FFM 2021 31: Unlikely Allies

Challenge: Collaborate with at least one other writer. You need to write a story that begins with SarcasticCupcake5‘s line This isn’t my body. and ends with TuesdayNightCompany‘s line But neither of us were sorry, were we? (these two were chosen by community vote on FFM’s Discord channel). In addition to that, you need to use two separate things from fellow collaborators’ answer to the sign-up sheet’s question 2.

If you instead choose to work alone, you need to write a response story to someone else’s story from that month with the same elements, only that you’re not limited to certain fellow people when looking for the two elements from the sign-up sheet.

I collaborated with MyLovingWife, whose story you can read here. Our elements were Redemption & Antagonist not entirely evil for me and Magic & representation for asexuals (picked from my question 3 since my question 2 only had one answer) for MyLovingWife. While we worked on the outline and events together, we wrote from different points of view, so make sure you check my partner’s story as well! It’s far more amusing than mine!

Fun fact: Satanic nightjar is a real-life bird (which I wanted to get into a story the moment I heard about it a couple of days ago). If you’re interested, you should check the Etymology part of the linked Wikipedia page to see why it’s called that.

“This isn’t my body.” Bronwyn looked at me. “Why is this not my body? What did you do this time?”

I frowned. “Why are you blaming me? I wasn’t the one who did that.”

“I can smell your brand of magic, Lipner. It stinks!”

Of course she retained her sense of smell despite of turning into a bird. “Besides, be glad that you didn’t turn into a Satanic nightjar. Betty is in her mating season, you know.” I gestured to the bird on my shoulder as if Bronwyn had not interrupted me. Hopefully it’d throw her off.

“Those disgusting…” Was it a shudder running through Bronwyn’s feathers? “When it’s this long, it shouldn’t be called a ‘season’ anymore.” 

I snorted. “Oh, right, I forgot that you’re uninclined.”

“You always ‘forget’. Remember last time? Frat boys, really? Every time you play with powers too big for you, I get stuck cleaning up your mess. And now I’m a blasted bird.” 

Heh, that was a fun time. I grinned. “Not just any blasted bird — a phoenix!”

“Not any… What the heck…” Bronwyn paused. “I’m going to…” She… bristled? It was hard to tell with the limited body language birds had. “I hear that bird of yours is called a Satanic nightjar because their call sounds like a bird pecking out a person’s eye. Shall we test the theory?”

“Whoa, now, hold on a moment.” I raised my hands up. Hopefully she’d interpret it as a gesture of peace (although I could definitely cast a spell from the same position if she attacked). “I’m not in the mood to fight. I’ve got things to do, so how about we make a deal?”

“A deal? With you? How will you screw me over this time? I’m not pulling the same stunt as with that stupid tsunami. I couldn’t feel my arms for 3 weeks.”

I rolled my eyes. “No screwing over — besides, your arm problems were your own fault. Who told you to jump through that window into the flood? Not me, that’s for sure.” I shook my head. “Anyway, here’s my proposition: you help me get a hydra scale and, once we’ve done that, I’ll turn your body back to normal. No messing around, just a favor for a favor. What do you say?”

“A hydra scale? What for?” Bronwyn gave me a weird look. Was she angry? She did look angry, but then again that was her default mood with me.

I cocked my head. “What’s up with that stare? Do you happen to be interested in Betty even though you’re a phoenix? Not that I blame you; you are a bird now after all.”

“Shut up! Or I will peck your eyes out. Why do you need a hydra scale?”

“Such aggression,” I said with a sigh. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing evil. It’s for an anti-pest potion; Lovella thought that it’d be funny to drop some Superion bugs into my apartment.”

“You’re probably lying… But I don’t have much of a choice, do I? Fine. We have a deal.” 

Finally some progress! “Excellent!”

I could recognize the hulking figure anywhere. “Ah, crud.”

The figure turned. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Iva Lipner.”

“Wedgworth. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

“After the hydra’s fangs and the undead armies they can raise, are you?”

“Nah, I just need a scale for an anti-pest potion. Lovella did her thing again.”

“Hah! Of course you’d think of only the short run.”

I shrugged. “At least we don’t have to fight over the resources.”

“You truly think I will let you raise an army? Over my dead body, Wedgworth.”

“Who the…? Bronwyn?” Wedgworth laughed.

“She got turned into a phoenix, so she’s helping me out in exchange for getting turned back to normal.” I rolled my eyes. If only she’d kept her mouth — beak — shut. “I figured another feathered sidekick — one I wouldn’t mind losing — wouldn’t hurt in case the hydra gets fussy about parting with one of its scales.”

“You mother…” Bronwyn paused, turning her attention from me to Wedgworth. “Let’s test that eye pecking theory.”

I looked at Bronwyn. “If you insist on that, you do you. I’m not going to attack a colleague without a reason, though.” I turned away. “I’ll go get the scale, you handle your agenda.”

“Without a reason?”

Well… yeah?? “In case you have forgotten, Wedgworth and I are on the same side, unlike you and us.” I waved my hand while walking away. “Have fun with him, though!”

After getting the scale I needed from the hydra, I returned to a fire spreading into the lair, a pile of ash and Pinkie Wedgworth with his left eye bleeding. With the way the fire was just now, it would have been easy to just walk away. Bronwyn would not come back to life just yet, so I had ample time to get away and not fulfill my part of the deal (not that Bronwyn had been particularly helpful on her part). I could definitely install some anti-phoenix measures and make sure that my eyes stayed intact.

I should have just walked away and let my colleague do his thing like I usually did. Like every villain should have done as long as they were unaffected.

Instead, I turned back and brought the hydra out to deal with Pinkie.

I sighed as we looked into the sunset. “Well, that was an unusually profitable deal. I got the hydra scale I need, you got your body back and got to rid the world of Pinkie Wedgworth — just don’t tell anyone that I technically helped by getting the hydra to help or else his cronies will come after me — and we both befriended a hydra in the process. A good day, wouldn’t you say?”

Bronwyn did not appear to be so positive. “I wish we didn’t have to use the Danaids’ water to stop the fire. They were almost done…”

Big whoop. “But neither of us were sorry, were we?”

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