“No. No. No. What? ‘Madam Vista’s Art of Divination & Entrails: Volume 2’? Really? When did I even have Volume 1? Anyway, No. No. Look I can see the next 5 or 6 and I can tell you it isn’t any of those either!”
Magister Malig sighed in exasperation as book after book floated in the air in front of him; his whole library passing by his eyes like a smooth and invisible conveyor belt. Each single one disappointed him as none had been exactly the information he needed. He dropped his quill to the side in annoyance, ink splattering across the clean page and onto his long, wispy white beard; not that he noticed either happening. With a flick of his wrist all the books flew off, each finding their homes back on his shelves up in the rafters and walls. Where could it be? He wondered, pulling himself away from his desk and starting a slow, small stepped pace around his circular room.
“I’ve seen it somewhere! I know I have! But how long ago?”
He stroked his beard thoughtfully, ink coating his fingers silently as he pondered. Maligs eyes scanned the room as he considered possible locations; he’d already turned most of his workshop upside down. Luckily enough, though, magic was an excellent maid and it was impossible to tell just how much mess he had been making earlier. Suddenly, an idea jumped into his mind and he ran over to the side of his room. There, underneath piles of old artificer tools, garments long since worn, and implements unused, sat a large chest. It was made of red tanned leather, and had old, now weathered detailing all along its sides.
Malig hastily removed the things on top; little care in his mind to where anything landed, and slammed his fists on top of the chest.
“Open up!” He shouted, his hands making a dull thud as they landed on the lid. The chest growled at him in return, as though disturbed from its hibernation, and at the hinges noticeable drool began to gather.
“Don’t give me that attitude, you’ve been asleep for months you can at least show a little enthusiasm now.”
He pulled at the side of the box and, with its growling getting louder, the chest wobbled backwards out of his grip. His patience waning, Malig put his hands together tightly, palm against palm, and whispered some unintelligible words. Around his fingers, tiny blue lights appeared, spelling out scripture and runes from his ancient practices. The forgotten letters and unwritten symbols danced and spiralled around the lengths of his fingers, moving rhythmically to an unheard tune. Then, in a quick movement, he slapped his hand down on the top of the chest. Smoke erupted from his palm, and the chest whined like a scolded dog.
“Ha!” Malig laughed, “Didn’t like that now did we! There’s more coming if you don’t get your act together.”
The chest opened up, a ray of tainted, yellow teeth showing along the brass edges, and a big, thick crimson tongue flopped out and onto the floor, creating a pool of saliva at Maligs feet. The Magister rolled his long sleeve up above his elbow and placed a tattooed arm inside the box’s mouth. He winced, the impossibly sharp teeth along the edge always gave him shivers; one slip of his hand and he could lose an arm. His hand went in deeper, searching for something that felt familiar. He spent a few long, tense minutes as he pushed items out the way, fumbling blind for his goal. His rummaging was successful, however, and from the living chest he produced an old and tattered cloth book with a purple eyelid on the front. It blinked open, it’s red pupil sat in a sweaty, yellow sclera, and panicked. It flickered around the room in awkward confusion, before it’s pupil narrowed and focused on the Magister holding it. Once again, Malig whispered under his breath, and once again the magic wrote itself around his old, gnarled hands. This time there was no smoke, no sizzle, but instead the cloth book glowed a vibrant purple and flew into the air in front of him, open and awaiting consumption.
Malig got up from his knees, dusting off his robes, and began to read from the purple book. His tongue licked the sides of his lips in concentration, and his eyes narrowed with what he read.
“This is it!” he yelled triumphantly. “This is that knowledge I’ve been searching for!”
The Chest barked to the side of him, licked its sharp brass teeth, and fell back asleep.