"Sure!" complained Ollie mockingly, crouching lower towards the dank, mossy cavern floor to avoid a particularly vicious-looking stalagmite. "We can go to an abandoned Venezuelan temple and collect your cursed objects! No problem! Why would that be at all inconvenient to our lives?"
RACY had recalled Andy and Ollie for another mission: travel to a subterranean temple in Venezuela and collect a supposedly not-cursed object from the deepest catacomb of said temple. And here they were, having survived four football fields worth of closing walls closing in on them, a riddle that required three people and three broken arrows, fortunately coinciding with the arrows that fell from the ceiling in a fletching waterfall, and now a labyrinth of tight spaces and jagged walkways. The light of the end was in sight and, with both Andy and Ollie's hands pressed against the left wall, they were hurrying along. Andy had heard somewhere that if you keep your left hand on the wall of a maze and walk, you'll eventually get to the exit. Andy didn't glance back, having listened to his complaints for the entire time since they left RACY HQ.
"You didn't have to come with me," she pointed out.
"Oh no, you and I are a team, however I can and will complain about it," retorted Ollie in his most reasonable tone. "And even within that, you're only doing this because Elaine asked you! If it weren't for her, we'd be at home enjoying ourselves as we didn't go to Venezuela to get through booby traps and get a cursed object!"
"Elaine says it's not cursed," said Andy, "just that it has an unfortunate reputation."
"Oh! Forgive me! Has my miscommunication inconvenienced you?" wailed Ollie. "How ever can I make it up to you? I know! A holiday! To Venezuela! That's exactly what we need!"
"Ollie, shut up," interrupted Andy, calm as ever. "We're here."
Andy led them passed a stone lip and through a door revealing a grand monument of stone, depicting a being with closed eyes and large lips, sitting crossed-legged in a throne. Light burst down from a crack in the ceiling; the ground above must have fallen away at some point, shrouding the statue and the surrounding area, with its wayward vines and cracked earth, in an ethereal glare. Andy and Ollie stepped forward into the light, basking in fresher air and clean heat that seemed to melt away their sweat and struggle. Ollie took a deep breath, envisioning the dank air being forced out and replaced with this place. Everything from before smelled poisonous compared to where they were now. Andy pointed ahead at the lap of the statue, something shiny twinkled where she aimed.
"That must be what we're after," she deduced. She turned to him calmly. "All right, your turn."
"Oh sure," drawled Ollie. "All you do is tell me to shut up all the way here, now we found the not-cursed-but-definitely-not-good thing, you want me to fly up and grab it? Well, maybe I don't want to anymore."
Andy blinked. "But you're still going to."
"I know I'm still going to," answered Ollie snappily. "But I want it on record that I'm severely unhappy about it."
With that he leapt ahead, running to the foot of the statue and nimbly beginning to crawl upwards. He stuck his foot in various joints and hauled himself from place to place, mimicking a monkey; no fear of falling, eyes only for the fruit on the far-off branch. He swung from the knee up into the stone giant's lap and found a golden vase, studded with jewels from the base to spout. He brought into his grip, pausing instantly as he waited for any number of traps to go off and attempt to kill him. But nothing happened. He peered over the edge of the statue's crotch and spotted Andy, walking easily towards him. He jumped up onto his feet and grinned over the edge until Andy caught him in her gaze.
"You want me to throw it down?" he taunted, waving it about carelessly.
"I'd really rather you didn't," answered Andy, hands rising to her hips. "Can you climb down with it?"
"Can I climb down with it?" asked Ollie, seemingly offended by the question. "I can fly down with it! I could ski down with it! I could-"
"Will you come down with it?" interrupted Andy.
"I will after one more example of how I could travel with it," said Ollie. "I could rollerblade down with it!"
Satisfied, Ollie quickly undid his belt and looped the weaved fabric through the handle of the vase and did it up again, securely attaching the object to his hip. He then started back downwards again, returning to most of his previous hooks and grapples until he felt it safe to leap down to the ground again. He landed with a thud and dust moved around his impact, but he easily rose up and sauntered over to Andy, pride aglow on his face. Andy smiled at him as one would an over-confident friend who'd done something they do every other day. She held out her hand to receive the lamp, but Ollie simply gestured to his belt and shrugged as if he didn't know what to do. Without hesitation, Andy grabbed his belt and undid it, wringing it out of the belt loops that obstructed the vase.
