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Pan's left hand flew to his nose the moment he smelled the sweet floral scent. No, he was not about to be caught that easily! "No, I do believe that I will not! You might be the Black Rose, but I am the Forever Boy! And you are not the first mad two-bit magician that I have faced!"

 

And then, following his bold declaration, and with his fingers clamped on his nose, Pan fell silent. But silence was not the same as inaction. Oh no, not at all. Rather, if he could not see, then he saw no reason that Lorenzo should be able to either! An illusion, an image, an imaginary fog spread through the sewer. As thick as the darkness, as difficult to penetrate! And while it spread out, Pan himself moved, swiftly away from where he had been but a moment before, as he prepared his own attack. After all, why would he need to see, if he could hear?

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"The Forever boy, is it? Sounds like an Elf to me. Or a pixie. Or something of that sort. I suppose for you, my reasoning, my philosophy, my drive, must seem mad! Just as your frolicing and dancing seem mad to me! Ah! One mans sanity is another man madness, I suppose!"

 

He moved stiffly and slowly, in that armoured leather costume. Only the black cape moved freely, like silk. 

 

Then another aroma hit the air, this time an almost sickly sweet smell. Something dusty in the air hit the lungs. If Forever Boy had his nostrils unpinched, he would have detected the distinct aroma of soporific poppies...

Edited by Supercape

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Oh, there was something else in the air now. Did this Lorenzo not know any other tricks than filling the air with things that smelled or was worse than that? It was really quite disgusting. Still, against his general behavior, he decided to stay silent. Lorenzo liked to have him a bit away it seemed, but he had his own tricks. 

 

And right now, he could hear where Lorenzo was, and that would be a fine way to play a trick on his own. If Lorenzo did not like Pixie Dust, then he would give him some! Pan's hand glittered slightly, then glitter spread around Lorenzo. It would quickly grow solid around him and catch him, if he did not move at least.

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The solidified glitter span a merry web around the Black rose, and, in the blink of an eye, he was bound. Helpless? Maybe. Maybe not. 

 

The Black Rose was not agile or fast. He had a certain stiffness to him, a certain rigid slowness. That black leather armour seemed to impede his movements. Or perhaps it was the fact that the remnants of his body was merely an orange gas that filled his costume. 

 

But he was strong. He strained against the binds, and they were put under immense strain. 

 

"Well then, that proves it! You are a pixie! Or an elf! Or something of that kind!" he said, voice deep. His fury seemed to be more contained now, after that first flush of rage. 

 

"And the fact that you have ensnared me so is proof of your madness and cruelty both! Villain! Yet you call me mad!"

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"Yes, yes, protecting myself someone that attacks me simply for not wanting to share personal details is surely the proof that I am indeed mad and cruel!" Pan countered from the mists and darkness, fingers still clamped on his nose. It was starting to get a bit annoying not to be able to see, so he would have to do something about that. "Now, I have no desire to stick around in a dark and smelly sewer such as this, at least not for something as boring as a summoning gone wrong."

 

Pan eyed where the man was. Could he perhaps simply fly away? It would be difficult in an all-consuming darkness such as this, and he did not particularly care for the smell, but he was not about to simply give in to Lorenzo. 

 

"Now, as I said, I will happily share the story of my Pixie Dust, on a simple condition: Why were you body taken away?" 

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"It wasn't stolen, if that what you mean" said the Black Rose, cursing under his breath in Italian. 

 

"It disintegrated. My experiments in astral projection were most illuminating but took its toll on my body" he explained. "I was transmogrified into ethereal gas! Not ideal, by any measure. It took me centuries of drifting through time and space to reform myself, and even then, I required this leather and glass container to hold my form together"

 

There was perhaps a trace of bitterness, but the Black Rose seemed more of a pragmatist. A practical man, who did not let despair or sourness get in his way of solving a problem. 

 

The Blackness evaporated as quickly as it appeared. 

 

"Now, enough from me. I need to find a path to the land of evergreen. It is not a safe place, and this is why I created a Golem to protect me. Now, tell me, are you my foe or ally? or just an annoying insect?"

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"I would ask the same of you, Mr Lorenzo." Oz piped up as he hurried through the sewers and into the darkend area before him.

 

"I found your golem this morning, destroying my front garden with terrible fury." He huffed indignantly as he caught his breath.

