The Phil Phorce is a fictional periodical featuring my favorite characters from my own writing. It comes out in episodes, once every three months or so. To find out more and to read previous episodes, please go to these two pages: About the Phils and the Phil Phorce. Please enjoy Phil Phorce, Episode 7.
“But it all makes sense,” Quirk said, pacing around the king’s dusty bedroom. Isaac and Feiron sat on the bed, while Percival had chosen a chair near the mirror they had traveled through days before. “The queen tried to take power after the king died, the people didn’t like it, and because you reappeared, Isaac, she covered it up.”
“But that leaves many things unexplained,” said Percival. “Who’s the unknown magician supposedly controlling the people?”
“There is none,” said Quirk. “It was made up.”
“Then who bound the queen and her guards to their places when there was an assassin trying to kill her?”
“The queen was bound by the soap Percival gave her. The guards, though… The physician said she had some sort of magic. Perhaps she used that.”
“People mean a lot of different things when they claim magic exists,” said Feiron. “What exactly would this be?”
Quirk shrugged, but Isaac spoke up. “She’s descended from a line of magicians that rule a kingdom bordering us to the south. This is the first I’ve heard of her inheriting any of her father’s powers, although it does explain why she was so secretive about her family’s special abilities. All I know is they were considered magicians.”
“What country is this?” asked Feiron.
Isaac made an unintelligible noise, more consonants and hissing than actual voice.
Feiron nodded. “That dynasty has a history with strange powers, but the one similarity is the power over boundaries. It varied whether the boundaries had to do with emotions and principles, or physical aspects.”
“If the queen could create physical boundaries, that would explain why the guards were forced to stay at their posts,” said Quirk, glancing at Percival.
Percival raised a hand. “I still think we’re getting ahead of ourselves. These are a lot of assumptions we’re making, and a lot of them are far-fetched. I don’t think pointing fingers is going to do anything for us. We aren’t even supposed to be worried about the queen— we’re supposed to figure out why the king was killed and make sure it’s safe for Isaac to claim the throne.”
“And if the queen wants to take the throne instead? We need to know this, Percival. Isaac can’t be walking in there blind— no offense.”
Isaac shrugged. Quirk probably could have picked a better expression.
“She has shown no signs of opposing him,” said Percival. “This is his mother we’re talking about. I think you’re overthinking this.”
“No, I’m not,” said Quirk. “Think about it yourself, for once. We know a Flit killed the king, right?”
Percival nodded, glancing at the lines carved into the floor.
“That same Flit could easily have killed the queen as well while it was in town. Instead, it left without a trace, leaving the queen to claim the throne. Now, two months later, Isaac returns, another obstacle for her to face. Today, the Flit shows up and attacks her, but fails. If the Flit had orders to kill the queen, wouldn’t it have done it long before this?”
“That’s a fallacy, Quirk,” said Percival, running a hand through his hair. “Because we show up and a Flit attacks, you think our arrival caused the attack.”
“I’m just bringing up a possibility,” said Quirk. “The queen is overly paranoid about us finding out about her decision to claim the throne, so she fakes an attack on herself.”
“Wait,” said Isaac. “You’re implying that the Flit is hers?”
“Well,” said Quirk, grimacing. He hadn’t meant to imply that. “Sort of.”
“Another assumption,” said Percival.
“That means she was behind my father’s death,” said Isaac.
“Well, it could be two different Flits,” said Quirk, trying to backtrack now that the accusations were more serious. “But that would explain why she was so ready to claim the throne. A decision that size would usually require a little bit of thought, don’t you think?”
Isaac stood up abruptly, tossing Feiron onto the bed. The fairy squeaked as he landed. “I’m not going to take any more of this,” the prince said. “You’ve made a mockery of me during my time in the Phils, you can’t seem to accept that I can do things for myself, and you make accusations about my mother. I thought asking you to come to my world— you specifically, Quirk— would make you realize how I feel in your world, not understanding a thing that’s going on, but nothing seems to get through your skull. You just make yourself at home, throwing your weight around and insulting people. That’s it. You can go home, or you can get yourself killed by a durkot— good luck figuring out what that is before it rips your face off. Just don’t try to have anything to do with me anymore.” He walked to the door, feeling with his hands until he found the frame. “And that goes for you too,” he threw over his shoulder as Feiron tried to hop off the bed after him. “You’re as bad as the rest of them.”
Quirk closed his eyes. By the time he opened them, Isaac was gone.
Feiron studied his brown hands. “He must have been mad,” he said in a forced light tone. “Most people don’t wish death by durkot on anyone.” Then he pounded his fist into his leg, making a splat sound. “Way to mess things up, Quirk. If he doesn’t need me, I can’t stay with him. I’ll have to go back to my world, back to the teasing about not being able to shapeshift or hold a distinct form. I’ll have to retire or something, and go down in history as the only fairy ever to be accidentally served as a bowl of soup!” He rolled over and buried his face in the bed.
“Nice work,” said Percival. His emotionless gaze was more painful than if he had avoided Quirk’s eyes. “You really have a way with people.” He pushed himself out of his chair and walked out the door, probably to try to catch up to Isaac. It would be futile. Isaac knew this castle better than any of them, even Feiron— he could lose himself easily. But at least he was trying to make things right. Quirk couldn’t make himself move, couldn’t think what to say to Isaac to make him understand… understand what? How did you make someone understand the truth when what they believed was the truth?
Eventually Feiron picked himself up and left the room as well. Quirk fell into Percival’s empty chair, head in his hands.