"Worst lesbian ever," remarked Ollie, though his tone sounded impressed. Andy took the vase gently and dropped the belt until it clanged against Ollie's exposed shin and he complained. "That reminds me: why do you get to wear trousers and I'm stuck with shorts."
"Feminism," answered Andy curtly, unfolding a piece of crumpled paper. She held the picture on the paper next to the vase and confirmed that it was indeed what they were looking for. But the more she looked at it the more she couldn't deny; a vase with a handle and a spout, jewelled to the rim, it seemed more apt to call it a lamp. "I wonder."
Andy spotted a patch of gold that seemed slightly scratched compared to the rest of the ornament. Ollie had closed in the moment he sensed that she'd found something and was studying the same area, as Andy brought her hand up to the lamp and rubbed her palm back and forth over it. As she rubbed, she felt something moving beneath the surface, a cool wind whipping up until the spout of the lamp began to spew turquoise vapours, water-falling to the floor and casting a sugary mist until the floor could no longer be seen. The smoke in front of them swirling tightly, spiralling like a perfect hurricane. Baby green arms rolled out of the mist, flicking amethyst hair around, a woman's top half appeared, her arms folded over her bosoms, and bored delight in her pale pink eyes. She glanced over them, showing that she had no pupils, simply a sheet of immature rose petals beneath her eyelids. Suddenly, she dipped her head low.
"Masters," she greeted. "I, Dji, am at your command."
"A genie?" whispered Andy, shocked.
Dji raised her head. "You have not called upon one of mine before. That is acceptable. Possession of my lamp grants three wishes, no more. I may cast your desire exactly as you specify, however there are rules that I cannot break: I may not undo death. I may not create love where there is none. I may not incite an apocalypse. I may not provide more than three wishes. Other than that, I can do as you wish."
"That's very good of you," began Andy, "but I'm afraid we cannot take-"
Ollie whipped the lamp from Andy's hands and yelled "I wish I was hung like a horse!"
Dji's eyes burst wide with a violent pink light, flooding the temple entirely with light. The contrasting turquoise mist below billowed up and encased Ollie, ignoring Andy's yells to let him go. Dji's hair whipped out like a fan, eclipsing the leaking light from outside and turning it into a burning halo of unholy magic. The mist stormed around Ollie, fulfilling his wish. Dji rose higher into the room, seeming to grow as she floated away, her hair whipping up like the chains that anchored battleships. She held over them, eyes still burning, keeping Andy from looking directly at her. She grunted and the mist ripped apart, settling back to the ground unanimated. Andy, who had been looking away from everything for fear of going blind, turned to her friend, fearful of what she might see. Genies were notoriously tricky, and the word 'hung' was at the forefront of her mind.
She watched as a being emerged from the mist and the flashes of pink that somehow lingered. He struck the ground with feet of iron four times, as if he was preparing to sumo wrestle. She spotted him, his head much higher than she recognised. It couldn't be! A genie wouldn't actually kill her master! The lights continued to clear. He was stood up straight, his posture better than ever, but he was not hung. He was abnormally tall, what on earth had happened? It took another long moment until she saw clearly. His dark hair had circled his waist and evolved into a large body with four powerful limbs and a tail that resembled a whip. A horse's body. 'Hung like a horse'. Andy stared at him dumbfounded, watching him look around himself. He brought his hands down on his fur- do horses have fur? Do they have hair? He stroked it, regardless, and smoothed it under his fingers. They both looked up into the smiling face of Dji, her arms still folded, but she seemed far too at ease with the situation.
"Your wish has been granted, master," she bowed.
"Andy," whispered Ollie, his head still looking around. "I'm a centaur."
"Ollie," cooed Andy, pity obvious.
"YAHOO!" he roared, startling both women. His arms shot up in the air in glee and he even began to trot around in a circle. "I'M A CENTAUR! I'M A CENTAUR! I'M A- I'M A- I'M A CENTAUR! A WHAT? THAT'S RIGHT. I'M A CENTAUR. I'M A CENTAUR!"
