly twin sister after all."

"What do you mean?" said Richard, "I'm the one who turned that wizard into a rabbit!"

"Yes, but that would have been useless if I hadn't known what to do with the animals."

"You're a pest," said Richard.

"Well, you're a loser."



Underneath, the wolf rolled his eyes. And these two are the admirable humans, it thought.

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