 

"So I destroyed it down to its core and followed it's resonance back here to find you cornering a child in a sewer." He continued on unimpressed.

 

"I had wondered if you were incompetent or malicious but I am begining to suspect that you are both." He growled.

Edited by Exaccus

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The Black Rose did not turn around. His glass domed helmet did not swivel. But the orange gas inside did reform, with his face now facing Oz. 

 

"Ah! A magician! A wizard! A sorcerer! Much better company! I am a pleased to meet you, Sir!" he said, politely, to Oz. 

 

"I plead your indulgence. Free me from this cursed fae!" he demanded. 

 

"Who you calling Fae?" blurted Penny, who fortunately at her ears concealed by Oz's costume. 

 

"Him! This wild and mad creature!" answered the Black Rose, kind of nodding towards Neverboy. 

 

"Do excuse my cheese golem!" he added with deference to Oz. "It is an experimental creature! The blue veins were most difficult to cultivate. But, I consider it a first step! A success, in a way, despite its massive failings - which I do not deny!"

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The blackness disappeared. Moments later, so did the fog that Pan had conjured. If this Black Rose wished to talk, then talk he would.

 

"Agreed, my friend. It does seem like Mr. Lorenzo here is both." Pan replied to the newcomer. A sorcerer, but he did not seem like Lorenzo, did he now? No, this one was different. Not quite as manic as Lorenzo, and he had been wronged by the man in the leather and glass as well. 

 

At the young woman's question, and Lorenzo's statement, Pan bowed, while still flying, the Pixie Dust still falling from him. "Not quite, I am afraid. But I was raised by the Pixies of Neverworld, and the dust was a gift from them. There is your answer, Mr. Lorenzo. But I do not believe it is wise to release you just yet, is it now?" He had already stood up from his bow, but he kept his distance from the sorcerer and his friend, still hovering a bit away. "I am the Forever Boy. What might I call you?"

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"Raised by the Pixies of Neverworld! I knew it! You had that smell about you!" said Lorenzo. "Not that I can smell any more, alas!"

 

"Wow, Pixies!" said Penny, tearing off her hat. Her pixie ears showed. 

 

"I am the Puzzle Pixie! Mysterious, wise, and awesome!" she said, proudly. 

 

"Another one! Oh Cursed day! Will the insanity never stop!" groaned the Black Rose. 

 

"Who are you calling insane, buster!" retorted the Puzzle Pixie aka Penny Coin. "I'm not the one with a head that looks like a constipated fish bowl!"

 

Quite what a constipated fish bowl looked like was anyones guess, but it did have a certain ring to it. 

 

"Fair point" conceded Lorenzo. "But it is precisly this malady that I seek to rectify! And these pixie chains are not helping matters!"

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"I am Oz the Great and Powerful.....once upon a time anyway." He admitted as much to himself as everyone else.

 

"Now I'm Oswald the humbled and meandering."  He said in affirmation of what the here and now actually was.

 

"First swear on the stone bones of this world no harm will befall these two by your means or the means of those you control." He piped up "I will ensure the truce personally and assist in your endevour to a point at which I believe will bring harm to myself or others."

 

"Those are my terms." He eyes forever boy "your release however lies with this young man."

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"I swear I have no intent to harm these two!" said Lorenzo defiantly. "I can't swear no harm will come to them, for that it is a totally different matter and beyond any man's capability to swear!"

 

He was proud. 

 

"Huh?" said Penny, eloquently and succinctly summarising her feelings. 

 

"Forgive me pedantry, but I am an alchemist! a botanist! a sorcerer! I am not diviner or peddler of gypsy fortunes!" he explained. "I cannot swear what the future will hold, but I have no intent to harm anybody right now. As long as I am released, that is. I may have the desire to knock this fools head once or twice..." he conceded, glaring at Neverboy. "But I am a man of reason rather than passions. Knocking his head would do me no good other than to make adversary, when I suspect I have no need to!"

 

"On the stones and bones and my mother's tomatoes, I do swear no intent! And I can proudly say my mother had most excellent tomatoes!"

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"all things being equalized then...." Oz mused before turning to forever boy "if these are acceptable terms please release Mr Lorenzo if you are capable, if not I will be happy to oblige." Pixie magic was fanciful and beautiful much like pixies themselves however it was terribly delicate at least so far as arcane lattices went.