He was singing. He was singing about being a centaur. Andy was vaguely tempted to punch him in his human face, or slap his horse hide and see if he instinctively ran into the distance. She stilled herself for a moment and told Dji to please undo his wish.
"That would count as the second of your three wishes," warned Dji. "Would you rather not wish something for yourself? Become a mermaid perhaps?"
"Thank you, but no," answered Andy professionally. "We are in charge of returning your lamp to a government facility. We are not entitled to your wishes."
"I do not work for governments," told Dji, her tone hinting at insult. "I grant wishes to those who possess the lamp. What would they even want with me?"
"I'm certain their intent is benevolent," assured Andy, though she'd never stopped to ask. "Please undo my friend's wish and we will-"
Andy stopped when she got a face full of thin, sharp hairs. Ollie continued to slap his tail into her face, ignoring the fact that his rear was as large as her upper body. His arms were crossed as he turned towards her, making the hem of his shirt stretch and popped, and Andy wondered briefly where his shorts had gone.
"No," said Ollie, turning to stand next to her, looking down from his new heights. "I'm not turning back."
"You can't live as a centaur," reasoned Andy.
"I can and I shall," huffed Ollie.
"Our apartment, as little as the landlord seems to care, won't allow a horse inside," said Andy.
"I," retorted Ollie, voice smooth and superior with glee, "am not a horse, dear roommate. I am a centaur!"
"You're horse enough!" yelled Andy. She held out the lamp to Dji forcefully, though not meaning to offend. "If you please!"
Dji nodded her head deeply, violet hair running into her skin like water and until all of her dissipated and fell into the mist, vacuumed swiftly up into the lamp Andy shoved the antique into her backpack and swung onto Ollie's back.
"You want to be a horse, you can be treated like a horse," snapped Andy, kicking her friend in the sides. "Back to base!"
Andy shook her head as she looked down at her friend lying down in a massive path of hay. Obviously, they couldn't take him home to their tiny flat, so RACY had returned him to one of their England-based stables. She saw the sheer delight still marked into his face as he reclined, arms curled behind him. Although no matter how many times she said it, Andy still felt the need to call him an idiot.
"You're an idiot," she said. Well, what good are temptations if you never succumb?
"But I'm happy," retorted Ollie.
"I suppose I can't take that away from you," she confessed.
Ollie rolled over, looking over Andy with satisfied eyes. "Don't you have work?"
"I do," shrugged Andy. "I've got a RACY teleportation guy on stand-by. The same one who got us here."
"I think he works here in the stable," said Ollie.
"If you sleep with the stable boy, I'm writing a book about it," warned Andy.
"I'll remind you I am half-horse," pointed out Ollie smugly.
"Learn from a lesbian," smiled Andy, beginning to turn away. "You can get a lot done from the waist up."
With that, Andy allowed herself to turn away and leave him to his haystacks, returning to the RACY agent stood in his dark jeans and black T-shirt. Andy looked him up and down, appreciating the riding boots, before confirming that she was ready to leave.
"Excellent, I'll take you to the warp pad," he offered.
"So," smiled Andy, watching him whilst they walked. "I didn't ask your name."
"I'm Phil," he answered politely. "And I do work here, as well as with ReCoY. Teleportation and horse-training."
"What's ReCoY- oh yeah, we call it RACY," laughed Andy. "And I'll add, Phillip, that your name actually means 'lover of horses'."
"So I've been told," chuckled Phil.
"Have you been told that you're quite attractive?" asked Andy.
Phil laughed nervously at the compliment. He looked up at her, blushing deeply. "I- I haven't been hit on that directly before."
"You still haven't," pointed out Andy. Phil looked confused, at which she smirked. "We're both lovers of ladies."
Phil laughed aloud. "I suppose we are."
Andy grinned, realising that they were almost the exact same height. "But I think you're divided on the issue."
Phil glanced to her, nervous again. "Are you also a psychic?"
"Nope," she shrugged as they arrived at a clearing where blue lines and circles intersected. "But I can smell a gay from a mile away. And from my experience, RACY love the gays as much as I do."
"I'm bi," corrected Phil, coughing a little into his words.
"I respect that," nodded Andy, standing in the centre of the warp pad. "They say bis have more fun."
