10: The Man with all the Wishes

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The Great Djinn paced back and forth along a long hallway of windows. Outside reflected a vast glittering city as far as the eye could see, and orbiting above it three moons of different sizes. He scratched his blue beard impatiently waiting for someone to arrive.

"Where is that Wish-Hunter?" he cursed, glaring out the window at the many hover cars zooming by and the floating gardens scattered across the landscape. Buildings elevated on stilts overlooked the misty underbelly that covered the planet's surface. Tall spires jutted out between the buildings but none were as grand or as tall as the one the Djinn currently resided. He made a disappointed face in his reflection. The signs of age had recently befallen him. It was as if the promise of youth had started to fade and wear down his skin.

Suddenly a bright light and a loud crackling filled the hallway. Amongst the smoke stood Celeste. She removed her hood and let her red hair fall by her shoulders.

"I am here, oh Great Djinn," said Celeste bowing at the waist. "You summoned me?"

"I'm disappointed in you," said the Djinn turning to the Celeste. His hands twisted into one another while his eyebrows twitched in anger. "You failed me."

"My lord," she said sternly, "I must protest. A rogue Wish-Hunter had gotten there before me and already had the child. This rogue had great power. I was unprepared."

"It wasn't the rogue," said the Djinn. "It was the child who performed that wish." He reached out and snatched Celeste's Alcemator off her hip. "I saw the footage. The damage to the school bus, your Star Hounds injured, all the memories we had to wipe clean, the mess you caused was unprofessional. You are lucky I demanded the EvoEarth producers edit out your failure before the rest of the universe saw it." He twirled the Alcemator in his hands.

"My lord, Djinn, I apologize for my incompetence," said Celeste. "But the power that was performed on the school bus was one comparable to a real wish. I have never seen an Alcemator used for such a change in matter. The entire bus and all its inhabitants became ethereal. Only a powerful wish could perform such a feat."

"Did you underestimate the power of Galaxion?" The Djinn raised the Alcemator in the air. It glowed. "We are dealing with a different kind of wishing. One I did not expect the wishmaker to learn so quickly." The Djinn squeezed until the small black box burst. Glowing dust twirled around the pair until it was sucked into the Djinn's long shirt sleeve.

"My Alcemator!" cried Celeste. "You broke it."

"I have something better for you than wish dust. Maybe this time you will be able to perform the task I give you correctly." The Djinn dropped the broken black box on the ground and extended his hand. "Take my arm, Celeste, and close your eyes."

Celeste took hold and instantly the two teleported to a strange stone door marked with a series of stars carved onto its surface. All around the pair were dripping walls and ceilings of stalagmites, stalactites, and various rock formations. They were in an unknown cave.

"Alright you may open your eyes now," said the Djinn dropping his arm.

"My lord," whispered Celeste looking about the dimly lit cavern. "Where are we?"

"I've brought you to the most sacred place in the universe. The Wishing Well. It is the place I keep all my wishes. A place only I know how to find." The Djinn placed his hand on the door. The star carvings began to glow. A rumble shook the cave floor. "Behold." The door shifted open and light burst through. The pair entered. Celeste gasped.

The chamber was filled with millions of ungranted wishes. Each glowing stone floating in a never ending loop around a vast black hole in the floor.

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