 

He wouldn't have any troubles unbinding it, especially if it's caster consented.

 

"Now then whilst you three sort things out I think I'll go have a look at that circle Mr Lorenzo." He didn't wait for a response but rather merrily trotted off to examine and poke at the sigils with his conjured umbrella.

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The circle was not, as it happened, designed for summoning. At least, as far as Oz could see, and Oz could see pretty far indeed when it came to the Eldritch. 

 

It was well crafted, surely. Lornezo was no slouch when it came to the arcane arts. But he was perhaps not so expert as he professed himself to be. An able man, but no genius. Around the circle were various incantations and rituals ritten in ancient languages, as well as Italian, Latin, and French. The circle had multipe references to fae magic and realms. 

 

As best as he could tell (and again, Oz could tell with the best) the circle was designed to open a portal to a fae realm. Small errors had crept in, and instead it had grabbed the nearest fae creature (or fae magic) that it could find. Neverboy, who may not (or may have) been fae, but certainly carried fae pixie dust. 

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A Pixie!? Pan's eyes grew wide at the moment, his lips parting in a wide grin. "You are a Pixie!" Not quite like the ones back home. She was much bigger, but still! She was a Pixie! He was certain of that much!

 

Laughing loudly, he flew straight towards her, arms stretched to the sides for a wide hug. "It's been so long since I last saw a Pixie! This is great!" Everything else around him was forgotten for a moment. She was not a Neverworld Pixie, no, that much was true, but still, the closest thing to home he had seen in months!

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Penny returned the hug, although rolled her eyes when she did so. 

 

"Another pixie. Yeah! Awesome! I love my ears, they are so pointy!" she said. "Seriously...you like pixies?" she said in a more curious voice. "I mean, they are pretty annoying. Fun, but annoying" she concluded. "Except for me, of course. I am not annoying at all. Right, Oz?" she said to Oz. 

 

She promptly kicked him in the shin as he studied the circle. 

 

"I said...Right? I'm not annoying at all!" she demanded. 

 

"What does all this mean anyway? Looks like some kind of puzzle!"

 

She took out the puzzle box. "Is this what you wanted us to find?" she asked the inanimate and infinitley powerful sort of cube. 

 

 

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Pan slowly untangled himself from the hug. Yes, it had felt different. She was a Pixie, sure, but not the kind of Pixie from back home, exactly. "Ah, apologies. I am not quite from this world. I was raised by Pixies back home, so I suppose I might like them more than most?"He was grinning from ear to ear. Oh, this was brilliant. And Penny turned her attention to the circle and the puzzle. A puzzle! He liked puzzles! And... was there not something about a truce between him and Lorenzo? 

 

Right. "You did attack me first." He eyed Lorenzo, then raised his hand, snapping his fingers once. The Pixie Dust around Lorenzo disappeared in but a moment. "Fine, then. No more darkness, or the bands come back." 

 

His attention was quickly returned to the box in Penny's hands that she spoke to. What was that? And Oz, the great and once powerful? "What is all this that I have stumbled upon, then?"

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Oz winced when he was kicked but managed to otherwise maintain his composure, caught off guard without his forcefield 

 

" quite not annoying at all my dear, here have a cherrypop to celebrate and one for your new friend." He said quickly conjuring up a pair of lollipops to keep pixie occupied whilst his attention turned from the circle to its now free maker.

 

"I see you were in a rush...some small mistakes have crept in, normally the work of mage-wrights overseen by a more experienced Arcanist, and several weeks of preparation." He commented as he leaned on his umbrella to relieve his now aching leg.

 

"I take it your condition is deteriorating then?"

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Penny had more to say (as always) but a Cherrypop! was a Cherrypop! and she stuck one in her mouth. 

 

"Hmmm....they not as good as the real ones" she commented, although the words were not articulated very well due to her mouth being full of anti-nutrition. They might not have been as good, but she kept on sucking. 

 

"Nonsense! I am as fit as a fiddle!" replied Lorenzo to Oz. "I'm almost used to being an incopreal eldritch vapour, if you must know. But still, it is hardly optimal, is it?" he explained. A touch of melancholia hit him as he continued. "And...ah, I miss my sense of smell. I am a lover of the flower, you see. It is an ache to be unable to smell my flowers..."