"Hardly out here," said Phil.
Andy winked. "Trust me. You'll have a great time."
He smiled kindly, but as if he didn't believe her. "Where to?"
"London Office, please."
Phil dropped to his knee and slammed his palms into the earth, fingertips grazing some of the outermost lines. The entire structure glowed blue, seemingly cracking the earth into a runic crater. Light streamed up into slices and chunks, rising into the sky and mystifying Andy in a powerful, ethereal light. Her vision became white and blue and green as the wind died around her and the smell of grass and horse dung vanished into the light. The light dimmed quickly, flushing into greys and shadows. The London base of RACY wasn't nearly as breathable; it was mostly an office block, a house of paperwork and official meetings and, despite their extensive library and database, there seemed a lack of spark here compared to the other RACY bases, such as Antarctica or even the rural Cambridge stables.
Andy was greeted briefly by some officials with whom she'd been acquainted when they'd first transported Ollie to the countryside. She didn't really recognise any of them, but they didn't seem fazed. So she quickly left and got on the train to the restaurant.
She worked in a well-known restaurant the primarily served chicken, but for the sake of legal reasons the name cannot be used. So, let's call it Mando's. Andy walked into Mando's through the side entrance, out of the way of the customers, and signed herself in. She grabbed her uniform out of her locker and swiftly changed: black trousers and a vaguely green-brown shirt that was made out of the same material as every dad's summer shirts. She tied her hair in a low ponytail and strode out to the front desk to start welcoming people in.
"Andrea!" hollered the voice she'd been avoiding.
She swung around, smiling politely. "Jack, hello."
Jack Killie, Mando's manager, and professional dickhead. He and Andy had started working as waiters within the same week, both part-time, until Jack failed his AS and decided to work full-time instead. Ever since then, he'd been nothing but a nuisance, especially around Andy. Whether it was about her grades or something else, Andy couldn't work out. Regardless, he never let up on anything Andy did wrong once he became manager.
"You're late!" he announced, as if there weren't customers around.
"I'm 40 seconds late. I'm sorry," said Andy, trying to keep him calm. He wasn't dangerous, just loud, in appropriately so. "I had something to deal with at home, but it's taken care of. I'm here now."
"Well, I'm glad you're here!" snapped Jack. "But unfortunately, things don't adhere to your schedule! Be on time from now on!"
Jack stormed off. Andy rolled her eyes. She returned to doing her job, greeting a family and directing them to a seat, and everything was fine for a few minutes. Then she saw them come in. Now, if you've worked in a restaurant, you know about regulars; they always come in at least once within a certain time frame, they usually look exactly the same except for an occasional change of clothes, they generally order the same thing, and they're either really cool or absolutely awful. Rarer is the regular couple, but this was one of Andy's examples. A man and a woman, whose names remained unknown, always came in for lunch with the girl looking pretty and the guy looking scruffy with a scraggly beard that any self-respecting someone would've trimmed and clothe that were grossly baggy, not just oversized. The girl, with her blue cardigan wrapped tightly around her, was super quiet whilst the guy was rudely quiet and usually sat with his feet kicked up on the table, even whilst they ate. Andy sighed, but smiled anyway.
"Welcome back," she greeted. "Table for two, this way."
The man grunted something but Andy didn't care for whatever he had to say, she led them to their table and offered them their menus. The drinks were self-service and food was ordered at the counter, so she didn't need to wait around. And before Andy had even turned away, the man's feet were up on the table. Most of the staff had given up on telling him off at this point. They both always got the same thing, so the lady was up at the counter only a moment later with her hair over her face and her lips pressed together. Someone who wasn't Andy took their orders, but someone who was Andy picked them up from the serving counter and took them over. She placed the orders down gently, asked if there was anything else she could get them anything else, to which the man replied:
"You could bend over a little more."
Andy didn't smile at him, but wished them an enjoyable meal. She pointedly turned her back to the man and gave the woman an apologetic face, but as she began to walk away she felt a sharp smack on her backside. She whipped around, eyes narrow and filled with spite as she watched the man eye her up, both arrogant and unapologetic. She fired away, distracting her rage with the other orders she had to hand out. She arrived at another table, sat with four young teenage boys and she served them and asked again if there was anything else they needed.
"Can I get a milkshake?" asked on the boys, wearing a red and black baseball cap inside.
"Uh, we don't serve milkshakes," answered Andy helpfully. "But drinks are self-serve anyway."
"What about after your shift, can you give me a milkshake then?" insisted the boy, dirty grins spreading across all their faces.
Andy's professional smile instantly dropped and she walked away, rolling her eyes and ignoring the sound of their juvenile sniggering. Must be something in the water. Andy went from table to table, serving as many as she could, and at every steer she got similar treatment: jokes, flirtations, very rare physical attempts which she would callously slap away, but by the time her break came around she had had enough. She stormed into the break room and sat on a sofa, sighing loudly, attempting to rush all of her frustration into just that exhale of breath. She shuffled over to her locker and rummaged through her stuff to pull out her phone so she could check for messages. She flipped the flap of her bag and gasped. Gleaming in the overhead light, the gold of Dji's lamp revealed itself. Andy swiped her eyes around, fretting over anyone who might come in and see, but the absence of others didn't mix well with her ire. She grabbed the lamp and rubbed. Pale blue smoke rushed the room and Dji appeared, her violet hair whipping about her.
"Master," she greeted.
"I handed the lamp over to RACY," said Andy.
"Our contract is not fulfilled," answered Dji. "You have two remaining wishes."
"Good," replied Andy, tucking the lamp under her arm. "I wish that the men in this restaurant would stop coming on to me."
Dji's eyes blasted open, pink firing across the entire room. The mist spiked up from the floor and swept out of the room, bulldozing the oblivious crowds in the restaurant, unaware of what was happening to them. Andy shielded her face against the storming smokes as they thundered forward and again as they were summoned back, returning to the lamp. Dji hovered above Andy, hair slowly floating back down as the lights dimmed.
"You have one wish remaining," boomed her voice, still echoing power. "Summon me at any time."
And with that, she poofed into smoke and wisped into the lamp again. Andy watched the gold gleam as if nothing had ever blemished it and quickly shoved it back in her locker and closed it. She instantly regretted making that wish. She knew genies were conniving tricksters and she'd let her emotions get the better of her. Having said that, she'd asked that the men stopped coming on to her, what could she do with that? Have men outside the restaurant come on to her? Annoying, but not disastrous. She brushed off her uniform and walked back out into the restaurant. Her break wasn't over, but if she'd incited some kind of calamity she wanted to see it. But as she stepped out, she realised that noticed a presence behind her. She turned back and saw Dji floating behind her and glared.
"Fear not, master," assured Dji. "I am invisible to all but you. You and cats. Cats always see me."
Andy nodded in understanding and stepped tentatively out into the open space between the tables and the counter. Nobody seemed to notice her as she walked about, precisely nobody paid attention to her. People continued on with their food and their work. Andy panicked for a second. Was she invisible? What had she said that would allow Dji to turn her invisible? She whipped back to face the genie who was smiling smugly at her master's reaction, but before Andy could say anything she was knocked back by someone walking into her.
"Oh! Andy! I'm sorry," said Lily, a very pretty waitress. Her eyes went from wide to narrow and her glossy lips curved upwards. "I just saw you and thought I had to hit that."
Andy blinked wildly for a second. "I'm sorry, what?"
"You know," shrugged Lily. "You were over here looking all pretty, if I didn't take my chance to get my hands on you somehow, I don't know what I'd do."
As Lily spoke, her hands grazed up Andy's hips and tugged her towards Lily's body until they were curving together, fronts pressed. Andy's mind was blank. She hadn't predicted this. She was finally about to bring herself together enough to say something to Lily, but another presence behind her halted her thoughts again. She looked behind and saw Amy with her short dark hair swiped to the side like usual, but she was looking down with a new intent. Andy stammered blindly, her eyes swishing to her right where a customer had appeared and was staring at her with adoration. More and more women appeared, almost on top of each other, but they were staring down at Andy. She felt small and vaguely threatened until they all dissipated and moved beneath her. One woman, particularly muscular and cuddly-looking, had lifted her up so that Andy could recline above all of her suitors. Andy felt the rush of mass adoration and fell into her courier's chest and snuggled into it as she was admonished with sweet kisses. The mass of women sunk to the floor, following Andy as far as they could and took turns presenting her with their desires and adulation. After a few moment, Dji stepped forward and looked down at her master, smiling wickedly.