 

He could not weep, clearly (due to aforesaid afliction), but he did seem most sad about the matter. 

 

"As for my summoning circle. I am sure it worked perfectly! It just needs a bit of modification, that's all!"

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Pan happily accepted the cherrypop, and popped it into his mouth. He knew little of magic and summoning circles as it were, and the once great and powerful Oz seemed content to discuss it with Lorenzo. Pan still kept an eye on him, but his focus were on Penny. "Yeah, not quite." he responded to her comment on the cherrypop, but he still kept it, the same as Penny. And then Lorenzo said something that caught his attention.

 

The summoning circle worked perfectly? Is that what Lorenzo the Black Rose thought? "I disagree! I disagree a lot, in fact! And I would like to know something else! If you meant to go to the land of the Fae, then why make a summoning circle? It appears somewhat upside down to me?"

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"It's not a summoning circle!" protested Lorenzo. "Its a portal to summon a gateway to the wild Fae realms. Which...is a summoning circle now I think about it!" he said, unabashed. 

 

"Ah, the wild Fae realms! They are so very very silly"

 

"He got that right" muttered Penny. But not loud enough for Lorenzo to hear. 

 

"But also teeming with life! Why, they are the very essence of life! The fruit is the fruitest, the trees are the tree-eist, and the flowers! Ah! The flowers are quite the most floweriest! Bellisimo! Bellisimo!"

 

He turned his gas-in-a-bowl head to Oz. "Now then sir, you seem to have some expertise in the matter!" he said. "So nice to speak to an equal! Maybe you spotted some errors in my circle that due to my haste and eagerness - for surely not my inability - I missed?"

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"I think he's the very very silly one, to be honest." Pan whispered back to Penny, removing the cherrypop from his mouth for a moment, before returning it and sucking on it with a very hard thinking expression on his mouth. He could honestly not follow what the once great and powerful Oz and Lorenzo were going on about, so instead he decided to focus fully on Penny.

 

"Sooo... Sorry if the hug was a bit much. What brings the two of you here? From the mention of a cheese golem, I do not suppose you were brought here by an inept mage messing up a summoning circle?"

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"We got attacked by a Cheese Golem" replied Penny, lightly, as if being attacked by a Cheese Golem was an everyday occurence for her, except for the days when she was fighting of zombie ninjas whilst sky diving, of course. 

 

"And Oz made a magic compass to find its maker!" she explained, pointing at the magic compass and Lorenzo. 

 

The Black Rose gasped. "A compass! Just what I need! To find the finest cheese in the wild fae realms! What a gift!"

 

"Sir!" he said, bowing in a stiff Italian style with imaginary hat in his leather bound glove. "I would be most grateful if you could lend me said compass! Why...I was afill with dread at the thought of wandering this way and that in the wild fae realms in search of cheese. Your artifact would be most useful!"

 

Edited by Supercape

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"you are welcome to it " Oz mentioned off handedly as he palmed the compass to the significantly taller Lorenzo as he crunched some numbers in his mind.

 

"Please forgive me, it has been a while since dimensional gateway calculations were asked of me." He mumbled to himself 

 

"Your golem was a most curious construction I must confess; a interesting bit of spell craft, truly a shame to destroy such an interesting and no doubt delicious work of art." He sighed a little.

 

If only I hadn't burned it...

 

"I must confess I am curious as to what inspired this particular pursuit? I picked up that you are something of a lover of flora, the blue veins being fungus and all I imagine fit quite nicely into your purview." He commented as he counted on his fingers and wriggled his eyebrows in contemplation "truly a difficult substance to work with and yet achieve such artistry with."

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"Cheese!" said Lorenzo, liking his vapourous lips with his vapourous tongue. 

 

"More precisely, blue cheese! I confess I am fond of cheese, but more exciting to me is the fungal veins of blue cheese that are so alive! You see, I am convinced that I need something with the same vibrancy to make myself whole again. The Cheese Golem was designed to be my protector, first, in the wild Fae realms, but its secondary purpose was proof of principle!" he said proudly. 

 

"And not any fungus will do. I need something positively dripping with life! Sparkling and shining, like a flower. Ah, if only a flower would do. But NO! I need a fungus, to invade my vapourous form and bring it back, fully, to the world of the living!"

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