"You didn't want the men courting you, I can only assume you desired the women," announced Dji. "Was I wrong-?"
Andy was looking up at the ceiling blindly, her chest rising and falling slow and rhythmically as if she'd just run the slowest marathon ever. Women were swarming her gently touching and stroking over her clothes, caressing her as only women could. Dji looked into her master's eyes and saw only purest pleasure and elation. She was in Heaven. Dji slapped her ethereal thigh.
"Damn. She's gay," she muttered and returned to the lamp.
Dji reclined on her sequined pillows, all mounted up until they formed a foundation on which she could lie. She genuinely wished she could redecorate, but the bastard magician who created this place had had a particular taste, involving a riddle that Dji couldn't crack. Of course, if she could answer to the riddle, she could just walk out. Djinn/Genie: A being with super-divine, reality augmenting abilities, but only permitted to use that power when asked by a designated master. She glanced down to her ankles where she was bound by thick, glamorous chains. Anything to keep a power as great as hers under wraps.
The walls around her began to shimmer and burn with their dastardly light. She was being summoned again. She sighed; this was the final wish of those children. They had been permitted an unacceptable amount of joy throughout these exchanges, and Dji's reputation would not allow for it. Whatever their final wish was, she would have to provide all of her cunning and prove how diabolical she could be. A light poured in from the lamp's spout and Dji rushed towards it, her feet disintegrating to smoke and trailing her. As she sank into the light, she remembered that her fate was not decided by her and swore, not for the first time, revenge on that fact.
She swam into the daylight and noticed that she'd been summoned on some kind of rural lot. Her pupilless eyes however didn't betray her gaze, she quickly caught her master who wasn't currently a horse standing before her. Andy's red hair whipped in the wind, but no earthly cycle could dismiss Dji's mist.
"How might I serve you, mistress?" asked Dji, bowing cordially. "I remind you that this is your last wish."
"I spoke with RACY earlier today," announced Andy. "They've told me that you are not the genie they were looking for, and you've been released into my care. Before anything else, do you know of another genie named Advi?"
"Would that be your final wish?" asked Dji, keeping treachery out of her voice. She sunk lower to the ground, coming to an equal level with her soon-to-be-former master. "To know all that I know?"
"No," said Andy. "I've decided my final wish. I was hoping you might tell me what you know without payment, but I accepted that it was a long shot."
"Indeed," answered Dji. "So, tell me, how might I serve you, mistress?"
"I wish you to be free," said Andy blandly.
"I see," nodded Dji, closing her radiant eyes and bowing. Her eyes snapped open. "Excuse me, what?"
Andy chuckled silently. "I wish you to be free. I've been informed that you were a person before you were a genie, and that this was not something you wished for. My wish is for you to be free."
Dji blinked through her shock. "But- but-" She shook her head. "What about your friend and your job? You wouldn't wish for those things to be undone."
Andy shrugged. "There are other magical powers out there. Plus, I'm loving all the attention and he's getting more food and exercise now than he's ever done before. And he's been both a vagabond and royalty."
Dji turned around to better understand her surroundings. Everywhere around them was wide open, green field that was mowed short, trampled flat in some places by hoof marks. She cast her vision out to the west and saw the stables where so many other horses were grazing of wandering or eating. She saw the houses were all the workers remained when they didn't have immediate tasks to see to. She wondered how many people worked here. If she thought about it hard enough, she could see but it didn't interest her that much. She looked to the North, past her master, and saw rolling English hills, striped with agriculture. She looked to the east and saw a horse galloping, seemingly enjoying itself with a rider on his back…and a rider on the front? Oh, it's the centaur. Dji watched them as they galloped across the field, hearing them laugh. It was like a strange rendition of a romantic cliché. Andy caught where Dji was watching and recognised Ollie being ridden by Phil. She snorted at the wording, but stuck to it. Dji flicked her wrist, conjuring a plain gold circle into her hand. She pinched the device's sides together and watched the boys vanish into mist and fall on top of each other, Phil landing right in between Ollie's legs, separated by shreds of Ollie's shorts. Both Andy and Dji watched, intently curious to how they would react. Andy predicted Phil wouldn't move unless prompted, but Ollie's sexuality had been ever so slightly shaken by Lucy Gray, and she didn't know what the boys got up to whilst she was at work. Eventually, they got up and walked over to the girls, keeping a small distance between them. Ollie didn't mention how it felt having his legs taken out from under him, even when Dji gave the circle to Andy to use at her own disposal.
"Your wish," breathed Dji, drawing all of their attention "to set me free. Are you certain?" Dji realised it was ludicrous of her to ask if she could really have her freedom, to give them the chance to change their mind.
"Of course," said Andy. "There's no sense in you staying trapped in there for the rest of human history to exploit."
"Totally," chimed in Ollie. "I couldn't live without my freedom. Freedom to walk, to run, to gallop wherever I want." He cut a glance to Andy, who openly ignored him.
Dji smiled, genuinely for the first time in so long that it hurt her cheeks. "Then, it shall be done."
Dji brought her blue palms together and held them tight, as if she was giving the direst prayer of her existence. She raised her palms up, her hands shaking as she pressed them so tightly together, and then she threw them apart. Her lamp beamed and shattered. The force of her prison collapsing blasted out a small shockwave, whipping away her smoke trail and left Dji standing in the field. Her blue and gold harem pants, tied at the ankles by gold shackles. She flicked her fingers and blasted them apart. Her naked breast heaved and she took in a lungful of fresh, country air and spun around in place. As she came to an unsteady stop, having grown unaccustomed to legs, she looked at Andy endearingly, tears pecking at the corner of her eyes.
"You don't know what you've given me," she whispered. She straightened up and held her arms by her side, smiling broadly. "I will speak with your bosses."
Andy showed real surprise. "You don't have to. I don't want you to think that I only granted you freedom so that you would help us."
"It is all right," said Dji, raising her hand. "Whether or not that was your intent, I am free now. I will help my liberator in any way I can."
"If you give me back my legs, I'll carry you to the warp pad," announced Ollie.
"And I'll send you there," added Phil, glancing to Ollie who didn't look back.
Andy clicked the gold ring and Ollie went back up in an azure mist, dissipating quickly into a centaur with his soft, brown hair and four powerful limbs. He offered a hand to Dji, who levitated up to him and sat down. Ollie then offered another hand to Phil, who looked up and smiled in a flattered surprise. He took the hand, but he hardly needed any help getting on a horse. Ollie looked down at Andy and smirked quickly.
"Walk, bitch," he said.
"How did I know you'd say that?" she sighed, beginning to saunter back down to the warp pad with them.
When they reached the warp pad, it was decided that Dji would go to the Antarctica HQ, whilst Andy and Ollie would finally return to London. Phil held out his hands and sent Dji up into the streams of light. She nodded at Andy and Ollie, smiling brightly as she vanished. Andy and Ollie soon stepped onto the markings in the ground and looked to Phil kindly.
"Thank you so much for taking care of my idiot," said Andy.
"It was my pleasure," answered Phil. He looked to Ollie and his face dimmed a little. "Goodbye."
"Bye, Phil," said Ollie, looking down from his lofty heights. The air was stifling for a minute, until Ollie opened his arms. "Come here."
Phil didn't waste a second, he leapt against the front of Ollie's now massive body and embraced it, as Ollie reached down as far as he could to hold him close. Andy rolled her eyes knowingly and clicked the button that Dji gave her and saw the two disappear into another flash of smoke. As everything faded out, Andy did find herself surprised. Ollie and Phil were pressed front to front, as well as lip to lip. Who knew Phil was so forward. Apparently not him since he pulled back and dashed away.
"I'm sorry! That was inappropriate of me!" squealed Phil. He flung his hands up and sent them to their destination faster than he'd transported anybody before.
The light enveloped them, firing them high up inside of existence back down into London. Ollie was naturally stunned, but Andy was already smiling.
"Gay," she beamed.
"Bite me," answered Ollie, walking towards the exit.
"Won't Phil get jealous if I do?" she teased.
"I'll fight you," warned Ollie.
"You and Phil gonna tagteam me?" asked Andy. "Because I'll beat you both."